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With 'Looking Back, Marching Forward,' Squirrel Hill Group Marks 6 Months Since Tree Of Life Attack

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA
Mourners will gather Sunday in Squirrel Hill to commemorate six months since the neighborhood was rocked by a mass shooting inside the Tree of Life synagogue.

Religious, community and political leaders plan to gather this Sunday at Temple Sinai to mark six months since a gunman killed 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue.

Squirrel Hill Stands Against Gun Violence, a group formed in the aftermath of the Oct. 27 attack, will host the gathering in collaboration with CeaseFirePA. The event features speeches and culimates in a march to Schenley Park where a tree will be planted in honor of the victims.

Credit Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA
Lance Johnston, front, became a double amputee after a motorcycle accident in 2014. He's been a patient model for the Pitt Prosthetic & Orthotic program for the past few years, working with students to improve their bedside manner and technical work on artificial limbs.

Founders Carolyn Ban and Dana Kellerman joined Rabbi Doris Dyen, chaplain at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, to explain how both the group and the event came together. Dyen says the community continues to grieve as part of a year-long healing process in accordance with Jewish tradition. All three are members of the Dor Hadash congregation.

Elsewhere in the program:  

VisitPITTSBURGH, the official tourism agency for Allegheny County, is launching a national campaign to better market Pittsburgh outside the Western Pennsylvania area. Chief marketing officer Tom Loftus says the inspiration for a new ad came from what he calls the welcoming nature of Pittsburghers. The video will be screened in several major cities before screenings of, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” the upcoming film about Fred Rogers starring Tom Hanks.

Clean up and restoration has just begun at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. A catastrophic fire engulfed the church last Monday, threatening the city’s skyline. While crews work to assess the damage, University of Pittsburgh medieval history expert Elizabeth Archibald breaks down the significance of the cathedral and its artifacts.

And Pitt's prosthetics and orthotics master's degree is one of just 13 in the country, and has a 98% placement rate for graduates. With resources like a modern manufacturing lab, the department can prepare students for what it’s like to work with amputees in a medical setting. 90.5 WESA’s Katie Blackley reports on the program and talks with a patient model who works with students to improve their bedside manner and technical work on artificial limbs.

90.5 WESA's Meg Fair 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.

Kiley Koscinski is a general assignment reporter for 90.5 WESA. She previously produced The Confluence and Morning Edition. Before coming to WESA, she worked as an assignment desk editor and producer at 1020 AM KDKA. She can be reached at
Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago.
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