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We must get it together quickly for the G-20

The exposure of Pittsburgh to the world during the G-20 summit excites and worries me.

I'm a resident of Florida, spending summers in my hometown of Pittsburgh. Recently, I vacationed in Vienna, Austria, before returning to my beloved summer home. Since I plan retirement in the hometown I was born and raised in -- Pittsburgh -- I have a great interest in Pittsburgh being No. 1. Presently, we're not "cutting it"!

Vienna is extraordinarily clean! Downtown Pittsburgh shocked me in the debris and messiness on city streets and sidewalks. Also, the loiterers on street corners and park benches are frightening.

I don't know how the mayor and City Council can handle this problem economically and expeditiously before the G-20 ... but "pride in Pittsburgh" needs to be ignited for the world to appreciate our beauty. The rivers, stadiums, casinos and bridges are not enough.

NANCY DOWNS
Upper St. Clair


Room to improve

Regarding the June 28 letter from Dennis Pasparage concerning "redding up" the city ("A Habit of Filth"): He called Pittsburgh a city of pigs. He said the area around Pittsburgh is filthy and covered with litter. He also said that Pittsburgh was the filthiest and most littered area he has seen in the United States.

My husband and I have traveled to other countries, and it was not uncommon to step on a banana peel, or plastic bag, or trip over a tennis shoe just thrown on the ground. We don't see that in Western Pennsylvania, just a few McDonald's bags here and there.

What have we been teaching our young people? We were taught to use litter bags in our cars.

I believe it is a privilege for Pittsburgh to host the G-20. It will bring attention to our beautiful city with the beautiful rivers.

Parents, teach your children to have respect for our city and carry their litter to trash bins. It's about time we stop the littering and teach our children some neatness.

I'm proud of Pittsburgh, and I'm happy it has been chosen for an international meeting. Pick up what you see in the area and put it where it belongs, in a trash bin. It's a 'Burgh thing.

BETTY HOWELLS
Beaver


Trash control

It's a shame that a community needs to be threatened by an arsonist to clean that community up ("Cleaning Crews Try to Discourage Arsons," July 11; "Sheraden Residents Turn Out in Force to Make Community Sparkle," July 12). When you live in a community you should always take an active role in maintaining that community.

If you have an empty lot, no matter whom it belongs to, clean up the trash and whack the weeds -- it won't hurt you. Clean up after your dog. It is your dog and your responsibility. Don't pile your yard with stuff, whether you think you will ever need it or not; rent a locker. Don't throw the cigarette butts out the window of your car or if you're walking down the street. You bought the cigarettes and protected them from theft, water and any other thing that would hurt them so you could enjoy them; now don't foul the streets by throwing them out as litter.

And most of all, don't throw any other trash out of your car windows (bags, bottles, food wrappings, used diapers). If you have a place in your neighborhood that collects trash, don't be afraid to take the initiative to take a garbage bag and police the area; you'll take pride when you're done.

City workers are not there to pick up after you. These are things that my parents taught while raising our family. I wish to convey their teachings to others.

DAN CINOWALT
Bon Air


Why, Congress?

Regarding the moment of silence in Congress for Michael Jackson: Why?

If Congress wants to have a moment of silence, then by all means have one for every serviceman and -woman who has given his or her life in Iraq or Afghanistan.

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth was the only person to exit this fiasco. When U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee "saluted" Jackson after rambling on what a great person he was, that was a slap in the face for anyone who has lost a loved one, a true hero, in this current war.

Cheers to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for halting a vote on a resolution honoring Mr. Jackson ("Pelosi Halts Vote on House Saluting Jackson," July 10).

Where are our values?

By the way, I have a son currently serving his second deployment in Iraq.

JOYCE SABATINE
North Strabane


Consider the vows

This is in response to the July 10 letters by Mary Ann Hvizdos and Joan Clark Houk regarding the article "Vatican Inquiries Into Sisters Causing Trepidation" (July 3). I, for one, am glad of the Vatican inquiries, as in many instances I have encountered conversations among religious and other lay Catholics for "ordination" of women and how there are "sisters who would make a good priest."

When becoming a religious, one of the vows taken is that of obedience. The vow of obedience seems to be forgotten in today's world of equal rights but is the most important of the vows taken.

After attending Catholic school myself for 12 years, I am also so very grateful to the sisters who educated me and taught me about my faith. I am sure that I am a better person today because of them. I am so very sorry that more women are not attracted to becoming sisters today and, as I was taught, being a "Bride of Christ." What a beautiful thought, and how important the bride is!

MARY S. STOUT
Castle Shannon


LCB nonsense

The latest brain child of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, in an effort to justify its existence beyond controlling liquor licensing, is a joke ("LCB Uncorks Novel Sales Plans," July 9). I am wondering how a sophisticated piece of equipment, never tried, in a real workload environment will be a convenience to the customer.

It looks to me like another veiled attempt by the state to wring as much cash from the alcohol trade as possible. A simple breath test at a single checkout would allow any grocery store to stock what they want and control the inebriation issue. That issue is the only one that qualifies as a deterrent.

If a store can determine age for cigarettes, it can do it for liquor without a major piece of equipment. I ask myself if this company that designed the kiosk has friends in high places. I bet the machines are not installed or maintained for free, and guess who gets to pay for the overhead? PLCB, we are not stupid!

There are underage drinkers because of people who will buy for the youngsters or parents who do not keep an eye on their own supplies. The PLCB does not deter any of that. There are drunks because they buy when they are sober and drink it all themselves. The PLCB does not deter that, either.

MICHELE BARTOS
Penn Hills


The kindness of strangers can be the gift of life

Regarding "2 Families Share Kidneys, Hope With Each Other" (July 15): I have one regret about being a nondirected kidney donor in 2006 at UPMC. If paired kidney donation had been available, I might have been able to share the gift of life with more than one person.

I was thrilled to read about the first pediatric paired kidney donation at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. By swapping partners and being willing to donate to a "stranger," paired donors reduce wait times for their loved ones, while improving the likelihood of a healthy long-term match.

Gratitude for my husband's kidney/pancreas transplant nearly 10 years ago prompted me to donate to whomever needed me most -- a perfectly matched stranger. Some found that part unimaginable, yet most people I've asked say they would definitely volunteer to donate a kidney to a family member or close friend.

That is great news for the 80,000 Americans waiting for a lifesaving kidney transplant since almost every one of them has at least one healthy living donor prospect in their extended circle. Hearing success stories about paired donation opens prospective donors' minds and hearts to the beauty of donating to a stranger, especially when it helps someone near and dear.

Through the National Kidney Foundation's "End the Wait" initiative, more Americans will have access to living donation sooner. Establishing a nationwide matched living donation program is just one of the bold goals of this multifaceted and comprehensive roadmap to reduce transplant wait times to under one year within the next decade. Learn more at www.kidney.org.

LORA WARD WILSON
Churchill


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We welcome your letters. Please include your name, address and phone number, and send to Letters to the Editor, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222. E-mail letters to letters@post-gazette.com or fax to 412-263-2014. Letters should be 250 words or less, original and exclusive to the Post-Gazette. All letters are subject to editing for length, clarity and accuracy and will be verified before being published.



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