IF YOUR FRIEND steps off a cliff, will you follow? Well, that's what four friends of Nikki Meanor did after the 11-year-old tumbled 75 feet in Harrison Hills County Park last Sunday. It wasn't the foolishness of youth that sent Saxon and Spencer Panchik, McKenzie Himes and Marrissa Szczcypinski over the edge, though. No, these dominoes fell while trying to help their injured friend, one right after the other. After calling for help from a cell phone, McKenzie and Marrissa realized that Saxon probably had a concussion, something they learned about in health class at Highlands Middle School, so they cradled his head and made sure he didn't fall asleep. The youngsters calmed each other down until they were rescued and, though four of the five spent time in Children's Hospital, they're recovering now. Following in wayward footsteps might not be the smart thing to do, but these young people did right by their friends.
FRIENDSHIP IS wonderful, but when it crosses the line to favoritism, trouble follows. Just ask Mitchell Rubin, chairman of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, whose friend, former Sen. Vince Fumo, and wife, Ruth Arnao, were convicted on fraud charges last week in Philadelphia. Prosecutors since have notified Mr. Rubin that he's the target of an investigation now that Mr. Fumo was convicted of giving Mr. Rubin a no-work Senate contract. On top of that, Gov. Ed Rendell said he'll see if Mr. Rubin can be removed from the turnpike commission. Because he has a four-year appointment, it may not be easy to get rid of Mr. Rubin, but it would be the right thing to do.
SOMETIMES DOING the right thing can be as easy as changing a light bulb. That's the message from the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative, which announced its Black and Gold City Goes Green campaign last week. The group wants people to do something every month to help reduce emissions of climate-changing gases, and the tasks are simple. For March, change a light bulb, from the old incandescent type to a newer compact fluorescent one. They cost more, but they use a quarter of the electricity and last much longer. Feeling ambitious? Change all the bulbs at home. Next month reduce the setting on the water heater to 120 degrees and in May check the tire pressure on the car. Little changes can make a big difference in the climate -- for you and your friends.