The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

June 22, 2013

Laurels and barbs

The Tribune-Democrat

JOHNSTOWN — Laurel: Music is meant to be shared. Whether it’s a masterful performance by a symphony, a hard-rocking anthem on a guitar or a soul-filled blues number, musical talents should be enjoyed by others. That’s why we applaud the Share-the-Music initiative undertaken by the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra, Christ Centered Church and Goodwill Industries of the Conemaugh Valley. The groups are seeking donations of instruments to use in free classes for children, which will be taught by local instructors. Information on the program can be obtained by calling Brooke Welsh, the symphony’s executive director, at 535-6738.

Laurel: Feeling ambitious about exercise this summer? How bout a bike ride from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. It’s possible with the last segment of the 141-mile Great Allegheny Passage now open. It’s actually been open for about a month, but the completion was celebrated with a ceremony a week ago in Pittsburgh. The trail from Pittsburgh to Cumberland passes through Somerset County and then links with the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath. All told, it’s possible to bike the 330 miles between the cities.

Barb: Vandalism always leaves us scratching our heads. Even for a juvenile mind, what kind of joy can be derived from the destruction of a priceless relic? That’s what happened last week, when a vandal threw a rock through a 168-year-old stained-glass window at Christ Casebeer Lutheran Church near Somerset. The window likely cannot be replaced or restored to its original condition. What a shame.

Laurel: Residents in southern Somerset County got some good news this week, as Conemaugh Health System announced that a $4 million, 12,000-square-foot facility at Meyersdale Medical Center should be open by the fall of 2014. Practices will be consolidated in the new location, which will house primary-care physicians and specialists.

Laurel: Ham radio operators don’t get much glory, but we’re glad that they continue to pursue their passion. This weekend is the Cambria Radio Club’s field day, and it’s encouraging to know that the amateur radio operators are out there and would be able to step in should our current methods of communication fail.

Barb: The lengths – and depths – that people will go in pursuit of money never fails to amaze us. Unfortunately, we were reminded of that again this week as Lackawanna County District Attorney Andy Jarbola accused a mother there of allowing her 32-year-old son with Down syndrome to die from neglect. Jarbola said that Susan Gensiak and her daughters, Joan and Rebekah, were worried about losing his government assistance if he was placed in a personal care home. Instead, Robert Gensiak weighed just 69 pounds and his body was covered with open sores and scabies when he died in March. What a deplorable situation.

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