The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 3, 2013

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

Submitted by Readers

— 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


Good food, prices will sell restaurant

Regarding the March 31 editorial “A city view we find hard on the eyes”: Yes, we need the City View Bar & Grill as an enhancement for the Inclined Plane. It was a very good idea to put a restaurant/bar there.

But, from day one, there has never been an adequate executive chef there.

Folks in this area want good, home-style foods with maybe one or two choices of something out of the ordinary. We’ve been offered wild game, saucy French foods and nouvelle cuisine. Just give us some good food for a good price.

To the next managers: Please, give us a chef who knows how to please the public, instead of himself. Then we’ll have a great place to take business meetings, out-of-town guests and parties.

Sue Laichak


Your choice – bats or infrastruture

In February, there were several Readers’ Forum letters about Route 219 South.

The completion of Route 219 will provide easier access into and out of the local area and, hopefully, promote economic growth, which we desperately need.

With funding being cut, every dollar should be spent very conservatively. We would like to think that most of us live within our means, and the philosophy that if you don’t have it, don’t spend it, should apply to all. I guess it doesn’t.

One thing that bothered me was the $800,000 that PennDOT was donating to the Indiana Bat Conservation Fund. I understand that the Indiana bats are on the endangered list, but, come to think of it, Somerset County could also be on that list.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for protecting and preserving our wildlife. But at what cost should this be done?

With Pennsylvania’s roads and bridges in need of major repairs and maintenance to ensure safe travel for all, do we really have $800,000 to help preserve bats? And the fact that we are paying for it should make us all wonder which is more important.

If you had to choose between preserving and improving our way of life, or the Indiana bats, which would you choose?

Voice your concerns by contacting your elected officials now: State Rep. Frank Burns, 535 Fairfield Ave., Johnstown,

Pa. 15906; state Sen. Richard Kasunic, 445-7675; or PennDOT, 717-787-5574.

Gwen Montgomery


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