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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Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

There’s good news and bad news.

That was the message from city of Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb Wednesday, as his office released its 2013 Popular Annual Financial Report. Lamb called the report the “layman’s version” of the city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which was released early this year.

The good news, said Lamb, is that the difference between the city’s liabilities and its assets shrunk by $4.1 million in 2013, to $423.8 million. In 2007, the gap was close to $600 million.

The city of Pittsburgh is one step closer to approving its third Act 47 Recovery Plan, after City Council on Wednesday presented and gave preliminary approval to 17 amendments.

“They don’t impact anything financial,” said council president Bruce Kraus. “They really are more philosophical in nature, more or less, about how we want to plan the next five years.”

Allegheny County Councilwoman Heather Heidelbaugh said she was bothered by a recent advertising campaign for the Kane Regional Centers, the county’s assisted care facilities.

It was that two-year, $187,000 ad campaign that got Heidelbaugh thinking about whether the Kanes could be partially or fully privatized.

Tuesday evening, Heidelbaugh introduced legislation in County Council to create a working group to study such a possibility.

Flickr user joseph a

Pittsburgh’s City Task Force on Public Education is set to hold their first meeting Tuesday evening, a little more than three months before they are expected to present their recommendations to Mayor Bill Peduto.

More than a year of negotiations has yielded little fruit when it comes to increasing the monthly phone line surcharge that funds 9-1-1 call centers in Pennsylvania.

Instead, the state Legislature will likely extend the existing surcharge for one year. Land line customers will continue to pay between $1.00-$1.50 each month, while wireless and VOIP customers will pay $1.00/month.

Office of Congressman Tim Murphy

More than 10 months after U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy wrote to former Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs Eric Shinseki asking what disciplinary action would be taken in the wake a Legionella outbreak at a Pittsburgh hospital, he has gotten an answer of sorts.

On Friday, the VA announced that Pittsburgh Healthcare System director and CEO Terry Wolf was placed on administrative leave, “pending the completion of administrative actions related to the Legionella outbreak.”

The head of the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System has been put on administrative leave, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

System Director Terry Gerigk Wolf oversaw the healthcare facilities during the Legionella outbreak of 2011 and 2012, which resulted in the deaths of at least six people and sickened more than twenty others.

Courtesy of VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

Reports of secret waitlists and preventable deaths at Veteran’s Affairs hospitals in Phoenix have spurred a nationwide audit of VA healthcare facilities.

The situation in Pittsburgh is not as dire as it is in Phoenix, but the VA facilities here are facing their own unique challenges.

Southwestern Pennsylvania is home to more than 260,000 veterans and their families, one of the largest concentrations of veterans in the United States.

A relatively small spending bill came before City Council Wednesday, but instead of focusing solely on the measure at hand, the legislators used the opportunity to bend the Peduto administration’s ear on the state of public education in Pittsburgh.

The bill would authorize the city to spend $20,000 to hire Preston C. Green as a mediator for the Mayor’s Public Schools Task Force. The legislation creating the body, which was passed in October and amended in April, requires a “trained mediator who shall serve as an ex officio member.”

Days after the Act 47 Recovery Coordinators submitted their 166-page plan to the city for review, the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, or ICA, put in their two cents.

Courtesy U.S. Department of Justice

Law enforcement officials in Pittsburgh had a major hand in bringing down an international ring of cyber criminals, according U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton.

The indictment, unsealed Monday, names Russian citizen Evgeny Bogachev as one of five defendants, charged with conspiracy, computer hacking, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering. The indictment alleges that Bogachev was the mastermind behind two malware programs that infected the computers of as many as one million people worldwide, 25 percent of whom were in the United States.

A world-renowned cheetah expert and conservationist was in Pittsburgh this weekend, visiting four new cheetahs at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

Laurie Marker, the founder of the Cheetah Conservation Fund located in Namibia, said she hopes the two females and two males at the zoo will be “educational ambassadors” for her research and conservation efforts.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to support of the Pennsylvania Women’s Health Caucus’s package of state legislative measures meant to improve women’s health, economic status and well-being.

“We are not talking about one issue. This isn’t just about reproductive rights. This is not just about equal pay,” said Councilman Dan Gilman, who introduced the Will of Council resolution. “This is about moving an agenda for Pennsylvania’s women forward, treating them as whole people, people who should be living longer, healthier, strong economic lives.”

Courtesy of Carnegie Science Center

Carnegie Science Center will honor military veterans with a special ceremony on board the USS Requin this Sunday morning.

The USS VI Requin Base serves as the local hub for submarine veterans, similar to a Veterans of Foreign War post.

Patty Rogers, curator of historic exhibits at Carnegie Science Center, says this is the sixth year they’ve done the ceremony, after being approached by a veterans group asking if they could hold a Memorial Day ceremony on board the submarine.

Flickr user cssna

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) was in Pittsburgh Monday touting a “major bipartisan agreement” that will free up funds for the country’s inland waterways.

