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The Valley News Dispatch's Tuesday Takes

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Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, 8:59 p.m.

School security: Our schools will be facing some tough questions in the near future about how to protect students. Armed security? Police officers? The cost will be a significant factor. A district with five schools probably can count on spending at least $250,000 annually for police officers.

Insidious addiction: Most unsettling in Westmore-land'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.

Bland is toast: Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald supposedly has the votes to oust Port Authority boss Steve Bland when the mass-transit agency's board meets on Friday. The board delayed last Friday's meeting for a week, likely because its chairman, Jack Brooks, disagrees. Nothing like a little (or in this case, a lot of) palace intrigue.

“Independent” authorities?: There's an oxymoron, as the Port Authority situation highlights. Since Mr. Fitzgerald has control over authority board appointments, it's nothing more than his puppet. Running roughshod over authorities has been standard operating procedure for decades. If the state Legislature had any guts, it would act to end the ruse.

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