While teaching young children remotely during the pandemic has had its challenges, Laura Lind writes that she's also found it's brought new possibilities. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

Being an early childhood music teacher involves sharing. Teaching remotely has allowed me to share even more.

Instead of my spacious classroom, I was teaching in a tiny corner of a bedroom. I had to re-imagine my curriculum to fit this space and the restrictions of the Zoom frame. The technology was challenging, with choppy sound, frozen images and dropped calls the norm. I had to remind myself to occasionally look at the iPad’s camera to simulate eye contact, even though that meant looking away from the children. 

Carl Lewis, owner of Carl’s Cafe in Rankin, touchs a leafy grape plant growing on the side of his store.

Fresh produce and bagged meals: Four Pittsburghers share how the pandemic has impacted their approach to food security

Before the pandemic, more than one in five Pittsburgh residents were food insecure. That means social and economic conditions limit their consistent access to food. After the pandemic hit, residents lost jobs and distribution methods like school lunches were disrupted. While residents from all communities seek aid from food banks and pantries, food insecurity disproportionately impacts low-income communities of color.

The case for stormwater fees in the Pittsburgh region

PWSA: After the Crisis
After record-setting rainfall and flash floods in recent years, the need for action across the Pittsburgh region is clear. 

In 2018, I created the Pittsburgh Urban Flood Journal where I’ve been documenting, mapping and writing about flooding issues as they happen. The reason I’ve been doing this is to raise awareness about flood-prone areas. I hope the information I am collecting can one day lead to fixes to our flooding issues for the health and safety of our neighborhoods. As a professional civil engineer, this is my duty. Local leaders and engineers need to develop flood mitigation strategies to better manage stormwater before it causes damage.

PWSA’s stormwater director says Pittsburgh needs to fix flooding problems, even if the likely new mayor is wary of raising rates

PWSA: After the Crisis
Although the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority has typically focused on providing clean water and transporting sewage, recent years have presented a newer, pressing challenge: the city’s flooding, landslide and basement backup problems. 

The water authority [PWSA] has proposed a new stormwater fee, which will charge customers according to how much rain water hits their roofs and pavement. The revenue will help PWSA address its flooding challenges as it continues to try to remove sewage that overflows into the city’s rivers when it rains. These problems will only increase as climate change intensifies the city’s rainwater problems, according to Tony Igwe, the person PWSA has hired to direct these new efforts. Igwe talked with PublicSource about his background, how the agency will prioritize the tens of millions of dollars in projects and why he thinks state Rep. Ed Gainey, the victor of the Democratic primary for Pittsburgh mayor, will ultimately support new projects despite pledging not to raise water rates. What do you think is the most important trait that you bring to the job? 
I think honestly the greatest skill for me may be to be able to look at things from a weird angle because of an eclectic background.