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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Transportation
2:50 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Port Authority Diverts Funds to Study Bus Rapid Transit Line

The Port Authority of Allegheny County approved shifting $1.56 million dollars from its capital budget to add to the amount needed to study a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line between downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland.

Port Authority Chairman Bob Hurley said an initial engineering and environmental study is a critical part of the process.

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Government & Politics
7:48 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Corbett Faces Tough Challenge in Budget Decision

Gov. Tom Corbett has yet to sign the $29.1 billion budget passed by state lawmakers last week. He said he would not sign a budget that does not include a pension overhaul.

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Health
2:25 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Allegheny Health Network and Johns Hopkins Finalize Agreement for Cancer Collaboration

A five-year agreement between Allegheny Health Network and Johns Hopkins Medicine has been signed, finalizing a partnership between AHN and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in Washington, DC.

“Cancer patients and their families benefit and their outcomes improve when we share knowledge and expertise because then we can accelerate knowledge transfer and treatment advances outside of communities where patients live,” said Dr. David Parda, system chair of the AHN Cancer Institute.

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Transportation
3:19 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Dedicated, Protected Bike Lanes Coming to Pittsburgh Before Summer’s End

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Assistant Director of Public Works Patrick Hassett announce three dedicated bike lanes in the city. Pictured is one that will run from Schenley Plaza to Anderson Playground in Schenley Park.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and other city officials announced the construction of three protected bike lanes in the city. The lanes will be built from Schenley Plaza to Anderson Playground in Schenley Park, along Saline Street between Greenfield Avenue and Swinburne Street (Panther Hollow Trail) in Greenfield, and on Penn Avenue from 11th Street to Stanwix Avenue Downtown.

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Community
2:29 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

American Muslim Group Condemns Violence, Celebrates America on Independence Day

As people set off fireworks, wave flags and eat their American flag-decorated cake this Fourth of July, a group of American Muslims is doing some of the same things — with an added message — that their religion is a peaceful one and they are also patriotic Americans.

“We want to spread the message of loyalty to the United States of America, and we want to debunk the myth that Muslims do not stand for peace and justice,” said Adnan Ahmed, Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Pittsburgh.

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Photo Gallery
3:51 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

UPDATED: Furries Converge on Downtown Pittsburgh for Anthrocon 2014

Furries parade through the David L. Lawrence Convention Center Saturday.
Ryan Loew 90.5 WESA

The world’s largest furry convention is under way in downtown Pittsburgh. The convention for artists, animators, costumers, puppeteers and fans has called the Steel City home since 2006.

“By the time we’re finished with this particular convention, Anthrocon will have left $41 million of economic activity in the Pittsburgh region over the last nine years,” said Craig Davis, president and CEO of Visit Pittsburgh, the city’s convention and visitor’s bureau.

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Community
10:43 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Allegheny County Domestic Partners Given More Time Before Losing Benefits

Last week, Allegheny County announced that all same-sex partners of county employees would have their domestic partner benefits cut off effective July 31.

Following an outcry from advocates and some receiving benefits that 30 days was not enough time to arrange for new coverage and/or legally marry, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has now extended the cut-off date to June 30, 2015.

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Government & Politics
3:12 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Democrats Slam State Budget

The Pennsylvania Senate passed a $29.1 billion state budget late Monday to the fanfare of Republicans and jeers of Democrats. Gov. Tom Corbett has yet to sign the budget, citing a lack of a pension overhaul.

Sen. Matt Smith (D-Allegheny/Washington) is one of many Democrats displeased with the bill.

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Community
9:09 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Same-Sex Allegheny County Couples Want More Time Before Losing Domestic Partner Benefits

Now that same-sex marriage is legal in Pennsylvania, Allegheny County will require proof of marriage for same-sex couples seeking benefits.
Credit Flickr user Gexydaf

Allegheny County announced last week plans to cut off benefits to same-sex partners of its employees. The move was made because same-sex couples can now marry in Pennsylvania. Same-sex couples receiving benefits from Allegheny County must now show proof of marriage, or lose their domestic partner benefits.

