2017 Spring

Taming Air Pollution: The Region’s Century-Old Challenge

Southwestern Pennsylvania and air quality have long had a complicated relationship. For the better part of a century, the region had been a place so polluted from the soot of industry and homes heated by coal that street lamps were lit in the afternoon and walking a single block could ruin the collar of a …

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Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Executive

I was born and raised in the Bloomfield-Garfield section of Pittsburgh, which is now called “Friendship.” I attended St. Lawrence O’Toole Grade School in Garfield, Central Catholic High and then Carnegie Mellon University in nearby Oakland, and have lived and raised my family in Squirrel Hill for the past 33 years. So, geographically speaking, I’ve …

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Serious Threads

First the Frick announced a new programming initiative in fashion and brought “Killer Heels” to Pittsburgh. The impossibly impractical yet stunningly gorgeous shoes might have made more sense at the Warhol where Andy’s advertising and shoe portrait drawings would have cheekily made the connection between costume, eroticism, design, and identity while contextualizing the to-die-for heels. …

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Journalism 101?

I’ve been a reporter or editor almost continuously since taking over my high school newspaper 39 years ago. So when President Trump called journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on earth,” it did get my attention. But journalists get attacked so often that rather than take it personally, I considered whether any truth lurked …

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A Shrinking Resource

Not that long ago, the state Department of Education was a robust repository of expertise for 500 Pennsylvania school districts, offering curricular guidance ranging from math to art to best practices for improving school effectiveness and education outcomes. Those days, however, are largely gone as a new environment has taken hold, one in which federal …

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Despite Lull, Pittsburgh Poised to Grow Faster

Greater Pittsburgh’s economy is in a precarious situation to start 2017. The seven-county region’s unemployment rate rose sharply through the second half of 2015, nearing 6 percent—a level not seen since 2014 when the recovery was just gaining real momentum. Prior to the 2008–09 recession, Pittsburgh’s unemployment rate mirrored national trends for 20 years. So …

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Josh Gibson on Deck

Pittsburgh’s greatest but still relatively unknown sports hero is about to get a curtain call of a different kind. This spring, Pittsburgh Opera unveils “The Summer King,” the world premiere of Daniel Sonenberg’s tale of the remarkable, short life of baseball legend Josh Gibson. The opera weaves a young black man’s heartbreaking personal tribulations with …

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The Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

One spring, I ventured south to Savannah, Georgia, for some sun and warmth. As a coastal locale and part of the Atlantic flyway, it was rich with avifauna heading back to nesting territories farther north in places like western Pennsylvania. It was March, and the streets of that wonderful city were alive with flowering trees, …

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Finley, McClendon, Castillo, Hill, Shiller, Newton, McKone

On July 1, Macon Paine Finley will become head of the Ellis School. She comes to Pittsburgh from St. Louis, where she has been assistant head of school at the John Burroughs School since 2012. Her appointment comes on the heels of celebrating The Ellis School’s 100th anniversary. Before joining Burroughs in 2000, Finley served …

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