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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Environment & Energy
9:59 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Report Suggests Some PA Well Operators Are In Violation Of Federal Law

Dozens of oil and gas companies across 12 states, including Pennsylvania, are using prohibited diesel fuels in hydraulic fracking, according to a report released Wednesday by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP).

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Government & Politics
3:45 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Casey Seeking $10M To Cut Down On Backlogged Black Lung Claims

Late last month, Deputy Labor Secretary Chris Lu announced that his department would seek a nearly $3 million funding increase for the Office of Administrative Law Judges to handle a growing backlog of black lung benefits claims.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) will send a letter to the Obama administration Thursday requesting an additional $10 million that would go towards hiring 20 new Administrative Law Judges.

Casey said the office needs to drastically increase its budget to keep up with the growing backlog of black lung claims.

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Community
12:24 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Pittsburgh Humanitarian Groups Send Ebola Aid To Africa

An international humanitarian aid organization in Pittsburgh is assembling medical supply kits for healthcare workers treating Ebola patients in Africa.

Global Links has collected an estimated 1,000 gloves, goggles, gowns and masks; nearly all donated as surplus equipment from regional healthcare facilities.

“Through hospitals, through other health organizations, 95 percent of everything we send are recovered materials that would often end up in the landfill if we weren’t taking it,” Global Links CEO Kathleen Hower said.

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Government & Politics
4:13 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

U.S. Reps. Rothfus, Murphy Calling For VA Transparency

In November, the U.S. Dept. of Justice completed an investigation into six Legionnaires’ disease-related deaths at the Pittsburgh Veteran’s Affairs Healthcare System, and found no VA employees were criminally liable.

Now, U.S. Reps. Keith Rothfus (R-PA-12) and Tim Murphy (R-PA-18), along with House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation Chairman Mike Coffman (R-CO-6) are calling for “full and open accounting” of administrative disciplinary actions taken against the VA employees.

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Energy
4:59 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Pennsylvania Electric Companies Look To Raise Rates

Penn Power and West Penn Power customers could pay more for their electricity beginning this fall.

The companies, subsidiaries of FirstEnergy, filed rate hike requests with the state Public Utility Commission (PUC) Monday.

West Penn Power, which serves about 720,000 customers, is seeking an increase of more than $115 million per year. If approved, average residential customers would see a nearly 15 percent increase—or $13.26—in their monthly bill.

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Religion & Faith
1:08 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Pray for Peace in Point State Park

Representatives of Pittsburgh’s Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities will gather at Point State Park Wednesday for a 15-minute silent prayer vigil focused on ending violence and conflict.

Starting at noon, participants will hold white flowers and pray for peace in Central America, Ukraine, and elsewhere. The ceremony will end a quarter hour later with the ringing of a bell.

Helene Paharik, associate general secretary with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, said the prayer will not include any spoken words or speeches.

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Life of Learning
3:30 am
Tue August 5, 2014

CMU, Google Team Up To Improve Online Education

Carnegie Mellon University and Google are teaming up to make Massive Open Online Courses more engaging.
Credit Mathieu Plourde / Flickr

There are more than 7 million students around the world enrolled in some 12,000 Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, with topics ranging from oil and acrylic painting techniques to developmental artificial intelligence.

But, MOOCs aren’t your typical online classes. They’re free; they don’t go towards earning a degree; and, rarely are there assignments, but therein lies the problem.

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School Funding
5:01 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Corbett Upset With House Delay in Vote To Fund Philadelphia Schools With Cigarette Tax

Pennsylvania House Republican leaders today called off a vote planned for next week that would authorize a cigarette tax to fund Philadelphia schools in the coming year.

The bill would impose a two-dollar-a-pack tax on cigarettes to help close a $93 million budget gap that could delay the start of Philadelphia’s school year, leading to larger class sizes and employee layoffs.

Gov. Tom Corbett disagreed with the House decision and plans to talk with GOP leaders about their next move.

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Community
12:33 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Bayer Pulls Mt. Washington Ad; Nonprofit Looks To Revitalize Hillside

Bayer Corp. decided to pull the plug on its 30-foot tall Mt. Washington sign Thursday, ending a 21-year-old contract with Lamar Advertising.

With the future of the billboard up in the air, nonprofit group Scenic Pittsburgh is asking for community input via a Facebook survey.

Mike Dawida, Scenic Pittsburgh executive director, said the majority of people polled want to see some kind of change made to the more than 90-year-old sign.

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Transportation
3:49 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Pittsburgh Parking Rates Increase Friday

Parking rates are scheduled to rise August, 1
Credit 90.5 WESA's Michael Lynch

More than two dozen Pittsburgh Parking Authority (PPA) lots and garages across the city are increasing rates Friday.

