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

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council on Wednesday gave preliminary approval to a bill that would raise property taxes by one-half mill, which works out to about $40 a year for a home worth $100,000.

City Finance Director Paul Leger says the city is currently operating at “bare bones” and that failure to pass the millage increase would put the city in violation of Act 47.

Courtesy Oxford Development Company

More luxury apartments are coming to Pittsburgh, this time in the Strip District.

Oxford Development Company on Tuesday held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the residential and mixed-use development dubbed Three Crossings.

Vice President of Business Development Shawn Fox said the name is a nod to the Strip District’s industrial past and its residential future.

The city of Pittsburgh wants all police officers to be wearing body cameras within two years instead of six.

In the wake of civil unrest after grand jury decisions not to indict police officers in the killings of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York, the Peduto administration will shorten the timeline for implementation of such technology.

Amendments to Mayor Bill Peduto’s 2015 budget proposal that would free up money for the purchases came before City Council on Monday.

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Update: 12/09/14 11:40am

Pittsburgh City Council confirmed McLay's appointment at its regular meeting Tuesday morning.  McLay will be sworn at by Mayor Bill Peduto at 4:00 this afternoon.

Original Post:

Nearly three months after Cameron McLay became acting chief of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, City Council on Monday held his confirmation hearing.

The two-hour meeting focused less on McLay’s qualifications for the job and more on his ideas about how to improve the bureau and address the concerns of individual members of City Council.

Students at Pittsburgh Technical Institute have once again volunteered to create an hour-long music and light show this holiday season.

It’s the fourth year in a row that the college’s School of Energy and Electronics Technology has produced the show.

Dave Becker, academic chair for the Smart Building Technology and Electronics Engineering Technology, said students are excited to see people enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Fourteen very sick sea turtles are recovering at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium after being stranded on the beaches of New England in what is being described as a “mass cold stunning event.”

The endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are just a few of the more than 900 that washed up on northeastern shores after becoming hypothermic as ocean waters cooled. They arrived in Pittsburgh last Sunday, from the New England Aquarium in Boston.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

“No justice, no peace, no racist police!” was the chant from more than 200 protesters outside the William S. Moorhead federal building in downtown Pittsburgh Tuesday afternoon.

Julia Johnson, with Pittsburgh for Justice, led the rally in which nearly a dozen speakers channeled their anger at a grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Pittsburgh City Council on Monday introduced four bills related to 2015 property taxes, one of which would raise the tax rate by 0.5 mills to 8.06 mills.

That means the city will collect an additional 50 cents for every $1,000 a piece of real estate is worth.

“For a home worth $100,000, it’s about $40/year,” said Kevin Acklin, chief of staff to Mayor Bill Peduto.

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

United States Steel Corp. CEO Mario Longhi said he took Monday’s sunshine as a good omen for his company’s new headquarters on the site of the old Civic Arena.

Longhi joined Penguins CEO David Morehouse, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto to make the announcement at Consol Energy Center on Monday.

Longhi said the five-story, 268,000 square foot building will serve as the cornerstone of revitalization of both US Steel and the surrounding Hill District community.

Saturday’s icy road conditions, which may have contributed to car accidents on I-79, Bigelow Boulevard, Route 28 and other area roadways, were an unnerving reminder that more auto crashes occur during the holidays than any other time of year.

During last year’s Thanksgiving travel period, from the weekend before Thanksgiving to the weekend after, a total of 4,683 crashes and 48 fatalities occurred statewide.

“Vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death, with most fatalities being attributed to unbelted motorists,” said State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan. 

Flickr user Jorge Castro

An administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board on Friday issued his decision regarding allegations of labor violations at UPMC. The 123-page document recounts the minute details that led to the discipline or firing of eight workers at UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside.

Flickr user UNICEF Ethiopia

Scientists are clear on the effects of preterm birth, that is, babies born before 37 weeks. Breathing, hearing and vision problems, difficulty feeding, cerebral palsy, and developmental delays are some of the challenges facing babies born too early.

But on the causes of preterm birth, researchers are less certain.

Flickr user joseph a

Pittsburgh’s City Task Force for Public Education has achieved its primary goal of preventing any school closures for the 2014-15 school year, but City Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith said there’s still more work for the group to do.

That’s why she is sponsoring legislation to turn the temporary task force into a permanent commission.

Pittsburgh has seen 60 homicides in 2014, and more than a third of them were in Police Zone 5, which encompasses Homewood, Larimer, Highland Park, Stanton Heights, Bloomfield, and Friendship.

Now, with the help of the state, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police is set to pump nearly $100,000 into an ongoing investigation into gun and gang violence, specifically in Homewood and neighboring Wilkinsburg.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Mark Bocian has been Pittsburgh’s Acting Chief of  the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services for more than two years now, but City Council indicated in their Wednesday committee meeting that the wait for final confirmation is nearly over.

Bocian was met with resounding approval, as lawmaker after lawmaker extolled his virtues and thanked him for his service.

That service stretches back to 1975, when Bocian was hired as an Emergency Medical Technician, or EMT.

Katie McGinty / facebook

Former state Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty failed to win the Democratic nomination for Governor this spring, but she has nabbed one of the top spots in Gov.-elect Tom Wolf’s administration. Wolf on Monday named McGinty his chief of staff.

McGinty said she’s anticipating a stark and sobering report from the Independent Fiscal Office on Thursday.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Considering that the topics of conversation ranged from police brutality to racial profiling to discrimination in hiring, there was a surprising amount of laughter at Monday night’s community meeting with acting Police Chief Cameron McLay in the Hill District.

