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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Government & Politics
2:47 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Internet, iPhones Among Technology Upgrades at Bureau of Building Inspection

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto on Tuesday took a tour 200 Ross St., which houses, among other offices, the Bureau of Building Inspection and Department of City Planning.

BBI Chief Maura Kennedy said they were showing off the long-awaited implementation of a decades-old technology: as of this month, every employee in the building finally has Internet access.

“Previously the building was not wired for the Internet, in large part,” Kennedy said. “So now people are actually using the laptops we purchased several years ago to do real-time data entry.”

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City Government
12:26 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

With Lawsuits Dropped, Peduto Says Negotations Between City, UPMC Ongoing

The aura of tension around Pennsylvania’s largest employer is slowly dissipating, as the city of Pittsburgh announced Friday that it is dropping its lawsuit against UPMC.

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Economy & Business
2:47 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

City Councilman Gilman Looking for Ways to Support Small Businesses

City Councilman Dan Gilman is considering a joint marketing campaign to promote Pittsburgh's neighborhood business districts, such as Walnut Street in Shadyside.
Credit Flickr user jmd41280

Roberta Weissburg has been designing, repairing, and selling leather goods in Pittsburgh for over 30 years.

According to Weissburg, the increasing presence of online and big box stores over the last few decades has made it difficult for small businesses like hers to maintain and expand their customer bases.

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City Government
11:46 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Acting Public Safety Director Says He Has To Build Trust Between Police, Community

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is one step closer to filling out his administration, as City Council Wednesday held hearings on the mayor’s recent Public Safety and Management & Budget appointments.

For more than two hours, Acting Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar took notes as he was peppered with questions, concerns and suggestions from council members.

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City Government
3:29 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

City Council Preliminarily Approves Adding Gender Identity as a Protected Class

Transgender activists wore shirts reading "Ask me about the T" at this year's Pittsburgh Pride Parade. Council President Bruce said transgender issues are currently "part of a national debate."
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council took preliminary steps Wednesday to add gender identity and expression as an explicitly protected class with regard to housing, employment and public accommodation.

Council President Bruce Kraus sponsored the legislation and said the issue was brought to his attention by Jason Goodman, executive director of the Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition, or PSEC.

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Pension Reform
5:34 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Corbett Touts Tobash's Pension Reform Plan in Shaler Township

Governor Tom Corbett talks pension reform with Alice Beckett-Rumberger (center), of the non-profit North Allegheny Foundation, and Tara Fisher, vice president of the North Allegheny School District board.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Less than a week after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett ended the budget standoff with the state Legislature, he’s setting a new deadline for pension reform: election season.

Corbett was in Shaler Township Monday afternoon pushing an overhaul of the public pension system, which he said is necessary to help struggling school districts and stem the wave of rising property taxes.

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Community
3:30 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Local Group Reclaims Vacant Land Through Micro-Grants and Education

Six months ago, the vacant lot next door to Linda Piso’s house in Knoxville was overgrown with weeds and was a haven for drug activity.

But Piso has since transformed the lot into a community garden.

“Right now I’m picking cucumbers,” Piso said on Saturday. “My garden is completely planted. I have lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, and soon I’ll have a watermelon.”

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City Government
9:10 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Heth's Run Valley Slated for Major Facelift

The old Heth's Run Bridge was built in 1914. The land beneath the bridge was long used as an industrial dumping site.
Credit Flickr user Todd Shirley

Heth’s Run Valley hasn’t been much of a valley for a while. The area underneath Heth’s Run bridge—a portion of Butler Street between Morningside and Highland Park—had long been a dumping site for industrial waste. City Councilwoman Deb Gross, whose district includes the area, said many of her constituents didn’t even know a bridge was there.

But that area is slated to get a major facelift, which Gross said has been a long time coming.

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City Government
4:07 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

City to Audit Tax Revenue from Pro Sports, Concerts, Conferences

Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak says when constituents asked her how much tax revenue is brought in by pro sports and other large events, she didn't have an answer for them.
Credit Flicr user joseph a

Pittsburgh’s professional sports teams are huge drivers of the local economy, but City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak said in Wednesday’s committee meeting that she’s currently unable to quantify that contribution.

“As we were talking about Act 47, I was talking with constituents and they would constantly ask me ‘How much money do we get out of the stadiums?’” Rudiak said. “To be honest with you, I couldn’t answer that question.”