Casey called the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, or WRRDA, a “must-pass bill” that has broad support in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The Senator said the poor state of locks and dams along inland waterways is costing Pennsylvania $224 million a year in lost revenue, and that the legislation was written in partnership with industry.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

 Hundreds of steelworkers and their supporters rallied outside the U.S. Steel Research and Technology Center in Munhall Monday morning to bring attention to what they say is illegal dumping of South Korean steel pipe into United States markets.

Dumping refers to the act of charging a lower price for a product on the international market than on the domestic market. It can also refer to the practice of selling a product for less than it costs to produce.

Flickr user Via Tsuji

With high temperatures in the 90s this week, it’s hard to believe Pittsburgh saw snow less than two months ago.

Thankfully, the Steel City has finally shrugged off winter just in time for a slew of outdoor events in and around downtown Pittsburgh.

Venture Outdoors Festival

Point State Park is the location for the 14th annual Venture Outdoors Festival, which takes place at Point State Park and runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Flickr user Mark Teasdale

Can you use math to calm traffic and prescribe fish dinners to help patients with multiple sclerosis?

Those are just a couple of the questions being asked by some of the brightest high school students in the world at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles this week.

Approximately 1,700 young scientists and engineers from nearly 70 countries are showcasing their science and engineering projects and vying for more than $4 million in awards and scholarships.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

“It’s not going to be easy.”

That was Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto’s primary message to City Council and the public Tuesday morning, as he shared details of the Steel City’s dire financial situation and challenged his colleagues in city government to help find solutions.

The address coincides with Tuesday night’s public hearing on the city’s financially distressed status, an event organized by Act 47 coordinators.

Courtesy of Range Resources

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has signed an ordinance allowing hydraulic fracturing to occur underneath Deer Lakes Park.

Matt Pitzarella, spokesman for Range Resources, the company tasked with the drilling, said lawyers from the county and Range are still working out some technical details of the lease, but that it will be finalized soon.

Flickr user HerrVebah

Transit and city planning experts from all over the country are converging on Pittsburgh this week to help the Port Authority of Allegheny County create a plan for the future.

Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie said the nine consultants are part of the nonprofit Urban Land Institute and will come up with recommendations about how to improve the county’s transit system.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

In a heated meeting that lasted more than seven hours and included more than four hours of public comment, members of Allegheny County Council early Wednesday morning approved a lease agreement to drill for natural gas underneath Deer Lakes Park.

Allegheny County Council is set to vote Tuesday on whether to drill for natural gas underneath Deer Lakes Park.

The controversial resolution would allow Range Resources, in cooperation with Huntley & Huntley, to perform hydraulic fracturing under the park, provided that no drilling activities actually occur within the park.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said if the resolution passes, the county will receive around $7.7 million up front and an ongoing 18 percent royalty on the value of gas extracted.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Daniel Funk’s construction technology classroom at Sto-Rox High School is literally buzzing with activity.

Students are confidently working with heavy duty power tools as they finish building small hanging display cases.

“Right now we’re working on the drawers,” said senior Asa Powell. “The drawer fronts are probably the hardest, because they have the knobs and whatnot."

Powell said he regularly looks forward to Funk’s class.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council has proclaimed Tuesday, April 29, 2014 to be “WYEP 40th Anniversary Day” in the city of Pittsburgh.

Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak and Council President Bruce Kraus jointly sponsored the resolution.

“Growing up here and growing up in a working class neighborhood … before the days of the Internet … part of the way I would find out about innovative music and bands and different cultural experiences was through WYEP,” Rudiak said.

Flickr user artnoose

With $1.8 million, you could buy half a million Big Macs, 3,500 iPad Airs or four Lamborghinis.

Or you could use it to repave an additional 11 miles of city streets in Pittsburgh.

Mayor Bill Peduto’s Chief Operations Officer, Guy Costa, said the city scrutinized the 2014 capital budget to find an additional $1,781,298.58 that can be used for street resurfacing.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Dream. Discover. Design.

That’s the motto of Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy in Oakland, a public magnet school focused on the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Essentially, the entire middle and high school shines a spotlight on innovation.

“The whole idea is tinkering, so we play, we tinker, we fail, we figure out what we did wrong, and we work again,” said Ann Gollapudi, who teaches physics and computer science at SciTech.

90.5 WESA

Ethan Welker is a 15-year-old freshman at the University School, a private college prep school in Shadyside. His mom Michele Welker says he’s a smart and curious boy.

“Around the age of 7, he was diagnosed on the autism spectrum with Asperger’s,” Michele said. “(Asperger’s is) one of the higher functioning levels of the spectrum.”

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Gov. Tom Corbett was in Pittsburgh Monday, touring the Carnegie Science Center and touting his 2015-16 budget proposal, which he says includes funds mean to boost student achievement in STEM fields.

“It’s vital to make sure that every child today … has a full productive life for tomorrow, and (is) being exposed to science, technology, engineering, and math,” Corbett said.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The Community College of Allegheny County’s mechatronics program trains students to work in high-tech manufacturing jobs, and President Barack Obama said Wednesday it’s the kind of program that should be available nationwide.

“What we want to do is we want to replicate your model across the country,” Obama said. “You’re doing something right that is making a difference in people’s lives, and we want to spread the word.”

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were at CCAC’s West Hills Center campus in Oakdale to announce system-wide reforms of federal job training programs.

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