The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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October 6, 2012

Laurels and barbs

— Laurel: Louis Lipps continues to deliver. The former Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro wide receiver helped raise $21,000 for the Flight 93 Memorial Fund. A celebrity golf outing held Sept. 9 in Somerset raised $10,500. That amount will be matched dollar for dollar through a partnership between Alcoa Foundation and the National Park Foundation. Lipps has now raised more than $43,000 for the memorial.

Barb: Drunken driving is criminal and dangerous. Drunken driving with a       4-year-old perched precariously on the gas tank of a motorcycle? That’s despicable. We hope that at some point during the one- to 23-month jail sentence that Jeremy Richard Irons will be required to serve that he comes to realize the error of his ways. Irons’ first two DUI convictions obviously didn’t accomplish that.

Laurel: No local schools were able to claim gold, but 11 schools in Cambria and Somerset counties received bronze awards for academic excellence from U.S. News & World Report. Cambria County’s Blacklick Valley, Ferndale Area, Richland, Greater Johnstown, Conemaugh Valley and Portage Area high schools were recognized, as were Somerset County’s Berlin Brothersvalley, Conemaugh Township Area, Shade-Central City and Windber Area. The top schools were determined by a process that analyzes how schools are educating all of their students, then the minority and disadvantaged students and, lastly, the college-bound.

Barb: We know the damage that illegal drugs can do to a person’s cognitive abilities. Maybe that explains why state police were so easily able to capture two men they say stole from a Somerset Township church in order to buy drugs. Somerset residents Ian James Koval and Woodrow Douglas Engle III, both 27, allegedly broke into the Somerset Church of the Brethren and managed to lock themselves in the church’s office. Then, police said, one of the burglars used his own credit card to unlock a door and let it behind, making it easy to track him down.

Laurel: Emergencies often bring out the best in people, whether it’s another human being or an animal in danger. That appears to be the case in Ligonier Township, where dozens of volunteers worked for hours to rescue a calf that had fallen into an old mine shaft. Firefighters and animal-welfare officials used an excavator to help pull the animal out of a 16-foot-deep hole on Monday, according to WTAE-TV.

Barb: The news coming out of an Altoona personal care home is frightening. The owner and two aides at Warner’s Home for the Aged have been charged in the November death of Kenneth McGuire. The 80-year-old reportedly was covered in dried feces, soaked with urine and appeared to have not been bathed in several days when he was admitted to a hospital. We entrust personal care homes with our loved ones because we can no longer provide the proper care for them. Charges such as these, if proven, are truly appalling.

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