Asides: On faux Steelers, cats and dogs, and helping children

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IMPERSONATING

a Steeler isn't actually a formal charge, even in this football-mad city, but fake Steelers better watch out, especially if a faux player cons a woman into making a $3,200 loan to him. Brian Jackson, 33, of Brentwood, had posed as tight end Jerame Tuman, which landed the pretender in a tight spot in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday. Mr. Jackson pleaded guilty to one count of theft by deception and one count of identity theft -- and was sentenced to 90 days in jail with five years probation. Some guys keep running the same routes: In 2005, Mr. Jackson was sentenced to 30 days in jail for impersonating quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his backup Brian St. Pierre in order to impress women. The real Steelers started training camp last week at St. Vincent College, Latrobe, where no imposters are tolerated.

CATS AND DOGS are common pets but cats have their standards and do not impersonate dogs. Just as well. Dogs require licences in the city of Pittsburgh but cats do not -- and that's how things are going to stay in the foreseeable future. City Councilman Jim Motznik found out last week that, just as cats are hard to herd, so are members of council. Breaking a previous tie, council members voted 5-4 to kill a sensible measure that would have required licences for cats, too. It might have encouraged more responsibility among their owners because some cats wander and woo with depressing results for neighbors. There's no point in hissing and getting our fur up but the close margin might serve as a warning to owners not to pussyfoot around in keeping tabs on their tabby cats.

IT USED to be regarded as a cur of an agency, one that only impersonated competence, but the Allegheny County Office of Children, Youth and Families was the sleeping dog that was not let alone to lie. Over more than a decade, the office was transformed to such an extent that it is now a national exemplar of excellence. The latest sign of this is an accolade from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a respected national child welfare organization. In an essay accompanying the 2007 Kids Count Data Book, CYF was cited as an agency where "strengthening families has been at the core of a wide-ranging set of improvements." Congratulations to Marc Cherna, director of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, his staff and all in the community who have helped CYF improve.



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