The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


June 21, 2014

Readers' Forum 6-21 | Veterans were not forgotten

JOHNSTOWN — This past Memorial Day, the members of the Conemaugh Valley Detachment Marine Corps League held a brief ceremony at the Iwo Jima monument, located at Main and Market streets across from City Hall in downtown Johnstown.

This granite monument was purchased by past members of the Marine Corps who served our country with pride, honor and commitment during World War II, many of them no longer with us. Some who are would be Jack Patterson, Robert Goas and Donald E. Meyers.

This monument was erected in 1946 to honor all Marines who served during this time and became part of The Greatest Generation.

There were previous ceremonies at this location, but this one was special. Upon arriving at the site, after having done ceremonies at Richland Woods nursing home, Sandyvale Cemetery and Jerome, our 20-some participants were quite thirsty. Since a sub shop was next door, I asked the manager if the shop would provide us with water.

After the ceremony, the manager invited all of us in for a complimentary lunch.

The manager prefers to remain anonymous. However, I have to mention Crystal, our server, who did a great job.

Dennis A. Pentrack

Conemaugh Valley Detachment 287, Marine Corps League

What went wrong with commission?

On June 15, the Westmont Hilltop Recreation Commission closed. While The Tribune-Democrat attempted to report facts, as director, I witnessed a year of egos, personal agendas and bad advice tear apart a 48-year partnership.

In February 2013, Southmont Borough requested a financial audit. Financials were processed monthly by a certified public accountant. The board thought an audit was wasteful spending. Southmont requested the audit or said it would pull out.

For eight months, Southmont audit discussions ended with the commission’s solicitor advising the board, “We don’t have a dog in this fight, you don’t have to do anything.” Unfortunately, those

that did have a dog in the fight were unaware of the problem. By October, and months of fighting, an audit was done. However, Southmont’s solicitor recommended the borough leave.

Enter the Westmont Hilltop school board. In January, the board sent notice it wanted out, demanding immediate closing of the rec and dissolution of assets. All programs were stopped. While stating its action was because of finances, board members were not given correct information, assumed wrongdoing occurred and possibly violated Pennsylvania Sunshine Laws.

For months, lawyers tried to resolve a convoluted mess with uncooperative clients, and for what? In the past three years, the rec showed a profit, expanded programs, created jobs and improved The Ridge and The Grove. Westmont Borough and Upper Yoder Township are financing a private commission, which contracted with the YMCA to pick up the pieces.

Unfortunately, until that puzzle is put together, our children and the community will bear the loss.

Fran Sivi

former Director, Westmont Hilltop Recreation Commission

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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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