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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Science & Technology
3:30 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Android App Privacy Graded on New Online Report Card from CMU

More than half of American adults have a smartphone. With those smartphones come a variety of apps one can download — either free or purchased. As privacy concerns continue for many Americans, a new project out of Carnegie Mellon University seeks to shed light on how personal information is used by Android apps, namely the free ones.

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Community
7:44 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Measuring Poverty's Impact on the LGBT Community

There are 45.3 million Americans living in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Poverty affects people from all walks of life, in all areas of the country, but according to several studies, people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender are hit by poverty more often than others.

“I struggle every day,” said Lynn, who lives just outside Pittsburgh. She didn’t want to use her last name. Lynn identifies as lesbian, and she doesn’t work because of a disability. Lynn is also diabetic and living on a very fixed income.

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Community
3:48 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Allentown Neighborhood Next Target of Revitalization Efforts

The Hilltop Alliance has announced a six-year, $1.5 million dollar economic development and community services grant aimed at bringing the struggling neighborhood back to life. Allentown, nestled between Mt. Washington and the South Side Slopes, has a high vacancy rate, nearly double that of the city's median rate and property values about half the city's median value.

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Government & Politics
2:24 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Allegheny County Controller Says Fitzgerald Misused County-Owned Vehicle

County Controller Chelsa Wagner stands next to a poster displaying a tweet from County Executive Rich Fitzgerald at the Democratic National Convention.
Credit Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner is accusing County Executive Rich Fitzgerald of mishandling thousands of dollars in taxpayer funds by using his county-owned vehicle for personal purposes.

At a news conference Thursday, Wagner said she sent Fitzgerald a letter instructing him to send her staff accurate documentation so they can determine how much he must reimburse the county. She said his office would have to determine how they would reimburse the funds.

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Economy & Business
4:35 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

PA Auditor General Launches Audit of Pittsburgh’s Pension Plans

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and PA Auditor General Eugene DePasquale announce an audit of Pittsburgh's pension plans for police, firefighters and municipal employees.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Mayor Bill Peduto said that for too long the city has had a "Kennywood approach" to pensions — with ups and downs and warnings and signals about their viability and effect on city budget.

In an effort to ensure the pension plans for police, firefighters and municipal employees do not become a financial liability, Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has launched an audit of those plans. Peduto joined the auditor general for the announcement, saying it’s time to dig deep into Pittsburgh’s numbers.

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Election 2014
12:43 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Conceding PA Governor's Race, Corbett Thanks Supporters

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, center, pauses as he stands with his wife Susan, right, and Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, left, as he concedes the election to Democratic candidate Tom Wolf in Pittsburgh. Corbett is the first governor to go down in defeat in the four decades since the state's chief executive was allowed to run for a second term.
Credit AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Even after the governor’s race had been called for Tom Wolf by several major networks, Gov. Tom Corbett’s wife, Susan, addressed supporters, assuring them the night was young, and her husband would come back to win.

That didn’t happen – and shortly before 10 p.m. Tom Corbett addressed a crowd gathered at a downtown Pittsburgh hotel to concede the race.

“The privilege of serving as your governor for the last four years is quite an honor, it’s the honor of a lifetime,” Corbett said.

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Community
3:30 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Homewood-Brushton YMCA Reopens After Months-Long Closure

In June, an electrical fire forced the closure of the Homewood-Brushton YMCA facility. Initially, YMCA officials had expected to reopen the facility in late summer or early fall, but the whole building had to be cleaned because of smoke damage, and the entire electrical system had to be repaired. Even with the facility closed, many programs were able to continue.

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Arts & Culture
3:30 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Duane Michaels Exhibit Covers Six Decades of Work from McKeesport-Raised Photographer

Duane Michals
Deanna Garcia 90.5 WESA

Photographer Duane Michals grew up in McKeesport, but it was a trip to Russia that prompted his foray into photography.

"So going to Russia, I figured I should take pictures, so I borrowed a camera," said Michals. "Though I did take a course in photography, I didn't even own a camera. And I didn't take a light meter because I thought if I owned a light meter that meant I was officially a photographer, and that would have been intimidating ... if I had never gone to Russia, I never would have been a photographer, it literally changed my life."

