Mark Nootbaar

Senior News Editor

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 where he is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the 90.5 WESA newsroom. Mark has also worked in Illinois and Texas. He lives in the North Hills with his lovely wife and daughter.

 

Pages

Health
4:11 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Report Finds Poor Communications During VA Legionella Outbreak

A report released Thursday by the American Legion finds that the VA Pittsburgh Health System has responded well to the outbreak of Legionella in 2011 and 2012 that took the lives of at least five veterans. 

However, the report finds the Veterans Administration needs to empower the 152 hospitals in the system to better communicate during a crisis.

Jacob Gadd, American Legion deputy director for healthcare, said that since the outbreak the Pittsburgh VA has formed a water safety committee, which had made important recommendations that have been implemented.

Read more
Marcellus Shale
4:02 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

DEP Drilling Rules Subject of Regional Hearings

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection continues its swing through southwestern Pennsylvania Thursday night as it takes testimony on proposed changes to the rules that govern gas and oil drilling in the state.

The DEP took input for several hours Wednesday night in Washington County and will be in Indiana County Thursday night ant the IUP Convention and Athletic Complex. The rules change, known as Chapter 78, represents the first major overhaul in decades.

Read more
Environment & Energy
1:32 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Energy Alliance: Fracking Is Not a 'Four-Letter Word'

An energy supply and consumption watchdog group is taking its fight against a proposed moratorium on shale drilling in Pennsylvania to the lawmakers sponsoring the bill and to their constituents. 

The Consumer Energy Alliance sent a letter to State Sen. Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny) asking him to pull the legislation from consideration.  SB 1100 was introduced in September and was referred to the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee where it has languished ever since.

Read more
Environment & Energy
3:05 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Pitt Lab to Help Build Power System of the Future

What is the best way to build an AC/DC hybrid power system? What does the power grid control system of the future look like?

Those are the types of questions researchers and students at the University of Pittsburgh are hoping to answer with Thursday’s opening of a new electric power systems lab.

The lab was created with the support of the Dublin, Ireland-based power management company EATON, which has offices in the Pittsburgh area. 

Read more
Winter Weather
7:59 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Sub-Zero Temps Cause Disruptions, But No Major Problems in Pittsburgh Region

As the cold descended on the region overnight Monday, the number of warming centers open throughout Allegheny County grew.

Centers in Carnegie, Clairton, Munhall, Oakdale, Shaler, West Deer, and West Mifflin were open all night.  Several other location in the county and five in the City of Pittsburgh were to open Tuesday morning.

Temperatures dipped as low as nine degrees below zero over night and are expected to clime to just seven above throughout the day.

Read more
Winter Weather
2:11 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

As Severe Cold Descends on Southwest PA, How to Keep You and Your Pets Safe

Wind chill temperatures are expected to dip to more than 30 below zero in southwestern Pennsylvania Monday night and Tuesday morning, which means exposed skin could freeze in less than 5 minutes.

Read more
Winter Weather
12:14 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Emergency Responders Prepare for Deep Freeze

As the region begins to experience low temperatures not seen for nearly two decades, city and county officials are preparing for the worst.

Allegheny County has joined up with city officials to staff the Emergency Operations Center.

The Associated Press reports temperatures will continue to fall throughout the day and will not stop until hitting an expected low of nine below zero. Wind gusts of up to 30 miles an hour will result in wind chills of 31 below zero.

Read more
Health
3:30 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Late-Stage Breast Cancer Patients Might Benefit From Immediate Surgery

Early detection of breast cancer is one of the most important factors when calculating survival rates, but a Magee Hospital surgeon thinks he has found a way to help women who’s cancer is not detected until it has already spread to their bones.

Patients who first present with stage four breast cancer with bone metastasis have a short life expectancy, but a study of 278 women in Turkey suggests that by sending the patient directly to the operating room might be able to help hundreds of American women each year survive.

Read more
City in Transition
3:30 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Who Will Be The Next Council President?

The first order of business after City Council swears in its newly elected members Jan. 6 is to choose a new president who will run the council for the next two years. The semi-annual election is always fraught with back room deals and unlikely alliances.

“That vote won’t be decided until five minutes before that meeting,” said Jim Motznik, former Pittsburgh City Councilman (2001-2010) and current District Municipal Court Justice.

Read more
Community
3:30 am
Sun December 29, 2013

Animal Friends To Go Door-to-Door With Care

Social service agencies are always struggling to find the best way to reach those who need help and the same holds true for agencies that care for animals.

Animal Friends is hoping to reach thousands of dogs and cats in some of Pittsburgh’s poorest neighborhoods using a door-to-door approach funded through a $50,000 grant from the PetSmart Foundation.

Starting in 2014, Animal Friends will send crews into a few North Side neighborhoods to offer free spay and neutering, vaccinations and flea treatments.

