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Monday, April 29, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Deficit of cooperation: A five-year financial management plan shows Latrobe faces a projected $500,000 shortfall by 2016 if it doesn't adjust its fees and tax rates. And how long can Unity go along its merry way without looking beyond its own border? Yet relations between the two neighbors appear to be at their lowest point ever when both municipalities, with mutual needs, should be seriously considering cooperative ventures. Yes, there have been some less-than-neighborly disputes. But the future need not resemble the past if wiser and cooler heads prevail.

Powerful playground display: If one were to put a price on the volunteer labor that's rebuilding an arson-gutted playground in Latrobe's Legion Keener Park, it would be about $150,000, according to the playground's designer. But the actual value of this work by a small army of volunteers — or, more precisely, the depth of their commitment — is priceless. It also signals their common resolve against a mindless, malicious act of vandalism.

Garbage in, garbage out: The threat of litigation by a statewide association of trash haulers over a commonsense measure in Unity, which would have required haulers to register in the township and post their fees, was enough to scuttle the requirement. But don't blame the supervisors, who simply wanted to give residents a clearer picture of their trash-hauling options. Blame “garbage” law, which in this sorry application upholds the so-called protection of the service providers over the convenience of their clients.

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