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
8:08 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Burgess Introduces Priority Communities Initiative for Redevelopment of Troubled Neighborhoods

Pittsburgh City Councilman Ricky Burgess has introduced four pieces of legislation that he said will help spur development in some of the city’s most troubled neighborhoods.

One piece of legislation would create the Pittsburgh Priority Communities Commission, a body that would be tasked with creating comprehensive redevelopment plans for six to eight neighborhoods that show the most potential for an economic resurgence.

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Public Safety
3:28 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Peduto Seeks Quality Over Speed in Filling Public Safety Positions

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Mayor Bill Peduto said he is not rushing to fill two of the most high profile vacant positions in the city: public safety director and police chief.

In a Monday interview with Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer, Peduto said it is more important to find the right person for those positions than it is to get them filled right away.

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Transportation
8:42 am
Sun February 23, 2014

City Looks to East Liberty Model for Transit-Oriented Development in Homewood

The Target Store was the anchor of East Liberty's TRID plan, though the store went in well before the TRID was officially created in late 2013.
Credit flickr user BeyondDC

Homewood, once the home of Andrew Carnegie and George Westinghouse, has had more than its share of economic troubles in recent decades.

According to data available from PGHSNAP, Homewood had a population of nearly 31,000 people in 1940. By 2010, that number had decreased 79 percent to 6,442. In 2009, the median income was just under $20,000, and in 2010, 46 percent of residents were living under the poverty level.

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Government & Politics
3:17 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

City to Implement Nighttime Transportation Solutions Along Carson Street

City Council President Bruce Kraus has been working to find ways to mitigate the negative effects of a bustling nightlife economy on the South Side and other neighborhoods.
Credit Flickr user michaelgoodin

According to City Council President Bruce Kraus, between 15,000 and 20,000 people stream out of South Side bars, venues and pubs around 2 a.m. every Friday and Saturday night.

That creates public safety problems and significant transportation issues, Kraus said, which is why for the last two years he’s been working with the Responsible Hospitality Institute, or RHI, to find ways to manage the nightlife economy in the city.

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Gun Violence
4:18 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

City Council Declares Tuesday Feb. 18th Marcus White Day

State Rep. Ed Gainey remembers Marcus L. White in Pittsburgh City Council chambers Tuesday.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Marcus L. White, Jr. would have turned two years old on Wednesday.

But when he was just 15 months old, he was killed when someone fired shots into a family picnic on East Hills Drive.

In his honor, City Council declared Tuesday, February 18, 2014 to be “Marcus Lamont White, Jr. Day” in the city of Pittsburgh.

Around three dozen of Marcus’s family, friends, and supporters crowded into Pittsburgh City Council chambers for the proclamation on Tuesday.

Among the speakers was Andre Scott, the cousin of Marcus’s mother, Jameela Tyler.

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Government & Politics
3:50 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Councilwoman Wants Swift Repurposing of Vacant School Buildings in the West End

Finding new uses for vacant school buildings can be difficult.

According to a study released by the Pew Charitable Trusts last year, empty school buildings can cost millions of dollars to maintain and are often sold below market value. The study also found that buildings are easier to repurpose if they have not been vacant for long.

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Life of Learning
8:21 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Black Community Leaders Come Out in Support of Pittsburgh's Teacher Evaluation System

Activists rally outside Pittsburgh King PreK-8 School on the North Side Monday morning.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

A coalition of parents, civil rights advocates and clergy stood huddled together in the cold outside Pittsburgh King PreK-8 School on the North Side Monday morning to announce their support for the school district’s teacher evaluation system.

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Government & Politics
7:50 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Rep. Doyle: Bill to Restore Military Pensions Pits Veterans Against Seniors

United States Congressman Mike Doyle (D-Allegheny) said in a statement Wednesday that he is disappointed with the passage of a bill to restore cuts in early military retirees’ cost of living adjustments.

Doyle said he is in favor of restoring the $6 billion in cuts, which were the result of a bipartisan budget deal reached in December, but that it shouldn’t have been achieved by extending the Medicare sequester for an additional two years, beginning in 2024.

