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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.

Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011

Allegheny County would not be mired in the reassessment mess it is had R. Stanton Wettick, the senior Common Pleas judge overseeing the repeatedly court-ordered process, found county officials who thumbed their noses at the rule of law in contempt of court and jailed them for their delay tactics. Pssst! There's still that option, Judge Wettick. ... Is there anybody left in the commonwealth who isn't wondering if the latest public corruption charges lodged against one of the Sisters Orie are a prelude to state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin being charged by Allegheny County prosecutors• Perhaps those named Orie but few others. ... Dan Onorato , the departing Allegheny County chief executive, has a new gig come Jan. 3 -- "chief external affairs and communications officer" for Highmark Inc. That's corporate jargon for "chief flack." Considering Dan, Dan the Tax Man's many verity-defying pronouncements as ACE, the axiom that the first casualty of public relations is the truth appears to be quite safe. ... We're not the biggest fans of Britain's Prince Charles. But Western Pennsylvanians so enamored with wind power should heed his recent remarks. The industry really exists only because of public subsidies, he says, and those insisting that wind power is one of the most cost-effective forms of renewable energy believe in "fairy tales." And that from a devout eco-wacko.

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