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Autism Awareness
3:21 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Cathedral Of Learning To Shine Blue For Autism Awareness

If you’re traveling around Pittsburgh next Wednesday, you might be seeing blue, as more than a dozen buildings across the city are shining a light on autism, including the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning.

The cathedral is one of more than 8,400 buildings and landmarks around the world are participating in this year’s “Light It Up Blue” campaign to raise autism awareness, including Pittsburgh’s Gulf Tower, BNY Melon Building, and the Carnegie Science Center.

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Sports
3:19 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

For The First Time, Robert Morris Ice Hockey Qualifies for NCAA Tournament

Robert Morris University (RMU) men’s ice hockey has reached a second landmark in two years with their first trip to the NCAA Division 1 tournament. The program gained exposure last year hosting the tournament’s semi-final and championship rounds, The Frozen Four.

The Colonials earned their tournament spot after winning the Atlantic Hockey (AHA) title for the first time since entering the conference in 2010.

RMU Director of Athletics Craig Coleman says winning the conference championship is a huge accomplishment after a slow start to the season.

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Economy & Business
2:37 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Report: Pittsburgh Region's Economic Growth is Steady, But Under the Radar

The stabilization of the natural gas boom may lead to opportunities for downstream industries, bringing petrochemical processing and related manufacturing stateside. Seen here, an ethalyne "cracker" in Singapore.
Credit Flickr user pennstatenews

Advanced manufacturing is picking up in the Pittsburgh region, more jobs are requiring technology skills and the financial and businesses services sector is greatest contributor to the gross regional product.

Those are just some of the takeaways from the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance’s seventh annual economic development performance scorecard and “Wins Day” Wednesday.

The alliance is the marketing affiliate of the Allegheny Conference for Economic Development and is charged with the task of marketing the Pittsburgh region to businesses and workers alike.

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Community
11:35 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Through Community Service, 300 Area Teens To 'Repair the World' This Weekend

"Tikkun Olam" is a Hebrew phrase meaning “repairing the world,” and that’s what 300 teenagers from Allegheny, Beaver and Butler County plan to do during the ninth annual J-Serve Pittsburgh Sunday.

The teens will participate in 25 different community service projects in Squirrel Hill.

Lisa Sobel-Berlow, J-Serve Coordinator, said they want to encourage community building and connections across religious and societal lines.

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Public Safety
10:21 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Citizen Review Board: Fire Pittsburgh Cop For Teacher Arrest

The Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board says a white officer should be fired for arresting a black teacher after a community meeting that addressed police relations with the city's black community.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Tuesday's non-binding recommendation that Officer Jonathan Gromek be fired was much harsher than the letter of reprimand he received after an internal investigation — a punishment the city's police union said was too severe.

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City Government
3:30 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Rudiak Introduces Bill to Put City Budget Data Online

Less than a week after Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto’s Open Data initiative officially become law, Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak has introduced legislation to work with a California-based company to put all of the city’s budget data online.

A bill introduced Tuesday in City Council would allow the Director of Finance and the Director of the Department of Innovation and Performance to contract with Silicon Valley software company OpenGov.

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Behavioral Health
3:30 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Faced With Daunting Medical Expenses, Some Turn To Crowdfunding

Montana Delciello and her mother Melissa Jones are raising money for a psychiatric dog for Montana on Gofundme.com
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Medical care is costly, and for many people that cost is prohibitive. More and more often, people like Melissa Jones find themselves turning to crowdfunding to pay for those extras health insurance won't cover.

Walking down Fifth Avenue in Oakland, Jones' 10-year-old daughter Montana Delciello describes it as a full-on sensory experience. The sidewalks swell with people as bikes, cars, buses and ambulances weave in and out of lanes on the massive street.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:55 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: A Harrowing Experience in Ukraine, and ACA/Tax Season FAQs

Pro-Russian protesters remove a Ukrainian flag and replace it with a Russian flag in front of a State Administration building near Mariupol, Ukraine
Credit Andrew Butko / Wikipedia

These topics air Wednesday March 26, 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
3:24 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

ACLU Seeks Info On Purging Of PA Voter Rolls

A civil-rights group is raising questions about Pennsylvania's participation in a national program designed to help cull voters with duplicate registrations in different states.

