Liz Reid

Interim Morning Edition Producer 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.

Ways to Connect

Flickr user Giulia Forsythe

Graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University will spend 24 hours this week trying to “hack” the brain using big data.

Flickr user t b

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have unraveled one of the longstanding mysteries of how our sense of smell works.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Health insurer Highmark is launching a new mobile health clinic in an attempt to bring care to those who find it difficult to get to the doctor’s office.

Flickr user Macroscopic Solutions

Pennsylvania has 58 separate species of non-native forest pests threatening trees and plant life, according to a new study out Tuesday in the journal Ecological Applications.

“That’s second only to New York state in terms of the number of pests,” said lead author Gary Lovett, senior scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in upstate New York.

John Amis / AP

School nurses in Allegheny County will soon begin reporting HPV vaccination rates to the county Health Department.

Felipe Dana / AP

The University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health is stepping up its efforts to learn about the Zika virus, which has been linked to an epidemic of birth defects in Brazil and other parts of Latin America.

Flickr user Lindsay Fox

This story was updated May 5, 2016 at 9:55 a.m.  

County health officials want to ban the use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices everywhere regular cigarettes are already prohibited.

Members of the Allegheny County Board of Health have instructed health department officials to come up with a policy by the board's next meeting in July.

Flickr user joseph a

It’s no secret that the air quality in Pittsburgh isn’t great. Last month, the American Lung Association ranked southwestern Pennsylvania as having the eighth highest level of year-round pollutants and the fourteenth highest level of short-term particle pollution in the nation.

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr

Building owners in downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland are ahead of sustainability goals set as part of the Pittsburgh 2030 District initiative.

Flickr user Rob Boudon

The operators of southwestern Pennsylvania’s two casinos have both been fined by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control board.

Washington Trotting Association, which operates the Meadows Casino in Washington County, was fined $40,000 after allowing two men who have placed themselves on the state’s self-exclusion list to access the casino and gamble at table games and slot machines.

Doug Harbach is communications director of the Gaming Control Board and said more than 9,700 people have placed themselves on the self-exclusion list.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Two lawyers from Pennsylvania's Montgomery County will face off in November to replace Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

Democratic contender Stephen A. Zappala, who won 74 percent of his home county but only 37 percent of the state overall, said he goes back to work Wednesday as Allegheny County District Attorney.

"We’re not going to win this race," Zappala said, conceding. "We’ve got too much ground to make up. I’ve called the commissioner, and I’ve congratulated him on what happened tonight."

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The city's water authority got a slap on the wrist Monday from the Wolf administration two years after making a critical change to the chemicals added to Pittsburgh drinking water.

State Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley said Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority should have gotten approval from the state before switching from soda ash to caustic soda for corrosion control.

Courtesy University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health have found that areas that are hot spots for drug trafficking haven’t necessarily seen a corresponding increase in overdose deaths. The findings are based on overdose data from 1979 to 2014 and are published in the journal Preventive Medicine.

Flickr user Abby Lanes

Pittsburgh-based PPG industries announced to shareholders on Thursday that it will stop putting lead in any of its products by 2020.

The announcement came shortly after shareholder Perry Gottesfeld, public health activist and founder of the nonprofit Occupational Knowledge International, delivered a petition with more than 5,000 signatures asking the company to discontinue the use of lead.

“PPG is now the first large U.S. company to agree to completely reformulate their products and take out lead,” Gottesfeld said.

Cannabis Pictures / Flickr

It could take up to 24 months for the state of Pennsylvania to set up a system for regulating and dispensing medical marijuana. In the meantime, patients who want to use cannabis as medicine do so at their own risk, according to researchers studying the issue.

Marcel Bonn-Miller is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and is currently studying how cannabis use affects people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pockets of bright pink will begin dotting river fronts and other open spaces in Pittsburgh over the next few weeks.

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy will plant 400 Eastern redbud trees this spring, with another 800 to be planted by fall 2017.

The small tree with vibrant fuchsia flowers is native to the region and blooms early in the spring. Jeffrey Bergman, director of urban forestry programs at the conservancy, said those are two of the main reasons redbuds were chosen for this planting.

Virginia Alvino / 90.5 WESA

Hundreds of teachers, parents and alumni attended a Penn Hills School District board meeting Tuesday night, to protest a decision to furlough more than 40 teachers.

