Haldan Kirsch

News Fellow

After completing a 2013 summer internship in digital content at 90.5, Haldan joined the WESA newsroom as a fellow in September. The native of Roaring Spring, PA will graduate in May from Duquesne University with a B.A. in broadcast journalism.

Following graduation Haldan hopes to work in photography and/or video for a newspaper or magazine "somewhere near water...preferably a beach."

Fun fact:  "I hold my high school record for the shot put."


1:30 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Area Nonprofits, Universities to Honor Martin Luther King, Jr. with Day of Service

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Pittsburgh area nonprofits and universities will be holding events and coordinating volunteer efforts Monday commemorating King’s legacy.

To help coordinate these efforts, Pittsburgh Cares is launching a page on their website where volunteer organizations can post opportunities for citizens to get involved and commemorate the holiday.

According to Riley Baker, Pittsburgh Cares director of retired and senior volunteer programs, the day was made a national day of service to focus on King’s core ideals.

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Economy & Business
4:46 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

New State Legislation Will Offer A Tax Credit For Workforce-Training Programs

Legislation has been introduced in the state House that will create an incentive program to fund workforce-training programs through a tax credit.  Representative Eli Evankovich (R-Westmoreland) authored the Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Strategy Act which he says will better coordinate current workforce investment programs.

“We’ve visited dozens of businesses across the state of Pennsylvania and workforce development stands to be the most important issue that face business here in Pennsylvania that I’ve encountered.” 

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3:30 am
Mon January 13, 2014

PA Game Commission Seedling Bundles Up For Sale

Landowners hoping to support wildlife habitats on their properties can currently purchase trees and shrubs to be planted in the spring from the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

The Game Commission’s state land is repopulated each year by seedlings grown at the Howard Nursery, which is located just outside of State College.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has 40 varieties of native plant life including the Black-gum/Black Tupelo, northern red oak, chestnut oak, and pin oak that are available in bundles of 25 seedlings.

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Environment & Energy
4:18 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Former DEP Secretary Wants Stronger State Regulations on Gas Drilling

Democratic candidate for governor John Hanger wants to see tougher regulations on the oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania.

During a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection hearing, Hanger proposed his 19-point program to increase regulations on gas drilling. Among other changes, Hanger proposed: stronger enforcement of air emissions; extending the minimum distance between a well site and public land; prohibiting the use of outdoor pits for wastewater storage; and adding 105 employees to enforce regulations.

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3:00 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

First Night 2014: Best of Pittsburgh Comes Together in Cultural District to Celebrate the New Year

Organizers expect huge crowds as Pittsburgh First Night 2014 celebrates the New Year with a lineup of music, art, theater, comedy and fireworks.

The biggest New Year's celebration in Pittsburgh had around 36,000 individuals attend last year. As a part of the festival, there will be more than 150 family-friendly performances, art installations, and events at different indoor and outdoor venues throughout the Cultural District.

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Arts & Culture
3:30 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Pittsburgh Community for Exiled Artists Receives Grant to Fund Annual Concert

One of the City of Asylum’s post popular events will be back on the North Side next year thanks to a new federal grant.

The $20,000 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant will go to fund City of Asylum’s Jazz/Poetry Concert scheduled for September 2014. The event features musicians and poets from all over the world. The free concert is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

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7:15 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Annual Candlelight Vigil to Remember Homeless Deaths

As a part of National Homeless Persons Memorial Day, a Pittsburgh nonprofit is hosting a candlelight vigil to remember those who have died homeless in 2013.

Operation Safety Net, a program by Pittsburgh Mercy Health System, will host the vigil under the bridge that connects Grant Street to Fort Pitt Boulevard in downtown on Saturday, Dec. 21, the longest night of the year.

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4:38 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Holiday Shipping Numbers Rise As Online Shopping Becomes More Popular

An increase in deals and consumer confidence is drawing more shoppers to online retailers than ever before, and with this comes an increase in packages.

United States Postal Service spokesman Tad Kelley says that they’re seeing a rise in shipments over last holiday season.

“We’re looking at 15 percent above our normal packages we would handle from last year," Kelley said. "We’re doing a couple hundred thousand packages a day here through the Western Pennsylvania district.”

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3:30 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Research Finds Better Sleep Makes for Stronger Bones

Dec. 21, the Winter Solstice, marks the shortest day of the year with only a little more than nine hours of daylight here in Pittsburgh. With less light some people might be feeling ready for bed a little early. According to researchers, this is another way our bodies fight off some diseases.

With shorter days and longer nights our bodies’ melatonin levels are rising earlier than usual. Melatonin is the molecule that tells our bodies when it is night and prepares us for sleep. Melatonin has also been found to be important in maintaining healthy bones.

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City in Transition
5:03 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Details of Proposed City Employee Buyout Program Released

A week after Mayor-elect Bill Peduto’s plan to offer some city worker’s an early retirement faced a veto threat from Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Peduto’s staff announced a second plan that would operate separate from the pension.

On Thursday, more details of the plan were released: Those changes could expand the number of eligible workers.

