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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Arts & Culture
3:30 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Pittsburgh Jazz Festival Puts Steel City On International Stage

One Pittsburgh summer tradition, the Three Rivers Arts Festival, is behind us and another one is ahead – the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival.

The fourth annual celebration of jazz has grown since it started and has attracted a wide audience that benefits the region.

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Government & Politics
7:44 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Casey Pushes for Bill to Improve Rail Safety, Prevent Derailments

In the wake of several train derailments in Pennsylvania this year, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey is pushing for the passage of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill, which he said would improve rail safety.

“The bill would provide funding for twenty new rail and hazardous materials inspectors,” said Casey, “and in addition to that the bill would allow the retention of 45 rail safety positions that were created just this year.”

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Economy & Business
12:51 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Regional Community Leaders Examine Role Of Immigration In Economic Growth

As the national debate on immigration reform continues, local officials are examining the role immigrants play in helping communities grow.

Pittsburgh and other Rust Belt cities have struggled for years to grow the economy while the population continues to decline.

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Community
2:34 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Funding Helps Veteran Homeowners With Costly Repairs

Air Force Veteran John Malloy's home is getting needed repairs thanks to funding from the Home Depot Foundation, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said meeting the needs of veterans is critical, and home repairs helps then stay in their homes.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The Home Depot Foundation has given $200,000  toward repairing the homes of 28 veterans in the Pittsburgh region. Without the repairs, some of the vets could end up homeless.

There are currently tens of thousands of homeless veterans in the U.S. and thousands more are at risk of becoming homeless. For those who are homeowners, security is not always a guarantee — many are one stop from becoming homeless.

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Public Safety
1:53 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Stephen Bucar Takes Helm Of Revamped Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety

Mayor Bill Peduto introduces acting Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s new acting public safety director started work this week with former Public Safety Director Michael Huss staying on for the transition. Stephan Bucar was most recently a supervisory special agent section chief in the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, he will now head the city’s Department of Public Safety.

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Environment & Energy
3:26 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Policy Group Adds Name to List of Those Calling for Gas Extraction Tax

As Pennsylvania lawmakers grapple with finalizing the state budget, and face a financial shortfall, lawmakers and outside groups are calling for a severance tax on the natural gas industry to increase revenues.

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Science & Technology
6:00 am
Mon June 9, 2014

CMU Spin-Off Technology Allows Research of Hippo-Infested Waters

Hippos in Kenya's Mara River give chase to a Platypus robotic boat that is disguised as a crocodile. The boat was able to out-swim the hippos.
Credit Platypus LLC / http://crw-cmu.blogspot.com/2014/03/hakuna-matata.html

Technology from Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute spin-off Platypus LLC has gone where no man has gone before. Small, autonomous airboats were sent to Kenya to monitor water quality in hippo pools on the hippo-heavy Mara River. Researchers want to know how the animals are affecting water quality, but they couldn’t get into the pools to collect samples.

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Health
7:00 am
Sun June 8, 2014

Allegheny County Summer Food Program Starts

During the school year, many children in the region depend on school breakfasts and lunches for daily nutrition. When summer hits, it often places a burden on families who may be food insecure. For decades summer food programs have been filling the void. They date back to when Jimmy Carter was president.

“He saw the gap in children who were out of school possibly not receiving nutritious meals so he wanted something they could carry on through the summer until school started again in the fall,” said Sally Petrilli, Allegheny County service administrator.

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Efficient Health Care
12:43 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Medical Professionals from Around the World Discuss Efficiencies in Health Care Systems

Health care costs continue to rise in the US and part of the reason is inefficiencies throughout the system. That’s according to Everette James, J.D., M.D., director of the Pitt Health Policy Institute and former Pennsylvania Secretary of Health. One of the main topics of discussion at the “All Together Better Health VII” Conference in Pittsburgh is how to increase efficiencies in health care.

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Education Innovation
7:58 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Going Beyond the Girls' School: Ellis Innovation Institute to Pilot, Research, Share Best Practices

The Ellis School has launched the new Learning Innovation Institute to pilot, create and share innovative practices with the ultimate goal of improving learning outcomes for students and teaching outcomes for instructors.

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Community
5:13 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Peduto Part of Group of Mayors Battling Homelessness Among Veterans

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is one of a group of more than 75 Mayors and county officials who’ve signed on to a nation-wide plan to end homelessness among those who’ve served in the military. First Lady Michelle Obama this week kicked off the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness.

“It really is a call to mayors and other elected officials to focus their attention on veterans who are homeless in our communities,” said Jane Vincent, regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in Philadelphia.

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hospital acquired infections
9:20 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Good Hygiene Key in Preventing Bloodstream Infections for Patients Needing Central Line Care

UPMC St. Margaret used to use alcohol caps for central lines, and with those had a very low infection rates. The use of the caps was discontinued and a disturbing trend emerged.

“When that happened we saw almost a double of our infection rates,” said Jenny  Bender, infection preventionist, now at UPMC Presbyterian, formerly with St. Margaret, “they still weren’t awful but they were way higher than what we were used to seeing, which was zero.”

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Environment & Energy
3:22 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

As Marcellus Shale Boom Continues, Public Perception Remains A Challenge For Industry

Thousands of people with ties to the natural gas industry are gathered in Pittsburgh this week for the Developing Unconventional Gas, or DUG East Conference.

With ongoing debate around natural gas development, one of the key areas of focus is changing public perception. Environmental groups and anti-fracking groups are concerned about how fracking affects water supplies and the environment and also about long-term effects of the technology. Some allege that industry officials put profits before people.

