Margaret J. Krauss

Reporter, Keystone Crossroads

Margaret J. Krauss produces 90.5 WESA Celebrates Inventing Pittsburgh, a series that explores the lesser-known history of the city and region.

A freelance multimedia journalist and researcher, Margaret learned the nuts and bolts of radio as a 2013 newsroom volunteer. Before moving back to the nation's most livable city, Margaret worked as an editor for National Geographic KIDS magazine in Washington, DC.

When she isn't geeking out over a good story, Margaret can be found biking the city's streets or swimming its rivers.

Ways to Connect

Ryan Loew / for Keystone Crossroads

Deckhands Jeremy Groves and Dustin Frazee descend from the towboat D.L. Johnson to inspect their cargo: a single barge of coal. They circle the barge, walking along its edges — the gunnels — to make sure everything looks okay.

Jose Luis Magana / AP Photo

Time is running out for Pennsylvania coal miners. By Jan. 1, 13,000 coal miners could lose their pensions and thousands their health care. Legislation called the Miners Protection Act would avert the loss of benefits, but the U.S. Senate has yet to schedule the bill for a vote. Donnie Samms is director of Region 1 of the United Mine Workers of America, an area which includes Pennsylvania. He said it’s crucial for Congress to pass the bill and support miners. Spending years underground takes a...

Keith Srakocic / AP

Going back to school is starting to look a lot different. Ninety-six percent of students at Pennsylvania College of Technology entertain job offers in their final semester. It's an enviable statistic, one that the college is very proud of, said Tracy Brundage, vice president of workforce development and continuing education. “Our tagline is ‘degrees that work,’” she said. But employer interest isn't limited to graduates of the Penn State affiliate's two- and four-year degree programs. Located...

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

Turkey is easily the most recognizable character in the Thanksgiving line-up, though perhaps the least appreciated. Its presence is assumed, rendering the bird a perfunctory anchor, a mere foundation for more exciting dishes.

When Ken Rosenberg thinks about self-driving cars, a particular incident comes to mind. "One of the autonomous vehicles stopped in the middle of the road. There was a chicken running around the street, and the car didn't know what to do. But it wasn't just the chicken, a woman in a wheelchair was chasing the chicken. The car just basically shut down." Rosenberg is vice mayor of Mountain View, California, where Google is headquartered. He was in the audience at the annual City Summit of the...

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Theresa Cygrymus looked around the hall at Prince of Peace Parish, a Catholic Church on Pittsburgh’s South Side, and shook her head. “It’s already nine o’clock, usually we have stuff cooking already," she said. Cygrymus knows the drill. At 78, she’s been volunteering for the church all her life. On a Saturday in late October, Cygrymus and a church group called The Christian Mothers were preparing to churn out hundreds of dozens of pierogis to sell. All the money they make supports the church...

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Last week, about 20 people waited anxiously for the walk signal at the busy intersection outside Target in East Liberty. When the light changed, they danced into the crosswalk. As James Brown sang “Get on the Good Foot,” they spun, they shimmied, they high-fived.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Unease, anger and a desire to take action motivated more than 300 people to gather at the Ace Hotel in East Liberty late Wednesday, prompting small group meetings, impromptu speakers and a protest curtailed by smoke bombs through nearby Shadyside.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

From Philadelphia to Erie, Pittsburgh to Scranton, ride-sharing services can now operate legally, and permanently, in Pennsylvania. But when Governor Wolf signed the regulation into law, something was missing—a proposal that would have allowed municipalities across the state to collect 1 percent of gross receipts from ride-sharing companies Uber, Lyft, and in Pittsburgh, zTrip.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

In 2014, three roommates in New Paltz , New York discovered that their $20 thrift store couch wasn’t lumpy with age, but envelopes stuffed with cash. More specifically, the life savings of a widow whose husband wanted to be sure she was taken care of when he was gone.

Jared Wickerham / AP Photo

On Monday afternoon, candidates in the Pennsylvania race for U.S. Senate taped the first of two debates at KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh. The outcome of the election could determine whether Republicans maintain the Senate majority. Katie McGinty and incumbent Senator Pat Toomey attacked each other on state and national issues, including gun control, coal and steel jobs, and Obamacare. In a charged exchange, they argued over who supported police more, both stating they'd received support from police...

Evan Vucci / AP

On Monday afternoon, the line to enter the Donald Trump rally in Ambridge, a small town near Pittsburgh, stretched for blocks. The rally was held in the field house of the Ambridge Area High School. Before the speech, protesters stood on the other side of the street chanting, “Racist, sexist, anti-gay, Donald Trump go away.” Several young women held signs that read, “Students against bigotry.” James Thomas Finley was visiting Ambridge, and watched from a nearby porch. He said he can't believe...

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Eight people waited expectantly in the basement of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Lawrenceville. They sat in pairs around a long table littered with construction paper and markers, Post-It notes and iPhones, waiting for Connor Sites-Bowen to start the speed dating clock. “So go. Talk. You guys ask questions, you guys answer questions," Sites-Bowen said. That might seem gruff for a speed dating master of ceremonies, but the event was no ordinary rapid-fire romantic quest. It was a...

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Jasmine Cook stood in front of her house in the North Side neighborhood of California-Kirkbride. She held her 7-month-old daughter, flanked by her other two children. Her 7-year-old daughter was a self-proclaimed singer-gymnast and her 4-year-old son was a superhero with laser eyes, graciously contained by a pair of plastic red sunglasses. Running around the side yard was a miniature Batman, the boy who lives next door. “All kids around here, nothing else, just all kids,” she said. “Everybody...

