Katherine Blackley

Essential Pittsburgh Fellow

Katie is from Ashland, Ohio and is on schedule to graduate from Duquesne University in May 2014 with a B.A. in Media Management and Production as well as English Literature.

She has served as a WESA fellow with 90.5's daily news program Essential Pittsburgh since May 2013 and hopes this will lead toward her career goal of being a producer in public radio or public television.

Fun fact:  "I do Sesame Street character impressions...Ernie is my best."

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:30 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

PSO Violinist to Bring Pittsburgh Love to Boston Marathon

Susanne Park will join her sister Irene in this year's Boston Marathon. She'll be running for Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston.
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Last weekend, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra violinist Susanne Park held a benefit to raise money for Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston.

The institution was key in helping victims of the Boston Marathon bombings last year. This year, Park has gathered donations from local businesses to help the cause. Her sister ran in the marathon last year and she said she tracked her sister’s progress in the race until everything suddenly stopped.

Park's sister was one of the many runners unable to contact family for hours amidst the chaos.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:01 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Ways to Help Young People Cope with Traumatic Events

Credit Victoria Pickering / Flickr

In the wake of the violent attacks at Franklin Regional High School, students and staff at the school have begun the process of coping with the traumatic event.

For young people this can be a particularly difficult journey. The Center for Victims is a victim advocacy group which offers support for those affected by violence.

Diane Dahm is director of prevention education and outreach and Toya Jones is a trauma therapist with the center. They explained how important it is to maintain a child's sense of normalcy while still keeping alert to any possible signs of trauma

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:39 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Balancing Business and Fun with Pop-Up Canada

Canadian Consul General John Prato plans to meet with political, community and business leaders during his time in Pittsburgh.
Credit Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

For one week, Pittsburghers can experience the culture of Canada in a temporary installment downtown called Pop-Up Canada.

The concept, according to Canadian Consul General John Prato, is to encourage a conversation between Pittsburgh and Canada about different urban issues including energy, innovation and civic life.

Prato says the week is designed so that Canadian representatives can meet and learn from local political, business and community leaders. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:33 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Steps for Older Adults to Reduce the Risk of Falling

Following a statewide rollout in 2008, Healthy Steps for Older Adults has helped reduce falls in the elderly by 17%.
Credit Jym Ferrier / flickr

Among people 65 and older, falling is a dangerous reality. Yet a new program has reduced falls among the elderly by 17 percent statewide according to the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Steven Albert is Chairman of the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Services and says older adults often do not realize the severity of their falling risk. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:38 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

How North Allegheny Schools Are Getting Kids Excited About Exercise

Students at North Allegheny Intermediate School run on treadmills as a part of their aerobic fitness training.
Credit Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

  

In an effort to combat the rising obesity rates in Allegheny County, physical education instructors in the North Allegheny School District have taken steps to ensure students coming out their system are devoted to lifelong fitness.

Dave Schmidt, the district's Health and Physical Education Department chair, said that over time his department has shifted from a team sports-based curriculum to one that focuses on lifetime exercise activities.

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:02 am
Thu March 27, 2014

How to Find Pittsburgh's 'Warp Pipes' and Beat the City's Traffic Choke Points

How to avoid this: Traffic is stopped at a red light approaching the Squirrel Hill Tunnel.
Credit Flickr user daveynin

Pittsburgh's roads can be challenging at times, often leading traffic to a slow and frustrating crawl.

But there are ways to avoid sitting in endless congestion through the Fort Pitt Tunnel.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:59 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Making Sense of Pittsburgh's Nonsensical Roads

An aerial view of Pittsburgh
Credit Phil Quinn / wikipedia

Pittsburgh’s topography is pretty unique as far as cities go. It's essentially a peninsula surrounded by mountains. And with the city's numerous bridges and triangular shape, facilitating efficient traffic patterns has long been a challenge for the region.

Pittsburgher Phil Anderson runs the popular blog The Nonsensical Roads of Pittsburgh, where he records his observations about bizarre traffic and road layouts. He's driven in cities throughout the world and seems to find Pittsburgh infrastructure both amusing and frustrating.

“You have stages of driving on Pittsburgh roads," he said. "There’s anger, grief, and eventually you have acceptance.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:25 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Does Pittsburgh Meet the Needs of the Millennial Generation?

Credit 6SN7 / Flickr

Christopher Briem, a regional economist at the University Center for Social and Urban Research at the University of Pittsburgh and Sasha King, social scientist and independent career consultant, provide a snapshot of the city’s young people, from their economic situations to their personal values.

They say skilled young professionals seek out Pittsburgh for its affordable living, commitment to innovation and opportunities for upward mobility. Statistics mirror the growing notion that the Steel City has become a hub for cultural diversity and technological creativity, partly based on its ability to attract and retain Millennials.

