The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


October 13, 2012

Laurels and barbs

— Laurel: The West End Improvement Group is working to turn a rundown parking lot at Laurel Avenue and D Street into a space filled with vegetables, flowers and trees. The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies has contributed $2,000 to the project and Johnstown Wire Technologies has donated the land. Not only will the garden give the West End a more pleasant atmosphere, but the vegetables will go to help feed the needy.

Laurel: We expect to see judges in court, but not like this. Kudos to Cambria County Judge Linda Fleming for doing what she – like the rest of us – should do: Show up for jury duty when called. Though she wasn’t chosen to serve on a jury, Fleming set a great example for the rest of us.

Barb: Apparently, Carl Harris doesn’t listen very well, but Cambria County Prison employees do. Harris was hoping to get his bond reduced so he could get out of prison while awaiting trial for allegedly injuring his son. Instead, Judge Norman Krumenacker doubled it to $150,000 after hearing a recording in which Harris allegedly tries to get the baby’s mother to change her story and rob her grandmother for bond money. Not smart, considering prisoners are warned that their conversations are being recorded.

Laurel: Kristen Denne’s work with the Johnstown Police Department is drawing statewide notice. Denne, the city manager, has been nominated by Gov. Tom Corbett for a spot on the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission. That reflects well on Denne, the city police and Johnstown as a whole.

Barb: It’s a lesson that too many churches, charities and nonprofit agencies are learning the hard way: Never give one person too much power over finances. It’s one that allegedly cost Indiana County’s Church of the Resurrection $100,000. That’s how much police say Daniel Michael Yasick of Heilwood, the church’s business manager, stole from it between 2008 and 2011.

Laurel: At 29 years old, Justin Gillette remains razor sharp. The Goshen, Ind., man won his sixth Johns-town Marathon last weekend. He was one of 55 runners to finish the marathon while nearly 230 others finished the half marathon, 5K or 10K races.

Barb: It’s sad that nearly a half-century after the civil rights movement we still have cross burnings in this country. Ryan Held of Philipsburg pleaded guilty last week to two counts of interfering with housing after he burned a cross on a woman’s lawn in Clearfield County. Prosecutors say it was because the white woman had a black man living there. The 20-year-old could spend the next 10 years in prison because of his hatred and stupidity.

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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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