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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Liquor Privatization
3:27 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Groups Voice Opposition to Liquor Privatization Plan

Groups opposed to a bill that would privatize liquor sales in Pennsylvania held a rally at Mercy Hospital of UPMC Monday, saying the proposal would result in a rise in first responders’ workloads.

“As crime increases, as abuse increases, as the negative impacts of the increased availability of alcohol to youth drinking, to underage drinking, all of these things are going to be a huge responsibility for first responders in this state,” said Barney Oursler, executive director of Pittsburgh UNITED.

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Economy
3:30 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Property Tax/Rent Rebate Application Deadline Pushed Back

Pennsylvanians feeling the pressure to hurry up and fill out their property tax/rent rebate application by June 30 can breathe a little more easily because the deadline has been extended to December 31.

The due date was pushed back because the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue has additional funds to pay the rebates.

Spokeswoman Elizabeth Brassell said the deadline has been pushed back every year for the past 10 years she has worked at the department.

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Economy
3:30 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Partnership Educates on Impact of Hunting on Economy

A new partnership of organizations is aiming to teach Pennsylvanians about the impact hunting has on the state’s economy.

A diverse group that ranges from chambers of commerce leaders to small business owners has formed a partnership called Hunting Works for Pennsylvania.

This partnership was created to advocate for public policy that supports jobs and economic prosperity.

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Wounded Warriors
2:32 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Pitt Program Helps Wounded Warriors Find Jobs in Machining

After months — or even years — on the battlefield, injured active-duty military personnel and rehabilitating veterans return home to face their next battle: finding a new job.

The University of Pittsburgh’s Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL) is trying to help them win that battle with a new program that trains them in machining.

The Fabrication of Assistive Technology (FATe) Program was created by HERL Director Dr. Rory Cooper and HERL Education and Outreach Project Director Mary Goldberg.

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Arts & Culture
4:20 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Giant 'Yarn Bomb' Project to Cover Andy Warhol Bridge

As part of Knit the Bridge, the Andy Warhol Bridge’s towers will be covered in 2,500 linear feet of brightly colored panels, the rails will be covered with black yarn and the panels inside the rails will consist of designs created by volunteers.
Photo of test install courtesy Amanda Gross

Starting August 10, one of Pittsburgh’s famous steel bridges will be getting a makeover when the largest “yarn bomb” ever in the United States blankets the Andy Warhol Bridge.

Amanda Gross, outreach coordinator for Fiberart International, is the lead artist of a project called Knit the Bridge, in which she and 1,267 volunteers from all over Allegheny County have spent the last year knitting panels to cover the bridge.

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Justice
1:30 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

New Law Gives Victims a Voice on Release of Offenders

Susan Hooper, holds a photo of her brother, Robert Curley, during the signing of House Bill 492.
Courtesy Pennsylvania Commonwealth Media Services

Ellen Gregory Robb of Montgomery County had been a victim of domestic violence at the hands of her husband, Rafael Robb, for many years — until one day she decided she had had enough.

Her 50th birthday was right around the corner as she embarked on her new life.

But when her brother, Gary Gregory, came to pick her up to celebrate, he realized her new beginning had been cut short.

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Employment
3:58 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Mediation Program Launched to Handle Discrimination Disputes

In the past, discrimination disputes cost thousands in lawyers’ fees and trials, not to mention the year it took to even get into court. 

Now the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) is offering a free mediation program so the dispute can be settled within 10 days without legal and court costs.

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Military
2:44 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

State Government Approves Bill for Military Electronic Absentee Ballots

While military personnel fight to protect U.S. citizens’ rights, a Pennsylvania senator is fighting to protect their fundamental right to vote.

The Senate State Government Committee has unanimously approved a bill that would allow military and overseas voters to return their absentee ballots electronically.

The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Matt Smith (D - Allegheny County), said the number one goal is to make sure every serviceman and woman’s vote is counted.

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Justice
3:30 am
Mon June 17, 2013

Study: Juveniles with Unmarried Parents More Likely to Recommit Crimes

A report released by the Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission shows that 80 percent of juveniles in Pennsylvania that recidivate, or continually commit crimes, come from families with unmarried parents.

