Essential Pittsburgh

Urban Archives / Temple University Libraries

   During World War II, due to shortages, there were plenty of things Americans had to do without and NFL football was nearly one them. The war left the league with a shortage of able bodied men to play the game. So rather than shut down during the 1943 season, the Steelers and the Philadelpha Eagles combined their rosters to form a unified Pennsylvania team; the "Steagles." We'll talk with Matthew Algeo, author of "Last Team Standing: How the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles--'The Steagles' Saved Pro Football During World War II," and Al Wistert, the last surviving Steagle.     

Providing Paid Sick Leave For Pittsburgh Workers

Aug 5, 2015
Daniel X. O'Neil / flickr

  Earlier this week, Pittsburgh City Council received a standing ovation from activists and workers when it gave final approval to a bill requiring employers to provide paid sick days to workers. The  Paid Sick Days Act requires employers with 15 or more employees to accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 35 hours worked. But not everyone is applauding. The Allegheny Institute calls the ordinance anti-free market and anti-business. We'll discuss the pro and cons of paid sick leave with Allegheny Institute President Jake Haulk and Stephen Herzenberg, Executive Director of the Keystone Research Center.

'The Look Up Line' Aims To Improve Hockey Safety

Aug 4, 2015
justcureparalysis.org

“It’s not about a line, it’s about a life,” says our guest Tom Smith. The inventor of the Look Up Line and creator of the Thomas E. Smith Foundation, has fulfilled his life mission of making the game of hockey safer. We’ll discuss Smith’s hockey experiences as well as the long lasting impact he hopes to have on the hockey community.

Spend A Weekend In Highland Park

Aug 4, 2015
Lee Paxton / wikipedia

Cities are made up of a collection of neighborhoods with unique features and characteristics. On the first Tuesday of the month, business contributor Rebecca Harris will focus on one of the city’s neighborhoods. Today's focus is Highland Park.

Dale Nevin / flickr

Before student athletes return to school in the fall they’re required to get physical exams. In recent years, an important part of the athlete’s preparation has become baseline testing for concussions. Joining us to address the importance of this testing are Dr. Jonathan French, a neuropsychologist and clinical instructor at the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Patrick Huber director of the Heads UP program at UPMC.

Talk Radio News Service / flickr

Allegheny County health officials say they are already in line with new White House standards to fight HIV and AIDS.

The plan unveiled Thursday updates one issued by the Obama administration five years ago. Developments since then include new diagnostic tests, a daily pill for infection prevention and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which allows for more American’s to receive treatment and testing.

Robin Robokow / flickr/robokow.net

Many may not know that one of the world’s most recognizable songs is actually one of the most profitable.  The “Happy Birthday to You” tune has been around since the late 1800’s and due to copyright protections, anyone who wants to include the ditty in their movie, ringtone or stage production has to pay for permission. Now there’s a new case against the owners of the copyright and an old songbook in Pitt’s Hillman Library may be used as evidence. Here to tell us about that songbook and the future of “Happy Birthday” is Barco Law Library interim director Marc Silverman.

How Low Gas Prices Affect Consumers And The Natural Gas Industry

Jul 31, 2015
Gerry Dincher / flickr

With the local economy relying more and more on the gas and coal industry, the news that Consol Energy posted a loss for the past quarter and outlined spending cuts for the next year-and-a-half can't be good. As the price for natural gas continues to slide, what does it mean for us? We talked with Pittsburgh Tribune-Review staff writer David Conti.

Dining Destinations Part Two: San Francisco to Cleveland

Jul 30, 2015
Melt / meltbarandgrilled.com/

It’s been said an army travels on its stomach. Well if it’s good enough for the army why not a savvy traveler? This week contributor Elaine Labalme continues our tour of the U.S. via dining destinations.

Riverhounds Goalie Ryan Thompson Leads Jamaican Team To Victory

Jul 30, 2015
David Goldman / AP Images

The name Ryan Thompson may not have been well known around the international soccer world before last week. But after the Riverhounds goalie led Jamaica to a stunning 2-1 upset victory over the U.S. in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Semi-Finals, Thompson has raised the profile of Pittsburgh soccer and the USL. He joins us live in studio.

As Medicaid Turns 50, Reflecting On Its Impact

Jul 30, 2015
Mike Richards / 90.5 WESA

Fifty years ago, on this date, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Medicaid program  into law. Designed as a program involving federal and state cooperation to cover medical expenses for specific segments of the nation’s population, the program has had its share of accomplishments and challenges.

