features, essays, profiles


“The Urban Deerhunter”You’ll probably never see them, but Pittsburgh’s woods are full of camouflaged bowmenPittsburgh Quarterly, 2020 Winter … ** AWARD NOMINEE 2020 Golden Quill Finalist, Excellence in Written Journalism – Magazines, The Press Club of Western PA **

“Turning a Vast, Post-Industrial Wilderness Into a Park in Pittsburgh”Hays Woods, land once used for mining and munitions, is becoming one of Pittsburgh’s largest parksCityLab (The Atlantic), Dec 31, 2019

“How the neighborhood you grow up in affects your future”Part of the series ‘Power of Place: Stories about how opportunity or lack thereof may affect the future of Pittsburgh youth.’ … PublicSource, Dec 11, 2019

‘Milking’: How some absentee property owners contribute to blight in the Pittsburgh regionFor some landlords, strategic negligence reaps financial rewards, but at tenants’ expense … PublicSource, Jan 22, 2019

Owner of troubled Valmar Gardens apartments has record of problem properties, unpaid taxes and ‘shell games’Investor leaves trail of failed properties and bankruptcies, leaving residents and others to deal with the messPublicSource, Jan 21, 2019 …  ** AWARD WINNER: 2019 Truth in Finances Award PACPA (Stand-Alone/Small Newspaper Category), in recognition of excellent and balanced financial reporting **

“Healthy Futures,”Environmental issues affecting the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Hazelwood … h Magazine, 2019 Issue 1

“Tree of Life trauma victims may find allies in neighborhoods experiencing chronic gun violence” … Trauma aid practitioners and Pittsburghers who’ve lost loved ones care for survivors of Tree of Life shootingPublicSource, Dec 27, 2018

“Treating trauma and society’s ‘collective illness’: Mental health experts rally to provide long-lasting care after Tree of Life shooting” … From Charleston, SC, to Overland Park, KS, survivors of hate crimes lend their supportPublicSource, Dec 26, 2018

What’s even more alarming than gentrification? One researcher urges cities like Pittsburgh to take a broader view” … Community development guru presents research on inequality and neighborhoods in declinePublicSource, Oct 31, 2018

“Absolutely and unabashedly welcoming”: How some Pittsburgh faith communities embrace LGBT worshippersInclusive churches and synagogues open to congregants regardless of orientation or genderPublicSource, Aug 7, 2018


“As the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh announces mergers, here’s what it means for parishioners and church buildings left behind” … How are parishioners affected when the diocese closes their home churches and what happens to church buildings? … PublicSourceApril 24, 2018

“Former parishioners are trying to save an Allentown church building closed by the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh”Unsatisfied with the diocese’s plans for the church building, several parishioners submitted an appeal to the Vatican … PublicSource, April 24, 2018

“Can a provisional new owner prevent displacement and rebuild the Bethesda-Homewood homes?” A private investor takes on a troubled portfolio of HUD-subsidized properties, possibly preventing the displacement of hundreds of residents … PublicSource, Feb 13, 2018

“Pittsburgh is hoping to preserve many of the low-income Bethesda-Homewood housing units” Hundreds of Pittsburgh residents – many of them living in slum conditions – face an uncertain future … PublicSource, Dec 23, 2017

“The parallel pursuit of Amazon HQ2 and an equitable ‘city for all.’ Can they co-exist?” A concerted and costly effort to attract a tech giant to Pittsburgh raises questions about what kind of development project would be suitable for all PittsburghersPublicSource, Oct 9, 2017


“Will McKinley Park upgrades improve the struggling Beltzhoover community or leave its longtime residents behind?” Residents in a south Pittsburgh neighborhood see big potential in a park redevelopment project, but who will benefit? …. PublicSource, Aug 31, 2017

Community Play-Creation,” Outdoor play is good for children and teens, but it’s even better when they participate in creating the spaces where healthy play happens …h Magazine, 2017 Issue 1

“Public School Daze,” Low graduation rates, racial disparity, budget shortfalls, poor test scores – these are just some of the problems facing Pittsburgh’s public schools … h Magazine, Issue 1, 2013

“Clean Up Crew,” Area professionals advance green initiatives within their companies and institutions … h Magazine, Issues 2 & 3 2011

