Irina Zhorov

Irina Zhorov is a reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She earned her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA from the University of Wyoming. In between, she worked as a photographer and writer for Philadelphia-area and national publications. Her professional interests revolve around environmental and energy reporting and she's reported on mining issues from Wyoming, Mexico, and Bolivia. She's been supported by the Dick and Lynn Cheney Grant for International Study, the Eleanor K. Kambouris Grant, and the Social Justice Research Center Research Grant for her work on Bolivian mining and Uzbek alpinism. Her work has appeared on Voice of America, National Native News, and in Indian Country Today, among other publications. 

In her off time, Irina is pursuing treasure hunters, leafing through photo books, or planning and executing quests.

Government & Politics
5:23 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

With New Tools to Fight Blight, Communities Look to Arm Themselves to Reclaim Neighborhoods

With the heavily boarded up community of Homestead as a backdrop, the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania released a toolkit to fight blight today.

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Economy & Business
10:30 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Qualified Employees Increasingly Hard To Come By In Manufacturing Sector

Chris Boltz, a manufacturing engineer with Oberg Industries, has been there since 1998. When he decided to attend Oberg's apprentice program instead of attending college, his high school counselor told him he was throwing away his life.
Credit Irina Zhorov / 90.5 WESA

Oberg Industries’ tucked away buildings in Freeport, Pennsylvania are easy to miss.

But inside the nondescript structures are tidy rows of machinery worth hundreds of thousands of dollars each. In one department, refrigerator-sized electric discharge machines, which cut metal using wire, sizzle away like cooking bacon. In another, workers operate manual machines. In one room a worker runs quality assurance using a high-tech instrument.

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Government & Politics
3:30 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Pittsburgh Land Bank Brings New Tools To City's Blight Problem

Ronell Guy and Councilwoman Deborah Gross in the Northside. They say the land bank will help put blighted properties into productive use.
Credit Irina Zhorov/90.5 WESA

Ronell Guy oscillated between admiration and admonishment as she drove around the California-Kirkbride neighborhood in the Northside.

Guy, who is the executive director of the Northside Coalition for Fair Housing and an interim board member of the city’s land bank, pointed at blighted properties and vacant lots and then cooed at the possibilities of the abandoned properties.

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Government & Politics
11:45 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Historic Preservation As Economic Development: Peduto Says Yes, Please

The YMCA building in East Liberty plans to use preservation tax credits to develop a hotel.
Credit Irina Zhorov / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto announced that he wants to use the city’s stock of aging buildings as a tool for economic development.

Beyond Pittsburgh, too, Pennsylvania has no shortage of old buildings and some cities have long used them as a selling point. 

A new study measured the impact of maintaining older buildings in urban areas and concluded that for cities lucky enough to have them, leveraging them can bring development.

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Government & Politics
3:51 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

City Council Hears From Public On Act 47 Amended Plan

Pittsburgh City Council members heard from the public Monday about the third amended recovery plan for the city.

Pittsburgh has been under financial oversight for a decade. The amended plan, aimed at getting the city out of Act 47 status and closer to financial solvency, sets novel goals: to reduce the city’s deficit and debt burden, maintain the fund balance at an appropriate level, increase pension contributions and spend more on capital construction.

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Government & Politics
5:23 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Pittsburgh Receives Latest Act 47 Recovery Plan

Pittsburgh’s Recovery Coordinators have submitted a new plan – the third since the city has been under distressed Act 47 oversight – to get the city into solvent financial shape.

In addition to eliminating operating deficits and reducing the city’s debt payments, the latest plan to get Pittsburgh out of commonwealth oversight focuses on beefing up the employee pension fund.

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Government & Politics
4:56 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Strip District Added To National Register Of Historic Places

Mayor Bill Peduto announces the naming of Pittsburgh's Strip District as a National Historic District.
Credit Irina Zhorov/90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s Strip District has been added to the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic District.

There are currently 18 National Historic Districts registered in Pittsburgh, with the Strip District the latest addition. The 13-block area being recognized will include more than 60 buildings between 15th and 22nd streets and the St. Stanislaus Kostka Roman Catholic Church.

