The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

December 1, 2012

Laurels and barbs

The Tribune-Democrat

— Laurel: Sheetz has often been voted among the best places to work in the region, thanks in large part to the way the convenience store chain takes care of its employees. The company’s new “Schwellness” center in Blair County will help those employees take care of themselves a bit better. The center, in a partnership with Marathon Health, will use medical staff to provide individual health and wellness coaching to employees and their eligible dependents. It’s not a novel idea – others in the area, including Conemaugh Health System, have similar options for employees – but we think it is a swell – or is that schwell? – idea.

Barb: Teachers are supposed to be role models, but not in the kind of behavior allegedly demonstrated by James C. Summers. The Freedom Area High School teacher was allegedly caught on a hidden video camera crushing and inhaling a pill and preparing a crushed pill for a student in his office. The Beaver County man is charged with corruption of minors and drug use.

Laurel: Ed Stetz is already a legend in these parts. Now, the Cambria County Athletic Hall of Fame member will join some other huge names in the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference Football Legends class. The honor is well-deserved, as the Greater Johnstown High School graduate put up some truly eye-popping defensive numbers while playing linebacker at Wake Forest from 1968-71.

Laurel: The Autism Task Force at St. Francis University is making sure that Santa Claus is a bit more accessible for autistic children. The group will hold a Sensitive Santa event at the DiSepio Institute on the Loretto campus from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 8. Parents can reserve a time slot for a special-needs child by calling 472-2792 or emailing

Barb: Nearly a year after Johnstown’s City Council passed a controversial law regarding inspection of local rental properties, the law continues to be a problem. It is estimated that a third of the city’s 1,100 rental properties still have not been registered. And council members have not been able to reach a conclusion on how the ordinance – which was enacted in order to cut down on blight – can fairly be enforced.

Laurel: Sandwiched in between the massive shopping days that are Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it might have been easy to miss Small Business Saturday. We hope you didn’t. We love the idea of supporting the small businesses that are such a large part of our region, both in terms of what they offer for consumers and what they provide to the local economy. We urge readers to take advantage of our local shops again and again, not just during the holiday season, but all year long.

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