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 

Essential Pittsburgh: Running Out of Road

Apr 7, 2015
Doug Kerr/Flickr

As spring and summer road construction projects are about to get underway, they could be stopped before they get started. The reason being that the Highway Trust Fund will be broke come the end of May. We’ll address how this can impact southwestern PA with Chris Sandvig, Regional Policy Director of the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group.

Asked to explain the Trust Fund and its current status, Sandvig says: 

"Locally, within our Southwestern Pennsylvania region, we receive well over $100 million a year in federal funds that are spent on roads, bridges, mass transit, pedestrian and bicycle facilities. The Highway Trust Fund is where that money comes from.  ... Long story short, we're running out of money." -- Chris Sandvig

Also in the program: Christopher Powell and Dayton Kinney discuss an innovative collaboration between Carnegie Mellon and the Pittsburgh Opera, Margaret J. Krauss reports on a harrowing 1902 prison break that gave us our modern police force and Rebecca Harris explains revitalization planned for the Pittsburgh neighborhood of St. Clair.

Essential Pittsburgh: The Pirates Hit the Field

Apr 6, 2015
Dan Gaken/Flickr

The decision to uphold the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate PA State Attorney General Kathleen Kane is the latest setback in her once rising political career.  We’ll get an update on the current troubles of the beleaguered attorney general with WESA’s capitol reporter Mary Wilson.

Mary Wilson talks about the next steps for Kane and how she plans to proceed :

“Well there is no date that I would circle [on a calendar]… Kane says she is not going to resign. Her attorney and spokesman Lanny Davis says that, ‘She’s not stepping down and she’s not going to give into the fight.’ The line from her office is that she’s under siege by people who feel insulted about her rise to power ...”

Also in this hour, Al Yellon talks about the history and future of AstroTurf in baseball, we talk to George Coury, a 46-year Pirates season ticket holder, and Post-Gazette Sportswriter Bob Dvorchak shares his predictions for the performance of the Pirates this season.


Castrin Austin/Flickr

An event billed as the Pittsburgh Rockin' Reunion will take place this weekend. Joining us for a look at Pittsburghers who made rock ‘n’roll music in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s is Ed Salamon, author of the book "Pittsburgh's Golden Age of Rock 'n' Roll."

"All of the elements that created rock 'n roll were present here in Pittsburgh. A lot of musicologists say it's a combination of jazz, of pop, of rhythm and blues. All of those musics existed here in Pittsburgh, and they cross-pollinated in Pittsburgh as in few other places." - Ed Salamon

Also on today's show: Justin Hayward--singer, songwriter, and lead guitarist for the legendary rock group The Moody Blues--remembers a long career of classics, and WYEP's Mike Sauter lays out the steel city's rock 'n roll future: Ringo, Rosanne Cash and none other than The Rolling Stones. 


Becky Wetherington/Flickr

In commemoration of World Autism Awareness Day, Lu Randall, Executive Director at Autism Connection of PA and April Artz,Coordinator for the EmployAble program at the Squirrel Hill Career Development Center, are working to place adults with mental health issues in STEM jobs. The EmployAble program, which provides supportive services along with their job placements, acquired the funds to include services for adults on the autism spectrum in 2014.

Asked about the challenges faced by job seekers on the autism spectrum, Artz explains:

"When people go to apply for a job, there's still a lot of concern on their end about disclosing or talking about it to their employer. And I think in some ways that is justified because there is still a lot of misunderstanding despite the fact [that] this is very prevalent, and this is sort of being a human, we still have a lot of stigma and anxiety around this."

Explaining her outlook on helping the people she works with to seek employment, Randall says: 

"I see my role, in particular, as providing kind of a cross-cultural explanation of a group that's really not well understood. And it's very similar, when we listen to the issues, to any other minority groups in the past or currently who have a hard time being taken seriously, being respected, not having stereotypes put out there that are untrue."

