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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Flickr user the yellowrider

For many, pigeons are pests. Woody Allen called them “rats with wings” in the 1980 film Stardust Memories.

And according to Rebecca Reid with the animal advocacy group Humane Options Pittsburgh, that’s how the state and federal governments see them as well. Pigeons, or rock doves, are one of just three species not protected under the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

It’s no secret that Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is big on innovation. He transformed the city’s Computer Information Systems department into the Department of Innovation and Performance and hired the city’s first Chief Innovation Officer, Debra Lam.

But Lam said that when the mayor’s team started looking around at the most innovative cities in the world, they found that they were also some of the most exclusive.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Activists with the Allegheny County Jail Health Justice Project on Tuesday delivered a petition with more than 1,700 signatures to County Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s office, asking him to fire County Jail Warden Orlando Harper.

Activists maintain that Harper — and Fitzgerald — are ultimately responsible for the death rate at the jail, which in 2014 was more than twice the national average at seven deaths. Four inmates have died at the jail so far this year, including Frank Smart, whose mother, Tomi Lynn Harris, spoke at a rally outside the county courthouse.

Polish Hill Civic Association

Residents of Pittsburgh’s Polish Hill neighborhood have long fought for traffic-calming measures on Melwood Avenue, which many drivers regard as a convenient shortcut from Shadyside and East Liberty to either the Strip District or Bigelow Boulevard.

But speed bumps and signs directing motorists to slow down are doing little to prevent thousands of cars from detouring through the residential area at rush hour due to construction on Baum and Craig.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Produce and fresh cuts of meat are no longer sold at the South Side Market House, but you can still stop by to get something to eat most days, if you’re over 60.

Once an actual market, the historic building now houses a senior center with art and fitness classes, internet access and a free lunch five days a week.

Matt Dayak

Kelly Beall and Matthew Buccholz love a good dance party, but they’re not interested in staying up late just to shake a tail feather.

The solution: the monthly In Bed By Ten dance party at Spirit Lodge in Lawrenceville.

“We have a lot of friends who don’t want to wait until 11 p.m. to start the evening, so we came up with this idea that guarantees you’ll be home and most likely in bed by 10,” Beall said. “We even give you a Netflix recommendation for when you get there.”

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Two men rob a convenience store in Beaver County, killing the clerk in the process. They steal a car and head to Raccoon Creek State Park, where they open fire on beach-goers with automatic rifles.

This was the imaginary scenario that criminal justice and nursing students from Pittsburgh Technical Institute encountered Wednesday morning at a live disaster response exercise staged on park shores.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Republican Allegheny County Councilwoman Heather Heidelbaugh has not been shy about her dissatisfaction with the way the county’s legislative body operates.

In July, she suggested to the state Government Review Commission that the council be disbanded, decrying it as “superfluous” and a rubber stamp for County Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s initiatives.

Last September, she unsuccessfully attempted to pull multiple pieces of legislation she had introduced out of committee for a full vote before council, citing a rule in the county’s administrative code that said bills must be voted upon within 90 days of their introduction.

Five of the nine Pennsylvania schools that will receive federal School Improvement Grants are in the Pittsburgh Public Schools system, the state Department of Education announced Tuesday.

On one hand, it’s great news, because it means $7.3 million in additional funding is coming to PPS over the next five years. On the other hand, it means five of the lowest-achieving schools in the state that have not made substantial progress on state assessments are located in Pittsburgh.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

It’s no secret that Pittsburgh’s industrial past has resulted in environmental contamination along its waterfronts, in areas which have been dubbed “brownfield” sites.

But Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said there are brownfields embedded in neighborhoods too.

Flickr user Sean Salmon

As social engagement increasingly becomes centered around mobile apps, many local businesses are turning to location-based apps such as Foursquare and Yelp to attract customers.

But a new study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences and Stevens Institute of Technology suggests that special deals and discounts linked to social media apps aren’t all that effective at driving customers to businesses.

Flickr user Paul Sihvonen-Binder

NASA uses houseplants to help absorb dangerous pollutants on spaceships, and according to Matt Mehalik of Sustainable Pittsburgh, it’s an easy way for offices and other workplaces to keep their air clean as well.

Certain plants can absorb formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene and other chemicals that can contribute to a phenomenon known as “sick building syndrome.”

Onion Maiden

Most people define the vegan experience through what you put on your plate, but VegFest co-organizer Leila Sleiman says there’s a lot more to it.

“A truly vegan lifestyle actually also encompasses not buying products that test on animals, not wearing animal products and not supporting animals in entertainment,” she said.

looseends / Flickr

It’s part Chopped, part Guy Fieri’s Grocery Games, but with a local and educational twist.

Four students from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s culinary program will compete the in the first-ever Farmer’s Market Dash Culinary Challenge at the Green Tree farmer’s market Thursday afternoon.

Adam Lederer / Flickr

Many Pittsburgh area students will return to school this month, bringing long-dormant, flashing “school zone” signs back to life.

