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."

Ways To Connect

Edgar Degas is perhaps most famous for his brightly colored paintings of ballerinas in 19th century Paris – but you won’t find any of those works in the exhibition at the Frick Art & Historical Center that premiered Saturday.

That’s according to Sarah Hall, Director of Curatorial Affairs, who said this exhibit will instead give visitors a glimpse into Degas’s other works that she described as “subtler.”

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there could be a shortfall in the highway trust fund (HTF) as soon as mid-July.

For much of the country, that could mean a halt to construction on bridges and roads.

“What we’re facing in transportation is the transportation equivalent of a government shutdown, it is that simple, but it is that stark and disturbing if folks don’t start (to) surrender some of their predispositions on what should happen next,” U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) said.

About 15 to 20 percent of Americans has dyslexia, a disorder that results in slow or inaccurate reading, poor spelling and writing or confusing similar words.

But many cases go undetected, making schooling difficult for those who have it.

A new bill that aims to address this issue just passed the House and Senate this week and awaits Gov. Tom Corbett’s signature.

According to Senator Sean Wiley (D-Erie), the bill enables the Pennsylvania Department of Education to establish a Dyslexia Screening Pilot Program.

Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

Bishnu Timsina and Puspa Nepal are from Bhutan, but they spent much of their lives in refugee camps in Nepal.

This is because the Bhutanese government found those with Nepali origin a threat to political order and decided to act on that “risk” in the late 1980s.

“(The) government started putting them into jail, raping the young girls and women, beating family members,” Bishnu said. “And they were also asked to sign volunteer migration forms by the government of Bhutan and they were told that you have to leave the country.”

More than 60 percent of the 25,000 jobs available in the Pittsburgh region require specialized technical training - but only 40 percent of them require a four-year degree, according to the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board.

That’s why the Pittsburgh Promise and Pittsburgh Public Schools are offering a new trade education program for 10th, 11th and 12th grade students starting this September.

A lot more information about Pennsylvania’s state-related universities could be revealed soon.

The Senate State Government Committee unanimously approved legislation to expand Pennsylvania’s Open Records Law to the state-owned universities.

Pennsylvania State University, Temple University, the University of Pittsburgh and Lincoln University are mostly exempt from the Open Records Law, which calls for transparency of finances and other information to the public.

Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

  More than twenty children lined the stage at the CLO Academy of Musical Theater today to rehearse songs from their Cinderella production - and now even more children can take part in future productions.

That’s because the PNC Foundation has awarded the academy a four-year, $800,000 grant.

Only 17 percent of parents believe reading is a top summer priority for their children.

That’s according to Reading is Fundamental (RIF) and Macy’s, which released a survey regarding parents’ attitude’s towards reading Wednesday.

The survey also showed that children spend almost three times as many hours weekly watching TV or playing video games as they do reading during the summer.

Kathryn Heffernan, Pittsburgh’s RIF assistant director of communications and development, said accessibility to books is one of the issues.

About 750 miles of sewer laterals, or the pipes that connect private homes to the publicly-owned main sewer lines, run underneath Pittsburgh – many of which are damaged.

That’s according to Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny), who said repairing and replacing these pipes can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $35,000, and that burden falls on the homeowners.

But he said his legislation aims to solve that problem.

According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, there were as many as 20,000 concentration camps during from 1933 to 1945 — used for forced labor, transit camps and even killing centers for 11 million victims.

But many don’t believe this actually happened, and others just simply never learned about it.

That’s what House Bill 1424 — which just passed the Senate this week — aims to fix.

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.

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.

“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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.”

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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