2012 Fall

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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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The Watery Part of the World

The standing watch was sent below for wet- weather gear, and the clattering of their feet on the ladder awakened me. I headed above deck, blinking in the light and trying to align the fair skies behind us and the gentle roll of two-foot waves with the urgency of the crew laying out the line—called …

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Winkenwerder, Driscoll, Prewitt, Poll, Cohn, Magee, Martino

Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr. is president and CEO of Highmark Inc., America’s eighth largest health insurer. He comes to Pittsburgh from Alexandria, Va., where he was chairman and CEO of The Winkenwerder Company, a healthcare consulting firm. From 2001 to 2007 he was assistant secretary of defense for health affairs with the U.S. Deptartment of …

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The Young People Myth

In the not-too-distant past, Border Guard Bob was thought to have been a good idea. He was the amusing face of a short-lived marketing campaign to staunch the flow of Pittsburgh’s young to other cities, a problem perceived by some of the region’s civic-minded to be grave enough to warrant aggressive action. Bob, a fictitious …

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All Hands On Deck

Opening the lecture series named in his honor, Community College of Allegheny County graduate Robert Mill described labor-management relations in western Pennsylvania as “a regional asset, as much as the zoo and the ball parks. We are the first out of the recession because our community relationships are so exquisite.” Titled “Industry Trades and Skills,” …

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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 …

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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 …

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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. …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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