Jessica Nath

News Fellow

Jess is from Elizabeth Borough, PA and is a junior at Duquesne University with a double major in journalism and public relations.  She was named as a fellow in the WESA newsroom in May 2013.

Her career goal is to work as a foreign news correspondent "hopefully in radio."

Fun fact:  "Would love to travel internationally...starting in South Africa."

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Arts & Culture
4:42 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Travel Channel Stars Sculpt 5-Ton Pile Of Sand In Market Square

The entire sculpture consisted of five tons of sand.
Jessica Nath 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh might not have its own beach, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have a giant sandcastle.

Sculptors Rusty Croft and Kirk Rademaker from the Travel Channel’s show Sand Masters transformed a five-ton pile of sand into a work of art in Market Square Thursday.

The artists co-own the business Sand Guys and have been professionally sculpting sand since 1997.

VisitErie, Erie County’s tourism promotion agency, hired the “masters” to create the sculpture for its “Hello Summer, Hello Erie!” advertising campaign.

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Science & Technology
5:55 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Peduto Hosts Roundtable On Maker Movement

President Barack Obama wants some advice from Pittsburgh’s “maker” community.

That’s why Mayor Bill Peduto hosted a roundtable Monday afternoon to discuss the achievements and future of the city's “Maker Movement,” which refers to using tools such as 3D printers and computer-aided designs to build everything from circuitry to jewelry.

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Church Closings
2:06 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese Closes One School and Three Buildings

“After extensive analysis and prayer,” the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik has decided to move forward with the closure of four facilities.

He announced Sunday plans to close the Holy Child Catholic Elementary School along with the St. Ignatius, Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Barnabas church buildings.

According to Michael Latusek, superintendent of Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese schools, enrollment for the K-8 school has dwindled over the years.

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Laser Safety
9:00 am
Mon June 9, 2014

FBI Launches Campaign to Prevent Lasers from Disrupting Flights

Toy lasers might seem harmless enough, but that cheap gadget could momentarily blind a pilot of a plane with hundreds of passengers – even if it’s thousands of feet overhead.

That’s according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which is launching a campaign to prevent such disasters from happening.

Pointing a laser into an airplane is a federal offense with a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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Three Rivers Arts Festival
7:56 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Three Rivers Arts Festival Kicks Off Today

Those attending the 55th annual Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival will find portraits of air, a 4 story figure named Lady Pneumatica and a tribute to the Fort Pitt Block House.

The festival that runs today through June 15 has a theme of aesthetic creativity and environmental sustainability.

“Many of our art installations explore either the built environment and architecture or the natural environment and how our actions can impact and affect the natural world around us,” Veronica Corpuz, Director of Festival Management, said.

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United Way of Allegheny County
3:03 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

United Way Surpasses 2013 Fundraising Goal

United Way of Allegheny County announced that it raised $33,987,061 from its 2013 campaign-- 2.3 percent increase from the previous year’s total.

Marking its fourth consecutive year of growth, the charity surpassed its internal goal of  $33,883,317.

Bob Nelkin, United Way President, said he believes the charity continues growing because donors are able to see the impact of their donations.

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Community
10:41 am
Wed June 4, 2014

First Grocery Store Since 1987 Set To Open In Garfield

Garfield has not had its own grocery store since 1987, but that's going to change Thursday with the opening of a Bottom Dollar Food.

The store will be located at 5200 Penn Ave. on the same site of the neighborhood’s previous grocery store, a Giant Eagle.

Richard Swartz, executive director of the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation, said the neighborhood has several convenience stores, but residents need an actual grocery store.

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Health News
10:58 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Corbett Creates Team to Facilitate UPMC-Highmark Dispute

Gov. Tom Corbett is calling on UPMC and Highmark to put their patients first.

The contract between UPMC and Highmark is set to expire by December 31st, 2014.

UPMC said that it does not intend to extend the contract, which means that Highmark patients will not receive in-network rates for UPMC services.

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Arts & Culture
3:30 am
Mon June 2, 2014

PA Museums and Historical Societies Receive Grants

Preserving history can be an expensive task, but the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) is trying to make it a bit easier by handing out grants.

This year, the commission awarded $1.9 million to 130 museums and official county historical societies throughout the commonwealth.

“These grants are used for general operating support,” said Howard Pollman, PHMC spokesman. “So that really helps some museums and historical societies operate in some way because those kind of dollars are often very difficult to come by.”

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Animals
3:37 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Macaroni Penguin Hatchling Welcomed At Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

The first-ever macaroni penguin hatched at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium will be on display at the end of the summer.
Jessica Nath 90.5 WESA

There’s a new bird in Pittsburgh, but instead of being giant and yellow, this one barely weighs two pounds and has a soft black coat of baby down fur.

The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium welcomed its first-ever macaroni penguin hatchling May 12.

