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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Public Safety
2:00 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Pittsburgh Police Respond After Actual Pressure Cooker, Not Bomb, Delivered to City Building

Pittsburgh police responded to a report that a box labeled "pressure cooker" with a Massachusetts return address was delivered to a city office building — only to find it really was a pressure cooker, ordered by an employee.

Police Lt. Shirley Sloan said the police response Wednesday was born out of an abundance of caution in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.

"It was really tense there for a while," Sloan said.

The FBI has said Monday's blasts were caused by homemade bombs crafted using pressure cookers.

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Marathon Bombings
4:44 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Pittsburgh Runners Say They're Not Deterred by Boston Bombings

Pittsburgher Karen Harr finished the Boston Marathon Monday well before the explosions that killed three and injured more than 170 people.

She could have been back at the hospitality suite in the hotel where she was staying, but a decision to head back to the medical tent to get a dose of asthma medicine put her just yards away from the blast.

Harr wasn't hurt, but she said the experience will not prompt her to hang up her running shoes. 

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Pittsburgh Marathon
2:59 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

2010 Microwave Incident Helped Prepare Pittsburgh Marathon for Emergencies

Marathon organizers across the country are examining how they can better prepare their races for an incident like the one seen this week in Boston, but much of the ground work for such a discussion was already laid in Pittsburgh following a scare at the 2010 race. 

Not long after the Pittsburgh race started that year, an abandoned microwave oven was found near the finish line, and organizers and police had to spring into action.

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Marathon Bombings
10:24 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Team of Pittsburghers Rushed to Help After Marathon Blasts

Among those at the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday when the bombs exploded was Pittsburgher John Adamczak. Adamczak has volunteered at the finish line for 20 years and leads a team of other Pittsburghers to the event each year.

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Mayoral Race
4:23 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Peduto Launches Week-Long Education Focus

Comparing this phase of his campaign to the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week,” Pittsburgh City Councilman and Democratic Mayoral Candidate Bill Peduto is rolling out a different education-related policy initiative every day this week.

The move is part of his 100 Days/100 Policies effort.

“If we lack quality public education in this city it does not mater what type of city government we have, people will not chose to live here,” Peduto said. “If we enhance public education in the city then we have the critical building block to do a whole lot more within city government.”

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Government & Politics
11:03 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Pittsburgh Airport Trash Hauler Overbilled

The company that collects the trash from businesses at the Pittsburgh International Airport is overbilling its users according to an Allegheny County Controller’s audit released Thursday.

Controller Chelsa Wagner said Allied Waste Service of Pittsburgh incorrectly billed tenants from December 2007 through August 2012 resulting in extra charges of about $195,000.

Wagner’s office launched the audit after a customer complained to the Airport Authority, which then passed the complaint to the county’s fiscal watchdog.

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Health
4:05 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Cancer Plan For Pennsylvania Built During Pittsburgh Meeting

State administrators, health care providers and researchers gathered in Pittsburgh Thursday to work on building a comprehensive plan to do battle with cancer in Pennsylvania. 

The five-year plan is required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Director Nancy Davidson said the plan is being built with the center’s input. 

Davidson said the group is using the standards put forward by the CDC to set the tone, but she stressed that it is Pennsylvania’s plan, not the CDC’s plan.

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Hockey
4:28 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

The Frozen Four's Three Games Are Just the Start of the Fun

The Frozen Four is hockey’s version of basketball’s Final Four. Tickets to all three games are sold out, but there is plenty of hockey action that can be taken in for free.
Credit Mark Nootbar / 90.5 WESA

When the NCAA brings a National championship event to town it tries to make a splash, and the Frozen Four is no exception.

“It’s cool event. I’ve been to five of them and it’s unlike any sporting event I’ve ever seen,” said Robert Morris University Associate Athletic Director Marty Galosi, whose school put in the bid to bring the event to CONSOL Energy Center.

The Frozen Four is hockey’s version of basketball’s Final Four, and just like that annual event, the athletic contests themselves are just the beginning of what fans travel hundreds of miles to see.

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Local Economy
9:51 am
Wed April 10, 2013

NCAA Frozen Four Seen as Boon to Pittsburgh Economy

On Monday night, the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four wrapped up in Atlanta with fans leaving behind an estimated $70 million dollar economic impact.

This week, Pittsburgh is hosting the NCAA men’s ice hockey final four, and while it won’t bring in $70 million, it is being seen as a boon for the local economy.

Six years ago Robert Morris University Senior Associate Athletic Director Marty Galosi decided he wanted to host the tournament, known as the Frozen Four, so he put in a bid and started to lobby.

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Carnegie International 2013
9:19 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Carnegie International Artists List Unveiled Online Via Photos, Social Media

HQ10-SL5940S Stars at glance. Sarah Lucas, Stars at a glance, 2007. Concrete shoes, bra, footballs, and cigarettes
Credit Copyright Sarah Lucas; courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London

More than 100 years ago, Andrew Carnegie launched an art museum by charging the curator of the first Carnegie International to find the “old masters of tomorrow.” 

