Liz Reid

Weekend Host and General Assignment 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.

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City Government
3:30 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Affordable Housing Measure Approved by Planning Commission

Pittsburgh City Councilman Daniel Lavelle is one step closer to delivering on a promise to constituents that affordable housing would be a key part of the revitalization of the Hill District.

The Planning Commission on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of a proposed change to city code governing specially planned districts, or SP districts.

“Specially Planned Districts are those districts like Southside Works, Station Square … the Pittsburgh Technology Center, and Washington’s Landing,” said zoning administrator Corey Layman.

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City Government
7:52 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Facing Tough Budget Obligations, Pittsburgh Sees Opportunities in Grant Funding

As Pittsburgh struggles with financial obligations such as increased health care and pension costs, it still wants to pursue initiatives that improve quality of life. That's where grant funding comes in.
Credit AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Leigh Halverson is the deputy chief of staff for economic development in the Peduto administration, and on one wall of her office is a row of pink post it notes, with different dollar amounts written on them.

“$440,000 from the foundations this year to support our Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment,” she says. “$200,000 from the National League of Cities for our Healthy Together campaign … $75,000 for our green and healthy homes initiative.”

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Public Safety
5:19 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Police to Test Electronic Gunshot-Detection System in Homewood

Pittsburgh police plan to test an electronic gunshot-detection system later this month in a three square mile area stretching from the East Hills to East Liberty.

Councilman Ricky Burgess, who represents the neighborhoods, said there are three reasons for installing the ShotSpotter system, which can pinpoint the location and direction of shots fired.

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2015 Budget
1:00 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

City Council Approves 2015 Budget

After approving a few last minute amendments, Pittsburgh City Council on Monday approved a $507.8 million operating budget, up from $487.1 million in 2014, as well as a $76.6 million capital budget and a five-year capital plan.

“This is a banner day for Pittsburgh,” Mayor Bill Peduto said. “With the help of City Council and our financial overseers — and especially our residents and employees — this budget clears a path to fix our financial problems for good over the next five years.”

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City Government
10:24 am
Sun December 14, 2014

CMU Students Present Privacy and Surveillance Report to Police Chief, Councilman

After voting in favor of a 2015 budget amendment that would speed up the timeline for deployment of body-worn cameras for police officers, Councilman Dan Gilman on Wednesday held a post-agenda meeting on surveillance and privacy.

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City Government
7:51 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Personnel Additions in Building Inspection, Solicitor’s Office Pass City Council

With three weeks left before Pittsburgh City Council must approve the 2015 operating and capital budgets, the nine-member body considered four additional budget amendments Wednesday.

One amendment would create the position of government and community affairs coordinator in the new Department of Permits, Licenses, & Inspections.

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City Government
3:13 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Property Tax Hike Receives Preliminary Approval in City Council

Pittsburgh Finance Director Paul Leger (center) made his case for a millage increase before City Council Wednesday. He was joined by treasurer Margaret Lanier (left) and assistant treasurer Ruth Pompey.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council on Wednesday gave preliminary approval to a bill that would raise property taxes by one-half mill, which works out to about $40 a year for a home worth $100,000.

City Finance Director Paul Leger says the city is currently operating at “bare bones” and that failure to pass the millage increase would put the city in violation of Act 47.

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Economy & Business
5:45 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

300 Luxury Apartments, New Office Buildings Coming to Strip District

"The Yards" is the residential component of a $130 million multi-use development project in the Strip District.
Credit Courtesy Oxford Development Company

More luxury apartments are coming to Pittsburgh, this time in the Strip District.

Oxford Development Company on Tuesday held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the residential and mixed-use development dubbed Three Crossings.

Vice President of Business Development Shawn Fox said the name is a nod to the Strip District’s industrial past and its residential future.

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City Government
9:56 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Body Cameras for Police, Loans for Childcare Facilities Among Budget Amendments

The city of Pittsburgh wants all police officers to be wearing body cameras within two years instead of six.

