Valley Laurels & Lances
Laurel: To New Kensington officials and community members. This was the second straight year that Halloween trick-or-treating went off without a hitch thanks to the efforts of city officials, police and dozens of community members. Block watch and Crime Watch groups were out in force, as were police and firefighters, to make sure the kids had a safe, fun time.
Lance: To the New Kensington vandals. First you damaged the restrooms at Memorial Park. Then you burned the portable toilet being used while city officials spent time and taxpayer money to fix the bathrooms you vandalized. Apparently not satisfied, you finally burned down the restrooms this week. Here’s to hoping the county jail has a cell without “facilities” waiting for you.
Laurel: To the 12-year-old girl who saw an attempted abduction in Arnold and reported the incident. Not only that, she had the presence of mind to remember key details about the suspect and his vehicle that police hope will lead to the arrest of someone who might be responsible for similar incidents across the region. You’re an example everyone should follow.
Lance: To Blawnox Council. If the mayor and council members are not careful, they soon could find themselves charged with engaging in official oppression. They’ve launched a campaign to discredit activists who have the temerity to question their representatives and hold them accountable. That’s a bunker mentality that’s going to cost Blawnox dearly, in reputation and in dollars.
On the “Watch List”: West Penn Allegheny Health System. Restructuring expenses forced the region’s second-largest health system to post a nearly $90 million operating loss for the fiscal year. It’s also eliminating hundreds of jobs. It’s sobering news in challenging times. That said, the parent firm of Allegheny General Hospital still plans to open nearly 100 new patient rooms at AGH and expand its off-campus offerings. That’s encouraging. But whether the coming year represents a watershed or a waterfall remains to be seen.