Essential Pittsburgh
6:37 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Thursday Rundown: A Rare Retirement for the Steelers

The Steelers rarely retire a player's jersey number, but this Sunday they will.
Credit The Steelers / NFL / wikipedia

These topics air Thursday October 30, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Retiring Mean Joe Greene's Jersey

Thirty-two years after retiring, Steelers legend Mean Joe Greene’s number 75 will be retired this coming Sunday. We’ll address the significance of this coming event and what it means for the Steelers organization with Gary Pomerantz, author of the book "Their Life’s Work: the Brotherhood of the 1970’s Pittsburgh Steelers."

ReelAbilities Film Festival

The second annual ReelAbilities Film Festival is taking place in Pittsburgh. It focuses on people with disabilities. We'll talk with director Sam Fleischner and Jesus Sanchez-Velez  who stars in the film "Stand Clear of the Closing Doors." The movie won a Special Jury Prize at the Tribeca Film Festival and has played at film festivals around the world.

Haunted Travel

From Salem to Savannah, there are a number of sights across America that are home to things that go bump in the night. If you're in the mood for a little ghost hunting, travel contributor Elaine Labalme will recommend some of her favorite haunts. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:43 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Adventures in the Upside of Fear

Why, oh why, do we like to be scared??? This visitor to Scarehouse Pittsburgh is about to have a bit of fun.
Credit Scarehouse / Facebook

These topics air Wednesday October 29, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Finding Fun in Fear

Halloween is a great time of year to be a thrill-seeker. Many people search for an adrenaline kick of fear in haunted attractions, horror movies and pranks. But why? What makes a good scare so thrilling? And do other cultures enjoy recreational fear in the same ways? If you’ve visited Scarehouse recently you may have been part of research which explores these questions. Greg Siegle, Director of the Program in Cognitive Affective Neuroscience (PICAN) at the University of Pittsburgh and Sociologist Margee Kerr talk about their Ecological Emotional Experience Protocol (EEEP!) experiments and Kerr’s forthcoming book, “Scream: Adventures in the Upside of Fear.”

Supernatural PA

How haunted is Western PA? From the ghost of Slag Pile Annie to fog that engulfs Blue Mist Road, we’ll explore the region’s haunted history with Thomas White, author of the book "Supernatural Lore of Pennsylvania."

Gamergate and What Can Be Said About Cultural Change

Video games -- as well as the people who play them -- have changed a lot in the last 10 or 20 years. With improvements in gaming technology and a host of new video game platforms, more people are gaming than ever before. The old stereotype of video gamers as straight, young, white men has been challenged by a growing diversity of gamers, especially women. The recent Gamergate controversy, however, shows that some hardcore gamers are not happy with the diversification of the video game culture. Joining us to talk about Gamergate and what it shows about how video games -- and society -- are diversifying, are Max Parker, video game journalist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Susan Rohwer, a Providence, RI-based freelance journalist who has been following Gamergate.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:02 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: The Candidate and Saving Sites in Pittsburgh

Roxian Theater in McKees Rocks
Credit YPA

These topics air Tuesday, October 28, at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Erin McClelland

With the election a week away, we'll look at the race for the seat in the 12th Congressional District. Democratic candidate Erin McClelland joins us to share her views on several issues including health care and how she started a nonprofit business specializing in addiction treatment.

Sites to Save in Pittsburgh

The Young Preservationists Association has announced its list of places to save in the Pittsburgh region. We’ll discover what sites are being saved, threatened by the wrecking ball or simply being neglected by from Ellen Kitzerow, Chair of the Young Preservationists.

WESA Celebrates - Paul Abernathy

Four years ago, after graduating from the seminary, Paul Abernathy made it his mission to help people living in the Hill District. His efforts resulted in the opening of the thrift shop called FOCUS. It stands for the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve. It also stands for Food, Occupation, Clothing, Understanding and Shelter, which are needed in this community. Paul Abernathy is the profile subject of this week’s WESA Celebrates.

The Business of Artisanal Cheese

Artisanal cheese is becoming the latest food trend. Much like craft beers, people are using local ingredients to make their own cheeses. This week contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of artisanal cheese.

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:08 pm
Sun October 26, 2014

Monday Rundown: Recognizing the Work of Jonas Salk

Jonas Salk in 1957 at the University of Pittsburgh, where he developed the first polio vaccine.
Credit The Pitt Owl Yearbook 1957 / Wikipedia

These topics air Monday October 27, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

100th Anniversary of Jonas Salk's Birth

We'll join the Pitt School of Public Health in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jonas Salk, the man who discovered and developed the first successful polio vaccine. His son Peter Salk, scientific director of the Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation, will join us to talk about the Jonas Salk Centenary Symposium on Sustainability: Survival of the Wisest.

