90.5 WESA: The Confluence The Confluence is 90.5 WESA's daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more at wesa.fm.
90.5 WESA: The Confluence

90.5 WESA: The Confluence

From 90.5 WESA

The Confluence is 90.5 WESA's daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more at wesa.fm.

Most Recent Episodes

Gainey administration plans months of community activities to help curb violence

On today's episode of The Confluence: We speak with Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey about the latest in his Plan for Peace, his administration's new Office of Equal Protection, and his thoughts about the now-public staffing study of the city's police force.

Gainey administration plans months of community activities to help curb violence

County Executive candidate Joe Rockey's top priorities include reducing crime, bringing jobs

On today's episode of The Confluence: Yesterday, a jury of his peers decided the man they convicted of carrying out the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in 2018 should be put to death. The formal sentencing hearing takes place this morning. David Harris, WESA's legal analyst and law professor at the University of Pittsburgh, joins us to explain why survivors and victim's family members get to share statements at this point in the trial, and if the case is likely to be appealed. (0:00 - 4:53) Joe Rockey is the Republican nominee for Allegheny County Executive, and he will face off against Sara Innamorato, the Democratic nominee. Although Rockey has no previous political experience, he says he will bring his experience as a "problem solver" to lead from a centrist perspective. (4:57 - 16:00) The City of Pittsburgh received $335 million dollars from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act. This week, Council approved shifting $21 million around, in order to meet a federal deadline. WESA's Kiley Koscinski explains why the council is reallocating the funds and what's left to spend. (16:01 - 22:30)

County Executive candidate Joe Rockey's top priorities include reducing crime, bringing jobs

County Executive candidate Sara Innamorato's top priorities include housing, addressing disparities

On today's episode of The Confluence: With Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald term-limited, the county will see new leadership. Sara Innamorato served two full terms as state representative for the 21st district, and is now running as the Democratic nominee for County Executive. She joins us to discuss her priorities, from the jail to homelessness. (0:00 - 12:00) Summer is slowly winding down and fall is around the corner, but still there is plenty of time to check off activities on your Pittsburgh Bucket List. Rossilynne Culgan, author of "100 Things to do in Pittsburgh Before You Die," shares her favorite activities and updates to her Pittsburgh bucket list. (12:08 - 22:30)

County Executive candidate Sara Innamorato's top priorities include housing, addressing disparities

Pa. state budget stalemate may be easing, senators could get called back this month

On today's episode of The Confluence: There seems to be slight movement in the budget stalemate, with Senate Republican leaders indicating they might return in August instead of September; local Republicans have nominated Erin Connolly Autenreith to run for the 21st House District seat left vacant by the resignation of Sara Innamorato; and Point Park University's Board of Trustees has appointed Chris Brussalis as the university's ninth president.

Pa. state budget stalemate may be easing, senators could get called back this month

NASA will carry CMU-made MoonRanger to search for lunar ice

On today's episode of The Confluence: Since the pandemic, communities have been questioning how to better use office space, as some employees are still working remotely or in person only a few days a week. Strip District Neighbors recently published its latest "State of the Strip District 2023 Report," which points out how that neighborhood is facing the same problem. Pamela Austin, president of the Strip District Neighbors, says there's so much residential and retail growth in the area that she's confident office occupancy will rise, and others are developing office spaces for flexible needs. (0:00 - 10:30) William "Red" Whitaker is known as the father of robotics, and as such, has many robot children: He's built dozens of robots for various purposes. He's also the founder and director of Carnegie Mellon University's Field Robotics Center. Whitaker joins us to discuss his latest project, the MoonRanger, which is an autonomous rover destined to search for ice on the moon. (10:35 - 22:30)

Pennsylvania looks to new school funding formula, but the timeline is unclear

On today's episode of The Confluence: Pennsylvania Senate Republican leaders have decided not to appeal to the state Supreme Court a ruling that the state's education funding system violates the state constitution. We ask a panel of education experts where the state's school funding policies could go next.Today's guests include: Ron Cowell, founder and senior fellow at the Education Policy and Leadership Center; Michael Griffith, senior researcher and policy analyst at the Learning Policy Institute; and Matthew Kelly, assistant professor of education at Pennsylvania State University.The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA's daily news program. For those who have enjoyed listening to the show, find more episodes of The Confluence here, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Pennsylvania looks to new school funding formula, but the timeline is unclear

