On a Pedestal

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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Shale Agreement, Pittsburgh Dataworks, Air Quality, Mayor Ravenstahl

We all want abundant domestic energy, and we all want a healthy environment. For years, though, a reasonable middle ground has been absent from the Marcellus Shale debate. Finally, change is at hand, and Pittsburgh can be proud that it started here. For two years, natural gas companies and environmental groups have put aside their …

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Stocks & Pedestal, Spring 2013

This summer, when Jared Cohon retires from the presidency of Carnegie Mellon University, he will leave enormous shoes to fill. Since he took the helm in 1997, CMU has seen dramatic growth in the number of overall students—from 7,758 to 12,569—in programs across the globe; the endowment has risen from $592 million to $987 million, …

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Stocks & Pedestal, Winter 2013

There was a time when, if you said, “Pittsburgh is an insular city that’s not attractive to young people,” you would have been right. Not anymore. The city is actually getting younger, with more than 50 city neighborhoods increasing their population of young adults since 2000. More young people are moving here than leaving, and …

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Stocks & Pedestal, Fall 2012

Early four years ago, businessman and philanthropist Henry Hillman called Carnegie Mellon University President Jared Cohon with an idea. With the wealth of information technology experts at CMU, why not apply some of that brainpower to regional transportation issues? Improving transportation-related technology could improve the lives of regional residents, build Pittsburgh’s reputation as a “knowledge” …

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Stocks & Pedestal, Summer 2012

Between Feb. 13 and April 21, 46 bomb threats struck the University of Pittsburgh. The anonymous emails closed buildings, forced middle-of-the-night dorm evacuations and cancelled classes. The threats targeted the heart of our city, taking aim at the region’s most important institution. They also bared a still-darker specter: Because of the anonymous nature of global …

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Neighborhood Academy / Saks Fifth Avenue

A calling made good slowly but surely, like the Little Engine That Could, something remarkable has been climbing and climbing in Pittsburgh’s East End. It started as a vision to help children for whom effective guidance and results had been wanting.  The Neighborhood Academy’s mission is to “break the cycle of generational poverty by preparing low-income …

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Stocks & Pedestal, Fall 2011

When your team’s winning, there’s nothing like baseball. Nothing like listening to the radio in the late innings of a close game. The pitcher waves off signals and finally goes into his motion. You hear the crack of the bat, followed by the announcer—“If it’s fair, it’s outta here—foul ball!” The din of the crowd …

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Stocks & Pedestal, Summer 2011

Last summer, Susan Crookston looked at the 8-acre Aspinwall Marina site on the Allegheny River, which was about to become a 650-car parking lot. When she saw it, the Aspinwall mother of three said, “If this plan falls through for some reason, we should try to buy this ourselves.” Laughter met her idea, but when …

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Stocks & Pedestal, Spring 2011

Medrad: Top manufacturing, again If there is one economic sector that lives in the minds of Americans when they consider Pittsburgh, it’s manufacturing. And excellence in manufacturing is not just in the pages of the region’s history. For the second time in eight years, Medrad has won the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, given …

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The Googling of Pittsburgh, Threats to Our Liberty

In the same day this fall, local headlines described three separate events that, taken together, should give all of us pause:       The state Office of Homeland Security issued security bulletins, warning of threats by various groups, including those planning peaceful protests and demonstrations, such as environmental groups concerned about the Marcellus Shale.  The Justice …

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Homewood Children’s Village, Civic Complacency

Quietly, so far, an exciting change is developing in Homewood. A project called the Homewood Children’s Village is taking shape with the aim of bringing a wide array of social services to bear to help youngsters survive and thrive in one of Pittsburgh’s toughest neighborhoods. The leader of the Homewood project is John Wallace, a …

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Ben Roethlisberger, World Environment Day Leaders

Over the past several years, Pittsburgh has hosted one signature event each year—an event that’s drawn attention and visitors to our city: Pittsburgh Roars, Pittsburgh Celebrates Glass, Pittsburgh 250 and the G-20 Summit. And now, this year, Pittsburgh is hosting World Environment Day in June. These major events don’t happen by wishing. They come off …

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Riverlife & Mayor Luke Ravenstahl

In the late 1990s, Teresa Heinz and others gazed at the new Alcoa headquarters and its North Shore neighbor, the new Lincoln Properties. Both occupied key riverfront spots. But compared with the standard-setting Alcoa structure, the residential development looked like a Motel 6. An idea was born—to conceive a holistic vision of the riverfront with …

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Cure Alzheimer’s Fund & Our State Leaders

Long involved in charitable giving, East End residents Jacqui and Jeff Morby wanted to do more. They wanted to affect the lives of others for the better. So five years ago, they created the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. It’s estimated that Alzheimer’s care currently costs about $120 billion a year, or some 15 percent of the …

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