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Pittsburgh Canning Exchange gets Epicurious seal of approval

Foodies the world over are getting a taste of how sweet life is in the City of Bridges, thanks to a Q & A with a local canning expert on the Epicurious.com blog.

In an interview on the gourmet site, Sara Blumenstein of the Pittsburgh Canning Exchange talks local harvests, the city’s creative community and of course, her recommendations for making the most of the Pittsburgh food scene.

“Pittsburgh is an exciting place to eat these days!” Blumenstein tells Epicurious.com. “In my neighborhood, Bloomfield, I’m particularly excited about Bread and Salt, a new bakery; DJ’s Butcher Block, a fantastic local butcher; and Fukuda, which I think does the best sushi anywhere.”

Read the full interview here.

The Milk Shake Factory gets finalist nod from Martha Stewart American Made

South Side sweet spot The Milk Shake Factory is a 2014 Food Finalist for the Martha Stewart American Made program. The awards in categories including crafts, design, food and style honors the next generation of great American makers.

The family business has become an iconic Pittsburgh landmark, tempting tourists and locals alike with 55 different flavors of milkshakes, plus specialty sundaes and gourmet chocolates.

Owners Christian Edwards, Dana Edwards and Mark Edwards attribute their success to ambitious ancestors who opened a small chocolate shop and soda fountain in Lawrenceville 100 years ago.

“In 1914, our story began with two young Greek immigrants who heard stories of an America that opened its arms to many who hungered for success,” the owners write on their voting page.

Vote for The Milk Shake Factory hehttp://www.marthastewart.com/americanmade/nominee/92001/food/the-milk-shake-factoryre.

Bicycling magazine names Pittsburgh No. 21 in bike-friendly cities

Pittsburgh gained some traction among the editors at Bicycling magazine, going from No. 35 in 2012 to No. 21 in 2014 in the publication’s ranking of bike-friendly cities in the United States.

The rise in rank is due in part to Pittsburgh’s new “runnels,” those tracks along Pittsburgh’s 712 city staircases that help cyclists more easily roll bikes up steps.

The magazine also recommends the monthly Pittsburgh Underwear Ride as a fun nighttime ride that promotes biking and positive body image.

Get more scoop on the best biking in the ‘Burgh hhttp://www.bicycling.com/ride-maps/featured-rides/21-pittsburghere.

One last shot of summerís supermoon

An almost supernatural photo of the September supermoon looming over PPG Place, shot by Pittsburgh photographer Dave Dicello, made a chilling appearance when it was featured on Time.com earlier this month.

“I knew that the moon would make its way over the city about an hour after it rose, giving me time to get to Point State Park, where this photo was made,” DiCello said. “With the moon sitting in the spires above the PPG Building and using a 70-200 lens and a 2X teleconverter, I was able to capture a haunting scene of the harvest moon over the Steel City.”

When the full moon hits its closest point in Earth’s orbit, the result is a larger and brighter-than-average natural phenomenon. When it hangs amid clouds over an illuminated PPG Place, the result is something close to a larger-than-life Gotham City.

See the stunning photo here.

Local artist wins finalist for Martha Stewart award

Brad Bianchi, a local self-described reuse mixed-media artist, is the 2014 Wildcard Finalist for Martha Stewart American Made program. The awards in categories including crafts, design, food and style honors the next generation of great American makers.

As Bianchi says on his profile page for the American Made website, Pittsburgh’s identities as the City of Bridges and the Steel City influenced his artistic development.

“I love imagining the journey of every small piece of rusty metal that I find on the ground,” the reclamation artist says.

Vote for Bianchi here.

Chicago blogger rallies in support of a bikeable Pittsburgh

Despite the negativity coming from Pittsburgh cab drivers, blogger Matt Carmichael says Pittsburgh's efforts at bikeability give him hope. 

During a recent visit to Pittsburgh for the Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place Conference, Carmichael noted the protected bike lanes installed outside the David L. Lawrence Convention Center and started asking around.

While Mayor Bill Peduto told conference attendees he wants his city to be among the most bike-friendly in the nation, Carmichael argued with the cabbies who see cyclists as a traffic nuisance.

In the end, Carmichael vouched his support for the placemaking movement represented by Pittsburgh’s latest protected bike lanes running along Penn Avenue from Sixth Street to 16th Street.

Read Carmichael’s full post here.

Mayor Peduto visits 'Meet the Press'

Mayor Bil Peduto joined Mayors Marilyn Strickland of Tacoma, Wash. and Mick Cornett of Oklahoma City on Chuck Todd's inaugural issue of Sunday morning news talk show, Meet the Press to discuss what the national government can learn from local politics.

"Well, I mean, the ultimate goal is what is the vision," Peduto said. "And it has to be a shared vision, just as we have to work with our councils, the president needs to work with the Congress. But at the end of the day, you have to move forward."

The Mayor also discussed Pittsburgh's success and the need for creating a universal early childhood education program in the city.

Watch the full episode here.

