Softball game

July 30, 2008
By now, you’ve probably heard that we came out on the short end of the stick in our Relay for Life softball game against the commissioners Sunday. Simply put, it just wasn’t our night. You have to credit Fayette County Commissioner Vince Vicites for putting together a powerful team. They certainly earned the victory. The series is tied 4-4 now

, and we’ll be back next year. I can guarantee you that. I want to thank everyone who played and everyone who showed up to watch them play. Also thanks to all the people who helped out in whatever manner, and there were plenty of them. Watch my Sunday column for more word on that. The real winners were those helped by the American Cancer Society as we raised $532 to help them fight cancer. The game also promotes awareness of cancer and what we can do to fight it. Remember to get things checked out as soon as possible if you suspect anything. Don’t forget about the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event Aug. 9-10 at Laurel Highlands High School. If you have any questions about Relay, call 724-437-0545.


Fayette County Fair

July 28, 2008

Well, the annual Fayette County Fair is under way and so far things are looking pretty good. The weather’s been great and the attendance has been super. Also, everything seems to be OK with the beer sales. Some people had been predicting that the sale of beer would be the end of the fair. But cooler heads prevailed and everything seems OK. I’m sure if there are problems, the fair officials will do whatever is necessary to solve them. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed the fair. I remember taking my kids out there the first year they had the pig races. They always had a great time at the fair. It was one of our summer highlights when they were growing up.  The kids are all grown up now and moved away, but I still enjoy going to the fair for at least one night. I’ll be at the Herald-Standard booth Saturday night from 7-9. Stop by if you get a chance. I always enjoy seeing friends at the fair and talking to whoever stops by our booth.

What happens in Vegas?

July 18, 2008
Viva Las Vegas!
Well, I just returned from a vacation in Vegas with my wife and  our son Bryan and  daughter  Ashley. And we had a wonderful time. This was my fifth stay in Vegas, and I’ve enjoyed each and every one. Vegas is a special place. Here are some general observations.
1. I think everyone should visit Vegas even if you’re not interested in gambling. There are many, many things to do besides gambling such as swimming in beautiful pools, shopping in wonderous stores, seeing  all sorts of terrific  shows and eating in amazing restaurants. The thing that really sets Vegas apart, though, are the stupendous new casinos. Take the Venetian for example. It’s like you’re in a museum full of statues and paintings. And in the middle of the casino, in the middle of a desert, is a lake full of gondalas with guys singing romantic songs to couples. It’s truly an amazing sight that never gets old. All the new casinos have similar types of attractions that really defy description.
2. Vegas is not all that expensive. Although airplane prices are increasing with the soaring cost of gas, there are still many deals to be had. And once you get there, there are plenty of things to do that don’t cost anything such as watching the fountains  at night  at the Bellagio. All the casinos offer some type of buffet. You just can’t beat them for the cost.
3. For all the, “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” hype, it’s really like most other vacation spots. While there are some sights just a there are everywhere, most people look like you and me. The crowd there is generally a little older and a little more sedate at least during the week which is when we visit. I’m sure you can find just about anything if you look hard enough, but there’s nothing forced or in-your-face about the place. It’s generally very relaxed and friendly. When we were registering, there was a father in front of us, playing with his young son. It was something that you’d expect to see in Disneyworld not Vegas, but there it was. At the Flamingo, where we stayed, there were lots of parents with young kids. I’m not sure that’s something I’d want to do, but the point is that it’s possible. And those kids would probably never see anything they wouldn’t see at Disneyworld.
4. It’s very safe. You can walk down the street at 2 in the morning and not feel threatened at all. The overwhelming people there are vacationeers, just looking to have a good time just like at Disneyworld. I remember a couple of years ago, my wife left several bags full of presents for the folks back home, at one of the casinos. We frantically retraced our steps to the casinos, certain that they would be long gone. But when we returned to the casino, there were the presents untouched since my wife left them.
I know Vegas is a popular destination for Fayette Countians so let  me know if you agree or disagree with any of my observations.

Rooney dispute takes new twist

July 16, 2008

Well, the dispute over the Rooney family’s ownership of the Pittsburgh Steelers has taken on a new twist. Allegheny County Controller Mark Flaherty says if family members who own the Pittsburgh Steelers sell all or part of the team to outside interests, they should repay some of the $281 million taxpayers ponied up to build Heinz Field.

“When the stadium was originally built, the public entered into a partnership with the Steelers,” Flaherty said. “I feel it would be unjust for any shareholder to sell their shares and not have any implication to the public taxpayer.”

These comments are the latest twist in this bizarre controversy which finds Dan Rooney haggling with his four brothers over ownership of the team. Each brother owns 16 percent of the franchise. The other four brothers, all in their late 60s or early 70s, want to sell to safeguard the investment for their heirs and because some of them own gambling interests that run counter to NFL rules for owners. They are said to be discussing a sale to billionaire investment banker Stanley Druckenmiller, a Pittsburgh native.

No one involved in the dispute had any comment Wednesday but according to reports Tuesday, a Rooney family spokesperson said the comments were premature since negotiations haven’t even begun.

It’s hard to say if or how the threats will influence the possible sale of the Steelers, but it will certainly be interesting to see what happens. It’s somewhat ironic that Dan Rooney, who has been responsible for so many deals over the years and has made the NFL what it is today, now must come up with his own deal to preserve his controlling interest in the Steelers. He’s up against some tough odds but that’s nothing new for Rooney. He’s always bucked the odds and delivered in the past for the NFL, but now can he deliver for himself?

What do you think of Flaherty’s actions? Do you think they helped or hurt and how do you see this whole thing going down?

Back from vacation

July 16, 2008

Well, I’m almost finished digging out from all the e-mails and voice mails that accumulated while I was on vacation for two weeks. This was the first time I’ve ever taken two weeks at the same time and I’m still trying to figure out whether it was a good thing or not.  I really didn’ t plan to take two weeks off but circumstances beyond my control forced me into it.  It was great while I was on vacation, but it’s been difficult to say the least since I got back.  I’d like to hear from anyone else to see what you think of two-week vacations.  Maybe your  experience was a little better or worse than mine.