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
3:50 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Millennials, Tell Us How You're Making Your Mark in Pittsburgh

Millennials hanging out at Duquesne University.
Credit Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

President John F. Kennedy captured the essence of his generation’s passions when he gave his famous “only a few generations” speech at his 1961 inaugural address.

More than 50 years later, that same generation is cautiously watching the rise of my generation, the Millennials, also known as Generation-Y and the Baby Boom Echo.

We want Pittsburgh Millennials to talk about what matters to them and where they think they’re headed. So if you were born between the early 1980s to 2000s, we need your voices.

Tell us what you think in a 3 minute message

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:24 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Karen Hacker Enthusiastic About New Direction of Public Health in Allegheny County

Allegheny County Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5WESA

As new Allegheny County Health Department Director Karen Hacker comes into office, she faces a range of public health concerns. From smoking, obesity and air quality to green infrastructure and fracking issues, Dr. Hacker will be tackling a number of community health matters.

Many worry whether the department has the resources it needs to enforce all the state and county regulations under its purview, but Dr. Hacker says she has already received unique support from the public and from advocacy groups.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:12 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

The Business and Popularity of Knitting

Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Whether its mittens, afghans or sweaters, knitting has made a comeback in recent years. Young and old are spinning yarns and contributor Rebecca Harris, has been looking at the business of knitting.

She finds that while many think of knitting as something for the old, an increasing number of young people are taking the time to learn to spin yarn as a means of building communities.

Many of the stores that sell yarn and supplies have a large part in this trend. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:04 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: New Health Director Talks Air & Water Quality in Allegheny County

Dr. Karen Hacker is the Director of the Allegheny County Health Department
Credit Allegheny County Health Department

These topics air Tuesday 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
7:22 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

The Larger Implications of the Target Data Breach

Target was hit by a security breach over the holiday shopping season that has affected over 100 million people and is just beginning to feel the negative effects of the breach.
Credit j.reed / flickr

The massive data breach that occurred at Target stores at the beginning of the holiday season was thought to affect 40 million customers.

With estimates expanded Friday to more than 100 million, it’s believed that names, mailing addresses, phone numbers and email addresses have been compromised along with credit and debit card numbers.

The questions now are, "Is this attack different than other security breaches?" and "What should a person do who has been affected by this type of a security breach?" Answering these questions are Andy Tornasi, a Federal Project Manager for Tiversa, and Orion Czarnecki, a Cyber Forensic Analyst at Tiversa.

Tornasi says this breach is different from any case he has dealt with in the past.

“This is the first time that I ever heard of malware affecting the point of sale for a particular store."

Czarnecki has this advice for those who were affected by the Target breach or the recent breach at Neiman Marcus stores.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:03 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

"Listen To Your Audience" Jayne Adair Knows What Pittsburgh Likes To Read

Jayne Adair is Executive Director for Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5WESA

Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures brings some of the world’s leading authors and speakers to Pittsburgh.

For the last 7 years, Executive Director Jayne Adair has grown the organization’s audience to be one of the largest attended literary series in the country.

Adair plans to retire later this year, so we wanted to speak with her about the experience of working with Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, the upcoming season of speakers, and what it takes to bring those big names to town.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:09 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

What to Expect From Penn State's New Football Coach

Penn State has named their second permanent football coach since the end of Joe Paterno’s career in 2011. James Franklin the former coach at Vanderbilt University, replaces Bill O’Brien who is now the new head coach of the Houston Texans.

Bob Dvorchak, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sportswriter emeritus and author of the book Game Over: Jerry Sandusky, Penn State and the Culture of Silence, talks about the school's new football coach, and how his hiring will impact the scandal plagued program and the university going forward.

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Health
8:27 am
Mon January 13, 2014

When a New Home Means a New Diet, Health Problems Can Arise for Refugees

Tek Nepal (right) washes spinach at his Mount Oliver home with his wife Radhika Nepal. After a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis in 2012, his diet has changed substantially.
Ryan Loew 90.5 WESA

On a typical weekday morning, 47-year-old Tek Nepal is moving about the Mount Oliver duplex he shares with his wife, sons, daughter-in-law and grandchild.