The Consumer Energy Alliance said that’s not the case.

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Environment & Energy
3:14 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Pennsylvania Reactions Mixed on New Proposed EPA Regulations

Environmental groups are applauding the Obama administration’s proposal to reduce emissions from power plants while many in the energy industry, namely in coal, are panning it.

“This is a ground-breaking moment for Pennsylvania, for the nation, for the globe,” said Christina Simeone, director of the PennFuture Energy Center.

The Pennsylvania Coal Alliance sees it differently.

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Environment & Energy
2:23 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

'Ashtracker' Lets Public See Waste Levels In Waterways Near Coal-Fired Power Plants

A new website allows the public to access data on what contaminates are found in water storage areas near coal ash dumps from power plants. The “Ashtracker” website includes information for sites from Pennsylvania to as far west as Montana and as far south as Florida.

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Education
5:42 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Report: Pittsburgh Strong On Teacher Evaluations, But Changes Needed

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released a report stating Pittsburgh has come a long way in terms of measuring effective teachers and compensating educators.

But the report also states more needs to be done, including making sure the Pittsburgh Public School District ensures every school has effective teachers.

“One of the things we did notice was that it has not been successful at persuading some of the better teachers to go work in some of the toughest schools,” said NCTQ CEO Kate Walsh.

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Animals
4:17 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Two Galapagos Tortoises Are Making The Pittsburgh Zoo Their Home For The Summer

One of two Galapagos tortoises that will make Pittsburgh their home for the summer. The tortoises are herbivores, and enjoy eating the grass in their enclosure as well as occasional treats of bananas and romaine lettuce.
Deanna Garcia 90.5 WESA

Galapagos tortoises can live more than 100 years and can weigh up to more than 400 pounds.

The two visiting the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium for the summer aren't that old, or that big. The male and female tortoises were born in 1992, and weigh in at 160 and 120 pounds. Both were born in captivity.

“All Galapagos tortoises are highly endangered,” said Ken Kaemmerer, curator of mammals for the zoo. “There’s only about 20,000 left in the wild.”

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Election 2014
12:13 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Corbett Set For Fight To Retain Governorship

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett speaks to supporters in Pittsburgh Tuesday night.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Gov. Tom Corbett took the stage at his primary election night headquarters in downtown Pittsburgh Tuesday night to chants of “four more years!” from supporters.

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Health
5:56 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Health Officials: Climate Change Expected To Have Local Impact In Decades Ahead

Following the release of national reports on climate change, Allegheny County Health Department officials are examining how best to prepare for the changes they say are imminent over the coming decades.

“It’s going to change the air pollution levels, it’s going to change the pollen levels, it’s going to change insects, it’s going to change water quality,” said Jayme Graham, Air Quality Program manager at ACHD. “What do we need to know about that, and what do we need to start preparing for that?”

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Health
2:04 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Asthma In The Region Examined In Summit For World Asthma Month

May is World Asthma Month, and in an effort to raise awareness of diagnoses, treatments and other asthma-related issues, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals gathered for a one-day summit.

One of the goals is to draw attention to how many asthma sufferers there are in the Pittsburgh area.

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Community
12:05 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Pittsburgh Set To Host Food Revolution Day

Started by chef Jamie Oliver, Food Revolution Day is this Friday.

Described as an effort calling on kids and adults alike to "get cooking, share your love of food and inspire others to get excited too,” the second annual Food Revolution Day in Pittsburgh promises to be huge.

“We’re holding the biggest Food Revolution Day celebration in the world,” said BarMarco owner Bobby Fry. “It’s bigger than Jamie Oliver’s celebration itself. We’ve got 95 exhibitors, everything from local museums and art institutions to a petting zoo, a dunk tank for the teachers.”

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Health
4:02 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Allegheny County Marks 40th Anniversary Of WIC Food and Nutrition Program

The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Supplemental Food and Nutrition Program is aimed at ensuring pregnant women and mothers of young children have access to food staples. The program is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Allegheny County was a pilot site for the national demonstration project in the 1970s.

“Allegheny County Health Department opened the first WIC Clinic in Pennsylvania and issued the first WIC voucher on May 28th, 1974,” said Kathryn South, a public health nutrition administrator with the Allegheny County Health Department’s WIC Office.

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Health
4:01 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Emergency Room Visits Due To Traumatic Brain Injury On The Rise

Between 2006 and 2010, the number of emergency department visits for traumatic brain injury (TBI) rose by nearly 30 percent throughout the United States. That’s according to a study from Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

While there was an increase, researchers are unclear of exactly why.

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Education
3:26 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Auditor General Calls For Greater Oversight Of Charter Schools

From the creation of Pennsylvania’s charter school law in 1997 to today there has been greater public school choice in the state, and many charter schools are doing a good job. That’s one of the positives noted in PA Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s audit of charter schools.

But DePasquale said there are still many challenges in the charter school system. His audit recommends increased accountability, transparency and effectiveness of charter schools and includes a recommendation to create an independent statewide charter school oversight board.

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Arts & Culture
1:35 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Amos Lee, Lucinda Williams Among the Performers at Three Rivers Arts Fest

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust President and CEO Kevin McMahon kicks off the announcement of the full lineup for the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival
Credit Jessica Lasky / 90.5 WESA

The 55th annual Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival kicks off in Pittsburgh the first weekend in June. This year’s event will feature the signature Artist Market, live musical performances, and numerous art installations and performances throughout the cultural district. Festival organizers said this event, along with next week’s International Children’s Festival, the Jazz Live International Festival, and New Year’s First Night are huge economic drivers in the region.

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