Joshua Devine

Pittsburgh Impact, a business growth initiative of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA) helping to connect high growth companies with resources and opportunities and championing their success regionally, recognizes three Pittsburgh Impact companies for receiving nominations for the inaugural Governor’s ImPAct Awards. They are AEC Group, Inc. (McKeesport), Precision Defense Services, Inc. (Irwin) and Environmental Service Laboratories, Inc. (Indiana).  Award winners from among the nominees were announced at a May 23, 2013 ceremony in Harrisburg, Pa.

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Phil Cynar

Over the weekend of May 2 – 5, when the world-class Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon happened to coincide with the 2013 celebration of Cinco de Mayo, eight national Latino journalists traveled to Pittsburgh to see for themselves the employment and entrepreneurial prospects for Latinos in a re-imagined and re-made Pittsburgh region.

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Participants in the Pittsburgh Te Invita media tour included reporters from Ramon Anibal TV, New York; Tele Guia, Chicago; Publinet Solutions, New York; and La Jornada Latina, Cincinnati

Coming from New York, Chicago and Cincinnati, the journalists spent three intense days exploring how business, civic, government, education and tourism leaders from the region – including Latinos who have found their place in Pittsburgh – are working together to enhance the region’s economic competitiveness by growing its diversity. Through a newly established organization, Vibrant Pittsburgh, these partners are aiming to make Pittsburgh one of the most welcoming places for people of all backgrounds – no matter if their visits are for a day or longer stays, such as relocation. A Latino talent attraction initiative – Hola, Pittsburgh/Pittsburgh Te Invita – is part of this broader effort.

Hola, Pittsburgh/Pittsburgh Te Invita is targeted at Hispanic Americans and invites them to explore the Pittsburgh region’s nearly 30,000 open jobs across industries, as well as 89 distinct urban neighborhoods, ample affordable housing, renowned arts and culture and recreational assets and The Pittsburgh Promise – a $40,000-per-child college scholarship program for students attending Pittsburgh Public Schools.

A significant goal of the Latino media visit was to reach Hispanic Americans in key, nearby markets via the print and broadcast outlets that they view – utilizing these to introduce Pittsburgh and its opportunities.

The tour participants were muy excitado about Pittsburgh, and already stories are being published with headlines including “Pittsburgh: Promised Land” and “Art, Action and Latinos in Pittsburgh.” If you’re fluent in Spanish, you can read a sampling here, here, and here.

If not, you can watch the video below and hear some of the journalists’ perspectives – in English – about Pittsburgh as a “land of promise” – or at least land of The Pittsburgh Promise.

Ben Kamber

For cartoon enthusiasts everywhere, this Memorial Day weekend is THE time to be in Pittsburgh. For the first time ever, our region is hosting hundreds of cartoonists from across the country for the National Cartoonist Society conference which is rolling into town today. And to dovetail with the conference, the ToonSeum is organizing a comic arts street party, open to the public, called the Pittsburgh Comic Arts Festival on Sunday, May 26.

554194_10151845876973626_349981087_nBilled as a “living pages block party,” the festival will feature visits from iconic comic and cartoon characters such as Popeye, Olive Oil, Betty Boop and Dennis the Menace, as well as vendors, artists and interactive arts activities – all catering to our collective love for the comic arts. Autograph and sketch sessions will also be offered with more than 60 of the nation’s leading comic artists and cartoonists. The street festival runs from noon to 5:00 p.m. on Liberty Ave. between 9th and 10th streets.

Admission to the block party is free and access to the ToonSeum exhibits and the artist sessions is $5.

In addition to the street festival, the ToonSeum is partnering with the August Wilson Center and Bricolage to host a jam-packed series of panel events on Sunday. One of the discussions will focus on “women in cartooning” and will feature Cathy Guisewite of Cathy, Lynn Johnston of For Better or Worse, Terri Libenson of The Pajama Diaries, Hilary Price of Rhymes with Orange and Jen Sorensen of Slowpoke. You can find ticket information and a full schedule of sessions here.

Why is Pittsburgh the perfect place to host this weekend of comic arts festivities? Perhaps it’s because we’re home to the ToonSeum, one of just two museums in America dedicated to cartoon art. Watch the video below to hear Joe Wos, founder and executive director of this downtown cartoon mecca, speak about the museum and why there is “universal appeal” for cartoons throughout the world. And be sure to check out the Pittsburgh Comic Arts Festival this Sunday. It’s sure to be blast for cartoon lovers of all ages.

