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.

Ways To Connect

Courtesy Almono LP

City planning and urban development experts from all over the country are in Pittsburgh this week, taking a look at the proposed development plan for the Almono site in Hazelwood as part of the Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership fellowship program.

Courtesy The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon

Hundreds of students are spending this weekend dancing inside Penn State University’s Bryce Jordan Center, the culmination of a year-long, multi-million dollar fundraising effort.

The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, THON for short, is an annual 46-hour dance marathon meant to give “kids and their families the opportunity to forget about their cancer diagnosis.”

Flickr user JulianBleecker

The U.S. Conference of Mayors has predicted that Pittsburgh will add more than 18,000 jobs in 2015, and according to a new report from the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board, those jobs are likely to either be high-paying or low-paying.

Liz Reid

A bill that would change the rules governing Pittsburgh’s youth commission sparked an intense discussion in City Council Wednesday, with some members of Council expressing concern about whose voices are being heard, and whose are not.

With the help of Code for America fellows and a consultant from the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing, or NIGP, the city is set to review the policies that govern how the city purchases everything from software to road salt to architectural services.

According to Pittsburgh Budget Director Sam Ashbaugh, the current protocol is murky.

Photo courtesy of Optimus Technologies

The city of Pittsburgh is gearing up to outfit 20 vehicles in the Department of Public Works with biodiesel technology and install a bio fueling station at its 29th Street garage.

Sustainability manager Grant Ervin said the city is teaming up with Homewood-based Optimus Technologies on the project aimed at reducing costs and emissions.

Photo courtesy 4Moms

Venture capital dollars spent in the Pittsburgh region more than doubled from 2013 to 2014, according to a new report from economic and social trend tracker PittsburghTODAY.

In 2014, venture capital firms invested $338 million in local companies, up from $138 million in 2013.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Gov. Tom Wolf campaigned on a promise to pump $1 billion into public education, and he was in Monroeville Monday promoting his plan to do just that.

Wolf has proposed severance tax of 5 percent plus 4.7 cents per thousand cubic feet of natural gas extracted. He said the Independent Fiscal Authority determined that would amount to an overall tax of about 5.8 percent.

Flickr user Phil Dragash

In the last 4 ½ years, 35 commercial properties in Wilkinsburg’s central business district have been sold, 22 new businesses have moved in, and 12 formerly vacant storefronts have been filled.

That’s according to Tracey Evans, Executive Director of the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation.

Like many towns in Southwestern Pennsylvania, Wilkinsburg is slowly emerging from the combined effects of the 2008 economic recession and the steel industry’s demise in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Pittsburgh City Council is planning a public hearing before they give the final stamp of approval to proposed tax abatements and exemptions for developers of the former Civic Arena site in the lower Hill District.

Councilman Daniel Lavelle, who has been instrumental in developing a plan for revitalization of the area, said developers will still be paying property taxes on the value of the land and related improvements.

Flickr user ereyesleblanc

Rumors that the Beechview and Bloomfield farmers markets might be on the chopping block spurred a spirited discussion about food equity and market management in Pittsburgh City Council Wednesday morning.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration on Monday announced it is simplifying the benefits packages for adult Medicaid recipients.

Wolf's administration released letter to the federal government saying it is withdrawing a request from former Gov. Tom Corbett for approval of a low-risk benefits package for healthier adults.

Flickr user Cam Miller

Deer culling is set to begin in Mt. Lebanon, as soon as the state Game Commission approves the municipality’s permit application for the trap-and-euthanize method of population control.

But some residents and town commissioners are dissatisfied with the plan, which they say is only a short-term solution to an ongoing problem.

Allegheny County Council on Tuesday joined the chorus of voices calling on the state Legislature to stop bills that would amend the state constitution and give lawmakers the right to decide what qualifies an organization for tax-exempt, public charity status.

Photo courtesy City of Pittsburgh Department of Parks & Recreation

According to Pittsburgh City Councilman Dan Gilman, figuring out how much it costs to rent a trash container or hire an off-duty police officer is more difficult than it needs to be.

Gilman on Tuesday proposed a bill that would create a schedule of fees for the use of such city-owned property and services. He said currently, fees are scattered throughout city code and various city websites, rather than existing all in one place.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Despite passionate pleas from local activists, Allegheny County Council on Tuesday voted down a measure that would have placed a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in county parks for the next two years.

