The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


January 19, 2013

Readers' Forum 1-19 | At prisons, professionalism, order prevailed

— On Jan. 8, breaking news disrupted evening meals and community-affected families. That breaking news sent a shock wave through SCI-Cresson and SCI-Greensburg. Only because of the dedication, training and professionalism of the staffs, no incidents of uprising or violence were reported. Whoever felt the need to provide a minute bit of information to media sources did the employees and those incarcerated no favors.

I hope that the party was unaware that the next day the secretary of corrections, a cabinet member, would make the formal announcement.

I believe the superintendents and staff at their respective facilities may have been best able to determine if security measures needed to be enhanced during this time.

Stability, safety and security are paramount at every correctional institution. These elements are obtained by a diverse group of men and women from various backgrounds, who provide around-the- clock care, custody and control of those  deemed to be incarcerated by the courts for crimes committed against society.

I am one of those people who has enjoyed employment in the Department of Corrections. I am unable to retire and am burdened with future decisions. I am not alone with that issue, nor am I alone in my commitment – like many of my colleagues – that I will continue the transition of these facilities, closure and will maintain order doing so, no matter how long it may take.

Bravo to those on duty that night. You are professionals. You did not compromise operations at your facilities under a shock wave unleashed by someone who pretended to have a news story that was incomplete.

Shame on him or her.

Patrick O’Malley

Labor foreman, SCI-Cresson

Event on Constitution was a great success

As the 9th Congressional District coordinator for the We the People program, I was responsible for organizing a regional showcase on the Constitution at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown on Jan. 8.

Students from local schools demonstrated their knowledge of our Constitution through simulated congressional hearings.

The judges for this event were Dennis Afton, educator; G. Henry Cook, president of Somerset Trust Co.; Shelby Baird, Yale University; Judy Ellich, reporter; Larry Feldman, professor at IUP; George Kaufman, lawyer and past president of the Somerset Historical Society; Pamela Tokar-Ickes, Somerset County commissioner; Joseph Kashurba, president of Kashurba Web Designs Group; Alex Kashurba, University of Michigan Law School; Matthew G. Melvin, lawyer; Ross Nycum, Penn State; Mark Previte, professor at UPJ; Marty Radovanic, WJAC-TV news anchor; Gordon D. Reynolds, lawyer; Jozzie Stuchell, Penn State; and David Trevaskis, Pennsylvania Bar Association.

I would like to thank each of these individuals, the Somerset County Bar Association and everyone else who helped make this event a success.

I would like to congratulate the school districts that competed. The students did a great job.

The teachers, Chris Zanoni at Somerset Area High School and Chris Peters at Marion Center Area High School, deserve much of the credit.

Hopefully, this event will assist them in competing for the statewide championship in February. It is vital for a republic that all schools continue to maintain and promote strong civic education programs.

William M. Simmons


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Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
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Tougher sentencing by the court system.
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