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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Education
1:57 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Pittsburgh Promise Receives Largest-Ever Individual Gift

The Pittsburgh Promise has announced it has received its largest-ever individual gift.

Marty and Ann McGuinn have pledged $1 million to the scholarship fund.

“This money will support hundreds of kids in their pursuit for higher education after high school,” said Promise Executive Director Saleem Ghubril, “and will ensure the majority of them will be able to graduate from college or whatever post-secondary education they pursue, without debt.”

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Economy & Business
3:03 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Sharpsburg Bridge Street Access Road Marks Step Toward Riverfront Revitalization

The first phase of a riverfront revitalization project north of Pittsburgh is now complete.

The official ribbon cutting ceremony for Bridge Street freight access took place Thursday morning. It's an effort that has been in development for about a decade.

“The road was in horrible condition, and the business fronting the road makes specialty window systems, and for a number of years they weren’t able to use the road effectively because of the potholes and such,” said Iris Whitworth, executive director of the Allegheny River Towns Enterprise Zone (ARTEZ).

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Government & Politics
3:34 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

PA Auditor General Urges Officials to Raise the State’s Minimum Wage

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is calling on Governor Corbett and state lawmakers to raise the state's minimum wage.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is calling on Gov. Tom Corbett and the Legislature to raise the state’s minimum wage from the current $7.25.

“As the state’s fiscal watchdog, I think this would be good for the state budget," DePasquale said. "I believe it would help stimulate the economy and most importantly, it’s just the right thing to do to put money in the pockets of working families who have gone without a raise for far too long."

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Economy
3:05 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

80,000 Pennsylvanians To Be Affected By Expiration Of Emergency Unemployment Funds

Emergency Unemployment Funds, which go to people who’ve been receiving unemployment benefits for more than six months, are set to expire Dec. 28.

“We estimate that 80,000 Pennsylvanians who are claiming emergency unemployment compensation benefits will lose those benefits as of the end of December this year because the federal government is not continuing that program,” said Sara Goulet, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

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City in Transition
5:03 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Details of Proposed City Employee Buyout Program Released

A week after Mayor-elect Bill Peduto’s plan to offer some city worker’s an early retirement faced a veto threat from Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Peduto’s staff announced a second plan that would operate separate from the pension.

On Thursday, more details of the plan were released: Those changes could expand the number of eligible workers.

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Community
3:30 am
Wed December 11, 2013

With Santa Costumes and Drag Queens, This Isn't Your Grandma's Bingo

OUTrageous Bingo co-founder Rick Allison calls a recent game at Rodef Shalom in Oakland.
Deanna Garcia 90.5 WESA

Bingo has been a popular past time in the U.S. for decades. It may conjure images of playing with Grandma in a church hall or rows of intense players, daubers in hand, good luck trinkets in front of them, eagerly awaiting the next call.

In Pittsburgh, players can experience a slightly different bingo game – one that has been held monthly since the late 1990s – OUTrageous Bingo.

It takes place at an unlikely venue, Rodef Shalom in Oakland, and each month the place gets packed.

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Community
3:30 am
Mon December 9, 2013

$1.5 Million Goes to Organizations Fighting Child Abuse in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare has announced the 2013 grantees of Children’s Trust Fund grants. $1.5 million dollars will be divvied up to 13 organizations across the state.

“These are grants that are awarded to organizations to focus on strengthening families and building protective factors and resiliency within parents, caregivers and children in order to prevent child abuse and neglect,” said Theresa Campisi, family support program manager with DPW.

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Community
4:24 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Ground Broken on Braddock Urgent Care Clinic

After more than three years without a hospital, Braddock is set to get another medical facility.

On Friday, ground was broken on a new commercial development that will include a Highmark and Allegheny Health Network full service urgent care center, to serve the more than 2,100 people who live in the borough.

“They’ll have access to health care services as well as good, positive development on the main drag of Braddock,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

UPMC Braddock closed its doors in early 2010.

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Education
2:13 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

New President Named for Community College of Allegheny County

The Community College of Allegheny County Board of Trustees has named Quintin B. Bullock as its ninth president.

Bullock is currently president of Schenectady County Community College in New York. He was appointed unanimously by the Board of Trustees after a national search.

“Dr. Bullock, really as I’ve described him to everyone, has what we were looking for,” said board Chair Amy Kuntz. “Being a community college president is such a unique position. It requires a skill set that is multi-dimensional.”

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Community
1:45 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

New Effort Aims to Stop Street Harassment in Pittsburgh

Heather Dougherty was new to Pittsburgh and without a car, so she’d walk everywhere in and around Lawrenceville.

“And I experienced street harassment almost every time I stepped outside my office,” Dougherty said. “Men would shout at me you know, ‘Hey baby; nice hips,’ stuff like that. They would honk their horn as I crossed the street.”

Dougherty said she did as she’d always been told — ignored it — but it began to happen more frequently.

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Environment & Energy
1:54 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Citing Slow Progress at Shenango Coke Plant, Community Group Resigns

Members of the Neville Island Good Neighbors Working Group are quitting, saying they're frustrated that air pollution caused by a Pittsburgh-area coke plant isn't being fixed fast enough.

“We’re starting to get the feeling that we’re serving as a tool for DET Energy to placate the public rather than addressing the real and compelling regional health concerns,” said group member and Ben Avon Councilman Michael Bett.

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Education
4:28 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Pittsburgh Public Education Advocacy Group Recruiting 'School Board Watchdogs'

The Pittsburgh Public School Board has four new members, the largest turnover for the group since 1999.

A+ Schools is calling on the public to help keep the board accountable. The public education advocacy group is seeking volunteers for the Board Watch Program.

“We think it’s important that the public is aware of what’s happening, what kinds of decisions the board is making and the manner in which they’re making them,” said A+ Schools Executive Director Carey Harris.

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Health
3:30 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Study: Teens Who Drink Alone More Likely to Develop Drinking Problems in Adulthood

The legal drinking age in the U.S. is 21, but as many people who’ve gone through high school and who are familiar with pop culture know, kids finds ways around that all the time.

A new study from researchers at the University of Pittsburgh finds that teens that do their drinking alone may be at greater risk for alcohol problems later in life.

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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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