Larkin Page-Jacobs

Reporter/Host, All Things Considered

Larkin got her start in radio as a newsroom volunteer in 2006. She went on to work for 90.5 as a reporter, Weekend Edition host, and Morning Edition producer, before taking on her current role as the All Things Considered host in 2009. She has won regional and statewide awards for her reporting, including stories on art, criminal justice, domestic violence, and breaking news. Her work has been featured across Pennsylvania and nationally on NPR.

Ways To Connect

Pennsylvania is doing slightly below average when it comes to economic performance. That's according to left-leaning policy group Keystone Research Center, based in Harrisburg. Center economist Stephen Herzenberg noted that job growth, thus far in 2014, is better than 2013.

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley stopped by the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center in Oakland on Tuesday. Without getting into specifics, Cawley thanked employees for helping make Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania competitive in the technological arena.

"Technology and research play a significant, if not critical, role in creating opportunities and fostering that robust economy that we all want and need," he said.

Chris Squier / 90.5 WESA

Whether a cultural center can also be a hotel is one of the questions at the heart of the fight over the August Wilson Center for African American Culture.

This week a group of foundations made a case for their $7.2 million bid to buy and maintain the center as it is. A hotel developer, bidding $9.5 million, believes the two entities can co-exist.

Pennsylvania investigators have faulted site managers in a report on a Chevron natural gas well fire in Dunkard Township, Greene County that killed a worker in February.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Zer068 is an identifying number for convicts from the 3rd District of Pennsylvania who go to federal prison.

It’s also the name of a fledgling company.

Founder Daniel Bull is trying to walk the line between honesty about his past and giving himself and others a second chance.

Zer068 has been created specifically to help people with felonies or crimes, a past they would like to forget, overcome that past," Bull said. "We get it, we’re there, we understand what you’re about and we’re here to help.”

The "titans of industry" will be speaking at a jobs summit taking place next month, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Secretary. Julia Hearthway said the "Governor's Jobs 1st Summit" will be speaking to employers about making sure their workforce is ready to embrace a changing industry landscape. She said it will also feature a discussion between Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and business magnate T. Boone Pickens.

Courtesy photo

Teresa Ferguson was not on Facebook before October 2008. Now she finds it indispensable.

Ferguson uses the site to manage the Facebook page of her daughter Ginny Kleker, who after years of battling a deep depression, ended her life at age 31.

Shortly after her daughter’s death, Ferguson accessed Ginny’s Facebook profile and posted a soul-baring letter describing her daughter's vibrant personality and mental health struggles. She also shared her thoughts as a mother about Ginny's suicide.

The Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble begins its new season July 11 and artistic director Kevin Noe stopped by the WESA studios to talk about the organization and what they have planed for their audience. He began by describing how the ensemble performs. 

The takeaway: Allegheny County's fiscal condition is good, but policy makers shouldn't be complacent because challenges are on the horizon.

That's according to County Controller Chelsa Wagner, who released her 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report Tuesday.

The report shows that the county’s fund balance stands at $28 million — up $15 million from the previous year,  and Standard & Poor’s rating agency has upgraded the county’s debt from A+ to AA-. Wagner also noted that jobs increased by more than 20,000 making the region home to more than 1.2 million employees.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Like many older industrial cities, the Pittsburgh region has its share of blight. According to the most recent data from the 2010 census, there are more than 50,000 vacant houses in Allegheny County.

For more than a century, federal, state and city governments have tried to address the issue. Today, a new generation of tools is being used in attempts to clean up blighted neighborhoods.

If a city were a human body, then blight is a disease, according to Aggie Brose, deputy director of the Bloomfield Garfield Corporation.

Readshaw Carries the 36th Legislative District

May 20, 2014

With the election in hand for the 36th Legislative District, State Rep. Harry Readshaw said he felt a deep sense of gratitude and respect for his constituents and knows they feel the same way about him.

“I think they appreciate what I’ve done during the last 10 legislative sessions,” Readshaw said, “and I just love these people.”

Four and a half centuries after he was born, the work of William Shakespeare continues to be performed across the globe, and Pittsburgh is marking the Bard’s birthday with a set of celebratory events.

Yvonne Hudson, artistic director with the art series Poet’s Corner, said they will be holding two events Wednesday to commemorate Shakespeare’s 450th birthday.

The City of Pittsburgh has landed a highly regarded candidate to head the Department of City Planning.

Ron Gastil formerly served as planning director for Seattle and director of the Manhattan office for the New York City Department of City Planning. He said he is excited about the new administration.

“One that has a combination of real commitment to neighborhoods, and a big picture vision,” Gastil said. “It is also a city that is excited and believes that you can plan your built environment and plan your communities, and address questions of sustainability and equity.”

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Caroline Combemale moves to her own rhythm. She has been shaped by a loving family, a tenacious personality and a hunger for new experiences. But her life has also been shaped by hardship.

The 15-year-old grew up in Belgium and often lapses into hushed French when she talks to her mother Laura. When they moved to Pittsburgh, where Laura is originally from, Combemale (pronounced Coom-beh-mel) was in grade school.

