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
9:00 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Exploiting Extraterrestrial Resources: Economic and Legal Issues in Outer Space

Point Park Professor Dimitris Kraniou pushes his economics students to think on the macro-level with his extraterrestrial economics course
Credit Point Park

With the steady depletion of earth’s natural resources and accelerating population growth, more and more people are giving serious thought to the idea of outer space resource exploration.

But how should the process be regulated? Professor Dimitris Kraniou, Point Park University Chair of the Department of Global Management and Organization, has been teaching this subject matter for years in his special project classes for graduate students. He turns real life global problems into outer space "what if" scenarios for students to solve.

Essential Pittsburgh
12:50 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Living with Autism and Revising the DSM

Dorene Ciletti and her autistic high school aged daughter Sabrina Filipek.
Credit Alexis Eperjesi / 90.5 WESA

April is Autism Awareness Month and if you or your child has autism you've likely heard of the DSM, published by the American Psychiatric Association. DSM stands for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual and the main purpose of the manual is to provide standard guidelines for clinicians to use when diagnosing psychological disorders and conditions. The manual outlines criteria that must be met to receive a diagnosis, as well as labeling and coding sometimes used by insurance companies to identify the diagnosis. The DSM is periodically revised and this spring new revisions to the manual will be published.  

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Speaking Volumes
10:43 am
Tue April 23, 2013

Speaking Volumes on Essential Pittsburgh: Dr. Mario Fischetti

Dr. Mario Fischetti
Credit Josh Raulerson/90.5 WESA

Dr. Mario Fischetti is a clinical psychologist with the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Center, and the moderator of its ongoing "Reading Fiction with Freud" discussion series. He talks to WESA host Josh Raulerson about neuroses in novels.

Essential Pittsburgh
10:20 am
Tue April 23, 2013

The Business of Security with Rebecca Harris

Business Contributor Rebecca Harris is Director for the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University
Credit Rebecca Harris / Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship

In light of everything that happened last week in Boston, our business contributor Rebecca Harris focuses on the business of physical and personal security. What do you need to consider if you are setting up your own security company? She also comments on Work Force Violence and the connection to the security industry. Read more about the growing security industry:

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:00 am
Sat April 20, 2013

Sports Talk with Bob Dvorchak

Bob Dvorchak is sports writer emeritus for Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Credit Bob Dvorchak / Sports n'at

  After last week's bombing at the Boston Marathon and the passionate singing of the national anthem at Wednesday's Bruins game, sports contributor Bob Dvorchak talks about how sporting events can galvanize a city and a nation. Also, what concerns does the bombing raise about security at sporting events?

Essential Pittsburgh
2:59 am
Sat April 20, 2013

Earth Quaker Action Takes Direct Action Against PNC

Members of the EQAT walking from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh in 2012
Credit Earth Quaker Action Team

  The mission of the Earth Quaker Action Team, also known as EQAT, is to call attention to PNC Bank’s financial funding of coal companies engaging in mountain top removal coal mining. Last year they set out on a two-hundred mile walk from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh to protest at a PNC shareholders meeting. This year EQAT Board Member Ingrid Lakey is back in Pittsburgh, she talks with us about the actions they would like PNC's new CEO to take. 

Essential Pittsburgh
2:55 am
Sat April 20, 2013

Going Green by Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

  It's hard to deny that it feels good to live an eco-friendly lifestyle by shopping green. But how sustainable is sustainable consumerism when it comes to your bottom line? Can green products actually improve your economic situation and the world, or does it take action? Michael Maniates Professor of Environmental Science and Political Science at Allegheny College and advisory board member for The Story of Stuff Project, talks about how to go beyond green consumerism.

See how Maniates thinks citizens (not shoppers) hold the keys for change:

Essential Pittsburgh
11:54 am
Fri April 19, 2013

A City on Lockdown: What Should Pittsburghers Know?

Do you have a plan for what to do in an emergency situation?
Credit Pittsburgh City Emergency Plans

  In light of Friday's unprecedented lockdown in Boston, Raymond Demichiei  Deputy Director of the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security for the city of Pittsburgh explains the lockdown procedures for the city, and what plans they'll be considering for the Pittsburgh Marathon.