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Government & Politics
7:40 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Allegheny County Controller Condemns Performance of Jail Healthcare Provider

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner this week sent a letter to Corizon Health, Inc. detailing her concerns about allegations that the company is providing substandard healthcare to inmates at the Allegheny County Jail.

Those allegations first surfaced in a Dec. 8 article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which revealed internal e-mails between jail staff and Corizon.

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Community
5:37 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Activists Rally to End Gender-Based Violence

Many women will celebrate Valentine’s Day by spending some quality time with their significant others, but there are many other women who will spend the day in fear of intimate partner violence.

That’s why New Voices Pittsburgh, a community based organization dedicated to the health and well-being of black women and girls, is organizing a rally to end gender-based violence, to be held at noon Friday at Market Square.

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Labor
1:30 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

UPMC Altoona Nurses Go On Strike

Nurses at UPMC Altoona walked off the job Tuesday after contract negotiations broke down.
Credit James Myers / SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania

Registered nurses at UPMC Altoona stepped off the job for a one-day strike on Tuesday.

Tammy Morgan, a nurse in the Behavioral Health Inpatient Unit, said many of the hospital’s 750 nurses are on the picket line today.

“We don’t know exactly how many, but there’s hundreds of people out there,” Morgan said. “We have lots of community people going by honking. We have other people in the community standing with us. Everybody’s riled up, chanting, marching up and down the sidewalks.”

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City Government
7:40 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Peduto's Personnel Restructuring Plan Comes To Council

City Council dug into the nitty gritty of Mayor Bill Peduto’s personnel restructuring plan in their committee meeting Wednesday.

Matt Barron, Peduto’s policy advisor, was on hand to explain the changes and answer questions from council. Not every change went over well, but the mayor’s plan to add a second grants officer to the Department of Finance was receive with enthusiasm. Barron said this position would be specifically charged with seeking out new grants for which the city could apply.

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City Government
7:26 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Mayor, Council Renew City's Commitment to Summer Youth Employment Program

Councilman Ricky Burgess has spent the last few months hammering away at his fellow legislators with regard to the Pittsburgh Summer Youth Employment Program.

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City Government
4:34 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Pittsburgh's Municipal Bond Rating Continues to Improve

A decade ago, the city of Pittsburgh’s municipal bonds were a risky investment.

That’s a far cry from where the city is today, says Scott Kunka, director of finance for the city of Pittsburgh.

“Back in 2004, the city was essentially in junk bond grade, non-investment, and that was the year the city declared distressed status for Act 47,” said Kunka. “We’ve made about 12 to 13 increases in our credit rating over the last seven years, so it’s been a slow but steady rise.”

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State Budget
3:24 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Pennsylvania Lottery Looks to Expand Into Keno Games

Gov. Tom Corbett didn’t talk about gambling in his budget address Tuesday, but his proposed budget includes $20 million in new revenue from the expansion of the Pennsylvania Lottery into Keno games.

Elizabeth Brassell, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Lottery and Department of Revenue, said the introduction of Keno could be achieved through regulatory, rather than legislative means.

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Early Childhood Education
12:20 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Corbett Proposes an Additional $10 Million for PA's Pre-K Program

Gov. Tom Corbett Tuesday announced an additional $10 million in funding for Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts.

“Every child in this state should be, ready to learn, ready to grow, ready to succeed, and my budget sets an agenda in that spirit,” Corbett said.

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State Pensions
8:01 am
Tue February 4, 2014

PA Auditor General to Governor: Fully Fund Pensions, Cut Corporate Tax Breaks

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said at a news conference Monday that he’ll soon begin an audit of the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development.

DePasquale said he’s looking for subsidies and tax breaks for corporations that don’t positively impact middle class job growth. He said the state should eliminate such subsidies and tax credits before touching “one dime” of public employee pension funds.

