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
3:30 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Lawmakers Take Aim at Bill That Changed the Way Unemployment is Calculated, Paid

Initially touted as making the state’s Unemployment Compensation Fund solvent, Act 60 was passed in 2012 and implemented at the beginning of 2013. A provision in the Unemployment Compensation Solvency legislation changed the way unemployment compensation is calculated and paid to workers.

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Health
3:00 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

UPMC Privacy Breach Prompts Warning to Patients

UPMC is alerting nearly 1,300 people treated at various UPMC locations over the past year that their records were viewed inappropriately. The now former employee at UPMC McKeesport was not involved in the care of the patients and therefore should not have been looking at their information.

“Another employee called it to the attention to the management of the hospital,” said UPMC spokeswoman Wendy Zellner. “Thus, we took the action we did to terminate this employee.”

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Government & Politics
1:29 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

PA Insurance Commissioner Tries to Ease Consumer Confusion Surrounding ACA

The rollout of the Affordable Care Act has been marked with website difficulties and confusion for some consumers. Some of that confusion surrounds whether some people can keep their current health insurance plans.

Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine’s office is working with insurance companies asking them to either delay cancelations or help policyholders enroll in ACA compliant plans.

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Environment
4:00 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Water Group Applauds Proposed Consent Decree Between DEP and Waste Treatment Corp.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has proposed a consent decree with Waste Treatment Corporation following allegations of violations of the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.

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Arts & Culture
3:35 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Local Filmmakers Vie for Grants; Community Input Sought

Thirty-five filmmakers have submitted their projects for a chance at a $10,000 grant from the Sprout Fund, a nonprofit funding organization.

The films are community-based projects in the form of short- or feature-length films, documentaries, online videos or multimedia experiences.

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Transportation
3:08 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Corbett Signs $2.3 Billion PA Transportation Bill

Gov. Tom Corbett speaks under Pittsburgh's Liberty Bridge about legislation that will provide funds for improvements to Pennsylvania's highways, bridges and mass-transit systems.
Deanna Garcia 90.5 WESA

Gov. Tom Corbett spent Monday touring sites in need of repair to talk about the just-signed transportation bill.

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Health
3:00 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Children's Health Insurance Coverage Up Nationwide, But PA Rates Stagnant

A new report from Georgetown University finds that nationwide, the rate for uninsured children continues to decline, even as most Americans perceive that the rate is on the rise.

“As of 2012 it was just over 7 percent nationwide without coverage,” said Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. “That is certainly still too many, but in fact that’s a historically low number.”

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Economy & Business
3:30 am
Mon November 25, 2013

New Mortgage Rule Could Impact Access to Credit

A new regulation slated to go into effect in early 2014 would tighten lending requirements for those seeking a home loan. The Qualified Mortgage Rule is aimed at preventing another housing crisis like the one that hit the U.S. in 2008.

But some in the financial community and on Capitol Hill worry that rule is too broad and will have unintended negative consequences.

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Economy & Business
3:30 am
Mon November 25, 2013

How Far Will You Go for Turkey this Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving week is one of the busiest when it comes to travel, and this year will be no exception. AAA forecasts that nationally 43.4 million people will travel during the holiday week. In the mid-Atlantic region, which includes Pennsylvania, 5.01 million people are expected to travel, a 2.4 percent decrease over last year.

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Transportation
3:30 am
Sun November 24, 2013

Motorists Urged to Prepare for Winter Driving Conditions

As the winter nears, motorists are advised to slow down and make sure vehicles are prepared for cold and snowy weather.
Credit Flickr user Corey.Cousins

While it may not officially be winter yet, winter driving conditions may be experienced as temperatures drop and snow begins to fall. AAA is recommending drivers take precautions for winter driving.

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Government & Politics
3:50 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Not Everyone Happy With PA Transportation Funding Bill

Not everyone is happy with the transportation plan nearing passage in the Pennsylvania legislature.

The conservative political action group Americans for Prosperity is calling the plan an attack on working Pennsylvanians. The proposal increases registration, licensing and other motor vehicle fees to get the funding needed for transportation projects. It also removes a cap on a tax paid by gas stations.

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Eduation and Technology
4:09 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Tech Conference Aims to Improve Traditional Education, But Connectivity Still an Issue

It’s no question that technology has changed the world over the last few decades, from how we shop to how we share our lives. In the U.S., many public school districts are in the process of making major changes thanks to technology. Leaders in education and technology are hoping schools get it right because a lot is at stake.

In the not-so-distant past it was pretty commonplace to be taught solely out of a text book and worksheets in the classroom – maybe you’d get a video on a sub day. Today, there are many more options thanks to computers, tablets and other smart devices.

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Public Safety
6:05 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Teacher, ACLU File Suit Against Pittsburgh Police Officer Over Summer Arrest

Dennis Henderson (center) and the ACLU have filed a federal lawsuit against a Pittsburgh police officer following an incident in Homewood last summer.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The ACLU of Pennsylvania has filed a federal lawsuit against Pittsburgh police officer Jonathan Gromek, who last summer arrested a black teacher after a community meeting on police/community relations in Homewood.

