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Greensburg Laurels & Lances

| Friday, Nov. 19, 2010

On the "Watch List": Jeannette Council members. It's not entirely reassuring that the city's preliminary 2011 budget toes the line on taxes. Certainly not after this year's supposed "balanced" budget came up more than $430,000 short. Yes, Jeannette's leaders are now working with outside consultants to shore up the city's finances. But fiscal optimism for the distressed city is in short supply.

Lance: To "cash cow" school renovations. At a recently renovated Hempfield elementary school, where the district paid an additional $8,500 for smoke detectors -- which should have been included in the original job plans but weren't -- comes a $7,500 bill for new gutters to mitigate water damage. And how did a suitable gutter design fall through the cracks when the project was mapped out• There's nothing like having a big, fat public purse to tap even after the project is supposedly completed.

Lance: To those who spread hate. Spewing racial epithets in spray-painted graffiti is bad enough. Doing so on the front of the First Antioch Baptist Church in Greensburg is an atrocity. Any community that turns a blind eye to such injurious invectives invites more. That's resolve enough to catch the paint-happy miscreants.

Two observations:

• Brandon G. Behie, 25, will serve five to 15 years in prison for a car wreck in Ligonier Township that killed a Somerset County teen. But the nightmare that faces Mr. Behie, who authorities said was legally intoxicated behind the wheel, will be a life sentence. "If only the public could learn from this," remarked Judge Rita Hathaway. Sadly, most people don't.

• In support of union members of Excela Health Frick Hospital, who have rejected a three-year contract, Mt. Pleasant Mayor Gerald Lucia said the borough would send a letter to hospital management. Among workers' gripes is that long-term staffers, who now get free medical prescriptions through the hospital, were asked to pay 25 percent of that cost. Horrors! To whom will the mayor write if Excela Health deems that the unions' demands prohibit the continuation of cost-effective hospital operations?

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