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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Alternative Education
3:50 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Alternative School Offers Deeper Connection with Teachers and Mentors for At-Risk Kids

Phase 4 Learning has been referred to by some of its students as the "last chance high school,” but the head of the 6-12 school prefers to think of it as a “best chance school” for success of their students.

Terri Suica Reed created the school to help reach students who may be having trouble in traditional schools.

“The formula is pretty simple, but yet it’s complex as well," Reed said. "It’s all about relationships. Everything about life is about relationships. You build relationships with people and we do that with our students.”

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Environment & Energy
4:52 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Group to Urge County Council to Reject Fracking Proposals for Allegheny County Parks

Nothing has been decided yet, but Allegheny County Council is considering an offer to develop natural gas found under Deer Lakes Park.

A new group made up of several grass roots organizations is planning to urge the group to say “no.” Members of Protect Our Parks will deliver their message at Tuesday’s County Council meeting.

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Liquor Privatization
3:30 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Despite Increased Income from Liquor Sales in Pennsylvania, Privatization Still a Priority

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board reported revenue near $2.2 billion for fiscal year 2012-2013, a 4.5 percent increase over the previous year. In addition, contributions to various state agencies and the general fund exceeded a record-setting $660 million dollars.

Still, this news doesn’t sway Gov. Tom Corbett, who remains a proponent of privatizing the state’s liquor system.

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Environment & Energy
9:46 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Shale Roundtable Makes Recommendations for Marcellus Industry

A Marcellus Shale well in Roulette, Pa.
Credit Laurie Barr, via Wikimedia Commons

A group charged with examining the Marcellus Shale industry in a comprehensive, unbiased manner has made several recommendations regarding the development, distribution and research of natural gas.

The Shale Gas Roundtable released its final report, and any further action is up to industry leaders, lawmakers and environmentalists.

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Religion & Faith
4:21 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

At Lutheran Assembly, Calls for Full Inclusion of LGBTQ Community

UPDATE:  August 15 5:00 am

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)  has a new leader.  Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, Bishop of the Northeast Ohio Synod was elected as Presiding Bishop of the ELCA at the church's national conference in Pittsburgh.   Bishop Eaton was elected on the fifth ballot with 600  votes compared to 287 for Bishop Mark Hanson who has led the ELCA for the last 12 years.

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Government & Politics
3:24 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

PWSA, Veolia Extend Contract; Authority May Have New Director in Next 18 Months

PWSA has extended its partnership with Veolia Water through December 2014. PWSA provides water and wastewater services to more than 300,000 consumers throughout Pittsburgh and surrounding areas.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority and Veolia Water have extended their partnership agreement through December 2014. PWSA started working with Veolia in the summer of 2012.

The initial contract was for at least 12 months, with an option to extend. One of the priorities for the upcoming contract term will likely be finding a permanent director.

“I think that’s the aim of the board, is at the end of the contract term that by then there would be a new, permanent executive director that’s a direct employ of the PWSA,” said interim Executive Director Jim Good.

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Community
4:40 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Pittsburgh for Trayvon Group Delivers Demands to URA

Members of the group Pittsburgh for Trayvon read a "love letter" to Pittsburgh to the Urban Redevelopment Authority board.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The group Pittsburgh for Trayvon has a list of demands it is giving city officials.

On Thursday the group surprised the Urban Redevelopment Authority at its monthly meeting.

Four members of Pittsburgh for Trayvon read a “love letter” to Pittsburgh to the board and gave them a list of their demands.

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Education
3:07 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

PA Legislative Group Seeks Input on Development of Special Education Funding Formula

Members of the Special Education Funding Committee are holding meetings throughout the state in the coming months. Members include Education Secretary William E. Harner, Senator Jim Brewster, and Co-Chairs Representative Bernie O'Neill and Senator Pat Browne.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

For the first time, Pennsylvania lawmakers are developing a specific funding formula for special education in the commonwealth.

Currently, funding is based on the assumption that within every school district 16 percent of the students are in need of special education.

