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Ride-Sharing
7:20 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Lyft and Uber Await Answer From PUC for Temporary Licenses

Max, a Lyft driver, and Lara Flavin wear mustaches in support of ride-sharing company Lyft.
Credit Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

Mayor Bill Peduto lifted his cell phone up, showing the Lyft and Uber apps on his screen.

“I don’t drive them, but I use them,” Peduto said. “I’ve used them both in the city of Pittsburgh and also in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. It’s very easy to use.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:07 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Friday Rundown: Three Author Interviews Hosted by Josh Raulerson

90.5 WESA Morning Edition host Josh Raulerson interviews three visiting authors about their critically acclaimed stories.
Credit 90.5 WESA

These topics air Friday July 11, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA.

Morning Edition host Josh Raulerson takes over the hosting chair for Paul Guggenheimer.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Thomas Sweterlitsch’s debut novel Tomorrow and Tomorrow is enjoying the success every novelist hopes for. It has received critical praise. In addition, Sony Pictures has optioned the book for a film adaptation. The author joins us to discuss the novel and the role Pittsburgh plays.

Hello American Lady Creature

Lisa Kirchner’s book Hello American Lady Creature: What I Learned as a Woman in Qatar has been compared to Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller Eat, Pray, Love. She doesn’t mind the comparison, after all both books deal with a woman’s journey of self-discovery. The author joins us to discuss her book, yoga and more.

Brutal Youth

Watch any movie about friends reuniting and it’s guaranteed one of them will be a writer. With Anthony Breznican it’s a case of life imitating art. The first time novelist is a senior writer for Entertainment Weekly magazine. He’s come home to Pittsburgh for a high school reunion which coincides with the release of his first novel Brutal Youth.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:45 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Strong and Decisive, Corbett Takes A Stand Against the Legislature

In a press conference this morning, Tom Corbett announced he signed the budget, but line-item vetoed about $72 million.
Credit 90.5 WESA

On the eve of the state budget deadline, Governor Tom Corbett announced Thursday that he had signed the $29 billion state spending plan, but line-item vetoed $65 million in legislative spending.

The Governor is blaming budget problems on pension costs and called on the legislature to come back and enact pension reform.

Penn Live’s John Micek said he expected that Corbett’s announcement would include the line-item veto, so he was not surprised with the outcome. 

Micek was instead surprised by Corbett's demeanor.

“I wondered where this Tom Corbett was four years ago. Very strong, very decisive. You know, not taking any guff, casting the legislature as the bad guy. His approval rating has been lousy, theirs’ is worse than his. So he loses nothing by running against them and making them the bogeyman here.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:28 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Will Larimer be the New Success Story of the East End?

Larimer is one of 4 cities in the United States to receive a special $30 million grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Credit Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

For years, East Liberty has been touted as the biggest success story of the East End.

But now Larimer has the potential to add its own chapter to the story, with the help of a $30 million dollar grant from the Choice Neighborhoods Program of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

“We certainly expect that the awarding of this grant is going to serve to kickstart a lot of the work that we’ve been engaged in, over the past seven years in particular," said Malik Bankston, executive director of the Kingsley Association.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:35 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

TV Dumping, A Growing Problem Throughout the Region

How often have you seen old tube TVs dumped on the side of the road this summer? Find out how they can be properly discarded.
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

In 2010 a statewide ban was passed as part of the Covered Device Recycling Act. It called for electronic waste, or E-Waste to be taken to approved recycling drop-off sites. However, discarded televisions have been showing up curbside throughout the city.

Justin Stockdale, western regional director of the PA Resources Council said the problem tends to be caused by a lack of knowledge of the proper methods of getting rid of old televisions. The largest problem is figuring out which facilities take them, a task even Stockdale admits can be difficult.

“Many of these processors, even Goodwill industries, in fact, was collecting TVs up until about the middle of last year and realized, again, they were confronted with the same problem: they don’t generate enough revenue as part of this OEM sponsored program, to cover the cost of management. And so they step away from it, and now we’re left with Best Buy stores, Construction Junction,  our PRC operated events, and that’s about it for western Pennsylvania.”

