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Alle-Kiski Tuesday takes

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Monday, Dec. 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Pathetic plight: For parents with children in schools that failed to meet the latest academic benchmark set by Pennsylvania's Department of Education, recent statewide assessments (released after a two-month delay) aren't “mixed.” At least eight (and maybe 12) schools in the Alle-Kiski Valley missed the mark. And sadly, parents of limited means have precious few options, besides charter schools, in providing a proper education for their children. The latest assessment of Pennsylvania's public schools reinforces the argument for more school choice.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus: Lots of them! As proof, we refer you to the numerous groups that “Stuffed a Bus” for Toys for Tots, the company that gave its employees $500 each just to spend on Christmas goodies, the man who decorated his apartment building's Christmas tree for 11 years, the groups that will provide free Christmas dinners and the thousands of others who donated a toy or a coat or food to help the less fortunate this holiday season.

Early Christmas gift: However much it warmed their fans' hearts on a frigid Sunday night, the Steelers' 30-20 win over Cincinnati was less an indication of a turnaround for this disappointing Pittsburgh team than it was an early Christmas present bestowed by the AFC North-leading Bengals living up to their “Bungles” nickname with first-quarter special-teams gaffes that the Steelers turned into a 21-point lead. And this victory certainly should not deter the Steelers' badly needed offseason revamping.

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