Witold Walczak of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania voiced concern Tuesday about the lack of information from state officials about how they'll oversee the purging of voter rolls under the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:33 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

How Pittsburgh Organizations Are Bringing Hollywood To The Steel City

"The Dark Knight Rises" was filmed in downtown Pittsburgh during the summer of 2012.
Credit Kyle Huff / flickr

From film festivals, to movies and TV shows, Pittsburgh has become one of Hollywood's leading locations for motion picture and television production.

This week contributor Rebecca Harris looked at the business of filmmaking in the Steel City.

Pittsburgh has a variety of organizations that help bring Hollywood the the city, which are listed below. These organizations work with different groups and people in the community to make it possible for films and television shows to come to life in Pittsburgh.

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Health
2:21 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Pittsburgher Takes on Diabetes Education as National Chair

Dr. Linda Siminerio is Professor of Medicine and Executive Director of the University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Institute
Credit UPMC Website

When the National Diabetes Education Program gathers for its annual meeting this summer it will install a Pittsburgher in its top elected position.  University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Institute Executive Director Linda Siminerio was elected as chair earlier this year.

The federally-funded program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Siminerio refers to the nation’s struggle with type II diabetes as an epidemic but warns that it is already a pandemic in other parts of the world.

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Community
12:10 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

How The Homewood Children's Village Is 'Re-Weaving the Fabric of the Community'

In the 19th century, wealthy white Pittsburghers, including George Westinghouse and Andrew Carnegie, created estates in Homewood, which was a pastoral and welcome respite from the foul air generated by the industry. 

By 1940, the population was diverse, middle class and about five times larger than it is now.

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Pittsburgh
11:48 am
Tue March 25, 2014

UPMC Questions Ravenstahl Taking Computer Home

An ongoing federal investigation involving Pittsburgh's former mayor and the city's lawsuit challenging the nonprofit status of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have intersected — at the ex-mayor's computer.

Former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl took the computer with him for about 10 days after leaving office in January, but has since returned it. Now UPMC's attorneys want to know if he did anything with the device that might impact the city's ongoing lawsuit over its nonprofit status.

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Environment & Energy
11:40 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Citing Safety Concerns, Officials Push For Improvements To Crude Oil 'Clunkers'

Flames continue to burn a day after a Norfolk Southern train derailed on Oct. 21, 2006, in New Brighton, Pa.
Credit ucy Schaly / Beaver County Times via PublicSource

Walking with his daughter from a Friday night football game in New Brighton, Pa., Fire Chief Jeffrey Bolland heard what sounded like a jet overhead and saw an orange glow in the distance.

Twenty-three rail tank cars of ethanol derailed on a bridge above the Beaver River on that night in 2006, setting off an explosion that burned for 48 hours. Some of the black, torpedo-shaped cars tumbled into the river.

No one was injured, but 150 people were evacuated and a nearly multi-million dollar cleanup ensued in the city about 30 miles Northwest of Pittsburgh.

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National Arts Advocacy Day
10:10 am
Tue March 25, 2014

The Arts Turn Political on National Arts Advocacy Day

Art is more than decoration; it is an industry that supports the economy and education system in the United States.

That is the message arts leaders from Pittsburgh and across the nation are delivering to Capitol Hill today for the 27th National Arts Advocacy Day.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:13 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: Targeting Diabetes and the Pittsburgh Film Biz

Exploring prevention and advances in treatment for diabetes.
Credit Victor Casale / flickr

These topics air Tuesday March 25,2014 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
9:02 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

PA House Bills Would Allow Municipalities to Repair Private Sewer Lines

Around 40 percent of all the water treated by ALCOSAN is already clean, according to Jim Good, Interim Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

Clean rainwater and groundwater often make their way into the sewer system through leaks in lateral sewer lines, which run from the main line to individual buildings and homes.

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Government & Politics
5:18 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Local Challenge of Federal Contraception Mandate

A Lancaster County-based company is one of two family-owned businesses taking on the so-called “contraception mandate” in the federal Affordable Care Act. Oral arguments are set to begin Tuesday morning in the U.S. Supreme Court.

