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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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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Higher Education
5:20 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Chatham University To Accept Undergrad Men

For the first time in its 145-year history, Chatham University will accept men into its undergraduate program.

University trustees voted for the change Thursday. University President Esther Barazzone said it was not a unanimous vote, but it was close. The change will take effect in the fall of 2015 with recruitment efforts to start immediately.

Trustees cited the school's dwindling enrollment and the need to remain viable as the reason for the switch.

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Public Safety
3:00 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

PA District Attorneys Push For Legislation They Say Will Combat Heroin, RX Drugs Overdoses

Allegheny County Medical Examiner Karl Williams said overdose deaths are at an all-time high, and he's seen an increase in those involving prescription drugs. District attorneys from across the state are pushing for passage of a bill that would monitor certain prescription drugs.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

District attorneys from across the state gathered at a Pittsburgh rehabilitation center Thursday, pushing for Senate passage of a bill they said would combat the growing heroin epidemic. That epidemic, they said, is tied directly to an increase in the abuse of prescription drugs.

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Innovation
7:48 am
Wed April 30, 2014

How These Pittsburgh-Area Students Are Turning Poetry Into Robotic Theater

Students work on their robotic poetry theater for "She Sweeps with Many-Colored Brooms" by Emily Dickinson. Robotic components make snow and leaves fall at programmed times.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

“A diorama on steroids.”

That's how Susan Mellon describes what she’s doing in her Springdale Junior and Senior High classroom, where students are combining poetry with computer technology and engineering.

“Kids tend to be a little intimidated by poetry, so I thought this would take something they’re intimidated by and don’t like and make it fun,” said Mellon, a gifted support coordinator at the school.

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Community
2:29 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Black Community Leaders Ask for Stronger Voice In The Future of August Wilson Center

On Tuesday morning, the receiver of the bankrupt August Wilson Center for African American Culture convened a meeting with several leaders in Pittsburgh’s black community.

Judith Fitzgerald, the receiver, got the names of those invited from Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald (no relation). The meeting was an effort to give the community a status update on the center, but several in attendance said communication needs to be better going forward.

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Public Safety
3:07 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Workers Who Lost their Lives On The Job Honored On Workers Memorial Day

Jack Shea, president of Allegheny County Labor Council, commemorates Workers Memorial Day, honoring those killed, injured or sickened on the job.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Eleven workers who died on the job in 2013 and 2014 were honored in a ceremony in Pittsburgh’s Market Square Monday.

The annual Workers Memorial Day commemoration aims to highlight something that still happens, even though worker safety laws have improved over the years.

“We need to make sure that people feel safe everyday on the worksite, and whether it’s losing their life or just not coming home in the same physical condition, that’s just not acceptable,” said Jason Fincke, with the Builder’s Guild of Western Pennsylvania.

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Life of Learning
3:00 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Flipping The Classroom Turns Classwork, Homework Model On Its Head

Students in Susan Marino's junior physics class at Chartiers Valley High School learn in a "flipped classroom." They get their lessons at home and do the work in class.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

When you think back to your school days, or even if you’re still in school, you likely sat through numerous lectures, then went home and worked on math or science problems on your own.  

Now, some teachers, such as Sue Marino at Chartiers Valley High School, are turning the traditional notion of schoolwork and homework on its head by “flipping the classroom.”

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Government & Politics
3:47 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

ABLE Act Would Allow Families To Save Money For Children With Disabilities

Courtney, Grant and Maddie Williams. The Williams family currently can't save for Maddie's future without losing Medicaid and Social Security benefits for her care. The ABLE Act would allow them to open a 529-style savings plan for the 4-year-old.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Maddie Williams is four-years-old and has Down syndrome. She has a 6-year-old brother and their parents can put away money in a tax-advantaged 529 plan for his education. They can’t do the same for Maddie.

“Shortly after she was born, we learned that Maddie would never be allowed to have more than $2,000 in her name or she would lose valuable benefits that she qualifies for through Medicaid and Social Security Disability Insurance,” said Courtney Williams.

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Education
1:59 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Thousands of Catholic Educators Gather in Pittsburgh

For years, Catholic schools across the country have been struggling with declining enrollment.

From the peak in the 1960s at 5.2 million students in Catholic schools, about 1.9 million now attend. But the National Catholic Educational Association, or NCEA, maintains that a Catholic education is as important in today’s world as it was in the 1960s.

“Catholic education addresses the whole person,” said NCEA President Brother Robert Bimonte. “We’re not only a school that’s teaching facts, but we’re forming the whole person: body, mind and spirit.”

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Environment & Energy
2:59 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Pittsburgh Gives Away Trees for Earth Day

The City of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Shade Tree Commission will give away native Dogwood seedlings for Earth Day. The tree, pictured fully-grown, doesn't get too big.
Credit Pau Cooper / Flickr

For the sixth year, the city of Pittsburgh, along with the Pittsburgh Shade Tree Commission, is giving away free trees for Earth Day.

“We give away approximately 1,000 native seedlings,” said city forester Lisa Ceoffe. “This is a way to get folks in tune with spring, get a tree with their hand, and we have a lot of information going on this whole week as far as Earth Day, Arbor Day and the city celebrates Tree City USA.”

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Community
2:03 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

River Walk Aims To Help Ohio River On A Spiritual Level

An indigenous-led river walk along the Ohio River will take participants from Pittsburgh's Point State Park to where it meets the Mississippi River.
Credit Jim Grey / Flickr

The Ohio River appears on many lists as one of the nation’s most polluted waterways. In an effort to heal the river, a group of indigenous women and others will walk the span of the river starting from Point State Park on Earth Day.

“We’re going to gather some water at the confluence there, of the Ohio River, and we’re going to carry that water all the way down to where it joins the Mississippi River,” said Sharon Day, walk leader and executive director of the Indigenous People’s Task Force. “And while we’re carrying it we’ll be praying and singing to the water.”

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Community
2:56 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

New Housing Units For Women Veterans Open In Millvale

Khrystal Brown (right) and another veteran cut the ribbon on the newest housing units for women vets.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

There are about 1,200 veterans in Allegheny County who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Over the last year or so there has been an increase in the number of women and women with children who are in need of emergency housing.

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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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