Changes proposed to federal Endangered Species Act

Written by John Hayes on .

Two bills in the Pennsylvania legislature would change the way the state protects endangered and threatened species. Part of the rational is that the federal Endangered Species Act already protects those species.

The Associated Press reports that a movement is underway in Congress to change the landmark federal act.

Click here for that story.


Venison butchering guide

Click here for an illustrated deer meat guide from Wide Open Spaces.





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The ice garden is beautiful, but just let it be

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog ice covered bud

As photographer I can't resist shooting the garden covered in ice. It only happens once or twice during the winter. The coated plants are beautiful. Gardeners worry though when their treasured shrubs and trees bend close to the ground under the weight of the ice. Just leave them alone and wait for a thaw, you could do more damage by trying to get free the branches from winter's grip. The plants have experienced this before and will stand straight again.

Sit back, dream of spring and enjoy the unique spectacle provided by a garden of ice.

blog ice rhodie leaf

blog ice britt

blog ice pieris

blog ice bath

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Empty Netter Assists - 02-05-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-Don't expect Craig Adams to come out of the lineup any time soon.

-“It’s tougher and tougher as you get closer and closer to the playoffs. It’s got to come from me finding ways to generate offense, whether that be around the net or creating with speed." - Sidney Crosby on being held without a goal for five games.

-"They’ve had to work to get back that timing in their game and to get back up to speed. Thankfully for both of them, they’ve had 10 games, 12 games to do it and two more here before the [Olympic] break." - Dan Bylsma on Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik.

-Kris Letang (illness) will miss tonight's game while Taylor Pyatt ("lower body") will be sidelined through the Olympic break.

-The Penguins recalled forward Harry Zolnierczyk from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. In nine NHL games this season, he has one goal.

-Jussi Jokinen speaks:

-James Neal speaks:

-Happy 38th birthday to former Penguins forward Jan Hrdina. A fifth-round pick in 1995, Hrdina parts of five seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 1998-99, he appeared in all 82 games and scored 42 points. During that spring's postseason, he saw action in 14 games and scored five points. He followed that up in 1999-2000 by playing in 70 games and collecting 46 points. In nine postseason games that spring he scored 12 points. During much of 2000-01, he centered a line with Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux and scored 43 points and in 79 games. In the 2001 postseason, he appeared in 18 games and contributed seven points. Hrdina played in 79 games in 2001-02 and set career highs in goals (24) and points (57) while leading the team with six game-winning goals. After 57 games and 39 points in 2002-03, Hrdina was traded to the Coyotes along with Francois Leroux in exchange for Ramzi Abid, Dan Focht and Guillaume Lefebvre. In 366 career regular season games, Hrdina scored 227 points, 35th-most in franchise history. In 40 postseason games, he scored 24 points.

Happy 69th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Jean-Guy Lagace. Originally acquired earlier in the 1968-69 season in a deal which sent Larry Hillman to the Canadiens, Lagace spent parts of four seasons over two separate stints with the team. He finished that season by playing in 17 games for the Penguins and recording one assist. After spending all of 1969-70 with the Penguins' AHL affiliate in Baltimore, he was claimed by the North Stars in an intra-league draft in the 1970 offseason. Midway through the 1970-71 season, he was re-acquired from the Sabres in a deal which sent Terry Ball to Buffalo. he finished that season by playing in 31 games for the Penguins and scoring six points. The 1973-74 campaign saw him play in 31 games and score eight points. After 27 games and nine points in 1974-75, Lagace was traded to the Kansas City Scouts along with Denis Herron in exchange for Michel Plasse. In 106 games with the Penguins, he scored 24 points.

-Happy 33rd birthday to former Penguins forward Kris Beech (right). Acquired in the 2001 offseason along with Michal Sivek and Ross Lupaschuk in one of the biggest trades in franchise history which sent Jaromir Jagr and Franticek Kucera to the Capitals, Beech spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins over two separate stints. In 2001-02, Beech appeared in a career-high 79 games and scored 25 points. He followed that up in 2002-03 by playing in 12 games and recording one assist. During 2003-04, he was limited to four games and one assist. Following the 2004-05 lockout, Beech was traded to the Predators in exchange for a draft pick. He returned to the Penguins midway through 2007-08 when he was claimed off waivers from the Capitals and appeared in five games while failing to record a point. In the 2008 offseason, he joined HV71 of the Elitserien in Sweden. He currently plays for Straubing Tigers of Germany's DEL. In 100 games with the Penguins, he scored 27 points.

-After the Jump: Former Flyers general manager Keith Allen passes away.

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Signing Day 2014 live blog

Written by Sam Werner on .

