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Public Interest Radio

Marco Cardamone offered a blunt assessment in recalling the transformation from Duquesne University’s radio station WDUQ to 90.5 FM WESA, an all-news National Public Radio format: “We got pretty clobbered,” he said with a chuckle. “The backlash was much greater than we anticipated. You always lose part of an audience in a radio ownership transition, …

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The Path to Sustainability

Bike lanes and buses, clean water and clear skies, and prosperity without poverty and its corrosive effects—the vision of a sustainable city and region can seem like a Sim City blueprint for the ideal future. Until the nagging obstacles of reality are considered. And nowhere is that more true than in older, former industrial regions …

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Visions of Pittsburgh’s Future

Twenty-five years ago, Pittsburgh hosted the Remaking Cities Conference, an international gathering of architects, visionaries and dignitaries, including England’s Prince Charles, the honorary co-host and keynote speaker. This year, Oct. 15-–18, 2013, Carnegie Mellon University will host the Remaking Cities Congress, with 300 invited urbanists and thought leaders who will again focus on the post-industrial …

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What we say (and do) about the environment

Lori Rieger and Kim Haynes are strolling Point State Park on a July afternoon that is sunny, hot and humid enough to notice. It’s the kind of day that invites ozone pollution to accumulate at levels that violate federal air quality standards, which is something Pittsburgh and the region do on an annual basis. But …

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Grading the Scorecard

Although Sarah Twing showed diverse talents in high school in Penn Laird, Va., she knew her passions would need to be tempered by financial considerations as she looked toward college. Originally from Uzbekistan, her adoptive parents agreed to pay half of her college tuition. The other half would rest on her shoulders. Those who were …

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The STEM Gap

In the decade ending in 2020, United States employers will create about 2.1 million jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as well as the professional sector, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. As America moves to assert or retain leadership in such fields as robotics, unconventional energy plays and next-generation computers …

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For the children and the community

Mist emerges with an audible hiss from the vertical stainless steel poles of “Cloud Arbor,” the new artwork by Ned Kahn in the redesigned Buhl Community Park on the North Side across from the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. A delighted toddler runs toward it, to assess the wafting, San Francisco-like fog that collects and disperses …

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Raising the Bar

Going to law school as a get-rich plan? Maybe you’ve come to the wrong place. That’s the message the University of Pittsburgh’s new law school dean, William M. “Chip” Carter Jr., relays to incoming students or existing ones seeking guidance. This is no cliché in Carter’s mind: The law is a calling. He’s serious, driven …

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The Challenge of Independent Education

Whether it’s the tepid economy or how to adapt to changing technology, educational institutions across the country face a changing landscape. In this issue, we ask the heads of some of the region’s top independent schools to respond to this question: “What are the most significant challenges facing independent schools and how is your institution …

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Putting Pitt to the Test

At the University of Pittsburgh, 2012 will be remembered. It was a year of celebration—with Pitt’s 225th anniversary being commemorated with reflections on the past and focus on the future. It was a year of ordeal—with a series of bomb threats that threatened the lives and fabric of the Pitt community. It was also a …

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The Arts Equation

Bouncing, energetic, at times maddeningly social college students erupt into their academic class on Friday morning wearing black leotards topped with layers of pastel tank tops and an odd assortment of what can only be called shoes because they are on their feet. They seem to verge on dancing every minute as they walk fresh …

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African Americans in Pittsburgh: The data in black & white

Some 1,800 Greater Pittsburgh men and women spent a half hour on the phone late last year answering an expansive battery of questions about themselves, their circumstances, and views on everything from how tax dollars should be spent to how happy they are. It was, by any standard, the most ambitious attempt in more than …

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African Americans in Pittsburgh: The newcomer experience

In 24 years, Marisa Bartley had never heard the “n-word” hurled at her by a white person. One day, it hung in the air in the lobby of a Verona bank, where she worked as a branch manager. A disgruntled male customer stood on the other end with an enraged expression. “It was the n-word, …

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A Crisis in Higher Education

The headline is the same across the nation, and it describes a seemingly inexorable vise that is tightening on colleges and universities. They are attacked for being too expensive and their relevance is questioned as students graduate with higher debt and lower prospects in a tight economy. As public aid is slashed and private donors …

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Pittsburgh’s Newest Immigrants

Blackberry in hand, Tek Rimal counts the minutes as he rides the bus from his job at BNY Mellon to his Bellevue apartment. Like many young families, Tek and his wife Chandra tag-team the care of their son, Anuj, with precision timing. Tek rushes home from his day shift so his wife can work a …

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The Young People Myth

In the not-too-distant past, Border Guard Bob was thought to have been a good idea. He was the amusing face of a short-lived marketing campaign to staunch the flow of Pittsburgh’s young to other cities, a problem perceived by some of the region’s civic-minded to be grave enough to warrant aggressive action. Bob, a fictitious …

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All Hands On Deck

Opening the lecture series named in his honor, Community College of Allegheny County graduate Robert Mill described labor-management relations in western Pennsylvania as “a regional asset, as much as the zoo and the ball parks. We are the first out of the recession because our community relationships are so exquisite.” Titled “Industry Trades and Skills,” …

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A  World Leader

Sitting in the bright, airy café at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Richard Piacentini stamps his foot on the floor. The tiles he thuds against are simple white squares. However, that hardly noticed floor has proven to be both bane and catalyst to a sea change in thinking about every aspect of Phipps’s operations. In …

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Was Rachel Carson  Right?

Patricia DeMarco, Director of the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University, has heard the question before. Has history—and science—proven that Springdale, Pa., native Rachel Carson was right in her book, “Silent Spring”? Not just about the most celebrated of her attacks—the impact on the environment of the widely used herbicide DDT—but the other big-picture points …

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Warning Signs

On the first warm day of May, Jim Chestney cuts through thickets of black huckleberry and laurel and ponders his impending climb to a timber rattlesnake den on a central Pennsylvania mountain. It’s a toss-up as to which poses the greater threat—the venomous pit viper Crotalus horridus or its unforgiving habitat. Chestney can attest to …

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Greening the Region

It was 1868—when looking down from the Hill District to smokestacks belching fire and smoke, a riverbank littered with coal barges and railroads, and a bottomland saturated with muddy streets and gritty row houses pressed hard against the Allegheny River, Boston writer James Parton described Pittsburgh as “Hell with the lid taken off.” Today, Parton …

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225 Years of Pitt

When Gwendolyn Hays graduated from high school in Potter County, the idea of a female engineer seemed laughable to some. It was 1960. After rejections from two colleges, she turned to the University of Pittsburgh, which welcomed her and her dream. Pitt commemorates its 225th anniversary this year, and Hays is celebrating the university’s commitment …

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