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Westmoreland Tuesday takes

| Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2006

Pass the whitewash: It's hardly surprising that Westmoreland County's "investigation" of its Children's Bureau reveals that everything's just dandy. That's because the report does not directly address the starvation death of Kristen Tater, 4. Her case was handled locally before it was transferred to Armstrong County. A state investigation turned up a dozen deficiencies in the Children's Bureau's operating procedures. So, exactly what was the point of the county's review, if not damage control?

Forget the high-fives: Before Westmoreland officials congratulate themselves over Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield's $50,000 reimbursement to the county to settle overpayments, keep in mind that the sum was accrued over three years . Paying beyond what the county rightfully owed shouldn't reach several thousand dollars before the money is returned. Closer tabs must be kept on future payments.

Arson arrests: It's never easy for volunteer firefighters to investigate their own. But that's what helped state police nab two Indiana County firefighters, John R. Narone and James L. Foster, both 19. They're accused of conspiring with others in at least two fires -- one of which gutted a barn and killed two horses. Both will have their day in court. Sadly, and even though such cases are rare, in-house investigations come with the job of firefighting.

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