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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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Haze Plan
8:44 am
Sat July 5, 2014

Environmental Groups File Second Lawsuit Against EPA

Haze reduction plans are meant to protect class one nature areas, such as Dolly Sods Wilderness in West Virginia.
Credit Flickr user smilin7h

Since 1990, the Clean Air Act has reduced emissions of six common pollutants by 41%, but according to a handful of environmental groups, Pennsylvania is not doing its job when it comes to haze.

Earthjustice, on behalf of the Clean Air Council, the National Parks Conservation Association, and the Sierra Club, has filed a second lawsuit against the EPA for its approval of a haze plan that they say does not meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act.

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Community
7:45 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Peters Twp. Wounded Veteran's 'Smart Home' Unveiled

Marine Sgt. Doug Vitale was leading his squad through Afghanistan in 2011 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device and lost both his legs above the knee.  Because he lost so much blood, he also suffered strokes on both sides of his brain.

“He’s still in a rehab program, for almost three years now, to continue to get better and improve,” Alexis Vitale, Doug’s wife, said. “And he is, he does continue to get better, but we work for a long time for small things at this point, but he’s determined and he’s hard working and keeps going.”

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Community
7:43 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Pittsburgh Bike Polo Club Hosts Holiday Weekend Competition

Bike polo players compete at a tournament in London.
Credit Flickr user kube414

Picture a combination of street hockey, soccer, and polo, but played on … bicycles?

If you’re having difficulty imagining it, don’t worry—you can see it for yourself.

The Pittsburgh Bike Polo Club will celebrate the holiday weekend by hosting its annual Fourth of July bike polo competition Saturday and Sunday.

The event will begin at 10:30am Saturday in Osceola Park in Bloomfield, and is expected to attract 20-30 bike polo players of all skill levels from neighboring states.

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Government & Politics
7:39 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Rep. Rothfus Recites Declaration Of Independence On House Floor

U.S. Representative Keith Rothfus (R-PA- 12) took to the House floor last week to do something that hasn’t been done in more than 40 years.

In celebration of the upcoming holiday, Rothfus recited the entire Declaration of Independence.

Joined by fellow freshmen Representatives Scott Perry (R-PA-04) and Andy Barr (R-KY-06), Rothfus said he was inspired by the 112th Congress.

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90.5 WESA Celebrates
3:30 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Joe Lagana, Providing Equal Opportunities For Homeless Children

Joe Lagana
Credit Debbi Casini Klein / 90.5 WESA

Read and listen to a story about Joe Lagana as part of a series honoring the individuals who make a difference in people’s lives: 90.5 WESA Celebrates People Making a Difference.

While many look to retirement as a time to relax, golf or travel, Joe had other plans.

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Staycation 2014
3:50 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Social Club for the Weekend of July 4th

With the Fourth of July weekend upon us, 90.5 WESA’s Josh Raulerson and Yelp’s Rachel Carlson have a special Staycation episode for your listening pleasure. Since yinz probably finalized your plans for the Fourth long ago, Rachel whipped up a list of the best things you can do in Pittsburgh this summer regardless of the date, including kayaking, a secret Potato Patch, the Sounds of Science, and a chance to Go Ape. Listen in for why “you could get some maybe uncomfortable insights into your relationships.”

This summer’s happenings:

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Transportation
3:19 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Dedicated, Protected Bike Lanes Coming to Pittsburgh Before Summer’s End

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

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and other city officials announced the construction of three protected bike lanes in the city. The lanes will be built from Schenley Plaza to Anderson Playground in Schenley Park, along Saline Street between Greenfield Avenue and Swinburne Street (Panther Hollow Trail) in Greenfield, and on Penn Avenue from 11th Street to Stanwix Avenue Downtown.

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Community
2:29 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

American Muslim Group Condemns Violence, Celebrates America on Independence Day

As people set off fireworks, wave flags and eat their American flag-decorated cake this Fourth of July, a group of American Muslims is doing some of the same things — with an added message — that their religion is a peaceful one and they are also patriotic Americans.

“We want to spread the message of loyalty to the United States of America, and we want to debunk the myth that Muslims do not stand for peace and justice,” said Adnan Ahmed, Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Pittsburgh.

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Transportation
1:34 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Lawmakers Prep Ride-Sharing Legislation

State legislators are preparing a measure that would allow ride-sharing services such as Lyft and Uber to operate in Pennsylvania, days after administrative judges with the Public Utility Commission (PUC) ordered the companies to cease operations.

