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Winter Is Coming, And Western PA Needs Plow Truck Drivers

Carolyn Kaster
A Pennsylvania Department of Transportation snow plow works to clear an Interstate 81 off ramp during a blizzard in Harrisburg, Pa., Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010.

On today's program: Southwestern Pennsylvania is hiring a couple hundred plow truck drivers; the Steelers say Mexico is their biggest international market, but others are growing; Pittsburgh Opera is encouraging patrons to use their cell phone during shows; and Pittsburgh International warns catfishing for airline fees is much more common than you’d think.

PennDOT needs plow truck drivers to keep up with winter roads
(00:00 — 11:43) 

The state transportation department is looking for hundreds of plow truck drivers and mechanics to help service winter roads, including nearly 200 in Southwestern Pennsylvania alone. 

Applications are still available for service in District 11, which includes Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence counties, and District 12, covering Westmoreland, Fayette, Washington and Greene counties, is holding a job fair Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Greene County Office in Waynesburg.

The positions are temporary but full-time, District 12 assistant district executive Robb Dean says. Drivers are required to possess an active Pennsylvania Class A or B Commercial Driver's License or equivalent with the Air Brake Restriction removed.

Find more jobs and other information here.

Steeler Nation wants more Terrible Towels waving across the globe
(13:10 — 17:40)

The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the most popular franchises in NFL history, and they’re growing in star power across the globe. Team vice president of sales and marketing Ryan Huzjak tells 90.5 WESA’s Maria Scapellato it’s part of a concerted effort to target markets in Mexico, Germany, China, England and others. 

Huzjak says boosting global followers through traditional, social and digital platforms translates to increased advertising and merchandising revenues as well. And ideally, he says, all those fans will eventually make their way to the Steel City.

Pittsburgh Opera rolls out live mobile app with audio
(17:42 — 30:10) 

Audiences don’t flock to symphonies, operas and ballet for the same reasons they once did, and many of their most committed patrons are retirement age or older. Do traditional arts institutions need to reinvent themselves to survive? 

90.5 WESA’s Bill O’Driscoll reports the Pittsburgh Opera recently introduced Live Note, a mobile app that audiences are encouraged to use during performances. While symphonies and other opera troupes have been using apps for several years to deliver text and images during performances, Pittsburgh Opera is the first to include audio commentary piped straight into ticket-holders’ earbuds while a show is in progress.

Online scammers leave heartbroken greeters at PIT
(30:13 — 38:45)

Last year, the FBI found 18,493 people lost an estimated $362.5 million to what the bureau calls confidence or romance fraud, and officials at Pittsburgh International Airport say that in many cases, airports are the unwitting front lines of the crime. How is Pittsburgh International helping protect would-be victims? 

Bob Kerlik, vice president of media relations, says customer service officials report seeing people at least once a month, sometimes more frequently, standing at the arrivals gate with signs or flowers, asking when a (nonexistent) flight is coming in. In many cases, they’d sent money abroad to people they met online who said they needed help covering the cost of a flight. 

Kerlik says PIT officials do their best to comfort victims and encourage them to contact police, though many don’t because they’re embarrassed.

90.5 WESA’s Julia Zenkevich contributed to this report.

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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