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Economy & Business
4:19 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Two Historic Buildings Downtown To Be Renovated

Mayor Bill Peduto announces the restoration of the Skinny Building and the Roberts Jewelers Building downtown.
Credit Irina Zhorov / 90.5 WESA

Two more historic buildings in Pittsburgh’s downtown are set to be restored to their original grandeur.

Mayor Bill Peduto announced the restoration of the so-called Skinny Building and the Roberts Jewelers building, both on Wood Street and Forbes Avenue.

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Government & Politics
1:51 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

After Ban Overturned, Same-Sex Couples Apply For Marriage Licenses In PA

Bill Rushlander and Rob Sauritch filed for a marriage license at the City-County Building marriage license office one day after a federal judge struck down Pennsylvania's Defense of Marriage Act.
Irina Zhorov 90.5 WESA

Update (3:09 p.m.): Pennsylvania Won't Appeal Same-Sex Marriage Case

In overturning Pennsylvania’s ban on gay marriage Tuesday, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III concluded his nearly 40-page decision stating: “We are better people that what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.”

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Education
3:03 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Technology In Early Childhood Education Is Here To Stay, Researchers Say

The use of technology in classrooms is not new, but evolving hardware and broadband accessibility are changing how educators think about those tools in their classrooms.

At a forum on using technology in early childhood education, hosted Tuesday by the Rand Corporation, the message was clear: Researchers should continue to explore the use of technology in early childhood education, but the focus should be on how to best use it, not whether to use it.

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Government & Politics
3:30 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Western PA No Longer Requires Gasoline Switch In Summer Months

Gov. Tom Corbett signed a bill last week that eliminates requirements for what’s called “summer gas.”

Seven counties in Western Pennsylvania require that a different kind of gasoline be sold during the summer. It evaporates less readily, releasing less of the pollutants that contribute to smog.

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Government & Politics
3:30 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Ohio House Approves Raising Severance Tax For Oil And Gas

The Ohio House of Representatives has voted to increase the state severance tax on oil and gas from less than 1 percent to 2.5 percent. As Pennsylvania continues to debate whether it, too, should impose a severance tax on the booming Marcellus Shale play, some Ohio democrats say the proposed hike is not good enough.

Republican Gov. John Kasich wanted a bigger tax hike, as well. But Ohio Rep. Matt Huffman, who sponsored the bill, said he ended up with 2.5 percent because “that was what I thought we could get done. That was what all parties could agree to.”

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Around the Nation
4:02 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Enthusiasts Encourage More Women To Give Hunting A Shot

Tara Heaton (left) and Crystal Mayfield with guide Fred Williams at a women's antelope hunt in Wyoming. Before the event, both women had hunted almost exclusively with male relatives, not other women.
Courtesy of Fred Williams

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 3:00 pm

The departure time for Wyoming's inaugural Women's Antelope Hunt was set for 5:30 a.m. — but that was before a snowstorm hit. By 6 a.m., the electricity is still out, wind and snow are howling and antsy women in camouflage are eating eggs by candlelight.

Marilyn Kite, Wyoming's first female state Supreme Court justice and one of the people who dreamed up the hunt, is among them.

"We've found it to be just great recreation, lots of fun, and the camaraderie of it is why you do it, really," Kite says. "But we also really like the meat."

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Code Switch
6:09 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Years Later, Miss Indian America Pageant Winners Reunite

Vivian Arviso says her year of service as Miss Indian America included a stint answering tourists' questions at Disneyland's Indian Village.
Sheridan County Library

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 6:19 pm

The women who were crowned Miss Indian America are reuniting this weekend in Sheridan, Wyo. The Native American pageant ran from 1953 to 1984 and attracted contestants from across the country. Originally, the pageant started as a way to combat prejudices against Native Americans.

Wahleah Lujan, of Taos Pueblo in northern New Mexico, who won the title in 1966, was very shy at the time. In one of her appearances right after she was crowned, she told an audience: "The most important thing in my life is the preservation of our ancient pueblo and the Rio Pueblo de Taos."

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