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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Government & Politics
4:42 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Peduto, Fitzgerald Support Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Push for Constitutional Voting Rights Amendment

Rev. Jesse Jackson was in Pittsburgh Monday to drum up support for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald (left) and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto (right) have signed on to the effort.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Imagine for a moment that the Steelers had lost to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. As difficult as that would have been for die-hard fans, most would have accepted the outcome without questioning the integrity of the game.

That was the analogy Rev. Jesse Jackson used during a news conference with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald Monday morning.

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Health
1:05 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Pitt Hosts Lecture on Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

With nearly 2,000 confirmed deaths and more than 3,700 cases in West Africa in the last eight months, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Ebola virus spreads rapidly from one human host to another.

But Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease physician at UPMC specializing in emerging pathogens, said that is not the case.

“Right now Ebola is not a human pathogen,” said Adalja. “Humans are dead-end hosts. It can’t really spread very well between humans, other than through exposure to their blood or bodily fluids.”

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Government & Politics
3:30 am
Mon September 8, 2014

URA Decision on Fate of Produce Terminal is Imminent

The Urban Redevelopment Authority has owned the produce terminal for more than 30 years.
Credit Flickr user Allie_Caulfield

When Michael Rubino envisions the future of the Strip District, he sees a grand marketplace at the site of the old Pennsylvania Fruit Auction and Sales building, with a farmer’s market, restaurants, business incubators, Amish craftspeople and closeout vendors.

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City Government
7:55 am
Thu September 4, 2014

From Street Signs to Vehicles, Pittsburgh to Auction Old Assets Online

Pittsburgh City Councilman Dan Gilman said it’s been nearly a decade since he first drafted legislation for then-Councilman Bill Peduto that would allow the city to auction off unneeded assets online.

That idea is finally seeing the light of day as a similar bill received preliminary approval in council’s committee meeting Wednesday. A final vote is scheduled for next week.

Grants Officer Brandon Forbes was on hand to answer questions from City Council about the plan, which would end the practice of selling old vehicles and other large assets once a year at an auction.

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Health
4:56 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Allegheny County Advances Restaurant Grading System, Community Health Assessments

New York City already has a similar food safety grading system in place.
Credit Flickr user Mike Licht

The Allegheny County Health Department wants you to help set its priorities as it attempts to become the healthiest county in the nation.

That’s according to department director Dr. Karen Hacker, who said the county is now moving into the second phase of its community health assessment process. The first phase was an online comment period, which Hacker said garnered more than 1,000 responses.

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Health
8:43 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Highmark-UPMC Transition Plan Now Publicly Available

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department Tuesday announced it has received and publicly posted the final transition plan for consumers affected by the separation of Highmark and UPMC at the end of 2014.

“We’re excited, because now we can bring clarity to the transition plan, we can help members make choices they need to make, and we think it’s an important part of the roadmap for us as we move forward,” said Deborah Rice Johnson, president of Highmark Health Plan.

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Economy & Business
1:30 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

McCandless Residents Take Walmart Fight to Court

A group of McCandless residents are hoping to prevent a Walmart Super Center from opening near McKnight Road.
Credit Flickr user el Neato

Exactly one month after McCandless Town Council approved a plan to construct a 150,000 square foot Walmart Super Center off McKnight Road, a group of 15 residents has filed an appeal to that decision with the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

The appeal, filed Thursday, seeks to overturn the development’s approval on the grounds that the public was not able to review the plan before Town Council took a vote, according to attorney Dwight Ferguson.

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Economy & Business
3:30 am
Mon September 1, 2014

International Trade Commission Vote Could Impact PA Steelworkers

An example of American-made steel pipes used in the oil and gas extraction process.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

A recent decision by the International Trade Commission regarding South Korean steel tubes may have an effect here in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The ITC voted recently to impose duties on steel pipes and tubes from South Korea and five other countries, which were found to be “dumping” their products into the U.S. market.

“Dumping” refers to the practice of selling a product in another country for less than it is sold in the country where it is manufactured. It also includes the practice of selling a product for less than it cost to make.

