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Greensburg Laurels & Lances

On the “Watch List”:

• Westmoreland County’s 2015 budget. It’s as traditional as yesterday’s Thanksgiving turkey: a preliminary $340 million spending plan with a projected $15 million deficit. And once again, the county doesn’t have the luxury of time to get its fiscal house in order. That means dipping into a surplus fund, which someday isn’t going to be able to fully absorb the shortfall. Trimming the deficit should be a year-round priority, not a year-end scramble.

• The SCI Greensburg sale. Set at a minimum bid of $860,000, the former state prison’s sale almost 17 months after it closed has drawn considerable optimism. But no one’s addressing the white elephant behind the barbed wire. Namely, what else could be done with the Hempfield facility besides using it as a prison? Or will this become the next “economic-develop” sinkhole for state assistance? Stay tuned.

Lance: To animal abuse. For the second time this month, a pet owner faces animal cruelty charges for abandoning his dog. Robert F. Hauser of Armstrong County allegedly starved and dumped his boxer-mix dog in the woods in Mt. Pleasant Township. Nicole L. Baker of Hempfield faces similar charges for leaving her collie mix in a garbage can. Such disregard is inexcusable, given readily available resources for pet owners. But will common sense ever penetrate the mindset that mistreats animals? Probably not.


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