Allegheny County jail inmates have long waits for mental health care

On today's episode of The Confluence: Over the weekend, 59 year old Douglas Bonomo of McKeesport died in the Allegheny County Jail's mental health unit. He was facing charges of indecent assault and was awaiting court ordered transfer to Torrance State Hospital for treatment. Torrance State Hospital is a public psychiatric facility about 50 miles east of Pittsburgh. Vic Walczak, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, explains the process incarcerated people go through to get treatment, and how so many are facing long wait times. (0:00 - 9:14) Members of the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania, an indigenous tribe in the region, are urging state lawmakers to formally recognize their existence. They are circulating a petition to bring attention to the issue. Chief Adam Waterbear DePaul, is the tribal story keeper and director of education for the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania, and he tells us how the members have persevered, maintaining traditions and education of the community, despite lacking recognition from the state. (9:26 - 18:07) Bedford Dwellings, a housing complex in the Hill District, has received a $50 million neighborhood revitalization grant. The funds will go toward rebuilding the city's oldest housing development and adding new housing on the site. WESA reporter Kate Giammarise covered the announcement of this funding and tells us how it will be used. (18:23 - 22:30)

New study finds bacterial test helps pediatricians limit overprescribing antibiotics for sinusitis

On today's episode of The Confluence: A new study reveals that a test can help prevent overprescription of antibiotics when treating a common childhood malady, sinusitis: the inflammation of the tissues in our sinuses in the forehead, cheeks and nose. Dr. Nader Shaikh, a pediatrician at UPMC Children's Hospital and lead author of this study, says the test can tell physicians if children have a certain bacteria that would render an antibiotic helpful to the child's recovery or not. (0:00 - 7:15) This year, the Etna Borough council has approved a package of animal protection legislation, including a measure prohibiting tethering unattended cats, which is a first in Pennsylvania. Jessica Semler and Colleen Schaefer, members of the Etna council, brought forward this legislation and explain why it matters for the borough to set these protections. (7:20 - 14:30) Three exhibits now in Pittsburgh explore the challenges and dangers faced by Black Americans on the road, and how, historically, they have coped. 90.5 WESA's Bill O'Driscoll spoke to one Pittsburgh resident who lived that history. (14:32 - 22:30)

New study finds bacterial test helps pediatricians limit overprescribing antibiotics for sinusitis

Pa. care providers call on state for increased financial support

On today's episode of The Confluence: A third of Pennsylvania disability service providers reported closing since 2020, and many are asking why the state isn't doing more to support them. Gillian McGoldrick, who covers government for the Philadelphia Inquirer, reports that these providers get a substantial portion of their budgets from the state. Those funds support a $15 an hour wage, but providers say the wage isn't enough to compensate for the specialized work, and people are leaving the profession. (0:00 - 6:50) Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy is teaching a new generation how to care for the green spaces in the city through its Young Naturalist Program. Stephen Bucklin, a naturalist educator and Young Naturalist program leader at the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, says the program let students develop plans to address issues faced in the Frick Environmental Center Campus. Michael Biyang, an 11th grade student at Pittsburgh Science & Technology Academy, participated in this year's program to learn more about various careers in nature. (7:00 - 14:30) A trial farm is taking root in Western Pennsylvania, and it's not growing a new variety of corn or apple: it grows sunflowers. Penn State Extension is investigating if sunflower production can be practical and profitable in the state. We talk to John Miller, the Penn State Extension field and forage crops educator who is overseeing this trial. (14:32 - 22:30)

Recreational cannabis legislation looks to bring Pa. regulations in line with some nearby states

On today's episode of The Confluence: A Republican and Democrat senator have collaborated to propose a bill to legalize recreational marijuana for adults in Pennsylvania. Ed Mahon, an investigative reporter with Spotlight PA, explains how this bill would seek to regulate the sale of marijuana and address disparities when it comes to the historic criminalization of cannabis possession. (0:00 - 7:27) Steelers training camp gets underway this week in Latrobe. We get a preview of what to focus on with individual players as well as the team as a whole with Mike DeFabo, staff writer for The Athletic covering the Steelers and the NFL. (7:30 - 14:42) The commonwealth is receiving nearly $1.2 billion dollars in federal funding for high speed internet. Still to decide is how exactly to use it. Brandon Carson, executive director of the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority, tells us how the money may be distributed and improve broadband access in Pennsylvania. (14:46 - 22:30)

Recreational cannabis legislation looks to bring Pa. regulations in line with some nearby states