Spring 2008

Off the Wall

Passing the little yellow Romanesque church next to Rt. 28 outside Pittsburgh, most drivers don’t give it a thought. Perched on a hill overlooking the highway, St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church in Millvale is not grand — its pews seat 350 worshippers — but inside is one of the region’s most interesting artistic creations. St. …

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Paul O’Neill Sr., U.S. Secretary of Treasury

Facts and knowledge have always been important to me, in government and in business. I believe that it is my duty to either know the answers or to know where to get the answers fast if an important decision must be made. I first entered government when John Kennedy was president, and I was there …

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Standing the Test of Time

Never before has the nation been presented with the distinct possibility that a woman or a man of color could be elected president. Yet here it is: the two front runners for the Democratic nomination are New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. their children in case of legal separation. Divorce was …

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Now Batting: Roberto Clemente

Among the baseball bats, telegrams and uniforms displayed in Lawrenceville’s Engine House No. 25 is a 1960 photo some say predicted Roberto Clemente’s legacy. The former Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder is leaping up to catch a ball, the cumulus clouds behind him forming what looks like angel’s wings. Twelve years after the picture was taken, Clemente, …

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Rich with Art

In the centennial year of his birth, Paul Mellon has been universally celebrated. The Bank of New York Mellon’s corporate art collection was itself inspired by this great collector and is currently at The Carnegie. It is one of the few surviving, curated, corporate collections in the city. Paul Mellon wasn’t interested in masses of …

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Testing the Waters

Herbert Dreiseitl was in a hurry to get back to work one day last February, so he did what most people do here. He jaywalked. He scuttled across Liberty Avenue — no cars were coming — and headed uptown, where his design team awaited him.​ His hurry was understandable. Dreiseitl, a world-renowned urban designer who …

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The Origin of Spring

My benchmark for the onset of spring follows neither the facts of planetary motion, nor the predictions of a rodent. In my mind, spring starts when the daily average high temperature begins to increase after bottoming out in late January. By using this ruler, my favorite part of the year, spring, is lengthened. That magic day …

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Songbirds of Spring

An avian chorus is warming up, a spring concert that begins with a quiet movement and builds to a wild paean to the dawn that almost bounces us out of our beds. Take some time to listen to the growing swell of sound, and since there is usually a relationship, note the habitat in which …

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Being green is easy at this boutique

As Kermit the Frog says, “It isn’t easy being green.” Obviously, he’s never been to Equita, a Lawrenceville boutique specializing in “green, sweatshop-free and Fair Trade” items. If this conjures thoughts of brown rice, scratchy, unbleached cotton and a sea of beige, rest assured: Equita is everything but. After traveling (and working) around the world, …

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Take Five

A recent Gallup poll revealed that up to 44 percent of us are frequently stressed, and 55 percent of us feel we do not have enough time to do the things we want. That’s 130 million anxious people, give or take a few basket cases. A little over an hour from Downtown lies an antidote. …

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Jewel in the Crown

A casual inventory of the materials Philip Elias used for the interior of his 1920 home sounds like an exhibit in the hall of minerals. Semi-precious stones including tiger’s eye, lapis, charoite and sodalite mingle with Paridisio, Empress Green and Rojo marble as accents amid pale squares of Portugese limestone. Such visual imagination comes naturally …

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Wine ‘Em Up

Plan ahead with a guide for comprehensive tasting. I used to say I hated tasting wine with the milling hordes. I am recanting. Decanting. Pouring myself right in and trying to tip you in with me. Why? The Pittsburgh Wine Festival, May 3-8, sprawling over acres in Heinz Field House lounges, offers opportunities few ordinary mortals would otherwise …

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Stanish, Vargo, DePasquale, Cope, Holmes, Cain

Rudolph B. Stanish, 94: Stanish was known as the “Omelet King” for cooking for such personages as JFK, Paul Mellon, Goldman Sachs and Marilyn Monroe. The Yukon, Westmoreland County native was sent as a teenager to Newport, R.I., where he began his career as a domestic worker. After working in the kitchen, he soon became …

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Hessinger, Olivia, Price, Huntington, Sroufe, Skleder, Vagt, Patel, Mullen

Linda Hossinger is senior vice president of Comcast’s Three Rivers region. She has been with Comcast for the past 15 years, most recently as senior vice president for the Michigan region. In her current post, she replaces Doug Sansom and is responsible for a workforce of 2,400 serving 850,000 customers in four states, including Southwestern …

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Head of the class

Ben Gordon sits in his sparse office, with its bright fluorescents, the textbooks on the shelf, the dry-erase board smudged with equations and graphs. He is talking thermodynamics right now and how power plants are really “just huge engines,” but just a few minutes ago, he was talking about the guys he once called friends …

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Campaign Retrospective

“I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want.” — Mark Twain ​ My campaign for mayor showed me two Pittsburghs. The first exists as all others do, with big problems, big challenges and big possibilities. …

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Symphony festival wanted

Several years ago, the rush was on to figure out what should be Pittsburgh’s “First Day Attraction” — the one-of-a-kind crowd pleaser that would bring tourists to Pittsburgh. The experts pointed to Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Bilbao’s Guggenhem Museum as examples. Ideas proliferated, from the fascinating to the facetious. Time passed, …

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Stocks & pedestal – Spring 2008

A 15-year-old East Liberty boy is gunned down in his car while ordering KFC with his mother and little sister. A 12-year-old North Side girl is killed in her house when “gang” members drive by and spray bullets at the home. Clearly, it’s time to take action to protect families from neighborhood gangs. Some experts …

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Publisher’s letter – Spring 2008

A little over a year ago, on a frigid Saturday in January, I had what you might call a date with destiny. I’d agreed to meet three men in a bar in East Liberty. I’d never been there, but I’d read about the place. As I looked for the street and then the number, I …

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You’ll manage – Spring 2008

With his slogan, “It’s The Economy, Stupid,” political operative James Carville helped catapult a relatively unknown Arkansas governor into the Oval Office. And just as it was back then, the economy and health care reform are big issues as the 2008 presidential race kicks into high gear. And those same issues will be of particular …

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Inside the Promise

As is his style, Jeffrey Romoff wanted to get to the point. “So, how much is it going to cost?” the charismatic and sometimes acerbic president and CEO of UPMC, the region’s largest employer and dominant health care provider, asked in a Bronx accent still evident after 35 years in Pittsburgh. It was 7:50 a.m. on …

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Tech Council CEO: Audrey Russo

You can take a New Yorker out of New York, but not, to measure by new Pittsburgh Technology. With a beguiling feistiness and enough self-confidence to fill up a hotel ballroom at a Tech Council Breakfast Briefing, the Nassau County native has set ambitious goals for the 25-year-old, 1,400 companies member trade association. She rattles …

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Conformity or Confirmation?

I recently received correspondence from a man who posed several excellent questions about the Regional Indicator project and the city-state of Pittsburgh. “I understand the importance of facts and fact-based decision making,” David Palmieri wrote. “However, I view facts like I do data as the basis for information. What information and intelligence can we glean …

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