On the Job with Sasha King - Riveting Resumes

While there are new methods for job searching in today’s economy two things remain constant. You need a good cover letter and resume. This month independent career consultant Sasha King is here with tips for creating riveting resumes that will get you noticed.

Brett Keisel

With his Grizzly Adams beard, Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel is one of the most recognizable athletes in Pittsburgh. But now in his 13th season, and having reached the age of 36, Keisel knows the end of his playing career is near. He joins us to talk about football, hunting and raising money for the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:05 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Friday Rundown: Mayor Ed Pawlowski on Building a Better Allentown

Downtown Allentown, PA at night.
Credit Lehigh Valley PA / Flickr

These topics air Friday October 24, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski

Pittsburgh is often hailed as a success story of Rust Belt recovery. Despite the lyrics of a certain Billy Joel song, Allentown, PA is also gaining ground as a more broadly based, post-industrial economy. Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski is in Pittsburgh talking with local officials and sharing his experiences as Mayor of the 3rd largest city in the Commonwealth. He joins us to discuss the moves that Rust Belt cities can make to rebuild their economies in the twenty-first century.

44th Annual Pitt Jazz Seminar and Concert

The 44th annual Jazz Seminar and Concert will take place next week. WESA Jazz host Bob Studebaker previews the event with Geri Allen, director of the Jazz Studies program at the University of Pittsburgh. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:14 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Thursday Rundown: Fall Films and Filming in the Steel City

Credit Work the Angles / Flickr

These topics air Thursday October 23, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

State Supreme Court Suspends McCaffery

The state Supreme Court has suspended one of its own, Justice Seamus McCaffery, with pay. The suspension is a response to McCaffery's admitted exchange of sexually explicit emails with people in the state attorney general's office, among other things. 90.5 WESA's capitol correspondent Mary Wilson will have the latest from Harrisburg.

Fall Movie Reviews

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Film Editor Barbara Vancheri discusses the movies "Ouija," "Gone Girl," "The Judge," "Fury," "St, Vincent," and "Birdman," as well as movies being filmed, or about to be filmed, in Pittsburgh. She says it's been a remarkable year for movies being shot in and around Pittsburgh.

Five Quick Fall Getaways

Are you feeling an overwhelming need to get away? Would a quick autumnal excursion sate your wanderlust? This week travel contributor Elaine Labalme suggests five quick fall getaways. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:49 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Celebrating the Birthday of the Original Buhl Projector

Zeiss Model II Star Projector
Credit Photojunkie / wikipedia

These topics air Wednesday October 22, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Social Media and the Gubernatorial Election

Do Governor Corbett and his challenger Tom Wolf have as many followers on Twitter and Facebook as their campaigns would lead you to believe? We’ll look at the role social media is playing in this year’s gubernatorial election with reporter Andrew Conte.

Buhl Planetarium 75th Anniversary

Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium opened to great fanfare in October of 1939. The Buhl's Zeiss II Planetarium Projector was the first such projector to be placed on an elevator, and the Theatre of the Stars was the first planetarium theatre to include a permanent theatrical stage and a special sound system for the hearing-impaired. We'll talk with Glenn Walsh, Project Director of Friends of the Zeiss, and Former Astronomical Observatory Coordinator and Planetarium Lecturer for the Original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science in Pittsburgh. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:31 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: The Legacy and Personal Stories of Flight 93

Personal tributes once erected near the Flight 93 crash site in Shanksville, Somerset County, Pennsylvania
Credit Dave Whelan / Flickr

These topics air Tuesday October 21, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Market Volatility

The American economy has experienced gradual improvements in the 6 years since the 2008 market collapse. But for many investors, memories of those economic losses of are still raw. Throughout the last month, the volatility of global politics and events have affected the stock market with disconcerting spikes and dips. Financial planners such as Paul Brahim, Chairman and CEO of BPU investment firm and a member of the Board of Directors of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Financial Planning Association, are faced with concerned investors who want to know what they’re in for. He joins us to talk about the causes of the latest market volatility and how best to react.

Flight 93: the Legacy

The book "Flight 93: the Story, the Aftermath and the Legacy of American Courage on 9/11" is an in-depth look at the events and people involved in the United Airlines plane that crashed in Shanksville, PA. Joining us to discuss this detailed account is journalist Tom McMillan.

WESA Celebrates - Ian Cummins

The devastation of his younger brother Ryan’s suicide motivated Ian Cummins to action. He began a mission to shed light on mental illness and the stigma of suicide. Ian and his work are the focus of this week’s WESA Celebrates.