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Government & Politics
4:34 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Emergency Services Audit Finds Response Times Steady, Despite Rise in Demand

The City of Pittsburgh’s Bureau of Emergency Services (EMS) has seen increased call volume in recent years, and responders have kept pace. That’s according to an audit released Wednesday by Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb.

“Back in 2006/2007 we were looking at almost 116,000 calls, now we’re up to almost 122,000 calls in that two-year period [2012-2013], and despite that increase in call volume, we found that average response times pretty much held steady,” said Lamb.

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Environment & Energy
4:39 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

New Facility Turns Acid Mine Drainage into Water for Fracking

A holding pond containing acid mine drainage - that water goes through the tanks in the background, is treated and can potentially be used for oil and gas operations.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

A new demonstration project in Sarver, about 30 miles outside Pittsburgh, is taking a decades-old problem and turning it into a possible solution for the natural gas industry. Winner Water Service has launched treatment facility that aims to clean up polluted water – and sell it to natural gas developers for use in fracking operations.

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Transportation
3:06 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Law Enforcement Targeting Aggressive Driving in Pittsburgh Region and Beyond

Starting now, law enforcement agencies across Pennsylvania will be targeting aggressive drivers. Each year, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation funds local efforts to crack down on behaviors such as speeding, tailgating and running red lights.

“Some people call it road rage, we call it aggressive driving,” said Juliann Sheldon, a PennDOT spokeswoman. “We see a vast number of accidents because of these road rage issues. By changing driver behavior, that will help to decrease the number of crashes and fatalities we see on our roadways.”

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Education
7:54 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Two-Year Effort Aims to Increase Community Engagement in Education

A one-year study on community engagement in public education found that empowering parents and the community to be more active in their children’s education could improve outcomes for students.

That's according to a one-year analysis done Brown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform (AISR) on behalf of the Pittsburgh-based Heinz Endowments. As a result, Heinz Endowments is supporting a two-year effort to increase community engagement.

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Business
3:29 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

New Film Studio Aims To Bolster Pittsburgh Film Industry And Struggling Borough

Island Studios President Mike Dolan (far left), Governor Tom Corbett and others break ground on a new film complex that will include a sound proof stage and office space.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh has gotten a lot of attention from Hollywood in recent years, with several high-profile films and television shows being shot here. With the help of a new film complex in McKees Rocks, the hope is that the industry will continue to expand.

“We announce the groundbreaking for the region’s first built, newly constructed, multi-stage complex for production of TV shows, commercials and feature films,” said Mike Dolan, president of Island Studios.

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Government & Politics
1:30 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Commission Gathers Feedback For Basic Education Funding Formula

A commission charged with examining the state’s basic education funding formula heard from a number of education officials at an Allegheny County hearing this week.

“The message is clear that we need to come up, as a commission, with a fair, equitable and transparent way to distribute education investment throughout the commonwealth,” said Sen. Matt Smith (D-Allegheny/Washington), one of 15 commission members.

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Economy & Business
2:04 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Partnership Seeks to Fill Jobs Gap in Oil and Gas Industry

A recent survey of 37 energy companies in southwestern Pennsylvania found some 7,000 jobs will need to be filled between now and 2020, jobs that are critical to ongoing operations.

That’s according to the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, which conducted the survey. CEO Dennis Yablonsky said with more than 1,000 energy companies in the greater region, the job needs are likely much higher. The problem is finding enough skilled workers to fill those jobs.

Enter the Appalachia Partnership Initiative.

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Economy & Business
1:46 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Pittsburgh Region Tops In Homeownership, But Vacancies An Issue

The Pittsburgh region is at the top of a list of similarly-sized metro regions when it comes to home ownership. That’s according to a report from Pittsburgh Today, a nonprofit research organization housed at the University of Pittsburgh.

“Among our 15 benchmark regions, the homeownership rate in Pittsburgh is the highest of all the regions,” said Doug Heuck, director of Pittsburgh Today, “and homeownership is a general sign of stability, investedness in the place that you live.”

