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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Transportation
2:38 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

No Average Bus Shelter: New 'Super Stop' Opens in Robinson

The Super Stop features the familiar bus shelters and benches, but also picnic tables.
Deanna Garcia 90.5 WESA

Waiting for buses at stops can often mean standing in or near a bus shelter – typically it’s not a fancy or a very comfortable experience.

Enter the new Super Stop in the Ikea parking lot in Robinson.

The Airport Corridor Transportation Association (ACTA) held a grand opening for the stop Tuesday. It does have the bus shelters and benches, but outside of the shelters, there’s an area with tables and chairs, making it seem more like somebody’s patio than a bus stop. Though, as officials pointed out, the Super Stop is not meant just for bus commuters.

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Public Safety
2:59 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Overall Crime Dropped in Pittsburgh in 2013, But Homicides and Rapes Increased

The overall crime rate in Pittsburgh for 2013 was reduced by 6.6 percent over 2012, according to the city’s Department of Public Safety. The drop is credited, primarily, to a decrease in property crimes.

Violent crime is down by 2.6 percent, but when broken down into categories, all violent crime categories, except for robbery, increased. Robbery dropped 15.8 percent over 2012.

The number of rapes is up, but a news release from the Department of Public Safety attributed the rise to the inclusion of male victims in the Uniform Crime Reporting definition of rape.  

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Transportation
11:24 am
Thu July 24, 2014

PUC Approves Emergency Ride-Sharing Permits

The state Public Utility Commission has approved emergency permits for two ride-sharing companies that have been operating in the Pittsburgh area.
 
The companies have come under fire over concerns that drivers, their vehicles and their insurance don't meet regulations for taxi cabs and other similar services. The companies have argued their services are just as safe but have been targeted because they don't fit neatly into current public transportation regulations.
 

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Education
1:45 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Pittsburgh Learning Lessons from NYC on Universal Pre-K

Pittsburgh officials traveled to New York City to learn about how the city is implementing universal Pre-K programs.
Credit Barnaby Wasson / Flickr

As Pennsylvania continues a campaign to ensure access to PRE-K programs for all children, Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, a representative from Mayor Bill Peduto’s office, Pittsburgh Public Schools, and a group from the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC) traveled to New York City to see how that city is implementing universal Pre-K.

Rudiak said one thing is clear: It takes multiple players working together to pull it off.

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Government & Politics
5:12 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Pittsburgh City Council Votes to Continue Funding for Crime Reduction Initiative

Pittsburgh City Council has approved a measure for a professional service agreement between Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania and the city for the continuation of the Pittsburgh Initiative to Reduce Crime (PIRC).

This comes with a $150,000 price tag, which Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith questioned.

“I don’t mind funding anything if we see results, but I don’t want to fund something if we don’t see results, and I have not seen results from this program,” she said.

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Transportation
5:06 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

As Ridesharing Debate Continues, Some Look Into Whether Services Reduce DUIs

The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission continues to try stopping ridesharing services Uber and Lyft from operating in the Pittsburgh area, often citing that the drivers are not regulated by the state, which is a safety concern.

This prompted one Pittsburgh man to look into a major safety issue – driving under the influence.

“Under that safety argument I decided to look into DUIs, arguably one of biggest dangers on the road, this could have been having a profound change in that area,” said Nate Good.

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Environment & Energy
2:37 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

US Energy Secretary Hears from Pittsburgh on Natural Gas Future

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Congressman Tim Murphy addressed the importance of infrastructure for the future of natural gas development at a public meeting at CMU.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the U.S. Department of Energy is holding meetings across the country on infrastructure needs for the natural gas industry.

On Monday the, the seventh such meeting, the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) Public Meeting, was held in Pittsburgh. The day-long meeting focused on key infrastructure needed for transmission, storage and distribution of energy – especially natural gas, which continues boom, especially in this region.

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Economy & Business
3:30 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Report: Pittsburgh Region Saw Job Growth Last Year, But Manufacturing Still a Concern

After seeing no appreciable job growth in the Pittsburgh metro area more than a year ago, the region added 10,700 jobs between June 2013 and June 2014, according to a report from Pittsburgh Today.

“That’s a 0.9 percent increase, which doesn’t set the world on fire, but Pittsburgh has always been kind of a slow and steady grower,” said Doug Heuck, Pittsburgh Today director. “But it’s good news that we’re back growing jobs again.”

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Environment & Energy
12:13 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

No New Gas Leases in State Parks and Forests Pending Court Decision

The Corbett administration has announced that no new natural gas leases will be issued under state parks and forest land while the case of PEDF v. Commonwealth progresses in court.

The decision is part of a settlement, which includes the continued funding of the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The suit was brought by the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation.

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Health
5:28 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Legionella Detected at UPMC Presbyterian; No Patients Sickened

Eleven patients from a unit at UPMC Presbyterian were moved to other parts of the hospital following the detection of legionella in several sinks in a recently-remodeled area.

There are no confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease, but UPMC spokeswoman Wendy Zellner said the patients were moved as a precautionary measure.

“We are following our normal Legionella monitoring and prevention protocols and expect the unit to reopen soon after proper remediation measures are taken,” Zellner said in a statement.

