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Essential Pittsburgh
12:56 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Friday Rundown: New Approaches to K-12 Health and Fitness

Finding better health options for area school kids
Credit Lance Cheung/USDA / Flickr

These topics air Friday April 4, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA with guest host, Kevin Gavin. To leave a question or comment before or after the show dial 412-256-8783. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

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City in Transition
9:22 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Pittsburgh Lands Highly Regarded Candidate for Planning Department

The City of Pittsburgh has landed a highly regarded candidate to head the Department of City Planning.

Ron Gastil formerly served as planning director for Seattle and director of the Manhattan office for the New York City Department of City Planning. He said he is excited about the new administration.

“One that has a combination of real commitment to neighborhoods, and a big picture vision,” Gastil said. “It is also a city that is excited and believes that you can plan your built environment and plan your communities, and address questions of sustainability and equity.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:03 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Time Will Tell When it Comes to the Benefits of E-Cigarettes

One of the several ecigarettes available.
Credit Lindsay Fox / flickr

Some view e-cigarettes as a means to help them stop smoking. This is one reason for their increase in popularity. However, they may not be a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes. They’ve also been blamed for a number of poisonings nationwide.

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Transportation
3:27 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

E-Bike Legislation Could Put Cyclists On The Road

A new bill that passed unanimously in the state Senate this week would allow riders of pedal-assist electric bicycles to drive their vehicles in the streets.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Matt Smith (D-Allegheny/Washington), would legalize e-bikes under the state vehicle code.  

“We’ve seen in Western Pennsylvania a lot of e-bike users being pulled over by their local police departments because there is a misconception that it might be a moped or some other mechanized form of travel when in fact these are really essentially bicycles,” Smith said.

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Economy & Business
3:16 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

New Branding Aims To Support Pittsburgh's Growing Tourism Industry

VisitPITTSBURGH reports tourism is healthy and growing in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, with an estimated $55 billion in spending tied to the industry.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

At its annual meeting Thursday, VisitPITTSBURGH highlighted some of the successes in tourism in the last couple of years.

The national group Tourism Economics releases data on the industry; 2012 numbers were recently released for Allegheny County.

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Air Pollution
2:41 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

County Collects Woodstoves, Boilers to Reduce Pollution

Woodstoves and boilers might have helped keep homes warm over the winter, but they also could have harmed the environment.

That’s why for the second year, the Allegheny County Health Department is collecting old woodstoves and outdoor wood-fired boilers that do not meet the current national emission standards.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:15 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Heroes Behind the Badge: Documentary Sheds Light on the Life of a Pittsburgh Police Officer

Pittsburgh police officer James Kuzak and his girlfriend Chris Okulanis.
Credit HeroesBehindtheBadge.com

Saturday night Drusky Entertainment is presenting the Pittsburgh premiere of Heroes Behind the Badge, a documentary that tells the stories of two officers who paid the ultimate price, as well as the stories of three severely injured officers.

One of those officers is patrolman James Kuzak, who was shot five times after responding to a home invasion call in the city of Clairton.

Brian Drusky of Drusky Entertainment has timed the showing such that it arrives three years after Officer Kuzak’s incident and five after the death of three Pittsburgh police officers. 

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Transportation
1:14 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Corbett Administration Finalizes 2014 Transportation Projects

Gov. Tom Corbett's administration says it has finalized the highway, bridge and mass transit improvement projects that'll begin this year as a result of a landmark transportation funding bill he signed in November.

The administration said Thursday that about 250 highway and bridge projects and 50 mass transit projects will begin in 2014 as a result of the law. That puts the total at approximately 950 highway, bridge and mass transit projects beginning in 2014.

PA Governor's race
7:53 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Poll Shows Plenty Of Democratic Voters Still Undecided On Gubernatorial Candidates

A new poll of Democratic voters in Pennsylvania shows a big chunk of the electorate still hasn't made up their minds about their party’s candidates for governor.

