IT IS A GREAT CITY when the largest newspaper in the region (not to boast) has a regular feature called "Random Acts of Kindness" and no shortage of material for it. In fact, one of the more rapturous acts made it onto the front page last week. A couple of newlyweds, David and Ashley Marasco of Bridgeville, lost an envelope containing $3,600 given by family and friends. After their reception in North Strabane, they had stuck the money into a photo album but left that on the trunk of the car. A kind motorist pointed out their mistake at a traffic light but the envelope had gone. It was lying in the middle of the road on Washington Pike, where another kind motorist saw it and stopped his car to retrieve it. Instead of playing finders keepers, Brennan Breene of Bridgeville looked out for news reports of lost money and when he found one he took the money to Bridgeville police. As much as he would have liked to have kept the cash, he told a reporter, "My better conscience said it wasn't mine."
MUCH KINDNESS, not enough people. The U.S. Census Bureau reported last week that the city of Pittsburgh lost an estimated 472 residents between July 2008 and July 2009 (according to figures released three months ago, Allegheny County grew by 267 residents in the same period.) Joanna Doven, spokeswoman for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, found consolation in the slight decline, compared to when thousands of people were leaving. "We're slowing it down to a trickle now, and soon we'll reverse that trend of losing population, but it's not going to happen overnight," Ms. Doven said. The city's population now stands at 311,647. The more reliable 2010 Census figures won't be in for months, so we will have to wait to see if the great people in the city and region have become more numerous.