AS THE PIRATES labor toward their 17th straight losing season, a few bright spots pierce the gloom. One of them occurred Wednesday in Cincinnati, when Garrett Jones, who arrived in the majors only on June 30, belted his 18th home run in 55 games as a Pirate, a shot that also was the 10,000th home run in franchise history. Now that the team is back home, it could use an army of reinforcements in the stands. How about Arnie's Army? The Pirates have invited the public to PNC Park on Tuesday for the Chicago Cubs game, when Pittsburgh will celebrate the 80th birthday of Arnold Palmer, the beloved golfing great from Latrobe. Arnold Palmer bobbleheads will even be given out. So Happy 80th, Arnie. But no cake for you, Buccos -- unless you win.
THE STATE BUDGET impasse drags on worse than the Pirates season (see editorial No. 2), and perhaps a higher power is needed to bring a solution. We like the idea put forth by the Rev. Michael Heckathorn, pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Harrisburg. On Tuesday, his church bell began ringing for two minutes every day at 10 a.m. with the intention of continuing until the Legislature adopts a budget. He is now appealing to other churches to do the same. Although we believe in the separation of church and state, there's nothing wrong with churches sending a message with tolling bells. Let those peals sound the note of conscience.
ANOTHER SOBERING but welcome note was struck last week when U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that the federal government has finally reached agreements with the owners of properties needed for the Flight 93 memorial in Somerset County. Construction begins in November and the project may be finished by the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The government will pay $9.5 million for the land, with the project costing $58 million. As Todd Beamer, one of the courageous Flight 93 passengers, said: Let's roll.