2012 Fall

Hardwood Trails, Bedford County

One of my favorite places to hike and explore is a property not far to the east of the Laurel Highlands. Driving east along the Pennsylvania Turnpike just past Somerset takes you across the eastern continental divide into the Chesapeake Bay watershed, where the Laurel Highlands give way to the Ridge and Valley area. This …

Hardwood Trails, Bedford County Read More »

Stocks & Pedestal, Fall 2012

Early four years ago, businessman and philanthropist Henry Hillman called Carnegie Mellon University President Jared Cohon with an idea. With the wealth of information technology experts at CMU, why not apply some of that brainpower to regional transportation issues? Improving transportation-related technology could improve the lives of regional residents, build Pittsburgh’s reputation as a “knowledge” …

Stocks & Pedestal, Fall 2012 Read More »

The Future of the Marcellus Shale

After eight years of unprecedented expansion, the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania is now weighed down by its own success, analysts say. Struggling with a market that is being flooded with more natural gas than it can bear, the industry is optimistically predicting that new markets in transportation, home heating, chemical manufacturing and other industries …

The Future of the Marcellus Shale Read More »

The Box is Back

This was the first good sign: When I asked a group of friends to join me for a tasting of boxed wines, everyone thought it would be fun to participate. No “Ugh, boxed wines!” No questioning of my sanity. Once upon a time, these friends—wine aficionados all—would have been right to turn up their noses. …

The Box is Back Read More »

Final flight: Lessons of the Passenger Pigeon

During our colonial period, America’s forests were felled slowly. Beginning in New England, subsistence farming and the promise of better lands to the west meant regions were settled and cleared for agriculture, then abandoned, only to regenerate. This pattern cycle of destruction and reforestation created a patchwork of fields that gave way to second growth …

Final flight: Lessons of the Passenger Pigeon Read More »

Ancient Dig

Twelve thousand years ago, a Native American hunter left a flint spear point at a campsite beneath an overhanging rock along Cross Creek, a tributary of the Ohio River some 29 miles southwest of Pittsburgh. The three-inch by one-inch point was a re-sharpened remnant of a larger spear or arrow head. But the wear and …

Ancient Dig Read More »

Downtown!

I moved to Pittsburgh with my wife, Audrey, on May 1, 1972 when I accepted a job with The Hillman Company. We moved here from sunny Denver, Colo., and in our first month, it rained 28 days. We thought it was among the dumbest decisions we had ever made, but we’ve lived here the past …

Downtown! Read More »

Inventing the Modern World

World’s Fairs asks two questions of themselves: “Who are we?” and “Where are we going?” Sometimes they look backwards as well, perhaps a little wistfully. They also fall into the category of jamboree, a 19th-century slang word of American origin indicating a noisy assembly of people and things for a variety of purposes. Usually they …

Inventing the Modern World Read More »

Last Chapter: Fall ’12

Paul R. Jenkins, 80 As the former leader of the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, Jenkins was a key regional leader who spurred numerous improvements in Greater Pittsburgh and West Virginia for more than 40 years. A Pittsburgh native who received an undergraduate degree from Princeton and a law degree from the University of Michigan, he …

Last Chapter: Fall ’12 Read More »

Insurance innovations

Ask someone about their health insurance plan and you wouldn’t expect to hear, “I’m having a great experience.” Health insurance is expensive and difficult to understand. And in the Pittsburgh region, many have, not surprisingly, grown tired of the very public battle between the area’s largest insurer and largest provider—Highmark and UPMC. But this very …

Insurance innovations Read More »

Quantum Couple

He grew up in Manhattan; she, in Patna, India. Both were taken with the way physics accounts for the world around them. After completing undergraduate studies at Harvard and the Indian Technology Institute, respectively, they met as first-year physics doctoral students at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Upon arrival she found herself the sole …

Quantum Couple Read More »

Fede Artisan Pasta

Cooling autumn temperatures call for a change in dinner palate from salads and grilled chicken to heartier fare. Pasta is perfect on a crisp fall evening… and perfect pasta is created daily at Fede Artisan Pasta in Banco Business Park in North Huntingdon, Pa. If you dine out in Pittsburgh, chances are you have already …

Fede Artisan Pasta Read More »

The Bigham Tavern

In the early 20th century, weary men from Mount Washington finished their factory shifts on the banks of Pittsburgh’s three rivers and ascended the sharp cliff to Grandview Avenue on several inclines, disappearing above the cacophony and grime. Their throats were parched and burned from the dense smoke that led James Parton to describe Pittsburgh …

The Bigham Tavern Read More »

Billionaire by mistake

Thanks to a computer glitch in our online brokerage account, I knew what it felt like to be Mark Zuckerberg for a glorious few days. Last summer, my wife called to me from her den, “You’ve got to see this!” When I looked at our online brokerage account on her computer screen, the balance showed …

Billionaire by mistake Read More »

Edgar Snyder, Attorney

It all started back in 1977 with the U.S. Supreme Court case, Bates v. State Bar of Arizona. In that case, the Court held that lawyer advertising is commercial speech and as such is protected by the First Amendment. That decision totally upset the longstanding belief among lawyers that advertising their services somehow demeaned the …

Edgar Snyder, Attorney Read More »

A Crisis in Higher Education

The headline is the same across the nation, and it describes a seemingly inexorable vise that is tightening on colleges and universities. They are attacked for being too expensive and their relevance is questioned as students graduate with higher debt and lower prospects in a tight economy. As public aid is slashed and private donors …

A Crisis in Higher Education Read More »

Steel City Spectacle

In recent years, it has been difficult to imagine the Highland Building as a “great success as the modern office building,” as proclaimed in a 1910 newspaper ad. The property on South Highland Avenue facing East Liberty Presbyterian Church hasn’t been occupied for a generation. Twenty-five years of neglect have seen a veritable jungle sprouting …

Steel City Spectacle Read More »

Pittsburgh’s Newest Immigrants

Blackberry in hand, Tek Rimal counts the minutes as he rides the bus from his job at BNY Mellon to his Bellevue apartment. Like many young families, Tek and his wife Chandra tag-team the care of their son, Anuj, with precision timing. Tek rushes home from his day shift so his wife can work a …

Pittsburgh’s Newest Immigrants Read More »

The sky is falling

In June I bowed to the demands of my three college-aged children and got the whole family smart phones. As I waited in line at the AT&T store, a guy behind me suggested I should get the “Siri” iPhone. “You can ask it anything, and it answers,” he said. Perhaps I should do that, I …

The sky is falling Read More »

Foundation of Steel

How entrepreneurial is Jim Bouchard? Consider this: When he sold Esmark, Inc., the publicly held steel company he ran, to Russia’s OAO Severstal in 2008, the price was a whopping $775 million, a remarkable exit for a five-year-old company. But instead of cashing in his chips and retiring to the good life, Bouchard took the …

Foundation of Steel Read More »

Creepy creatures!

Given the prevalence of vampires and werewolves in contemporary culture, one wonders why it has taken so long for them to reach the Pittsburgh area. (We’re a world-class city, dammit!) With typically gray skies and an abundance of abandoned steelworks and subterranean coal mines, our region possesses a strong Gothic quality that ought to be …

Creepy creatures! Read More »

A Peaceable Kingdom

A flock of picturesque suffolk sheep graze in the verdant pastures, and a bit farther down the long, empty road, a herd of Red Angus cattle stands lazily in the hot sun. Miles of split-rail fencing continues once you turn onto a drive that meanders uphill. Here there are horses, as if placed by a …

A Peaceable Kingdom Read More »

Top