The Morning File / 2013 looks just like 2012, except it'll be even worse
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This is the first of a two-part set of predictions for the top local news of 2013, with the second half of the year to be published Monday.
Jan. 7: Port Authority officials renew their call for a dependable future source of state funding, warning that the only public transit available after July 1 otherwise will be from two amphibious tour boats on loan from the Just Ducky fleet.
Jan. 24: The Buncher Co. goes before the Pittsburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment with revisions to its large-scale redevelopment plan for the Strip District, which in addition to using gates to keep out passers-by will now feature a moat with alligators and piranhas.
Jan. 31: As Allegheny County's municipalities finally meet the deadline for setting new millage rates resulting from court-mandated property reassessments, county Executive Rich Fitzgerald signs an order undoing all of the new property values and suggests that if Judge R. Stanton Wettick Jr. doesn't like it, he and the judge should "settle the matter once and for all in to-the-death, within-the-cage, hand-to-hand combat."
Feb. 11: Tired of waiting for the NHL lockout to end, Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby moves into the city in order to join an already-crowded field in Pittsburgh's Democratic primary race for mayor, with a platform that calls for fewer concussions and more mounted police.
Feb. 18: UPMC officials angrily denounce rumors that they are planning to acquire Highmark, the West Penn Allegheny Health System and the Rita's Italian ice chain in order to put all other health care operators and independent frozen dessert entrepreneurs out of business.
March 4: Unhappy with court delays holding up use of the voter ID law of 2012, the Republican-controlled Legislature passes a new version restricting voting in the next election to veterans, suburbanites, agrarians and owners of guns or businesses or, preferably, both.
March 29: The Pirates wrap up spring training in Florida with a new emphasis on playing their best baseball at the end of the season, and so head north leaving Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez and A.J. Burnett behind in Bradenton with orders to spend the rest of the spring golfing and fishing.
April 7: UPMC completes purchase of all of the aforementioned entities and begins erecting a state-of-the art medical center on the front lawn of Blawnox internist Dr. Josiah Schwartzmann, though officials insist it is not designed to put him out of business.
April 12: Bomb threats are once more directed at the Cathedral of Learning and other University of Pittsburgh buildings, but instead of complying with evacuation orders, students decide to use the repeated emergency alarms for a new kind of beer-drinking game.
May 14: The state attorney general's office indicts on charges of illegal campaign activity all Pennsylvania lawmakers whose names start with "L," as it will be more efficient to pick a new letter each year under which to prosecute everyone rather than waiting to investigate individuals.
May 21: With 13 other candidates splitting the anti-incumbent vote among them, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl squeaks to victory in the Democratic primary election, though he is unaware of it for 36 hours until finally being tracked down while snorkeling in the Bahamas.
June 9: In order to achieve a balanced budget, the Pittsburgh school board votes to furlough 540 more employees and close all remaining schools except for Brashear High School, Arsenal Middle School and Vann Elementary, with other students allowed either to attend one of those or take classes taught en masse at the Consol Energy Center by idle Penguins employees.
June 30: Thousands of season subscribers to Pittsburgh Cultural District events gather menacingly near Heinz Hall holding Molotov cocktails and drinking martinis, and they cancel their plans to politely riot only after Pittsburgh city officials again postpone charges for nighttime street parking for six months.
First Published December 30, 2012 12:00 am