The Business of Fair Trade

Fair trade is a win-win proposition for nations and their citizens. According to contributor Rebecca Harris there’s a great deal of it available here in the city. This week Ms. Harris looks at the business of fair trade. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:25 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

Monday Rundown: Tracking with the Pennsylvania State Police

Credit dfirecop / Flickr

These topics air Monday October 20, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Tracking Marcellus Shale Drillers

Are state police in Pennsylvania tracking activists for Marcellus Shale drillers? We’ll pose that question to journalist Adam Federman who recently reported on this issue for the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia City Papers.

The Manhunt Continues

As the search continues in northeastern PA for Eric Frein, the man accused of ambushing two state troopers, killing one and wounding another, we'll get an update on the manhunt from AP reporter Michael Rubinkam.

Mass Hysteria

The spread of the Ebola virus is the latest news issue receiving widespread coverage. From the Y2K panic, to killer bees and more, pop culture contributor Joe Wos joins us to discuss the history of public panic and hysteria. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:12 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Friday Rundown: The Gaza Kitchen Comes to the Conflict Kitchen

Palestine is the focus of the Conflict Kitchen's current menu rotation.
Credit Courtesy Conflict Kitchen

These topics air Friday October 17, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Palestinian Takeout

Conflict Kitchen -- an Oakland restaurant that specializes in cuisine from nations with which the United States is in conflict -- recently introduced a Palestinian menu to coincide with Middle East talks at the University Honors College at Pitt. This week, the restaurant has hosted Laila El-Haddad, a Palestinian journalist, blogger, chef and author of the book “Gaza Kitchen.” Friday night at 8:00 she will cook a large, public Gazan dinner and give a talk about Palestine, its food and its politics. She joins us to talk about food, culture and politics in the Middle East.

The Volunteer Economy in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is home to 7,500 non-profit organizations and about 300,000 people work in the sector. Many of these organizations also rely on volunteers in order to fulfill their missions. In recent years, for-profit businesses have increased their reliance on volunteer labor as well. Peggy Outon, Executive Director of Robert Morris University’s Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management, joins us to make sense of the volunteer economy, and talk about the future of volunteering.

Sheena Easton and the Symphony

The Pittsburgh Symphony pops is making it a movie night this weekend with "Heroes and Villains," a show that will have Grammy award winning vocalist Sheena Easton taking center stage. Easton will sing the title song of the James Bond film "For Your Eyes Only," which she recorded for the film's title sequence and "Nobody Does It Better" from "The Spy Who Loved Me" by Marvin Hamlisch.

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:51 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Thursday Rundown: From Understanding Ebola to Better Quality of Life Through Tech

This "Snackbot" assisting CMU students could be the key to better quality of life for everyone.
Credit Jiuguang Wang / Flickr

These topics air Thursday October 16, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Ebola Preparedness 

The Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola from a Liberian patient is reported to be in good condition. However, a second person has been diagnosed with the virus. This has heightened concerns about the spread of Ebola in the United States. Although, medical professionals think chances of an outbreak in the area are low, how is the region preparing for the possibility? We’ll pose that question to Dr. Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department.

Quality of Life Technology 

The Quality of Life Technology Center is a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center located in Oakland. The program incorporates disciplines from Carnegie Mellon, University of Pittburgh and other groups, all focused on improving quality of life for older adults, people with disabilities and their caregivers. Director Dan Siewiorek joins us to explain how the center addresses the needs and activities of everyday living by prototyping robots, mobility assistance technologies and new ways to monitor health and wellness.

Wild and Wonderful West Virginia

West Virginia holds the distinction of being the only state formed by seceding from a confederate state. The signs welcoming you to West Virginia proclaim it wild and wonderful. This week, the always wonderful Elaine Labalme, takes us to our neighboring state to the south. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:16 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: One Hundred Years of the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater

Credit Marcus Charleston / 90.5WESA

These topics air Wednesday October 15, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Kelly-Strayhorn Theater Centennial

This year the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, originally the Regent Theatre, will mark its 100th anniversary. Joining us in studio to discuss the theater and her hopes for turning the East Liberty neighborhood into another cultural district is Janera Solomon, executive director of the Kelly Strayhorn Theater.

Day Room Window

Last year the Christian Science Monitor reported juvenile incarceration rates in the U.S. were at their lowest point in 38 years. However, the sentencing of juveniles is still a challenge for the justice system. We’ll explore this issue with Jeff Shook, associate professor in the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work. We’ll also speak with playwright Bonnie Cohen whose play Day Room Window is based on her experiences working in the juvenile justice system. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:29 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: How Do Yinz Feel About the Pittsburgh Accent?