“Locked in place” is how Franklin and Marshall Poll Director Terry Madonna describes the Democratic field less than two months from the primary.         

Forty-six percent of surveyed Democrats remain undecided, a small drop from the 48 percent who didn’t pick a favorite when asked in a poll in late February.

But Madonna said it’s not clear those undecided voters will really matter on election day.

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Government & Politics
7:44 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Petitions Challenge Of Corbett’s Only Primary Opponent Ongoing

Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s only primary opponent has faced a second day in court over a challenge to get him thrown off the ballot.

GOP-backed voters say Bob Guzzardi, a Montgomery County activist and lawyer, should not be a candidate in the May 20 primary because he failed to file a statement of financial interest on time to the State Ethics Commission.

Lawyer Lawrence Tabas quotes the state Ethics Act in calling the oversight a “fatal defect.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:47 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Thursday Rundown: Weighing the Benefits of Electronic Cigarettes and Heroes Behind the Badge

Credit Lindsay Fox / Flickr

These topics air Thursday April 3, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. To leave a question or comment before or after the show dial 412-256-8783. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:10 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Blumenthal: The Story of Harold Blumenthal

A scene from the comedy Bluementhal with actor and Producer Alexander Cendese (Left) and leading actor, director and writer of the film Seth Fisher (Right).
Credit Blumenthalmovie.com

The film Blumenthal is a comedy that follows the relatives of Harold Blumenthal, a legendary playwright who made his career parodying his family in his work, and died laughing at his own joke.

The film was developed and produced by Carnegie Mellon University graduate Alexander Cendese who also co-stars in the movie. It was written and directed by fellow Carnegie Mellon University graduate Seth Fisher.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:02 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Roughly 20 Percent of the World Population is Learning Differently With Dyslexia

Credit Karoly Czifra / flickr

Some of the most notable people in modern history have been diagnosed with the learning difference known as dyslexia.

Inventors, entertainers, authors and politicians have excelled in spite of -- or because of -- the unique way their minds work. But reading, writing, and even speaking can be an ongoing challenge as well, and proper support can help.

Christine Seppi is the chair of the Pittsburgh region of the Pennsylvania Branch of the International Dyslexia Association, and organizer of an upcoming conference on diagnosis and management of learning differences. She also has an adult son with dyslexia.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:02 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Be Careful How you Use March Madness, Final Four, and other NCAA Tournament Terms

If this baker tried selling these "Final Four" cupcakes they could face legal trouble.
Credit Ben Gillin / Flickr

March Madness, Sweet 16, Elite Eight and Final Four are some pretty popular terms at this time of year. But legal infractions are a common problem for businesses that try to capitalize on all of the championship hype without looking at the copyright issues.

Dave Radack, vice chair of the Intellectual Property Department and member of Eckert Seamans' Board of Directors, works with patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets.

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Transportation
2:58 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Paving Season Starts, But Without Enough Money To Address All Bad Roads

Mayor Bill Peduto is calling on city crews to address 311 pothole complaints within three business days. Peduto was joined by Department of Public Works Director Mike Gable (left), DPW Supervisor Bill Crean and City Operations Chief Guy Costa.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

As warmer weather approaches, city crews are ready to start paving some of the most problematic streets in Pittsburgh.

Mayor Bill Peduto said following one of the worst winters in the last 20 years, roads have been left battered. But standing alongside the pothole-ridden Brookline Boulevard, he said road conditions can also be blamed on years of city budgets under-funding infrastructure.

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Revenue Shortfall
1:00 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Pennsylvania Tax And Revenue Collections Continue To Fall Short

Three months until the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year, Pennsylvania’s revenue collections are 0.5  percent short of estimates.

The Department of Revenue reports  through the first nine months of FY 13-14 it has collected  $20.5 billion — $96.3 million behind approximations — but spokeswoman Elizabeth Brassell said that number “disguises the fiscal reality.”

