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
6:43 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Breaking Down Corbett's Budget Proposal

Governor Tom Corbett giving his fourth budget address Tuesday, calling for more than $900 million in additional state spending over the current fiscal year.
Credit pa.gov

Governor Tom Corbett delivered his fourth budget address Tuesday, calling for more than $900 million in additional state spending over the current fiscal year.

A sizable portion of Corbett's roughly three percent increase in state spending would go to education. Is this year's version of the governor's budget really the "pivot point" that Budget Secretary Charles Zogby is calling it?

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review capitol reporter Brad Bumsted points out that the budget has supporters and critics. Senator Tim Pawlenty showed support for the budget plan by declaring the latest speech as the best budget speech of Corbett's tenure. But how does Corbett plan on completing this budget plan without raising taxes?

According to Bumsted, “his budget director says its by anticipating 4% revenue growth with a number of one-time fixes and continuing fixes. But some of the things he is counting on requires approval outside of his control."

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:39 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Dr. Jim Withers: Bringing Healthcare to the Streets

Credit Pittsburgh Mercy Health System

There is a doctor in Pittsburgh that still makes house calls, to a certain extent. For more than 20 years Dr. Jim Withers’s house calls have brought healthcare to the homeless.  What began as a nightly service in 1992 has become the non-profit, Operation Safety Net.

"I was just frustrated with the gap between how healthcare looks at people and how much each person's own reality is unique to them," says Withers.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:18 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Underneath The Lintel: A One-Man Show About Moving Forward & Looking Back

A picture of Randy Kovitz, a Carnegie Mellon Alumnus, in the one-man play Underneath the Lintel.
Credit Underneath the Lintel / Facebook

Pittsburgh based actor, Randy Kovitz, is the lone performer in a one-man play called Underneath the Lintel. The play is a journey of self discovery in which the hero, a librarian, tries to solve the mystery of a book that's been missing for over a century.

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:14 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Corbett's Budget Plan and House Calls for the Homeless

Credit pa.gov

These topics air Wednesday February 5, 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
4:31 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

POLITICO Kicks Off Editorial Series Starting With Pittsburgh

Credit MARK PETERSON/REDUX / POLITICO.com

POLITICO kicked off a yearlong, editorial series Tuesday, showcasing innovative ideas from cities across the nation and how they can be re-engineered for Washington.

POLITICO Editor Susan Glasser explained why Pittsburgh is the first city featured.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:14 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Heroin Addiction & the Social Stigma of Rehab

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The recent rash of deaths from heroin laced with fentanyl, and the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman have brought attention to the need for more efficient clinical treatment for drug addiction.

Gateway Rehab Medical Director Dr. Neil Capretto works with addicts and talked about what a relapse can mean to someone trying to conquer their dependency.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:56 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

The Business of the Winter Olympics

Credit http://www.mcwade.com/DesignTalk/2009/12/does-sochis-olympic-logo-work/

The 2014 Winter Olympics open this Friday. While they are taking place a world away, how will they impact local businesses? We posed that question to our contributor Rebecca Harris.

There are seven Pittsburgh Penguins headed to  the Olympics, along with bobsledder Lauryn Williams and a local Pittsburgh nurse going to provide medical care, so Pittsburgh will be well represented in Sochi.

While airlines and travel agents are booking low numbers of trips to Sochi, local advertising sales are up because of the large amount of TV viewing and streaming that NBC will be offering during the games.

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Technology & City Data
3:34 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Steel City Codefest Shows the Potential for Open Data

Credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/weinakademieberlin/5417420791/

Pittsburgh's second Steel City Codefest is almost here. The second annual 24-hour technology competition aims to create relevant and useful apps for the Pittsburgh area.

One of last year's winning teams created an app called ParkIt, which would allow users to pay for parking meters using their phone. The app would also remind users when their meter is about to expire and allow them to refill it.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:44 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: POLITICO Spotlights Pittsburgh & How Stigma Affects Addiction

Snake robot at CMU's Robotics Institute. POLITICO has set its sights on Pittsburgh thanks to its robotics industry.
Credit Jiuguang Wang / Flickr

These topics air Tuesday February 4, 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
6:30 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Details on Local Fentanyl-Laced Heroin Overdoses

State police are still trying to track down the source of a drug that has killed as many as 23 people in Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler and Westmoreland Counties, based on data released Friday by the Allegheny County medical examiner’s office.

