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Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances |

Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances

Laurel: To the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The federal appellate court in Philadelphia says there’s nothing illegal about the Ten Commandments plaque that long as graced an outside wall of the Allegheny County Courthouse. In a refreshingly sane ruling, the court said the fact that government buildings preserve such an artifact of history is not necessarily an improper government endorsement of religion. Hear! Hear!

Laurel: To Dan Onorato. After a tough year of budget cuts and layoffs, the Allegheny County executive has presented County Council with $665.6 million 2005 budget that the ACE says makes government “live within its means.” Property taxes will not increase. But careful budgeting will allow increases for several vital offices, from the District Attorney’s to the Public Defender’s offices. Just as important, the budget does not tap county reserves. We commend Mr. Onorato.

Laurel: To Bill Strickland. His Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild concept continues to spread across the country. A direct spinoff of the North Side institution is up and running in San Francisco. There’s a Cincinnati group also using the guild’s model to offer educational programs teaching arts and vocational skills. And folks in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Kansas City, Mo., are interested in emulating Mr. Strickland’s incredible success story. Bravo!

Laurel: To John Thompson. The superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools says he’s had it with truants. Henceforth, five unexcused absences will result in a citation and court date that could cost parents a fine or even jail time. That’s good news. But, why five and why did it take so long to address such a chronic problem?

Lance: To the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh. Last week it featured entertainer Patti Labelle at its 135th anniversary celebration. This would be the same Ms. Labelle who said the editor of these pages should have been “pimp slapped” for asking Teresa Heinz Kerry to explain her infamous “un-American” comments in July. What a shame such a fine organization embraced such a poor role model.

Best wishes: To Ed Nicholson. The president of Robert Morris University will retire next year. This scholar and gentleman largely is responsible for RMU’s transformation into a major league institution of higher learning over the past 15 years. We wish him well.

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