The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


January 12, 2013

Laurels and barbs

— Laurel: It’s often a thankless job, but imagine where we’d be without those responsible for winter road maintenence in our region. When the weather is at its worst, they are at their best, using pretreatment, plows, salt and antiskid to make our paths as clear – and safe – as possible. We’ve already needed them a few times this winter and, for the most part, they’ve heeded the call and taken care of local roads quickly and efficiently. The next time you get “stuck” behind a slow-moving plow, remember that you could be stuck in a ditch.

Laurel: Ever wonder how clean your favorite restaurant really is? You should be able to find out by the end of the year. That’s when the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture plans to have a system in place that will feature an online listing of the results of inspections for every restaurant in the state. That’s something we can all raise a glass to.

Barb: It seems like the National Hockey League finds ways to upset fans no matter what it does. While the end of the 113-day lockout was celebrated in many parts of the country (and largely ignored in others), it was bittersweet for local puckheads. That’s because while it means that the Pittsburgh Penguins will be back on the ice soon at Consol Energy Center, it also means that none of the team’s players can suit up in Johnstown for the Tomahawks Charity Classic. We understand why the decision was made to cancel the game, but try explaining that to an 8-year-old who had his heart set on seeing some of his favorite players in person for the first time.

Laurel: A Maine-based consultant has designs on the Cambria Somerset Authority’s dams. Or it soon will. Kleinschmidt Energy & Water Resources consultant is charged with developing designs for a $5.2 million project to put hydroelectric generating stations at three of the authority’s dams. A study shows that hydroelectric facilities at Peggy’s Run, Hinckston Run and Quemahoning Reservoir could generate up to $534,000 in annual revenue for the authority.

Laurel: History buffs need not leave Johnstown to see  intriguing Civil War artifacts. At least not for the next two months. The Johnstown Area Heritage Association is hosting “The Civil War in Pennsylvania” inside the Heritage Discovery Center in Cambria City. The traveling exhibit, which was put together with help from the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, will be here through March 5. We encourage all to take advantage of the opportunity to see history so close to home.

Barb: The bad news keeps coming for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Three weeks after their playoff hopes were dashed with another close loss, another member of the team is in legal trouble. Rookie running back Chris Rainey was arrested in Florida, on Thursday, accused of slapping his girlfriend. The 24-year-old, who was a fifth-round draft pick in 2012, was charged with a single count of misdemeanor simple battery. The team does earn kudos for its quick decision to waive the running back, although we wonder if the same action would have been taken with a first-round draft pick.

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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.
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