Studies show that obeying school zone speed limits can save lives. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 20 miles per hour is about two-thirds less likely to die than a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 30 miles per hour.

AAA East Central is asking drivers to be patient as kids and parents get used to new schedules and school buses return the roads.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

In two years, Pittsburgh’s Woolslair Elementary has gone from the verge of closure to one of the cornerstones of the district’s new STEAM initiative. Woolslair will become a partial magnet school focusing on science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

Rebecca Devereaux / 90.5 WESA

Disc golf is a very quiet sport, especially at the professional level.

On Tuesday morning at Moraine State Park, “Crazy” John Brooks, a disc golf legend in his own right, was holding a folded sheet of paper up to his mouth, to muffle his whispered commentary.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council on Monday received a standing ovation from activists and workers after it gave final approval to a bill that will require employers to provide paid sick days to workers.

Flickr user matt.farina

Andreas Beck has heard it all. Everyone has a great idea for a website.

Beck, executive board member of Drupal Camp PA, said the camp he helps organize, which teaches people how to use the open-source programming software Drupal, can help almost anyone with basic computer skills build a website.

The two-day camp will be held at the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Systems this Saturday and Sunday. The conference includes speeches from developers and training sessions geared toward everyone from beginners to advanced users.

Rebecca Devereaux / 90.5 WESA

Disc golfers from all over the world will flock to Pittsburgh to compete in the Professional Disc Golf Association World Championships during the first week in August. Disc golf is similar to traditional golf, only it uses Frisbee-like discs and metal baskets. 90.5 WESA brings you this profile of Pittsburgh’s own three-time disc golf world champion.

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

President Barack Obama on Tuesday called the Legionella-related deaths of six veterans at a Pittsburgh VA hospital a “tragedy.”

“Whenever there are any missteps, there is no excuse,” Obama told thousands of veterans at the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars convention at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh.

The City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Permits, Licenses and Inspections is changing the way it handles appeals to its decisions regarding businesses licenses and property violations.

PLI Chief Maura Kennedy said a review of all bureau policies last year revealed that the current system — wherein Kennedy herself evaluates and adjudicates appeals — violates state law.

“Legally there needs to be an independent body that you appeal the director’s decisions to,” she said. “It’s not appropriate for the department both to be the judge and the jury.”

Flickr user fcastellanos

At least 135 movies have been filmed in Southwestern Pennsylvania in the last 20 years, according to Dawn Keezer, director of the Pittsburgh Film Office.

“As of August 1st, that will total $1 billion … from film activity in Southwestern Pennsylvania, which primarily takes place in the city of Pittsburgh,” Keezer told City Council at their committee meeting Wednesday.

Council gave preliminary approval to a bill sponsored by Councilwoman Darlene Harris that aims to codify the city’s process for permitting filming activities on public property.

CCAC North Library

Dwight Boddorf thought he was going to make a career out of the military. But when he was medically discharged after an encounter with an improvised explosive device in Iraq, he said he wanted to switch gears and move as far away from the military as possible.

He now works in education as the director of military and veterans services at the Community College of Allegheny County.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said Tuesday that he gets “a little emotional” when he talks about the city’s summer employment program for teenagers and young adults.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera was an engineering major in college – for one semester.

“Then I tutored at one of the local high schools, at Reading High School, and I fell in love with education,” Rivera told a group of high school students at Duquesne University on Monday. “I remember calling my mother and telling her, ‘Hey, I’m thinking about switching my major from engineering to education.’ There was a pause on the phone, and she said, ‘Oh no you’re not.’”

Screenshot from

Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday will take a final vote on a bill that would take the city one step closer to the creation of a Regional Data Center.

The legislation authorizes the city to enter into cooperation agreements with Allegheny County and the University of Pittsburgh to create and operate a web-based open data portal.

Courtesy Guy Reschenthaler official Facebook page

The Republican Party of Pennsylvania has nominated a former judge and military prosecutor to run in this fall’s special election to fill the seat left vacant by former state Sen. Matt Smith (D-Mt. Lebanon).

Guy Reschenthaler will run against a still unnamed Democratic opponent on Nov. 3rd.

Reschenthaler, who tendered his resignation as a District Judge upon receiving the nomination, beat out five other opponents in five rounds of voting.

Megan Sweeney, communications director for the party, said 81 conferees met Sunday morning in Pittsburgh to cast their votes.

Flickr user Brad Wilson

The last time Pittsburgh Public Schools furloughed a substantial portion of its teachers was in 2012, when 190 teachers got pink slips. Those layoffs were based on area of certification and seniority, as is required by the district’s contract with the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers.

House Bill 805, which is now in the Pennsylvania Senate would end that practice, instead basing layoffs on performance.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

“This is Pittsburgh. We want French fries on our sandwiches, not (the flu),” Councilman Corey O’Connor told a group of supporters shortly before introducing legislation that would mandate paid sick days for all workers in the city.