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The VND's Tuesday Takes

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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 cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

Daily Photo Galleries

'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.

Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, 9:01 p.m.
 

Funding BC3: Although Butler County Community College is sitting on a $12 million reserve fund — almost half of its operating budget — the county commissioners still gave the school more than $4 million in the 2013 budget. Just withholding $1.2 million — as county Controller Jack McMillan suggested — would've prevented the county's one-mill tax increase.

A filing is nigh?: Surely a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing is not far off for West Penn Allegheny Health System. The latest sign is the failure of Pittsburgh's second-largest hospital group to meet last Friday's deadline for releasing an auditor's report of its fiscal year ended on June 30. The system — which includes the Allegheny Valley Hospital in Harrison — is surviving only because it's being propped up by Highmark Inc., which is attempting to subsume operations. But the longer West Penn Allegheny waits to reorganize, the more likely it is that it won't be able to. As a profitable entity, Allegheny Valley Hospital shouldn't have to worry, but bankruptcy is almost always a bit of a crapshoot.

There they went: Now the soul-searching begins for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Black and Gold closed the 2012 campaign on a high note, defeating the Cleveland Browns. But the fact remains that the Steelers' wildly inconsistent play forced them to struggle just to finish the season with an 8-8 record and no playoff berth. Expect significant personnel changes in the off-season, on and off the field.

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