All charges against Dennis Henderson were withdrawn by the district attorney, but Henderson said that the damage that was done can’t be undone.

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Transportation
4:48 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Alternate Transportation Funding Model Floated as Lawmakers Debate Plan

As Pennsylvania lawmakers continue to debate a transportation funding plan, the left-leaning Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) is recommending a plan that would fund road, bridge and transit projects through a mix of cash and debt financing.

“With a combination of cash that’s raised through a number of vehicles (fees) and responsible borrowing, that will reduce the up-front cost but better reflect the fact that these are long-term investments that will have a long use over many years,” said PBPC Director Sharon Ward.

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Arts & Culture
3:30 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Kennedy Presidency and Assassination Explored by Pittsburgh Playwright

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. One of the events marking the occasion is a reading of the play “Noah’s Ark,” which was inspired by James Douglass’ book “JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters.”

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Public Safety
3:31 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

District Judge Asks DA to Investigate Incidents at Brashear High School

Allegheny County District Judge James A. Motznik is calling on Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala to investigate two issues relating to incidents at Pittsburgh Brashear High School.

One of the incidents, an assault and robbery at the school, is believed to be related to this week’s shooting of three students outside of the school. Motznik said he believes a new policy in place is preventing school police officers from issuing citations as they would have in the past.

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Economy
4:13 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Housing Market Continues to Strengthen in Pittsburgh Area

In addition to the increase in home listings, a new report from online residential real estate site Trulia shows Pittsburgh is one of the areas in the U.S. where home ownership is still within reach for the middle class.
Credit Flickr user mknobil

The housing market in southwestern Pennsylvania continues to strengthen, according to numbers released by West Penn Multi-List.

In October, the number of residential homes placed under agreement increased 15.07 percent; new listings increased 8.69 percent, and average days on the market decreased 4.82 percent over the previous month.

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Government & Politics
3:14 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Ravenstahl Releases Final Budget of Mayoral Tenure

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is applauded following his announcement of the 2014 city budget.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl released his proposed 2014 operating and capital budget Tuesday.

The $480 million budget and five-year plan is balanced, and it contains no tax increases or layoffs.

Before getting into specifics of the proposed spending plan, Ravenstahl outlined successes of his time as mayor. He said in the last seven years Pittsburgh has received 10 bond rating upgrades, and its investment status has moved from junk to grade A status.

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City in Transition
12:49 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Peduto Floats Early Retirement for Some City Employees

Mayor-Elect Bill Peduto has introduced legislation in City Council that would temporarily amend they city’s pension laws. The measure would allow employees whose combined age and years of service equals or exceeds 70 to retire with a full pension. Currently, age and experience must add up to 80 to qualify.

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Community
10:04 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign Kicks Off for the Holiday Season

The turkey hasn’t yet been served, but an iconic sign of Christmas will start popping up outside of stores and other locations – the Salvation Army’s red kettles.

“The goal for Western Pennsylvania is $2.7 million and the goal for Allegheny County is $687,500,” said Major Mark Mackneer, general secretary of Salvation Army in Western Pennsylvania.

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City in Transition
1:06 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Peduto Seeks City Residents for Roles on Transition Teams

Eight transition teams have been formed around the executive team announced by Mayor-elect Bill Peduto last week. The application period is now open for any city resident interested in participating.

“His (Peduto’s) vision for this administration is to build a new Pittsburgh, and we want to provide an opportunity for resident and community leaders and others to come to the table and be a part of that,” said Kevin Acklin, Peduto’s chief of staff.

The transition teams are:

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Education
12:12 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Pittsburgh School Board Gets Four New Members

Thanks to a series of retirements, the Pittsburgh Public School Board now has four new members — the highest turnover for the board in 14 years. The new members are excited and optimistic about the future of the district, though all say they’re expecting a tough job.

Sylvia Wilson is taking over the seat vacated by one-term board member Sharene Shealy. Wilson recently retired as assistant to the president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers and wants to see change in the district.

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Election 2013
9:34 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Peduto's Night: Democrat Easily Beats 2 Opponents for Pittsburgh Mayor

Bill Peduto speaks to supporters Tuesday night following a landslide win in the city's mayoral election.
Credit Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

“Let’s build a new Pittsburgh!”

Newly elected mayor Bill Peduto proclaimed those words as he addressed a crowd at his victory party in Homewood Tuesday night. The Democrat handily defeated Republican challenger Josh Wander and third party challenger Les Ludwig.

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Economy & Business
1:47 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

More Ambulatory Surgery Centers in PA Means More Options for Patients

The number of ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) in Pennsylvania increased by 10 in 2012, bringing the total to 281. That’s according to an annual report from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, or the PHC4.

An ASC is a facility that offers outpatient procedures that don’t require an overnight stay, such as a colonoscopy or endoscopy.

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Community
5:20 am
Sun November 3, 2013

Winter Heating Assistance Program Application Period Opens Monday

Credit John Loo / Flickr

Starting Monday November 4th, applications will be accepted for winter heating assistance through the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP.) An estimated 1.5 million Pennsylvania households are eligible for LIHEAP grants.

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