Essential Pittsburgh
11:32 am
Fri April 19, 2013

Where do Pittsburgh Clergy Turn in Moments of Crisis?

What kinds of guidance do clergy look for in moments of crisis?
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

  When devastating events occur like the bombings in Boston, people often turn to their faith leaders for support. But where do the faith leaders turn for guidance? 90.5 WESA reporter Deanna Garcia spoke with Pittsburgh clergy about the resources they turn to in moments of crisis.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:30 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Professional Ballerinas Speaking On Pointe

New and broken in pointe shoes
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

  Instead of the traditional glass slipper, this weekend’s Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre production of Cinderella involves a glass ballet shoe. This notion made us wonder--how important is the perfect fit for a professional ballerina? Pittsburgh Ballet Principal dancers Alexandra Kochis and Julia Erickson give us a peek at the world of a dancer and her toe shoes.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

A Black Mayor for Pittsburgh?

State Representative Jake Wheatley Jr. is one of two African Americans currently running for mayor
Credit PA House of Representatives

  New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and DC have all had black mayors. Why hasn't an African American held the top spot in the Steel City? We'll look at the history of black mayoral candidates in Pittsburgh with Post-Gazette Reporter Tim McNulty and Duquesne Law Professor Joseph Sabino Mistick, a former executive secretary (deputy mayor) to Pittsburgh Mayor Sophie Masloff.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Senator Toomey on Gun Reform: Where Do We Go From Here?

Senator Pat Toomey with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin
Credit Toomey.Senate.Gov

  Last week Senators Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin took a bipartisan approach to gun reform that would have extended the existing background check system to gun shows and online sales.  This week, their legislation was blocked in the Senate. We'll talk to Senator Toomey about where gun reform can go from here.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane

PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane
Credit The Office of the Attorney General

Kathleen Kane is the first woman and Democrat elected to the position of Pennsylvania Attorney General. When she was sworn in earlier this year, she faced a host of challenges from the Corbett Administration and scandals. Join us for a discussion with Attorney General Kane about some of the most important legal issues facing the Commonwealth.

Essential Pittsburgh
10:00 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Turnaround

MArk Compton is the current CEO of the PA Turnpike
Credit PA Turnpike

  Pennsylvania Turnpike CEO Mark Compton is on a mission to repair the image, and possibly the roads, of the scandal plagued agency. He talks about the "pay to play" allegations and the status of the State's EZ Pass plans.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:30 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

National Healthcare Decision Day

Planning for your end of life care does not have to be daunting
Credit Paul Moody / Flickr

  The only sure things in life are death and taxes. Now that tax day has passed its time to consider advance care planning and health care decisions. We'll begin the dialogue with Nancy Zionts, chief operating officer and chief program officer for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. Have you mapped out your end of life plans? How do you talk about it with your loved ones?

Visit Closure.org for information about Living Wills

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Anything Goes Revamping a Classic

The musical Anything Goes, performed by the Roundabout Theatre Company
Credit Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

  This week, the 200th performance of the touring broadway show Anything Goes will be performed in Pittsburgh. The current incarnation of this Cole Porter classic won a Tony in 2011 for best musical revival and choreography.We'll talk with Pittsburgh native Kathleen Marshall, the Director and Choreographer of Anything Goes.

Essential Pittsburgh
12:52 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Local Conversations in the Wake of the Boston Marathon

Aftermath of the first explosion at the Boston Marathon
Credit Aaron Tang / Wikipedia

Computer Information Security Specialist John Adamczak was leading a team of 6 Pittsburgh volunteers at the finish line in Boston. 90.5 WESA’s Mark Nootbaar spoke to him  about Monday's explosions as he waited at the Boston airport for a flight back to Pittsburgh.

And Karen Harr is a Pittsburgh area runner and Director of Running Groups and Outreach for Fleet Feet Sports Pittsburgh. She ran in the Boston Marathon on Monday and is coordinating runners for the Pittsburgh Marathon. She talks about her experience in Boston and why she's going to keep on running.

