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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Government & Politics
5:07 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Former PA Governor Rendell Urges Support of Bipartisan Tax Overhaul Plan

Sen. Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana, and Rep. Dave Camp, a Republican from Michigan, have teamed up and taken a message of tax reform on the road.

The pair spoke in Philadelphia Monday as part of their “Tax Reform Tour,” an effort to eliminate loopholes in the federal tax code. Former governors Tom Ridge, a Republican, and Ed Rendell, a Democrat, are adding their support to the movement.

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Music and Learning
6:27 am
Fri July 26, 2013

To Help Teach Subjects, Teachers Learn to Look to Music

Teachers from across the United States have spent the last five weeks in Pittsburgh for the “Voices Across Time” program.

They've been learning how to incorporate music into their lessons, and the goal is to help students not only learn, but also connect with various subjects.

On the final Wednesday of the program, the group of teachers sat listening to a song called “The Blue Juniata.” Its lyrics are featured in the book "Little House on the Prairie." For the past month the teachers have been learning how to use such songs in their classes.

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Government & Politics
2:15 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

State Lawmakers Focus on Refuse Worker Safety

Members of the Joint Senate and House Democratic Policy Committee hear testimony on the safety concerns of refuse workers. Trash and recyclable collector is one of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the United States.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

When people hear the term “dangerous jobs,” the top occupations that come to mind may be fireman or police officer, but one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States is that of a refuse worker.

Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, several recent articles list refuse and recyclable materials collector as the fourth most dangerous job in the country.  

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Environment & Energy
1:55 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Newest 'Cool Roof' to be Painted This Weekend on North Side

The city of Pittsburgh’s Cool Roof program is a newer initiative aimed at reducing energy costs in buildings. So far, five city buildings have gotten cool roofs, and on Saturday, weather permitting, Engine 37 on the North Side will also get the cool roof treatment.

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Pittsburgh Promise
7:10 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Is the Pittsburgh Promise Delivering?

A recent policy brief from conservative think tank Allegheny Institute for Public Policy states that the Pittsburgh Promise is falling well short of its goals, and that its mission should be completely re-focused. But this isn’t the first time the Allegheny Institute has taken on the Pittsburgh Promise.

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Politics
3:34 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

PA Democrats Launch Campaign Against Gov. Corbett

Leading up to Gov. Tom Corbett’s expected re-election announcement, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party is launching a “Promises Made, Promises Broken” campaign aimed at highlighting what they called the Republican governor’s failures.

“From taxes to state parks, the governor has broken campaign promises, we intend to hold him accountable,” said state Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn.

The campaign is in anticipation of Corbett’s re-election campaign which is expected to have a “Promises Made, Promises Kept” theme.  

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Learning and Play
7:09 am
Fri July 19, 2013

At This Camp, Playing Is More Than Just A Game

Ten-year-old Tasaun Harvey shoots a ping pong ball from a cup while playing a game called Crossball.
Ryan Loew 90.5 WESA

Last week, teachers from Allegheny County gathered in Homestead to learn how to integrate games and play into their classrooms. This week those same teachers tested out what they learned on real kids.

Max O’Malley was one of 35 middle school kids at a camp at Carnegie Mellon University. One of their tasks was to create a new game using ping pong balls and plastic cups. Max and his group created a game based on the concept of air hockey.

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City Government
9:46 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Pittsburgh Projected to Finish the Year with Budget Surplus

The city of Pittsburgh is on track to finish 2013 with a budget surplus, according to the Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) released by Controller Michael Lamb.

The earlier, Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), showed the city ended 2012 with a surplus in excess of $20 million. Lamb also gave an update on how the city is doing so far this year.

Citing a national report out this week, Lamb said this year the Pittsburgh region is experiencing moderate growth, while many other parts of the nation are experiencing slower, modest growth.

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Health
1:09 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

First-of-Its-Kind Study to Examine How Brain Aneurysms Work Through Tissue

In an effort to better understand brain aneurysms, researchers in Pittsburgh will examine aneurysm tissue to try and learn what determines whether an aneurysm ruptures or doesn’t.

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Unemployment
3:30 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Bill Redirects Money from Unemployment Tax to Unemployment Fund Administrative Services

Gov. Tom Corbett has signed into law a bill that is aimed at filling a hole in the unemployment compensation fund left by a cut in federal dollars.

House Bill 26 will provide the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry funding from the employee UC tax.

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Community
4:31 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

World’s Largest Cartoon Animal Convention Returns to Pittsburgh

Sam Parga, 30, of LaGrange, Ga., snaps a photo of friends Wednesday in the run-up to Anthrocon at the Westin Convention Center Hotel.
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Billed as the world's largest furry convention, Anthrocon is returning to Pittsburgh Thursday through Sunday. The much-anticipated Pittsburgh tradition is expected to attract more than 5,500 participants, some in costume, some not.

“We’re all furries,” said Anthrocon Inc. CEO Samuel Conway. “That’s the catch-all term for the fandom. We are furries. The people in the costume – we refer to the costumes, our own little lingo, they are fursuits. So they are fursuiters, the people who are wearing them.”

