Sarah Schneider

Reporter

Sarah Schneider covers all things education in the Pittsburgh region - from early childhood initiatives to following changes in the Pittsburgh Public Schools system to after school and adult education. An Illinois native, Sarah came to WESA as a PULSE (Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience Fellow) fellow. She worked for two years 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 her walking dogs at an animal shelter, crocheting and taking any unique class she can. 

Education-related story ideas are always welcome at sschneider@wesa.fm.

Point Park University

Point Park University and the United Steelworkers union announced Wednesday they have reached a tentative agreement on a contract representing more than 300 part-time instructors.

Simon Dyjas / Karma Agency

The symptoms are subtle and common -- abdominal bloating, a feeling of fullness and the urge to urinate more frequently than normal.

todo / flickr

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is asking residents to help develop a plan to cut carbon pollution in the state.

The EPA finalized the Clean Power Plan on Aug. 3. It’s the first set of national standards to limit carbon emissions from power plants, the largest source of emissions in the U.S.

The plan sets to reduce 2005 emission levels nationally by 32 percent by 2030.

Each state will have to write an implementation plan with. The first listening session in Allegheny County is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 21 on Carnegie Mellon University’s campus.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA News

The Midwife Center in the Strip District expects 470 babies will be born at the center this year, almost double the births five years ago.

Executive Director Christine Haas said this increase is reflected nationally as women want more options and a holistic approach to pregnancy.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

One school of thought in adapting to a new generation of learners is to take students out of traditional classrooms where desks point toward an instructor.

To do that, educators create a maker space where students can explore and question content.

Libraries use maker spaces, the Carnegie Science Center has a new digital fabrication lab, and Mayor Bill Peduto held a roundtable discussion on the importance of them. Entrepreneurs use them to collaborate and have access to materials they otherwise couldn’t afford on their own.

A University of Pittsburgh study found that obese women are twice as likely to have a stillborn baby as women with healthier body mass indices.

Lisa Bodnar, associate professor of epidemiology, said many studies have shown the increase risk of stillbirth among women who begin a pregnancy while obese, but she wanted to understand why that happened and what could prevent it.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA News

Standing on a new dek hockey rink under the Bloomfield Bridge in front of a line of Pittsburgh police officers, Mayor Bill Peduto dedicated the field to the late officer Paul Sciullo II.

Sciullo was one of three officers shot and killed in a 2009 Stanton Heights ambush. That year the baseball field under the bridge was named after the officer.

courtesy A+ Schools

Rigorous course offerings and positive reinforcement for hard work creates a more healthy, successful school environment, according to Amy Scott, director of research and data analysis for A+ Schools.

The Pittsburgh Public Schools advocacy group released a report this week detailing its findings of what leads to a positive school climate. Scott said the group has trained volunteers to interview school staff members who remain anonymous since 2009. The interview data is compiled and a report released yearly.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA News

  Video cameras are filming the 2600 block of Brownsville Road in Carrick as part of a new wave of neighborhood watchmen.

Two years in the making, Councilwoman Natialia Rudiak announced Friday the start of a “Virtual Block Watch” in Carrick's business district. Fifteen business owners invested a combined $2,850 to purchase and install cameras outside of their locations directed at public thoroughfares, while Rudiak’s office provided $1,080 for signage.

The Port Authority’s plan to charge for new and replacement ConnectCards has been put on hold.

The board’s planning and stakeholder relations committee postponed its consideration of the proposal at the July 16 meeting, leaving no resolution for the board to consider on Friday.

“The committee anticipates continued discussion on this topic and will determine whether this should appear on the agenda in the upcoming months,” committee chair John Tague said.

Rebecca Devereaux / 90.5 WESA

This week, game designers, developers and educators gathered at Carnegie Mellon University for the Serious Play Conference, where the focus was on "serious” gaming, or games used for training and teaching.

Pittsburgh-based game designer Jesse Schell, CEO of Schell Games, demonstrated his company’s award-winning game "Water Bears."

More than 100 Pittsburgh students toured the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory in South Park on Friday to talk to experts about science, technology, engineering and math careers.

The lab was one of four in the country selected to host the event as part of President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which challenges cities to focus on programming for at-risk youth.

Rebecca Devereaux / 90.5 WESA

Children and families fell in line Thursday tooting kazoos and banging makeshift instruments through Northview Heights beside the players of Pittsburgh's River City Brass Band.

Dubbed March Pittsburgh, the movement kicked off an effort to enroll youth in health care programs with help from from a $40,000 UPMC Health Plan sponsorship, Mayor Bill Peduto's office, the Consumer Health Coalition and other partners.

David Brossard / Flickr

  After 128 years, the Kaufmann clock still tolls, but in the coming months visitors meeting under it won’t be in front of a department store.

Macy’s, a Cincinnati-based department store chain, announced Monday the closing of the 13-floor Downtown Pittsburgh store at 400 Fifth Avenue. The building was sold earlier this year to Philadelphia-based Core Realty, which touts mixed-use redevelopment for the space.