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Government & Politics
6:37 pm
Sat August 30, 2014

Wolf to Lead Pittsburgh Labor Day Parade, Dems Call for Minimum Wage Increase

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tom Wolf's jeep will be included in this year's Pittsburgh Labor Day parade. The car has been featured in campaign ads from both Wolf and his opponent Gov. Tom Corbett.
Credit Screenshot from Tom Wolf for Governor video

Little more than a week after Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett was uninvited from this year’s Labor Day parade in Pittsburgh, the Allegheny County Labor Council has announced that his opponent Tom Wolf will lead the parade.

The council said Saturday that Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tom Wolf’s Jeep, which has been featured in TV ads from both Wolf and Corbett, will also be included in the event.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:37 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Westminster College Launches STEM Program for High-Needs Schools

There are 2.4 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs available for every unemployed person in Pennsylvania with STEM skills, according to the national science education advocacy group Change the Equation.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education reported that in 2013, low-income students in Pennsylvania scored about 9 percent lower on standardized math tests, and 20 percent lower on standardized science tests.

Westminster College in Lawrence County, about 60 miles north of Pittsburgh, has just announced a new program that aims to address both of these issues.

IQ STEM includes an undergraduate scholarship component and a professional development component, both of which focus on four high needs school districts in the region surrounding Westminster: Sharon City School District and Farrell Area School District in Mercer County, and Union Area School District and New Castle Area School District in Lawrence County.

High needs schools are defined by the Higher Education Act of 1965 and by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 as schools with high teacher turnover rates, a high percentage of out-of-field or uncertified teachers, a high number of unfilled teaching positions and/or a large percentage of students whose families fall below the poverty line.

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Science & Technology
4:41 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

CMU Launches Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Brain Research

One of the goals of BrainHub is to develop better brain imaging technologies.
Credit Flickr user CaptPiper

When Carnegie Mellon University President Subra Suresh first arrived on campus last summer, he knew he wanted to do something big — something that would bring together departments and research centers from across campus, build on existing scholarship, generate new knowledge and have an impact on the global stage.

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Marcellus Shale
4:45 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Gov. Corbett, Consol CEO Offer Praise at Airport Drilling Kickoff

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald speaks with reporters in front of a natural gas well pad near Pittsburgh International Airport Monday.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

“Energy independence.”

“Shale revolution.”

These were the buzzwords used Monday morning as officials gathered for a ceremony marking the start of natural gas drilling activity near Pittsburgh International Airport.

The mood was festive — complete with music, appetizers, goodie bags and air conditioned portable restrooms — as Gov. Tom Corbett and Consol Energy President and CEO Nick DeIuliis prepared to take the podium.

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Environment
5:31 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

DEP to Extinguish Underground Fire Near Pittsburgh Airport

A small coal waste fire has been burning underground near the Pittsburgh International Airport for several years, but it’s about to be extinguished for good.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Wednesday announced plans to put out the fire and reclaim the abandoned mine underneath airport property.

“We’re going to dig up all the waste coal and put out the smoldering area, eliminate that, and then regrade the area and plant it,” said DEP spokesman John Poister.

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Election 2014
4:14 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

McGinty Blasts Corbett on Education Spending, Tomalis Controversy

Katie McGinty spoke in the gallery at the Allegheny County Courthouse Wednesday morning. She's heading up Fresh Start PA, a group that's working in tandem with Tom Wolf's campaign for governor.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The he said, she said debate over state education funding and the controversy surrounding former Pennsylvania Education Secretary Ron Tomalis made its way to Pittsburgh Wednesday morning.

Former gubernatorial hopeful Katie McGinty spoke in the Allegheny County Courthouse gallery, criticizing Gov. Tom Corbett and stumping for Democratic nominee Tom Wolf.

McGinty is chairwoman of the Campaign for a Fresh Start, a new organization working in tandem with Wolf’s campaign for governor and the campaigns of Democratic legislative nominees statewide.

