Michael Lynch

News Fellow

The Erie, PA native has been a fellow in the WESA news department since May 2013. Having earned a bachelor's degree in print journalism from Duquesne University, he is now pursuing an M.A. in multi-media management. Michael describes his career aspiration as "I want to do it all in journalism."

Personal fun facts:  "a typical Penguins' and Pirates' fan; inaugural recipient of the Roy McHugh Prize for Writing Excellence, and vinyl record collector.

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Veterans
2:00 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Proposed Property Tax Break for Disabled Veterans

A Pennsylvania state lawmaker is pushing for legislation that would allow disabled veterans to receive a real estate tax exemption regardless of the severity of their disability.

Currently, Pennsylvania offers an “all-or-nothing” program, where veterans who are 100 percent disabled receive a complete property tax exemption and those who are 80 or 90 percent disabled get nothing.

State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) said the tax exemption should be proportional to the percentage of disability.

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Tech Workforce
2:12 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Pittsburgh Technology Council Tries to 'Win the Talent War'

Nearly one in four workers (23 percent) in the Pittsburgh region is employed by the technology industry comprising about 29 percent of the city’s total wages at $16.9 billion, according to the Pittsburgh Technology Council (PTC).

To help "win today's talent war" the PTC is introducing several initiatives to assist tech firms in attracting new workers including launching the redesigned online Career Connector. The site claims it's the “largest Pittsburgh region technology-specific job board” with more than 10,000 searchable resumes already available.

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Food
1:19 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Can Food Trucks Help Solve Pittsburgh's Food Desert Dilemma?

Food trucks are commonplace in cities such as Los Angeles or New York, but Pittsburgh has had a hard time embracing the mobile eateries.

All that could change with Farm Truck Foods.

Awesome Pittsburgh, which gives grants to people "with brilliant ideas," this week awarded the company $1,000 for its proposed solution to the city’s food desert dilemma.

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Government & Politics
3:30 am
Mon April 14, 2014

State Senate Passes 'Kelsey Smith Act'

The Pennsylvania Senate Tuesday approved a measure that could change the way law enforcement officials use cell phones to locate missing people.

The legislation, introduced by Sen. Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny/Butler) would require wireless providers to locate the cell phones of missing people at the request of police, bypassing the subpoena process.

Vulakovich said the bill would allow police to get the information they need almost immediately.

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Clean Air Act
3:30 am
Mon April 14, 2014

DEP Urges EPA To Change Clean Air Act

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has proposed what it believes to be a “win-win” situation for the environment and existing power plants.

The DEP has submitted a proposal to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking for more state flexibility when it comes to carbon dioxide emission standards for existing fossil fuel-fired power plants in competitive energy markets and a change in how pollutants are measured.

The DEP wants to make some changes to the New Source Review (NSR) provisions under the Clean Air Act.

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Small Business Outlook
3:30 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Pennsylvania Small Businesses Expected To Hire, Report Shows

The future is looking a little bit brighter for Pennsylvania small businesses, according to a PNC survey.

The bi-annual report shows 13 percent of small and mid-sized businesses in the state will look to hire more full-time employees in the next six months. But 7 percent of business owners plan to reduce their full-time staff.

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Government & Politics
2:51 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

April Is Limb Loss Awareness Month

Claire Matzie was born without her right hand and has since lost the majority of that arm. She’s gone through three different prosthetic limbs since she her birth 12 years ago, but decided to stop wearing them in 2011.

She said they got in the way.

“[She’s] my inspiration; the love of my life,” Claire’s father, state Rep. Rob Matzie (D-Beaver/Allegheny), said before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives last week.

The House unanimously approved a resolution proposed by Matzie that designates April 2014 as “Limb Loss Awareness Month.”

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Revenue Shortfall
1:00 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Pennsylvania Tax And Revenue Collections Continue To Fall Short

Three months until the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year, Pennsylvania’s revenue collections are 0.5  percent short of estimates.

The Department of Revenue reports  through the first nine months of FY 13-14 it has collected  $20.5 billion — $96.3 million behind approximations — but spokeswoman Elizabeth Brassell said that number “disguises the fiscal reality.”

