The Confluence

Fridays at noon

90.5 WESA’s newest weekly news program The Confluence – where the news comes together – debuted Sept 2, 2016.

Each week reporters, editors and bloggers join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin to go behind the headlines and take an in-depth look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region. 

Find our podcast on iTunes.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The boundaries of Pennsylvania’s congressional districts are still in contention this week as GOP leaders file suit to block a map enforced by the state Supreme Court. Three Republican-appointed federal judges on Friday agreed to hear the case.

Keith Srakocic / AP

It's been nearly two years since Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana, and this week, a handful of dispensaries began selling it.

Matt Rourke / AP

Teachers, paraprofessionals and technical and clerical employees at Pittsburgh Public Schools are deciding whether to strike for the first time in more than 40 years.

FracTracker Alliance

Gov. Tom Wolf drew support from both environmentalists and energy insiders when he promised to ease the state's permit application backlog and better enforce regulations by hiring 35 more Department of Environmental Protection inspectors.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Following legal suits arguing that the Pennsylvania's Congressional district map unfairly serves Republicans, the state Supreme Court has ordered new lines be constructed and submitted by Feb. 15, only three months before the commonwealth's primary elections. The GOP plans to appeal to the U.S.

Evan Vucci / AP

In two months, voters will choose a new congressman for Pennsylvania’s 18th District in a special election to replace Tim Murphy, who resigned after admitting to an extramarital affair. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The online fundraiser "Give Big Pittsburgh" was billed as a natural follow-up to the Pittsburgh Foundation's annual Day of Giving, which provided one-day funding matches to donations benefiting local nonprofits, but mixed messages timed with Giving Tuesday may have contributed to less than stellar returns.

Matt Rourke / AP

Recent allegations suggest sexual harassment is part of the "culture of silence" in Harrisburg, LNP Media reports.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

It’s been a eventful news year in the Steel City, from hospital booms to repeated flush and boil orders to President Trump's impact on Pennsylvania.

Matt Rourke / AP

 

The open enrollment period for people buying health insurance through the Affordable Care Act comes to a close this Friday—a period half as long as last year’s. Nearly 80 percent of Pennsylvanian consumers selected the “middle-of-the-road” silver plan last year, but this year, costs for silver plans have rocketed.

Frank Victores / AP

 

In Monday night’s contest between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier was taken off field during the first quarter with a back injury that reportedly caused him to momentarily lose feeling below the waist. The game was called “vicious” by many, but others, including Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, say that violence is normal for AFC North football.

Andrew Russell / Tribune-Review

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the beleaguered Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

Keith Srakocic / AP


Allegheny County has adopted a new comprehensive policy regarding the treatment of pregnant inmates—a result of a suit filed against the county alleging cruel and unusual punishment of five women who were placed in solitary confinement for minor infractions.

James Doyle / NPR

UPMC announced a $2 billion plan last week to build three specialty hospitals focused on cancer; vision and rehabilitation; and heart and transplants.

Josh Ferrell / CNN

 


The latest episode of Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown series showcased glimpses of the Steel City on Sunday that many Pittsburghers didn't jibe with

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are considered top contenders for Amazon’s second North American headquarters in a recent nationwide analysis by Moody’s. The company promised 50,000 jobs and $5 billion for investment for its HQ2 project.

Cliff Owen / AP

 

It’s been less than a week since U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Upper St. Clair) announced he’s resigning from Congress, and the field for a special election to fill his seat is already highly contested. Murphy was forced to resign amid revelations of an extramarital affair in which the anti-abortion lawmaker allegedly urged his mistress to get an abortion.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

It's been more than two weeks since Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico—knocking out the power grid, leaving people homeless and hospitals with dwindling supplies. Despite President Donald Trump's comments contrasting the storm to a "real catastrophe like [Hurricane] Katrina," many in Pittsburgh are eager to respond to the island's needs.

Kiichiro Sato / AP

Pittsburgh sports teams are at the center of the debate over protests during the national anthem. Last Sunday, as football teams across the country kneeled or raised a fist in protest, the Steelers waited off field while the national anthem was played in Chicago.

Matt Rourke / AP

The Pennsylvania budget crisis continues. Governor Tom Wolf said there will be no cuts or delays in state services if lawmakers can reach an agreement on how to fund the $32 billion budget by October 1st. That means the legislature has nine days to come up with more than $2.2 billion. And now, complicating the conversation, a credit rating agency downgraded Pennsylvania's credit rating.

Allegheny County Airport Authority

The Pittsburgh International Airport is about to have a major makeover. Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis said the Pittsburgh region is "a growing, tech-focused economy" and its airport should better reflect that. The renovations are expected to cost $1.1 billion

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Congress is back in session, and they have less than two weeks of legislative days to solve a slew of problems. By the end of the month, Congress needs to: 

Keith Srakocic / AP

It's been a busy week for the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. A consultant found PWSA to be “a failed organization atop a dangerous and crumbling structure” in an initial assessment presented Monday. Hours later, the authority issued a flush-and-boil water order for 18,000 homes across the North Side, Millvale and Reserve Township related to holes in the cover on top of a water reservoir in Shaler Township.

John Miller / 90.5 WESA

After moving its headquarters to New York 11 years ago, iconic aluminum manufacturer Alcoa is returning to Pittsburgh, where it was founded, at the beginning of next month.

Evan Vucci / AP

Pittsburgh government and faith leaders invited the public to events this weekend "to come together during a trying time," Mayor Bill Peduto said Wednesday.

The events are a reaction to violent protests in Charlottesville, Va., last Saturday when white supremacist groups rallied over the removal of a Confederate statue and fought with counter protesters, including Heather Heyer, who was killed when a car slammed into the crowd.

Matt Rourke / AP

A commission created by President Donald Trump asked him to declare a state of emergency over the nation’s opioid epidemic. Earlier this week, he declined. On Thursday, according to a White House pool report, he changed his mind.

The declaration would free the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to grant additional funding for resources, address leadership shortfalls and make changes to Medicaid coverage.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Players arrived at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe this week for the start of Steelers training camp, but running back Le'Veon Bell did not. He's in the middle of negotiating a franchise contract with the team, but is feeling pressure from his teammates.

Kamil Kaczor / Flickr

Officials announced Tuesday that PWSA is back in compliance with federal standards for lead levels in drinking water. The next day, City Council gave preliminary approval to a bill that would allow the authority to replace the private side of residential lead service lines when it replaces the public side.

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