Pandemic Learning Loss

For decades, educators fretted over how to prevent “summer slide,” the learning loss that students often experience over summer vacation. The COVID pandemic raised the stakes.Mounting evidence suggests that periodic school closings, the abrupt shift to remote learning and other disruptions profoundly set back students’ education, accelerating learning loss into a national crisis — a …

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February Night

—for Hil Winter rain drummingthe pond ice beyond the gate.One light burns overthe stove, bright enough that hecan make out the easy drift of her hip slopinginto the turned-down blanket.The warm length of her.The warm length of heragainst him. Cold rains. He feeds the fire.

Less Lawn, More Native Plants

When my mother-in-law was ill 28 years ago, my husband began to build a stone wall on our front lawn. Each rock he handled three, maybe four times: plucked from the woods, thrown into the back of a pickup, dropped onto the grass to decide placement, or set directly atop a dry wall. One stone …

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The Plot Thickens

I’d hired a guy named “Harry” to run Nemacolin for me, and a private eye named “Don” to check up on Harry, but I wasn’t a completely hands-off boss. As Harry began improving the ambience of the place, I got involved, changing the named from “Nemacolin” to “Nemacolin Woodlands” and sketching out a logo that …

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Pittsburgh Opera’s “Ariodante” – A Sublime Marriage of the 18th and 21st Centuries

Nearly a century ago, the iconoclastic dramatist Bertolt Brecht wrote that “Since it is precisely for its backwardness that the opera-going public adores opera, an influx of new types of listener with new appetites has to be reckoned with; and so it is.”  This is a felicitous way to describe what Pittsburgh Opera has done …

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To Run or Not to Run in the Pittsburgh Marathon

When I was growing up in Pittsburgh, there were four movie houses on my working-class South Side, so I saw plenty of movies.  I loved then all — the war movies, the romantic adventures, the musical comedies, the biblical epics, the baseball biographies, the hour-long oaters starring Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, but my favorites, …

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Fitting into West Virginia

In writing, place can be both problematic and inspirational. Take James Joyce’s troubled relationship with his Irish homeland. Ireland’s Catholic, nationalist values were reasons enough for him to never enter his native land after 1912. And though he died in 1941, his masterpieces remain redolent of Dublin. In her captivating debut memoir, Another Appalachia: Coming …

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Joe Hardy, Nemacolin and Me

Some years ago I became the head of a family office for one of America’s wealthiest families. Very near the top of my to-do list, which the family had unceremoniously handed me on my first day, was something that read, “Sell Nemacolin.” As far as I knew, Nemacolin had been a famous chief of the …

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A Sailing Odyssey, The Conclusion

Killarney was our eastern apogee, where we spent the rainy day in the Killarney Mountain Lodge, had drinks by the fire and I taught the guys to play bridge. From there we started the long trek back, exploring the North Channel’s most beautiful places by day and playing bridge in the cozy cabin each night. …

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The Fall 2022 issue:

A Sailing Odyssey, Part I

When I was a boy during summers in northern Michigan, there was one adventure that dwarfed all others: sailing to the North Channel. It was a distant, mythic place of pristine beauty and wrecked boats where intrepid sailors matched their skills with the forces of nature — where islands had rattlesnakes, fish were huge, and …

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Hyeholde

Being almost 88 and having spent three-quarters of my life at Hyeholde, writing the story of the restaurant my parents created is a piece of cake for me, and a delicious piece at that. In 1931, my parents bought six acres of farmland and, with income from working three months each year at a lovely …

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Pittsburgh’s Gentleman Scholar

I wasn’t sure when i knocked on the door that I was really at the right house. I thought I had the correct address, but it had been a long trip. I took the passenger ferry to Martha’s Vineyard and then rode my bicycle 10 miles out to West Tisbury. And then I had to hunt …

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The Brush Pile

About 100 yards from my house, near the edge of an open field, lies a large brush pile. It’s unsightly, at least from the human perspective — a lump of tangled, decomposing chaos marring the open views of the field. Each time I pass, I think: I’ve got to do something about that. We all …

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Arkus, Diana, Talotta, McCullough, DeLuca, Samet, Coraluppi, Baer, Shea, Rust, Kernick, Henne, Silvestre, Fennell, Celli

Jane Arkus, 93As an advertising executive, Arkus helped to create the iconic “chipped-chopped ham” ads for Islay’s. She joined Lando in 1951 as a copywriter and when the firm merged with Burson-Marsteller, she became its senior creative director. As a marketing consultant, Arkus worked to develop the Downtown Cultural District, WQED and the Urban League …

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Spotlight on Nonprofits

Rachel Petrucelli, UPMC Children’s Hospital Foundation Working in the nonprofit sector — specifically at UPMC Children’s Hospital Foundation — has enabled me to draw on my own lived experience to ease the burdens many children and families face here in our community. As the mom of a daughter with complex medical and behavioral health needs, I …

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Less Lawn, More Native Plants

When my mother-in-law was ill 28 years ago, my husband began to build a stone wall on our front lawn. Each rock he handled three, maybe four times: plucked from the woods, thrown into the back of a pickup, dropped onto the grass to decide placement, or set directly atop a dry wall. One stone …

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Weak Regional Jobs Picture Continues

Employers in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area shed 25,000 jobs from December 2021 to January 2022 – a 2.2 percent monthly loss, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Seasonal job losses are typical in January, but other data offer little hope that local jobs will snap back to pre-COVID levels. Annual revisions …

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A Little Slice of Heaven

My chainsaw is little. Like, really little. A baby chainsaw. The love child of gas-powered monsters that guys twice my size use to slice through the trunk of a 200-year pine as if it were a stick of butter. Those blades are as long as my leg. This blade, the one on my chainsaw, is …

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Infrastructure Bonanza

It promises to be a busy couple of years for Vincent Valdes. As the federal government begins to pump $1.2 trillion into the nation’s infrastructure, the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission he leads is in the thick of discussions around how to spend the region’s share, which will be counted in hundreds of millions of dollars and …

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America – Where Agency Flourishes

“In the beginning all the world was America.” — John Locke Previously in this series: On Agency Part VII Turning from China to the West Last week we observed human agency as it collapsed in Rome but was championed by the Germanic tribes that would eventually defeat the Roman Empire. The “freedom of the German …

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Night Out for the Aviary

The National Aviary’s “Gentlemen’s Night Out” at the PNC Champions Club at Heinz Field included cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a four-course dinner with wine pairings, live music, and an assortment of premium cigars. Michael Mascaro, Aviary trustee and Executive Vice President of Mascaro Construction, hosted the benefit which included guests: Pittsburgh Steelers alumni Matt Spaeth, Craig Bingham, and JT Thomas, …

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