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Greensburg Laurels & Lances

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Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

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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.

Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, 8:59 p.m.

On the “Watch List”: The Zion tax-assessment lawsuit. Denied its bid to lower the assessment of its decrepit Jeannette Glass plant property, Zion Bullitt Avenue LLP is suing the county over what it claims is an unconstitutional assessment system — one of the oldest in the state, based on 1972 land values. Will the outcome finally trigger a countywide reassessment, long dodged by Westmoreland's leaders? Stay tuned.

Laurel: To paying it forward. Elmer Smart's two young daughters each received a $50 gift card to buy Christmas gifts through the Shop With A Cop program in 2009. Now the Derry Borough dad has returned that kindness tenfold with his donation to the program, which provides Christmas cheer to children who have endured tragedies. What a fine inspiration during this season of giving. Read on.

Laurel: To a Christmas state of mind. Among the many accounts of giving of late is the story of a grassroots community fundraising effort that accrued more than $7,500 toward a wheelchair-accessible van for the family of Latrobe native John McComb and his 8-year-old disabled son. For many good-hearted folks, Christmas spirit extends year-round.

Laurel: To setting an example. The wives of Sens. Pat Toomey and Bob Casey organized a tribute this week to the heroes of Flight 93, hijacked by terrorists during 9/11, to raise money for the completion of the local memorial. Here's a prime opportunity for members of Congress, by example, to open their wallets and support an important public endeavor.

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