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Laurels & Lances

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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 cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

Daily Photo Galleries

'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.

Friday, June 12, 2009
 

Hey!: As championship hockey goes, it doesn't get any better than this. The battle for Lord Stanley's cup comes down to one game -- tonight -- at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. The scrappy Pittsburgh Penguins were given up for dead at midseason by many. But, with a new coach, they stormed into the playoffs. The Pens tied the best-of-seven final series with the defending champion Red Wings on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh at three games apiece and forced this evening's showdown. This is what a championship team is. This is what a championship series should be. Best of luck to the 'Guins. We look forward to seeing the Stanley Cup back in the 'Burgh tomorrow morning.

Lance: To Pittsburgh City Council. Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is on vacation this week. So, the intrepid council decided it was the perfect opportunity to do a little grandstanding. It voted Wednesday to "implore" Hizzhoner to appear before it to discuss the latest five-year plan of the Act 47 economic recovery team. And it raised the specter of issuing a subpoena. Pssst! The mayor's back on Monday. How silly. How bush league. How Tweedledee and Tweedledum. "Ted Mack & the Original Amateur Hour" has returned.

Laurel: To the Boy Scouts. The scout's Greater Pittsburgh Council collected $4.8 million in food donations through its "Scouting for Food" program. That's up 10 percent over a year ago and a record. The group's hard work is a godsend to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, whose stocks typically dwindle during the summer months. It's a testament to the Boy Scouts, of course -- talk about an object lesson worthy of emulation -- but also to a region filled with very generous donors.

Lance: To the Virgin Mary vandal(s). One or more cretins toppled and defaced the holy statue sometime between midnight and 6 a.m. Saturday in a grotto of St. Bernard Catholic Church in Mt. Lebanon. Rosary beads also were destroyed. Police are investigating. Should the culprit or culprits be caught, they should be forced to help experts restore the statue in addition to any criminal penalties.

Laurel: To the National Aviary. The North Side bird palace has come up with a novel way to raise money in these tough economic times. It will allow the highest bidders to name three new penguins. The minimum bid is $500. The new birds have joined five other penguins. It's a worthy cause that also just happens to be fun. Bids, anyone?

An observation: So sad, bad and egads is the state of the Republican Party in the City of Pittsburgh that Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, the Democrats' nominee, also won the GOP's mayoral nomination. More than 600 Republicans -- or at least more than 600 people who registered as Republicans in the May primary -- wrote in Mr. Ravenstahl's name on the GOP ballot. Republicans have no one to blame for Pittsburgh's one-party rule but themselves.

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