Essential Pittsburgh

The Third Man / Youtube

The Hollywood Theater in Dormont will celebrate its 90th anniversary Saturday with a screening of the 1949 film-noir classic, The Third Man.

Pittsburgh native and actor David Conrad selected The Third Man and will host the anniversary celebration. Conrad recalls attending films at the Hollywood, which opened on Labor Day weekend in 1926, when he was growing up in Pittsburgh in the early 80s.

Children's Institute of Pittsburgh / Facebook

As mental health awareness among young people increases, many families are looking for new, innovative ways to help their children. The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh has responded by creating a new inpatient unit focused on a holistic approach for the mind, body and spirit.

Shane Simmons / flickr

A mistrial has been declared in a civil rights lawsuit brought by a Pittsburgh police officer who clerked for the former chief. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti granted the mistrial after Officer Tonya Montgomery-Ford said her attorney was too ill to continue. Montgomery-Ford says she was suspended three years ago because she testified before a federal grand jury into alleged corruption by the administration of former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. We'll discuss the case with Trib reporter Brian Bowling.

McKnight Realty

McKnight Realty Partners has just purchased South Side terminal properties and plans on investing millions of dollars to bring it up to modern standards for use as office and green space.

McKnight will partner with Friends of the Riverfront, a group that aims to promote access and appreciation of our region’s river resources. In this case, that resource is a riverfront bike trail connected to the Three Rivers Trail.

USGA 'Play 9' Initiative Makes Golf More Accessible

May 12, 2016
Emily Stock / 90.5 WESA

The average time it takes for a golfer to complete 18 holes is about four hours and 11 seconds. For busy families, four hours of play isn’t an option. In an effort to make the sport more accessible and inclusive, the United States Golf Association has created the initiative “Play 9.” With only nine holes, the hope is to cut time on the course in half and encourage players to come out and enjoy the sport without the long commitment. From the Bob O’Connor Golf Course in Schenley Park, we’ll chat with avid golfer Councilman Corey O’Connor and Allison Vartabedian, of the USGA.

How Should Pennsylvania Measure Teacher Effectiveness?

May 12, 2016
Matthew Shipp / flickr

The Pennsylvania state senate passed the Protecting Excellent Teachers Act this week, which would end the practice of layoffs based solely on seniority, but Gov. Tom Wolf has vowed to veto the bill.

State Rep. Steve Bloom (R-Cumberland County) wrote the legislation. He says that while only 1.8 percent of Pennsylvania teachers are failing or need improvement, they should be the first considered for layoffs.

Matthew Dieterich

A foggy purple lake.  A kaleidoscope of star trails.  A shadowy, tree-lined horizon.  After vigilantly waiting two hours by Reflections Lake at Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington state, photographer and Pittsburgh native Matthew Dieterich was able to capture one of the most stunning time-lapses of the year.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

As part of Remake Learning Days, Essential Pittsburgh is exploring two of the 11 districts and six individual schools in the region that have signed on to the Maker Promise, which is part of the White House-sponsored Digital Promise. While the Digital Promise works to put more technology into schools, the Maker Promise refines that to encourage the creation of maker spaces in schools that may or may not include new technologies.

Anna Haensch / LMFDB

So much of our lives are lived online these days. Whether it’s paying bills or socializing the concern about keeping our personal information is ever-present. However, a team of mathematicians from around the world have been working on a database that will make our internet, credit and debit transactions even more secure. Our guest, Anna Haensch, assistant professor of mathematics at Duquesne University has been part of this effort and joins us to explain how it will impact our lives.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

It’s remake learning week in in Pittsburgh and one of the ways learning is being “remade” is through a national effort known as the Digital Promise, which aims to put more technology into schools.  The White House-supported program has launched an additional effort it is calling the Maker Promise. Karen Cator, CEO, Digital Promise, said the maker concept incorporates several skills that are important into the workplace. 

FAME Fund Provides Resources And Support For Minority Students

May 10, 2016
FAME Academy / Facebook

Providing scholarships to minority students will help create a stronger, more diverse future for the city of Pittsburgh, says Darryl Wiley, CEO of the Fund for Advancement of Minorities through Education, or FAME.

Discover How Pittsburgh Became A Leader In 'Remaking Learning'

May 10, 2016
Alan Cleaver / flickr

Education is constantly evolving and has come a long way since the days of the “new math.” Remake learning is the latest trend in education. Emphasizing digital learning, creativity and innovation we’ll discover how Pittsburgh has become a leader in this movement with Anne Sekula, director of the Remake Learning Council. Also taking part in the conversation is Kevin Gavin, WESA’s executive producer for special projects. 

Molly Riley / AP Images

Prior to 2014, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs faced a great deal of negative press for allegations of mishandling medical care for veterans, including the creation of false waiting lists that delayed crucial treatment. Since the appointment of Robert McDonald in 2014, the department has conducted an evaluation and drafted new strategies to improve the way Veterans Affairs operates.  

U.S. Department of Agriculture / flickr

The spread of the Zika virus has researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health partnering with a Brazilian foundation to find a cure. Zika is a mosquito borne virus that can also be transmitted sexually. We'll talk with Dr. Ernesto Marques, a native of Brazil and a professor of infectious diseases and microbiology at Pitt who says his long-term goal is to develop a Zika vaccine. Also joining us in studio is Pitt epidemiology professor Jennifer Adibi.

Carolyn Kaster / AP Images

New information in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal shocked many Thursday when a line in a court document alleged Penn State University head coach Joe Paterno was aware of Sandusky's molestation of children as early as 1976. PennLive reporter Charles Thompson broke the story and joined us with the context of the allegations and how PSU fans have responded.