Essential Pittsburgh
12:43 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Conversations on Security in the Wake of the Boston Marathon

2013 Boston Marathon aftermath
Credit Aaron Tang / Wikipedia

The bombing of yesterday's Boston marathon left three people dead, including an 8 year old boy and at least 176 people injured. As the investigation into who was responsible for the bombing continues, Pittsburgh Marathon officials are busy planning for the Steel City's annual 26 mile race, now less than 3 weeks away. We'll talk with Dicks Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon Executive Director Patrice Matamoros about plans to beef up security in the wake of yesterday's events. New Hampshire Public Radio Executive Producer Keith Shields, is a veteran runner of the Boston marathon and he comments on the Boston Marathon's security.

Essential Pittsburgh
11:56 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Rolling in the Dough Rebecca Harris on Running a Bakery

Rebecca Harris is Director of the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University
Credit Rebecca Harris / Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship

Before she became the Essential Pittsburgh's business contributor and Director of Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University, Rebecca Harris ran a bakery. Today, we'll look at the business of bakeries and what it takes to turn a hobby into a business.

Read more about the business of baking:

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Essential Pittsburgh
12:09 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

City Council News with Noah Brode

Noah Brode is WESA's Pittsburgh City Council Reporter
Credit 90.5 WESA / 90.5 WESA

  We check in with WESA reporter Noah Brode for a look at Pittsburgh City Council. This week the council will be taking a final vote on legislation that would launch an audit of the healthcare eligibility of city employees' and retirees' dependents. Also a preliminary vote on a bill that would eliminate the "mayoral imprest fund." A bank account that can hold up to $10,000 at a time for the mayor's as-needed travel expenses. New funding for the Urban Redevelopment Authority is being allocated. And several bills to change Bureau of Police policies are still in the works.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:48 pm
Sun April 14, 2013

What About Bob? Sports Talk with Bob Dvorchak

Bob Dvorchak also blogs for Sports 'n 'at
Credit Bob Dvorchak / Sports n'at

  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sportswriter emeritus Bob Dvorchak gives us a recap of the Frozen Four weekend in Pittsburgh and talks about Pitt's new women's basketball coach Suzie McConnell-Serio.   

Essential Pittsburgh
4:32 pm
Sun April 14, 2013

Freeburgh: The Best Things in Life Are Free

Matthew Spangler on living free in the Steel City
Credit ItsFreeBurgh / Twitter

  Call it thrifty or frugal, people watching their budgets are always on the hunt to save a few dollars. If you’re looking for things to do that won’t cost you a dime Matthew Spangler is making it his mission to tweet about free deals.  He’ll tell us how his Twitter account ItsFreeBurgh is helping people find free deals in the Steel City.  

Essential Pittsburgh
4:18 pm
Sun April 14, 2013

Financial Literacy and Overcoming Generational Poverty

Exploring generational poverty and money management
Credit Lucia's Clay / Flickr

  Money, everybody wants it, everybody needs it, yet we struggle to understand it and to talk about it. Especially those of us who have never had much money to speak of. At this point in financial literacy month we want to take a look at money management from the perspective of generational poverty. What circumstances and financial habits perpetuate poverty and how can families prevail? Tammy Thompson is a Community Liaison and Certified Housing Counselor for NeighborWorks Western PA, she works with adults, kids and families on financial planning at all socioeconomic levels.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Closing Pennsylvania's Gun Loophole

PA State Capitol - Harrisburg
Credit Don Shall / Flickr

As talks about gun legislation continue in the U.S. Senate, groups have descended on the state capitol in Harrisburg urging legislators to close a loophole in Pennsylvania's gun laws. State Reps. Steve Santarsiero and Dan Frankel join us to talk about balancing Second Amendment rights with public safety.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Opting Out: How High are the Stakes of Standardized Tests?

How much pressure are students and teachers under when it comes to standardized tests?
Credit Shannan Muskopf / Flickr

A growing protest movement has triggered discussions about our country's emphasis on public school standardized testing. According to parents such as Kathy Newman, a Pittsburgh Public School parent, CMU English professor and volunteer coordinator for the grassroots education group Yinzercation, the pressures and stakes of assessments like the PSSAs are too high. So they're opting their kids out. Kathy joins us for a discussion about how standardized testing impacts the quality of a public school education.

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