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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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Essential Pittsburgh
5:21 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's A Drone...Is Pittsburgh Ready?

Credit unten44 / flickr

On June 26, cameras at PNC Park caught a mysterious flying object hovering over the field during a Pirates game. The object hung in the night sky with a blinking light and several propellers whirling.

It didn’t take long for the commentators to surmise that this UFO was actually a remote controlled drone, whose owner was soon spotted walking on the North Shore.

Police almost immediately forced the man to ground his flying camera, and the FAA launched an investigation the week after.

Drones are becoming a bigger part of the everyday lives of American citizens, especially in a city famous for its robotic creations. Joining us to look at the role drones will play in our future is Illah Nourbaksh, professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University and author of the recently released book Robot Futures. He explained what made the drone over PNC Park different from the remote controlled toy helicopters we've seen marketed for years.

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Higher Education
4:36 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

3 Percent Tuition Hike Approved for Students at PA-Owned Universities

Tuition is going up at the 14 state-owned universities. The Board of Governors of the PA State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) voted to increase tuition by three percent or $68 in the coming school year.  That means students will be paying $6,820 per year.

“That’s far and away the lowest cost among all four-year colleges and universities in Pennsylvania. It’s the eighth time in the last 10 years that our increase has been essentially the rate of inflation,” said PASSHE spokesman Kenn Marshall. 

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City Government
4:13 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Policy Change Will Increase City Pool Access for Low-Income Youth

Kids who received free or reduced cost pool passes through youth groups and other organizations were previously unable to access city pools on evenings and weekends.
Credit Photo courtesy Citiparks, City of Pittsburgh

Swimming pools are the quintessential summer hangout for kids, but when Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith found out children were being turned away because they didn’t have the right kind of pool passes, she decided to take action.

City Council Tuesday unanimously passed a bill that will repeal a city policy preventing kids with pool passes received through youth groups and other organizations from using city pools during evenings and weekends.

Kail-Smith said she wasn’t even aware of the policy until some of her constituents complained.

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Transportation
3:40 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Sen. Fontana Urges PUC To Issue Temporary Permits To Ride Sharing Companies

The ride-sharing company Uber has asked the Public Utility Commission (PUC) for an emergency permit, which would allow the company to resume experimental service.

State Sen. Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) started drafting legislation last week that would legalize ride-sharing in Pennsylvania.

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Overshadowed by the Budget
3:30 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Bill Could Overhaul State Horse Racing Industry

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.

The Pennsylvania House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee is considering a Senate bill that would change the state’s oversight of the horse racing industry.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Elder Vogel (R-Beaver), would dissolve the Department of Agriculture’s State and Harness Racing commissions and create one independent five-member commission.

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:31 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: Drones and Pittsburgh's Robotic Futures

A drone like this one recently appeared in the Pittsburgh sky and it's raising many questions.
Credit Don McCullough / Flickr

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

The Drones Are Coming

A recent editorial in the Post-Gazette warns that the "drones are coming." The question now is, are we prepared for them? The recent hovering of a drone over PNC Park resulted in the FAA launching an investigation. Joining us to look at the role drones will play in our future is Illah Nourbaksh, professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University and author of the recently released book Robot Futures.

Summertime in the City

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 shares her perspective on summer in the city.

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

WESA Celebrates - Joe Lagana

Prior to his retirement in 1999 Joe Lagana served as an educator in the Penn Hills and North Allegheny school districts. After his retirement he founded the Homeless Children’s Education Fund, or HCEF. The fund is committed to ensuring that homeless children have access to the same educational opportunities as their peers. Joe Lagana and his work are profiled in this week’s WESA Celebrates.

The Business of Breakfast

We have often heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In addition to helping us jump start our day, it satisfies the need for convenience, is costs less than other restaurant meals, and is readily available. This week contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of breakfast. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:31 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Civic Leadership Academy Empowers Citizens to Learn About Local Government

Joe Wos is executive director of the Toonseum in the Cultural District and one of the newest graduates of the Civic Leadership Academy.
Credit Joe Wos / Twitter

The Civic Leadership Academy, run by Pittsburgh's volunteer initiative Serve PGH, provides citizens with an opportunity to learn more about their local government. It is also hoped that some of the city’s most pressing needs can be tackled with help from volunteers who go through the program.

Melanie Ondek, the Grants Officer who oversees Serve PGH believes that the program will benefit both the city and the people who take the class.

“We know that strong neighborhoods really start with strong leadership. So really the hope of this program is to foster more informed and empowered residents. Giving them the tools and sort of the relationships that can be helpful to them to bring resources back to their own communities."

Ondeck said the goal of the program is to also include representatives from every neighborhood in the city.