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Health
2:56 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

UPMC Doctors: Ebola Threat 'Very Low,' But Facilities Prepared For Possible Cases

U.S. Senator Bob Casey and Dr. Donald Yealy of UPMC discuss Ebola preparedness. Casey said more federal funding is needed to ensure health systems across the country are prepared.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Sen. Bob Casey joined UPMC officials Friday to assure the Pittsburgh region that area facilities are equipped to deal with any possible Ebola cases.

This as Gov. Tom Corbett announced that three Pennsylvanians are being monitored for symptoms; they were on a flight from Cleveland to Dallas with the nurse who tested positive for the virus.

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Education
12:34 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Upper St. Clair Young Scientist is “America’s Top Young Scientist”

A ninth grade Pittsburgh-area student is the 2014 winner of the national 3M Discovery Young Scientist Challenge. He won this week for a prototype new generation battery called the PolluCell.

“My innovation is a battery that uses carbon dioxide and recycled materials such as aluminum and silver to generate electricity,” said Sahil Doshi.

The 16th annual competition has a goal of reaching a new generation of scientist at an age when interest in the subject largely begins to wane – middle school. Doshi entered the competition as an 8th grader.

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Economy & Business
3:52 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Disability Summit Connects Employers with Potential Employees

Corporations large and small, along with service providers, local activists, leaders and education officials are gathered in Pittsburgh for the first Disability Employment Summit, sponsored by the PNC Financial Service Group.

“Knowing that there’s a high unemployment rate with people with disabilities in this region,” said Amanda Snow, with PNC, “there are a number of opportunities and current openings, so how do we match those up?”

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Public Safety
2:57 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Pittsburgh Police Officers Asked to Not Blame Mayor for Citations Issued

As the Pittsburgh Police continue to work to mend relationships with the community, some officers are allegedly throwing the mayor under the bus. Director of Public Safety Stephen Bucar has sent an e-mail to the new police chief, asking that officers stop blaming Mayor Bill Peduto for tickets they issue.

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Education
4:21 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Report: Colleges and Universities in Pittsburgh a Major Economic Driver

The 10 colleges and universities that make up the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education (PCHE) represented approximately 32 percent of the city’s gross domestic product in FY 2012-13, according to a report released by PCHE.

“We have contributed close to $9 billion into the regional economy and we’re supporting more than 70,000 jobs in the City of Pittsburgh, which is one out of every four jobs,” said Paul Hennigan, PCHE chair and president of Point Park University.

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Community
7:50 am
Thu October 9, 2014

On Police/Community Relations, Peduto Says 'Culture Change' Underway In Pittsburgh

Acting Police Chief Cameron McLay, Brandi Fisher, president of Alliance for Police Accountability, former police officer Sheldon Williams and Mayor Bill Peduto (left to right) were panelists during a special live community forum Wednesday evening.
Chris Squier 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s acting police chief and Mayor Bill Peduto were two panelists in a discussion on police/community relations as part of the Mayor’s Night on Air at the Community Broadcast Center Wednesday evening.

Tensions have been high between police and the black community in Pittsburgh due to issues that have been building up for decades. Now, Peduto said work is underway to change that.

“We have done more than just hiring a police chief; we have created a culture change within Pittsburgh,” Peduto said.

Peduto cited his hiring of Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar and bringing in a new chief from outside the ranks of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. He also said through years of politics in the department, control over the organization and morale has taken a hit. Acting Police Chief Cameron McLay said he has been welcomed by rank-and-file officers, but he knows change won’t occur overnight.

“Culture is a slow thing to change. It takes years and years and years to change culture,” McLay said. “But effective leaders working together can change climate a lot faster, so that’s what we are trying to do here.”

To start to tackle the issue, Peduto said three critical areas within policing need to be reformed. The first is how officers are recruited.

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Science & Technology
3:30 am
Mon October 6, 2014

CMU BrainHub Tackles the Still Murky Field of Brain Science

With all of the medical and scientific advances of recent decades, there is still a bit of a mystery within the human body — the brain. To try and better understand it, Carnegie Mellon University has launched the BrainHub initiative.