Happy National Signing Day, folks. I'll be keeping this space updated all day as the faxes roll in and from Paul Chryst's press conference at 3 p.m. over on the South Side. With the defection of Wade Freebeck yesterday, Pitt is expecting 22 Letters of Intent to come in today (defensive end Rori Blair is already enrolled) and, hopefully, no other late surprises. Players can start sending their LOIs in at 7 a.m., so after that time, make sure to check back here for updates as they come in...

11:26 a.m. - With all 23 now official, here's a look at Pitt's final 2014 recruiting class:

QB Adam Bertke, 6-6, 210 lbs, Maria Stein, Ohio (Marion Local High School)
RB Qadree Ollison, 6-2, 215 lbs, Niagara Falls, N.Y. (Canisius High School)
RB Dennis Briggs, 5-10, 195 lbs, Pittsburgh, Pa. (Shady Side Academy)
RB Chris James, 5-11, 210 lbs, Chicago, Ill. (Notre Dame College Prep)
WR Adonis Jennings, 6-3, 195 lbs, Clementon, N.J. (Timber Creek High School)
WR Elijah Zeise, 6-2, 195 lbs, Pittsburgh, Pa. (North Allegheny High School)
TE Brian O'Neill, 6-6, 245 lbs, Wilmington, Del. (Salesianum School)
OL Alex Bookser, 6-6, 295 lbs, Mt. Lebanon, Pa. (Mt. Lebanon High School)
OL Mike Grimm, 6-6, 325 lbs, Bethel Park, Pa. (Bethel Park High School)
OL Connor Hayes, 6-4, 270 lbs, Traverse City, Mich. (Traverse City West High School)
DL Rori Blair, 6-4, 230 lbs, Pittsburgh, Pa. (Upper St. Clair High School)
DL Hez Trahan, 6-4, 250 lbs, Philadelphia, Pa. (Roman Catholic High School)
DL Shane Roy, 6-4, 245 lbs, Cincinnati, Ohio (Reading High School)
DL Connor Dintino, 6-3, 295 lbs, Mashpee, Mass. (Choate Rosemary Hall (Conn.))
DL Mike Herndon, 6-4, 320 lbs, Staunton, Va. (Riverheads High School)
LB Jamal Davis II, 6-2, 200 lbs, Canton, Ohio (Canton McKinley High School)
LB James Folston Jr., 6-3, 200 lbs, Rockledge, Fla. (Cocoa High School)
LB Quintin Wirginis, 6-2, 220 lbs, Pittsburgh, Pa. (Fox Chapel High School)
DB Avonte Maddox, 5-9, 165 lbs, Detroit, Mich. (Martin Luther King High School)
DB Phillipie Motley, 5-10, 170 lbs, Columbus, Ohio (Hilliard Davidson High School)
DB Patrick Amara 6-2, 190 lbs, Lansdowne, Pa. (West Catholic High School)
DB Jalen Williams, 6-2, 180 lbs, Newburgh, N.Y. (Newburgh Free Academy)
ATH Jaquaun Davidson, 6-2, 170 lbs, Elizabeth, Pa. (Elizabeth Forward High School)

10:35 a.m. - There we have it. DE Hez Trahan and WR Adonis Jennings have both sent their LOIs in to Pitt and that'll wrap up Pitt's 2014 class. Trahan is a bit of a project at defensive end, and was recruited mostly on his potential. He's 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, and if he develops well could be a contributor down the road. Jennings, meanwhile, is another guy with a strong chance to play as a freshman in 2014. He's 6-foot-3, 195 pounds and has really nice hands for a high school senior. Wide receiver is another spot where Pitt has an open starting job next season. I'm not sure that I expect Jennings to step in and be a major factor right away (like Tyler Boyd) but he's certainly a good bet to be a contributor in 2014.

9:43 a.m. - Only a few more recruits still left out there for Pitt. Over the last hour or so, the Panthers have received LOIs from CB Avonte Maddox, S Patrick Amara and LB Jamal Davis. With 20 faxes now in, Pitt's just waiting on WR Adonis Jennings, one of the biggest names in this class, and DE Hez Trahan. Maddox could be a steal as a cornerback. He's really quick, and, like I mentioned with Motley, there could be opportunities for playing time at cornerback next season. Amara has won over a lot of fans with his gregarious nature on Twitter, and he has really picked up some more interest and accolades over the past few months. I wrote about him a few weeks ago about the bond he had formed with former Pitt running back LeSean McCoy. Davis, a Canton, Ohio, native, tweeted earlier this morning that he might not be able to get his fax in because he didn't have school today, but he was obviously able to get everything taken care of. Only waiting on two more now...

8:49 a.m. - We're up to 17 signees for the Panthers now, less than two hours into the day. The latest were CB Phillipie Motley and RB Chris James. Motley chose Pitt over mostly MAC offers, but will come in at a spot where there could be playing time to be had. Lafayette Pitts and Titus Howard seem like the only sure bets to see the field at cornerback next year, so Motley could have a chance to earn some snaps. James, on the other, is probably the most likely recruit of the 2014 class to see the field. He's got a really nice mix of size and speed and could add a nice new weapon in the backfield for Chryst and company next year. Chryst has shown he has no problem using multiple RBs, and I would expect James to be one of them next season.