Also in the program, Pitt professor Michael Kenney talks about why some Americans become interested in joining ISIS, and travel contributor Elaine Labalme gives suggestions on where to go for some extra March Madness.

 

Essential Pittsburgh: Re-Drafting 'You and The Police'

Apr 1, 2015
macwagen / flickr

The original version of the pamphlet titled "You and The Police" has been around since the mid-1990s, published after Jonny Gammage's death during a traffic stop. Now, the Pittsburgh police bureau has collaborated with the Black Political Empowerment Project, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Citizen Police Review Board on an updated version of the brochure, which they hope will be distributed in public schools and churches across the city. The handout offers tips on how to handle interactions with the police at traffic stops, within a private home and during an arrest. B-PEP Founder Tim Stevens, ACLU Legal Director Vic Walczak, and Executive Director of the CPRB Beth Pittinger explain the new information and why the city believes the pamphlet's re-introduction is necessary.  Walczak cautioned that, though he thought the brochure is helpful and would minimize negative police interactions, it wouldn't completely solve the problem. 

"There's no silver bullet. No matter how good the brochure is and how wide a distribution you put out, it's not a guarantee that everything is going to be hunky dory. You're going to have misunderstandings. Some employees, like in any business, are not going to follow the rules or do the right thing."- Vic Walczak

Also today, Joe Wos presents the story of the "world's greatest liar" (a Pittsburgh-er, of course) in honor of April Fool's Day. 


Chatham University

Our guest Cokie Roberts has long been familiar to NPR listeners. She offers political commentary during Morning Edition on Mondays and provides analysis for ABC News. This year, Ms. Roberts is being honored as Chatham University’s Elsie Hillman Chair in Women and Politics. On Wednesday she’ll present the lecture An Insider’s View on Washington, D.C.

Asked about how she manages her own political beliefs when reporting on political issues, Roberts explains:

"When you do it as long as I have, you stop, really, having political beliefs. You care about the issues, and you care that people understand the issues, but you see both sides all the time. And you see people who make a lot of sense on one side, and people who don't make any sense on the same side and vice versa. So it's really a question of just trying to explain it." -- Cokie Roberts

Also in the program, Career Consultant Sasha King offers up tips for peer evaluations, Margaret J. Krauss re-lives Pittsburgh's Whiskey Rebellion and business contributor Rebecca Harris preps us for impending holy holidays with the business of Easter. 


Essential Pittsburgh: Celebrating Courageous Women in Journalism

Mar 30, 2015
James McGrath Morris

As Women’s History Month comes to a close we’ll celebrate the achievements of Ethel Payne. The pioneering journalist was the third African American in history given a White House press pass. In his new book Eye on the Struggle, our guest James McGrath Morris chronicles the life of Ethel Payne.

Morris talks about just one of the many legacies left by Ethel Payne:

" One of the legacies of her story is a constant reminder of who has a seat at the table makes an enormous difference. And as each group begins to gain rights-- gay rights, transsexual rights, Hispanic rights--whatever group. If those folks are not at the table, not asking questions of those in power... The groups who are there will fail to ask the questions that are significant for that audience." -- James McGrath Morris

Also in the hour, independent director and presenter at Pittsburgh's first Humanities Festival John Sayles  discusses the past and present of independent cinema. Then, the Director of International Media, Advocacy and Communications at Columbia University Anya Schiffrin visits City of Asylum and recalls a century of global investigative journalism.  


Essential Pittsburgh

Joyce Brabner and Mark Zingarelli produced a book last year that puts the history of AIDS into a vastly new perspective. With comic-book-style graphics and vivid, larger-than-life characters, Second Avenue Caper describes the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in America with the kind of humor and imagination that is seldom associated with such a poignant topic. 

