Essential Pittsburgh

Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

 Car enthusiasts and consumers alike can kick the tires of the latest models from leading automakers this weekend as the David L. Lawrence Convention Center turns its event space into a showroom floor for the  Pittsburgh International Auto Show.

“We have every vehicle that’s on the market today. We also have some rare one of a kind vehicles just for fun,” says John Putzier, CEO of the  Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Association .

Comedian Paul Reiser Returns To Stand-Up

16 hours ago
Richard Shotwell / AP Images

Famous for his performances in Mad About You, Aliens, Diner, Beverly Hills Cop, and the new film Concussion, actor and comedian Paul Reiser makes a return to stand-up at the Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall next week.  Reiser joined Essential Pittsburgh to reflect on his life and career and preview upcoming projects.

Ian Ransley / flickr

While they may not be investigating high-profile crimes like homicide or robbery, Pittsburgh’s anti-graffiti squad provides a valuable resource to the city. Revived in Nov. 2015, the squad recently arrested one of Pittsburgh’s major taggers. To get the scoop on what led up to the arrest, Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer sat down with graffiti squad detectives Alphonso Sloan and Braden Seese.

Local Runners To Compete For Spot On Olympic Marathon Team

Feb 11, 2016
Laura Harnish

Hundreds of long distance runners will converge in Los Angeles for the Olympic Marathon Trials Saturday, each hoping to qualify to represent the United States in the games this summer in Brazil. Three of those who have met the requirements are Pittsburgh-area residents. Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer sat down with two them, Jed Christiansen and Laura Harnish, to learn what it takes to qualify for the Olympics.

Jacob Caddy / flickr

Should money collected from parking meters after 6 p.m. in some of the city's entertainment areas be reinvested in those areas? Should citizens even be required to pay for parking at night. Well, it's being considered by the Pittsburgh City Council. Joining us to address this issue is council president Bruce Kraus.

More Foster Families Wanted In Allegheny County

Feb 10, 2016
Elliot Brown / flickr

With recent changes to the foster care system both nationally and locally, noticeable trends have developed, including a decrease in the amount of children in need of foster care and a new process for placement.  Katie Stoehr, senior child welfare administrator for the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, visited Essential Pittsburgh to talk about the trends and the experience of fostering children.

Mayor Peduto Addresses The 'Two Pittsburghs'

Feb 10, 2016
Keith Srakocic / AP Images

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto makes his monthly visit to the program. In a recent University of Pittsburgh address, Mr.Peduto lamented the existence of "two Pittsburghs." We'll discuss his plans to address short and long-term inequities as well as his efforts to provide sufficient housing for low-income residents.           

David Goldman / AP Images

New Hampshire isn't the only state where there is lots of enthusiasm for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Even though the Pennsylvania primary is over two months away, young voters in the Keystone state are excited about the senator from Vermont including 26-year-old Adam Wells of Aspinwall who runs the twitter account @PittsBern. We'll talk with Post-Gazette Washington Bureau Chief Tracie Mauriello, who is covering the New Hampshire primary, about the chances that Sanders will be able to ride his momentum to victory in PA.   

Matt Rourke / AP Images

Does Pennsylvania have too many state legislators? That’s what Brian O’Neill, columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, believes. He has been advocating shrinking the legislature since 1994. Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer sat down with O’Neill to discuss the idea and how to make it a reality.

Is Pennsylvania's Primary Relevant?

Feb 9, 2016
John Minchillo / AP Images

As New Hampshire holds its' first in the nation presidential primary, voters in Pennsylvania are waiting until late April to cast their ballots for their preferred Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. We'll talk with Terry Madonna, Director of the Franklin & Marshall College Poll, about the chances that the Pennsylvania Primary will still be relevant.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Acrobatic lion dance teams and traditional Chinese melodies entertained attendees at this past Saturday’s celebration of the beginning of the Chinese New Year in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood. In the 12-year Chinese zodiac rotation, 2016 is the Year of the Red Fire Monkey. Essential Pittsburgh assistant producer Katie Blackley spoke with Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition executive director Marian Lien about what to expect during the two weeks of festivities.

UPMC / Inside UPMC

A fourth patient infected during the UPMC mold outbreak has died. The infection was contracted while the patient was being treated at UPMC’s transplant program. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Ben Schmitt, joins us to discuss this latest development.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

No women represent Allegheny County in the Pennsylvania state legislature, and only 18 percent of the state seats are filled by women at all. The situation is more than a diversity problem, argued Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner. She called it a crisis. As a former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, she’s advocating for more women to run for office, to improve the political process and better reflect the actual demographics of the Commonwealth.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

After quadrupling visitation during his previous position as head of a New Zealand museum, Eric Dorfman hopes he can use his techniques and experience to improve profits as new director of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Dorfman comes to the Steel City after five years with the Whanganui Regional Museum and Ward Observatory. He shared his vision for the museum’s future with Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer.

Governor Wolf Previews 2016-17 Budget Address Despite Impasse

Feb 5, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP Images

With his 2016-2017 budget address due on February 9th, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf joins us to talk about some of what he's planning to propose including more funding for education. But does it make sense for Governor Wolf to give a budget address without having one now? And can revenue come from somewhere other than taxes which Republican legislators are opposed to raising

Phalin Ooi / flickr

Plastic surgery gets a bad reputation.  Whether its nose jobs for Hollywood’s young elite, or cosmetic breast implants for the Real Housewives of Orange County, the media often obscures what plastic surgery can do for patients in need of reconstructive surgeries. From  repairing skin with severe burns to fixing birth defects like clef palettes, the procedure can greatly improve the lives of those with physical medical ailments.

