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Essential Pittsburgh
4:18 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Aliquippa-Born Doctor Was An Early Opponent Of Big Tobacco

Credit United States Government

Only a few decades ago, the public’s attitude toward cigarettes was remarkably different. Cigarettes were smoked in public, they were recommended by doctors, and were even smoked by pregnant women. Awareness of the dangers of smoking, and the public change of opinion can largely be traced to one man: West Aliquippa native Jesse Steinfeld.

Steinfeld was the first surgeon general in the Nixon Administration and spoke out against cigarette smoking, bringing new attention to the risks it posed and leading to the ban of smoking in most public places. He died last week at age 87.

Stanton Glantz who studies the health effects of secondhand smoke at Stanford University, discussed the legacy of Dr. Steinfeld.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:57 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

The Community Fights Illegal Housing In Oakland

Credit Zach Morris / Wikipedia

For most of its existence, Oakland was known as a neighborhood that happened to have a university in it. But over the last few decades, as the enrollment at the University of Pittsburgh expanded, so did the need for student housing. This in turn led to a major shift in the neighborhood from residential to tenant based housing dominated by college students.

The many disturbances and code violations committed by students living in the neighborhood has brought down the quality of life and has led many new residents to pass over Oakland when choosing a part of the city to live in. Oakwatch was formed by the Oakland Planning and Development Corporation in order to attract people to permanently reside in the neighborhood. 

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Penn State
3:35 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Penn State Trustees to Discuss Status of Lawsuit over $60M Fine

The Penn State University (PSU) Board of Trustees will meet 8 a.m. Wednesday by phone to discuss a potential settlement of a lawsuit between state officials and the NCAA over the use of the $60 million fine PSU was ordered to pay in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal.

In 2012, PSU consented to a number of sanctions imposed by the NCAA in response to attempts by high-ranking university officials to hide Sandusky’s molestation of young boys. The consent decree included a $60 million fine to be used for programs for the protection of children.

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Economy & Business
3:29 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

As Pittsburgh Gains National Attention, Its Economy Receives a Boost from Tourism

PNC Park is one of Pittsburgh's attractions gaining national attention.
Credit Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh has been described as “hip,” “organic” and “authentic” by a slew of travel publications over the past few years, but what does all this recognition mean for the city and its residents?

It means money and a boost in the economy, according to Craig Davis, CEO of VisitPITTSBURGH, Susan Corbett, the First Lady of Pennsylvania, and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

They gathered Tuesday at PNC Park, voted one of the best views in the country, in recognition of Pittsburgh being named as a “Top 10 All-American Travel Destinations” by the Travel Channel.

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Food
3:19 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Feeling Hungry, Steelers Fans? Heinz Field to Debut New Grub on Saturday

The Emperor Burger features a beef patty with shaved kielbasa, onion bacon kraut, a fried egg and Heinz Field Secret Sauce on a brioche bun.
Liz Reid 90.5 WESA

Heinz Field’s new executive chef John DiMartini has only been on staff for three months, but he’s ready to roll out 10 new house-made menu items in time for the Pittsburgh Steelers pre-season home opener Saturday.

Available to all fans in the concession areas is the Emperor Burger, named for late Steelers head coach Chuck Noll: a beef patty with shaved kielbasa, onion bacon kraut and Heinz Field Secret Sauce on a brioche bun. Also new to concession stands this season are 8-inch personal cheese and pepperoni pizzas from Fox’s Pizza Den, based in Murrysville.

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Government & Politics
2:26 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Corbett Adviser Resigns Following Scrutiny of Schedule, Duties

An education adviser to the governor is stepping down from his post, weeks after a newspaper report found little evidence he was working.

Ron Tomalis’ resignation letter includes a list of his accomplishments as a special adviser on higher education. Those accomplishments were called into question by a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report last month that found little in schedule documents, phone logs or interviews to suggest Tomalis had been doing much in his job paying nearly $140,000 a year.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:02 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

The Growing Business of Childcare

With the increase of dual-income households, the need for childcare services has increased as well.
Credit Kirsten Jennings / Flickr

The cost of childcare has a significant impact on parents from all income ranges. Last year the New York Times reported the day care costs for middle-class New Yorkers can easily equal from $25,000 to $30,000 per child.

Contributor Rebecca Harris says childcare services are becoming so necessary because of the increase of households with dual incomes; both parents are working. However, Harris does not see this as a bad thing for children as they are growing up.

“Quality child care tends to lead to positive outcomes, even during the teenage years. Children that receive high quality childcare within the first two years of life, they secured higher measures of cognitive and academic achievements when they were 15 years old.”