Brabner talks about the heroes in this story in the fight against AIDS :

"The real heroes are my friends who made space in their crowded NY apartment for people who didn’t have the strength to walk up five flights of stairs. My friends who fed, cared, clothed everybody." -- Joyce Brabner

Also in this hour, AIDS researcher Dr. Charles Rinaldo and Alan Jones of the Pittsburgh AIDS Taskforce talk about the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. Furthermore,  Tom Baxter of Friends of the Riverfront and Carl Knoch of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy talk about their thoughts on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail.


Essential Pittsburgh / WESA

Former congressman Joe Sestak is running for the U.S. Senate by walking. He's making a 422-mile trek across the state to better connect with Pennsylvanians. Joe Sestak joins us in Studio A for a talk about his plans to challenge Senator Pat Toomey and why the state's Democratic party doesn't want him to run.

Sestak comments on his opponent Senator Pat Toomey's action regarding Iran and the nuclear weapons issue:

"What I saw is the unrivaled respect that the presidency of the United States has as the foremost instrument to secure our freedoms and our security overseas. To actually have had Senator Toomey sign a letter that says disregard our presidency shows reckless abandon of the responsibilities of a Senator, it shows truly no experience in world affairs and it also shows a disregard for the security of America, placing politics above security." -- Joe Sestak

Also in this hour, a Pittsburgh artist's sketches of servicemen are finding their way back home and Louis Ortiz, star of the documentary "Bronx Obama" and the President's closest doppelganger visits for a screening of the film. 

Tony Webster / Flickr

Controversy continues to surround Governor Wolf’s nominee for State Police Commissioner Marcus Brown. The former Maryland State Police Commissioner has come under fire for wearing the PA State Trooper uniform. He is now under investigation for allegations of misdemeanor theft. We get the latest on the beleaguered nominee with Patriot News Capitol Reporter Christian Alexandersen.

"In a couple different interviews, [Marcus Brown] made the point of using the word honor and showing respect for the people he's going to lead. He said that to lead the organization it would make sense for him to wear the uniform...The retired state troopers have been pretty vocal, especially on social media and online, about their feelings...One retired officer said [Brown's] decision to wear the uniform was to show his power and authority." - Christian Alexandersen

Also in this hour, cities around the globe go dark this Saturday in honor of Earth Hour (including parts of Pittsburgh), we revisit the history of the Fort Pitt Block House, and the Farm to Table Food Conference connects Pittsburghers directly to their local growers. 


Words Without Walls / Chatham University

Words Without Walls is a program at Chatham University teaching creative writing to residents of Pittsburgh-area correctional facilities and drug treatment centers.The instructors are students in Chatham’s MFA program in Creative Writing. Joining us in Studio A to discuss the program and a special book launch taking place this Friday are  MFA Program Director and Author, Sheryl St. Germain and Jonny Blevins, a student and instructor in the program.

Explaining her ambitions for the program, St. Germain says:

"It was not just the idea that we thought we could help people tell their own stories, and that would heal. Obviously that was really important, but it was also important for me as a director to get students from our program working with alternative populations. ... It's a way to get students to interact with members of the community." -- Sheryl St. Germain

Also in the program, Carnegie Mellon professor David Shumway talks about the upcoming Pittsburgh Humanities Festival, and business contributor Rebecca Harris explains the business impact of having a baby.


Essential Pittsburgh: Sree Sreenivasan on Social Media Strategy

Mar 23, 2015
Flickr/muse_web

With the number of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM jobs increasing at three times the rate of other industries, the Carnegie Science Center is encouraging schools and lawmakers to focus on improving the way students learn about STEM fields. We'll talk with Jason Brown, director of science and education at Carnegie Science Center joins us.

In this segment Brown offers a greater understanding of what constitutes as STEM education and STEM professions:

"STEM professionals can be not only the engineers and the scientists, but they can be the surveyors, the construction professionals, the welders… It’s a very wide range because the STEM skills that are required for the job are problem solving skills--it’s not necessarily science content knowledge.” - Jason Brown

Also on today's show we talk about the ins and outs of social media strategy with social media expert Sree Sreenivasan. Later, President-elect of the Allegheny County Medical Society Dr. Larry John tells us how to properly dispose of medicine.


