The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

November 29, 2012

Readers' Forum 11-29 | Volunteer drivers needed for cancer patients

Submitted by Readers

— Right now, someone in Cambria County is wondering how he or she is going to get to a cancer treatment appointment. People with cancer have so many hurdles to overcome in order to defeat this overwhelming disease. For some, one of those hurdles is a lack of transportation to their life-saving cancer treatment. Luckily, there is something many of us can do to help.

I am a Road to Recovery volunteer driver. I help to provide free transportation to cancer-related medical appointments for people in our local communities. This is a way to give back and help our own community while offering support with a smile.

The demand for the Road to Recovery program in Cambria County is at an all-time high. Our current volunteers are so dedicated but are struggling to meet this great need.

As a volunteer, I am asking that others consider becoming a driver. It is a simple way to make a huge, positive impact on a person’s life.

In order to become a driver, an individual must have a current driver’s license, proof of auto insurance, a safe vehicle, clear a Department of Motor Vehicles criminal background check and complete a short orientation class. Drivers determine their own availability and can always turn down ride requests.

Anyone who is interested in volunteering for this program should call Emily Lloyd at the American Cancer Society, 695-9232, to learn more about this wonderful opportunity.

Lyn Garbarino

President of Volunteer Leadership Council, American Cancer Society

Special-interest groups and PACs in control

As we sit here post-elections, we are at an impasse regarding our nation’s future and its economy. These are critical and perilous times.

We, as a country, are more divided than ever and, if we don’t soon find a solution, we are destined for economic collapse.

The truth is that we are so controlled by special-interest groups and political action committees that it has paralyzed our country.

For example, on the Republican side, why is it that virtually every politician signs a pledge orchestrated by an extremist – Grover Norquist – that they will never raise taxes, under any circumstances?

Who is Norquist to command this position of authority?

By the way, this pledge is about 20 years old. Why is our country held hostage to this and other special-interest groups when deciding to raise taxes, cut spending or limit deductions?

Are we not a free country?

The bottom line is that our leaders must take control of our destiny and do what’s in the best interest for our future.

It’s time for our elected officials to come forward and lead. If the leaders in Congress, such as Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi refuse to do so, only we, as voters, can take action. Write your congressman to begin a petition to force bipartisan compromise.

The time for action is now.

John Washko


By choosing big gov’t, we give up liberties

At a time when China is prospering by choosing capitalism over communism, and Europe is struggling to survive socialism, why would Americans vote for socialism? Do we want to be another Greece? By choosing big government, Americans are giving up individual liberties.

I’ve experienced the fear, observed the poverty and learned the limitations of big government in communist countries. In the Ukraine, for example, after church, a woman lifted her arms to heaven and exclaimed to me, “Under communism, I had one cow and the government took it from me; now I can have 20 cows and they are all mine.”

Thomas Jefferson said, “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”

It is capitalism that has made the United States the greatest nation in all of history. It is capitalism that allows individual freedoms. Under capitalism, every American has opportunities to rise economically and socially.

Under socialism and communism, everyone is kept at the same level. In time that level becomes extremely low when the government runs out of money. The top 1 percent is destroyed. Then the government receives no tax income.

In America, anyone can become a millionaire. The politicians and celebrities who have become rich under capitalism are the ones who want socialism.

Instead of choosing the moral, virtuous, successful capitalist for president, Americans, ignoring $16 trillion of debt, have chosen bankruptcy and our downfall.

Ann Mazur


Applauding Conemaugh Valley’s choices                                                                                     I am writing this in response to the Readers’ Forum letter on Nov. 17 by Len Facciani regarding “School-bidding plan shuts out local business.”

While it is true that the Conemaugh Valley School District has entered into a Project Stabilization Agreement with the Johnstown Building and Construction Trades Council, it does not limit bidding to union companies only.

The agreement was signed in order to assure the timely and economical completion of the project and to establish and stabilize wages, hours and working conditions for the workers, whether employed by union or nonunion contractors. Employees are required to have OSHA 10 training to ensure safety on the job site.

Employers must participate in a state or federal apprenticeship training program, which means the workers will be skilled and qualified to perform the job. Employers are also required to provide a medical and pension plan and provide proof that they pay workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.

The Project Stabilization Agreement also states the contractor will exert its utmost efforts to provide highly skilled craft people from the residents of the Conemaugh Valley School District or local area.

I work for a company that will be bidding on three of the packages and we employ several workers who live in the Conemaugh Valley district.

I think the Conemaugh Valley school board should be applauded for making the decision to protect and provide a high quality job for their district.

Greater Johnstown High School work was performed under this same agreement and the job was a complete success.

Michael Pasquerilla


Cambria commissioner betrayed residents

Who Douglas Lengenfelder voted for in this past election was a personal matter, but as a Cambria County commissioner, he betrayed the citizens of the county, including those in Johnstown, by publicly endorsing for Congress Keith Rothfus instead of Mark Critz, a resident of Johnstown and Cambria County, whom Lengenfelder is supposed to be representing.

Lengenfelder is a traitor to the citizens of Cambria County and should resign his position immediately.

In Critz, we’ve had a congressman who has worked hard for the county in which he lives. He would never have betrayed his constituents like Lengenfelder has done.

When Lengenfelder was elected, I was glad to see a fellow veteran get into office. I have changed my mind.

One thing local residents can count on is that Rothfus will not again set foot in Cambria County until the next election.

To betray the citizens of Cambria County is despicable.

I will do my best the next election to try and convince everyone I can to throw Lengenfelder out of office.

Warren L. McKinney


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