Sen. Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) has already drafted a bill that would lessen the PUC's regulations on background checks, insurance, vehicle inspections, and most importantly, licensing.

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Fireworks
12:17 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Sell But Don't Buy Fireworks in PA

With the Fourth of July this Friday, you might be seeing firework tents scattered throughout the state -- however, much of what is for sale in those large tents cannot be purchased by most Pennsylvania residents.

Pennsylvania state law allows residents to buy and use items defined as “ground and hand-held sparkling devices,” “novelties” and “toy caps” by the American Pyrotechnics Association.

However, according to Adam Reed, Pennsylvania State Police Public Information Officer, the law is strict when it comes to more-explosive items.

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City Government
11:12 am
Thu July 3, 2014

City Lost More Than $70,000 In Bad Checks In 2013

An example of a check returned to the city by the bank because it was illegible.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Since 2008, the city of Pittsburgh has lost more than $380,000 from checks returned by banks, due to non-sufficient funds or other problems.

Controller Michael Lamb announced the losses at a press conference Wednesday, saying he had just issued recommendations to the Department of Finance about how to fix the problem.

Chief among his recommendations: compile a list of all the points of entry for payments by check coming into the city.

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Transportation
11:10 am
Thu July 3, 2014

As Gas Prices Rise, So Do Numbers of Americans Traveling for Fourth of July

Nearly 35 million Americans are expected to hit the road this Fourth of July weekend.
Credit Flickr user Dale Beckett

 

Fourth of July weekend travel is expected to reach pre-recession levels for the first time, even though gas prices are the highest they’ve been since 2008.

AAA is predicting that 41 million Americans will travel at least fifty miles this weekend, a 1.9 percent increase over last year, with 80 percent traveling by car.

In the Mid-Atlantic region, which includes Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, the number of people traveling to celebrate the holiday is expected increase by 1.3 percent.

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Public Safety
10:12 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Officer Honored For Franklin Regional Stabbing Response

A retired school police officer has been honored for handcuffing a 16-year-old charged with stabbing 20 fellow students and a security guard at a suburban Pittsburgh high school.

Fifty-nine-year-old William "Buzz" Yakshe is one of six national recipients of the Regional Exceptional Service Award given by the National Association of School Resources Officers.

Yakshe retired in May, after helping subdue Alex Hribal following the April 9 stabbing rampage at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville. Yakshe was a Murrysville police officer assigned to the school.

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Health
7:53 am
Thu July 3, 2014

For Women With Asthma, Additional Complications Arise During Pregnancy

Kelly Liartis speaks with Hyagriv Simhan at Magee-Women's Hospital of UPMC.
Credit Erika Beras / 90.5 WESA

On a recent afternoon, Kelly Liartis is at Magee Women’s Hospital for a check-up. She’s talking to her doctor Hyagriv Simhan about her soon-to-be-born baby — and her frequent summer asthma flare-ups.

He's telling her that despite her fears, its actually OK to use her inhaler ... it's been used in pregnancy, as he says with a laugh, for a "bajillion years."

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:00 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Rebroadcast: The 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and Freedom Summer

Students from Pittsburgh, PA take part in a Civil Rights March on Washington
Credit National Archives Foundation

Listen Thursday July 3, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA, for a special rebroadcast of our June 17th show devoted to the anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Freedom Summer.

Voices from the Firing Line

CCAC Professor Ralph Proctor has just released his latest book Voices from the Firing Line: A Personal Account of the Pittsburgh Civil Rights Movement. He joined us to discuss the demonstrations and the methodology of those in the movement as well as the results achieved.

"Kennywood Park had a swimming pool, and we sued them and we got the right for black folks to swim in it. Before one black toe ever got into that water, they destroyed the pool.”

Hear more of what Professor Proctor had to say about the "Jim Crowe Customs" he encountered in Pittsburgh.

Freedom Summer

We remember the Freedom Summer of 1964, when college students traveled into the deep south to help African-Americans register to vote. Three students were murdered that summer in Mississippi including Andrew Goodman. Before she passed away in 2007, Goodman's mother Carolyn collaborated with author Brad Herzog on a book called My Mantelpiece, a Memoir of Survival and Social Justice

"...when he left the room, she threw in some extra iodine and bandages into his duffel bag, figuring maybe he’ll get beat up a little, maybe he’ll get thrown in jail. Never did she imagine he would lose his life.”

Listen for more from Brad Herzog about Mrs. Goodman's reflections on that summer in 1964.

