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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The ever greening landscape might make it seem like summer, but there are still 30 days until Pittsburgh Public Schools finishes its year, and the United Way of Allegheny County wants to make sure the students attend each one of them.

That’s why it is kicking off the “Finish the Year Strong: 30 Day Attendance Challenge” Friday.

One Etna resident thinks Allegheny County Councilman Nicholas Futules (D-Oakmont) should not be a part of the discussion about fracking under Deer Lakes Park.

Tim Ludwig, a Protect Our Parks member, has filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission.

He wants the Commission to force Futules to recuse himself from discussing or voting on the proposed extraction of natural gas underneath the 1,180-acre park.

Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

This Earth Day, volunteers are taking Point State Park back in time to the French & Indian War — or at least they’re taking the shrubbery back.

About 25 volunteers from the Student Conservation Association (SCA), American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) Association and the Penn State Master Gardeners planted native shrubs and flowers at Point State Park Tuesday.

The planting is part of the ongoing renovations at the park and AEO and SCA’s alternative spring break program, which centers around service projects.

Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

How are the candidates for governor planning to take on the issues in the commonwealth’s African American community?

That’s what a coalition of African American organizations want to find out during its forum April 22nd.

The coalition invited the four Democratic gubernatorial candidates - Robert McCord and Kathleen McGinty accepted, but Thomas Wolf and Allyson Schwartz were unable to clear their schedules.

Allegheny County employees no longer have to wonder about their health care options for 2015.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced Tuesday that the county will exclusively retain Highmark for health care coverage through December 31st, 2015 - even if Highmark and UPMC are unable to reach an agreement.