What's your opinion of the portrayal of the "Pittsburgh accent" and slang, n'at?
Credit Dauvit Alexander / Flickr

These topics air Tuesday October 14, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Email Scandal

We'll talk with Harrisburg Patriot News Editorial Page Editor John Micek about the latest news related to the scandal involving current and former state employees trading raunchy emails. How will it impact the governors race with three weeks left before election day? And what's on tap in the final days of the legislative session.

Ugliest Accent?

Pittsburgh has made it to the final four in America's ugliest accent tournament. But is it a source of pride? Not according to some area linguists who have a problem with making fun of accents. They say the accents tend to belong to poor and working class people. We'll talk with Pitt Linguistics Professor Scott Kiesling.

WESA Celebrates - Miss Audie Hart

“Miss Audie” Hart plays many different roles at the Neighborhood Academy in Garfield. To a number of students she’s a grandmother. Some staff members see her as a mother figure. The love and support she provides to those at the Neighborhood Academy are the reason she is the subject of this week’s WESA Celebrates profile.

Business of Candy

If you’re trying to avoid sweets, October may not be the best month to test your resolve. With Halloween right around the corner contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of candy. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:01 pm
Sun October 12, 2014

Monday Rundown: Alzheimer's and Support for Caregivers

Credit sparkle glowplug / flickr

These topics air Monday October 13, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Alzheimer's Awareness

In addition to National Breast Cancer Awareness, October is also Alzheimer’s Awareness Disease Month. Our guest, Hayley Jameson is founder and president of the Clear Thoughts Foundation which raises funds to discover drugs and treatments to stop dementia and eventually end Alzheimer’s. Also taking part in the conversation is Dr. Susan Catalano, chief science officer of Cognition Therapeutics which is focused on finding new medicines to stop Alzheimer’s.

Caring for Caregivers

Caring for a loved one with dementia can take an emotional, physical and financial toll on caregivers. We’ll address the services available and particular concerns of caregivers with Karen Schaeffer, founder of Age and Dignity which provides education and guidance for families. Also taking part in the conversation is Suzanne Weessies Family Services Coordinator Alzheimer’s Association Greater PA Chapter. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
12:13 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Friday Rundown: Iconic Pop Art, A Jazz Homecoming and Commuting Culture Change

Credit Peter Max / Facebook

These topics air Friday October 10, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

A Conversation on Biking Infrastructure and Cultural Change

Recently Pittsburgh debuted a substantial amount of new bike lanes. Many cyclists are celebrating the changes, but those who don’t bike may be scratching their heads. Why is bike infrastructure beneficial for a community? Who benefits? What about the costs? We’ll speak with Ngani Ndimbie, Communication Manager of Bike Pittsburgh, and Jeremy Waldrup, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, about how bike infrastructure impacts communities -- regardless of whether you bike or not.

Alto Madness

After living abroad for a number of years, jazz saxophonist Roby Edwards has returned to Pittsburgh. This weekend he’ll be taking part in the Alto Madness concert at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater. He speaks with WESA jazz host Bob Studebaker. Also taking part in the conversation is Mensa Walli, artistic director of the Kente Arts Alliance.

Peter Max - A Retrospective

The iconic pop culture artist Peter Max is in Pittsburgh this week for a gallery exhibition and retrospective. The German-born Jewish-American painter is known for creating vibrantly colored works based on Americana such as the Statue of Liberty, sports figures, American presidents and other symbols that have made him a commercial success. Before you go see his work at the Christine Fre’chard Gallery in Squirrel Hill, hear his stories of travel and what it’s been like creating art for some of the most well known public figures in recent history.

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:58 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Thursday Rundown: Cases to Watch on the Supreme Court Docket

Credit David / Flickr

These topics air Thursday October 9, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

The Supreme Court

The 2014-2015 session of the Supreme Court began on Monday. The court wasted no time in making news by refusing to rule on same-sex marriage. There are a number of other issues on the docket including first amendment rights in the digital age and whether to hear a challenge to the affordable care act. The current term also marks John Roberts’ 10th year as chief justice. Joining us for an overview of the cases the Supreme Court could be ruling on is University of Pittsburgh Law Professor David Harris.

Don't Feed the Deer

While it might be tempting to feed the deer that may wander into your surroundings this fall, the Pennsylvania Game Commission advises against this. We’ll find out why from Dr. Justin Brown, a veterinarian with the state Game Commission.

WESA Celebrates - Deidre Kane and Dora Walmsley

A shared frustration of living in a food desert resulted in Deirdre Kane and Dora Walmsley opening up a neighborhood market in Lawrenceville that provides fresh, healthy food. The ladies and their effort are profiled in this week’s WESA Celebrates.