The commission looked at juvenile cases closed in 2007 and tracked them for two years to see if the juveniles returned to crime.

The study found that 20 percent of juvenile offenders committed other crimes within two years after their original cases were closed.

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Transportation
3:30 am
Sun June 16, 2013

Port Authority Makes Changes to Schedule and Routes

While waiting for the bus that takes you to work Monday morning, you might be surprised when it zips right past you.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT) is eliminating nearly 430 stops along 36 bus routes beginning Sunday as the first of several phases of bus stop consolidations.

Spokeswoman Heather Pharo said PAT is only eliminating stops that receive little to no use.

“When I say little to no use, most of these stops were actually used by zero people, and we monitored them in fall of 2012,” Pharo said.

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Arts
6:38 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Pittsburgh Attracts Art Leaders with National Convention

The city of steel is becoming the city of art this week as 1,000 art leaders from across the country gather to discuss issues affecting artists, art-based development, arts organizations and creative industries.

Pittsburgh is hosting the Americans for the Arts (AFTA) Annual Convention June 14-16.

The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council will coordinate all of the convention’s performances and “ARTVenture” tours.

Council CEO Mitch Swain said AFTA was attracted to Pittsburgh because of its diverse art scene, especially with its cultural districts.

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Medicaid Expansion
7:11 am
Wed June 12, 2013

CHC Takes Fight for PA Medicaid Expansion to Harrisburg

The Consumer Health Coalition (CHC) has taken its fight to the Capitol to show lawmakers what is “on the line” if they choose not to expand Pennsylvania’s Medicaid.

CHC Director of Advocacy and Consumer Engagement Reverend Sally Jo Snyder said expansion is a life or death decision.

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Politics
4:10 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Peduto Meets with Corbett, Other Officials in Harrisburg Visit

Pittsburgh Councilman and Democratic Mayoral Nominee Bill Peduto is reaching across the aisle — and the state — to bridge the relationship between Pittsburgh and the Capitol.

Peduto spent Monday and Tuesday in Harrisburg for what he called a “relationship-building” visit.

“There hasn’t been that much communication between the city and Harrisburg for the past several years, so I think it’s welcome, but again, at the same time it’s not something that you can just do once, it has to be on a consistent basis,” Peduto said.

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Religion
4:17 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Four Pittsburgh Diocese Parishes To Merge

Saint Monica prayed for her rebellious son, Saint Augustine, to strengthen his faith in the late 4th century. Now four parishes in Beaver County want to strengthen their faith community by merging into one — christened Saint Monica.

Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese Bishop David Zubik has announced that the parishes of Christ the Divine Teacher, Divine Mercy, Saint Philomena and Saint Rose of Lima will consolidate starting July 15.

Episcopal Vicar Reverend Samuel Esposito said the parishes had been working together since 2007.

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Child Abuse
3:30 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Calls of Suspected Child Abuse Up Over 2,000 in the Last Year

An annual report from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare showed a record-breaking number of calls of suspected child abuse or neglect, but this might not be all bad news.

Department spokeswoman Anne Bale said officials think the increase in calls might not be because there are more cases of actual abuse happening.

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Yellow Cab Rate Hike
10:56 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Yellow Cab Seeks Rate Hike

A Pittsburgh taxi company wants to see more green when you step into their yellow cabs.

Pittsburgh Transportation Group (PTG) is asking the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission for a rate hike.

Yellow Cab’s parent PTG wants a surcharge of 17 cents a mile to replace all others, including the $1.15 fee on the flag drop.

This would raise the current rates of $1.75 a mile to $1.92 a mile.

Company President Jamie Campolongo said the current surcharge is outdated and gives drivers who make short trips more money than those who drive longer trips.

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Arts
3:30 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Office of Public Art Creates Website to Display Any and All 'Art Places'

If you’re looking for art, many people would direct you to roped-off paintings at a museum or two-hour theater performances, but the Office of Public Art says try an open mic night at your local bar.

The office is launching a new website called Pittsburgh Art Places, where venues in the 13-county region can create profiles to connect to the public.

The venues can link to their websites or locations to buy tickets and post audio, video and images so the public can sample what kind of art they display.