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Environment
2:37 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

County Board of Health Proposes Changes to Air Pollution Regulations

US Steel Clairton Coke Works is a "major source" of air pollution in Allegheny County, emitting more than 100 tons of pollutants each year.
Credit Flickr user roy.luck

Three changes to Allegheny County’s regulations on air pollution will be introduced in County Council Tuesday evening.

According to Jim Thompson, deputy director for environmental health at the Allegheny County Health Department, the most significant proposed change would increase the fees paid by “major sources” of air pollution.

“Prior to this year, large sources were paying $57.50/ton of pollutant emitted,” Thompson said. “Starting this year, it will be $85/ton.”

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Life of Learning
3:41 am
Tue August 19, 2014

City of Learning: Recognizing Teens for the Learning They Do Outside of School

Artist and teacher James Gyre teaches kids geometry and design concepts during TechShop's Drum Makers workshop.
Credit Chris Squier / 90.5 WESA

Educators are increasingly concerned about kids losing knowledge during the summer. As part of our Life of Learning Initiative, we look at a program that not only helps middle and high schoolers learn during the summer, but also allows them to show off their new skills to colleges and future employers.

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Infrastructure
2:49 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Controller Lamb Talks ALCOSAN Audit, Hydro-Electric Power

The 140,000 gallons of water that flow into the Ohio River from the ALCOSAN plant every minute are a potential source of hydro-electric power.
Credit Google Maps

Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb said Wednesday that he didn’t find any evidence of nepotism at the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority in his latest performance audit, but the perception of such favoritism is hurting the organization.

“There’s this continuing perception that everything at ALCOSAN is pay-to-play, whether it’s contracting, personnel hiring, any of these issues,” Lamb said. “We wanted to get in and make sure these procedures are in place, because we know ALCOSAN is going to grow over the next 20 years.”

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Food
3:19 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Feeling Hungry, Steelers Fans? Heinz Field to Debut New Grub on Saturday

The Emperor Burger features a beef patty with shaved kielbasa, onion bacon kraut, a fried egg and Heinz Field Secret Sauce on a brioche bun.
Liz Reid 90.5 WESA

Heinz Field’s new executive chef John DiMartini has only been on staff for three months, but he’s ready to roll out 10 new house-made menu items in time for the Pittsburgh Steelers pre-season home opener Saturday.

Available to all fans in the concession areas is the Emperor Burger, named for late Steelers head coach Chuck Noll: a beef patty with shaved kielbasa, onion bacon kraut and Heinz Field Secret Sauce on a brioche bun. Also new to concession stands this season are 8-inch personal cheese and pepperoni pizzas from Fox’s Pizza Den, based in Murrysville.

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Sports
7:56 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Gymnastics Event to Showcase Top Competitors

Sam Mikulak is the reigning men's national champion. He'll compete to defend his title this month in Pittsburgh.
Credit John Cheng / USA Gymnastics

Gymnastics is always one of the most popular Olympic sports, and Pittsburghers will soon have the opportunity to get a sneak peak at some of top medal contenders for the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro.

USA Gymnastics will hold its P&G Gymnastics Championships Aug. 21-24 at the CONSOL Energy Center.

Leslie King, vice president of communications for USA Gymnastics, said athletes will compete not only for the title of national champion, but also for a spot on the team that will go to the World Championships in Nanning, China in October.

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Public Safety
3:17 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

City Officials Link Rising Homicide Rate to Drug Trafficking

Between this weekend’s fatal shooting in the Strip District and the body of a deceased man found in Northview Heights on Sunday, Pittsburgh has now seen 44 homicides in 2014.

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Life of Learning
3:05 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

State Approves Pittsburgh Teacher Evaluation System to the Surprise of Teachers Union

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has approved the Pittsburgh Public Schools use of its rigorous and controversial teacher evaluation system for the next three years.

Superintendent Linda Lane said it’s time to stop focusing on teacher evaluations and start focusing on teaching practice.

