Happy 2018, and happy Third Annual Q&A Issue of South Hills Living! This issue has become one of my favorites, and as I was editing the features, there were a few very profound things that really stuck out to me.
Take Harry Funk’s Q&A with Sebnem Unlu on page 14. Unlu is an executive committee member at the Turkish Cultural Center of Pittsburgh and is on the research faculty at the University of Pittsburgh’s Cancer Research Institute. But it was her thoughts on humanity that hit me hard – in that I wish I could shout from the rooftops, put on a billboard, even tattoo the words on my arm, “...we should give more importance to the human being over anything else. The human being is more precious than any politics or power.” Of course, when you read for yourself, you will see that that’s not her only powerful piece of prose.
I got to know the name Oren Spiegler when I started at the Observer Publishing Co. back in 2012 as the editor of The Almanac. In fact, upon reading that I was the new editor, he emailed me to welcome me to the paper. During my time there, he also wrote countless letters to the editor – some I published, some I didn’t. I came to learn that writing letters to the editor was something that he had done for years, to numerous newspapers. And what always struck me with his letters was that they were well-written, and I never felt he wrote to antagonize or alienate someone whose opinion differs from his. On page 16, Kristin Emery finds out why Spiegler feels compelled to write and what has come of his frequent public opinions over the years.
You’ll get to meet the new superintendent of South Fayette School District, Dr. Kenneth Lockette, in Jacob Calvin Meyer’s Q&A on page 12. I think you’ll be intrigued by his background – for example, he taught English in Kazakhstan – and excited for what he will bring to the district.
Cheryl Moon-Sirianni, who graces our cover, is the first woman to lead PennDOT’s District 11, which covers Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence counties and is headquartered in Bridgeville. For Moon-Sirianni, being a mentor for other young women interested in going into a traditionally male-dominated field is important, and she’s happy to take on that role if it means that others will understand that the only thing between them and success is hard work. You can read more in Mike Jones’ piece on page 10.
Our friends, neighbors, colleagues and those who run the businesses that we frequent all have interesting stories to tell, and that’s why the Q&A issue is always a delight to put together. I think if we all started talking to each other more, having dialogue, listening to each other and engaging in civil discourse, a lot of barriers can be broken and a lot of things have the potential to change for the better. Just ask a question – you never know what the takeaway will be.
I’m off to hug a tree ...