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Check out "From the Newsroom," TribLive's newest top stories podcast, hosted by TribLive's Zac Gibson. Each week's episode will feature a discussion with a TribLive reporter about a recent story from Western Pennsylvania.

Podcast: Western Pennsylvania is experiencing a cultural, economic change

Western Pennsylvania is experiencing a visual, cultural and economic change, and the Beechview neighborhood in Pittsburgh is at the heart of it.

From 2010 to 2020, Pittsburgh’s overall population saw a modest growth of less than 1%. In stark contrast, the Latino population in Pittsburgh experienced a staggering 80% increase.

Latin -American migrants from California, New York, and Florida are coming to Pennsylvania for the affordability and economic growth opportunity.

Pennsylvania’s Latino sub-economy is snowballing. It saw 18% growth from 2011 to 2021, with $36 billion in gross domestic income, representing 4.2% of the state’s gross domestic income.

According to a study from Arizona State University, the growing Latino work force is offsetting the losses from non-Latino workers in the state.

Pennsylvania’s economic growth averages 1.1% per year, while the Latino sub-economy saw averages of 6.2% growth in the same time frame.

Reporter Anna Mares and host Zac Gibson dive into her recent article, which cites the economic growth and cultural change in Western Pennsylvania in relationship to this changing demographic.

This is From the Newsroom.

Podcast: Potential nationwide scam hits Carrick event venue


A recent alleged concert booking scam has affected a venue in Pittsburgh’s Carrick neighborhood.

Audiovisual company Hearcorp owns the event venue and former church at 25 Carrick Ave.

Chief operations officer Brendan Elder recalled his conversation with Alex Bowen, who wanted to book a concert featuring orchestral renditions of Dr. Dre songs at the venue on April 20.

Bowen reached out as a representative of ARB Marketing company and said that he would like to book quickly to ensure the sale of tickets.

Elder says he reached out to Bowen and ARB multiple times to secure a deposit for the event, but never received any payment. He later received a mass email from Bowen stating that the company was to close down and file for bankruptcy.

Elder filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office after realizing he had fallen victim to a scam.

According to press secretary Brett Hambright, the office received at least five other complaints regarding the marketing company.

TribLive’s trending news reporter, Megan Swift, joins Zac Gibson to discuss the information that shows a national span of similar situations, and what Elder learned after fielding calls from the event’s ticket holders.

This is From the Newsroom.

Dangerous currents: Safety protocols lacking for rafting and kayaking at Ohioplye

Andrea Yealy was 16 when she hopped in a two-person inflatable kayak rented by a friend’s family on Sept. 16, 2000, at Ohiopyle State Park in Fayette County. They paddled without a guide down a 7-mile section known as the Lower Yough.

Andrea was wearing a helmet and life jacket when she spilled out of her kayak at Dimple Rock, a notorious hazard in the river that can overturn rafts, and was swept under the water’s surface. She died.

Since her daughter’s death, Michele Yealy has turned to awareness of the dangerous of the white waters of the Youghio­gheny River at Ohiopyle.

There have been more incidental deaths along the river. Fifteen people died in the Lower Yough while rafting or kayaking between 1982 and 2022 from according to the American Whitewater database despite inquests and calls for enhanced safety protocols and more fully-guided options.

In this episode, host Zac Gibson and reporter Renatta Signorini tell the story of what happened to Andrea and her mother’s fight to be awareness to the dangers, and discuss the rough path to safety protocol changes for outfitters who offer commercial whitewater rafting trips along the Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle.

This is From the Newsroom.

Podcast: Penn State and the higher education divide

Is there an impending higher educational divide?

Penn State announced the restructuring plan for its branch campuses this week. Two local branches, Fayette and New Kensington, will be consolidated under the Allegheny branch. This also comes with a 10% decrease in staff and faculty for all bridge campuses. Simultaneously, Penn State’s main campus, University Park, plans to expand to facilitate an increase in fall enrollment. 

TribLive higher education reporter Bill Schackner joins host Zac Gibson to discuss the situation.

This is From the Newsroom:

From the Newsroom Podcast: The state of Pittsburgh’s inclines

In this episode we’re talking about a Steel City identity staple, the Pittsburgh inclines.

