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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City Government
4:46 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Pittsburgh Parking Revenue Up, But Concerns Remain Over Meter and Scrap Inventory

Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb released findings of an audit of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5/WESA

Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb has released an audit of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority — and found a bit of a mixed bag.

First, the good news: Lamb said the Parking Authority is mostly in compliance on their contracts and have good policies and procedures which are largely followed. Plus, revenues are up from 2012 amounts.

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Health
12:43 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Point State Park Fountain Being Tested for Legionella Bacteria

About a month after its re-opening, the fountain at Point State Park is being tested by the Allegheny County Department of Health for Legionella.

The move follows a report of one person coming down with Legionnaires' disease after a visit to the fountain. County health officials say it’s unlikely the infection came from the fountain, but they are testing it as a precaution.

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Education
5:12 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Pennsylvania Common Core Standards on Hold, Pending State Board Review

In the spring, Gov. Tom Corbett postponed implementation of the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards, citing concerns from lawmakers and public. Corbett asked the State Board of Education and lawmakers to review the standards and make any modifications they deem necessary.

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Pennyslvania
3:33 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Medicaid Expansion Up for Vote in PA Senate Committee

A vote is looming in a state Senate committee on legislation to potentially expand Medicaid eligibility to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians under the 2010 federal health care law.

“I cannot say enough about the importance for those individuals who don’t have health insurance, who are working every day, about a half a million people in Pennsylvania, how significant it could be for their lives, and for all of us,” said Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-PA-7.)

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Environment & Energy
12:09 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Bill Aims to Spur Growth in Alternative Fueling Stations Along Nation’s Highways

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has announced a plan he says would spur growth of alternative fuel vehicle infrastructure.

The so-called Clean Vehicles Corridors Act would result in more fueling stations across interstate highways, thereby making it easier for alternative fuel vehicles to travel longer distances.

“The way it will work is the U.S. Transportation Department, in consultation with the Energy Department as well as other federal agencies, will designate highway routes where the development of an alternative fuel support system will succeed,” Casey said.

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History
3:30 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Re-enactments to Bring Gettysburg to Life for 150th Anniversary

The Battle of Gettysburg was fought 150 years ago, and thousands of people will mark the occasion through re-enactments, workshops, performances and more.
Credit J. Todd Poling / Flickr

It was 150 years ago that the battle considered to be the turning point of the Civil War took place in a field in Pennsylvania.

Each year, thousands of people re-enact the Battle of Gettysburg, and thousands turn out to watch. This year, for the 150th anniversary, the events will be even larger than normal.

“There’ll be two major re-enactments probably attracting 12,000 to 15,000 re-enactors each, and then hundreds of thousands of spectators,” said Andy Masich, president and CEO of the Heinz History Center.  

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Community
2:03 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Portion of Liberty Avenue to Close as Crowd Awaits Supreme Court Rulings on LGBT Issues

As of earlier Tuesday afternoon, more than 300 people on Facebook said they are heading downtown Wednesday morning to catch live coverage of the Supreme Court’s rulings on DOMA and Prop 8 — two cases involving same-sex marriage.

Delta Foundation organizers are expecting an even larger crowd downtown.

“Liberty Avenue will be shut down to vehicle traffic between 9th and 10th because we’re expecting so many people,” said Christine Bryan with the Delta Foundation. “We’ll have a large television set up, and a stage and various speakers.”

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Economy & Business
1:56 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

New Community Center, Several Initiatives Aim to Revitalize North Homewood

HRA organizers and members of the All 4 Life Program take the first swings at a wall that is coming down to accommodate a 300-seat auditorium.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Several years ago, a Family Dollar store was set to open on Frankstown Avenue in Homewood. The building was built, but the chain pulled out, deciding not to locate a store there.

The building has stood vacant since. The Homewood Renaissance Association (HRA) is hoping to breathe new life into it and the community by converting the space into a new community center.

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Science & Technology
3:30 am
Mon June 17, 2013

Real Life 'Marauder’s Map' May Help Improve Patient Care in Nursing Homes

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a way to track the locations of individuals in complex, indoor settings such as nursing homes.

Developers liken it to the Marauder’s Map featured in the Harry Potter books and movies, which allows Harry Potter to see anyone’s location at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

But instead of magic, this system uses a network of cameras and algorithms to track movement. Researchers said this could be important in keeping track of residents of nursing homes.