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Religion & Faith
1:49 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Social Issues at the Top of Agenda for Gathering of Lutherans in Pittsburgh

More than 3,000 people are gathering in Pittsburgh for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America biennial church-wide assembly.

Each time the group meets, it releases a statement on a specific social issue.

“(This year) we will be considering a proposed social statement called ‘The Church and Criminal Justice: Hearing the Cries,’ said Kurt Kusserow, bishop of the local synod. "This is a social statement that tries to understand both the experience of victims in our criminal justice system and the justice system itself.”

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Community
2:40 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Braddock Mayor Performs First Same-Sex Wedding in Allegheny County

John Kandray and Bill Gray of Pittsburgh have been together for 11 years and were one of several same-sex couples to obtain a marriage license from Montgomery County.

On Monday night the two were wed in a ceremony officiated by Braddock Mayor John Fetterman. But a state law is in place that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

“I’m urging Gov. Tom Corbett to tear down this law and replace it with marriage equality for all Pennsylvanians,” Fetterman said. “The law just has no place in 2013.”

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Public Safety
4:04 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

National Black Law Enforcement Group Meets in Pittsburgh

About 1,500 black law enforcement officials are gathered in Pittsburgh this week for the 37th annual conference of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

The group formed in 1976 after black officers gathered for a three-day symposium focusing on crime rates in urban communities with larger black populations. Some of the issues present 34 years ago are still issues today.

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Community
1:53 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

HUD Grant Allows McKeesport Housing Authority to Address Security Needs in Public Housing

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded the McKeesport Housing Authority $250,000 to address emergency, safety and security needs at its public housing properties.

“The grant was specifically earmarked for security upgrades,” said Housing Authority Director Steve Bucklew. “Physical costs like cameras, digital videos recorders, fences, lighting and that kind of stuff, that’s what we applied for.”

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Community
3:30 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Monday's Labor Day Celebrations to Highlight Transportation Funding, Fair Wages

Pittsburgh’s annual Labor Day parade is considered the second largest in the U.S., behind New York City.

Thousands of union members and officials will converge on downtown Monday morning to celebrate the history of the labor movement, American workers and to call attention to specific issues.

“We’ll be discussing a number of issues, one of them is transportation funding, another one is the right to organize as it relates to UPMC, and most of the issues that labor feels are important,” said Jim Kunz, business manager of Operating Engineers Local 66.

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Education
4:05 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Pittsburgh Faith Leaders Throw Support, Prayers Behind Effective Teacher Efforts

A new coalition of Pittsburgh faith leaders is adding their voice to the issue of education.

Through the nationwide Shepherding the Next Generation program, the group aims to support teachers and ensure all educators are effective and encourage Pittsburgh Public Schools to continue its push to hire and retain highly effective teachers. The group also released a report that highlights the importance of skilled educators.

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Health
5:36 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Even Peskier-Than-Normal Asian Tiger Mosquito Found in Pittsburgh Neighborhood

The Asian tiger mosquito is from Southeast Asia and has characteristic black-and-white striped legs and body. It bites morning, noon and night.
Credit Naturegirl78 / Flickr

As if regular old mosquitoes weren’t bad enough, the Allegheny County Health Department is reporting that the Asian tiger mosquito has been found throughout Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood.

More common mosquitoes generally bother birds, and people as well, but they're usually most active at dawn and dusk. That’s not the case with this insect.

“The Asian tiger mosquito loves people,” said Health Department entomologist Bill Todaro. “It bites in the morning, it bites in the afternoon and it bites in the evening.”

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Allegheny County
2:04 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Fitzgerald Wants to Establish 'Base Year' for Property Assessments

In an effort to ensure steady and predictable revenue from property taxes, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald is planning to establish the 2012 property reassessment as a base-year for coming tax years.

He said the recent re-assessment was very costly for county residents.

