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1:47 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Peduto Honors Volunteers on National Day of Recognition

Helen Crowley of Crafton sorts books in the library at East End Cooperative Ministry.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

More than 1,700 mayors across the country paid homage to volunteers in their cities on Tuesday as part of the Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service, and Pittsburgh’s Mayor Bill Peduto was no exception.

Peduto spoke to hundreds of volunteers at the East End Cooperative Ministry Tuesday morning, just before the volunteers embarked on a day of community service.

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Community
11:57 am
Tue April 1, 2014

67th Annual Maple Festival To Be Held This Weekend In Somerset County

You have probably heard of chicken, cotton candy or corndogs on a stick, but can you picture maple syrup?

If you are oblivious to the makings of maple syrup, you might think that this is impossible, but at this year’s 67th annual Maple Festival in Somerset County it is almost as common as a corndog on a stick.

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Behavioral Health
11:18 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Rep. Murphy Introduces Bill to Overhaul Federal Mental Health System

The federal government spends around $125 billion on mental health annually, but the ways in which that money is spent are ineffective and antiquated, according to U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Allegheny).

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Public Safety
8:15 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Gun Forum Calls for Owner Responsibility and Government Involvement

The League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh (LWVGP) has released the results of a study of gun violence in the region and the results are wide ranging and at times a bit confusing.

The League held a forum in October involving 150 participants from different backgrounds, and spent the past months reviewing the findings.

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Education
4:08 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Dyslexia is Common but Resources Scarce in Pennsylvania; Conference Tackles the Issue

Research indicates that 15% to 20 % of the population has some form of dyslexia. Those with the disorder who are not diagnosed often struggle in school and are more likely to fall behind their peers and drop out.
Credit Judy Baxter / Flickr

Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability which makes it hard for those who have it to learn to read and write. According the Pennsylvania branch of the International Dyslexia Association, it’s the most common learning disability.

“15 to 20 percent of the population have some level of dyslexia.” said Pittsburgh region of the Association Chairperson Christine Seppi. “That’s a really huge number. Autism, which gets a lot of press, has one in 50. This is one in five or six.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:28 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: Breaking Down the Jordan Miles Verdict and The Brave Miss World

Linor Abargil, is Miss World 1998 and the subject of the documentary, Brave Miss World.
Credit Brave Miss World Website

These topics air Tuesday April 1, 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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Vox Pop
6:21 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Watch: At Opening Day, Pirates Fans Share Expectations For This Season

Fans pose for a picture outside PNC Park Monday. With a 1-0 win over the Cubs, things appear to be off to a good start for the Bucs fans.
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Following their first playoff appearance in more than 20 years, the Pittsburgh Pirates hosted the Chicago Cubs on Opening Day Monday.

Fans flooded the North Shore for the game, with some stopping to share some thoughts on what they expect from their team this season.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:05 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Pirates Baseball: Looking at Winning Seasons Past and Hopes for the Present

The exhibit at the Heinz History Center that commemorates the year the Pirates won with a walk-off home run in Game 7 of the World Series over the New York Yankees.
Credit Heinz History Center

The 1960 World Series Champions Commemorated at the Heinz History Center

The 2014 baseball season opens Monday. Coming off their first winning season in years, hopes are high for the Pirates.

An exhibit of one of the greatest moments in the team’s history just opened at the Senator John Heinz History Center.

On display are artifacts from Bill Mazeroski’s ninth inning home run, which led to the defeat of the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:53 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

New Book About The Life of a Pirates Fan Touches on the Ups and Downs

Fans walking across the Roberto Clemente Bridge, heading to a Pirates game.
Credit Doug Kerr / Wikipedia Commons

2013 marked the first time in two decades, the Pirates finally had a winning baseball season.

What does it mean to the psyche of a city to end the longest consecutive season losing streak in the history of the four major professional sports leagues?

Writer Charlie Wilmoth attempts to answer that question in his newly published book Dry Land, Winning After 20 Years At Sea With The Pittsburgh Pirates.