Last week the three curators of the 2013 Carnegie International released the names of 35 artists and groups of artists from 19 countries they think live up to that challenge.

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Lottery
3:30 am
Mon April 8, 2013

PA Lawmaker Wants New Controls on Lottery Operator

As Gov. Tom Corbett continues to look for an avenue that can be used to revive a scuttled plan to lease the state’s lottery to an outside vender, state Sen. Rob Teplitz is looking to put controls in place that he thinks will keep politics out of the operation.

The Democrat from Dauphin County has introduced legislation that, among other things, would place any private lottery operator under restraints similar to those placed on casino operators. 

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Election 2013
4:59 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Black Pittsburghers Challenge Mayoral Candidates on a 'Black Agenda'

The newly formed Pittsburgh Black Political Convention will send to the four remaining Democratic mayoral candidates its “Black Agenda” later this week.
Credit Mark Nootbar / 90.5 WESA

A newly formed group hoping to improve the political clout of Pittsburgh’s black community is calling out the four remaining Democratic mayoral candidates to respond to what it is calling a “Black Agenda.”

The Pittsburgh Black Political Convention was formed this year and will send to each candidate its “Black Agenda” later this week. The candidates will then be asked not only for a written response, but also to appear for what will amount to an oral test before a community gathering in the Hill District on April 19.

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Health Care
3:25 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

SEIU, Lawmakers Sue Corbett Administration Over Planned Health Care Cuts

Updated: 5:38 p.m.

The Service Employees International Union Healthcare (SEIU) Pennsylvania, along with two Democratic state senators and three state representatives filed a lawsuit against the Corbett administration over its plan to close 26 state health centers and eliminate 73 Department of Health positions.

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Science & Technology
4:12 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

CMU Mellon Institute Designated as Chemistry Landmark

An institute formed in 1913 to help support basic chemistry research in Pittsburgh has been given Historic Landmark Status by the American Chemical Society. The Mellon Institute, which was eventually absorbed into Carnegie Mellon University, was recognized in a small ceremony Thursday for the work that went on inside its walls between the two great wars.

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Government Reform
3:30 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Government Reform Caucus Forms in Harrisburg

A newcomer to the Pennsylvania Legislature is trying to gather a group of fellow members who would at least partially define themselves as “reformers.” 

Sen. Rob Teplitz (D-Dauphin County) has joined forces with Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster County) to create what they are calling the House-Senate Government Reform Caucus.

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Homelessness
3:42 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Allegheny County Grabs $13.1 Million to Fight Homelessness

Allegheny County has an additional $13 million to spend on trying to combat homelessness in the region.  The funds come from a U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Continuum of Care grant. 

The county can use the funds to support housing and service programs including safe havens, transitional housing and permanent housing for persons with disabilities. Most of the money will be used to continue programs already being offered by the county, said Allegheny County Homeless Programs Administrator Chuck Keenan.

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Public Safety
3:30 am
Sun March 17, 2013

Are PA Schools Prepared for Emergencies? Lawmakers Want to Know

Pennsylvania lawmakers are asking schools at all levels to help them understand how they are preparing for an emergency like the one seen at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. 

Senate members decided to explore the topic after a hearing last month on school safety raised more questions about emergency planning in child care centers, buses and colleges than it answered.

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South Side Shuttle
3:23 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Free Shuttle to Take Pressure off South Side Parking and Traffic

A free shuttle will be added this weekend to the fleet of PAT buses that ply the South Side.
Credit South Side Chamber of Commerce

It’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Pittsburgh, and that means thousands of area residents will be headed downtown for the parade. Thousands will also make their way to the South Side for a bit of celebrating. 

The revelry usually leads to near-gridlock conditions on East Carson Street, but the city hopes a new shuttle bus will help relieve the pressure.

Three buses will run from noon to 4 a.m. along Carson Street every 15 minutes between the Southside works and the city’s Second Avenue lot at the 10th Street Bridge. 

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Education & Learning
12:47 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Quarter Million Taken From Butler Catholic Church

A former secretary and bookkeeper at Holy Sepulcher School in Butler has been formally arraigned today on theft of funds charges. Officials at the Diocese of Pittsburgh said forensic audits found that as much as $250,000 was taken from the school by Lynn Tomlinson over a six-year period.

“With the assistance of diocesan auditors, we undertook a thorough financial investigation. Major diversions of school tuition, receipts and scrip purchases were revealed,” wrote Father Gizler, pastor of Holy Sepulcher, in a letter sent Thursday to parishioners and school parents. 

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Government & Politics
4:44 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Wagner and Four Other New Names Enter Mayoral Race

Jack Wagner meets with reporters after filing his nominating petitions to run for Mayor in the Democratic primary.
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

There are now seven candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for Pittsburgh Mayor.

Joining Bill Peduto and Michael Lamb, who have been running for months, are State Senator Jim Ferlo, State Representative Jake Wheatley, City Council President Darlene Harris, Community Activist A.J. Richardson and former Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner. 

Wagner filed his nominating petitions two-and-a-half hours before Tuesday’s deadline.

