of mists and mellow fruitfulness, as Keats put it, is upon us and that means leaves -- leaves in dying bursts of color for nature lovers, dead leaves to rake and haul away from the yard. As the Post-Gazette reported Wednesday, the peak time for viewing fall foliage is only a week or so away (in the Laurel Highlands it was predicted for this weekend). Our commonwealth has a longer and more varied fall foliage season than anywhere in the world, according to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, with 134 species of trees, compared to only 74 species in New England. We may not be able to beat New England's teams in football or baseball this year, but our trees stand tall.
THE HEADLINE atop Thursday's Post-Gazette was "The Dream Ends," which referred to the Pirates losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League divisional playoff series. But this amazing baseball season is just the beginning of a new dream. The Bucs won 94 games in the regular season to end 20 years of losing and made the playoffs for the first time since 1992. That dream would have ended for sure had various critics of building taxpayer-funded stadiums gotten their way. There would be no PNC Park and probably no Pirates playing in Pittsburgh. Although he later was helpful with Plan B, then City Council President (and now state Sen.) Jim Ferlo said in 1995, when the Pirates were struggling to find a new owner, that it was time to say goodbye to Pittsburgh's storied team. He said the city should tell baseball and the Pirates, "Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out of Pittsburgh." We suspect today he's singing a different tune.
MONEY DOESN'T grow on trees, but sometimes the philanthropic impulse makes money fall like leaves on a favored spot -- such as Mercersburg Academy, a 120-year-old private boarding school in Franklin County. Deborah J. Simon, the daughter of Melvin Simon, the late billionaire who founded the group that owns South Hills Village, Ross Park Mall and other commercial properties, is a 1974 graduate of the school who loves the academy. On Thursday, she and the Deborah Joy Simon Foundation pledged $100 million to the school. At Mercersburg this year, the most brilliant fall color is green.
First Published October 12, 2013 8:00 PM