2007 Spring

Keepers of the Flame

Standing in his new South Side studio, a patchwork of windows letting in the mid-day light, glass artist Drew Hine reaches for a map to illustrate his connection to the early days of Pittsburgh glassmaking, an industry that emerged 210 years ago from a red-hot amalgam of sand, ash, lime and coal. “It happened right …

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A Country Idyll

Rough-hewn stone, wood and copper are traditional materials for a country house, though the only thing country about the residence designed by Roger Ferri some 20 years ago is its location. It sits by a stream tucked away from interruption in a quiet part of Western Pennsylvania, and little about it has changed since the …

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Sullivan, Wright, Kindler, Tomlin, Balzano, Brubach, Paternostro, Palmer, Honeck

Mark L. Sullivan is vice chairman and chief financial officer of recently formed TriState Capital Bank. He has been a leader in the financial services industry for more than 35 years, starting at Price Waterhouse, where be eventually became partner. In Philadelphia most recently, he served as a member of Ernst & Young’s Partner Advisory …

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Anatomy of a Rescue

On the first morning of November, I walked down the long slope from my house in Squirrel Hill to the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland for a meeting of foundation leaders to do what people in my position do so many times each week: Assess the merits of a proposal to fund a worthy …

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Nathan Davis, Music Educator, Performer, Composer

Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, are twin cities, with nightclubs and great musicians in both places. The only thing that separates the two cities is a bridge. I grew up playing saxophone in Kansas City, Kansas, and went to the University of Kansas as a music education major. One night, a friend and …

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Lewis, Becker, McCarl, Shafer, Giddens, Frick, Jacobs, Fowkes, Campbell

Raymond P. Shafer, 89: Pennsylvania’s Republican governor from 1967 to 1971, Shafer of Meadville extended the legislative term to two years, made Pennsylvania the first state to allow public workers to unionize and tried unsuccessfully to institute income taxes.He later chaired a national commission on drugs, which recommended the Nixon administration legalize possession of small …

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Song of Lawrenceville

As a child growing up in Pittsburgh in the ’50s, I thought that Lawrenceville was named for our mayor and that the soldier statue at Butler and 34th Street was David L. Lawrence as a young man. Umm, wrong. The immortal soldier who guards “Larryville” from his circular pedestal at Doughboy Square is a World …

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Crate: Gifts and Commercial Cookware

When Linda Wernikoff moved to Pittsburgh from Chicago in 1977, she was disappointed by the housewares departments at Horne’s, Kaufmann’s, and Gimbel’s. She felt they lacked inspiration and were predictable. So the next year, she opened Crate in Mt. Lebanon, a tiny, second-story store on Beverly Road that specialized in gifts and commercial cookware that …

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Home is Where the Hearth Is

The walk was maybe a half-mile switchback up the side of a mountain in semi-freezing drizzle, past a slate-colored pond, through a covered bridge, beyond a clearing with a few austere frame buildings, and up and up. I can tell you I’ve never been so happy in my life to see smoke from a chimney. …

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For sale

For almost everyone, buying or selling a house is a vital personal and financial transaction. Yet most people do not recognize that planning and implementing the right strategy can change the outcome by thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. For buyers, the right strategy can make the difference in getting the house that …

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On Warblers

Spring begins with song, the dawn chorus warming up with a few notes in March and growing into full avian voice by May. Some of our best singers are the wood warblers, migratory songbirds, typically weighing under half an ounce, that winter from South America to the Caribbean and return northward to mate, nest, and raise …

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We’re Art Lovers to the HIlt

Last fall, PittsburghToday commissioned the first-ever survey of arts involvement in the 22-county Pittsburgh region. Done by the University of Pittsburgh, the survey asked several questions including: What arts events do you attend? What arts activities do you engage in personally? What arts activities have your ever had instruction in? The results are interesting in …

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Almost Human

Who says you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear?! In his new book, “Almost Human: Making Robots Think,” Lee Gutkind, the guru of creative nonfiction, does just that; using his literary skills to transform prosaic material about machines into an exuberant celebration of human creativity. Not that the topic isn’t interesting. …

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A good lesson

Eleanore Childs may have had as many lives as Joanie Caucus, that trailblazing mom/feminist/late-in-life-lawyer of the “Doonesbury” comic strip — each reincarnation a mirror of the social upheavals of the last half of the last century. As the daughter of Sewickley pediatrician Robert Nix, a beloved figure in that community who, in the 1950s, helped …

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Who is That Guy, Anyway?

Collecting is an addictive passion. My wife and I collect architect-designed chairs, carved and inlaid wood items, textiles, bakelite dress clips, pre-Revolutionary maps of New England, miniature hats and, perhaps the strangest, glass swizzle sticks with a Pittsburgh provenance. My main collecting interest over the past 25 years has been fine art prints and watercolors of …

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The Chair, the Blow-Dryer and the Bombshelter

The world, my father liked to say, is a dangerous place. “Just when you think you’re clear,” he’d say. “It sneaks up and bites you.” Which might explain how I ended up on the bathroom floor, my ankle twisted, my hairdryer whirring in the sink. There’d been no warning, other than the one on the hairdryer that …

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How to Profit from the Coming Singularity

Singularity” is a term that futurists have borrowed from mathematics to describe an event so profound that nothing is the same afterwards. Noah’s flood would be an example. There are four singularities on the horizon, and each offers many opportunities to make money. The internet swallows the world In “Mirror Worlds: Or the Day Software …

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Get Some Sleep with SOX

For managers of public companies and their shareholders, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 has done for business what the Department of Homeland Security has done for air travel. It’s a necessary work in progress that makes us feel more secure. But for frequent fliers, such as CEOs, CFOs and their audit firms, taking your shoes …

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From the Publisher, Spring 2007

One day at work a few years ago, I asked a colleague, “Do you ever have the feeling you’re living the same day over and over again?” She told me I ought to see “Groundhog Day.” I’d heard of the movie, and even though an old family friend has a memorable, small role in it, …

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Stocks & Pedestal, Spring 2007

What a year for college basketball in Pittsburgh! Regardless what happens in March, could there have been a more interesting and exciting hoops season anywhere in the country? First, there’s Pitt. Their defense and passing have been a treat to watch since the Ben Howland days, and that’s continued, as has their great record, under …

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Training women for office

An observer of the Legislature might conclude there’s something rotten in Harrisburg. Whether it’s the middle-of-the night pay raise in 2005 or recent revelations about the legislators’ fatuous bonus expenses, it’s clear where their interests lie. And with 253 of them, we have the most state legislators in the nation (except for New Hampshire’s anomalous, …

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Hold That Thought—Now’s the Time to Act

“Things do not change; we change.”—Henry David Thoreau Soon you will be asked to choose the purpose, shape, size and basic character of your local government. Fellow citizens are organizing now to ask you whether to reorganize the many layers and types of local government that have defined Allegheny County for almost 250 years. The …

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