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3:04 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

20th 'First Night' to Celebrate New Year with Mix of Music, Arts

Rich Rubin of Ice Creations will be crafting a 40 x 40 ice labyrinth for First Night Pittsburgh.
Haldan Kirsch 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s biggest New Year’s party is celebrating its twentieth anniversary in a big way with a variety of musical and visual attractions.

First Night Pittsburgh will be ringing in the New Year with more than 150 art-focused and family-friendly attractions to commemorate two decades of festivities. The attractions will be spread throughout the Cultural District, starting at 6 p.m. Dec. 31 until a fireworks celebration and the raising of the “Future of Pittsburgh” ball at midnight.

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3:00 am
Thu November 28, 2013

Allegheny County Health Department to Provide Free Flu Shots to the Homeless This Thanksgiving

During the last flu season there were 1,415 confirmed cases of influenza in Allegheny County, but the health department adds that for every one laboratory-tested case there are as many as 100 others.

More vulnerable groups of people, such as the elderly and infants, are often affected by life-threatening symptoms brought on by the virus. This Thanksgiving, healthcare organizations in the area are starting a new initiative to help some of the most vulnerable residents.

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11:29 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Look Up! Comet ISON Starts Its Pass Around the Sun

It might not live up to its hype as the “Comet of the Century,” but Comet ISON could still light up the night sky this December.

Comet ISON — named after the Russian-based organization that discovered it in 2012 — was originally predicted by the astronomy community to possibly be as bright as the moon, giving it the title “Comet of the Century.” According to Dan Malerbo, program coordinator of the Buhl Planetarium, the three-mile wide comet has not brightened at its expected rate and now might not even survive it’s trip around the sun.

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3:30 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Lack of Parking May Be One of the Electric Cars Biggest Hurdles

Electronic vehicles (EVs) currently make up about 1 percent of the automotive market. Some studies predict by 2030 that number could be as high as 80 percent, though researchers at Carnegie-Mellon University (CMU) have found that parking might be one of the technology's greatest obstacles.

EVs are any battery-powered automotive vehicles, whether hybrid or completely battery powered.

Professors of engineering and public policy at CMU have compiled data that show a lack of residential parking and charging capabilities across the country.

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Renewable Energy
2:19 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

PA Lags in Renewable Energy Standards

Eight percent is not enough according to State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery).   He’s referring to a 2004 state law that requires power-generating utilities in Pennsylvania to have at least eight percent of their output from renewable sources—hydro, solar, wind, and geothermal—by 2021.

“It (eight percent) was not ambitious but it was reasonable in 2004,” says Leach.  “But time, technology and other states have passed us by.”  

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Election 2013
12:11 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Democrats Hold Onto Control of Allegheny County Council

The voters of Allegheny County are sending three new members to County Council, while four incumbents were able to hold onto their seats on Election Day, leaving the body with 10 Democrats and five Republicans.

Republican Tom Baker won the District 1 Council seat over Democrat Daniel A. McClain Jr. and Constitution Party candidate Jim Barr, taking 50 percent of the vote. Current District 1 Councilman Matt Drozd was defeated by Baker in a primary fight.

After giving his victory speech around 10 p.m., Baker said he was “elated” over the win.

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12:24 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Pittsburgh Technical Institute to Open Energy Technology Center

The $3.5 million tech center has its grand opening Thursday November 7th
Pittsburgh Technological Institute

An area technical school is opening a new building meant to train students in order to meet the workforce needs of the region’s fastest growing industry — energy.

Pittsburgh Technical Institute is hosting a grand opening of their Energy Technology Center Nov. 7. The center features two general-purpose classrooms as well as three new labs outfitted for training in welding, HVAC, and oil and gas electronics.

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Environment & Energy
2:39 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Cindy Adams Dunn Announced as New President and CEO of PennFuture

A statewide environmental advocacy group has a new leader.

Cindy Adams Dunn has been named president and CEO of Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture). She succeeds George Jugovic, who stepped down from the position to work as the head of law staff.

Dunn had previously been working as deputy secretary with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

A longtime advocate for environmentalism, Dunn said she can recall her enthusiasm 15 years ago when PennFuture formed.

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Polish Hill Trick or Treat Watch
1:37 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Pittsburgh Community Starts Project to Protect its Trick-or-Treaters

Halloween, the scariest night of the year, is always filled with plenty of things that go bump in the night, but there is one thing trick-or-treaters shouldn’t have to be afraid of - a speeding car.

The Polish Hill Civic Association (PHCA) is launching a project to help protect trick-or-treaters this Thursday night in that Pittsburgh community. Drivers going through the historic neighborhood will be met by volunteers at intersections, holding signs and giving out treats to safe drivers.

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teacher contracts 2 week notice bill
3:24 am
Mon October 28, 2013

New State Bill Would Allow 2 Weeks of Transparency Before Approving Salary Contracts

A state lawmaker is proposing legislation that would help taxpayers know more about what they’re paying their teachers.  

State Representative Fred Keller (R - Snyder) is introducing a bill that would require a two-week period of “openness” before school boards could approve any proposed collective bargaining agreements with teachers.

The board would be required to post the proposed contract details to its publicly accessible website, as well as in a local newspaper of general circulation at least two weeks before the agreement is put to a vote.

