Liz Reid

Health & Science Reporter

Liz Reid's initials spell EAR, and she’s just enough of a mystic to believe that working with sound is her destiny. Liz came to 90.5 WESA from KRPS public radio in Southeast Kansas, where she was a Feature Producer and the local host of All Things Considered. Previously, Liz interned and freelanced at KQED public radio in San Francisco. She has an MA in Broadcast & Electronic Communication Arts from San Francisco State University, where she also taught audio production classes. She’s done stints working in academia and the music industry, but she’s happiest in a public radio setting. When Liz is not reporting and hosting at 90.5 WESA, she likes to sing and play guitar, ride her bike, camp with her partner and puppy, and watch science and nature documentaries.

Ways to Connect

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

When talking to researchers in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Pittsburgh, “Star Wars” is likely to come up. Specifically, the scene in “The Empire Strikes Back” when Luke Skywalker is fitted with a prosthetic hand, after losing his in a lightsaber battle with Darth Vader.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

*UPDATED: 8:20 p.m.

The Service Employees International Union targeted McDonald's restaurants and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center with marches demanding a $15 minimum wage and union representation.

The union contends UPMC shuttle bus workers have also gone on strike seeking union representation.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Though more than 400 people gathered at Bud Harris Cycling Oval in Highland Park on Saturday morning, one person’s conspicuous absence loomed large.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

    

Danny Chew loves numbers, and one of his most important numbers is 1 million. That’s how many miles he plans to ride his bicycle in his lifetime.

“I’ve kept track of my miles going all way back to 1978, in high school,” he said. “I have a book for every year. That’s almost 40 years’ worth of books now.”

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak urged her colleagues to adopt gender equality legislation accepted by most United Nations countries decades ago at a post-agenda meeting and public hearing on Tuesday.

The international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, or CEDAW, was adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly; the United State is one of six nations that has still not signed on to the treaty.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

About 50 advocates for local activist and Mexican immigrant Martín Esquivel-Hernandez held a rally in downtown Pittsburgh Tuesday morning, calling on Immigration and Customs Enforcement to stop deportation proceedings against him.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are using light to see inside the brains of subjects in ways traditional static imaging scanners cannot.

Functional near infrared spectroscopy, or NIRS, is portable and can measure brain activity while subjects are moving around. It can also be used in remote situations when people can’t get to an MRI scanner, which requires patients lie down and remain very still to get a usable image.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Unease, anger and a desire to take action motivated more than 300 people to gather at the Ace Hotel in East Liberty late Wednesday, prompting small group meetings, impromptu speakers and a protest curtailed by smoke bombs through nearby Shadyside.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

An Aspinwall entrepreneur pitched his plan for a medical cannabis dispensary to residents of Lawrenceville and surrounding neighborhoods at a community meeting Monday night.

Jake Voelker, 32, originally from Erie, presented his plan as a way to help fellow veterans who are seeking an alternative or supplement to traditional medicine.

Chris Cassidy / Courtesy Bill Blumenreich Presents

Neil deGrasse Tyson is perhaps the most famous living astrophysicist. He’s got a popular podcast called “StarTalk Radio,” which regularly ranks among the top science podcasts on iTunes. In 2014, he hosted the sequel to Carl Sagan’s groundbreaking TV series “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage,” called “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.”

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County is on track to see a record number of fatal drug overdoses involving fentanyl in 2016. According to the Medical Examiner’s office, 114 overdose victims have been found to have the highly potent opioid in their systems, just eight shy of last year’s all-time record.

The prevalence of fentanyl among overdose victims has skyrocketed over the last three years. In all of 2013, just eight fatal overdoses involved fentanyl.

Matt Rourke / AP

Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Mike Pence focused on three key issues at a rally in Westmoreland County on Tuesday: security at home and abroad, growing the economy and U.S. Supreme Court nominations.

The Indiana governor graced the Westmoreland Community College mid-afternoon amid crowds of more than 800 people chanting “lock her up” and “drain the swamp.”

Google Maps/ 90.5 WESA

The state Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in an appeal that could decide whether Pittsburgh police officers have to live in the city.

In 2012, the state legislature passed Act 195, which said a municipality may require officers to live in city limits. The previous statute said cities shall have a residency requirement.

A year later, Pittsburgh voters passed a referendum requiring residency.

The Fraternal Order of Police argued residency falls under the category of “working conditions” and is subject to collective bargaining.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Dana Ash, 59, of Morningside has voted in every presidential election of the last 40 years. She said she considers herself an Independent and has voted for Republicans in congressional, state and local races, but never in presidential races. This year is no different.