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Veterans
3:30 am
Mon June 17, 2013

VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System Hires More Mental Health Professionals

As part of a national mandate from President Obama to hire 1,600 new mental health professionals in the veterans’ health system, the VA Pittsburgh Health System has hired 30 new mental health professionals plus an additional 14 to fill existing vacancies.

“I think it’s obvious that if we have more people offering service, then more people could obtain services and obtain them quicker,” said Jeffrey Peters, associate chief of staff for behavior health at the VA Pittsburgh.

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Community
2:24 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Census: Pittsburgh Region Is Getting Younger

According to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of the youngest Allegheny County residents is increasing.
Haldan Kirsch 90.5 WESA

The population of the youngest Allegheny County residents is growing, while nationally the number is dropping.

Between 2010 and 2012, the number of people five years of age and younger increased county-wide by 0.9 percent, while it decreased nationally by the same percentage.

“I think the Pittsburgh region’s been attracting people for the last few years, and most people moving into the region are going to be younger folks mostly coming for work, so I think that’s made us younger as we go ahead,” said Christopher Briem, regional economist at the University of Pittsburgh.

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Environment & Energy
2:57 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

New 'Cool Roofs' Initiative Seeks to Increase Energy Efficiency with Reflective Paint

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announces the launch of the city's Cool Roofs program.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The Cool Roofs program has officially launched in Pittsburgh. Through the servePGH initiative, the roofs of 10 city-owned buildings will be coated with reflective paint.

“In the coming months, volunteers will help paint approximately 50,000 square feet of city-owned roofs with a special, eco-friendly white coating,” said Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

The reflective surface will help reduce carbon emissions and decrease energy costs for the buildings, and eventually that energy savings could extend to wider areas.

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Pittsburgh
2:15 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl Says Fewer Public Appearances Are His Choice

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said his office has been fully cooperative with an ongoing federal investigation into city financial dealings, and that there have been no subpoenas from investigators in more than a month.

Ravenstahl maintained that he’s done nothing wrong and said he wished the truth could come out now, as opposed to a long investigation.

At an event in Mt. Washington Wednesday morning to launch a program to increase energy efficiency at city-owned buildings, he took issue with questions from the media about his lack of public appearances of late.

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Summer Learning
3:30 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Barriers May Keep Kids from Summer Enrichment Programs

Ellis School student Chelsea Canedy (left) is starting a free robotics camp for low-income girls. Teacher Lisa Abel-Palmieri is an adviser for the camp.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

For so many kids, the beginning of summer holds promise of weeks and weeks of doing absolutely nothing, or of sitting around and watching TV or playing video games all day.

Many kids will have such plans thwarted by parents who will send them to one or several summer programs. That’s probably not a bad thing — there is a growing body of research that suggests letting kids do nothing but watch TV and play video games all summer could set back their academic growth.

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Veterans
2:09 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Pittsburgh Symposium Focuses on Returning Female Veterans

Chris Cieslak, a lieutenant colonel with the Army Reserves, returned from Kabul, Afghanistan in 2012 after a year’s duty there.

Cieslak went through what she described as a "minor depression," and only now does she feel she’s made the transition from military to civilian life. She considers herself lucky — she had a good support system in place. Not all women veterans can say the same.

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Environment
4:08 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Groups Challenge ALCOSAN on Transparency Over Wet Weather Plan

Community members and environmental groups gather in Downtown Pittsburgh to call for more transparency from ALCOSAN as they study incorporating green components in its wet weather plan.
Credit Michael Lynch / 90.5 WESA

The Clean Rivers Campaign announced Monday it is filing a legal challenge to ALCOSAN’s denial of an open records request.

In May, the group requested any and all documents related to the scope of the work being done on ALCOSAN’s study of green infrastructure. That request was denied by ALCOSAN.

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Transportation
3:58 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Gov. Urges More Investment in Roads and Bridges

Governor Tom Corbett and PA Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch look at the underside of the Liberty Bridge, which is one of 4,000 structurally deficient bridges in the state.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5/WESA

Governor Tom Corbett stood under Pittsburgh’s Liberty Bridge to discuss the need for more investment in road and bridge projects, as well as mass transit. This comes days after the Pennsylvania Senate voted to boost state funding for transportation systems by nearly 50 percent.