Cleveland Rocks

It seems Cleveland’s efforts to shed the image of “the mistake on the lake” are paying off. LeBron James has returned to the Cavaliers, the latest Captain America adventure was filmed in the city and the GOP has selected it for the next Republican convention. With the Steelers set to play the Browns, travel contributor Elaine Labalme takes another look at Cleveland. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:19 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Breaking Free of Prison and Poverty, Sustainably

What has led to a lower number of repeat offenders at Allegheny County Jail?
Credit Keith Allison / Flickr

These topics air Wednesday October 8, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Reducing Recidivism at Allegheny County Jail

Breaking the cycle of jail and prison re-entry is not an easy process, especially for repeat offenders. There are lifestyle choices that need to be considered and often times avoided. But that requires the right behavioral coaching and support. The Allegheny County Jail runs a collaborative program with Pittsburgh Mercy Health System which was recently evaluated by the Urban Institute in Washington D.C. and found to successfully reduce recidivism. We’ll talk about how the collaborative works with Karen Cordaro Team Leader Prevention/Intervention Services for PMHS. We’ll also talk with Darrell Robinson, from the Point Breeze area of Pittsburgh. He’s a repeat offender currently on work-release and going through the collaborative program. He’s also enrolled in the Mechatronics Program at CCAC.

Sustainable and Shareable Cities

When he lectures throughout the country, Dr. Antwi Akom focuses on two main questions: How do we create more just, sustainable and smarter cities? And how do we create more democratic models of civic and community engagement? If those don’t sound like typical talking points on sustainability, that’s because Akom, with an impressive list of environmental, educational and sociological credentials, has a very broad view of sustainability. As a guest of the Green Building Alliance’s Inspire Speakers Series, Akom will talk about how he sees too many communities today with limited access to resources and wonders what the cities of our future would look like if we designed them with everyone in mind. We’ll also talk about what this can all mean for our town, with Grant Ervin, the first Sustainability Manager for the City of Pittsburgh. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:03 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: Bob Herbert's Portrait of a Troubled America

A sign at Occupy Wall Street in 2011.
Credit May S. Young / Flickr

These topics air Tuesday October 7, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (Lungs Too)  

They are invisible to the naked eye but atmospheric particles are a critical factor in the climate equation and are responsible for many of the leading causes of death. We’ll talk with Samuel Taylor, an expert on the impact of atmospheric particles and Director of Science & Engineering Ambassadors at the National Academy of Sciences. And Dr. Neil Donahue, professor of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, and Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University.

Losing Our Way

For nearly 20 years Bob Herbert was an award-winning columnist for the New York Times. His book titled "Losing Our Way: An Intimate Portrait of a Troubled America", chronicles ordinary Americans struggling for survival in a nation that has lost its way. We’ll talk with Bob Herbert prior to his upcoming appearance and discover the Pittsburgh ties to the book.

WESA Celebrates - Deidre Kane and Dora Walmsley

A shared frustration of living in a food desert resulted in Deirdre Kane and Dora Walmsley opening up a neighborhood market in Lawrenceville that provides fresh, healthy food. The ladies and their effort are profiled in this week’s WESA Celebrates.

The Business of Pink

Former Good Morning America co-host Joan Lunden is the latest celebrity to go public with her diagnosis of breast cancer. This comes at the start of National Breast Cancer Awareness month. In this week’s business segment contributor Rebecca Harris turns her attention to the business of pink. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:33 pm
Sun October 5, 2014

Monday Rundown: Stories and Films of American Veterans

Credit Lisa Jacobs / Flickr

These topics air Monday October 6, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Veterans’ Stories: Project 4-1-2

This week, in partnership with the Community Leadership Course for Veterans (CLCV), WESA begins airing Veterans’ Stories: Project 4-1-2. This is part of a community impact project created by Leadership Pittsburgh to expose post 9/11 veterans to networks and opportunities for service and enhancement of their leadership skills. Joining us to discuss their role in this initiative are former U.S.Army Sergeant James Yauger, who works with VetAdvisor to help veterans transition to civilian life; and Lieutenant Ariana Pourmonir Mohnke, U.S. Coast Guard.

Project 22

According to Veteran’s Administration it is estimated 22 veterans commit suicide every day. This sobering fact served as the impetus for the documentary Project 22. The film chronicles the journey of two combat-wounded veterans across America. They traveled the country to speak with veterans who had contemplated, or attempted suicide, as well as researchers and healthcare providers. Joining us to discuss the film is Theo Collins, a law student at Duquesne University, a Marine Corps veteran and an associate producer of the film.

