Deanna Garcia

Senior 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.

 

Ways to Connect

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The “Soul of Kennywood” is how some refer to the band organ that sits in the center of the park’s carousel.

It’s a century old and each year before the park opens for the summer, it gets serviced. For the last two years, Joe Hilferty has been the man tuning and fixing the organ, which consists of a series of wooden pipes encased behind a pane.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

When the first Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week kicked off in 2012, there were about five craft breweries in Pittsburgh, including Penn Brewery, which planned the inaugural celebration.

Now, as the 2017 celebration prepares to kick off, there are closer to 35 breweries in the region. Eighteen of them are participating in the week-long celebration this year – the largest number so far. Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week Board President Brian Meyer said that’s fitting.

Kassia Janesch / National Aviary

Ever wonder what it’s like to experience flying the way a bird does?

It’s possible – sort of – with the National Aviary’s new virtual reality exhibit. It lets visitors get a feel for what it would be like to flap their wings through the sky.

While lying on a moveable platform, the user stretches out their arms across a mechanical wingspan, which they can flap during virtual flight. After an Aviary employee secures the headset and headphones, you’re off and soaring over New York City. 

Joshua Franzos / Pittsburgh Foundation

An unusual election season led to an unusual donation pattern for the Pittsburgh Foundation in 2016—an influx of $18 million in donations came in the last four weeks of the year. That’s nearly double the amount from the same period in 2015.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Artist Ron Donoughe has captured the city’s neighborhoods one brush stroke at a time. The plein air painter has visited each neighborhood, paintbrush in hand, in front of an easel and canvas for his 90 neighborhoods series, now on display at the Heinz History Center.

90.5 WESA’s Deanna Garcia recently spoke with Donoughe at his studio in Lawrenceville.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

A piece of Pittsburgh sports history has been gifted to the Heinz History Center. The uniform and bat wielded by Bill Mazeroski in the Pirates' 1960 World Series-clinching victory against the New York Yankees will be part of its permanent collection.

“This is the very bat he held in his hand that day, October 13, 1960, and this is the uniform he wore that day,"  said Andy Masich, president and CEO of the History Center. "It still has Mazeroski’s sweat from 1960 on it."

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

City leaders considered ideas to restructure the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority in a half-day discussion at the City-County Building on Friday.

Mayor Bill Peduto and his appointed Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel interviewed candidates competing to help evaluate the debt-ridden authority, which has been under more intense scrutiny lately for lead and other contaminants in some city water lines.

PicoCTF / CMU

What’s being billed as the largest hacking contest ever is launching Friday.

PicoCTF from Carnegie Mellon University aims to educate middle and high school students on the importance of computer security and tackle a common misconception – that hacking is bad.

“What hacking is about is understanding computers deeply and understanding how they function and how they may have bugs in them, how something may go wrong and being able to anticipate that,” said David Brumley, director of CyLab, CMU’s security and privacy institute.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

A new exhibit at Future Tenant aims to put a different face on Pittsburgh’s homeless population.

 

“The homeless are often seen as invisible people on the street, we ignore them, we walk by them, we just do our own thing,” said Daniel See, an art student at CMU.

Jen Saffron / Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council

A delegation of 20 Pittsburgh-area artists and arts advocates spent Monday and Tuesday in Washington, D.C. for the annual Arts Advocacy Day. For the last 30 years, advocates from across the country have met at the nation’s capital to lobby for the arts. But this year, participants said there’s a more at stake.

Rusty Clark / Flickr

As the first day of spring arrived Monday, so too did the yearly bloom of orange barrels. PennDOT announced 32 projects on local state-owned roads and bridges, which will cost an estimated $220 million. The largest undertaking is the rehabilitation of Interstate 279, known as the Parkway North.

“Currently we’re doing prep work in both directions that require single-lane restrictions during the daylight hours, overnight and on weekends,” said PennDOT Spokesman Steve Cowan.

Cowan said that prep work is expected to continue through March 30.

Matt Rourke / AP

Linda Deafenbaugh’s husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 48. The couple lives in Ohioville, Beaver County and Deafenbaugh has been her husband’s primary care giver for the last seven years.

Now 55, he can’t be left alone and Deafenbaugh said she often feels overwhelmed. That’s why she attended one of the seven Alzheimer’s disease forums held by Pennsylvania Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne.

“To find out what’s available, as far as resources, and also to put word out there that in the rural areas, there is nothing,” Deafenbaugh said.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The Allegheny County Medical Examiners Office is one of only a few in the country that also has an in-house forensic laboratory.

90.5 WESA’s Deanna Garcia spoke with Medical Examiner Karl Williams about the facility and ongoing trends.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

The Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh

Once an automobile showroom, the building that houses the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh will soon have a little more room to grow.

The organization serves approximately 6,000 women, children and families each year, but has run out of room to house them.

“We have been over capacity every night for a few years,” said Board Chair Sara Davis Buss. “In fact, in 2016, we turned away over 700 people who needed our services.”

