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
1:59 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

State Lawmakers Examine New Water Treatment Technologies

Keeping the water that comes out of your tap clean for as little cost as possible is not always easy.
Credit Tim Camerato / 90.5 WESA

There are nearly 9,100 public water systems in Pennsylvania and roughly 2,000 municipal or community water systems of all sizes. Each has unique needs when it comes to water treatment. The Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee heard testimony from several people Friday in Collier Twp. about treating such water systems.

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Election 2013
3:33 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Outgoing Pittsburgh School Board Members Hopeful about District’s Future

Jean Fink (left), Theresa Colaizzi and Mark Brentley at an early 2013 School Board meeting. Fink, Colaizzi, Floyd McCrea and Sharene Shealey are leaving the school board.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

After Election Day, the Pittsburgh Public School Board will experience its largest turnover since 1999. Four members, including the longest-serving, decided not to seek re-election and will be done after the group’s final November meeting.

Jean Fink has been on the school board since 1976 – with a one-term break in there somewhere. The District 7 member says her reason for not seeking reelection is simple.

“I’m tired” said Fink. “I just turned 69 a couple of weeks ago and it’s just wearing on me all the running around.”

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Community
3:07 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Allegheny County Residents to DPW Head: Fix the Department!

Department of Public Works Secretary Bev Mackareth (left) and adviser Heather Hallman listen to community concerns about the department at a forum in Pittsburgh.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Lost paperwork, benefit delays, being hung up on or treated rudely – those are just some of the problems faced by some residents of Allegheny County as they try to navigate through the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare for either food assistance or health benefits. On Wednesday, Just Harvest, an agency which helps connect people to services, held a meeting with DPW Secretary Beverly Mackareth and concerned residents who outlined problems they’ve had and some of what they’d like to see going forward.

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Government & Politics
4:12 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Food Stamp Funding Drops as of November

SNAP benefits, also know as food stamps and EBT funds, will be reduced starting Friday.
Credit Clementine Gallot / Flickr

Starting November 1, families receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also referred to as food stamps, will see the amount of assistance drop. That’s because a boost in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the federal stimulus, expires.

“We have 1.8 million individuals who receive the SNAP benefit in Pennsylvania,” said Carey Miller, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. “We would expect that there would be about a 5 percent reduction to those individual SNAP benefits.”

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Public Safety
1:05 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Effort to Curb Cell Phone Theft Comes to Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has joined top prosecutors in San Francisco and New York in a nationwide initiative to thwart smartphone thefts by rendering the devices useless after a robbery.

The “Secure Our Smartphones” initiative was introduced in Pennsylvania by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman this week. It’s a collaboration among attorneys general and municipal leaders asking cell phone manufacturers to develop a “kill switch” for stolen phones.

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Learning and Play
3:30 am
Mon October 21, 2013

How Tablets, Smart Phones Have Changed the Learning Landscape for Young Children

Theo, 2, gets a turn on the iPad while his 4-year-old brother Max watches.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Bill Cosby once said “the essence of childhood, of course, is play.”

But play for children today is sometimes very different than it was even five or 10 years ago, as the prevalence of smart phones and tablets is changing the way children play and learn.

Take 4-year-old Max. He’s in preschool and is learning to read and spell, sometimes with the help of apps on his mom and dad’s iPhone or iPad.

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Education
2:48 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Edinboro University Won't Cut B.A. Music Program

Officials with Edinboro University say the school won't cut bachelor degree programs in music and music education as it works to address a budget deficit. In July, the state system of higher education school had said that it might cut the music programs because there were only 70 students enrolled in them. Now, the school's interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, Michael Hannan, said the music department will not be cut, but will be restructured a bit.

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Community
1:42 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

After More Than 1 Million Visitors, Pittsburgh Duck To Leave Its Nest Sunday

Netherlands artist Florentijn Hoffman's Rubber Duck Project will leave Pittsburgh Sunday. This was the duck's first US appearance.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Despite an online petition with more than 4,636 signatures (as of this story being published), the Rubber Duck Project will leave Pittsburgh on Sunday night.