John Minchillo / AP

Vice President Joe Biden stumped for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Katie McGinty at Chatham University on Tuesday.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

 

Professors, students and supporters are taking to picket lines at state universities around Pennsylvania, including dozens at Slippery Rock University.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The ballroom in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center where the P4 Conference is taking place this week is lit more like nightclub than a conference center. Bright green and blue lights shoot up the walls, a sharp contrast in the dimly lit room. A rapper takes the stage, spitting acapella rhymes that simultaneously praise and critique the city he loves. In the back of the room, an artist turns his words and the rest of the day’s speeches into comic strip-like panels.

If you want to gain a couple thousand Twitter followers overnight, it’s not hard.

There are hundreds of websites promising more Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, Facebook likes and even fake reviews for a product on Amazon or a business on Yelp.

These accounts, whether created by bots or real people, are called fraudsters, and social networks and other sites play a constant game of catch-up trying to identify and disable them.

Susan Walsh / AP

The National Department of Transportation announced Thursday that Pittsburgh had received an $11 million grant for advanced technology transportation projects. The announcement was made shortly before Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx joined Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto in a panel discussion during the White House Frontiers Conference at Carnegie Mellon University.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The Rutherfords are a family not easily pigeonholed.

They live in a modest home in Bethel Park. Dad, Kurt, 46, works in the Medicaid division at UPMC. Mom, Leslie, 44, stays home to take care of the house and manage their three kids’ busy schedules.

Carnegie Mellon University

Outside Kathryn Whitehead’s office at Carnegie Mellon University is a nametag with the words “Nanoparticle Queen” written in black marker. She said a student made it for her at the Department of Chemical Engineering’s weekly happy hour, and she liked it enough to slap it on the wall.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

One year after Pittsburgh’s Wage Review Committee released its report detailing the hardships faced by low-wage workers in the city, Councilman Ricky Burgess said there is still more work to do.

Burgess counted among the victories of the last year the unionization of workers at Allegheny General Hospital and UPMC’s pledge to raise wages for service workers to $15 per hour by 2021.

In addition, workers at four other hospitals in the Pittsburgh region will see starting wages increased by $15 per hour over the next three to five years.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

When 15-year-old Ryan Briggs’ teacher, Nicole Wadsworth, comes to his house once a week, they work on the same skill he’s been trying to master for the last decade: pulling small plastic pegs out of a foam pegboard.

Flickr user Travis Estell

When Erie native Ida Tarbell was investigating John D. Rockefeller and his Standard Oil Company more than a century ago, she had to crisscross the country to search through public records and interview sources in person.

Her 19-part series in McClure’s magazine, titled The History of the Standard Oil Co., is credited as the first example of investigative journalism and had a direct influence on the 1909 antitrust lawsuit that eventually broke up the company.

City of Pittsburgh

Municipal officials hope to submit a final “green first” plan for dealing with the region’s stormwater management problem to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by the end of this year.

The plan relies heavily on green infrastructure, which involves planting trees and restoring the natural water cycle.

Flickr user hradcanska

A group of Pine-Richland school district alumni is planning to protest the district’s transgender bathroom policy at tonight’s school board meeting.

In early September, the board passed a resolution requiring students to use either the bathroom that matches their biological sex or a unisex bathroom.

But Molly Steadman, who is organizing the protest, said that policy is akin to the “separate but equal” doctrine that kept public schools legally segregated until 1954.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority this week announced changes to its protocol for testing customer water samples for lead that could cut wait time for customers in half.

Acting Chief Water Quality Officer Gina Cyprych said testing currently takes about five weeks: eight to ten business days for delivery and pickup of the testing kit and three weeks for the lab to analyze the samples. The new system should take closer to two-and-a-half weeks, but Cyprich said both time frames are “optimistic.”

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

The sight was striking, the aesthetic futuristic. 

On the roofs of 14 self-driving Ford Fusions idling outside Uber's Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh, 14 small cylindrical sensory devices spun in unison, each with 64 channels of laser beams collecting 1.4 million distance measurements per second.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

 

The solar panels shading the parking lot at the new Frick Environmental Center are expected to generate about 150,000 kilowatt hours of energy each year, approximately 10,000 kilowatt hours more than the building is expected to use. The excess will go right back to the electrical grid, according to Noah Shultas with PJ Dick, the construction company that oversaw the project.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Landon DePaulo’s manniversary is Dec. 27, 2012.

That’s when he injected his first $100 shot of testosterone. It's a steep cost to look like himself, he said.

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