HOW THE MIGHTY have fallen. A great Pittsburgh landmark, the Union Trust Building, constructed between 1915 and 1917 for industrialist Henry Clay Frick, is set for a sheriff sale on Jan. 7. In the latest development in the recent troubled history of the elegant building with its rotunda and stained-glass dome, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Judith K. Fitzgerald dismissed a petition by its owner, 501 Grant Street Partners, for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. SA Challenger Inc., which holds the mortgage, can now foreclose on the property -- its second attempt to do so. According to court filings, it is seeking to collect $41.4 million. Let's hope the building has a new birth -- not of freedom but of usefulness.
IN SCRANTON, Pa., Salvation Army bell ringers for the annual kettle drive are taking cash or credit cards, as a story in the Post-Gazette reported Tuesday. But that's old hat for Pittsburgh. Salvation Army spokeswoman Virginia Knor said that in the early 1990s, PNC Bank developed a credit card machine in a kettle -- the first of its type in the world. It was used for about two years, but the conventional kettles proved more popular with donors and they are the ones used today (although the Salvation Army also receives donations via the Internet and text messaging). Since Black Friday, hundreds of bell ringers have been deployed; the Western Pennsylvania division of the Salvation Army collects in 28 counties. Let freedom ring, let donations ring.opinion_editorials