McLay said he understands why people fear the police, and that even he gets nervous when he sees a squad car behind him on the road. The admission drew laughter from nearly all of the three dozen participants.

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) said when it comes to honoring veterans, speeches and parades are nice, but effective government services are vital.

He’s calling on his fellow lawmakers to pass the 21st Century Veterans Benefits Delivery Act, introduced in March, which would modify guidelines concerning the fulfillment of disability claims.

According to Casey, the average wait time for a claim at the Pittsburgh Veterans Affairs Regional Office, or VARO, is 231 days. In Philadelphia, it’s 266 days, and the nationwide average is 240 days.

You may have noticed the street lights on Bigelow Boulevard have taken on a different hue over the last year.

That’s because they’re now LEDs, or light emitting diodes, which the city is expecting will save thousands of dollars in energy and maintenance costs.

But it’s not quite sure just how much energy and money is being saved by the LEDs installed near roadways and in business districts across the city, which is where a new $25,000 grant from the Heinz Endowments comes in.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

“Something I heard at Corbett HQ on election night was ‘Well, no one’s ever going to cut education funding again,’” recalled Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Melissa Daniels at a post-election analysis forum at Chatham University Wednesday afternoon.

The forum, dubbed “The Day After,” was hosted by Chatham’s Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics and moderated by Executive Director Dana Brown.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone will hold onto his seat in Pennsylvania’s 39th District for another two years, defeating Democratic challenger Lisa Stout-Bashioum by a 20 point margin.

The two-term incumbent has been trying to find ways to reduce school-levied property taxes since he took office in 2011.

“My number one priority has always been property tax reform,” Saccone said. “Unfortunately, that’s not the priority of the rest of the state, so we’ve got a lot of convincing to do to get tax relief to the taxpayers. It’s killing them.”

“In the 10 years I‘ve been (working with) Council, I can remember always seeing stories on the Internet … about other cities getting grants … from D.C., getting grants from Harrisburg, getting grants from Home Depot, the Coca Cola Foundation,” said City Councilman Dan Gilman during Wednesday’s committee meeting. “Occasionally Pittsburgh would pop up, but it was pretty rare.

All that is changing though, as Mayor Bill Peduto’s administration begins to make good on its promise to bring more grant money into the city.

Flickr user AxsDeny

It’s been a year since the city of Pittsburgh took the responsibility of scheduling secondary police details, like working security at community festivals, out of the hands of the Bureau of Police and gave it to North Carolina-based Cover Your Assets, LLC.

Despite what Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar called “some gaffes” in scheduling, City Council Wednesday gave preliminary approval to renewal of that contract for another year.

Much attention has been paid to the well-being of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police’s K-9 officers since the death of Officer Rocco earlier this year.

Higher quality protective vests are to be purchased for the 24 dogs on the force.

Now, a bill providing “pensions” for retired officers has received unanimous approval in City Council.

The second of two public hearings on Pittsburgh’s 2015 capital budget is scheduled for Wednesday evening at the Morningside Senior Center.

“It’s a good way for the mayor and his administration to get out in the community and hear what’s on people’s minds about what they want to see in the capital budget,” said Sam Ashbaugh, Budget Director for Mayor Bill Peduto.

Peduto will submit his 2015 capital budget to City Council on Nov. 10. Ashbaugh said city departments submitted $70 million in funding requests for $30 million in funding, which is why public feedback is important.

If you’re the type of person to leave a bowl of candy on your porch and head out to party on Halloween, you may want to consider the Carnegie Science Center’s special adults-only event this Friday evening.

The center hosts 21+ events on the last Friday of each month, and this month’s Halloween theme is “Spirits and Spirits,” presented in collaboration with Wigle Whiskey, Maggie’s Farm Rum and Independent Brewing Company.

A new roof for City Theatre Company on the South Side, lighting for the baseball field at Boyce Mayview Park in Upper St. Clair and an updated heating and air conditioning system for the Mattress Factory museum on the North Side.

These are just a few of the dozens of projects the Allegheny Regional Asset District is planning to fund in 2015.

The ARAD board met Monday afternoon to consider the proposed $93.7 million budget, up from $91.2 million in 2014, and to hear public comment.

Flickr user Michael Goodin

According to Diane Hupp, chief nursing officer at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, the neonatal unit at the hospital is running out of space.

“Five years ago, we had 31 neonatal beds. Today, we have over 60 neonates in the hospital and we are busting at the seams,” Hupp said.

That’s one of the challenges caused by the hospital’s rapid growth since its relocation to Lawrenceville in 2009, a challenge that administrators hope can be overcome with a $19 million expansion project announced Wednesday.

It’s been nine years since the Charles E. Kelly Support Facility in Oakdale was slated for closure, a move that could have left 168,000 veterans and active duty military personnel in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio without a commissary or post exchange nearby.

Pennsylvania delegates in Congress, including Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey and Representatives Tim Murphy, Mike Doyle and others have been pushing for a replacement facility ever since.

Courtesy of Assemble

There’s good news and there’s bad news when it comes to after-school programs in Allegheny County.

The good news is that more children than ever are participating in after-school and out-of-school-time programs: 10.2 million nationwide and 52,646 in Allegheny County, according to a new report from the Afterschool Alliance. That puts the national participation rate at 18 percent, while Allegheny County’s participation rate is much higher at 28 percent.

Pages