“From the beginning we always said October 20th is its date,” said Paul Organisak, vice president for programming at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. “The work of art has always been, was meant to be, a temporary installation. The power of it is the concentrated period of time to bring people together knowing that they must get down to see it.”

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Economy & Business
10:45 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Tech Startup Ideas Can Take Root at Pittsburgh Startup Weekend

This weekend budding entrepreneurs and those curious about launching a startup will gather in Pittsburgh for Startup Weekend. It’s part of a global grassroots movement that follows a basic model: participants pitch their startup ideas and they get feedback from peers. Teams form around topic ideas which are determined by votes and then comes 54 hours of business model creation, coding, designing and market validation.

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Community
2:19 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Years in the Planning – Hill District Grocery Store Opens for Business

Shoppers peruse the prepared foods section in the Hill District's new full-service grocery store.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

A large crowd gathered outside of the Shop n’ Save in the Hill District on ribbon cutting day Thursday; many of the people have waited a long time for a full-service grocery store in the neighborhood and now they have one.

“This is not something that’s been a day or a week in waiting, or even a month or a year, this is something that’s been decades in the making and it’s finally come to fruition,” said Michael Jasper, chairman of the Hill House Association Board.

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Government & Politics
2:18 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Pittsburgh Groups Tell Congress 'Enough Already,' Push for Federal Government to Reopen

Members of advocacy groups including Organizing for Action and Keystone Progress are asking Pennsylvania’s Republican Congressional representatives to halt efforts to defund the Affordable Care Act and move to re-open the federal government.

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Education
1:35 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

High School Students Unveil Pittsburgh Student Bill of Rights

High school students rally for support of the Pittsburgh Student Bill of Rights. The hope is the document will be adopted by the Pittsburgh Public Schools Board and included in the district's Code of Conduct.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Lost in the conversations surrounding education are often the voice of those being educated — the students.

By introducing the Pittsburgh Student Bill of Rights, a group of high school students is trying to make their voice heard and change what they perceive as the notion that they are “just kids.”

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Arts & Culture
12:05 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Local Film Work To Be Showcased Outdoors in Downtown Pittsburgh

We’ve all heard about, and many have seen the blockbuster films filmed in Pittsburgh – be it the "The Dark Knight Rises" or "The Perks of Being a Wallflower."

On Saturday some smaller filmmakers will have their work shown during an open-air film night downtown. It’s a partnership between Future Tenant and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and will feature a variety of films ranging from two minutes in length to an hour and 15 minutes.

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Sustainability
3:30 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Chatham University Unveils New Zero-Emissions Campus

Chatham University will host a ribbon cutting for its brand new zero-emissions Eden Hall campus in the North Hills on Thursday.

“It’ll be a living-learning laboratory for sustainability, but it will also be a branch campus for the university in the North Hills, where we teach our full array of academic subjects,” said university President Esther Barazzone.

The campus will be fully self-sustaining, treating its own wastewater and producing energy through a variety of methods, with the greatest portion of the energy coming from solar panels on the roof of every building.

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Government & Politics
3:05 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Cash Management at Pittsburgh Bureau of Animal Control Found Lacking

As part of a series of audits of departments within the city of Pittsburgh, Controller Michael Lamb has released a report on the Bureau of Animal Control. It found that the department’s cash management practices could lead to misappropriation of funds and a lack of ability to detect such a problem.

“Basic record keeping, bookkeeping type problems are what we’ve seen,” Lamb said. “We have not suggested that there’s been theft. What we’re suggesting is that we need a better system of record keeping.”

There are 10 findings total:

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Government & Politics
3:22 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

ICA Chairman Steps Down, New One Appointed

The Pittsburgh Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority has a new chairman.

The resignation of former chair, Dana Yealy, was announced at the group’s October meeting. The board appointed member Nicholas D. Varischetti as the new chair.

“I think you’re going to see the ICA working very closely with all the city stakeholders to come up with smart solutions on how we can be an asset and not a hindrance to helping the city,” Varischetti said.

