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.

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  Three Rivers Regatta revelers were relegated to the land Sunday 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 derailed, swift moving water has not impacted barge traffic on the Allegheny, Ohio and Monongahela 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.

Updated at 4 p.m.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania has stepped away from its threat to file a First Amendment lawsuit against the Plum Borough School District for trying to restrict students' comments on social media about the investigation into sexual misconduct by at least two teachers. Plum Superintendent Timothy Glasspool clarified the district's position on its website late Monday morning following the threatened suit, as well as a student protest.

About 325 thousand older Pennsylvanians receive state subsidized prescriptions under the PACE and PACEnet pharmaceutical assistance programs. 

State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has begun a performance audit of the $400-million-a-year programs.

“Since so many older people depend on these programs, we want to make sure that they are being operated as efficiently and effectively as possible to ensure that the prescription benefits will be available in the future to those who need it,” he said.

No one has ever seen dark matter, and its origin is unknown, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon, Brown and Cambridge universities believe they may have evidence of another characteristic of dark matter.

The researchers found that a newly discovered dwarf galaxy orbiting our galaxy, the Milky Way, shows evidence that it’s emitting gamma rays.

U.S. Department of Education

“This is not just an education law,” says U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, “this is a civil rights law.”

Duncan is referring to the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA, which is up for reauthorization by Congress. 

“The law is outdated and fundamentally broken. We need Congress to get past this dysfunction and fix the law,” Duncan said.

President Lyndon Johnson signed ESEA as part of his war on poverty. The original intent was to ensure that federal resources would help disadvantaged and special-needs children.

Some of the big ticket items in Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed budget for FY 2015-16 include $6.1 billion for basic education for public schools across the commonwealth and $2.27 billion for the Department of Corrections to operate state prisons.

A smaller line item in the governor’s $29.9 billion spending plan is for human services at the county level. 

“We will restore a small amount of funding,” Wolf said in his budget address March 3. “It’s not a lot of money, but it is important money.”

Allegheny County Department of Human Services

“It’s about loving your fellow Pittsburgher,” says Jon Potter who wants to create a new kind of homeless shelter.

Potter, who owns a hostel in Lawrenceville, told 90.5's Essential Pittsburgh the city has a lot of shelters that “do really good work,” but he’s trying to develop a cooperatively owned “Pittsburgh Home.”

“We want to essentially buy a house and have it be multi-unit so we can have separation of genders or even families,” Potter said.  “Then we’re going to be renting it out for a dollar a year so they can have a lease, they can prove residency, and they can prove they’ve had a landlord before to help them get off the street and get their own home eventually.”

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Governor Tom Wolf has announced a moratorium on the death penalty, calling the state’s capital sentencing system “riddled with flaws.”

“The only certainty in the current system is that the process will be drawn out, expensive, and painful for all involved,” said Wolf in a written statement released Friday.

The moratorium will remain in effect until Wolf has reviewed the forthcoming report of the Pennsylvania Task Force and Advisory Commission on Capital Punishment.

Nearly two weeks after granting a two-year experimental license to Uber, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) did the same Thursday for Lyft, the other major ridesharing service in the state.

The commission voted 5-0 to approve Lyft’s compliance plan, which was mandated by the Dec. 18 order which granted an experimental license if Lyft demonstrated that it was meeting  specific conditions to ensure driver integrity, vehicle safety and insurance protections.

Duquesne University

John E. Murray, former president of Duquesne University, died Wednesday at age 82.  

When he was named to the post in 1988, Murray became the first non-clergy president of the Catholic university. He retired as president in 2001 and was appointed university chancellor, a post he held until his death.

While president, Murray chaired ComPAC 21, the Home Rule Charter Commission, whose work led to the change in Allegheny County government from a three-commissioner based model to the current chief executive and 15-member council.

Administrators at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System Thursday temporarily closed the behavioral health units to new patients to prevent the spread of Norovirus. 

The virus, commonly known as stomach flu, was first believed to have been detected last Friday.

Governor Tom Wolf on Thursday reversed an order by his Republican predecessor, Tom Corbett, by issuing an executive order banning new gas drilling leases in state forests and parks.

Wolf’s order supersedes that signed by Corbett last May to resume issuing drilling leases for forests and parks.

In 2010 then Gov. Ed Rendell issued the moratorium—two years after his administration first allowed drilling in state forests.

The leader of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh was hoping to raise $125 million in a first of its kind campaign for the diocese “to strengthen parishes and evangelize.”

The Our Campaign for The Church Alive instead brought in $230 million in pledges with nearly $63 million received to date.  “I continued to emphasize this campaign was really not about the money, it was about continuing the work of the church,” said Bishop David Zubik.  “ It (the amount pledged) shows that our people love their faith and are willing to make sacrifices for it.”

December was “pretty quiet,” but January is proving to be a “little more complicated” in treating Pittsburgh’s streets, said city Public Works Director Mike Gable.

“Every event is a different coordination of how many people you need and what we need to do and when you need to start, he said. "I’ve been very happy with what our crews have performed up to this date.”

So when the next snowfall hits, do you want to know when your city street might be salted and plowed?

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

The housing market in the 13-county Pittsburgh region is showing “steady progress’ going into 2015, according to Tom Hosack, president of the West Penn Multi-List.

“We project the market will be up, probably the high single digits (percentage increase) and we think that steady increase is exactly what we need. When things jump at some point you have to pay the piper. So we want just steady growth,” Hosack says, not volatility.

For a growing number of companies in the Pittsburgh region, the bottom line is including more than gross revenues, operating costs and net profit.

Over the last five years, the demand by investors for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting by companies has tripled, and more and more Pittsburgh area firms are now incorporating sustainability and CSR data with their traditional financial reporting.

The unemployment rate in the seven-county Pittsburgh labor market dipped to 4.8 percent in November.

“The last time the rate was this low was in April 2008 when the rate was also at 4.8 percent,” said Ashley Yanchunas, business and industry analyst with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

The number of area residents with jobs rose by 4,700 and the number of those out of work fell by 2,700 last month.

The U.S Environmental Protection Agency has approved Pennsylvania’s 2014 Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment report for streams, rivers and lakes across the state.

According to Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Amanda Whitman, the report is required every two years by the federal Clean water Act.

“Pennsylvania has roughly 86,000 stream miles and compiling this report, collecting  the data, analyzing that data and producing the report is a significant accomplishment,” Whitman said.

Major roadway projects were completed this past year in the Pittsburgh area, but several others will get underway or continue in 2015.

“2014 was a significant year,” said Dan Cessna, District 11 executive for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. “We completed the fourth phase of Liberty Tunnel. We completed Squirrel Hill Tunnels, and most significantly we wrapped up four years of construction on Route 28.”

When the U.S. Senate reconvenes Jan. 6 for the start of a new Congressional session, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) will find himself in the minority party for the first time in his eight years in that office.

Through the November elections the Republicans gained control of the Senate for the first time since losing the majority in January 2007. The Republicans now hold a 10-seat advantage 54-44 over the Democrats with two independents — Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine.

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