Home Range

Inspired by 1978’s “The Deer Hunter,” writer/director Natalia Kaniasty shot the short film “Home Range” in her hometown of Indiana, PA. The narrative follows Bobby Novak, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who returns home to Western Pennsylvania while his best friend from childhood does not. Bobby must struggle to adjust to civilian life and re-assimilate into his community. Kaniasty joins us to discuss the process of crafting an emotional narrative in her own backyard.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:20 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Friday Rundown: The Forests of Pittsburgh

Credit Devon Christopher Adams / Flickr

These topics air Friday October 3, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Pittsburgh's Urban Forest

As the colors of autumn entice us to do some foliage watching, many people in Pittsburgh need look no further than their nearby neighborhoods. According to the US Forest Service and the University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Lab, 42% of Pittsburgh is covered by tree canopy, that’s more than green cities like Portland, Washington D.C., Austin and Philadelphia. Despite our reputation as an industrial town, Pittsburgh has one of the largest urban forests in the country. So how did these forests form? What is an urban forest and where can they be found?

Urban forester Brian Wolyniak joins us along with Heather Mikulas, the Agricultural Marketing & Economic Development Educator for the Penn State Cooperative Extension of Allegheny County, a land grant institution that provides teaching, research, and service to local residents, businesses and organizations.

Jimmy Stewart

The Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, PA is holding its annual fundraising event Friday. Among the special guests is Carol Burnett, who is receiving the 2014 Harvey Award. Ms. Burnett idolized Mr. Stewart growing up and they later became friends. We'll speak with the museum's Executive Director Tim Harley about the event and the museum's history.

The End of Saturday Morning Cartoons

For years Saturday morning network television was the domain of the younger set. However, like penny candy, pay phones and Life Magazine, Saturday morning cartoons are a thing of the past. Pop culture contributor Joe Wos joins us for a history of these weekend staples and why the broadcast networks are no longer carrying them. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:51 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Thursday Rundown: The Corporate Cost of Domestic Violence

Credit Phil Whitehouse / flickr

These topics air Thursday October 2, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Standing Firm

October is domestic violence awareness month. NFL players, domestic violence and how the league is addressing the issue has been garnering a lot of headlines. These stories also exemplify how domestic violence can spill over into the workplace. We’ll look at the impact this deadly issue has on places of employment with Patricia Cluss a psychologist and the director of Standing Firm which educates employers about the cost of partner violence in the workplace.

Future Fair

The once traditional path of graduating from high school, going to college or work and getting on with your life is no longer the standard way of doing things. Students today face a number of challenges when it comes to determining a life-path. How to make better informed decisions in a changing educational and economic marketplace is the goal behind the Future Fair. We’ll learn about this upcoming event from State Representative Dan Miller and Gene Natali Jr., author of the financial planning book The Missing Semester. 

Pre-holiday Travel Tips

While you may not want to think about it – the holidays will soon be upon us. If you’re thinking of getting away now is the time to book your holiday travel plans. Contributor Elaine Labalme who tweets about food and travel under the twitter handle New Girl in Town, joins us this week with pre- Thanksgiving and Christmas travel tips.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:18 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Air Quality and Shenango Coke Works

A view of Neville Island and Shenango Coke Works
Credit Jon Dawson / Flickr

These topics air Wednesday October 1, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Shenango Coke Works

The Shenango Coke works on Neville Island has consistently violated local clean air regulations leading some citizens to ask why the Allegheny County Health Department doesn't shut the plant down. We'll pose that question to Jim Thompson, Air Quality Program Manager for the Allegheny County Health Department. And hear from Bellvue resident Ken Holmes.

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:32 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: A Second Chance for the August Wilson Center?

Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

These topics air Tuesday September 30, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA.

August Wilson Center Deal

With an August Wilson Center deal all but done, we'll look at the surprise agreement to sell the embattled downtown cultural center to a coalition of foundations for $8.85 million. A New York-based developer with plans of turning the building into a hotel has offered $9.5 million for the structure, but community outcry asking for the center to remain a locally held cultural institute apparently tipped the scales toward the foundations' bid. Tribune-Review reporter Natasha Lindstrom joins us for an update.

The Future of Google in Pittsburgh

Google has been growing in Pittsburgh since 2006, fueled by our local talent, the universities and collaborations with the startup community. With the opening of their new office space in Bakery Square 2.0 earlier this year, we wanted to talk with Kamal Nigam, co-director of Google Pittsburgh about the future of Google in the Steel City. Along with Terri Glueck Director of Communications and Community Development at Innovation Works, they talk about how Pittsburgh startups factor into that vision.

WESA Celebrates-Ella Horvat

Eleven-year old Ella Horvat is a sixth grader at Dorseyville Middle School. She was born in Guatemala and was adopted by her American parents, Jill and Michael, at the age of two. In the past year Ella has collected about 200 pairs of shoes from family and friends to send to orphanages in Guatemala. Hear Ella's story

Business Segment - Residential Real Estate

According to the Real Estate Firm Zillow, Pittsburgh is one of the nation’s top 10 buyer’s markets. This week contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of residential real estate.