“It’s actually, I would say, almost embarrassing how little we know, and even more than that, how little we can do, to try and deal with brain disorders of a variety of kinds,” said CMU Interim Provost Nathan Urban.

The hope is that more can be learned about disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

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Economy & Business
3:41 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

U.S. Steel Staying Put in Pittsburgh; Manufacturing Bouncing Back in PA

Governor Tom Corbett joined by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and House Majority Leader Mike Turzai and others marking Manufacturing Day at U.S. Steel's Research and Technology Center
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Governor Tom Corbett announced Friday that U.S. Steel is keeping its headquarters in Pittsburgh and expanding its Mon Valley Works operation.

The announcement came as state officials fanned across Pennsylvania to mark National Manufacturing Day.

U.S. Steel employs some 4,300 people in the Pittsburgh region. In an effort to keep them headquartered in the steel city, Corbett says the state has committed up to $30.7 million in grants for expansions and improvements.

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Education
3:30 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Young Playwrights Team Up With Pros At City Theatre Fest

Young playwrights Joseph Bornes (far right) and Michelle Do (second from right) and the actors in their plays answer audience questions. The pair are two of the winners of City Theatre's Young Playwrights Contest.
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

While many kids spent the summer swimming, playing video games or going to camp, six area kids spent theirs working with theater professionals to produce plays they’d written.

City Theatre’s Young Playwright’s contest takes six works from middle and high school students in Western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia. The contest is in its 15th year, and this year’s selections were whittled down from more than 300 submissions.

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Economy & Business
4:15 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

More Space Coming to Pittsburgh International Business Park Near Airport

Ground has been broken for the fourth building at the Pittsburgh International Business Park in Moon Township.

The new building, on Cherrington Parkway, has no announced tenants yet, but that’s not a concern, said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

“We broke ground over the last couple of years on three of them that are now full,” he said. “They are full with tech companies, engineering companies and mortgage service companies.”

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Education
4:42 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Early Education Panel Submits Application for Federal Grant, Looks at the Long-Term

A group working to expand access to early childhood learning programs in Pittsburgh has released its recommendations to state officials – as Pennsylvania gears up to apply for a piece of a nationwide $250 million preschool development grant. In Pittsburgh, the share would be used to expand access for lower-income children first.

“This grant would provide more access for 378 more children who are currently on a waiting list to be served in a high-quality program,” said Cosette Grant-Overton, manager of educational development in the mayor’s office.

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Public Safety
5:35 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Working Group Releases Report on Combating Opioid, Heroin Epidemic

Members of the U.S. Attorney's Working Group on Drug Overdose and Addiction left to right: Michael Flaherty, U.S. Attorney David Hickton and Neil Capretto.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Heroin and prescription drug abuse is at epidemic levels in western Pennsylvania and across the nation, according to U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania David Hickton. His U.S. Attorney’s Working Group on Drug Overdoses and Addiction has released a report outlining the problem and making recommendations to combat it going forward. The main goal of the group is to reduce overdose deaths.

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Education
3:30 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Education Officials to Try Out a Flexible Days Program to Cut Down on Missed School Days

One of the perks of being a kid in the winter is the “snow day,” but a new program being introduced in Pennsylvania may make those even more coveted than they are now.

Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq has announced that a Flexible Instructional Days pilot program is now open to schools.

“What this does is it provides alternatives for schools across the commonwealth to offer anything from cyber to digital-based learning in place of students being able to physically be in the classroom,” said department spokesman Timothy Eller.

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Health
3:30 am
Sun September 28, 2014

Race and Ethnicity May be Factors in Risk of Fat Around the Heart

A new study from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health may shed light on some of the risk factors heart disease – namely that race and ethnicity may place a role in a man’s likelihood of accumulating fat around the heart.

“This is important because fat around the heart has been shown to be a risk factor of cardiovascular disease,” said Samar El Khoudary, an assistant professor of epidemiology and the study's lead author.

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