The Confluence

Weekdays at 9AM

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news show, broadcasting live weekdays from 9 to 10 a.m. The program provides context beyond the region's biggest headlines, blending reporting from the WESA newsroom with in-depth, one-on-one interviews and roundtable conversations with community leaders, academics and experts, activists and interesting personalities about current events, politics, business, economics, science, health, technology, the environment, arts, culture, sports and food. The program debuted as a weekly show Friday, Sept. 2, 2016, and expanded to a daily format Monday, Aug. 27, 2018.

The full-time team includes Kevin Gavin, Megan Harris and Kiley Koscinski. Our spring 2019 interns are Alex Lenigan, Mick Stinelli and Julia Zenkevich.

Find past episodes of the Confluence via podcast here, or suggest a person or topic by emailing confluence@wesa.fm.

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A proposed rule from the Trump administration would bar federal Title X funding to health care organizations that provide abortions. 

Kevin Gavin / 90.5 WESA

Former school superintendent Joe Lagana was walking out of a homeless shelter 20 years ago when he saw a young man writing on the hood of his car. He thought the vehicle was being vandalized, until he spotted the boy's alarmed expression and scribbled paper—he'd been doing his homework. 

Courtesy of Heather Tomko

Uneven sidewalks, limited navigable pathways and businesses without proper accomodations for wheelchairs are just some of the obstacles facing Heather Tomko every day. 

Courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh has not been named as part of the nation-wide admissions cheating scandal under federal investigation, but that hasn't precluded the school from taking a look at its own admissions policies. Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher called the scandal a teachable moment on Tuesday's episode of The Confluence

Courtesy of Jewish Family & Community Services

Jewish Family and Community Services in Squirrel Hill  is working to foster community for immigrants and refugees alike in Pittsburgh, according to its director of Refugee and Immigrant Services Leslie Aizenman. To achieve that, the JFCS is leading a collaboration among Casa San Jose, Literacy Pittsburgh, Latino Family Center of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, and South Hills Interfaith Movement.  

Courtesy of the Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank

What began as a small church project in Toledo, Ohio has become a wide-reaching, and widely relied upon, labor of love here in Pittsburgh. 

Courtesy of Melissa Block

Journalism has changed dramatically since NPR's Melissa Block started her career, but she says one thing remains the same: people still care about in-depth and long-form reporting. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Local community members, journalists and officials will gather at the Ace Hotel Wednesday night for a discussion about gun control legislation that would seek to include the unique experiences of women, minorities and religious groups. 

Leah Jonns / Courtesy of La'Tasha Mayes

Applications opened this month on the Social Justice Rapid Response Fund, a new program providing grants to help support activists in Pittsburgh. 

Courtesy of Chardae Jones

Business analyst and writer Chardae Jones says her first one-year term as Braddock's appointed interim mayor won't be her last. Jones, who took over for newly elected Lt. Gov. John Fetterman this year, says she'll seek the Democrat party nomination for a full term in the May primary. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Norfolk Southern wants to raise several rail bridges so it can run taller, double-stack trains from the North Side through Downtown and eastern suburbs, similar to those already chugging through the South Side. The rail company says that area is too congested and prone to landslides.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Calls for investment in digital infrastructure have increased across the country. More than one-third of people in rural areas lack access to high-speed internet. 

Joshua Franzos / Courtesy of Dr. Arthur Levine

Dr. Arthur Levine is stepping down from his longtime post as dean of the University of Pittsburgh's School of Medicine and as its vice chancellor for health sciences to start a new Alzheimer’s research lab.

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

While the nationwide unemployment rate for military veterans hit an 18-year low in January at 3.7 percent, the jobless rate for veterans in Pittsburgh remains at 6.7 percent.

Courtesy of Allies for Children

Researchers focused on the state of school breakfasts in Allegheny County report a combined participation rate of 57 percent for free or reduced cost breakfast, just shy of Gov. Tom Wolf’s statewide goal of 60 percent participation by 2020. 