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Health
2:50 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Congressman Murphy: VA System Needs to Rebuild Trust in Wake of Legionella Admission

Officials with the VA Pittsburgh Health System have revealed that about 10 veterans may have been sickened by Legionella bacteria several years before a larger outbreak that began in 2011.

That has been blamed for five deaths, and at least 16 people were infected in 2011 and 2012. Since that time investigations have found lax reporting of Legionella bacteria in the system and other issues. Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA-18) said trust has been a major issue between the VA system and its veterans.

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City Government
4:46 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Pittsburgh Parking Revenue Up, But Concerns Remain Over Meter and Scrap Inventory

Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb released findings of an audit of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5/WESA

Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb has released an audit of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority — and found a bit of a mixed bag.

First, the good news: Lamb said the Parking Authority is mostly in compliance on their contracts and have good policies and procedures which are largely followed. Plus, revenues are up from 2012 amounts.

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Health
12:43 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Point State Park Fountain Being Tested for Legionella Bacteria

About a month after its re-opening, the fountain at Point State Park is being tested by the Allegheny County Department of Health for Legionella.

The move follows a report of one person coming down with Legionnaires' disease after a visit to the fountain. County health officials say it’s unlikely the infection came from the fountain, but they are testing it as a precaution.

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Education
5:12 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Pennsylvania Common Core Standards on Hold, Pending State Board Review

In the spring, Gov. Tom Corbett postponed implementation of the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards, citing concerns from lawmakers and public. Corbett asked the State Board of Education and lawmakers to review the standards and make any modifications they deem necessary.

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Pennyslvania
3:33 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Medicaid Expansion Up for Vote in PA Senate Committee

A vote is looming in a state Senate committee on legislation to potentially expand Medicaid eligibility to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians under the 2010 federal health care law.

“I cannot say enough about the importance for those individuals who don’t have health insurance, who are working every day, about a half a million people in Pennsylvania, how significant it could be for their lives, and for all of us,” said Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-PA-7.)

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Environment & Energy
12:09 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Bill Aims to Spur Growth in Alternative Fueling Stations Along Nation’s Highways

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has announced a plan he says would spur growth of alternative fuel vehicle infrastructure.

The so-called Clean Vehicles Corridors Act would result in more fueling stations across interstate highways, thereby making it easier for alternative fuel vehicles to travel longer distances.

“The way it will work is the U.S. Transportation Department, in consultation with the Energy Department as well as other federal agencies, will designate highway routes where the development of an alternative fuel support system will succeed,” Casey said.

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History
3:30 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Re-enactments to Bring Gettysburg to Life for 150th Anniversary

The Battle of Gettysburg was fought 150 years ago, and thousands of people will mark the occasion through re-enactments, workshops, performances and more.
Credit J. Todd Poling / Flickr

It was 150 years ago that the battle considered to be the turning point of the Civil War took place in a field in Pennsylvania.

Each year, thousands of people re-enact the Battle of Gettysburg, and thousands turn out to watch. This year, for the 150th anniversary, the events will be even larger than normal.

“There’ll be two major re-enactments probably attracting 12,000 to 15,000 re-enactors each, and then hundreds of thousands of spectators,” said Andy Masich, president and CEO of the Heinz History Center.  

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Community
2:03 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Portion of Liberty Avenue to Close as Crowd Awaits Supreme Court Rulings on LGBT Issues

As of earlier Tuesday afternoon, more than 300 people on Facebook said they are heading downtown Wednesday morning to catch live coverage of the Supreme Court’s rulings on DOMA and Prop 8 — two cases involving same-sex marriage.

Delta Foundation organizers are expecting an even larger crowd downtown.

“Liberty Avenue will be shut down to vehicle traffic between 9th and 10th because we’re expecting so many people,” said Christine Bryan with the Delta Foundation. “We’ll have a large television set up, and a stage and various speakers.”

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Economy & Business
1:56 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

New Community Center, Several Initiatives Aim to Revitalize North Homewood

HRA organizers and members of the All 4 Life Program take the first swings at a wall that is coming down to accommodate a 300-seat auditorium.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Several years ago, a Family Dollar store was set to open on Frankstown Avenue in Homewood. The building was built, but the chain pulled out, deciding not to locate a store there.

The building has stood vacant since. The Homewood Renaissance Association (HRA) is hoping to breathe new life into it and the community by converting the space into a new community center.

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Science & Technology
3:30 am
Mon June 17, 2013

Real Life 'Marauder’s Map' May Help Improve Patient Care in Nursing Homes

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a way to track the locations of individuals in complex, indoor settings such as nursing homes.

Developers liken it to the Marauder’s Map featured in the Harry Potter books and movies, which allows Harry Potter to see anyone’s location at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

But instead of magic, this system uses a network of cameras and algorithms to track movement. Researchers said this could be important in keeping track of residents of nursing homes.

