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Greensburg Laurels & Lances

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Thursday, May 16, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

On the “Watch List”:

• The D.J. verdict. Some will argue that reducing the number of district judges in Westmoreland County from 17 to 16 come 2018 will crimp the system. It's a valid concern. To wit: Did the state Supreme Court factor into its decision population shifts and/or growth from the Marcellus shale boom? That's not baseless optimism — not when a developer (from New Jersey, no less) wants to build 120 single-family homes (price range, $330,000 to $400,000) in Unity. And in the same township, supervisors have OK'd a $20 million rehab center — in effect, the first hospital to be built in the county since the 1950s.

• A future eyesore. As the state readies plans for the sale of its 23-acre prison in Hempfield, we trust it has factored in the demolition cost. What Westmoreland County doesn't need is another white elephant that sits empty for years and decays into an eyesore — one that will attract trespassers and pose a public safety threat.

Lance: To easy money: Some Greensburg officials have no problem justifying $6 million in state taxpayer funding — via the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program — for a new Seton Hill University dance and visual arts center. Said Mayor Ron Silvis, “If we don't take it, somebody else will take it.” And Pennsylvanians wonder why they never see meaningful property tax relief when Harrisburg, egged on by this economic “logic,” continually and chronically misspends their money — in this case, by generously greasing a private university's building plans.

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