Essential Pittsburgh

Elaine Thompson / AP Images

Former Seattle city councilman Nick Licata is in town this weekend for a series of social justice events. Licata will march alongside 1500 demonstrators in the Still We Rise march on Friday, speak at the People’s Convention on Saturday and promote his new book “Becoming a Citizen Activist” at the Big Idea Bookstore on Sunday.

Ezra Wolfinger / NOVA

For decades following the horrors of the Holocaust, rumors circulated about an escape tunnel in the Ponar Forest near Vilnius, Lithuania dug by a band of imprisoned Jews.  The claim remained folk legend, until recently.  

Google Maps

Built in 1794, the Beltzhoover Homestead, located in the Beltzhoover area of South Hills, is one of the oldest buildings in Pittsburgh. According to historian Jessica Cox,  the home was present when the immediate area was just a “rugged” outpost.

Kelly DeLay / flickr

The Republican National Convention in Cleveland is still two weeks away, but local citizens are already preparing for it.

Nazareth College / flickr

Employers from around the region will be on the lookout for new hires at the second annual Refugee and Immigrant Job Fair this Friday. The event seeks to assist new citizens transitioning into the American job market who may be unfamiliar with U.S. employment techniques.

Juno Spacecraft To Help Map Jupiter's Giant Magnetosphere

Jul 6, 2016
NASA / JPL/Caltech

NASA’s Juno spacecraft began orbiting Jupiter on Monday, becoming the first to reach the Solar System’s largest planet since Galileo in 2003. The craft plans to study Jupiter’s evolution and composition, but what are officials hoping will come from the mission? We’ll ask Brendan Mullan, Point Park University astrophysicist.

Should Background Checks In PA Be Funded By Taxpayers?

Jul 6, 2016
Peretz Partensky / flickr

Last month’s shootings at an Orlando nightclub reignited the debate over gun control. Here in the commonwealth, gun advocates feel money can be saved by doing away with the background check system. By leaving this up to the federal government, gun opponents feel public safety could be at risk if this is left up to the federal government. We’ll address the issue with Public Source reporter Jeffrey Benzing.

Jobs for Felons Hub / flickr

The U.S. Department of Education has revamped a higher education program for prisoners, and four schools in the Commonwealth have been selected to participate. Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Villanova, Bloomsburg University and the Lehigh Carbon Community College will create the curriculum to educate prisoners selected for the grants under the new Second Chance Pell Grant pilot.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s Fourth of July celebrations were punctuated by gunfire on Monday, as four people were shot downtown following the fireworks. Mayor Bill Peduto attributed it in part to the ease with which young people are able to obtain guns.

The Pittsburgh Kid Could Have Been A Contender

Jul 1, 2016
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

Jul 1, 2016
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

Jul 1, 2016
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.

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

Jul 1, 2016
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.

The Remake Learning series is a collaboration of 90.5 WESA, WQED, Pittsburgh Magazine and NEXTpittsburgh.

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.

Pages