If a resident does leave a television to be picked up by collectors, Stockdale says the city will often place a sticker on the discarded television. These stickers do not issue fines for residents, but Stockdale says some provide information in the form of a website link, to where residents can take their old televisions to be recycled.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:05 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Savannah: A Belle of Southern Charm

Pictured is Savannah Square, one of the many squares to visit when traveling to the charming southern city in Georgia.
Credit Dizzy Girl / Flickr

It’s the oldest city in Georgia and was once the state capital: Savannah. The city draws a number of tourists who come to look at its architecture and historic sites. One recent visitor to the city was travel contributor Elaine Labalme.

The charms and southern comfort found in Savannah make it a great place to visit for a summer trip. Labalme gives us her fabulous five lists of things to see, do and most importantly, where to eat in the city of Savannah.

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State Government
10:57 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Corbett Signs Budget, But Cuts Off General Assembly Funds

Though Gov. Tom Corbett signed the 2014-15 state budget, he line-item vetoed $65 million in General Assembly spending and an additional $7.2 million in legislative designated spending.

He said he did this because the lawmakers sent him a budget that was filled with discretionary spending but refused to deal with the unsustainable public pension system.

Instead, he said the Assembly increased its $320 million budget by two percent – which he said would cost taxpayers an additional $5 million.

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Overshadowed by the Budget
7:44 am
Thu July 10, 2014

New Bill Allows Isolated Schools to Partner with Nearby Police In Cases of Emergency

Special series: This week we're exploring legislative action taken recently in Harrisburg on important bills that were overshadowed by the passage of the state budget.

New legislation to increase the number of schools with an on-site police presence now awaits Gov. Tom Corbett’s signature before becoming law.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:41 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Thursday Rundown: Is Larimer The East End's Next Success Story?

Larimer Community Garden at the Village Green on Larimer Avenue
Credit Larimer Consensus Group / Wordpress

These topics air Thursday July 10, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Budget Battle

How will Governor Corbett’s reluctance to sign the $29 billion state spending plan impact the state and his reelection bid? The Senate returned to the capitol this week to handle budget-related legislation covering a slew of topics. Corbett says he won't sign a budget that does not include a pension overhaul. Penn Live’s John Micek joins us for a discussion of the latest developments.

Rebuilding Larimer

Could the awarding of a $30 million dollar grant allow Larimer to be the East End’s next success story? We’ll pose that question to Malik Bankston, executive director of the Kingsley Association. He joins us in Studio A to address how this grant will be used to revitalize the community.

TV Dump

In 2010 a statewide ban was passed as part of the Covered Device Recycling Act. It called for E-Waste to be taken to approved recycling drop-off sites. However, discarded televisions are showing up curbside around the city. Justin Stockdale, western regional director of the PA Resources Council joins us to discuss the proper methods of getting rid of old televisions.

Southern Charm

It’s the oldest city in Georgia and was once the state capital. We’re talking about Savannah. The city draws a number of tourists who come to look at its architecture and historic sites. One recent visitor was our very own travel contributor Elaine Labalme. This week she tells us about the charms and southern comfort to be found in Savannah.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:18 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Peduto Discusses the Ongoing Search for a New Police Chief

Credit Andrew Bardwell / Flickr

When it comes to selecting Pittsburgh’s new chief of police, Mayor Bill Peduto believes: “Haste in this situation would be at the greater loss of true reform.”

Peduto spoke to Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer Wednesday about the process of hiring a new police chief.

Former police chief Nate Harper resigned his position February 2013 while under investigation for creating an unauthorized slush fund, diverting public money and failing to pay income taxes – charges that ultimately led him to a sentence of 18 months in prison.

Assistant Chief Regina Harper has been serving as interim chief.

However, the application process for a new chief only began a month ago. Peduto said that while Talent City works to find the best candidate in terms of professional qualifications, he is looking to residents to help with the hiring process.

Throughout the summer, the Public Safety councils in Pittsburgh’s six policing zones have been holding forums to hear input from residents about what they want in a chief of police.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:42 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Mayor Peduto Touts Alternative Transportation & Calls Ride-Share Dispute "Dysfunctional"

A bike lane runs parallel to motor vehicle traffic on Rt. 422 in Montgomery County PA.
Credit Montgomery County Planning Commission / Flickr

Right now, most Pittsburghers use their car to get around, but that may change in the near future. First of all, the city lacks sufficient parking, especially downtown. But new transportation options backed by the mayor will make it easier to get around “tahn” without owning a car. Mayor Peduto stopped by Essential Pittsburgh to focus on the city’s transportation goals going forward.

