Ashley Hirtzel, WBFO


WBFO/Western New York reporter for the Innovation Trail.

Ashley is a Buffalo native, and is in her second stint as reporter at WBFO. During her first tenure at the station, Ashley covered a variety of issues in the western New York region and earned an Associated Press award for team coverage on “Same Sex Marriage in New York.” Ashley has also worked as an anchor/reporter at WBEN in Buffalo and WBTA in Batavia.

Ashley earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Communications at Medaille College in Buffalo.   



Mon November 25, 2013

Study calls fracking job number claims ‘exaggerated’

WBFO file photo

A new report claims that the job impact of shale gas drilling is exaggerated by supporters. The analysis finds only one out-of-every 795 jobs was shale gas related in the six-state area it focused on.

The study by the Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative looked at the six states that span the Marcellus and Utica Shale, including New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The report finds that direct shale-related employment fell in the 12 months between the first quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013.

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Wed November 20, 2013

Hackathons fertile ground for world's big innovations

University at Buffalo hackers Mack Ward (left) & Nathan Burgers (right)
Ashley Hirtzel WBFO

A number of Buffalo college students have been coming away with some of the big prizes at recent computer code writing contest known as “hackathons.” As the popularity of hackathons continues to grow, observers are assigning a lot of value on the codefests, while others question whether the work coming out of them is relevant to the general public.

Mack Ward studies Computer Science at the University at Buffalo. He and his team placed first for their idea of the "Scroller" app, a program that allows people to scroll a page on the internet using only the human eye and standard computer technology.

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Tue November 19, 2013
Refugee Resettlement

Refugees revitalize Rust Belt city of Buffalo

At Journey's End Refugee Services, Bishnu Adhikari, right, tests his students on their vacuum skills.
Ashley Hirtzel WBFO

Upstate New York cities take in around 90 percent of all current refugee resettlements in the state. All this week, The Innovation Trail is taking a look at how that diverse population has weaved its way into the region’s changing economy.

In Buffalo, a handful of students from countries all over the world are sitting in a class at Journey’s End Refugee Services. They are learning how to become janitors for local businesses. The group nods as a student explains an assignment to them.

It wasn’t that long ago that the group’s teacher, Bishnu Adhikari, was sitting in their seat trying to understand English and the concept of a mop, bucket and vacuum.

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Tue November 12, 2013

Local labor policy aims to address unemployment issues

Rubber Dragon Some Rights Reserved

Local hiring policies are becoming more commonplace as a way to address regional unemployment and strengthen the tax base. New quotas for local workers were just approved by the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency.

The new labor policy means that construction companies that receive Niagara County IDA economic development incentives will have to recruit at least 90 percent of their workforce from counties in western New York.

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Mon November 11, 2013

Off-the-shelf football gear offers same protection as custom-built

High school football game.
Ashley Hirtzel WBFO

Special mouth guards and helmets marketed to help reduce concussions may not actually provide any additional protection for football players a new report claims. The findings are from a 2012 study that followed 1,332 high school athletes during a season.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin followed the football players in grades 9 through 12 at 36 high schools across the country. They compared players wearing custom-fitted mouth guards and helmets with those wearing off-the-shelf gear. Nearly 10 percent of the players they tracked experienced injuries during the season.

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