Heather McClain

Assistant Producer, Essential Pittsburgh

Heather McClain is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, originally from the Main Line Philadelphia area. Her interests in the environment and sustainability have been reflected throughout her career, most recently as a news anchor and features reporter/producer at WBZH Community Radio in Pottstown, PA. At WBZH, Heather was host and producer of the weekly program Our Environment, and worked part-time as production assistant for the PBS TV program Growing a Greener World. Heather started her career at the CBS Early Show and the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. She developed her public radio skills at WRTI public radio at Temple University.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:57 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Patrick Dowd: What's Next for the City?

City Councilman Patrick Dowd discusses police force improvements council members would like to see in the wake of former Chief Harper's resignation.
Credit Patrick Dowd / Facebook

Pittsburgh City Councilman Patrick Dowd discusses police force improvements council members would like to see and what Mayor Ravenstahl's decision not to run for reelection means for the city.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Local Goodness: Maple Syrup Season is Here

Grades of maple syrup can range from light to dark coloring, which dictates the strength of the maple flavor.
Credit Wikipedia

When one thinks of pure maple syrup, Vermont often comes to mind. However, Pennsylvania's maple season is also highly anticipated for those with a sweet tooth. Our local food contributor Rhonda Schuldt shares some maple syrup cooking tips and talks about the abundance of local festivals.

Celebrate Maple Season at a local festival:

March 16 & 17 - 10th Annual NW Pennsylvania Maple Association Taste & Tour Weekend in the Erie area 

March 16, 17, 20-24 - 66th Annual PA Maple Festival in Somerset, PA 

April 6 & 7 - The Beaver County Maple Syrup Festival at Brady's Run Park in Beaver, PA

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Medicaid Expansion & Women in PA

When it comes to Medicaid Expansion, what's the potential impact on lower-income women?
Credit Ben Ostrowsky / Flickr

As more Republican governor's adopt the Medicaid Expansion, Governor Corbett is under more pressure to adopt the program. We'll discuss the impact of the Medicaid Expansion program on Pennsylvania women and low-income families with Judy Waxman, Vice President for Health Policy and Reproductive Rights for the National Women's Law Center.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Councilman & Candidate Bill Peduto Makes His Case For Mayor

Councilman Peduto talks about his plans for Pittsburgh.
Credit BillPeduto.com

Last week Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced that he will not run for re-election. Councilman and mayoral candidate Bill Peduto joins us to talk about how he would like to build on Ravenstahl's legacy, what changes need to be made, and how to move the city forward.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

The New Girl Visits the National Cherry Blossom Festival

Spring has almost sprung. Each year the National Cherry Blossom Festival brightens the winter blues.
Credit Cordelia / Flickr

One of the must see events of the season is the blooming of the cherry blossoms in our nation’s capital. However, if you plan to see them you’d better act fast. Travel contributor Elaine Labalme tells us what you need to know in order to see the blossoms at their peak.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

What's Next for the Sequester? NPR Business Editor Weighs In

Just how bad have federal budget cuts been since last week, and how bad are they likely to be going forward?
Credit Doby Photography / NPR

The deadline for federal budget cuts, known as the sequester, has come and gone. So what's next? NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax joins us to discuss the impact of the sequestration.

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:33 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Gideon v. Wainwright: 50 Years Later

Clarence Earl Gideon was a poor drifter accused in Florida of felony theft. He couldn't afford a defense attorney and his case resulted in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Gideon v. Wainwright
Credit Wikipedia

In 1963 the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution requires the states to provide defense attorneys to criminal defendants charged with serious offenses who cannot afford their own lawyer. We'll look at the impact of this Supreme Court decision with Pitt Law Professor David Harris. Read more about this landmark case.

Essential Pittsburgh
11:32 am
Wed March 6, 2013

The Arlen Specter Collection

Senator Arlen Specter held office in Pennsylvania for more than 50 years, including 7 years as Philadelphia District Attorney from 1965-1973.
Credit Former Senator Specter Website / Wikipedia

This week, the University of Pittsburgh entered into an agreement with Philadelphia University, which owns the archive of the late US Senator Arlen Specter. His massive archive of papers, photos, multimedia, and memorabilia reflect his more than 50-years in office. The archives will be housed for the next 30 years at the University of Pittsburgh Archives Service Center in Point Breeze. University of Pittsburgh Assistant Librarian, Michael Dabrishus has been tasked with combing through and maintaining the collection.