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:41 pm
Sun September 28, 2014

Monday Rundown: The Impact of Independent Concussion Research

Tom Healy, CMU mechanical engineering student and founder of HeadSmart Labs.
Credit HeadSmart Labs

These topics air Monday September 29, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Unpacking An Eventful Week in Harrisburg

It's been a busy week in Harrisburg, PennLive and Patriot-News editorial and opinions Editor John Micek joins us to lay it all out. Topics include: the eight former and current state officials alleged to be involved in an exchange of hundreds of racy emails using state computers, calls for protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pennsylvanians and the Senate passing legislation to legalize certain kinds of marijuana.

Keystone Crossroads Holds Statewide Town Hall Meetings

On Tuesday evening, the third Keystone Crossroads community forum will be held at the Community Broadcast center on the South Side. Titled, “Rust or Revival: Which Way is Our Town Heading?" these evenings are all about community engagement. Similar forums have been held in Philadelphia and Harrisburg with the goal of parsing out our community problems and potential solutions. Keystone Crossroads reporter Irina Zhorov and editor Naomi Starobin talk about the statewide project and the issues people in other Pennsylvania cities face, both large and small.

HeadSmart Labs

Carnegie Mellon mechanical engineering student Tom Healy has been a punter for the Tartans throughout his college career. He’s seen many of his teammates sustain concussions while playing. With the help of some of the top names in concussion research Healy founded HeadSmart Labs, an independent research company that develops testing devices, products and procedures for reducing concussions. Tom Healy talks about the discoveries HeadSmart has made so far and the impact they’re making in the sports equipment industries.

Sports with Bob

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sportswriter Emeritus Bob Dvorchak joins us to talk about the controversy over the return of James Harrison to the Steelers. And now that the Pirates have returned to the post-season for the second consecutive year, what are their chances of reaching the World Series?

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:02 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Friday Rundown: Looking at America's Conversation on Race with Michele Norris

NPR journalist Michele Norris at the 2014 Peabody Awards
Credit Peabody Awards / Wikipedia

These topics air Friday September 26, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Eavesdropping on America's Conversation on Race

When award-winning NPR journalist and former All Things Considered host Michele Norris released her first book "The Grace of Silence: A Memoir" in 2010, it was the beginning of a unique national conversation on race. On October 1st, Norris comes to Pittsburgh to give a talk entitled "Eavesdropping on America's Conversation on Race," a part of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History exhibition, "Race: Are We So Different?" She'll talk about how far we've come with that conversation on race.

University of Pittsburgh Voice Center

The UPMC Voice Center is a unique place in Pittsburgh for more than just vocalists. They often work with those who, knowingly or not, use their voice on a regular basis; teachers, clergy, even people in customer service. The center's mission is to prevent injury and rehabilitate patients who have voice problems, through therapy and cutting edge research. Dr. Jackie Gartner-Schmidt, Director of Speech Language Pathology, and patient Karl Bailey of the Homestead Waterfront Dueling Piano Bar, Sing Sing join us to talk about what it takes to conserve one's voice into old age.

Holder Resigns

On the heels of the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Duquesne University Law School Dean Ken Gormley joins us for an assessment of Holder's tenure as AG. Gormley moderated a Q & A session with Holder during his 2011 visit to Duquesne to deliver the School of Law's Centennial Address. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:17 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Thursday Rundown: This Old House and These Old Pipes

Richard Trethewey, Plumbing and Heating Expert for Ask This Old House
Credit Ask This Old House

These topics air Thursday September 25, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

The Invisible Danger Posed by Our Aging Natural Gaslines

In the last 10 years, accidents involving gas distribution lines killed more than 120 people and injured more than 500. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Mike Wereschagin discusses his recent series on the complications, dangers and costs of managing gas lines that are, in some cases 100 years old.

Ask This Old House

Long before HGTV there was This Old House. The long-running PBS show has branched out to include a magazine and the companion series Ask This Old House which is in Pittsburgh this week. Joining us in studio is the program’s plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey.

Johnny Appleseed

You may not recognize the name John Chapman from your history books. The pioneering American nurseryman is better known as Johnny Appleseed who introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio and the Midwest. We’ll mark the 240th anniversary of Johnny Appleseed’s birth and his connection to Pittsburgh with culture contributor Joe Wos.