ESO / M. Kornmesser via AP Images

The transit of Mercury, a rare planetary event, will take place on Monday, May 9th. In other celestial three Earth-like planets have been discovered around a red-dwarf star. Joining us to explain the scientific significance of this news is Point Park University professor and astrophysicist Brendan Mullan.

Megan Fair / 90.5 WESA

Carnegie Science Center visitors can check out the USGA's "American Golf History-Coming To Life" experience in Highmark Sportsworks. We'll talk with Eric Steighner about the custom golf simulator that allows visitors to try hitting a golf ball with period-specific clubs from the 1930's to the modern era.  

Celebrating Oakmont's Love Affair With The U.S. Open

May 6, 2016
Krzysztof Urbanowicz / flickr

The U.S. Open golf tournament has been held at Oakmont Country Club eight times, more than any other course. Why does the U.S. Open keep coming back to Oakmont? And what are some of the great moments that have happened there. We'll talk with USGA historian Victoria Student who is also bringing the U.S. Open trophy to our studio.

Davey Nin / flickr

Last week, the city’s Affordable Housing Task Force presented its suggestions to City Council on how to implement affordable residential units in at least 20 percent of development throughout Pittsburgh. The proposal was created with help from four committees and with input from five community meetings. We’ll hear about the group’s progress and suggestions from City Planning Director Ray Gastil and City Councilman Daniel Lavelle. We’ll also ask Helen Gerhardt, member of the group Homes for All Pittsburgh, what she’d like to see in the next draft of proposals.

What's It Like Being An Abortion Clinic Escort In Pittsburgh?

May 5, 2016
Connor Mulvaney / PublicSource

Pittsburgh has two abortion clinics. They attract women seeking care as well as abortion protesters and volunteers who guide patients inside. Laura Horowitz began volunteering when violence at abortion clinics in the late 1980s and early 1990s became more pronounced. She joins us to talk about how it works along with Sabrina Bodon who wrote a recent piece about this topic for our content partner PublicSource.    

Davey Nin / flickr

This year marks the centennial of the National Park Service. Five of the nation’s national parks are located in Western PA. We’ll discover the plans they have in store for the celebration with Centennial Coordinator for the National Parks of Western PA, Brendan Wilson.

Toy Exhibit Reflects Decades Of Change In American Society

May 4, 2016
Heinz History Center / Facebook

Toys are designed to be fun, but they also stimulate creativity and imagination. Children and grown-ups learn from play. The Heinz History Center's current exhibition, "Toys of the '50s, '60s and '70s," which is on exhibit now through May 31, demonstrates how these toys reflect three decades of dynamic changes in American life. We'll talk about it with Heinz History Center President and CEO, Andy Masich.

Pittsburgh Zoo Developing Tuberculosis Treatment For Elephants

May 4, 2016
Bill Damon / flickr

Researchers at Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium are developing treatments for elephants with tuberculosis. The strain, which is the same for both humans and elephants, can attack kidneys, spine, bones and the brain. We’ll talk with Willie Theison, elephant curator at the Zoo, about what they’re looking into and how it could impact the worldwide elephant population.

Nationwide, Universities Transitioning To Per-Credit Fees

May 3, 2016
Shippensburg University / Facebook

Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) recently announced plans to charge per-credit fees. IUP is the latest school within the state university system to make this change. When it comes to college tuition what is the difference between a flat tuition as opposed to per-credit fees? We'll address the issue with Ken Mash,president, Association Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF).

Joe Shlabotnik / flickr

It’s no secret that Ivy League colleges are some of the most selective higher education establishments in the U.S. Although a small selection of the population will receive degrees from an Ivy, author Sean-Michael Green had the rare opportunity to spend a whole year exploring each and every one to research his book, The Things I Learned in College: My Year in the Ivy League. Green spent 30 days at all eight Ivies in an attempt to uncover the truth behind myths and misconceptions regarding these establishments.

Is There A Link Between Fracking And Earthquakes?

May 3, 2016
Protect Our Water PA / Facebook

Last week's multiple minor earthquakes in an area just west of New Castle were below a magnitude that humans can feel but does that mean we shouldn't be concerned about them? The other big question for seismologists to answer whether the quakes were triggered by fracking. We'll put that question to Michael Brudzinski, a geology professor at Miami University in Ohio, and Andrew Nyblade, a geosciences professor at Penn State University.

After 36 Years, KDKA Newsman Harold Hayes Signs Off

May 2, 2016
Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Following a 36 year long career serving the Pittsburgh community as a reporter for KDKA-TV, Harold Hayes signed off for the last time this past Friday.  During his career, Hayes covered a wide-range of stories including Pope John Paul II’s funeral, Operation Desert Shield in Saudi Arabia and a visit from the Grand Dragon of the KKK to Pittsburgh. 

Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon / Facebook

Running shorts will replace lab coats this weekend as 10 UPMC doctors take to the course at the 2016 Pittsburgh Marathon this Sunday as part of an initiative to ensure runner safety.  Dr. Ron Roth, the Pittsburgh Marathon’s medical director and Dr. Aaron Mares, assistant medical director for the marathon, joined Essential Pittsburgh to discuss this innovative approach.

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr

Building owners in downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland are ahead of sustainability goals set as part of the Pittsburgh 2030 District initiative.

Keith Srakocic / AP Images

During a presentation at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute Environmental Law Forum in Harrisburg earlier this month, Range Resources Vice President of Legislative & Regulatory Affairs Terry Bossert said that the company tries to position gas wells away from larger, nice looking homes.

While Bossert later claimed that the statement was an example of “dry sarcasm,” Patrick Grenter, executive director of the Center for Coalfield Justice, and Joanne Kilgour, director of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Sierra Club, say that it is all too true. Bossert later issued an apology for his comments.

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