Essential Pittsburgh
11:31 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Thurgood: The One-Man Play

Thurgood Marshall photographed in 1967 in the Oval Office
Credit Yoichi Robert / Wikipedia

In 1967, Thurgood Marshall became the first African-American Supreme Court Justice of the United States. Before that Marshall was known for his successful arguments before the Supreme Court as an attorney, in particular for his victory in Brown v. Board of Education. The one-man play Thurgood, comes to the Pittsburgh Public Theater this month. It tells his life story: from humble beginnings in Baltimore, to landmark civil rights legislation, and his rise to the highest court in the land. We’re joined by Montae Russell, a Pittsburgh native, playing the role of Thurgood Marshall.

Stress
10:49 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Mental Health on Campus: A Culture of Stress?

Americans aged 29 and younger are more stressed than previous generations. So what can be done?
Credit Daniel Epstein / Flickr

After a Carnegie Mellon University sophomore committed suicide last December, CMU is looking at ways to support students mental health. CMU Dean of Student Affairs Gina Casalegno, Student Body President Will Weiner and CMU graduate Katie Chironis join us to talk about the "culture of stress" in colleges and universities.

Essential Pittsburgh
10:44 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Speaking Volumes on Essential Pittsburgh: Don Block

Greater Pittsburgh Literary Council Executive Director Don Block: "One of the reasons you read is to fill in gaps in your education."
Credit Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

Don Block runs the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council, and practices what he preaches. He talk's with 90.5 WESA Morning Edition Host Josh Raulerson about his personal reading selections.

Essential Pittsburgh
10:36 am
Tue March 5, 2013

The History of Women's History Month

Business contributor Rebecca Harris connects Women's History Month to today's women in business.
Credit Rebecca Harris / Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship

Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981. Business contributor Rebecca Harris, Director of Chatham University Center For Women's Entrepreneurship looks at the history behind this celebration and what it means for women in business. Find out more about Women's History Month events in Pittsburgh.


Essential Pittsburgh
10:12 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Lessons for Living Well

If you could pass along 5 life lessons what would they be?
Credit Meg Hourihan / Flickr

Do we learn all we ever really need to know in kindergarten? We’ll discuss five principles for living, loving and playing well with others with psychologist Robert Schwartz, President of Cognitive Dynamic Therapy Associates.

Essential Pittsburgh
7:28 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

City Council Outlook March 4th, 2013

The weekly city council update from reporter Noah Brode
Credit 90.5 WESA / 90.5 WESA

  90.5 WESA reporter Noah Brode gives us the week's outlook for City Council and talks about reaction to Mayor Ravenstahl's announcement that he won't run for reelection.

Essential Pittsburgh
7:08 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Mayor Ravenstahl's Not Running

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl meets with reporters Friday morning as he announces he will not run for reelection.
Credit Deanna Garcia

We'll check in with 90.5 WESA Deanna Garcia for the latest update on Mayor Ravenstahl's political future.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:30 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Managing the Media

Bob Oltmanns, President of OPR Group, LLC, an independent public relations consultancy talks about the PR protocol for political figures in crisis situations. What's the best way to overcome an adversarial relationship with the press? And Duquesne University Law Professor Joseph Sabino Mistick, talks about his experiences as a former deputy mayor.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:30 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Versailles '73 Documentary An American Fashion Revolution in France

40 years ago, the Palace of Versailles in France, hosted a fashion event that made the world take notice of American fashion design.
Credit Mkonikkara / Wikipedia

In 1973, five American fashion designers and five French designers came together for a Paris runway fundraiser. That fundraiser turned into a competition, and an industry changing event in fashion history. The documentary film, Versailles '73 looks at how that Paris show brought African Americans to the forefront of fashion.  Filmmaker Debra Riley Draper comes to the August Wilson Center this weekend for a screening of the award-winning documentary.

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:38 am
Thu February 28, 2013

The New Girl in Town Talks Travel Safety

Everyone looks forward to packing a bag and getting away. However, vacations are not the time to let your guard down. In fact you may need to be even more vigilant. Travel contributor Elaine Labalme offers travel safety tips for your next vacation.