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Community
3:41 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Walking Tour of Garfield Highlights Struggles, Opportunities

Marquise Williams, president of the Garfield chapter of Action United, said there are numerous struggles and opportunities throughout the neighborhood.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The newly-formed Garfield chapter of Action United led state and local government representatives on a walking tour Thursday of the neighborhood that, like others in Pittsburgh, is struggling with the effects of blight.

“Safety, roads, sidewalks, things for the kids to do,” said Marquise Williams, chapter president, “I feel like if kids had more to do a lot of the crime and a lot of the stuff would decline because there’s more activities for the kids to do.”

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Arts & Culture
11:33 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Braddock Carnegie Library to Lend Artwork as Part of Carnegie International

Starting Sunday, the Braddock Carnegie Library will expand its lending offerings to something a bit more visual thanks to a partnership with the 2013 Carnegie International.

Patrons will now be able to check out original artwork along with traditional library offerings.

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Health
11:25 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Confusion Over Health Care Exchanges Lingers for Patients and Physicians

Patients and those seeking health insurance under the Affordable Care Act aren’t the only ones fighting confusion. Physicians also have a lot of new things to deal with. Representatives with the Pennsylvania Medical Society say there are many confusing points, including understanding how people will be enrolled in the insurance exchanges that opened Monday.

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Community
1:51 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Report: Blighted Properties Costing Allegheny County Millions of Dollars Each Year

Blighted properties not only are an eyesore for neighborhoods and communities, but also they cost homeowners and local governments millions of dollars, according to a new report from Delta Development Group Inc.

“The annual impact of these problem properties for our 41 communities is actually over $254 million a year, which is enormous,” said An Lewis, executive director of the Steel Valley Council of Governments, one of the groups that commissioned the report.

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Economy & Business
2:43 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Pittsburgh-Area Companies Push 'Buy Local' Message for Industry, Businesses

The “buy local” movement gets a lot of attention for efforts to get communities to shop locally and buy local food, but buying local can also extend to industry. That’s the message of the second annual Buy Pittsburgh First Expo.

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Arts & Culture
3:25 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Giant Rubber Duck Poised to 'Change Pittsburgh for a Bit'

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has been handing out miniature rubber ducks in anticipation of the Rubber Duck Project. The giant duck will make its first American appearance on Pittsburgh's waterways Friday.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

A giant, floating rubber duck will temporarily change the Pittsburgh skyline this weekend as the American debut of the Rubber Duck Project kicks off the Pittsburgh Festival of Firsts.

In the meantime, one is reminded of the question asked by Arthur Weasley in the movie "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets:" "What exactly is the function of a rubber duck?”

Many would say its function is a child’s bath toy, but to others, it’s art.

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Community
2:21 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

House and Garden Tour to Showcase Ongoing Improvement in Wilkinsburg

Wilkinsburg, like other Pittsburgh neighborhoods, has had its share of troubles including crime, blight, loss of population and struggling schools.

And also like other neighborhoods, Wilkinsburg is trying to turn all of that around and revitalize. The fruits of some of those efforts will be on display for the inaugural Wilkinsburg House and Garden Tour.

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Environment & Energy
3:00 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Package of Marcellus Shale Bills Still Up in the Air in Harrisburg

The Pennsylvania General Assembly gaveled into session this week after a long summer break, and on the agenda are items related to the use of natural gas from Marcellus Shale.

But the package of bills aimed at expanding use of the resource has some environmental groups concerned.

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Education
4:40 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Pittsburgh Promise Shows Growth; Area Foundation Doubles Contribution

Pittsburgh Promise recipient Jahmiah Guillory will graduate from Penn State in December 2013. He said the Promise has been a blessing. Executive Director Saleem Ghubril (right) updated the community on the program Tuesday.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Since the inception of the Pittsburgh Promise, 4,101 students have received college scholarships, and that number will go up to more than 4,600 when scholarships for the class of 2013 are factored in.

With 707 recipients graduated from college, program leaders say the Pittsburgh Promise is having a positive impact on students and the district. The 2013 Report to the Community shows some areas of change, including two demographic shifts.

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