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Nobel Peace Prize no slam-dunk

| Saturday, July 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Dennis Rodman wants to be the first former pro basketball player to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Rodman told Sports Illustrated he believes the friendship he forged earlier this year with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un merits him being considered for an honor that some think is more important than the NBA's Most Valuable Player award (which he never won).

“My mission is to break the ice between hostile countries,” Rodman said. “Keeping us safe is really not my job; it's (President Obama's) job. But I'll tell you this: If I don't finish in the top three for the next Nobel Peace Prize, something is seriously wrong.”

Stranger things have happened. Obama inexplicably won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 despite having been in the Oval Office for only nine months.

HUSS NOW ‘BURGH'S FACE. Perhaps people should begin calling him “Mayor Mike.”

It appears that Pittsburgh's being run these days by Public Safety Director Michael Huss, who has become the face of lame-duck Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's administration.

When tensions flared in Homewood recently over a teacher being arrested after an altercation with a police officer outside a community meeting, Huss was outside the Zone 5 police station, attempting to keep the situation calm. As has become his modus operandi in recent months, the mayor was nowhere to be found.

Grant Street insiders say Huss is one of the few upper-echelon members of Ravenstahl's administration who consistently shows up for work these days.

CASH FOR COSTA. State lawmakers spend several months each year on summer recess, but never take time off from fundraising.

Case in point: State Sen.Jay Costa Jr., D-Forest Hills, will hold a pricey soiree on Thursday at the Rivers Club, Downtown. High-end host-committee tickets cost a hefty $5,000, but you can get in for as little as $500 if you're content being just the senator's “friend” — on the lowest rung in the Costa caste system.

If only lawmakers would work as hard in session as they do at replenishing their campaign coffers, something might actually get done in Harrisburg on occasion.

ON THE RISE. One positive came out of Harrisburg amid lawmakers' multiple failures to pass legislation to privatize the state-store system, overhaul state pensions or increase transportation funding: State Rep. Dave Reed, R-Indiana County, has emerged as a statewide force.

The Homer City native, 35, chairs the House Majority Policy Committee. Now in his sixth term, he took on an active role on those issues, mostly behind the scenes.

Despite months of repeated attempts to sever the transportation and liquor issues, an exasperated Reed and Rep. Mike Vereb, R-Montgomery County, conducted an impromptu news conference after the House adjourned, blaming Democrats for the stalled transportation bill.

Reed, a Homer Center High School and Indiana University of Pennsylvania graduate, complained that Democrats, who had long voiced support for increasing transportation funding, were suddenly holding out on that bill because liquor privatization might be approved.

OPEN MIC. The Fayette County Republican Committee is promising all comers a chance at the microphone at its summer picnic on July 14 at the Uniontown Sons of Italy.

Russ Rhodes, committee chariman, also promises great food on the grill for the 1 p.m. event.

He said visitors will be given the chance to voice their opinions about current political events during an “open microphone” session.

A voter-registration booth will be operating, too.

Tickets — $1, including admission, food, drinks and all activities — are available from GOP committee members or by calling 724-963-2663.

RED, WHITE AND BLUE. Zippo has been named one of the top “Americana” brands.

The 80-year-old, Bradford-based maker of world-famous windproof pocket lighters has been an American icon since World War II, when the company temporarily ceased production for consumer markets and dedicated all manufacturing to the U.S. military.

Zippo is No. 7 on the “Americana” brands list based on a survey of 4,500 consumers conducted by New York-based research firm Brand Keys. The lighter company scored 93 out of 100 on a scale representing consumers' emotional expectations.

— compiled by Trib Total Media staff

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