2022 Winter

A Win for Wilkinsburg

After five years of construction and $6.5 million, the Wilkinsburg train station has changed from being nearly a ruin to being completely and beautifully restored. The restoration of the historic landmark provides a striking and hopefully catalytic example of what is possible in building a new Wilkinsburg. The 10,000-square-foot Beaux-Arts building opened in 1916, serving …

A Win for Wilkinsburg Read More »

Jazz Renaissance

It’s hard to play the alto sax when you’re wearing a mask, so Tony Campbell simply cut a hole in his and played right through the pandemic, appearing at any number of venues from Wallace’s Whiskey Room + Kitchen in East Liberty to a concert on the lawn at a private home in Forest Hills …

Jazz Renaissance Read More »

An Alternative History of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh has been labeled variously as a “mosaic,” “hell with the lid off,” and “the Paris of Appalachia.” The East Liberty-born poet Jack Gilbert describes the city in his poem, “Searching for Pittsburgh,” as being made of “brick and tired wood/ Ox and sovereign spirit/ a consequence of America.” Those characterizations loom as well-played section …

An Alternative History of Pittsburgh Read More »

A farm life

From photographs I sent to expert tracker Linda Spielman, she was able to tell me wonderful little stories about what animals on our farm were doing last winter. At the top of our hill, a mouse bounded across deep snow, its hind feet sinking into holes made by its front feet. “Lots of animals do …

A farm life Read More »

After A Pitcher of Beer at Antlers Pub, I Believed I Was Brave

After A Pitcher of Beer at Antlers Pub, I Believed I Was Brave And walked with my friend Mike to the State Street Pier. Mike was funny, a good drinking buddy, and fearless.  He pissed from the edge of the pier, then pole vaulted over the railing and landed hard with both feet,  right on the lake below. …

After A Pitcher of Beer at Antlers Pub, I Believed I Was Brave Read More »

A Refuge for Wildlife-Watching

About an hour’s drive north of Pittsburgh, Interstate 79 is the 120-acre Cussewago Bottom Conservation Area in Crawford County. The preserve provides an opportunity to explore forests, wetlands and wildlife near a tributary of French Creek. Cussewago originates from the Seneca Indian word meaning “big belly.” Cussewago Creek flows south from Erie County for 35 …

A Refuge for Wildlife-Watching Read More »

An Urban Farmhouse

Like many couples, the owners of this Shadyside residence decided to sell the sprawling home they had lived in since 1972 when their children were grown and gone. That was 20 years ago. “We were early with the downsizing,” the wife says with a laugh. But they retained an acre of prime property next to …

An Urban Farmhouse Read More »

Keep Warm and Watch for Flickers

Forty below zero isn’t cold if you dress for it. I learned that in the Wyoming backcountry when I spent three weeks winter camping one February. We ate high-calorie diets, slicing butter into hot cocoa for the extra fat, and built thick snow shelters to pass the frigid nights. When it dropped below zero, we …

Keep Warm and Watch for Flickers Read More »

What the New Mayor Faces

Sophie Masloff became mayor as the city of Pittsburgh was mourning the death of her popular predecessor, Richard Caliguiri. Tom Murphy was elected to the office in 1994, when the city teetered on the brink of financial calamity as the region scrambled to reinvent itself after the collapse of its steel industry. The mayors who …

What the New Mayor Faces Read More »

Ilkin, Stabile, Weizenbaum, Harper, Wholey

Tunch Ilkin, 63 The Steelers two-time Pro Bowl tackle, team captain and longtime broadcaster on the Steelers Radio Network died of ALS. He played 13 seasons with the Steelers and one with the Green Bay Packers before retiring in 1993. Ilkin was also vice president of the NFL Players Association from 1989 to 1994. He …

Ilkin, Stabile, Weizenbaum, Harper, Wholey Read More »

Uh-oh! Free Will Pulls Vanishing Act

“I do not believe in free will.” — Einstein Previously in this series: On Consciousness Part V: Is It All Predictable? “There is no absolute or free will.” — Spinoza We are investigating my claim that free will is an illusion that grows out of our ignorance of the factors – the prior interactions – that engender …

Uh-oh! Free Will Pulls Vanishing Act Read More »

Stepping into the Breach Pt. III

JANE WERNER, executive director, Children’s Museum of PittsburghWe have been amazed to see the commitment of our visitors and community in keeping kids safe while they explore joy, curiosity, creativity, and kindness at Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. As challenging as this year and a half has been, and while we were waiting for younger children …

Stepping into the Breach Pt. III Read More »

What’s in a Name?