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Health
11:54 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Starting Jan. 1, Allegheny Health Network Will Ban Smoking On Its Grounds

Starting Jan. 1, 2015, no workers, visitors or patients will be allowed to smoke on any Allegheny Health Network grounds.

“Anybody whose walked into any facility, health care or otherwise, who has to walk through smoke or be exposed to smoke, it's not a pleasant thing if you're not a smoker," said Allegheny Health Network spokesman Dan Laurent, "particularly in a facility that’s dedicated to preserving health and promoting health.”

Smoking is already not allowed inside Allegheny Health Network facilities.

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Government & Politics
8:04 am
Tue August 12, 2014

No Oversight of Seized Assets Under New Trafficking Law

Despite years of criticism of the state’s asset forfeiture laws, Pennsylvania lawmakers approved a new human trafficking law that expands law enforcement’s ability to seize assets of the accused, without any statutory oversight of where seized property and proceeds end up.

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Behavioral Health
3:30 am
Tue August 12, 2014

What Makes You Scratch That Itch? New Research Aims To Find Out

Junichi Hachisuka at the University of Pittsburgh prepares the spine of a genetically modified mouse for itch-related experiments.
Credit Erika Beras / 90.5 WESA

Poison ivy, bug bites, allergies — just hearing those words can make you want to scratch. But even though we all itch, and we all scratch, we don’t know very much about what is happening in our brains when we do so.

New work by researchers, including one in Pittsburgh, is attempting to figure it out.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:04 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: A Community Driven Fight Against Illegal Housing Practices in Oakland

North Dithridge street in North Oakland has a combination of home owners and tenants, young and old.
Credit Johanna/AboutMyTrip / Flickr

These topics air Tuesday August 12, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Oakwatch: Improving Quality of Life Through Code Enforcement

In the last few decades the neighborhood of Oakland has seen a major shift from residential to tenant based housing dominated by college students. Oakwatch was formed by the Oakland Planning and Development Corporation in order to tackle the many code violations and disturbances that have brought down the quality of life and make it difficult to attract new residents to the neighborhood. Each month, Oakwatch brings residents together with elected officials, building inspectors, public health professionals and police to address Oakland’s biggest problem properties. Oakwatch Co-chair Hanson Kappelman talks about the community driven way they're dealing with neighborhood offenders.

Jesse Steinfeld

West Aliquippa native Jesse Steinfeld was the first surgeon general in the Nixon Administration and spoke out against cigarette smoking, bringing new attention to the risks it posed to women and to people exposed to secondhand smoke. He died last week at age 87. We'll talk about his legacy with Stanton Glantz who studies the health effects of secondhand smoke at Stanford University.

WESA Celebrates - Saleem Ghubril

This week WESA Celebrates profiles Saleem Ghurbil who has been the driving force behind the Pittsburgh Promise. Ghubril has been working tirelessly since its inception to make sure every Pittsburgh city student has a shot at higher education.

Business of Child Care

The cost of child care has a significant impact on parents from all income ranges. Last year the New York Times reported the day care costs for middle-class New Yorkers can easily equal from $25,000 to $30,000 per child. Contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of child care. 

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Public Safety
5:31 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Hearing to Determine Future of Allegheny County Crime Lab

Allegheny County could face losing one of its unique features, depending on the outcome of a hearing Tuesday about the Allegheny County crime lab.

Allegheny is the only county in Pennsylvania to fund and run its own crime lab. However, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said the lab cannot continue with its current funding system.

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Government & Politics
4:48 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Lawmakers Buy Time to Help 911 Centers

State lawmakers have given themselves another year to address what counties are calling a funding crisis for the commonwealth’s 911 call centers.

A key revenue source for the county-managed centers was set to expire in June, but lawmakers extended its life by one year. That gives the Legislature until next July to consider more comprehensive changes to the emergency service system.

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School Merger
4:34 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Cornell, Moon School Districts Discuss Merger

This evening marks the first time in 15 years that the Cornell Area School Board will seriously discuss the possibility of a merger with the Moon Area School District, following the surprise suggestion put forward by the Moon Area School Board in June.

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Water Quality
4:13 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

What is the Quality of Pennsylvania’s Water? It’s Getting Better

Before the implementation of the Clean Water Act, Pittsburgh’s rivers were so polluted, they barely even had fish, according to Brady Porter, Duquesne University associate professor of biology.

“Not any for commercial fishing or recreational fishing,” Porter said. “They were dead, they [the rivers] were basically sewers where our abandoned mine water would flow orange.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:38 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Caregiver Stress and Supportive Resources

Being a caregiver can be stressful at any age, but there are resources available to relieve some of the pressure for families.
Credit Donald Lee Pardue / Flickr

In an article for the Post–Gazette, freelance writer Tina Calabro chronicled a tragic murder-suicide that took place in the Mon Valley borough of Port Vue. The incident involved an elderly caregiver of a middle-aged son with developmental disabilities.

