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The Audition

“Are you getting too thin?” the agent asks from a small, windowless office, where beautiful faces hang, poster sized, all beaming, pouting, posing. “Too thin?” the model repeats, reaching for her Louis Vuitton tote. “Um, I don’t think so. But thank you! I tried on a bathing suit the other day. I was by myself …

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That’s How the Cookie Crumbles

The wood fired oven sits in Dan Cardone’s perfectly manicured back yard in a residential development in the North Hills. A stately, towering thing made of brick, mortar, stone, and some marble that was going to be a headstone for a grave. “They spelled someone’s name wrong and couldn’t use it,” he says. He spent …

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Nathanson, Cannon, Jansons, Hartford, Wolf, Armstrong, Siewers, Goodfriend

Harvey C. Nathanson, 83: Nathanson was chief scientist for Westinghouse Research Labs, pioneering numerous technologies including micro-electro mechanical (MEMS) devices. An electrical engineer, he had more than 50 patents and was honored with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Millennium Medal. Glenn Cannon, 72: Cannon was a dedicated and successful public servant, leading emergency …

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Backstage

The guys are hanging out in the dressing room, the green room, the whatever room. Donnie Iris, Dave Granati, Ricky Granati, Hermie Granati and Joey Granati—five guys occupying subterranean quarters underneath The Strand Theater in Zelienople, 30 minutes before their gig is supposed to begin. The Granatis’ mom should have been here already but she’s …

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Jim Roddey, Business Executive and Community Leader

I was born in Asheville, North Carolina, in 1933, when the city was still pretty small, and lived with my parents in a little house at the foot of a mountain. My father was the comptroller for the city but, more importantly, he was a passionate ham radio operator, and a lover of electronics—and flying. …

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It’s a Sip of Wine… It’s Summertime!

Kenny Chesney is at Heinz Field. White cowboy hat. Sleeveless shirt. Jeans. Leader of the “No Shoes Nation” and wearing cowboy boots. Sweating. Singing. And totally irritating the hospital security guards. “I’d like to kick Kenny Chesney’s ass,” says one as he steps outside of the hospital and into the 76-degree night, a few steps …

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Tim Smith, Pastor and Founder of Center of Life

My mother’s name was Emma Liaura Muskelly and my father’s name was Virlie—Virlie Joseph Smith. Mom was from Pittsburgh, one of nine children, and worked in many of the schools that my siblings and I attended, tutoring, doing teacher’s-aide stuff, and lunchroom work. Dad was from Virginia, a little place about 45 minutes from Roanoke …

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They Call Him the Rapper…

Donnie Iris is sitting in what’s supposed to be his dressing room on the second floor of the Rivers Casino. Down the hall from the Grand View Buffet and a line of people waiting behind velvet ropes for the $14.99 crab legs. “This is my cousin Petey… and my other cousin Petey,” he says, pointing …

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Barker, Jarzebowski, Henderson, Mustain, Breese, Interiano

Elizabeth E. Barker is the executive director of The Frick Pittsburgh and the first woman to lead the institution. Her appointment begins in December. She comes to Pittsburgh from Belmont, Mass., where she was the director of the Boston Athenaeum, an independent library, exhibition center and cultural venue founded in 1807. There, she helped increase …

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The Fight

“Tell me to be brave.” Jarrell “The Samurai” Brackett is in the basement of the Grand Hall of the Priory on Pressley Street in the North Side of Pittsburgh. Sparring. Pacing. Praying. He’s sporting a purple mohawk. Fu man chu mustache. A mouth guard is garbling his speech. He’s got lime green Title boxing gloves …

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The Delay

“Oh, they are getting me to Dallas,” the woman says, white earphones plugged into a black Samsung. “I mean, seriously, a windshield wiper motor? Like, they couldn’t have figured out that was broken last night? When the plane landed?” Welcome to Pittsburgh International Airport! As a reminder, ticketed passengers only are allowed past the ticketed …

