90.5 WESA's Essential Pittsburgh

Essential Pittsburgh was hosted by Paul Guggenheimer and produced by 90.5 WESA until July 2016. It featured community leaders and newsmakers in the arts, sciences, technology, business, health care, government and education.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

It’s remake learning week in in Pittsburgh and one of the ways learning is being “remade” is through a national effort known as the Digital Promise, which aims to put more technology into schools.  The White House-supported program has launched an additional effort it is calling the Maker Promise. Karen Cator, CEO, Digital Promise, said the maker concept incorporates several skills that are important into the workplace. 

FAME Fund Provides Resources And Support For Minority Students

May 10, 2016
FAME Academy / Facebook

Providing scholarships to minority students will help create a stronger, more diverse future for the city of Pittsburgh, says Darryl Wiley, CEO of the Fund for Advancement of Minorities through Education, or FAME.

Discover How Pittsburgh Became A Leader In 'Remaking Learning'

May 10, 2016
Alan Cleaver / flickr

Education is constantly evolving and has come a long way since the days of the “new math.” Remake learning is the latest trend in education. Emphasizing digital learning, creativity and innovation we’ll discover how Pittsburgh has become a leader in this movement with Anne Sekula, director of the Remake Learning Council. Also taking part in the conversation is Kevin Gavin, WESA’s executive producer for special projects. 

Molly Riley / AP Images

Prior to 2014, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs faced a great deal of negative press for allegations of mishandling medical care for veterans, including the creation of false waiting lists that delayed crucial treatment. Since the appointment of Robert McDonald in 2014, the department has conducted an evaluation and drafted new strategies to improve the way Veterans Affairs operates.  

U.S. Department of Agriculture / flickr

The spread of the Zika virus has researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health partnering with a Brazilian foundation to find a cure. Zika is a mosquito borne virus that can also be transmitted sexually. We'll talk with Dr. Ernesto Marques, a native of Brazil and a professor of infectious diseases and microbiology at Pitt who says his long-term goal is to develop a Zika vaccine. Also joining us in studio is Pitt epidemiology professor Jennifer Adibi.

Carolyn Kaster / AP Images

New information in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal shocked many Thursday when a line in a court document alleged Penn State University head coach Joe Paterno was aware of Sandusky's molestation of children as early as 1976. PennLive reporter Charles Thompson broke the story and joined us with the context of the allegations and how PSU fans have responded.

ESO / M. Kornmesser via AP Images

The transit of Mercury, a rare planetary event, will take place on Monday, May 9th. In other celestial three Earth-like planets have been discovered around a red-dwarf star. Joining us to explain the scientific significance of this news is Point Park University professor and astrophysicist Brendan Mullan.

Megan Fair / 90.5 WESA

Carnegie Science Center visitors can check out the USGA's "American Golf History-Coming To Life" experience in Highmark Sportsworks. We'll talk with Eric Steighner about the custom golf simulator that allows visitors to try hitting a golf ball with period-specific clubs from the 1930's to the modern era.  

Celebrating Oakmont's Love Affair With The U.S. Open

May 6, 2016
Krzysztof Urbanowicz / flickr

The U.S. Open golf tournament has been held at Oakmont Country Club eight times, more than any other course. Why does the U.S. Open keep coming back to Oakmont? And what are some of the great moments that have happened there. We'll talk with USGA historian Victoria Student who is also bringing the U.S. Open trophy to our studio.

Davey Nin / flickr

Last week, the city’s Affordable Housing Task Force presented its suggestions to City Council on how to implement affordable residential units in at least 20 percent of development throughout Pittsburgh. The proposal was created with help from four committees and with input from five community meetings. We’ll hear about the group’s progress and suggestions from City Planning Director Ray Gastil and City Councilman Daniel Lavelle. We’ll also ask Helen Gerhardt, member of the group Homes for All Pittsburgh, what she’d like to see in the next draft of proposals.

What's It Like Being An Abortion Clinic Escort In Pittsburgh?

May 5, 2016
Connor Mulvaney / PublicSource

Pittsburgh has two abortion clinics. They attract women seeking care as well as abortion protesters and volunteers who guide patients inside. Laura Horowitz began volunteering when violence at abortion clinics in the late 1980s and early 1990s became more pronounced. She joins us to talk about how it works along with Sabrina Bodon who wrote a recent piece about this topic for our content partner PublicSource.    

Davey Nin / flickr

This year marks the centennial of the National Park Service. Five of the nation’s national parks are located in Western PA. We’ll discover the plans they have in store for the celebration with Centennial Coordinator for the National Parks of Western PA, Brendan Wilson.

Toy Exhibit Reflects Decades Of Change In American Society

May 4, 2016
Heinz History Center / Facebook

Toys are designed to be fun, but they also stimulate creativity and imagination. Children and grown-ups learn from play. The Heinz History Center's current exhibition, "Toys of the '50s, '60s and '70s," which is on exhibit now through May 31, demonstrates how these toys reflect three decades of dynamic changes in American life. We'll talk about it with Heinz History Center President and CEO, Andy Masich.

Pittsburgh Zoo Developing Tuberculosis Treatment For Elephants

May 4, 2016
Bill Damon / flickr

Researchers at Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium are developing treatments for elephants with tuberculosis. The strain, which is the same for both humans and elephants, can attack kidneys, spine, bones and the brain. We’ll talk with Willie Theison, elephant curator at the Zoo, about what they’re looking into and how it could impact the worldwide elephant population.

Nationwide, Universities Transitioning To Per-Credit Fees

May 3, 2016
Shippensburg University / Facebook

Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) recently announced plans to charge per-credit fees. IUP is the latest school within the state university system to make this change. When it comes to college tuition what is the difference between a flat tuition as opposed to per-credit fees? We'll address the issue with Ken Mash,president, Association Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF).