More than $3.4 million in gaming returns will be distributed to 14 community and economic development initiatives through the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County.

Community groups and organizations looking to jumpstart a business, improve a park or start a program or project were eligible to apply for grants up to $500,000.

The city’s tourism agency, VisitPittsburgh, has proposed creating a non-profit organization tasked with attracting major sporting events to the area.

Executive Vice President Jason Fulvi said the city needs an organization dedicated solely to sports promotion.

“We had over a million overnight visits last year in Allegheny County and all of that brings money and revenue into the community," he said. "It helps to support not only our hotels, but restaurants, bars (and) attractions.”

The University of Pittsburgh received a $34,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to expand programs encouraging responsible alcohol use.

The university is one of 24 in the state to receive funding to address three areas: engagement, education and enforcement.

Kannu Sahni, the university’s director of community relations, said the funding will introduce effective, evidence-informed programing on the risks of binge drinking and underage consumption.

United Way organizations serving Allegheny, Westmoreland, Fayette and Armstrong counties have combined efforts as the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Bob Nelkin, formerly the director of the Allegheny branch and now President and CEO of the larger operation, said the change was rapid after discussions of combining branch strengths began in June.

As designated up-and-coming neighborhoods, Homewood and Sharpsburg have been added to the Allegheny Conference’s Strengthening Communities Partnership program.

The program pools private sector resources to invest in local community growth and also leverages state tax credits as incentive.

A Pittsburgh federal grand jury has indicted a man living in Venezuela on charges of filing fraudulent tax returns using stolen identities from hundreds of UPMC employees.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Western Pennsylvania, David Hickton, said Friday he believes the indictment will frustrate the hacking conspiracy group. Yoandy Perez Llanes, 31, has been charged with 21 counts of money laundering, conspiracy and aggravated identity theft.

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Supporters of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants say the plan will protect the environment and eventually save energy consumers money. Opponents say the harsh mandates would increase utility bills and shut down power producers.

The EPA announced the plan last summer to cut nationwide carbon pollution by 30 percent by 2030. The agency says power plants account for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions which must be limited as arsenic and mercury emissions are at power-plants.

Often times patients have to revisit the hospital after being discharged as part of scheduled care, but sometimes readmissions are caused by a failure of the system.

The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council – or PHC4 – recently released a report looking at preventable readmission rates statewide for patients with four conditions that often lead to hospitalization.

State Sen. Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny) wants to encourage private investment in waterfront property by pushing for his proposed senate bill that would establish a Waterfront Development Tax Credit.

The senator said Pennsylvania’s greatest resources are the many lakes, rivers and creeks that hold a place in state and national history as well as provide recreational opportunities. However, areas along these resources need substantial investment to redevelop because of obstacles such as contamination and abandoned industrial sites.

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File

Gov. Tom Wolf argued last week that taxing Pennsylvania’s booming natural gas industry could help compensate for an anticipated $1 billion structural budget deficit in 2016.

His budget includes a state severance tax of 5 percent on extractions based on the value of gas at the well head and a charge of 4.7 cents per thousand cubic feet extracted. The commonwealth produced 3.23 trillion cubic feet in 2013.

Mayor Bill Peduto has appointed Grant Ervin as the city’s Chief Resilience Officer, a position funded through a Rockefeller Foundation grant.

His first task: developing a plan to enable the city to survive, adapt and grow no matter the challenge it will face.

Ervin has served as the city’s Sustainability Manager since 2014. He will now transition into working with stakeholders across the city to determine the key threats facing the city, then work to draft a resilience strategy with the help of the other 99 Chief Resilience Officers in the world.

Service and technical workers at Allegheny General Hospital voted Wednesday to unionize with more than 80 percent of the 1,200 workers voting in approval.

The employees, including radiology and lab technicians, nursing assistants, secretaries and food service workers joined the state’s largest health care union, Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Area representatives are supporting a bill that would waive background check fees for paid and volunteer firefighters and emergency response personnel.  

When an out-of-state customer at County Councilman John Palmiere's Brentwood barbershop commented on the beauty of Allegheny County being covered in litter, he decided to go for a drive.

Palmiere said he quickly realized she was right.

“You see it all the time, and you don’t see it," he said. "So I just took a ride around one evening after she said that and she’s right. The place is just … we have so much debris and litter.”

Fourteen hours after the polls closed and voters decided Bellevue would no longer be ‘dry,’ the first liquor license application was submitted in more than 80 years.

Specialty Group, a liquor license broker and lender for restaurants and bars, submitted the application on behalf of Grille 565 on Lincoln Avenue. Ned Sokoloff, the company’s president and CEO, said the Liquor Control Board received the application by 10 a.m. Wednesday.

City Controller Michael Lamb will serve as Pittsburgh’s fiscal watchdog another four years after Tuesday's 2-1 defeat over primary challenger and City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak.

Lamb, 52, will run unopposed in November for his third consecutive term, effectively ensuring a win. The Mt. Washington resident said his biggest priority for the next term is to provide an objective view of the city.

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