Essential Pittsburgh: A Penn State Fraternity's Facebook Fallout

Mar 20, 2015
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Two weeks after the Oklahoma State University fraternity scandal comes another. This time closer to home at Penn State where members of the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity are under investigation for a secret Facebook page containing nude photos, drug use and hazing. We get the latest on the investigation from Penn Live reporter Ivey DeJesus.

DeJesus outlined the points of comparison between the Oklahoma State fraternity scandal and the Penn State scandal, many of which revolved around the administrations' responses:

"Oklahoma University President David Boren came out immediately after the Sigma Alpha Epsilon matter broke. He spoke out and was very involved in it. I think people were waiting for [Penn State University President] Eric Barron to do the same." - Ivey DeJesus

Also in today's show, "Silence of the Lambs" director Jonathan Demme comes to town for the CMU International Film Festival, and Pitt Women's Basketball coach Suzie McConnell-Serio prepares to take her team to the NCAA Tournament.

Essential Pittsburgh: Oil Train Safety with Senator Bob Casey

Mar 19, 2015
Jason Rogers/Wikimedia

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey is pushing legislation that would bring emergency managers and technical experts together to improve training and equipment for emergency responders handling oil train derailments. Recent derailments have caused explosions and fires in recent months. Sen Casey joins us by phone from Washington.

Casey explains that the legislation he is sponsoring -- the Response Act -- would do several things:

"It would examine ... training issues, resource issues, funding levels, access to communication -- all kinds of information and subject areas that [the relevant agencies and technical experts] should review. ... This is particularly important to small communities that don't have the resources, sometimes, that larger communities do."

Also in the program, Pitt law professor David Harris talks about Pittsburgh's selection for a new Justice Department initiative, and travel contributor Elaine Labalme shares her favorite flower shows travel destinations.


Essential Pittsburgh: An Hour with Mayor Bill Peduto

Mar 18, 2015
BillPeduto.com

Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto makes his monthly appearance on the program. He discusses Pittsburgh's participation in a new Justice Department program to improve the relationship between police officers and city residents and his meeting with President Obama during his visit to Washington for the National League of Cities Congressional City Conference. The mayor also addresses the topics of body cameras for the Pittsburgh Police force, pothole season and the city's Summer Internship Program.

"Let's be real fair and open about this: incidents are going to occur. Police are dealing with violent people, they're dealing with dysfunction, and they're dealing with situations that don't follow rules. And in those cases there are always going to be times when force is necessary. But how it is used and making sure that it doesn't exceed the escalation is something that we work now to train our officers on." - Mayor Bill Peduto

The mayor speaks at length about the changes to community policing that his administration is instituting.

"When Chief McLay came in, he asked his commanders, 'Send me a list of people that you call when an incident occurs.' And there was no list. So over the course of the first month we started to put together a list of community leaders.'

He answers caller questions about instituting a version of a stop and frisk program (24:05), the city's plans for helping to provide jobs for children in inner city neighborhoods (33:50), plans to revitalize Pittsburgh neighborhoods like Arlington (43:20), and food truck legislation (46:50).

Essential Pittsburgh: A Conversation with Governor Wolf

Mar 16, 2015
Tom Wolf / Flickr

Now that Pennsylvania is transitioning to a full Medicaid expansion, what happens if the Supreme Court decides to unravel Obamacare? And will Gov. Tom Wolf’s death penalty moratorium survive a lawsuit filed by the Philadelphia DA? Hear the answers to those questions in his first Essential Pittsburgh interview since the election.

