Joe Negri: Guitar Virtuoso And Handyman From The Neighborhood Of Make Believe

Oct 1, 2018

At age 92, Joe Negri can still glide up and down the fretboard of his guitar as well as someone half his age. Negri has been playing the instrument since he was 8 years old. 

Many would come to know Negri as "Handyman Negri" from Mister Rogers’  Neighborhood of make believe. Rogers’ initial pitch about a role as the handyman on a new public television show was met with hesitation, Negri says, because he “wasn’t very handy” in real life. The guitar legend talks with 90.5 WESA's Bob Studebaker about his love for solo guitar and jazz improvisation on the instrument.

Elsewhere in the program, a group of residents in Troy Hill are working to emphasize the word "neighbor" in their neighborhood. Troy Hill Citizens formed to beautify this corner of Pittsburgh by cleaning up areas for gardening and encouraging homeownership and community ties among residents.

People charged with a crime but unable to hire an attorney have the right to an adequate defense under the Sixth Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court has said it’s up to the states to make sure that happens, but as Keystone Crossroads contributors Lindsay Lazarski and Emily Previti report, Pennsylvania provides no funding or oversight. The story is the first in a week-long series.

And soil is more than the foundation Pittsburghers build on -- it literally feeds what feeds us. Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is hoping to better understand the quality of urban soil at the Three Rivers Soil Symposium later this week. Phipps coordinator Gabe Tilove and Allegheny County Conservation District policy director Jonathan Burgess preview the upcoming event.

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 join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin, taking an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here.