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

The Corbett administration is hoping that a statewide competition to allow students to showcase their skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) will further spark interest in STEM learning and related jobs.

“STEM jobs are the jobs of the future, and that will be what our economy will be based on, so it’s important that we train the workforce to be ready for the new jobs,” said Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq, who unveiled the competition Friday.

Courtesy image

Eight months after taking office, Mayor Bill Peduto has announced the hiring of Cameron McLay as the next chief of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.

It's a job, Peduto said, that comes with a lot of ground to cover.

“He most certainly must restore the trust with the community," Peduto said. “He must rebuild the morale with the rank and file and he must make the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police a national model of professionalism.”

Studying abroad will have a whole new focus on studying with the launch of the Global Business Institute (GBI) next spring.

“One of the things that’s critical for business students today is that they have a global perspective," said Audrey Murrell, associate dean of the University of Pittsburgh’s College of Business Administration. "It’s also important for them to build some competence around being able to interact with people from different perspectives and cultures.”  

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tom Wolf made a campaign trip to Pittsburgh Friday, and the topics of discussion were as diverse as the site of his stop.

Wolf toured the Bidwell Training Center in Manchester which offers students career-learning opportunities in fields ranging from chemical laboratory technician to the culinary arts, from horticultural to jazz.

While officials at the Environmental Protection Agency review and digest testimony from hundreds of witnesses in Pittsburgh and three other cities on that agency’s Clean Power Plan, Pennsylvania lawmakers are working on the state’s plan.

President Obama has called for a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and the commonwealth must submit its plan to the federal government by 2016.

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee heard Thursday from stakeholders in the environmental and energy sectors.

Sophie Masloff knew from an early age she wanted to work in those government buildings, but never though she would hold office, let alone become mayor of Pittsburgh.  

“I used to walk to town from the time I was a little girl to the City-County Building and the court house, and I used to pay the bills," Masloff said in a 2008 interview, "and while I was there, I wandered around the buildings, and early on I thought this was something I’d like to do to be a part of this."

Masloff, who rose from a tax clerk to Pittsburgh's first female mayor, died Sunday. She was 96.

Office of Media Relations / University of Pittsburgh

“There is probably no bigger issue right now in the higher education arena than the affordability [of a college education],” says the University of Pittsburgh’s new chancellor Patrick Gallagher, “and the reason it’s such an important issue is not just the cost, it’s all of the consequences that cost has.”

Gallagher, who this month took over for Mark Nordenberg, who served 19 years in the post, said those consequences include debt accrued by students and their families.  

“If you’re leaving school with a high debt and entering a field where it takes awhile to get started, this could become a real barrier," Gallagher said. "It’s changing the way prospective students are thinking about what they will do coming in. There’s a lot of pressure to know what you want to get out of college before you’ve even started and experienced it.”

File photo / Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Ten days after the outbound Liberty Tunnel opened after a 16-day round-the-clock closure, PennDOT will close the inbound tunnel 24/7 for 17 days starting Tuesday at 8 pm.

PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said that like the recent work done on the outbound tunnel, the inbound tunnel will be painted.

"This allows a surface that allows crews to clean the inside of the tunnel,” he said.

Gov. Tom Corbett is defending his former Secretary of Education. Ron Tomalis left the cabinet post in May 2013 and was immediately appointed as special adviser to the Secretary of Education at the same annual salary of nearly $140,000.

But there have been calls for everything from a legislative inquiry to a formal ethics investigation into whether Tomalis is actually working to earn his pay.

The Pennsylvania State Police plan to fight a federal lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice claiming that the physical fitness test discriminates against women seeking to become troopers.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court in Harrisburg, alleges that the physical fitness tests used by the state police from 2003 to the present excluded qualified women from consideration for hire as entry-level state troopers by testing for physical skills that are not required to perform the job.

Pennsylvanians owe $1 billion in unpaid fines and court costs, and a state lawmaker wants the scofflaws to pay up or lose their driver’s license and have any wages and lottery winnings attached.

State Senator Mike Stack (D-Philadelphia) has introduced two bills to pressure individuals to pay the fines, fees and delinquent costs they owe.  Under SB 918 PennDOT would “suspend your driver’s license.  If your driver’s license was about to expire, they wouldn’t renew it,” said Stack.

Currently most Pennsylvanians who want to see court records and documents have to look at them on microfilm or microfiche.

“We’ve always got to look at ways we can modernize government,” says State Senator Matt Smith (D-Allegheny) as he noted Governor Corbett’s signing into law his court modernizing proposal that he says will save tax dollars and give the public easier access to court records.

Photo by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

Summer camp — it’s not just for kids anymore. 

Teachers from around the Pittsburgh area and from as far away as Alabama this week attended the STEAM Innovation Summer Institute at South Fayette Intermediate School to learn how to embed robotics, computational thinking and game design into their curricula.  

Amidst lights flashing  and lots of beeps, elementary school teachers are playing with, or rather experimenting with, littleBits — tiny circuit boards engineered to snap together with magnets.

Local governments across Pennsylvania have some new options to address the widespread problem of storm water runoff. 

“It’s another tool,” said Jennifer Quinn of the environmental group PennFuture.   

She said SB 1255, signed by Gov. Corbett Thursday, builds upon Act 68 of last year that allows municipalities to establish storm water authorities to address the widespread problem of runoff. 

Under this new law, the storm water authorities can offer credits to homeowners and businesses to reduce their fees by implementing storm water management best practices.

Health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers in 2012, enough for every adult in the U.S. to have a bottle of pills, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gary Tennis, secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), said that since 2000, prescription drug and heroin overdoses have quadrupled. 

