90.5 WESA's Essential Pittsburgh

Essential Pittsburgh airs weekdays from noon to 1 p.m. and is repeated at 8 p.m.
  • Hosted by Paul Guggenheimer

Essential Pittsburgh is a locally produced program from 90.5 WESA featuring community leaders and newsmakers in the arts, sciences, technology, business, healthcare, government and education.

  • Call (412) 246-2002 from noon to 1 p.m. weekdays to participate in the discussion.  
  • Tweet your question to @esspgh
  • Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.
  • What stories are we missing? Send your thoughts to esspgh@wesa.fm 

Life Without Bars: Reintegrating Ex-Offenders Into The Workforce

12 hours ago
Joshua Davis / flickr

  The 2015 “Life Without Bars” conference works to address the challenges of individuals with criminal backgrounds as they reintegrate into the workforce throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania.  The two-day program offers solutions for professionals and individuals in their journey to re-entry. We’ll hear from Southwestern Pennsylvania Re-Entry Coalition (SPARC)  Senior Workforce Development Specialist Samson Murage and Workforce Development Job Developer Alethia Bush.

Iceoplex At South Pointe Aims To Decrease Athlete Injuries

22 hours ago
southpointehockey.com

The Iceoplex at South Pointe melts it's ice, not only for summer maintenance, but for safety.  A new safety feature being installed will allow athletes to look toward a bright orange future and hopefully reduce hockey injuries. Director of Marketing and Sponsorships for Iceoplex, Mandi Pryor, joins us with a look at this innovation in safety that could change the game of hockey.

Ruling Allows for More Choice of Candidates in PA

Jul 28, 2015

Pennsylvania’s Election Code sets an unconstitutionally high bar on third party candidates. That’s according to a ruling last Friday a federal court judge. We’ll discover what this ruling means for the future of third party candidates in the commonwealth with Oliver Hall, Director and co-founder of the Center for Competitive Democracy and Steve Scheetz – Immediate-past Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania (LPPA) chairman.

For the first time in 21 years a team of top American high school students has won the recent International Math Olympiad held in Thailand. We’ll discuss the significance of this accomplishment with Carnegie Mellon University professor and U.S. head coach Po-Shen Loh.

Ed Thompson / Pittsburgh Passion Facebook Page

The Pittsburgh Passion mounted a come-from-behind victory Saturday to beat the Utah Falconz to grab the Independent Women's Football League championship 41-37. It took a 21-0 third quarter for the Passion to grab their second consecutive national title and wrap up a second undefeated season. 

Connor Mulvaney / PublicSource

 

  WESA’s content partner Public Source has been running a series of articles on the number of drug uses and overdoses in Pennsylvania.  The latest story explores the stigma professionals in the workplace face when confronting addiction.  Joining us to discuss the issue are Public Source reporter Jeffrey Benzing and Jason Snyder, executive director of the Consumer Health Coalition.

CMOA Collects Works By Edward Hopper

Jul 24, 2015
Patrons Art Fund / Carnegie Museum of Art

Opening this weekend at the CMOA is a new exhibit of works by famed American artist Edward Hopper. The exhibit will feature all 17 works by Hopper in the museum’s collection. Event curator Akemi May joined us for a preview.

Songwriter Randy Newman Embraces The Orchestral Sound

Jul 24, 2015
Danny Moloshok/Invision / AP Images

When you think of the greatest American songwriters, who comes to mind? George Gershwin? Cole Porter? Bob Dylan? Many would put Randy Newman with that group. Newman is one of the most prolific songwriters the U.S. has ever produced. His many honors include six Grammy Awards, three Emmy Awards and two Academy Awards for his work as a film composer. And he's a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Newman is appearing at Heinz Hall on July 30 as part of the Pittsburgh Symphony's Thursday Night Icons Series and he joined us to talk about his career and latest projects.

CCAC North Library / flickr

 

  In 2013, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on the expected influx of members of the military in classrooms under the GI Bill. Our guests experienced that transition first hand. Dwight Boddorf, Marine veteran and director of veterans services at the Community College of Allegheny County, joined fellow former Marine Theo Collins, executive producer of the documentary Project 22, in the studio to address how colleges and universities are accommodating veterans.

Destination Dining From Maine To Austin

Jul 23, 2015
vxla / flickr

One of the travel highlights for many is the chance to indulge in local cuisine. From Maine lobster to Tex-Mex in Austin there’s no reason why your diet shouldn’t take a vacation. This week, travel contributor Elaine Labalme, begins a two-week focus on destination dining.

