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The Neverending Spelling Bee At The Allegheny County Sign Shop

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Kevin C. Brown
/
90.5 WESA
Some of the many signs made by Steve Smith and his colleagues at the Allegheny County Sign shop. Smith is a sign craftsman. He grew up painting, went to art school, painted billboards after graduation, and now ensures people know where they're going.

Modern existence requires a lot of signs: road signs, park signs, building signs, direction signs, special event signs. Plenty of signs could be ordered online, in this age of hyper-availability, but Allegheny County doesn’t outsource its written communication with the public; instead, the county runs its own sign shop.

Steve Smith has worked in the shop for nearly 20 years and says he and his colleagues are exacting in their work. But mistakes can happen.

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Margaret J. Krauss is WESA's development and transportation reporter. She previously worked for Keystone Crossroads, a statewide reporting initiative that covers problems facing Pennsylvania's cities and possible solutions. Before joining Keystone Crossroads, Margaret produced a 48-part radio series about Pittsburgh's lesser-known history, biking 2,000 miles around the region to do so.