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Public Safety
8:15 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Gun Forum Calls for Owner Responsibility and Government Involvement

The League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh (LWVGP) has released the results of a study of gun violence in the region and the results are wide ranging and at times a bit confusing.

The League held a forum in October involving 150 participants from different backgrounds, and spent the past months reviewing the findings.

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Science & Technology
3:30 am
Mon March 31, 2014

This CMU-Built, Trash-Talking Robot Wants To Beat You At Scrabble

Victor, created by a research professor at Carnegie Mellon University, is the latest in a series of social robots designed to study human-robot interaction.
Credit Courtesy Carnegie Mellon University

Victor sits in the lounge of Carnegie Mellon University’s computer science building ready to take on anyone in a game of Scrabble.

He’s cocky, and his taunts can be heard across the room.

“Is that all you’ve got?” he shouts from behind his virtual Scrabble board.

Victor has an attitude not atypical of a 17-year-old college freshman. But here's the thing: He’s a robot.

Created by Reid Simmons, a research professor at CMU’s Robotics Institute, Victor is the latest in a series of social robots designed as a tool to study human-robot interaction.

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Autism Awareness
3:21 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Cathedral Of Learning To Shine Blue For Autism Awareness

If you’re traveling around Pittsburgh next Wednesday, you might be seeing blue, as more than a dozen buildings across the city are shining a light on autism, including the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning.

The cathedral is one of more than 8,400 buildings and landmarks around the world are participating in this year’s “Light It Up Blue” campaign to raise autism awareness, including Pittsburgh’s Gulf Tower, BNY Melon Building, and the Carnegie Science Center.

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Health
2:17 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Can Texting Lead To Better Concussion Treatments?

Text messaging can serve a variety of purposes, from casually chatting with friends to ordering a pizza, but what about monitoring concussion symptoms?

Some, like researcher Stephanie Huang think it could be a tool for providing more personalized health care.

Thanks to a grant from the Pittsburgh Emergency Medicine Foundation, the first-year student from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School is coming to Pittsburgh to see if texting is a more effective way of getting patients to monitor their own concussion treatments.

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Government & Politics
3:30 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Senate Makes No Decision On PA Adoption Bill

Two groups that are often in opposition are now working together to kill a bill making its way through the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference are butting heads with legislators over House Bill 162, which would give adopted adults access to their original birth certificates, including the names of their birth parents.

For the ACLU and the Catholic Conference, it’s an issue of privacy, but for Sens. LeAnna Washington (D-Philadelphia) and Judy Schwank (D-Berks) it’s a matter of civil rights.

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Government & Politics
3:06 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Legislation Could Raise PA Minimum Wage to $10.10 Per Hour

A Pennsylvania lawmaker is pushing for legislation that would increase the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour over the next two years.

Under Senate Bill 1300, the minimum wage would jump to $8.20 an hour beginning July 1, 2014. On Jan. 1, 2015, wages would increase again to $9.50 an hour and then $10.10 an hour one year later.

The bill’s sponsor, State Sen. Tina Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia), said after that, it will be up to local governments to set the wage.

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Health
10:36 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Researchers Conclude That For Sepsis Treatment, It's Not How Agressive, It's How Soon

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have concluded that a standardized approach to diagnosing and treating sepsis in its early stages does not affect survival rates.

The five-year, $8.4 million study examined 1,351 patients with septic shock in 31 hospitals across the U.S. and found no difference in treatment effectiveness.

Dr. Donald Yealy, chair of Pitt’s Department of Emergency Medicine, was one of the lead researchers in the study. He said it doesn’t matter what type of treatment a patient receives, as long as it’s early.

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Health
3:30 am
Mon March 17, 2014

'Project 22' Releases Official Trailer

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs released a report last year stating that an estimated 22 veterans commit suicide every day.

That number hit home for Marine Sgt. Daniel Egbert and Army Sgt. Matt King; both of whom served in Iraq. The two set out on a 22-day road trip from Los Angeles to Ground Zero in New York, producing a documentary focused on raising awareness about veteran suicide.