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Health
7:46 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Donate Life Month Kicks off in April

More than 120,000 people across the United States are waiting for an organ transplant — 8,300 in Pennsylvania alone.

April is National Donate Life Month, recognizing those who need transplants, those who have donated and encouraging more people to do so.

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Government & Politics
7:41 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Softened Changes For Union Exemption On 'Fast Track'

A state proposal to change rules for unions involved in a labor dispute is on the fast track to becoming law.

Under state law, unions in Pennsylvania are allowed to harass, stalk, and threaten to use weapons of mass destruction if they’re involved in a labor dispute.

Legislation that started as an effort to end that exemption now just kind of massages it.

A Senate committee on Tuesday approved changes to allow stalking and harassment if it is used in the pursuit of constitutionally-protected or legally-protected activity.

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Essential Pittsburgh
12:09 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Managing Misconceptions of Dyslexia & Die Laughing with Blumenthal

Credit Karoly Czifra / flickr

These topics air Wednesday April 2, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. To leave a question or comment before or after the show dial 412-256-8783. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

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Government & Politics
6:00 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Bill Would Bolster Training For Indigent Defense Lawyers

Advocates Tuesday urged state Senate lawmakers to support better training for lawyers tasked with defending adult criminal defendants and juvenile delinquents who can’t afford to hire a lawyer.

A measure before state lawmakers would create such a program with $1 million in the next fiscal year.

Access to such free counsel is required under the U.S. Constitution and federal case law, but Pennsylvania is the only state that doesn’t help fund county offices providing indigent defense.

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Community Colleges
5:52 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Students, Faculty Want More Money for Community Colleges

More than 200 students and faculty lobbied Tuesday for an increase in community college funding in the 2014-15 state budget.

The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges wants a $12 million increase for the 14 community colleges throughout the commonwealth.  

Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D - Allegheny), who is also a member of the Community College of Allegheny County’s Board of Trustees, joined them at the State Capitol rally.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:18 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Context Controls Decision in Jordan Miles Trial

The Monday verdict of a civil case between Homewood resident Jordan Miles and 3 Pittsburgh police officers left many questions for our listeners and our guest. Listen to find out why.
Credit Lucy Skywalker / Wikipedia Commons

Four years after an altercation between three Pittsburgh police officers and CAPA High School student Jordan Miles, eight jurors reached a split verdict  Monday.

The officers were found guilty on the charge of false arrest of Miles, but not guilty in the charge of excessive force.

Miles was awarded monetarily for his injuries, but many are still concerned about the result of the trial.

University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris explained one of the most confusing elements the verdict -- if Miles was falsely arrested, shouldn’t any force be considered excessive? 

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:59 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Brave Miss World Confronts Rape Culture and Encourages Victims to Speak Up

Credit Brave Miss World Website

Weeks before Linor Abargil was crowned Miss World 1998, she was brutally raped while modeling in Italy.

Years later, in the documentary Brave Miss World, director Cecilia Peck followed Abargil as she confronted her rapist and encouraged other women to speak out about their own stories of rape.

The film highlights Abargil’s journey from her Miss World crowning to her global advocacy efforts against rape. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:33 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Corporate April Fool's Jokes Going Viral

Cheetos perfume, Taco Bell purchasing the Liberty Bell and American Beagle dogwear.

They’re all examples of corporations getting into to spirit of April Fool's. This week contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of April Fools. 

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Transportation
3:08 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

East Liberty Transit Station Gets Additional Financial Boost from State

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Governor Tom Corbett, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Congressman Mike Doyle and Developer Steve Mosites break ground on another phase of the construction of the East Liberty Transit Center.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

A groundbreaking ceremony in East Liberty Tuesday brought together federal, state and local elected officials, from both parties, to tout continued investment in the area.

Gov. Tom Corbett announced an additional $5 million investment in the next phase of improvements to the East Liberty transit station; the funding comes from the transportation bill passed last year.

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