Emily Stock

Production Assistant, Essential Pittsburgh
Rachellynn Schoen / Heinz History Center

Ever wonder how much Grandma’s pearl necklace is worth? What about that antique Westinghouse sewing machine from your distant cousin? Maybe you've got an old menu from the William Penn.

This weekend, you've got a chance to find out.

Kevin Bowman / flickr

Bonne Fête Nationale!  July 14th marks the celebration of the French National Day, commonly known as Bastille Day, to commemorate the storming of the Bastille fortress during the French Revolution in 1789.  

Ezra Wolfinger / NOVA

For decades following the horrors of the Holocaust, rumors circulated about an escape tunnel in the Ponar Forest near Vilnius, Lithuania dug by a band of imprisoned Jews.  The claim remained folk legend, until recently.  

Flickr

Looking for an evening out without leaving the confines of your car? It’s drive-in season, which means affordable fun under the stars.

Drive-in movie popularity peaked in the 1950s with more than 4,000 theaters nationwide, but slowly declined in the following decades. Baby boomers grew up, television offered in-home entertainment alternatives and indoor theaters offered advanced screening technologies.  

The Business of Amateurs

The class schedule of a full-time student, hours of homework and 40 to 80 hours a week of practice, all while balancing extracurricular and social activities. This is the life of a student athlete, or really, an “athlete student” according to Bob DeMars, former University of Southern California defensive end and creator of the documentary “The Business of Amateurs.”

Pens' Continued Success Propels Pittsburgh's Economy

Jun 2, 2016
Emily Stock / 90.5 WESA

After seven years, the Pittsburgh Penguins have a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup for the fourth time in franchise history. While the Penguins’ Stanley Cup Final appearance can benefit players, coaches and the league economically, local businesses also have a chance to prosper. 

Sip Tea And Contemplate Mortality At Death Cafe Pittsburgh

May 25, 2016
Marina Shakleina / flickr

“Death Cafés” have popped up in cities across the globe with a mission to engage in open dialogue about death and how death influences life, all while in a casual, comfortable atmosphere.

Co-organizers Rachel Butler, senior research coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Research on Health Care, and Carolyn Thompson, death care professional, joined Essential Pittsburgh to talk death, local Death Cafés and finding meaning in life.

Game 6 'Ultimate Test' In Pens' Quest For Stanley Cup

May 23, 2016
Gene J. Puskar / AP Images

For a Pittsburgh sports fan, the Monday afternoon blues are all too familiar following a Steelers loss on a Sunday.  Today’s Monday blues are brought to you by the blue and white, or rather, the Tampa Bay Lightning, whose quick overtime rally them to defeat the Penguins 4-3 to lead the series 3-2 Sunday night. 

Bob Dvorchak, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sportswriter Emeritus, joined Essential Pittsburgh to discuss this playoff series and the Penguins’ chances of a Cup run. 

Mike Moore / Pleasant Valley Men's Shelter

Passing a homeless person on the street often times evokes a sense of guilt--- an internal dilemma.  Should I give money? Buy food? Walk away?

For Daniel See, an art student at Carnegie Mellon University, a sense of uneasiness pitted in his stomach upon simply walking away.

Children's Institute of Pittsburgh / Facebook

As mental health awareness among young people increases, many families are looking for new, innovative ways to help their children. The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh has responded by creating a new inpatient unit focused on a holistic approach for the mind, body and spirit.

Matthew Dieterich

A foggy purple lake.  A kaleidoscope of star trails.  A shadowy, tree-lined horizon.  After vigilantly waiting two hours by Reflections Lake at Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington state, photographer and Pittsburgh native Matthew Dieterich was able to capture one of the most stunning time-lapses of the year.

After 36 Years, KDKA Newsman Harold Hayes Signs Off

May 2, 2016
Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Following a 36 year long career serving the Pittsburgh community as a reporter for KDKA-TV, Harold Hayes signed off for the last time this past Friday.  During his career, Hayes covered a wide-range of stories including Pope John Paul II’s funeral, Operation Desert Shield in Saudi Arabia and a visit from the Grand Dragon of the KKK to Pittsburgh. 

Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon / Facebook

Running shorts will replace lab coats this weekend as 10 UPMC doctors take to the course at the 2016 Pittsburgh Marathon this Sunday as part of an initiative to ensure runner safety.  Dr. Ron Roth, the Pittsburgh Marathon’s medical director and Dr. Aaron Mares, assistant medical director for the marathon, joined Essential Pittsburgh to discuss this innovative approach.

Calico Records / Blogspot

Among the bands being honored Thursday night at the 2016 Pittsburgh Rock 'N Roll Legends Awards Celebration at Stage AE on the North Shore is legendary 50s doo-wop group The Skyliners

Best known for “Since I Don’t Have You” and “This I Swear,” The Skyliners’ lead singer/songwriter Jimmy Beaumont joined Essential Pittsburgh to discuss his career and Pittsburgh roots.

Getting Serious About Climate Change On Earth Day 2016

Apr 22, 2016
Wikipedia

Shorts on Christmas?  Flip flops for New Years?  Pittsburghers joke about a love of climate change this past winter, but scientists insist it is not something to take lightly.  According to NASA, 2015 was recorded as the hottest year ever, breaking the record set previously in 2014. 

Can Anyone 'Bring Back' Steel And Coal To The 'Burgh?

Apr 20, 2016
Mark Goebel / flickr

Could bringing steel and coal back to the Steel City solve economic and industrial woes?  GOP front-runner Donald Trump captured Pittsburgh’s attention when he announced his commitment to bringing back such manufacturing to the region during his recent campaign stop.  But is this legitimately possible?

