Asides: Anthrocon's 'furries' return; Carnegie heroes save lives; General Lee makes a Gettysburg comeback

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PITTSBURGH has some unusual features that are a marvel to outsiders — a distinctive accent n’at, french fries on salads, racing pierogis at the ballpark and a fondness for people in furry animal costumes. Yes, the “furries” are back for their annual Anthrocon conference, which ends today at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The hot weather is not kind to faux furry animals, but the people who live here are kind, which is why the furries keep returning. “There is no city that welcomes us in the way Pittsburgh does,” said Samuel “Uncle Kage” Conway, chairman and CEO of Anthrocon. “People here have embraced walking foxes as part of the scene.” So thank you, furries, for visiting. Just don’t come from Baltimore in November dressed as a Raven.

FOR ANYONE who thinks society has gone to the dogs (or foxes), a quick read of the latest winners of the Carnegie Medal for civilian heroism will be reassuring. Andrew Carnegie, the famed Pittsburgh industrialist, set up the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission in 1904 to honor everyday heroes, and the Pittsburgh-based commission announced another 22 winners last week, bringing the total of awardees to 9,697 over 110 years. Among the latest acts of heroism were 11 rescues involving fires and six to thwart drownings. Be careful this holiday weekend.

THE BATTLE of Gettysburg was fought over the three days before July 4, 1863, and a multimillion-dollar effort is gaining momentum to take over Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s headquarters and make it less commercial (a Quality Inn motel and a brewery share the site). The Civil War Trust said Tuesday that it has launched a $5.5 million campaign to acquire the stone house and its four acres from Belmar Partnership, with at least $2.5 million already raised. Not a moment or 151 years too soon.

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