Peduto lauded among U.S. mayors, but knows Pittsburgh has much more to figure out during Trump presidency

Mayor Bill Peduto looked glum. Soon-to-be Vice President Mike Pence was on the stage speaking before a packed ballroom at the 85th winter meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors. Peduto sat in the back listening along with other mayors, aides and staffers. Pence’s speech, delivered to an audience of about 500 people, focused little on the nitty gritty — he advocated for infrastructure investment, education reform and more support for law enforcement, but he didn’t go into details on policy plans or execution. The former Indiana governor catered to his audience, emphasizing that “mayors are on the front line of public service,” and that “this new administration will work in partnership with city halls all across America.”

As Pence concluded his speech to less-than-enthusiastic applause, Peduto muttered.

Jack Reacher, starring Tom Cruise, filmed in and around Pittsburgh. The Strip District was the location of a raucous fight scene in the 2012 movie. (Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures)

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Tom Cruise steps out of a smoky bar into the cold night’s air to fight a group of cocky punks. Before he punches and kicks them into submission, he gives their leader a final offer, “It’s your last chance to walk away.” Behind Cruise, lights on the Strip District’s telltale produce terminal illuminate the scene. “Are you kidding? It’s five against one,” the leader says, against the backdrop of the St. Stanislaus Kostka Church.

Donna Baxter Porcher, the founder of, attended the "Stand Up, Stand Out" event at the August Wilson Center.

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As an undergrad at Pitt, Donna Baxter Porcher started a website for fun. At the time, she had no idea her hobby would eventually blossom into a career with a six-figure salary. “I started the site so I could show my friends what was going on on the soul side of Pittsburgh,” she says. “They wanted to know where the barbershops were, where the churches were, where to get their hair done, stuff like that.” She’s quick to add that, “Soul is not just a color. Everybody likes jazz, and soul food, and knowing about different things to do in the community.’

The website,, has since expanded into a multi-channel media company that distributes a free, quarterly print magazine focused on the arts, events and stories most relevant to Pittsburgh’s minority communities.