Mark Nootbaar

Special Reporter

Mark Nootbaar is a native of Illinois but moved to Pittsburgh more than 16 years ago to become the Assistant News Director at National Public Radio Charter Member Station WDUQ. As assistant News Director, Mark served as WDUQ’s lead reporter and morning assignment editor. After WDUQ was sold in 2011, Mark moved with the frequency to the new station to become the Senior News Editor. In 2016 he returned to his reporting roots as Special Reporter and in that context oversees such reporting projects as 90.5 WESA Celebrates, Tech Reports, and more.

Mark has also worked in Illinois and Texas. He lives in the North Hills with his lovely wife and daughter.

 

Ways to Connect

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

report released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health Wednesday shows the backlog of untested rape kits is shrinking, but is still far from gone.

The report found there are 3,217 rape kits in the state waiting to be processed. Of those, 1,214 were more than a year old, which the state defines as backlogged.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Dr. Trina Peduzzi has been working with babies as a community pediatrician for the last 16 years and has taken care of hundreds of children with lead poisoning.

“Most parents who get the phone call from me are completely unaware that their child was exposed to lead,” she said. “If we do not look for this problem we will not find it.”

The Allegheny County Board of Health on Wednesday approved a regulation requiring children in Allegheny County to be tested for lead in their blood.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Water parks are becoming more and more popular across the country.  But not everyone can play.

“Water has really never been a part of the special needs community,” said Morgan’s Wonderland General Manager Ron Morander.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 fm WESA

On May 16th, Allegheny County primary voters will choose their party’s nominees to run for Allegheny County Council. Democrats, who have a two-to-one registration majority in the county, are expected to retain their majority during the general election this November. That leaves Republicans and some critics frustrated.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 fm WESA

It’s been a good news, bad news year for the arts when it comes to the state budget debate. 

The budgets proposed by both Gov. Tom Wolf and the House Republican Caucus keep funding for the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts at $9.6 million, as well as $2 million for museums.

However, both budget proposals move the funding out of the general budget where it has traditionally resided.

The governor’s plan funds the arts and other line items through the issuance of bonds. But the Republican Caucus rejected that proposal.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania has been awarded a $26.5 million federal grant to combat the heroin crisis. 

The first requirement of the grant is to perform a needs assessment within four months of receiving the funds.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The fight between the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority and the company that managed its operations for three-and-a-half years has entered a new and more combative stage.

Veolia Water North America has decided to withdraw from mediation with PWSA and instead enter into a formal arbitration proceeding. Arbitration and mediation are both provided for in the contract signed by both parties in 2012.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 fm WESA

Nearly 10 years ago, the manager of the Borough of Monaca started making the municipality a little more environmentally friendly. 

90.5 WESA's Mark Nootbaar spoke to Borough Manager Mario Leone how he started by getting a grant to convert all of the traffic signals to LED lights. 

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

Mel Evans / 90.5 WESA

Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller wants more control over how patients are billed for air ambulance services and is calling on the U.S. Senate to take action.

Nam Y. Huh / AP

The NCAA will host more prestigious college tournaments in the Pittsburgh region over the next four years than any other, Visit Pittsburgh officials announced Wednesday.

The Steel City will welcome 22 events, from Division III men’s and women cross country regionals in 2020 to the 2021 Division I men’s hockey championship, dubbed the Frozen Four.

Submitted / Victor Stanley

City-owned trash cans in Pittsburgh could soon tell public works when they need to be emptied.

The Peduto administration is asking city council to approve a $275,000 three-and-a-half year contract to add the technology to trash cans in parks and on sidewalks. The data would be sent to iPads issued to public works managers.

“The technology is going to tells us exactly what cans need to be emptied and instead of the truck running around eight hours a day, they’ll be able to do maybe just do two hours emptying litter receptacles,” Pittsburgh Public Works Director Jim Gable said.

University of Pittsburgh

Researchers and laboratory scientists are increasingly trying to move cells and nano-particles through smaller and smaller channels.

“You want to get fluid pumped through something that’s the width of your hair,” said Anna Balazs, University of Pittsburgh chemical and petroleum engineering professor. “So one of the challenges is first just how to pump fluid through and then how to direct particles … to a specific location.”

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Misbehaving students in Kindergarten through fifth grade would no longer be given out-of-school suspensions under a measure introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

House Bill 715 would require districts to find alternative disciplinary methods for elementary students for anything other than offenses that put the health of students or teachers at risk.

