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New Report Blows The Whistle On Water Quality In Western PA Pools

Dan Speicher
Pool manager Daisha Clayton tests the chlorine and pH levels at the Joseph A. Petrarca Pool at Veterans Memorial Park in Vandergrift on Monday, May 27, 2019.

On today’s program: Robotics are injecting new life into manufacturing; the Advanced Leadership Initiative brings experienced black executives to the C-suite; only half of eligible Pennsylvanians are receiving WIC assistance; and a Tribune-Review report finds a lack of oversight in regional public pools. 

ARM lends a hand to regional manufacturers
(0:00 – 12:12)

The Allegheny Conference’s annual regional investment report card found that IT and robotics were two of the leading sectors for job creation in 2018 with $40 million in capital expenditure in 2018. Byron Clayton, CEO of Pittsburgh-based Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute, says that the future and growth of the industry in the Pittsburgh region lies in technology and people working together.

Credit Courtesy of Byron Clayton
Courtesy of Byron Clayton
Byron Clayton is the CEO of Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute, based in Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville neighborhood.

“People talk a lot about the new technologies and how fast they’re coming and how they’re converging on each other, but what’s really important to understand is that it’s all about the talent. Technology doesn’t work without talent and people," he says. "People and technology have to work together.”

Clayton says the institute, which is moving its headquarters from Lawrenceville to Mill 19 in Hazelwood this month, will be responsible for funding close to 40 U.S. manufacturing projects this year.

TALI makes their mark on corporate leaders
(13:50 – 17:38)

The Advanced Leadership Initiative, informally known as TALI, is working to build a pipeline of African-American executive leaders through education and networking. The program is geared toward people hoping to reach the C-suite, according to Evan Frazier, TALI’s founding director and senior vice president of community affairs for Highmark Health.

90.5 WESA’s Brian Cook spoke with Frazier about the importance of keeping aspiring corporate leaders in the region, as well as how the organization’s rigorous, seven-month curriculum was created in cooperation with the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University.

WIC funding and enrollment falling in PA
(17:41 – 24:40)

Analysis from the Jewish Healthcare Foundation shows that only 50% of eligible Pennsylvanians are receiving nutritional assistance from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, also known as WIC. WESA’s Sarah Boden spoke with Hanifa Nakiryowa, the foundation's global health associate and lead researcher on the WIC analysis, about how declining enrollment can affect future funding. The group has started its down initiative to increase WIC funding in Pennsylvania. 

Tribune-Review report investigates public pool inspections
(24:43 – 38:45)

Public swimming pools and spray parks across the region are opening for the summer, but an investigation from the Tribune-Review found a number of health violations and oversights. Many counties across Pennsylvania, including Westmoreland, do not have county health departments to monitor water quality, leaving the state to conduct oversight for those pools. According to the investigation, some of those state inspections may be falling by the wayside.

Reporters Nicole Brambila and Jamie Martines join Kevin Gavin to break down what the investigation uncovered. Among their findings, Brambila says the Pennsylvania Department of Health prioritizes inspections based on complaints, repeated water quality issues and violation history due to their limited number of inspectors. 

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.

Kiley Koscinski covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.
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