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."

Pages

Essential Pittsburgh
5:26 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Patriotic Cabs Provide Jobs for Veterans

Veteran's Taxi vehicles are all handicap accessible and run on American Natural Gas.
Credit Star Transportation Group

VETaxi is the most patriotic ride on the road. The Pittsburgh-based company owned by Vietnam veteran Robert Delucia hires American military veteran drivers, transports customers in American-built vehicles and uses solely American-sourced fuel.  As a branch of the Star Transportation Group, VETaxi aims to provide jobs to veterans where they are then given the opportunity to own and operate their own cab.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:34 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Donora Plant Houses Huge Volumes of Ammonium Nitrate Fertilizer

Credit Martha Rial / PublicSource

After 30 tons of fertilizer detonated in West, Texas last April, investigators are looking into the cause of the explosion that killed fifteen people, including twelve firefighters and emergency responders.  PublicSource reporter Bill Heltzel has been investigating chemical plant Dyno Nobel in Donora, PA, and gauging the town’s understanding of hazardous substance safety.  United Steel Workers safety officer Kim Nibarger represents union workers at the plant.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
3:47 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

American Made Movie Reminds Country of Manufacturing Roots

Credit Daniel Horowitz / Life is My Movie Entertainment Co.

In a country with a great history of manufacturing and exporting goods, many believe that the best way to support the American economy is to buy locally.  Filmmakers Vincent Vittorio and Nathaniel Thomas McGill are on a 32-day tour with their documentary American Made Movie, in which they highlight companies that produce goods in the United States.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
3:19 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Can the Steel City Be A Fútbol Town, Too?

Pittsburgh River Hounds hope for more young fans and their families to attend games this season.
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

With their new stadium in Station Square, the Pittsburgh River Hounds are hoping that professional soccer will finally score in the “City of Champions.” The club, founded in 1999, is a part of the USL Pro League and has not had a successful history in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette Sports Writer Emeritus Bob Dvorchak explains that soccer has been unable to share in the popularity of the city’s other professional sports because it is the least established.  Despite high numbers at Steelers, Penguins and Pirates games, Pittsburgh may not be big enough to sustain a fourth professional sport.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:41 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Former Whistleblower Says Exposing Truth Can Be Lonely & Daunting

Former whistleblower James Holzrichter gives advice to Edward Snowden and any other person labeled as a whistleblower.
Credit Screenshot of the film Prism / Wikipedia

While working as internal auditor for Northrop Grumman, James Holzrichter noticed that his company was falsely inflating defense costs in order to receive more money from the government.  He describes the experience of being faced with a daunting decision to either turn in his findings to higher authorities or keep quiet with the knowledge that he was working for a dishonest company.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:23 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

What Lies Beneath: The Internet's Dark Side

The Undernet is an anonymous network used for everything from arms dealers and narcotics traders to journalists in censored countries.
Credit Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Beneath a sea of hashtags, behind the walls of Facebook users and beyond the top ten hits of a Google search is a set of websites and resources on the Internet called the “Undernet.” Also known as the “Dark Web,” these sites are not indexed by search engines and can provide complete anonymity to users.

Carnegie Mellon University Professor and Network Security Expert David Brumley explains this hidden Internet and the many legal, illegal and beneficial actions that occur within this web.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:14 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Duquesne Professor Develops Technology That Uncovers Rowling's Pseudonym

Joula has developed a technology that uses an author's vocabulary and style to determine possible pseudonyms.
Credit Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Duquesne University Professor Patrick Joula received an email from the London Sunday Times last week.  The Times was asking him to utilize an authorial identification technology he had been developing for years in order to determine if the new crime novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling was written by the famous J.K. Rowling. The paper had received an anonymous tweet indicating the author, Robert Galbraith, was actually Rowling. 

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
3:33 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Traditional Gender Roles Playing Smaller Role in Modern Matrimony

The distribution of chores in the home are shifting away from traditional gender role expectations to ability and interest in tasks.
Credit Shelley Panzarella / flickr

Watch out June and Ward, traditional marriage is rapidly evolving and research indicates that typical gender-based expectations in the household are becoming obsolete for couples as they make the decision to marry or cohabitate.

