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The Valley News Dispatch'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, 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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