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Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, 8:57 p.m.

Laurel: To Rich Fitzgerald. The Allegheny County chief executive is taking heat from some quarters for a perfectly legal no-bid contract to a local contracting firm. But the $156,000 deal with Michael Baker Corp., which will use the expertise of employee and former county Public Works boss Tom Donatelli to assess the troubled department, sounds like a prudent move to us.

Lance: To the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. A goodly number of its 2013 picture calendars — with March featuring the same kind of African painted dogs that killed a toddler who fell into the exhibit this month — were sent out before the tragedy. But the zoo continued to send them out, without even a note of explanation to patrons, after the tragedy. And that, supposedly, after much internal discussion. How sad.

On the “Watch List”: Arnold's fiscal crisis. The city wants a 25 percent tax hike to balance the books and officials worry even that won't be enough despite being coupled with spending cuts. The city isn't eligible for Act 47 relief as a distressed community. We can only hope it never is.

Steelers woes: Coach Mike Tomlin should make those who coughed up the football a total of five times Sunday tote a pigskin 24/7 right up to this Sunday's 4:15 p.m. kickoff in Baltimore. Perhaps these pros can learn something from this old trick ­— of high school football coaches.

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