Region

With the Local Newspaper in Decline, What is the Fate of Local Reporting?

Local newspapers have struggled for more than a decade to secure a foothold in the digital era and stay in business. Dwindling revenues and flagging demand for print editions have led some southwestern Pennsylvania papers to close and others to downsize their newsrooms, affecting coverage of local news. To make…

Austin’s Conundrum of Success

Austin, Texas is one of a handful of cities in the world currently blessed in reputation — big enough to have almost all the cultural amenities of cities twice our size, yet small enough to be tops on any of those innumerable “livability” lists.

The Working Life

by Madison Nicole Snyder
Work is a fact of life for nearly 1.2 million southwestern Pennsylvanians. Some love what they do; others, not so much. Either way, work consumes a healthy share of their time and energy. Their weeks are structured around it. It’s what puts money in their pockets.

America in a Trance: An Observation of the Fading American Dream

About two decades ago, my father moved to Scranton, Pennsylvania, which was my second experience with the United States. In the late 70s, he journeyed from Greece to New York City to work on his post-​graduate studies, which evidently led him to the Keystone State. Living in Pennsylvania and traveling…

What Do We Need to Make Western Pa. the Best Place to Live?

We asked a cross-​section of regional leaders to respond, in 75 words or less, to this question: What do we need to do to make Western Pennsylvania the best place to live in the world?

Region Gets Average Marks for Senior Livability

by Jeffery Fraser
The Pittsburgh region has filled a trophy case with awards for being judged the “most livable” place in the nation by a variety of publications and organizations. But when the livability of senior citizens is considered, the region is less than a standout, an AARP index suggests.

It Wears You Down

by Jeffery Fraser
Caring for her father fell to Patrice Cottrell about nine years ago. It involved a few errands, at first. Doctor visits, marshaling his medications, coordinating health care and financial matters and scouting out and evaluating long-​term care possibilities followed as his health declined.

A Lesson in Growth from Austin, Texas

With the U.S. Census Bureau reporting continuing populations losses for metropolitan Pittsburgh, the region is one of only a few “large” U.S. metros reporting losses, putting us in the company of Youngstown, Ohio and Altoona/​Johnstown, Pa. This is not a good story. Companies often choose where to locate or expand…

Airport Overhaul

by Jeffery Fraser
As birthday celebrations go, this one was fairly harsh. The local news media was gathered at Pittsburgh International Airport’s Midfield Terminal on a late-​summer day last September. Earlier, they’d reported the terminal complex, once lauded for its innovative design, had turned 25. Now, with cameras rolling, airport officials noted its…

Gaining Critical Mass

by Jeffery Fraser
Alfred Hunt knew a good idea when he saw it. And Charles Martin Hall had one. In 1886, the 23-​year-​old chemist had discovered a smelting process to make aluminum inexpensively while working in a lab he cobbled together in a shed behind his parent’s house in northern Ohio.

The Economic Outlook for 2018

Stronger hiring last year, rising wages and upcoming tax cuts lead those who read the economic tea leaves to be cautiously optimistic that 2018 could reward southwestern Pennsylvania with the largest increase in job growth in five years, finally shaking the malaise that works to contract the local labor force,…

What Will the Shell Cracker Bring Along with It?

Orange plastic curtains protect passers-​by from blow torch-​wielding workers who are learning to weld in a new training facility for Steamfitters Local 449. The building on the border of Butler and Beaver counties represents an $18 million bet on a building boom that economists and government officials say the nearby…

No Money Down

It’s 11 a.m. in Judge Jeffery Manning’s courtroom. The attorneys are ready. The Allegheny County Common Pleas Court president judge is on the bench. The video screen comes alive to reveal the business of the morning, a series of people in orange, jail-​issue jumpsuits: One young man with a retail…

Living Dangerously

Despite the improvement in the region’s air quality in recent years, southwestern Pennsylvania still fails to meet federal health-​based standards for various major air pollutants, such as ground-​level ozone, sulfur dioxide and fine particulates, known as PM2.5. And that regional pollution elevates risks of cancer, respiratory ailments and other serious…

Does Air Quality Matter to Young Workers?

As their due date neared last fall, Ryan Poling and his wife faced a difficult decision. Did they want to raise their daughter in Pittsburgh, the city in which they’ve built a life during the last nine years, or pick up and move across the country, near Poling’s family in…
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