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:59 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: From Climate Change and the UN to Green Municipalities

More than 300,000 demonstrators marched in the streets of New York last weekend in an effort to spotlight climate change, before this week's UN Summit.
Credit Climate Action Network / Flickr

These topics air Wednesday September 24, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Climate Summit

The United Nations Climate Summit took place in New York City this week. While more than 100 world leaders took part, and thousands demonstrated in the streets of NYC for the People's Climate March, it's not certain how much, if any, tangible action will be taken on a global scale. We'll talk with John Radzilowicz, Director of Professional Development, ASSET STEM Education, about ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And hear from some PA residents who participated in the NYC march.

Etna's Green Masterplan

The borough of Etna recently debuted its green infrastructure plan. Like many other communities along the Allegheny river, Etna has had a history of problems with flooding, and the community of some 3,400 people was hit especially hard as a result of Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Etna’s recent green master plan was designed to handle large amounts of storm water without flooding the sewage systems. What can their experience in Etna tell us about how other communities in our region can institute green projects of this kind? We'll talk with Etna borough manager Mary Ellen Ramage and Janel Everly, programming director for the Green Building Alliance.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:56 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: Searching for Life on Mars 2020

Artist's Concept of the SuperCam Instrument for Mars 2020 Rover
Credit NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

These topics air Tuesday September 23, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

1st Gubernatorial Debate

The first of three Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate debates were held last night. Republican Governor Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf had their face off at a Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce and Industry dinner in Hershey. We'll talk with journalist John Baer of who covered round one.

Pitt Professor Helps NASA Probe Mars

Technology using ultraviolet light to analyze and examine pieces of matter invented by University of Pittsburgh chemistry professor Sandy Asher is expected to be part of NASA's Mars 2020 Rover mission. The goal is to determine whether life exists on the Red Planet. Sandy Asher joins us to talk about the UV technology he's developed.

Salary Negotiation

Conversations about money are never easy. They’re especially difficult in the workplace when it comes to negotiating your salary. This month independent career consultant Sasha King guides us through the dos and don’ts of salary negotiation.

WESA Celebrates – Todd DePastino

Todd DePastino and his friend Dan Cavanaugh both had fathers who were veterans. They decided to bring together other former servicemen on a weekly basis. The result was the Veterans Breakfast Club. This week WESA Celebrates profiles Todd DePastino.

The Business of Robotics

In a November 1999 article the Wall Street Journal dubbed Pittsburgh “Robo-burgh.” The city is one of a handful of locations in the U.S. leading in the development of robotics technology. This week contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of robotics. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:15 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

Monday Rundown: The Manhunt for Eric Frein Continues

An honor guard carries the casket of Pennsylvania State Trooper Cpl. Bryon Dickson from his funeral service, Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014, in Scranton, Pa. Dickson was killed in an ambush shooting at the state police barracks in Blooming Grove Township. Authorities are looking for 31-year-old Eric Frein, of Canadensis, who has been charged with killing one trooper and wounding another outside the barracks.
Credit Matt Slocum / The Associated Press

These topics air Monday September 22, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

The Manhunt Continues

As the search continues for the man accused of ambushing two state troopers more than a week ago, killing one and wounding another, we'll get an update on the manhunt from AP reporter Michael Rubinkam. He is reporting that, according to authorities, the man they're looking for is a heavily armed survivalist. 

An Assassin's Mindset

Former FBI profiler and expert on terrorism Larry Likar teaches criminology at La Roche College. He describes suspected cop killer Eric Frein as an assassin type of shooter. Likar joins us to examine the complexities involved in the search for the man who ambushed two state troopers.

The Troubled National Football League

Former NFL quarterback Don McPherson joins us to discuss domestic violence issues involving NFL players including Baltimore's Ray Rice and Minnesota's Adrian Peterson. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says the league will get its house in order, the question is how. McPherson regularly speaks on college campuses as a critic of gender roles, saying they contribute to incidents of domestic violence, stalking, and rape. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:15 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Friday Rundown: Permitting Firearms on School Grounds

Credit Ken / Flickr

These topics air Friday September 19, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Firearms in Schools?

State Senator Don White wants Pennsylvania school districts to be able to permit their staff to carry firearms in school buildings and on the grounds. Supporters say his proposal would make schools safer but critics are arguing for more police. We'll talk with Senator White and Shira Goodman, Executive Director of Cease Fire Pennsylvania.

Range Resources Receives Record Fine

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced it has signed a consent order and agreement with Range Resources for violations at six of its impoundments in Washington County. The $4.15 million fine is the largest ever brought against a company in the Marcellus Shale era. We'll be joined by DEP spokesman John Poister.

MacArthur Grant Recipient

The MacArthur Genius Grants were announced this week. University of Pittsburgh Writing Professor and Poet Terrance Hayes was among the twenty-one recipients. He speaks with WESA Morning Edition host Josh Raulerson. 

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