Read more
Economy & Business
3:30 am
Fri December 27, 2013

PNC Likes the Economy in 2014

When Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services’ top economist looks forward to 2014, he is doing it with cautious optimism.

“We think we can sustain (good economic growth) for at least one more year and maybe for several beyond that,” said PNC Chief Economist Stuart Hoffman.

Hoffman thinks the economy will see GDP growth inching up and unemployment inching down. By the end of 2014 Hoffman is predicting GDP growth of 2.5 percent and an unemployment rate of about 6.5 percent. 

On the local employment front, new jobs in construction will lead the way.

Read more
Economy
3:30 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Pittsburgh Economy Fared Well in 2013, PNC Chief Economist Says

The 2013 economy might have stumbled a bit coming out of the gate, but at least one local economist says it recovered well.

“As the year went on it gathered some momentum,” said PNC Chief Economist Stuart Hoffman.

The year began with “sequestration” which reduced government spending nearly across the board and made several tax law changes including a hike in the payroll tax from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent, a phase out a some key tax exemptions, an increase to the so-called death tax, and an increase in the top marginal tax rate from 35 percent to 39.6 percent. 

Read more
College Savings
3:30 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Need a Last-Minute Gift Idea? PA Treasurer McCord Suggests Donating to a 529

While many holiday gift givers will be heading out to the stores Monday and Tuesday for a few last-minute gifts, Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord is offering another solution: give to a loved one’s college fund.

Read more
Public Safety
3:30 am
Mon December 23, 2013

PA Agencies Look for Designated Drivers

Following fatal traffic accidents, the duty of informing loved ones often falls to a state police officer.

“There is probably few more tragic events in the life of a Pennsylvania state trooper,” said Frank Noonan, PA State Policy Commissioner. “And it’s even more tragic when we find that the accident was caused by a drunk driver because all of those are preventable.”

Read more
Business
5:23 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Pittsburgh Company Grabs Free App of the Year Title from Apple

A screenshot from the app of the year, Duolingo. One of the app's many French lessons.
Credit Nick Frost / 90.5 WESA

Apple has chosen a Pittsburgh-born app as its free app of the year.

Duolingo teaches people how to speak a new language, and it's been downloaded more than 10 million times since being released a year ago. 

Duolingo CEO Louis Von Ahn said more than a billion people are trying to learn a new language. He believes two-thirds of them are from the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder, and the reason they are learning a new language is because they are trying to get ahead in life.

Read more
Government & Politics
4:10 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

One Year After Sandyhook, Mental Health Overhaul Offered

US Congressman Tim Murphy
Credit Tim Murphy / murphy.house.gov

The shootings and Sandyhook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. focused the nation’s attention on mental health care but now that the tragedy is a year behind us, debate on the subject has waned.

However, U.S. Congressman Tim Murphy (PA-18) is hoping to throw it back into the spotlight with a bill he is calling the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act.

Read more
Arts & Culture
3:38 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Carnegie Museum Continues Tradition of Building Its Collection Through the International

When Andrew Carnegie decided Pittsburgh needed an art museum he did not have any artwork to put in it, so he devised a plan to build a collection using a regularly occurring art exhibition.

“The genesis for the (Carnegie) International, when it was built in 1896 by Andrew Carnegie, was to bring new art to Pittsburgh and to find ‘the old masters of tomorrow’ and collect them for the museum,” said 2013 Carnegie International Co-Curator Tina Kukielski.

Read more
Government & Politics
5:17 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

In PA Legislature, Package of Bills Addresses Issues from 'Revenge Porn' to Pay Equity

A group of Pennsylvania state lawmakers is gathering momentum on a package of bills that deal with issues as diverse as “revenge porn” and pay equity.

Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks County) said the overarching theme is that all seven bills deal with strengthening the lives of women in Pennsylvania. 

“When women are healthy and protected by Pennsylvania’s laws, Pennsylvania families will be stronger and more stable,” said Schwank, who co-chairs the Legislature’s Women’s Health Caucus. “This package is a major step in that direction.”

Read more
Animals
11:47 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Rare Andean Condors Roost on the North Shore

The female Andean condor Precious stretches her wings at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh.
Credit National Aviary

As the snow falls on the city, a few of those flakes are finding the bald heads of a pair of birds at the National Aviary that many hope will someday find love on the North Shore. 

The Aviary recently obtained a pair of Andean condors with the hopes of getting the pair to breed. But with the male checking in at 43 years of age and the female 36 years old, these are no spring chicks.

Read more
Education
4:25 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Movement Seeks to Reclaim the 'Promise of Public Education'

Small groups of parents and education activists gathered in Pittsburgh and across the country Monday to mark a “National Day of Action to Reclaim the Promise of Public Education.”

“The promise of public education is how we help and actually do our collective responsibility to ensure every single child can dream his or her dreams and achieve them,” said Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers president.