Dr. Connie Lappa, psychotherapist and adjunct professor at Robert Morris University and The University of Pittsburgh and Dr. Christine Whelan, visiting Assistant Professor in the University of Pittsburgh Department of Sociology share their findings on modern matrimony and the most successful relationships.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
3:23 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Sports Talk with Bob: Baseball's All Star Game Turns 80

The Pittsburgh Pirates are a member of the National League and have hosted the All Star Game five times since its inception in 1933.
Credit Alan English / flickr

Tomorrow night at Citi Field in New York, the American League will play the National League in the 80th annual All Star Game. Pittsburgh Post Gazette Sports Writer Emeritus Bob Dvorchak explains the origins of the game in Chicago, Pittsburgh’s experience hosting the All Stars and the modern character of the game.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:13 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Local Goodness: Roadtrip for Ripe Cherries and Erie Beaches

U-Pick Cherries at West Gate Farms in Erie, PA
Rhonda Schuldt Local Goodness

Nestled in the northern edge of Erie County is a region of rich and fertile farmland slowly becoming recognized for grape growing, vineyards and a seasonal favorite: cherries. Rhonda Schuldt of Local Goodness suggests some favorite destinations in Erie, PA including local diners, beaches and fruit farms.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:31 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

ACLU of Pennsylvania Sues Commonwealth on Behalf of Same-Sex Couples & Families

ACLU Pennsylvania has filed a federal lawsuit against the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Two weeks after the Supreme Court of the United States overturned key provisions in the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania has filed a federal lawsuit to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The 23 plaintiffs, including 10 same-sex couples, one widow, and two teenage children of one of the couples, say they've seen firsthand the inequality of PA law in its discrimination against same-sex couples. 

ACLU Staff Attorney Molly Tack-Hooper and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, Anthony Infanti, weigh in on the legality of the lawsuit and the path for equality in Pennsylvania paved by the repeal of DOMA.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:00 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Micek On ACLU Lawsuit, "Payday Loans" & PennDOT's Lost Construction Season

Many issues still remain unaddressed in the PA legislature.
Credit Tim Lambert / WITF

In the wake of Governor Corbett’s budget signing and the Supreme Court’s overturn of the Defense of Marriage Act, John Micek Opinions Editor of the Harrisburg Patriot-News explains the many pressing issues at the state level. 

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
2:17 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

White Nose Syndrome Threatens Bat Populations in Pennsylvania

Little brown bat with white-nose syndrome.
Credit Marvin Moriarty / United States Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikipedia

Not even Batman can save his fellow bat friends from a deadly disease that has been threatening the bat population across Pennsylvania.  White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) is a disease caused by a fungus that, when introduced into underground workings such as caves and mines, begins to eat away at live skins cells of hibernating bats. 

This originally European fungus is cold loving, meaning it prefers very cold, damp underground environments, precisely where non-migratory bats tend to flock for hibernation. When bats hibernate, however, their immune systems completely shut down creating what Endangered Mammal Specialist Greg Turner calls “the perfect storm.”

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
6:24 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

United Nations Report Examines "Climate Extremes" Over Past Decade

Sea ice, shown here in Nunavut, in northern Canada, reflects more sunshine than in the past, while and open ocean absorbs more, accelerating melting.
Credit Wikipedia Commons

Extreme weather, greenhouse gases, carbon monoxide and glacial melting; all these buzzwords have increasingly entered the public vernacular in the past 20 years. 

Following a UN report by the World Meteorological Organization, scientists expect that the topic of global warming and climate change will continue to be a hot issue.  The report, “The Global Climate 2001-2010: A Decade of Extremes,” cites that the past decade has seen an abundance of greenhouse gas emissions that has caused increased temperatures on both hemispheres, all oceans and an accompanying rapid decline in arctic sea ice and glaciers. 

