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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2003
 

Forgive me, I'm not myself today. I have a splitting Auld Lang Syneus headache.

As the curtain comes down on another year, I am determined to tip my hat to some of the colorful characters who, for better or worse, made this column what it was in 2003. We'll begin in just a moment, after I down a few Tylenols.

An Unbearable Predicament

Luzerne County's Louise Chichy, on where to put the 761-pound bear shot by her son -- the largest one harvested in Pennsylvania in 2002 -- once the taxidermist was done stuffing it: "I have no idea how we're going to get him in the house. ... We may have to knock out the front door to do it."

Her Doctoral Thesis Might Be On Hold As Well

"I don't think she has her Phi Beta Kappa key, that's for sure," North Huntingdon police Chief Charles Henaghan said regarding Crystal McMillan. This observation came after McMillan allegedly attempted to hire an undercover state trooper to murder her boyfriend and his mother.

Not to Mention What It Could Do To The Living Room Curtains

Explaining why State Farm Insurance no longer would cover nuclear-related auto claims, company spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson said, "A nuclear event could really pose some widespread catastrophic potential to our overall financial stability."

Besides, These Pizza Hut Coupons Will Expire If I Don't Use Them Soon

Involved in a real estate dispute with Consol Energy, Brandon Hudock of North Strabane, Washington County, went on a public hunger strike near the company's headquarters -- but only on weekdays.

"I'm just not sure about doing this on the weekends. I don't know if I want to do this until I potentially compromise my health," he said.

What About A Significant Amount to Wear Significantly Less•

"I wouldn't wear a real fur -- not even for a million dollars," Jenna Morasca, the Bridgeville native and "Survivor" star, said in unveiling a promotional campaign for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Morasca eschewed wearing fur shortly after Playboy magazine paid her an undisclosed sum to eschew wearing much of anything.

We Also Tried To Determine How The Homeless Weathered The Storm, But We Couldn't Find Any In the Entire Foxcrest Estates Plan

When the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing researched the spending habits of the well-off, the results were positively stunning. "Our question was, 'How were the super-rich weathering the economic rainy day?' " said institute President Laurie Moore-Moore. "The answer appears to be 'Just fine.' "

What• It's My Fault Again?

In a packed Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh emergency room, Dr. Stacy Reynolds placed the blame for the crowded conditions squarely where it belonged. Pointing out that reports of this year's widespread flu outbreak were all over TV and newspapers, she said, "The media has everyone in an uproar."

That's a line I'm certain to hear again in 2004.

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