That documentary is "Project 22."

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Culture
12:14 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Parade To Pack Downtown Pittsburgh This Weekend

Pittsburgh’s colors may be black and gold, but they’ll soon be replaced by green and gold, as one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the country prepares to take the streets.

Starting Saturday at 10 a.m., more than 23,000 participants, including some Olympic athletes, will march downtown along Grant Street and The Boulevard of the Allies.

Joining in the festivities this year are four-time Olympian and three-time medalist Lauryn Williams and gold medal-winning Irish Olympian Michael Carruth.

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Education
2:41 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

CCAC To Offer Early Retirement Incentives, Close Child Care Centers

Community College of Allegheny County trustees unanimously approved a proposal on Thursday that would help chip away at the school’s $3 million deficit.

CCAC will offer early retirement incentives and close its four childcare centers in an effort to cut costs.

CCAC spokeswoman Elizabeth Johnston said it’s unknown how many employees will take the early retirement option, but several hundred could be eligible.

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Health
3:30 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Study Shows Teen Stress Levels Higher Than Adults

Being a teenager is stressful — that’s no secret. But according to a report released this month by the American Psychological Association, U.S. teens are even more stressed out than their parents.

During the school year, teens report stress levels that exceed what they believe to be healthy. On a 10-point scale, teens experience a stress level of about 5.8, while adults said their levels sit at 5.1.

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Health
3:30 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Pittsburgh United Releases Report On UPMC Wages

Representatives of several organizations are set to gather outside of UPMC headquarters today to lobby in support of wage increases—and they might have some economic ammunition.

According to a report by the activist organization Pittsburgh United, raising wages to $15 an hour for UPMC service workers could benefit the region’s economy.

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Government & Politics
4:41 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Casey Pushing For Drug Abuse Legislation

Saying Pennsylvania is in a prescription and drug abuse crisis, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) is pushing for legislation to study and fight opioid abuse.

The Prescription Drug Abuse Act would include training for practitioners, state grants for drug abuse education, and the creation of a national registry to track opioid related deaths.

Pennsylvania has the third highest rate of heroin abuse in the U.S. and ranks 14th in drug overdose mortality, according to state Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

Casey said the state’s drug abuse problem is too large to ignore.

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Government & Politics
12:29 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

County Councilman Asks For $15 Million For August Wilson Center

Allegheny County Councilman Bill Robinson (D-Hill District) is asking for $10 million to $15 million in capital funds from the city and county to bail out the financially strapped August Wilson Center for African American Culture.

About $7 million would be used to pay off the center’s unpaid bills, including its mortgage, and keep the facility, which is facing liquidation. The legislation was introduced in County Council by Robinson who did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

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Public Safety
10:27 am
Thu February 20, 2014

League of Women Voters To Host Gun Safety Forum

The League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh (LWVGP) wants to talk about guns--not just ballot boxes.

The citizens' organization is holding its second Gun Safety in a Free Society event on Wednesday Feb. 26 at the Kingsley Center on Frankstown Ave.

Best known for its candidates' forums and election guides for voters, the League will address issues such as gun safety, teenage gun violence, and how to keep guns out of the wrong hands in Allegheny County.

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Transportation
12:56 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Pittsburgh Continues to Struggle with Salt Supply

The city of Pittsburgh could see as much as 4 inches of snow Monday night, according to the National Weather Service, and city officials are worried salt supplies won’t keep up.

The city is expected to receive a 500-ton shipment of rock salt Monday and Tuesday from its supplier, American Rock Salt. This morning, the city had less than 100 tons of salt.

Chief Operations Officer Guy Costa said the city uses between 800 and 1,000 tons of rock salt for every inch of snow on the roads.

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Government & Politics
3:30 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Civil Rights Group Holds Hearing On Voter Issues

As primary elections draw near, the National Commission on Voting Rights has been holding a series of hearings across the country to address issues such as voter registration, voting discrimination and ballot accessibility for those with disabilities.

Voters and voting rights activists gathered in Philadelphia last week to share their experiences and the challenges they face when going to the polls.

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