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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Public Safety
8:49 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Community Shows Support As Franklin Regional Students Return To School

Community members line a road near Franklin Regional High School Wednesday to show support as students return to classes.

One week after more than 20 people were injured in a stabbing spree at Franklin Regional High School, students returned to the classroom.

On a chilly spring morning Wednesday, students held a prayer service before school on the football field. Outside of the school, on a road in front of a nearby church, a line of community members stood holding signs with messages such as “FR Strong” and “courage.”

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Public Safety
2:50 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

As Wounds Heal, Students Return To Franklin Regional High School

Classes will resume Wednesday at Franklin Regional High School, one week after stabbing incident left more than 20 wounded.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

A few of the most critically wounded in last Wednesday’s stabbing incident at Franklin Regional High School remain hospitalized. As they continue to heal, students, faculty and staff will return to a normal schedule Wednesday.

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Environment & Energy
11:50 am
Tue April 15, 2014

DCNR Natural Gas Advisory Committee to Discuss Development on State Forest Land

An advisory committee tasked with helping the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources manage natural gas drilling on state land will meet for the third time.

The Natural Gas Advisory Committee (NGAC) will cover two major issues in its April meeting.

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Philanthropy
2:31 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Heinz Endowments Names Grant Oliphant New President

Grant Oliphant has been named president of the Heinz Endowments. He currently heads the Pittsburgh Foundation.
Credit Heinz Endowments

The Pittsburgh-based Heinz Endowments has named Grant Oliphant as the charity's new president.

Oliphant previously spent more than 10 years with the Heinz Endowments in various senior management roles before spending the last six years as chief executive officer of another charity, the Pittsburgh Foundation.

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Ongoing Coverage
7:15 am
Thu April 10, 2014

A 'Blank Expression,' Then Bloodshed At Franklin Regional High School

A 16-year-old armed with two knives went on a stabbing and slashing spree at Franklin Regional High School Wednesday, leaving 22 people injured.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Flailing away with two kitchen knives, a 16-year-old boy with a "blank expression" stabbed and slashed 21 students and a security guard in the crowded halls of his suburban Pittsburgh high school Wednesday before an assistant principal tackled him. 

The suspect, Alex Hribal, was taken into custody and treated for a minor hand wound, then was brought into court Wednesday in shackles and a hospital gown and charged with four counts of attempted homicide and 21 counts of aggravated assault. He was jailed without bail, and authorities said he would be prosecuted as an adult.

Thursday's Developments: Victim Undergoes Another Surgery; School May Reopen Monday

School Stabbing Suspect Was 'Nice Young Boy,' Attorney Says

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Energy
3:30 am
Mon April 7, 2014

PA Public Utility Commission Adopts Requirements For Clearer Disclosures From Suppliers

This winter was a harsh one, with days of bitter cold temperatures that caused many households to turn up the thermostat.

Because of the high demand, many consumers who’d signed up for variable rate pricing plans had a nasty shock when their bills increased dramatically. Now the Public Utility Commission is stepping in to try and ensure customers understand what they are signing up for.

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Environment & Energy
1:19 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Results Mixed In 2012 Natural Gas Drilling Emissions Data

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has released annual emissions data for Marcellus Shale natural gas production for 2012. Emissions are tracked each year in an effort to assess air quality in the state.  

“The data shows two decreases and four increases in pollutant categories from natural gas emissions,” said DEP spokeswoman Morgan Wagner. “However, overall, total air contaminate emissions across the state have continued to decline.”

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Economy & Business
3:16 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

New Branding Aims To Support Pittsburgh's Growing Tourism Industry

VisitPITTSBURGH reports tourism is healthy and growing in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, with an estimated $55 billion in spending tied to the industry.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

At its annual meeting Thursday, VisitPITTSBURGH highlighted some of the successes in tourism in the last couple of years.

The national group Tourism Economics releases data on the industry; 2012 numbers were recently released for Allegheny County.

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Transportation
2:58 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Paving Season Starts, But Without Enough Money To Address All Bad Roads

Mayor Bill Peduto is calling on city crews to address 311 pothole complaints within three business days. Peduto was joined by Department of Public Works Director Mike Gable (left), DPW Supervisor Bill Crean and City Operations Chief Guy Costa.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

As warmer weather approaches, city crews are ready to start paving some of the most problematic streets in Pittsburgh.

Mayor Bill Peduto said following one of the worst winters in the last 20 years, roads have been left battered. But standing alongside the pothole-ridden Brookline Boulevard, he said road conditions can also be blamed on years of city budgets under-funding infrastructure.

