Pittsburgh Tomorrow Podcast: Vivek Kumar, CEO and Founder of Qlicket

Donald Bonk interviews Vivek Kumar, CEO and founder of Qlicket, as part of the Pittsburgh Tomorrow podcast series. The transcript is abridged and edited for clarity. View the episode archive here. Read Vivek Kumar’s full bio here. “Paul Graham… A founder of Y Combinator (national start-up accelerator), who’s from Pittsburgh, actually went to Gateway High …

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Bold Action Needed: Lisa Schroeder, Grant Oliphant, Gregg Behr

At a time when the Pittsburgh region is continuing to lose population and has been seeing regional job losses the past few months, we asked a group of regional leaders to respond, in 200 words or less, to this question: What action do we need to take to create the kind of growth, vitality and dynamism that will stem …

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Ken Gormley: Lawyer, Teacher and Author

I was the first person in my family to be born in Pittsburgh. My brothers and sisters have always said that this accounts for my “irrational” loyalty to the city. My dad grew up on a farm in Kentucky and was the odd person in his family—the one who left home to get a Ph.D. …

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The Summer 2020 issue:

Colleges and Schools Can and Should Open in a Way That Does the Least Harm

Any untimely death is a tragedy. Our youth die in transit to and from schools and universities every year, but these institutions are not shut down as a result. Engaging in life involves some risk of death. COVID-19 deaths in youth are rare. Rational policies should aim to minimize such risks with no expectation of …

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What the World Needs Now… Is Rod McKuen

Barry Alfonso, a writer living in Swissvale, has produced a book we didn’t know was needed. Chances are, if you remember Rod McKuen, you’ll know his popular image: a 1960s California pop singer-songwriter who also churned out best-selling volumes of poetry that non-best-selling poets considered the equivalent of Muzak. Indeed, Alfonso cites the assessment of …

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Floating on the Shenango River

One wonderful way to see portions of our western Pennsylvania landscape is to paddle a river or stream by canoe or kayak. One place to paddle is the upper Shenango River in western Mercer County, 70 miles north of Pittsburgh. A 23-mile stretch flows unimpeded between the Pymatuning and Shenango reservoirs. The Iroquois name Shenango, …

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The Russkies, Vietnam and a Possible Coup

For readers who missed part 1 of this series of posts, I am summarizing a fictional novel written almost forty years ago. In the novel, written so many years ago, many chapters were devoted to the back-channel negotiations that went on between the Johnson Administration (in the person of Walter Rostow) and the Soviet Union …

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Pittsburgh Tomorrow Podcast: Sean Luther, Executive Director of InnovatePGH

Donald Bonk interviews Sean Luther, executive director of InnovatePGH, as part of the Pittsburgh Tomorrow podcast series. The transcript is abridged and edited for clarity. View the episode archive here. Read Sean Luther’s full bio here. “Pitt and CMU have evolved to be extremely complementary. They physically overlap in this really unique urban environment. That …

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Bold Action Needed: Jim Roddey, Diane Holder, Bill Strickland

At a time when the Pittsburgh region is continuing to lose population and has been seeing regional job losses the past few months, we asked a group of regional leaders to respond, in 200 words or less, to this question: What action do we need to take to create the kind of growth, vitality and dynamism that will stem …

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Did We Do Any Good?

Did VISTAs in Pittsburgh even come close to “eliminating poverty,” the stated goal? There is no evidence that this happened, nor do any of the ex-volunteers think they even made a dent. What, then, did they achieve? Most VISTAs believe that they were able to help individuals who needed help. Some of this help was …

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Local Unemployment Drops, but Rate Remains Staggering

Unemployment in southwestern Pennsylvania fell sharply in May, when the region began to relax social restrictions and reopen businesses that had been closed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Still, the jobless rate remains at levels rarely seen as the pandemic continued to take its toll on the local economy. The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan …

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Could the Coronavirus Kill the Gasoline Tax?

A crisis in how to pay for roads and bridges with a gasoline tax had been worsening for decades. With Americans traveling less, the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating it. Fifty years ago, when the miles Americans traveled in their cars were soaring, a tax on every gallon of gasoline sold worked as a way pay …

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Here’s to a Summer Night

The long, rainy spring is finally gone, the sun is shining and summer’s here. It’s still unclear how much we’ll be able to socialize this summer, but rather than dwell on all the things we may not be able to do in the coming months, I’m reminding myself of the summer traditions we can still …

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Gone Before Their Time

In Pittsburgh’s early 20th century industrial economy, danger lurked in rail yards, on the exposed I-beams of tall buildings under construction and in steel mills where gases and fire coexisted. “Ten minutes before, we stood there laughing, and not one of us had an idea there was anything wrong with that furnace,” lawyer and journalist …

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