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Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances

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Thursday, July 10, 2014, 8:55 p.m.

Laurel: To goats. From our Department of Everything Old is New Again, a tip o' the hat to Tree Pittsburgh. The nonprofit group employed a tribe of 30 goats to clear a weed-strangled hillside in Polish Hill's West Penn Park. Goats might be more expensive than herbicides but they're a far more ecologically friendly solution.

Lance: To the “hook.” Taxpayers will be forced to pay nearly $1 million more for the Pittsburgh Penguins' Consol Energy Center lease. That's because of two downgrades in the credit rating of the bond insurer and an increase in the bond issue's variable interest rate in the state-backed deal that built the new hockey arena. As too often is the case in these deals, the hook in the taxpayer wallet only digs deeper.

On the “Watch List”:

• Public thievery. Jennifer Richards, a former secretary for Versailles, is accused of stealing more than $30,000 from the borough. She's the latest in a long line of local government employees in the region to be accused of such a crime. And it continues to show that checks and balances that should serve as a deterrent against such shenanigans are lacking.

• Mt. Lebanon. It's the latest community to say it will consider new regulations to govern “urban agriculture.” The move was sparked when one neighbor complained that another's beehive was built too close to the property line. But these matters are best left to neighbors to resolve. The last thing any community needs is government overregulating one's backyard.

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