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.

 

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University of Pittsburgh
12:35 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg to Leave in 2014

University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg will leave his post in the summer of 2014.
Credit University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh will soon be looking for a new chancellor.  Mark Nordenberg told the University’s Board of Trustees Friday that he will leave the post in the summer of 2014.

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Penn State
1:42 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

State Lawmakers Push for Debate on PSU Oversight

Nearly eight months ago, then state Auditor General Jack Wagner issued a long list of recommendations that he thought would provide for more oversight of the operation of Penn State University. Most of those recommendations have not been adopted, but Democrats in the state Senate are pushing to change that.

“We are calling upon our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to have that conversation with us over the course summer and the fall,” said Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny).

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Pennsylvania Budget
9:49 am
Thu June 27, 2013

PA Dems Won't Let Medicaid Debate Die

As the budget battle comes to a boil in Harrisburg, the fight over Medicaid expansion is heating up right along side it.  

Lawmakers for the most part are split along party lines with Republicans supporting Gov. Tom Corbett’s decision to not opt into the federal government’s offer, while Democrats are calling for the state to expand the program as soon as possible.

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Health
3:37 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Study: Weight Loss Does Not Lower Cardiovascular Risks ... Or Does it?

The longest study of the link between obesity among Type 2 diabetes patients and cardiovascular disease recently wrapped up, and it found that among the 5,145 participants, losing weight did not improve their chances of having hospital stays due to things like chest pain and heart attacks. 

However, researchers warn there is much more to the study once you start to dig a little deeper.

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State Budget
5:46 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Poll Shows Voters Support More State Education Funding

An education funding advocacy group says it has polling data that shows Pennsylvanians place public education high on their priority list and would not mind paying higher income or sales taxes to better support school.

Public Citizens for Children and Youth and the left-leaning Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center commissioned the Lake Researcher Partners poll.

The poll found that 56 percent of all respondents have a favorable opinion of public schools, and 48 percent said they were very concerned about funding for the schools.

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Science & Technology
12:22 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Highmark and CMU Look to 'Disrupt' Healthcare Industry

Highmark Inc. and its recently formed healthcare arm Allegheny Health Network are hoping Carnegie Mellon University will be able to dive into the systems’ terabytes of patient care and payment data to find industry changing breakthroughs. 

CMU’s Allen Russell will head the Disruptive Healthcare Technology Institute. He believes the healthcare industry, as a whole, has been resistant to what he calls “disruptive change,” like what the mobile phone did for communications or the personal computer did for mainframe computing.

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History
3:04 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

At 249 Years Old, the Block House is Holding Strong

The Block House in Point State Park is approaching 250 years old is said to be in good condition.
Credit Roy Engelbrecht

The oldest man-made structure in Pittsburgh is looking pretty good, according to a local architecture firm hired to assess the Block House in Point State Park.

The building will celebrate its 250th year in 2014, and its owners are hoping to spruce it up a bit before blowing up the balloons and cutting the cake.

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Transportation
1:09 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Report Says Traffic Delays in Pittsburgh Cost Commuters $1 Billion a Year

Drivers experience mid-day traffic at the corner of Grant Street and Sixth Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh.
Haldan Kirsch 90.5 WESA

If you find yourself sitting in traffic on the Liberty Bridge every day you might be losing $56 a week thanks to that congestion. 

The national transportation spending advocacy group TRIP (The Road Information Program) released its report of the most costly congestion in Pittsburgh this week and found that in total, Pittsburghers are losing $1 billion a year thanks to poor road conditions and design. 

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Linking Students
7:25 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Video Conference Unites Students on Three Continents

High school students from the Pittsburgh area participating in the World Affairs Council Summer Summit watch a video link as students in South Africa describe a typical school day.
Credit Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Discrimination, school funding and teen pregnancy grabbed the attention of high school students from around the world who gathered for a World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh-sponsored video conference Wednesday.