Wikipedia

Pennsylvania is now officially the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana.  Following an arduous legislative battle, Governor Tom Wolf signed the Medical Marijuana Act Sunday, which will take effect in 30 days. 

Representative Dan Frankel of Allegheny County has been a longtime supporter of the measure.  He says an engaged governor and emotional advocacy from families of children struggling with chronic illnesses were both imperative in passing this legislation.

90.5 WESA

For nearly four decades, NPR host Diane Rehm has graced the airways, interviewing actors, poets and musicians alike.  Later this year, she will step away from the microphone and into the next chapter of her life, a chapter without her husband John “Scoop” Rehm, who passed away last year from Parkinson’s disease.

In her latest book, On My Own, Rehm recounts her husband’s passing, life on her own and the right to dying with dignity. 

Exploring Pittsburgh's Future As A Leader In Robotics

Apr 7, 2016
Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh is known as a leader in the steel, sports, livability, and…robotics?  As the technology and robotics field continues to expand, entrepreneurs and start-up companies have flocked to Pittsburgh for a chance to work with cutting-edge researchers and generous investors. 

Recently, the Pittsburgh-based Alpha Lab Gear hosted an event with the MIT Enterprise Forum to draw attention to the exciting happenings regionally in the field of robotics.

Marc Levy / AP Images

Gov. Tom Wolf says he'll sign an executive order to prohibit discrimination by state contractors against people who are lesbian, gay or transgender.

Wolf said during Essential Pittsburgh on Wednesday that he had hoped the Legislature would pass legislation designed to outlaw discrimination based on someone's sexual orientation or gender identity.

Free Speech And The Firing Of Wendy Bell

Apr 1, 2016
Christopher P / flickr

The firing of award-winning journalist and 18-year WTAE-TV news anchor Wendy Bell made both local and national news. Wednesday, Pittsburgh's ABC-TV news affiliate  “ended its relationship” with the news anchor, deeming her comments “inconsistent with the company’s ethics and journalistic standards.”

General Michael Hayden On Counterterrorism Techniques

Mar 31, 2016
William B. Plowman / AP Images

How far should a country go “in the name of national security?” For retired Air Force 4 Star General Michael Hayden, it’s all about the circumstance.

In his new book “Playing to the Edge,” Hayden addresses both the good and bad accounts of enhanced interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation.

Billie Grace Ward / flickr

Following the terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium on Tuesday morning, the Pittsburgh International Airport has increased security and reminded passengers of the familiar mantra, “if you see something, say something.”  Bob Kerlik, Vice President of Media Relations for Pittsburgh International Airport says they are in constant communication with both the Pittsburgh Police and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers.   

Analyzing Rhetoric By Grade Level Of Candidate Speeches

Mar 21, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP Images

How complex is the rhetoric in presidential candidate’s speeches? According to a recent linguistics study, a typical address utilizes language on a 6-8th grade level.  Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University Language Technologies Institute (LTI) conducted the analysis.  LTI principal systems scientist, Maxine Eskenazi, and graduate student in language technologies, Elliot Schumacher, joined Essential Pittsburgh to elaborate on their findings.

Exploring Race Through Poetry And Artistic Expression

Mar 18, 2016
Emily Stock / 90.5 WESA

While issues surrounding race and identity often are examined politically and socially through rhetoric and discussion, many argue the arts can provide fresh insights into seeing this complex issue more clearly.

As part of the University of Pittsburgh’s ‘Year of Humanities,’ six acclaimed African American poets of diverse backgrounds will participate in a poetry reading and panel discussion on how to explore issues of race through creative writing.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

This year’s presidential election has provided comics with more than enough material for monologues and satirical pieces. From Pogo, to Snoopy, to Pat Paulsen, Maze Toons cartoonist and pop culture contributor Joe Wos says these comical candidates from the past continue to influence today’s perception of politics.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s spring repertory comes to the Byham Theater stage this weekend. Essential Pittsburgh sat down with Terence S. Orr, artistic director for Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, choreographer James Kudelka and principal dancer Yoshiani Nakano to preview the weekend’s performance.

Domer48 / Wikipedia

2016 marks the 100th year anniversary of the “Easter Rising”, the pivotal event that led to the establishment of modern-day Ireland.  Artists, teachers and poets organized a revolution in Dublin in protest of British rule which, even though they lost, laid the groundwork for the Irish Revolution and eventually the creation of the Irish Republic.  Those with Irish heritage continue to recognize the date as a significant time for Irish nationalism and celebrate throughout the world.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Black girls in the United States make up 16 percent of female students, but make up almost half of girls facing school-related arrests. They are more likely to face harsh disciplinary action and drop out of school. In some instances their behavior can be seen as violent and aggressive on the surface, while deeper issues of trauma trigger these reactions.

Monique Morris, author of  “Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in School,”, said perceptions of black girls in school leads to increased surveillance of behavior and harsher discipline, a trend which Dr. Morris stated, the girls do notice.

3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets / Dogwoof Productions

On November 23, 2012, 17-year-old Jordan Davis, a black high school student, and three friends were listening to loud music inside a car at a gas station in Jacksonville, FL.  Michael Dunn, a 47-year-old white male, confronted Davis and his friends about the music. An argument ensued between Dunn and the young men.  Dunn responded by retrieving a loaded handgun from his car and fired ten shots at Davis and his friends’ car until it was out of range.  The altercation resulted in the death of Jordan Davis. The other young men escaped injury.

The documentary “3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets” examines the shooting, subsequent trial, the impact of the effects on the Davis family.

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