2014 Spring

Elsie Hillman, Political and Civic Leader

My husband, Henry Lea Hillman, is seven years older than me. He is the son, of course, of Pittsburgh steel mogul John H. Hillman, Jr., an industrialist who built Pittsburgh Coke & Chemical. Anyway, Henry was a friend of my older sister, and I knew his younger sister, so we all became friends. When I …

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Pittsburgh Today & Tomorrow

Would you say this is the best shape Pittsburgh’s been in over the last 30 years?” I asked the question after a group of people, including the region’s leading economist, its top demographic expert, and the head of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, had just viewed the most recent economic reports from Pittsburgh Today. …

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Stocks & Pedestal

For most of us, the phrase “one-party rule in Pittsburgh” conjures the Democratic Party. But for 70 years after the Civil War, the Republican Party had a lock on Pennsylvania and, largely, Pittsburgh. Only the Great Depression and the sweeping victories of the New Deal could break that lock. And since the mid-1930s, Pittsburgh has …

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Evans, Meixell, Munchak, Bracken, Peterson, Lam, Bibby

Catherine Evans is the chief curator at the Carnegie Museum of Art. She comes to Pittsburgh from Columbus, Ohio, where she served as curator of photography and also chief curator at the Columbus Museum of Art. Before moving to Columbus, Evans and her family lived in Sao Paulo, Brazil, for five years. A New York …

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Elsie H. Hillman, Political and Civic Leader

Instrumental in the political campaigns of: Dwight Eisenhower, William Scranton, John Heinz, Gerald Ford, Richard Thornburgh, George H.W. Bush, Barbara Hafer, Tom Ridge and Arlen Specter Board member of many organizations through the decades, including: WQED Multimedia, the Hill House Association, the Urban League, Carlow University and the Hillman Family Foundations. Where does my story …

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Bring on March Madness

The swell thing about working nights for an “ayem” (morning paper) is you can be having your first coffee and catch the early games, still in your jammies. And with that, you’re on your way to the greatest show on Earth: Opening Day of a three-week national fixation:  the Big Dance; March Madness; the NCAA …

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The working man novelist

Dave Newman is a hard-working and funny writer who embodies an everyman Pittsburgh spirit with all of his ample heart. His latest novels—the brand-new “Two Small Birds” and “Raymond Carver Will Not Raise Our Children” (2012)—show him succeeding at the goal which his autobiographical protagonist, Dan Charles, declares at one of the many turning points …

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The wood duck

Changing habitat has complex consequences for birds. Some species prefer deep, old growth forests. Others thrive around patchwork clearcuts. Some require grasslands to breed, while others reproduce in swampy bottomlands. Some of our notorious losses—the ivory-billed woodpecker and Carolina parakeet—needed relatively narrow bands of Southern wetland so much that when the trees there were felled, …

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Let us think lettuces

The garden’s palette yawns tan and brown as winter ends and spring nears each year. All that’s left after the crusty snow melts (if I’ve remembered to diligently clean up the previous fall) are blank brown beds—the clean slates of gardening. I like the do-over aspect of each new garden season, but I long for …

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Bon appétit!

Who wouldn’t love to spend April in Paris? However, if France isn’t in your immediate future, you can still enjoy its delectable treats right here in Pittsburgh. These three patisseries are like children; you love them all, but each has its own special talent. The granddaddy, and the one that has proven that this region …

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A Vision for the Future

Late last year, the University of Pittsburgh quietly marked an economic milestone when NanoVision Diagnostics became the 100th start-up company to launch through Pitt’s Office of Technology Management. The promising cancer detection system teams a decade of faculty research with an executive-in-residence, and so far the new company has attracted $1.5 million in investment. Beyond …

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The Treehouse Effect

The woods of Fox Chapel hold many secrets—homes tucked away from view in settings so private they seem to exist as an extension of nature. The best of them take that into account, but none more so than the home purchased in 2009 by a downsizing couple. It sits on level ground in the front, …

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Taking full flight

Pittsburgh’s once-endangered National Aviary wrapped up 2013 as the most successful year in its 60-year history and capped a dramatic six-year expansion. With record visitors and record numbers of new birds joining its collection (many living two to three times their life expectancy), the North Side institution has come a long way since the days …

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Behind the Camera

Darrell Sapp isn’t a household name, but around Pittsburgh, most people have seen his work whether they know it or not. His photography has graced the pages of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for 35 years. What is it like to wake up every day and do the job of your dreams? For Sapp, it all starts …

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Cafe Raymond

Some neighborhood joints acquire an aura, off the beaten path or tucked away on some dicey back street, lending “insider” status to those who can get you there for a special lunch or evening out. A little bit like playing hard to get, this geographical inconvenience makes any great joint that much more enticing. Cafe …

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Pittsburgh Today & Tomorrow 2014 Regional Annual Report

How does Pittsburgh compare with these 14 similar cities?: Denver // Kansas City // Milwaukee // St. Louis // Minneapolis // St. Paul // Indianapolis // Detroit // Cincinnati // Cleveland // Charlotte // Richmond // Washington, D.C. // Philadelphia // Boston The 2014 Pittsburgh Today & Tomorrow report, produced by Pittsburgh Today, analyzes recent …

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Shale Gas & the Environment

For years the well pads, truck traffic and logos of energy companies large and small multiplied across counties like Washington and Greene as southwestern Pennsylvania became a poster child for the rush to extract natural gas trapped in the Marcellus Shale. It was in such a climate that the region recently assumed a new identity …

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Angry customers

I am yelling at you because it is so rare that I can ever speak to anyone in charge!” the customer bellowed before ultimately chuckling. So, I’m the whipping boy for every bad customer service experience that corporate America has ever delivered? That’s a heavy burden, and I’m not ideally suited to shoulder it. I …

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Too Fat Too Young

Michelle Penn-Nored of Penn Hills has been dealing with type 2 diabetes since her late 40s. She’s determined to keep her daughter from having the same fate. Last August at 10-year-old Meccah’s wellness exam, Penn-Nored talked with the physician assistant about getting a prescription so Meccah could join Weight Watchers. She carried a lot of …

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A Pittsburgh banking career

In April, Jim Rohr will retire as Executive Chairman of PNC Financial Services Inc. His 42-year career with the bank includes 13 years as CEO, a span that has seen PNC become one of the nation’s largest banks. Rohr has also been one of Pittsburgh’s greatest modern corporate leaders in civic affairs, championing a wide …

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A Question of Duty

Editor’s note: Pittsburgh Quarterly invited the heads of the region’s top independent schools to address, in 150 words or less, the following question: Your students are fortunate to be receiving an education at one of the region’s finest schools. What message of responsibility for the greater society does your school seek to instill in them? …

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Still Changing at 150

On April 19, 1864, America was preoccupied by several rather sizable events, including the Civil War and the recent emancipation of slaves. So citizens could be excused if they paid scant attention to the festivities that day in Cumberland, Md., where an entity called Consolidation Coal Company launched its operations by selling 1,000 shares of …

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