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Remembering Prominent Pittsburghers Who Passed Away in 2019

We’ve said goodbye to many influential Pittsburghers this year. Remember those who have passed away and their impact on the region—and the world—in this compilation of our Last Chapter department. Carol Massaro, 79: A mother of four, she raised nearly $1 million for Alzheimer’s research after the disease took her late husband, contractor Joseph A. …

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Fisher, Roseman, Ziegler, Stein, Roderick, Hillenbrand, Pessolano, Booth

Dr. Bernard Fisher, 101: Dr. Fisher was a giant in the field of breast cancer, leading large-scale randomized clinical trials that revolutionized understanding and treatment of the illness. His earlier surgical work included performing the first kidney transplant in Pittsburgh and doing pivotal work that cleared the way for future liver transplantation. Believing that data …

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Bad Apples

The people are standing, sitting, heads down, waiting in line, eyes buried in iPhones. Dockers tucked into crisp blue Oxford button downs and rugby ties next to man buns and lip rings, neon yellow fake nails and plaid school uniforms. Black, white, fat, thin, in a rush, using a cane to slowly walk by. Waiting …

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A Passion for Pasta

The handmade, white fettuccini pasta comes in 14 flavors like basil, hot red pepper, black pepper, chive, spinach, sun dried tomato, garlic basil, parsley and squid ink, which everyone always thinks is weird. Because it’s black. Black as ink fettuccini needles. “It’s a learning curve,” says Yvonne Hennigan. “But squid ink is very common in …

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The Meticulous Carpenter

Kevin’s got to get back inside of the house on Marshall Road on Observatory Hill. There’s work he needs to do. But first, he wants to get Donnie some water. “Here, man,” he says, appearing a few minutes later, handing Donnie the water, which has been poured into an empty gallon of Dean’s Dairy Pure …

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Thomas, Luke, Fragman, Huang, Tripathi, Woods, Gregerson

Mark Anthony Thomas is president of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, an affiliate of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. He is responsible for creating, developing and executing the region’s economic development strategy and advancing partnerships to drive job creation and business investment. Thomas came to Pittsburgh from the New York City Economic Development Corporation, where, …

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In the Smokehouse with Herb

There are 400 pounds of bacon smoking in the smoker. Hickory smoked. With actual hickory. “Not liquid smoke,” says Herb Brittner. “See the hickory sawdust? This is the real deal.” The bacon is going to be sliced tomorrow, probably by Herb’s sister, Sally, as well as Randy, who are already slicing and packing 100 more …

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Zuberbuhler, Schwalb, McCormick, Brown, Wolosik, Burnett, Malezi

James Robert Zuberbuhler, MD, 89: Pediatric cardiology hadn’t evolved into a medical field in 1967, when he was appointed director of the new department at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, a position he held for nearly three decades. Dr. Zuberbuhler was a master diagnostician when doctors had little more than a patient’s medical history and …

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Anne is All About Cookies

Anne is going to bake some pizzelles, but you get the house tour first. “Bedroom, bathroom, living room, kitchen,” she says, passing by framed photos on the walls: pictures of her on her wedding day to George, 59 years ago, and their son, Ray, during every year of school. Anne and George live in Ray’s …

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Randy Gilson, Genius of the Human Spirit

Life began for me on January 27, 1957, in Titusville, Pennsylvania. My dad was from there and my mom came from a dairy farm in Mercer. She was a little country girl who loved to play the accordion, and she’d always go down to the tent revival meetings because she also loved Jesus. That’s where …

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Pasta with the Shimkos

There is spaghetti boiling in a big pot on the stove, Led Zeppelin playing on the radio and two silver bowls filled with thick, doughy, slices of bread on the kitchen counter. “From our Panera fairy,” Kate said, rinsing off a handful of red grapes that she transfers to a silver strainer. “She brings us …

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