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How about a 'staycation,' Mr. President?

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Saturday, March 1, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Call it situational austerity.

As the Obama administration announced proposed draconian cuts to the military on Monday, news broke that the president doesn't pinch pennies when it comes to “first family” vacations.

The Washington Examiner reported that the 23 holiday getaways Barack Obama and his family have taken since the president took office in 2009 have cost taxpayers $18 million. That amount includes hotel and resort rentals, security staffing, airfare and car rental fees during trips to such places as Africa, Spain, Hawaii, Colorado, Florida and Martha's Vineyard.

Seems to us that if the prez is going to try to reduce the Army to pre-World War II levels, he also should reduce the number of trips he takes to exotic locales and chill closer to home.

Hasn't the guy ever heard of Camp David?

PEDUTO PAL COULD GET PARKS POST. Doug Shields , former Pittsburgh City Council president, could be poised for a return to city government.

The talk on Grant Street lately is that Shields will be offered an administrative position in the city parks department by his former council colleague and ally, Mayor Bill Peduto.

Shields served on council from 2004 to 2012 and was its president for four years. After leaving council, he ran unsuccessfully for the East End magisterial district judge seat now held by Hugh McGough and most recently has devoted his time to volunteer anti-fracking efforts.

If the rumored position materializes, one can safely assume that Shields would oppose drilling in Schenley Park.

FIRED UP FOR FUNDRAISER. Democrat Katie McGinty's gubernatorial campaign staff wasn't about to let her scheduled Pittsburgh fundraiser go up in smoke.

The event was to be held on Thursday at NOLA on the Square, Downtown. But when the eatery was damaged in a fire last Monday, it took the McGinty camp just a few hours to book an alternate location barely a block away — Six Penn Kitchen.

We're not sure if the location change will impact attendance. While Six Penn can't match NOLA for Creole cooking, its buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese is delectable.

PREACHER MAN. Latrobe City Manager Alex Graziani did double duty last month by volunteering to give a sermon at Living Hope Church in Unity while its pastor was away.

Whispers hasn't heard whether any Latrobe council members, police or firefighters showed up for Graziani's lesson at the nondenominational church. But maybe a house of worship in the city can return the favor and invite Unity Supervisor Mike O'Barto to provide a sermon.

We are fairly certain, though, that Graziani didn't lecture the congregation on the status of his city's waste transfer station.

WILL HE OR WON'T HE? Word has spread since the 2011 election that Republican Chuck Anderson, Westmoreland County commissioners chairman, would not seek re-election in 2015, but his recent activities tell a different story.

Last Thursday, Anderson, 71, held a fundraiser featuring cocktails and hors d'oeuvres in Megan's Suite at the Palace Theatre in Greensburg.

The event was billed as a reception “in support of his re-election campaign.”

Anderson is serving his first full term after he was appointed to fill an unexpired term's remaining three years in 2008.

Tickets were $100 per person or $150 per couple.

— compiled by Trib Total media staff

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