The increases vary by location. All-day parking at the Third Avenue Garage will jump from $12.75 to $16; the Oliver Garage will rise $4.25 to $17; and, the Mellon Square and Smithfield-Liberty garages will remain the most expensive city-owned parking structures in the city at $18.

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Environment & Energy
2:50 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Coal Supporters Rally At Highmark Stadium

Coal supporters listen to a speech by Chris Hamilton, senior vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association.
Credit Michael Lynch / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania is the fourth-largest coal-producing state in the nation and Fred Hails, a fifth-generation coal miner from Washington County, wants to see it stay that way.

“You’re going to see rolling blackouts,” he said. “You’re going to have high electric bills, and I don’t see the sense in shipping our jobs overseas and buying back energy to support our country.”

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Economy & Business
3:38 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Passenger Traffic Continues To Fall At Pittsburgh International Airport

Pittsburgh International Airport added three new flights this year with hopes of increasing passenger traffic, but according to airport reports, the number of passengers rolling through Pittsburgh has dropped 21 percent since 2006.

Eight years ago, 9,949,049 passengers traveled through the airport. In 2013, that number has fallen to 7,854,181.

Ashley Henry Shook, an Allegheny County Airport Authority board member, said the numbers tend to fluctuate throughout the year.

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Community
3:53 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Cheetahs Make Debut At Pittsburgh Zoo

Two of the cheetahs prepare to leave their temporary habitat.
90.5 WESA's Michael Lynch

Ajamu, Ramses, Nalah and Zola arrived in the U.S. from Africa more than six months ago, but today, the four young cheetahs made their first public appearance at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium.

The cats moved slowly from their temporary habitat into their new 7,500 square-foot enclosure next to the African Overlook. But within minutes, the world’s fastest land animals showed just how quick they can be, sprinting their way around the new surroundings.

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Witness identification
10:43 am
Fri July 25, 2014

DA Wants Pittsburgh Police To Change Eyewitness ID Procedures

Prosecutors must approve felony arrest warrants issued by Pittsburgh police because of concerns expressed by Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala over the bureau’s eyewitness identification procedures.

In a letter to city officials, Zappala wrote that Pittsburgh police must adopt eyewitness identification procedures outlined by the Allegheny County Chiefs of Police Association by August 16. If not, eyewitnesses might be used to establish a suspect, but the information provided could not be used to charge an individual.

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Transportation
2:43 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Shop n' Charge, Local Mall Unveils Electric Car Charging Stations

Pennsylvania ranks 19th in number of public electric car charging stations with 270 outlets—make that 274.

The Mall at Robinson Thursday unveiled four new car charging stations powered by solar panels mounted above the mall’s food court entrance.

Mall General Manager Beth Edwards said the stations take about 2 hours to fully charge an empty battery. That’s six times faster than the average at-home charge.

The solar panels are “actually offsetting the eight kilowatts that are needed for four full charges of the station,” Edwards said.

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Economy & Business
3:43 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Number Of Pre-Baccalaureate Workers Expected To Rise In Healthcare Industry

Workers with an Associate’s degree or less make up more than half of the total healthcare workforce in the U.S., according to a report released today by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, and those numbers are expected to climb.

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Government & Politics
4:33 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

U.S. Faces Backlog of Black Lung Benefits Claims

Health professionals, lawyers and U.S. senators met in Washington Tuesday to explore the challenges faced by coal miners suffering from black lung disease.

The U.S. Department of Labor will look to hire two administrative law judges and bring back a retired judge in Pittsburgh in 2015 to handle growing black lung claims, according to Deputy Labor Secretary Chris Lu.

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Health
3:30 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Pitt Study Explores Treating Depression Over The Phone

About 400,000 coronary artery bypass graft surgeries are performed in the U.S. each year, and roughly one in five patients goes on to experience clinical depression. But all that could change because of a telephone.

According to University of Pittsburgh researchers, monitoring patient depression and administering a nurse-led intervention via a phone call bi-weekly not only improves quality of life and mood, but it’s also cost-effective and cost-saving.

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Economy & Business
10:00 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Study Says Walkability Attracts Millenials

Pittsburgh has been ranked one of the nation’s most walkable cities for years, but a new study suggests if the city wants to attract young talent, it needs to be even more walkable.

According to a report released by the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at George Washington University, Pittsburgh is a city of “moderate walkable urbanism,” meaning more than 70 percent of walkable urban office and retail space is located in the central city.

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Transportation
2:39 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Pittsburgh International Airport Adds Flight to Fort Lauderdale

Pittsburgh International Airport will begin offering daily nonstop flights to Fort Lauderdale, officials announced Wednesday.

Travelers can book their seats now through JetBlue for the inaugural flight, leaving Pittsburgh Oct. 29 at 7:15 a.m. Those making the trip will receive discounted airport parking.

Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Chief Executive, said the new year-round flight will benefit travelers and businesses.

