The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


December 26, 2012

Readers' Forum 12-26 | Give privacy to those who lost loved ones


— Article stirs Arcadia memories

I read with interest the article in The Tribune-Democrat of Dan Hiteshew’s lighting and decorating of Arcadia Theater.

About 77 years ago, a Mr. Redfoot, the manager of Arcadia, came to our school, spoke to us about movies, then gave each pupil a free pass for a movie over the Christmas holiday. The whole family could go. He did this for several years. Good business.

My dad was a veterinarian, and about this same time, the Redfoots brought their dog, Mitzi, to be spayed. They asked if she could stay while they vacationed in Atlantic City. As they were leaving, Mrs. Redfoot said if I took good care of Mitzi, she would bring me something from Atlantic City.

Mrs. Redfoot was a beautiful, classy lady. Silk dress, high-heeled shoes, spiffy purse. When they came to pick up Mitzi, she had nothing but her pocketbook. I had wondered all week what she might bring.

As they were leaving, she handed me a quarter. A quarter in those days was a lot of money for a kid, but I was wishing for an exotic gift. For several years, they would bring Mitzi while they vacationed and I always got a quarter for special care.

I don’t remember if my dad got any more for kennel services. Maybe 25 cents was the going price for a week of dog sitting in the 1930s.

Verna Thomas


Ex-councilman: Added costs go to residents

Since mid-2012, residents and businesses in Johnstown have been subject to changes in how monthly sewer rental charges have been billed and collected. After years of three city employees handling this under agreement between the city and the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority, it ended with these employees being locked out.

The authority had entered into agreements for billing and collections with Software Systems Inc. of Gibsonia, Allegheny County, and Smart Bill Corp. of Hebron, Ohio, with the same three employees.

Then, on Dec. 5, the authority approved a change in the contract for these firms to hire three employees: One at $40 per hour and two at $30 per hour. Based on a yearly hours worked of 52 weeks at 40 hours per week, the total yearly cost would equal  $208,000. The three employees have 2013 base salaries of $83,658, not including benefits.

The cost for the six positions is approximately $291,658 for 2013. Who is paying these additional costs? City residents.

After an increased sewer rate being imposed in the name of state and federal mandates, you can expect that a portion of the monthly fees are now being used for three additional noncity employees, not for improving or repairing sewer-treatment operations.

Why didn’t City Council and the redevelopment authority board work out an agreement to continue the single billings, which didn’t require additional employees?

This in addition to the city paying RDM-Johnstown an additional $192,000 for similar services.

Jack Williams

Former Johnstown councilman

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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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