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Veterans
3:30 am
Mon June 17, 2013

VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System Hires More Mental Health Professionals

As part of a national mandate from President Obama to hire 1,600 new mental health professionals in the veterans’ health system, the VA Pittsburgh Health System has hired 30 new mental health professionals plus an additional 14 to fill existing vacancies.

“I think it’s obvious that if we have more people offering service, then more people could obtain services and obtain them quicker,” said Jeffrey Peters, associate chief of staff for behavior health at the VA Pittsburgh.

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Community
2:24 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Census: Pittsburgh Region Is Getting Younger

According to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of the youngest Allegheny County residents is increasing.
Haldan Kirsch 90.5 WESA

The population of the youngest Allegheny County residents is growing, while nationally the number is dropping.

Between 2010 and 2012, the number of people five years of age and younger increased county-wide by 0.9 percent, while it decreased nationally by the same percentage.

“I think the Pittsburgh region’s been attracting people for the last few years, and most people moving into the region are going to be younger folks mostly coming for work, so I think that’s made us younger as we go ahead,” said Christopher Briem, regional economist at the University of Pittsburgh.

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Environment & Energy
2:57 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

New 'Cool Roofs' Initiative Seeks to Increase Energy Efficiency with Reflective Paint

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announces the launch of the city's Cool Roofs program.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The Cool Roofs program has officially launched in Pittsburgh. Through the servePGH initiative, the roofs of 10 city-owned buildings will be coated with reflective paint.

“In the coming months, volunteers will help paint approximately 50,000 square feet of city-owned roofs with a special, eco-friendly white coating,” said Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

The reflective surface will help reduce carbon emissions and decrease energy costs for the buildings, and eventually that energy savings could extend to wider areas.

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Pittsburgh
2:15 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl Says Fewer Public Appearances Are His Choice

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said his office has been fully cooperative with an ongoing federal investigation into city financial dealings, and that there have been no subpoenas from investigators in more than a month.

Ravenstahl maintained that he’s done nothing wrong and said he wished the truth could come out now, as opposed to a long investigation.

At an event in Mt. Washington Wednesday morning to launch a program to increase energy efficiency at city-owned buildings, he took issue with questions from the media about his lack of public appearances of late.

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Summer Learning
3:30 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Barriers May Keep Kids from Summer Enrichment Programs

Ellis School student Chelsea Canedy (left) is starting a free robotics camp for low-income girls. Teacher Lisa Abel-Palmieri is an adviser for the camp.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

For so many kids, the beginning of summer holds promise of weeks and weeks of doing absolutely nothing, or of sitting around and watching TV or playing video games all day.

Many kids will have such plans thwarted by parents who will send them to one or several summer programs. That’s probably not a bad thing — there is a growing body of research that suggests letting kids do nothing but watch TV and play video games all summer could set back their academic growth.

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Veterans
2:09 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Pittsburgh Symposium Focuses on Returning Female Veterans

Chris Cieslak, a lieutenant colonel with the Army Reserves, returned from Kabul, Afghanistan in 2012 after a year’s duty there.

Cieslak went through what she described as a "minor depression," and only now does she feel she’s made the transition from military to civilian life. She considers herself lucky — she had a good support system in place. Not all women veterans can say the same.

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Environment
4:08 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Groups Challenge ALCOSAN on Transparency Over Wet Weather Plan

Community members and environmental groups gather in Downtown Pittsburgh to call for more transparency from ALCOSAN as they study incorporating green components in its wet weather plan.
Credit Michael Lynch / 90.5 WESA

The Clean Rivers Campaign announced Monday it is filing a legal challenge to ALCOSAN’s denial of an open records request.

In May, the group requested any and all documents related to the scope of the work being done on ALCOSAN’s study of green infrastructure. That request was denied by ALCOSAN.

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Transportation
3:58 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Gov. Urges More Investment in Roads and Bridges

Governor Tom Corbett and PA Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch look at the underside of the Liberty Bridge, which is one of 4,000 structurally deficient bridges in the state.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5/WESA

Governor Tom Corbett stood under Pittsburgh’s Liberty Bridge to discuss the need for more investment in road and bridge projects, as well as mass transit. This comes days after the Pennsylvania Senate voted to boost state funding for transportation systems by nearly 50 percent.

“We are moving in the right direction toward a transportation funding program that is sustainable, that is long-term, that is fair, and that is balanced,” said Corbett, “between my proposal and the one offered by Senate Bill 1, it means our roads and bridges will be safer, our economy more sound.

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Community
2:24 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Five Southwestern PA Communities Part of New Revitalization Partnership

The Allegheny Conference on Community Development has announced the new Strengthening Communities Partnership, an endeavor aimed at spurring private investment in five communities that are already working to revitalize.

“What it enables is for a corporation to provide a significant donation, up to $500,000 annually, and in return for a six-year commitment at that level, they can receive an 80 percent state tax credit and an additional federal benefit,” said Taris Vrcek, executive director of McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation (CDC).

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