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Noteworthy Spring ’23

Après Ski Bar For restaurateur Rick DeShantz, a little imagination has gone a long way — and turned into a lot of fun for Pittsburgh this winter as he opened Après Ski Bar at Butcher and the Rye. It’s several tiers of Swiss-themed spaces, with fur-covered lodge furniture, antler chandeliers, assorted fondues on the menu …

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Get Ready for Pittsburgh Tomorrow

In the spring issue three years ago, I wrote a long essay about the need for a big plan to reverse Greater Pittsburgh’s downward economic and demographic trends. A Pittsburgh friend called it my Magnum Opus, the product of 35 years of journalistic efforts here, much of it aimed at moving this region ahead. In …

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How I Became Ensnared in the Pittsburgh Web

How did a native of Minneapolis, a Viking fan, fall in love with Pittsburgh? It’s a long story, but a good one.  In 1968, I was assigned as a newly minted VISTA Volunteer to the community action program in McKeesport’s Third Ward, a tough but lively section of town. Hanging out on Walnut Street, in …

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What Do I Know? Sam Hazo

without a doubt, the course of my life was determined largely by my upbringing. My mother died when I was 6, and while my father was still around, my brother, Robert, and I were taken into the care of our mother’s parents and they raised us, with significant help from my mother’s aunt. My mother’s …

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Pandemic Learning Loss

For decades, educators fretted over how to prevent “summer slide,” the learning loss that students often experience over summer vacation. The COVID pandemic raised the stakes. Mounting evidence suggests that periodic school closings, the abrupt shift to remote learning and other disruptions profoundly set back students’ education, accelerating learning loss into a national crisis — …

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Pittsburgh’s Gentleman Scholar

I wasn’t sure when i knocked on the door that I was really at the right house. I thought I had the correct address, but it had been a long trip. I took the passenger ferry to Martha’s Vineyard and then rode my bicycle 10 miles out to West Tisbury. And then I had to hunt …

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A Sailing Odyssey, Part I

When I was a boy during summers in northern Michigan, there was one adventure that dwarfed all others: sailing to the North Channel. It was a distant, mythic place of pristine beauty and wrecked boats where intrepid sailors matched their skills with the forces of nature — where islands had rattlesnakes, fish were huge, and …

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A Sailing Odyssey, The Conclusion

Killarney was our eastern apogee, where we spent the rainy day in the Killarney Mountain Lodge, had drinks by the fire and I taught the guys to play bridge. From there we started the long trek back, exploring the North Channel’s most beautiful places by day and playing bridge in the cozy cabin each night. …

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Arkus, Diana, Talotta, McCullough, DeLuca, Samet, Coraluppi, Baer, Shea, Rust, Kernick, Henne, Silvestre, Fennell, Celli

Jane Arkus, 93As an advertising executive, Arkus helped to create the iconic “chipped-chopped ham” ads for Islay’s. She joined Lando in 1951 as a copywriter and when the firm merged with Burson-Marsteller, she became its senior creative director. As a marketing consultant, Arkus worked to develop the Downtown Cultural District, WQED and the Urban League …

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A Final Chat with Franco

My wife and I were at a party Friday night at the History Center, and after a cocktail, chit chat and getting our picture taken with Santa, we were going to check out the John Kane painting exhibit before the seated dinner.  As we were making our escape from the crowd, however, I saw Franco …

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What Do I Know? Dr. Robert M. Friedlander

“My mother’s father was born in 1905 in Pinsk, in the old Soviet Union. He was Jewish and had witnessed pogroms against his people, during which half of his family lost their lives. In fact, his father and some of his brothers were killed right in front of him. So, when he was 15, my …

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The Brush Pile

About 100 yards from my house, near the edge of an open field, lies a large brush pile. It’s unsightly, at least from the human perspective — a lump of tangled, decomposing chaos marring the open views of the field. Each time I pass, I think: I’ve got to do something about that. We all …

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Retiring Ritter Farm

Under a gray November sky, in a rain-soaked cornfield where four generations of the Ritter family had farmed, Carol Ritter embraced her husband, Ralph, as strangers bid on equipment the couple had accrued over nearly 60 years of farming. “Woooeee, look at that,” said auctioneer John R. Huey II of Slippery Rock, gesturing toward a …

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Ferlo, Treganowan, Chaplin, Simpson, Poliziani, Fuhrer, Henderson, Lovelace, Grefenstette, Dunlap, Grata

Jim Ferlo, 70A former state senator, city council president and community advocate, Ferlo was an active supporter of causes that included attempting to save the landmark Syria Mosque. He was Pennsylvania’s first openly gay senator after coming out publicly during a 2014 debate about an LGBT hate crimes bill. Ferlo began his career as a …

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McCarroll, Maneval, Medlar, Barrett, Rieck, Benoit

David McCarroll has been appointed concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, holding the Rachel Mellon Walton Concertmaster Chair beginning with the 2022-2023 season. McCarroll joined the orchestra as concertmaster for its European tour in August and will make his Pittsburgh debut in September. He performs regularly around the world with major orchestras and as a chamber musician, playing at …

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When a Tree Falls…

I had been running under trees, in forested or suburban settings, for well over 40 years. And of course, I’d been walking under them my entire life. I considered them shelter-providing, oxygen-producing, noble organisms — friends to the runner on warm, sunny days. I’d seen them split, splintered, and sundered by winds and storms. Occasionally …

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Myers, McCarthy, Gerritt, Felix, Caridi, Bali, Johnson-Roberson

Timothy L. Myers is president and CEO of Baptist Senior Family, which runs Providence Point in Scott Township and Baptist Homes in Mt. Lebanon. He grew up in New York and northern Maine and has spent his career in the long-term senior living and care industry. Myers comes to Pittsburgh from the Washington, D.C. area …

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Just Asking…Janis Burley Wilson

Q: What’s the most interesting thing about your job?A: Every day is different. It’s NEVER the same schedule, same problems, same rewards. That’s what I love about working in a creative, artistic environment. Q: What’s the best advice anybody ever gave you?A: “It’s not how you play the game, it’s whether you win or lose”— Dad, and …

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The Promise of a Car

I was the only sibling to be born in Detroit during our family’s five-year stint (1958-1963) in the Motor City. I was told I started talking “late” for my age, but when I did start, I surprised my parents during car rides by correctly calling out the make, model and year of every car on …

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Lackner, Titus, Kessler

Judy Lackner, 98She was the senior school librarian for 22 years at Sewickley Academy, where her voracious reading habits and steel-trap memory caused her to serve as the “book whisperer.” A lifelong learner, Lackner went back to school when her children were grown to get a master’s in library science from Pitt. After graduating from …

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What Do I Know? Ed Gainey

I have to say that it feels good to be the mayor of my hometown, to be connected to the place where I was born and raised. My family is from the Hill District, but I was actually born in South Oakland. We were only the second black family to live on Lawn Street. My …

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Ackerman, Johnson, Vidunas, Davis, Herchenroether, Deiseroth

Jeffrey Ackerman, 69A founding partner of CBRE, Ackerman was an icon in the region’s commercial real estate industry for decades and served as CBRE’s managing director in Pittsburgh from 2013 until January. He was working at Arnheim & Neely in the 1990s when CB Commercial came looking for an existing brokerage with which to partner. …

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