The most immediate issue the mayor has been dealing with was the Uber/Lyft dispute. Peduto said he is behind the two ride sharing companies and calls the ongoing dispute with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission "dysfunctional."

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Health
4:36 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

UV Robots Zap Germs in UPMC Hospitals

UV Robot "Violet" and her "keeper" Terrance Rhodes work to zap viruses at UPMC Passavant
Credit Charlee Song / 90.5 WESA News

Hand washing, floor scrubbing, sterilizing instruments--all standard techniques to thwart hospital-acquired infections.  Now UPMC hospitals are evaluating new technology to help prevent infections.  At Passavant Hospital, staff is using a robot to help sanitize a room with ultraviolet-C rays.  Fittingly, the robot’s name is “Violet”.

Dr. Joseph Romano, chairman of the Passavant Hospital Infection Prevention and Control Committee, said "Violet" is turned on after a room has been disinfected in the usual way. 

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City Government
4:07 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

City to Audit Tax Revenue from Pro Sports, Concerts, Conferences

Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak says when constituents asked her how much tax revenue is brought in by pro sports and other large events, she didn't have an answer for them.
Credit Flicr user joseph a

Pittsburgh’s professional sports teams are huge drivers of the local economy, but City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak said in Wednesday’s committee meeting that she’s currently unable to quantify that contribution.

“As we were talking about Act 47, I was talking with constituents and they would constantly ask me ‘How much money do we get out of the stadiums?’” Rudiak said. “To be honest with you, I couldn’t answer that question.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:57 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Carnegie Museum of Art Tells The Story of Pittsburgh With Your Photos

A photo submitted by Leeanne Schwartz with the caption "My grandson Logan Kovacs' first ride on the (Duquesne) Incline."
Credit Leeanne Schwartz / Hillman Photography Initiative CMOA

Pictures are said to be a way to capture moments forever and if one has enough pictures they can create a story. This thought is shared by the Hillman Photography Initiative at Carnegie Museum of Art.

They're seeking photos from Pittsburgh residents to tell the city’s story, a people's history of Pittsburgh.

Program Manager Divya Rao Heffley said the project is the first of its kind and the artists who thought of it, Melissa Catanese and Ed Panar are asking people to share stories and photographs.

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Transportation
2:39 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Pittsburgh International Airport Adds Flight to Fort Lauderdale

Pittsburgh International Airport will begin offering daily nonstop flights to Fort Lauderdale, officials announced Wednesday.

Travelers can book their seats now through JetBlue for the inaugural flight, leaving Pittsburgh Oct. 29 at 7:15 a.m. Those making the trip will receive discounted airport parking.

Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Chief Executive, said the new year-round flight will benefit travelers and businesses.

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Healthcare in Prison
2:37 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Study: PA Per-Inmate Health Care Cost Down, State Bill Up

When most Pennsylvanians are incarcerated, the Department of Corrections must foot the bill for their health care costs.

That’s according to Susan Bensinger, Deputy Press Secretary, who said the department works to pay that bill in a way that provides community-standard care for the inmates while utilizing taxpayer money in the most efficient way possible.

A study released Tuesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation suggests that the department has been successful in that mission.

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Transportation
2:34 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Parkway West Construction Gets Underway

As PennDOT nears completion on the two-year long, $49 million rehabilitation of the Squirrel Hill Tunnels next month, it’s beginning work Wednesday evening on the first of three Parkway West (I-376) projects.

One outbound lane will be closed as workers install traffic control signs Wednesday and Thursday from midnight until 5 a.m.

This first project involves construction of a fourth outbound lane, about a mile long, from Rosslyn Farms to I-79. PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said he expects this part of the $3.72 million project to be completed by the spring.

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Economy & Business
10:30 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Qualified Employees Increasingly Hard To Come By In Manufacturing Sector

Chris Boltz, a manufacturing engineer with Oberg Industries, has been there since 1998. When he decided to attend Oberg's apprentice program instead of attending college, his high school counselor told him he was throwing away his life.
Credit Irina Zhorov / 90.5 WESA

Oberg Industries’ tucked away buildings in Freeport, Pennsylvania are easy to miss.

But inside the nondescript structures are tidy rows of machinery worth hundreds of thousands of dollars each. In one department, refrigerator-sized electric discharge machines, which cut metal using wire, sizzle away like cooking bacon. In another, workers operate manual machines. In one room a worker runs quality assurance using a high-tech instrument.