Read more
Economy & Business
3:30 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Triple Bottom Line Explored in Pittsburgh

Some of the leading minds in sustainable business models will gather in Pittsburgh Tuesday for a rapid-fire event exploring what has become known as the triple bottom line.

“This is the essence of sustainability,” said Court Gould, Sustainable Pittsburgh executive director. 

The group is putting on the conference, Sustainability EXPOsed.

Read more
Government & Politics
4:31 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Pittsburgh Public Works Doesn’t Know What Equipment It Has, Audit Shows

When auditors from the Pittsburgh City Controller’s office went to Public Works storage yards this summer, they found some equipment was missing, but they also found equipment that was not on any list.

Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb said he does not think there was any criminal intent. Instead, he thinks it was just a matter of not properly using the right management systems.

Read more
City in Transition
3:23 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Pittsburgh City Council Delays Early Retirement Vote

At the request of the Peduto transition team, the Pittsburgh City Council opted Tuesday to wait at least another week before voting on an early retirement offer. Debate last week indicated that the vote would have been close and that there were still several unresolved issues.

Read more
City in Transition
3:30 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Peduto Could Shift Millions in Taxes to Schools

Every year, the city of Pittsburgh collects about $10 million in taxes that many members of the Pittsburgh Public School Board feel is rightfully the district’s. 

Now, Pittsburgh Mayor-elect Bill Peduto says he might be willing to send the cash back to the district, but only if the city’s nonprofit sector steps up with a few dollars of its own.

“It has never come up for discussion,” Peduto said, “but that has to happen in conjunction with a long-term commitment from the major nonprofits, because we don’t have enough money to just open up our budget and give anybody money.”

Read more
History
3:54 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

Find Out What Happens When You Take a Hike with George Washington

If you’re looking to work off some of Thursday’s turkey and pumpkin pie with a nice walk, you might consider adding in a healthy dose of history as well. Historic Harmony is offering a series of hikes along the Connoquenessing Creek Saturday with none other than George Washington leading the way.

The focus of the hike will be to commemorate the 260th anniversary of Major Washington’s mission to Fort Duquesne to ask the French to leave the area. It comes on the exact date that the 21-year-old George Washington stayed on the north shore of the creek at a Delaware Indian Village.

Read more
Weather
7:18 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Winter Storm Fizzles, Bringing More Rain Than Snow

Snow and ice fighting material sit unused Wednesday morning in a parking lot on Pittsburgh's South Side. Warmer than expected temperatures resulted in more rain than snow overnight.
Credit Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Temperatures remained above freezing much longer into the night Tuesday than expected, bringing more rain than snow to southwestern Pennsylvania.

However, it was enough to prompt the Pittsburgh Public School District to issue a two-hour delay.  Several other schools in the county followed suit.

By the time most alarm clocks were going off the rain had turned back into snow, but road conditions throughout Allegheny County were just wet for the start of the morning commute.

Read more
Transportation
3:47 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Pittsburgh International Airport Ready to Battle Snow

With a winter storm warning in effect until 1 p.m. Wednesday and one of the year's busiest travel days ahead, Pittsburgh International is getting ready to do battle with the ice and snow.

“They start planning for this back in September,” said Pittsburgh Airport Authority spokesman Jeff Martinelli. “When they snow storm started getting reported that it was a possibility they started going over some plans, our operations staff was moving to 12-hour shifts, our snow removal crew is out their doing the best they can and pre-treating runways.”

Read more
Economy & Business
3:30 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Dial One For America Bill Gets PA Support

If you have ever wondered where your call has been sent when you dial up customer support you might be happy to learn that legislation moving through Washington would force the operator to answer just that question.

The U.S. Call Center and Workers Protection Act of 2013 has been dubbed the “Dial one for America” bill.  Among its provisions is a requirement that call center operators handling calls from the U.S. identify their location as part of the call.

Read more
Community
2:11 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Find Your Community's Ornament on the County's Holiday Tree

In addition to the colorful globes that normally decorate Allegheny County’s official holiday tree, nearly 100 ornaments created by local school districts have been added the tree's branches.
Ryan Loew 90.5 WESA

Visitors to the Allegheny County Courthouse this holiday season will see a few new festive embellishments. 

Along with the colorful globes that normally adorn the county’s official tree, nearly 100 ornaments created by local school districts have been added to the boughs. 

Every district in the county was invited to use recycled scrap material to create an ornament representing the district itself and one for each of the communities within its borders.

Read more
Health
4:23 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

You Could Be 20 Times More Likely to Get Cancer in Allegheny County, Study Says

A study released Thursday by local researchers finds people living in Allegheny County have a substantially higher risk of getting cancer due to simply breathing the air over the course of their life time than those who live in 20 other counties in the area.

The report from the Heinz Endowments-supported Breath Project based its findings on publicly available data looking at the predicted levels of more than 200 toxic air pollutants.

Read more

Pages