Phil Cynar

The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) recently honored several county leaders and other individuals from the commonwealth who’ve gone the extra mile to enhance and improve the well-being of their counties and the residents they serve.

From the Pittsburgh region, Greene County officials received the “gold” – the highest honors offered by CCAP – not once, but three times.

From left: Greene County Commissioner Pam Snyder, CCAP President Jo Ellen Litz, CCAP Board Chair Mark Hamilton

The 2012 Outstanding County Commissioner of the Year Award was presented to Greene County Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Pam Snyder. Snyder was recognized for her leadership role at the county and state level on a variety of issues. She has more than 16 years in public service and is considered an authority on Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling and its impact on communities.

Snyder’s professional affiliations and service complement her day-to-day work. She is second vice president of CCAP and a member of its board of directors, and a graduate and member of the Academy of Excellence in County Government Advisory Board. She has chaired a number of CCAP committees and is also secretary/treasurer of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission.

In addition, Snyder was also presented with a special Presidential Award. It recognized her contributions and commitment – above and beyond – to CCAP demonstrated by her service to the association.

From left: Greene County Human Services Administrator Karen Bennett, CCAP President Jo Ellen Litz

Karen Bennett, Greene County human services administrator, was among four individuals from across Pennsylvania honored with the 2012 Outstanding Affiliate of the Year Award. Bennett was recognized for her work to revamp the human services financing system over the past year.

“We are beyond proud of Commissioner Snyder and Karen Bennett for their achievements,” said Robbie Matesic, executive director of Greene County Department of Economic Development. “Being recognized at the state level illuminates everything they do for Greene County every day.

“These awards were presented when the 2012 Summer Olympics were in full swing, so I can’t help but reflect on how exciting it was for Greene County to bring home three ‘golds’ of its own,” Matesic added. “It’s wonderful to see strong, positive leadership acknowledged on such a public platform. We’ve all had an amazing year working with CCAP and look forward to even more successes to celebrate next year.”

Bonnie Pfister

The recent opening of the Port Authority’s new “T Plus” connection to the North Side/North Shore comes just in time for the Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 home opener that begins at 1:35 p.m. today.

Copyright Kathy Willens/Associated Press

The light-rail service includes two stops across the Allegheny River from the newly re-opened Gateway T station on Stanwix Street near Point Park. Closest to PNC Park is the underground North Side Station, which is accessible onto West General Robinson Street, beneath the ALCO Parking Garage. Further along is the elevated Allegheny Station, located along Art Rooney Avenue near Heinz Field.

Fares within downtown on the T (as well as all Port Authority buses) have long been free, and remain so. Through 2015, fares between downtown and the North Shore stations will also be free to passengers, with costs underwritten by the Pittsburgh Stadium Authority, Alco Parking, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Rivers Casino.

Check out the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s map of other places of interest on the North Shore now accessible via the connector (the Warhol Museum and the Carnegie Science Center, fore example, plus a variety of drinking and dining options), as well as a Port Authority video (below) highlighting the new service.

Long-time (and long-suffering) Pirates fans hope this will be the year the Buccos reverse a 19-year losing streak some say began with the so-called  Bream Curse.  Sid Bream was a Pirates first baseman who considered southwestern PA his home, and his teammates close friends. But soon after being traded to the Atlanta Braves, he scored the winning run that defeated the Pirates in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series in 1992, and thus began the hometown team’s dismal record.

But that’s ancient history now. Play ball!

The Port Authority of Allegheny County’s new T Plus service: