Lance: To the Jeannette recreation center runaround. In a city without a clue to its own fiscal management, this latest farce should be the final straw: A $65,000 grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development (which, itself, is no bastion of fiscal accountability) was supposed to pay for a new rec center's steel frame, which by all accounts was never produced by a now-defunct company. That was six years ago. Where's the money? Nobody seems to know. Never mind the state's apparent failure to follow up on the grant. Such stunning disregard for public money is reason enough for Jeannette's Act 47 state oversight.
On the “Watch List”:
• The “Harlem Shake” stakes. Citing students' free-expression right, two organizations are challenging the suspensions of 13 Brownsville Area High School students for making a Harlem Shake dance video at school. But school officials say the students disregarded instructions from a substitute teacher in violation of the school's disciplinary code. Whether the students danced the controversial shake or broke into a spontaneous rumba, since when does free expression exempt them from school policies while on school property?
• Video prison visits. Providing “web chats” between Westmoreland County Prison inmates and their families and/or lawyers via personal computers sounds promising except for one detail: Public defenders would not be charged to video-chat with their clients behind bars but private lawyers would have to pay. That's not equal access. And that could cost the county a legal challenge.
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