He works nights, so he gets his family time in the mornings. And often, that time centers around eating.

Those meals used to consist of lots of starches. But since a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis in 2012, they have changed.

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Community
3:30 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Pittsburgh Declares Stephen Foster Day

Music aficionados and historical scholars will gather Monday to commemorate the life of songwriter Stephen Foster, 150 years after the local songwriter’s death.

The city of Pittsburgh will officially proclaim it to be Stephen Foster Day.

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Essential Pittsburgh
12:32 am
Sun January 12, 2014

Monday Rundown: Future Implications of the Target Breach & An Interview With Jayne Adair

Credit j.reed / flickr

These topics air Monday January 13, 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
6:42 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Why Mayor Peduto Wants Act 47 to Stay, for Now

Bill Peduto is asking Governor Tom Corbett to keep Pittsburgh under Act 47 oversight until at least 2018.
Credit Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

In 2003, the city of Pittsburgh was operating under a debt burden of more than 20% of its operating budget. Pools and recreation centers had to close and hundreds of city employees, including police officers were laid off.

Pittsburgh was declared financially distressed and placed under Act 47 oversight.

As the local economy has stabilized, former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, along with Act 47 coordinators have said the city is ready to be released. But Pittsburgh's new Mayor Bill Peduto is asking Governor Corbett to keep the city under Act 47 oversight to allow his administration to work on a final recovery plan.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:25 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

29 Tablets Bringing Electronic Manufacturing to Homewood

Could the tablet computer market boost the Homewood economy and create jobs?
Credit Intel Free Press / Flickr

In Homewood Friday, a symposium called 29 Tablets was dedicated to the possibility of manufacturing tablet computers in Homewood. It's the first in a series of community-oriented symposiums.

The leaders of this project, Andrew Thornhill, founder of Thornhill & Studio and Elwin Green, of the hyperlocal news site Homewood Nation, say the concept would benefit of entrepreneurs and bring diverse job creation to the struggling neighborhood.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:10 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Project Journey: Supporting the Needs of Women Veterans

Credit Jill_Bejger-Frederick / Project Journey-Veterans Leadership Program

Pennsylvania has the 8th largest population of women veterans in the country.

The Veteran’s Leadership program, which provides housing, employment and support services for eligible local veterans, was recently selected by the Newman’s Own Foundation to receive a $45,000 grant to help female Veteran’s with career development.

Project Journey Coordinator Trudy Friend and Development Director and Community Relations Michelle Margittai work with these Veterans by providing resources that aid in their transition back to civilian life. 

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90.5 WESA Celebrates
3:30 am
Fri January 10, 2014

How Al Condeluci Became an Advocate for the Disabled

Al Condeluci
Credit Debbi Casini Klein

Read and listen to a story about Al Condeluci as part of a new series honoring the individuals who make a difference in people’s lives: 90.5 WESA Celebrates People Making a Difference.

Al has been instrumental in changing the lives of thousands of disabled people in the Pittsburgh area. His awareness and dedication started first hand, with his cousin Carrie, who had Down syndrome.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:28 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Friday Rundown: Continuing Act 47 and Tablet Computers Made in Homewood?

The market for tablet computers is quickly outpacing that of desktop computers. Homewood may be able to join that market.
Credit Intel Free Press / Flickr

These topics air Friday January 10, 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
3:22 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Interpreting the Fourth Amendment in the 21st Century

Credit David Glover / flickr

Last month judges in New York and Washington DC issued two different opinions on the controversial bulk metadata collection program being done by the NSA.

In light of these conflicting decisions, many wonder if the Supreme Court will take up the issue.

David Harris, Distinguished Faculty Scholar and Professor of Law University of Pittsburgh School of Law says the opposite rulings were products of the environments where the judges preside, as well as the radically different views of the Fourth Amendment.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:08 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Toprani Report Explores Police "Side Jobs"

Credit Kaffeeeinstein / Flickr

From the resignation of Former Police Chief Nate Harper to the debate over officers living within city limits, the Pittsburgh city police department has been a topic of criticism over the past year.

The latest issue is a recent report criticizing city police working side jobs. Post-Gazette reporters Jonathan Silver and Liz Navratil have covered the story in which they describe the situation surrounding the Toprani Report.

