The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


March 22, 2014

Laurels and barbs

JOHNSTOWN — Laurel: Kudos to YWCA Greater Johnstown for once again helping Cinderellas get to their ball. The service organization, through its Cinderella Project, provides formal finery to girls who might not otherwise be able to afford prom attire. “It’s that stand-in-front-of-the-mirror moment ... where they feel that they are pretty, that they are beautiful, and they walk out with a sense of self-esteem and self-confidence that maybe they didn’t have with them when they came in the door,” Megan Livingston, project coordinator, said. We salute the YWCA and the businesses and organizations for getting involved in such a worthy endeavor.

Laurel: Cambria County 4-H put its members on ice – literally. The youth development organization held its annual skating party, which kicks off the club’s activities for the year. Young people of all skating levels took part, encouraged by several members of the Johnstown Tomahawks. “I just think it’s a blast, seeing everyone smile and just meeting new kids,” said Tomahawk Tommy Hall.

Laurel: Filling out your tax returns doesn’t have to be that taxing. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program at Mount Aloysius College is offering help through the end of March to people of low to moderate income. Accounting majors and master of business administration grad students with IRS certification prepare the tax returns at no cost. “We’re glad to be able to offer this service to the community,” college President Tom Foley said. And we’re sure the community appreciates the gesture.

Barb: Windber Borough Municipal Authority is trying to keep its head above water. It wanted to refurbish the borough’s swimming pool, but Mother Nature apparently pulled a fast one. A valve on the pool broke, causing water to slowly drain. And the borough does not have enough funds on hand to fix the problem, forcing it to scramble to secure a $125,000 line of credit. And, according to authority recreation director C.W. Beckley, the pool’s patched-up liner also is questionable, given the severity of the past winter. We hope Windber officials can come up with funding to fix the pool, which is an asset to the community.

Laurel: A service club for middle school students has been launched in the Greater Johnstown School District. School administrators are hoping the startup organization, sponsored by Rotary International, will be as successful as its big brother at the high school. The club develops and executes hands-on service projects that benefit the school and community. “We help out anywhere we can,” said adviser Dan Tomak.

Laurel: The Johnstown Police Department, responding to a recommendation by the Johnstown Crime and Violence Commission, swore in three new members recently. Two filled newly created openings, the third filled an existing vacancy. “It will be nice to have two additional bodies to be able to put out into the streets, police Chief Craig Foust said. A tip of the cap to the new men in blue.

Barb: A troubled individual is getting his or her kicks by killing ducks with blowgun darts and arrows at a Blair County pond. No one knows how many birds have been killed at Spring Dam Park in Roaring Spring, but some carcasses and darts have become visible in the thawing impoundment. It’s troubling to think what depths some people will sink.

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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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