Essential Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Kid Could Have Been A Contender

7 hours ago
BillyConn.net

Known as “The Pittsburgh Kid,” heavyweight boxer Billy Conn fought Joe Louis 75 years ago almost beating the heavyweight champion. However, after 13 rounds of boxing and a swift change of speed by Louis, who outweighed Conn by 30 pounds, Conn was knocked out.

The Toonseum Celebrates 75 Years Of The Star Spangled Man

8 hours ago
Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

Just in time for the July 4th holiday the Toonseum is honoring a true American hero. We spoke with Stu Neft, curator of the current exhibit Captain America: 75 Years of the Sentinel of Liberty.

A Conversation With WESA/WYEP's New CEO Terry O'Reilly

8 hours ago
Jeff Swenson / 90.5 WESA

Terry O’Reilly has been announced as the new President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corporation, owner of 90.5 WESA and sister station WYEP. WESA’s Deanna Garcia sat down with O’Reilly, who most recently worked for Twin Cities PBS in Minneapolis.

More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

A Budget Is Passed But When Will The Governor Sign It Into Law

20 hours ago
Matt Rourke / AP Images

Despite a Wednesday deadline, Pennsylvania is still without a budget. The State House and Senate have agreed to a $31.6 billion spending plan, but Gov.Tom Wolf has refused to sign it without an accompanying revenue plan.  

 

 

Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

Residents of Coraopolis are volunteering time and energy into revitalizing the borough’s train station. We’ll hear about the station’s history and the work being done to make the building an integral part in the rebuilding of the community in this audio post card.

Emily Stock / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh comedian Annie Claffey is searching for America’s favorite adjective. She’ll be driving a green-and-blue car decked out with Mad Libs logos across the country over the next six weeks.

Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force

For 25 years, Alan Jones has been working with the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force. He’s seen the days when the disease was essentially a death sentence to recent discoveries of preventative medicines and increased awareness. Alan has watched how HIV/AIDS impacts Pittsburgh and joins us to talk about his experience and share stories from his career.

Rafael Sato / flickr

As the legislature grapples with budget details including education funding, Governor Tom Wolf has already signed into law a new formula for distributing state education money. The formula is used to decide how much each district gets but how does it work? We’ll ask Keystone Crossroads reporter Kevin McCorry and Jay Himes, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials.

Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

The Fab Lab at the Carnegie Science Center is using its 3-D printer to make prosthetic hands. The “e-Nable the Future” program allowed visitors to take part in a workshop utilizing this technology. Essential Pittsburgh producer Marcus Charleston attended the workshop.

Daniel Oines / flickr

When some of Jack Kudrav’s colleagues began passing away, he decided to take a 335 mile bike ride from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. in order to reflect, mostly on his time in the military. Now, Kudrav organizes a group of veterans to take that same bike ride with him and raise awareness about the struggles facing veterans.

PA House Majority Leader Confident About Budget Negotiations

Jun 29, 2016
Julio Cortez / AP Images

The deadline for Pennsylvania's 2016-17 budget is Friday and a compromise is looking more likely this year than last. We'll ask Majority Leader Dave Reed what's included in this year's budget and how negotiations are different in this session.

Uber / uber.com

Imagine it’s the future and you’re riding down the road in your autonomous vehicle when suddenly it starts to downpour. Your vehicle wakes you up, says they don’t feel comfortable driving in the conditions and hand you the wheel. That responsible robotic action is one of the thoughts behind a recent workshop that examined how engineers can create safe and controlled artificial intelligence technologies. William Scherlis, director of the Institute for Software Research in Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science joins us to talk about the concept and the dialogue at the workshop.

Pittsburgh Lawyer Cited As Part Of SCOTUS Abortion Decision

Jun 28, 2016
Alex Brandon / AP Images

Elements of a Texas abortion law were struck down Monday by the Supreme Court. Among the provisions in the case was a requirement that abortion clinics must meet the same health and safety standards as ambulatory surgical centers as well as a mandate that doctors performing abortions must have admitting privileges to a hospital no more than 30 miles away. Now that the Court has struck down the provisions, what could this mean for Pennsylvania, who is also debating parts of its abortion laws? We’ll ask Susan Frietsche, she’s a senior staff attorney at the Women’s Law Project here in Western Pennsylvania.

Weeds Worthy Of Your Salad Or Stir Fry

Jun 28, 2016
Don Schuetze / flickr

Weeds are often viewed as pests to be met with weed whackers and herbicides, but certified herbalist Lindsey Praksti of Compass Rose Herbals has other suggestions. While weeds may be a pest to a garden or yard, some have nutritious qualities and are worthy of joining your salad or stir fry.

Alex Brandon / AP Images

The United States Supreme Court ended its current term on Monday with some important decisions, but University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris said the most important event of the term was not an opinion at all.

