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No more playing hooky?

| Saturday, March 29, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

A movement is afoot to make Opening Day a national holiday, but the White House is refusing to play ball.

More than 100,000 people signed a petition on the White House website to bestow holiday status on the first day of the Major League Baseball season.

“It's a day of hope,” the petition stated. “It's a day that, for generations, has been looked forward to by baseball fans every off-season. It's an American tradition, and it deserves to be recognized as an American holiday.”

The White House didn't immediately address the petition, although each petition on its website that receives 100,000 signatures within 30 days eventually receives an official response.

That's unfortunate. If you're going to PNC Park on Monday to watch the Pirates defeat the Chicago Cubs, the federal government won't officially excuse you for playing hooky from work or school.

P-G EDITORIAL A ‘CAREFULLY CRAFTED' PRESS RELEASE? Allegheny County Councilwoman Barbara Daly Danko believes the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was guilty of slipshod research in a recent editorial.

In a letter to the P-G last week, Daly said she was shocked that the P-G, aka The Toledo, Ohio, Block Bugler, had decided the county should approve what the P-G called a “carefully crafted lease” to permit drilling in Deer Lakes Park.

She was surprised that the P-G took that stand before any council member had seen the proposed lease legislation from Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald, who favors drilling in the park.

Council members had received only a one-page press release that Danko believes bore a “striking resemblance to the P-G's editorial.”

“To say that I am disappointed in the P-G would be an understatement,” Danko wrote. “Perhaps next time the P-G can simply reprint the chief executive's press release and place it into my morning newspaper.”

Ouch. Make that a double.

PEDUTO PRAISES PEDUTO. Apparently frustrated by an inability to hire a public safety director to replace current safety czar Michael Huss, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is soliciting applicants on business-oriented social networking site LinkedIn.

Problem is, not many people interested in the position likely will make it through the job description's opening paragraphs, which serve as little more than a lengthy tribute to Peduto. Sample sentence: “A self-described ‘Reform Democrat', while a member of Pittsburgh City Council Bill Peduto wrote the most comprehensive package of government reform legislation in the City's history.”

Mayor Bill? If you want people to apply for the job, you might want to mention the $125,000 salary before patting yourself on the back at length.

HOT KITCHEN. Chief Deputy Paul M. McCommons abruptly resigned from the Westmoreland County Sheriff's Department just two days after the Trib reported Sheriff Jonathan Held was dumped by the county chiefs of police association.

Reached at his Unity Township home, McCommons declined to explain the reason for his sudden departure, but confirmed it is effective April 25.

McCommons, 72, retired as a state trooper with 32 years of service and had served as president of the 7,000-member Pennsylvania State Troopers Association. He was ousted from the county chiefs association along with Held.

The chiefs association, which has more than 50 members, voted earlier this month to terminate Held's membership in the group, which coordinates relationships among municipal and county law enforcement agencies.

“There was a lot of controversy involving Sheriff Held and the practices of his department,” said the association's president, Allegheny Township Police Chief John Fontaine.

Held had come under fire for his plan, announced in January, to have sheriff's deputies serve arrest warrants around the clock in Jeannette.

McCommons was hired by Held as chief deputy when Held took office in January 2012.

BEARING IT. State Rep. Eli Evankovich, R-Murrysville, recently assisted state Game Commission biologists conducting a study of black bears in Westmoreland County.

Evankovich's job was to keep “the cubs warm” while biologists worked, according to the commission. He looked right at home cuddling a small cub in his arms alongside Robert Schlemmer of Export, president of the Game Commission board, and Timothy Layton, a board member.

Evankovich noted the purpose of the study is to help maintain an accurate record of Pennsylvania's bear population by tracking the animals through radio collars and serial numbers, ensuring their health and determining their migration patterns.

— compiled by Trib Total Media staff

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