Deanna Garcia

General Assignment Reporter

Deanna fell in love with public radio in 2001, when she landed her first job at an NPR station: KRWG-FM in Las Cruces, NM, where she also attended college. After graduating with a degree in journalism and mass communications, she spent a summer in Washington, D.C. as an intern at NPR's Morning Edition. Following that, she was a reporter/All Things Considered Host at WXXI in Rochester, NY. Before coming to Pittsburgh, Deanna was the local All Things Considered host for KUNC in northern Colorado. In her spare time, Deanna enjoys watching movies and TV shows on DVD (the Golden Girls and Little House on the Prairie are among her favorites), bicycling, yard work, and reading.

 

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Environment
3:30 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Beyond Killing Trees, Emerald Ash Borer May Leave Lasting Impression

Dead and dying ash trees can be seen while looking upon the landscape in Schenley Park in Pittsburgh.
Credit Chris Squier / 90.5 WESA

The Emerald Ash Borer has all but wiped out ash trees in and around the Pittsburgh region, and even though the insect only goes after one tree species, the effects will be felt on a much wider scale.

Pretty soon you won’t be able to tell dead trees from live trees as leaves begin to fall. For now, as you’re driving around Pennsylvania, you can look out over stands of trees and see lush, green landscape – but – that landscape is dotted in many areas with dead trees.

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Environment & Energy
3:15 am
Mon September 22, 2014

State Energy Official: Door Is Open For Environmental Groups, Oil/Gas Execs Alike

A recent series of stories produced by The Allegheny Front and 90.5 WESA explored the influence of industry money on Pennsylvania’s oversight of the natural gas boom.

In one of the reports, there was an assertion from environmental group PennFuture that the former head of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources was available mostly to industry:

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Economy & Business
4:26 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Pittsburgh Metro Area Incomes Up; Poverty Rate Flat in 2013

Median household income in the Pittsburgh metro was up in 2013, according to U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

“For Pittsburgh, we see that the 2013 median household income was just over $51,000, the poverty rate was 12.8 percent and a little over 7 percent of the people in the metro area did not have health coverage,” said Ed Welniak, chief of the Income and Statistics Branch of the Census Bureau.

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Environment & Energy
3:23 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Range Resources To Pay $4M Drilling Waste Fine

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced it has signed a consent order and agreement with Range Resources for violations at six of its impoundments in Washington County.
 
“We have fined Range Resources $4.15 million, the largest fine that has ever been brought against a company in the Marcellus Shale era,” said DEP spokesman John Poister.
 
In addition, Range Resources has agreed to close five impoundments and upgrade two others. The impoundments in question are used to store water.
 

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Education
2:40 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Pittsburgh-Area Teachers Surprised By Google, As Classroom Wishes Fulfilled

Students in an AP calculus class at Pittsburgh Taylor Allderdice High School will each have a graphing calculator to work with, thanks to funding from Google.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

As school budgets continue to shrink or remain flat, many teachers are left short of needed equipment, or have classroom wish lists that don’t fall into budgeting priorities.

Enter the website DonorsChoose.org.

Through Donors Choose, teachers submit requests and then anyone can donate to whichever project they chose – hence the name.

On Thursday, Google announced it was fully funding the requests of 79 Pittsburgh-area teachers.

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Government & Politics
5:29 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Buncher Out, New Developers To Be Considered For Strip District’s Produce Terminal

The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh Thursday voted to terminate a contract with the Buncher Company for possible redevelopment of the Produce Terminal in the Strip District. The URA then voted to negotiate with two separate entities over the next 90 days about possible development.

One of those is McCaffery Interests of Chicago.

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Education
7:48 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Integrating the Arts into Education Focus of Two-Day Forum in Pittsburgh

National, state and local education leaders are gathering in Pittsburgh to explore how to better integrate the arts into education. The Arts Education Partnership National Forum’s theme this year is preparing students for the next American in and through the Arts. Many conversations about education in recent years have centered on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), but many are trying to add arts – STEAM.

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Health
3:36 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Children’s Hospital Set to Open New South Hills Outpatient Location

From L-R, State Senator Matt Smith, Children's Hospital President Christopher Gessner, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Children's Vice President Kathey Guatteri and others cut the ribbon for new Children's South facility in South Fayette Township.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

State and local elected officials joined UPMC officials for a ribbon cutting Tuesday on the new Children’s Hospital of UPMC of Pittsburgh South Hills location.

The outpatient facility in South Fayette Township is replacing the current Children’s South in Bethel Park. The new location, with easy access off I-79, is expected to expand access to care.

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Community
3:20 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Group Challenging Pittsburgh’s 15-foot Buffer Zone Outside Planned Parenthood

A group of anti-abortion activists has filed suit against a 15-foot buffer zone outside of Planned Parenthood’s downtown Pittsburgh location.

The move follows a U.S. Supreme Court decision this summer that struck down 35-foot protest-free zones outside abortion clinics in Massachusetts for violating the First Amendment rights of protesters.

“We filed suit seeking to have the ordinance found unconstitutional, that it’s an inappropriate restriction on speech,” said attorney Lawrence Paladin.