This demographic of Pittsburghers range from 18 to 34 years old, and are characterized by their technological skill, their dedication to equality issues, and oftentimes their mounting student debt and unemployment.

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Project Millennials
5:19 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Collaboration & Contribution: Millennials in the Workplace

Collaborative co-working spaces such as this can work well for Millennial employees
Credit Likeaword / Flickr

Beginning in kindergarten, members of the Millennial generation were educated in “pods” of four or five children, where learning became a team effort and idea sharing a necessity, according to career consultant and coach, Christy Uffelman.

Notably, this generation has also watched their parents and grandparents lose lifelong careers to economic decline and societal problems related to greed. Uffelman, who counsels Millennials in the workplace through Align Leadership, observes young people and sees the effect these components have in their interactions with older colleagues and peers at work. 

Uffelman says companies looking to attract Millennials should market their work opportunities as relevant and meaningful rather than monetarily lucrative.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:06 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Millennials Rejecting Polarized Politics & Changing Nonprofit Giving

City Council Member Dan Gilman
Katie Blackley 90.5 WESA

Nonprofits in the region must redefine their community relevance for the Millennial generation as these young adults enter society with a completely different approach to giving.

According to Linda Jones, Vice President of Workplace Campaign for the United Way of Allegheny County, Millennials prefer to give consistently in small amounts as well as volunteer at the organizations they support. They also approach politics differently, rejecting polarized politics and increasingly registering as independents.

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Millennials in Pittsburgh
8:45 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Councilman Dan Gilman on Being a Millennial in Pittsburgh

Dan Gilman
Credit Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Councilman Dan Gilman is no stranger to Pittsburgh City Council.

From his college days as an intern, to his 10-year stint as chief of staff for now-Mayor Bill Peduto, Gilman is familiar with the city’s political atmosphere.

Now serving the residents of District 8, he is one of the council's youngest members.

Dan Gilman on Pittsburgh's Millennial Generation:

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:50 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Millennials, Tell Us How You're Making Your Mark in Pittsburgh

Millennials hanging out at Duquesne University.
Credit Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

President John F. Kennedy captured the essence of his generation’s passions when he gave his famous “only a few generations” speech at his 1961 inaugural address.

More than 50 years later, that same generation is cautiously watching the rise of my generation, the Millennials, also known as Generation-Y and the Baby Boom Echo.

We want Pittsburgh Millennials to talk about what matters to them and where they think they’re headed. So if you were born between the early 1980s to 2000s, we need your voices.

Tell us what you think in a 3 minute message

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:25 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Experimenting With New Ways To Do College

Credit The Saxifrage School

    

The Saxifrage School describes itself as a higher education laboratory, experimenting with new ways to do college.

By operating through underutilized spaces in the Pittsburgh community as a sort of "nomadic campus," they hope to model ways to lower tuition costs and increase higher education transparency.

The school recently completed its first year of courses and Founder and Director, Timothy Freeman Cook, shares what they've learned about the challenges and benefits to this approach.

He says they've offered classes in carpentry, organic agriculture, web development and graphic design- and each class holds unique challenges, but parallels the school’s goal. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:06 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

"Paterno Faction" Frustrates Former Penn State Coach O'Brien

Bill O'Brien has left his coaching position at Penn State and will move to Houston to coach the Texans.
Credit Penn State News / flickr

When Bill O’Brien became head coach of the scandal plagued Nittany Lions football team he knew there would be challenges.

Now, as he leaves Penn State to become head coach of the Houston Texans, those challenges have come to light.

Sports guy Bob Dvorchak says  the “Paterno faction,” that has frustrated O’Brien throughout his time coaching

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:13 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Vermont B & B's Offer Charming Stays

Credit Paul Kentish / flickr

From historic Bennington, to Burlington on the shores of Lake Champlain there’s a lot to see and do in Vermont.

One of the best ways to enjoy the Green Mountain State is a cozy stay at a bed and breakfast. Travel contributor Elaine Labalme suggests some of her favorites.

“If anyone has mastered the art of B & B, it’s Vermonters,” says Labalme.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:51 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

What's Good About Going Gluten Free?

Gluten-free diets are an increasing food trend. But is the fad healthy for everyone?
Credit cookiespi / flickr

Grocer’s shelves are filling up with a number of gluten free products.

This is great news for people switching to gluten-free diets based on their gluten intolerance or celiac disease. But as the trend gains popularity, some worry that a gluten-free diet may be a fad and not healthy for everyone.

Dr. Kofi Clarke, director of the Celiac Center at Allegheny General Hospital and Amy Macklin, registered dietitian and owner of Gluten Free Roots say the popularity of gluten-free products is positive in that it increases awareness of celiac disease, gluten intolerance and gluten allergies. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:40 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Best Pittsburgh Sports Moments of 2013

Credit Flickr user jwalter522

From the Pirates' first winning season in two decades to the decline of the Steelers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sportswriter emeritus Bob Dvorchak looks at the top sports stories in the region for 2013.