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Economy & Business
4:46 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Sen. Casey Wants to Get Tough on Senior Scammers

According to the latest numbers from the Federal Trade Commission, 26 percent of all securities fraud is perpetrated against seniors, but seniors only represent 14 percent of the nation’s population.

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State Government
3:33 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Three Female Lawmakers Call for Political Change in Wake of Abortion Legislation

Calling it an “overreach” of the state’s power and a “new frontier,” three female members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives are blasting recently passed legislation that would prohibit insurance companies from offering policies that cover abortion services in the soon-to-be-launched Pennsylvania health exchange. 

Reps. Erin Molchany (D-Allegheny), Madeline Dean (D-Montgomery) and Mary Jo Daley (D-Montgomery) said the solution might lie in the next election cycle.

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Summer Learning
3:30 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Why Do Schools Take a Summer Vacation?

Students are photographed at Chartiers Elementary School, June 21, 1916. In 1895 Pennsylvania became one of the first states to mandate school attendance, and a summer break was institutionalized.
Courtesy Detre Library & Archives, Senator John Heinz History Center

When you ask most Americans why children get a break from school in the summer you usually get one of two answers. 

Warren Sullivan of Hermitage provided the most popular answer while visiting Pittsburgh last month: “I think it was agriculture wasn’t it? I mean, it’s probably the season … a few generations ago anyway.”

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Blight
2:32 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Allegheny County Seeks to Fight Blight with Recovery Program

Allegheny County is hoping to fight blight by offering as much as a $3,000 discount to anyone looking to take ownership and improve abandon properties.

The Allegheny County Vacant Property Recovery Program usually charges individuals or entities that want to acquire the properties the assessed value of the parcel plus about $3,000 in fees. Between now and July 15 the county will waive between $1,600 and all of the fees.

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Community
1:22 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Local Charity Wants to Send Life-Saving Nebulizers to Developing Countries

An asthmatic child in Latin American village gasps for air, struggling to breath. The mother has gotten her son to a medical clinic where she knows the life saving medicine is stored, but she has to endure an agonizing wait as another child gets treatment from the only nebulizer machine in the district.

In the meantime, thousands of the machines that aspirate the liquid medication for inhalation sit on shelves in southwestern Pennsylvania, gathering dust never to be used again. 

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Community
3:36 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

United Way of Allegheny County Breaks $33 Million

The United Way of Allegheny County filled a ballroom in a downtown hotel Wednesday with supporters and then announced it exceeded its 2012 fundraising goal. The total from the campaign hit $33,211,190, which is 2.7 percent more than last year’s total.

“Our record over the last five years prior to this year is that our community, the Pittsburgh community, has out raised the rest of the nation,” said local United Way President Bob Nelkin. “During that period of time we went up 12.7 percent. The rest of the big United Ways in the nation were down 4.4 percent.”

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Transportation
2:03 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Report: Bad Roads and Transit Costs Average Pittsburgher Driver $1,418 a Year

A recent report from a Washington D.C.-based think tank found that poor conditions of the region’s transportation infrastructure and mass transit systems cost the average Pittsburgh driver $1,418 a year.
Credit Mark Nootbar / 90.5 WESA

The latest report from a Washington D.C.-based pro-transportation investment think tank finds the average Pittsburgh driver is losing $1,418 a year due to the poor conditions of the region’s transportation infrastructure and mass transit systems. 

The Road Information Program (TRIP) Policy and Research Director Frank Moretti said that comes in the form of gas and time wasted sitting in traffic congestion, accidents due at least in part to poor road conditions and design, and fuel inefficiency and undue wear and tear on vehicles due to bad road conditions.

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Health
3:30 am
Tue May 28, 2013

New Drug Explored at Pitt Could Stomp Out Asthma

A new study out of the University of Pittsburgh may have found a way to treat asthma in patients that were not responding well to any other form of treatment.

“This is perhaps the most remarkable efficacy study in asthma in the last 20 years,” said the study’s senior author and University of Pittsburgh Asthma Institute Director, Sally Wenzel.