Matt Rourke / AP Images

In contrast to last year’s lengthy impasse, Pennsylvania lawmakers and Governor Tom Wolf appear to be close to an on-schedule budget deal. State Senator Jay Costa says neither party wants a repeat of 2015 and joins us to talk about what can be found in this recent budget, including pension reform, gambling tax changes and education funding formula changes.

'Grand Dame' of Pennsylvania Paved Path For Women In Politics

Jun 27, 2016
Library of Congress Archives

The Democratic National Convention is set to take place next month in Philadelphia. Hillary Clinton is the presumptive democratic presidential nominee. However she won’t be the first woman to receive a nomination at a major political presidential convention. Pop culture contributor Joe Wos will tell us about the Pittsburgher who earned this honor.

Ryan Deto / City Paper

Last week the Supreme Court's 4-4 vote left in place a Texas federal judge's order that has prevented President Obama from granting deportation relief to more than 4 million who are parents of U.S. citizens. One of them is Martin-Esqivel-Hernandez who was taken recently from his Pittsburgh home to prison and faces deportation to Mexico. We'll talk with City Paper reporter Ryan Deto, who recently wrote a cover story about this case, and Guillermo Perez head of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and part of the campaign to release Martin Esquivel-Hernandez from detention..

David Davies / flickr

The selection of the next Pittsburgh Public School superintendent has brought practices regarding executive searches to the forefront. Recently, PPS board members launched an investigation claims by Anthony Hamlet, who was tapped to lead the district. Media outlets allege he’d falsified some of the information on his resume and in a speech.

Hydro / flickr

Gun violence is the leading cause of mortality among young black men and the county needs to treat it as a public health issue, according to Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department.

How do we help to prevent this?” Hacker asked. “And how do we help communities to heal because the impact of this kind of violence is really like post-traumatic stress in many of our communities.”

She found an ally in the local Christian community.

Didriks / flickr

The latest issue of Pittsburgh Magazine looks at the best restaurants in town. But what does the making the list mean for diners, the restaurants and how what does it say about the city? We’ll pose those questions to food writer Hal B. Klein.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP Images

Pittsburgh native David McCullough has received two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Book Awards and has been granted a Presidential Medal of Honor. His work as a historian and author has earned him praise and acknowledgement worldwide, so much so that there is a bridge in Pittsburgh named after him.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County police have filed charges against two suspects in connection with a March shooting in Wilkinsburg that left five people dead, including a pregnant woman.

Mike Doyle / Twitter

Representative John Lewis is leading Congressional Democrats in a protest of the House's refusal to vote on gun-control measures. What are the origins of House sit-ins and the history behind them? How effective have they been? Will this one work? Franklin and Marshall College Director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs, Terry Madonna joins weighs in.   

What Will Happen If Wendy Bell's Case Goes To Trial?

Jun 22, 2016
Wendy Bell / Facebook

Former WTAE-TV news anchor Wendy Bell has filed a federal lawsuit claiming her March 30 firing was racial discrimination. Bell was fired for comments she made on WTAE's Facebook page that station officials said were "inconsistent with the company's ethics and journalistic standards." Two weeks after the March 9th mass shooting in Wilkinsburg that killed six people, Bell wrote "you needn't be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts two weeks ago...they are young black men, likely in their teens or early 20s." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman weighs in on this latest development.     

Bill Maher / Facebook

Bill Maher, who has been hosting “Real Time with Bill Maher" for 13 years on HBO, joins us by phone. Maher started his career as a standup comedian and still performs at least fifty dates a year. He’ll be in Pittsburgh on Friday, July 8 at Heinz Hall. We'll ask him about politics, religion and all of the things people aren't supposed to discuss.  

Could A Third Party Candidate Win This Election?

Jun 22, 2016
Kelley Minars / flickr

Both major political parties’ presumptive nominees have faced heavy criticism throughout this election cycle. While it may seem like the perfect storm for a third party candidate to rise, Point Park University history professor Edward Meena said he doesn’t believe it can be done.

John Voo / flickr

According to our guest, Joseph McCormick of Duquesne’s Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, “more than 99 percent of all bacteria in this world are our friends.” Is the nation's first antibiotic-resistant superbug evidence that constant hand sanitizing and antibiotics are putting us at risk?

Jon Callas / flickr

Most homeowners have heard about solar energy, but few in Pennsylvania are actually taking advantage of the option. Many are aware of the cost-saving potential, however some demographics, especially low-income residents, who can’t afford the more than $20,000 in installation fees, being left out. New state incentives and advocacy from solar energy organizations are hoping to change the narrative for solar-powered homes, making them more accessible.  

Pittsburgh Jazz Live / Facebook

After a week of Stanley Cup celebrations, Pittsburgh’s Cultural District will again be full of music and celebration. The Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival will showcase local, national and international acts in a Pittsburgh context with free music filling the Cultural District. Bob Studebaker, WESA’s Jazz from the South Side host, said that Pittsburgh’s jazz festival has a special draw, and for good reason.

Pages