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
Thu April 24, 2014

Former Pirate Dick Groat Revisits 1960 World Series Win

Dick Groat helped to earn the first World Series he had ever seen the Pirates win.
Credit Wikimedia

As the 1960 World Series exhibit continues at the Heinz History Center, we spoke with former Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Dick Groat, who was the National League's Most Valuable Player during that memorable season.

Much of his memorabilia, including his jersey worn that season, is included in the exhibit. At one point in his career, Groat played in both the NBA and the Major Leagues and was an All-American basketball player at Duke University.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:57 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Thursday Rundown: News on Marriage Equality in Pennsylvania

Credit Emmanuel / Flickr

These topics air Thursday April 24, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. 

Marriage Equality

There may not be a trial to decide whether the state's same-sex marriage ban is constitutional. The plaintiffs argued the state isn't disputing their facts and hasn't identified an expert witness, so a judge can toss the ban out without a trial, according to Vic Walczak, legal director of the ACLU of PA and one of the lead attorneys for the plaintiffs.

Former Pittsburgh Pirate Dick Groat

As the 1960 World Series exhibit continues at the Heinz History Center, we'll talk with former Pirates shortstop Dick Groat who was the National League's Most Valuable Player during that memorable season. Much of his memorabilia including his jersey worn that season is included in the exhibit. At one point in his career, Groat played in both the NBA and the Major Leagues and was an all-american basketball player at Duke University.

New Girl Visits Nashville

Nine hours away from the Steel City is the musical city of Nashville. However, there’s more to the state capital of Tennessee than country music. This week travel contributor Elaine Labalme tells us how to the get the most out of a visit to Music City.

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.

Essential Pittsburgh
4:40 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Update on the Green Building Alliance 2030 Challenge

Pittsburgh 2030 is focusing on reducing energy and water use in buildings throughout the city.
Credit Andy / Wikipedia Commons

In 2012, Pittsburgh was one of four cities nationwide to launch the 2030 Challenge. The challenge is a voluntary, private-public initiative with the goal of reducing the environmental impact of buildings, by reducing energy and water use as well as transmission emissions.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:34 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Doing What You Love as a Career is Not as Easy as it Sounds

People are often told to do what they love and the money will follow. But that’s easier said than done and doesn’t always work out the way people hope. Independent career consultant Sasha King said that this commonly given advice has a few flaws.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:29 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Looking at The Numbers Behind Pittsburgh's Wage Gap

Pittsburgh has "one of the most dramatic wage gaps in the country," according to Women and Girls Foundation CEO Heather Arnet.
Credit Mahalie Stackpole / flickr

Women in the Pittsburgh metro area made an average of $13,407 less than their male counterparts in 2013. For male and female employees with identical levels of education and experience, the female worker will make an average of 73 cents for every dollar paid to the man, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.

This Thursday in Market Square, groups will join together for Pittsburgh’s Equal Pay Day Rally. According to Heather Arnet, CEO of the Women and Girls Foundation, the goal of the rally is to highlight the injustice of the gap and push legislation that would allow women to fight for better pay. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:56 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: A Greener Downtown and Equality in the Workplace

Credit David Brossard / Flickr

These topics air Wednesday April 23, 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
9:56 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Celebrating Earth Day In Pittsburgh

Frick Park hosted a 2-day Earth Day event earlier this month, teaching park-goers about local ecology and the park's habitats.
Credit Wikimedia

    

Virtual Earth Day

A virtual Earth Day party takes place this week. One of the highlights will be a new environmental music video on how consumers can save money and energy. The video even features a cameo from Mayor Peduto. We got details on the video and event from Joylette Portlock, President of Communitopia and creator of the Don't Just Sit There, Do Something About Climate Change web series.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:03 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Food Revolution Cooking Club Promotes Healthy Choices and Self Reliance

Students prepare healthy foods for their classmates and families in the Food Revolution Cooking Club at Barack Obama Academy
Credit Food Revolution Pittsburgh Cooking Club / Facebook

At Barack Obama Academy in East Liberty, the long-tarnished reputation of school lunches may be coming to an end. Thanks to the Food Revolution Cooking Club, students have the opportunity to learn how to prepare healthy meals.

