Sarah Kovash

Digital Engagement Editor

Sarah Kovash connects 90.5 WESA listeners with the station's online content and social media platforms, in addition to reporting and editing. 

She previously worked as a web producer for KDKA-TV, as a freelance journalist for the Valley News Dispatch covering local government throughout the Alle-Kiski Valley and at NPR station KPBS in San Diego. 

Ways to Connect

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh is many kinds of city: it’s a sports city, it’s a robotics city, it’s a ketchup city. But at its most essential, Pittsburgh is a city of steep hills. In the early 1900s, public staircases were built all around the city to help people navigate challenging terrain. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

After more than 1,000 hours of mediated sessions and discussions, the city of Pittsburgh and community groups have reached an agreement with the developers of the former Penn Plaza site, to ensure affordable housing and green spaces remain in East Liberty.

Courtesy of Ted Zellers

Basement toilets are a pervasive feature of Pittsburgh homes -- so much so that one local photographer set out to document them.

And although local lore suggests they were first installed so that mill workers and miners could clean up before entering the main part of the house, multiple local experts said they couldn't verify that, and most declined to weigh in on how these mysterious home features came to be.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Cathy Schlott’s fingers are covered in blood, but she doesn’t seem concerned or put off by it. She’s feeding Anne, a 4-pound adult barred owl, which are common in Pennsylvania.

“She gets lots of treats for this,” said Schlott, curator of animal behavioral management at the aviary, while holding Anne, who’s perched on her arm.

She’s feeding her “meeces pieces,” or chunks of raw meat.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

In seven locations throughout the city, fire hydrants are continually spewing water --- more than 15 million gallons of water.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Residents of Millvale are no longer under a flush and boil water advisory. Officials with Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) announced Sunday night that the Department of Environmental Protection had approved lifting the advisory.

Courtesy of Ted Zellers

Ted Zellers has knocked on doors from the West End to the North Side to Polish Hill and beyond, all to ask people if he can have a look in their basements.

“I’ve been surprised about how positive the reactions of people have been,” he said. “I was really worried when I started this that a lot of people would think I was a weirdo for wanting to do this.”

The Lawrenceville resident and amateur photographer is compiling photographs of those lone basement toilets. He said he’s hoping to one day share them in some kind of coffee table book, or eventually a gallery show.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Despite reports of improvement in recent days, Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium officials said Wednesday morning that the facility’s baby elephant has been euthanized.

“Our hearts are broken, it’s just devastating,” said Pittsburgh Zoo president and CEO Barbara Baker in a press release. “She touched so many people in such a short time. We did everything we possibly could to care for her, but unfortunately in the end, it just wasn’t enough.”

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Pittsburgh isn’t the worst place for bed bugs in the U.S., but it did make a list of the country’s top offenders, according to Terminix.

The extermination company released a list of the top cities for bed bugs based on the volume of service requests for the first half of the year.

Pittsburgh ranked No. 12, just below Philadelphia, which ranked No. 10 on the list. However, you don't have to travel far to find the worst city for bed bugs: Cleveland, Ohio.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

UPDATE: Pittsburgh Zoo officials said Friday that the elephant calf is doing well after surgery and was moving around. She is currently using a feeding tube to get one pint of formula and officials said her GI tract was functioning normally. She is also taking a bottle of milk from Nan, a lactating elephant also at the zoo.

Earlier Version:  

Pittsburgh Zoo officials announced Wednesday that the facility’s baby elephant's health is flagging, and that the next 24 to 48 hours will be critical.

screengrab via nasa.gov

There’s no shortage of excitement surrounding Monday’s solar eclipse.

Though Pittsburghers won’t be able to view a total eclipse (states south of Pittsburgh will get the full experience), we’ll still get about 80 percent coverage, according to NASA.

If you’re in the city or outside, you can check out what your view will look like on this Jet Propulsion Laboratory app:

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

At this time last year, artist Baron Batch was facing backlash and $30,000 in fines and legal fees for illegal graffiti he left on several public areas.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Every morning, the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium’s new 177-pound baby African elephant takes a stroll through the grounds.

“She knocks over the trash cans, she knocks over any signs she can find,” said Willie Theison, elephant program manager at the Pittsburgh Zoo. “She just thinks she’s the baddest little girl.”

