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Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

A judge's lesson: The art of the plea deal took a decidedly different turn when Westmoreland Judge Al Bell, in no uncertain terms, rejected the bargain — one year's probation — for former corrections officer Melissa Ann Boggs of Latrobe, accused of institutional sexual assault at Westmoreland County Prison. This “abomination,” as Judge Bell called the agreement, is a reminder to prosecutors that within the leeway of so-called sentencing “guidelines,” the pursuit of justice must be more than a routine exercise in “Let's Make A Deal.”

Not exceptional: Outstanding student achievement deserves recognition. But Franklin Regional's contemplation of honoring what would be multiple valedictorians, each of whom would receive the class rank of “1,” dilutes a distinction that's rightfully reserved for one student. That honor builds incentive for student achievement — more so than bundling the brightest together under the banner “We're Number One!”

Heating alert: The death of a Monessen woman, 77, who authorities believe was using her gas oven to dry clothes, is a sad reminder of the dangers of using “alternative” heat sources, especially stoves, and creating a buildup of deadly carbon monoxide. There are more than sufficient warnings about this danger. The tragedy in too many cases is that people assume this won't happen to them.

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