Jess Lasky

News Fellow

Jess was accepted as a WESA fellow in the news department in January 2014.  The Erie, PA native attends Duquesne University where she has a double major--broadcast journalism and political science.  Following her anticipated graduation in May 2015, she plans to enter law school or begin a career in broadcast journalism.

Fun fact:  "I own all the Pokemon GameBoy games...and still play them!"

Education
7:12 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Pittsburgh Promise Grows Closer To Its Goal

Since 2008, the Pittsburgh Promise made a pledge to pay for the higher education of city high school residents, and this past week it reached the 70 percent mark in raising the money it needs.

But to continue the program for the next 30 years the organization would have to raise $250 million, and so far it has collected $173 million.

Read more
Fires
2:02 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Wildfire Prevention Season in Pennsylvania

April showers bring May flowers, yet April is one of the worst months for wildfires in Pennsylvania. 

Mid-March through Mid-May is designated as fire prevention season in Pennsylvania. Terry Brady of the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) said there were easily more than 100 wildfires in Pennsylvania .

Read more
Government & Politics
7:09 pm
Sun April 13, 2014

New Way to Pay for Affordable Housing Proposed

Sen. John Blake has purposed a new way of paying for the housing trust fund which is intended to pay to repair and build affordable houses across Pennsylvania, except it has no money.

Act 105 was passed in 2010, but the counties have had a hard time using its provisions due to the lack of funds. Currently payments are to come from Marcellus Shale impact fee, but Blake says it is never getting there. Instead, he wants to add fees to real estate related legal filings.

Read more
Flower Property
2:50 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Pittsburgh Cut Flower Property Not for Sale

After pursuing buying the Pittsburgh Cut Flower (PCF) property for three years, the Allegheny Land Trust (ALT) has learned the land is no longer for sale.

The 180 acres in Richland Township were developed in 1922 by the then Company President Fred Burki. The dozens of greenhouses on the property grew 2.5 million roses every year for about 100 years.

Read more
Community
11:57 am
Tue April 1, 2014

67th Annual Maple Festival To Be Held This Weekend In Somerset County

You have probably heard of chicken, cotton candy or corndogs on a stick, but can you picture maple syrup?

If you are oblivious to the makings of maple syrup, you might think that this is impossible, but at this year’s 67th annual Maple Festival in Somerset County it is almost as common as a corndog on a stick.

Read more
Public Safety
8:15 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Gun Forum Calls for Owner Responsibility and Government Involvement

The League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh (LWVGP) has released the results of a study of gun violence in the region and the results are wide ranging and at times a bit confusing.

The League held a forum in October involving 150 participants from different backgrounds, and spent the past months reviewing the findings.

Read more
Public Assistance
2:01 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

DPW Closing East Liberty Office

UPDATE: 4/1/14 11:09 am

The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare has announced that it will continue to offer services in East Liberty.  It is in the process of looking for a new permanent home for the office.

ORIGINAL STORY:

A Department of Public Welfare office in Pittsburgh is closing, and Just Harvest is taking a stand for the workers and families that will be affected.

Read more
Duquesne Exhibit
2:03 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Art Exhibit to Open at Duquesne

Duquesne University will open an art exhibit by Andrew Hairstans called A Model for Asylum Tuesday at the Les Idees Gallery on Duquesne’s campus.

Hairstans said the exhibit focuses on a housing project in Glasgow, Scotland. He said the project has to do with modernist British housing and how it is used by asylum seekers.

“I became interested in the area because originally they were at one point the tallest housing complexes in Europe and they were also used to house at one point they were used to house asylum seekers from all over the world really."

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
5:34 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Police Review Board Still in Need of Members But Hopeful About New Administration

Beth Pittinger is the Executive Director of the Citizen Police Review Board (CPRB).
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s Citizen Police Review Board (CPRB) has recently been criticized for its lack of effectiveness, but despite having three empty board seats and a mayor and city council who are taking a long time to fill the posts, the board feels it is getting a lot of work done.

Many of the current board members were never officially appointed.

“On October 31st the terms expired. Nobody was succeeded by appointment as of December 31st, so 30 days had lapsed and they were automatically retained in their seats and then what happened was individuals moved. They relocated and were then disqualified from continuing with the board which created the two city council vacancies,” said Beth Pittinger, CPRB’s Executive Director.

Read more
Arts & Culture
10:47 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Events Planned for 20th Anniversary of the Andy Warhol Museum

The Andy Warhol Museum will be honoring its 20th anniversary in May with renovations, parties and a few surprises.

Among the changes to come will be a shuffling of the collection so that for the first time the museum will be presented in chronological order to take visitors through the life of Andy Warhol.  

Read more
Drug Abuse
9:20 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Efforts Made to Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50 people die every day from prescription drug overdoses nationwide, and the commonwealth and a physicians group want stricter regulations for Pennsylvania.

“Prescription drugs are getting into the wrong hands via many different channels … This is an issue we are taking very seriously at the Medical Society, and believe that physicians need to play their role in fighting this crisis,” said Michael Fraser Executive, vice president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society.

Read more
Free Museum
5:35 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Free Admission at Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History

Looking for something fun to do on a Thursday night? The Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History will be offering free admission on all Thursday evenings throughout March.

From 4-8pm everyone is admitted and parking is only five dollars after 5pm. “A lot of people might not be aware we are open on Thursday nights every week until 8, so if you’re having trouble finding time to come to the museum, you can always go on a Thursday night after work,” said Jonathan Gaugler, Media Relations manager for Carnegie Museum of Art.

Read more
Economy
10:14 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Pittsburgh Ranks Better At Saving Money Than Philadelphia

Pittsburgh’s rivalry with Philadelphia is older than most can remember, and this year, Pittsburgh has something else to brag about.