Regarding his plan for using the sales tax to help the Commonwealth's budget deficit, Wolf explains:

"We simply can't keep doing what we're doing -- that is, consume public goods but not pay for them, and we've been doing that for years and years. It's a bipartisan thing, but we need to finally address that, and be honest about the deficits, and I want to do that. - Gov. Wolf

Also in the program, Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak discusses ongoing efforts by UMPC workers to unionize, Evelyn Roche tells the story of Guinness beer, WESA contributor Margaret J. Krauss gives some history of LGBT culture in Pittsburgh, and business contributor Rebecca Harris talks women in the workplace.

Essential Pittsburgh: The High Cost of Protection From Abuse

Mar 16, 2015
Rae Allen / Flickr

When faced with an abusive partner, many women seek out a restraining order to get protection and regain some control over their lives. But according to a new study from the University of Pittsburgh, getting out of an abusive relationship can be quite costly for women who try to obtain restraining orders. Sociologists Melanie Hughes and Lisa Brush address the financial disruption in women’s lives when they petition the courts to leave abusive relationships. 

Lisa discusses the focal points and the results of this study.

"What we really wanted to understand was if we compared women to themselves before and after they went through the process of petitioning ... did they have a boost in their earnings and an increase afterwards in the wake?”

She continues by presenting the other possibility for the results.

“Or was there an economic shock or a stall in their earnings? And in fact we found out that the period right around the time when they’re petitioning is full of all kinds of turmoil and um pretty much everybody experiences a shock and lots of women experience a stall in their earnings.”

Also, in this program we speak with Attorney Lisa A. Borelli Dorn about what it takes to file a protection from abuse order. And what prospects does the RMU men's basketball team have for making it to the Final Four? 

Ricky Romero / Flickr

Kyle Bibby, a University of Pittsburgh professor of civil and environmental engineering  has been studying the microorganisms in Pittsburgh's drinking water. He's received some help in this endeavor from students at the Pittsburgh Gifted Center and the Carnegie Science Center. Professor Bibby explains what we may, or may not want to know about the microbes in our tap water.

"We like to think of water as "sterile," but really nothing is sterile, in the sense that microorganisms exist everywhere. Understanding what's there is essential to understanding why it's safe. It's also just very scientifically interesting." - Professor Kyle Bibby

Also in this hour, the once in a lifetime date Super Pi Day arrives, host Guy Raz of the TED Radio Hour stops by, and the New Girl gives a guide to traveling the States with the luck of the Irish.


Essential Pittsburgh: Investigating Greek Life

Mar 12, 2015
Jeff Simms / Flickr

A video of members of the SAE fraternity at University of Oklahoma performing a racist chant has been garnering national headlines. It also places a spotlight on the negative aspects of Greek life at institutions of higher education in the United States. Atlantic Monthly magazine writer Caitlin Flanagan conducted a yearlong investigation of Greek problems titled The Dark Power of Fraternities. And Eric Kelderman writes about Greek life for the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Talking about the enduring popularity of the rather old-fashioned tradition of fraternities, Flanagan says:

“You would think if there were something as un-modern, essentially un-modern, as a fraternity -- you know, clubs that are largely all white, clubs that are exclusionary in all sorts of ways and that have real problems in terms of violence against women -- you would think in modern America those would be the sort of things dying on the vine. You’d think there’d be no role for them at all anymore. And yet they are currently at kind of a zenith of popularity. So we’re really stuck here with a system that nobody knows what to do with but that hundreds of thousands of young men absolutely love.”

Asked about the challenges of university oversight of fraternities and sororities, Kelderman explains:

“Universities have struggled with this idea of holding Greek organizations accountable. They’re private organizations, they often live in privately owned housing, and that creates a number of complications …”

Also in the program, former August Wilson Center CEO Andre Kimo Stone Guess and Robert Morris University Director of Special Programs and Student Community Standards offer their perspectives on contemporary fraternity culture.
 

  

Brad Knabel / Flickr

Mt. Lebanon has been trying to reduce its deer population with a controversial program in which deer are baited, trapped into a small area, and then shot. Township officials have said they are trying to reduce the number of incidents involving deer and cars.Tom Fazi, Information and Education Supervisor for the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Southwest Region, says the plan was developed by Mt. Lebanon's community leaders, and that the Commission is there to guide their decision-making.

