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Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Laurel: To public-private partnership results. Tuesday's opening of the OTB Bicycle Cafe at the Boathouse by private owners who've invested about $550,000 and are leasing Allegheny County's North Park Boathouse brought to fruition a new amenity without further burdening taxpayers. Let's have more such ventures.

Lance: To taxpayer-funded feel-good junkets. Personnel from at least 60 Western Pennsylvania school districts, intermediate units and career and technical centers attending this week's Pennsylvania School Boards Association conference in Hershey each cost taxpayers $379 to take part, plus up to $700 in hotel fees. Defending such featured non-education speakers as the namesake of the “Captain Phillips” movie and the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team's captain, the co-sponsoring Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators contends unpaid board members need “a human story here or there” to “lift their spirits.” Better to lift taxpayers' spirits instead — by spending their money more wisely.

On the “Watch List”: The Hill District's first grocery store in 30-plus years. Public subsidies have taxpayers unwillingly sharing the risk inherent in this just-opened $11.6 million Shop 'n Save — risk that private interests alone should bear. If nearby residential development, mainly on the former Addison Terrace public-housing and Civic Arena sites, doesn't provide enough of a customer base soon enough, what now seems to Hill residents a long-awaited asset may prove to be a neighborhood — and public — liability.

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