Essential Pittsburgh

David Dermer / AP Images

In 2012, Pine-Richland graduate Meghan Klingenberg served as an alternate for the U.S. Women’s Olympic Soccer team. This year in Rio de Janeiro, Klingenberg will have the opportunity to be on the medal stand.

Scott 412 Foto / flickr

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said he became addicted to watching the Republican National Convention this week. He described falling asleep on his couch watching the late night shows and cable news.

“I’ve been watching conventions since I was in second grade,” Peduto said. “I can’t think of a convention that I actually became compulsively obsessed with watching.”

How A Bar Band From Latrobe Became 'The Shondells'

Jul 21, 2016
Mike Vale / Facebook

In early 1966,  a rock n' roll song called "Hanky Panky" went to the top of the charts in Pittsburgh after a Steel City dance promoter and DJ named Bob Mack gave it a spin. What Mack didn't know is that the song, recorded by Tommy James and The Shondells in 1964, had languished for two years prompting the band members to go their separate ways and get day jobs. When Mack finally tracked down Tommy James in Niles, Michigan where the song was recorded, James told him The Shondells were no more.

Mandela Washington Fellows / Facebook

Duquesne University is hosting 25 African young professionals this summer as part of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. The initiative seeks to provide leadership training to young professionals in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Christopher Ena / AP Images

Pittsburgh native Shelly Culbertson describes a journey through six countries seeking to understand how the Arab Spring shaped the Middle East in her book "The Fires of Spring: A Post-Arab Spring Journey Through the Turbulent New Middle East." She joins us in studio to discuss her journey and where the Arab Spring nations stand today.  

David Goehring / flickr

While traveling from Wyoming to New York City, Winifred Gallagher was struck by the vast size of the United States. The trip inspired her to write about the agency fondly remembered for traversing the length of the country delivering correspondence: the post office.

Robb D. Cohen / AP Images

Fifty years ago, the Beach Boys released the influential pop album “Pet Sounds,” which many consider one of the first concept albums. Written and produced primarily by Brian Wilson, the album includes hits like “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” and “God Only Knows.” We caught up with Al Jardine, who is coming to Pittsburgh next month as part of a 50th anniversary tour during which they perform “Pet Sounds” in its entirety.

Steve Brodner / Toonseum Facebook

While this election season may be stressful for voters across the U.S., it has served as the fodder of political cartoonists’ dreams. Pittsburgh’s Toonseum is showcasing some of the best political cartoons of the season with their exhibit This Campaign is Yuuuge!: Cartoonists Tackle the 2016 Presidential Race.

Christina Spicuzza / flickr

Cleveland and Philadelphia, our neighbors to the north and east, will be hosting the Republican and Democratic conventions respectively. If you traveling to those cities and want to enjoy them beyond the political trappings of the convention centers travel and food contributor Elaine Labalme joins us with suggestions for seeing the cities.

Howard Kernats / KWSA

Seven wrestling matches with titles on the line. A strong-arming visitor from Moscow. An "ambulance match" in which two wrestlers will go head-to-head until someone leaves in ambulance.

It sounds like the recipe for a WWE pay-per-view event, but it’s actually a local independent wrestling showcase.

Wikipedia

When Presidents take office, they swear to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. A new book edited by Ken Gormley, the recently-appointed president of Duquesne University, looks at how past presidents have interpreted the Constitution.

Alistair Ross / flickr

Herb Douglas is 94 years old and a graduate of Taylor Allderdice High School, as well as the University of Pittsburgh. He’s also a 1948 bronze medalist and the oldest living black Olympian.

Douglas’ passion for the Olympics and sports ignited when he met Jesse Owens.

Office of the Governor

In contrast to last year to last year’s nine month impasse, Pennsylvania legislators and Governor Tom Wolf have reached an agreement on the state budget less than two weeks after the July 1st deadline.

Governor Wolf attributed this partly to the momentum built up by passing medical marijuana, liquor reform, and a new education funding formula.

Remembering The Entrepreneurial Genius Of H.J. Heinz

Jul 15, 2016
ExplorePAHistory.com / Wikipedia

Few food companies have had a more lasting impact on American eating and buying habits than Pittsburgh’s own H.J. Heinz Company.  By developing quality products and marketing them in innovative and creative ways, the company grew from a small local food purveyor into one of the most recognized brands in the world.

Facebook

Writers, musicians and artists in Wilkinsburg are coming together to celebrate creativity at Wilkinsburg Dream City Art this weekend. The event provides a space for artists to get together and share their work with the community.

