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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Community
3:40 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Bow Hunting To Be Allowed On Airport Land

Get your inner Katniss Everdeen ready.

The Allegheny County Airport Authority is opening up land for archery-only hunting in the coming months.  The pilot program will allow bow hunting in designated zones, but it will be limited to a certain number of hunters.

“There will be an online lottery in mid-to-late September,” said state Sen. Matt Smith. “People can go to the airport authority website right now, put their name in for the lottery and there will be 157 individuals selected.”

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Community
4:38 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Its Work Complete, Flight 93 Group Holding Final Meeting Sept. 10

The Flight 93 Advisory Committee helped plan and design the memorial site. Its work is complete and its final meeting will be held Sept. 10.
Credit Flickr user LugerLA

Nearly 11 years after it was created, the Flight 93 Advisory Commission is disbanding. 

The commission formed to help develop a national memorial at the site of where a hijacked plane crashed in southwestern Pennsylvania during the 9/11 attacks.

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Transportation
3:30 am
Fri August 30, 2013

State Lawmaker Suggests Using Shale Funds for Bridges

On the heels of PennDOT’s announcement that it is weight restricting 1,000 bridges statewide, one state lawmaker is proposing to take revenue from natural gas development and use it for bridge repairs.

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Transportation
5:55 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Business and Union Officials Call on Lawmakers to Pass Transportation Bill

Labor and business leaders were joined by workers calling on the state House to pass a transportation funding plan in the fall.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Labor leaders and organizations that represent businesses gathered Thursday under Pittsburgh’s Liberty Bridge, which has been weight restricted. The group is calling on the state House to pass a transportation funding plan already passed in the Senate. The consequences of doing nothing, said the group, would be disastrous for the city and the region.

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Transportation
3:45 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Several Allegheny County Bridges to be Weight Restricted in Coming Weeks

In all, 46 state-owned bridges in PennDOT District 11 (Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence Counties) will be posted with new or lowered weight restricted in the coming weeks. The move is meant to slow deterioration on the bridges as funding for major repairs remains uncertain. About 1,000 bridges statewide are considered structurally deficient, according to PennDOT.

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Government & Politics
2:38 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

D.A. Zappala: No Criminal Charges in Shaler Area Elementary School Ductwork Collapse

Part of the ductwork that fell on cafeteria tables at Shaler Area Elementary School in April 2012. No criminal negligence found in DA investigation.
Credit Allegheny County District Attorney's Office

As children all over the region head back to school, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala announced his office will not pursue criminal charges in last year's ductwork collapse at Shaler Area Elementary School. Last spring, more than one ton of HVAC ductwork came crashing down on cafeteria tables injuring 13 people. Seven kids and two adults were taken to the hospital with injuries. Zappala said the situation must be set apart from other incidents, such as the Center City building collapse in Philadelphia.

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Learning and Play
7:36 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Turning the Waiting Game into an Educational Game at Pittsburgh Bus Shelters

Teacher Miguel Sague plays Word Play with a group of preschoolers on the South Side.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

It’s a reality for many parents and caregivers in Pittsburgh — you’re stuck waiting for a bus in the city and your kid starts getting bored and antsy.

A new effort is hoping to turn these times into teachable moments.

Instead of advertisements for law firms or universities, 23 bus shelters around Pittsburgh now have a poster adorned with colorful pictures of things such as ice cream, picnics and kiddie pools. The “Word Play” posters are part of an effort from the Fred Rogers Company to get adults talking to and interacting with kids.

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Transportation
1:39 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

New Tracking System Allows P1 East Busway Riders to See Actual Arrival Times, Waits

Riders along the P1 East Busway - All Stops route will be able to see real-time arrivals and wait times for buses.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Starting now, riders along the P1 East Busway will be able to track the vehicles in real time through the Port Authority's website, either on a computer, tablet or smartphone. The new program allows commuters to see either arrival times at specific stops or a map which shows where buses are.

“What it means on a cold, inclement day … whether you’re at home or at work you can look to see where your bus is to know when to go to your bus stop,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

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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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