We’ll mark the anniversary of Medicaid with Julie Donohue associate professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health and Vice President for Health Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Edwin Park.

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Criminal convictions bring expected consequences — fines, probation, parole and incarceration.

"What they don't tell you ... is that there are about 550 collateral consequences," said state Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery, Bucks). "They're not in the criminal statutes, they're in the other statutes and (enforced) by societal standards."

Supporters believe 2015 could finally be the year for a bill promising to wipe clean criminal records from low-level offenders truly committed to rehabilitation.

Life Without Bars: Reintegrating Ex-Offenders Into The Workforce

Jul 29, 2015
Joshua Davis / flickr

  The 2015 “Life Without Bars” conference works to address the challenges of individuals with criminal backgrounds as they reintegrate into the workforce throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania.  The two-day program offers solutions for professionals and individuals in their journey to re-entry. We heard from Southwestern Pennsylvania Re-Entry Coalition (SPARC)  Senior Workforce Development Specialist Samson Murage and Workforce Development Job Developer Alethia Bush.

Iceoplex At South Pointe Aims To Decrease Athlete Injuries

Jul 28, 2015
southpointehockey.com

The Iceoplex at South Pointe melts it's ice, not only for summer maintenance, but for safety.  A new safety feature being installed will allow athletes to look toward a bright orange future and hopefully reduce hockey injuries. Director of Marketing and Sponsorships for Iceoplex, Mandi Pryor, joins us with a look at this innovation in safety that could change the game of hockey.

ICAN Talk Clinic Provides Services For Those Without Speech

Jul 28, 2015
Brad Flickinger / flickr

Minimally verbal and non-verbal individuals with disabilities are especially vulnerable to barriers to all sorts of basic services because they can't talk and advocate for themselves. The ICAN Talk Clinic in downtown Pittsburgh specializes in serving this population. We'll look at their work with Speech-Language Pathologist Evelyn Meinert and Dr. Katya Hill, Director of the ICAN Talk Clinic.

Ruling Allows for More Choice of Candidates in PA

Jul 28, 2015

Pennsylvania’s Election Code sets an unconstitutionally high bar on third party candidates. That’s according to a ruling last Friday a federal court judge. We’ll discover what this ruling means for the future of third party candidates in the commonwealth with Oliver Hall, Director and co-founder of the Center for Competitive Democracy and Steve Scheetz – Immediate-past Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania (LPPA) chairman.

Connor Mulvaney / PublicSource

 

  WESA’s content partner Public Source has been running a series of articles on the number of drug uses and overdoses in Pennsylvania.  The latest story explores the stigma professionals in the workplace face when confronting addiction.  Joining us to discuss the issue are Public Source reporter Jeffrey Benzing and Jason Snyder, executive director of the Consumer Health Coalition.

The Challenges Of Being A Startup In Pittsburgh

Jul 22, 2015
Apps for Europe / flickr

Despite a report released last week by the Kauffman Foundation ranking Pittsburgh low for startup ecosystems, Thrill Mill President, CEO and Co-Founder Bobby Zappala said “not all is lost” for entrepreneurs. Zappala joined Essential Pittsburgh as a Tech Startup Contributor. He also runs Thrill Mill, an independent organization that serves as an incubator/accelerator for startup companies in Pittsburgh.  For this segment, he looked at challenges of being a new business and discussed some startups coming out of their infancy and the challenges they're facing now.

Using Title IX To Engage Students In Deeper Discussions

Jul 21, 2015
teenlife / flickr

Higher education institutions are using Title IX as a jumping off point to have discussions with students about issues of harassment, stalking, dating violence and domestic abuse. Libby Rosemeyer, assistant director of Tittle IX compliance at Point Park University helps listeners understand the relevancy of the law and its impact on the Pittsburgh community as a whole.

Pennsylvania Could Explore Citizen Redistricting

Jul 21, 2015
Gettysburg National Military Park

 Federal law mandates that legislative districts be revised every ten years to reflect new census data. In the past, legislators in Pennsylvania, as with other states, have been known to redraw the lines of a congressional district in a way that benefits the majority party. Our guest, state Rep. Ted Harhai (D-Monessen) introduced a bill that would create a citizens commission to handle redistricting and ensure that they don't unnecessarily divide municipalities. 