Essential Pittsburgh
11:23 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Sequestration Deadline

Economic Contributor Jay Sukits talks about how the sequester stands to impact our lives
Credit Katz School of Business / University of Pittsburgh

Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Bob Casey has a plan for heading off the sequester and 85 billion dollars in federal cuts scheduled to go into effect Friday at midnight.  Jay Sukits, Clinical Assistant Professor of Business Administration at the University of Pittsburgh addresses Senator Casey's plan and the sequester threat from an economist's point of view.

Essential Pittsburgh
11:10 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Talking TechShop and Innovation with Deb Smit

Debra Diamond Smit is the innovation reporter for the e-zine Pop City.
Credit Pop City Media

Pop City reporter, Debra Diamond Smit returns with a look at TechShop Pittsburgh, an innovative way for people to test out their manufacturing ideas. And Birchmere Ventures, a big name in venture capital starts funding the little guys with Birchmere Labs.

Essential Pittsburgh
11:02 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Wait, Wait...it's Paula Poundstone!

Comedian Paula Poundstone is a regular panelist on Wait, Wait…Don't Tell Me, the NPR quiz show. You can hear her every weekend on 90.5 WESA.
Credit Paula Poundstone / Flickr

Paula Poundstone talks about her career as a stand up comedian, being a part of Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me…, life on the road, and her 16 cats.

Essential Pittsburgh
10:54 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Gavin Newsom on Citizenville

Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom explores the many ways technology can transform democracy, such as opening government data and letting people create apps to use it wisely.
Credit Gavin Newsom / Facebook

WESA 90.5 reporter Kevin Gavin interviews California Lieutenant Governor and former Mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom about his book Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government. Newsom discusses how ordinary citizens can use new digital tools to dissolve political gridlock and transform American democracy.

Essential Pittsburgh
10:37 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Cyber Crime Conversation Continued

Mike Prusisnki, Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist for Tiversa follows up with listeners on ways to monitor and prevent identity fraud.
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

We'll continue our conversation with Mike Prusisnki, Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist for the cyber intelligence company Tiversa. A new report from the Federal Trade Commission gives a comprehensive break down of credit complaints.

For more information on what you heard in this segment, visit:

www.ftc.gov

www.ncpc.org

Essential Pittsburgh
10:05 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Speaking Volumes: Eric Shiner

Warhol Museum Director Eric Shiner loves memoirs, manga, and the books of John Waters.
Credit Andy Warhol Museum

Warhol Museum director Eric Shiner’s reading interests are eclectic in a way that Andy would surely appreciate. Catch his discussion with 90.5 WESA Morning Edition host, Josh Raulerson.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Cyber Crime on the Rise

How vulnerable are you to ID theft?
Credit IntelFree Press / Flickr

According to a survey released last week 12.6 million Americans were victimized by identity theft in 2012. We'll learn how this happens, why this crime is on the rise and what you can do to protect yourself with Mike Prusisnki, Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist of the cyber intelligence company Tiversa.

Selected Key Findings from the survey

Identity fraud incidents and amount stolen increased—The number of identity fraud incidents increased by one million more consumers over the past year, and the dollar amount stolen increased to $21 billion, a three-year high but still significantly lower than the all-time high of $47 billion in 2004. This equates to 1 incident of identity fraud every 3 seconds.

1 in 4 data breach notification recipients became a victim of identity fraud—This year, almost 1 in 4 consumers that received a data breach letter became a victim of identity fraud, which is the highest rate since 2010. This underscores the need for consumers to take all notifications seriously. Not all breaches are created equal. The study found consumers who had their Social Security number compromised in a data breach were 5 times more likely to be a fraud victim than an average consumer.

Fraudsters misuse information fewer days than before—Consumer information was misused for an average of 48 days in 2012, down from 55 days in 2011 and 95 days in 2010. Misuse time was down for all types of fraud including fraud on cards, loans, bank accounts, mobile phone bills and other types of fraud due to consumer and industry action.  More than 50 percent of victims were actively detecting fraud using financial alerts, credit monitoring or identity protection services and by monitoring their accounts.

Small retailers are losing out—Fraud victims are more selective where they shop after an incident, and small businesses were the most dramatically impacted. The study found that 15 percent of all fraud victims decided to change behaviors and avoid smaller online merchants. This is a much greater percentage than those that avoid gaming sites or larger retailers.

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