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Transportation
3:08 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

East Liberty Transit Station Gets Additional Financial Boost from State

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Governor Tom Corbett, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Congressman Mike Doyle and Developer Steve Mosites break ground on another phase of the construction of the East Liberty Transit Center.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

A groundbreaking ceremony in East Liberty Tuesday brought together federal, state and local elected officials, from both parties, to tout continued investment in the area.

Gov. Tom Corbett announced an additional $5 million investment in the next phase of improvements to the East Liberty transit station; the funding comes from the transportation bill passed last year.

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Education
4:08 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Dyslexia is Common but Resources Scarce in Pennsylvania; Conference Tackles the Issue

Research indicates that 15% to 20 % of the population has some form of dyslexia. Those with the disorder who are not diagnosed often struggle in school and are more likely to fall behind their peers and drop out.
Credit Judy Baxter / Flickr

Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability which makes it hard for those who have it to learn to read and write. According the Pennsylvania branch of the International Dyslexia Association, it’s the most common learning disability.

“15 to 20 percent of the population have some level of dyslexia.” said Pittsburgh region of the Association Chairperson Christine Seppi. “That’s a really huge number. Autism, which gets a lot of press, has one in 50. This is one in five or six.”

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Public Safety
2:47 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Jury Reaches Mixed Decision in Jordan Miles Suit

Jordan Miles, with his family, addressed the media following the verdict. The jury found for Miles on the false arrest count and for the officers on the excessive force count.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Three Pittsburgh police officers were the target of a civil lawsuit brought by Jordan Miles charging that they falsely arrested the CAPA High School student and used excessive force during the incident.
 
The jury found for Miles on the charge of false arrest and for the officers on excessive force allegations. They awarded Miles compensatory damages of $101,016.75 and punitive damages of $6,000 from each of the three officers. Miles called the verdict a victory for him.
 

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Transportation
3:30 am
Mon March 31, 2014

No April Fool’s Joke: PennDOT Fee Increases To Take Effect Starting Tuesday

Starting Tuesday, an initial wave of fee increases for motor vehicle and driver services will go into effect.

The higher fees were part of the transportation law that passed last year, which allots $2.35 billion to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to roads, bridges and transit systems. That price tag is being paid for, in part, by an increase in gasoline taxes and higher vehicle service fees.

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Public Safety
4:06 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Closing Arguments Wrap Up In Jordan Miles Civil Trial Against 3 Pittsburgh Officers

The critical issue in the civil court trial pitting Jordan Miles against three police officers is credibility and comes down to who is to be believed.

That was argued by both sides in closing arguments in the case. An attorney for the defense asked the jury of four white men and four white women to use their common sense. Miles’ attorney, Joel Sansone, asked for the same.

The three officers were working in Homewood in January 2010. They are charged with wrongful arrest and use of excessive force in an incident that left then 18-year-old Miles battered.

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Arts & Culture
3:30 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Race Tackled in New Exhibit at Carnegie Museum of Natural History

The RACE: Are We So Different? exhibit examines the issue through science, history and contemporary experience.
Credit courtesy of American Anthropological Association and Science Museum of Minnesota

A new exhibit opening at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History takes on the vast subject of race. The “Race: Are We So Different” exhibit examines the subject from several different angles.

“From the scientific angle: What is the science? What is the science involved in race? What is race? Is race real? The history of the idea of race and finally the contemporary lived experience of race.” said Cecile Shellman with the Carnegie Museum. “How is race played out, particularly in the United States of America?”

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Transportation
2:56 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

PA Auditor General Finds Port Authority Improved Over Latest Audit

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has released an audit of the Port Authority of Allegheny County which covers the period of July 1, 2007 through December 31, 2012.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The Port Authority of Allegheny County is in a “significantly better place” today than it was in the last audit, according to Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

The most recent audit covers the period of July 1, 2007 through Dec. 31, 2012. The last audit was completed in 2007 by former Auditor General Jack Wagner. At that time, there were serious concerns with unsustainable pension and healthcare costs.

DePasquale said now, the picture has improved.

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Environment & Energy
9:20 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Bill to Do Away With 'Summer Gas' in Pittsburgh Passes Senate

A bill pending in the state Senate would do away with requirements for "summer gas" in several southwestern PA counties.
Credit Flickr user Jenn Durfey

The Pennsylvania state Senate has passed a bill that would amend the Air Pollution Control Act to eliminate the requirements for summer blend gasoline in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene and Washington Counties.

