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Opinion

Smart City

Certainly, it’s not great news that Pittsburgh didn’t win a $50 million federal Smart City Challenge grant to redesign its transportation system. The grant would have helped “plan, design and build the next Pittsburgh,” Mayor Bill Peduto said. Pittsburgh’s proposal envisioned a combination of big data working with electricity microgrids to create an “electric avenue” …

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The Best of Intentions

I just hope my mother doesn’t testify against me… if she does, I am in deep trouble. I was gathering all the necessary items to bring into my son Joe’s preschool class for his “birthday week” extravaganza: “Manuelo the Playing Mantis” book to read aloud? Check. Praying mantis “hat” craft kits for all 25 students? …

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Advice to a Would-Be Reporter

I was talking recently with a friend’s son who’s interested in journalism, which today seems like a very uncertain proposition. Perhaps it always has been— my parents certainly thought so. I gave him the lay of the land and noted the difficulty of making any money, but I added that reporting does provide great training …

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The British Vote and Pittsburgh’s Demographics

We’re all trying to figure out the implications of the somewhat surprising news that UK voters decided by a comfortable majority to leave the European Union. No matter what side you identified with in this grand referendum, it’s always invigorating when democracy’s voices speak. With a record high voter turn out – over 70% of …

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Mark

About 10 years ago, a six-inch bust appeared suddenly on top of a retaining wall in my back yard in Highland Park. How it got there was a mystery. Left by someone moving from the area? An abandoned kid’s toy? Or…something magical? The bust was creamy white and from a distance seemed likely a noble …

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Giant Eagle Misadventures

I appear to be a fully functioning, generally normal human being. I have friends, a family, a job, and some interesting hobbies. No felonies, no spectacular talents, no debilitating weaknesses, either. Just your basic person. But as the old song goes, “Everybody plays the fool, sometimes…” My time was not long ago, at the Market …

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Thank You for 10 Great Years

It was a cold January day 10 years ago when I got the call that the truck with our first issue of the magazine was stuck on a small South Side street. When I found the driver, his truck was snared in an impossible turn, stopping traffic. On the sidewalk at my feet was a …

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Cleaner Air for Pittsburgh and More

When a Detroit company announced earlier this year that it would close its Shenango Coke Works on Neville Island, the news accounts led with the loss of 173 jobs. While we don’t cheer job losses in Pittsburgh, there is another, more important side to this story. Shenango was the smaller of the two coke works …

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Covering 10 Years

With the exception of our second and third editions back in 2006, all of our covers have featured illustrations. We’ve benefited from a tremendous wealth of artistic talent in Pittsburgh and have sought to bring readers of each issue a colorful introduction to a different kind of magazine.

A Printing Press for the Future

During a pre-Sscars movie binge, I recently saw “Spotlight,” the film about the Boston Globe’s investigation into the cover-up of sexual abuse by Catholic priests. Having spent two decades at Pittsburgh’s daily papers, the newsroom scenes brought back the vitality of a great American institution—the newspaper—which sadly appears to be fading into history. And I …

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Pittsburgh: 200 Years Young?

Pittsburgh’s getting younger. you hear it, read about it, and see it any time you’re out on the “tahn.” Even the demographic data back it up. But if you still don’t believe it, consider this: This year—just eight years after the Pittsburgh 250 celebration—the City of Pittsburgh is celebrating its 200th anniversary—proof positive that everything …

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The Path to Growth

My 13-year-old son is growing taller by the day. I asked him jokingly when he would stop and he replied “If I had my way, never.” He said it felt good to be achieving “new heights” even if he knew it would come to an end some day. The same seems to be true of …

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Our New Downtown

I was dining the other night at Poros, the fourth Downtown restaurant opened by Yves Carreau. The elegant new space connects PPG Place and Market Square, and as I watched passersby outside the wall of windows, I was struck by how much Pittsburgh has changed. Soon the ice rink at PPG Place will reopen and …

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A New Kind of Volunteering

As many consider year-end charitable gifts, one old Pittsburgh company with a new name is spurring new ways to build a better community. Covestro—until this year Bayer MaterialScience—is investing in a new concept called “skills-based volunteerism” designed to benefit nonprofits as well as companies and their employees. The idea is that Covestro, and hopefully other …

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Time for a change

I can see the eye roll coming. How did I become the old shrew? Was it the cumulative effect of all those times I naively worried that an absent employee had been in a car wreck only to have them show up 30 minutes late with a mochachino in hand complaining about the line at …

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Building a Stronger Region

Creating a diversity survey for the Pittsburgh region is a tricky business. First, in this day and age, how should we define diversity? There’s racial and ethnic diversity as well as diversity of religion and of sexual preference, which has grown from “LGBT” to “LGBTQIA” (you can look it up). Should women fall under the …

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Getting away from it all

“You need a vacation.” It’s bad enough when we hear it from our family members, worse when our employees feel compelled to tell us, and downright embarrassing when a regular client or customer points it out. Despite our best efforts, the physical and mental wear and tear of business ownership can take an obvious toll. …

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Pittsburgh & Diversity

Recently, in my “other” job with Pittsburgh Today, we published a report on racial and ethnic diversity in the regional workforce. Given that Pittsburgh is the whitest (86 percent) of the 15 benchmark regions we examine, it wasn’t a shock to learn that we have the lowest percentage of minority workers—11 percent compared with the …

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A Call from Campus

Diligent MBA students mine their schools’ alumni databases for possible internships and jobs. The value of networking and information gathering is a given. I’m sure they frequently contact alumni from investment banks, management consultancies and Fortune 500 companies, but as the owner of a retail bakery in Pittsburgh, I am blissfully unencumbered by such requests. …

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A Maze of Milestones

I‘ve been accumulating milestones lately. Within a year, I’ll have had my 35th high school reunion, the 30th anniversary of my arrival in Pittsburgh, my 25th wedding anniversary, the 10th anniversary of the founding of this magazine, and finally, the signing and sending of the final check for my three children’s college tuitions. During a …

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The Two Sides of a Sale

I can’t decide which is more awkward, selling to someone or being sold to. I’ve been on both sides, and when the sale is right, there’s nothing better. An opportunity is identified, a plan is hatched, and both parties benefit. But as a small business owner, I spend a lot of time trying to extricate …

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Trees and Time

There is nothing quite like working among trees in the dead of winter. We walk, my sons and I, through the dense forest of white pine. The only sounds are the muted swoosh of the wind and the occasional snap of a twig underfoot on the soft, pine- needle floor. The boys are home for …

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