"We've touched 60 of the 90 neighborhoods. So each application period we try to have a diverse population. So eventually our goal is to reach all 90 neighborhoods and have representation of each of them."

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:12 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Colony Collapse & the Buzz on Beekeeping in Pittsburgh

Honeybees, may become easier to keep in urban areas thanks to local support and national attention.
Credit Justin Leonard / Flickr

Two years ago we took a look at the world of urban farming in Pittsburgh, with a focus on beekeeping in particular. As in many cities, those who want to build apiaries in Pittsburgh have had to jump through various bureaucratic hoops and deal with the myths and fears surrounding honeybees.

President Obama recently stressed the importance of preserving our honeybee populations for the sake of food security. And the White House has even announced plans to form a task force to investigate honeybee colony collapse.

With renewed attention on the decline of pollinators, Steve Repasky, President of Burgh Bees and David Tarpy, Professor and Extension Apiculturist in the Department of Entomology at North Carolina State University are working to preserve the honeybees in Pittsburgh and the rest of the country.

Repasky said the local laws for beekeeping have not changed within the last two years, and the rules for keeping bees are pretty strict. But he thinks there has been a good push for positive change in Pittsburgh, and hopes to get a change in the urban agriculture ordinance.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:51 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

The Views Behind the Ed O' Bannon v. NCAA Antitrust Case

The Ed O' Bannon vs. the NCAA case is likely to impact division 1 sports, including basketball and the famous NCAA March Madness tournament.
Credit Credit Jeff Turner / Wikipedia Commons

After three long weeks, testimony has ended in the trial of Ed O'Bannon vs. the NCAA.

A decision in the case will likely come in August, following closing arguments in which each side argued whether the organization's rules prohibiting college athletes from profiting from their name, image and likeness, outweigh the alleged anti-competitive effects on Division I-A football and Division I basketball.

Brady McCollough, a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter who's been covering the case, said that the story begins with an NCAA basketball video game depicting players' likenesses, years after they had left college. Ed O' Bannon and the former marketing mastermind, Sonny Vaccaro decided to file a lawsuit against the NCAA for overstepping their boundaries and one of the arguments being made in the case is "student-athletes" are no longer students first.

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Transportation
4:58 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Bike Pittsburgh Starts Cycling Classes

Instructor Dan Yablonsky leads cyclists in East Liberty
Credit 90.5 WESA's Michael Lynch

Pittsburgh is the 35th most bike-friendly city in the U.S., according to Bicycling Magazine.

Now, Bike Pittsburgh is introducing cycling classes in an effort to make the city be even more bike-able.

The “Fundamentals of City Cycling” class is taught indoors at The Wheel Mill in Homewood. Participants will learn about the basics of bicycling including techniques to maneuver obstacles such as curbs and potholes; using hand signals; how to start and stop in traffic; and, how to perform a pre-ride safety check.

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Woodstove Roundup
4:53 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Rewards Offered in Woodstove Roundup

Despite the popularity and appeal of summer bonfires, too much wood smoke can cause problems, according to Allegheny County Health Department. The smoke can contain toxins, act as an asthma trigger and prevent neighbors from opening windows to receive cool breezes.

That’s why the ACHD’s Air Quality Program offered rewards for older, uncertified wood furnaces and wood-fired boilers.

On May 17th, 62 woodstoves were collected in North Park, loaded into trucks, and recycled by Tube City IMS.

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City Government
4:19 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Tackling Pittsburgh’s Blight Problem, One Small Project at a Time

Volunteers beautify a vacant lot in Lawrenceville as part of the city's Love Your Block program.
Credit Photo courtesy Lawrenceville United

Blight is a major problem in Pittsburgh, and the city is pursuing several big-picture initiatives to deal with it.

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Health
2:25 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Allegheny Health Network and Johns Hopkins Finalize Agreement for Cancer Collaboration

A five-year agreement between Allegheny Health Network and Johns Hopkins Medicine has been signed, finalizing a partnership between AHN and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in Washington, DC.

“Cancer patients and their families benefit and their outcomes improve when we share knowledge and expertise because then we can accelerate knowledge transfer and treatment advances outside of communities where patients live,” said Dr. David Parda, system chair of the AHN Cancer Institute.

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Community
3:30 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Pittsburgh Bike Share Program Launch Delayed Until Spring 2015

Chicago's bike sharing program launched in June 2013.
Credit Flickr user WBEZ/Robin Amer

It’s been more than a year since former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced Pittsburgh’s bike share program, with a proposed launch date of spring or summer 2014.

Spring has come and gone and summer is upon us, so where are the bikes?

Bart Yavorosky, executive director of Pittsburgh Bike Share, said it’s been a matter of bureaucracy keeping up with technology.

