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Laurels & Lances

Lance: To Luke Ravenstahl. The Pittsburgh mayor has named his newly elected state representative brother Adam to the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority board. The nepotism, a violation of the city ethics code, is defended by Hizzhoner, who says Bro represents the legislative district most affected by Alcosan. And the city solicitor disputes the ethics charge, saying the authority is not under the direct jurisdiction of the mayor's office. Done laughing yet?

Lance: To Mt. Lebanon. Its school board approved a staggering 10.5 percent increase in taxes this week. That's to pay for a poorly executed high school renovation project and to cover teacher pensions. And, apparently, there's a little something in there for a new contract with teachers, now being negotiated. The school tax bill on a $200,000 home will soar to more than $5,300 a year. And that great sucking you're soon to hear won't be the straw at the bottom of an empty cold coffee.

Lance: To cookie-cutter buildings. The North Shore continues its buildup. And it appears as if the first rule of sweetheart development deals is coming true yet again. There's not one architecturally interesting building going up. Not one. Every one of 'em is a variation on a theme -- blah. A golden opportunity to make the North Shore buildup eclectic and fresh has only resulted in the boring and stale.

Lance: To flip-flopping. The great cascading waterfalls along the North Shore's river walk now sport signs warning that no swimming or wading is allowed. Funny, but we distinctly remember how this amenity was touted as an interactive public space in which such things would be encouraged. Kind of gives new meaning to the term "bait and switch," doesn't it?

Ready, set ... : The first long summer holiday weekend is upon us. Drinks• Check! Confections• Check! Brats, burgers and dogs• Check! But, more importantly, flying Old Glory• Check! Plan to take time to pause and remember those who gave the ultimate measure to ensure your liberty and enable your leisure• Check and double check!

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