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ALTHOUGH WINTER is sport in Sochi, Russia, it remains a burden for people in the Pittsburgh region and across Pennsylvania. After a Tuesday night snowstorm brought more miseries, including hundreds of thousands of people left without power in the eastern part of the state, Gov. Tom Corbett signed a state of emergency declaration, allowing funds and resources to be more easily marshaled to meet the challenge. In Western Pennsylvania, the snow and ice have been so plentiful that local governments report that supplies of salt to keep the roads clear are dwindling. But one unusual warming trend was reported: Highmark Inc., as part of an advertising campaign, recently installed four heating lamps in bus stops in the city for the benefit of waiting commuters. Signs invite bus riders to “step in, warm up.” Once in, they can then curse that groundhog.

IF IT WEREN’T for the cloudy nights, we could see the stars. Never mind, we can always see the STARS — Students and Teachers Achieving Results. It is a program the Pittsburgh Public Schools started last year to honor schools that showed high academic growth. Last year 11 schools earned the honor but this year it is only three — Whittier K-5 in Mount Washington, Sunnyside PreK-8 in Stanton Heights and Conroy, a North Side school serving special needs children. A pot of gold comes with this rainbow, much of it paid by a federal grant; teachers and other professionals receive bonuses of up to $6,000 each and paraprofessionals and technical clerical workers receive up to $2,000. Congratulations all around. There’s nothing like cold cash to warm up a winter day.

TUESDAY NIGHT in Pittsburgh threatened not to be fit for man or beast but lecture attendees were not deterred by the impending storm. An estimated 1,775 people turned out to see U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor as part of the Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures at the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland. It wasn’t a traditional lecture, but rather a conversation with University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg. The crowd was not disappointed — indeed, they were charmed by the justice’s stories, according to the Post-Gazette’s Marylynne Pitz. Justice Sotomayor played the wise Latina woman, a ray of sunny intellect before the storm.

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