According to a new ranking, Pittsburghers are better at saving money.

GOBankingRates.com released a ranking of America’s 100 most populated cities and found that Pittsburgh is ranked 54th. While Pittsburgh might not have even been in the top half, it was at least ranked higher than 92, which is where Philadelphia landed.

Read more
Community
7:41 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

'Project Prom' Aims to Have Young Adults Well Dressed, and Well Behaved

Prom is a rite of passage that many young Americans to go through, so Project Prom in Allegheny County is working to make every young adult well dressed and well behaved for the night.

The County Department of Human Services (DHS) is putting on its 11th annual Project Prom, where eligible girls can receive free prom dresses from various local boutiques and individuals who donate dresses. The dress giveaway starts March 15, and on March 29, the shop will be open for public sale, where girls can purchase dresses for no more than $25.

Read more
Tunnel Ice
4:56 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Ice Delays Squirrel Hill Tunnel Traffic

Motorists using the westbound Squirrel Hill Tunnel along the Parkway East (I-376) have been dealing with delays due to a buildup of ice. Steve Cowan Press Officer for PennDOT District 11 says the inbound tunnel has a water flow problem, and in the winter, when temperatures get below freezing, this leads to the temporary shutdown of the tunnel so workers can melt the ice.

Cowan says that a contractor is looking at a way to fix the water leak problem, but he’s is not sure when that will be completed.

Read more
Environment & Energy
5:19 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Leaking Dunkard Township Gas Well Expected To Be Capped Soon

One gas well is still leaking after a fatal blast at an adjacent gas well in Greene County. One of the Chevron Lanco wells in Dunkard Township caught fire on Feb. 11, and three days later a second caught fire.

Both fires are now out and the first well is capped, but the second well that caught fire is now releasing gas. The Department of Environmental Protection and Chevron plan to have the well capped sometime Tuesday, “if all goes well.”

Read more
Affordable Care Act
3:30 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Map Shows Pittsburgh Neighborhoods Where More Insurance Help Is Needed

Credit Enroll America

As the deadline to sign up for the Affordable Care Act approaches, the activist group Enroll America has released a series of maps it hopes will help administrators better understand where to focus their efforts.

The map of Pittsburgh shows that some of the largest concentrations of uninsured can be found in East End and Hill District.

Read more
Medicaid
3:30 am
Mon February 17, 2014

State to Hire 720 Employees to Expand Medicaid

Pennsylvania is excepting to add 720 new employees to accommodate the influx of new healthcare enrollees if Healthy PA goes into effect. 

According to the Department of Public Welfare, the additional jobs would be permanent and spread across the state. Funding for the new hires would come from the federal government.

Read more
Community
7:34 pm
Sun February 16, 2014

Chatham Aims For Cancer-Free Campus, University President Says

Because of Chatham University’s commitment to a healthy campus, President Esther L. Barazzone participated on a panel in Washington, D.C. as part of National Cancer Prevention Day.

Barazzone said everything from their fields of study to their campus deals with lessening cancer.

The biggest project that Chatham is currently working on will be to build their new campus and make it cancer free.

Read more
Community
4:46 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

'Woman of Courage' to Speak in Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh community can look forward to hearing from a “Woman of Courage” thanks to the Ellis School and the City of Asylum.

The Woman of Courage is someone who, through her writing, had the courage to confront oppression and injustice in her country and has suffered as a result usually through banishment if not imprisonment.

The organizations have partnered up to bring Moniru Ravanipur, originally from Iran, to read from her books and talk about her experiences.

Read more
Health
3:30 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Healthy Competition: Pitt Launches Healthcare Video Challenge

Healthcare providers often urge patients to be more involved in their own care, and now the University of Pittsburgh has begun a $300,000 competition to encourage people to show how they take charge.

Pitt Innovation Challenge, PInCh, would like people from all over to submit a two-minute video, by March 2, citing a health problem, such as high blood pressure, and create a solution that challenges people to take control of their healthcare.

Read more
Community
12:27 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Roethlisberger Foundation to Announce Eight K-9 Officer Grants

Pittsburgh police dog Rocco will be laid to rest Friday, and soon after the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation plans to announce eight grants for more K-9 officers.

The foundation’s mission is to support the dogs of police and fire departments throughout the U.S. with a particular emphasis on Pittsburgh.

Jessica Duffaut, relationship manager for the foundation, said the foundation realizes that you can never replace a dog, especially a police dog.

Read more
Tax Help
2:17 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

United Way Offering Free Tax Help for Pittsburghers

A local organization is making tax season a little easier for residents.

United Way of Allegheny County (UWAC) is providing free tax preparation service to low-and-moderate income individuals, families, and seniors.

Individuals who make less than $20,000, and households with an income of less than $40,000 are eligible for the Money in Your Pocket Coalition (MYPC). They also have a self-assistance tool to help families that make a little more.

Read more
Food Safety
3:30 am
Mon February 3, 2014

League of Women Voters Talks Food

The League of Woman Voters of Greater Pittsburgh (LWVGP) is not just for election information. The organization is branching out into the agricultural sector.

LWVGP is holding public educational meetings on the farming industry — focusing on major food issues including: genetically modified organisms, water pollution, antibiotics in livestock, food labeling and crop subsidies. 

Read more
Economic Development
3:30 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Tourism Could Boost Rural Economies, State Lawmaker Says

Pennsylvania's rural areas are facing hard economic times, and a state lawmaker believes that tourism could be the answer.

“Pennsylvania is one of the largest rural states in the union, and when you look statistically it is our rural Pennsylvania that has the highest unemployment rates and I think it needs to be addressed,” said state Sen. John Wozniak (D-Cambria).

Read more