Margaret J. Krauss / Keystone Crossroads

Trib Total Media’s shift toward a digital-only model is playing out amid a larger narrative of an entire industry in transition.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

You know the old adage "Never judge a city by (just) its bond"? Or "Forgive and forget: bonds have histories, too"? No? How about that bumper sticker: "Reductive is as reductive does"? OK, none of those are real. While there may be a few "Bond, Municipal Bond" jokes floating around in finance circles (thank you, Parks and Recreation ), bonds don't often merit a lot of chatter. But issuing or selling bonds is one of the primary tools municipal governments have to raise money for capital...

Joshua Franzos / Pittsburgh Foundation

A foundation in Pittsburgh will dedicate 60 to 70 percent of its grant making to address poverty and disparity in the region. Depending on the news outlet, Pittsburgh is a lot of things: it’s Steel City or the Paris of Appalachia; it’s the new Brooklyn; it’s the best place to eat, it’s the most underrated American city. But for many, the debate about whether or not Pittsburgh merits all this chatter is immaterial: 30 percent of people in the region live at or near poverty. “If 30 to 40...

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

A dumpster parked curbside, piled high with construction debris or outdated building guts, is not an uncommon city sight. But a certain dumpster just off one of Pittsburgh’s main business corridors is different. For starters, it’s painted bright yellow. “We love the yellow,” says Phoebe Downey, project manager for Envision Downtown, a public-private partnership between the mayor’s office and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. Downey is looking at the dumpster the organization converted into...

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Smoke enveloped the Liberty Bridge this afternoon after sparks fell onto plastic piping below and caught fire. Workers were torching beams to replace the bridge deck, says Scott Fennell , a laborer with Joseph B. Fay Company . There were no injuries, but Fennell said the incident would cost them time. The final phase of the bridge deck replacement began August 29 as part of the $80.8 million Liberty Bridge Rehabilitation Project. Traffic has been suspended in both directions, including...

Matt Rourke / AP

A developer wants to build an ice cream factory on a stretch of vacant lots in your city. The city is eager to have the ice cream companies and woos them with tax abatements and other public subsidies. "Jobs!" the city council cries. "An increased tax base!"

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

On Wednesday, a court will decide whether a referendum to change Pittsburgh's home rule charter will remain on the November ballot. The city argues the proposed amendment unduly hampers city government. OpenPittsburgh.org collected more than 12,000 signatures in favor of its open government amendment. It calls for a lot of things, including digitizing all city records and making all city government meetings available by video. But the most problematic provision is its creation of a Citizen...

Ben Peoples / Flickr

Park ranger Doug Bosley stands at the crest of a quiet, green hillside, looking down a stretch of railroad track that appears to have gotten lost and wandered into the woods.

Margaret J. Krauss / Keystone Crossroads

"Are you registered to vote?" Dave Tessitor asked a man as he walked past the library in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood. "Yes," the man said, not stopping. Tessitor fell in step. "We're collecting signatures to put a referendum on the November ballot," he said, walking up the street with the man. He only turned back several blocks later, the cargo pocket of his shorts one pamphlet lighter. He shrugged and smiled. And then a young couple came out of the library. "Excuse me, are you...

Photographs in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

The murals in the United States Post Office and Courthouse on Grant Street are pretty hard to get to. There’s security, now, unlike when the Department of Treasury’s Section of Painting and Sculpture commissioned the three works in 1934. Two of the octogenerian paintings survive on the 8 th floor; one disappeared. That’s the thing about murals, said Sylvia Rhor, associate professor of art history at Carlow University. They’re large, but they’re not immune to time’s vagaries. They can go...

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

At the Carpenter’s Training Center just outside the City of Pittsburgh on the Parkway West, a class of nine learns how to build a level floor. Forty years ago, getting into the center’s apprenticeship program would have been a feat for a person of color or a woman. “Those days were, you know, the status quo,” said Harold McDonald, a representative for the Keystone+Mountain+Lakes Regional Council of Carpenters. In the 1960s, just two percent of the skilled trades and craft unions’ members were...

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

From one of the file folders arrayed on her kitchen table, retired Spanish professor María de los Ángeles Stiteler pulls out a lyrics sheet.

Kaufmann's Department Store Records and Photographs / Rauh Jewish Archives / Detre Library and Archives / Senator John Heinz History Center

“There’s Florence and London and Paris and Prague and Brussels.” Lina Insana, chair of the department of French and Italian at the University of Pittsburgh, points to a spread from the Kaufmann's department store’s in-house magazine, Storagram, which proclaims the 30th anniversary of the “Foreign Office.” “They used these foreign offices as proof of the quality of their merchandise—how up to date that merchandise was, how up to the minute the styles were,” Insana said. At the time, many...

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Walking down Penn Avenue in Garfield, people likely don’t see Jason Forck through the window two stories up as he balances a near-molten glass tumbler at the end of a steel rod.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The main building on Carrie Furnace’s 80-acre site in Braddock looks like a giant has just scattered its playthings and stomped off, not too far away, to eat a few goats. Inside the blowing engine house a 48-inch universal plate mill lies in 40- and 50-ton pieces on the concrete floor. A sign hanging at the south end lists the safety guidelines (“6. Be aware of crane movements”). Bill Sharkey sits on a few benches meant for visitors. Sharkey isn’t a visitor, really. He worked as a foreman at...

Kristi Jan Hoover

A black and yellow helmet sits on the floor of Janet Hoover’s kitchen. It’s perched on top of a pair of boots and an old miner’s lamp. The helmet label reads, “Fasloc : Keeps the Roof Over Your Head.”

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