The Monongahela Incline and its slightly younger sibling, the Duquesne Incline, were built in the 1870s to easily and quickly transport Pittsburghers to their destinations throughout the city.

Pittsburgh was once home to 15 inclines, or funiculars, at one time, but as time passed the railways were eclipsed by the efficiency of trolley systems and later cars.

Reporter Ryan Deto joins host Zac Gibson to discuss the state of the inclines in Pittsburgh.

This is From the Newsroom.

From the Newsroom Podcast: Expert insight on Trump’s hush money trial

Former President Donald Trump was found guilty on 34 felony counts in his New York hush money trial on May 28, becoming the first former president to become a convicted felon.

For many observers, the focus was on Trump’s reaction, while Trump and his supporters claimed the trial was rigged.

Some legal experts focused on the American judicial system and whether it worked in this case.

Paula Reed Ward, TribLive’s federal and Allegheny courts reporter, joined host Zac Gibson to discuss the case and various experts’ view of the legal system.

This is From the Newsroom.

From the newsroom: TribLive unpacks the exclusive interview with Marc Fogel

Marc Fogel is an international teacher from Oakmont. Until the fall of 2021, the 63-year-old traveled to various countries teaching history. In August 2021, Marc was detained and arrested in Russia for the possession of 17 grams of medical marijuana, the drug prescribed legally in Pennsylvania for his back and knee pain.

Fogel is currently serving a 14-year sentence in a Russian penal colony. His family has taken up the call to urge President Joe Biden to bring him home.

To the family’s disappointment, Biden has yet to address Fogel by name.

Last week, TribLive was able to sit in on a call between Fogel and his 95-year-old mother, Malphine.

Host Zac Gibson is joined in this episode by Community Engagement editor and Opinion columnist Lori Falce to discuss this experience, listen to Fogel’s interview, and tell us more of his story.

This is From the Newsroom.

Pittsburgh’s ties to Oppenheimer and the Atomic Age


The promise — and peril — of the power of the atom cast long shadows over Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania.

News Editor Jon Silver talks about Pittsburgh’s ties to the Atomic Age and J. Robert Oppenheimer, the creator of the atomic bomb. Oppenheimer’s wife, Katherine “Kitty” Oppenheimer, was born in Aspinwall.

Silver wrote a story about the region’s connections to the atomic age in the summer of 2023, when the blockbuster movie “Oppenheimer” was in theaters and renewing interest in the topic. His research lead him to several Pittsburgh connections to the atomic age.

Listen to Silver and producer Zac Gibson discuss the topic. And then Silver does an author reading of his story.


From the newsroom: Controversy surrounds Pittsburgh’s questionable payments to contractor

Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey’s administration is embroiled in a controversy involving questionable payments to a contractor.

The city’s Department of Parks and Recreation department has paid Mario Ashkar almost $23,000 for his work as a contractor. The payments have been via municipal credit cards, known as p-cards, which has lead to concerns and scrutiny.

Ashkar, 36, of the city’s North Side, was recently charged in connection with several ethnic intimidation incidents.

Questions have arisen about why Ashkar was permitted to work as a contractor for the city after previously being fired from a different department.

TribLive’s Pittsburgh city hall reporter Julia Felton breaks down the story.

From the newsroom: What is going on at Westmoreland County’s register of wills


In Westmoreland County, commissioner Ted Kopas has called for the resignation or removal by impeachment of the Register of Wills Sherry Magretti Hamilton.

Earlier this month, two judges found Hamilton in direct criminal contempt on three counts: disobedience or neglect by an officer of the court; official misconduct as an officer of the court; and misbehavior in the presence of the court and obstructing the administration of justice.

A Greensburg attorney has been appointed to serve as conservator over the office. The position gives the lawyer authority over all operations of the Register of Wills Office, where adoption records are processed and filed along with guardianships, wills and estates.

Hamilton has not spoken about whether she will resign or what she will do going forward.

TribLive’s Government and Politics reporter Rich Cholodofsky joined host Zac Gibson to explain what led to this call for removal and the consequences Hamilton could face.

This is From The Newsroom.