The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


February 8, 2014

Laurels and barbs

JOHNSTOWN — Laurel: Art Works soon will be awash in plant life. Thanks to a $212,500 state grant, planners hope to plant a rooftop garden atop the Cambria City arts center this summer. Drought-resistant sedum plants and other greenery adorning the 18,000-square-foot former industrial structure’s roof will be watered via Mother Nature. The garden also will offer a patio for social events. We give two green thumbs up to a worthy project.

Laurel: We congratulate Ligonier Valley High School for being placed in the top 50 high schools in the Pittsburgh region regarding SAT scores for 2013. The Rams ranked 11th with a score of 1,587, compared with top-rated Upper St. Clair in suburban Pittsburgh with a score of 1,736. Kudos to the teachers and administrators for putting an emphasis on education.

Barb: What was he thinking? Upon allegedly backing into another vehicle in Lower Yoder Township, former Johnstown Mayor Thomas Trigona handed his business card to the other driver instead of exchanging insurance and vehicle registration information. Trigona also allegedly told the other driver to call the mayor’s office to have the matter “taken care of.” West Hills Regional Police saw no humor in Trigona’s actions and charged him with leaving an accident without notifying authorities.

Barb: Once again, nonresidents of the city of Johnstown will be forced into taxation without representation via the earned-income tax, commonly known as the commuter tax. Cambria County President Judge Timothy Creany, Judge David Tulowitzki and Senior Judge F. Joseph Leahy were swayed by testimony from city officials stating the tax is “absolutely critical to balance its budget.” The tax will take about $50 a year out of the wallets of nonresidents. Since they are so quick to rubber-stamp the levy every year, perhaps the three judges wouldn’t object to coughing up $50 each to help the city.

Laurel: Area young people who may be without supervision during evening hours now have a “safe haven” to go to. Fitness Weights & Aerobics, 110 Franklin St., will expand its after-school program with a myriad of activities from 6 to 9 p.m. The youth can exercise on the gym’s equipment, play pool or table tennis or complete their homework at a specified area with computer access. Oscar Cashaw, the gym’s co-owner, said he expects attendance to swell from the current 20 to 30 kids a day once the program gets off its feet.

Laurel: Local native Zak Ciotti’s emotions were sky-high after he learned that his lighthearted

30-second informational spot, “Weather Facts,” won an Emmy for Best Promo Campaign in the 28th Midsouth Emmy Awards recently. Ciotti, a 29-year-old senior marketing producer for WNCN in Raleigh, N.C., was raised in the Moxham section of Johnstown. The communications and film production major’s career choice emerged while he was working part time at a Utah TV news station.

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