Street Stages Bring Outdoor Performances To Squirrel Hill

Jul 20, 2015
NextGen:Pgh, Shift Collaborative

 

Street Stages, a new project from City Council Members Dan Gilman and Corey O’Connor along with representatives from NextGen: Pgh and Shift Collaborative’s Busker Street Union, is a designated space for street performers in Squirrel Hill. The collaborative space is being billed as a “third place” between work and home where friends and neighbors can gather. Gilman, NextGen:Pgh Founder and Executive Director Alec Rieger and Shift Collaborative Creative Strategist Eric Sloss share their thoughts on the project.

Another Hottest Year On Record

Jul 20, 2015
Jessica Mullen / flickr

 

On average, 2014 was Earth's hottest year ever -- in the ocean and on land. That's according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has been gathering data from more than 400 scientists around the world on climate trends. We were joined in studio by John Radzilowicz, adviser to the Science Communication Group at CMU, for a look at what's causing this trend and what can be done to slow it down or reverse it.

Serving Ice Cream 'With A Cause' At Pittsburgh's Dream Cream

Jul 17, 2015
ashton / flickr

In anticipation of National Ice Cream Day, Essential Pittsburgh is taking a look at some of Pittsburgh's favorite ice cream stores and creameries. From homemade soft serve to ice cream "with a cause," we'll explore the different types of frozen treats available in Pittsburgh.

Slinging Satire: Political Cartoons And The First Amendment

Jul 16, 2015
Rob Rogers / robrogers.com

 A new ToonSeum exhibit is opening this Friday. It's called Slinging Satire: Political Cartoons and the First Amendment, This compelling exhibition showcases the work of today's top political cartoonists. Part of the exhibit is dedicated to cartoons that were created in response to the January 7th terrorist attack on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial cartoonist Rob Rogers joins us in studio to discuss the exhibition.

Increasing Accessibility Through the Arts

Jul 15, 2015
David Wilson / flickr

Our special look at the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act concludes with a discussion of accessibility to the arts for individuals with disabilities. Earlier this year the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, for the second year in a row, received an NEA Arts Works Grant. The support provided by the NEA is helping to fund and increasing accessibility to the arts for people with disabilities. Here to tell us more about the initiative is Anne Mulgrave, manager of grants and accessibility for the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council.

Join us this evening beginning at 7 p.m. on 90.5 WESA for a live community forum on our city and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Improving Life For People With Disabilities

Jul 15, 2015
HERL / University of Pittsburgh

The Human Engineering Research Laboratories, also known as HERL, is located on the University of Pittsburgh campus is working to improve the lives of people with disabilities. What innovative designs and concepts are in the works? HERL Director Rory Cooper shares some of the technology they have in the works.

Join us this evening beginning at 7 p.m. on 90.5 WESA for a live community forum on our city and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Senator Tom Harkin Reflects on the ADA, 25 Years Later

Jul 15, 2015
LCCR & LCCREF / flickr

The Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted by the U.S. Congress 25 years ago this month. Former U.S. Senator Tom Harkin authored what became the final ADA Bill and was its chief sponsor in the Senate, He joins us to discuss what led up to the passage of the ADA, how the law has changed life for people with disabilities, and what more needs to be done.

Join us this evening beginning at 7 p.m. on 90.5 WESA for a live community forum on our city and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Jaime Dillon-Seibel / Flickr

    

Last September marked the centennial of the founding of the Veterans of Foreign Wars here in Pittsburgh. Over 12,000 delegates, dignitaries and guests will be in the city for the VFW’s annual national convention this weekend. Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars John A. Biedrzycki, Jr., a Pittsburgher chosen to become the organization's new national commander, addressed the work done by the VFW.

Passing Pluto: What We Know About The 'Dwarf Planet'

Jul 14, 2015
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute / Flickr

This morning NASA's New Horizons space craft is expected to pass fewer than 7,800 miles above Pluto's surface and send back pictures. Images have already revealed plenty of surprises about the mysterious "dwarf planet." Charissa Sedor, assistant manager of the Buhl Planetarium at the Carnegie Science Center, tells us what these latest finds reveal. 

What Does Macy's Closure Mean For Downtown Retail?

Jul 14, 2015
jpellgen / flickr

  Macy’s announced the closure of their downtown Pittsburgh store yesterday, surprising many residents and setting the stage for a discussion on the future of large brick-and-mortar retailers in the city.  Before yesterday’s announcement, Macy’s, which had once been home to Kaufmann’s department store, had already been gradually cutting back their selling space.  The Pittsburgh Business Times has covered the story and explored what a closure might mean for downtown retail.  Reporter Tim Schooley shares his thoughts on today’s show.

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