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Overshadowed by the Budget
3:30 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Bill Could Overhaul State Horse Racing Industry

Special series: This week we're exploring legislative action taken recently in Harrisburg on important bills that were overshadowed by the passage of the state budget.

The Pennsylvania House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee is considering a Senate bill that would change the state’s oversight of the horse racing industry.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Elder Vogel (R-Beaver), would dissolve the Department of Agriculture’s State and Harness Racing commissions and create one independent five-member commission.

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Transportation
4:58 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Bike Pittsburgh Starts Cycling Classes

Instructor Dan Yablonsky leads cyclists in East Liberty
Credit 90.5 WESA's Michael Lynch

Pittsburgh is the 35th most bike-friendly city in the U.S., according to Bicycling Magazine.

Now, Bike Pittsburgh is introducing cycling classes in an effort to make the city be even more bike-able.

The “Fundamentals of City Cycling” class is taught indoors at The Wheel Mill in Homewood. Participants will learn about the basics of bicycling including techniques to maneuver obstacles such as curbs and potholes; using hand signals; how to start and stop in traffic; and, how to perform a pre-ride safety check.

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Housing
3:30 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Report: Pittsburgh's Housing Market Among the Nation's Most Stable

A recent study found Pittsburgh as having the second most stable housing market in the U.S.
Credit Flickr user josepha

Pittsburgh has one of the most stable housing markets in the country, according to a new report.

The study, conducted by Zillow Real Estate on behalf of Bloomberg.com, listed Pittsburgh as having the second most stable housing market behind Buffalo. Louisville, Nashville and Raleigh rounded out the top five.

Analyzing housing prices from 1979 to the present, Zillow and Bloomberg used a five year rolling average to calculate changes in home prices to establish a risk of loss percentage.

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Government & Politics
7:39 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Rep. Rothfus Recites Declaration Of Independence On House Floor

U.S. Representative Keith Rothfus (R-PA- 12) took to the House floor last week to do something that hasn’t been done in more than 40 years.

In celebration of the upcoming holiday, Rothfus recited the entire Declaration of Independence.

Joined by fellow freshmen Representatives Scott Perry (R-PA-04) and Andy Barr (R-KY-06), Rothfus said he was inspired by the 112th Congress.

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Transportation
1:34 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Lawmakers Prep Ride-Sharing Legislation

State legislators are preparing a measure that would allow ride-sharing services such as Lyft and Uber to operate in Pennsylvania, days after administrative judges with the Public Utility Commission (PUC) ordered the companies to cease operations.

Sen. Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) has already drafted a bill that would lessen the PUC's regulations on background checks, insurance, vehicle inspections, and most importantly, licensing.

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Public Safety
3:08 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Locomotives Derail, Catch Fire In Sewickley

A Norfolk Southern train carrying empty ethanol tank cars rear-ended a westbound intermodal train Wednesday afternoon in Sewickley, causing a fire and prompting the precautionary evacuation of nearby residents.

Two crew members were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, according to Alvin Henderson, Allegheny County chief of emergency services. Two firefighters were also treated at the scene for heat exhaustion.

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Health
3:44 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

'Fittsburgh' Brings Health And Fitness To Market Square

Yoga students demonstrate 'child's pose' in Market Square
Credit 90.5 WESA's Michael Lynch

When you think of Pittsburgh’s Market Square, yoga probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.

But hundreds of people gathered at the downtown hotspot today to talk about health and fitness, as well as try their hand at a little downward-facing dog.

More than 30 local exhibitors set up shop in downtown Pittsburgh for the Pop Up Outdoor Wellness Fair, sharing information on farming, fitness and food.

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National News
5:00 am
Mon June 9, 2014

RMU Survey Says Bias Is Plaguing American Media

American media outlets are losing audiences because of bias, according to a survey released by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute.

Of the 1,004 people sampled in the survey, more than 77 percent believe the news media has a political agenda and are attempting to influence public opinion. Similarly, 72 percent agree the news media are trying to change public policy.

Anthony Moretti, an associate professor of communication at Robert Morris University, said the majority of Americans see bias in all forms of media.

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Health
3:30 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Pennsylvania Ranks High In Painkiller Prescriptions

Injured workers in Pennsylvania receive stronger painkillers per claim than the average state. That's according to a report released this month by the Workers Compensation Research Institute.

According to the study, the average injured Pennsylvania worker gets about 2,745 milligrams of a morphine equivalent narcotic per claim. That’s 32 to 48 percent more than workers in the average state.

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Community
7:42 am
Sun June 1, 2014

Pittsburgh Conference Aims to Help Dads Reach Their Full Potential

More than one-third of all U.S. children grow up without their fathers, according to the U.S. Department of Census.

That’s a statistic that Urban Impact, a faith-based community organization in Pittsburgh, wants to change.

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