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Laurels & Lances

Lance: To school district spending. A number of local districts are seeking state permission to bypass taxpayers and raise taxes. But if these chickens -- and that's what they are -- had any credibility, they'd attempt to make their case to the folks who pay the bills. That they seek the end around is all the proof the public needs that the tax hikes are imprudent.

On the "Watch List": BNY Mellon. The commonwealth of Pennsylvania is reviewing whether Bank of New York Mellon overcharged the state and its pension funds on foreign currency transactions over the last 14 years. Three other states already have filed lawsuits to that effect. BNY Mellon denies any wrongdoing. But the allegations are a black mark that the banking giant will find difficult to erase.

Here we go: On paper, the 12-4 Pittsburgh Steelers should dominate the 8-8 Denver Broncos on Sunday in the wild-card round of the NFL playoffs. After all, Denver closed the regular season with three straight losses. But the Steelers are banged up. And the game is in Denver. And then there's Tim Tebow. And, well, anything can happen in the playoffs. Here we go and all that. Just keep the fingers crossed on all those oversized "We're No. 1" foam hands.

An observation: The new year blew in some of the most significant snowfall of the young winter to date. And with it came the usual rash of accidents for those not yet acclimated to driving on slick roads. The key, of course, is to slow down. And for those with four-wheel-drive vehicles, it's easy to forget that, they, too, have to be able to stop, just as mere mortals in two-wheel-drive vehicles have to. Here's to smarter and more defensive winter driving.

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