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Health
4:26 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Health Care Workers at Allegheny County Jail Want Higher Staffing Levels

Fast food workers weren’t the only ones taking their message to the streets Thursday. The same day, healthcare workers at the Allegheny County Jail gathered at the County Courthouse, calling on the County Jail Oversight board to enforce staffing requirements laid out in a contract between the county and Corizon, a prison health management company.

“The numbers that have been agreed to as far as staffing for the infirmary, the mental health units – are not being met,” said Randa Ruge, and organizer with United Steelworkers, the union representing the workers.

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Arts & Culture
2:44 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Pittsburgh is One of the Stars of New Television Documentary

Pittsburgh’s film credits have been steadily growing over the last few years, and the Steel City is the location of a new series called “The Chair,” which premieres on the cable channel Starz this weekend.

It’s about the making of two films – each from the same screen play, but adapted by different directors.

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Arts & Culture
3:31 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Community Group Planning for Future of August Wilson Center

August Wilson Center Recovery Committee members have laid out plans for the center’s future, which the group of community volunteers and activists said were formed by looking at past failures and successes.
Credit Chris Squier / 90.5 WESA

The August Wilson Center’s future remains uncertain, but a group of community volunteers and activists have been holding community meetings to formulate a plan for a new August Wilson Center.

The August Wilson Center Recovery Committee laid out plans for the center’s future, plans that group members said were formed by looking at past failures and successes. Group leader janera solomon said things must operate differently in the future.

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Pittsburgh Police
1:48 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Peduto Goes Outside Pittsburgh For New Police Chief

Cameron McLay
Credit Courtesy image

Eight months after taking office, Mayor Bill Peduto has announced the hiring of Cameron McLay as the next chief of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.

It's a job, Peduto said, that comes with a lot of ground to cover.

“He most certainly must restore the trust with the community," Peduto said. “He must rebuild the morale with the rank and file and he must make the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police a national model of professionalism.”

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Health
4:00 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

UPMC Will Require All Clinical Staff To Be Immunized Against The Flu

Starting next year, UPMC will implement a universal influenza immunization policy for all staff working in clinical locations. The current policy strongly encourages employees to get the flu shot. The reason for the new policy is primarily patient safety.

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Transportation
5:39 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Ride-Sharing Services Examined as Part of Pennsylvania’s Transportation Future

Ride-sharing services Lyft and Uber have been granted temporary operating licenses in the Pittsburgh area, but it’s still up the Public Utility Commission to determine if they should be granted permanent permission to operate, and whether regulatory changes are needed to fit them into the transportation landscape.

A PUC hearing Thursday tackled the issue.

“I think that it would be embarrassing if we step back and say ‘no, we’re not going to accept this innovation,’” said state Rep. Erin Molchany.

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Health
2:17 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Tax Revenue Boost Expected for Cambria County Following Sale of Conemaugh Health System

A western Pennsylvania judge has approved the sale of the Johnstown-based Conemaugh Health System to a for-profit Tennessee network, Duke LifePoint Healthcare.

Under the deal approved Wednesday by Cambria County Judge Timothy Creany, Duke LifePoint will pay $111 million for Conemaugh, and agree to invest $425 million more on capital improvements, including new facilities in Richland Township, near Johnstown, and Ebensburg, over the next decade.

Additionally, the properties in the system will now be taxable.

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Sophie Masloff, 1917-2014
5:17 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Family, Friends and Others Celebrate Sophie Masloff's Life

Family, friends, faith leaders and elected officials gathered at Temple Sinai in Squirrel Hill Tuesday to say goodbye to former Pittsburgh Mayor Sophie Masloff. She was remembered for her love of the city, and her grandmotherly, yet tough demeanor.

Sophie Masloff’s casket, draped with an American flag, was carried past mourners as the congregation sang “America the Beautiful.”

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Environment & Energy
4:25 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Physician, Scientists, Engineer Group Urge Caution of Natural Gas Development Near Schools

A letter from the group Physicians, Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE) outlines concerns over natural gas development near schools.

The letter, sent to the Department of Environmental Protection, states that “there is a growing body of peer-reviewed science that provides significant evidence of public health risks” to fracking.

The Mars Parent Group, a grassroots organization opposed to drilling under school property, is highlighting the letter, which they say backs up their request for a two-mile buffer zone around the schools.

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Health
3:30 am
Mon August 18, 2014

Disability Rates Among Children Continue To Rise, Especially in One Category

Between 2001 and 2011 there was a 21 percent increase in disabilities classified as neurodevelopmental or mental health-related in nature in children.

That’s according to an analysis from the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. This is in contrast to physical health-related disabilities in children – that rate dropped 12 percent over the same time period.

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Economy & Business
4:13 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Pennsylania Unemployment Rate Up Slightly for July

Pennsylvania's jobless rate is up slightly but remains better than the national figure. The state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday the seasonally adjusted rate last month was 5.7 percent, up one tenth of a percentage point from June.

