Marylee Williams

Editor/Producer for The Confluence

I'm a multimedia journalist originally from the Gulf South. I graduated Louisiana State University, and then promptly left triple-digit temperatures, 90 percent humidity and gulf seafood to attend UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, where I concentrated in audio. I graduated in May 2017, and moved to Madison, Wisconsin for the Lee Ester News Fellowship at Wisconsin Public Radio. Prior to joining WESA, I was the senior producer on All Sides with Ann Fisher, a daily public affairs show on WOSU Public Media, based in Columbus, Ohio. 

Michael Dwyer / AP

On today's program: PublicSource reporter Rich Lord explains why some tenant advocacy groups are looking for ways to grow renters’ political influence in his latest story about “Tenant Cities”; and the Pittsburgh Union of Regional Renters has been recruiting volunteers to help those experiencing evictions with everything from remembering their hearing date to filling out paperwork. 

Scott Sonner / AP

On today's program: The Pennsylvania State Education Association says it’s disappointed the U.S. Department of Education is not waiving annual assessments but appreciates flexibility from the state; PA Youth Congress, a youth LGBTQ advocacy organization, says there is an epidemic of violence against transgender people; and a researcher explains how HIV and COVID-19 have disproportionately affected people of color.  

Jacqueline Larma / AP

On today's program: State Rep. Ed Gainey received his largest endorsement for mayor to date from SEIU Healthcare; environmental groups are raising concerns about renewed permits for a fracking well in Plum Borough; and state Rep. Jordan Harris gives his take on the governor’s proposal to support college students attending state universities through a new scholarship program. 

Gerald Herbert / AP

On today's program: health reporter Sarah Boden explains how new state guidance on vaccine distribution could make it more difficult for small pharmacies to get allocated enough doses; two historians talk about the role of African Americans in the Civil War, including two soldiers from Pittsburgh; and we’ll hear how a promising Squirrel Hill housing project was almost derailed.

Matt Rourke / AP

On today's program: The U.S. Census Bureau announced it will take until the end of September to send population data to states, which could delay redrawing the state’s legislative districts; how the pandemic and racial justice movement have motivated Steel Smiling to provide more than 1,000 hours of therapy to Black people, and what’s next for the organization; and Pittsburgh resident Yona Harvey previews her latest poetry collection.

Reed Saxon / AP

On today's program: Statewide rates of syphilis have risen over the last five years, mirroring a rise in sexually transmitted infections nationwide; Pittsburgh journalist Mark Houser’s latest book “MultiStories” documents antique skyscrapers; and sexual abuse survivors are reeling after an administrative error halted a constitutional amendment that would have allowed survivors to sue their perpetrators.

Kailey Love / 90.5 WESA

On today's program: VisitPITTSBURGH’s Jerad Bachar says it’ll take a mass vaccination campaign before the hospitality industry recovers from the pandemic; researchers are seeing how machine learning can help Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority find lead lines; and in light of studies showing in-person learning can happen safely, some say teacher unions are prioritizing teachers over students.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

On today's program: As the city receives several inches of fresh snow, the Pittsburgh acting director of Public Works explains how the department manages plowing and salting 1,500 “lane miles” of road; Goodblend Pennsylvania is slated to build the region’s largest marijuana plant and dispensary, a 120,000-square-foot facility; and former Pittsburgh resident Sharon G. Flake has published a companion to her bestselling young adult novel, “The Skin I’m In.”

Frank Franklin II / AP

On today's program: A Chatham University professor is researching a type of mental health screening that could prevent people at risk of potential sexual misconduct from entering seminary; Amachi Pittsburgh, an organization that serves kids with incarcerated parents, shifted its focus from mentoring to supporting families' basic needs in the pandemic; and as vulnerable populations struggle to access vaccinations, those over the age of 65 are feeling disadvantaged navigating scheduling sites on the internet.

Haven Daley / AP

On today's program: Two researchers from Pittsburgh-based institutions found Black Americans are more likely to live further from a vaccine distribution site, and that racially-segregated neighborhoods have higher rates of COVID-19 fatality; The outgoing Allegheny County Department of Human Services director Marc Cherna talks about the department he inherited, and what he’s leaving behind; and Rob Rossi from The Athletic breaks down the Penguins’ new management hires.

Kevin McCorry / WHYY

On today's program: Labor and Industry Acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier talks about the challenges of distributing federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation; and Kyle Webster from ACTION-Housing explains the city and county’s plan to distribute a second round of federal rental assistance.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Website

On today's program: Designer and Carnegie Mellon University instructor Karen Kornblum explains how the state’s COVID-19 website could be improved as more and more people seek vaccines; Those with Phase 1A eligibility are having a hard time scheduling their vaccination, and reporter Kiley Koscinski explains how they’re enlisting family and friends to make an appointment. 

Isabelle Schmeler / 90.5 WESA

On today's program: Pittsburgh Public Schools Board President Sylvia Wilson explains why she abstained on a vote to consider closing buildings, and what might happen next; PublicSource reporter Juliette Rihl found the Allegheny County Jail uses restraint chairs twice as often as any other county facility in the Commonwealth; and a Pittsburgh promoter and concert producer offers her take on how the pandemic is affecting the local music scene following Congress earmarking funds to help ease financial strain.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

On today's program: New Pittsburgh police recruits receive training to address the needs of unhoused residents; and author Pam Muñoz Ryan discusses themes in her latest book ahead of her talk this Sunday with Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures. 

