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.

 

Ways To Connect

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

As two days of hearings on the proposed EPA rules to cut carbon emissions, protesters and supporters gathered for rallies and marches outside of the Federal Building. Before the hearings got underway Thursday, downtown streets were relatively quiet. One small group had set up a stand on the corner of Liberty Avenue and Tenth Street speaking out against the proposed rules and calling for the impeachment of President Obama.

The Marcellus Shale Industry continues to grow, though at a slower pace than years past. That’s according to the recently-released Annual Workforce Survey from the Marcellus Shale Coalition. Industry companies expect to hire 2,000 workers in 2014, a 50 percent drop from 2013 numbers.

“We’ve seen a reduction in rig count, primarily due to the drop in natural gas prices not only Pennsylvania, but across the country,” said Dave Spigelmyer, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, “kind of victims of our own success.”

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Waiting for buses at stops can often mean standing in or near a bus shelter – typically it’s not a fancy or a very comfortable experience.

Enter the new Super Stop in the Ikea parking lot in Robinson.

The Airport Corridor Transportation Association (ACTA) held a grand opening for the stop Tuesday. It does have the bus shelters and benches, but outside of the shelters, there’s an area with tables and chairs, making it seem more like somebody’s patio than a bus stop. Though, as officials pointed out, the Super Stop is not meant just for bus commuters.

The overall crime rate in Pittsburgh for 2013 was reduced by 6.6 percent over 2012, according to the city’s Department of Public Safety. The drop is credited, primarily, to a decrease in property crimes.

Violent crime is down by 2.6 percent, but when broken down into categories, all violent crime categories, except for robbery, increased. Robbery dropped 15.8 percent over 2012.

The number of rapes is up, but a news release from the Department of Public Safety attributed the rise to the inclusion of male victims in the Uniform Crime Reporting definition of rape.  

The state Public Utility Commission has approved emergency permits for two ride-sharing companies that have been operating in the Pittsburgh area.
 
The companies have come under fire over concerns that drivers, their vehicles and their insurance don't meet regulations for taxi cabs and other similar services. The companies have argued their services are just as safe but have been targeted because they don't fit neatly into current public transportation regulations.
 

Barnaby Wasson / Flickr

As Pennsylvania continues a campaign to ensure access to PRE-K programs for all children, Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, a representative from Mayor Bill Peduto’s office, Pittsburgh Public Schools, and a group from the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC) traveled to New York City to see how that city is implementing universal Pre-K.

Rudiak said one thing is clear: It takes multiple players working together to pull it off.

Pittsburgh City Council has approved a measure for a professional service agreement between Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania and the city for the continuation of the Pittsburgh Initiative to Reduce Crime (PIRC).

This comes with a $150,000 price tag, which Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith questioned.

“I don’t mind funding anything if we see results, but I don’t want to fund something if we don’t see results, and I have not seen results from this program,” she said.

The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission continues to try stopping ridesharing services Uber and Lyft from operating in the Pittsburgh area, often citing that the drivers are not regulated by the state, which is a safety concern.

This prompted one Pittsburgh man to look into a major safety issue – driving under the influence.

“Under that safety argument I decided to look into DUIs, arguably one of biggest dangers on the road, this could have been having a profound change in that area,” said Nate Good.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the U.S. Department of Energy is holding meetings across the country on infrastructure needs for the natural gas industry.

On Monday the, the seventh such meeting, the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) Public Meeting, was held in Pittsburgh. The day-long meeting focused on key infrastructure needed for transmission, storage and distribution of energy – especially natural gas, which continues boom, especially in this region.

After seeing no appreciable job growth in the Pittsburgh metro area more than a year ago, the region added 10,700 jobs between June 2013 and June 2014, according to a report from Pittsburgh Today.

“That’s a 0.9 percent increase, which doesn’t set the world on fire, but Pittsburgh has always been kind of a slow and steady grower,” said Doug Heuck, Pittsburgh Today director. “But it’s good news that we’re back growing jobs again.”

The Corbett administration has announced that no new natural gas leases will be issued under state parks and forest land while the case of PEDF v. Commonwealth progresses in court.

The decision is part of a settlement, which includes the continued funding of the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The suit was brought by the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation.

Eleven patients from a unit at UPMC Presbyterian were moved to other parts of the hospital following the detection of legionella in several sinks in a recently-remodeled area.

There are no confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease, but UPMC spokeswoman Wendy Zellner said the patients were moved as a precautionary measure.

“We are following our normal Legionella monitoring and prevention protocols and expect the unit to reopen soon after proper remediation measures are taken,” Zellner said in a statement.

Customers of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority now have another payment option at their disposal – cash payments at 7-Eleven stores.

“It’s a convenience for our customers who don’t have a bank account, a credit card, a debit card, they may be out of town,” said Melissa Rubin, a PWSA spokeswoman. “Cash payments can be made at any 7-Eleven across the U.S.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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