In the wake of civil unrest after grand jury decisions not to indict police officers in the killings of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York, the Peduto administration will shorten the timeline for implementation of such technology.

Amendments to Mayor Bill Peduto’s 2015 budget proposal that would free up money for the purchases came before City Council on Monday.

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Public Safety
7:45 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Community-Oriented Policing Dominates Discussion at McLay Confirmation Hearing

Acting Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay addresses a news conference after being introduced by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto on Sept. 12, 2014. McLay is the first Pittsburgh chief not to rise from the city’s bureau of police. He was most recently a police captain in Madison, Wis.
Credit AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Update: 12/09/14 11:40am

Pittsburgh City Council confirmed McLay's appointment at its regular meeting Tuesday morning.  McLay will be sworn at by Mayor Bill Peduto at 4:00 this afternoon.

Original Post:

Nearly three months after Cameron McLay became acting chief of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, City Council on Monday held his confirmation hearing.

The two-hour meeting focused less on McLay’s qualifications for the job and more on his ideas about how to improve the bureau and address the concerns of individual members of City Council.

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Community
3:31 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

PTI Students Learn While Spreading Holiday Cheer

Students at Pittsburgh Technical Institute have once again volunteered to create an hour-long music and light show this holiday season.

It’s the fourth year in a row that the college’s School of Energy and Electronics Technology has produced the show.

Dave Becker, academic chair for the Smart Building Technology and Electronics Engineering Technology, said students are excited to see people enjoy the fruits of their labor.

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Environment
1:28 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Sick Sea Turtles Recovering at Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Fourteen Kemp's ridley sea turtles will spend six to nine months at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium before being released back into the wild.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Fourteen very sick sea turtles are recovering at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium after being stranded on the beaches of New England in what is being described as a “mass cold stunning event.”

The endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are just a few of the more than 900 that washed up on northeastern shores after becoming hypothermic as ocean waters cooled. They arrived in Pittsburgh last Sunday, from the New England Aquarium in Boston.

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Community
7:52 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Protesters Gather In Downtown Pittsburgh To Voice Anger Over Ferguson Jury Decision

Protesters began the rally wth 4 1/2 minutes of silence, to represent the 4 1/2 hours Michael Brown's body laid on the street before being removed.
Liz Reid 90.5 WESA

“No justice, no peace, no racist police!” was the chant from more than 200 protesters outside the William S. Moorhead federal building in downtown Pittsburgh Tuesday afternoon.

Julia Johnson, with Pittsburgh for Justice, led the rally in which nearly a dozen speakers channeled their anger at a grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown.

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Government & Politics
4:42 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Pittsburgh City Council Introduces Property Tax Hike Bill

Pittsburgh City Council on Monday introduced four bills related to 2015 property taxes, one of which would raise the tax rate by 0.5 mills to 8.06 mills.

That means the city will collect an additional 50 cents for every $1,000 a piece of real estate is worth.

“For a home worth $100,000, it’s about $40/year,” said Kevin Acklin, chief of staff to Mayor Bill Peduto.

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Business
10:14 am
Mon November 24, 2014

US Steel to Build New Headquarters on Former Civic Arena Site

A piece of the roof on the old Civic Arena in downtown Pittsburgh comes down in 2012. United States Steel Corp. announced Monday it will build its new world headquarters in Pittsburgh as part of the NHL's Penguins' redevelopment of the former Civic Arena site.
Credit AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

United States Steel Corp. CEO Mario Longhi said he took Monday’s sunshine as a good omen for his company’s new headquarters on the site of the old Civic Arena.

Longhi joined Penguins CEO David Morehouse, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto to make the announcement at Consol Energy Center on Monday.

Longhi said the five-story, 268,000 square foot building will serve as the cornerstone of revitalization of both US Steel and the surrounding Hill District community.

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Public Safety
6:45 pm
Sun November 23, 2014

Police to Ramp Up Seat Belt and DUI Enforcement for Holidays

Saturday’s icy road conditions, which may have contributed to car accidents on I-79, Bigelow Boulevard, Route 28 and other area roadways, were an unnerving reminder that more auto crashes occur during the holidays than any other time of year.