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Student Loans
3:42 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Stafford Loan Increase Deadline Looms Over Pennsylvania Students

While college students are taking the summer off from schoolwork and exams, politicians in Congress are frantically doing some writing of their own — legislation — on how to prevent loan interest rate costs from increasing.

The interest rate on federally subsidized Stafford loans is currently at 3.4 percent, but it is set to revert back to 6.8 percent July 1, the rate it was before the 2007 College Affordability Plan gradually lowered it.

According to consumer group PennPIRG, each Pennsylvania student with a Stafford loan would have a $956 hike in debt if the rate doubles.

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Education
3:42 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

New Bill Replicates Pittsburgh's Manchester-Bidwell Program

Imitation is the highest form of flattery, and if it’s up to two Pennsylvania politicians, the rest of the nation will flatter Pittsburgh’s Manchester-Bidwell Corporation.

Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) and Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA-14) have introduced legislation modeled after the local program.

The National Program for Arts and Technology Act would help communities create centers to teach unemployed and underemployed adults and at-risk-youth the skills needed to be competitive in the marketplace.

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Arts
3:12 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Four-Story Duck Headed to Pittsburgh

Artist Florentijn Hofman's giant floating rubber duck will make its way to the Steel City in late September as part of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s International Festival of Firsts.
Photo courtesy of Studio Florentijn Hofman

The task of making Pittsburgh stand out as an international city has fallen on the shoulders of a floating rubber duck.

The four-story duck is part of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s International Festival of Firsts.

Cultural Trust CEO and President Kevin McMahon said the purpose of this festival is not solely to bring money to Pittsburgh.

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Education
6:29 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Wilkinsburg School District Conducts Survey in Hopes of Change

The Wilkinsburg Public School District has a storied past, but in recent decades, it has been struggling.  District and borough officials want to change that, and they are asking residents for their input.

Elected officials are conducting a survey asking what the community wants to see its school district and borough provide in the future.

The school district and Community Leadership Team are asking residents, workers and business owners in the borough to take the 17-question survey.

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Veterans
3:30 am
Mon June 3, 2013

PA Senator Sponsoring Tax Credit for Veteran Jobs

State Sen. Mike Stack (D-Philadelphia) is sponsoring a bill that would provide a $4,000 tax credit to small businesses that hire veterans.

“It’s a win/win because the employer will get a great employee in a veteran and be doing the right thing to hire one of our heroes and also get a tax credit,” Stack said. “So I think it’s job creation and it’s rewarding the folks that have fought for us.”

Stack notes the unemployment rate in Pennsylvania for veterans is 9.9 percent compared to the statewide unemployment rate of 7.8 percent.

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Transportation
3:30 am
Sun June 2, 2013

Pittsburghers for Public Transit to Rally in Capitol

The advocacy group Pittsburghers for Public Transit (PPT) plans to hold a rally on June 4 in the Capitol Rotunda to call for funding and better conditions for public transit in Pennsylvania.

PPT Community Organizer Helen Gerhardt said they plan on visiting the office of every state legislator to tell them why public transit is crucial.

“Many people don’t realize just how important public transit is to the urban tax base, which then supports the entire state budget including funds for roads and bridges,” Gerhardt said.

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Outdoors
2:06 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Green Tree Man to Embark on 1,000-Mile Canoe Trip

Green Tree resident Ian Davis will soon embark on a 1,000-mile adventure in remembrance of the canoe's former owner, David Burt.
Credit Photo courtesy of Ian Davis

When David Burt bought his canoe in 1964, he thought that he would be the one paddling it on long-distance journeys.

But his life was cut short in 1966, and now the current owner of the canoe is embarking on a 1,000-mile adventure in remembrance of David.

Ian Davis, 52, of Green Tree will begin his journey in Point State Park with the hope of finishing this August in Cairo, Illinois with his 51-year-old canoe intact.

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Electric Cars
3:30 am
Tue May 28, 2013

AAA Tries to Spark Interest in Electric Cars

When choosing a way to get around for the next few years, eight out of 10 adults would rather drive out of the dealership with a gas vehicle than an electric one.

According to a survey by AAA, 30 percent of adults said they would not buy an electric car because of limits with mileage. Twenty-six percent said it was because of cost.

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