The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


August 31, 2013

Laurels and barbs

— Laurel: Penn Highlands Community College has done such a good job of offering a low-cost education that other areas are now looking to become a part of the expanding campus. Penn Highlands, which has its main campus in Richland Township, already has branch campuses in Ebensburg, Somerset, Huntingdon and a recently opened site in Blair County, has been approached by representatives about expanding into Mifflin County. Richard Daubert of the Tuscarora Intermediate Unit made the pitch at the college’s board of trustees meeting on Tuesday. As Kelly Urban reported, it looks like Penn Highlands will concentrate on its existing campuses rather than try to start another one, but we’re impressed with how quickly the college’s reputation has spread.

Laurel: It’s easy to grade students; grading teachers is much trickier. That’s why we’re interested to see how the new system being put into place by the state Department of Education works. A state law approved last year requires public school administrators to conduct classroom observations and evaluate teachers based on numerous weighted components. “The goal of the system is to find where educators have weaknesses ...” said Tim Eller, the department’s spokesman. School districts can then use special funding to help educators improve in those areas. That sounds like a good lesson plan to us.

Barb: What a shame that Rockwood Area High School had to cancel its varsity football season. The small school in southern Somerset County simply didn’t have enough players to safely make it through the season. We’ve seen roster sizes at several area schools dwindle in a number of different sports during the past decade. That’s a troubling trend, in our view. Sports can teach young men and women much about themselves and about being part of a team, plus it’s great exercise for a generation that too often limits its game time to digital contests.

Laurel: A stretch of Somerset Street in the Kernville section of Johnstown is a little brighter thanks to the efforts of Lift Johnstown and about 100 volunteers. They painted “Share the Road” logos on the street as part of a plan to add a bicycle lane there. Many of the volunteers were Pitt-Johnstown freshmen who had not yet begun classes. What a great way to introduce them to our community and get them involved in good works.

Laurel: Cresson Lake Playhouse is inducting two members into its Hall of Fame this week. A ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday to honor the late John Alexander Prosser, who was an artistic director and actor, and Tracey Ingold of Cresson, an actress and house manager at the theater. What a wonderful honor for Ingold and a tribute to Prosser’s legacy.

Barb: You never know who will break the law, do you? At lunchtime on Wednesday, a marked car of the Cambria County Sheriff’s Office was spotted in downtown Johnstown making an illegal left-hand turn from Franklin Street onto Main Street. The driver did not use a turn signal, either. Perhaps the vehicle’s light was burned out. We don’t know. Apparently the officer was hungry as he quickly parked across the street from Capri Pizza shop and went inside, apparently to join another officer whose car was parked in front of the shop. Oh, and one last thing. He didn’t bother to put money in the parking meter, which showed a red, expired flag. Maybe this was all in the line of police work, in which case we apologize for the barb. If not, we’ll conclude that we expect more from a law-enforcement officer.


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