90.5 WESA's Essential Pittsburgh

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

Essential Pittsburgh is a locally produced program from 90.5 WESA dedicated to developing a deep, ongoing exploration of critical issues affecting Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, as well as 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.
  • Dial (412) 256-8783 to leave a question or comment before or after the show.
  • Follow #EPLive on Twitter or tweet your question to @esspgh.
  • Continue the conversation on our station Facebook page.
  • Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.
  • What stories are we missing? Send your thoughts to esspgh@wesa.fm 
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Essential Pittsburgh
1:22 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Pittsburgh's Globally Engaged Groups Join Forces Through the Global Switchboard

Nathan Darity & Brandon Blache Cohen of the global service learning organization Amizade are developing the Global Switchboard
Credit Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

Social media and the internet have connected the world in ways once thought impossible. However, computer connections cannot take the place of human contact.

There are a number of organizations in the city with the shared goal of engaging others across the globe.

Nathan Darity and Brandon Blache-Cohen, Executive Director of Amizade Global Service Learning, are two of the members that connected these organizations together through the global switchboard.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:15 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Helping the LGBTQ Communities in Honduras

Eric Vázquez, a PhD Candidate at Carnegie Mellon University
Credit Eric Vázquez

Honduras is one of the world’s deadliest countries, overrun by gangs and violence.

Women, journalists, lawyers and members of the LGBTQ community have been singled out as victims.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:10 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Turning Personal Passion into Global Service

Tim Wesley and Drew Harvey
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Two Pittsburgh residents, Tim Wesley and Drew Harvey work with the Nyadire Connection to provide medical help in Africa.

Tim Wesley is a volunteer at the Nyadire Connection and Drew Harvey is the chairman of the Nyadire Connection.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:10 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Overcoming Unique Challenges With Doctors Without Borders

Two children look out across the Tacloban slum, which was badly damaged by typhoon Haiyan.
Sophie-Jane Madden MSF

Last November, Typhoon Haiyan, a powerful tropical cyclone devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines.

When cataclysmic events such as this happen, many organizations are dispatched to these areas to provide medical treatment and aid.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders is one such group providing help. Brett Davis, an aid worker for Doctors Without Borders recently returned from the Philippines.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:04 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Pittsburgh Based Thread Recycles Bottles and Brings Jobs to Haiti

Jenna Knapp pulls thread from a spool. The mint green thread is made from recycled plastic bottles from Haiti. Green plastic bottles create green fibers that can only be dyed darker colors. Clear plastic bottles creates thread that can be dyed any color.
Credit Ashley Murray / Allegheny Front

When local photographer Ian Rosenberger saw garbage piled in the street and thrown into canals untouched by a stretched public works system, he was moved to do more than take photos.

He jotted in his journal how it would be good to turn Haiti’s trash into money.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:00 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

A Holistic Approach to Global Health and Development

Students working with residents during the medical portion of the brigade
Credit Nicole W. Huang / Global Brigade

Many students flock to the warmer climes of Florida for a week of partying on spring break.

In contrast, many other students use their vacation to help others around the world. Two of those students are Carnegie Mellon sophomore Nicole Huang, and senior Nick Zuniga who volunteer with Global Brigades a global health and development movement.

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Arts & Culture
7:06 am
Fri April 18, 2014

A 17th Century Emoticon? CMU Professor Who Originated The 'Smiley' Responds

Credit Edward Everett Hale, 1904 (via Wikimedia Commons)

An online debate broke out earlier this week over two otherwise unremarkable lines in a 1648 poem by the English poet Robert Herrick:

Tumble me down, and I will sit / Upon my ruins, (smiling yet :)

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:03 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Friday Rundown: Pittsburghers Helping Others Around the World

Doctors Without Borders' logistics staff removing the ruins of a collapsed hospital in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan .
Credit Julie Remy / MSF

  These topics air Friday April 18, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. To leave a question or comment before or after the show dial 412-256-8783. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.  