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Anxiety treatment that integrates regular telephone follow-ups may be more effective than traditional treatment through a primary care physician alone.

The finding is the result of a University of Pittsburgh-led study that focused mainly on anxiety and panic disorders. Of a total 329 patients referred from their UPMC-affiliated practices, researchers selected 250 who were considered “highly anxious.” Researchers randomly chose some “highly anxious” participants to receive phone call follow-ups from care managers, in addition to their regular care.

Matt Slocum / AP

After a series of bomb threats against Jewish schools and day centers Monday, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said President Donald Trump told a group of attorneys general from across the country that "the reverse can be true, meaning someone is doing it to make others look bad."

Shapiro said that's how Trump responded when asked how federal, state and local agencies can work to prevent further incidents while on a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. The day school two of Shapiro's children attend was one of the locations threatened and evacuated.

Jacqueline Larma / AP

Jewish centers in York and Harrisburg were among those affected by a wave of bomb threats in at least 11 states Monday. This came the day after more than 100 headstones were knocked over at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Sprout Fund is collaborating with city and county leaders to help young black men build digital literacy skills and find jobs.

The City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and the Sprout Fund will partner together as part of the national My Brother’s Keeper initiative to connect organizations that work with youth to help close the digital divide and prepare men of color between the ages of 16 and 24 for the workforce.

David Bachman / Pittsburgh Opera

There is no fancy set, no elaborate costumes. Just a small three-level stage, a string quartet and two opera singers — who both happen to be playing the same person.

“My character is Hannah Before; Hannah before she transitions to female,” said Brian Vu, a resident artist with the Pittsburgh Opera.

Fellow resident artist Taylor Raven is Hannah After.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

On Dec. 15, 2016, Morgan Yoney’s life changed. She received a phone call in her hospital room – a pair of lungs had become available. Morgan had spent 21 days in the ICU at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital waiting for a lung transplant.

“They said I was on death’s doorstep,” Morgan said.

The 22-year-old’s quest for lungs had spread through the region, thanks to the “Morgan’s Army” Facebook page and a campaign by several North Hills businesses.  

Beginning of the Journey

A Qualitative Study of Youth and the Juvenile Justice System: A 100 Percent Pittsburgh Pilot Project / Pittsburgh Foundation

Youth need more of a say in shaping the juvenile justice system they're a part of, according to a report released Monday by the Pittsburgh Foundation.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

A Washington County funeral director is expected in court April 21, charged with stealing $340,000 from elderly clients.

A criminal complaint against Lynn Taucher of the Taucher Funeral Home in Burgettstown alleges theft of amounts ranging from $600 to $11,000 from 49 individuals. 

Pennsylvania law requires that money pre-paid for funerals go into a special, individual escrow account.

PennDOT

Some major Pittsburgh-area roadway projects are slated to either start or continue in the New Year, including work on the Liberty Bridge. Phase one of construction on the span started in 2015 and despite a structure fire that threatened to delay progress, it was competed in 2016.

“In 2017, work on the Liberty Bridge, what’s most important will be to complete the bridge deck overlay,” said Dan Cessna, PennDOT District Executive. “Folks have asked why they don’t have a smooth ride over the bridge and it is, in fact, because the final layer of concrete has not been placed yet.”

Dan Burda / Studio Raw Facebook

Morgan Yoney’s hospital room at UPMC Presbyterian was dim, even though it was the middle of a sunny day in Pittsburgh. Still, the walls were covered in colorful cards sent by some of the more than 17,000 followers of “Morgan’s Army.” Morgan is currently in the hospital, waiting for a new set of lungs.

“Morgan was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at 9 months old,” said her mother, Tammy Yoney.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Torrey Davis wants the police violence to stop.

After the police shooting deaths of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana, Davis planted himself in front of the North Side Zone 1 police office on Thursday, holding up a sign decrying the violence against black men by police officers.

Antonio Licon / 91.3 WYEP

The shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning didn’t deter the celebrations in Pittsburgh. The city’s annual Pride parade stepped off at noon followed by Pride Fest downtown.

Crowds started gathering more than an hour before start time, and many people said while they were sad and nervous, they did not want to stay home.

OpenBiome

They're not as ubiquitous as blood or sperm banks, but another kind of biological substance also sits in cold storage ready to treat desperately ill or ailing patients. In Pittsburgh, the use of stool banks for fecal transplants is on the rise.

www.governor.pa.gov

Pennsylvania recently became the first state to launch a federal campaign to stop sexual assault on college campuses.

The national initiative was announced in 2014 by President Barack Obama with the goal of building a movement to address, respond to and ultimately prevent sexual violence. A local "On Us PA" launched in late January.

90.5 WESA

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said Thursday officials should re-examine the use of police dogs while dealing with suspects, as community members continue to question the fatal shooting of a man who killed a police K-9.

Pittsburgh Police K9 Unit / Facebook

Pittsburgh social justice activists and a police accountability group are seeking answers following the deadly shooting of Bruce T. Kelley Jr., and calling for a possible policy change in regard to police dogs.

Pages