Kevin Gavin

Director of Internships & Training; Executive Producer for Special News Projects

Kevin Gavin is a native Pittsburgher and has worked in public broadcasting since his college years. Gavin served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years, and following the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc., he was appointed Director of Internships and Training.

Ways to Connect

According to the Department of Justice, around 70 million Americans have criminal records which hinder their chances of finding jobs. Monday, the city of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County signed the White House’s Fair Chance Business Pledge to help those who have done their time get a second chance.

Matt O'Brien / AP

Two Pittsburgh area school districts—one thought of as affluent, the other, not so much—are partnering to tackle a common problem for young children from poor families:  a huge disparity, not just in financial resources but also in vocabulary.

“We’re looking at how we can really reduce the 30 million word gap,” said Megan Cicconi, the director of instructional innovative leadership in the Fox Chapel School District.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA


The Andy Warhol Bridge is about to undergo its most extensive rehabilitation since the early 1990s.

US Department of Education / Flickr

A shortage of certified substitute teachers is leading school districts across Pennsylvania to put students in gyms and cafeterias instead of classrooms.

“It’s a crisis,” said state Senator Andy Dinniman (D-Chester), the minority chairman of the Education Committee. 

According to Dinniman, school district officials told the committee that they’ve only been able to fill 70 percent of vacancies because of the lack of certified substitutes. He said the shortage is impacting urban, suburban and rural schools.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Despite a victory in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Monday, members of Mayor Bill Peduto's administration are uncertain if they will enforce Pittsburgh’s straw purchase gun ordinance.

Yoshimitsu Kurooka / flickr

Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to sign a bill that would establish an education funding formula for the state's public schools.

Pennsylvania is one of just three states without funding formulas. North Carolina and Delaware are the other two, according to the Education Law Center.


The number of Pennsylvanians infected with acute hepatitis C more than doubled from 2009 to 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC report shows that after the infection rate leveled off for a few years, it jumped from 39 cases per every 100,000 Pennsylvanians in 2009 to 81 in 2013, the latest year data is available. That translates to about 10,000 Pennsylvanians currently living with the liver disease.

waferboard / flickr

More than $18 million in grants will help Allegheny County’s homeless population by funding housing and jobs programs in the region.

Social service agencies in the county were recently awarded $3.6 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, to combat homelessness. And in March, another $14.6 million in HUD grants was doled out to assist women, teens, veterans, ex-offenders and other homeless individuals.

Nadya Peek / Flickr

The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot for the April 26 primary is Tuesday, and Chris Borick, a political scientist at Muhlenberg College, said he expects more absentee voters than in previous years.

“That’s not surprising given that the primary season this year is actually relevant on both the Democratic and Republican sides,” said Borick. “There’s actual competition this year.”

In the 2012 Pennsylvania presidential primary, there were 280,000 absentee ballots cast, according to the state Bureau of Elections. 

google Maps

The former Gladstone Middle School building in Hazelwood has sat vacant for 15 years.  

Now it soon could have a new owner and new life.

The Hazelwood Initiative, a neighborhood development group, has signed papers to purchase the building from Pittsburgh Public Schools for $250,000.

The school board in November awarded the Initiative the option to buy the building, and since then the two sides have been finalizing the language of the agreement.

Legislation that was intended to require more people who work with children to get criminal background checks might have actually created a loophole for doctors and other hospital personnel.

“Something just got lost” when the bill was crafted, said state Sen. Randy Vulakovich, an Allegheny County Republican.

The bill was one of 20 approved over the last three years to update the Child Protective Services Law in the wake of the child molestation scandal involving former Pennsylvania State University Assistant Football Coach Jerry Sandusky.

Luke H. Gordon / Flickr

Some 12,000 daily riders of the Port Authority’s light rail Red Line are going to have to find an alternative mode of transportation for six months starting March 27. 

The transit agency will replace a nearly mile-long stretch of deteriorating tracks and street pavement in Beechview.

This section on Broadway Avenue, “has reached the end of its useful life,” according to Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie. And it has required “22 costly repairs” since 2008 to keep it open.

The Red Line provides service from the South Hills to Downtown and the North Shore. 

Update:  8:30 a.m.  The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania canceled its media briefing Monday on its legislative priorities due to the weekend's snowstorm. The organization instead issued a press release. 90.5 WESA News spoke with the group's executive director in advance of Monday's planned event.

In two weeks, Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to unveil his 2016-17 budget. But county leaders from across the state want to make sure the governor and lawmakers hear their legislative agendas first.

Pennsylvanians who fly can still use their state-issued driver’s license to board a commercial flight—for the next two years.

