Virus Still Seen as Threat; Consumer Optimism Slows

Southwestern Pennsylvanians don’t believe that the COVID-19 pandemic is over, but continuing to wear a mask is something fewer and fewer are willing to do, a new survey suggests. Meanwhile, consumer confidence in the local economy dipped in June and optimism among residents about their personal financial situations fell for the first time this year. …

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The State of Higher Ed: Point Park, Duquesne, CCAC

We asked the presidents of the region’s colleges and universities to answer this question: As we move closer to the end of the pandemic, what strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats have become more apparent to you for your institution than they were pre-pandemic? Paul Hennigan, Point Park University When faced with a challenge that seems …

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The Curtain Rises, At Last

On an evening in early June, people lounged in camp chairs and blankets on the grass at Point State Park, lines formed at food booths on the edge of the lawn and people stood shoulder-to-shoulder, swaying to the sounds of blues rock and soul music performed by Celisse on the main stage. It was more …

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The Summer 2021 issue:

Region Adds Jobs, but Needs More

The Pittsburgh region welcomed back thousands of jobs in June but will need sustained gains to climb back to pre-pandemic employment levels. The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area gained 57,800 jobs from June 2020 to June 2021, including 9,300 jobs since May 2021. “Jobs are up more than you would seasonally expect here for the …

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The State of Higher Ed: WVU, Seton Hill, Washington & Jefferson

We asked the presidents of the region’s colleges and universities to answer this question: As we move closer to the end of the pandemic, what strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats have become more apparent to you for your institution than they were pre-pandemic? E. Gordon Gee, West Virginia University I believe that when our world …

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The Coming Missteps on Big Tech

If we thought that too many antitrust laws and enforcements were ineffectual at best and counterproductive at worst, matters are about to become even more dreadful: Most of the proposed enforcements will harm consumers without much denting the power of Big Tech. Previously in this series: “How to Handle the FAANGs: Antitrust Is More Interesting …

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The Black-Throated Blue Warbler

The male is dark blue, white and black. The female is olive brown and grey with a white patch mid-wing, when folded. The contrast is called sexual dimorphism — two versions of the same species depending on gender. Look and listen for something spectacular. This is a bird you’ll want to find. My first encounter …

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The State of Higher Ed: Chatham, Robert Morris, Thiel

We asked the presidents of the region’s colleges and universities to answer this question: As we move closer to the end of the pandemic, what strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats have become more apparent to you for your institution than they were pre-pandemic? David Finegold, Chatham University The pandemic highlighted many of Chatham’s historic strengths: …

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Just Askin’… Derek Shelton

Q: What’s the most interesting thing about your job? A: The wide variety of people I interact with on a daily basis. Q: What’s the best advice anybody ever gave you? A: To do your job right the first time. Not half-assed. Q: How do you start the day? A: I drink a lot of …

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How to Handle the FAANGs

“Consumers won’t thank antitrust enforcers for repeating the mistakes of the past.” —Jessica Melugin, Competitive Enterprise Institute Previously in this series: “Laissez-Faire vs. the Progressives: Antitrust Is More Interesting Than You Think, Part IX” The so-called Chicago School approach to antitrust enforcement has many fathers and they rarely agree on much. In addition, the school …

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Fit Facts: Hard Truths about Diet and Exercise

Question: “There’s so much information available about dieting and exercise. I’m not sure what to believe. How do I separate fact from fiction? I feel your pain! There is an enormous amount of material available through workout videos, diet and exercise books, health club promotions, fitness equipment companies and the internet. Sifting through information can …

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The Blackberry: The Humblest Jewel

If you were tasked with designing a wild fruit to represent western Pennsylvania, you might come up with the blackberry. Its familiar, arcing canes spread over logged hillsides and reclaimed strip mines, beside railroad tracks and across abandoned farmland reverting to woods. Blackberries are an unplanned bonus from hard-used land. Such a luscious treat, blackberries …

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The State of Higher Ed: CMU, Bethany, Grove City

We asked the presidents of the region’s colleges and universities to answer this question: As we move closer to the end of the pandemic, what strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats have become more apparent to you for your institution than they were pre-pandemic? Farnam Jahanian, Carnegie Mellon University The pandemic has accelerated many of the …

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We Need New Blood

Our region is thirsty for blood. On a typical day, Vitalant Pittsburgh (formerly Central Blood Bank) sees 250 blood donors. It needs 600 donors to meet the local demand for blood. “Our region collects less than half of what we need. People’s jaws drop when we say this,” says Mark Giaquinto, president and chief financial …

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