As one of 10 children growing up in extreme poverty in Greensboro, North Carolina, Mark Robinson has defied a lot of odds in life: an alcoholic and abusive father, foster care stints and an overwhelmed single mother.
After joining the Army Reserves right out of high school, he married and had two children while drifting through various jobs ...Read more
PITTSBURGH -- Years ago, there was an urban arcade called The Bank located here within a series of five old buildings that once housed financial offices in the Gilded Age. Connected internally by a savvy developer, 145,000 square feet of abandoned former grandeur was turned into a series of high-end shops, bars, a bookstore located in a former ...Read more
COOK FOREST, Pennsylvania -- It has just finished snowing here, and the forest looks magical, draped in white. It takes on a silvery blue shine under the blue sky that emerged after the storm finished leaving its mark. The silence is soon broken by the crunching of snowshoes off in the distance.
Southwest of here, a handful of anglers fishing ...Read more
ROSS TOWNSHIP, Pennsylvania -- Seven years ago, combat veteran Jack Mook was a hard-nosed Pittsburgh detective who stumbled upon two young brothers who showed up intermittently at the boxing gym where he volunteered. The boys were living on the edge of despair: Their birth parents had failed them; their foster parents had failed them; and the ...Read more
Elections are often a study of something in between getting the election results we deserve and politicians misreading why their side won a big race, especially if it is a narrow win.
In times of turmoil, voters often choose with their hearts and not their heads. And in case you haven't noticed, for the past two decades, we have been in a ...Read more
NEW ALEXANDRIA, Pennsylvania -- If you're not paying close attention, you can easily miss the dirt road that leads to the Flemings Christmas tree farm just off U.S. Route 22 in western Pennsylvania. The sign for the turnoff from the two-lane highway is covered in fresh snow, and within just a few feet along the narrow road, you enter a winter ...Read more
MT. LEBANON, Pa. -- It was never supposed to be my forever home.
Last week, I took one last look at what has been home for most of my adult life and decided to say thank you instead of goodbye.
Thirty-one years ago, I crossed the threshold of 260 with a 6-day-old infant and a boisterous 3-year-old.
Home is never really a place as much as it ...Read more
HOWLAND TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Tim Ryan says there is a certain kind of letdown you feel when you lose your home county -- even in an election that you win.
"It certainly does sting," he said bluntly.
The former presidential candidate won his 10th congressional race over Republican Christina Hagan to represent the five counties of Mahoning, Portage...Read more
PITTSBURGH -- Jimmy Coen never stops moving.
The 60-year-old small-business owner walks up and down Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh's Strip District business neighborhood, talking to fellow business owners, handling small problems, grabbing lunch outside at Cafe Raymond or just striking up conversations with people along the street.
Most people call...Read more
PINE TOWNSHIP, Penn. -- Had you spent any time in this northern suburb of Pittsburgh listening to voters, finding out what matters to them when it comes to schools, community growth, economic prosperity and the emotional impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns, you would have at least been skeptical of the media narrative and the polls that claimed ...Read more
HILLSDALE, Michigan -- Sometimes, lessons we are trying desperately to unravel about where we are as a country and as a culture are right in front of us. But we've been so distracted by all of the convenience and chaos technology has provided our lives that we've missed what we've always known, not just about where we are going but who we are in...Read more
After smooth confirmation hearings, Judge Amy Coney Barrett looks poised to break the ivy ceiling at the Supreme Court of the United States.
All other eight justices on the court have Ivy League law school degrees on their walls, but Barrett's is from Notre Dame, the current capital of conservative Catholic academia, where she also served as a ...Read more
WAMPUM, Pennsylvania -- Keith Roupp has a story to tell, the kind that beckons you to pull up a chair and sit a spell while he tells it.
It all begins with a crystal-clear stream not far from his home in Lawrence County, a 14,000-year-old glacier that no one's really thought about for 14,000 years, and a young man with an old soul connecting ...Read more