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Greensburg 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, Jan. 16, 2014, 8:55 p.m.

Laurel: To Irvin Tantlinger. The Ligonier Valley School Board member didn't give the customary “good deal” spiel that typically accompanies the approval of a new teachers contract. No, Mr. Tantlinger, speaking on his own behalf, detailed the district's contract ordeal for what it was: a lopsided negotiation “because of the held-hostage effects of the union” with the strike option. Here's hoping that before the next contract comes due, Harrisburg will have disarmed teachers of their strike cudgel and leveled the playing field.

Lance: To the Ligonier Valley teachers union. Its wretched platitudes about students, their education and community devotion — now that teachers got what they wanted — are putrid. District taxpayers who don't pull in anywhere near the maximum $75,000 salaries of teachers with their master's degrees (up to almost $78,000 under the new deal) now face two consecutive years of all-but-certain tax increases. So spare us the sanctimony and let's be clear on the distinction between what goes to educating children — and what goes directly into teachers' pockets.

Lance: To idle minds. Only those pathetically addled would report a bogus emergency to police. Yet Westmoreland Emergency Management received just such a “swatting” text message about a man supposedly with an automatic weapon and dead bodies at a Jeannette residence. Aside from the toll on police is the possibility of a real catastrophe if an actual emergency arises while authorities are distracted.

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