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Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, 8:59 p.m.
 

Attention Norwin task force: Norwin school directors approved a preliminary 2013-14 budget that increases taxes by 5.25 mills, which would cost the average residential taxpayer an additional $130. By state law, the Norwin school board is supposed to hold any increase to 1.5 mills. But the board will seek a state exemption, which, if past is prologue, typically is approved. We trust the district's new “efficient and effective” citizens task force will have its say before this pocket-diving becomes a done deal.

Unacceptable: The theft of “a few thousand dollars” from the Normalville Area Volunteer Fire Company — firefighters would not provide a specific amount — is repugnant. But it also raises the question of why the money, a fairly substantial amount accrued from fundraisers, was left in a department safe instead of a bank account. The noble tradition of volunteer firefighting does not preclude commonsense fiscal protocols.

Insidious addiction: Most unsettling in Westmoreland County's record number of overdose deaths in 2012 — 71 with 14 pending cases — are those instances in which people got “hooked” on prescribed painkillers and turned to heroin or other street drugs, according to officials. That's a wake-up call for doctors and patients when pain “relief” these days is just a pill away.

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