Keith Srakocic / AP

The 38th annual Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show kicks off Friday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. John DeSantis, the event’s executive director, says that this year's 10-day event will have more than 1,800 vendors and include a farm-to-table, buy-local conference. 

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale wants to strengthen state laws against accepting gifts after an audit determined that officials in 18 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties accepted gifts, meals or trips from firms competing to sell new voting machines to counties ahead of the 2020 election.

Egan Jimenez / Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

A staffing shortage at the U.S. State Department and a global perception that diplomacy is in decline shouldn't prevent the United States from playing its role in resolving worldwide conflicts, according to former Assistant Secretary of State Rick Barton. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The Allegheny County Health Department has been criticized in community meetings and at a state legislative policy hearing for a lack of communication in the first several days after a Christmas Eve fire at Clairton Coke Works. How can outreach improve, what’s being done to repair the plant, and how can Pittsburghers protect themselves from emissions?

Randall Coleman / Redd Vision

 

Benji. holds little, if anything, back on his latest album, "Smile, You’re Alive!" The Pittsburgh native spoke with WYEP’s Joey Spehar for the Live & Direct series about the inspiration behind his music, his career trajectory and how he almost lost his entire album before its release. Benji. was recently named one of NPR's top artists to watch in 2019.

Andrew Medichini / AP

Over the next few days in Vatican City, Pope Francis will meet with bishops from around the world to address ongoing clergy sexual abuse scandals, including those accused in Pennsylvania. 

Josef Rabara

An estimated 2,400 lectures and 1,000 concerts were given at Terezín Concentration Camp during World War II, including Requiem, a Catholic funeral march composed by Giuseppe Verdi in 1874.

Courtesy of Sojourner House

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court made a controversial decision in December, ruling that women who use drugs during pregnancy are not guilty of child abuse. The case involved a woman who gave birth to a child with neo-natal abstinence syndrome, which occurs when a baby is withdrawing from drugs they were exposed to in the womb.

Courtesy of the Heinz History Center

The African American History Commission Act was signed last year to recognize and highlight the resilience and cultural contributions of Africans and African Americans in the 400 years since they first landed in Virginia, by force as slaves. 

Samuel Black, director of African American programs at the Heinz History Center and immediate past president of the Association of African American Museums, joins 90.5 WESA's The Confluence to discuss the commission’s goals, Pittsburgh’s African American heritage and the cultural and historical impact on our region.

Courtesy of Jeff Goldblum / Decca Records

West Homestead native Jeff Goldblum has a knack for booking roles in lucrative Hollywood franchises like Jurassic Park and the Marvel universe, but he's nurtured another love, albeit quietly, for most of his life: jazz.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Last summer, companies across the country, including Mylan Pharmaceuticals in Pittsburgh, began recalling large quantities of blood pressure drugs after carcinogens were found in the medications. Commonly prescribed medications including valsartan, losartan, irbesartan and Amvalo were affected.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Many overdose fatalities in Pennsylvania are opioid-related, but deaths from methamphetamine and other stimulants are back on the rise. For people who use meth, especially those who also identify as LGBT+, resources can be scarce.

There is a growing need for queer-centered resources in Pittsburgh, says Tommy Brassell, a medical assistant at Central Outreach Wellness Center, a clinic that specializes in LGBT health care. 

Matthew Craig / Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh

Preserving historical buildings and landmarks “can be a force for a renewal of spirit,” according to Matthew Craig, executive director of Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh.

Ebrahim Noroozi / AP

Surgeons have successfully performed organ transplants for more than five decades, but patients still have to take powerful medication to prevent their bodies from rejecting the live-saving donations. 

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A long-standing “gay-owned, gay-operated, and gay proud” nightclub in the Strip District is closing its doors this weekend, after one more farewell party. For seven years, Cruze Bar has been a popular gathering spot for the city’s younger set of LGBTQ-identifying adults. Did development push the party spot out of the neighborhood? And what will its departure mean for other queer spaces?

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