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Pittsburgh Detective Celebrated As 'The Epitome Of Grace'


On today's program: A new play explores the life and career of Pittsburgh’s first female assistant police chief; Pitt explains why PFAS chemicals are cause for worry; residents of a Philadelphia neighborhood are proud of their exclusionary reputation; and COVID-19 preparations continue in Pittsburgh.  

Detective’s life and career honored with an upcoming play at Bricolage
(00:00 — 12:40)

Therese Rocco, now approaching her 94th birthday, started with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police in the missing persons’ office at age 19. She didn’t plan to stay, but went on to become one of the city’s top detectives, the city’s first female assistant police chief and a U.S. Marshall. 

The conversation isa favorite from The Confluence archives, and re-broadcasts just ahead of a new one-woman play about Rocco’s life. The show is at 7:30 p.m. April 3-4 and 2 p.m. April 5 at Bricolage Theater downtown. Tickets will be available at the door for $20, with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Pittsburgh family support nonprofit, Angel’s Place.

EPA wants to regulate PFAS in drinking water, but what are PFAS?
(14:43 — 18:57)

Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed regulating two PFAS chemicals in drinking water: PFOS and PFOA. Sometimes called "forever chemicals," the difficult-to-clean compounds are an overarching term for 5,000 different substances often associated with health problems.

WESA’s Kathleen Davis spoke to University of Pittsburgh engineering professor Carla Ng, as well as some Pittsburghers to find out how much they know about PFAS. 

How a “secret” working-class neighborhood built its own wall
(19:00 — 26:13)

Longtime residents of a Philadelphia neighborhood called Bridesburg say they want their community to stay the way it's been for generations—small, insular and off the map of developers and would-be renters. For Keystone Crossroads' Embedded 2020 series, Max Marin reports the 6,500-person neighborhood is home to only four black people but is undergoing a slow demographic shift. 

Allegheny County prepares as COVID-19 spreads into PA
(26:18 — 31:15) 

There are 10 presumptive cases of COVID-19 in southeastern Pennsylvania, and state and local health officials say they expect the first could be confirmed in and around the Pittsburgh area in the coming days.

WESA’s Sarah Boden reports it’s not clear how all the Pennsylvania cases developed—some could be associated with travel—but more local testing is on the way. For now, only the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can confirm cases of COVID-19. WESA is posting the latest developments relevant to the Pittsburgh region in real time here

90.5 WESA’s Caroline Bourque 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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