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:42 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Like Black Friday For Vinyl, Local Shops Gear Up For Record Store Day

Flipping through the stacks at Jerry's Records.
Heather McClain 90.5 WESA

What started eight years ago as a gathering of store owners and employees celebrating the culture of independent record stores has evolved to include major music industry events, limited edition album releases and people camped out in front of record stores.

Saturday is National Record Store Day, and it’s one of the biggest days of the year for record stores and collectors alike.

“I like that it was started to bring back the whole record store experience,” said James “Selecta” Scoglietti, part owner of 720 Records in Lawrenceville. “People used to go every weekend to their local record store, and it was a social event. It was like a barbershop, where guys and gals would come in and discuss the latest hot tracks of the week. So I love that it’s bringing that back to the mainstream.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:15 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

The History of Minors Being Tried As Adults

David Harris says that there has been a shift from rehabilitating kids in juvenile courts to automatically trying them as adults.
Credit University of Pittsburgh Law School

Alex Hribal, the 16 year-old student apprehended during a stabbing rampage at his high school last week, was charged as an adult. What is the history behind this decision? How did the idea manifest itself in practical terms? We posed these questions and more to our legal expert, Pitt Law Professor David Harris.

Prior to the late 1980’s, children were only tried as adults after they went through the juvenile court system. If a judge decided that they were unable to be rehabilitated, the case was passed along to adult court.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:55 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

President Obama Wants to Model CCAC's Job-Driven Approach to Education

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden visited the Community College of Allegheny County's West Hills Center campus in Oakdale Wednesday to announce system-wide reforms of federal job training programs.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:57 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Spring Break With The New Girl

Although manatees are endangered, many can be seen in the Everglades.
Credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters / flickr

A little madness in the spring is wholesome …even for the King, wrote Emily Dickinson. What better way to quell the madness caused by Spring fever than with a getaway? Travel contributor Elaine Labalme joined us this week with suggestions for Spring Break excursions.

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:46 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Thursday Rundown: The Legal Precedence of Minors Being Tried As Adults

Credit Brian Turner / Flickr

These topics air April 17, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. To leave a question or comment before or after the show dial 412-256-8783. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:09 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

A Year in Review with Bishop Zubik and Local Members of the Catholic Church

Sister Nancy Langhart and Sister Margaret “Peg” Markey
Heather McClain 90.5 WESA

It has been a year since Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik discussed the state of the Catholic Church with Essential Pittsburgh. In that time, Pope Francis has celebrated his one year anniversary.

When Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio took the name Francis, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God in Whitehall expressed their hopes and expectations of the new pontiff. This year Sister Margaret “Peg” Markey and Sister Nancy Langhart reflected on the last year of Vatican leadership.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:24 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Voices of the Catholic Church in Pittsburgh

Bishop David Zubik of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

These topics air Wednesday April 16, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. To leave a question or comment before or after the show dial 412-256-8783. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

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Economy & Business
3:30 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

The Business of Summer Camp, from Architecture to Arts & Crafts

Summer camps give kids structure during their off time from school, and lets them learn and grow while making new friends.
Credit Adrián Merinero Sánchez / flickr

While winter is hardly a distant memory, it’s time to start making summer plans. If summer camp is in your child’s future, contributor Rebecca Harris says now is the time to sign-up. This week she focused on the business of summer camps.

More than six million children attend summer camps each year, and there are many different options. There are day camps, sleep away camps and even summer camps for adults. Rebecca has suggested just a few to check out before sessions fill up.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:30 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

PSO Violinist to Bring Pittsburgh Love to Boston Marathon

Susanne Park will join her sister Irene in this year's Boston Marathon. She'll be running for Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston.
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Last weekend, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra violinist Susanne Park held a benefit to raise money for Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston.

The institution was key in helping victims of the Boston Marathon bombings last year. This year, Park has gathered donations from local businesses to help the cause. Her sister ran in the marathon last year and she said she tracked her sister’s progress in the race until everything suddenly stopped.

