Katie Blackley

DIGITAL PRODUCER

Katie Blackley is a digital producer for 90.5 WESA, where she writes, edits and generates both web and on-air content for features and daily broadcast. After graduating in 2014, Katie was an editor for KQV 1410 AM in downtown Pittsburgh and did freelance video work for the Civic Light Opera.

She’s passionate about all things Pittsburgh and believes someday she’ll solve the Pittsburgh Protractor Mystery. 

Shipla / Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council

The Drap-Art International Festival of Recycled Art arrives in North America for the first time this month as part of Pittsburgh’s Re:NEW Festival.

The month-long event celebrates creative reuse and sustainability through art with more than 100 exhibitions throughout Downtown. It’s centered around the Drap-Art Festival, which is based out of Barcelona, Spain, but has been structured to include art with local environmentally-relevant themes.

doctyer / Flickr

 

Local entrepreneurs are planning to celebrate Pittsburgh's alcohol heritage with two proposed museums.

Ed Ogle / flickr

When blood donation centers in Pennsylvania received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recommendations for universal Zika virus testing, Central Blood Bank medical director Darrel Triulizi wasn’t surprised.

John Bazemore / AP

In a speech Thursday, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton accused her opponent Republican nominee Donald Trump of encouraging hate groups, saying he had built a campaign on prejudice and paranoia.

In southwestern Pennsylvania, seven organizations are identified as “hate groups,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center's "Hate Map." They're defined as organizations that “have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”

John Minchillo / AP

 

Allegheny County has been held as a model for its handling of electronic voting testing and inspection. It’s the only county in Pennsylvania to conduct parallel testing, meaning an independent organization randomly selects machines on Election Day and simulates usage.

Hannah Altman

Since she was two, Alexandra Bodnarchuk wanted to dance.  

No Place But Home / Youtube

Examine the life and storied career of Braddock-based filmmaker Tony Buba in a new documentary short produced in partnership between 90.5 WESA and Carnegie Museum of Art. The film, No Place but Home, was produced by Ryan Loew and Matthew Newton. It premiered last week at a CMOA event.

Monobloco

Street band Monobloco will bring the samba-rock funk rhythms of their native Brazil to the Kelly Strayhorn Theater at 8 p.m. Friday. The 24-person crew takes the stage the same night Olympic opening ceremonies kick off in Rio de Janeiro.

Founding member Celso Alvim said their adaptations of classic songs make them famous in their home country, and when they tour, audiences vibe the energy of their set.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Preservation Pittsburgh is asking City Council to designate three natural springs as historic landmarks. Members are advocating for Howe Springs in Shadyside, Snyder (Catahecassa) Spring in Schenley Park and the Spring in Spring Hill (Voegtly Spring).

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Learning a foreign language is about more than the language itself. At Duquesne University’s Department of Modern Languages, students are encouraged to immerse themselves in cultural communities outside their own to enhance their experience. For many Spanish language students recently, this community manifests in the form of 4-and-5-year-olds at Beechwood Elementary School in Beechview.

Pennsylvania Treasury

Pittsburgh was recently named one of the top ten cities in the United States for small business activity, according a new study of entrepreneurial activity across the country conducted by the Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City, Mo.

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial collapse, Pennsylvania Treasurer Timothy Reese applauds the city’s comeback, but wants to continue providing resources for small businesses looking to expand throughout the Commonwealth.

Joey Gannon / Flickr

It takes a little over 15 hours to drive from Pittsburgh to Tampa but it takes less than 15 minutes for two cities to engage in a Pens-vs-Lightning, bridge-boasting, our-city-is-better-than-yours Twitter battle.

Here’s how it all began:

Pittsburgh was quick to respond, already anticipating the upcoming exchange:

    

@CityPGH corrected @CityofTampa's false presumption that was cold in the 412:

Then the bridge banter began:

Banjo Brown / flickr

Local leaders are responding to last week's deadly shooting in Wilkinsburg, saying communities must adopt thorough, extensive plans to stop violence. Community Empowerment Association president and CEO T. Rashad Byrdsong helped host a meeting in Wilkinsburg last weekend to address some of these issues. 

Diagnosing And Treating A Pulmonary Embolism

Mar 4, 2016
Yale Rosen / flickr

Pulmonary embolism is the third leading cause of cardiovascular death in the United States after heart attack and stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But “PE” is also treatable and preventable, so why does the mortality rate continue to climb?

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Acrobatic lion dance teams and traditional Chinese melodies entertained attendees at this past Saturday’s celebration of the beginning of the Chinese New Year in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood. In the 12-year Chinese zodiac rotation, 2016 is the Year of the Red Fire Monkey. Essential Pittsburgh assistant producer Katie Blackley spoke with Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition executive director Marian Lien about what to expect during the two weeks of festivities.

Why Do We Sympathize With Animal Suffering?

Feb 3, 2016
Keith Srakocic / AP Images

If you saw a runaway bus hurtling toward a dog or a tourist, who would you save? If you chose the dog, you’re not alone.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Out of the growing number of candidates running for Pennsylvania Attorney General, Josh Shapiro believes he's the best at cleaning up messes. As chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners and PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Shapiro says his past reforms are proof that he’d succeed as the Commonwealth’s leading lawyer.

“I inherited a mess in Montgomery County,” Shapiro tells Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer. “We turned things around. I can do the same thing in the Attorney General’s Office.”

