Pulse: Chatter: Crusades: Ich Bin Ein Pennsylvanian

A local ad guru is fighting to get his people their props

Gyro Worldwide Advertising honcho Steven Grasse takes his lineage seriously—he’ll regale you with tales of his German ancestors (ye olde Anton Grasse arrived here in 1812) and their many cultural contributions. (Whom to thank for soft pretzels, you ask? The Germans!) Last fall, Grasse was walking the streets, reading those blue Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission plaques, when he realized most of the 221 plaques around town highlight African­American history, while only a handful represent Deutschland. So this month he plans to officially nominate 15 new signs for German notables, ranging from Dr. Samuel Hahnemann to the German Gymnastic Society. While the commission advises against petitioning for too many signs at once, Grasse is undeterred. “Good for the African-American groups for promoting their history,” he says, “but it’s time for my German brothers and sisters to lay down the wiener schnitzel and start writing plaque proposals.”