“The Art of Change,” A forward-thinking youth program at The Andy Warhol Museum gives local teens a voice through art … Carnegie Magazine, Fall 2009

“Latino Labor in Wisconsin’s Dairy Industry,” Wisconsin’s dairy farms are increasingly run by non-Wisconsinites … La Comunidad, (Madison, WI), Sept 2004, two-part investigative series

“Riverview Park: How one park’s ecosystem — and maybe its legacy — is eroding away”
On managing deer and other invasive species in Pittsburgh parks … The Northside Chronicle, … Nov 17, 2022, originally part of Pittsburgh’s Art in the Parks program

“Walking, And Thoughts Along The Way”Cinematic pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela … Vox Populi, March 18, 2018

Unpacking White Privilege,” Feeling guilty about racial injustice isn’t the point; the point is doing something about it … Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aug 21, 2016

“Nine Mile Run,”  The US Army Corp of Engineers helps redeem a Pittsburgh neighborhood watershed from what was once a Steel City wasteland … geez, Issue 41, Spring 2016

“The Girls,” A family welcomes an urban chicken foursome to their new home, a pretty fly A-frame chicken tractor … Blue Earth Review, Spring 2012

“A Good Harvest,”  In trepidation, a man donates bone marrow to some stranger on the other side of the world … The Truth About The Fact: International Journal of Literary Nonfiction, Spring 2011

“Immigrant Stories,” Immigrants to Pittsburgh continue to influence the city’s economics, neighborhoods, culture, and character … Creative Nonfiction, Pittsburgh in Words edition, Oct 2008

“Cultivating Compassion,”  International adoption becomes a full-family affair … Kansas City Star, Mon July 10, 2006 (Religion News Service) This story reprinted in two other newspapers, The Leader-Post (Regina, Saskatchewan) and The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA)

“Without Place or Power,” In large cities in developing countries, secure land rights can be the difference between thriving in a safe home and making due in an overcrowded squatter settlement … PRISM, Vol 10, No 2, March/April 2003

“Charity of Grace,” On panhandling and making a place for the wanderer … PRISM, Vol 9, No 3, May/June 2002

“Losing Identity That It Might Be Found,” The Kosovo War leads to loss of life, loss of ethnicity … Social Justice Review, Sept 1999

“Eat This One, Not That: Western Pennsylvania man spreads his zeal for mushroom foraging”Adam Haritan leads hundreds of thousands of foragers and followers into the woods and onlinePennsylvania Magazine, May/June 2019

“In the LGBTQ community, faith brings comfort and pain. Six Pittsburghers reflect on feeling rejected for who they are”Finding a way forward after being spurned by religious loved ones and colleagues PublicSource, May 9, 2019

“Instead of preparing for an unwanted move, this Bethesda-Homewood resident prepared a federal lawsuit” …a HUD-housing resident defends his right to due process under the US Constitution PublicSource, Feb 13, 2018

Civic Arena construction nearing completion with parked cars and Connelley Trade School on left, Lower Hill District, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, c. 1960 - 1961. (Photo by Charles 'Teenie' Harris/Carnegie Museum of Art/Getty Images)

“When The Arena Came to Town” Sala Udin is one of the thousands of Lower Hill residents displaced by “urban renewal”; the trauma endures to this day … Anthony Bourdain’s Explore Parts Unknown on CNN, Oct 2017

“Portraying an Immortal Life,” Renée Elise Goldsberry, star of Broadway’s Hamilton, takes on a new role as Henrietta Lacks, source of HeLa cells and decades of ground-breaking research …Carnegie Mellon Today, May 2017

“Renaissance Man,” Raymond Smith, former CEO of Verizon, led one of the largest mergers in U.S. business history … Carnegie Mellon Today, April 2017

“Tom Savini Has Turned Horror into a Frightful Career,” Make-up artist, actor, stuntman, and director Tom Savini has been instrumental in creating the face of today’s horror film genre … Carnegie Mellon Today, Oct 2016

“Head of the Class,” Pittsburgh Public School Superintendent Dr. Linda Lane grapples with her district’s fiscal and academic challenges … h Magazine, Issue 1, 2013