The idea for the club came after world renowned chef Jaime Oliver visited Pittsburgh in 2012 and challenged the community to focus on healthy food choices. Since then, the Cooking Club has partnered with many local restaurants where students are exposed to the kitchen and learn the importance of quality foods. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:50 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: Earth Day and the Food Revolution in Pittsburgh

The garden at Children's Museum, a resource for the Obama Academy Cooking Club
Credit FoodRevPgh / Instagram

These topics air Tuesday April 22, 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 noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:24 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Tips for Turning a Simple Snapshot into Something Unforgettable

Credit George Lange / Lange Studios

With cell phones or tablets outfitted with cameras, everyone’s a photographer. So how do you capture that perfect image? 

Famed photographer, and Pittsburgh native, George Lange has been published in Esquire, Glamour and the NY Times among others.

His book The Unforgettable Photograph offers ideas, tips, and secrets for taking better photos.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:08 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Former NFL Player Wade Davis Talks About Getting Past Homophobia in Sports

Wade Davis is Executive Director of the You Can Play project
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5WESA

Sewickley Academy is hosting an event titled "NFL to LGBTQ" featuring former NFL player Wade Davis. 

As a defensive back for the Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, and Seattle Seahawks as well as NFL Europe, Davis was constantly challenged physically and mentally. 

He said he grew up with limited understandings of what it meant to be gay and was constantly on his guard.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:42 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Corbett's New Pollution Plan Fails to Address the Top Polluters, Says Sierra Club

Credit Dane Summerville / Flickr

This past Saturday, Governor Corbett and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) published a draft plan intended to reduce dangerous smog pollution that puts nearly two-thirds of Pennsylvanians’ health at risk.

However, some feel the expected plan falls short, failing to set meaningful limits on smog-causing pollution from the state’s largest emitters – coal-fired power plants.

Kim Teplitzky, deputy press secretary of the Sierra Club said all of South Western PA has been designated unsafe in terms of air quality by the EPA. She compares the breathing in of smog pollution to a sunburn on your lungs. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:08 pm
Sun April 20, 2014

Monday Rundown: A Plan to Reduce Smog and A Former Pro Football Player Speaks Out

Does a new statewide plan to reduce air pollution go far enough?
Credit Dane Summerville / Flickr

These topics air Monday April 21, 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 noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:22 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Pittsburgh's Globally Engaged Groups Join Forces Through the Global Switchboard

Nathan Darity & Brandon Blache Cohen of the global service learning organization Amizade are developing the Global Switchboard
Credit Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

Social media and the internet have connected the world in ways once thought impossible. However, computer connections cannot take the place of human contact.

There are a number of organizations in the city with the shared goal of engaging others across the globe.

Nathan Darity and Brandon Blache-Cohen, Executive Director of Amizade Global Service Learning, are two of the members that connected these organizations together through the global switchboard.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:15 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Helping the LGBTQ Communities in Honduras

Eric Vázquez, a PhD Candidate at Carnegie Mellon University
Credit Eric Vázquez

Honduras is one of the world’s deadliest countries, overrun by gangs and violence.

Women, journalists, lawyers and members of the LGBTQ community have been singled out as victims.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:10 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Turning Personal Passion into Global Service

Tim Wesley and Drew Harvey
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Two Pittsburgh residents, Tim Wesley and Drew Harvey work with the Nyadire Connection to provide medical help in Africa.

Tim Wesley is a volunteer at the Nyadire Connection and Drew Harvey is the chairman of the Nyadire Connection.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:10 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Overcoming Unique Challenges With Doctors Without Borders

Two children look out across the Tacloban slum, which was badly damaged by typhoon Haiyan.
Sophie-Jane Madden MSF

Last November, Typhoon Haiyan, a powerful tropical cyclone devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines.

