2022 Spring

Hampton, Gumberg, Fox, O’Brien, Weber, Green

Slide Hampton, 89The virtuoso jazz trombonist, bandleader and Grammy Award-winning composer and musical arranger hailed from Jeannette, where his sister gave him the nickname Slide. One of 12 children, he spent his entire life in music, beginning as a singer and dancer with a family band and progressing to trombone at age 12. The Hampton …

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A Classic Colonial

Houses are like people in many ways. They tend to get better with age as they develop character and the rich patina that comes from living, and being lived in. Up to a point, that is. And then they start to require maintenance, and eventually, if they last long enough, more serious renovation. Such was …

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Favorini, DeSantis, Johnson, Virdon, Diamond, Baskin

Attilio “Buck” Favorini, 78After earning a Ph.D. in History of the Theatre from Yale, the New York City native came to Pittsburgh in 1969 and spent 50 years here, founding the Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival, which became one of the top Shakespeare festivals in America. He joined the Pitt faculty and founded the university’s Theatre …

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The $3,000 Hippopotamus

“Lucy is dead” was the headline of the March 17, 1902 Pittsburgh Press article that announced the passing of Lucy Juba-Nile, the popular hippopotamus that had been dwelling at the Highland Park Zoological Garden (now called the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium) for the previous three years. Lucy had been ill for about a week. …

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Cohill, Corbett, Walton, Lewis, Wymard, Ford

Judge Maurice Cohill Jr., 92A national leader in juvenile justice, Cohill heard hundreds of cases involving juveniles and often had adults tell him how his influence had turned their lives around. He founded the nation’s oldest juvenile justice research organization, the National Center for Juvenile Justice in Pittsburgh, and was its chairman for decades. In …

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Reflections on Masculinity

In his award-winning recent memoir, Punch Me Up to the Gods, Brian Broome lovingly describes the antechamber of the now-defunct Hills Department store in his hometown of Warren, Ohio as smelling “like the emotions of a child. Pre-adolescent bacchanalia. It was dizzying. It was a roasted peanut, soft pretzel factory wrapped inside a chocolate-covered everything. …

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The 5th Northumberland Fusiliers

When Jim Zunic was about 10 years old, he got the shock of his young life. After he had enjoyed watching a TV series about Sherlock Holmes, the librarian at McNaugher Elementary School on Pittsburgh’s North Side encouraged him to read some of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories about the fictional detective. “The librarian started …

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The View from Erie

Peering out at the choppy waves from the shore of Lake Erie, the businessman sees opportunity. The fisherman envisions a trout dinner. The tourist anticipates a boat ride. The farmer appreciates the plentiful water supply. The environmentalist frets about lake pollution. James Grunke, president of the Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership, sees all of …

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Pittsburgh’s Urban Forests

Pittsburgh is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world ­— a beautiful skyline, stunning geography, a city set at the confluence of two rivers that form a third. And this is reinforced by its being such a green city — a city of large parks and of wonderful green spaces …

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A Purpose-Driven Life

Arnold Zegarelli would probably agree with the adage: “find a job you enjoy doing, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” For 66 years until his retirement in November at the age of 85, that’s precisely what he did. Dressed in a suit and tie, a pocket square tucked neatly into …

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PLACE YOUR BETS

In the mid-1960s, public- and private-sector leaders in southwestern Pennsylvania threw their support behind an effort to diversify the region’s steel industry-reliant economy by developing the emerging rapid-transportation market in their backyard. Their hopes were pinned to Skybus, an innovative, automated transportation system that allowed for congestion-free travel on tracks high above streets and highways. …

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Professionals new to Pittsburgh

David Holiday is the director for the Center for Ethical Leadership and instructor of philosophy at Washington & Jefferson College. Prior to joining W&J, Holiday held the position of director of the Jackson Family Center for Ethics and Values at Coastal Carolina University, where he also served as lecturer in the Department of Philosophy and …

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Nettle: The Weed that Stings

What is a weed? A plant in the wrong place is a common definition, or as Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “a plant whose virtues we haven’t yet discovered.” But nettles — weeds to most of us — have virtues long discovered. Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary of eating very good nettle porridge. In Aesop’s …

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No More Love Letters

I have always been amused by Hollywood’s vision of writers at work. The writer is presented seated at a desk on which sits a typewriter or a computer. Suddenly the writer seems inspired and begins typing feverishly. The camera stays on him as he continues to type, and his manuscript grows page by page into …

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Darken Our Skies to Help the Birds

Who doesn’t love the sparkle of the Downtown skyline when cheering on the Pirates at PNC Park? I’ve sat marveling at the view across the water as the Bucs warm up and the stadium lights begin to come on. The glass, metal and stone are iconic of the Steel City. Then I imagine birds migrating …

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What do I Know? Leslie Davis

My family is from New York, and my younger sister and I grew up in a suburban neighborhood on Long Island called “Five Towns,” which is about a 20-minute drive from Kennedy Airport. We were a typical 1970s family, except that my mother was an oral hygienist in a dentist’s office and loved her job. …

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College Students Wanted

When the United States slid into the Great Recession, throwing millions out of work, America went back to school. Older adults enrolling in community colleges or other two-year programs led a surge in enrollment that saw colleges add 2.5 million students from 2007-2010, a 14 percent enrollment spike. School administrators were elated. “We all thought, …

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On a Pedestal, Spring 2022

A Steeler for LifeWas it really 18 years ago that Ben Roethlisberger took the field as a rookie with the Steelers? How the years have come and gone. And while last season’s Steelers eked out a winning season with an unlikely playoff appearance that ended in lopsided defeat, the team gave us something that’s a …

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Just Asking…Byron Stripling

Q: what’s the most interesting thing about your job?A: I get paid to do what I love! Q: what’s the best advice anybody ever gave you?A: Everything you want is on the other side of fear. Q: how do you start the day?A: It starts with gratitude for the gift of another day. As Maya …

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Infrastructure Bonanza

It promises to be a busy couple of years for Vincent Valdes. As the federal government begins to pump $1.2 trillion into the nation’s infrastructure, the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission he leads is in the thick of discussions around how to spend the region’s share, which will be counted in hundreds of millions of dollars and …

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A Troubling Economic Picture

The Pittsburgh metropolitan statistical area’s economy enters 2022 in much the same condition as it exhibited prior to the pandemic. That is, growing, but doing so at a pace below the national average and under the yoke of subpar labor market conditions. Even though the bar has been lowered as to what economic growth targets …

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Fuller Brook Dreams

I had seen the stream many times before, in my dreams. As someone averse to synthetic sleep aids, I’ve always relied instead on my mind to take me to one of my happy places: a rugged and undeveloped coastline with soaring seagulls and salty air; my grandmother’s kitchen table; a sweet stream flowing through the …

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