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Public Safety
10:15 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Peduto Says Rank-and-File Police Officers Want Fairness in Discipline

Mayor Bill Peduto on Monday attended the first of two meetings with rank-and-file police officers to find out what they’re looking for in a police chief.

Peduto said he was pleasantly surprised that the comments he heard from officers “were very much in line” with what he’s heard from the public and with his own ideas about what kind of police chief Pittsburgh needs.

The mayor said one of the officers’ primary concerns is fairness.

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Public Safety
10:11 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Councilwoman Encourages Pittsburghers to Plan Actions for National Week of Non-Violence

Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds of the national activist organization Black Women for Positive Change addresses press and supporters outside City Council chambers Tuesday morning.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

According to a 2014 report from the Children’s Defense Fund, American children and teens are four times more likely to be killed by gun violence than Canadian kids, 13 times more likely than French kids, and more than 64 times more likely to be killed by guns as children in the UK and Germany.

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Government & Politics
2:47 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Internet, iPhones Among Technology Upgrades at Bureau of Building Inspection

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto on Tuesday took a tour 200 Ross St., which houses, among other offices, the Bureau of Building Inspection and Department of City Planning.

BBI Chief Maura Kennedy said they were showing off the long-awaited implementation of a decades-old technology: as of this month, every employee in the building finally has Internet access.

“Previously the building was not wired for the Internet, in large part,” Kennedy said. “So now people are actually using the laptops we purchased several years ago to do real-time data entry.”

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City Government
12:26 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

With Lawsuits Dropped, Peduto Says Negotations Between City, UPMC Ongoing

The aura of tension around Pennsylvania’s largest employer is slowly dissipating, as the city of Pittsburgh announced Friday that it is dropping its lawsuit against UPMC.

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Economy & Business
2:47 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

City Councilman Gilman Looking for Ways to Support Small Businesses

City Councilman Dan Gilman is considering a joint marketing campaign to promote Pittsburgh's neighborhood business districts, such as Walnut Street in Shadyside.
Credit Flickr user jmd41280

Roberta Weissburg has been designing, repairing, and selling leather goods in Pittsburgh for over 30 years.

According to Weissburg, the increasing presence of online and big box stores over the last few decades has made it difficult for small businesses like hers to maintain and expand their customer bases.

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City Government
11:46 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Acting Public Safety Director Says He Has To Build Trust Between Police, Community

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is one step closer to filling out his administration, as City Council Wednesday held hearings on the mayor’s recent Public Safety and Management & Budget appointments.

For more than two hours, Acting Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar took notes as he was peppered with questions, concerns and suggestions from council members.

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City Government
3:29 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

City Council Preliminarily Approves Adding Gender Identity as a Protected Class

Transgender activists wore shirts reading "Ask me about the T" at this year's Pittsburgh Pride Parade. Council President Bruce said transgender issues are currently "part of a national debate."
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council took preliminary steps Wednesday to add gender identity and expression as an explicitly protected class with regard to housing, employment and public accommodation.

Council President Bruce Kraus sponsored the legislation and said the issue was brought to his attention by Jason Goodman, executive director of the Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition, or PSEC.

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Pension Reform
5:34 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Corbett Touts Tobash's Pension Reform Plan in Shaler Township

Governor Tom Corbett talks pension reform with Alice Beckett-Rumberger (center), of the non-profit North Allegheny Foundation, and Tara Fisher, vice president of the North Allegheny School District board.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Less than a week after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett ended the budget standoff with the state Legislature, he’s setting a new deadline for pension reform: election season.

Corbett was in Shaler Township Monday afternoon pushing an overhaul of the public pension system, which he said is necessary to help struggling school districts and stem the wave of rising property taxes.

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Community
3:30 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Local Group Reclaims Vacant Land Through Micro-Grants and Education

Six months ago, the vacant lot next door to Linda Piso’s house in Knoxville was overgrown with weeds and was a haven for drug activity.

But Piso has since transformed the lot into a community garden.

“Right now I’m picking cucumbers,” Piso said on Saturday. “My garden is completely planted. I have lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, and soon I’ll have a watermelon.”

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