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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Heads Up: Morning headlines for Sept. 11

Posted By on Tue, Sep 11, 2012 at 8:53 AM

Story of the day: Yes, it's Sept. 11. You know what to do.

From our "First-World Problems" department: Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald is canceling the holiday light display at Hartwood Acres, citing costs and a lack of support. UPMC has backed out of its support -- maybe they figured the money was better spent on actual healthcare? -- and people are, well, not handling it well. For those in danger of losing perspective here, resources can be found here.

Marcellus Shale gas drillers are paying more in impact fees than most expected -- though less than we could have asked for. The tax has brought in a little under $200 million -- well above the $180 million in estimated revenue.

Dennis Roddy -- back in the maelstrom again! It was probably just a matter of time: As we reported here more than six months ago, although irrepressible former Post-Gazette reporter Dennis Roddy now works for Gov. Tom Corbett, he still likes to mix it up in the public debate. Roddy has occasionally weighed in on online forums hereabouts, and now he's done so at a statewide website, where he has challenged backers of a shadowy political group whose TV ads are taking the piss out of his boss. Roddy's posts there have, predictably, has drawn more attention than anything your poor City Paper has written, and it's prompted reprisals from the group itself, who are accusing Roddy of using state time "to compile a political enemies list" and attack them online. Roddy's posted response: "We were fielding questions about these ads when they started and immediately set out to figure out who and what we were answering."

Remember that payday lending bill, that Harrisburg was working on so it would be easier to charge usurious interest rates on "payday" loans? It's b-a-a-a-a-a-ck, or at any rate seems seems poised for a return. You've been warned.

A local tourism official makes more money than WPXI thinks is seemly. VisitPittsburgh, WPXI notes, is a non-profit supported by hotel tax proceeds, but agency head Joe McGrath earned a total of $390,563 -- more than his counterpart in Las Vegas. Other staffers make five-digit annual bonuses that can be more than many of us make in a year.

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