Sunday, August 5, 2012

Asides: The happy folks of Western Pa. - Pittsburgh Post Gazette

HAPPY ARE the residents of Western Pennsylvania as a general rule, at least according to a comprehensive survey by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Social and Urban Research. The survey looked at such factors as the economy, education, health and public safety. Some 95 percent of residents in the 32-county region including Pittsburgh rated their overall quality of life as good, very good or excellent and most plan to continue living here for the foreseeable future -- a result that Doug Heuck, the director of PittsburghTODAY, a local think tank that directed the study, attributed in part to an "intact social fabric" and "an attachment to neighbors and neighborhoods."

HAPPY ARE the many sport lovers in the region: The Pirates are still on course to break the futility of 19 consecutive losing seasons and the Steelers are sweating in training camp with dreams of Super Bowl glory. And, of course, the London Olympics are entering the second week with plenty of American success to be proud about. The games also have a number of local connections. Could anyone be prouder than Margaret "Peggy" Menges of Plum, whose daughter Catherine Menges-Zagunis represented the United Sates as a rower in the 1976 Montreal Olympics and whose granddaughter, Mariel Zagunis of Oregon, reached the semi-finals in saber fencing? Mrs. Menges was in London with her daughter to cheer on the family's second generation Olympian -- a former winner of gold medals in the 2008 and 2004 games and the flag bearer for the U.S. team in the opening ceremony.

HAPPY ARE Democrats in Pennsylvania because of a Quinnipiac University poll released this week that showed President Barack Obama favored by 50 percent of likely voters in the key states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Mr. Obama led presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney 53 percent to 42 percent in Pennsylvania. But, of course, the Republicans may still end up the happy ones come November.

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