The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


April 3, 2013

Readers' Forum 4-3 | Hilltop’s woes can be laid at feet of state

— Regarding the recent letter to Readers’ Forum suggesting that the three Westmont Hilltop school buildings be merged into two (“Does Westmont really need three schools?” March 31):

Has the author visited buildings in the district lately? Where would the additional 250 students attend classes? Maybe the district could introduce a school rationing plan like was done with gasoline back in the ’70s and ’80s. If your address ends in an odd number, you go to school on Mondays, even numbers on Tuesdays, and so forth.

I’m sure such a building-consolidation plan may even give birth to yet another school-saving organization within the district. Maybe this one could be called the “cram our kids in like sardines” group and come up with some clever acronym.

The current group has been silent since the board didn’t raise taxes for this year. The “Save Westy” group was to come up with “unique ways to improve funding for our schools,” but became strangely silent once it chased that developer off the hill.

It would be nice if someone blamed the real culprit, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and its archaic system that affords neighboring districts three times as much funding as Westmont.

Keep in mind that the “out-of-touch school board” the writer cited spends less to educate a child than 98 percent of the districts in Pennsylvania.

It’s ironic that a lot of people complaining about tax increases were silent about them when they had kids in the district.

Tom Petrore


Issue photo IDs to welfare recipients

We need to show a photo ID to get a driver’s license and gun permit, and soon possibly to vote. So why don’t those people on welfare need a photo ID, instead of a PIN (personal identification number), for their Access Cards?

If there is fraud in a system, there it is.

People are letting others use their cards with their PIN.

They even sell their Access Card amount for cash so they can buy drugs or alcohol.

Take a look at some of these people and you will see they don’t have cash, but, somehow, they can afford tattoos for their bodies.

Under the law, they can’t have anybody living with them, but they do. And some of them are either buying or selling drugs.

Some girls are having babies just to get extra money out of the system. Here is my solution to the problem:

* They must give the name and Social Security number of the father, then go to family court and get an order of child support filed against the father before they get help from the welfare department.

* If they have another child, they get a reduced amount for that child, and even less if they have more children.

* Welfare workers should check up on them to see if they are obeying the rules and to see if other people are living with them.

It’s time to put an end to this fraud. Give them photo ID cards now.

Homer Mattes


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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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