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Business
3:30 am
Wed July 16, 2014

PWSA Now Accepting Cash Payments at 7-Eleven Stores

Customers of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority now have another payment option at their disposal – cash payments at 7-Eleven stores.

“It’s a convenience for our customers who don’t have a bank account, a credit card, a debit card, they may be out of town,” said Melissa Rubin, a PWSA spokeswoman. “Cash payments can be made at any 7-Eleven across the U.S.”

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Transportation
2:50 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Port Authority Diverts Funds to Study Bus Rapid Transit Line

The Port Authority of Allegheny County approved shifting $1.56 million dollars from its capital budget to add to the amount needed to study a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line between downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland.

Port Authority Chairman Bob Hurley said an initial engineering and environmental study is a critical part of the process.

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Government & Politics
7:48 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Corbett Faces Tough Challenge in Budget Decision

Gov. Tom Corbett has yet to sign the $29.1 billion budget passed by state lawmakers last week. He said he would not sign a budget that does not include a pension overhaul.

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Health
2:25 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Allegheny Health Network and Johns Hopkins Finalize Agreement for Cancer Collaboration

A five-year agreement between Allegheny Health Network and Johns Hopkins Medicine has been signed, finalizing a partnership between AHN and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in Washington, DC.

“Cancer patients and their families benefit and their outcomes improve when we share knowledge and expertise because then we can accelerate knowledge transfer and treatment advances outside of communities where patients live,” said Dr. David Parda, system chair of the AHN Cancer Institute.

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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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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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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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Government & Politics
3:12 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Democrats Slam State Budget

The Pennsylvania Senate passed a $29.1 billion state budget late Monday to the fanfare of Republicans and jeers of Democrats. Gov. Tom Corbett has yet to sign the budget, citing a lack of a pension overhaul.

Sen. Matt Smith (D-Allegheny/Washington) is one of many Democrats displeased with the bill.

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Community
9:09 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Same-Sex Allegheny County Couples Want More Time Before Losing Domestic Partner Benefits

Now that same-sex marriage is legal in Pennsylvania, Allegheny County will require proof of marriage for same-sex couples seeking benefits.
Credit Flickr user Gexydaf

Allegheny County announced last week plans to cut off benefits to same-sex partners of its employees. The move was made because same-sex couples can now marry in Pennsylvania. Same-sex couples receiving benefits from Allegheny County must now show proof of marriage, or lose their domestic partner benefits.

It’s not so much the cutting off of benefits that has some worried, but the timeline. The benefits will be terminated August 1, giving employees and their partners little more than a month to arrange for new coverage, or get legally married.

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Government & Politics
5:15 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

City Council Members Tackle City’s Parking Woes

Whether in Lawrenceville, Downtown, the South Side or the Strip District, many Pittsburghers and visitors to the city complain about parking; either the lack of it or the cost of it.

City Councilman Dan Gilman held a post agenda on the issue Tuesday. Pittsburgh Acting Police Chief Regina McDonald said one of the problems is crowded neighborhood streets.

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City Government
3:37 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Peduto Issues Executive Order Aimed At Keeping Better Track Of Expenditures

Though he’s in Denmark for the week, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has issued an executive order which is meant to help city finance managers better keep track of where and how money is being spent.

“Effective immediately, and until further notice, all explanatory departmental expenditures, those are expenditures under $2,000, other than those that are done pursuant to an approved contract, must be pre-approved by OMB,” said Kevin Acklin, the mayor’s chief of staff.

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City Government
2:22 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Mayor’s Office Exploring How To Keep City From Getting Trashed After Large Events

Mayor Bill Peduto's Chief of Staff Kevin Acklin outlined some options being examined to help reduce the cleanup costs to the city following large events.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Following the weekend’s Luke Bryan concert at Heinz Field, the Internet has been abuzz with pictures and videos of people tailgating, people falling in the road drunk and garbage the crowds left behind — not unlike the aftermath of last year’s Kenny Chesney concert.

On Monday, the message from Mayor Bill Peduto's office was that the trashing of Pittsburgh needs to stop.

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Education
4:05 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Pitt Chancellor Nordenberg Gives Final Report To Trustees Before Stepping Down

Pitt Chancelor Mark Nordenberg attended his final Board of Trustees meeting as head of the institution. Board Chairman Stephen Tritch thanked him for his service.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

After 19 years as the head of the University of Pittsburgh, Mark Nordenberg will step down in August. He made the announcement last year, and Friday he attended his last Pitt Board of Trustees meeting, where Nordenberg was unanimously elected chancellor emeritus.

The designation will take effect when he officially leaves his post. At a news conference following the board meeting, Nordenberg said his greatest triumph is the chance in culture that has occurred since 1995.

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Government & Politics
4:15 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Casey Calls on Lawmakers to Extend Funding for Children’s Health Insurance

Approximately 271,000 Pennsylvania children have health care coverage through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and millions are covered nationwide.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey is calling on his fellow lawmakers to extend funding for the program through fiscal year 2019.

“The basic problem we’ve got is the program is authorized through fiscal year 2019, but not funded,” said Casey. “We can’t say that we’re doing what we should be doing for children if we don’t match the funding with the authorization.

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