Laurels & lances: Moving on, monuments and memorials |
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Laurel: To change when it needs to happen. The Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Department has had a rocky couple of years as it faced problems from the top-down. Sheriff Jonathan Held’s public corruption charges continue to hang in limbo after a December 2018 mistrial and subsequent appeals over a retrial. Other key officers faced criminal charges. There were multiple lawsuits that cost the county over $500,000 in settlements.

Voters said it was too much when they went to the ballot box Tuesday, picking retired district judge James Albert to put the department on a better path.

Held maintains his innocence of criminal charges and that may be true, but the office and the people of Westmoreland County need to be free of conflict.

Laurel: To honoring those who served. The veterans memorial in front of Stewart Elementary along Leechburg Road is being repaired after the crumbling monument fell over. It isn’t a big project, but it is a heartfelt one, to remember the service of area residents who fought in World War II.

What is important is that the $8,000 being spent on repairs has been pooled by those who think the memorial and its honorees are worth remembering: the Lower Burrell VFW, the Lower Burrell American Legion and the City of Lower Burrell itself, as well as state Rep. Bob Brooks, R-Murrysville.

As those who fought in that war are passing on, it is even more important to make sure the memory of their contributions isn’t reduced to rubble like a deteriorating monument.

On the watch list: To one more way to catch rule-breakers. Pennsylvania is deploying cameras in roadway work zones to catch and issue tickets for those speeding where they shouldn’t.

On the one hand, we have to protect the people who are making our roads safe to travel. There were 1,800 crashes in work zones last year and 23 deaths. Pennsylvania should do what it can to minimize those tragic outcomes.

On the other, more cameras? Really? We have red light cameras and turnpike cameras and now work-zone cameras. Is an impersonal machine the best way to monitor people? Only time — and tickets — will tell.

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