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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Health
2:32 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

County Health Department Seeking Public Participation

The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) is asking for public feedback on its 2014 Air Monitoring Network Review, an annual report listing where and how air pollution is being measured.

The 78-page document, required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, includes the location of monitoring stations, the process used to monitor the air and the pollutants detected at each location.

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Higher Education
2:14 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Duquesne Law's 100th Class Prepares For Graduation

When the first graduates from the Duquesne University School of Law received their diplomas, Woodrow Wilson was president and baseball legend Babe Ruth was just making his major league debut.

That was 1914. Now, the 100th graduating class is preparing to take the stage.

Ken Gormley, dean of the Duquesne University School of Law, said there are a lot of similarities between the two graduating classes.

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Community
12:32 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Pittsburgh To Host 'Navy Week'

The U.S. Navy is coming to the Steel City, but don’t expect to see any aircraft carriers floating in the Mon.

During Navy Week (June 2 – June 8) sailors will be stationed throughout the city hosting events, providing musical entertainment and answering any questions about Navy life.

Navy spokesman Gary Ross said Navy Week is not a recruitment effort, but an educational event.

“We are not there to recruit,” he said. “We are there to create awareness and understanding about what our Navy does for our nation.”

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Government & Politics
1:46 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Peduto Launches Initiative To Attract More Immigrants

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto announced Wednesday the creation of Welcoming Pittsburgh, an initiative aimed at attracting and retaining immigrants in order to advance the city.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, people flocked to the city from all over the world to work in the steel mills and factories. The Pittsburgh of today was built by the immigrants of the past. One century later, Pittsburgh has lost much of its population and the city is feeling the effects.

The answer to rebuilding Pittsburgh, according to Peduto, is to kickstart immigration—again.

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Science & Technology
3:30 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Tech Conference To Bring Developers And Operators Together

Some of the brightest minds in software development and information technology (IT) will gather in Pittsburgh this week for DevOpsDays.

The international conference, started in Belgium in 2009, looks to bring tech developers (Dev) and operators (Ops) together to raise the bar on how technological advances can improve people’s lives, such as the development of cloud computing.

Event organizer Andrew Clay Shafer said the conference brings more well-deserved attention to Pittsburgh’s blossoming high-tech industry.

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Community
3:30 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Soldiers and Sailors Hosts Memorial Day Celebration

At Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum, Memorial Day is more than just hotdogs and hamburgers.

“Over the years, as we had more and more conflicts, the building became a symbol representative of a memorial for all veterans of all branches of service. The only one like it of its kind in the nation,” said Soldiers and Sailors President and CEO John McCabe.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there are more than 995,000 veterans living in Pennsylvania.

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Environment
3:30 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Pennsylvania Tick Population Expected To Keep Growing

Put on a long sleeve shirt and load up on some pest repellent, because tick season in Pennsylvania is expected to get progressively worse year after year.

According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of Lyme disease cases, and Penn State Urban Entomologist Steve Jacobs said that’s because of an increasing tick population.

“The only thing I can say for certain is that, across Pennsylvania for the last 25 years, we’ve been trending having more ticks in more places,” he said. “That will continue.”

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Election 2014
11:39 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

State House Races Yield Results Both Narrow And Wide

The races for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives have come to a close. Some were neck-and-neck, and others — not so much.

In District 20, incumbent Adam Ravenstahl of Pittsburgh’s North Side held off challenger and Avalon public school teacher Tom Michalow with just 52.26 percent of the vote. Ravenstahl, the brother of former Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, will take on Republican Tom Fodi in the fall.

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Life of Learning
1:04 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

High Schoolers Build Drones To Detect Gas Leaks, Measure Air Quality

For the last two months, more than 20 students at Winchester Thurston School in Shadyside have been building drones.

Part of a cross-curricular project led by science department chair Graig Marx and computer science department chair David Nassar, students were divided into seven teams and tasked with building a “quadcopter” with the ability to measure, report and analyze natural gas levels.

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Economy & Business
1:00 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Pittsburgh's Downtown Continues To Grow

Business is booming in the Golden Triangle, according to the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership’s (PDP) third annual State of Downtown Report.

The report notes a decrease in available office space, an increase in rents and a steady climb in residential population.

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Community
3:51 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Peduto Unveils New Volunteer Cleanup Crew

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto on Thursday unveiled the city’s new volunteer litter cleanup program “Beautify Our ‘Burgh.”

According to Peduto, the program is completely volunteer run and allows residents and local government to work together to clean up the streets.

“It’s about doing the small things neighborhood-by-neighborhood, block-by-block, street-by-street and then working from that as a building block to make this city beautiful,” he said.

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Community
3:34 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

City Partners With Social Networking Site To Connect Neighborhoods Online

The city of Pittsburgh entered into a partnership Thursday with the social networking site Nextdoor, which allows users to connect with others in their city or neighborhood through private websites.

The site has been in the Pittsburgh area for more than two years and is represented in 67 neighborhoods, according to Sarah Leary, co-founder of the San Francisco-based company.

With the partnership, city officials will now have the ability to use the site to relay information to the entire city or specific neighborhoods, Leary said.

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Medicaid expansion
4:14 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Frankel Urges State To Adopt Medicaid Expansion

Healthcare advocates, along with State Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny), unveiled an online ticker today, which tracks the amount of money they claim Pennsylvania is losing by rejecting Medicaid expansion.

As of today, the state has missed out on more than $640 million since the start of 2014, according to the ticker.

“It’s hard to turn your back against this when it addresses so many important issues facing the state at this time,” Frankel said.