Ted S. Warren / AP

One year ago, Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law was signed by Gov. Tom Wolf. Officials with the Department of Health said they hope the first prescriptions will be filled in May of 2018.  

Matt Rourke / AP

Outpourings of grief and sympathy are flooding in to Pittsburgh from around the world, marking the death of NFL icon, Dan Rooney.

Margaret Sun

If you find yourself in a transportation jam, screens scattered through Oakland could help you find a way out soon. The Oakland Business Improvement District is teaming up with a few other non-profits to provide large screens showing real-time transportation options.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 fm WESA

Nearly every subspecialty seems to have its own academic journal, from one dedicated to "Positivity” – it’s a math thing – to one for engineers working in the packaging industry.

But until now, there has never been an academic journal for research into blockchain – the technology behind Bitcoin.

Some called him a hero of high moral values. Others dubbed him a traitor. Either way, the infamous Simon Girty will soon be remembered with an historical marker in Greenfield.

The installation is the culmination of nearly 30 years of research on the part of his great-great-great-great-great nephew, 83-year-old Ken Girty, who as a child believed his ancestor to be a good-for-nothing "baby-killer."

He's since changed his mind.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

A 72-year-old Pittsburgh woman has been arrested for her role in an international lottery scam.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Audrey Huff was responsible for collecting at least $295,000 from other seniors across the country and sending it to Jamaica through at least 300 wire transfers.

Huff was arraigned Wednesday on several charges including theft by deception and criminal conspiracy.

Shapiro said it is unclear how, or if, Huff was benefiting by serving as a mule, but that she knew she was breaking the law.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Seven years ago, the Deepwater Horizon oil well blew out, spilling an estimated 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Investigators found numerous mechanical and human errors, which led to the explosion at the concrete base of the rig. One of the possible failures included the foamed cement used to line the bore hole.

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps / University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute

Rates of obesity, sexually transmitted diseases, breast cancer screenings and childhood poverty are all on the rise as Allegheny County fell in state rankings released by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Japan's embattled Toshiba Corp. said Wednesday that its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric Co. has filed for bankruptcy protection, marking a key step in its struggles to stop the flow of massive red ink.

Toshiba said in a statement that it filed the Chapter 11 petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of New York. The move had been largely expected.

Scott Lewis / Flickr

Sixteen construction trade unions in western Pennsylvania are looking for a few thousand new members.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Figuring out where to find something in a large warehouse or navigating a sprawling campus, like a hospital, isn’t always easy.

“You know, how do you get from the main door (of a hospital) to a certain department? You’re asking 20 people along the way and then you get frustrated,” said ARIN Technologies CEO Vivek Kulkarni. “But if there were a way to navigate, like you use Google Maps, that would make life so much easier.”

Robert Strovers / Flickr

For the next two months, the Allegheny County Sanitation Authority will send drilling rigs to 13 locations around the county to take samples as deep as 300 feet. 

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

If you have ever wondered how the Carnegie Museum of Art keeps it’s collection looking so good, the answer is Michael Belman.

Belman is the Objects Conservator for the museum. He evaluates proposed new purchases and checks items coming and going from the collection on loan.

But the biggest part of what he does is repair, restore and preserves three-dimensional fine art. Just keeping objects in the gallery dusted is an important first step. He talked to 90.5 WESA's Mark Nootbaar about his process. 

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

At the age of 13, Alex Hoffman was already using alcohol and marijuana. By 14, he was on juvenile probation.

“I wouldn’t stop smoking weed, I wouldn’t stop drinking, so I kept failing drug tests and that lead to my first time going involuntarily into juvenile rehab,” Hoffman said.

It was not his last involuntary commitment. He bounced in and out of programs and jail for years before getting clean three years ago, at the age of 21. He remembered being dropped off at a juvenile facility by his parents on his 16th birthday.

Matt Rourke / AP

On the heels of a survey finding Pennsylvanians support efforts to reform the state justice system, one lawmaker said he plans to introduce what he called “clean slate” legislation.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

A Bike Pittsburgh survey from earlier this month found that about half of local cyclists approve of self-driving cars on city streets.

The advocacy group launched the survey in an effort to find out how cyclists and pedestrians felt about the driverless technology and about 800 people weighed in.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Nearly every piece of exposed metal in a consumer product has been electroplated in some way. It's the process of coating a metal with another metal to prevent corrosion. The most common coatings include chrome and cadmium, both of which are heavy metals that can be harmful to the environment.

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