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City Government
4:13 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Policy Change Will Increase City Pool Access for Low-Income Youth

Kids who received free or reduced cost pool passes through youth groups and other organizations were previously unable to access city pools on evenings and weekends.
Credit Photo courtesy Citiparks, City of Pittsburgh

Swimming pools are the quintessential summer hangout for kids, but when Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith found out children were being turned away because they didn’t have the right kind of pool passes, she decided to take action.

City Council Tuesday unanimously passed a bill that will repeal a city policy preventing kids with pool passes received through youth groups and other organizations from using city pools during evenings and weekends.

Kail-Smith said she wasn’t even aware of the policy until some of her constituents complained.

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City Government
4:19 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Tackling Pittsburgh’s Blight Problem, One Small Project at a Time

Volunteers beautify a vacant lot in Lawrenceville as part of the city's Love Your Block program.
Credit Photo courtesy Lawrenceville United

Blight is a major problem in Pittsburgh, and the city is pursuing several big-picture initiatives to deal with it.

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Community
3:30 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Pittsburgh Bike Share Program Launch Delayed Until Spring 2015

Chicago's bike sharing program launched in June 2013.
Credit Flickr user WBEZ/Robin Amer

It’s been more than a year since former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced Pittsburgh’s bike share program, with a proposed launch date of spring or summer 2014.

Spring has come and gone and summer is upon us, so where are the bikes?

Bart Yavorosky, executive director of Pittsburgh Bike Share, said it’s been a matter of bureaucracy keeping up with technology.

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City Government
11:12 am
Thu July 3, 2014

City Lost More Than $70,000 In Bad Checks In 2013

An example of a check returned to the city by the bank because it was illegible.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Since 2008, the city of Pittsburgh has lost more than $380,000 from checks returned by banks, due to non-sufficient funds or other problems.

Controller Michael Lamb announced the losses at a press conference Wednesday, saying he had just issued recommendations to the Department of Finance about how to fix the problem.

Chief among his recommendations: compile a list of all the points of entry for payments by check coming into the city.

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Transportation
11:10 am
Thu July 3, 2014

As Gas Prices Rise, So Do Numbers of Americans Traveling for Fourth of July

Nearly 35 million Americans are expected to hit the road this Fourth of July weekend.
Credit Flickr user Dale Beckett

 

Fourth of July weekend travel is expected to reach pre-recession levels for the first time, even though gas prices are the highest they’ve been since 2008.

AAA is predicting that 41 million Americans will travel at least fifty miles this weekend, a 1.9 percent increase over last year, with 80 percent traveling by car.

In the Mid-Atlantic region, which includes Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, the number of people traveling to celebrate the holiday is expected increase by 1.3 percent.

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Health
12:31 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

County Considers Stricter Regulations on Wood Burning

Allegheny County is considering beefing up regulations around outdoor wood burning.
Credit Flickr user Doug Becker

Julie Burgo was shocked when she was diagnosed with asthma in her 40s. But she had a hunch of what was causing the disorder: her neighbors’ wood burning fireplace.

When she approached her neighbors and told them that their habits were negatively affecting her health and the health of her mother, who was undergoing cancer treatment at the time, she said they retaliated with bigger and more frequent fires.

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Health
9:02 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Sen. Casey Looks For Policy Initiatives To Help 'Sandwich Generation'

Tom Moore, 64, of Ross Township listens to the testimony during Monday's hearing. Moore and his wife care for an ailing parent and two children on the autism spectrum.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

They’re known as the “sandwich generation:” people simultaneously caring for aging parents and children still living at home.

They are typically in their 40s and 50s, and according to U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), they’ve been all but ignored by policymakers.

On Monday, Casey held a hearing in Pittsburgh to learn more about the experiences of people in the “sandwich generation” and to hear from social service and healthcare professionals about potential policy changes that could ease the burden of those caring for both parents and children.

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STEAM Learning
7:45 am
Thu June 26, 2014

From 'Pantry' to 'Kitchen': Transforming the Way Teens Use the Library

Using the graphic editing software Adobe Illustrator, 11-year-old Winston Bell participates in a lesson on ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics at The Labs at the Carnegie library’s East Liberty branch.
Ryan Loew 90.5 WESA

People often think of the library as a place to sit quietly while reading or studying.

But the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is challenging that stereotype by turning the library into a creative hub for teens.