Erie Legislator Offers Budget Compromise Proposal

Jul 23, 2015
Sean Wiley / Facebook Page

While it appears that Governor Wolf and Republican legislators in Harrisburg are entrenched in their positions on the budget with no end to the impasse in sight, there are some legislators offering up compromise proposals. We talk with one of them; State Senator Sean Wiley of Erie.

How The Budget Impasse Is Impacting Local Service Agencies

Jul 23, 2015
David Flores / flickr

With the state budget stalemate no closer to being resolved, the Conference of Allegheny Providers (CAP) and several Westmoreland County agency representatives are highlighting the local impacts, and in some cases the dire consequences, of a lengthy impasse on social service agencies and the people they serve. Former state legislator Allen Kukovich and Stephen Christian-Michaels, President and CEO of Family Services of Western Pennsylvania  join us in studio.

Reporting On 'American Coyotes' Along The U.S.-Mexican Border

Jul 22, 2015
Justin Merriman / Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

  People who enter the country illegally have a great impact on the American labor force. But that same American labor is helping to smuggle migrants cross the U.S.–Mexico border. These smugglers, known as “coyotes,” are the focus of a week-long series in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman joined Essential Pittsburgh to discuss their work. 

The Challenges Of Being A Startup In Pittsburgh

Jul 22, 2015
Apps for Europe / flickr

Despite a report released last week by the Kauffman Foundation ranking Pittsburgh low for startup ecosystems, Thrill Mill President, CEO and Co-Founder Bobby Zappala said “not all is lost” for entrepreneurs. Zappala joined Essential Pittsburgh as a Tech Startup Contributor. He also runs Thrill Mill, an independent organization that serves as an incubator/accelerator for startup companies in Pittsburgh.  For this segment, he looked at challenges of being a new business and discussed some startups coming out of their infancy and the challenges they're facing now.

Pittsburgh's Continual Apartment Growth

Jul 21, 2015
Perry Quan / flickr

    

From Bakery Square to downtown, Pittsburgh is experiencing a surge in apartment development and rental. This week business contributor Rebecca Harris looks at at the contributing factors behind the growth in apartment construction in the Pittsburgh.

Using Title IX To Engage Students In Deeper Discussions

Jul 21, 2015
teenlife / flickr

Higher education institutions are using Title IX as a jumping off point to have discussions with students about issues of harassment, stalking, dating violence and domestic abuse. Libby Rosemeyer, assistant director of Tittle IX compliance at Point Park University helps listeners understand the relevancy of the law and its impact on the Pittsburgh community as a whole.

Pennsylvania Could Explore Citizen Redistricting

Jul 21, 2015
Gettysburg National Military Park

 Federal law mandates that legislative districts be revised every ten years to reflect new census data. In the past, legislators in Pennsylvania, as with other states, have been known to redraw the lines of a congressional district in a way that benefits the majority party. Our guest, state Rep. Ted Harhai (D-Monessen) introduced a bill that would create a citizens commission to handle redistricting and ensure that they don't unnecessarily divide municipalities. 

Street Stages Bring Outdoor Performances To Squirrel Hill

Jul 20, 2015
NextGen:Pgh, Shift Collaborative

 

Street Stages, a new project from City Council Members Dan Gilman and Corey O’Connor along with representatives from NextGen: Pgh and Shift Collaborative’s Busker Street Union, is a designated space for street performers in Squirrel Hill. The collaborative space is being billed as a “third place” between work and home where friends and neighbors can gather. Gilman, NextGen:Pgh Founder and Executive Director Alec Rieger and Shift Collaborative Creative Strategist Eric Sloss share their thoughts on the project.

Another Hottest Year On Record

Jul 20, 2015
Jessica Mullen / flickr

 

On average, 2014 was Earth's hottest year ever -- in the ocean and on land. That's according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has been gathering data from more than 400 scientists around the world on climate trends. We were joined in studio by John Radzilowicz, adviser to the Science Communication Group at CMU, for a look at what's causing this trend and what can be done to slow it down or reverse it.

Trying To Control The Message During The Budget Standstill

Jul 20, 2015
Dave Newman / flickr

  

As the budget stalemate continues in Harrisburg, Republicans in the legislature and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf are engaged in a battle to make sure the voters get their message about who is responsible. Essential Pittsburgh broke down how the media war is being waged with Jeff Ritter, chair of media, communications and technology at La Roche College.