Joey Behrens, a Wilkinsburg artist, said the event began last year when two artists wondered who else was doing work in the city. She said the initial idea was for Wilkinsburg artists to get to know one another.

Gage Skidmore / Wikipedia

The hacktivist group Anonymous is calling for a National Day of Rage protests in cities across America today. This is being done in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. The Pittsburgh protest is scheduled to take place this evening at 7pm at the City County Building.  Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman joins us to talk about how things have become so tense that Tim Scott,  a conservative senator from South Carolina, has broken ranks to express his concerns about policing.

Kevin Bowman / flickr

Bonne Fête Nationale!  July 14th marks the celebration of the French National Day, commonly known as Bastille Day, to commemorate the storming of the Bastille fortress during the French Revolution in 1789.  

Flex Robotics System

Developed here in the Steel City, the Flex Robotic System could be a game changer when it comes to surgeries. We’ll discover the impact it could have on patients, hospital systems and more with James Jordan, vice president and chief investment officer at Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse.

Mitch Pa / flickr

Pittsburgh's Derek Davies is embarking on a journey to Tanzania, Africa to climb Mt.Kilimanjaro. Part of his mission is to raise awareness and money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Derek Davies joins us to discuss his adventure along with Pat Joseph, Executive Director of the Western PA Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

University of Virginia Swimming and Diving / Facebook

A Pittsburgh native is traveling to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to compete in this summer’s Olympic games. Leah Smith was a standout swimmer at Oakland Catholic High School, and has become a four-time NCAA champion at the University of Virginia.  

Marissa Hopkins / flickr


Sixty Mexican college students, from all socioeconomic strata in Mexico, are visiting Pittsburgh as part of an educational cultural exchange. The group are all members of a program for highly talented students. Their trip includes visits to the campuses of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University as well as a meeting with Mayor Bill Peduto.

 

PIIN / Facebook

In response to the police shootings in Louisiana, Minnesota and Dallas, faith leaders from around the country are starting a dialogue about racial disparities and what it means to be a person of color in America. We’ll hear more on the community conversation from Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network President Reverend Rodney Lyde and Reverend Dave Swanson.

Kathy Swendiman / flickr

Over half a million veterans are currently facing wait times of more than 30 days to receive care from the VA system. In one attempt to address the problem, the Department of Veterans Affairs has suggested allowing nurse practitioners to treat patients throughout the system.

Take A 'Jaunt' Around Pittsburgh With New Architecture App

Jul 12, 2016
Jaunt / App Store

Pittsburgh architecture, modern and contemporary, is highlighted as part of a new app called Jaunt. The program derives from a partnership between Boston-based architecture firm Over. Under and Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture and is designed to educate users about a little over 100 buildings located in Pittsburgh.

Megan Fair / 90.5 WESA

For the first time, roller derby will be included in the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic Games. Four junior derby athletes who skate locally for the Pittsburgh Derby Brats will participate in this historic inclusion.

HAS Haiti / Facebook

For the past 60 years, Hopital Albert Schweitzer has provided medical care to some of Haiti’s most vulnerable. The facility started under the leadership of the late Dr. Larry Mellon of the Pittsburgh philanthropic family, and his wife, Gwen. Since their inception 60 years ago, they’ve sent some of the best medical experts to Haiti to deal with everything from natural disasters to global health epidemics. We’ll hear about what the hospital is focusing on now and how they’ve evolved over the past 60 years from HAS volunteer Loroushima Ostin and  Jayson Samuels, Major Gifts Officer for HAS..

David Sibley / Facebook

Ornithologist David Sibley is a celebrity when it comes to all things birds. He’s written several books documenting his findings throughout the U.S. including the Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior and The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America. Mr. Sibley is coming to the Steel City as part of the Pittsburgh Arts and Lecture summer series and joins us to talk about his career writing about birds.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is making Market Square more engaging through super-sized games. All ages gather to play with the giant Jenga, Connect Four, ping pong, and corn hole sets. PDP CEO Jeremy Waldrup says incorporating games and other activities, such as yoga and farmer’s markets, are all part of the partnership’s goal of making downtown a fun place to visit.

Espen Sorvik / flickr

Pigovian taxes, such as Philadelphia's new soda tax, create very mixed reactions among consumers. University of Pittsburgh Katz Business School professor Cait Lamberton explained an individual's’ view of the issue depends on their perception of how certain personal behaviors impact the whole community.

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