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Greensburg Laurels & Lances

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Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Laurel: To the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Battlin' Bucs exceeded all expectations but their own this season. They broke an embarrassing string of 20-consecutive losing seasons. They made it to the postseason. They won a wild-card game against Cincinnati. And then they took perhaps the toughest team in Major League Baseball, the Cardinals, to a deciding fifth game in the divisional series before a disappointing loss Wednesday night. But in all they did, they did it with class, from Manager Clint Hurdle to every player and every member of the support staff. Yes, the Pirates are back. But they'll be back even better next season.

On the “Watch List”:

• Westmoreland Manor. Westmoreland County commissioners again say that steps must to taken to rein in the def icit at the county nursing home, which, at $1.3 million, is projected to climb as high as $4 million annually. Yet they tell the union representing the home's 500 workers that selling the property — an option exercised by other counties — is off the table. Given the costs to taxpayers, all options should be under consideration.

• School volunteers' background checks. Most school districts have no qualms charging parents for things such as “student activity fees.” But paying for school volunteers' background checks? Why, taxpayers shouldn't be burdened with that, some Franklin Regional school directors say. Residents who donate their time and talents deserve a fair hearing on the assignment of this cost.

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