This report, authored by former Washington County District Attorney Steve Toprani, investigates the state of the policies and procedures set up to regulate police officers taking “side jobs,” or, employment outside of the bureau.

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Environment & Energy
3:05 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Pitt Lab to Help Build Power System of the Future

What is the best way to build an AC/DC hybrid power system? What does the power grid control system of the future look like?

Those are the types of questions researchers and students at the University of Pittsburgh are hoping to answer with Thursday’s opening of a new electric power systems lab.

The lab was created with the support of the Dublin, Ireland-based power management company EATON, which has offices in the Pittsburgh area. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:59 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Terrifically Cosmopolitan Montreal

Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal was established in 1860, making it Canada's oldest art institution.
Credit Daryl Mitchell / flickr

Combining the best of old-world charm and modern sophistication, travel contributor Elaine Labalme finds Canada’s second largest city, Montreal to be “terrifically cosmopolitan.”

She suggests her favorite spots for food, arts and rest in this northern city.

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Public Safety
12:58 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Mayor Peduto Adding Ranks to City’s Public Safety Agencies

Pretty soon there will be more police officers, firefighters, paramedics and building inspectors on the ground in Pittsburgh.

Mayor Bill Peduto announced this week he has authorized one class of police officers to begin training in March followed by another class in the fall, with the possibility of a third, one class of firefighters to begin as soon as possible and the hiring of more paramedics.

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Arts & Culture
10:07 am
Thu January 9, 2014

'I Got Dibs!' Pittsburgh Isn't the Only Home of the Parking Chair

Credit Lauren Zawilenski / Chicago Dibs Tumblr

It's that time of year again, snow inevitably falls, you spend time shoveling out a parking spot on the street, spread salt, then have to worry about someone pulling into that space while you're away. 

So what do you do? Mark it with a chair? Maybe another piece of patio furniture? How about a tiki torch or your discarded Christmas tree?

The Tumblr blog, Chicago Dibs has been collecting photos of parking spot markers with photos that range from straight forward...

To straight up odd.

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:23 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Thursday Rundown: NSA Rulings, Pittsburgh Police Side Jobs & Make Room for Montreal

Exploring recent concerns with the Pittsburgh police
Credit Kaffeeeinstein / Flickr

These topics air Thursday January 9, 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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Health
5:41 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

New Grading System for Restaurant Safety in the Works in Allegheny County

If you want to know how your neighborhood sandwich shop or your favorite sushi restaurant fared on its last health department inspection, you can find that information online, but those reports can often be full of jargon and difficult to interpret.

Now, the Allegheny County Health Department is working to make that information easier to digest by implementing a four-tiered grading system for restaurant inspections.

Dr. Karen Hacker, director of the county health department, said they’re still figuring out how that grading process would work.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:48 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Why the Wacky Weather? The Polar Vortex Explained

Tuesday caused Pittsburgh to hit a record low of -9 degrees, but science expert, John Radzilowicz, may have the answer to why it happened.
Credit artnoose / Flickr

From mild, rainy, and in the 40's Sunday, to an all-time record low of -9 Tuesday to 50 degree temperatures by end of the week. Pittsburgh is experiencing unprecedented temperature fluctuations and weather patterns. The question is what’s going on with this wacky weather. John Radzilowicz, science expert and director of professional development at ASSET-STEM, believes he has the answer.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:47 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Social Entrepreneurs: Merging Profit Endeavors with a Non-Profit Mission

Tim Zak (left), Director of the Institute of Social Innovations at CMU, studies social changes which includes Ian Rosenberger (right), founder of Thread International, is just one example of a new type of entrepreneur called social entrepreneurs.
Credit Nick Frost / 90.5 WESA

There are many emerging companies that blur the lines of for profit endeavor with a non-profit mission, these social entrepreneurs, as they are called, are concerned with both financial sustainability and social impact.

Ian Rosenberger, founder of Thread International, an East Liberty based company recycling plastic bottles in Haiti for use in the manufacturing of apparel is one of these social entrepreneurs. Tim Zak, Director of the Institute for Social Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University studies innovators such as Ian.

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