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Nat Geo Celebrates '50 Greatest' In New Photo Exhibit


On today's program: What it takes to rebuild relationships after addiction; what Democrats can learn from Franklin Park; Conor Lamb weighs in on Donald Trump’s foreign policy; Good Question! explores the history of Brunot Island; and a new exhibit celebrating the world's 50 greatest nature photos is traveling through Pittsburgh.

Strengthening families and friendships in the wake of substance use
(00:00 — 10:15) 

Addiction can lay people bare, straining friendships and hurting loved ones even after someone commits to treatment. 

Nancy Wood, therapist and founder of the local nonprofit Families Turning, has devoted herself to helping people struggling with substance use rebuild and strengthen those relationships.

By the time most get to her, Wood says a lot of families say they’ve been told or tempted to give up.

“The thing is, they love these individuals, and even if that individual has hurt them, they are trying to figure out how to love them in the middle of this chaos,” she says.

Families Turning liaises between families, treatment professionals and the individuals themselves to better understand and deal with physical, mental and emotional fallouts. She says repairing previously strong relationships can be an invaluable step toward recovery.

And Wood says that works both ways. Not only are the patients asked to deal with the root causes of their addiction, but families often have to confront lingering shame, stigma or the message from society that they are or were bad parents and allies. 

“They did not cause it, they cannot control it, they cannot cure it,” she says, but with love, patience and grace, they can help their loved ones now.

Natural gas drilling takes center stage in local races
(11:48 — 17:41)

Last month, three candidates who ran for Franklin Park Council over concerns about fracking in their community pulled off upset victories. Were the results an aberration or a signal that fracking might be a key issue in state legislative races in 2020? 

90.5 WESA government editor Chris Potter explains what's at stake as more candidates enter local races and previews what to expect from a just-announced 2020 Presidential forum to take place in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Dec. 14.

Conor Lamb on Trump's foreign policy and military pardons
(17:50 — 22:03) 

Fresh from a trip to Afghanistan to visit American leadership and deployed troops, U.S. Congressman Conor Lamb weighs in on President Trump's foreign policy. 

"The holidays are a hard time when you’re overseas away from family in the military,” says Lamb, who served in the U.S. Marines. “I experienced that a couple times when I was stationed in Japan. Both last year and this year I wanted to go and spend time with troops and hear what they’re going through.”

He shares his take with WESA's Lucy Perkins on the President's decision to pardon three soldiers who were accused or convicted of war crimes, as well as military efforts to combat ISIS.

From explorers and automobiles to lots and lots of wildlife
(22:08 — 26:36) 

About two miles from Point State Park down the Ohio River lies an unassuming island with a storied past. For our Good Question! series, WESA’s Katie Blackley reports on the many uses and past lives of Brunot Island.

Blackley’s visit was a rare one: No one lives on the 129-acre island, and it’s not accessible by car.

“People can walk across (a bridge) if they’re employees,” says Pat Conti, director of operations at Duquesne Light, which once managed a generating station there just across the river from its Marshall-Shadeland headquarters. “And there’s a barge ferry service that runs several days a week. Otherwise you have to have a boat or swim to the island.”

Nat Geo promises 50 great wildlife photos
(26:38 — 39:21) 

For 115 years, National Geographic has championed the art of wildlife photography, and they’re showing off some of the founding society’s best work in a traveling collection now on view at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

The exhibit, “National Geographic: 50 Greatest Wildlife Photographs” features images from all seven continents, including spinner dolphins, a leopard seal, a pack of wolves and a 16-year-old giant panda, among dozens of other creatures captured in their natural habitats. Museum director Eric Dorfman says he’s glad the grouping came pre-curated.

“I think their perspective really was not just a beautiful photograph,” he says, “but something that tells a story that gives an insight into the private world of animals that most people don’t get to see.”

Dorfman says he hopes visitors come away with an understanding that many of the habitats shown are under threat, and that “there are plenty of opportunities to get involved and protect the wildlife we have left.” The exhibit is on display through May 25, 2020.

90.5 WESA’s Julia Zenkevich 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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