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Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances

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Thursday, July 18, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Laurel: To the Pirates. The Battlin' Bucs open the second half of the season in Cincinnati tonight as the No. 2 team in all of Major League Baseball, second only to National League Central division mate St. Louis. The series opens a critical phase in the Pirates' climb to not only their first winning season in 21 years but a run at the playoffs. It's not quite time for pennant fever. But neither has Pirates Colony Collapse set in. Perhaps “there's always next year” really is this year. Let's go, Bucs!

On the “Watch List”: The West Carson project. Beginning July 29, and for the next two years, outbound West Carson Street, from the West End Bridge to McKees Rocks, will be closed for rehabilitation. About 16,000 vehicles use the route daily. The project promises to create a mess. But it's a most necessary one to replace the dilapidated thoroughfare. Patience, folks. Play nice. And make sure you have plenty of music options for your commuting misery.

Lance: To the anti-demolition crowd. Pittsburgh has been plagued for decades with thousands of blighted houses. But now that aggressive steps are being taken to rid many of the city's poorest neighborhood of that blight — a blight that makes true renewal impossible — some people are objecting. A Columbia University shrink even goes as far as to bemoan how demolition of even the most blighted homes plays a role in creating psychological distress. Please. Let's get the job done.

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