Sarah Schneider

Reporter

Sarah Schneider covers all things education in the Pittsburgh region and hosts Weekend Edition on Sunday. An Illinois native, she's spent two years adjusting to the hills of the city. Sarah was with WESA as a PULSE (Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience Fellow) fellow for two years working on community initiatives and the Life of Learning Series before becoming a staff reporter. 

Previously Sarah interned at newspapers in Pittsburgh, Idaho and Illinois. When not reporting and hosting you can find Sarah walking dogs at an animal shelter, crocheting and taking any unique class she can. 

Daveynin / Flickr

Fifteen community projects in Pennsylvania are being funded by the state’s Keystone Communities program, Gov. Tom Wolf announced today. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium showed off its Amur leopard cub on Friday, as zoo keepers continue to help it acclimate to its enclosure.

The 3-month-old cub was born in February, the first for mother Candy, and is the first of its kind born at the zoo in 16 years, officials said. Curator of Mammals for the zoo, Ken Kammerer, said he's been watching the cub very closely because the Amur leopard is the rarest animal in the world. 

Scott Barkley / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County school officials are considering taking a bold step – ditching textbooks.

Superintendents, curriculum directors and librarians from multiple districts met Thursday to discuss getting using new materials.

They're looking to follow in the steps of other schools around the country using open educational resources –- which are free and non-copyrighted, shared materials.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

  A few blocks from where City of Asylum writers live and work during their residency, is the former Masonic Building. The organization is redeveloping that building into a permanent home for staff. The 9,000-square-foot building will also serve as a venue for the artists’ events.

For the past decade, writers exiled from their native countries have lived in housing on Sampsonia Way. Board member and poet Toi Derricotte said that street became a sanctuary for writers to continue their work.

Remake Learning

Learning doesn’t just have to happen in a classroom.

That’s the message that education groups and members of the Remake Learning Network hope to send by hosting more than 280 events this week. The events will promote innovative educational opportunities for children with hands-on learning such as woodworking, sewing, robotics, 3-D printing and student-led panels.

"Remake Learning" is an expression used to describe the idea that children can learn anytime and anywhere, including at museums and libraries.

Alan Levine / Flickr

A report released Thursday by the Allegheny Health Network found a high rate of asthma in Allegheny County elementary school students. The study suggests poor air quality is partially responsible for the pervasive incidences of childhood asthma in the Pittsburgh region.

Deborah Gentile, the director of allergy and asthma clinical research at Allegheny Health Network, surveyed 267 fifth graders in the county and found 29 percent had asthma and 11 percent more were at risk of developing the disease.

Daniel Lobo / Flickr

As Allegheny County’s Latino population grows, the Port Authority is trying to make sure non-English speakers can access translation services.

To increase awareness, PAT is launching a campaign with billboards and brochures at bus shelters in neighborhoods with large Latino populations, including Brookline, Beechview and Oakland.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Gov. Tom Wolf, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald are criticizing the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission for fining ride-sharing company Uber $11.4 million.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Members of the Port Authority of Allegheny County board unanimously approved a measure to adopt a flat fare system by doing away with the three-zone system Friday. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County’s Hispanic population has increased in recent years, while the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the overall population has decreased

Pittsburgh city councilors and leaders in the local Latino community celebrated that growth Tuesday, as the city recognized Latino Day.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Downtown-based investment company BNY Mellon is one of many large organizations trying to change what it means to go to work by providing some of the comforts of home. 

The company opened a new Innovation Center on Monday on the 12th floor of its Grant Street office. 

Employees sat on Adirondack chairs and picnic tables near a bocce court and large windows. Nearby, a kitchenette sat filled with coffee and snacks. Those spaces are what Jen Wagner, head of the Pittsburgh Innovation Center, called collision points.

Julie Jacobson / AP

Republican front-runner Donald Trump is scheduled to visit Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Trump will tape a one hour special with Sean Hannity for Fox News at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland.

The free event is first come, first served for the general public. It starts at 5:30 p.m., and doors open at 2:30 p.m. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

City residents and employees can now turn to their smart phones to report suspected incidents of misuse of city tax dollars.

Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb’s office celebrated a new mobile application Thursday as an extension of a hotline launched in 2013. Lamb said, so far, 50 allegations have been reported.

The city is responsible for employees servicing every neighborhood. Lamb said the app is an opportunity for people in those areas to report what they notice – the things the controller’s office can't always see.

senatorcosta.com

Pennsylvania state Senators Jay Costa and Wayne Fontana, both Allegheny County Democrats, are calling for Pittsburgh’s Intergovernmental Cooperative Authority board to immediately dismiss Executive Director Henry Sciortino, in the wake of a criminal investigation.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Tuesday that Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala has opened a criminal investigation into the financial oversight board. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

  Keith Shettler worked to install and retrofit duct systems in downtown buildings for more than 20 years, opening structures that had been closed off for decades.

