The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

June 29, 2013

Readers' Forum 6-29 | JSO sharing talents, bringing joy to Kernville

Submitted by Readers

— A wonderful thing happened in the Kernville section of Johnstown on the evening of June 25. Musicians from the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra (JSO), demonstrating violins, cello, percussion and wind instruments gathered with children from the community to “share the music.” What an outpouring of joy.

The children were enthralled as musicians demonstrated their instruments.

They were encouraged to beat out rhythms on a variety of drums, tambourines and bongos.

They had the opportunity to learn about specific instruments that they individually had a desire to play, and they had the chance to try out the instruments under the expert guidance of a JSO member.

It was a delightful event. About 20 children attended, as did their parents. The project is a cooperative venture of the JSO, Christ Centered Community Church and Goodwill Good Mentoring programs. It demonstrated that folks could join together to begin something wonderful to strengthen our community and nurture an appreciation of music and the arts.

Maestro Istvan Jaray was ragging on a keyboard, while the children pounded on their drums, making a joyful sound.

Kudos to the Rev. Sylvia King for encouraging parents and children to take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity. And a special thank you to the JSO musicians who so graciously volunteered to become involved in this very special music-development program.

Great things are happening in Kernville.

I can’t wait to hear the music.

Donna Gambol


Johnstown Rotary Club

Free parking is key to reviving downtown

The city of Johnstown’s parking meters are a joke. Meter the entire city and exactly what is the revenue? Paying the salaries and benefits of meter maids has to make the system a losing proposition.

We are trying to get new businesses to restore the downtown to a bustling shopping place. Why not make use of the lot between Washington and Locust streets where the parking garage once stood? Ask several businesses to go in on a venture where customers who visit their establishments park free on the lot.  This is better than having meter maids pouncing the minute a meter runs out. That is a good way to encourage people to come downtown – not.

There are new businesses downtown, such as The Vault Salon and Spa, R.J.’s Cafe and Lounge, Rocco’s Submarine Sandwiches and the Press, and American Eagle is fairly new. If we provide parking so people can utilize these places, it brings more revenue downtown.

City leaders can’t see their faces through their greed. Let’s work together to again make downtown a bustling place.

On another topic, the new sewage-billing procedure is a big hoax. Go back to the old system, which worked just fine.

Keep politics out of managing the city. Do what’s right for the majority, and not for just the few who profit from these actions.

Doris Layton



Emissions-testing fee is discriminatory

Why am I being punished for living in Cambria County?

I live about a half-mile from Somerset County, and have to have my cars’ emissions systems tested every year at a cost of up to $50 per car. People in the bordering county do not have to have this done. Why do I?

Is there some kind of dome around Cambria County that keeps the emissions out? Does anyone have an answer? We Cambria County vehicle owners should write our government officials and  stop this rip-off. This is a discriminatory act.

Fred Beppler


Parking ticket refund could soothe ill feeling

Gentlemen, just a thought to use your contacts with the city to help the woman who got a parking ticket before the Thunder in the Valley event and who had such negative feelings about same (Renee A. Hale, June 26, “Thunder a pox upon Johnstown”).

Arrange to have her get a refund for the parking ticket. Normally I would say people should pay their tickets and not gripe about it, but obviously there were special circumstances. Perhaps this gesture would assuage her feelings about what has become mostly a positive for the area.

Thanks for your attention. 

Mary Ann Peretin DeRosa

St. Michael

Uncut grass and weeds more than eyesores

The accumulation of unwholesome matter and tall grass and weeds not only makes a neighborhood unsightly, but it might also attract vermin, create a fire hazard and endanger public health.

Police officers and zoning officers have a duty to enforce local ordinances. It’s their jobs.

John Collins

Dale Borough

Landlord: I’m having trouble satisfying city

I am one of the three landlords who was picked to work with the city last year when officials were trying to come up with a landlord and tenant ordinance. I can’t help but feel now that the city is out to get me.

We met with city officials for more than 20 hours trying to come up with a compromise between landlords and the city. In the end, city officials did not listen to a thing we said and went ahead and approved the ordinance.

I am writing this letter after reaching out many times to the city for assistance and getting no response. I am at wit’s end with a city that is trying to push me, not only out of business but also out of town.

There is an employee who is constantly filing charges against me, calling me and harassing me. He even made a U-turn in his car to follow me.

I am accused of not doing what he wants. I have abided by his every request, but it never seems to satisfy him.

As a taxpaying citizen and landlord in the city, I have no problem abiding by any requests from the city or from any of my tenants.

I am one of Johnstown’s decent landlords. I own a lot of properties that I not only maintain to the city’s standards, but to my own standards.

I am reaching out one last time to ask the city to please have someone come and talk to me and to assess the situation and try to reach some sort of solution.

I am sure that I am not the only landlord the city is harassing. The city needs to realize that if you chase all the good landlords out, who will be left?

Gary Muller


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