On today's program: The man behind dozens of iconic 1960's album covers brings his art to Greensburg; Pennsylvania's first vaping-illness death is reported; a local doctor is testing out fixed prices for medical services instead of insurance; and the new SCOTUS term could result in dozens of landmark decisions on issues like abortion and gun control.
The Westmoreland enters the 'era of cool'
(00:00 — 16:30)
John Van Hamersveld was an accomplished surfer recognized for designing the iconic poster for "The Endless Summer" documentary. Soon, he was poached by Capitol Records for a gig creating album covers and concert posters for some of America's biggest rock bands. The multidisciplinary pop artist went on to create the visual components of albums including The Rolling Stones' "Exile on Main Street," and The Beatles', "Magical Mystery Tour."
He tells The Confluence that when an album he designed reached the top of the charts, it made booking the next album that much harder. Van Hamersveld says that's the source of the variation in his work over the years as an effort to stay marketable to band managers and musicians.
A selection of Van Hamersveld’s album covers, poster designs, drawings, mural designs, photography and paintings is on display at The Westmoreland Museum of American Art through Oct. 20 as part of the exhibit "The Era of Cool: The Art of John Van Hamersveld."
Pennsylvania sees its first vaping-related death
(17:51 — 23:47)
A Pennsylvania resident has died as a result of a vaping-related illness. Nationwide, 18 people have died from the unnamed condition, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. WITF's Brett Sholtis reports that black market THC cartridges have been a factor in most cases and the majority of patients are in their early-to-mid-20s.
Pennsylvania Health Department Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine says the department has reported nine known cases and another 12 suspected cases to the CDC. The state is monitoring another 63 people who may have the illness.
Could fixed prices for medical services replace insurance?
(23:50 — 28:02)
A primary care doctor in Pittsburgh is trying out a new business model. In August, Dr. Timothy Wong opened a “micro” practice in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of East Liberty on Centre Avenue, called the iHealth Clinic. There, he charges patients a flat fee of $35 per visit, which they pay up front.
90.5 WESA's Sarah Boden reports that Wong doesn’t accept any form of insurance and has no employees.
SCOTUS returns to the bench with a heavy docket
(28:06 — 39:04)
The U.S. Supreme Court started a new term brimming with major cases on LGBT rights, immigration, abortion, guns and religion. The newly conservative-leaning court is expected to hear arguments Tuesday about whether protections from Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, —which prohibits workplace discrimination against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or sex— also extend to sexual orientation and gender identity.
Amy Wildermuth, dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, says this court does not have a clear swing vote this term, but that Chief Justice John Roberts could serve as the middle man.
"[Roberts] seems to be the one justice that is possible to peel off on some of these issues or at least [is] maybe more reluctant to go faster on these issues," she says.
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.