2016 Spring

Pittsburgh Today and Tomorrow 2016

The 2016 Pittsburgh Today and Tomorrow report, produced by Pittsburgh Today, analyzes recent data to assess the Pittsburgh region’s standing compared with 14 other regions in key economic and quality of life measures. Also included are numerous in-depth reports focusing on the most important issues facing Greater Pittsburgh. To view a PDF version of Pittsburgh …

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South Side Visions

I only met my husband’s grandfather a few times; he died at age 92, shortly after my husband and I were married in 1988.   However, I think of Lee Dittley often, when I look at his charming paintings of the South Side of Pittsburgh. With only a ninth-grade education, he went from working in …

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An Art Full House

“We’re art addicts so we’re always buying stuff, ” says the owner of a wood-clad modern home in Fox Chapel, laughing. She and her husband are just back from a major art fair and the question, as usual, is where to put the new piece. From the outside, no one would suspect that the discreet …

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Moderate Growth in Store for Metro Pittsburgh in 2016

Metropolitan Pittsburgh is a picture of stability entering 2016. Job growth is outpacing the Pennsylvania state average, and the unemployment rate for the seven-county region is steady near 5 percent. 2015 brought a resurgence in labor force growth, providing local employers a wider pool of talent from which to fill their ever-expanding payroll needs. Pittsburgh …

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Keeping international graduates

Alexandra Oliver had been a writer, editor, researcher, art critic, lecturer, curator, community organizer and entrepreneur. She earned her Ph.D. in Pittsburgh. She had a job offer in Pittsburgh and wanted to stay in the city where, she said, she “found a niche.” But Oliver is Canadian, and for international graduates like her, getting legal …

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Forever In Bloom

Gardens are fleeting, as anyone with a green thumb will attest. Within two weeks of neglect, weeds invade; within two years, shrubs perish and pathways disappear; within two decades, the garden is but a memory. Fast forward two centuries, when everyone who even remembers the garden is gone…   The Garden Club of America, founded …

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Setting a New Standard

The professor sits at her console and looks to the monitor at her right. There, she sees the smiling, eager faces of her students, 16 strong, for this evening’s lecture. She greets them and is greeted in return. On the monitor to the professor’s left is a SMART Board, an interactive whiteboard that she uses …

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A Pittsburgh Masterpiece

When Rachel Rosenberg arrived at the University of Pittsburgh from California as a freshman, she was immediately drawn to the cultural classrooms lining the Cathedral of Learning’s first and third floors: their alluring aesthetics, stunning architecture and meticulous attention to detail. “There’s nothing like this anywhere else,” she said. “They really set the University of …

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The Internet of Things

We carry our smartphones everywhere, and they connect us to everything. We feel comfortable talking to them and having them talk back. We call them phones, but they’re pocket computers, as powerful as the supercomputers of a decade ago. We use them as calculators, cameras, memory aids, executive assistants, voice recorders, word processors, road maps, …

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Esther L. Barazzone, Educator & Administrator

I grew up in Bluefield, W.Va., a town of about 16,000, which had no “wrong side” of the tracks—because it was all tracks, for trains moving coal out of southern West Virginia. I lived there with my mother, stepfather and three brothers. Three out of four of my grandparents were immigrants—from Italy, Belgium and Ireland—and, …

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A New Initiative

John Kane was the quintessential Pittsburgh working man: tough, hard-working, unpretentious, and yet extraordinarily creative. He emigrated from Scotland in 1879, worked for Frick’s coke works, Carnegie’s steel mill and the Pennsylvania Railroad where he became a painter of boxcars for the railroad. Later, emerging as a true artist, he created some of the most …

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Wilkinsburg renewal

Shortly before he died last year, Korean War veteran Jack Ward stood inside the doorway of the Save-A-Lot grocery store in Wilkinsburg’s Penn Avenue business district. Wearing his Marine cap and shirt with service patches, he handed out pamphlets about the proposed sale of alcohol in some borough restaurants. A previous referendum had failed, but …

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Mount Oliver Incline, Circa 1895

When the mount oliver inclined railway was built in 1872, it was Allegheny County’s second incline, and an average one-way ride cost six cents. Its cars traveled from 12th Street, South Side, to its eponymous height— from which this photo was taken—gaining 377 feet of elevation over 1,600 feet of track and depositing riders at …

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Allison, Massaro, Olander, Harris, Kaiser, Murdoch, Burke, Copetas

Susan Allison, 75 A longtime resident of Erie and Sewickley Heights, “Susie” Allison helped her husband, Craig, build a number of businesses, including Tollgrade Communications, which became one of Pittsburgh’s most successful public companies during the dot-com boom under the leadership of their son Chris. She later devoted her energies to philanthropy, focusing on adoption, …

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A Printing Press for the Future

During a pre-Sscars movie binge, I recently saw “Spotlight,” the film about the Boston Globe’s investigation into the cover-up of sexual abuse by Catholic priests. Having spent two decades at Pittsburgh’s daily papers, the newsroom scenes brought back the vitality of a great American institution—the newspaper—which sadly appears to be fading into history. And I …

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Taylor, Ocampo, Pearson, Bennett, Hansen, Hissrich, Schörnich, Block

In March, James Taylor will become the chief diversity and inclusion officer at UPMC. A native of Rochester, N.Y., he comes to Pittsburgh from Charlotte, N.C., where he previously was the chief learning and diversity officer of Carolinas HealthCare System. He received his undergraduate degree in applied psychology from Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY and …

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Pittsburgh: 200 Years Young?

Pittsburgh’s getting younger. you hear it, read about it, and see it any time you’re out on the “tahn.” Even the demographic data back it up. But if you still don’t believe it, consider this: This year—just eight years after the Pittsburgh 250 celebration—the City of Pittsburgh is celebrating its 200th anniversary—proof positive that everything …

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American Redstart

Are we separate from nature or part of it? Superior to all creatures, the apex of creation, or simply one species among millions? Does self awareness make us unique? What about our sense of past, present and future? These are some of the questions I’ve mulled since The Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Powdermill Avian …

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Great Allegheny Passage

One of the most wonderful trail additions in western Pennsylvania has been the Great Allegheny Passage which runs 150 miles between Pittsburgh and Cumberland, Md., where it joins the C&O Canal Towpath and continues to Washington, D.C. Some of the most remote and scenic parts of the trail are the portions along the Casselman River …

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The Holmes Precedent

Time was when yogi Berra had to work off- season as a restaurant greeter. Richie Hebner dug graves. Nolan Ryan pumped gas. When Pirate slugger Ralph Kiner asked for a raise, scripture-quoting general manager Branch Rickey told him: “We finished last with you and we can finish last without you.” During this winter’s off-season, perhaps …

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Neither, Either, Or

If you want to explore the vexing subject of global climate change, Seamus McGraw is the guy to have as a tour guide. He will not torture your brain with elaborate science, tax your patience with lectures about evil consumer habits, or bash you over the head with partisan arguments. Instead, he takes you to …

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Boom, bust and disaster

Located at a horseshoe bend of the Monongahela River in Washington County—the heart of today’s Rust Belt—what would become Donora, Pa.was a farming community of 12 people in 1900. Within one year, it exploded to 4,000—as hordes of workers built and manned numerous factories. Its population topped 14,000 by 1920, but today numbers only 5,500. …

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