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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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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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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