When cataclysmic events such as this happen, many organizations are dispatched to these areas to provide medical treatment and aid.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders is one such group providing help. Brett Davis, an aid worker for Doctors Without Borders recently returned from the Philippines.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:04 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Pittsburgh-Based Thread Recycles Bottles and Brings Jobs to Haiti

Jenna Knapp pulls thread from a spool. The mint green thread is made from recycled plastic bottles from Haiti. Green plastic bottles create green fibers that can only be dyed darker colors. Clear plastic bottles creates thread that can be dyed any color.
Credit Ashley Murray / Allegheny Front

When local photographer Ian Rosenberger saw garbage piled in the street and thrown into canals untouched by a stretched public works system, he was moved to do more than take photos.

He jotted in his journal how it would be good to turn Haiti’s trash into money.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:00 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

A Holistic Approach to Global Health and Development

Students working with residents during the medical portion of the brigade
Credit Nicole W. Huang / Global Brigade

Many students flock to the warmer climes of Florida for a week of partying on spring break.

In contrast, many other students use their vacation to help others around the world. Two of those students are Carnegie Mellon sophomore Nicole Huang, and senior Nick Zuniga who volunteer with Global Brigades a global health and development movement.

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Arts & Culture
7:06 am
Fri April 18, 2014

A 17th Century Emoticon? CMU Professor Who Originated The 'Smiley' Responds

Credit Edward Everett Hale, 1904 (via Wikimedia Commons)

An online debate broke out earlier this week over two otherwise unremarkable lines in a 1648 poem by the English poet Robert Herrick:

Tumble me down, and I will sit / Upon my ruins, (smiling yet :)

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:03 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Friday Rundown: Pittsburghers Helping Others Around the World

Doctors Without Borders' logistics staff removing the ruins of a collapsed hospital in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan .
Credit Julie Remy / MSF

  These topics air Friday April 18, 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 noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.  

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:42 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Like Black Friday For Vinyl, Local Shops Gear Up For Record Store Day

Flipping through the stacks at Jerry's Records.
Heather McClain 90.5 WESA

What started eight years ago as a gathering of store owners and employees celebrating the culture of independent record stores has evolved to include major music industry events, limited edition album releases and people camped out in front of record stores.

Saturday is National Record Store Day, and it’s one of the biggest days of the year for record stores and collectors alike.

“I like that it was started to bring back the whole record store experience,” said James “Selecta” Scoglietti, part owner of 720 Records in Lawrenceville. “People used to go every weekend to their local record store, and it was a social event. It was like a barbershop, where guys and gals would come in and discuss the latest hot tracks of the week. So I love that it’s bringing that back to the mainstream.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:15 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

The History of Minors Being Tried As Adults

David Harris says that there has been a shift from rehabilitating kids in juvenile courts to automatically trying them as adults.
Credit University of Pittsburgh Law School

Alex Hribal, the 16 year-old student apprehended during a stabbing rampage at his high school last week, was charged as an adult. What is the history behind this decision? How did the idea manifest itself in practical terms? We posed these questions and more to our legal expert, Pitt Law Professor David Harris.

Prior to the late 1980’s, children were only tried as adults after they went through the juvenile court system. If a judge decided that they were unable to be rehabilitated, the case was passed along to adult court.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:55 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

President Obama Wants to Model CCAC's Job-Driven Approach to Education

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden visited the Community College of Allegheny County's West Hills Center campus in Oakdale Wednesday to announce system-wide reforms of federal job training programs.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:57 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Spring Break With The New Girl

Although manatees are endangered, many can be seen in the Everglades.
Credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters / flickr

A little madness in the spring is wholesome …even for the King, wrote Emily Dickinson. What better way to quell the madness caused by Spring fever than with a getaway? Travel contributor Elaine Labalme joined us this week with suggestions for Spring Break excursions.

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