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Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

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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, June 19, 2014, 8:55 p.m.

On the “Watch List”:

• Commissioners' cost savings. A proposal from Westmoreland County Democrat Commissioner Ted Kopas to hire a county manager, which would replace the commissioners' chiefs of staff, is DOA. Republican Commissioners Charles Anderson and Tyler Courtney won't go for it. But that puts the ball in the Republicans' court: What cost-saving measures do they propose to help close the county's recurring multimillion-dollar deficit?

• The Jeannette fire department ballot question. The city council has approved a resolution to ask voters in the fall whether they want to continue funding paid firefighters or switch to a volunteer department. A public vote is required to disband the paid department. But the decision is best assessed by local leaders, who (we trust) have access to more information than the average voter. And as a cost-saving measure, is it worth a “huge safety” risk, as one councilman put it, to discontinue a paid department that accounts for only 5 percent of the city budget?

Laurel: To drug-addiction treatment. The spike in drug-overdose deaths in Westmoreland County has been shocking. Yet the last county-based detox center closed in the 1980s. So news of a new treatment unit at Excela Health Frick Hospital is most welcome. Kudos to Gateway Rehabilitation of Beaver County, Westmoreland County's Drug and Alcohol Commission and everyone else who helped make this happen.

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