Wilmoth grew up in Wheeling, West Virginia and says he has always felt a special connection to Pittsburgh. He has been writing about the Pirates for the past 10 years and explained what it was like to be a Buccos fan during the losing streak.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:41 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

A Mixed Ruling in the Jordan Miles Civil Case, False Arrest But Not Excessive Force

Jordan Miles leaving court Monday after the verdict.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

After weeks of testimony, the civil court trial pitting Homewood resident, Jordan Miles against three Pittsburgh police officers concluded Monday with a wrongful arrest conviction.

90.5 WESA reporter Deanna Garcia describes the verdict as a mixed decision

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Public Safety
2:47 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Jury Reaches Mixed Decision in Jordan Miles Suit

Jordan Miles, with his family, addressed the media following the verdict. The jury found for Miles on the false arrest count and for the officers on the excessive force count.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Three Pittsburgh police officers were the target of a civil lawsuit brought by Jordan Miles charging that they falsely arrested the CAPA High School student and used excessive force during the incident.
 
The jury found for Miles on the charge of false arrest and for the officers on excessive force allegations. They awarded Miles compensatory damages of $101,016.75 and punitive damages of $6,000 from each of the three officers. Miles called the verdict a victory for him.
 

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Public Assistance
2:01 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

DPW Closing East Liberty Office

UPDATE: 4/1/14 11:09 am

The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare has announced that it will continue to offer services in East Liberty.  It is in the process of looking for a new permanent home for the office.

ORIGINAL STORY:

A Department of Public Welfare office in Pittsburgh is closing, and Just Harvest is taking a stand for the workers and families that will be affected.

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Science & Technology
3:30 am
Mon March 31, 2014

This CMU-Built, Trash-Talking Robot Wants To Beat You At Scrabble

Victor, created by a research professor at Carnegie Mellon University, is the latest in a series of social robots designed to study human-robot interaction.
Credit Courtesy Carnegie Mellon University

Victor sits in the lounge of Carnegie Mellon University’s computer science building ready to take on anyone in a game of Scrabble.

He’s cocky, and his taunts can be heard across the room.

“Is that all you’ve got?” he shouts from behind his virtual Scrabble board.

Victor has an attitude not atypical of a 17-year-old college freshman. But here's the thing: He’s a robot.

Created by Reid Simmons, a research professor at CMU’s Robotics Institute, Victor is the latest in a series of social robots designed as a tool to study human-robot interaction.

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Technology
3:30 am
Mon March 31, 2014

New App Connects Tourists, Residents with Mount Washington Businesses

Not only does Mount Washington have a famous view -- it now has an app.

“The app is designed so that anyone coming up to Mount Washington can download it for free and very quickly find any businesses nearby, whether they’re hungry, they need an ATM, they need a gas station,” Christina Howell, the Manager of Outreach and Events at the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation (MWCDC), said.

Howell said users of “The Mt. Washington Guide” app can either type in a business’s name or search by category.

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Transportation
3:30 am
Mon March 31, 2014

No April Fool’s Joke: PennDOT Fee Increases To Take Effect Starting Tuesday

Starting Tuesday, an initial wave of fee increases for motor vehicle and driver services will go into effect.

The higher fees were part of the transportation law that passed last year, which allots $2.35 billion to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to roads, bridges and transit systems. That price tag is being paid for, in part, by an increase in gasoline taxes and higher vehicle service fees.

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Government & Politics
12:30 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

Corbett Administration Refutes Higher Education Criticism

The Corbett administration is pushing back against claims it let recommendations on higher education gather dust.

State Senator Andy Dinniman of Chester County, ranking Democrat on the Senate Education Committee, says a 2012 report from the governor’s Advisory Commission on Postsecondary Education hasn’t prompted action.             

"It is a repeat of what did happen on transportation, where a report was issued, nothing was done, and finally the legislature under the lead of Senator Rafferty had to force action," Dinniman said.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:04 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

Monday Rundown: Pirates Opening Day Anticipation and An Update on the Jordan Miles Case

PNC Park
Credit alpineinc / wikipedia

These topics air Monday March 31, 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
5:11 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

City Councilors O'Connor and Gross Lay Out Pittsburgh's New Land Bank Plan

This abandoned house is just one example of the properties that the Pittsburgh land banks plan would hope to re-utilize for a new purpose.
Credit Peter Pawlowski / Flickr

Earlier this year District 7 Councilor Deb Gross introduced legislation to develop a Land Bank in Pittsburgh. The system would operate as a repository for properties that often have little prospect of redevelopment.

