Liz Reid

Health & Science 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

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald presented his 2014 budget to the County Council Tuesday evening.

Fitzgerald was visibly proud of the fact that Allegheny County will not be increasing property taxes in the county for the 12th time in 13 years.

He said the stabilized millage has contributed to the region’s success over the past few years.

Pittsburgh Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak said in a news conference Tuesday that workers at UPMC are fighting the same fight many of their grandparents and great-grandparents fought many years ago.

“We should take a page from history," she said. "We shouldn’t have to wait for decades and fight those same battles over and over. We need to stand up now, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Rudiak was joined by City Council President Darlene Harris and Councilman Bruce Kraus as she condemned the latest labor violations that the National Labor Relations Board claims UPMC has committed.

A new study released Monday shows Pennsylvania has the 14th highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the nation.

Albert Lang, communications manager at the Trust for America’s Health, said this is the first time the organization has aggregated such data.

They were motivated to do so after compiling related data on accident and injury deaths, which includes drug overdoses.

Winter can be an especially difficult time for low-income families, when the cost of heating a home can skyrocket.

For the last 30 years, Dollar Energy Fund has been providing grants to people who are struggling to pay their utility bills during the coldest months.

Jody Robertson, director of communications for Dollar Energy Fund, said the nonprofit has helped keep the heat on in over 362,000 homes in nine states, doling out more than $103 million to needy families.

Pennsylvania oil and gas industry representatives gathered in Pittsburgh Wednesday to lament, rather than celebrate, the recent anniversary of the proposal of a very controversial project.

“Sept. 19 marked the fifth anniversary of the initial application that was submitted to the State Department for the Keystone XL pipeline project,” said Stephanie Catarino Wissman, executive director of the Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania. “This certainly is not an anniversary of celebration; it is an anniversary of delay.”

From the grocery store to the high school football game, you’re likely to start seeing pink everywhere this month.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and local nonprofits are ramping up their efforts to raise public consciousness about the disease.

Kathy Purcell, chief executive officer of Susan G. Komen Pittsburgh, said people will sometimes ask her if there’s just a little too much pink.

The Special Events Office at the Pittsburgh Police Department will officially no longer schedule secondary employment of officers, nor will it handle payment for such employment.

Pittsburgh City Council passed a bill Tuesday that will outsource both duties to the North Carolina-based company Cover Your Assets.

The change comes after allegations that some officers received preferential treatment from the other officers who scheduled the moonlighting gigs.

This winter, you may finally be able to pay for your ice skating at Schenley Skating Rink or your indoor swim at Oliver Bath House with a credit card.

Pittsburgh City Council passed a resolution Tuesday recommending that all city departments begin accepting credit and debit cards.

“Most governments have already come around to using debit cards and credit cards, but the city (of Pittsburgh) hasn’t,” said City Council President Darlene Harris. “This will bring the city into the 21st century.”

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The municipality of Mt. Lebanon announced a new initiative to fight prescription drug abuse on Wednesday.

The program is called Stop Addiction for Everyone, or SAFE, and includes a poster campaign, a PSA, and the installation of a new prescription drug drop box at the Public Safety Center on Washington Road.

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Republican mayoral candidate Josh Wander says Pittsburgh needs someone to come from the outside to fix the problems the city faces.

“We need somebody from the outside that’s going to come in and is going to transform the system there,” Wander said. “Somebody who’s been in politics for a decade is not the right person to do that. Somebody who’s a part of the party that’s been in power for almost a century is not the person to do that.”

Wander, 42, comes from way outside that system. In fact, he’s currently not even in Pittsburgh.

Renee Piechocki, director of the Office of Public Art at the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, says the idea for the new website Pittsburgh Art Places has been percolating since the organization first published the Pittsburgh Art in Public Places Downtown Walking Tour guide in 2006.

Much attention has been given to the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent announcement of tough restrictions on emissions from new coal- and gas-fired power plants, but Republican Congressman Keith Rothfus (PA-12) has his sights set on another, earlier EPA rule.

On Thursday, Rothfus introduced new legislation that would exempt certain types of coal-fired power plants from EPA standards passed last December.

The free beer from PortaBeer should be enough to draw a crowd out to the premiere installment of Smorgasburgh, but it’s the food that will take center stage.

Urbanist editor Michael McAllister and local startup investor Kit Mueller are launching Pittsburgh’s first pop-up all food (and beer) flea market on Saturday.

A bill to create a registry of abandoned properties in the city of Pittsburgh received preliminary approval in City Council Wednesday and is expected to receive final approval next week.

Councilman Daniel Lavelle introduced the legislation in July and said there are more than 400 foreclosed, bank-owned properties in the city.

If you’ve visited Austin, Salt Lake City, or Seattle lately, you may have noticed bins of brightly colored flags near busy intersections. They’re meant to help pedestrians cross the street more safely, especially at night or in bad weather, when visibility is low.

Now, City Councilman Corey O’Connor wants to bring the idea to Pittsburgh.

“A pedestrian could grab a flag, put it out in front of them as they’re walking, and it’s just another way to alert drivers that you’re attempting to cross the street,” he said.

Pittsburgh residents brought their concerns about police misconduct to City Council Tuesday during an open forum.

Concerned citizens brought up many issues, including a lack of diversity on the police force, racial profiling and overly aggressive policing in communities with high crime rates.

Rashad Byrdsong, president and CEO of the Homewood Community Empowerment Association, said law-abiding citizens of his community are stuck in a difficult situation.

Adults and children on the autism spectrum will soon be able to enjoy a special performance of the musical version of Disney’s "The Lion King." It’s is the highest grossing Broadway show in history, but with bright lights and loud noises, the performance is not ideal for theater-lovers with autism.

Allegheny County’s new health department director is setting her sights on obesity prevention.

Dr. Karen Hacker, who joined the department last week, gave a presentation about ways to address obesity during Wednesday’s meeting of the Allegheny County Board of Health.

“I think it’s a national issue," Hacker said. "Somewhere between 30-40 percent of the population is in the overweight category, and I just believe there’s a lot a community can do and a lot a public health department can do.”

The Interim President and CEO of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture Oliver Byrd said in an interview on Wednesday that his organization is getting itself on the track to financial stability.

On Tuesday, Byrd sent a three-page letter to supporters of the center and to the media, outlining what he sees as the issues the organization has faced and the path they will take moving forward.

When it comes to retirement, are you a planner, a procrastinator or an avoider?

PNC’s third annual Perspectives on Retirement Survey finds 42 percent of people ages 35-70 consider themselves to be on track for retirement. Those are the planners.

Members of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs were in Pittsburgh Monday morning for a field hearing to examine instances of preventable deaths at VA facilities across the country.

A major focus of the hearing was on the Legionella outbreak at the Pittsburgh VA in 2011 and 2012, which killed at least six veterans and sickened many others.

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