During last year’s Thanksgiving travel period, from the weekend before Thanksgiving to the weekend after, a total of 4,683 crashes and 48 fatalities occurred statewide.

“Vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death, with most fatalities being attributed to unbelted motorists,” said State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan. 

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Economy & Business
5:13 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Despite Labor Victory, UPMC Says Union Has 'Failed Miserably'

An administrative law judge from the National Labor Relations Board on Friday ruled that UPMC had violated workers' rights. UPMC will appeal that decision.
Credit Flickr user Jorge Castro

An administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board on Friday issued his decision regarding allegations of labor violations at UPMC. The 123-page document recounts the minute details that led to the discipline or firing of eight workers at UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside.

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Health
1:46 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

UPMC and Penn Researchers Team Up to Investigate Causes of Preterm Birth

Preterm birth is the leading cause of death for children under age five worldwide.
Credit Flickr user UNICEF Ethiopia

Scientists are clear on the effects of preterm birth, that is, babies born before 37 weeks. Breathing, hearing and vision problems, difficulty feeding, cerebral palsy, and developmental delays are some of the challenges facing babies born too early.

But on the causes of preterm birth, researchers are less certain.

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Education
3:30 am
Mon November 17, 2014

City Education Task Force to Become Permanent Commission

Woolslair Elementary in Bloomfield was slated for closure last fall but was spared by the new school board in December.
Credit Flickr user joseph a

Pittsburgh’s City Task Force for Public Education has achieved its primary goal of preventing any school closures for the 2014-15 school year, but City Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith said there’s still more work for the group to do.

That’s why she is sponsoring legislation to turn the temporary task force into a permanent commission.

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Public Safety
5:18 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Pittsburgh Police to Receive $100k State Grant to Investigate Gun & Gang Violence

Pittsburgh has seen 60 homicides in 2014, and more than a third of them were in Police Zone 5, which encompasses Homewood, Larimer, Highland Park, Stanton Heights, Bloomfield, and Friendship.

Now, with the help of the state, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police is set to pump nearly $100,000 into an ongoing investigation into gun and gang violence, specifically in Homewood and neighboring Wilkinsburg.

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Public Safety
3:09 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

After Nearly 40 Years at Pittsburgh EMS, Mark Bocian To Become Chief

After two years as acting chief, City Council will vote on Mark Bocian's appointment as EMS Chief on Tuesday.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Mark Bocian has been Pittsburgh’s Acting Chief of  the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services for more than two years now, but City Council indicated in their Wednesday committee meeting that the wait for final confirmation is nearly over.

Bocian was met with resounding approval, as lawmaker after lawmaker extolled his virtues and thanked him for his service.

That service stretches back to 1975, when Bocian was hired as an Emergency Medical Technician, or EMT.

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Election 2014
4:41 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Wolf Names Katie McGinty Chief of Staff

Gov.-elect Tom Wolf has tapped former Department of Environmental Protection secretary Katie McGinty to be his chief of staff.
Credit Katie McGinty / facebook

Former state Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty failed to win the Democratic nomination for Governor this spring, but she has nabbed one of the top spots in Gov.-elect Tom Wolf’s administration. Wolf on Monday named McGinty his chief of staff.

McGinty said she’s anticipating a stark and sobering report from the Independent Fiscal Office on Thursday.

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Public Safety
3:48 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Police Chief McLay Received Warmly at Hill District Community Meeting

Police Chief Cameron McLay answered questions from the community Monday night at Bethel AME Church in the Hill District.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Considering that the topics of conversation ranged from police brutality to racial profiling to discrimination in hiring, there was a surprising amount of laughter at Monday night’s community meeting with acting Police Chief Cameron McLay in the Hill District.

McLay said he understands why people fear the police, and that even he gets nervous when he sees a squad car behind him on the road. The admission drew laughter from nearly all of the three dozen participants.