“We are moving in the right direction toward a transportation funding program that is sustainable, that is long-term, that is fair, and that is balanced,” said Corbett, “between my proposal and the one offered by Senate Bill 1, it means our roads and bridges will be safer, our economy more sound.

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Community
2:24 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Five Southwestern PA Communities Part of New Revitalization Partnership

The Allegheny Conference on Community Development has announced the new Strengthening Communities Partnership, an endeavor aimed at spurring private investment in five communities that are already working to revitalize.

“What it enables is for a corporation to provide a significant donation, up to $500,000 annually, and in return for a six-year commitment at that level, they can receive an 80 percent state tax credit and an additional federal benefit,” said Taris Vrcek, executive director of McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation (CDC).

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advanced placement
6:30 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Grant Aims to Expand Access to Advanced Placement Classes in Two Pittsburgh High Schools

Pittsburgh Brashear Co-Principal Kimberly Safron, Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Linda Lane and NMSI's Dale Fleury accept a grant from the Heinz Endowments.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

A new-to-Pennsylvania program is hoping to increase enrollment in advanced placement classes in two Pittsburgh high schools, with the ultimate goal to ensure more kids, especially kids of color, are prepared for higher education – whatever form that may take.

More than 100 students at Pittsburgh Brashear High School are currently enrolled in advanced placement, or AP, classes. Through a partnership with the National Math and Science Initiative, or NMSI, and a grant from the Heinz Endowments, work will get underway to increase that number.

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Environment
11:33 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Firewood Quarantine in Effect to Stop Spread of Insects, Disease to Trees

The emerald ash borer beetle is now in 34 Pennsylvania counties.
Credit usda.gov / Creative Commons

Thanks to the presence of disease and tree-killing insects such as the emerald ash borer, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is reminding residents of the firewood quarantine in place.

People are asked to not move firewood more than 50 miles from its origin, and wood products cannot be moved out of Bucks County at all because of thousand cankers disease.

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Pennyslvania
11:58 am
Fri May 31, 2013

PA Offers Amnesty For Those Who Owe Money To Unemployment Fund

For the first time ever, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry will be offering amnesty for individuals or businesses who owe money to the unemployment compensation fund.

Department spokeswoman Sarah Goulet said currently about $613 million is owed to the fund.

“It works out to be 130,000 individual claimants who are eligible to participate in amnesty and the over payments that are due there are about $356 million,” she said, “and there’s about 50,000 employers who need to pay into the state’s UC trust fund through UC tax, and they owe $256 million.”

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Cities
2:24 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Pennsylvania Senate Panel Examines Futures of Cities Large and Small

Members of the Pennsylvania Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee met in Pittsburgh to examine the challenges faced by cities of all sizes in the commonwealth.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Cities throughout Pennsylvania, regardless of size, are facing similar issues such as blight, aging infrastructure and unsustainable pension systems. To learn more about the future of municipalities, the state Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee held a hearing Wednesday to better assess needs.

The first person to address the committee was Pittsburgh’s 8th District City Councilman and Democratic mayoral candidate Bill Peduto. He said there are four main issues facing the city: pensions, economic development, education, and infrastructure and transportation.

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Air Quality
11:34 am
Tue May 28, 2013

EPA School Flag Program Monitors Pittsburgh Region’s Air Quality

Credit airnow.gov

The Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) and the federal Environmental Protection Agency are partnering on the so-called School Flag Program, which debuted last week at the Environmental Charter School at Frick Park.

“The School Flag Program was developed by the EPA, and it’s an engaging, hands-on way for students to inform their entire school and community about the region’s air quality and then to take necessary steps to minimize their exposure to high levels of air pollution,” said Karrie Kressler, of GASP.

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Education
3:30 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Pittsburgh’s Third Youth Civic Leadership Academy Now Accepting Applicants

The third year of the Pittsburgh Youth Civic Leadership Academy (YCLA) is now accepting applications. The three-week program allows city high school students to get an immersion experience in city government.

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Community
2:10 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Community, Corporate Leaders Pledge Commitment to Racial Equity in Business Sector

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald (left) and B-PEP's Tim Stevens said the corporate community needs to be more diverse, especially in management and board positions.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5/WESA

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald (left) and B-PEP's Tim Stevens said the corporate community needs to be more diverse, especially in management and board positions.

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The Pittsburgh region has been doing relatively well the last few years, with the region returning to pre-recession employment levels faster than the national average.

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