Asides / Bishop Zubik, Schenley Park and illegal wine sales

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THE ICE BUCKET challenge has become the fund-raising sensation of the summer for the cause of combatting ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, but Roman Catholic clergy usually restrict their water dousing to baptisms. Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik is a compassionate man of the people, however, so the announcement that he would take the bucket challenge Saturday in support of a priest was surprising but not shocking. Bishop Zubik planned to preside at a special Mass before he and the Rev. Dennis Colamarino, an ALS patient at Christ Light of the World Parish in Duquense, got wet in the church parking lot. To avoid any controversy about embryonic stem-cell research, the bishop intends to give his donation to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa.

MORE CONVENTIONAL deluges are not good for Pittsburgh because they flood the sewer system, but in Schenley Park something is being done about that. The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and three partners held a press conference last week on a project that is turning 6 acres of sloping lawn into a meadow that will soak up 600,000 gallons of water each year. The grass in an area between Beacon and Bartlett streets near Panther Hollow is being replaced by plants with thirstier root systems and infiltration trenches are being installed. Sounds like a good place for a bucket challenge.

WHEN THE WATER flows like wine, Pennsylvania’s antiquated liquor laws are bound to be involved. Consider this story last week in the Philadelphia Inquirer: A lawyer, Arthur Goldman, was convicted of selling vintage wine out of his home and received probation and community service. But now the seized collection, worth $125,000, may be destroyed — the usual fate of contraband liquor. Police seized nearly 2,500 bottles from Mr. Goldman after making undercover buys at his Malvern home. Defense lawyer Peter Kratsa argues that much of the seized wine is from Mr. Goldman’s private collection and was never listed for sale and he vows to carry on a legal fight to reclaim it. Only in Pennsylvania, where wine connoisseurs are made to feel like criminals.

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