Joe Shlabotnik / flickr

It’s no secret that Ivy League colleges are some of the most selective higher education establishments in the U.S. Although a small selection of the population will receive degrees from an Ivy, author Sean-Michael Green had the rare opportunity to spend a whole year exploring each and every one to research his book, The Things I Learned in College: My Year in the Ivy League. Green spent 30 days at all eight Ivies in an attempt to uncover the truth behind myths and misconceptions regarding these establishments.

Is There A Link Between Fracking And Earthquakes?

May 3, 2016
Protect Our Water PA / Facebook

Last week's multiple minor earthquakes in an area just west of New Castle were below a magnitude that humans can feel but does that mean we shouldn't be concerned about them? The other big question for seismologists to answer whether the quakes were triggered by fracking. We'll put that question to Michael Brudzinski, a geology professor at Miami University in Ohio, and Andrew Nyblade, a geosciences professor at Penn State University.

After 36 Years, KDKA Newsman Harold Hayes Signs Off

May 2, 2016
Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Following a 36 year long career serving the Pittsburgh community as a reporter for KDKA-TV, Harold Hayes signed off for the last time this past Friday.  During his career, Hayes covered a wide-range of stories including Pope John Paul II’s funeral, Operation Desert Shield in Saudi Arabia and a visit from the Grand Dragon of the KKK to Pittsburgh. 

Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon / Facebook

Running shorts will replace lab coats this weekend as 10 UPMC doctors take to the course at the 2016 Pittsburgh Marathon this Sunday as part of an initiative to ensure runner safety.  Dr. Ron Roth, the Pittsburgh Marathon’s medical director and Dr. Aaron Mares, assistant medical director for the marathon, joined Essential Pittsburgh to discuss this innovative approach.

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr

Building owners in downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland are ahead of sustainability goals set as part of the Pittsburgh 2030 District initiative.

Keith Srakocic / AP Images

During a presentation at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute Environmental Law Forum in Harrisburg earlier this month, Range Resources Vice President of Legislative & Regulatory Affairs Terry Bossert said that the company tries to position gas wells away from larger, nice looking homes.

While Bossert later claimed that the statement was an example of “dry sarcasm,” Patrick Grenter, executive director of the Center for Coalfield Justice, and Joanne Kilgour, director of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Sierra Club, say that it is all too true. Bossert later issued an apology for his comments.

Kristi Jan Hoover / City Theatre

We'll go between the lines of City Theatre's four person on court drama that unfolds during the course of a tennis match between an aging American champion who is a cross between Pete Sampras and Tim Mayotte and a fiery young Russian. We'll talk with actors Danny Binstock and JD Taylor who portray the two players at the center of the story.

Mayor Peduto Discusses ICA, PWSA And Twitter BFF 'Guster'

Apr 28, 2016
Keith Srakocic / AP Images

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto makes his monthly visit to the program. We'll ask him about the state Department of Environmental Protection's decision to cite the PWSA for making an unapproved modification to its drinking water treatment process. We'll also discuss the recent comings and goings at the ICA, and his possible duet with Guster.

PBS NewsHour / flickr

Only 17 of the 71 delegates headed to this summer's Republican National Convention are bound to support the presidential candidate who wins the primary. Pittsburgh Post Gazette reporter Chris Potter joins us to discuss the gap between what voters know about these delegates and how they are going to act.

Calico Records / Blogspot

Among the bands being honored Thursday night at the 2016 Pittsburgh Rock 'N Roll Legends Awards Celebration at Stage AE on the North Shore is legendary 50s doo-wop group The Skyliners

Best known for “Since I Don’t Have You” and “This I Swear,” The Skyliners’ lead singer/songwriter Jimmy Beaumont joined Essential Pittsburgh to discuss his career and Pittsburgh roots.

Jacqueline Larma / AP Images

Pennsylvania garnered national attention in yesterday's presidential primary with candidates making a last-minute push in an effort to secure their parties nomination.  In addition, there were some high profile races for a senatorial candidate and attorney general. John Baer, political columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News joins us for a look at the election day results. We'll also talk with Katie McGinty, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate and Josh Shapiro, the Democratic Attorney General nominee for the state.

Ted Eytan / flickr

Several western Pennsylvania schools are considering or actively creating bathroom policies for transgender students.  While many districts have been receptive to the policies, some parents have expressed concerns. We’ll examine the issue and what a policy could look like in schools.

Hidden Pittsburgh: Behind The Scenes Of Local Landmarks

Apr 25, 2016
Emily Stock / 90.5 WESA

On this special edition of Essential Pittsburgh we'll take listeners on a unique tour of the city. Even if you’ve been to Kennywood, The Frick Pittsburgh or the National Aviary you’ll discover what goes on behind the scenes at a number of  local landmarks.

Is Technology Ruining Millennials' Study Abroad Experience?

Apr 22, 2016
Marco Verch / flickr

Studying abroad is an American college tradition. It is the chance for students to go outside of their comfort zone and explore a foreign land. But is technology ruining the experience? Duquesne Law Professor Jacob Rooksby thinks so, as outlined in his essay, Digital Cocoons and the Raw Abroad. Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer spoke with Rooksby about this development.

F. Carter Smith / AP Images

A contemporary art series called "By Any Means," founded by Kilolo Luckett, is bringing nationally recognized artists and art leaders of color to Pittsburgh for a two-part panel discussion on the influence of black culture in contemporary art. Kilolo Luckett joins us in studio to preview the symposium.  She also shares her memories of seeing Prince in concert and remembers his legacy.

 

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