STATE COLLEGE, home of Penn State University, looks likely to have a new statue of deceased, long-time football coach Joe Paterno — but the university wisely will have nothing to do with it. In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal, which happened on Paterno’s uninterested watch, Penn State in July 2012 removed the statue of the coach it had fired. According to the project’s planners, the new statue will be in front of The Tavern downtown, not on school property, and will show the classically educated Paterno sitting on a bench reading Virgil’s “Aeneid.” But the bronze image will be hard pressed to suggest tranquility, or serve to promote it, because the legend itself is forever tarnished.
SOME LEGENDS receive more honor than they deserve, others need to be brought into the sunlight of public recognition — and that happened with Edith Darlington Ammon last week. She will never be a household name, but visitors to Point State Park now have a reminder of her efforts. As leader of the Fort Pitt Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, she was instrumental in saving the Fort Pitt Block House for posterity. She was a daughter of privilege who in the early 20th century battled a real estate developer and the Pennsylvania Railroad and succeeded in getting two bills passed in the Legislature that preserved the small building erected in 1764. On Thursday a new garden and plaque at the Block House were dedicated to her memory.
THEY ARE NOT legends yet but Pittsburgh entrepreneurs Albert Ciuksza and Todd Barnett are trying to be the toast of this town and any other thirsty locales. They have invented something called the PortaDraft, a mobile beer dispensing device — a sort of keg on wheels that conveniently keeps the suds cold and pourable. The device costs about $699 and already 80 units have been distributed. A big boost came in 2010 when the PortaDraft was a finalist in two business school competitions — at the University of Pittsburgh and Point Park University. Education is a wonderful thing, the stuff of legends.