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Government & Politics
5:07 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Former PA Governor Rendell Urges Support of Bipartisan Tax Overhaul Plan

Sen. Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana, and Rep. Dave Camp, a Republican from Michigan, have teamed up and taken a message of tax reform on the road.

The pair spoke in Philadelphia Monday as part of their “Tax Reform Tour,” an effort to eliminate loopholes in the federal tax code. Former governors Tom Ridge, a Republican, and Ed Rendell, a Democrat, are adding their support to the movement.

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Music and Learning
6:27 am
Fri July 26, 2013

To Help Teach Subjects, Teachers Learn to Look to Music

Teachers from across the United States have spent the last five weeks in Pittsburgh for the “Voices Across Time” program.

They've been learning how to incorporate music into their lessons, and the goal is to help students not only learn, but also connect with various subjects.

On the final Wednesday of the program, the group of teachers sat listening to a song called “The Blue Juniata.” Its lyrics are featured in the book "Little House on the Prairie." For the past month the teachers have been learning how to use such songs in their classes.

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Government & Politics
2:15 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

State Lawmakers Focus on Refuse Worker Safety

Members of the Joint Senate and House Democratic Policy Committee hear testimony on the safety concerns of refuse workers. Trash and recyclable collector is one of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the United States.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

When people hear the term “dangerous jobs,” the top occupations that come to mind may be fireman or police officer, but one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States is that of a refuse worker.

Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, several recent articles list refuse and recyclable materials collector as the fourth most dangerous job in the country.  

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Environment & Energy
1:55 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Newest 'Cool Roof' to be Painted This Weekend on North Side

The city of Pittsburgh’s Cool Roof program is a newer initiative aimed at reducing energy costs in buildings. So far, five city buildings have gotten cool roofs, and on Saturday, weather permitting, Engine 37 on the North Side will also get the cool roof treatment.

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Pittsburgh Promise
7:10 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Is the Pittsburgh Promise Delivering?

A recent policy brief from conservative think tank Allegheny Institute for Public Policy states that the Pittsburgh Promise is falling well short of its goals, and that its mission should be completely re-focused. But this isn’t the first time the Allegheny Institute has taken on the Pittsburgh Promise.

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Politics
3:34 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

PA Democrats Launch Campaign Against Gov. Corbett

Leading up to Gov. Tom Corbett’s expected re-election announcement, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party is launching a “Promises Made, Promises Broken” campaign aimed at highlighting what they called the Republican governor’s failures.

“From taxes to state parks, the governor has broken campaign promises, we intend to hold him accountable,” said state Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn.

The campaign is in anticipation of Corbett’s re-election campaign which is expected to have a “Promises Made, Promises Kept” theme.  

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Learning and Play
7:09 am
Fri July 19, 2013

At This Camp, Playing Is More Than Just A Game

Ten-year-old Tasaun Harvey shoots a ping pong ball from a cup while playing a game called Crossball.
Ryan Loew 90.5 WESA

Last week, teachers from Allegheny County gathered in Homestead to learn how to integrate games and play into their classrooms. This week those same teachers tested out what they learned on real kids.

Max O’Malley was one of 35 middle school kids at a camp at Carnegie Mellon University. One of their tasks was to create a new game using ping pong balls and plastic cups. Max and his group created a game based on the concept of air hockey.

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City Government
9:46 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Pittsburgh Projected to Finish the Year with Budget Surplus

The city of Pittsburgh is on track to finish 2013 with a budget surplus, according to the Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) released by Controller Michael Lamb.

The earlier, Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), showed the city ended 2012 with a surplus in excess of $20 million. Lamb also gave an update on how the city is doing so far this year.

Citing a national report out this week, Lamb said this year the Pittsburgh region is experiencing moderate growth, while many other parts of the nation are experiencing slower, modest growth.

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Health
1:09 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

First-of-Its-Kind Study to Examine How Brain Aneurysms Work Through Tissue

In an effort to better understand brain aneurysms, researchers in Pittsburgh will examine aneurysm tissue to try and learn what determines whether an aneurysm ruptures or doesn’t.

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