Director of Science at the Carnegie Science Center, John Radzilowicz, has been following the topic of global climate change and was not necessarily surprised by the UN report.  He was optimistic, however, that the report was gaining attention and combined a multitude of data pointing to the extremes in weather conditions throughout the world.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
5:40 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

R.A. Dickey Pitches Memoirs and the Knuckleball

Starting pitcher R.A. Dickey of the Toronto Blue Jays in a game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 23, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Credit Keith Allison / Wikipedia Commons

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher,R.A. Dickey is a religious man, a family man and the only pitcher in the major leagues that still throws a unique pitch known as the knuckleball.  He addresses all of this in his book, Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball

Last year, after pitching for the New York Mets, Dickey became the first knuckleballer to win the prestigious National League Cy Young Award

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
8:40 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Pittsburghers Spent The Summer of 1863 Preparing For The Confederate Army

Designed by Benjamin H. Latrobe and constructed in 1814, the Arsenal was used as a military garrison in the manufacturing and storing of supplies during the Civil War, Indian Wars, and Spanish-American War.
Credit University of Pittsburgh Libraries / flickr

Paint a picture of Pittsburgh in the summer of 1863 and it becomes evident why many once thought the city could be a target for an attack from the Confederate Army.

The Steel City housed scores of factories and foundries as well as the Allegheny Arsenal in Lawrenceville. All of these industries were ideal for producing war materials.  A take over of the city could provide the South with equipment and resources that other Pennsylvania cities, such as Harrisburg, could not supply. This industry coupled with its placement as a transportation hub at the three rivers allowed the city to stand out to many prominent figures of the period, including President Abraham Lincoln.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
8:29 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Unsung Heroes of Western Pennsylvania During Civil War

Pittsburgh's Martin Robison Delany became highest ranking African American officer of a field regiment during war in U.S. history
Credit Wikimedia Commons / National Portait Gallery Washington

While Pittsburgh was never a battleground during the Civil War, there are many little known “unsung heroes” from the Pittsburgh area that made a significant impact in the 1860’s. Heinz History Center's "Pennsylvania's Civil War" lead curator and historian, Leslie Przybylek, shares the stories of three Pittsburghers that you may not have read about in your history books.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:49 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Summer Brews and Beer Cocktails from Hal B. Klein

Wheat beers and lagers are the best brews to mix for summer beer cocktails
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Full of ideas for refreshing summer drinks, Hal B. Klein suggests some of his favorite brews and beer cocktails including a number of drinks foreign to most Pittsburghers.  What makes for a good brew this season? For beer lovers, Klein recommends lagers such as the Brooklyn Lager or lagers brewed nearby at Penn Brewery.  Lagers are unique because they are fermented at a lower temperature, are lighter in alcohol and tend to be more crisp and refreshing.  But wheat beers, such as those found at East End Brewery, also provide a fun summer flavor, especially when adding a slice of orange or other fruit.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:50 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Treatment for Obesity Calls for Lifestyle and Cultural Changes

Credit Tony Alter / Flickr

Following the American Medical Association’s reclassification of obesity as a disease, physicians are hopeful about the slew of positive opportunities that could come to the one in three Americans classified as “obese.

Dr. Esa Davis, a practicing physician with UPMC Division of General Internal Medicine, notes that this change will allow for primary care offices to have more discussions with patients about obesity and hopefully allow for “broader insurance coverage for weight loss programs and nutritional services” as well as “increased funding for research and intervention programs.”

But why are there more obese people in 2013 than ever before? Davis points to the increased availability of nutrient-dense food and a decrease in physical activity.  This decrease has extended to schoolchildren where exercise is not always part of the daily routine.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
3:52 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

State Budget Passed by Deadline, No News On Most Pressing Legislation

Budget passed just before the Sunday deadline
Credit 90.5 WESA

Following a “bad weekend” with the collapse of his agenda, Governor Tom Corbett signed a nearly $29 billion state budget Sunday night.  Controversial issues including liquor privatization and allocations for transportation funding remain in the Legislature until the fall, prompting a close examination of these pressing topics and the motivations behind both parties in both the House and Senate.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
7:04 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Summer 2013 Movies with Film Critic Barry Paris

Johnny Depp's decision to play "Tonto" sparks controversy for Disney film.
Credit http://disney.go.com/the-lone-ranger/

Summertime is perfect for beaches, barbeques and blockbuster movies.  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette movie critic and author Barry Paris joins Essential Pittsburgh to give his suggestions and input on this summer's hottest releases.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
7:24 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Reclassification of Obesity as Disease Prompts Questions about Treatment

A report by the AMA says that 1 in 3 Americans will struggle with obesity. What is the best way to treat this newly classified disease?
Credit Jelly Mark / Fightobesity.com

On Tuesday, the American Medical Association officially re-classified obesity as a disease. Experts are now saying this recognition will enable doctors to better treat the 1 in 3 Americans who struggle with obesity. It is hoped health plans will create more products to help patients manage their weight and broaden the coverage for those in need. Dr. Esa Davis, a practicing physician with UPMC, joins us to discuss the changes this re-classification will bring to the healthcare system. 