Included on the list, the possibility of three state high school football championships for area teams and the first ever Frozen Four College Hockey Tournament in Pittsburgh.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:37 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Study: Pittsburgh Steelers Fans Take a Loss the Hardest

Steelers fans rank ninth in an Emory University study on the Best Fans in the NFL.
Credit Drew Allen / flickr

According to a recent study done by Emory University, Steelers fans take losses harder than any other fan base in the NFL.

Manish Tripathi, assistant professor of Marketing at Emory University focused the research on fans' emotional responses and found out why it's more than just a game to Steelers faithful.

He says he used instantaneous social networking strategies to gauge the mood of fans after winning or losing.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:08 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Local Impact of Budget Cuts to Supplemental Food Programs

Holidays are a dire time for local food banks.
Credit Ian Britton / flickr

SNAP Loses Funding for the Poor

Last month, for the first time in its history, cuts were made across America to the food-stamp program known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).

Pennsylvania's program has lost $183 million; for families and food banks, the impact can be felt most around the holidays.

Catherine Buhrig, Division Director in the Bureau of Policy for the PA Department of Public Welfare and Ken Regal, executive director of Just Harvest, educate people and help them apply for SNAP benefits. 

Buhrig sees firsthand the significance of these cuts to those families that live under the poverty line. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:40 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

2-1-1 Hotline Helps People Navigate the Maze of Human Services

Credit Hade2k / flickr

For anyone who has ever had to utilize social services: from help with unemployment, to getting utilities turned on or accessing SNAP benefits - being pointed in the right direction by a live person can be immensely helpful.

PA 2-1-1 Southwest is a resource and information hub that connects people with community, health and disaster services through a 24 hour hotline and website.

Julie DeSeyn is the Community Impact Director of the United Way and Director of 211 Southwest.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:05 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Sarah's Anti-Stalking Law Is Just The Beginning

Sarah Pesi was about 13 years old when she was stalked by a stranger. Because of state laws, she couldn't obtain a restraining order.
Credit Women and Girls Foundation

A personal experience with a stalker, as a pre-teen, changed Sarah Pesi’s life. Because the person involved wasn’t a relative or a former boyfriend, she couldn’t obtain a restraining order. In Pennsylvania, 60% of stalking victims do not fill the relationship requirement for restraining orders.

With the support of Heather Arnet, CEO of the Women and Girl’s Foundation, Sarah has sought to change PA law.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:40 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Exploring the Wider Impact of LGBT Homelessness in Pittsburgh

Of homeless youth in Pittsburgh, 40 percent identify as LGBT.
Credit scribbletaylor / flickr

Homelessness among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people is more prevalent than any other statistical group in America.

Forty percent of homeless youth in America identify as LGBT. The same statistic applies to the city of Pittsburgh.

Lyndsey Sickler, chair of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh, and Nayck B. Feliz, associate director of Project SILK, work firsthand with young LGBT Pittsburghers who experience homelessness.

Feliz said this high homeless population has negative societal ramifications for the Pittsburgh region. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:35 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Cross Country Skiing in the Region

Cross country skiing destinations can be found from Virginia to Quebec.
Credit E01 / flickr

While the song "Moonlight in Vermont" mentions ski trails down a mountainside, cross country skiing is an enjoyable and healthy way to enjoy the winter landscape.

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme suggests the best spots for cross country skiing around the region.

“If you can walk, if you can run, you can cross country ski,” she said. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:22 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

An Update on Governor Corbett's Health Care Plan

Credit Talk Radio News Service

The Corbett Administration is making details of its alternative proposal to the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion available to the public.

The Governor recently held a presser on his health care plan days after releasing it online. The plan, which would allow hundreds of thousands of people to enroll in private health insurance plans subsidized with federal funds, is one step closer to receiving federal review.

90.5 WESA's Capitol Bureau Chief Mary Wilson reports on the plan from Harrisburg and says the proposal is similar to those of other states, but includes a few elements unique to the Commonwealth’s needs.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:10 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Accessing 125 Years of Contagious Disease Research

Project Tycho collects and digitalizes information about contagious disease and releases it in an accessible format.
Credit Houston Museum of Natural Science / flickr.com

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have collected and digitized all weekly surveillance reports for reportable diseases in the United States going back more than 125 years.

The design, called Project Tycho, is led by researchers Drs. Donald Burke and Willem van Panhuis. They say this access to this data can be vital to preventing and treating contagious diseases.

Dr. Burke, Dean of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health says the data has always been available, but not so easy to access.

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