It’s not so much the cutting off of benefits that has some worried, but the timeline. The benefits will be terminated August 1, giving employees and their partners little more than a month to arrange for new coverage, or get legally married.

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Government & Politics
5:15 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

City Council Members Tackle City’s Parking Woes

Whether in Lawrenceville, Downtown, the South Side or the Strip District, many Pittsburghers and visitors to the city complain about parking; either the lack of it or the cost of it.

City Councilman Dan Gilman held a post agenda on the issue Tuesday. Pittsburgh Acting Police Chief Regina McDonald said one of the problems is crowded neighborhood streets.

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City Government
3:37 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Peduto Issues Executive Order Aimed At Keeping Better Track Of Expenditures

Though he’s in Denmark for the week, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has issued an executive order which is meant to help city finance managers better keep track of where and how money is being spent.

“Effective immediately, and until further notice, all explanatory departmental expenditures, those are expenditures under $2,000, other than those that are done pursuant to an approved contract, must be pre-approved by OMB,” said Kevin Acklin, the mayor’s chief of staff.

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City Government
2:22 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Mayor’s Office Exploring How To Keep City From Getting Trashed After Large Events

Mayor Bill Peduto's Chief of Staff Kevin Acklin outlined some options being examined to help reduce the cleanup costs to the city following large events.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Following the weekend’s Luke Bryan concert at Heinz Field, the Internet has been abuzz with pictures and videos of people tailgating, people falling in the road drunk and garbage the crowds left behind — not unlike the aftermath of last year’s Kenny Chesney concert.

On Monday, the message from Mayor Bill Peduto's office was that the trashing of Pittsburgh needs to stop.

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Education
4:05 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Pitt Chancellor Nordenberg Gives Final Report To Trustees Before Stepping Down

Pitt Chancelor Mark Nordenberg attended his final Board of Trustees meeting as head of the institution. Board Chairman Stephen Tritch thanked him for his service.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

After 19 years as the head of the University of Pittsburgh, Mark Nordenberg will step down in August. He made the announcement last year, and Friday he attended his last Pitt Board of Trustees meeting, where Nordenberg was unanimously elected chancellor emeritus.

The designation will take effect when he officially leaves his post. At a news conference following the board meeting, Nordenberg said his greatest triumph is the chance in culture that has occurred since 1995.

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Government & Politics
4:15 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Casey Calls on Lawmakers to Extend Funding for Children’s Health Insurance

Approximately 271,000 Pennsylvania children have health care coverage through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and millions are covered nationwide.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey is calling on his fellow lawmakers to extend funding for the program through fiscal year 2019.

“The basic problem we’ve got is the program is authorized through fiscal year 2019, but not funded,” said Casey. “We can’t say that we’re doing what we should be doing for children if we don’t match the funding with the authorization.

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Government & Politics
2:30 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Controllers Wagner And Lamb: City Should Implement Joint Payroll System To Save Money

At a meeting this week of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (ICA) Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner urged the city of Pittsburgh to implement a joint financial management system that she said is already-built and ready to go. Wagner said by not utilizing the payroll module, the city is taking a financial hit.

“There’s already a cost to past delays, we’re incurring a cost presently because of present delays and will continue to in the future if there are future delays,” she said.

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Government & Politics
5:20 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Obama Touts Manufacturing, Access For Entrepreneurs In Pittsburgh Stop

President Obama holds a town hall on manufacturing at Pittsburgh's TechShop Tuesday.
Credit whitehouse.gov

American manufacturing was the focus of President Obama’s visit to Pittsburgh Tuesday.

The president stopped at TechShop in Bakery Square, a facility that allows start-up businesses, tinkerers and hobbyists to use high-end instruments they may not otherwise have access to. Obama said part of continuing the manufacturing boom in the country will be finding ways to make resources of the federal government more available to the general public.

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Economy & Business
3:30 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Geography Of Innovation Shifting As Companies Seek More Collaborative Environments

A recent report from the Brookings Institution shows that across the U.S. the geography of innovation is shifting dramatically, especially in larger cities. What is emerging are so-called innovation districts, geographic areas where companies, research institutions, start-ups and business incubators are located in close proximity.

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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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