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Nick Konopka

  • The spotted lanternfly has infested the deepest corners of the state. The invasive red, gray, and black insect has been killing plants across the state since its arrival in 2014.
  • On today’s episode of The Confluence: Allegheny County will work with the Harvard Kennedy School's Government Performance Lab to implement different responses to nonviolent 911 calls; the Latino Community Center has opened a new headquarters in East Liberty; and we look at the pay raise state lawmakers are expected to receive this year, corresponding with the inflation rate. Today’s guests include: Gloria Gong, executive director of the Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School; Rosamaria Cristello, founder and executive director of Latino Community Center; and Christina Baker and Jaxon White, reporters with Lancaster Online.
  • On today’s episode of The Confluence: An investigation by PublicSource found that eviction filings dropped in the pandemic, but have returned to pre-shutdown levels; new research suggests there are more than 100 genetic markers associated with autism; and we ask an entomologist why spotted lanternflies have to be squashed.Today’s guests include: Eric Jankiewicz, a reporter with PublicSource; Dr. Bernie Devlin, a professor of psychiatry with the University of Pittsburgh, and Dr. Kathryn Roeder, the UPMC Professor of Statistics and Life Sciences from Carnegie Mellon University; and Kelli Hoover, professor of entomology at Penn State University.
  • On today’s episode of The Confluence: The judges who sent children to for-profit jails in exchange for kickbacks have been order to pay more than $200 million to those children; the state Department of Transportation is developing an autonomous vehicle research and training facility in Westmoreland County; and a look at how some Republican lawmakers are increasingly suggesting Christian ideology be enmeshed with politics. Today’s guests include: Michael Rubinkam, who covers Pennsylvania news for Associated Press; and Mark Kopko, director of the Office of Transformational Technology at Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation.
  • On today’s episode of The Confluence: We speak with an Afghan journalist who fled the country after the U.S. withdrew its military presence, and has spent the last year in Pittsburgh; as Allegheny County is contracting with consultants at the National Commission on Correctional Health Care to review fatalities at the county jail, we ask a researcher what might come of the review; and author David Maraniss has a new biography of Jim Thorpe, one of America’s greatest athletes, who grew up at the Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Today’s guests include: Zubair Babakarkhail, Afghan-born journalist and interpreter; Robin Mejia, director of the Statistics and Human Rights Program at Carnegie Mellon University.
  • On today’s episode of The Confluence: The Penn Hills School District will be forming a police force in an effort to boost security; we speak to a high school senior and adult working in violence prevention about the results of a survey that asked Pittsburgh area youth what impact gun violence is having on their lives; and a look at how a Homewood garden is seeking to combat food apartheid.Today’s guests include: Nancy Hines, superintendent of school at Penn Hills School District; Cierra Guest, a senior at Woodland Hills School District, and Rev. Eleanor Williams, founder of the North Side Partnership Project.
  • On today’s episode of The Confluence: Pittsburgh Public Schools sent 26 teachers furlough notices, but is having trouble filling certain positions, like special education teachers; why is there a different look and different interest level in this year's Steelers' training camp and preseason; there’s a movement by Black-led groups to bring more students of color into the tech industry in Pittsburgh.Today’s guests include: Nina Esposito-Visgitis, president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers; and Sean Gentille, senior writer for The Athletic.
  • On today’s episode of The Confluence: A recap of U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman’s return to the campaign trail, and news about Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano’s use of military imagery; we look back on water protection in western Pennsylvania since the Clean Water Act was created in 1972; and what greater access to public restrooms in Downtown Pittsburgh could mean for visitors and businesses. Today’s guests include: Chris Potter, WESA’s Government and Accountability Editor; Heather Hulton VanTassel, Executive Director, Three Rivers Waterkeeper; Heather Starr Fielder, chair of the Department of Community Engagement and Leadership at Point Park University.
  • On today’s episode of The Confluence: We ask a pediatrician about vaccinating children ahead of the coming school year; Pittsburgh Public Schools has raised property taxes to try to reduce its budget deficit, but it has little ability to collect such money from the city’s largest nonprofits; and a conversation with a religious studies professor about the rise of white Christian Nationalism in American politics.Today’s guests include: Dr. Todd Wolynn, pediatrician and CEO of Kids Plus Pediatrics; and Emma Folts, higher education reporter for PublicSource.
  • On today’s episode of The Confluence: For 30 years, Dr. Jim Withers of Pittsburgh Mercy has been making “house calls” to people living on the streets; a look into the practice of search and seizure following the FBI raid at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home; and a conversation about how a state grant for early childhood learning will add another early childhood education class to Homestead. Today’s guests include: Dr. Jim Withers, medical director of Homeless Services at Pittsburgh Mercy; David Harris, law professor at the University of Pittsburgh and WESA’s legal analyst; and Hannah Sitz, executive director of Maple Unified Student Academy.