The study used the injectable drug dupilumab, which blocks part of the immune system. For 12 weeks, 100 patients were randomized to either take the drug or a placebo.

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Health
3:30 am
Mon May 27, 2013

Could Drug Treatment Before Diabetes Slow the Disease?

A researcher at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh is hoping to slow the progression of Type 2 diabetes by treating children before they get sick. The hospital will serve as one of six sites in a study that looks to be more proactive in the treatment of the illness.

“Give them medications to see if we can rest the pancreas and preserve the beta cell function and prevent the progression to full-blown or severe diabetes,” said principal investigator and University of Pittsburgh Pediatric Endocrinologist Silva Arslanian. 

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Mayoral Election
4:39 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Peduto Says He's Ready to Make Changes, Break From Ravenstahl

Pittsburgh mayoral candidate Bill Peduto gathered reporters Wednesday just hours after Democratic voters chose him over three other candidates in Tuesday’s primary, and already he is looking at how the structure of the city will change.

As he prepares for a general election that is all but assured to go his way, Peduto said he plans to start looking at every aspect of the city’s operations.

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School Board
10:40 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Big Changes Coming to Pittsburgh School Board

There will be a slew of new faces on the Pittsburgh Public School Board come January despite every incumbent board member on Tuesday’s ballot claiming victory.

It was the odd number districts that were up for election this year and of the five incumbents that could have run for reelection, only one did.  In District 3, incumbent Thomas Sumpter ran unopposed and thus was assured re-election. 

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Oklahoma Tornado
3:58 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Pittsburgh-Based Charity Helps in Oklahoma

A Pittsburgh-based charity better known for working in Third World countries is lending a hand in Oklahoma in the wake of Monday's devastating tornado.

“Because of the magnitude, Brother’s Brother really felt a need to respond,” said Liam Carstens, Brother’s Brother Foundation Vice President for Medical Programs.  

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Election 2013
11:58 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Polls Open But Not Busy for Primary Election

Jack Wagner supporter Colman Mazur (in blue, facing camera) is surrounded by Bill Peduto backers at a polling place on East North Street.
Mark Nootbaar 90.5 WESA

The polls are open in Pennsylvania, and so far there have been no reports of voting abnormalities in southwestern Pennsylvania. Turnout at most voting places has been light.

Officials expect to see about 20 percent of registered voters across the state cast a ballot. That number is expected to be a bit higher in Pittsburgh where a hotly contested mayoral race could boost the numbers.  

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Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese
2:32 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Former Pittsburgh Priest Charged with Child Porn Possession

A federal grand jury has indicted a former Pittsburgh-area priest on a charge of possessing child pornography.

The one-count indictment against David Dzermejko of Braddock for “possession of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor” was unsealed Friday.

The indictment alleges that “on or about January 11, 2013, Dzermejko possessed visual depictions, namely, still images in computer graphics files, the production of which involved the use of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.”

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Election 2013
6:02 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Primary Primer: Learn More About Pittsburgh's Mayoral Candidates

Credit BillPeduto.com

Elected Positions Held: District 8 Pittsburgh City Councilman, 2002-Present

Other Occupations of Note: Chief of staff to former City Councilman Dan Cohen.

Education: BA Penn State University, MA University of Pittsburgh

Top Issues:
Economic Development: Peduto plans to take the model of community-based development to all city neighborhoods by landing state and federal grant support, modernizing zoning laws and improving transit.

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Government & Politics
1:00 am
Mon May 20, 2013

To Wear a Helmet or Not Wear a Helmet? That's Still the Question

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in Pennsylvania, and while everyone wants to keep riders safe, how to best do that is still up for debate in the commonwealth.

When Gov. Tom Corbett declared May Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month he encouraged riders to head to the PennDOT-sponsored website livefreeridealive.com to get tips on how to stay safe while riding. Along with tips such as wearing sturdy shoes and checking tire pressure, it also recommends that riders wear a helmet.

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