“You could see the coal dust that was there when the steel mills were there," Shettler said, "to the asbestos that might be hidden behind all that put there years ago when asbestos was prevalent to put on job sites.”

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The financial oversight authority created by the state legislature now has a full five-member board. For several months, the board was down to two members.

The city is currently suing the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority for withholding gambling tax revenue when, the city said, the board had open seats and no legal right to withhold the money. For months, the board was down to two members until Gov. Tom Wolf, Sen. Jay Costa and Rep. Frank Dermody appointed members in the last month.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

People who started as strangers have become friends, spending every weekend on a portion of the Great Allegheny Passage trail, gazing upward.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The number of complaints filed against Pittsburgh police has decreased 43 percent since 2013. During the same time period, complaints and lawsuits against the city and its employees have dropped by 50 percent.

Heads of departments that investigate those complaints and suits said the decreases are attributable to better training.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Well, this is awkward.

Mayor Bill Peduto unveiled a new portrait of the city's namesake on Wednesday, decades after Steel City mayors first began gesturing to an incorrect likeness -- Pitt's son, it turns out -- hanging in the mayor's conference room since at least the David L. Lawrence administration. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

East Liberty residents hoping to keep a public park out of the hands of a private developer have scored a victory.

The city released a statement Tuesday evening saying Enright Parklet would remain publicly owned, and would not become part of the redevelopment of Penn Plaza.

The announcement came shortly after a public hearing in City Council, in which neighbors spoke out against the rezoning of the park.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Peggy Glatch spends all day on her feet. She’s constantly moving while cutting her customers' hair.

She’s worked as a hair stylist for more than 40 years, the last 15 at Izzazu Salon downtown.

The salon was recognized as the first Live Well Workplace by the Allegheny County Health Department. Workplace is the fourth installment in the county’s push for healthier lifestyles, Live Well Allegheny.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Muslims are not perfect, but Kelcey Sharkas believes the religion can be.

Sharkas, outreach coordinator for the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, said growing misconceptions about Islam – from national political rhetoric to the Thanksgiving Day shooting of a Muslim Taxi Driver in Hazelwood – have created a need for deeper spiritual and cultural understanding.

The center hosted a training Saturday for non-Muslim attendees on how to be a friend and supporter of those faithful to Islam and its teachings. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

About 160 area students toured the U.S. Department of Energy's Technology Laboratory Wednesday as part of President Obama's Brother's Keeper initiative to address opportunity gaps in science, technology, engineering and math fields. 

Students were encouraged to pursue those fields with hands-on activities, such as experimenting with liquid nitrogen and testing acid voltage of fruits and vegetables. Researchers also talked to students about the lab's work in energy and environmental research and development with the focus of providing clean energy. 

sashikag / Flickr

  The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania has filed a suit to deem two state statutes unconstitutional. The group's client, Joshuaa Brubaker, was charged two years ago for flag desecration.

Brubaker, part Native American by birth, hung the American flag upside down outside his home with letters "AIM" -- an acronym for the American Indian Movement -- spray painted across it in protest of plans for the Keystone Pipeline, which is slated to run through sacred territory in South Dakota.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

  Mayor Bill Peduto said the agreement between East Liberty developers and the more than 200 Penn Plaza residents they displaced sets a precedent for how the city will approach future deals that could encumber affordable housing.

Chief of Staff Kevin Acklin called efforts to extend eviction deadlines and financially assist with relocations the product of "good faith agreements."

Mark Taylor / Flickr

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is installing a new system with the goal of identifying and prioritizing issues, such as main breaks, before they happen.

Brendan Shubert, PWSA manager of external affairs, said the electronic software flags when multiple water main breaks are reported in an area. PWSA will prioritize that area in the following year's budget. 

Then the authority can make that area a priority in the following year’s budget.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

East Liberty residents voiced concern and frustration with the future of a 2-acre city park Tuesday night.

The small area, or parklet, is surrounded by Penn Plaza, a mixed income apartment complex. Tenants have to vacate before March of next year when the landlord plans to redevelop.

The city has proposed selling the park in a deal with the owners but has promised that another park will be included in the redevelopment.

Governor Tom Wolf / flickr

Gov. Tom Wolf launched a website Monday where he says taxpayers can track the $150 million he pledged to save through streamlining state agencies.  

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania is the first branch in the nation to take on a secondary venture with the goal of raising more capital.

Eric Norris / Flickr

Three Pennsylvania senators will soon introduce legislation to limit the quantity of opioid products dispensed in emergency rooms to no more than a seven-day supply.

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