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Environment & Energy
5:25 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Youth Climate Activists Hold Power Shift Summit

Power Shift protesters rally Monday. A CONSOL Energy barge of coal can be seen on the Allegheny River behind them. Signs attached to CONSOL’s barge read “Welcome to Coal Country” and “Support American Energy, Support American Jobs.”
Credit Haldan Kirsch / 90.5 WESA

More than 1,000 protesters marched from the North Side to downtown Monday for the 2013 Power Shift summit.

Power Shift is an online community for youth climate activists who are calling for a “green economy” and a stop to mountaintop removal mining.

The protesters called for PNC Bank to stop financing mountaintop mining, which involves exposing and taking out upper seams of coal, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

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integrated cancer wellness
11:20 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Shadyside Hospital to Host Integrated Cancer Wellness Fair

For cancer patients, the burden of treatment can be so heavy that their overall quality of life is overlooked as recovery takes precedence. Elements of wellness such as movement, touch, nutrition, and mindfulness will be addressed by The Hillman Cancer Center at its inaugural Integrated Cancer Wellness Fair on October 23 at UPMC Shadyside Hospital.

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JFK Symposium
1:54 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

JFK Assassination: Discussing the Investigation 50 Years Later

November 22nd marks the 50th anniversary of one of the nation’s most historic assassinations - the shooting of President John F. Kennedy. Officially the investigation of the shooting was closed with the publication of the Warren Commission in 1964, though today 80% of Americans disagree with the report’s conclusions, according to Kennedy assassination expert Dr. Cyril Wecht.

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2:56 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Pittsburgh Diocese Suing U.S. Over Birth Control Mandate

Bishop David Zubik and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh are suing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services after being forced to cover the cost of birth control methods that contradict the beliefs of the church.

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Environment & Energy
3:13 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Group Navigates the Ohio River to Protest Shale Gas Extraction

An organization is passing a baton along the Ohio River using human-powered transportation to bring attention to the potential dangers the shale gas industry poses to water supplies.

The Great Ohio River Relay kicked off Sept. 14 at the Mr. Rogers Memorial Statue where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers merge to form the Ohio. It will travel the entire 981 miles of the Ohio River to Cairo, Ill. where it feeds into the Mississippi.

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Arts & Culture
5:08 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Pittsburgh Gets RADical with Free Cultural Events

Want to get cultured and take in some of Pittsburgh’s finest attractions, for free?

This Saturday marks the beginning of RADical Days. Cultural venues across the county will be opening their doors for special, free admission events into November. This annual program is meant as a way for organizations that receive tax revenues to thank the public for their support.

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Soundscapes & Postcards
11:00 am
Wed August 14, 2013

Listen: At Banjo Night, Some Old-Fashioned Fun With 'America's Instrument'

The Pittsburgh Banjo Club holds its public rehearsal every Wednesday night at the Elks Lodge in Pittsburgh's North Side. Even though it's not an official show, the group entertains the diverse audience week after week.
Haldan Kirsch 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Banjo Club has been playing together for 25 years, but it still manages to get audiences clapping, singing and dancing along to some of the biggest hits of the 1920s and '30s, as well as a few Pittsburgh favorites.

Every Wednesday night the group puts on a show for a diverse audience at the Elks Lodge in Pittsburgh's North Side. The music starts at 8 p.m.

11:21 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Photos: At Highland Park Track, Cyclists Are Put Through Their Paces

The half-mile cycling track features banked walls to help riders maintain their speed.
Haldan Kirsch 90.5 WESA

Fifteen years ago, the Allegheny Cycling Association was hosting their summer cycling races in the parking lot of the Pittsburgh Zoo.

Today, racers have found a more fitting home at the Bud Harris Cycling Track in Highland Park. Formerly a driver training course, according to the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, the track is a half-mile concrete oval featuring banked walls and a slight hill.

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New to the 'Burgh
12:03 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

The Glass City: Pittsburgh's History as the Center of the U.S. Glass Business

The Heinz History Center exhibition, "Glass: Shattering Notions," features one of the best regional collections of glass made in western Pennsylvania. These flasks are one of the common items that would have been made in Pittsburgh in the 1800s.
Haldan Kirsch 90.5 WESA

The identity of Pittsburgh is synonymous with the steel industry. The city’s largest skyscraper is the U.S. Steel Tower. Its football team is the Steelers, and to the nation, it's the Steel City.

But what about the city’s other industries? Before the rise of steel businesses in the region, western Pennsylvania was the center of glass sales in the United States.

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Soundscapes & Postcards
12:28 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Take a Ride with the Gateway Clipper Fleet

The Empress is just one of the six ships that make up the Gateway Clipper Fleet.
Haldan Kirsch 90.5 WESA

The Gateway Clipper is celebrating its 55th year on Pittsburgh's three rivers. Going for a ride on any of the Clipper's six ships gives Pittsburghers a chance to travel under its famous bridges and listen to their voice echo against Pittsburgh steel. 

The Clipper offers one-hour sightseeing cruises, shuttle services to the North Shore for sporting events and specialty and theme cruises. The fleet is also available for event rentals.