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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Michael Bett is a Ben Avon Borough Councilman, and he wants to see the Shenango coke plant on Neville Island shut down, for good.

Bett, who is a co-founder of Allegheny Clean Air Now, made his case for shuttering the plant to the Allegheny County Board of Health meeting Wednesday, ahead of a presentation from the county’s air program manager about plans to improve air quality in 2015.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Saturday brought to Pittsburgh some of the most unpleasant weather yet this season, but a few dozen people braved the cold and rain to hold vigil for someone they had never met.

Andi Woodhouse, 24, jumped from the 10th Street Bridge to his death on December 13th. Organizers of Saturday’s vigil say he was mis-gendered in reports from the medical examiner’s office and various media outlets, which had referred to Woodhouse as a woman named Amber.

This is the third in a three-part series looking ahead to the 2015 priorities with members of Pittsburgh City Council. Find part one here and part two here.

This is the second in a three-part series looking ahead to the 2015 priorities with members of Pittsburgh City Council. Find part one here.

This is the first in a three-part series looking ahead to the 2015 priorities with members of Pittsburgh City Council.

A potential revenue stream for the city of Pittsburgh could become tied up in litigation if City Council does not act quickly.

Council on Monday discussed a bill to approve the installation of distributed antenna systems, or DAS, in 19 light poles across the city.

According to Mike Salem, an engineering technician in the Department of Public Works, the antennae are meant to improve cell service in “dead spots,” areas where reception is bad or calls are dropped regularly.

Technology upgrades in the new Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections – formerly the Bureau of Building Inspection – are set to continue, as Pittsburgh City Council on Monday gave preliminary approval to a bill that would set the stage for putting permitting online.

While Allegheny County remains one of the oldest counties in the nation, the national senior population is actually growing more quickly than the senior population in the county.

That’s according to a new report from Pittsburgh Today and the University of Pittsburgh’s University Center for Social and Urban Research, or UCSUR.

In 2000, 17.8 percent of people in Allegheny County were 65 or older, compared to 12.4 percent nationwide. In 2010, the gap began closing, with 16.8 percent seniors in the county and 13 percent nationwide.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Christopher Nicholas Claus — his legal name — has been coming to the Mall at Robinson every Christmas since it opened fourteen years ago.

He’s not so different from the thousands of other Santas who flock to malls across America this time of year: He’s got a naturally white beard, a jolly laugh and loves kids. There’s one thing that makes this Santa unique, however.

Pittsburgh City Councilman Daniel Lavelle is one step closer to delivering on a promise to constituents that affordable housing would be a key part of the revitalization of the Hill District.

The Planning Commission on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of a proposed change to city code governing specially planned districts, or SP districts.

“Specially Planned Districts are those districts like Southside Works, Station Square … the Pittsburgh Technology Center, and Washington’s Landing,” said zoning administrator Corey Layman.

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Leigh Halverson is the deputy chief of staff for economic development in the Peduto administration, and on one wall of her office is a row of pink post it notes, with different dollar amounts written on them.

“$440,000 from the foundations this year to support our Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment,” she says. “$200,000 from the National League of Cities for our Healthy Together campaign … $75,000 for our green and healthy homes initiative.”

Pittsburgh police plan to test an electronic gunshot-detection system later this month in a three square mile area stretching from the East Hills to East Liberty.

Councilman Ricky Burgess, who represents the neighborhoods, said there are three reasons for installing the ShotSpotter system, which can pinpoint the location and direction of shots fired.

After approving a few last minute amendments, Pittsburgh City Council on Monday approved a $507.8 million operating budget, up from $487.1 million in 2014, as well as a $76.6 million capital budget and a five-year capital plan.

“This is a banner day for Pittsburgh,” Mayor Bill Peduto said. “With the help of City Council and our financial overseers — and especially our residents and employees — this budget clears a path to fix our financial problems for good over the next five years.”

After voting in favor of a 2015 budget amendment that would speed up the timeline for deployment of body-worn cameras for police officers, Councilman Dan Gilman on Wednesday held a post-agenda meeting on surveillance and privacy.

With three weeks left before Pittsburgh City Council must approve the 2015 operating and capital budgets, the nine-member body considered four additional budget amendments Wednesday.

One amendment would create the position of government and community affairs coordinator in the new Department of Permits, Licenses, & Inspections.

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.

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