The district will also cut more than 20 elective courses including arts, law and math courses. 

The school board voted 7-2 in favor of the plan. The changes go into effect at the end of this school year.

Superintendent Nancy Hines said the district has been fighting for its life and faces a possible state takeover. Last year, Penn Hills had to borrow $20 million and anticipates a deficit this year.

Felipe Dana / AP

  Post updated March 29 at 5 p.m. 

The aedes aegypti mosquito that carries the Zika virus is present in Pennsylvania, and there are now 11 confirmed cases of people who became infected with the virus while traveling abroad.

And Allegheny County officials announced Tuesday afternoon the first confirmed case of Zika locally, contracted by a man who had visited "an affected area." 

But public health officials keep saying the risk of contracting the disease is slim to none. Have you ever wondered why?

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Pennsylvania is a closed primary state, which means you have to be registered as a Democrat to vote for either Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, and you have to be registered as a Republican to vote for John Kasich, Ted Cruz or Donald Trump.

If you’ve moved since the last time you voted, you’ll need to update your address. If you’re not registered at all but want to vote, you’ll need to register. If you’re 17 but will be 18 by April 26, go ahead and register; you’re eligible to vote in this election.

Nicholas Tonelli / Flickr

The environmental rights amendment to Pennsylvania’s constitution was passed by the state’s voters in 1971, by a margin of four to one.

Davelyn/Google Maps

Huffington Post recently named Pittsburgh one of the top ten cities that techies should move to. Last year, Zagat named Pittsburgh its top food city. And Vogue just ran an article about the Ace Hotel in East Liberty.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

  Last May, Governor Tom Wolf held a news conference in front of the Camp Hill state prison in Cumberland County.

He was joined by Corrections Secretary John Wetzel and a handful of district attorneys, all pushing for a $120 million funding increase — not for prisons — but for preschool.

“These are the first steps to what I have as a four-year goal to fully fund early childhood education,” Wolf said.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Ellen Gozion of Pittsburgh folk band The Early Mays saw her first crankie at a music festival in West Virginia.

“As soon as I saw them, I fell in love with them and I decided I would make one,” she said. “I knew that there had been scattered crankie (festivals) throughout the country, so I immediately thought we’re going to do that in Pittsburgh.”

It took several years, but the first ever Pittsburgh Crankie Fest is this weekend at the Wilkins School Community Center in Regent Square.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

In Pennsylvania, fourth graders from middle and upper class families are more than twice as likely as their peers from low income families to score advanced or proficient on standardized reading tests, mirroring the nationwide trend. 

Over the last 40 years, family income has overtaken race as the best predictor of student achievement. Among Pittsburgh Public Schools, the general trend holds true. Schools serving more low-income students have lower test scores. But in part two of our three-part Life of Learning series, we report on one public school that has found a strategy for improving student achievement across the board.

Sunnyside Elementary School special education teacher Jennifer Barger said she never realized how powerful data could be, until her students started tracking their own.

The good news: over the last 40 years, the achievement gap between black and white students has narrowed substantially.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala's office will refile criminal charges against an off-duty Pittsburgh police sergeant in the violent arrest of an intoxicated man outside Heinz Field in November.

Initial charges were dismissed on Tuesday by a district judge, despite testimony from the bureau’s use of force trainer that the sergeant’s actions were inappropriate.

Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay has said he supports Zappala’s decision.

Heinz / YouTube

Scores of hot dog costume-wearing dachshunds run through a grassy field while Harry Nilsson’s 1972 ballad “Without You” plays in the background.

What can’t they live without?

Heinz Ketchup of course. And mustard. And barbeque sauce, represented here by humans in condiment costumes. The dogs leap upon them, licking their faces while the announcer says, “It’s hard to resist great taste. Meet the Ketchups.”

Kraft Heinz has been trying to build buzz around their family of condiments with the hashtag #MeetTheKetchups.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The three democrats vying for a chance to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey discussed their stances on the issues at Carnegie Mellon University's candidate forum on Sunday.

Craig Zirpolo / Flickr user VCU CNS

Norwin School District in Westmoreland County will start stocking the anti-opioid drug Naloxone, also known as Narcan, in its school nurses’ offices early this year.

Superintendent William Kerr said training for nurses, coaches and administrators is scheduled for February.

An increasing number of school districts are keeping the drug on hand, as the number of opioid overdose deaths in the region continue to skyrocket.

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