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

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.

Brett Levin / Flickr

 

Late last year, The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced it was easing requirements for FDA-approved clinical trials of cannabis. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Sediment and pollution still plague the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, which supplies water for agricultural purposes in several states, including Pennsylvania.

AP

 

United States Steel Corp. on Tuesday reported a fourth-quarter loss of $999 million, reversing a profit a year ago, as revenue plunged 37 percent and the company blamed cheap subsidized imports for hurting the price of flat-rolled steel.

Google Maps

 

Some of the remaining residents of the Penn Plaza Apartments in East Liberty have formed a crisis committee, and are asking for more time, as the deadline for relocation nears.

About 30 units in the apartment complex remain occupied, and residents have until Feb. 28 to vacate. 

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

It’s been one year since the Allegheny Health Network opened an urgent care center in Braddock. 

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County Health Department officials announced their first group of “Live Well” restaurants on Thursday in a continued effort to provide healthier options to locals.

The list, so far, includes the Bridges Restaurant in the Oakland Wyndham hotel and four UPMC hospital cafeterias and cafes.

Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team

About 130 dogs have gone from a bad situation to safety thanks to a Pittsburgh organization that rescues canines throughout the Midwest, south and eastern part of the U.S.

The Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team uses a small fleet of airplanes, most privately-owned, to rescue dogs in various situations.  

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Following the shooting of a police officer in Philadelphia in early January, one state lawmaker is calling on his colleagues to consider legislation that would mandate the reporting of lost or stolen firearms.

“We have no way right now to go out and prosecute and finish a prosecution of a lost or stolen gun, because there is no responsibility on a gun owner to report a lost or stolen gun,” said Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The gun used in the Jan. 8 shooting of Philadelphia police officer Jesse Hartnett had been stolen from another police officer and reported in 2013. But Farnese said there are many crimes involving firearms in which a reporting law would help law enforcement.

Pittsburgh Commuter Survey

  City officials released initial results from a survey of Pittsburgh-area commuters on Thursday, sharing insight into the commuting patterns of some city travelers. 

Pittsburgh Today

People of color who live in the city are significantly less likely to recommend Pittsburgh and say race plays a more significant role in their jobs than their white counterparts. 

That was the finding of a survey done by the University Center for Social and Urban Research at the University of Pittsburgh. It’s called the Pittsburgh Regional Diversity Survey.

Imagens Evangélicas / Flickr

State legislators touted Pennsylvania’s improvements in anti-human trafficking laws, as Monday marked the 9th annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

Parker Knight / Flickr

A slate of changes to the state’s early childhood development and learning programs are in the works, including extending how long children can access subsidized child care and providing more assistance to low-income families.

Pennsylvania DEP / YouTube

Pennsylvania health officials are urging residents to be aware of a deadly gas that is found in many homes, radon. It’s is an odorless and colorless gas that can cause lung cancer.

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Health. January is National Radon Action Month and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is trying to raise awareness through statewide public service announcements.

Ken Marshall / Flickr

The Pennsylvania Treasury announced Monday the distribution of $3.3 billion in emergency payments to school districts, counties and human services organizations. Gov. Tom Wolf released the funds last week, while vetoing parts of a budget proposal left to him before Christmas.

Archives Service Center / University of Pittsburgh

 

Officials want to find out if making Negley Run back into an open stream will help reduce sewage overflow when it rains.

Area water management utilities, along with local, state and federal governments continue to work on infrastructure upgrades that will drastically reduce the amount of raw sewage that overflows into area rivers during wet weather. 

That’s why the Army Corps of Engineers announced in December it would contribute $1 million to help fund a study on Negley Run.

National Council on Teacher Quality

  Pennsylvania can do a lot more to bolster the effectiveness of its teachers, according to a report released earlier this month from the National Council on Teacher Quality.

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