Margaret J. Krauss

Reporter, Keystone Crossroads

Margaret J. Krauss is WESA's reporter for Keystone Crossroads, the statewide reporting initiative that covers problems facing Pennsylvania's cities and possible solutions. Before joining Keystone Crossroads, Margaret produced a 48-part radio series about Pittsburgh's lesser-known history, biking 2,000 miles around the region to do so.

Margaret has researched and reported for The Nature Conservancy and National Geographic books, Pittsburgh Magazine, NEXTpittsburgh and The Allegheny Front.

Before answering Pittsburgh's siren call and returning to the city in 2012, she worked in Washington, D.C. at National Geographic Kids magazine. There she learned the Latin names of all 13 otter species and a love for interoffice mail.

Ways to Connect

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

A summit held Friday at Aspinwall Riverfront Park focused on raising awareness about how to safely navigate the region’s rivers, particularly near fixed-crest dams: long concrete barriers that hold back the water.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The staff of the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations investigates allegations of discrimination throughout the city.

Carlos Torres was named the commission’s executive director in 2016.

90.5 WESA’s Margaret J. Krauss sat down with Torres to talk about his background and how individuals can make the city a better place.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

MARGARET J. KRAUSS: One of the things I noticed is that you're not shy about handing out your business card.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

A crowd of about 30 people gathered at the former Penn Plaza apartments in East Liberty on Thursday, where the development’s owners are tearing down the remaining building. 

clio1789 / Flickr

There are three big challenges when it comes to eradicating lead in Pittsburgh’s water system: locating lead lines, removing them and paying for it. On Wednesday, state senators approved two bills that would provide the city with the legal authority and money to help rebuild its entire system.

Paul Sableman / Flickr

Though Pittsburgh’s bus rapid transit project, or BRT, might not be eligible for federal funding, the planning process is moving forward with a series of public meetings to gather feedback on street design and where to put new BRT stations.

Jason Pratt / Flickr

Thanks to Ike and the Interstate Highway System, summer heralds the well-loved American tradition of road trips.

But that jaunt to Florida or North Carolina doesn’t have to mean four wheels, it can mean two.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Zoning, permitting, licensing and inspections aren't necessarily the stuff entrepreneurs dream of as they begin to plan their business. Navigating all the steps of setting up shop can be confusing, said Henry Pyatt, Pittsburgh’s small business and neighborhood redevelopment manager.

“For most business owners, you only ever have to do it once in your life,” he said. So, “nobody ever gets good at it, because you only do it once and you never practice and you never do it again.”

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Roughly 3,900 Pennsylvanians died of opioid-related overdoses last year.

State Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa wants Pennsylvania to sue pharmaceutical companies for what he characterizes as deceptive marketing of opioids.

PIZW / Flickr

The bright purple airplane landing at PIT on Friday inaugurates year-round, nonstop service to Reykjavik, Iceland. It’s just one of several new destinations added to the airport this year.

While Pittsburgh will never be the hub it was throughout the 1990s, the goal is to make it really work for the region, said Alyson Walls, airport communications manager.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The City of Pittsburgh is working to address the issue of lead in drinking water "on every front," according to Mayoral spokesman Tim McNulty.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Locks and dams on the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers are crucial to recreation, commerce and flood control. But local officials are worried the federal budget for 2018 won’t include money for an ongoing locks and dam project.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

A route was selected, preliminary studies were planned and local officials intended to submit grant applications to fund the Bus Rapid Transit corridor in the fall.

Those plans may now be on hold.

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget provides no funding for new projects under the federal Capital Investment Grant which was expected to provide about $80 to $100 million for the roughly $233 million project, said Robert Rubinstein, executive director of the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Nowhere in the country can someone work 40 hours a week at a minimum-wage job and afford a two-bedroom apartment, according to a study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

On average, a Pennsylvanian earning minimum wage would have to work 83 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom rental.

There are a lot of misconceptions about low-income earners. Primarily, that they’re not working hard enough, said Phyllis Chamberlain, executive director of the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania.

James Willamor / Flickr

Last week, President Donald Trump proposed privatizing air traffic control, separating it from the Federal Aviation Administration and putting it under the control of a notprofit corporation. The administration argued doing so would cut costs and help modernize the system.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Legislation submitted to City Council by the mayor’s office this week would change how proposed developments qualify for public subsidy. 

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

The Port Authority of Allegheny County makes changes to its bus schedules four times a year. The next one, coming up on June 18, will affect 15 routes

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

At either end of Lavarna Way, in Pittsburgh, stood well-used orange signs: ROAD CLOSED.

The street was empty, except for an excavator, and a Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority crew dressed in neon yellow suits.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

After years of initial planning and study, a route has been selected for the Port Authority of Allegheny County’s proposed Bus Rapid Transit system, or BRT. The route will connect 24 neighborhoods and serve 31,000 people.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Cobblestone, brick, asphalt: the commonwealth has an abundance of street-paving options. But there’s one we don’t talk about a lot: wooden blocks. Both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are each home to one of the last wooden streets in the nation.

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

  A giant billboard went up at the intersection of Centre Avenue and Crawford Street in Pittsburgh’s Hill District neighborhood in 1960. It read, “No Development Beyond This Point.”

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Below a tangle of highways along the southern edge of Pittsburgh’s downtown is a truncated section of concrete. The Mon Wharf Landing may look as if it goes nowhere, some sort of multi-modal experiment that was never completed.

Until now. 

Matt Rourke / AP

The demand for new apartments in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh has grown swiftly over the last few years. Developers have met that demand with a tremendous amount of construction, said Barbara Byrne Denham, senior economist at Reis, a real estate data and analytics company based in New York. 

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Like being the first person to leave tracks after a snowfall, a stretch of brand new pavement can incite glee, regardless of age.

Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Photo

Unless Congress passes the Miners Protection Act by April 28, more than 2,000 retired union coal miners in Pennsylvania will lose their health care.

The bill proposes to use interest from the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act to shore up the health and pension funds administered by the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).  

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Emerald View Park encircles Mt. Washington, Duquesne Heights and Allentown in a tight hug, an embrace from which Derek Stuart prepared to depart.

Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

Ride-sharing and technology company Uber will pay $3.5 million into the state’s general fund to settle a long-running dispute with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. Commissioners approved the settlement in a four to one vote Thursday. The civil penalty is one-third of the original $11.4 million fine levied against Uber. 

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

City leaders considered ideas to restructure the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority in a half-day discussion at the City-County Building on Friday.

Mayor Bill Peduto and his appointed Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel interviewed candidates competing to help evaluate the debt-ridden authority, which has been under more intense scrutiny lately for lead and other contaminants in some city water lines.

Christian Naenny / Flickr

 

 

From a conference room at the North Shore offices of Peoples Gas, president and CEO Morgan O’Brien has a view of Pittsburgh’s rivers.

David Goldman / AP Photo

Like many municipalities in Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh’s water system faces significant structural challenges, from aging infrastructure to ongoing concerns about lead in the city’s drinking water.

To address them, Mayor Bill Peduto kicked off the process of evaluating Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA), with the goal of restructuring.

Gene J. Puskar / AP File Photo

Population data has a way of freaking people out. After all, population determines federal allocation dollars, which trickle down to the state, county, and local levels, said Peter Borsella, a demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau, which released county and metro-area population estimates on Thursday. 

So let’s get this over with: From 2015 to 2016 Pennsylvania waved goodbye to just fewer than 8,000 people. Most counties lost population, though 19 posted some growth.

Pages