DAWN CREEPS over the mountains one sunbeam at a time. And sanity comes to the selling of beer more conveniently in the Pittsburgh area one Giant Eagle at a time. The first to start doing it was the Settlers Ridge store in Robinson this month. Last week, the Liquor Control Board approved restaurant liquor license transfers to five more Giant Eagle stores (each must have separate, restaurant areas to be able to sell beer and customers can buy up to two beers to drink there or carry out up to two six-packs). Giant Eagle is following the lead of the Wegmans chain, which won a case in Commonwealth Court for the right to sell beer. But progress on alcohol sales in Pennsylvania is not inevitable. The Malt Beverage Distributors Association of Pennsylvania has appealed to the state Supreme Court. If the court rejects beer in stores, at least people will know from experience how ridiculous the restrictions are -- and maybe lawmakers can take note.
THE PROBLEM with the General Assembly taking note is that its members still seem clueless on all manner of things. It is a trait that seems to start at the top. Republican Leader Sam Smith of Punxsutawney says he didn't know that tax dollars were being used by Republicans for political purposes, as alleged by Attorney General Tom Corbett in an investigation that led to charges against former House Speaker John Perzel and nine others. But two years ago, Mr. Smith said he had difficulty believing that his Democratic counterpart at the time, Bill DeWeese, didn't know what was going on (a dozen Democrats were charged in the investigation). He was wrong to say that, he now admits, but Mr. Smith wants us to believe that his slumber on this is deeper than a certain groundhog's in his hometown.
THE FOUNTAIN at Point State Park doesn't gush beer but it's still a marvelous sight when it's working -- something it hasn't done much for more than a year. It needs $6 million in repairs and Riverlife's Friends of the Fountain campaign has raised $564,000 from corporations, which will be matched dollar for dollar by a Colcom Foundation grant. Riverlife is urgently asking for donations before the grant pledge expires Tuesday. Donations can be made at www.riverlifepgh.org. Help and be the toast of the town.