There have been 14 deaths in Allegheny county in which victims tested positive for both heroin and Fentanyl, a powerful analgesic used to treat cancer patients.

90.5 WESA reporter Liz Reid has been following the story and says leading up to January 24th, the County Medical Examiner saw one opiate overdose death per day, which was not considered abnormal, but he became concerned when that number jumped to 3 in one day, on Friday and 4 more that Saturday.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:05 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Right to Know Law Could Be Less Important with #OpenPgh

Steel City Codefest is challenging developers to create apps for street cleaning, trash pickup, even ways to top-up parking while away from the meter, using open data.
Credit jacob caddy / flickr

Pittsburgh plans to join 19 other American cities and counties in releasing city data for public use online. As the city works out the details of how this initiative will take shape, they’re looking for public input.

Debra Lam, Mayor Peduto's pick for Chief of Innovation & Performance and Laura Meixell, data and analytics manager for the City of Pittsburgh, say the initial ordinance brought to city council last month is meant to change the perceptions of how Pittsburghers think about data and city disclosure of information.

“It sets the default to open.” Laura Meixell explains, “There’s a whole variety of state laws around what information is public and what isn’t, in the PA Right to Know law. And here in the city we’ve been following those rules since that legislation was enacted, but much more on the basis of, if folks asked for information we would provide it. With this [open data] legislation we’re going to  have the chance to go ahead and be proactive, to open things up and to make things more available and useful in the short term.”

City organizations have encouraged the software community to creatively use municipal data, even before the introduction of this legislation, through Steel City Codefest.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:27 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Business Lessons Learned in Gettysburg

Credit SPakhrin / Flickr

Even though the battle of Gettysburg was fought more than 150 years ago, Point Park University business professor George Bromall says there are lessons to be learned from that war, which are still relevant today. Lessons of supply and demand, transportation, construction, and more.

Through a class titled Business History Perspectives, professor Bromall takes groups of undergraduates to the battlefields of Gettysburg to teach the importance of adaptive leadership.

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Health
10:54 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Six Things To Know About Refugees and Health Care in Pittsburgh

As a child in war-torn Somalia, Aweys Mwaliya saw friends and family killed in massacres. He and his family eventually fled, spending a decade living in refugee camps. Nine years ago, he was resettled in Utah and later moved to Pittsburgh. Among his fellow Somalian refugees, he said there are a lot of people who need mental health help, but most won’t go for it.
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

In 2012, more that 58,000 refugees were resettled in the United States. A couple thousand of them came to Pennsylvania. Many of these refugees come to the United States fleeing war and genocide. Many arrive healthy but develop chronic illnesses as they adopt American habits. Others feel isolated and alone – suffering that can turn toxic over time. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:55 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Monday Rundown: Killer Heroin, Open Data & the Business of War

Public Works employees filling potholes on the South Side. Open Data could give citizens real time info about hazardous streets and when they'll be fixed.
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

These topics air Monday February 3, 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
8:05 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

The Pitfalls of Predicting Weather a Season in Advance

Credit CJ Schmit / Flickr

From the earliest years of our nation’s history there have been two books published each year to guide gardeners, cooks, housekeepers and farmer’s on a range of topics, including seasonal weather.

The Farmer’s Almanac and the Old Farmer’s Almanac include long range predictions of weather in the United States. This year, both books predicted a colder than normal winter for our area. But what about the rest of the country? How accurate are the famed Almanacs, which use centuries-old secret formulas for predicting seasonal weather?

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:23 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Seasonal Affective Disorder Not So Different From Non-Seasonal Depression

Fewer hours of sunlight is the biggest factor in the winter onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Credit catskills grrl / flickr

As soon as the clocks change each fall, do you feel like your body goes into hibernation mode?

When winter mood shifts bring us to the point of depression, the experience is called Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as S.A.D., and the mental health effects can be devastating for some people.

Kathryn Roecklein, Assistant professor in the University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychology and Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition at Pitt and CMU studies and treats S.A.D.

