On today's program: A free dental clinic at PPG Paints Arena will serve more than 1,000 patients for free; how Sam DeMarco hopes to chart his course as Allegheny County GOP chair; get to know the first African-American woman to graduate from Pitt's engineering program; a peek into the future for autonomous vehicles in Pittsburgh; and what immigrants and allies can do following reports of ICE activity in Pittsburgh.
Annual free dental clinic returns to serve up smiles
(00:00 — 08:25)
Starting Friday, a two-day clinic at PPG Paints Arena will see more than 1,000 people free of charge. This is the third year for program, hosted by Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh, which cares for those who can't afford or otherwise won't have access to dental care.
Mission of Mercy co-founder Dr. Daniel Pituch and Keith Young, chairman of A Call to Care, the company that sponsors Mission of Mercy, say the countless stories of years of dental pain and outpouring of support for the clinic has allowed it to grow.
Patients should bring information about any of their current medications and expect to wait in line to be treated. The clinic is first come, first serve.
New Allegheny County GOP chair wants to change momentum for his party
(08:27 — 16:42)
Sam DeMarco was appointed chair of the Allegheny County republican party this month, an office that recruits candidates for local office and rallies county voters to turn out for races up and down the ballot.
Democrats control Allegheny County, where their voters outnumber Republicans by two-to-one. But DeMarco notes that much of that is driven by solidly Democratic Pittsburgh. He tells 90.5 WESA's Chris Potter that he intends to build momentum for Republicans in Allegheny County by fielding stronger candidates.
"At the end of the day, I believe everybody should have a choice," he says. "Whether they decide that these ideas are the right ones for them or not, that's up to the voters. It's up to us to make that case."
DeMarco will also represent Republicans on Allegheny County Council.
Pittsburgh's "Hidden Figure" Elayne Arrington
(17:51 — 22:15)
In 1961, Elayne Arrington became the first African-American woman to graduate from the University of Pittsburgh’s school of engineering and was later just the 17th black woman to receive a doctorate in mathematics. Her story is similar to one told in the 2016 film, “Hidden Figures.” The movie portrays the struggles and achievements of three African-American women working for NASA as mathematicians in 1961.
She graduated first in her class from Homestead High School, now Steel Valley, with the second highest math SAT score for 1957. Arrington tells 90.5 WESA's Sarah Schneider that she knew she had a knack for math when she showed up a classmate in a high school geometry class.
The future of autonomous vehicles in Pittsburgh
(22:17 — 26:49)
Self-driving cars could change the world, but Pittsburgh residents and officials have only just begun to talk about how they may change the city. 90.5 WESA’s Margaret J. Krauss reports a discussion between City Council members and experts this week revealed the yawning divide between technological advances and public policy.
Companies have been testing autonomous vehicles here since 2016, and despite public misgivings about how autonomous vehicles used city streets, Mayor Bill Peduto said last year that their presence is inevitable.
Casa San Jose wants to educate immigrants about ICE
(26:55 — 39:02)
Social media reports of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Pittsburgh this summer have lead to misinformation and fear, representatives of immigrant advocacy group Casa San Jose say. The organization works to educate documented and undocumented immigrants about what to do if ICE confronts them, and how to know whether ICE orders are legal.
Joining the conversation are:
- Monica Ruiz, executive director;
- Laura Perkins, emergency response organizer; and,
- Veronica Lozada, community organizer.
Recent raids by ICE agents targeting more than 2,000 migrant families have resulted in fewer than 40 arrests nationwide. Pittsburgh was not among target sites listed on Twitter by President Trump.
90.5 WESA's Julia Zenkevich, Julia Maruca, and Hannah Gaskill contributed to this program.
The Confluence, where the news comes together, 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 episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.