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.

Ways To Connect

A previously unknown silkscreen believed to be printed by Andy Warhol will go up for auction on Monday at Col. Kirk’s Auction Gallery in Columbia County.

The piece, entitled “Of Thee I Sing—Nico,” isn’t signed by the pop art icon, but auction gallery General Manager Josh Williams said the silkscreen can be identified as an original Warhol because of the unique paper it was printed on.

State Treasurer Rob McCord is urging parents to open a Pennsylvania 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP) before Sept. 1 to take advantage of last year’s lower cost per college credit.

529 plans are offered by states that include tax-free earnings growth and withdrawals.

A Republican legislator is traveling across Pennsylvania to learn more about the state’s 1.5 million people living in poverty.

Rep. Dave Reed (R-Indiana), who chairs the House Majority Policy Committee, embarked on what he’s calling “Empowering Opportunities: Gateways Out of Poverty.” Reed is looking to assess the government’s role in fighting poverty in urban, suburban and rural areas.

Reed said the government’s efforts in fighting poverty need to be evaluated.

The Allegheny County Airport Authority and Consol Energy will unveil the plan to drill for oil and natural gas at Pittsburgh International Airport during a public workshop Tuesday.

Representatives from the airport authority and Consol Energy will answer questions about the plan and its environmental impact.

The workshop is meant to provide residents with more information about the oil and gas development plans, the environmental assessment, the drilling schedule and process.

But airport authority spokeswoman JoAnn Jenny said it’s not an open forum.

Treasures aren’t always strings of pearls or gold doubloons — sometimes, they’re toilets.

1,500 people are expected to attend the sixth annual “Pittsburgh’s Hidden Treasures” event at the Heinz History Center Sunday.

Visitors can bring up to two items and to be examined by a team of more than 40 appraisers, including experts from Christie’s, the world’s largest fine art auction house. The appraisers will evaluate the historical importance and possible monetary worth of the items.

UPMC employs more than 55,000 people in the Pittsburgh region, but according to the group Pittsburgh United, the wages the health care giant pays its service workers are weakening the middle class.

According to a report released Thursday by Pittsburgh United, UPMC’s service workers earn between 8 and 30 percent less than the lowest sustainable family wage.

Barney Oursler, executive director of Pittsburgh United, said UPMC employs as many as 32,000 low wage service workers.

Romeo or Juliet: which would you choose?

One Pittsburgh theater group is adding a new spin to arguably the most famous love story of all time by asking the audience pick a side.

Jennifer Tober, founder and artistic director of Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks, said their production this year puts a twist on "Romeo and Juliet."

The Allegheny County District Attorney called for an increase in the use of video cameras in law enforcement Monday.

Stephen Zappala said cameras add an extra level of objectivity to the police force.

Zappala said video cameras in police vehicles reduced legal complaints against police officers across the county by 90 percent.

“Every time that somebody sues a municipality on a one-on-one stop,” he said, “it costs us money as taxpayers. We refer to it legally as contingent liabilities … When you introduce objective evidence, that changes substantially.”

If police in the Whitaker Borough want a search warrant, they’ll need the approval of the Allegheny County district attorney’s office.

This decision comes in response to the 2012 arrest of Whitaker Borough police officer William Davis, who was charged in April with two counts of false swearing, unsworn falsification to authorities and official oppression, and one count of perjury for using a warrant to get access to a private residence.

District Attorney Stephen Zappala said the department will be under a microscope.

The largest mentoring program in Pittsburgh area is getting a little bit bigger.

The “Be a 6th Grade Mentor” program has become “Be a Middle School Mentor.”

Due to the program’s success in the last four years, the United Way of Allegheny County is expanding it to include children in grades six through eight.

Damon Bethea, mentoring projects director at the United Way, said the mentors asked for the program's expansion.

One Pittsburgh group is trying to bring a little more life to the downtown area during the winter months.

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, in conjunction with the city of Pittsburgh, will begin a three-year project to bring temporary public art to the city’s Market Square.

Artists are being asked to submit proposals for existing works of art to be displayed in the public plaza, or submit their qualifications to create new works.

Homestead got another store Thursday, but it’s not number 74 at The Waterfront.

Bottom Dollar Food opened a new store on East 7th St. on the other side of the tracks. Borough officials are calling it an effort to revitalize the community.

When the U.S. Steel’s Homestead Works closed in 1986, the borough was in financial distress. The approximately 256 acres of abandoned steel mills sat unused until 1999 when developers first broke ground on The Waterfront, an outdoor shopping center housing more than 70 stores and restaurants.

Michael Lynch / 90.5 WESA

Water and oil might not mix — but what about water, music, colored lights and sports?

Station Square unveiled a new water fountain show Thursday that honors Pittsburgh’s rich sports history.

The nearly 11-minute show features hundreds of multi-colored jets choreographed to spray water 40 feet into the air.

With water dancing to the beat of songs like “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osborne and Queen’s “We are the Champions,” the performance incorporates sound clips of historic sports moments from the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates throughout the years.

State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) has been appointed to a four-year term on the Port Authority (PAT) of Allegheny County Board of Directors.

The former mayor of the City of McKeesport was chosen by Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) to be a representative from the Senate Democratic Caucus and is the first member under a new appointment process.

Brewster, a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, said the new board needs to be able to work together in order to solve the big problems.

How many people use the Pittsburgh region’s longest trail?

Volunteers will be counting the number of walkers and bikers along the Great Allegheny Passage Aug. 17.

The synchronized tallying, which is done at multiple locations several times a year, is a physical count of the number of people using the trail; are they walking or bike riding; and if they are going north or south.