She says, contrary to what some people think, S.A.D. is not a response to cold weather, but the shorter days of winter and lack of sunlight.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:27 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Weather Likely to Impact the Spectacle of Super Bowl XLVIII, But Not the Game

Credit Broken Sphere / Wikipedia

This Sunday, Super Bowl XLVIII pairs the AFC champion, the Denver Broncos with the NFC champion, the Seattle Seahawks.

For the first time, the big game is being played in the cold weather of a northern city, outdoors. This means there may be some snow, and temperatures are likely hover around freezing. How is the weather likely to change the game?

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Behavioral Health
10:31 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Translating Trauma: The Challenge of Treating Refugees With PTSD

Aweys Mwaliya's childhood in war-torn Somalia was marred by unspeakable trauma. He and his family eventually fled, spending a decade living in refugee camps. Nine years ago, he was resettled in Utah and later moved to Pittsburgh.
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

As a child in war-torn Somalia, Aweys Mwaliya saw friends and family killed in massacres. Fleeing the country,  his family spent weeks walking to Kenya. The trip was so grueling, that along the way, his youngest sister died. The family couldn’t give her a proper burial.

"The feeling I have about those terrible things are very, very bad, and I’m still wondering why things like that happen, why people do things to other people," Mwaliya, now 30 and living in Pittsburgh said. 

In Kenya, his family spent a decade living in refugee camps.

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Public Safety
10:20 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

On Social Media, Pittsburgh Pays Tribute to Fallen Police Dog Rocco

Pittsburghers, many of them pet owners, took to social media with heavy hearts following the death of Pittsburgh police dog Rocco Thursday evening.

Authorities say 8-year-old Rocco was injured Tuesday night when police arrested a man on warrants for probation violations and failing to register as a sex offender.

Twenty-one-year-old John Lewis Rush was one of Allegheny County's most wanted fugitives. Police say he stabbed Rocco in the back and wounded two officers before being taken into custody.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:13 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Friday Rundown: From Cold Snaps to Snap Counts, Winter Weather & the Super Bowl

Credit olibac / flickr

These topics air Friday January 31, 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
8:10 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Psychology & Context Deeply Influence Employee Choices

Credit Heather McClain / 90.5WESA

Behind every tough problem lie human behaviors. Understanding why we do the things we do can be a key to solving tough social problems.

It’s a focus of the work done by Ideas 42, which played a significant role in devising Propel Schools’ innovative 2013 savings initiative.

As the executive director of Ideas 42, Josh Wright explores the juxtaposition of human thought and business enterprise. He is in Pittsburgh as part of the Pitt Philanthropy Forum, where he'll speak Thursday.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:03 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Dedicated to Children & Family Welfare, Cherna Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Credit Allegheny County DHS

For the past 17 years, Pittsburgh’s Marc Cherna has served needy children and families throughout the region as the director of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services.

He recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Casey Family Programs, the nation’s largest foster child foundation. The honor is granted to individuals who improve the welfare of children and provide dedicated service to the public. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:23 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

How to Set and Achieve Goals in the Workplace

Credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/markjsebastian/1264424156/

We’re in the first month of a new year and chances are you’ve made resolutions to improve aspects of your life.

Whether it’s finding a new job or making the most of your current position, having a strategy is a good starting point.

Sasha King, an independent career consultant, offers up some tips on how to set goals at work.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:16 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Escape the Cold and Visit These Florida Beaches

Credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/iwaswired/4320569453/in/photostream/

Cole Porter’s lyric said it best when he advised listeners to, “Get out of Town.”

It wouldn’t be surprising if people heeded that advice in light of the recent cold snap. Where better to escape than a nice warm beach?

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme offers up some of her favorite low-key escapes.

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Art From the Ground Up
3:30 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Silk Sound Asian American Jazz Orchestra Gives New Life to Musical Traditions

Harish Saluja
Credit silkscreenfestival.org

Music that is centuries old is being reborn as a new sound in Pittsburgh.

Silk Sound Asian American Jazz Orchestra is an amalgam of different cultures and musical traditions coming together under the direction of Harish Saluja.

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