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THIS IS CRUNCH TIME

for many high school seniors, the time of year when colleges send out their admissions decisions. A thick packet usually means yes, a thin envelope, no. Either way, the answer is followed by a period of serious planning for the future. The students who choose to attend one of the 14 schools in Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education won't have to worry about hitting the books on time in the fall. The system's board of governors and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties approved a new, four-year contract. That averted a strike and officially ended the longest faculty labor dispute in the system's three-decade history, a period of uncertainty.

UNCERTAINTY IS NOT good for any organization, and that's certainly true of Pittsburgh Public Schools. Fortunately, board members voted on March 20 to award superintendent Linda Lane a new contract that will keep her on the job through June 30, 2016. She became superintendent Jan. 1, 2011, and that contract would have expired Jan. 16, 2014, but board members -- except for Mark Brentley Sr., who votes against just about everything, and Regina Holley, who abstained -- wanted to hang on to Ms. Lane. No wonder. She has been credited with sound fiscal management and careful educational stewardship in the district. Her new appointment is good for Pittsburgh and its children.

DOING RIGHT by veterans advanced last week, too, when VA officials explained what they are doing to prevent another outbreak of Legionnaires' disease at Veterans Affairs buildings in Oakland and near Aspinwall. A new attitude was in evidence as VA officials told the Post-Gazette's Sean Hamill about changes they have made to water purification systems on the heels of an outbreak that sickened 21 patients and killed five in 2011 and 2012. The VA added more water testing and treatment, is spending $10 million to install new valves on shower heads and faucets -- where bacteria often grow -- and another $750,000 to find sources of stagnant water within the system. In addition, when patients are found to have Legionnaires', an additional test will be done to determine if they contracted the disease inside the VA's facilities. These changes are vital in providing the best health care for the region's veterans.

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