In December, 78 year old Richard Lipschok of Port Vue took the life of his 52 year old son before taking his own. The elder Lipschok’s wife died the year before, leaving him wondering how to care for his only son. Calabro thinks the notions of previous generations, where the mother of the family was expected to take care of children, caused part of Lipschok’s distress.

Calabro says cases like this are not as uncommon as they may seem, as a similar incident happened in Philadelphia last summer.

“This murder-suicide type thing happens fairly regularly, but it’s not what most people do. But, we do know that people struggle behind closed doors, that they are silently struggling, and what is the situation of these people and is our public system addressing their need for information and providing services?”

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:11 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Ed O’Bannon Ruling Means Big Changes for the NCAA

Judge Claudia Wilken said early on in the Ed O'Bannon trial that the word amateur would hold very little bearing in her court room and she backed this up in her ruling.
Credit United States Courts

U.S. District Judge Claudia Ann Wilken has dealt a major blow to the NCAA's ideal of amateurism in college sports in her ruling of the Ed O'Bannon trial.

In a 99 page ruling, Judge Wilken wrote that "the Court will enjoin the NCAA from enforcing any rules or bylaws that would prohibit its member schools and conferences from offering (Division I-A) football or Division I basketball recruits a limited share of the revenues generated from the use of their names, images or likenesses in addition to a full grant-in-aid (scholarship)."

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Health
1:58 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

With Telemedicine, Paramedics Use iPads to Connect Patients to Doctors

Paramedics and EMTs undergo hundreds of hours of training to know how to respond to a health emergency, but sometimes, nothing can take the place of a physician’s input. Allegheny Valley Hospital is the first in the state to solve this problem by allowing its paramedic response units to connect patients to hospital physicians via iPad in an initiative called “telemedicine.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:49 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Monday Rundown: Reducing Caregiver Stress

Credit Honza Soukup / Flickr

These topics air Monday August 11, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

A Caregiver’s Dilemma

In an article for the Post – Gazette freelance writer Tina Calabro chronicles a tragic murder-suicide that took place in the Mon Valley borough of Port Vue. The incident involved an elderly caregiver of a middle-aged son with developmental disabilities. Tina Calabro joins us to discuss the case and the issues it raises.

Resources for Caregivers

A generation of older caregivers may not ask for help when it’s needed. This may be due in part to pride as well as not knowing what resources are available or how to obtain them. We’ll address what can be done for caregivers with Jeanine Schultz, director of advocacy and family supports for ACHIEVA, a non-profit organization that provides lifelong supports and services for individuals with disabilities and their families in southwestern Pennsylvania.

NCAA Loses Amateurism Suit

U.S. District Judge Claudia Ann Wilson has dealt a major blow to the NCAA's ideal of amateurism in college sports. In a 99 page ruling, Judge Wilken wrote that "the Court will enjoin the NCAA from enforcing any rules or bylaws that would prohibit its member schools and conferences from offering (Division I-A) football or Division I basketball recruits a limited share of the revenues generated from the use of their names, images or likenesses in addition to a full grant-in-aid (scholarship." Post-Gazette writer Brady McCollough has been covering this case and joins us to discuss the outcome.

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Government & Politics
7:40 am
Mon August 11, 2014

PA's Revenue Estimates Need Improvement, Policy Researchers Say

Creating a viable state budget depends heavily on knowing how much money will be available to spend. According to a recent report by the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), Pennsylvania’s annual revenue estimate is one of the least accurate among the 50 states.

The report evaluated states by identifying five “best practices” that supposedly create reliable revenue estimates to guide state spending. PA scored a two out of five, and ranked below 38 states.

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Arts & Culture
3:30 am
Mon August 11, 2014

From Oil Drilling to Oil Painting: Revitalization Through Oil City’s Artist Relocation Program

Joann Wheeler stands in the lobby of the National Transit Building. The lobby mural depicts big players of the oil industry, like John D. Rockefeller.
Credit Kelly Tunney / For WPSU

Oil City suffered the fate of many other Pennsylvania communities that were once driven by prominent industries. It was once the hub of the nation's oil production and home to major companies like Pennzoil and Quaker State.

But the companies moved away and the days of Oil City's prosperity are gone. Oil City has had to find ways to reinvent itself. And it's chosen to embrace art—and artists.

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Arts & Culture
3:30 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Style Week Comes to Pittsburgh

Think fashion — think Paris, Milan, New York … Pittsburgh?

Monday kicks off the second annual Style Week Pittsburgh, six days of events meant to support and promote Pittsburgh’s local fashion scene.

Event founder and CEO of Style & Steel Event Planning LLC Wadria Taylor says the week-long celebration is different from other fashion events.