On a daily basis, 18,500 vehicles travel through the outbound Liberty Tunnel. Effective at 8 p.m. Friday, motorists will need to find a new way to the South Hills.

PennDOT is closing the outbound tunnel around-the-clock through 6 a.m. Monday July 28.

Crews will prepare the tunnel walls so they can be painted and complete work that was halted in December.

As PennDOT nears completion on the two-year long, $49 million rehabilitation of the Squirrel Hill Tunnels next month, it’s beginning work Wednesday evening on the first of three Parkway West (I-376) projects.

One outbound lane will be closed as workers install traffic control signs Wednesday and Thursday from midnight until 5 a.m.

This first project involves construction of a fourth outbound lane, about a mile long, from Rosslyn Farms to I-79. PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said he expects this part of the $3.72 million project to be completed by the spring.

Tuition is going up at the 14 state-owned universities. The Board of Governors of the PA State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) voted to increase tuition by three percent or $68 in the coming school year.  That means students will be paying $6,820 per year.

“That’s far and away the lowest cost among all four-year colleges and universities in Pennsylvania. It’s the eighth time in the last 10 years that our increase has been essentially the rate of inflation,” said PASSHE spokesman Kenn Marshall. 

“We’re hoping that it will also obliterate the yellow arch that’s out in front of the building that houses Planned Parenthood.”

Helen Cindrich, executive director of People Concerned for the Unborn Child, is referring to the US Supreme Court’s decision Thursday declaring a Massachusetts law that establishes a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics violates protesters’ free speech rights.

The yellow semicircle outside the Planned Parenthood facility in downtown Pittsburgh marks the 15-foot buffer zone established by a 2006 city ordinance.

It’s uncertain what will happen to that the yellow semi-circle marking a 15-foot buffer zone outside Planned Parenthood’s downtown Pittsburgh location.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling Thursday striking down the 35-foot protest-free zones outside abortion clinics in Massachusetts, saying that law violates the First Amendment Rights of protesters.

But the question remains if the high court’s decision will have on Pittsburgh’s eight-year-old law.

Work is “progressing well” on a pedestrian bridge at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Somerset County.

Park Director Jeff Reinbold says the 800-foot bridge will span some wetlands and be a key section of the 1.7-mile pathway to connect the under-construction visitor center with the crash site.

Pennsylvania ranks 42nd among all states in job growth over the last 12 months according to the left-leaning Keystone Research Center.  However, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate for May was 5.6 percent,which was below the national rate of 6.3 percent, and better than 30 other states.

Stephen Herzenberg, the center’s executive director, said job growth in the commonwealth has been poor the last few years, but he acknowledged that the private sector created 15,600 jobs in the first four months of this year.

Every year 40,000 babies are born in the U.S. with congenital heart defects, and parents might not be aware of their infant’s condition. 

Pennsylvania law requires hospitals and birthing centers to test newborns for six genetic disorders, including maple syrup urine disease and Sickle Cell Disease, as well as 23 other disorders.

The state Legislature is getting ready to add one more to the list — congenital heart defect — which according to the March of Dimes, claims thousands of lives annually before the child is a year old.

“All I know is we wanted to get off that beach which we did because there was a lot of casualties,” recalls Ralph Russo of New Castle about the D-Day landing at Normandy 70 years ago today.

There where thousands of casualties—9,000 Allied troops were killed or wounded including 6,600 Americans.

96-year old Mike Vernillo of Pittsburgh served with the US 227th Field Artillery Battalion on June 6, 1944.

“It was very difficult; you can’t stop to help nobody, you have to just keep running.”

As a junior business major at Elizabethtown College, Sarah Lanphier and her mother founded “Nuts About Granola,” a wholesome snack company in York, Pa. that buys local ingredients. 

Six years later, after impressive growth, “Nuts About Granola” is a perfect example of a small rural business poised to go global, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The Obama administration picked the Pittsburgh region Wednesday to launch an effort to boost exports and grow rural economies. 

U.S. Steel announced Monday it is idling its tubular manufacturing plant in McKeesport in early August, affecting 157 union employees.

The Pittsburgh-based company says it is also halting operations at a similar facility in Bellville, Texas, impacting 45 management and 215 rank-and-file workers combined at the two plants.

“Obviously beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” concludes Jeff Fraser, senior editor for the benchmarking agency PittsburghTODAY, which asked Pittsburghers to assess the condition of their homes.

“When people rate their own homes, they tend to rate them much higher than the city does,” Fraser said. But when we also asked people to rate the conditions of the houses and buildings in their neighborhood other than their own, they tend to be a much harsher critic of their neighbors’ homes and buildings.”

You make your airline reservations and you’re often instructed to arrive 90 minutes to two hours before your flight time for security purposes. Now Pittsburgh International is the first airport to have a co-located application site to get domestic and international travelers through security more quickly.

Ross Feinstein, press secretary for Transportation Security Administration (TSA), said TSA Pre-check is an expedited pre-screening program available at 118 airports, including Pittsburgh International, with designated express lanes.

The Dignity and Respect Campaign

Last year, 65 women in the state were killed as a result of domestic violence.

According to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 49 of those victims were killed by their intimate partners or former partners.

To increase awareness of violence against women the Dignity and Respect Campaign in March hosted more than 90 volunteers to design and decorate 6-inch by 6-inch ceramic tiles.

“It’s not a sales pitch ‘Come to Pittsburgh, we’ve got a place for you,’” said Mayor Bill Peduto about his four-day trip to Germany.

Peduto is meeting with his counterpart from Ludwigsburg as well as other government officials and business executives from across that country.

He said it’s more about finding commonalities on major issues around sustainability and technology. 

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