Margaret J. Krauss

Development and Transportation Reporter

Margaret J. Krauss is WESA's development and transportation reporter. She previously worked for Keystone Crossroads, a statewide reporting initiative that covers problems facing Pennsylvania's cities and possible solutions. Before joining Keystone Crossroads, Margaret produced a 48-part radio series about Pittsburgh's lesser-known history, biking 2,000 miles around the region to do so.

Ways to Connect

A Late-Blooming Love For The Game Of Golf

Jun 19, 2019
Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Retired pediatric nephrologist Dr. Demetrius Ellis has played sports his entire life: soccer, racquetball, tennis. But a sudden onset of tennis elbow in his 60s prompted his neighbor to introduce Ellis to golf. “I thought it was an extremely expensive sport for rich people who were very compulsive,” Greece-born Ellis laughs. Ellis plays nearly every day at the public course, the Bob O’Connor Golf Course, in Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park.

Kailey Love / 90.5 WESA

City of Pittsburgh officials are counting on $7 million from the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority for the 2019 budget. But PWSA can’t write any checks until there’s a new cooperation agreement.

Port Authority of Allegheny County

Each morning, some 220,000 people across Allegheny County make sure they have their bags, lunch, keys and head for the bus or train. But the Port Authority says it often loses time at each stop as people scramble for their ConnectCards in wallets or purses. Enter the ConnectBand.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Shikha Goodwin moved to Pittsburgh last year with her husband, two small children, two cats, and all of her hopes and dreams to start a new job. The city has dealt her some tough blows and she is now looking for work. Even in the midst of her uncertainty and doubt, however, Goodwin says Pittsburgh has grown on her, thanks to moments like driving through the Fort Pitt Tunnel early in the morning.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

A full rehabilitation of Pittsburgh’s Produce Terminal is expected to be completed in August of 2020. City and county officials gathered in the Strip District on Tuesday to celebrate the building’s future.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

A newly proposed cooperation agreement between the City of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority will be introduced in city council on Tuesday.

Kevin C. Brown / 90.5 WESA

Mary Sprajcar has volunteered at the Humane Animal Rescue Wildlife Center for nearly 10 years. In that time, she’s seen her share of escape attempts. Volunteers spend a lot of time cleaning the temporary habitats of their patients, and doing so requires extra vigilance, as Sprajcar experienced two summers ago.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Mayor Bill Peduto worries Aqua America may still try to purchase the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, a concern he addressed to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, or PUC, last week.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Mario Ulizzi started training as a shoemaker in 1991. His then-girlfriend, now wife, Carla, came from a family of shoemakers, and her father suggested he try it. “It just became a part-time job and then a passion and a career,” he says. But sometimes he worries about what the constant exposure to glue, shoe polish, and dust means for his health.

90.5 WESA

Port Authority of Allegheny County will only invest in two transit projects in 2020, according to a preliminary draft of the capital budget presented to board members Wednesday.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Working for a wage is a big part of life for most adults in the United States. Since last August, Still Working explored what those jobs mean, or don't mean, to people, and how work affects how they view the world. The final episode of the series, however, looks past paid labor. Shihka Goodwin describes the difficulty of searching for a job. Mary Sprajcar discusses her volunteer labor at the Humane Animal Rescue Wildlife Center in Verona, Pa. And Dr. Demetrius Ellis reflects on his retirement and the newfound time for family, friends, and golf.

The Trouble With Ideals Of Appearance

May 15, 2019
Kevin C. Brown / 90.5 WESA

Sadly, fitness does not work by the property of osmosis. Sitting next to an Adonis on the bus does not turn us all into museum-worthy Greek statues. It is a tough reality that means there is plenty of work out there for personal trainers. Still, the osmosis theory dies hard: personal trainers often face “pressure to look as fit as … clients hope to be,” says Nkem Chikwendu, a trainer at the JCC in Squirrel Hill.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

A new federal tax shelter could kickstart a wave of investment in Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania. At a forum hosted by the Hill Community Development Corporation last Friday, opportunity zones were hailed as catalytic, transformative and lucrative.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Mobility researcher Brandon Daveler has spent years learning how to design and build better powered wheelchairs. But starting a company to sell the first model that can be fully submerged in water required a whole new education. “Business owners are the only people that will work an 80-hour week to avoid working 40 hours a week for somebody else,” he laughs.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

After more than three months of negotiation, city of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority officials say they hope to present a new cooperation agreement to council and PWSA’s board of directors within the month. The deadline for the agreement was extended 60 days, from May 4 to July 5.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

In a whirlwind tour of regional infrastructure on Monday, the chair of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said Republicans and Democrats must find a way to rebuild the nation’s bridges, roads, mass transit and water and sewer systems.

