The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


December 29, 2012

Laurels and barbs

— Laurel: The Christmas spirit certainly was alive in our region. The less fortunate  were able to find meals, comfort and gifts from a number of caring organizations over the past few weeks. We applaud all of the groups and individuals who were able to lend a helping hand and make the holidays a bit brighter for the needy.

Laurel: Military veterans are a welcome sight on college campuses, and a local school has been recognized for being one of the nation’s best at providing higher education for them. Indiana University of Pennsylvania has been selected as one of the “Best for Vets” colleges and universities following a national survey of more than 650 institutions. IUP, which has about 600 veterans enrolled, is one of only 68 four-year schools so honored. The Military Times recognized IUP for having an established Veterans Affairs office and for accepting American Council on Education credits, which convert military training into academic hours. We salute IUP for its efforts.

Barb: A Somerset County man could be in big trouble over big game animals. Timothy Allen Sutton Sr. of Garrett is facing five counts of unlawful killing or taking of big game during a closed season. A criminal complaint said that Sutton and another man, against whom charges were pending, had five deer at a location on Mount Davis Road on Nov. 28. Four of the deer could have been legally taken, but neither Sutton nor the other man had purchased a license. If the men are convicted, those doe could cost them a lot of dough.

Laurel: With all of the news recently about how guns have been used to commit crimes or have led to deadly accidents, we’d like to point out that there are some good reasons to have a gun. An Armagh homeowner made that apparent this week when two Seward men allegedly attempted to gain entry into a residence on Church Street. The homeowner confronted the suspects with a legally owned handgun, briefly detained them and was able to later identify them through photographs, police said. While we don’t encourage vigilantism, we certainly support the right of a homeowner to protect his or her property.

Laurel: The Cincinnati Bengals crushed the Pittsburgh Steelers’ playoff hopes on Sunday, but there was at least one bright spot for Johns-town-area football fans. The victory means that Bishop McCort Catholic High School graduate Andrew Hawkins will get another chance to play in the postseason. The Bengals wide receiver had three catches for 30 yards in Cincinnati’s victory over Pittsburgh.

Barb: We hold Pennsylvania State troopers in high regard. Their dedication to the job and the ideals that go along with law enforcement are admirable. That’s why it was so disappointing to see The Associated Press story out of Harrisburg this week about the FBI’s investigation into three troopers’ involvement with prostitutes during personal vacations to Southeast Asia. A Right-to-Know Law request found no evidence that Lts. John Kruse, Brad Lawver and Douglas Martin were discharged or demoted for their actions. There is debate about whether the troopers’ actions – they have admitted hiring prostitutes during trips to Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore – were illegal. At the very least, they were ill-advised. We expect better of our state troopers.

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