The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


March 31, 2013

Readers' Forum 3-31 | Does Westmont really need three schools?

— The following is directed at the Westmont Hilltop school board.

Specialty Castings in Moxham is closing and more than 100 employees will lose their jobs.

The reason that I feel compelled to make this point directly to the school board is because I am not sure the directors know what is happening off this hill.

I don’t want to shock them, but Bethlehem Steel Corp. is no longer here. U.S. Steel Corp. is gone. As is the National Drug Intelligence Center, Bali Bra Manufacturing Co. Inc., Sani-Dairy, the car shops, many coal mines and many more businesses and industries.

The population of the Greater Johnstown area has dropped dramatically, and the tax base, even in the Westmont school district, is shrinking. Given that the student population in Westmont is probably half of what it was in the 1960s, maybe it’s time to look at the need for three schools.

The middle school is turning into a money pit, and there may be enough room in the two other schools to house all of the students.

The “For Sale” sign has become the district’s official spring flower. There are more and more rental properties and more empty houses than ever.

The revenue from property taxes will go down as property values go down.

After 25 years of raising school property taxes, I am happy that taxes were not raised last year. But I am afraid that it is way too little and way too late.

Ken Kopco


Free concert strikes chord with youth

What a wonderful gesture having a free Young People’s Concert performed by the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra for various schoolchildren.

I have never met Maestro Istvan Jaray, but I have been to symphony performances he has conducted. His love and sharing of music with the younger people, as well of us of other generations, comes through with such enthusiasm.

There is a saying by an unknown author that “Music washes the soul from the dust of everyday living.”

Thank you to the many who made this concert happen.

Jane Rohal


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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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