This Is Not A Pizza And Beer Operation

May 1, 2019
Kevin C. Brown / 90.5 WESA

Moving can really test a friendship. (Why, dearest pal, am I carrying dozens of boxes filled, it seems, with bricks, to a third story walk-up on the hottest day of the year?) Such discomfort is traditionally smoothed over by food and drink. But professionals have a different approach, as Anthony Turner learned when he began working for a moving company more than seven years ago. Moving is “more than just putting stuff in a truck,” he says.

Kevin C. Brown / 90.5 WESA

For sugarmaker Matthew Emerick there are few things more lovely than maple syrup on pancakes. He’s a third-generation producer and can’t imagine spring without tapping the maple trees in the family woods. But he acknowledges the attributes of other tree syrups, even if they’re not for him.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

For a long time, Pittsburgh’s approach to development was to open the lid of the subsidy jar and throw out tax abatements like hard candies at a Halloween parade; new buildings eventually meant more tax revenue. Now, as interest in building in Pittsburgh continues to grow, the city wants to find a way to capitalize on it. That’s where inclusionary zoning comes in.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESAa

After three hours of almost entirely supportive public comment, the Pittsburgh Planning Commission approved a trial run for a new affordable housing policy on Tuesday. 

'Moving Is Essential To Life'

Apr 24, 2019
Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Helping someone move is often a favor done for a friend in a jam. By seemingly universal custom, the reward for this assistance is pizza and beer. But for some western Pennsylvanians moving is no favor; it’s part of the job. Personal trainer Nkem Chikwendu keeps other people fit. Mover Tony Turner makes sure clients’ possessions make it from point A to point B safely. Shoemaker Mario Ulizzi rebuilds and maintains quality footwear. And mobility researcher Brandon Daveler develops new wheelchair technologies.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

A proposal to create a self-driving shuttle system between Oakland and Hazelwood continues to draw opposition from residents and activists. 

Matt Slocum / AP

The transition to an all-electronic tolling system has been nearly a decade in the making; the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission first commissioned a feasibility study in 2010.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Andrea Slozna is a guidance counselor at the Environmental Charter School in Regent Square, as well as a mom to two tiny people. Both her 3-year-old daughter and 10-month-old son required intensive medical attention after their births, but she was able to nurse both of them. It can be a bumpy road, feeding a new person with one’s body, especially when there’s so much pressure in the first few months of a baby’s life to ensure he or she gains weight, Slozna says.

City of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh’s Department of Permits, Licenses and Inspections opened a digital service counter Tuesday with the launch of online licensing on its site, OneStopPGH. Department director Maura Kennedy described it as a “sea change,” and another step to “completely modernize” development in the city.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh delivers on sweeping views: hill views, river views, bridge views. Traveling toward Bloomfield across its eponymous bridge, for instance, reveals houses perched carefully on the lip of Skunk Hollow, standing shoulder-to-shoulder in neat rows and a convergence of the bridge, Main Street and Liberty Avenue: the Bloomfield Gateway.

Now, a view that hasn’t changed much over the last few decades could look dramatically different.

Kevin C. Brown / 90.5 WESA

Carly Penn left the stress and late hours of restaurant kitchens behind when she became a chef at UMPC’s Strabane Woods assisted living facility near Washington, Pa. At Strabane Woods, Penn works regular hours and knows well in advance what her menu is and how many portions she’ll prepare. But once a week, she relives her restaurant days with a Friday morning treat: made-to-order eggs.

URA

Executive Director Robert Rubinstein announced Tuesday he would leave his current post at the Urban Redevelopment Authority. A spokesperson said he is doing so for personal reasons.

'We Call Ourselves Sugar Makers'

Apr 3, 2019
Kevin C. Brown / 90.5 WESA

When maple sap emerges from a tree, it’s a long way from its prized place at the breakfast table. Sap has a disappointing sugar content, just 1 or 2 percent, and doesn’t taste sweet. Syrup-making hinges on removing most of the water in the sap, traditionally by boiling.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The addition of a food-grade chemical called orthophosphate to Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s distribution system is expected to lower lead levels for its 300,000 consumers within months. The change on Monday comes nearly three years after PWSA first exceeded the federal action level for lead in drinking water.

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