2010 Spring

The Coast of Lake Erie

Pennsylvania’s Lake Erie coastline is a place of beauty, drama and hidden environmental treasures. The bluffs and beach along this shoreline and the nearby forested ravines and gorges, seasonal pools and interior tributaries, make a special destination for anyone intent on exploring Western Pennsylvania’s most interesting natural areas. The bluffs range from five to 90 …

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Zanos, Hagan, Fazio, Shogan, Musick, Cianca, Honsberger

Yvonne Zanos, 60 A former Miss Pennsylvania runner-up, she was a tall, striking woman who became beloved in Pittsburgh as KDKA-TV’s reliable and savvy consumer reporter. Known for her warm and winning personality, she was also a tough advocate for consumers. Zanos believed in and was dedicated to television’s public service role, which included her …

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Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

There is a veteran haberdasher at a certain long-established men’s clothier in downtown Pittsburgh who watches birds. Let’s call him Kenny. Seeing this column one day, he asked me about an unusual avian visitor he saw in the trees of his yard. “It was black and white with a big red spot on its chest,” …

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Beyond the Neighborhood

For those of us raising families in the 1970s and 1980s, Fred Rogers was that patient, soft-spoken gentleman who made extraordinary connections to our children on the same TV set that usually carried appallingly bad programming. Fred certainly was that wonderful television teacher, but he was much more. He was the genius behind the most …

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Retaking the Governor’s Mansion

For the past 40 years, there have been three salient facts about Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial elections. Each elected governor has won the limit of two terms (Mark Schweiker served 20 months after Tom Ridge left to lead homeland security). The office has rotated every eight years between Republicans and Democrats. And three of the last six …

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Riverlife & Mayor Luke Ravenstahl

In the late 1990s, Teresa Heinz and others gazed at the new Alcoa headquarters and its North Shore neighbor, the new Lincoln Properties. Both occupied key riverfront spots. But compared with the standard-setting Alcoa structure, the residential development looked like a Motel 6. An idea was born—to conceive a holistic vision of the riverfront with …

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Ancient Lessons

After turbulent flights, impenetrable storms and closed airports, I reached Tucson in the wee hours. I went to meet three college friends and our former professor for a weekend seminar in that city of cacti and mountains. Three things reminded me of college days: missing sleep, not finishing the reading and contemplating what it means …

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Underlying Problems/Solutions

The impact of population decline was very much in the news at the end of last year, a reminder that, for all the accolades at the recent G-20 Summit about Pittsburgh having moved beyond its industrial past, painful choices still face the region, particularly its local governments and major service institutions. I have in mind …

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Pasteur’s Quadrant

Among scientific researchers, you’re in the zone if you can create something that falls into what is known as Pasteur’s Quadrant. Back when the National Academy of Science was getting organized, its president, Vannevar Bush, developed a methodology for allocating federal funding by classifying research as either basic or applied. Basic research seeks to increase the …

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Smilin’ Charlie Schwab

The Christmas season was in full flush Dec. 12 1900 at the University Club in New York, where the city’s financial and industrial elite gathered to honor Charles Michael Schwab, the president of Carnegie Steel. A youthful 38, Schwab already had held the position for three years. Attendees included railroaders William Vanderbilt, Chauncey Depew and …

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Affording Long-Term Care

For Dr. Saul Silver, buying long-term care insurance for himself was an easy choice. “My father was fully independent a year ago, but now he is driving around in a motorized cart. This is what happens when we get older. You can’t walk. You can’t take care of yourself. This is something we have to …

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Rocks of Ages

The Laurel Highlands. The very name hints of a special place. Its boundaries lie in the eye of the beholder, but most agree that the Highlands are east and south of Pittsburgh in Somerset, Fayette and Westmoreland counties. Thousands of skiers, hunters, hikers and rafters enjoy this unique geography, but do they ever ponder how …

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The Mighty Oak Barrel

When you think that you must have taken a wrong turn, you are almost there. The Mighty Oak Barrel sits at the end of a little twig of a road that is also the last chance for anyone who panics at the approaching Hulton Bridge and swerves to the right. And when you first lay …

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A Passion for Baking

Mary-kay Fiore’s life turned out a little differently than she expected. But it sure has a sweet ending. In 2001, the single mother of three found herself downsized out of a corporate job and facing a crossroads. She had baked for years, as a way to pass the nervous hours until 11 p.m., when her …

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Aperitif!

It’s always been a nice break for me to get out of the hot kitchen and spend some time tending bar. And 40 years ago when I started in the restaurant business, making drinks before dinner was easy. A martini, a glass of sherry or an imported aperitif—that was all a sophisticated diner wanted before …

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A Friend in Need

Eleanor Ott grew up in a family that encouraged her to pursue her passion in life. What that passion was didn’t become clear until after she left her Lawrence, Kan. home as a high school valedictorian with a college scholarship. She discovered it among refugee families from Iraq, Burundi, Somalia and other desperate lands whose …

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Grand Spaces

From the outside, the Tudor home looks as if it’s always been comfortably nestled on the leafy street in Sewickley. That was important to architect Douglas Devlin, whose challenge was to fit a new residence into an established neighborhood without disturbing the aesthetic. “We weren’t technically in the historic district, but we were on the …

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Meyer, Czarnecki, Neverett, Bolding, Moorman, Mathews, Donnelly

Jochen Meyer is president of Flabeg Solar US Corporation, which provides a full product line of high-performance mirrors for concentrating solar power. A native of Germany, he received his master’s in mechanical engineering from the Technical University of Munich.He continued his education in business studies at the Fernuniversitaet Hagen while working as an industrial engineer …

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Medicine, Murder and the Mon

Corporate histories commissioned by the client are seldom (read never) impartial, and UPMC’s “Beyond the Bounds” is no exception. Author Mary Brignano lays on the praise in this glossy tribute to UPMC founder Thomas Detre, M.D., and his protégé, current President & CEO Jeffrey Romoff. Their accomplishment—the transformation of a parochial medical center into the …

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Thank You for the Dance

Every Tuesday and Wednesday morning last fall, students in Laurie Collier’s and Maureen Kedzuf’s fifth-grade class lined up in escort position at Arlington Accelerated Academy and headed to the gymnasium to dance. They were among the more than 300 fifth-graders from six elementary schools participating in Dancing Classrooms’ inaugural year in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. …

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Fallow Ground

Do you have children?” a new acquaintance will ask, in a natural effort to prompt conversation. My grip tightens around my wine glass, and for an instant, I glance away. Sometimes, I consider lying. “We have a daughter. She’s starting Oberlin in the fall. We think she’ll major in English.” I imagine her, athletic and …

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From the catbird seat

In mid-November, when daylight dwindles, the sky turns flannel gray and a cold drizzle waterboards Pittsburgh, I flap my old, arthritic wings and fly south to Florida—God’s waiting room. Upon arrival, I encounter nice people who inquire where I am from and, upon learning the answer, chirp brightly, “You must be a Steelers fan!” Good …

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