Lessons learned during the pandemic. Community leaders weigh in

We have now endured more than six months of this (your favorite adjective here) pandemic which upended our lives in sudden and startling ways. So what lessons have we learned during this dark, tumultuous, uncertain time? We asked some influential Pittsburghers to share their lessons in the hopes of inspiring us all because we need all the inspiration we can get.

Justin Strong stands beside a new steam cleaner he purchased with a loan from Honeycomb Credit.

Things were looking good, then the pandemic hit. How four Pittsburgh-area businesses are weathering the COVID era.

COVID-19 has brought hard times to small business owners across the nation.. The online review website Yelp estimated that before July 10, 73,000 small businesses in the United States had closed permanently. Times have been difficult for businesses in the Pittsburgh region, and while the outlook is uncertain, PublicSource spoke to the owners of four resilient businesses that have stayed afloat by obtaining credit, going online, developing new streams of revenue, and in one case, simply breaking the rules.

Ebony Lunsford-Evans, owner of FarmerGirlEB, picks tomatoes at her home garden. (Photo by Brian Cook)

Pittsburgh’s Black farmers work to grow a new future

Those working in agriculture, a fragile business to start with, typically handle so many variables each year that are out of business owners’ hands. But 2020 has been a season full of more than the usual mix of uncertainty, one shaped by the economic and cultural impact of a pandemic few could have planned for.

PWSA Executive Director Will Pickering photographed near the Highland 1 reservoir in Highland Park. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

As PWSA looks past the lead crisis, its new leader faces $1 billion in upgrades and rising water bills

PWSA is committed to replacing aging infrastructure, including lead service lines, to the tune of more than $1 billion over five years, a rapid increase in spending. This also means it’s begun raising rates and has proposed even more increases, even as the COVID-19 pandemic has left significant economic uncertainty in the region and required the authority to suspend water-shutoffs.

How one Pittsburgh-area nursing home avoided a coronavirus surge in the ongoing pandemic

It was March when Kara Chipps watched in horror as TV networks covered a novel coronavirus that surfaced in a suburb east of Seattle at the Life Care Center of Kirkland. Within five weeks of the first reported case in the United States, Washington state health officials were sounding the alarm about an outbreak. By early April, COVID-19 infected 129 residents, staff and visitors to the Kirkland nursing home and has been associated with at least 40 deaths. “We were watching the news and basically seeing the numbers go up,” said Chipps, assistant director of nursing at McMurray Hills Manor in Washington County, Pa. Because the average patient at McMurray is 84 years old, staff worried COVID could wreak havoc at the 115-bed nonprofit facility located 15 miles southwest of Pittsburgh.