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Valley Laurels & Lances

| Friday, Jan. 12, 2007

Lance: To Deer Lakes School Board. When concerned parents attended Monday's board meeting to ask questions about the hiring of a new football coach, the board encouraged parents to attend an athletic committee meeting Wednesday to voice their opinions. But then the board refused to name the six candidates. So much for encouraging input.

About time: To Armstrong County. It is finally setting up a countywide computer network so that local police can download pictures of suspects and other information. It is one of only seven counties without the state JNET (Justice Network) access for local police. Currently, 911 dispatchers relay the information. But police officers in Apollo and Leechburg say they often go to nearby Westmoreland County police stations to get suspect pictures or submit descriptions of suspects to see if there are matches with recent arrests.

On the "Watch List": Port Authority bus cuts. We agree with those who ask why the transit authority doesn't try premium pricing for buses such as those from downtown to the airport instead of cutting them. Most of the commuter flyers from the Valley to Pittsburgh, for example, are set to be cut. But why not reduce the number of those flyers on a route if buses aren't full and ask riders to pay more• Many commuters would pay more -- to get to work quickly and avoid the cost of driving their own car and parking downtown.

Laurel: To getting involved. An Oakmont neighbor provided key information that led to the arrest of two Penn Hills men who broke into a house early Tuesday looking for drugs and money. With a description of the men and their car, police arrested the suspects in Plum. The Oakmont police chief said this was not a random break-in; the men hit this house for a specific reason. But the violence is still disturbing and we need the involvement of law-abiding citizens to stop it.

Question: How can PennDOT announce the Parnassus Triangle realignment is completed when traffic lights aren't operating and the roadway heading into New Kensington is a washboard• Think we'd hold off on that official release.

On the "Watch List": Harmar's new Giant Eagle xpress. The company is proposing the new concept store to replace the current full-service one at the same location. Lower Valley residents are anxiously watching because they don't want to lose their main stop for weekly groceries. Store officials say the xpress will have produce, a deli, a bakery, a prepared foods section and a drive-thru pharmacy, but only the most popular brands of items. Interesting idea.

Laurel: To the Valley's generosity. The Salvation Army's four local Red Kettle campaigns did very well, collecting over $157,000. The effort by volunteers and donors undoubtedly made the holiday a brighter one for many area families.

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