2012 Spring

Demographics Today

A few years ago, a model that University of Pittsburgh researchers use to help them assess local demographic trends suggested the day was coming. Last year brought further evidence that it, in fact, has arrived: southwestern Pennsylvania has finally turned the corner to become a place where more people arrive than leave. U.S. Internal Revenue …

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The Urban Bear

State bear biologist Mark Ternent pulls an oversized syringe from an arsenal of gear at the back of his truck, loads it with a strong sedative, and affixes it to a dart with hot-pink fletching. With spring three days away and the mountains around Johnstown energized with emerging life, Ternent and his Pennsylvania Game Commission …

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Pittsburgh Today and Tomorrow 2012

Pittsburgh Today presents its annual report on the progress of Greater Pittsburgh, comparing Pittsburgh with 14 other regions in 10 key quality of life categories. This report, written by Jeffery Fraser, is based on the Pittsburgh 2011 Quality of Life Survey. We have also asked regional leaders to describe an obstacle we need to overcome …

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A Southern Patina

The homes on this leafy street are quintessentially Shadyside, which means an eclectic mix of periods and styles. Though all are grand, one stands apart from the rest with quiet dignity. Painted white from top to bottom, the pristine exterior accentuates the symmetrical lines of its columned entrance, the three sets of French doors, and …

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Dan Rooney, Steelers Chairman and 30th United States Ambassador to Ireland

The Irish like to say ‘it’s a long way from Newry’—where my family comes from originally—‘to Phoenix Park,’ where I now live and work as the U.S. ambassador to Ireland. But believe me, it’s a much, much longer way to Phoenix Park from the North Side of Pittsburgh. My life in professional football was always …

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Genomic Stimulus

Not long ago, one of the nation’s most dreaded diseases was polio, paralyzing and sometimes killing its victims. Fortunately, polio proved no match for medicine. Just as polio reached its peak in 1952 with 57,000 new cases, a University of Pittsburgh team, led by Dr. Jonas Salk, was testing a vaccine. Soon, polio all but …

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DNA Decoding: An Economic Driver

Mapping the entire human DNA blueprint was ultimately done to advance medicine, but it has had a bonus impact: giving a jump start to a stagnating economy. A May 2011 report by Battelle Technology Partnership Practice of Columbus, Ohio, said the $3.8 billion federal investment in the Human Genome Project from 1988 to 2003 drove …

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Gershwin in Pittsburgh

George Gershwin will be forever associated with New York City. This most American of composers derived his inspiration from Manhattan’s energy, skyscrapers, jazz, nightlife, and evolving Broadway-musical art form. Nevertheless, in the 1920s and ’30s Gershwin and his music traversed the nation, often ending up in Pittsburgh. New York musicals and plays of the time …

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The Search for the Lost Archives

A lifeguard’s strong dark arms buoy his young, light-skinned pupil, as other children in the pool cheer their friend’s attempts to swim. The undated, black-and-white photo from the archives of the Pittsburgh Courier is part of a century-long storyline about the lives of African Americans that the newspaper chronicled. It is also part of a …

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Show Me the Money

It was hailed as a game changer. Almost immediately after the first Marcellus Shale natural gas well was spudded in a rocky hilltop in Washington County, unleashing for the first time a vast cache of domestically produced energy, the discovery was hailed as the harbinger of a revolution in energy production that would pump upwards …

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A Clearer Reflection

For a college course, the assignment seemed simple enough, if not mundane: Ride a Port Authority bus into a city neighborhood and attend a lecture at the YMCA. Things changed, however, when the Duquesne University freshmen heard the neighborhood’s name—the Hill District, a historically African American community. “Almost all 28 of them were afraid to …

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A Remarkable Time for the Region

Twenty years ago, when newspapers were strong, the coin of the realm for ambitious reporters was winning awards. A slightly caricatured general rule was: The more intractable, insoluble and depressing the issue you wrote about, the more awards you’d win. Newspapers were in the business of problems, not solutions. In 1995, I marked 10 years …

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Take a Turn…

Does the end of gray winter days remind you how it felt to get your bike back out of the garage and cruise the streets with your friends after school? With a visit to Bicycle Heaven, you can rekindle that excitement on a trip down memory lane. After overexposure to paint fumes forced Craig Morrow …

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Anna’s Cucina Rustica

When she was a little girl, Anna Malvone would finish her classes and rush the few blocks to the neighborhood orphanage in Pianura, Naples. There, she helped the nuns in the kitchen, preparing simple meals with ingredients that were plentiful and cheap—tomatoes, garlic, basil and other staples of Italian life from the nearby fields. It …

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The virtues of varietals

Good old Gallo hearty burgundy. Are you old enough to remember when that was the go-to wine for every dinner party? Lord knows what was in that jug, but it always tasted the same—red fruit, easy-drinking, probably sweeter than we’re used to these days. It was a blend of numerous grapes (including, reportedly, zinfandel and …

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The Pittsburgh Pigeon

displaced Pittsburghers soon will come home again. The pigeons of Mellon Square, bumped by renovations scheduled to culminate next year, are some of my favorite birds to watch, a bit of the wild smack dab in the middle of “dahntahn.” Don’t disparage these half-pound fast fliers. Though some consider them a nuisance underfoot or fear …

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Richard P. Simmons

I am convinced that I am absolutely, positively the luckiest man in the world. During my business life, I seemed to be at the right place at the right time. When I graduated from college in 1953, metallurgy was at the beginning of a tremendous technology and manufacturing change, and I was part of it, because …

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