2021 Spring

Municipal Time Bomb

The fear was real last spring as local taxes—the lifeblood of boroughs, townships and cities—were trickling in. The COVID-19 pandemic was closing or impairing businesses in southwestern Pennsylvania, the state and nation. The U.S. unemployment rate soared to nearly 15 percent. “We worried that our revenues would collapse,” said Scott Andrejchak, the municipal manager of …

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Light as Air

Leanne Ford is working from home these days, just like everyone else. But home for Ford means Pittsburgh, as in the entire city and its environs. The interior designer and star of HGTV’s “Restored by the Fords” is positioning her new season, “Home Again with the Fords,” as part of a national trend. People across …

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It’s a Bird, Not an Insult

One April morning when I was watching my feeders, I noticed a woodpecker on a branch. At least I thought it was a plain, old woodpecker. Black and white plumage, chisel-like beak. But there was red on the front of its face and chin. Not the back-of-the-head, red splotch of the male downy or hairy …

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Celebrating Spring in Penns Creek Wild Area

People who have spent time around state College know the surrounding mountains hold countless opportunities for enjoying the outdoors. From winter hiking in the rocky ridgelines and snowshoeing around Bear Meadows Natural Area to spring fishing in Penns Creek’s and Fishing Creek’s famous trout waters, Centre County offers beautiful, remote landscapes in any season. One …

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Spring Greenery

After a long winter, the arrival of early spring, however damp and cool, is always welcome. This year especially so, as warmer weather on the horizon promises a reprieve after another pandemic winter. What better way to celebrate the cheerfulness of spring than with a pasta bursting with the bright, crisp flavors of spring’s early …

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Baker, Talotta, Franco, Hearn, Reeves, Ramachandran

Gretchen Baker will become the Daniel G. and Carole L. Kamin Director of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History on April 1. Baker is currently the managing director for museum experience at the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles. She previously served as vice president of exhibitions for the Natural History Museums of …

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Breaking the News

With their traditional revenue models already suffering a long-term structural decline, local media operations have been further weakened by the government lockdowns and economic havoc accompanying COVID-19. Or as Tom Melia, Washington director of PEN America, the 99-year-old nonprofit that protects free expression, put it: “The pandemic has accelerated almost every contributing factor to the …

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Rooney, Clarke, Habegger, Miller, Thornburgh, Gale, Robinson

Patricia Rooney, 88: Married to the late Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney for 65 years and one of four matriarchs of longstanding NFL families, Mrs. Rooney combined her love of family with a commitment to many causes, especially in the North Side neighborhood where she grew up and lived until her death. The mother of nine …

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Andy Masich: Pittsburgh Has a Story to Tell

My father was an engineer and my mother was a trained actress who went to school at Carnegie Tech, now Carnegie Mellon University. (Her first kissing scene was with Carl Betz, a Pittsburgher, who played the husband on “The Donna Reed Show.”) My parents met while doing community and summer-stock theatre. I have a wonderful …

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Barnes, Rogers, Dawson, Houston, Cavalier, Taube, Feeney

J. David Barnes, 91: After graduating from Harvard Law in 1954, Mr. Barnes spent two years in the Army and then joined Mellon Bank. He retired 30 years later as the chairman and chief executive officer. Active on many corporate and philanthropic boards through the years, he was especially fond of the Ellis School, helping …

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Wanted: More People

Southwestern Pennsylvania staggered into 2020 in need of people, again. It was coming off of yet another year when deaths outnumbered births and the number of newcomers couldn’t keep pace with the number of residents moving somewhere else. The COVID-19 pandemic likely makes the already-long odds of a quick rebound in the region’s population even …

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On a Pedestal: Festival of Books, Contemporary Craft, Pitt’s Homewood Project

For the past couple of years, pandemic or not, Marshall Cohen has been meeting people and gathering support for his idea: the creation of a Greater Pittsburgh Festival of Books. A literate city with the history of erudition that Pittsburgh has should have such an event, he reasoned. And after gaining some key support—from sponsors …

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Mowod, Twerski, Sommers, Schano, Connelly, Burke

Tony Mowod, 85: The longtime host of the WDUQ jazz program “Nightside” and founder of the Pittsburgh Jazz Society, Mr. Mowod grew up in the Hill District surrounded by jazz. His parents ran a restaurant, and he would go on to own several including the Vogue Terrace Dinner Theatre, which burned down after one production …

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Civil Discourse

As I consider the divided state of our country, I imagine my father’s voice repeating an old adage to me. “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” We can all agree that America has problems, though we’ll likely differ on what they are. Some will say the mob that former …

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A Passion for Cheese

Frequently in life, the people who are most successful are those who have a passion for what they do. When you cross the threshold of Chantal’s, the tiny cheese shop across the street from Children’s Hospital in Lawrenceville, the passion is palpable. These are people who love cheese! Anaïs Saint-André Loughran was born and raised …

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Baby Boom, or Bust?

After a major power blackout left New York City in the dark in 1965, the New York Times suggested it led to a citywide baby boom, citing a surge in births at local hospitals. After Boston was hit with a blizzard in 1978, the Boston Globe predicted it would result in a baby boom. In …

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Just Askin’… Susan Jaffe

Q: What’s the most interesting thing about your job? A: The most interesting part of my job is working with the dancers and creating programs to enrich the dancers and the audiences’ experience of dance. Q: What’s the best advice anybody ever gave you? A: The best advice that was given to me was to …

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2021 Economic Outlook

Economic recovery prospects in the Pittsburgh metro region are challenging for 2021. Government-mandated business closures and capacity limitations have sunk the metropolitan area’s labor force into steeper-than-average declines, undermining the ability of existing household consumption and business expenditures to reignite economic gains in the near term. New stimulus from the federal government may well provide …

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Pittsburgh Today and Tomorrow 2021

To view a PDF version of Pittsburgh Today and Tomorrow 2021, click here.
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