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

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.

University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development

  Twenty Pittsburgh Public Schools welcomed hordes of excited and apprehensive kindergartners on Thursday with Freddy the Frog, a green frog mascot representing the district's readiness program.

“We make a big celebration for the kindergarten children coming in for the first time and for their parents,” said Carole Barone-Martin, Pittsburgh Public's executive director of early childhood education.

Three weeks after rejecting Yellow Cab’s request to impose a surcharge of up to $8 per trip on weekends and holidays, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has tentatively approved two other fare increases for the taxi service.

The PUC rejected one provision of the request but agreed to a jump in the flag drop rate — the starting amount on the meter — from the current $2.25 up to $4 and a 30-cent-per-minute increase in the wait time rate. The charge to customers to have drivers wait will cap at be 55 cents per minute.

Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group

Four out of 10 black people in Allegheny County wanting to buy a home are denied a mortgage. That's two times the rate of white applicants, according to data released Monday in the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group’s 21st Annual Mortgage Lending Study.

“The level of African American lending is extremely low compared to all other groups,” said Rachel Rue, researcher with the PCRG.

What does Pittsburgh have in common with Copenhagen, Hong Kong and Melbourne?

Each was selected as one of top 11 cities in the world “to live, work and play in” by Metropolis magazine for a particular livability feature: from walkability — Copenhagen, to culture — Hong Kong, to smart infrastructure — Melbourne.

The magazine, which deals with architecture and design, cited Toronto, Tokyo and Helsinki as the three most livable cities in the world overall. But Pittsburgh was honored for its advanced historic preservation.

Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health wants to know if state regulations for nursing homes need to be tightened, while the commonwealth’s senior U.S. senator wants to ensure the nationwide rating system of nursing homes is accurate.

Secretary of Health Karen Murphy announced the formation of a task force to determine what actions should be taken to improve the quality of nursing homes across the state. 

“It will include a comprehensive review of regulatory requirements affecting nursing homes and making recommendations on revisions to the regulations,” Murphy said.

Forty out of the 150 buildings in Wilkinsburg’s central business district are vacant, but borough officials are hoping that a new tool will help spur development in that distressed municipality.

Some of these properties have been vacant for a decade or two, according to Tracey Evans, executive director of the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation (WCDC).  She said on one block just one of the nine buildings is occupied.

“That’s a huge loss visually for people driving through the business district," Evans said. "It looks blighted.”

Pennsylvanians are more willing than many other Americans when it comes to switching electric suppliers.

According to a North American report, Pennsylvania is the second best state, trailing only Texas, for residential, commercial and industrial electric competition.

The Annual Baseline Assessment of Choice in Canada and the United States (ABACCUS) ranks the 16 states and two Canadian provinces, Ontario and Alberta, that have electric supply markets in terms of competition and consumer awareness of their options.

By a 5-0 vote Thursday the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission rejected one part of Pittsburgh Yellow Cab’s fare hike request and delayed action on the other two provisions.

Pittsburgh Transportation Group, the parent firm of Yellow Cab, wanted to impose a surcharge of up to $8 per trip on Friday and Saturday nights, Sundays and holidays.

Commissioner James Cawley joined his colleagues in rejecting that request, saying the variable surcharge “does not allow a passenger to determine if it is the proper amount,” and because it “appears to be arbitrarily determined.”

The Mon Incline will be closed for nearly 12 weeks starting Aug. 31 for major reconstruction.

According to Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie, the $3.5 million project includes: replacing all of the ties and track on the hillside, replacing some of the cable wheels that guide the major hauling cable and the safety cable, installing a new hauling cable and some renovations to the cars.

Pennsylvania’s new pipeline task force convened Wednesday for the first time as it tries to create best practices for the construction of gas pipelines over the next decade.

“We are in the midst of a wave of energy development that is unlike any other in the state’s history,” said John Quigley, secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection and chair of the 48-member task force.

Pittsburgh has been selected to be part of a new initiative by the National League of Cities to develop early education programs and improve the outcomes for young children in communities across the country.

More homes in the Pittsburgh area were purchased in June compared to a year ago. They sold more quickly and at a higher price, according to a report from the West Penn Multi-List, which tracks the housing market.

