The Merciful End of My Blogcast

Suppose you are determined to convert your written blog into an audio blog—what I think of as a “blogcast.” Suppose, on top of that, you are an incompetent reader of blogcasts. Finally, suppose you aren’t about to spring for a $500,000 text-to-speech synthesizer. What to do? I consulted a profession closely allied to that of …

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On a Pedestal: Good Examples, Port Authority, Robert Levin, Executive Leadership Academy

It’s been an extremely trying time in our country these past six months, with the virus, the fear and uncertainty, the recession, George Floyd’s death and the ensuing protests and riots, the increasing orthodoxy of public discourse, and the pre-election anxiety. Many wonder what has happened to America as waves of fear and cancellation have …

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What’s the Best Financial Advice You Ever Received?

Joseph A. Scarpo, PWA Wealth Management At the age of 26, I was traveling to a conference in Chicago. The gentleman seated in the window seat informed me that most Americans never achieve financial security. He told me the story of his brother who had worked hard and spent hard. At age 65, his brother …

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These Days, I Spend My Time in the Rupture,

THESE DAYS, I SPEND MY TIME IN THE RUPTURE, coaxed by the prosody of steel ground into steel. What I mean is I anticipate the fetter of railroad tracks and trains: how sleep still sieves in the space of noise. My father says I refused sleep as a toddler unless carried, rumbling through fields on …

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Jobs Slowly Return

The coronavirus pandemic’s attack on the Pittsburgh region’s economy slowed in August. Employers in the seven-county Metropolitan Statistical Area added 6,400 jobs to their payrolls from July 2020 to August 2020, according to recently released data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Pittsburgh region lost about 100,500 jobs between August 2019 and August 2020—a …

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How Allegheny County Spends its $212 Million CARES Package

Allegheny County unveiled a new COVID-19 testing center in McKeesport last week as health officials braced for the confluence of the coronavirus outbreak and the approaching flu season. The center, which can perform 200 tests a day, didn’t cost county taxpayers one dime. It is the highest profile example to date of how the county …

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CMU Incubates the Science Fiction Future

Donald Bonk interviews David Mawhinney, executive director of the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University, as part of the Pittsburgh Tomorrow podcast series. This is the second part of a two-part interview, conducted before COVID-19. The transcript is abridged and edited for clarity. View the episode archive here. Read David Mawhinney’s bio here. …

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Light the Bridges for a Gleaming Downtown

Dressing the Rachel Carson Bridge with 27,000 color-changing LED lights got the public’s attention in 2016. And the popularity of the temporary installation, done as part of the City of Pittsburgh’s bicentennial celebration, bought it an extended 18-month run. If that’s the case, says former Allegheny County Chief Executive Jim Roddey, why not artistically illuminate …

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What’s a Blogcast?

As some of my loyal readers know, I launched this blog more than seven years ago—on January 1, 2013, to be precise. Since the blog comes out every Friday morning, you can do the math and figure out that there must be about 400 posts by now. And you would be right. This post is …

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A Day at the Track

As a kid, Dave Palone played competitively in typical high school sports. That changed when his dad bought a few horses to race at The Meadows, a harness racetrack located near Washington, Pa., 25 miles from Pittsburgh. He fell in love. “I love horses so much I decided I wanted to do them right,” Palone …

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My Summer Vacation

It all started back in April, when the virus was young… I had big plans for making this the summer of exploration, intent on getting away from the quarantine/hunker down mentality and surrounding myself with the beauty of nature. The first plan was renting an RV in June and driving to Alaska via the Alaska …

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Revolutionary Entrepreneurship: An Interview with David Mawhinney of CMU

Donald Bonk interviews David Mawhinney, executive director of the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University, as part of the Pittsburgh Tomorrow podcast series. This is the first part of a two-part interview, conducted before COVID-19. The transcript is abridged and edited for clarity. View the episode archive here. Read David Mawhinney’s bio here. …

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How Do We Attract People to Pittsburgh?

David Feehan, president of Civitas Consultants in Maryland, is a recognized expert in downtown revitalization. For more than 50 years, his work has helped improve dozens of cities and neighborhoods in the United States and elsewhere, including Minneapolis, Detroit, Austin, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh Today spoke with him about ideas that might help …

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America 2.0, Part 16: The Final Installment

For readers who missed early parts of this series of posts, I am summarizing a novel written almost forty years ago. We are listening in as a young woman journalist interviews a very old man about the changes in America occasioned by the switch from voting to selecting public officials by lot. Journalist: Good morning, …

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Pitt’s First Great Rivalry: Fordham and the Seven Blocks of Granite

When The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated selected their top ten college football rivalries, their lists featured neighboring state rivalries such as Ohio State-Michigan, Texas-Oklahoma, and Florida-Georgia. The Sporting News list of top rivalries included the Pitt-West Virginia backyard brawl. Traditional rivalries for Pitt began over 100 years ago when they first started playing West …

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Just Askin’… Carey Harris

Q: What’s the most interesting thing about your job? A: The most interesting and rewarding part of my job is bearing witness to the tremendous resilience of our students, who I like to call “never give uppers.” These adults have faced enormous barriers to education, well-being and wholeness, yet they keep pushing forward. They are …

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Brave New Campus

In this ever-shifting, precarious time for regional colleges and universities, we would like to thank the leaders of these institutions for taking the time to thoughtfully answer the following questions for our readers: “Given the extraordinary challenges posed by the pandemic, what major changes are in store at your institution for the school year ahead? …

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Don’t Discuss It—Be It: An Interview With International Businessman David Iwinski

Donald Bonk interviews David Iwinski, attorney and managing director of Blue Water Growth, as part of the Pittsburgh Tomorrow podcast series. This interview was conducted before COVID-19. The transcript is abridged and edited for clarity. View the episode archive here. Read David Iwinski’s bio here. “Cities, like individuals, have little choice but to achieve their …

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Venting off Steam… and Turning It Into a Musical Downtown Clock

Lynn Dunbar is well acquainted with the vertical steam pipe that juts from the pavement at Penn Avenue and Seventh Street in Downtown Pittsburgh for patrons of the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts and the rest of the Cultural District to see. Her husband is in the Pittsburgh Symphony, she once worked for the …

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Unemployment Jumped in July

Unemployment soared in southwestern Pennsylvania last month as the coronavirus pandemic continued to weigh on the local economy. The unemployment rate in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area rose from 12.8 percent in June to 14.3 percent in July, according to data from Pennsylvania Department of Labor, Center for Workforce Information & Analysis. An estimated …

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When Weirdos Get Elected

For readers who missed part 1 of this series of posts, I am summarizing a fictional novel written almost forty years ago. Let’s be flies on the wall as a young woman journalist interviews a very old man about the changes that occurred in the United States as a result of abandoning the ballot and …

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Murder, She Wrote

In 1980, three women hitchhiked to an outdoor peace festival in West Virginia called the Rainbow Gathering. Only one survived. Accusations and mystery swirled in the nearby town for decades. This juicy setup is perhaps the most obvious reason to recommend Emma Copley Eisenberg’s first book of nonfiction, “The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life …

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