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Valley Laurels & Lances

| Friday, Feb. 9, 2007

Lance. To Springdale officials. Hopefully, a standoff between the mayor and the council over increased fees for water, sewers and garbage is over. The two sides reportedly agreed on a compromise this week to move forward on the 2007 budget. But shame on both sides for digging in their heels and taking so long to work together.

Laurel: To Brackenridge officials. Quietly, they've done what Springdale is facing. They've gone after grants and loans to replace a 100-year-old waterline along Morgan Street. They've been doing it in sections over the last couple of years. We know grants are very difficult to come by. PennVEST is more likely to give out low-interest loans. But you do what you can, little by little.

On the "Watch List": A new downtown New Kensington entertainment club. Local officials are smart to keep tight rein on the club, located in a former bingo hall. The first under-21 party on Saturday night was advertised on Pittsburgh radio and shuttle buses transported some kids. It went off without problems after New Kensington required operator Brian Van Dusen, 35, a Pittsburgh DJ, to hire four city police officers and have 10-12 security officers on hand. The Allegheny County District Attorney's Office closed down two operations in Pittsburgh run by Van Dusen as nuisance bars. New Kensington's permit limits the crowd to no more than 200. That's good. This could be a good venue for teen entertainment. But spread the word that there is tight security and you'll discourage any troublemakers.

Laurel: To Allegheny Township supervisors. They wisely postponed a vote this week on a new zoning ordinance. There's a lot of misinformation and emotion involved in this issue. The ordinance would establish a new industrial and commercial area in the center part of the township. That would encourage new businesses to help take the tax burden off residents. But it's turned into an emotional debate over whether the rezoning would encourage big-box retailers in the predominantly residential and rural township.

Laurel: To Allegheny County Councilman Vincent Gastgeb. He suggests bringing back the old "chain gang" concept for nonviolent prison inmates, working in litter details in parks and along highways. Sounds like a fine idea to us and we're sure taxpayers would appreciate seeing these guys doing something to repay their debt.

Lance: To sidewalk shoveling scofflaws. We remind residents and businesses of their responsibility to keep sidewalks clear. Most do so. But there are always some who ignore municipal laws about snow and ice removal. Why risk fines or a potential lawsuit if somebody takes a tumble?

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