The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


November 23, 2013

Laurels and barbs

JOHNSTOWN — Laurel: Birthday wishes go out to a local church. The congregation of the Third Brethren Church, in the West End section of Johnstown, celebrated the church’s 90th anniversary recently. The church traces its roots to 1885, when worshippers met in a home, and eventually settled at its current location on Spring Street in 1923. The celebration included the ringing of the church’s bell, which had been silent because of a broken rope. We hope the worshippers can ring in many more memorable events.

Laurel: We’re glad to see that a local business will still be blooming. George Griffith, owner of the Flower Barn, was about to auction off a portion of his business and consolidate operations into one location. But in an 11th hour move, Griffith offered the business to two long-time employees, Joan Hoobler and Luci Wagner, who jumped at the opportunity. We want to keep as many businesses in the Greater Johnstown area as we can, and we’re pleased that a deal could be worked out.

Barb: It’s despicable how some people try to profit off someone else’s loss. Donations for Joseph Varmecky, whose Upper Yoder Township home and business burned on Oct. 28, were being collected through a Johnstown post office box address until postal officials closed the box. Now, two local businesses are collecting donations legitimately for the victim. They are Northwest Savings Bank and Bantly Hardware, both in Johnstown. We’re glad that respectable businesses are involved to help Varmecky.

Laurel: Three Pennsylvania State Police troopers have been recognized for their efforts to rid the highways of drunken driv-ers. Trooper Thomas J. Williams of the Ebensburg barracks and Troopers Chad D. Corbett and Scott M. Smith of the Indiana barracks received the Pennsylvania Driving Under the Influence Association’s DUI Top Gun Awards. We appreciate the efforts of these three hardworking individuals.

Laurel: An important piece of Johnstown’s history, which had been shuttered for the past two decades, has opened its doors to visitors. This past Sunday, about 100 people toured the 150-year-old Cambria Blacksmith Shop, where massive machines pounded out parts for Johnstown’s steel plants. “This shop is one of the most significant industrial heritage sites remaining in the United States,” said Johnstown Area Heritage Association President Richard Burkert. “And it’s still intact.” It’s our hope that more people take advantage of observing

Johnstown’s treasured past before it’s lost.

Barb: The skies over Richland Township may be glowing brighter now that Richland Township supervisors are closer to approving an electric billboard regulation. The latest amendment would set dusk-to-dawn brightness levels, which is hoped to make the signs less of a roadside distraction. That’s the good news. The bad is that these new signs will be added to the multitude of traditional billboards that dot the township. Perhaps the supervisors should consider a rule stating that for every electronic billboard erected, two traditional billboards must be removed.

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