It’s only been a couple of decades since we kept our contacts (names, addresses, phone numbers) in leather-bound address books. Old-school, right, but that’s what we did before we were tethered to technology: Outlook on our computers, Contacts on our iPhones or Androids. My mother sent Christmas cards to dozens of people each year, and …

What’s in a Name? Read More »

Hanna, Haley, Fu, Smyrnes-Williams, Brendel

Howard Hanna Sr., 101With an initial investment of $40, which may have included the plywood for his desk, Hanna started a real estate company in 1957 that now has more than 13,500 employees and more than 400 branch offices in 11 states. Today Howard Hanna Real Estate Services is the largest independently owned real estate …

Hanna, Haley, Fu, Smyrnes-Williams, Brendel Read More »

Date With Destiny

The Washington & Jefferson football team had its work cut out for it on Jan. 2, 1922. The Presidents had gone unbeaten that year, taking on powerhouses such as Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Syracuse. They were invited to play the University of Detroit in a postseason matchup, and after winning that game, touted as a …

Date With Destiny Read More »

Christmas Eve Disaster

A dozen years ago, my mother told me that my Grandpa Kuffner’s cousin had died in a Pittsburgh streetcar accident. She thought it happened in the early 1900s, but didn’t know the cousin’s name, gender or age. Reading library microfilm, it was clear that pedestrians used to be hurt or killed daily by streetcars, horses …

Christmas Eve Disaster Read More »

Stepping into the Breach, Part II

AUGIE CARLINO, president & CEO, Rivers of SteelWhile there have been many memorable experiences that demonstrate meaningful reciprocity between Rivers of Steel and our communities throughout the pandemic, one, in particular, stands out—our relationship with Mon Valley artist Kathleen Ferri. In mid-2020, after news of Rivers of Steel’s new Vice President Amy Buchan Baldonieri reached …

Stepping into the Breach, Part II Read More »

Region Adds Jobs, But Growth Is Slow

Jobs edged up slightly in the Pittsburgh region in November, but not enough to signal a return to pre-COVID employment levels in the new year. Employers in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area added 2,000 jobs from October to November — a 0.2 percent monthly gain, according to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of …

Region Adds Jobs, But Growth Is Slow Read More »

A Christmas Story

It was a December Saturday in 1956 when my surgeon father decided he and I would go out and cut down our Christmas tree just as he had done as a boy. Equipped with a rope, a canvas tarp, saws, an axe and several hatchets, we left our house in suburban Pittsburgh at 9:00 a.m. …

A Christmas Story Read More »

Stepping into the Breach

J. KEVIN MCMAHON, president & CEO, Pittsburgh Cultural TrustOne Saturday morning early on in the pandemic I received a call from a longtime Cultural Trust trustee, Murry Gerber. Murry read an email I sent to the board detailing challenges the Trust was facing, including canceling thousands of events and performances. He felt compelled to do …

Stepping into the Breach Read More »

Why Grove City College Doesn’t Accept Federal Funding

America is home to thousands of higher education institutions, but only a small handful reject funding from the federal government. Grove City College is the largest of this small group. We are occasionally asked by other colleges and universities how we do it. After all, turning off the federal money spigot may require enormous determination …

Why Grove City College Doesn’t Accept Federal Funding Read More »

Even So

Even So My friend wants to be  a tree that’s blazing out its autumn so when it’s done,  its reds and golds, oranges and browns –lie sudden all around. Outside, chill wind. Trees beyond the strip-mall – bare and thin.  I pass a huge, unbalanced ginkgo,leftward branches absent from a winter storm,   then grasp the frost-tinged handrailof my front …

Even So Read More »

Top