The bill was written and introduced into Council by the residents themselves, using a provision of the county’s charter that has never actually been put into practice. Activists with the group Protect our Parks gathered nearly 2,000 signatures, well beyond the 500 signatures required to put the bill before Council.

Flickr user Joseph A

Pittsburgh homeowners who are scrambling to meet a Feb. 10 deadline for early payment of taxes, which entitles them to a 2 percent discount, can breathe easy.

City Councilman Dan Gilman on Tuesday introduced legislation to extend that deadline to Feb. 28.

He said many taxpayers did not receive their bills until Jan. 31, while others have not received them at all yet.

Flickr user Ronald Woan

State Sen. Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny) said when he was a kid, people often warned him not to get to close to Pittsburgh’s three rivers. But the polluted industrial riverfronts of generations past have slowly been replaced by family-friendly recreational opportunities and big-ticket development projects such as PNC Park and South Side Works.

Flickr user midquel

Many Pittsburgh homeowners have tried to sell their houses, only to find out that construction decisions made long before they ever even purchased those homes threw a wrench into the process.

Now, the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority wants to lend a helping hand to homeowners stymied by such problems.

City Councilman Daniel Lavelle has spearheaded efforts to include affordable housing in the redevelopment plan for the lower Hill District, and is now broadening his focus to the city as a whole.

Lavelle has introduced a bill that would create an affordable housing task force, responsible not only for finding ways to preserve and improve existing units, but also to create new ones.

After much discussion, the bill received preliminary approval in City Council on Wednesday.

Flickr user Joseph Novak

Redevelopment of Pittsburgh’s lower Hill District is one step closer to becoming a reality, with City Council on Wednesday giving preliminary approval to a bill designating the area as a Specially Planned District or SPD.

“It took a while to get here … and now we’ve got to actually begin building,” said Councilman Daniel Lavelle, who represents the Hill District.

Since he launched his mayoral campaign in 2013, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has been promising residents a more efficient and cost-effective style of governance.

The Associated Press

While Pittsburgh’s economy has recovered from the recession that began in 2008, growth is slowing, and policy makers need to address that reality.

That’s according to a new report from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. The fourth edition of the Global MetroMonitor examined economic performance in the 300 largest metropolitan economies in the world. Pittsburgh ranked at #253 in 2014. That’s down from a ranking of #192 between 2009 and 2014.

It took less than one minute for officers from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police to arrive on the scene after shots reportedly were fired off the porch of 7502 Hamilton Ave. in Homewood Saturday night.

“(ShotSpotter) was so accurate and so quick that the officers were able to engage the suspects and see them as they were firing the weapons and observe the muzzle flash that was a result of them firing the weapons,” said Major Crimes Cmdr. RaShall Brackney.

Flickr user Linday Attaway

A new gas-fired power plant has been proposed for Westmoreland County, and environmental groups have been scrutinizing the permit applications submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection.

Omaha-based energy company Tenaska has been working on the proposal since 2009, and anticipates approval of the DEP permits in the next couple of months, according to project manager Monte Ten Kley.

“They’ve issued the draft permit and we feel we have answered and addressed all of their questions and provided them all the information that was required,” Ten Kley said.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

“We try to be useful.”

That’s what University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work Dean Larry Davis told a group assembled to hear details of a new report on racial disparity from the Center on Race and Social Problems. Davis said he hopes the data coming out of the report will be used to craft policies and programs to reduce racial disparities in education, economics, health care and other areas.

Michael Bett is a Ben Avon Borough Councilman, and he wants to see the Shenango coke plant on Neville Island shut down, for good.

Bett, who is a co-founder of Allegheny Clean Air Now, made his case for shuttering the plant to the Allegheny County Board of Health meeting Wednesday, ahead of a presentation from the county’s air program manager about plans to improve air quality in 2015.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Saturday brought to Pittsburgh some of the most unpleasant weather yet this season, but a few dozen people braved the cold and rain to hold vigil for someone they had never met.

Andi Woodhouse, 24, jumped from the 10th Street Bridge to his death on December 13th. Organizers of Saturday’s vigil say he was mis-gendered in reports from the medical examiner’s office and various media outlets, which had referred to Woodhouse as a woman named Amber.

This is the third in a three-part series looking ahead to the 2015 priorities with members of Pittsburgh City Council. Find part one here and part two here.

This is the second in a three-part series looking ahead to the 2015 priorities with members of Pittsburgh City Council. Find part one here.

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