2019 Fall

Short Takes: “The Secret History of KGB Spy Cameras,” “Threads Around the World”

Deep in a secret location cloaked by trees and rolling hills—well, to be precise, inside a home in the leafy suburb of Upper St. Clair—exists a notable collection of Soviet spy equipment. It belongs to Michael M. Hasco, a former Heinz executive whose interest in photography blossomed into full-fledged expertise in the history of espionage …

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An Uncommon Life in an Ordinary Place

It would be a shame if this strange and glorious book set in Greene County becomes pigeonholed as “a voice from the heartland” or “a rare glimpse inside the Other America.” Sarah Elaine Smith, a Greene County native now living in Pittsburgh, has surely drawn on observed experience for her first novel. But the Carnegie …

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A Deeper Look at Health

When Kelle Cunningham had her first appointment with David Lobur, M.D., it was unlike anything she had ever experienced. They talked for 90 minutes. “He wanted to know all about my health history: How I was born? What I did. He just wanted to know everything about me, which I never had happen before,” says …

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Still Squonky After All These Years

Leave your preconceived notion of an opera in the car. Whatever Squonk Opera is, it certainly isn’t what you’re thinking. A description that succinctly encapsulates this Pittsburgh native is futile. Not quite a rock band, anything but an opera. So, what then? Squonk’s strength lies in its innate pliability. Each show is built atop a …

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Finding Solitude in Westinghouse Park

Its pastoral charms are pleasant but unremarkable: 10 acres of well-tended lawn sprinkled with mature trees, a children’s play area and a utilitarian cement block park building. Other than the name, there is no reason to suspect that Westinghouse Park in the city’s Point Breeze North neighborhood was once the beating heart of a web …

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Thomas, Luke, Fragman, Huang, Tripathi, Woods, Gregerson

Mark Anthony Thomas is president of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, an affiliate of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. He is responsible for creating, developing and executing the region’s economic development strategy and advancing partnerships to drive job creation and business investment. Thomas came to Pittsburgh from the New York City Economic Development Corporation, where, …

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Exploring Andy Warhol’s Ancestral Home

Andy Warhol once said that he came “from nowhere.” And if ever you find yourself exploring the Lower Beskid mountains along the Polish-Slovak border, you might think he was right. At first glance, it appears there are no signs human beings were ever there. But if you look closer, you’ll realize that the holes and …

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The Price of Nature’s Beauty

Second in a three-part series: Even modest exploration of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests reveals their gifts: hidden waterfalls that appear along hiking trails, imposing rock formations bolted with anchors for climbing, lakes created by dams for swimming and boating on warm summer days, and rivers and streams stocked with fish for the catching. Some …

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On a Pedestal: Fallingwater, Allegheny Conference, Natural Areas Association, Healthcare Truce

Now, a world treasure: Fallingwater has gone global. Thanks to efforts from the Western Pa. Conservancy, Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece of modern architecture nestled in the verdant Laurel Highlands has been added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage List. It’s recognition that in our backyard is a treasure considered in …

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A Liberal Approach to Business

Because you study anything and everything at a liberal arts college, you might say that it resembles an episode of Seinfeld, the observational comedy show about nothing. And because nothing really prepares you for a business career, the liberal arts might make the best choice. Late one night in 1992, my father phoned, asking me …

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Memoirs of a Quehanna Chief

“Wanted: Young men, college graduates, comfortable outdoors.” ­—Uniontown Evening Standard I was enthralled by a classified ad that appeared in late March 1976. To work in some way conserving the outdoors where I’d grown up fishing, hunting and foraging wild plants was how I’d always envisioned my life. But what job could this be? The …

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Zuberbuhler, Schwalb, McCormick, Brown, Wolosik, Burnett, Malezi

James Robert Zuberbuhler, MD, 89: Pediatric cardiology hadn’t evolved into a medical field in 1967, when he was appointed director of the new department at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, a position he held for nearly three decades. Dr. Zuberbuhler was a master diagnostician when doctors had little more than a patient’s medical history and …

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Hunting Ginseng

“In passing through the mountains, I met a number of persons and pack horses going over the mountain with ginseng.” —George Washington’s Diary, 1784 I am grateful for the locals who taught me so much about rural life. Our mail carrier showed me morels, our babysitter taught me about “onion snow,” and last fall, Gary, …

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George Washington DID Sleep Here

Forbes. Grant. Braddock. Duquesne. Washington. While these read like a list of Pittsburgh streets, they have immense significance to both Pittsburgh and its place in American and world history. But that history began around 50 miles away in Westmoreland County, in what is now the borough of Ligonier. It’s been kept alive and can be …

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The Lost Pulitzer

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has won five Pulitzer Prizes. It should have been six. The Post-Gazette won No. 5 in April for its coverage of the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue, but it should have won one 55 years ago for Morrie Berman’s photo of New York Giants quarterback Y.A. Tittle, beaten to his …

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Testing the Test

We’ve asked the leaders of a group of the region’s top independent schools to answer, in 200 words or fewer, the following question: “Whether it’s the PSSA tests that public schools are required to give or the latest changes in the SAT, there is often disagreement and sometimes controversy about the concept and emphasis on testing in …

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Our Glacial Heritage—Moraine State Park

One of the largest and most popular parks in Pennsylvania is Moraine State Park in Butler County, an easy drive north of Pittsburgh. The park offers 28 miles of trails, boating, swimming, fishing, ice-fishing, hunting, horseback riding, cycling and educational programs. Overnight accommodations include both campsites and lakeside cabins. The story of the park begins …

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Sewickley Idyll

In a neighborhood known for its quiet streets, this one is especially peaceful, just a few leafy blocks of lovely homes with landscaped lawns and mature trees. That it’s just minutes from Sewickley’s village center was one reason the owners chose to live there. They had originally moved to a gracious old home in Sewickley …

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The Great Migration Begins

Across the sky, everything is moving. Fall migration actually begins in August when the first waves of long-distance travelers begin to push south. Warblers, hummingbirds, waterfowl, shorebirds and hawks begin southward journeys. Some have nested and fledged chicks over the summer in sight of the Point, Flagstaff Hill, the Highland Park Bridge, the furnace chimneys …

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A Slow But Continuing Decline

Gavriel Popper-Keizer was living in sun-swept Santa Barbara when he decided to leave coastal California, where he’d spent most of his life. His girlfriend, Alison, also a lifelong Californian, was on board. The sense of adventure was appealing. Neither had a dream job they would regret leaving. And they had come to grips with the …

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Randy Gilson, Genius of the Human Spirit

Life began for me on January 27, 1957, in Titusville, Pennsylvania. My dad was from there and my mom came from a dairy farm in Mercer. She was a little country girl who loved to play the accordion, and she’d always go down to the tent revival meetings because she also loved Jesus. That’s where …

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Pittsburgh: Buy, Sell or Hold?

We’ve asked a group of the region’s leading financial experts to give their opinion on the following question: “If the Pittsburgh region were an investable security, what changes, if any, would you want to see before you advised your clients to invest?” Their answers follow. Linda Duessel, Federated Investors: Pittsburgh already is a “buy.” It’s …

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