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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.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Lance: To Rich Fitzgerald. Because the contributions he shook down from the Marcellus shale gas industry are "public," everything's copacetic, says Mr. Fitzgerald, one of two Democrat candidates for Allegheny County chief executive. NO. IT'S. NOT. Aside from Fitzgerald's blatant hypocrisy -- he criticized primary opponent Mark Patrick Flaherty for his supposed connections to the industry -- Fitzgerald's actions are indicative of a "pay-to-play" mentality that most assuredly would keep grand juries busy.

Laurel: To Stage AE. The North Shore entertainment complex's bookings are said to be exceeding expectations. That's great news. But the really great news would be if the Steelers, proprietors of the facility next to Heinz Field, would now turn around and reimburse the public kitty that chipped in, oh, a couple of million dollars to help build the indoor/outdoor amphitheater.

Lance: To delay, delay, delay. "Scheduling conflicts" are said to have pushed the theft and fraud trial of Chuck McCullough to Sept. 1. The former Allegheny County solicitor, county councilman and, now, Republican candidate for chief executive is accused of ripping off an elderly woman's trust money. The upshot is this downside -- if Mr. McCullough wins next week's primary, the GOP nominee then will face trial on serious charges. And that's embarrassing.

Lance: To the PA Republican Leadership Council. Never mind that Chuck McCullough faces the aforementioned felony charges, it has endorsed him for the Republican ACE nomination. It cites "the beliefs and principles" of the group, one of which is fealty to the concept of constitutions. But Mr. McCullough, in addition to his legal problems, has been leading the charge to subvert the Pennsylvania Constitution by engaging in machinations to thwart the repeatedly court-ordered property reassessment. The RLC is misguided.

R.I.P: Kenny Geidel. One fan suggested that the longtime food and drink hawker at Pittsburgh sporting events was just as popular as any player and deserves his own bronze statue outside one of the stadiums. And what a fitting tribute that would be to Mr. Geidel, who died this week at the age of 64. For he was as iconic a figure as any past Pittsburgh sports star. Who will be the first to establish the Kenny Geidel Statue Fund• And, yes, we're serious.

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