The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

June 12, 2010

Laurels and barbs

Laurel: We applaud renewed efforts by the Cambria County commissioners and other courthouse officials to obtain an improved bond rating. The county hopes to get a rating that would be more attractive to investors and that could produce sizable savings in a bond refinancing. Last week, the commissioners agreed to retain a Pittsburgh investment firm to assist the county in seeking the improved rating from Standard & Poor’s, a New York credit-rating service. The Pittsburgh firm will provide the service free, with the possibility it could seek – in competition with other firms – to handle a bond refinancing if S&P upgrades the bond rating. A win-win deal, especially for taxpayers.

Barb: Scary stuff. Police in Uniontown are piecing together an investigation into a gang attack that injured three people last month. Authorities say three teenagers were sitting on the porch at their home when about 20 to 30 other teenagers ran out of an alley and attacked them. Some in the gang were armed with knives and pipes. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia police have had their hands full with teenage-gang-related violence. It would appear Uniontown does also. It’s too bad all young people looking for an identity can’t find it in classrooms or on athletic fields or floors.

Laurel: We’ll be rooting next week for the Pitt-Johnstown concrete canoe team, which will be in San Luis Obispo, Calif., for national competition. UPJ’s chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers advanced after its first-place finish in Mid-Atlantic region competition held at Penn State. This is the third time that Pitt-Johnstown has advanced to national competition.

Laurel: Here’s another plaudit for the education field. Becky Piscitella, a math instructor at Richland High School, is among 103 mathematics and science educators named by President Obama as recipients of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. She’s the only teacher from Pennsylvania to receive the award. Richland Superintendent Thomas Fleming Jr. called Piscitella hardworking and “very deserving of this honor.” Congratulations.

Barb: We hear it about this time every year: Reader complaints about uncut grass and high weeds on neighbors’ properties. Understandable. Unkempt properties reflect poorly on the entire neighborhood. Plus they attract rodents, snakes and other unwanted species. Most municipalities have ordinances governing the upkeep of properties, but few seem to enforce the laws. Why?

Laurel: We salute Airman Monica Erlick, who is assigned to the Pennsylvania Air National Guard’s 171st Air Re­­fuel­ing Wing, 258th Air Traf­fic Control Squad­ron, at the John Mur­tha Johns­town-Cambria County Airport. A radar operator, Erlick has been named the state’s Airman of the Year. She is a native of the Pittsburgh area and now lives in Georgia. She’s a veteran of the Iraq war and believes her performance overseas contributed to the recognition.

Laurel: Good news indeed. The Summer Concerts-on-the-Green is on again this year at the Community Arts Center of Cambria County in Westmont. The 31st edition will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays beginning next  week. The outdoors concerts are sponsored by Local 41, American Federation of Musicians, and Westmont and Southmont boroughs through a matching funds municipal grant program of the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts.  There has been talk this year of an uncertain future because of funding cuts. Let’s hope the concerts go on for at least 31 more years.

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