“There’s nothing to be alarmed about,” said Sara Goulet, a department spokeswoman. “It’s a very, very small uptick and we do see those periodically. It’s the natural ebb and flow of the employment situation.”

The U.S. rate is currently 6.2 percent.

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Allegheny County
7:50 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Audit Finds Issues at DHS Could Lead to Treatment Delays for Mental Health Care

A recent audit from Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner has found that complex procedures and internal deficiencies in the Department of Human Services (DHS) could lead to problems in the facilitation of mental health services in the county.

“I think this audit shows that there are a number of breaks in the process and those breaks could result in residents in need falling through the cracks if they’re not receiving that help that they need in that most critical hour,” Wagner said.

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Life of Learning
9:32 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

U.S. Education Secretary Talks Early Childhood Education During Stop in Pittsburgh

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan talks with children from the Hug Me Tight Childlife Center in the Hill District.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Up to $20 million is up for grabs for Pennsylvania, under a new grant competition announced in Pittsburgh. The funds are to be used for expanding access to early-childhood learning programs.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto took part in a tour of the “Hug Me Tight Childlife Center” in the Hill District – along with Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. While in Pittsburgh, Duncan announced that applications for grants are now being accepted.

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Government & Politics
6:39 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

City, County and Law Enforcement Officials Hear Case for Keeping Crime Lab Funded

Allegheny County Medical Examiner Karl Williams (left) and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald testify on the importance of the county crime lab in front of a joint legislative hearing on funding.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The Allegheny County Crime Lab is a full lab that performs a wealth crime-related tasks, such as DNA testing and crime scene analysis, but it’s funding has been cut by the state in recent years.

If the lab continues to receive no state funding, it’s in danger of closing. On Tuesday, a joint legislative hearing heard from a list of speakers about why the lab should be a funding priority. Allegheny County Medical Examiner Karl Williams said, for starters, it’s a one-of-a-kind facility.

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Environment & Energy
3:30 am
Mon August 11, 2014

'Order in the Chaos' Found by CMU Researchers Examining Brown Carbon

A team of researchers, including some from Carnegie Mellon University, have figured out a hard-to-understand pollutant called brown carbon.

A lot of attention is paid in the media to pollutants that contribute to climate change, especially to greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other sources. But, some sources are lesser-understood and don’t come from areas that can be regulated — namely brown carbon, which comes from smoke from wildfires.

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Economy & Business
4:55 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Roundtable Examines Better Fostering Accelerator and Coworking Spaces for Young Companies

The third in a series of roundtable discussions with Mayor Bill Peduto focused on better fostering business startups and helping incubators and co-working spaces thrive. With several universities and young companies, Peduto says it’s critical to ensure young graduates stay in the Steel City.

He said these businesses will want to locate within city limits, and in clusters.

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Government & Politics
11:56 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Four-Year Allegheny County Review Recommends Few Changes

Every four years, Allegheny County is required to analyze all departments and determine which, if any, departments need to be reorganized, done away with or left as they are.

“It’s a very worthwhile exercise,” said County Manager William McKain. “We go through and drill down and talk to the departments, pull a lot of data and information out, assess their mission, how they’re accomplishing that, and what their future needs would be.”

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Education
7:54 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Pittsburgh Schools Unlikely to Follow Path of Troubled Philadelphia School District

As state lawmakers continue to work with Philadelphia officials on getting school to start on time this year, Pittsburgh Public Schools are slated to start on time, and with no layoffs. Philadelphia's school system faces a $81 million budget gap, and officials there say it could delay the start of the year and lead to layoffs and larger class sizes.

Pittsburgh School Board President Thomas Sumpter said the schools are not in crisis mode, but the system does face challenges.

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Education
2:29 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Parts of Student-Drafted Bill of Rights Adopted by Pittsburgh Public Schools Board

Last year, students from several Pittsburgh public schools came together with education advocacy group A+ Schools and the Education Law Center to craft the Student Bill of Rights. While the entire list was not adopted, parts of it were incorporated into a revised Student Code approved by the Pittsburgh Public Schools board.

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Ebola Outbreak
2:13 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Ebola Poses No Threat to Pennsylvania, Health Officials Say

As the death toll from the Ebola virus in African continues to climb, and with two Americans infected with the disease coming back to the states for treatment, health officials are trying to calm fears that an outbreak could happen here.

“There’s been concern that bringing these ill Americans home will cause spread of the disease in the U.S. This is not a reasonable concern,” said Carrie DeLone, MD, Pennsylvania’s Physician General. “These individuals are contained in a bubble environment during transport and remain so until they get to their isolation unit here”

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Environment & Energy
5:34 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

EPA Hearing Wraps Up in Pittsburgh; Public Comment Period Continues

The two-day EPA hearing on the proposed rules to cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants wraps up Friday evening in Pittsburgh. This closes a series of hearings on the subject held in four U.S. cities.

“We collect all the comments that we received here. There’s also a process for us to take comments from folks who want to submit them between now and Oct. 16,” said Shawn Garvin, administrator for the EPA mid-Atlantic region. “Those will help inform us as we put together a final rule.”

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