Steve Bodnar

I had the opportunity over the past nine months to participate in the Leadership Development Initiative (LDI), a program of Leadership Pittsburgh. Our class was asked to design and organize a PopUp! event – a temporary, low-cost initiative that has the ability to surprise, provoke and entertain in ways that change perceptions about the places where they occur. Ours was in the Mt. Washington neighborhood.

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Early in the process, three core goals of the May 11 event were agreed upon: to introduce the city’s new Emerald View Park System; to engage Mt. Washington residents – particularly families – in the event; and to highlight the area’s vibrant business district. A consensus was reached to hold a 5K race and community day featuring a Wizard of Oz theme. I can’t say I entirely understand where the theme idea originated from, but it came to be, nonetheless.

Despite the less than perfect weather – actually, despite the terrible weather – the event was well received, well attended and the 5K course received glowing reviews for balancing some challenging stretches with flat sections. Quite a few runners expressed genuine surprise for how much the area’s roads had to offer for a race and for training runs.

An event like this doesn’t come together without the help of many individuals, groups and sponsors, far too many to list here, but the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation and the business community deserve special recognition for embracing the project; it could not have been successful without their support. And, of course, Aradhna Malhotra Oliphant, Kristen Freiss with Leadership Pittsburgh for making the experience possible and pushing for it to be meaningful.

Leadership Pittsburgh is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to developing a diverse group of leaders to serve southwestern Pennsylvania, impact the community and act as catalysts for positive change in our region. It is now accepting applicants for the 2013-2014 Leadership Development Initiative class here.

Phil Cynar

Pittsburgh’s iconic timepiece – the Kaufmann’s Clock at the Smithfield St. and Fifth Ave. entrance of Macy’s Downtown Pittsburgh – celebrated its 100th anniversary on May 17, 2013. The clock is named after the family-owned downtown department store, Kaufmann’s – the management of which was assumed by Macy’s in February 2006.

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The iconic Kaufmann’s Clock

For a century, the imposing and ornate bronze clock has been used as a favorite meeting spot for generations of families, friends and lovers who would quip, “meet me under the clock,” when finalizing their social plans. It was an easy destination to spot and a place to be easily spotted.

At a ceremony under the famous clock this morning, a city proclamation was read declaring May 17, 2013 as “Meet Me Under the Clock” Day. Delivering the proclamation was Mr. McFeely, the “Speedy Delivery” man from the long-standing PBS children’s television show with roots in Pittsburgh, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Watch the video below to hear what one Pittsburgh icon of sorts – Mr. McFeeley – had to say about this iconic timepiece and why Pittsburgh’s love of tradition is a good thing.

The anniversary celebration spans two days, spilling into Saturday, May 18, when activities include a performance by the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters, street fair festivities, carnival games, dance performances, balloon art, food and more.  Activities begin at 10:00 a.m. and continue throughout the day at Macy’s Downtown Pittsburgh, 400 Fifth Ave.

Finally, if “it’s time” for you to sharpen your knowledge about Pittsburgh icons – such as the Kaufmann’s clock – click here for some fun facts and other trivia.

Sara Gaal

foodIt’s the most wonderful time of the year. Nope, not Christmas. It’s Greek Food Festival season!

Most Pittsburghers have their favorite festival but each one should be experienced at least once. The season kicks off with the 52nd Annual St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral’s Festival in Oakland – the biggest in the city. I selflessly went to taste-test the food and had the pleasure of meeting the church’s priest, Father Christopher Bender. He appreciates “the ability to share our culture with everyone. Our food and dance are living parts of our tradition.” The festival will see 30,000 people walk through their doors and will gross more than $400,000 for the church. So, while you eat the delicious spanikopita (spinach and cheese pie) and dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) and drink that shot of ouzo, you’ll feel good knowing the money is going right back to the church.

While I’m not Greek, I find these food festivals full of all walks of life. They bring people together over a shared love of good food, music and sense of community. I looked over to my right and sitting at one long table were an elderly couple, a 30-something couple with two kids, and a priest – all eating and talking to one another. I realized that table was a microcosm of Pittsburgh. Yes, we have a higher-than-average population of seniors but more and more 20- and 30-somethings moving to – or moving back to — the region to raise families of their own. So, if you haven’t already, spend an evening with friends and strangers and enjoy the Greek food festivals now through August. Opa!