One of the central questions in this case is whether for-profit corporations exercise religious beliefs, and can therefore claim a religious exemption to a law.

Two companies, including Conestoga Wood Specialties, based in Lancaster County, object to a part of the health care law’s regulations, and they’re asking for a religious exemption.

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Transportation
2:56 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

PA Auditor General Finds Port Authority Improved Over Latest Audit

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has released an audit of the Port Authority of Allegheny County which covers the period of July 1, 2007 through December 31, 2012.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The Port Authority of Allegheny County is in a “significantly better place” today than it was in the last audit, according to Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

The most recent audit covers the period of July 1, 2007 through Dec. 31, 2012. The last audit was completed in 2007 by former Auditor General Jack Wagner. At that time, there were serious concerns with unsustainable pension and healthcare costs.

DePasquale said now, the picture has improved.

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Religion & Faith
2:22 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

3 Churches Closing in 2 Pittsburgh-Area Mergers

A 110-year-old church is one of three closing next month as the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh merges two parishes with dwindling membership in the Monongahela River valley.

The historic St. Anthony Church was merged with Transfiguration Church in 2011 to create the new St. Damien of Molokai parish in Monongahela, a depressed former mill town. Both church buildings had remained open as worship sites, however.

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Health
2:17 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Can Texting Lead To Better Concussion Treatments?

Text messaging can serve a variety of purposes, from casually chatting with friends to ordering a pizza, but what about monitoring concussion symptoms?

Some, like researcher Stephanie Huang think it could be a tool for providing more personalized health care.

Thanks to a grant from the Pittsburgh Emergency Medicine Foundation, the first-year student from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School is coming to Pittsburgh to see if texting is a more effective way of getting patients to monitor their own concussion treatments.

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Duquesne Exhibit
2:03 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Art Exhibit to Open at Duquesne

Duquesne University will open an art exhibit by Andrew Hairstans called A Model for Asylum Tuesday at the Les Idees Gallery on Duquesne’s campus.

Hairstans said the exhibit focuses on a housing project in Glasgow, Scotland. He said the project has to do with modernist British housing and how it is used by asylum seekers.

“I became interested in the area because originally they were at one point the tallest housing complexes in Europe and they were also used to house at one point they were used to house asylum seekers from all over the world really."

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Environment & Energy
9:20 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Bill to Do Away With 'Summer Gas' in Pittsburgh Passes Senate

A bill pending in the state Senate would do away with requirements for "summer gas" in several southwestern PA counties.
Credit Flickr user Jenn Durfey

The Pennsylvania state Senate has passed a bill that would amend the Air Pollution Control Act to eliminate the requirements for summer blend gasoline in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene and Washington Counties.

The gas blend is used in the warmer months to cut down on vehicle emissions, but Sen. Tim Solobay said since the use of “summer gas” was mandated in 1998, cars have become more fuel efficient. The Pittsburgh-based Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) said that is true, but doesn’t mean the gas blend is unnecessary.

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Government & Politics
8:00 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Calls Mount For Further Investigation Of Sting Dropped By AG's Office

A non-partisan government reform group says investigations into a sting operation dropped by the attorney general’s office shouldn’t stop with the state House Ethics Committee.

Leaders from both parties in the House have assured the chamber’s Ethics panel it would be given the budget to do an investigation of members implicated in a sting that gave $20,000 to eight people. Attorney General Kathleen Kane says she dropped the case because it couldn’t be successfully prosecuted, despite recordings of public officials accepting money or gifts.

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Government & Politics
3:30 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Senate Makes No Decision On PA Adoption Bill

Two groups that are often in opposition are now working together to kill a bill making its way through the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference are butting heads with legislators over House Bill 162, which would give adopted adults access to their original birth certificates, including the names of their birth parents.

For the ACLU and the Catholic Conference, it’s an issue of privacy, but for Sens. LeAnna Washington (D-Philadelphia) and Judy Schwank (D-Berks) it’s a matter of civil rights.

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