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Government & Politics
4:52 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Sen. Casey Calls on Lawmakers to Pass VA Disability Claims Reforms

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) said when it comes to honoring veterans, speeches and parades are nice, but effective government services are vital.

He’s calling on his fellow lawmakers to pass the 21st Century Veterans Benefits Delivery Act, introduced in March, which would modify guidelines concerning the fulfillment of disability claims.

According to Casey, the average wait time for a claim at the Pittsburgh Veterans Affairs Regional Office, or VARO, is 231 days. In Philadelphia, it’s 266 days, and the nationwide average is 240 days.

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Environment & Energy
10:10 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

City Receives $25K from Heinz Endowments to Study LED Streetlights, Promote Energy Conservation

You may have noticed the street lights on Bigelow Boulevard have taken on a different hue over the last year.

That’s because they’re now LEDs, or light emitting diodes, which the city is expecting will save thousands of dollars in energy and maintenance costs.

But it’s not quite sure just how much energy and money is being saved by the LEDs installed near roadways and in business districts across the city, which is where a new $25,000 grant from the Heinz Endowments comes in.

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Election 2014
5:35 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

PA Women Vote for Wolf, But Are Absent From Congressional Delegation

From L to R: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Melissa Daniels, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Kate Giammarese, and Chatham University Assistant Professor of Political Science Jennie Sweet-Cushman.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

“Something I heard at Corbett HQ on election night was ‘Well, no one’s ever going to cut education funding again,’” recalled Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Melissa Daniels at a post-election analysis forum at Chatham University Wednesday afternoon.

The forum, dubbed “The Day After,” was hosted by Chatham’s Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics and moderated by Executive Director Dana Brown.

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Election 2014
12:52 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Saccone Holds on to PA House Seat in 39th District

Republican Rep. Rick Saccone (center) easily won re-election over Democratic challenger Lisa Stout-Bashioum.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone will hold onto his seat in Pennsylvania’s 39th District for another two years, defeating Democratic challenger Lisa Stout-Bashioum by a 20 point margin.

The two-term incumbent has been trying to find ways to reduce school-levied property taxes since he took office in 2011.

“My number one priority has always been property tax reform,” Saccone said. “Unfortunately, that’s not the priority of the rest of the state, so we’ve got a lot of convincing to do to get tax relief to the taxpayers. It’s killing them.”

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City Government
7:41 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Grants Management Software to Replace Spreadsheets in City Budget Office

“In the 10 years I‘ve been (working with) Council, I can remember always seeing stories on the Internet … about other cities getting grants … from D.C., getting grants from Harrisburg, getting grants from Home Depot, the Coca Cola Foundation,” said City Councilman Dan Gilman during Wednesday’s committee meeting. “Occasionally Pittsburgh would pop up, but it was pretty rare.

All that is changing though, as Mayor Bill Peduto’s administration begins to make good on its promise to bring more grant money into the city.

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Public Safety
4:45 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Despite 'Gaffes,' City To Renew Contract For Outsourcing Of Secondary Police Employment

Until last year, officers and administrators in the Bureau of Police scheduled secondary employment shifts at community events and local businesses. Charges of favoritism ended the practice.
Credit Flickr user AxsDeny

It’s been a year since the city of Pittsburgh took the responsibility of scheduling secondary police details, like working security at community festivals, out of the hands of the Bureau of Police and gave it to North Carolina-based Cover Your Assets, LLC.

Despite what Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar called “some gaffes” in scheduling, City Council Wednesday gave preliminary approval to renewal of that contract for another year.

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City Government
3:30 am
Wed October 29, 2014

City Council Supports Paying for Food and Vet Care for Retired K-9 Officers

Much attention has been paid to the well-being of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police’s K-9 officers since the death of Officer Rocco earlier this year.

Higher quality protective vests are to be purchased for the 24 dogs on the force.

Now, a bill providing “pensions” for retired officers has received unanimous approval in City Council.

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