District 5 Councilor Corey O' Connor is a supporter of the concept. He and Councilor Gross say the idea is to create a system to get abandoned properties publicly inventoried and marketed for re-use by neighbors, community groups, developers or realtors.

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Business
5:07 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Stadium Owners Bankrupt

The owners of Pittsburgh's minor league soccer team and the riverfront stadium in which they play have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Riverhounds Acquisition Group, L. P. owns the team and lists debts of between $1 million and $10 million in its petition. Riverhounds Event Center LP, which owns Highmark Stadium, has $7.2 million in mortgage debt, plus a $1.5 million bank loan and hundreds of thousands of dollars in other debts to smaller creditors.

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Environment
5:05 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Egg Hatches in Pittsburgh Bald Eagle Nest

An egg has hatched in a bald eagle nest in a Pittsburgh neighborhood.

The nest in the city's Hays neighborhood along the Monongalia river has three eggs and a live video stream of the nest has become popular locally. The female bald eagle previously fought off a raccoon that tried to raid her eggs.

Experts say it's too soon to say whether the new chick is a male or female.

The live-stream camera of the nest is provided by Murrysville-based PixController, which is working with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Essential Pittsburgh
4:43 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

The Pros and Cons of Unionizing College Athletics

Arian Foster is one of many people that believe student-athletes should be compensated.
Credit AJ Guel / Flickr

The National Collegiate Athletic Association, commonly referred to as the NCAA, has argued for decades that giving student-athletes anything more than an education would be wrong.

But many former athletes and the National Labor Relations Board say that scholarship football players are employees with the right to unionize.

United Steel Workers Union President Leo Gerard says he understands why the players want to form a union.

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Environment & Energy
7:53 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Three Mile Island: Measuring The Impact 35 Years Later

In the history of U.S. commercial nuclear power plant operating, Three Mile Island was the most serious accident.
Credit Flickr user Ted Van Pelt

Friday marks the 35th anniversary of the worst nuclear accident in U.S. history. On March 28, 1979, one of the reactors at the The Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Dauphin County partially melted down.

Back then, no one knew exactly what was going to happen. The incident was unprecedented.

Former Governor Dick Thornburgh was at the center of the crisis. He marked the anniversary at an event Thursday at Penn State’s Harrisburg campus in Middletown–not far from the plant.

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90.5 WESA Celebrates
3:30 am
Fri March 28, 2014

How Jim and Susan Wagner Are Training Dogs For The ‘Perfect Fit’

The Wagners have placed 15 dogs in the past two years and have many in training. The puppy raisers who take on these dogs gather once a month for a training class.
Credit Marina Weis / 90.5 WESA

Read and watch a story about Jim and Susan Wagner as part of a series honoring the individuals who make a difference in people’s lives: 90.5 WESA Celebrates People Making a Difference.

Jim and Susan have turned their love for dogs into helping children with autism.

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Essential Pittsburgh
12:05 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Friday Rundown: Using Land Banks to Fight Blight and College Football Unionizing?

Making it easier to re-purpose blighted properties before they become a neighborhood nuisance.
Credit Peter Pawlowski / Flickr

These topics air Friday March 28, 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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Pennsylvania
4:30 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Census: PA Population Increases Slightly

Pennsylvania's population rose modestly last year, as did counties around Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Census Bureau estimates released Thursday show that the state's population last July 1 was 12,773,801. That's about 9,300 more people than the previous year.

Some metro areas gained population, while many rural counties continued to lose people.

Philadelphia County population increased in 2013 to 1,553,165. That's a gain of about 4,500. Population in Allegheny County rose by 1,615 to 1,231,527.

Luzerne County declined the most, with a drop of 1,320 people.

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