The gas blend is used in the warmer months to cut down on vehicle emissions, but Sen. Tim Solobay said since the use of “summer gas” was mandated in 1998, cars have become more fuel efficient. The Pittsburgh-based Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) said that is true, but doesn’t mean the gas blend is unnecessary.

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Life of Learning
8:55 pm
Sun March 23, 2014

Life of Learning Forum: Investment in Pre-K Critical to Future Educational Success

Linda Hippert, executive director for the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, speaks during a recent Life of Learning forum on the future of education in Pittsburgh.
Ryan Loew 90.5 WESA

Last week, a panel of experts gathered at the Community Broadcast Center to discuss what the future of the learning/education system should look like to be as effective as possible for the region’s children. The public forum tackled a range of questions from the audience, including the state of early childhood education.

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Public Safety
4:37 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Police, At-Risk Youth Talk Respect and Perceptions in Forum

Police officers and at-risk youth, some of whom have been in trouble with the law, met in Homestead Friday to discuss ways of improving police and community relations. A panel of both law enforcement officers and youth spoke and engaged with the crowd.

“We talk about how we can impact those arrests by changing police way of thinking, changing youth way of thinking when they’re out on the street so that they know when they interact it doesn’t have to be negative,” said Kimberly Booth, assistant chief probation officer with Allegheny County Juvenile Court.  

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Education
7:59 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Change in GED Exam Requirement Helps Those Already in Process of Obtaining GED

Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq is finalizing the process that will allow some Pennsylvanians to get their GED without having to start the exam process from scratch.

Starting this year, the National GED Testing Service replaced its 2002 exam with the 2014 GED. Thousands of people in the commonwealth had completed one or more parts of the 2002 exam, but the change meant that rather than using the score of the already-completed portion, they’d have to start the process over.

Now, that has been changed.

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Community
4:23 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Three Rivers Heritage Trail Set to Expand from Aspinwall through O’Hara Township

Plans have been approved to expand the Three Rivers Heritage Trail along a mile of the riverfront.

The expansion will run from Aspinwall Riverfront Park to Blawnox Community Park. The corridor has been eyed for years as an ideal location for a trail, but it runs in front of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority plant, and conversations with previous city administrations left planners thinking they’d have to route the trail along Freeport Road.  

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Sports
4:38 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Carlow University Introduces Its First Men’s Basketball Team

The new Carlow University Celtics team will begin playing in fall 2014. Head coach is Tim Keefer (at lecturn).
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Getting into the excitement of March Madness, Carlow University has announced that starting in the fall of 2014, the once-all-girl’s school’s first men’s basketball team will take the court. The Carlow University Celtics will compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

“This has been a few years in the making,” said Carlow University President Suzanne Mellon. “The original recommendation for a men’s basketball team originated from an athletics task force, a group comprised of students, faculty and staff that began meeting four years ago.”

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Public Safety
3:29 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

St. Patrick’s Day DUI Enforcement Going Full Force

State and local police will be conducing DUI checkpoints and roving patrols Saturday, following Pittsburgh's St. Patrick's Day Parade. The PA DUI Association reminds revelers that the amount of alcohol consumed can vary vastly by drinking, they said a Long Island iced tea can count as five alcoholic beverages.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

St. Patrick’s Day is Monday,, but the Steel City’s celebration will take place Saturday, starting with a parade and continuing with partying and revelry throughout the city.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has announced a joint DUI enforcement effort with the Pennsylvania DUI Association, the PA Liquor Control Board and local law enforcement.

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Government & Politics
3:30 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Five Years After A Major Change, How Open Is Pennsylvania's Open Records Law?

It's been five years since a major shift in the way the commonwealth makes public documents available. But how much of a difference has the change made?
Credit Flickr user All Those Details

Five years ago, Pennsylvania’s open records law was changed with the promise of ensuring more information would be more easily available to the public.

Records requests have gone up, and the new law is seen, overall, as a positive for the commonwealth, but open records officials and some people who use the law see room for improvement. 

Before the change in the open records law, all records were presumed closed unless the requester could prove why they should be open. Now, with the new law, all records are presumed open unless the requestee can prove otherwise. This has resulted in a spike in requests from across the commonwealth.

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Courts
5:38 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Opening Statements Heard in Jordan Miles Case

Opening arguments were heard and testimony got underway in the civil retrial of three police officers accused of using excessive force and false arrest in a 2010 incident involving a Homewood teen.

Jordan Miles was 18 when he was stopped by the three officers on his way from his mother’s house to his grandmother’s around 11 p.m. Jan. 12. What happened next? There are two stories: Miles’s and the officers'.

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