It was the second week of June, and Pittsburgh Public Schools had been out of session for two days. And yet, half a dozen teenagers and pre-teens were sitting around a table, enthusiastically engaging in a lesson about ancient Egypt.

“What do we know about Egypt and why was it such a big deal?” asked Oliva Hric, museum educator with the Carnegie Library of Natural History. “Can you think of anything in the landscape that maybe would make Egypt a really great place to live?”

“Because they were on the Nile River they could have had a good water supply,” answered 12-year-old Jonathan Freeman, clearly familiar with the concept.

Freeman and the other teens weren’t at summer school; they were at The Labs at the Carnegie library’s East Liberty branch.

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City Government
5:07 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Debt Is Down and Spending Is Up, Says Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb

City of Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb says an interactive version of the Popular Annual Financial Report will be available online for the first time this year.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

There’s good news and bad news.

That was the message from city of Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb Wednesday, as his office released its 2013 Popular Annual Financial Report. Lamb called the report the “layman’s version” of the city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which was released early this year.

The good news, said Lamb, is that the difference between the city’s liabilities and its assets shrunk by $4.1 million in 2013, to $423.8 million. In 2007, the gap was close to $600 million.

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City Government
3:13 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

From Data Sharing To Street Paving, Council Proposes Amendments To Act 47 Recovery Plan

The city of Pittsburgh is one step closer to approving its third Act 47 Recovery Plan, after City Council on Wednesday presented and gave preliminary approval to 17 amendments.

“They don’t impact anything financial,” said council president Bruce Kraus. “They really are more philosophical in nature, more or less, about how we want to plan the next five years.”

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Government & Politics
10:52 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

County Councilwoman Wants to Explore Privatization of County Nursing Homes

Allegheny County Councilwoman Heather Heidelbaugh said she was bothered by a recent advertising campaign for the Kane Regional Centers, the county’s assisted care facilities.

It was that two-year, $187,000 ad campaign that got Heidelbaugh thinking about whether the Kanes could be partially or fully privatized.

Tuesday evening, Heidelbaugh introduced legislation in County Council to create a working group to study such a possibility.

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Education
3:57 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

With 24 Members And 105 Days Left, Public Education Task Force Holds First Meeting

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 on Public Education is set to hold their first meeting Tuesday evening, a little more than three months before they are expected to present their recommendations to Mayor Bill Peduto.

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Government & Politics
4:49 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Underfunded 9-1-1 Call Centers Will Wait Another Year For Surcharge Hike

More than a year of negotiations has yielded little fruit when it comes to increasing the monthly phone line surcharge that funds 9-1-1 call centers in Pennsylvania.

Instead, the state Legislature will likely extend the existing surcharge for one year. Land line customers will continue to pay between $1.00-$1.50 each month, while wireless and VOIP customers will pay $1.00/month.

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Veterans
12:54 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Rep. Murphy: Disciplinary Action at Pittsburgh VA Doesn't Go Far Enough

U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy said placing Terry Wolf, the head of the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, on leave is a "far cry from what needs to be done."
Credit Office of Congressman Tim Murphy

More than 10 months after U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy wrote to former Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs Eric Shinseki asking what disciplinary action would be taken in the wake a Legionella outbreak at a Pittsburgh hospital, he has gotten an answer of sorts.

On Friday, the VA announced that Pittsburgh Healthcare System director and CEO Terry Wolf was placed on administrative leave, “pending the completion of administrative actions related to the Legionella outbreak.”

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Veterans Affairs
11:22 am
Sun June 15, 2014

Head of Pittsburgh VA Hospitals Placed on Administrative Leave

The head of the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System has been put on administrative leave, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

System Director Terry Gerigk Wolf oversaw the healthcare facilities during the Legionella outbreak of 2011 and 2012, which resulted in the deaths of at least six people and sickened more than twenty others.

Veterans
7:20 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Pittsburgh VA Struggles To Compete In 'Eds And Meds' Economy

VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System's Aspinwall facility. The number of veterans seeking care from the Pittsburgh VA has increased 25 percent over the last 10 years, according to Deputy Director David Cord.
Credit Courtesy of VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

Reports of secret waitlists and preventable deaths at Veteran’s Affairs hospitals in Phoenix have spurred a nationwide audit of VA healthcare facilities.

The situation in Pittsburgh is not as dire as it is in Phoenix, but the VA facilities here are facing their own unique challenges.

Southwestern Pennsylvania is home to more than 260,000 veterans and their families, one of the largest concentrations of veterans in the United States.

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