The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


June 21, 2014

Laurels and barbs

JOHNSTOWN — Laurel: The nondescript parking meters in downtown Johnstown have been given a flowery makeover, thanks to the welding class at Greater Johnstown High School. The students are fabricating metal cages that surround the meters and support a bowl on top. The bowls are filled with flowers. We applaud the students and their sponsors.

Laurel: This laurel goes out to Emily Brazill and Angela Mosbrucker, both of Johnstown. They earned the distinction of being the only female caddies to work the course during the Sunnehanna Amateur Tournament for Champions. It truly no longer is a man’s world.

Barb: Suppose you’re too drunk to drive, but you need to get your car home. What do you do? What you don’t do is allow a 10-year-old boy to drive your car. But that’s allegedly what Michael Young of Johnstown did. City police charged him with endangering the welfare of children, reckless endangerment and general impairment. Next time, call a cab.

Barb: Tell us if this sounds familiar: An out-of-state driver gets pulled over on the turnpike, and drugs are found in the vehicle? Police stopped Tanisha Harris of New Jersey for driving with a suspended tag. During a search, they allegedly found 12,500 stamp bags of suspected heroin valued at $187,500.

Laurel: A marker was dedicated recently at the Harmony House in Geistown Borough to commemorate the role the home played in African-American history. The building was owned by William Slick and it was a stop along the Underground Railroad, which helped black slaves escape from their masters. Slick provided medical treatment to two black slaves until they were well enough to continue.

Laurel: A Pitt-Johnstown graduate has done what no one else has done. David Kot of Bedford County has created the first comic book superhero with autism. Kot, a mental health professional created Michael to help children with autism better understand their condition and also to help those around them cope. And Kot should know about what he writes. “A lot of people ask me if I am autistic,” he told our Randy Griffith. “The answer is, yes I am.”

Barb: A young girl who reportedly was wandering the 8th Ward neighborhood for hours was supposed to be in the care of an adult. Police said that Linda Cooper, in whose care the girl and three other related children were left, allegedly was too intoxicated to care for them. She was charged with reckless endangerment. And the children’s grandmother, who dropped the children off at Cooper’s home, also was charged with public drunkenness.

Laurel: A replica Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, the kind flown by Lt. Col. Boyd “Buzz” Wagner, will be installed this summer at the John Murtha-Cambria County Airport in Richland Township. The effort is being spearheaded by the Lt. Col. Boyd D. “Buzz” Wagner Chapter 221 of the Air Force Association. Already, $24,000 in donations and pledges have been received for the $48,000 project. Wagner, a graduate of Nanty Glo High School and who lived in Johns-town’s 8th Ward, became the nation’s first World War II flying ace when he shot down eight Japanese planes.

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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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