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Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances

| Thursday, July 25, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Laurel: To increased river shipping. One way to judge a region's economic health is by measuring its shipping volume. And the Port of Pittsburgh Commission has some encouraging news: Shipping on the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers increased by 62 percent this May over May 2012. It's the highest May total since 2008, just before the Great Recession. It's the latest in a long line of sound arguments for rehabilitating the region's long-in-the-tooth locks and dams.

On the “Watch List”:

The Pittsburgh Panthers. It could be a looong fall for Pitt's football team. The sports media are predicting that the Panthers will finish in fifth place in their first year in the Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference. That's out of seven teams. Ouch. Miami tops the divisional balloting, followed by Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Georgia Tech. Clemson, from the Atlantic Division, was picked to win the ACC title. Hope the Pitt band is good this year. Double ouch.

• The Pittsburgh Steelers. The Black and Gold report to training camp today at St. Vincent College near Latrobe. They'll be looking to improve on last year's disappointing 8-8 record and make the venerable NFL franchise's 81st season more memorable. Think playoffs. Alan Robinson, the Trib's veteran sports scribe, is calling it “Camp Uncertainty” for the number of marquee players that must be replaced. Here we go. (Note how we're holding off on the exclamation point. At least for now.)

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