The average sale price was about $200,000 and the homes were on the market for an average of 112 days — 35 fewer than this time last year. The number of homes put up for sale in June increased by 3.6 percent last month compared to June 2014.

Lou Blouin / The Allegheny Front

Larry Schweiger just couldn’t sit on his back porch in the North Hills watching his grandchildren and not do something about their future.

It was “just too much,” Schweiger said. The Pittsburgh native needed to be involved “in the enormous struggle ahead to move away from carbon pollution and move to a clean, safe environment,” he said.

daveynin / Flickr

  Three Rivers Regatta revelers were relegated to the land this holiday weekend after the National Weather Service issued a recreational boating advisory warning of high, fast moving water in area rivers, pushing through about four times the normal flow. 

While the Formula One powerboat and other races were canceled, swift moving water has not impacted barge traffic on the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers.

While Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican legislative leaders continue to battle over a new budget: how much to spend, where to get the necessary revenues — tax hikes? — the Department of Revenue reports that the commonwealth ended Fiscal Year 2014-15 with a surplus.

“About $412 million, which is 1.4 percent above the estimate that was set last July,” said department spokesperson Elizabeth Brassell.

The Associated Press

Pennsylvania school districts are more concerned with “how much” than “when” regarding passage of a fiscal budget and any new state appropriation they might receive.

“In general, initially, if a budget does not pass by June 30, districts won’t find themselves in dire situations,” said Steve Robinson, spokesman for the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.

Pittsburgh-area Catholics can expect to hear about a topic this Sunday that is not usually the focus of their pastors’ homilies — the environment.

On Thursday, Pope Francis issued a teaching document laying out his theological argument on the imperative to curb climate change and protect the environment.

Francis framed climate change as an urgent moral issue in his encyclical, “Laudato Si’ (Praised Be),” and blamed global warming on an unfair, fossil fuel-based industrial model that harms the most poor.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

General Manager DeAnne Hamilton announced her resignation from 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh's NPR News Station, on Monday.

WESA Board Chair Marco Cardamone will act as interim general manager until a successor is appointed. He steps in July 17.

Hamilton took on the station's early branding challenges when she became WESA’s first general manager in October 2011, about a month after the sale of the station by Duquesne University to Essential Public Media was officially completed.

Chevron Appalachia has agreed to pay a nearly $940,000 fine levied by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources over an explosion and fire that killed a contractor at a company well site in Dunkard Township, Greene County. 

There are nearly 68,000 registered voters in Allegheny County Council District 11, according to the state Department of Elections, yet 24 people will choose the person likely to occupy that council seat for the next four years.

“That’s exactly right,” acknowledges Nancy Patton Mills, chairwoman of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee.

Usually a food pantry looks for monetary or food donations to stock their shelves, but the Northside Community Food Pantry needs a bit more.

Organizers need help replacing their shelves, ramps, tables and storage units to give it “more of a supermarket-style feel,” officials said.

Port Authority officials are proposing a budget of $397.8 million for FY 15-16, an increase of about $9 million from this year.

The 2.3 percent spending increase will not result in a hike to the base fare ($2.50), service cuts or job reductions.

“This is absolutely a really good sign for the Port Authority,” said transit agency spokesman Jim Ritchie.

In fact, the preliminary budget calls for a limited service increase in some routes to alleviate overcrowding.

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Dog parks and basketball hoops bolstered Pittsburgh in the 4th annual rankings by The Trust for Public Land of the best park systems in American cities.

On a scale of 1 to 5, the city earned a 3.5 “park benches” rating — tying Anchorage, Lincoln, Raleigh and Virginia Beach for 24th in the ParkScore Index.  This is Pittsburgh’s first year in the rankings which expanded in 2015 from the nation's 60 largest cities to 75.

Highmark has agreed to pay the approximately 30,000 outstanding medical claims filed by UPMC providers and facilities since January 1.

Gov. Tom Wolf called it a “major win” for patients. 

“My focus is protecting consumers caught in the dispute between Highmark and UPMC, and I have urged both companies to do the same,” Wolf said.