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THE DOG DAYS of summer may not be quite over, as evidenced by Lawrenceville, the hot spot in the city for appreciative barking this weekend. A ceremony was scheduled for yesterday afternoon to mark the opening of a dog park. As the Post-Gazette's Diana Nelson Jones reported, the Bernard Dog Run (named for Jay Bernard, an advocate for stray and shelter dogs) occupies a half acre on city property along the riverfront trail under the 40th Street Bridge. It took five years for Lawrenceville United and the Bernard Dog Run Committee to finalize the legal, zoning and other details with the city. Funds were also raised by donations and by an annual gourmet spaghetti dinner. Three woofs for their efforts.

ONE OF THE MORE memorable speeches at last week's Democratic convention was made by the big dog himself, former President Bill Clinton, who touched on an issue that has been huge in Pennsylvania and other states: Republican-driven laws insisting that voters provide photo ID at the polls, ostensibly to thwart voter fraud but maybe, as Democrats suspect, to limit the participation of minorities and the elderly. The fate of the Pennsylvania law lies with the state Supreme Court, but meanwhile the Democrats are doing the smart thing: making sure their voters are prepared. This was discussed at a meeting of the Pennsylvania delegation. Will Crossley, the Democratic National Committee's voter protection director, said, "We're going to have the most extraordinary effort that you've ever seen in Pennsylvania. Regardless of the court's decision, we're going to be ready."

FALL IS COMING and the proof comes tonight in Denver, where the Pittsburgh Steelers have their first regular season game against the Broncos. For Steelers safety Ryan Clark, the game provides a teaching moment. As he did last January in a playoff game against the Broncos, he will stay on the sideline for the sake of his health. Ryan Clark carries the sickle cell trait. Because he did play in a 2007 game in Denver, he lost his spleen, gall bladder and 35 pounds as a result of his condition. On Tuesday, he announced an effort to cure the potentially deadly disease. His vehicle is Ryan Clark's Cure League, a partnership he's formed with UPMC, the University of Pittsburgh's Vascular Medicine Institute and the Institute for Transfusion Medicine. Go, Steelers, and go, Ryan Clark, on this worthy effort.

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