Over the past 10 years, school gardens have been cropping up across the Pittsburgh region. Spurred by chef-activist Alice Waters’ 1995 Edible School Yard, the school garden movement has been praised for yielding both a harvest bounty and hearty educational benefits. In these outdoor classrooms, students learn about everything from summer squash to science to self-sufficiency. While it may seem new, it’s far from it. At numerous times since the turn of the 20th century — from the liberty gardens of WWI to the victory gardens of WWII — school gardening has been cultivated with vigor.
Lynda Schuster has had quite a life. now safely squared away in Squirrel Hill, she spent the 1980s and ’90s in one danger zone after another. She reported on wars, insurrections and misery in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa for The Wall Street Journal and Christian Science Monitor. After marrying a U.S. diplomat on the rise, she landed with him in the unrelaxing posts of Peru, Mozambique and Liberia. But writing a memoir might be her most challenging mission yet: Can someone who has dodged bullets as a scribe and been driven around in armored convoys as an ambassador’s wife tell her life story without bluster and bravado? Her engaging and humane “Dirty Wars and Polished Silver” provides the answer: Yes, absolutely.
Editor’s note: Studies show that hundreds of thousands of people across southwestern Pennsylvania are nearing retirement or already have left the workforce. What the studies don’t tell us is how these new retirees will be spending their time and resources… and what impact those choices will have on the region. In this second installment of our “Silver Tsunami” series, we explore these issues and find that retiring baby boomers are focusing on some of the same priorities that long have directed their lives.
“Tread softly, this is consecrated dust. Forty five pure patriotic victims lie here, a sacrifice to freedom and civil liberty. A horrid memento of a most wicked rebellion. Patriots! These are patriots’ graves.” –Inscription on the memorial at Allegheny Cemetery
In May, my older sister emailed, wondering if I’d be sailing in the nationals, which this year would be where we spend summers in Michigan. I’d been considering it, but there were two impediments — pulling together a four-man crew and the spinnaker. No problem with the crew, but flying a spinnaker loomed in my mind like a monster.
Speaking of high school football, as I am, I knew of a chemistry teacher who was so tough, so mean — or at least mean-looking — that he produced decades of superb students. Not that I’m advocating mean as a teaching method, but he was so good that college chemistry professors could pick his students out on the first day of class. He also was an assistant football coach, and as acting head coach briefly, he turned out some of the best teams the school ever had. Kids under either of his hats had a brighter future.
Dr. Robert Bart is the chief medical information officer of the Health Services Division of UPMC. He will oversee the health system’s efforts to advance the use of electronic health records. A Wisconsin native, he comes to Pittsburgh from Los Angeles, where he held the same position for the Department of Health Services for Los Angeles County, overseeing information technology in four hospitals and 18 large multispecialty ambulatory locations. Previously, he was chief medical officer for pediatrics and academics at Cerner Corp, a leading electronic records company. Bart also is associate professor with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and will work clinically at Children’s Hospital. He received his medical degree from the University of Hawaii in 1990, and completed a pediatrics residency, a pediatric chief residency and pediatric critical care fellowship at Duke University Medical Center.
Frank Cahouet, 85: Cahouet rescued Mellon Bank from the brink of failure in the 1980s and restored the fabled Pittsburgh institution to strength. The first outsider to lead the bank when he arrived in 1987, he inherited bad loans and excessive expenses that led to a loss of nearly $1 billion that year. Cahouet aggressively cut expenses, including nearly 3,000 layoffs. His purchases of The Boston Co. and Dreyfus Corp. ultimately repositioned Mellon to become one of the country’s most profitable financial companies. After his 1998 retirement, he expanded his Pittsburgh community efforts, serving on the boards of Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and many others.
To flip through Hans Jonas’s album, which is indistinguishable on the outside from a family photo album, is to view Pittsburghers as if they were a family: a beloved aunt Sally Wiggin, a hardworking cousin Willie Stargell, and of course, everybody’s favorite neighbor, Fred Rogers.