8:34 a.m. - Three more faxes in and we're now at 15 of 22. Pitt has now officially received LOIs from QB Adam Bertke, OL Alex Bookser and LB James Folston, Jr. Bertke is obviously even more important in the wake of Freebeck's decommitment yesterday, and some recruiting services had him ranked higher than Freebeck. He's a big guy (6-foot-6, 210 lbs), but there are some questions about the level of competition he faced in small-school Ohio high school ball. Ideally for Pitt, he can redshirt this year and ultimately compete for the job down the road. Bookser is one of the four-star recruits in this class and, like I mentioned with Grimm, he's important because he plays the offensive line. Pitt recruited enough guys there last year and the year before that I think he'll probably be able to redshirt this year, but should be a potential multi-year starter down the road. Folston has an interesting football pedigree, as his father is a former Oakland Raider and his older brother is a running back for Notre Dame.

8:02 a.m. - We've just crossed the one hour mark and Pitt already has 12 of its 22 expected LOIs in and accounted for. The most recent batch included LB Quintin Wirginis, DB Jalen Williams and DL Connor Dintino. Wirginis could end up being one of the steals of this class because he missed all of his senior year due to a Lisfranc injury suffered in the offseason. I know a lot of schools were high on him before that, but backed off a bit once he got hurt. I spoke to him this week and he said he's back playing basketball for Fox Chapel, so there should be no injury concerns when he gets to Pitt this summer. Williams, at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, will likely start off at safety for the Panthers. Dintino is listed at 6-foot-3, 295 pounds, but might still have some more room to grow, making him an intriguing prospect at the interior of the defensive line.

7:54 a.m. - The rush continues. Over the past 10 minutes, athlete Jaquan Davidson, OL Mike Grimm and DE Shane Roy have all gotten their LOIs faxed in. Davidson will likely start his Pitt career at receiver, and is among the most athletic members of this class. He actually played quarterback at Elizabeth Forward, and has some deceptive speed that could make him a nice weapon at receiver. Grimm is probably one of the biggest signings of this class, both figuratively and literally. On the literal side, he's 6-foot-6, 325 pounds. From a big-picture point of view, though, he fits in perfectly with what Chryst wants to do in building his team starting with the offensive line. There may be question marks elsewhere, but Chryst has done an excellent job at recruiting the o-line over the past few years and that should pay dividends down the road. It's a lot easier for a good offensive line to make skill position guys look good than vice versa.

7:42 a.m. - Now we're rolling. Running backs Dennis Briggs and Qadree Ollison both got their faxes in within minutes of each other and were quickly followed by North Allegheny receiver Elijah Zeise. A lot of schools were recruiting Zeise on the defensive side of the ball, but he chose Pitt partially for the opportunity to play receiver. At 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, he's still got some room to grow, and I think could end up being a nice big, physical receiver. Briggs' only other Division I offer was from Toledo, but his high school coach, former Pitt QB Dave Havern, has said that he's confident Briggs will be able to be a successful running back in big-time college football.

7:31 a.m. - Two more Letters of Intent have come across the fax machine. Tight end Brian O'Neill and offensive lineman Connor Hayes are both now officially Panthers. O'Neill is a Rivals 3-star tight end, who has a big 6-foot-6 frame that Pitt coaches hope will end up making him a nice big receiving option. Hayes is also a 3-star on Rivals out of Traverse City, Mich., and was the first member of this class to verbally commit last April.
On the local front, it looks like weather is playing a role in Pittsburgh players getting to school and getting their faxes in. With snow and ice around the region, the roads are pretty bad and lots of schools have issued delays. So far, none of the three LOIs that have come in are from in-state prospects. It's nothing to be concerned about, but might just take a little longer before all 22 LOIs are in.

7:19 a.m. - And the first letter of intent to come across the fax machine for Pitt is Staunton, Va., defensive tackle Mike Herndon. Herndon's an interesting prospect because, even though he is 6-foot-4 and 320 lbs, he played mostly middle linebacker until his senior year of high school. There are two ways to look at this. One, it might take some time for him to learn the defensive tackle position since he's relatively new to it. On the other hand, though, the fact that his coaches put him at linebacker tells me that he must move well and have good quickness for a guy his size, and those are two very important qualities for a defensive lineman.

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Brewed On Grant: Marijuana Control

Written by Rob Rogers on .

A Senate hearing on medical marijuana was held in Harrisburg, raising hopes that Pennsylvania might join other states in legalizing the drug for medical treatment purposes. It is a long shot, but at least it is being discussed. 

020514 Marijuana Control

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