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Environment & Energy
3:30 am
Mon August 11, 2014

'Order in the Chaos' Found by CMU Researchers Examining Brown Carbon

A team of researchers, including some from Carnegie Mellon University, have figured out a hard-to-understand pollutant called brown carbon.

A lot of attention is paid in the media to pollutants that contribute to climate change, especially to greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other sources. But, some sources are lesser-understood and don’t come from areas that can be regulated — namely brown carbon, which comes from smoke from wildfires.

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Business
3:30 am
Mon August 11, 2014

PA Women Pitch Business Plans in Competition

Pennsylvania women have the opportunity to take part in the commonwealth’s first Business Plan Competition for women, where they will make pitches in front of a panel of judges for a cash prize.

Women own about 7.8 million businesses in the United States, according to the National Women’s Business council.

“They play a really integral role in our economy at the local, state and national level,” Ashley Mostek, executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission for Women, said. “They’re job creators; they’re an important part of our economy on all levels.”

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Education
3:30 am
Sun August 10, 2014

GED Students Now Able to Transfer Old Scores to New Test

When the new General Educational Development (GED) high school equivalency test took effect on Jan. 1st, 2014, more than 40,000 Pennsylvanians were left stranded, with only portions of the old test complete, and no way to transfer their credits. Those adults faced losing all their progress and starting over from the beginning.

State Representatives Hal English (R-Allegheny) and Joe Hackett (R-Delaware) worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to solve this problem.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:01 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Monday Rundown: Caregiver Support and a Pirate Portrayal

Credit Public Domain / Wiki

A Caregiver’s Dilemma

In an article for the Post – Gazette freelance writer Tina Calabro chronicles a tragic murder-suicide that took place in the Mon Valley borough of Port Vue. The incident involved an elderly caregiver of a middle-aged son with developmental disabilities. Tina Calabro joins us to discuss the case and the issues it raises.

Resources for Caregivers

A generation of older caregivers may not ask for help when it’s needed. This may be due in part to pride as well as not knowing what resources are available or how to obtain them. We’ll address what can be done to caregivers with Jeanine Schultz, director of advocacy and family supports for ACHIEVA, a non-profit organization that provides lifelong supports and services for individuals with disabilities and their families in southwestern Pennsylvania. 

 

Character Assassination

Baseball writer Richard "Pete' Peterson joins us to talk about the unfortunate story of former Pirates pitcher Fritz Ostermueller, who was unfairly portrayed as a racist in the movie "42."  The film chronicles  Jackie Robinson's first season in the big leagues. However one of the film's most dramatic moments, depicting Ostermueller beaning Robinson in the head with a pitch, never happened. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:22 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Drawing Connections Between WWI and Climate Change

Credit Imperial War Museum / Wikipedia

While there is little doubt in the scientific community that the globe is getting warmer, many countries balk over climate regulations given the perceived cost of such action.

David Titley, the director of Penn State's Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk, believes there is connection between the climate battles of today and World War I, the world’s greatest danger a century ago.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:54 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Reporter Andrew Conte On Why Russian Hackers Are a Big Problem for the US

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Andrew Conte recently wrote about Russian hackers and the problems with stopping them from committing cyber crimes.
Credit Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

This week Russian hackers reportedly stole 1.2 billion internet credentials from major U.S. companies and others around the world in what may turn out to be the biggest data breach ever. The hackers stole usernames and passwords from 420,000 websites that range in size and popularity.

Tribune-Review reporter Andrew Conte covered cyber crimes by Russians earlier this summer and said what’s surprising is these data breaches happen all the time.

“We had a story the other day about different Russian hackers," Conte said. "One guy had 600 million credit cards that he had stolen and was selling. The U.S. government figured, ‘Well, $500 per credit card, $300 million in damages,’ but the fact is, it could have been much, much more than that.”

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Government & Politics
2:13 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Schools' Reserves Raise Ire, But Advocates Defend Savings

Not everyone thinks schools in Pennsylvania are hurting for money.

For years, Republican lawmakers and officials have insisted that school districts have more money than they're letting on — in the form of rainy day funds. According to the state Department of Education, school districts reported having $4.27 billion leftover in their fund balances as of the 2012-13 fiscal year.

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Mental Health
1:49 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Grant Helps More Pennsylvanians Receive Mental Health Services

One in four people live with some form of mental illness in the United States, according to the Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania.

But Health and Human Services announced recently that seven health centers in the commonwealth will receive a total of $1,750,000 in Affordable Care Act funding.

This will be used to establish or expand behavioral health services for more than 20,900 people in the commonwealth.

The Squirrel Hill Health Center was one of the seven clinics that received $250,000.

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