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Community
7:54 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Camp Offers Military Kids Week To Ease Stress

Pennsylvania is home to 32,000 military kids who move around, don’t see their parents for months at a time, and are plagued with worry of a parent dying while in service of their country. That’s why YMCA Camp Soles in Somerset County offers a discounted week to kids in military families.

This week 65 kids ages 7-15 who are part of a military family get to enjoy zip lining, rock climbing, a nature center, arts and crafts and many more camp activities. Executive Director of the camp, Ryan Hove, says it gives them a chance to be normal kids.

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Overshadowed by the Budget
7:52 am
Wed July 9, 2014

New Legislation Redefines Human Trafficking

Special series: This week we're exploring legislative action taken recently in Harrisburg on important bills that were overshadowed by the passage of the state budget.

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Government & Politics
7:48 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Corbett Faces Tough Challenge in Budget Decision

Gov. Tom Corbett has yet to sign the $29.1 billion budget passed by state lawmakers last week. He said he would not sign a budget that does not include a pension overhaul.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:17 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Mayor Peduto on Pittsburgh Police & Future Transportation Options

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Assistant Director of Public Works, Patrick Hassett announce three dedicated bike lanes in the city. Pictured is one that will run from Schenley Plaza to Anderson Playground in Schenley Park.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

These topics air Wednesday July 9, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Mayor Peduto

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto joins us for his monthly visit to the show. He'll discuss where things stand in the search for a new police chief as well as the best way to bridge the gap between the community and the police department. We'll also speak with the mayor about his opposition to cease and desist orders against ride-sharing companies and the future of bike lanes in Pittsburgh.

A People’s History of Pittsburgh

It’s been said every picture tells a story and the Hillman Photography Initiative at the Carnegie Museum of Art is seeking Pittsburghers' photos to tell the city’s story. Program Manager for the Hillman Photography Initiative Divya Rao Heffley explains this unique undertaking, which will be shared in a collective photo album.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:20 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Summertime in Pittsburgh, Sweet Simplicity and Spectacle

Summer is always a great time for people in Pittsburgh with events ranging from small to spectacle.
Credit Taber Andrew Bain / Flickr

The July Fourth holiday weekend saw a number of activities in the city, from the Regatta to the annual visit of the Furries.

Betsy Benson, publisher of Pittsburgh Magazine says big summer events, such as the reopening of the Point State Park fountain and the arrival of the large rubber duck of last summer, have been big in Pittsburgh because of the attention they receive.

She says Pittsburghers really know how to enjoy the simplicity of these events, no matter how small.

“More people are swarming into the city, through tunnels and across rivers, for weekday and weekend activities. Yes, there are a couple of big events coming to town this summer, notably the USA gymnastics visit in August, but a lot of the activity is small stuff that just adds up. Like hundreds of people showing up to do yoga in Market Square. And the Furries, their presence makes any routine trip downtown a potentially odd and remarkable experience.”

Exploring 80 Years of a Summertime Classic with 91.3 WYEP Host Brian Siewiorek

Part of what makes any summer truly great is a catchy summer tune. 91.3 WYEP production director and host Brian Siewiorek guides us through the historic popularity of a classic summer song composed 80 years ago, Summertime by George and Ira Gershwin.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:43 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

The Business of Breakfast (Why It's The Most Important Meal)

Pamela's Diner in Millvale
Credit Wally Gobetz / Flickr

Breakfast is, as the saying goes, "the most important meal of the day," and businesses are really catching on.

Taco Bell has recently begun to offer breakfast choices, joining a long list of restaurants that seek to help you start your day in a tasty, if not exactly healthy way.

Business contributor, Rebecca Harris has some statistics that may make you, and food businesses, think twice about skipping breakfast.

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Community
5:28 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Who Needs Mowers? Tree Pittsburgh Uses Goats To Clear Dense Hillside

Kaye Burnet 90.5 WESA

In the hilly regions of western Pennsylvania, lawn care can be a nuisance. Sometimes, dragging lawn mowers and weed whackers up and down hillsides seems like more trouble than it’s worth. That’s why environmental non-profit Tree Pittsburgh found a creative solution to clearing undergrowth on tricky terrain—goats.

Tree Pittsburgh hired consultant Brian Knox from Eco-Goats and rented more than 30 goats from local farm Goodness Grows to clear dense plant growth from a hillside near West Penn Park in Polish Hill.

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