When manual counts are taken, volunteers take down users’ zip codes to track the number of people visiting.

A New York City-based childhood education foundation is assessing summer learning programs across the country, including one in Pittsburgh.

The Wallace Foundation, a supporter of Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Summer Dreamers Academy, hired Rand Corp., a nonprofit research group, to see if summer education programs improve student learning.

Senior Research and Evaluation Officer Ann Stone said the foundation is looking for ways students can have academic gains that last.

Airport scanners identify the basics — shirts, shoes, a clear travel-sized bottle of shampoo — but what about your molecules?

University of Pittsburgh physicists have invented the world’s smallest terahertz detector that could soon scan molecules in a fashion similar to airport screenings.

Using terahertz radiation — a level of light far below what the human eye can notice — the detector might have the ability to chemically identify single molecules.

Jeremy Levy, a professor at Pitt’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, compared his work to a child’s toy.

The inbound Liberty Tunnel will close around-the-clock Wednesday at 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. Aug. 30.

To coincide with Bike Pittsburgh’s BikeFest, the Office of Public Art is hosting the Public Art Pedal along the North Side.

This 10-mile roundtrip bicycle outing will go from Pittsburgh’s North Shore to Millvale along the Allegheny Riverfront Trail.

Renee Piechocki, director of the Office of Public Art, said the scenery adds to the artistic experience of the tour.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Dennis and Marilyn Funtal inched their way along the Andy Warhol Bridge Monday morning, stopping with every step to admire the 580 hand-stitched afghan panels that currently envelop the structure.

“Quite unusual,” Dennis Funtal said, “just like the City of Pittsburgh’s always been — unusual.”

The retired Brookline couple made a point to venture downtown Monday to see what's been called the largest “yarn bomb” in the United States. “Yarn bombing” is a form of street art, which unlike graffiti can be easily removed and doesn’t damage public property.

The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) has begun to review its policies on performance-enhancing drugs (PED) after several of its athletes were connected to a steroid scandal that led to the suspensions of 13 Major League Baseball players.

Now schools across the country could begin to follow suit.

The first Global Diversity Festival begins in Pittsburgh Friday night.

The festival looks to celebrate the “vibrancy” and diversity of the Pittsburgh region through music, food and entertainment.

About 30 community organizations, including Latino and LGBT groups, will be represented at the celebration to hand out information, crafts and food.

The festival was organized by the group Vibrant Pittsburgh, which looks to ensure the city’s growth by attracting a “diversity of talent” to promote the region.

The Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group (PennPIRG) released a report Thursday saying more than 5 million Pennsylvanians live near what the group calls a “high risk” chemical plant.

Representatives from the group gathered across from Union Station in downtown Pittsburgh to call on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop the use of toxic chemicals and impose stronger transportation safety requirements.

Mary Kate Ranii, a canvass director for PennPIRG, said government needs to do a better job of protecting the public from harmful chemicals.

With more people riding bikes in Pittsburgh, it seems only natural that the 9th annual BikeFest is longer than ever.

BikeFest, which begins Friday, is a fundraiser celebrating all things bicycling to create a more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly city.

Scott Bricker, executive director of Bike Pittsburgh, said a strong bicycle community will make the city more attractive to visitors.

The Perseid meteor showers have come and gone every year since 36 A.D., and this year’s summer spectacle is expected to be one for the ages.

According to NASA, the meteor shower will produce more bright lights and streaks than any other annual shower, earning it the name, “Fireball Champion.”

This year, the shower began July 17 and concludes Aug. 24.

While the skies are forecasted to be cloudy through Friday, this weekend is expected to be cloud free for optimum viewing, said Dan Malerbo, planetarium education coordinator at the Carnegie Science Center.

Every year, nearly half a million children 14 and younger visit the emergency room for traumatic brain injury in the United States.

Two Pittsburgh researchers have been selected by the National Institutes of Health to lead a $16.5 million study evaluating treatments for pediatric TBI.

The five-year international study is looking to provide evidence to standardize clinical practices and provide guidelines that would improve the lives of children with TBI.

The Department of Environmental Protection will continue to study air quality near gas wells in Washington County through the end of the year.

In 2012, the DEP began a long-term study to measure ambient air pollution in Chartiers and Hickory townships, where both “wet” and “dry” natural gas are being extracted and sold through compressor stations and pipeline networks.

DEP spokesman Kevin Sunday said while most of the attention has been on water contamination, the emphasis is beginning to shift towards drilling’s effect on air pollution.

The 44,000 motorists that travel Route 28 daily between Pittsburgh and Millvale can expect some additional congestion, as the fourth phase of a major reconstruction project begins Monday.

Traffic on northbound and southbound Route 28 will be shifted into new configurations between East Ohio Street and the 40th Street Bridge.

Kayakers and canoeists with disabilities soon will have better access to Pittsburgh’s rivers.

The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation will be installing an “EZ Launch” system at the Point along with ADA-compliant restrooms and an accessible route to Pittsburgh’s downtown.

The launching area includes rollers that smoothly move boats in and out of the water, along with a transfer bench for wheelchair users. The dock will provide disabled boaters with a safe place to move from wheelchair, to bench, to boat and vice versa.

Pittsburgh researchers have found the joints of children with chronic inflammatory arthritis contain immune cells similar to those of 90-year-olds.

A new study suggests premature aging of immune cells are linked to children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).

The study, led by University of Pittsburgh professor of pediatrics and immunology Abbe de Vallejo, sampled immune cells called T-cells from 98 children with JIA.

The team found one-third of the T-cells in children had shortened “telomeres” that had reduced or lost the capacity to multiply.