 

"They met the provisions of the law in all respects. We are duty-bound to offer them the permit. That doesn't mean we'll wash our hands of it. We have the authority to revoke this permit immediately if the provisions aren't met." -Tom Fazi

 

But some members of the community say the deer cull is inhumane and barbaric. Leila Sleiman, a representative of Pittsburgh Animal Rights believes that the process is not being accurately presented to the community. 

 

"From its conception, this plan has not been transparent. It has nothing to do with public safety or how inhumane it is. It's been hurdle after hurdle for [local government], of doing things wrong with public safety not in mind." -Leila Sleiman

 

They were joined by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter John Hayes, who has been covering this issue.

 

Also in the program is a discussion of Hillary Clinton's email account usage, with former U.S. Ambassador Dan Simpson.


Autophotomoto / Flickr

There’s a continual emphasis on the importance of obtaining a college education. However, as the costs associated with higher education continue to increase, is a college degree diminishing in importance among college students and their parents?  Marty McGough Vice President for Market Insights, of Campos Research Strategy gives his take on that theory.

Students and would-be students are increasingly weighing the costs of college against the benefits, McGough says:

“I think that the pressures placed on [college students] -- the cost of college tuition, what’s expected of them, a job market that’s pretty bleak, and that they’re going to be saddled with the student loan debt -- makes their emphasis right off the bat in freshman year thinking, ‘When I graduate, what kind of job am I going to get? Will I be able to pay back my student loans?’ And they make a calculation in their mind whether university is really worth it from a financial perspective. And I think that maybe ten or twenty years ago that was less likely.”

Also in the program, Post-Gazette politics editor James O’Toole talks about the local political endorsement process, Rep. Dan Miller describes the Children and Youth Disability and Mental Health Summit, Margaret J. Krauss looks back on the history of Pittsburgh’s “h.”


Monica Cwyner

This past weekend marked the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March. Jen Saffron, director of communications for the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council took part in the events commemorating the civil rights event. She and Monica Cwyner, a social worker from Pittsburgh, recount their experiences at last weekend’s event and the issues it raises for them.

Monica emphasizes that there is only one race, the human race. 

"As long as we try to define it by color, or by sex and make the differences, why don't we start looking at the things we all want. We all want a safe place to live. We all want something to do...something that makes us get up, that we can feel good about." -Monica Cwyner

However, as a Caucasian American, Jen points out that it's important for her to be cognizant of white privilege. 

"It is crucial that people like myself, white privileged people-- I'm willing to say that-- are investigating what that privilege means, what that does to others, how much space we take up, and how we may be inflicting micro-agressions against people and we don't even know it because we're just prescribing to the dominant cultural values of our time." -Jen Saffron

Also in the program, after years of protests, Earth Quaker Action Team gets PNC Bank to divest funding for mountaintop removal mining. 

Joseph / Flickr

August Wilson is well known for his 20th century cycle of works about the black experience in America. But now an additional play written shortly before Wilson’s death is debuting in Pittsburgh. Actor Eugene Lee and Director Todd Kreidler, Wilson’s friend and protégé, explain what “How I Learned What I Learned” reveals about the playwright’s life as a poet in the Hill District.

"His quality of mind is actually something that comes out in the show, and that's something Eugene really brings out. The way he can twist and turn. I always say that August was a blues man with a jazz mind." - Director Todd Kreidler

Also in this show, a look at how the USDA is taking a new approach to fighting hunger, and CMU students prepare to launch a Xombie into space.

