2023 Winter

Shelter from the Storm

Southwestern Pennsylvania boasts many attractions, but its weather usually isn’t one of them. In fact, a longstanding population trend is the annual exodus of residents who choose to resettle in Florida, the Carolinas and other warmer climates. But when Jordan Fischbach moved his family from Los Angeles 11 years ago, it was the climate that …

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Ramona Reeves wins Drue Heinz with First Collection

Take the mordant wit of Flannery O’ Connor, combine it with the stripped-down empathy of Raymond Carver, and you just might have something like It Falls Gently All Around and Other Stories. This debut collection by Ramona Reeves offers a window into the entwined lives of characters in Mobile, Alabama — a politically, socially and …

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Twin Pine: A Singular Shopping Experience

Inside a converted barn in Wexford, just beyond Winston, the life-sized horse statue decorated for every season, is Martin Potoczny’s labor of love. The serial creative entrepreneur used the forced slowdown of COVID to create his dream of opening a curated antique and vintage lifestyle store. His keen appreciation for artisans, innovators and inventors has …

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The Evening Grosbeak – a Bright Winter Visitor

The day I saw the evening Grosbeaks up along the Allegheny River, I was at a winter corporate retreat at a golf club. I was sitting at a conference table and outside, there were bird feeders. Grosbeaks were picking seeds at every opening, stacked one atop the other. I have no memory of what the …

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When Wampum High School was Small Yet Big

In the well-trod regions of the sportswriting firmament, there is a progression in cliches used to describe successful coaches. It starts with “winning” and escalates to “renowned” and culminates with — ultima gloria — “legendary.” With justification, sportswriters in Lawrence County, which borders Pennsylvania and Ohio about 40 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, reflexively apply the …

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Passion and Purpose

Those who know Anne Dickson are at once astonished and not the least bit surprised by all she has accomplished in such a short time. With her husband, Andrew, she is raising three young boys and the evidence is everywhere in the Fox Chapel home the couple purchased seven years ago. They bought the house …

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An Overdue Obituary – The McKeesport Daily News

When I was growing up in Elizabeth, a small town in the Mon Valley, and uncles, aunts and neighbors learned that I wanted to write for a newspaper, I would hear this common refrain: “Maybe you can work for The Daily News.” Although my sights were set elsewhere, I knew their words were less about …

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What Do I Know? Sam Hazo

without a doubt, the course of my life was determined largely by my upbringing. My mother died when I was 6, and while my father was still around, my brother, Robert, and I were taken into the care of our mother’s parents and they raised us, with significant help from my mother’s aunt. My mother’s …

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Small-town Characters Drive “Wings & Other Things”

Story endings can be famously tricky to land, with Hemingway once claiming he wrote 39 different endings to A Farewell to Arms. Yet, when the writer Chauna Craig delves into the messy lives of her female protagonists, the resolution happens so effortlessly it can feel like sleight of hand. The Indiana University of Pennsylvania professor’s …

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Pandemic Learning Loss

For decades, educators fretted over how to prevent “summer slide,” the learning loss that students often experience over summer vacation. The COVID pandemic raised the stakes. Mounting evidence suggests that periodic school closings, the abrupt shift to remote learning and other disruptions profoundly set back students’ education, accelerating learning loss into a national crisis — …

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Less Lawn, More Native Plants

When my mother-in-law was ill 28 years ago, my husband began to build a stone wall on our front lawn. Each rock he handled three, maybe four times: plucked from the woods, thrown into the back of a pickup, dropped onto the grass to decide placement, or set directly atop a dry wall. One stone …

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Fitting into West Virginia

In writing, place can be both problematic and inspirational. Take James Joyce’s troubled relationship with his Irish homeland. Ireland’s Catholic, nationalist values were reasons enough for him to never enter his native land after 1912. And though he died in 1941, his masterpieces remain redolent of Dublin. In her captivating debut memoir, Another Appalachia: Coming …

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Whites Creek Valley Natural Area

South of confluence in southern Somerset County is a beautiful and remote destination known as the Whites Creek Valley Natural Area. The Whites Creek watershed drains part of the southern slope of Mount Davis, and the creek flows northwest to the Casselman River. Preserved by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the 85-acre parcel is one mile …

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A Sailing Odyssey, Part II: Peril on the Seas

It is said that no two trips to the North Channel are ever the same. With a maiden voyage behind me, though, I felt confident about my second trip, which I would undertake with three college classmates, all 60 years old. I put the boat in the water early, eager to push the engine a …

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Pittsburgh’s Gentleman Scholar

I wasn’t sure when i knocked on the door that I was really at the right house. I thought I had the correct address, but it had been a long trip. I took the passenger ferry to Martha’s Vineyard and then rode my bicycle 10 miles out to West Tisbury. And then I had to hunt …

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A Sailing Odyssey, Part I

When I was a boy during summers in northern Michigan, there was one adventure that dwarfed all others: sailing to the North Channel. It was a distant, mythic place of pristine beauty and wrecked boats where intrepid sailors matched their skills with the forces of nature — where islands had rattlesnakes, fish were huge, and …

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A Sailing Odyssey, The Conclusion

Killarney was our eastern apogee, where we spent the rainy day in the Killarney Mountain Lodge, had drinks by the fire and I taught the guys to play bridge. From there we started the long trek back, exploring the North Channel’s most beautiful places by day and playing bridge in the cozy cabin each night. …

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What About Aesthetics?

The latest iteration of the Carnegie International dropped in the era of the pandemic. What would it say about our world situation as reflected in the work of contemporary artists? How would it fit within the historic framework of the exhibition that has been instrumental in shaping the character of the Carnegie Museum of Art? …

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Arkus, Diana, Talotta, McCullough, DeLuca, Samet, Coraluppi, Baer, Shea, Rust, Kernick, Henne, Silvestre, Fennell, Celli

Jane Arkus, 93As an advertising executive, Arkus helped to create the iconic “chipped-chopped ham” ads for Islay’s. She joined Lando in 1951 as a copywriter and when the firm merged with Burson-Marsteller, she became its senior creative director. As a marketing consultant, Arkus worked to develop the Downtown Cultural District, WQED and the Urban League …

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Spotlight on Nonprofits, Pt. IV

Catherine Qureshi, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Equity and inclusivity are at the core of our work. Throughout the past 26 years, we’ve completed more than 22 improvement projects that enhance the experience of every park visitor who explores Pittsburgh’s incredible green spaces. However, our work extends far beyond capital projects. Year after year, we offer hundreds …

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Spotlight on Nonprofits, Pt. III

Wendy Pardee, The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh This year, we are proud to celebrate our 120th anniversary. What started in 1902 as a home to help a young boy injured in an industrial accident has grown into an amazing place that serves more than 6,000 children across Western Pennsylvania each year. While our services have …

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Spotlight on Nonprofits

Rachel Petrucelli, UPMC Children’s Hospital Foundation Working in the nonprofit sector — specifically at UPMC Children’s Hospital Foundation — has enabled me to draw on my own lived experience to ease the burdens many children and families face here in our community. As the mom of a daughter with complex medical and behavioral health needs, I …

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