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
8:03 am
Thu June 20, 2013

The Legality of DNA Swab Testing After Arrest

DNA swab testing may become the "gold standard" of reliable evidence gathering.
Credit Kendra Griffiths / flickr.com

In a 5-4 majority, the United States Supreme Court concluded suspects can be subjected to a police DNA test after arrest and before trial and conviction. DNA samples would go into a national database and could possible be used to solve "cold cases." However, it calls into question the issue of personal privacy vs. public safety.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
8:01 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Enon Valley Farm's Garlic Scapes

Garlic Scapes at Enon Valley Farm
Rhonda Schuldt LocalGoodness.com

Rhonda Schuldt, food writer for LocalGoodness.com has a little known seasonal item from her local market. Garlic scapes. Find out about the family behind Enon Valley Farm's garlic scapes. 

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
8:00 am
Thu June 20, 2013

New Girl in Town Enjoys Sunshine State

Bahia Honda State Park
Credit tripadvisor.com

How many of us don’t pass some of our time dreaming of relaxing on a warm, sandy beach? Would you like to kick back with a cool, refreshing drink, a good book and listen to the waves with few people around? Travel contributor Elaine Labalme is back from a recent visit to the sunshine state with the lowdown on secluded beaches.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
8:01 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Gasland Director Previews Part II

Credit www.naturalgas.org

Filmmaker Josh Fox joins us to talk about his HBO documentary "Gasland II," a followup to 2010's "Gasland." Fox says his latest film demonstrates how the stakes have been raised in the controversial method of natural gas and oil extraction in the last three years.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
8:15 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Haynes to Debut Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration in Pittsburgh

Guitarist Warren Haynes will debut his symphonic celebration tour of Jerry Garcia with the Pittsburgh Pops tonight
Credit warrenhaynes.net

A symphonic hall is probably the last place you would expect to hear the music of The Grateful Dead. However, the Pittsburgh Pops, with special guest guitarist Warren Haynes, will present a symphonic celebration of Jerry Garcia.
Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
8:14 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Speaking Volumes on Essential Pittsburgh: Steve Sokol

Steve Sokol shares his reading choices with Morning Edition Host Josh Raulerson
Credit Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

After stints in New York and Berlin Steve Sokol came to the Steel City to head the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. He talks with WESA Morning Edition host Josh Raulerson about his reading choices which, as you might expect from someone whose job addresses world affairs, includes books with an international focus.

Essential Pittsburgh
8:13 am
Tue June 18, 2013

The Business of Non-Profits: Part II

Peggy Outon shares the statistics about the number of women that work in non-profits in the Pittsburgh region
Credit Marcus Charleston / Essential Pittsburgh

Business Contributor Rebecca Harris, speaks with Peggy Outon, the Executive Director, Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University  in part two of her series on the business of nonprofits.This week the focus is on women who comprise the majority of people working at nonprofits.

Read more
Soundscapes & Postcards
8:12 am
Tue June 18, 2013

On the Trail: Travel Through Frick Park and Hot Dog Dam

Ed Razanauskas flickr

For hikers and bikers alike, Frick Park has been a favorite Pittsburgh destination for years.  Visitors can enjoy beautiful trails like Tranquil Trail and take their furry friends to cool off at “Hot Dog Dam.” Software engineer, Paul Heckbert has been riding Pittsburgh's bike trails for nearly 20 years.  He shares his love of the region's trails as a member of the Steel Valley Trail Council, and today tells us about this beautiful piece of nature in Pittsburgh.  Catch a moment on the trail with Paul Heckbert.

Pages