Kurt Sampsel / WESA

It may not have received the Oscar recognition it could have, but the movie "Selma" is inspiring discussions about the civil rights movement among school-age children and young adults. Actor Stan Houston played Jim Clark, the sheriff of Selma, Alabama in 1965. Houston talks about the impact of the film and what he thinks it will take to move America forward in the aftermath of current events. Asked about how his own background as a Southerner impacted his preparation for the film, Houston explains:

“Well, growing up in the South, everybody’s met ‘the guy.’ .. You know, not specifically, but we know the personality, the attitudes, that we grew up [with] in the South. … I portrayed my old high school coach. … I tried to turn it around -- if Jimmie Lee Jackson had the baton in his hand, and he was able to do to Clark what he was doing to Jimmie Lee in the scene. Reverse the roles, in other words -- carry out his frustrations of being discriminated against, denied the right to vote, just because of the color of his skin. So, I used that as a motivation.”

Also today, a former school teacher and activist remembers marching in Selma, Alabama in 1965. And representatives from the National Aviary discuss an online auction to name one of its African penguin chicks.


Essential Pittsburgh: What's Next for Net Neutrality?

Mar 4, 2015
Gflores / wikipedia

The notion of regulating the Internet using public utility laws has been under consideration for the past year. Now that net neutrality rules have been adopted by U.S. regulators, how will this long-running battle play out in Congress and the courts? As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA-14) explains how the proposed rules might benefit citizens and the Internet at large. 

Also today, Governor Wolf's budget proposal, and a delegation from PA travels to D.C. to convince senators and congressmen to renew the Export-Import Bank charter.

“It’s really not intented to protect the Googles and the Facebooks of the world. It’s really intended to protect the next big thing.” - Representative Doyle


AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File

Today 90.5 WESA presented live coverage of Governor Wolf's budget address to the Pennsylvania Legislature in Harrisburg from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Devon Christopher Adams / Flickr

Remembering Mr. Spock (41:00)

Actor Leonard Nimoy, best known as Mr. Spock on the classic television series Star Trek died last week at the age of 83. He made his Shakespearean acting debut at the Pittsburgh Public Theater in 1975. Pop culture contributor Joe Wos explains more about Nimoy's connection to the Steel City.   

Josh Staiger / Flickr

In a recent opinion piece for the Tribune Review, pop culture correspondent Joe Wos questions whether we’re seeing the death of the art museumRobin Nicholson, Director of The Frick, Jo Ellen Parker, President of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, and Joe Wos talk about the future of art museums.

“You know they just had museum selfie day, you know where people came in and used art as backdrops to selfies and I think that’s the risk you run. Yes you want to embrace the technology but you don’t want to devalue the experience completely,” says Wos.

Robin rebuts by saying, “I love museum selfie day. I think that it is an amazing opportunity for an individual to engage in an individual work of art that they might never look at in the same detail again.”

Jo Ellen offers a final insight, “I don’t think technology threatens the extinction of our museums. I think it will support their evolution.”  

Essential Pittsburgh: Some Fresh Ways to Shelter Homeless People

Feb 26, 2015

Jon Potter, the owner of what's said to be Pittsburgh's only hostel, is trying to fund his next big project. A co-operatively owned house called the Pittsburgh Home, it would offer a safe and free place for Pittsburghers in need of shelter. He explains where things stand with the project's development and how a co-operative shelter would work.

 

With regard to his plans for the Pittsburgh Home, Potter explains:

“The shelters are great, but there’s a dignity in having your own home, and that’s what we want to provide. It’s not only dignity, but it’s having an address that you can use to apply for jobs and get a bank account and get a driver’s license. Because actually having a home, I think, is what people need.”


Essential Pittsburgh: Crude Oil Transport Safety Concerns

Feb 25, 2015
Judy and Ed / Flickr

Despite safety improvements, there seems to be an increase in the number of fuel train accidents. So what safety improvements are needed? What has been learned from the recent accident in West Virginia

Reporter Jon Schmitz has been covering this issue for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He says that although there is universal agreement that the old car designs are unsafe, recent accidents have proven the new CPC 1232 designs are also insufficient. 

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