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University’s provost and chief academic officer, Farnam Jahanian, will take over as the school’s interim president next month.

The university’s board of trustees appointed Jahanian Wednesday. He’ll take over July 1.

Jahanian will follow Subra Suresh, who announced nearly two weeks ago that he will step down after a record-short tenure.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

President Donald Trump may not think the Paris Climate Accord is beneficial for the U.S., but Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto says the city is still committed to it.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Sala Udin, Veronica Edwards and Terry Kennedy won seats on the Pittsburgh Public Schools boards Tuesday night, in the only contested board races.

Kennedy, the incumbent District 5 representative, garnered nearly twice as many votes as opponent Ghadah Makoshi.

In District 3, former city councilman Udin beat out opponent James Myers, a Schenley High School grad and outreach coordinator for the Pittsburgh Green Innovators.

And Edwards narrowly defeated incumbent Carolyn Klug for the District 9 seat.

Dave J. Bruce Photography / via Station

The Penguins just need four more wins before we're in the Stanley Cup finals ... AGAIN. 

A lot of us are super stoked -- and some of us don't really care (I know, I know).

But even if you don't care about watching the Pens play, there is another benefit to an extended hockey season, especially if you're a bit of a foodie: checking out one of the city's popular bars and restaurants that are usually hard to get into.  

Forest and Kim Starr / Flickr

Mother's Day may seem like a fairly innocuous holiday for most people, but not for its creator, Anna Jarvis. Although the holiday was meant as a tribute to the women who commonly lost children and persevered through the difficult days of the Civil War, it became a woeful reminder of commercialism—and ultimately led her to become institutionalized

Adam Kucenic

A local restaurateur who planned to open a ‘90s hip-hop-themed fried chicken restaurant in East Liberty is changing the concept after receiving some backlash from the community.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

90.5 WESA’s sister station WYEP held a competition for the worst song ever this week.

Listeners submitted their least favorite tunes, which the station pared down to 20 finalist.  90.5 WESA’s Sarah Kovash talked to WYEP’s Director of Content and Programming, Mike Sauter, about what makes a bad song and the five most hated tunes.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

SARAH KOVASH: Now, were you surprised by some of these submissions?

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The city has towed nearly 50 cars in the past two weekends since it started full-fledged enforcement of parking restrictions on Carson Street's new public safety lane.

The public safety lane restricts parking along a six-block stretch of Carson Street, between 12th and 17th streets, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Additionally, metered parking on the South Side has been extended until midnight.

Miles Gehm / Flickr

A large portion of western Pennsylvania, including the Pittsburgh region, is under a tornado watch until Monday evening.

The watch also covers counties in West Virginia and Ohio, and is expected to remain in effect until 7 p.m.

via Hillman Compay and Family Foundations

Pittsburgh businessman and philanthropist Henry Hillman died at the age of 98 Friday.

The Hillman family confirmed his death, saying in a statement, “Daddy had such a tremendous life filled by a large family he loved dearly, innumerable friends, and great adventures in business and philanthropy.”

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

After months of building and $3.8 million in construction costs, the Midwife Center in the Strip District has more than doubled its space to 11,700 square feet. Unveiled by officials on Thursday, it's now the largest freestanding birthing center in the country. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Game of Thrones fans have three new reasons to visit the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium’s new Jungle Odyssey exhibit.

Joining the exhibit are three 4-and-a-half-year-old capybaras – who can weigh 150 pounds and are known as the world’s largest rodent – all named after an interesting slew of Thrones characters, including Lysa, Varys and Melisandre.

Lead mammal keeper Kathy Suthard said she chose the names based on the dynamics she observed between the three animals.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

It's a sad day for the Social Club gang, this is our final episode. We're so grateful to everyone who's listened over the last few years and hope to share Pittsburgh happenings in a new format one day, too. 

So, for one last time, 90.5 WESA's Sarah Kovash, Josh Raulerson and Rachel Carlson of Yelp Pittsburgh fill you in on what's happening this weekend. 

casey.senate.gov

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey said Thursday he has “serious concerns” about Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch and plans to vote against his confirmation.

Thursday marks the fourth and final day of confirmation hearings for Gorsuch. Congress is expected to vote Monday, April 3.

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