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Monday, Nov. 12, 2012, 8:51 p.m.

The derailment: One of the more serious Port Authority light-rail accidents in recent years is being blamed on human error. The mass-transit agency says a driver has been suspended with pay for running a stop signal Friday night in the Downtown subway. The “T” car derailed when it hit a switch that had not been locked into place. One person was injured. The accident makes us wonder why there's not a fail-safe that would shut down vehicles that do such things.

Inquiring minds: By just about every measure, the National Aviary on Pittsburgh's North Side has been doing pretty well under Pat Mangus, its executive director. There was a well-received expansion. Attendance is doing just fine, thank you. And, oh, yes, the budget has been — GASP! — balanced. Still, the aviary board fired Mr. Mangus last week. It won't say why. The aviary went “private” years ago. But it still receives some public money. And, thus, the public deserves an explanation.

On the brink?: Also by just about every measure, West Penn Allegheny Health System is gasping for financial air and its very life. And now that a judge has ruled the system can't take millions of lifeboat dollars from potential white knight Highmark Inc., then look for other buyers, it behooves West Penn Allegheny to make plans for an orderly bankruptcy reorganization. That now appears to be its only chance of survival.

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