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Heidi Fleiss eager again to do what she does best

| Sunday, June 19, 2005

Turning the White House into a house of ill repute• Say it isn't so!

Former "Hollywood madam" Heidi Fleiss plans to build a brothel in Nevada that looks just like a certain Pennsylvania Avenue residence in Washington, D.C., KLAS-TV in Las Vegas reported last week.

It wasn't known if Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky would be invited to inaugurate the facsimile facility.

Indeed, Fleiss didn't speculate on whether any former presidents might patronize the business. She insisted she wasn't making a political statement, just a marketing one.

"You build the White House and it will work," Fleiss told the TV station. "You want something the way it should be. Natural, beautiful, and that's what it is. It's just sex."

According to The Washington Times, the American Payroll Association is concerned over the plan. Last year, the trade organization opened a meeting facility, "The White House Las Vegas," that also resembles a certain Pennsylvania Avenue residence in Washington.

"While we can see the humor in this situation, we certainly don't want any confused people calling us about rates and such," association director Dan Maddux said. "What are we supposed to do, clarify exactly what services they are calling about upfront?"

WONKISH KUKOVICH IN LINE TO BE RENDELL'S CHIEF? Talk in Harrisburg is that John Estey , Gov. Ed Rendell's chief of staff, is about to step down.

His rumored replacement: former Democrat state Sen. Allen Kukovich of Westmoreland County, who currently is Rendell's Western Pennsylvania representative.

Don't put Kukovich's nameplate on Estey's door just yet. If you collected a dime every time Estey has been mentioned as moving on over the past year-and-a-half, you would be awash in cash.

Still, the rumor would seem to have some merit because Kukovich is known as a policy wonk who would revel in the details of running the executive branch.

Such a move also would be interesting since some believe Kukovich would be a natural fit for lieutenant governor -- provided Rendell is able to move incumbent Catherine Baker Knoll, who had publicly referred to the governor as "Gov. Edward G. Robinson, " off the ticket.

Kukovich finished third in the 2002 Democrat primary for lieutenant governor behind Knoll and then-senator and current state Auditor General Jack Wagner.

Kukovich, a veteran lawmaker who previously served in the House, was upset last year by Republican Bob Regola of Westmoreland County.

ROBINSON GETTING RESTLESS. He's served on Allegheny County Council for not even two years, but William Robinson is thinking of moving on.

Word is that Robinson is considering running for Pittsburgh city controller, if, as expected, current controller Tom Flaherty is elected to a Common Pleas Court judgeship in November.

Robinson, of Schenley Heights, spent 14 years in the state House and eight years on City Council before succeeding Louis "Hop" Kendrick on County Council in September 2003. Others believed to be interested in the controller's office include Democrat state Rep. Don Walko of the North Side, City Councilman Doug Shields and former Allegheny County Commissioner Larry Dunn.

JOEPA MEETS DUBYA. Who was that grandfatherly gentleman with the funny glasses greeting President George Bush when Air Force One touched down at State College last week?

None other than Joe Paterno.

The legendary Penn State football coach was among the Republicans invited to greet Bush at University Park Airport. While he was waiting for the plane to land, Paterno decided to have a little fun with the media, sequestered about 100 yards from him on a flat-bed trailer.

Turning around, he shouted, "You all come to see me?"

Uh, no coach. Not this time.

Paterno ended up riding with the president from the airport to the campus. Bush later told reporters he wanted to talk football with Joepa, but the coach demurred. He was more interested in hearing from Bush what was going on in Washington.

NO WINNING TICKET FOUND WITH "LOST" NUMBERS. Looks like a curse wasn't enough to keep Pennsylvania lottery players from trying their luck with a set of numbers featured on the hit ABC television series "Lost."

In the series, before a plane crash stranded a group of survivors on a mysterious island, the character Hurley (Jorge Garcia) won $156 million in a lottery by using the numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42.

Hurley then experienced bad luck -- his grandfather died of a heart attack at a press conference, a priest was struck by lightning at the funeral, his brother's marriage fell apart, his mother broke her ankle getting out of his SUV, the mansion he bought for his mother catches fire, and Hurley himself was falsely arrested and accused of being a drug dealer.

The numbers were featured in the March 2 "Lost" episode.

On that day, players chose those numbers 51 times for the Powerball game, and five times for Match 6, state lottery officials said. Three days later, on March 5, the "Lost" numbers were played 394 times in Powerball and 94 times in Match 6, lottery officials said.

The numbers, unfortunately, didn't win. We bet a number of people who played them would think twice about again wagering on numbers taken from a TV show.

UP, UP AND AWAY• Westmoreland County Airport Authority member Anthony Ferrante is apparently anxious for a county air show to take flight once again.

Ferrante recently urged airport Executive Director Gene Lakin and Manager Gabe Monzo to meet the mandatory Aug. 1 deadline to request military aircraft participation for potential 2006 shows.

Lakin was quick to note the move "will just leave us with the option open," and a decision on a show is still months away and will involve consideration of various factors.

The last air show at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Unity Township was in the summer of 2001, featuring the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. The U.S. Navy Blue Angels headlined there in 1998.

However, federal security requirements and security concerns at the local airport have continued to ground the show in recent years.

START YOUR ENGINES. Maybe area residents can turn their attention from the skies to the ground. There's always lawn-mower racing.

The souped-up tractors can travel at speeds of up to 90 mph, according to a recent feature on the 13-year-old sport. And they also have divisions for kids ages 8 to15.

Although there are no "racing circuit" events scheduled in Western Pennsylvania this season, there is one scheduled for Labor Day weekend, Sept. 3 and 4, a few hours west in Mansfield, Ohio. And there is a Pennsylvania chapter of the U.S. Lawn Mower Racing Association, based near York.

Perhaps if the air show falls through next year, the local airport authority can schedule a mowing event at either one of its facilities in Rostraver or Unity.

FIRST CLASS. When Murrysville Police Sgt. Chuck Tappe recently took the administration and council to task for considering the transfer of police dispatching duties to Westmoreland County 911 to save money, he said the municipality's posh digs set an example for not skimping.

"In 1993 when the municipality decided to build a new municipal building, they chose the very best ... crown molding, inlaid carpet, high-back leather chairs and beautiful exterior architecture. No matter who paid for it or what the cost, they built what they wanted," Tappe pointed out in an essay on the subject.

"They got the very best," Tappe noted.

Tappe believes council should do the same and maintain its own center with five dispatchers. Council has agreed to have Mayor Joyce

Somers, police Chief Tom Seefeld and Chief Administrator Don Pepe look at alternatives.

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