Profiles

The World Through a Food Truck

“Just don’t tell Baba our chicken is better.” It’s the only request Ryah asks customers who stop by to visit Leena’s, the food truck she operates out of a ’91 Chevy Step Van that began its life delivering the Pittsburgh Post-​Gazette.

Seeing a Garden in a Pile of Debris

Julia had fired up the chainsaw because she had been bored, really. Retirement had been fun for an hour or two, but she needed something to do.

Mario’s Corner of the World in Sewickley

Mario spends most of his life in the dungeon. That’s what he likes to call his Sewickley Shoe Repair shop, the dungeon, although his beaming face betrays him.

Meet Jack Roseman, the Tech Whisperer

by Evan Pattak
Shortly after Keith LeJeune helped found Agentase, a company that developed tools to detect hazardous chemicals, he called on Jack Roseman. LeJeune was so impressed with Roseman that he hired him as a consultant.

Gino

Dinners plus two daily sides and bread…$6 each reads the inner page of a card-​sized, laminated menu.

The Basement of Precision

The fork brace will steady the custom-​built 1973 FXE that’s currently in progress. Right now, it’s sitting on a lift in the garage that sits in the alley behind Jeff’s house, sandwiched between single rows of towering red T&E tool chests and a ’75 Camaro waiting patiently for plates and…

Offering a Way Out

There are about two dozen men — black, white, young, old — gathered in a well-​lit commercial space that occupies 704 Main Street, Sharpsburg. In the front window is a white cross with an orange life preserver draped over it that reads Jesus Saves Lives. Anchored against the interior wall, in front of floor-​to-​ceiling…

James Dean

Half of James Dean’s body is under the hood of a ’63 Chevelle that’s missing all of its doors, a portion of his 50 years hanging over navy blue work pants as he twists awkwardly, trying to get the right angle.

Jim Withers, M.D., Street Doctor

My father was a country doctor; my mom, a nurse. Their relationship was grounded in the values of service and compassion, and they included their children — me, for sure — in that vision. So I made house calls with my dad and, among other things, got to practice parallel parking while delivering Meals…

Among the Trees

As Meg Cheever said, “The best park in Pittsburgh is the one you are in.” She founded the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy in 1996 at a time when Pittsburgh was a long way from claiming victory in stemming the tide of decline that still clung to the city. With a band…

Vivien Li, River Keeper

My parents came from educated families in China and Hong Kong and immigrated to the United States. My mother arrived in the early ’50s as an undergraduate while my father, who was 10 years her senior, was studying for a Ph.D. Back then, it was difficult for Asians to come…

Clint Hurdle, Baseball Impresario

I believe that all people inherently have at least one passion. And if that passion can be turned into a livelihood, life becomes special. I’ve had a passion for the game of baseball since I was 5 years old. And now, at the age of 58, instead of running to…

Words of Wisdom

“Reviewing the following excerpts from some of the 40 first – person profiles I created for the magazine over the past 10 years was an emotional experience for me. How many people get to choose from among the most prominent individuals in their hometown and spend time with them learning their life…

Esther L. Barazzone, Educator & Administrator

I grew up in Bluefield, W.Va., a town of about 16,000, which had no “wrong side” of the tracks — because it was all tracks, for trains moving coal out of southern West Virginia. I lived there with my mother, stepfather and three brothers. Three out of four of my grandparents were…

J. Kevin McMahon, Arts & Culture Executive

It’s not a secret, but I actually was born in Pittsburgh. I don’t talk about it, not because I’m not proud of Pittsburgh; Pittsburgh is great. But in Pittsburgh, if you say you were born here, everybody expects you to know everything about it. When I was a little kid,…
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