Mel Evans / AP

On today's program: WESA politics editor Chris Potter explains why some Democratic candidates are rejecting the county party endorsement process; A DACA recipient reflects on the relief she felt when President Joe Biden was elected; and Point Park Dance Chair Garfield Lemonius tells how the department is seeking to normalize mental wellness.

Patrick Doyle / 90.5 WESA

On today's program: The Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar after failing to advertise a constitutional amendment ahead of an election; Researchers at UPMC Children’s Hospital found that Black and Hispanic children are less likely to receive medical imaging than white children; and the Penguins manager Jim Rutherford resigned with five months left in his contract.

Keith Srakocic / AP

On today's program: Sustainable Pittsburgh executive director Joylette Portlock explains a planned hydroelectric plant signals the county’s commitment to renewable energy; Struggling tenants and landlords are still waiting for millions of dollars in rent relief allocated for the state; and the Frick Art Museum looks at its history and that of its founder, Helen Clay Frick in an exhibit.

Reid Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

On this week's Explainer:

Pittsburgh Public Schools students will continue learning remotely until at least April. Education reporter Sarah Schneider spoke with guest host and The Confluence editor and producer Marylee Williams. Schneider says it's just the latest in a series of delays by the district to in-person instruction.

Dominic Hart / NASA/Ames Research Center

On today's program: A professor at Carnegie Mellon University explains a NASA mission he’s investigating that sent three small satellites into space; After more than 130 years in business, the owner of Carlisle’s Bridal shop is closing; and the author of “Smalltime” digs into the history of Johnstown alongside his family roots.

Carnegie Mellon assistant professor is investigating small satellite technology for NASA

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Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP/file

On today's program: WESA health reporter Sarah Boden breaks down some of the roadblocks to vaccinating more people, even those who are eligible; a Pittsburgh doctor makes the case for why vaccination trials should include pregnant people; and the latest results of the region’s bird count, which found one of the highest levels of species diversity. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

On today's program: Port Authority CEO Katharine Kelleman explains why the agency should receive support from President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion relief package; and Pittsburgh is one of four cities to get a “Reforestation Hub” assessment that will help improve city resources and carbon capture.

AP Photo/Joe Holloway, Jr.

The Major League Baseball legend Hank Aaron died at the age of 86. Aaron played for 23 seasons, breaking world records and adopting the nickname "Hammerin' Hank."

The Confluence host, Kevin Gavin, spoke with Aaron in 1990 after the publication of his autobiography, "I Had a Hammer: The Hank Aaron Story."

Gene J. Puskar / AP

On today's program: Reporter Kate Giammarise explains why fewer people are receiving welfare from the state, despite the pandemic’s ongoing economic impact; Two students from Brashear High School talk about what it’s like to finish senior year learning from home; and after November’s election, voting reform is expected to be at the top of lawmakers’ agendas this year.

Matt Rourke / AP

On today's program: U.S. Senator Bob Casey reflects on the Capitol insurrection, the presidential inauguration of Joseph Biden, and upcoming legislative priorities for the U.S. Senate.

Rick Bowmer / AP

The Confluence spoke with Jasiri X, the founder and CEO of 1Hood Media and Pittsburgh-based activist, about the Right-wing extremist mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6. This is an extended version of this interview. 

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

On today's program: Pittsburgh activist and CEO of 1Hood media Jasiri X reflects on the law enforcement response to the U.S. Capitol insurrection compared to Black Lives Matter protests over the summer; State Representative Russ Diamond explains why he believes districts should elect appellate court judges, a practice others say would reduce voter’s participation in the judicial system.

Seth Perlman / AP

On today's program: The Allegheny County Department of Human Services is beefing up existing programs and rolling out new ones thanks to a federal grant that will combat homelessness and housing insecurity among young adults; Despite the halting of film and television work last year due to the pandemic, the Pittsburgh Film Office is expecting production to ramp up in the city; and discovery of a fossilized dinosaur sitting on its nest brings insights into oviraptorid behavior.

Pennsylvania Office of Victim Advocate

On today's program: Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court strikes down a proposed constitutional amendment that would build victim’s rights into the state constitution; and Julie DeSeyn, United Way Chief Programming and Policy Officer, discusses how the local chapter is helping Pittsburghers through the pandemic. 

Rogelio V. Solis / AP

On today's program: An infectious disease physician says the arrival of a more contagious variant of COVID-19 should be motivating the vaccination rollout; The Pittsburgh Penguins received nearly $5 million as a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program; and the 105th Pennsylvania Farm Show has gone virtual this year.

More contagious COVID-19 variant has reached Pennsylvania
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Jose Luis Magana / AP

On today's program: Rep. Mike Doyle describes the scene as supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the grounds of the United States Capitol during a Congressional joint session to certify the November election results; Marc Levy of the Associated Press breaks down attempted actions from Republicans in the Pennsylvania State Legislature to overturn certified election results on Tuesday.