The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 10, 2013

Readers' Forum 4-10 | Another attack on American way of life?

Submitted by Readers

— I read with amazement the articles in Sunday’s Tribune-Democrat concerning the proposed death of cursive writing. The newest national education standard no longer requires it.

It may be exaggerating a little to say this is just one more attack on the American way of life, but think about it.

As electronic devices continue to evolve, will it no longer be necessary to teach the alphabet? As the up-and-coming generation begins taking over business and banking, will it be necessary for us old-timers to revert to our first-grade block printing so our “written” word can be understood?

Will a person’s signature lose all legal meaning?

I realize that it is important to prepare students for the electronic age, but should it be at the expense of other necessary skills?

Barry J. Orner


Coach Matsko was one of a kind

Coach Mike Matsko of Salix/Sidman died on March 21 at the age of 91, but his spirit lives on. He was a devoted family man, teacher, coach and community leader.

My dad died when I was 11 years old and coach Matsko took over a big part of my life at that very needy time. He was the leader of our Little League Baseball program in Salix, Sidman and St. Michael. Coach Matsko was the organizer (general manager), equipment manager, umpire and coach for all four teams. No parents were involved, other than our mothers cleaning those heavy, wool uniforms.

On our first day of practice, we all cleaned the field and kept it that way all season long. We learned a lot of baseball, and some of the boys went on to be all-star players in high school and college.

The names are many, but a few I remember are the Poldiak boys, Sivec, Slonac, Danel, Bailey, Kushner, Nalepa, Drobnick, Bertolino, Nagy, Matsko, Meyers and many others.

I was never that good, but it didn’t matter because coach Matsko treated everyone alike. He taught us, disciplined us, laughed  with us and, most importantly, he loved us.

He truly was a one-of-a-kind man who gave greatly to his community. I thank God that he was a big part of my life and the lives of hundreds of boys in that area in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.    

Pat Walsh

Friedens, formerly of Sidman

Is Murtha statue newest thing for city?

Random thoughts.

I toured Johnstown the other day, and the only thing that I saw new in town is John Murtha’s statue.

Westmont Hilltop school taxes are the greatest threat to the future of the Westmont school district. Property values have tanked largely due to excessive school property taxes that can approach the cost of mortgage payments.

At a very minimum, the school-tax rates in the Westmont school district should not be any higher than millage rates in the Richland district.

Restoring the market value of homes in Westmont by making its school taxes competitive with other, nearby school districts would ensure a steady tax-revenue stream for the district’s schools.

Property taxes should be abolished entirely. Since the Pennsylvania Constitution is the guarantor of only an “adequate” public education, the state should be the one to administer tax resources equally to all districts.

“Adequate” also means no frills. If someone wants a good or excellent education, let them pay for it themselves.

The idea that our youth deserve an excellent education at the expense of taxpayers is a myth propagated by those who want more than their fair share of our taxes under the guise of educational fairness.

President Obama could cut the cost of gasoline in half by simply approving the Keystone XL Pipeline. Instead, he supports green-energy companies run by his pals that are a waste of hundreds of billions of our tax dollars.

Obamacare is now underfunding chem-otherapy for seniors with cancer under Medicare. Can you spell death panels?

Dr. Bill Choby


On city pick, judges must keep open minds

Regarding city Councilman Pete Vizza’s comments in the April 4 article “Council still deadlocked on open seat”:

“I have enough faith in the court to see what we saw. I’m confident that they’ll make a good decision,” Vizza said.

So, does Vizza have some kind of insight on whom the judge(s) will pick? Or is he saying the decision has already been made?

Who is he to suggest who will fill the position?

Hopefully, the judge(s) will make this decision without any bias.

Jerica Goss


Assault weapons banned for hunting

Keeping the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in mind, do readers know that the use of assault weapons for hunting is illegal?

Mmm, just a thought.

Leonard Krivac


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