Park's sister was one of the many runners unable to contact family for hours amidst the chaos.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:15 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Why These Pittsburgh Marathon Runners Are Returning To Boston

Joe Myers and Karen Harr both ran the Boston Marathon last year and plan to return again this year.
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

 

When Joe Myers and Karen Harr began the Boston Marathon one year ago, neither of them expected to be a part of the chaos following the bombings at the finish line.

After two explosions detonated on Boylston Street, many runners found themselves stranded in the masses. Myers, who had not yet finished the marathon, remembers the crowds of confused people in front of him.

He was unable to contact his family, but eventually returned to the hotel of a fellow runner. Despite the scare, he plans to return to Boston this year and finish what he started.

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:52 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: Pittsburgh Marathon Runners Return to Boston

Marathon runners from Pittsburgh talk about going back to Boston for this year's race.
Credit BorisKasimov / flickr

These topics air Tuesday April 15, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. To leave a question or comment before or after the show dial 412-256-8783. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:22 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Is MyPath 101 a New Path to Success?

MyPath101 was created in part because less than 32% of college students graduate within four year.
Credit Jessie Jacobson / Flickr

According to the Princeton Review fifty percent of college students change their major at least once. A Pittsburgh company has developed an app called MyPath101 to help students graduate on time.

Rachel Gogos, CEO of MyPath101, described the app in 3 parts.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:09 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Think Before You Post: Mainstream Media's Increasing Reliance on Social Media

What should people be thinking before they post photos or updates to their social media accounts?
Credit Pat Williams / Flickr

 

As national media reports about the attacks at Franklin Regional High School began to unfold last week, a story of one of the injured victims taking a selfie from the hospital quickly went viral and prompted a range of reactions. Was the student showing off or simply communicating to his circle of friends?

Gordon Mitchell and Brent Malin, University of Pittsburgh associate professors of communication talked with us about the importance of media literacy and the evolving relevance of social media in our lives and in mainstream news.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:46 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Is Video Replay in Major League Baseball Worth the Wait?

A challenge flag is thrown, the Major League Baseball officials talk to the coach who throws it, and one official goes to a screen and reviews the play. The official comes back and rules the runner out at first base.

That scene can and did happen at the Pirates' opening day Major League Baseball game, thanks to new rule changes that have increased the use of video replay in umpiring.

Are all of these replays really necessary or is it not worth the price of slowing down the game? Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sportswriter emeritus Bob Dvorchak has covered the Pirates for many years and shared his opinion on the hot topic.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:22 pm
Sun April 13, 2014

Monday Rundown: Social Media Literacy and College Advising in an App?

What should people consider before they post?
Credit Pat Williams / Flickr

These topics air Monday April 14, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. To leave a question or comment before or after the show dial 412-256-8783. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here

From Personal to Private in the Blink of An Eye: Being Social Media Literate

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:00 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

'Unclear' Circumstances on the Ground During Chevron Blaze

After talking to the DEP, no one could give a clear answer as to why they acquiesced to Chevron when blocked at the entrance.
Credit Katie Colaneri / StateImpact PA

It recently came to light that Department of Environmental Protection investigators were blocked by Chevron employees in the days after a natural gas well explosion in Greene County. The explosion, which killed one Chevron employee, set off a fire which blazed for five days in February.  

StateImpact reporter Katie Colaneri recently broke the story and said Chevron would not allow the DEP to park or drive onto access roads toward the well for nearly two days. Colaneri says the rules are pretty straightforward concerning incidents such as the well explosion.

The DEP has authority over companies like Chevron during environmentally dangerous conditions, but Colaneri says the overall situation is still very unclear. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:37 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Roger Humphries: Uplifting Pittsburgh Through the Generations

Pittsburgh jazz legend Roger Humphries
Credit Billy Jackson / NOMMO Productions

Roger Humphries is one of Pittsburgh’s most notable jazz musicians. He’s performed professionally since the age of 14 with artists such as Horace Silvers and Ray Charles. But his contributions to the Pittsburgh community go beyond music, he’s uplifted generations of young people.

Humphries is the focus of the award-winning documentary Roger Humphries: Pass it On made by Billy Jackson.

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