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Labor
4:02 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Rep. Mike Doyle Joins Workers Rallying Against UPMC

On Monday, U.S. Representative Mike Doyle condemned UPMC for alleged labor violations.
Liz Reid 90.5 WESA

U.S. Congressman Mike Doyle joined UPMC workers and community activists for a rally outside the federal building in downtown Pittsburgh Monday.

Doyle told the assembled crowd of about 75 people that he recently had the honor of accompanying President Barack Obama on his trip to Pittsburgh last week, and that the two discussed the president’s comments during his State of the Union address.

“One of the things he said that really stuck with me is … 'No one in this country should be working full time and living in poverty,’” said Doyle.

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Community
7:31 am
Mon February 3, 2014

New Home for the Wholey's Smiling Fish Still Up in the Air

The 100-foot-long Wholey’s fish is one step closer to getting a new home.

Jim Wholey, president of Wholey’s, held a press conference with Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald over the weekend to announce the top five choices for a new location.

In December, Wholey had asked the community to help decide where the fish should go. Wholey said a few thousand fans of the fish voted via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and in person.

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Community
12:36 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Congressman Rothfus to Hold Women's Conference in Pittsburgh

Pennsylvania Congressman Keith Rothfus will be in Pittsburgh Saturday hosting a “Women’s Conference on Work, Home, and Life.”

Rothfus said the conference, which will be held at the Community College of Allegheny County, North Campus, is a good way for him to get to know his constituents.

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City in Transition
2:18 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

City Council Grills New Peduto Appointees for Legal and Tech Teams

Debra Lam (L) is Peduto's choice for Chief Innovation & Performance Officer, while Lourdes Sanchez Ridges (R) is his choice for City Solicitor.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Mayor Bill Peduto’s nominees to head the city’s legal and tech teams came before City Council Wednesday.

The mayor has tapped Lourdes Sanchez Ridge to be the next city solicitor, while Debra Lam is his choice for the newly created chief innovation and performance officer position. As part of that position, Lam would also be in charge of City Information Services, but she said it’s not primarily a technology position.

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Government & Politics
5:46 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Bill in PA House Would Make It Illegal for Cities to Set Minimum Wage, Require Sick Leave

It’s not uncommon for individual municipalities to set a minimum wage that is higher than the state- and federally-mandated rate. As of Jan. 1, San Franciscans are making at least $10.55 an hour, compared to the California minimum wage of $8.

Now, state representative Seth Grove (R-York) wants to make that kind of municipal legislation illegal in Pennsylvania.

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Health
12:17 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Allegheny Co. Trying to Prevent Further Heroin Overdoses After Rash of Deaths

Health officials are warning that an extremely dangerous brand of heroin is making the rounds in Pittsburgh and surrounding counties.

Twenty-two people have died in the past week in western Pennsylvania from a suspected overdose of a mix of heroin and the powerful narcotic fentanyl, according to Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner says they’ve found “stamp bags” labeled with the words “Theraflu,” “Bud Ice” and “Income Tax” at the scenes of the overdoses.

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Pittsburgh Public Schools
4:12 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

PA Auditor General to Scrutinize Pittsburgh Public Schools

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale was in Pittsburgh with Mayor Bill Peduto on Monday to announce an upcoming audit of Pittsburgh Public Schools.

DePasquale said the audit is part of a larger statewide effort based on a new three-tiered system that ranks schools based on financial risk.

“We are starting our first wave of high risk audits, and Pittsburgh is our first high risk audit for the Western part of the state,” DePasquale said. “That’s not just because of the size of the city, but simply the financial challenges that the city school district is facing.”

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Transportation
2:55 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

City Plans to Phase Out 50-Year-Old Traffic Signals in Downtown Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Department of Public Works will soon be outfitting 11 downtown intersections with brand new traffic lights, poles, wires and pedestrian signals.

Legislation to approve the upgrades is up for a final vote in City Council on Tuesday.

DPW Deputy Director Patrick Hasset said the new signals will also be connected via fiber optic cables to the DPW’s control room in City Hall, where they’ll be able to control the signals remotely. Currently, the department can remotely control about 130 the city’s more than 600 signals.

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