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Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Sign of the times: The sale of the West Newton Volunteer Fire Department's fire hall and ballroom underscores the fiscal plight facing volunteer fire departments throughout the region. Fortunately West Newton has the option to rent the fire department space from the prospective buyer, says fire Chief Craig Sanner. But how many area volunteer fire departments, strapped for cash and manpower, have no lifeline for their survival?

Guard sense: It's reassuring that presumably armed sheriff's deputies will accompany prison inmates who go for treatment at Westmoreland County hospitals and that this policy is now clear to all involved. It's beyond comprehension that unarmed corrections officers reportedly guarded inmates at hospitals, even for limited periods. A wake-up call? No, this is more like a smack in the head.

Splitsville!: A weekend-long celebration of all things banana split, with Latrobe's designation as the birthplace of the popular ice cream dessert and a massive “banana flash mob” at St. Vincent College, reflected enormous community spirit, and that's refreshing to see. If only we saw more of it at municipal meetings and school board sessions, where instead of sweet concoctions the issues are budgets, labor contracts and capital expenditures.

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