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
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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Essential Pittsburgh
7:43 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Thursday Rundown: Honoring a Local Humanitarian and Self Improvement in Work & Life

Marc Cherna of Allegheny County DHS, honored with a lifetime achievement award
Credit Allegheny County DHS

These topics air Thursday January 30, 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
5:32 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Presidential Rhetoric in the State of the Union Address


President Obama spoke Wednesday afternoon at US Steel’s Irvin Plant in West Mifflin, PA. The visit is part of a 4-stop tour in which he’s emphasizing efforts to help the long-term unemployed and close the gap in economic disparity. Those efforts were initially highlighted Tuesday night in the president’s state of the union address.

University of Pittsburgh Political Communications Professor Gerald Shuster talked with us about the effectiveness of the president’s messaging during the address. Especially when he put it to congress to raise the minimum wage by saying “So join the rest of the country, say yes, give America a raise.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:25 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Neighborhood Resurgence Should Not Eliminate Affordable Housing

Credit Joseph A / flickr

Many Pittsburgh neighborhoods are experiencing a resurgence in new development. As new homes and businesses take shape, affordability for the working class.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Diana Nelson Jones and Richard Swartz, Executive Director of Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation discuss ways to motivate developers to build low-cost housing.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:43 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Former RMU Ice Hockey Goalie Travels to Winter Olympics

Brianne and Team USA hope to bring home a gold from the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Credit Brianne McLaughlin Twitter / Twitter

Former Robert Morris University women's ice hockey goalie Brianne McLaughlin has made the U.S. Women's Olympic ice hockey team for the second time and is headed to the winter games in Sochi, Russia.

She is the first Olympian to come out of the Colonials’ program and was part of the U.S. team that won a silver medal in the 2010 Vancouver games. McLaughlin, who says she “grew up on skates,” is currently in Boston gearing up for the winter games. She says she's proud to attend another match where she and her team have the chance to earn a gold medal.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:23 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: #SOTU, Building Affordable Housing & Olympic Women's Hockey

Credit Michael / Armchairbuilder.com

These topics air Wednesday January 29, 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
2:35 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

McGinty Brings Environmental Experience to the Gubernatorial Race

Credit Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Today Katie McGinty is scheduled to be the first of the Democratic gubernatorial candidates to go on air with a statewide advertisement.

As a former State Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, she has a unique insight of the environmental issues facing Pennsylvania as well as a plan for approaching a number of other topics in the Commonwealth including education, tax credits and manufacturing.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:29 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Super Bowl Viewers to Order 1.23 Billion Chicken Wings

MetLife Stadium prepares for Super Bowl XLVIII
Credit Anthony Quintano / flickr

While the beloved Steelers won’t be playing in this year’s Super Bowl, residents of the City of Champions still enjoy watching the annual football game.

As one of the largest watched TV broadcasts each year, the economic impact of the football game reaches all facets of the tradition.

Super Bowl revenue includes everything from commercial payments to transportation and restaurant packages. This year the game will be played on February 2nd at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Rebecca Harris, business contributor and Director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University explains that this game will be a first for shared hosting by New Jersey and New York, as well as the first time the game will be played outdoors in cold weather conditions.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:19 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Western Pennsylvania Native is Headed to the Winter Olympics

USA Olympic Bobsledders
Credit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobsleigh

A Beaver County native is heading to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Lauryn Williams of Rochester, a borough about 25 miles from Pittsburgh, has made the U.S. women's bobsled team as one of the push athletes.

Although she is a first-time Winter Olympian, Ms. Williams is a 3-time Summer Olympian, having helped the U.S. win a gold medal in the 400-meter relay at the London games in 2012. She joined us from Germany to discuss her preparations for Sochi.

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