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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).

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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.

Monday, Feb. 13, 2012
 

It has been more than four years since the mysterious honeybee-killing Colony Collapse Disorder emerged. And more than a few observers predicted it would devastate American agriculture.

But the disorder's effects on pollination and food remain mild. And that's thanks to resilient, ingenious beekeepers and orchard owners.

Colony Collapse Disorder has, since 2007, killed an average of 33 percent of honeybees between fall and spring. Yet as agricultural economists Randal R. Rucker and Walter N. Thurman note, there's "only slim evidence of a small economic impact."

Writing for the Property & Environment Research Center, they remind that birds and bats pollinate, too. Honey and pollinated foods remain abundant and their prices haven't soared. And beekeepers and farmers have found ways to cope.

To wit, beekeepers are splitting healthy hives to form new ones.

The economics-based perspective of Messrs. Rucker and Thurman is a welcome antidote to eyeball-grabbing gloom-and-doom headlines about Colony Collapse Disorder -- and a far more accurate way to gauge the malady's true ramifications.

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