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CCAC
10:02 am
Fri March 8, 2013

CCAC Teachers get a Raise

Teachers at the Community College of Allegheny County will be getting a few more dollars next year as they send their students to the CCAC North Library.
Credit CCAC North Library

The Community College of Allegheny County has approved a three percent raise for about 330 faculty union members.  The deal with Local 2067 of the American Federation of Teachers is for one year only.

The trustees of the school unanimously approved the plan on Thursday night. The deal comes with a price tag of $650,000 in the 2013-14 school year.

CCAC spokesman David Hoovler said annual salaries across the bargaining unit average $65,000.

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Art From the Ground Up
4:29 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

The Pillow Project "Experiments" in The East End

The improvisational, free jazz movement, performance group know as The Pillow Project performs the second Saturday of each month in the East End.
Credit The Pillow Project

It began nearly ten years ago as “an evolving experiment for improvisational free jazz movement, performance-happenings and new ideas in dance,” and The Pillow Project has never wandered far from its roots. 

Pearlann Porter heads the group that sees the word “jazz” as a verb. The group gathers the second Saturday of every month at “The Space Upstairs” in Pittsburgh's East End to perform.  Project members call the studio in a repurposed warehouse a “4,000 square foot canvas where audiences and artists interact.”

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Arts & Culture
9:20 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

125 Year Old Allegheny County Courthouse to Get Facelift

An effort to rehabilitate the Allegheny County Courthouse will include plans to stop leaks that could ruin original artwork.
Credit Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

With a grand goal of restoring the Allegheny County Courthouse but few details and even less funding, an effort to rehabilitate the 125 year old building was launched Wednesday by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.  The executive has named a committee chock full of current and former elected officials to spearhead the effort.

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Weather
9:14 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Saturn Drops 6 Inches of Snow on Pittsburgh Region

The wet snow associated with winter storm Saturn made for great snowmen.
Credit Russ Lyod / 90.5 WESA

By mid morning Wednesday, the snow had moved out of the Pittsburgh region and most of the city’s streets were treated.  Pittsburgh Public Works crews used 62 trucks overnight and into the morning to clear the blanket of heavy wet snow.   

Public Works Director Rob Kaczorowski reminded city residents to be careful when they start to clean their cars, sidewalks and drive ways and asks that home owners not just to drop the snow anywhere.

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Public Safety
5:00 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

City Council Holds Public Hearing on Ideal Qualities of Next Police Chief

Pittsburgh City Council will hold a post-agenda meeting and public hearing Wednesday, March 6 to discuss what qualities should be sought in the next Pittsburgh Chief of Police.

The hearing was arranged at the request of the Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP) in conjunction with several supporting organizations to address relations between the community and the police, said Tim Stevens, chairman and CEO of B-PEP. 

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Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh
2:25 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

The "Light is on" For Catholics to Confess Wednesday

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is hoping confessionals like these will be well used Wednesday.
Credit Kim Tyo-Dickerson/Flickr

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is hoping a special focus on the Sacrament of Reconciliation this week will bring more worshipers into the church.  The diocese is making sure all 203 of its parishes are open for confession Wednesday night from 6:00 to 9:00.

The diocese is marking the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops-sponsored “The Light is on for You” campaign aimed at calling Catholics to the Sacrament of Confession.

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Education & Learning
1:28 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Specter Collection Comes To Pitt to be Archived

The senatorial archives of Arlen Specter will soon be housed at the University of Pittsburgh.

The 2,700 boxes of documents amassed by U.S. Senator Arlen Specter over his 30-year career in the Senate are coming to Pittsburgh to be archived. The papers currently reside at Philadelphia University but the school has reached an agreement with the University of Pittsburgh to take on the collection.

Philadelphia University has never worked with such a large collection so it began looking for a partner after Specter handed over the documents.

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Election 2013
3:00 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

The Race for Mayor of Pittsburgh Continues Without Ravenstahl

With Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s announcement that he is withdrawing from the campaign, the race for the mayor’s office has, for now, become a two-man contest but neither candidate believes their tactics over the next three months will change much.

Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb, who along with Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto, is running for the mayor’s office.

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Government & Politics
11:00 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Pittsburgh Mayor Ravenstahl to Meet With Reporters at 11:00

After days of rumors and at least 24 hours of nearly constant media scrutiny, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has scheduled a news conference for 11:00 Friday morning.  The Mayor is expected to outline his plans for the future and will most likely be questioned about his plans for the upcoming election and the remaining 10 months of his first full term in office.

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Government & Politics
3:54 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Melvin Conviction Could Lead to Judicial Election Changes

Judges of the Pennsylvania Superior Court could someday be chosen through a merit system rather than partisan elections.
Credit Unified Judicial System of PA

The conviction of suspended Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin on campaign corruption charges is being used as a springboard by an activist group looking to end partisan elections for judges.  Melvin was found guilty of misusing state-paid staff to help run her campaign for the state’s highest court.

“You realize there is something fundamentally wrong with the way we are choosing judges, “said Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts Executive Director Lynn Marks.  “After all this could only happen in a system where we elect judges.”

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