Though it isn’t even a month old, lead aquarist and penguin keeper Katy Wozniak said it has become quite vocal.

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Transportation
5:55 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Inbound Squirrel Hill Tunnel To Close This Weekend

Drivers planning to take the Parkway East (I-376) into the city will have to find an alternate route this weekend.

The inbound Squirrel Hill Tunnel will be closed from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.

According to PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan, crews will be paving the road surface of the inbound tunnel and replacing the bridge expansion dam.

“Bridges flex, so there is an expansion dam between the two portions of the bridges,” Cowan said. “It’s minor work compared to the paving of the tunnel. That’s the main work.”

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Community
1:55 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

New Farmers Market To Open In Bloomfield

Eight-year Bloomfield resident Christina Howell said she realized that she was always traveling out of the neighborhood to go to festivals and markets.

As the program manager for the Bloomfield Development Corporation, that was a bit upsetting.

To help fix this problem, the organization decided to create a place where businesses and residents could interact within the neighborhood.

As a result, the new Bloomfield Saturday Market is kicking off this weekend with locally sourced food and entertainment.

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Education
6:40 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Zappala Donates Books to Duquesne Law Students

District Attorney Stephen Zappala donated ten books to the Duquesne University Law students.
Credit Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

When veterans face criminal charges in Allegheny County, many of them are not represented by experienced lawyers.  Instead, they are often defended by law students.

“It’s critical to help these individuals on so many different levels,” said Allison Gordon, Duquesne University law student and clinic manager. “We have them socially engaged, we have their medical engagement through VA resources and then for us to be able to help them with their legal issues, it helps bring them back into the community and be active members.”

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Marcellus Shale Sludge
1:48 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Range Resources Stores Radioactive Sludge in Washington County

Two drilling pads in Washington County are storing Marcellus Shale drilling sludge with radioactivity levels that are too high for regular disposal.

According to John Poister, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) spokesman, drilling company Range Resources sent the department a request for a Department of Transportation exemption form March 1st.

The form would allow Range Resources to move waste that has a “higher than background radiation level” - meaning that it is a higher level than the radiation that is usually found in the environment.

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Sports
7:42 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Pittsburgh Hosts World's Biggest Sport Conference

With the nicest baseball park in the country, the most Super Bowl wins in the NFL and two of the best players in the NHL, Pittsburgh is definitely a sports city.

That’s why it will be the host of the North American Society of Sports Management (NASSM) Conference - the largest sports business gathering in the world.

Duquesne University organized the conference that aims to show how important business is to sports.

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Health
3:30 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Report: Pennsylvania’s Hospitals Are Financially Unhealthy

Credit Flickr user proimos

A new report is providing a “check-up” on the financial state of the commonwealth’s hospitals - and the diagnosis is not looking promising.

The Financial Analysis 2013: General Acute Care Hospitals, a report written by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4), shows that the commonwealth’s hospitals are being under-funded by Medicare and Medicaid.

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Community
3:30 am
Mon May 26, 2014

New Law Firm Aims To Help Clients Of Modest Means

Legal help can be expensive, but a new law firm in Pittsburgh has a mission of serving clients of modest means.

Fair Shake, an environmental legal service located on Butler St., had its grand opening Thursday.

The firm provides legal services to the tri-state area for issues such as community health, environmental protection and cleanup and development.

Emily Collins, the executive director, said she got the idea for the firm when she was a clinical assistant professor with the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

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Science & Technology
3:30 am
Mon May 26, 2014

World Science Fair Coming To Pittsburgh Via Live Stream

The World Science Festival might be in New York City, but science enthusiasts can still take part without leaving Pittsburgh because Carnegie Science Center is live streaming two programs that align with its mission.

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WIFIA
3:57 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Amendment Aims to Fund Water Infrastructure Projects

The U.S. House has passed an amendment by Representatives Mike Doyle (D - PA - 14) and Tim Murphy (R - PA - 18) that could mean funding to remedy sewer overflows in Allegheny County.

The amendment - the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) - aims to finance the creation or renovation of water and wastewater infrastructure through low interest rate federal loans, loan guarantees and possibly grants.

Doyle said he has been working for years to secure federal monies to bring outdated local sewer systems into compliance with modern water quality laws.

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Election 2014
11:14 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Doyle, Shuster Win 2014 Congressional Primaries

The Congressional primary election has come to a close, resulting in some familiar faces running in November.

District 9 Republican incumbent Bill Shuster took 53 percent of the vote, beating out Travis Schooley with 13 percent and Arthur Halvorson with 34 percent.

Shuster has represented the 9th district since 2001. He will run against unopposed to Democratic candidate Alanna Hartzok in November.

District 14 Democratic incumbent Mike Doyle defeated Janis Brooks 84 percent to 16 percent. This victory marks his 11th term in Congress.