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Overshadowed by the Budget
3:30 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Medical Marijuana Bill Closer to Floor Vote

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.

For the first time bill to legalize medical marijuana has made it out of committee, and some state Senate members are confident that they can get it passed soon.

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Housing
3:30 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Report: Pittsburgh's Housing Market Among the Nation's Most Stable

A recent study found Pittsburgh as having the second most stable housing market in the U.S.
Credit Flickr user josepha

Pittsburgh has one of the most stable housing markets in the country, according to a new report.

The study, conducted by Zillow Real Estate on behalf of Bloomberg.com, listed Pittsburgh as having the second most stable housing market behind Buffalo. Louisville, Nashville and Raleigh rounded out the top five.

Analyzing housing prices from 1979 to the present, Zillow and Bloomberg used a five year rolling average to calculate changes in home prices to establish a risk of loss percentage.

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Business
3:30 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Green Workplace Challenge Winners Announced

The results are in for the 2013-2014 Green Workplace Challenge, and seven local organizations have been honored for their environmentally friendly facility improvements.

FedEX Ground, DMI Companies, Pashek Associates, Allegheny County, the University of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, and Conservation Consultants Inc. received the highest scores in their various categories of competition.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:17 pm
Sun July 6, 2014

Monday Rundown: Civic Leaders and Environmental Stewards in Pittsburgh

Inspecting honeybee hive frames at the Homewood Apiary.
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

These topics air Monday July 7, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Civic Leadership Academy

The Civic Leadership Academy provides citizens an opportunity to learn more about their local government. It is also hoped that some of the city’s most pressing needs can be tackled with help from volunteers who go through the program. We’ll take an in-depth look at the program with Melanie Ondek – Grants Officer who oversees Serve PGH and Joe Wos, executive director of the Toonseum who participated in the most recent Civic Leadership Academy class.

The State of the Honeybee

Two years ago we took a look at the world of urban farming in Pittsburgh, with a focus on beekeeping in particular. As in many cities, those who want to build apiaries in Pittsburgh have had to jump through various bureaucratic hoops and deal with the myths and fears surrounding honeybees. But President Obama recently stressed the importance of preserving our honeybee populations for the sake of food security. The White House has even announced plans to form a task force to investigate honeybee colony collapse. With renewed attention on the decline of pollinators, we’ll talk with Steve Repasky, President of Burgh Bees and David Tarpy, Professor and Extension Apiculturist in the Department of Entomology at NC State about efforts to preserve the honeybee here and across the country.

Ed O'Bannon vs. the NCAA

After three long weeks, testimony has ended in the trial of Ed O'Bannon vs. the NCAA. A decision in the case will likely come in August, following closing arguments in which each side argued whether the organization's rules prohibiting college athletes from profiting from their name, image and likeness, outweigh the alleged anti-competitive effects on Division I-A football and Division I basketball. Brady McCollough, who's been covering the trial for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, joins us in studio to discuss the case. 

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Public Safety
2:06 pm
Sun July 6, 2014

Pennsylvania Police Fail To Fingerprint Thousands Of Suspected Criminals

Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Richard Hunter tries to lift a fingerprint from the front door of Community Bank in Cecil Township, Washington County, shortly after the bank was robbed in July 2009.
Credit Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter / Via PublicSource

In 2013, 30,000 suspected criminals whose charges included sex crimes, assaults and murder were not fingerprinted by Pennsylvania police, according to state records.

State law requires that suspected offenders be fingerprinted within 48 hours of arrest.

So, if thousands of people aren’t getting fingerprinted, whose fault is it?

“It’s up to the police to do it. It’s a mandatory function. It’s not anybody else’s job but the arresting department,” said Eric Radnovich, director of the Bureau of Justice Services at the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office.

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Health
9:29 am
Sun July 6, 2014

CMU Start-Up Aims For Healthier Kids

The Allegheny Health Department reported that 30% of school age kids in the county are obese or overweight, and a new Pittsburgh start-up aims to address this issue with animated characters shaped like food and 6 years of research at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).  

Fitwits combines stories, games, and instructions for parents and professionals on how to deal with the sensitive subject of obesity.

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Richard Mellon Scaife, 1932–2014
4:45 pm
Sat July 5, 2014

Billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife Dies at 82

Richard Mellon Scaife, the billionaire heir to the Mellon banking and oil fortune and a newspaper publisher who funded libertarian and conservative causes and various projects to discredit President Bill Clinton, has died. He was 82.

Scaife died early Friday at his home, his newspaper, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, reported. Scaife's death comes less than two months after he announced in a first-person, front-page story in his Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he had an untreatable form of cancer.

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