The Department of Homeland Security this month revised its schedule for enforcing the REAL I-D Act of 2005, a security measure Congress passed on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission.

“At this point, there’s no impact on Pennsylvania citizens. They can continue to use a Pennsylvania driver’s license to board commercial aircraft,” said PennDOT spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick.

CCAC North Library / Flickr

Starting Wednesday, students at the Community College of Allegheny County will be able to earn a bachelor’s degree in education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania without leaving CCAC’s North Side campus. 

Daniel Oines / Flickr


The 90-year old structurally deficient Liberty Bridge will undergo its first major renovation in 30 years starting in April.

“It’s due,” said state Department of Transportation District Executive Dan Cessna.

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

New Year's Eve traffic in and out of Pittsburgh for the First Night celebration might not so bad.

Parkway East will reopen at 2 p.m. Thursday, earlier than expected following Monday's implosion of the Greenfield Bridge.

Rhys A. / Flickr

Turnpike motorists, get ready to dig a little deeper.  Effective Jan. 3, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is hiking tolls for an eighth straight year.

Cash and E-ZPass customers will pay an additional 6 percent in 2016. E-ZPass remains the least expensive option at its discounted rate. 

“E-ZPass customers can save as much as 35 percent,” spokesman Carl DeFebo said.

Strange de Jim / Flickr

Cities like Pittsburgh continue to take the lead in providing legal protections for LGBT people and workers when states and the federal authorities have not, according to the fourth annual Municipal Equality Index by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization.

“Pittsburgh should be pretty proud of their score,” said Cathryn Oakley, senior legislative counsel for HRC and the study's author.

Marcin Wichary / Flickr

Pennsylvania’s Superior Court upheld a nearly six- to 12-year sentence for a Chester woman convicted of illegally buying firearms for her felon boyfriend.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

  An estimated 750,000 hunters are expected to head into the woods Monday for the first day of antlered deer hunting season with firearms, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and the administration is looking for advice from some of them.

Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order formally establishing the Governor’s Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation. 

90.5 WESA


Gov. Tom Wolf and legislative leaders this week agreed on a “framework” for a state budget with hopes for a full spending plan by Thanksgiving. The announcement comes nearly five months after the 2015-16 year began.

According to Senate minority leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny), the budget is expected to include about $5.9 billion for basic education funding for public school districts, a $200 million increase from this past year.

There is something special going on in Pittsburgh, according to Sara Schapiro, director of the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools

“We’re excited to showcase the region as a hub of education innovation,” she said.

Pittsburgh Mercy Health System

Jim Withers doesn’t consider himself a hero. But CNN disagrees. The network recently named the “doctor for the homeless” one of its Top Ten Heroes of 2015.

Voters can decide the nation's most inspirational hero online through November 15. CNN will announce the top hero of 2015 during a broadcast event December 6.  Each of the ten finalists will be awarded $10,000. 

courtesy, Powdermill Nature Reserve

John Wenzel believes there should be greater diversity among the ecologists working to preserve the globe’s biodiversity.

“We are not a very attractive career for a lot of minorities,” said Wenzel, director of Powdermill Nature Reserve, and that’s troubling.

“If you look at the ethnic composition of field ecologists, they’re overwhelmingly white Anglo, and the same way our studies of biology focus on diversity, most of us recognize we would probably do better as a field if we had a greater variety of people with different backgrounds and different perspectives doing the research itself.”

For a fourth straight month, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate remained at 5.4 percent in August, the same as one year ago. During that same 12-month period, the U.S. rate dropped a full percentage point to the current 5.1 percent.

Official White House photo / Pete Souza

How Pittsburgh and Allegheny County can increase opportunities for boys and young men of color is the focus of two local forums this week.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto submitted Tuesday a $517.5 million operating budget for 2016 to the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority. The spending plan, which comes with no tax increases, is nearly $10 million, or 1.9 percent, more than this year’s budget. 

Casey Chafin / 90.5 WESA

  A day after community leaders called for an end to the violence in the city, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Police Chief Cameron McLay said Wednesday there are fewer homicides this year despite an uptick in area shootings.

“It’s not an epidemic of violence outside the norm of this city,” McLay said.

allenran917 / Flickr

  Martha Isler, chairperson of the Pittsburgh Shade Tree Commission, has seen it all. 

Forgotten trees. Unwanted trees. Trees damaged by ill-advised pruning schedules. Trees poisoned by street salt. Someone once cut down a single tree to steal the bicycle it was chained to.

You can't just plant them and forget them, she said.

"Maintaining the health of those trees, that’s very important to us,” she said.