2009 Summer

Heights of Glamour

Dean Martin slept here. OK, not really, but he was very much the inspiration for the approach interior designer Neill Stouffer took with a historic Sewickley Heights residence. Formerly two carriage houses joined by a nine-car garage, the home has a charming English country exterior. A classic cobblestone courtyard, rolling hills, and white buck fencing …

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Song of Mount Washington

The first Native Americans to spot the first white men approaching their halcyon Green Triangle did so from the same basic observation deck—give or take a few hundred yards—where native ’Burghers admire their Golden Triangle today. By moonlight, those Indian sentries had a perfect view of all telltale torches and flickering campfires at the confluence …

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Close Getaway: Sharon, Pa.

Sharon, Pa is a “winner” of a place. Instead of being devastated by the demise of its primary industry (in this case, steel), Sharon thrives, largely due to Jim and Donna Winner. Winner invented the auto anti-theft device, The Club, and the couple has made major investments in their native Mercer County. Among them are …

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Life After (And With) Steel

With recession upon us and its attendant unease, taking stock is an unavoidable activity for people like me in the information business. The exercise is made more intense because the past 30 years in Pittsburgh have been times of high drama that attracted international attention and visitors coming to see for themselves. They ask about …

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Touring the Finger Lakes of New York

New York’s Finger Lakes region looks at first glance like a slice of Americana: small towns, white clapboard and main streets. Almost 200 years ago, however, upstate New York was a hotbed of social experimentation and religious reform. Residents grappled with the sudden transformation of their farming communities by the commercial success sparked by the …

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Taking Stock

Over the last nine months, investors have read their morning papers, stared at CNBC, and ripped open their brokerage statements with similar results. The financial calculus known simply and profoundly as their net worth has done something of a disappearing act. The S&P 500’s early March lows of 666 represented a 57 percent drop from …

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The Great Blue Heron

Years ago, I found a long, light bone with honeycomb latticework inside that probably belonged to a juvenile Great Blue Heron.  After a winter storm, the bone lay in a pile of sticks that had blown down from the crown of an oak tree just off the 18th hole of a golf course in Fox …

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From the Publisher, Summer 2009

When I recently toured our new Children’s Hospital, I’d been aware that great attention was paid  to the design for at least a couple of reasons. One was to facilitate the best patient care. Another was to create a place where children would feel secure and comfortable. That well-being, of course, reinforces the care, which is …

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Fall Run Park

The verdancy of summer is best experienced in a narrow western Pennsylvania ravine. These places are particularly inviting after thundershowers wash the air crystal clear, polish the leaves to a glistening shine, and fill streams with roiling water. After the rain, the rising petrichor fills the valleys and tempts us to explore corridors winding under bowed …

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Stocks & Pedestal, Summer 2009

Winding its way through the Laurel Highlands is one of the most beautiful trout streams in western Pennsylvania. If you’ve ever waded into the stream, you know its charms—the rocks, the flowing water and the trees that line the banks. You could be anywhere, but you happen to be in Somerset County.  Laurel Hill Creek, …

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What Happened to Anna K.?

These are tough times for aspiring romantic heroines. Gone are many of the obstacles that for centuries prevented women from achieving personal freedom, sexual liberation, social mobility, financial independence, true love and an authentic voice. Society now tolerates a host of behaviors once deemed shocking. And without the impediments of yore— the fire-breathing dragons of …

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Gone Fishing

At various times in a fisherman’s life, it becomes desirable to try a new spot. Perhaps an old place gets too crowded. Maybe the fish move on. Or maybe one simply wants a change of scenery. Of course, truly knowing a fishing spot means getting there early, before the fish start feeding—before the first light. …

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Electrifying Knowledge

In 1995, Carnegie Mellon University’s Professor Raj Reddy organized a meeting in Shadyside of the world’s foremost digital thought leaders to discuss the feasibility of electronic libraries. The idea of very large Internet libraries had been gestating in Reddy’s mind for about 15 years, but it was not until then that desktop computers, easy Internet …

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Katherine MacCord: A Chance to Change the World

This fall, 23-year-old Katherine MacCord will begin her studies at England’s Cambridge University on the dime of Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Bill Gates as the first University of Pittsburgh student to earn a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. While such an achievement suggests she followed an academic strategy carefully conceived before college or later, the path that …

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Barbara Luderowski, The Mattress Factory

I arrived in Pittsburgh about the same time that Columbus arrived in America. Actually, it was in 1972, or thereabouts. I was driving through, hustling my work, and stopped at Pittsburgh History & Landmarks to try to interest them in a garden I wanted to design for them. That didn’t work out. But they gave …

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Against All Odds

Until the spring of 1944, Hungary’s pre-war population of 700,000 Jews remained largely unscathed. Hungarian Regent Nicholas Horthy had resisted Hitler’s calls for the deportation of Hungarian Jews into the killing maw at Auschwitz/Birkenau, 175 miles north of Budapest. Then, on March 19, 1944 Hitler ordered the Wehrmacht to occupy Hungary. By July, 437,000 Hungarian …

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Clemente, Davidson, Stewart, Liozu, Childs, Shiner, Nelson

James Clements is the 23rd president of West Virginia University. He comes to Morgantown from Towson, Md., where he was provost and vice president at Towson University. He was at Towson for 20 years, starting as a visiting assistant professor, earning tenure and becoming provost last year.He earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from …

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Gumberg, Cappy, Thomas, Lascheid, Cantini, Handler

Stanley Gumberg, 81 Gumberg joined his father’s real estate brokerage and turned it into one of the region’s most successful real estate development companies, building the Waterworks and Cranberry malls and North Hills Village. Until his death, he remained chairman of the J.J. Gumberg Co., which controls some 15 million square feet of retail property. …

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Mission of Mercy

When UPMC health systems purchased Mercy Hospital last year, the future of one of Pittsburgh’s most historic institutions became assured just as new questions arose. With the sale, the Sisters of Mercy received a sum that, after expenses, totaled $88 million. With their 160-year affiliation with the hospital ending, members of the order asked themselves how they …

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We, robot

A decade ago, the Wall Street Journal gave Pittsburgh the moniker “Roboburgh” when compiling its list of the nation’s 13 hottest high-tech regions. The Steel City is living up to its 21st-century nickname, making new its rich history of engineering complex things. Scores of local robotics start-ups are driving economic growth by building innovative robots …

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Take a Chance on a Different Grape

There are some 400 wines on my restaurant’s wine list, and I can vouch for the deliciousness of every one. Imagine my chagrin when clients come in and order either a pinot noir or a chardonnay. Pinot noir or chardonnay. Pinot noir— How do folks get stuck in this wine rut? Why the reluctance to …

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Nied’s

The orange neon fish sign at the corner of Butler & 55th in Lawrenceville is the gastronomic version of the beacon atop the Grant Building. Nied’s Hotel Bar has held this corner since 1941 and, like all great joints, it’s a neighborhood within a neighborhood. The starting point at Nied’s is the “world famous fish …

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