Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States as compiled by the Associated Press:...
On the surface, it sounds like a catastrophe waiting to happen.
We are referring to a proposal from Stuck Enterprises Inc., of Waynesburg, a wholesale distributor of gasoline and other fuels, to install a 30,000-gallon propane storage tank on vacant property at the corner of Washington and First streets on Waynesburg’s southside.
The company submitted an application with Waynesburg Zoning Hearing Board for a special exception to install the tank on property that was the site of the former Grove C. Hughes Hardware Store. A special exception was needed because the proposed use involves wholesale distribution and warehousing of quantities of hazardous or toxic substances.
On Oct. 6, the board denied the request.
The storage tank would have provided whole distribution of propane for residential and commercial use. The demand for propane increased because of the demand on natural gas well sites throughout Greene County.
Steve Stuck, company president, said at the zoning hearing his company also operates a bulk terminal with several large liquid fuel tanks at the intersection of Washington and First streets, several hundred feet from where he wants to put the propane tank. That terminal existed for more than 50 years and never created a problem, Stuck maintains.
Perhaps the greatest concern cited by members of the zoning and hearing board is the site is about a block-and-a-half from Margaret Bell Miller Middle School. That, in itself, should raise some red flags, despite Stuck’s assertion he met with district officials earlier in the day to explain the project and they had no problem with it.
We don’t doubt, as Stuck himself said, safety would be the highest priority and his family-owned business, which has always been tied closely to the community, would make sure the project was completed correctly. The company has a similar facility in a similar neighborhood in Oakland, Md., and has experienced no problems with it. Moreover, this tank will be made of 1-inch thick steel and equipped with automatic shutdown capabilities.
But we are all too aware nothing of this nature is 100 percent fail-safe. When considering the possibility of an accident, we understand the zoning hearing board’s decision.
Adam Chapman, one of the board members, said he was concerned about the tank being that close to the school and to residences on the southside. Though the installation would have safety features, and the chance of any mishap occurring were slim, “all it takes is one time” for something to happen, he said. “It’s too much of a risk,” he said.
The Kansas City Royals are going to the World Series.
And baseball fans in Southwestern Pennsylvania should be rejoicing.
No, we’re not suggesting all those black and gold baseball caps and jerseys should be exchanged for the Royals’ blue and white, or followers of Andrew McCutcheon and Josh Harrison should switch allegiances to Omar Infante and Salvador Perez. But Pittsburgh Pirates fans should be cheered another small-market team that was out of contention – way, way out of contention – for all too many years managed to ascend this year to the top of the Major League Baseball pyramid.
One has to go back to the 1990s to understand just how unlikely it once seemed the lowly Kansas City Royals would ever be able to, once again, become one of professional baseball’s heavy-hitters. The franchise was competitive in the 1970s and 1980s, going to the postseason seven times between 1976 and 1985, representing the American League in the 1980 World Series (they were bested that year by the Philadelphia Phillies) and winning it in 1985 in a seven-game skirmish with their cross-state rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals.
However, in the decades since, the Royals became one of baseball’s perennial basement-dwellers, a team where mediocre players went through their paces before embarking on careers in other fields, talented players showed off their skills before being poached by more robust competitors and the once-talented put in their time before retreating to the autograph tables at baseball card shows. For most of the last 20 years, the Royals endured one losing season after another, playing to, at best, half-full houses of dejected die-hards.
The parallels extend all the way to the fact the Royals lost 100 games in 2002, just one year after a certain team that nowadays plays in a stadium along the Allegheny River also lost 100 games.
Though some of the woes of the Royals and the Pirates could be blamed on managerial and ownership blunders, both teams seemed unlikely to ever be contenders simply because of baseball’s prohibitive economics. As player salaries crept skyward, it was the teams in the biggest markets, whose owners had the most plushly lined wallets, that were able to stay above .500 when the leaves were falling and the frost was on the pumpkin. Between 1996 and 2003, the New York Yankees went to the World Series six times, and won it four times. The Atlanta Braves, when they were owned by free-spending media mogul Ted Turner, went to the World Series five times between 1991 and 1999 (but only won once, much to the chagrin of the tomahawk-chopping faithful).
Storied teams like the Royals, the Pirates, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Baltimore Orioles seemed condemned to offering fans little more than celebrations of past glories. Yet, this year, all those teams had winning records, with the Royals, Orioles and Pirates making it to the postseason. The Yankees and the Braves, meanwhile, were out in the cold. Some of this must be credited to luck, and some of the credit must go to revenue-sharing deals that have given teams in smaller markets a slight leg up.
But for anyone who once despaired of seeing teams other than the Yankees or the Braves making it into the Fall Classic, this is a moment to savor. Now, we can only hope in 2015 the Pirates will be the World Series’ Cinderella story.
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