The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


February 6, 2013

Readers' Forum 2-6 | Walnut Grove residents fear asbestos

— Having read the article concerning the burned Maple Park school building, I am compelled to write.

Once again, I feel that Walnut Grove is the forgotten neighborhood in this city. I understand the demolition cost is significant. Yet, I wonder if it would be different if some of those in the city making the decisions lived in this area, as I have since childhood.

Asbestos is a concern for those of us living here. Is there a danger to us and our families since, obviously, what was once contained inside walls and ceilings is now exposed?

With all due respect to the gentleman representing the city stating that he has buildings that are ready to collapse that must come first, has he looked across the street from this burned-out building? If so, he’d have seen the multiple-car garage that is being supported by 2-by-4s and no longer has a roof due to its collapse.

Or maybe they should walk just one-half block up Jacoby Street to Buck Avenue and look at the lovely, abandoned homes that grace that street.

The one good thing is the city codes officer does answer complaints and does all he can to resolve the problems.

Maybe others should take note of that next time they ask why people are moving out of the city.

There are lots of neighborhoods that need attention. I think that asbestos is as threatening to residences as possible collapses.

Toni Illuzzi

Walnut Grove

Global warming piece poorly researched

Jim Scofield has become a frequent flyer of the Editorial Page in The Tribune-Democrat, with approximately a third of the page dedicated to his topic du jour.

While the columnist tends to put it all out there, he is, in some cases, sadly          misguided and reliant on less-than-credible sources.

Witness to this is a recent piece on global warming. Embarrassingly, he directly attributes 13,200 deaths per year to coal-powered electric generating plants.

Aside from the fact that he cites the Clean Air Task Force and the National Resources Defense Council, entities worthy of extra vetting, there is absolutely no empirical evidence of this too-often cited “fact.”

During recent congressional hearings, Environmental Protection Agency administrators were asked to produce just one death certificate that attributed demise to fossil fuel energy production. EPA was unable to produce one.

Further, Congressman Andy Harris of Maryland, a physician, called into question health statistics of all kinds utilized by the EPA. No meaningful answers were provided by EPA.

Scofield then broadens his horizons by stating that the “industry is more devoted to profit than safety and jobs, much less our climate.” Really?

That borders on institutional libel. I am convinced that many industry representatives and tens of thousands of employees could easily recite examples where worker safety prevailed over production.

Space does not permit a proper rebuttal to this column. Scofield, please research your topics more thoroughly the next time.

Perhaps English literature rather than science.

Dennis Simmers


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