Race: Are We So Different?

Race: Are We So Different is one of the current exhibits at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Examining the history of how race has been defined and its impact on our lives we go behind the scenes of the exhibit with Cecile Shellman, communications and community specialist for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. 

"Some people may lack the skills or the interest or the vocabulary or the courage to talk about race. And this exhibition really does invite people in overt and unconscious ways to talk about race."

Hear more of what Cecile Shellman had to say about the exhibit.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:02 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Explaining Governor Corbett's Budget Battle

Credit Capitol Media Service

Budgets often lead to some of the most contentious battles within government, and the approval for the Pennsylvania’s $29.1 billion budget is shaping up to follow suit.

The budget was approved by lawmakers on Monday night, hours before the end of Pennsylvania’s fiscal year, but Governor Tom Corbett refused to sign the budget sent to him.

He said he would withhold his signature until the General Assembly made a decision regarding pension cuts, adding that the budget “does not address all the difficult choices that still need to be made.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:47 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Supreme Court's Monumental Rulings: From Contraception To Cellphones

Credit David / Flickr

This week, the Supreme Court completed its term with a flurry of decisions ranging from birth-control exemptions for employers to the need for a warrant to search cell phones.

Our legal contributor, University of Pittsburgh Law Professor David Harris, explained the recent court rulings, and how they will impact our lives.

He started by discussing the Supreme Court’s ruling to allow companies an exemption from providing birth control on religious grounds. It was a decision that split the Court 5-4 and has proved to be just as decisive and controversial with the public.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:15 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Gas Prices Closing in on the $4 Mark in Pittsburgh

Gas prices have been rising in the last month, but this trend may come to a halt.
Credit Jenn Durfey / Flickr

Perhaps you have noticed the marquee at your local convenience store and other displays of the price of a gallon of gas inching upward in past weeks. Pennsylvania’s gas prices have been ranked the tenth highest in the country.

The average price of a gallon of gas in Pennsylvania is $3.76, well above the national average of $3.67. Pittsburgh is even higher than the rest of Pennsylvania, with an average price of a gallon of gas costing $3.84.

Gregg Laskoski, Senior Petroleum Analyst for GasBuddy.com, said in some areas of Pittsburgh $4.00 for a gallon of gas is a penny away.

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Photo Gallery
3:51 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

UPDATED: Furries Converge on Downtown Pittsburgh for Anthrocon 2014

Furries parade through the David L. Lawrence Convention Center Saturday.
Ryan Loew 90.5 WESA

The world’s largest furry convention is under way in downtown Pittsburgh. The convention for artists, animators, costumers, puppeteers and fans has called the Steel City home since 2006.

“By the time we’re finished with this particular convention, Anthrocon will have left $41 million of economic activity in the Pittsburgh region over the last nine years,” said Craig Davis, president and CEO of Visit Pittsburgh, the city’s convention and visitor’s bureau.

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Transportation
3:30 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

PUC Issues Cease and Desist Orders For Uber, Lyft

The Public Utilities Commission has issued cease-and-desist orders on ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber.
Credit Lyft

The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has slammed the brakes on ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber in Pittsburgh effective immediately.

PUC Administrative Law judges have granted the emergency petition by the PUC Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement to issue cease-and-desist orders for the companies.

The two-judge panel wrote that they were not “blind or deaf to the public opinion,” but that the commission’s duty to ensure public safety is more important than the convenience of the companies.

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Public Safety
3:08 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Locomotives Derail, Catch Fire In Sewickley

A Norfolk Southern train carrying empty ethanol tank cars rear-ended a westbound intermodal train Wednesday afternoon in Sewickley, causing a fire and prompting the precautionary evacuation of nearby residents.

Two crew members were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, according to Alvin Henderson, Allegheny County chief of emergency services. Two firefighters were also treated at the scene for heat exhaustion.

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Arts & Culture
11:24 am
Wed July 2, 2014

The Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble Gears Up for New Season

The Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble begins its new season July 11 and artistic director Kevin Noe stopped by the WESA studios to talk about the organization and what they have planed for their audience. He began by describing how the ensemble performs. 

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Community
10:43 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Allegheny County Domestic Partners Given More Time Before Losing Benefits

Last week, Allegheny County announced that all same-sex partners of county employees would have their domestic partner benefits cut off effective July 31.

Following an outcry from advocates and some receiving benefits that 30 days was not enough time to arrange for new coverage and/or legally marry, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has now extended the cut-off date to June 30, 2015.

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