Serving Ice Cream 'With A Cause' At Pittsburgh's Dream Cream

Jul 17, 2015
ashton / flickr

In anticipation of National Ice Cream Day, Essential Pittsburgh is taking a look at some of Pittsburgh's favorite ice cream stores and creameries. From homemade soft serve to ice cream "with a cause," we'll explore the different types of frozen treats available in Pittsburgh.

A Rocky Road Trip For National Ice Cream Day

Jul 17, 2015
Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

150 Years of the Penn State Creamery

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Penn State Creamery. The creamery has played an important role in the development of a number of national and local ice cream brands. Penn State Creamery manager Tom Palchak will tell us about the history of the creamery.

Klavon's Ice Cream Parlor

Walking into Klavon’s Ice Cream parlor in the Strip District is like stepping back in time with its marble counter soda fountain and antique light fixtures. We’ll discover the influence Penn State Creamery is having on its ice cream with co-owner Jacob Hanchar who’ll tell us about parlor’s history.

Exploring Ice Cream From Page's Dairy Mart To Dave And Andy's

Jul 17, 2015
Katherine Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Four Generations of Signature Scoops at Page’s Dairy Mart

Since 1951, the Page family has been serving desserts to hundreds of Pittsburgh residents. Now in their fourth generation, Marjorie Page reflects on what’s kept the family business so successful and shares some memories of the shop that put them on the front “Page.”

Homemade Treats at Dave and Andy's

In the center of bustling Oakland, Dave and Andy's has served their homemade ice cream since 1983. What started as a small business for two friends after college has evolved into a staple on Pitt's campus.  Andy Hardie shows us around the shop and shares some of what makes his store truly one of a kind.

Slinging Satire: Political Cartoons And The First Amendment

Jul 16, 2015
Rob Rogers / robrogers.com

 A new ToonSeum exhibit is opening this Friday. It's called Slinging Satire: Political Cartoons and the First Amendment, This compelling exhibition showcases the work of today's top political cartoonists. Part of the exhibit is dedicated to cartoons that were created in response to the January 7th terrorist attack on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial cartoonist Rob Rogers joins us in studio to discuss the exhibition.

Southern Museums And Monuments To Check Out This Season

Jul 16, 2015
John Seb Barber / flickr

From the Mason-Dixon Line to the Gulf Coast, the south is home to some of America’s most famous cities and landmarks. This week travel contributor Elaine Labalme takes recommends places where you can enjoy that famous southern hospitality.

Rebecca Devereaux / 90.5 WESA

Josie Badger says people with disabilities have significant roles to play for next generation by being active participants in society and role models for other with disabilities. Josie, along with three other panelists, participated in a live forum hosted by 90.5 WESA and Essential Pittsburgh in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Unearthing An Ancient Mosaic

Jul 16, 2015
Philip Reeder

To call it a journey of discovery would be an understatement. Duquesne University’s Dr. Philip Reeder, dean of the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, was co-investigator on a project making a major discovery in Nazareth, Israel. He discusses the importance of this archeological find.

Increasing Accessibility Through the Arts

Jul 15, 2015
David Wilson / flickr

Our special look at the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act concludes with a discussion of accessibility to the arts for individuals with disabilities. Earlier this year the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, for the second year in a row, received an NEA Arts Works Grant. The support provided by the NEA is helping to fund and increasing accessibility to the arts for people with disabilities. Here to tell us more about the initiative is Anne Mulgrave, manager of grants and accessibility for the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council.

Join us this evening beginning at 7 p.m. on 90.5 WESA for a live community forum on our city and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Improving Life For People With Disabilities

Jul 15, 2015
HERL / University of Pittsburgh

The Human Engineering Research Laboratories, also known as HERL, is located on the University of Pittsburgh campus is working to improve the lives of people with disabilities. What innovative designs and concepts are in the works? HERL Director Rory Cooper shares some of the technology they have in the works.

Join us this evening beginning at 7 p.m. on 90.5 WESA for a live community forum on our city and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Senator Tom Harkin Reflects on the ADA, 25 Years Later

Jul 15, 2015
LCCR & LCCREF / flickr

The Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted by the U.S. Congress 25 years ago this month. Former U.S. Senator Tom Harkin authored what became the final ADA Bill and was its chief sponsor in the Senate, He joins us to discuss what led up to the passage of the ADA, how the law has changed life for people with disabilities, and what more needs to be done.

Join us this evening beginning at 7 p.m. on 90.5 WESA for a live community forum on our city and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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