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The Big History Of Pittsburgh's Skinny Building

Pittsburgh's 'Skinny Building' sits at the intersection of Wood Street and Forbes Avenue Downtown.


On today’s program: How to keep your house from making you sick; conservationists are working to save bats from wind turbines; AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka talks trade tariffs; and the surprising history of Pittsburgh's Skinny Building.

Housing issues and health concerns go hand in hand
(0:00 – 12:26)

Health issues caused by lead, radon and mold in Pennsylvania are tied to the region's old housing stock and soil, according to David Jacobs, the chief scientist for the National Center for Healthy Housing. Many homes haven't been inspected for these potential health risks in addition to a number of injury risks common in older homes like old railings and decomposing steps. 

A panel discussion Thursday hosted by Conservation Consultants Inc. will feature Jacobs in partnership with the Allegheny County Health Department to look at ways to improve the health of local homes by eliminating these risks and increasing their energy efficiency. Jacobs says that the key to creating healthy homes is tackling problems before they cause harm, and being proactive with maintenance and proper cleaning. Find more information here.

Protecting bats threatened by the blades of wind turbines
(13:46– 17:44)

Between 2000 and 2011, an estimated 1.6 million bats were killed by wind turbines and those estimates are expected to increase, according to Mylea Bayless, senior director of networking and partnerships at Bat Conservation International. She spoke to the Allegheny Front’s Kara Holsopple about the future of wind energy in the United States and the steps universities, energy companies, governments and others need to take to save bats. 

AFL-CIO town halls begin in Pittsburgh
(17:45 – 28:16)

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka kicked off a town hall tour of the Rust Belt in Pittsburgh on Monday. He shares the concerns of labor unions about President Trump’s efforts to renegotiate the NAFTA deal with Canada and Mexico. Trumka told 90.5 WESA’s Chris Potter that AFL-CIO his working to educate both union members and the general public about the state of trade.

The skinny on the Skinny Building
(28:19 – 38:40)

The Skinny Building in downtown Pittsburgh is one of the narrowest buildings in the world. At just five feet, two inches wide, it’s an architectural oddity with a rich history. Mark Houser is a frequent contributor to Pittsburgh Magazine and director of news at Robert Morris University. He joins The Confluence ahead of his lecture at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation in Wilkinsburg.

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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