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Riverhounds Expand With Land Buy & New Training Facility

Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Riverhounds owner Tuffy Shallenberger recently purchased the land beneath Highmark Stadium. He says renovations, including traditional and luxury seating, updated press boxes and more are next.

On today’s program: Soccer attendance is on the rise in Pittsburgh, likely thanks to the U.S. Women's team; PFAS chemicals were discovered near Pittsburgh International; a poet reckons with her multi-racial identity; and Shady Side Academy teens reflect on their student Emmy Award nomination. 

Riverhounds make new investments in Pittsburgh soccer
(0:00 – 16:13)

The Riverhounds Soccer Club is expanding into a 78-acre, 10-pitch training and medical facility in Coraopolis, and team owner Tuffy Shallenberger says his Hounds are just getting started. He credits a recent rise in local attendance to the recent U.S. win in the women's World Cup, and is banking on future increases by expanding the existing stadium from 5,000 to 5,500 seats funded, in part, by a $1 million grant through the state Redevelopment Assistance Capital program.

The new fields are desperately needed, Shallenberger says. The team partners with schools around the region to teach and train thousands of children to play soccer, but he says finding field space has been an increasing challenge.

Shallenberger, who also runs a construction company, recently purchased the land underneath Highmark Stadium from the developers of Station Square. He says renovations will include luxury seating, updated press boxes and more.

PIT tests positive for PFAS
(17:51 – 21:50)

In May, two military bases near Pittsburgh International Airport tested positive for PFAS chemicals, which never break down on their own. For the Allegheny Front,’s Oliver Morrison reports that the chemicals likely come from the aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) firefighters have been using since the 1970s to put out and prevent oil and gas fires. Instead of disposing of the foam, firefighters left it to soak into the ground and surrounding streams, allowing it to pollute local water sources. Christina Cassotis, CEO of Pittsburgh International Airport, says the authority has done everything the law mandates to clean up PFAS.

A poet finds her identity
(21:51 – 26:40)

Poet and scholar Sarah Valentine grew up in Wexford, where she felt secure and loved by her two white parents. At age 27, she confronted her mother and learned that her biological father was African American. She spoke to 90.5 WESA’s Bill O’Driscoll about her memoir, “When I Was White,” and how she had to reckon with the white identity she grew up with, as well as the racism she had internalized.

Shady Side Academy students nominated for student Emmy
(26:43 – 39:05)

The school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., sparked activism from students across the country. Teens at Shady Side Academy earned a student Emmy nomination for the video they produced following fellow classmates protesting at March for Our Lives. WSSA-TV seniors George Grune and Elle Santora join faculty advisor and visual media manager James Knox to talk about the project.

90.5 WESA's Tom Hurley, 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 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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