401 (K) / flickr

For low-to-moderate income families, tax season can be a confusing and intimidating time.

Bridget Coila / flickr

For couples living with mixed HIV status, risk and stigma are unavoidable.  The infected partner carries the medical burden associated with their positive status and the uninfected partner must take precautions to prevent transmission. For couples wanting to conceive a child, however, these issues present greater challenges.  Fortunately for two families, the parent’s serodiscordant status didn’t stop them from having a healthy, uninfected baby.  The stories of these couples are chronicled by author and journalist Heather Boerner in “Positively Negative: Love, Pregnancy, and Science’s Surprising Victory Over HIV.”

Keith Srakocic / AP Images

New regulations for oil and gas drilling released by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection hope to address environmental concerns by many residents throughout the Commonwealth. Before Wednesday’s revisions were announced, the state hadn’t modified drilling rules since 1984.  Recent increases in hydraulic fracturing and concerns over potential health risks prompted the DEP to begin the process of updating the laws in 2011.  David Yoxtheimer, a hydrogeologist with Penn State’s Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research, explains the new statues were met with criticism from environmental advocates as well as members of the oil and gas industry.

“If you’re not making anybody happy on either side of the spectrum, then you must be doing something right,” he said.

Challenges Facing American Muslims

Dec 8, 2015
Wikipedia

Leading Republican candidate Donald Trump made headlines again when he called for a complete ban of Muslims entering the United States in light of recent acts of terror associated with ISIS on the home front.  Critics have called this proposal a “ratcheting up of the rhetoric aimed at American fears about members of the Islamic faith.”

“This would be hilarious if it was not so sickening and dangerous to the fabric of American society,” says Pittsburgh Muslim leader Safdar Khwaja. Khwaja recently wrote an article for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette called “They are not Islamic. They are not a state. They are Dae’sh,” in which he highlighted the often misunderstood differences between traditional Islam and the so-called Islamic State.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Civil rights activist and self-taught lawyer Chen Guangcheng made headlines in 2012 when he escaped house arrest in China and fled to the United States Embassy in Beijing.  He is in Pittsburgh for the second time to read from his memoir, “The Barefoot Lawyer.” Guancheng and his translator, Danica Mills, joined Essential Pittsburgh to reflect on his life and his thoughts on human rights throughout the world.  

brokinhrt2 / flickr

Infant mortality in Western Pennsylvania is more than 17 percent higher than the national average, with significant disparities between white and African American babies.  To combat these statistics and improve the health of newborns in the region, the Three Rivers Mothers’ Milk Bank will begin accepting donations of breast milk and distributing them to medical facilities.  Executive director Denise O’Connor says she thought it was important that Pittsburgh offered this service and has already had 90 women sign up to donate.

Perfecting Communication In The Workplace

Oct 23, 2015
International Railway Summit / flickr

Whether you’re preparing for a job interview or a big presentation at your current workplace, communication is an essential key to success.  Career coach and workplace contributor Sasha M. King shares her advice on rhetoric to avoid, styles to try and professional communication standards.

Analyzing Growth In Pennsylvania's Rural Counties

Oct 21, 2015
Nicholas A. Tonelli / flickr

An analysis of the commonwealth’s population by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania indicates new residents are choosing to settle in exurban areas over cities and suburbs.  The trend has caught the eye of community development groups in Western Pennsylvania, where counties like Butler and Washington are seeing rapid population growth.

“They see opportunity there and they’re taking advantage of it,” explains Rural Pennsylvania Senior Policy Analyst Jonathan Johnson.  He says Pennsylvania has 48 rural counties and 19 urban counties, which are based on whether they fall above or below a 284-persons per square mile population density line.  

John Locher / AP Images

When the five Democratic presidential candidates took the CNN stage last night at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, the atmosphere strongly contrasted that of the previous two Republican debates. 

“It opened as sort of a championship boxing match,” observed Duquesne University Associate Law Professor Joseph Sabino Mistick. “It was a great debate, it was a real debate.  It was boxing, not a cage match like we’ve seen on the Republican side.”

Stephen Z / flickr

Alert. Lockdown. Inform. Counter. Evacuate.

Combined to form the acronym ALICE, these terms outline a strategy to prepare students, staff and officials for the possibility of an active shooter situation.

Following a string of recent shootings at schools and on college campuses, many districts and universities are looking to implement programs like ALICE. 

A Century Of Steel City Cinema

Oct 5, 2015
Stephan / flickr

Pittsburgh is no stranger to the cinema.  From blockbusters like “The Dark Knight Rises” to the cult classic, “Night of the Living Dead,” the Steel City has a long and close relationship with Hollywood.  Pop culture contributor Joe Wos says the region’s film industry has been strong for a century, beginning with the production of the feature “Cupid’s Garden Party.” 

Johnstown Is Hockeyville USA, Today, Tomorrow, Forever

Sep 29, 2015
Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 fm WESA

When the Pittsburgh Penguins take the ice against the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening at the historic Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown, PA, the experience will be anything but ordinary.  The match, along with several other special events, represents the small town’s contest win and the designation as “Hockeyville, USA.”   

“I don’t think we’ve ever seen this town with this kind of buzz,” Johnstown Tomahawks play-by-play announcer Rick Hull told Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer.  “People are so happy and it’s just a celebration of Johnstown hockey in general. I don’t think anything could pull the plug on that.”

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