In 2009 a gleaming performing arts space opened to great fanfare in downtown Pittsburgh. The distinctive $42 million-dollar building is as long as the block it occupies, and the corner of the building looks like the sail of a ship made in glass and stone.

In 2009, a gleaming performing arts space opened to great fanfare in downtown Pittsburgh.

Named after renowned playwright and native son August Wilson, it was meant to be a hub for African-American theater, art and education.

Today, the August Wilson Center is for sale, unable to pay its bills. But many wonder why it was allowed to get to this point.

August Wilson grew up in Pittsburgh’s Hill District in the 1940s and '50s. He met Sala Udin in parochial school.

The VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System is celebrating its annual "National Salute to Veteran Patients," a week-long series of events that applaud veterans' sacrifices and draws attention to those receiving medical care.

In Pittsburgh, the VA will hold events at both its University Drive campus in Oakland and H.J. Heinz campus in O'Hara Township.

There is a direct connection between national security and climate change, according to the American Security Project (ASP), a small non-partisan think tank based in Washington, D.C.

Senior flag officers from ASP are touring the country to talk about the connection between energy, environmental policy and national security. Senior fellow for energy and climate policy Andrew Holland said they will be talking to people outside of the traditional environmental groups, including businesses, veterans groups and lawmakers, about how a changing climate affects homeland security.

When temperatures dropped below zero in the beginning of January every school district and private school in Allegheny County canceled class. But a few schools made sure their students attended class online.

Seton La-Salle Catholic High School in Mt. Lebanon was among them.

Principal Lauren Martin explained they do anything they can to avoid having to tack on make-up days in June for bad weather earlier in the year because parents have already made summer plans and the kids are unfocused and eager to get out of school.

While the holidays remind many of the food needs of others and compel people to donate to food banks, Lisa Scales, executive director and CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, said need is not dependent on the calendar. In fact, she said summer can be a critical time for many families.

Pittsburgh is doing well, but has room to improve.

That's the take away from a recent document by Pittsburgh Today. The regional indicator project that compares the city to 14 other benchmark cities.

A toy giveaway focused on veterans, active duty personnel and members of the National Guard makes its debut in Pennsylvania Tuesday.

The Toys for Troops event will pass out two gifts per child for every military family in the Pittsburgh area. Operation Once in a Lifetime runs the event, and East Coast Regional Operations manager Marc Morris said these kind of initiatives are important because often times vets won't speak up when they need something.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Three-year-old Aubreaune stands behind an easel showing off her painting of a T-Rex.

“It’s green and purple," she says. "It eats people. Roar!”

She’s among a group of preschool-aged kids and childcare providers who gathered at the Homewood Early Learning Hub for play time on a recent Tuesday. Besides activities for the kids, providers and families use the center to find resources, and share best practices.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

How We Grieve: This the first in an occasional series exploring the ways people express their feelings in the aftermath of a death.

Some memorials to homicide victims are made of flowers, candles and photographs. Others are built to last.

Memorials to victims in the Pittsburgh region often hide in plain sight, but their message is far from veiled. Those behind the memorials say they're an attempt to turn despair into something positive.

Google's traveling "Good to Know Roadshow" program presented at an assembly Monday at Pittsburgh Obama Academy to teach middle school students about the importance of using the Internet safely.

Google spokeswoman Jamie Hill said it was their first time making the presentation in Pennsylvania. Google has an office at Bakery Square in the Larimer section of Pittsburgh. Hill said research shows 93 percent of teenagers are using the Internet.

A day after the general election and in his first stop on a tour announcing his bid for re-election, Gov. Tom Corbett said Wednesday he intended to be governor again.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

It's a typical day at the Children’s School at Carnegie Mellon University, and as director Sharon Carver walks from room to room, children ages 3 to 5 are bursting with activity.

In one space a little boy digs in a sandbox, in another corner children try to match recycling materials to the correct bins, and at another table children are navigating the serious task of sharing and shaping Play-Doh.

After taking stock of the activities Carver asks a reporter, “Which things were play and which things are not play?”

As President Obama seeks congressional authorization for a limited military strike in Syria, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) lauded the administration's move to debate the issue with other lawmakers.

But Casey also said that he believed the president has the legal authority to conduct a strike without getting the go-ahead from Congress. He also said he thinks Obama should take action, regardless of what happens in Washington, D.C.

"I think he should act," Casey said.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine plan to expand their Vascular Medicine Institute over the next five years, by creating the Heart, Lung Blood and Vascular Medicine Institute, or VMI.

Dr. Mark Gladwin, co-director of VMI, said it will be a hub for research.

"This will be the research home for scientists and physicians and physician scientists that have primary appointments within cardiology, pulmonary and hematology," he said.

Flickr user jwalter522

The year 1992 was an exceptional time to be a sports fan in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers finished first in their division, the Penguins won the Stanley Cup and the Pirates made it to the playoffs. Little did baseball fans know then that it would be two decades before the Pirates would have another winning season.

Now the Pirates are a handful of games away from ending the skid.

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