Arts & Culture
8:44 pm
Sun May 18, 2014

CCAC Wins National Endowman For The Arts 'Big Reads' Grant

The Community College of Allegheny County has been awarded a grant for helping reluctant readers delve into topics such as censorship and intolerance with their Big Reads program.

The program, run by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), aims to get people who normally wouldn’t pick up a book — to read.

Barbara Evans, CCAC Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, said the grant enables them to do “authentic community outreach.”

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Environment & Energy
3:29 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Construction Commences On Marcellus Shale Power Plant

Gov. Tom Corbett, Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Bradford), Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford) and other state and local officials partake in the groundbreaking of the new power plant.
Credit Pennsylvania Commonwealth Media Services / 90.5 WESA

Construction for the first power plant deliberately located on the Marcellus Shale formation began Thursday.

“Panda Power Funds Liberty Energy Center is the first power plant in Pennsylvania specifically developed to harness potential Marcellus Shale gas formation,” Gov. Tom Corbett said at the groundbreaking.

The 829-megawatt natural gas-fueled power plant will be located in Asylum Township in Bradford County.

Corbett said the facility is creating approximately 560 jobs: 500 to construct it, about 27 to operate it and 45 indirect jobs to support it.

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Library Renovation
1:08 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

West End Library Closes Chapter on Series of Renovations

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s West End branch might be a historic landmark, but its story is still being written.

The library will reopen to the public Saturday after a seven-month, $1.7 million renovation.

The library is inviting the community to the grand re-opening celebration, which will, among other things, include self-guided tours and 3D printing demonstrations.

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Emergency Calls
3:58 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

In Trouble? You Can Now Text 9-1-1

Verizon customers in Allegheny County can now text 9-1-1 during an emergency.
Credit Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

Being in an emergency situation is scary enough -- but what if you can’t even call 9-1-1?

Allegheny County Emergency Services is now taking that into account and is giving people the option to text.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said Allegheny is one of the first counties in Pennsylvania to provide this option.

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Biotech Lab
3:50 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

New Bio Lab To Be Open To All Pittsburghers

Unless you're attending a university, most Pittsburghers do not have access to microscopes, pipettes, and other high-end scientific equipment — but a new lab opening this fall aims to change that.

Duquesne University and entrepreneurial group Urban Innovation 21 are constructing Pittsburgh’s first community biotechnology laboratory.

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Environment
6:00 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Health Department Tries To Terminate The Rats, Not The Eagles In Pittsburgh

The rats have to go – but leave the eagles alone.

That’s the problem the Allegheny County Health Department is facing while taking measures to terminate the rat infestation at the abandoned Pittsburgh Recycling Plant in Hazelwood.

GGMJS Property LLC, a holding company, bought the site and now has the responsibility to get rid of the rats.

However, Pittsburgh’s newest eagle family in more than 150 years is located less than a mile away, and they could die if they consume one of the poisoned rodents.

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SLAPPs
7:23 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

PA Senator Pushes Anti-SLAPP Laws

A Philadelphia  state senator is proposing laws so people don’t get “slapped” with unfair legal fees while utilizing their Freedom of Speech.

Senator Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia) proposed legislation to combat what he calls "frivolous" litigation known as  Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP).

According to Cornell University Law School, SLAPPs are lawsuits often filed by corporations against an activist or group of activists that disagree with the corporation’s actions.

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Community
2:23 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Hazelwood Residents Ask City To Clean Up Trash From Bankrupt Recycling Plant

Action United want the city to clean up the abandoned recycling plant.
Jessica Nath 90.5 WESA

Stanley Benovitch said his dog Trixie has been killing rats since February.

He said that stems from an infestation in Hazelwood resulting from the sudden closure of the Pittsburgh Recycling Plant.

The plant went bankrupt in January, and the owners left the building – and all of its trash – behind.

Now the residents of Hazelwood are calling for someone to come clean it up.

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Pittsburgh Air Pollution
8:47 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Particulate Pollution Down, Smog Up in Pittsburgh

A new report shows that Pittsburgh’s air quality has improved – but it still received failing grades.

That’s according to the American Lung Association’s 15th annual “State of the Air” report measuring the amount of pollution throughout the nation.  The study found that 147.6 million Americans live in counties with unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle pollution.

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Economy & Business
3:30 am
Mon April 28, 2014

PA Ranks 33rd in Economic Outlook Competitiveness

Pennsylvania’s economic outlook is looking brighter - but only slightly.

That’s according to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which ranked Pennsylvania 33rd in its 2014 competitiveness report.

The report looks at state economic policies and draws conclusions from research about which states will achieve greater prosperity and which will have a mediocre economy.

Jonathan Williams, Director of Tax and Fiscal Policy at ALEC, said they try to highlight states that have policies enacted that really make a difference.

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