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Environment & Energy
3:30 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Stack Proposes Marcellus Shale Severance Tax

Another Marcellus Shale drilling policy, which includes a 5 percent severance tax, is being proposed by a Philadelphia lawmaker.

State Sen. Mike Stack (D-Philadelphia) announced last week that his legislation would impose an extraction tax which would overlap the existing impact fee, a policy that mirrors West Virginia law. The Corbett administration and Republican-controlled Legislature have resisted a severance tax.

Citing a report by Reuters, Stack said Pennsylvania stands to lose more than $20 billion over the next 20 years if a severance tax is not adopted.

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Cultural Exchange
9:29 am
Thu May 8, 2014

For Pittsburgh and Ecuadorian Students, Food Serves as a Cultural Bridge

Ecuadorian students and adults lounge outside of Phipps Conservatory
Credit 90.5 WESA's Michael Lynch

When Erick Rivas arrived in Pittsburgh last week, he had one thing on his mind: “la comida.”

“I really enjoyed trying different types of food,” he said through a translator. “Being friends with the teens here was a great experience.”

The 15-year-old is one of six students visiting the U.S. from Quito, Ecuador as part of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh’s Scaling the Walls/Escalanda Paredas cultural exchange program.

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Government & Politics
3:02 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Pittsburgh Controller Releases City Council Audit

Some Pittsburgh City Council members are shelling out funds on advertisements and “self-promotion” instead of community needs, according to an audit released today by Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb.

The audit, which covers 2011 through 2013, recommends that council members develop policies regulating the use of discretionary funds, or “walking around money.” As part of the city’s 2014 budget ($480.9 million), each council member gets $8,000 in annual unrestricted funds.

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Environment & Energy
2:42 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Weak Weld Detected In Beaver County Nuclear Reactor

A weak weld discovered last week in a Beaver County nuclear reactor must be repaired before operations can resume.

The “microscopic” weakness in the reactor vessel head of FirstEnergy’s Beaver Valley Unit 2 in Shippingport was found during an ultrasonic exam of 66 welds around the reactor, according to Jennifer Young, a FirstEnergy spokeswoman.

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Education
3:30 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Civics For Grown Ups Classes Back In Pittsburgh

It’s safe the say that most, if not all Americans, know about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but what about their historical context? And what’s the difference between civil and criminal court cases?

The American Civil Liberties Union in Pennsylvania is hoping to address questions like these in its continuing series “Civics for Grown Ups.”

The month-long, four-part series will take place at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Squirrel Hill and classes will be taught by experienced attorneys and educators.

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Transportation
5:03 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

'Smart' Traffic Lights Expanding Into Bloomfield

Intersection at Baum and Liberty
Credit Michael Lynch / 90.5 WESA

Blame it on the roads, the drivers or the cars. Any way you spin it, Pittsburgh and traffic seem to go hand-in-hand.

But nearly two years after “smart traffic signals” were introduced in East Liberty, Mayor Bill Peduto said the project is ready for expansion.

“It’s not something for George Jetson,” he said. “It’s something that’s happening right here in Pittsburgh today and the beautiful thing about it is there’s no other urban environment in the world that has this level of technology to help to move traffic in the most efficient and effective method.”

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Health
5:02 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Farm To Community Conference Starts Friday

Community members, farmers, government officials and school administrators will gather in Pittsburgh Friday for the second Farm to Community Conference.

Hosted by Women for a Healthy Environment (WHE), the conference will focus on ways to make farm fresh food available in local schools and underserved communities, or food deserts.

Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis, executive director for WHE, said eight workshops are scheduled throughout the day, each focused on a different fresh food challenge.

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Arts & Culture
2:41 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Ship Sinks In A River, But It's Found In A Cornfield

The excavation site of the Arabia
Credit Senator John Heinz History Center

Ships sink.

They crash or capsize, and are usually never seen again, but that’s not the case with the Arabia, which sank in the Missouri River in the latter half of the 19th century—found 130 years later in a corn field.

Starting Saturday, visitors to the Senator John Heinz History Center will be able to see nearly 2,000 artifacts recovered from the once lost steamboat that was built in Pittsburgh in 1853.

History center President Andy Masich said the boat gives visitors a glimpse of what life was like in the 1800’s.

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Health
3:30 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Duquesne Professor Gets $1.4M Grant To Develop Cancer Detection Tech

If a cancer cell forms in the body, does it make a sound?

John Viator, director of the Duquesne University biomedical engineering program, would say yes—if it’s hit by a laser.

Viator and his team received a five-year, $1.4 million federal grant to use lasers in detecting, capturing and analyzing circulating melanoma cells, which is the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

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Environment & Energy
5:34 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Quakers To Continue PNC Protests

For the fourth consecutive year, the Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) will protest PNC’s financing of mountaintop removal mining.

Outside of PNC headquarters, underneath the 2,380-square-foot Green Wall, EQAT members and activists announced their plan to attend the bank’s annual shareholders’ meeting, which has been moved to Tampa.

Last year, the EQAT disrupted the shareholders’ meeting by asking each PNC board member to publicly state his or her position on mountaintop removal mining. The meeting lasted 20 minutes.

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Health
3:30 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Allegheny County Gets Grant To Fight West Nile Virus

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has awarded about $2.1 million in grants to 26 counties to combat West Nile Virus.

Allegheny County received $168,114 to study and control the virus-carrying mosquito populations. Philadelphia County got the most at $231,298.

DEP spokeswoman Amanda Witman said West Nile Virus studies are best handled at the local level.

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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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