On a Pedestal

Vision and Action: A Remembrance of Paul O’Neill

I first met Paul O’Neill 23 years ago. I was running a project at the Post-Gazette called PG Benchmarks, which compared Pittsburgh to regions across the country with the goal of elevating Pittsburgh’s moribund trajectory. Aside from publishing statistics and stories, we held periodic roundtable discussions, the first of which was on the economy. I …

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On a Pedestal: Moe Coleman Awards, Kiski School, Women in Leadership

Finding someone able to debate politics with civility and respect is difficult today, when public discourse all too often turns coarse and divisive. Former Allegheny County Executive Jim Roddey and his “across the aisle” friend, Duquesne University law professor and former Pittsburgh deputy mayor Joseph Sabino Mistick, are trying to cultivate more people who are …

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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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Famous Last Words…

Editor’s note: Oil and gas man Michael L. Benedum and his wife Sarah created the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation in memory of their only child who died in 1918 at the age of 20. On the anniversary of the Foundation, which has distributed more than $500 million in philanthropy to Pittsburgh and West Virginia, we …

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On a Pedestal: Clarion River, Innovation in Education

Western Pennsylvania is blessed with an abundance of water at a time when many places in the world find it increasingly scarce. But having ample water isn’t enough if it is tainted with pollutants. And the region long has been guilty of negligence when it comes to keeping its waterways clean and healthy. The Clarion …

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On a Pedestal: Pittsburgh Playhouse, Literacy Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Playhouse at Point Park University made its debut Oct. 11, opening its doors to a new era for the school, its students, theatergoers and the city. It’s built to impress. From its three-story-wide lobby bathed in natural light to a 550-seat theater designed to give passersby outside a glimpse of backstage workings and …

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On a Pedestal: Magee-Womens Research Institute

Many Pittsburghers have a somewhat vague idea that the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC successfully attract federal dollars to support their varied research activities. But the extent of that success in recent years is almost shocking when you look at the numbers and the rankings. Last year, Pitt ranked 10th on the list of the …

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On a Pedestal: National Flag Foundation, Clarion Quartet

The National Flag Foundation—What’s in a symbol? One great thing about pittsburgh is that, as long as you may have lived here and made a study of the area, surprises always pop up to greet you. Case in point: Pittsburgh is home to the National Flag Foundation, a nonprofit that is celebrating its 50th anniversary …

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An Open Letter to Amazon

With cities across the nation primping and preening to be the fairest of them all and win the prize of becoming Amazon’s second headquarters, I’d like to let the Amazon decision makers know about a quality which I doubt has been part of any sales pitch thus far. But first, a preamble. Pittsburgh is now …

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Standing Tall

This fall’s NFL national anthem controversy was an opera whose bloated cast of characters would be hard to match—from President Donald Trump, to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, to team owners across the country to rich NFL players professing social concern. And as many problems as the world seems to have, for a solid week, the …

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Breaking the Ice

When Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak takes the Carnegie Music Hall stage Oct. 10, it will mark the 10th anniversary of what started as the Pittsburgh Middle East Institute and has grown to become the American Middle East Institute. The brainchild of founder Simin Curtis, the Institute has become an important player in the region’s economic …

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Remembering Three Great Pittsburgh Men

Henry Hillman, 98: Henry Hillman had a keen interest in the future and an unusual ability to see into it. In the 1970s, his was the voice that warned Pittsburgh leaders of industrial changes that would cripple the city if it didn’t diversify its industrial base. He removed money from the smokestack industries he inherited …

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Pittsburgh Dark and Light

Depending where you look, you can get two different views of Pittsburgh’s economy. On the gloomy side of the street, Pittsburgh dramatically underperformed its 15 benchmark regions last year. We had virtually zero job growth. We had the highest unemployment rate. And our average weekly wages rose just .8 percent—only a third of the benchmark …

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Passing the Torch

Earlier this fall, a group of about 250 civic and cultural leaders gathered to pay tribute to Teresa Heinz Kerry on the occasion of her handing over the chairmanship of The Heinz Endowments to her sons. From creating Riverlife, to championing causes from the environment to social equity to the Cultural District among many others, …

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Smart City

Certainly, it’s not great news that Pittsburgh didn’t win a $50 million federal Smart City Challenge grant to redesign its transportation system. The grant would have helped “plan, design and build the next Pittsburgh,” Mayor Bill Peduto said. Pittsburgh’s proposal envisioned a combination of big data working with electricity microgrids to create an “electric avenue” …

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Cleaner Air for Pittsburgh and More

When a Detroit company announced earlier this year that it would close its Shenango Coke Works on Neville Island, the news accounts led with the loss of 173 jobs. While we don’t cheer job losses in Pittsburgh, there is another, more important side to this story. Shenango was the smaller of the two coke works …

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Pittsburgh: 200 Years Young?

Pittsburgh’s getting younger. you hear it, read about it, and see it any time you’re out on the “tahn.” Even the demographic data back it up. But if you still don’t believe it, consider this: This year—just eight years after the Pittsburgh 250 celebration—the City of Pittsburgh is celebrating its 200th anniversary—proof positive that everything …

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A New Kind of Volunteering

As many consider year-end charitable gifts, one old Pittsburgh company with a new name is spurring new ways to build a better community. Covestro—until this year Bayer MaterialScience—is investing in a new concept called “skills-based volunteerism” designed to benefit nonprofits as well as companies and their employees. The idea is that Covestro, and hopefully other …

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Stocks & Pedestal, Winter 2015

In mid October, the Carnegie Science Center unveiled an extensive survey of local parents, educators and businesses on their attitudes about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education.Funded by Chevron and Nova Chemicals, the survey revealed that business leaders and educators are well aware of STEM’s importance in meeting Pittsburgh’s future workforce needs and improving …

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Stocks & Pedestal, Summer 2014

When the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra musicians started seeing an increasing number of empty seats in Heinz Hall during their concerts for students, a group of them started making inquiries. They learned that, because of funding cuts, a number of schools could no longer afford to hire the buses to bring youngsters Downtown for the concert. …

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Stocks & Pedestal, Spring 2014

For most of us, the phrase “one-party rule in Pittsburgh” conjures the Democratic Party. But for 70 years after the Civil War, the Republican Party had a lock on Pennsylvania and, largely, Pittsburgh. Only the Great Depression and the sweeping victories of the New Deal could break that lock. And since the mid-1930s, Pittsburgh has …

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Stocks & Pedestal, Winter 2014

In the stocks: Fox Chapel Area High School When Fox Chapel High junior David Schaffner arrived at a Friday night home football game on Sept. 13, he realized he still had the hunting knife in his pocket that he’d been using in a wooded area near his home. As he approached the gate, he turned …

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