Deanna Garcia

Arts and Culture 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.

 

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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.

Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr

The weather outside may not be frightful, but it likely will be at some point in the coming months. The winter has been off to a very slow start in Pennsylvania, but state officials are still reminding residents to be prepared in case of extreme weather.

Officials with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency are urging people be sure they have basic necessities on hand.

“Things that many people don’t think about," Director Richard Finn said.

Beyond food, water and warm clothing, Finn suggested phone and computer chargers compatible with car cigarette lighters.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council has given preliminary approval to a measure that would establish the Office of Early Childhood within the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and Equal Opportunity, and hire an early childhood manager.

The ultimate goal is to ensure every child in the City of Pittsburgh has access to quality pre-K programs. During about an hour of public testimony, speakers voiced overwhelming support for an office dedicated to the education of some of the city’s youngest residents.

James Lee / Flickr

Pennsylvania’s participation in a nationwide effort to find homes for homeless veterans is seeing results, according to the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. 

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

In the summer months, Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles migrate closer to the New England shore where the water is warm, then back to the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream as seawater cools.

Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

As drug and law enforcement agencies find a growing link between prescription pain killers and heroin use, they’re trying to attack the problem of abuse and overdose from multiple sides.

Among their allies are those doling out prescription medication: pharmacists. A little more than 200 southwestern Pennsylvania pharmacists are in Pittsburgh through Friday for a conference hosted by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

Dickelbers / Wikipedia

Bringing down Pittsburgh's homicide rate was a major public safety priority this year for the city's bureau of police.

According to data provided by police, there were 71 homicides in 2014, nearly one-third more than the previous year and the city's highest volume since officers investigated 74 homicides in 2008.

But things might be improving, police Chief Cameron McLay said. 

Wikimedia Commons

A new report shows that heroin abuse in Pennsylvania continues to grow and recommends that treatment be a priority.   

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania just released its second report titled, “Heroin: Combating this Growing Epidemic in PA.” It includes testimony from public hearings held over the summer and focuses on the growing problem of heroin abuse, pointing out that the drug affects a diverse demographic.

Cali4beach / Flickr

Education advocacy group A+ Schools is seeking members for its volunteer review board tasked with overseeing new board members representing Pittsburgh Public Schools.

With three new members sworn in, the Pittsburgh Public School Board has only two members who have served for more than two years. The other four were elected in 2013.

A+ Executive Director Carey Harris said volunteers are city residents prepped by the organization's staffers about current state and national policy.

NASA / nasa.gov

For nearly a decade, astronomers have been puzzled by brief, but bright eruptions of radio waves coming from space called Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs). A team of astronomers, including two from Carnegie Mellon University, uncovered the most detailed record ever of an FRB.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Following a call to prayer at the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh Saturday, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police outlined a five-point plan to help protect the city’s Muslim community.

“With increasing Islamophobia in America, it is very important that community leaders and local authorities both collaborate to be as proactive as possible in order to ensure the safety and well-being of the Muslim Community,” said Wasi Mohamed, executive director of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh.

Variety the Children's Charity / varietypittsburgh.org

Overabundance is an issue most charitable organizations would like to have.  It’s an unusual predicament, but Variety the Children’s Charity finds itself in just that position. 

The group, which gives adaptive bikes, strollers and communication devices to children with disabilities, has 200 devices to give out – but as of Thursday, only 50 had been claimed.

“These are very fundamental to daily living for kids with disabilities,” said Variety CEO Charlie LaVallee.

Auntie P. / Flickr

The City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and area health and services organizations are collaborating on AIDS Free Pittsburgh, a three-pronged public health initiative.

“We’re going to normalize HIV testing," said Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department. "We’re going to make improvements in standardizing our linkages to care for those that are diagnosed, and we’re going to improve access to a variety of prevention tools.” 

U.S. Department Of Agriculture / Flickr

Four years ago, one group of people from a YMCA in New York City had an idea: to turn what had been days of consumer-driven attention to nonprofits and charities. #GivingTuesday was born in 2012 with the aim of engaging communities and getting people to “give back.”

“Whether that’s donations or volunteerism or raising your voice online or offline in support of whatever cause you’re passionate about,” said Asha Curran, director of innovation and social impact with the 92nd Street Y in New York City, which started the Giving Tuesday movement.

Freedom House / Flickr

A religious group representing Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox churches in southwestern Pennsylvania urged lawmakers to accept Syrian refugees on Monday, offering their own congregations as way points for resettlement.

The Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania echoed recent sentiments by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto in their support of foreign aid.

“It’s our responsibility as people of faith to respond,” CASP Executive Minister Liddy Barlow said.

ereyesleblanc / Flickr

Joining cities such as Amsterdam, Shanghai and Barcelona, Pittsburgh has signed onto the “Milan Urban Food Policy Pact.” It’s a worldwide effort to examine the system of how food is produced and distributed as demographics change.

Michael Coghlan / Flickr

Screening and treating prison inmates for Hepatitis C would help reduce the number of infections in the general population according to projections made by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and Massachusetts General Hospital. 

Pittsburgh City Council is one step closer to prohibiting large trucks from parking on residential streets overnight.

“In a residential community you shouldn’t be able to leave you large trucks. A – it’s a public safety concern on many of our narrow streets, B – residential community is meant for residential parking,” said Councilman Dan Gilman. 

Courtney Rhodes / Flickr

  A bill enacting harsher penalties for breaking traffic laws in work zones is awaiting Gov. Tom Wolf’s signature. Senate Bill 887 unanimously passed the Senate last week.

“This legislation provides for additional penalties depending upon the nature of the injury to a worker, a municipal worker or a police officer or emergency responder; it’s geared toward trying to change the culture of drivers on our roadways,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Veteran homelessness in Southwest Pennsylvania is among the lowest in the nation, according to a new assessment by the Center for a New American Security and funded by the Heinz Endowments.

Lionel Cironneau / AP

In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks and several American states saying they will not accept Syrian refugees, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto remained steadfast in keeping the city open to those fleeing their homeland. 

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