How Super Bowl Ads Have Evolved Over 50 Years

Feb 4, 2016
Youtube

This Sunday, many Americans will huddle around their televisions with friends and family to watch some of the best advertisements the industry can create. Oh, and they'll be watching a football game also. It’s Super Bowl 50 and at the tune of $5 million for 30 seconds of air time, advertisers are lining up with check books in hand. But how has a sports game come to be dominated by its ads? Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer sat down with Duquesne University Associate Professor of Sports Marketing Ron Dick and Marketing Professor Audrey Guskey to explore the history of Super Bowl commercials.

Changing How The Commonwealth Draws Legislative Districts

Feb 4, 2016
Wikipedia

The process for drawing Pennsylvania’s legislative districts has been highly criticized among political scientists and many state leaders. They contend that the districts are becoming more partisan, swinging favor to GOP candidates. Senator John Wozniak (D-Cambria) is introducing a plan to change the way the Commonwealth redistricts. He joins us live to share his hopes for the bill.

Why Do We Sympathize With Animal Suffering?

Feb 3, 2016
Keith Srakocic / AP Images

If you saw a runaway bus hurtling toward a dog or a tourist, who would you save? If you chose the dog, you’re not alone.

How Harsh Are Punishments For Animal Abusers In Pennsylvania?

Feb 3, 2016
Yornik / flickr

An emaciated dog was recently rescued from a Homewood apartment where it nearly starved to death at the hands of its owner. State rep. Dom Costa has introduced a bill seeking to create stronger penalties for people who beat, neglect or abuse an animal.  So why is his legislation languishing in the House Judiciary Committee? We'll ask Representative Costa his thoughts as well as Mary Withrow, director of government and community relations at the Humane Society of Western Pennsylvania. We'll also ask Dan Rossi, executive director at the Animal Rescue League, how his organization handles abuse cases.

Shenandoah National Park / flickr

The popular Bill Murray film and Pittsburgh’s proximity to Punxsutawney always draw headlines for  Phil and his Gobbler’s Knob troupe each Groundhog Day. But do you know the origins of the tradition? Who was the first to celebrate and why did they designate a woodland rodent to act as their part-time meteorologist? We’ll ask Patrick Donmoyer (Duhn-moi-err) the story behind the holiday. He’s the Site Manager at the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown University and says the event actually has a lot to do with the Commonwealth’s German history.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Out of the growing number of candidates running for Pennsylvania Attorney General, Josh Shapiro believes he's the best at cleaning up messes. As chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners and PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Shapiro says his past reforms are proof that he’d succeed as the Commonwealth’s leading lawyer.

“I inherited a mess in Montgomery County,” Shapiro tells Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer. “We turned things around. I can do the same thing in the Attorney General’s Office.”

Shane Simmons / flickr

Described by City Controller Michael Lamb as a "runaway train," Pittsburgh is experiencing a problem paying overtime, holiday and other premium costs to public safety personnel.  Public Source reporter Eric Holmberg’s investigation of the matter found that existing workers earn nearly $30 million in additional funds to their salaries each year, but are burdened by under staffing and increased workloads. Holmberg shares his thoughts the issue and its contributing factors.

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A tall, stovepipe hat.  A buffalo skin fur coat.  A peg leg and bushy beard. A Pittsburgh icon. 

Charles Orton, better known as the XX Cough Drop Man, sold cough drops rain or shine on the corner of Market and Diamond Streets for forty years.  A native of Allegheny City, presently known as the North Side, Orton was not only a cough drop salesman, but a walking history book, sharing stories of Pittsburgh neighborhoods through the years. 

Joe Wos, Maze Toons creator and Essential Pittsburgh contributor says everyone in the late 19th century Pittsburgh knew Orton, but his story is much less well-known among Pittsburghers today.

Deciphering The Befuddling Budget Situation

Feb 1, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP Images

90.5 WESA Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer spoke with  House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) and  Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) about their concerns and the public’s perception that lawmakers can’t get along.  

Costa blamed lawmakers' philosophical differences.

“At the end of the day, we recognize that we want to do many similar things, investing in education, human service programs, economic development (and) job growth,” he said. “The question becomes about how we go about doing that.”

Ryan Wick / flickr

Between now and February 20th you can see the five brightest planets in our solar system at the same time. It’s the first time this has happened since 2005. Point Park University professor and astrophysicist Brendan Mullan stopped by our studio to discuss happenings in outer space.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh's iconic sports commentator Myron Cope is being remembered Sunday at the Senator John Heinz History Center as part of a special public tribute called "Yoi! Remembering Myron Cope." We'll talk with Steelers and Pitt Panthers play-by-play voice Bill Hillgrove and David Schlitt, Director of the Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives at the Heinz History Center.    

Kristi Jan Hoover / City Theatre

From the murderous Phantom in the musical Phantom of the Opera to the ex-convict Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, theater is notorious for making seemingly villainous characters appear sympathetic. But could anyone imagine feeling sympathy for an alleged Nazi war criminal? Some Brighter Distance, a new play premiering tonight at the City Theatre in the South Side, explores the possibility .

Some Brighter Distance tells the story of Arthur Rudolph, a German aerospace engineer who participated in Operation Paperclip, a post-WWII program in which scientists, technicians and researchers from former Nazi Germany were brought to the United States. Playwright Keith Reddin says Cold War-era American officials hoped these individuals would help the country achieve an edge over the Soviet Union in the Space Race.

401 (K) / flickr

For low-to-moderate income families, tax season can be a confusing and intimidating time.

PhotographyMontreal / flickr

After a lawsuit launched by the ACLU of Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth has agreed to use more resources to house and treat criminal defendants with mental illnesses. ACLU of Pennsylvania Legal Director Vic Walczak led the legal battle and spoke to Essential Pittsburgh about the case.

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