The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


May 25, 2013

Readers' Forum 5-25 | Small businesses are community assets

— In reply to Danielle Ribaric’s May 21 article, “Shopping locally not always best choice”: Please do not judge all small businesses by your bad experience.

Most small businesses exist because of their great customer service and quality products.

Please support small businesses because when one closes, part of the community dies with it.

And too many of our communities have closed storefronts and decaying buildings.

Jay Smithmyer

Smithmyers Superette, Loretto

Spring dance great time for great cause

On April 27, hundreds of people came together at Ace’s lounge to celebrate the 20th annual Spring Break Oldies Dance.

This event raises money for a great cause, radio station WKYE’s 12 Wishes of Christmas, for the less fortunate families in our area.

It also gives everyone a chance to mingle with friends and shake off the doldrums of a long, cold winter – and shake we did.

The two bands were fantastic. The Tom Katz, making its second appearance at Spring Break, filled the dance floor and our hearts with great musical memories, while The Classic Rockers closed the show with a dynamite performance as well.

It’s nice to know that, while you’re having a great time, you’re also supporting a great cause.

Hope to see everyone next year. Don’t miss it.

Dolores Davis


100 deadliest days for teenage drivers

Memorial Day marks the beginning of the 100 deadliest days of the year on our nation’s roads for teen drivers. Traditionally during the summer months, hundreds of teens are killed in car crashes and their families are devastated. These deaths are unacceptable, especially because they are preventable. I implore parents to remain vigilant as they play a big role in the fight to end these crashes.

School might be out, but teens still need to be off the roads by 10 p.m., when teen crash risks sharply increase. Teens should not ride with or carry other teen passengers.

Just one teen passenger increases a teen driver’s crash risk by as much as 48 percent. Parents, don’t ever sacrifice safety for convenience. If your teen is out late or with friends, make other travel arrangements. The risk is not worth the potential consequence.

According to the National Traffic Safety Administration, July 23, 2011, and July 30, 2011, tied for the deadliest days for young people ages 15-20 on our nation’s highways (25 motor vehicle deaths occurred on each of those dates). Additionally, in 2011, 60 percent of 15- 20-year-old passenger-vehicle occupants who lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes were NOT wearing a seatbelt.

This data further prove the public health problem we are facing when our teen drivers do not have driving rules set and enforced at home.

I encourage parents to get involved and become advocates for their teens’ safety on our roadways. I’m confident this summer can be the safest yet for our teen drivers.

Felicity Erni

Pennsylvania Teen Safe Driving Coalition, Harrisburg


CEASE afflicted with blindness

In my letter published April 12, I stated that CEASE is a political pressure group whose purpose is limited to arbitrary resistance to all tax increases for public education in the Westmont Hilltop School District. James Grecco of CEASE responded on May 14, disagreeing with my opinions, but he did not address my statement as to arbitrary resistance to tax increases. He did not credit a cost-savings amount to any suggestion by CEASE.

The minutes of the first meeting of CEASE (Feb. 18, 2012) are posted on the Internet. It says that CEASE is not out to reduce the quality of education. This statement is not supported by the statements that follow. These include:

* Students pay for all field trips.

* Consider placing the K-8 athletic program under the Westmont Recreational Commission on a pay-to-play basis.

* Pay to play for all extracurricular activities.

* Inclusion of courses that have 100 or fewer students questioned.

* Freeze taxes and institute a user tax where families with children pay all costs above current level.

* Consider cost savings by replacing some paid coaches with volunteers.

* Re-examine use of paid positions for some student activities.

The meeting was devoted to reducing costs. There are lip-service references to quality education, but no definition, description or goal.

Every community needs a strong public- school program. Economy in funding this program is proper, but blind concentration on costs is counterproductive.

CEASE is afflicted with such blindness. Slogans and references to a vague quality education do not treat this affliction.

Frank Desimone


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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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