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This Just In: August 7 - 14

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No Ifs, Ands or Butts

Summary: Neighbors fed up with smokers take action -- as in "lights, camera, action!" Reporter: David Highfield, KDKA Channel 2 Airtime: 2 minutes, 3 seconds on July 31 Visuals: * Amateur photos taken of outdoor smokers -- including two women with their IV poles in tow. * Close-ups of many a cigarette butt. Highlights: * When anchor Ken Rice explains, "Well, people in one neighborhood are fed up with smokers on their street, and ... they're taking pictures of the smokers and then posting them online. The site is called 'aspinwallnotashtray.'" * When Highfield reports, "Photos on the Web site show employees as well as patients who appear to be lighting up once they make it off the property of UPMC St. Margaret, in Aspinwall. We blurred their faces for our report." * When a female neighbor tells it like it is: "It's cigarette butts, it's loitering, it's people just standing in front of your property, in my case, people sitting on my wall, you know, day after day." * When Highfield elaborates, "While we were here, we didn't see any smokers. But we certainly saw evidence of them.... But that's nothing compared to [this woman's] visual aid," which appears to be a least a half-gallon-size plastic jug filled to the brim with butts. The woman with the jug tells Highfield, "My neighbors, there were about, maybe about four or five of them, and they picked up these cigarette butts in less than an hour. * When Highfield explains, "Neighbors who signed this petition say smokers wound up in the street when St. Margaret went nonsmoking," and adds, "UPMC's Doug Harrison tells me, quote, 'We're working through the appropriate channels ... to formulate strategies to try to resolve this issue.' End quote." * When one of the neighbors observes, "[W]e've had a couple of people even pose because they didn't really care that they had their picture taken." What We Learned: People have waaaay too much time on their hands. And I'm talking about the ones who smoke. Unanswered Question: Do you think my ANTISMOKING BIAS IS SHOWING? News Value: 4. I hear ya, brothers and sisters. These people are as trashy as the cigarette butts they toss, and hopefully there is a hell waiting for them in which they have to swim in cigarette butts, while secondhand smoke is blown into every hole in their lifeless bodies. And UPMC won't be able to bill them for anything!

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