Pittsburgh International Airport tries fracking

In the early 90s, the Pittsburgh International Airport was rebuilt with US Airways in mind. At that time, they were using Pittsburgh as a hub and Allegheny County envisioned 30 million passengers taking off and landing in the Steel City every year.

"They basically designed the airport. We built it for them. And we built it for them and entered into a long-term lease that they were going to use it as their hub," Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County executive, told NPR.

However, after Sept. 11, the commercial flight industry changed drastically and US Airways stopped using Pittsburgh as hub three years later.

Now, as many other airports across the country, the Pittsburgh International Airport is looking to generate revenue from more than just air travel. Consol Energy recently broke ground on the airport's 9,000 acres to extract gas from the Marcellus Shale that lies beneath.

Read the full story here.

'The Economist' ranks Pittsburgh among most livable cities in the world, AGAIN!

In The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2014 livability survey, Pittsburgh ranked 30th worldwide and second only to Honolulu in the US, which makes the Steel City the most livable metropolis in the continental United States.
“It’s great to celebrate the accolades that were made possible through the spirit of innovation here, fueled by the passion of Pittsburgh residents and decision makers,” said Craig Davis, president and CEO of VisitPITTSBURGH. “This city has come far because of the determination of collaboration and of perseverance. There’s been a conscious effort to invest in arts, culture and the environment as an economic development strategy. And, that has paid off nicely.”

NPR covers competition on the local health care scene

Break ups always seem to linger a little longer than one would expect and that of UPMC and Highmark is no different, never mind the regular media coverage that keeps rubbing salt in the wounds of both providers.
Last week NPR covered Pittsburgh’s shift from being one of the least competitive health care environments to its new identity with a healthy amount of competition. The city is no longer a two insurance brand town since Cigna, Aetna and United Healthcare have also entered the market.
"Competition is good," says Jeffrey Romoff, UPMC President and CEO. "It keeps us all on top of our game. It gives us incentive to not be fat and sloppy."

The 'Pittsburgh left' isn't working

Pittsburgh transplants won’t be surprised that Allstate Insurance Company ranked Steel City motorists among the worst in the country.

In fact, Pittsburgh residents are 51.3 percent more likely to be involved in a car accident than your average American.
Pittsburgh ranked 14th worst on the list of 200 cities and dead last in cities with a population of 250,000 to 499,000 residents.
From tunnel traffic to parking spaces reserved by folding chairs, Pittsburgh’s driving peccadilloes are the city’s most treacherous traits.

'Does the prospect of running for office discourage women?'

Research conducted at the University of Pittsburgh on women’s willingness to run for political offices recently made the New York Times’ analytical website, the Upshot

Political Science professors Kristin Kanthak and Jonathan Woon discovered that women may have an aversion to the electoral process that is separate from external factors traditionally blamed for the gender gap in elections. 

The study grouped participants (both men and women) and required one person to do a math problem on behalf of each team. The problem doers were either randomly selected from the volunteers or elected by the group. The researchers found that both men and women volunteered when they would be selected at random, but not when they would face election. 

“The fact that representatives are chosen by electoral means is enough to dissuade women from putting themselves forward as candidates,” the study says.

The New York Times honors Sophie Masloff

The New York Times honored beloved Pittsburgh Mayor Sophie Masloff after she died in hospice earlier this week at 96. 

Masloff, a Pittsburgher for her entire life, was the first female and first Jewish mayor of the steel city from 1988 to 1994. 

She was known for her unsophisticated public speaking style delivered in Pittsburghese, but she also helped to bring innovation to Pittsburgh during her mayorship. 

Mayor William Peduto released a statement and he calls Masloff “a trailblazer camouflaged in grace and humor” and says she “personified Pittsburgh -- She was kind and approachable, but you dared not underestimate her.”

Modcloth is the first clothing company to sign the Heroes of Advertising Pledge

According to Buzzfeed, Pittsburgh-based clothing company Modcloth is the first to sign a pledge created by the Brave Girls Alliance against photoshopping models. 

The pledge, entitled the Heroes of Advertising Pledge, asks signers to refrain from photoshopping the physical features of the people in their ads. It comes after a series of embarrassing photoshop mistakes revealing how drastically models are sometimes altered. 

Modcloth co-founder Susan Gregg Koger says the pledge is “perfectly aligned with what ModCloth is already committed to - celebrating the beauty of women as they truly are.”

Kennywood ranks as underdog theme park

In a list compiled by Theme Park Tourist, Kennywood Park recently ranked as an underdog theme park stuck in the shadow of Disney parks

Kennywood earned its number 12 spot on the countdown for its classic dark rides like the Old Mill and Noah’s Ark (now being used as Garfield’s Nightmare) and roller coasters like the Jackrabbit and Thunderbolt. 

Theme Park Tourist also commended Kennywood’s more modern marvels, the Phantom’s Revenge and the Skycoaster. 

Kennywood and Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA were the only two American parks to make the cut.
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