The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

October 27, 2012

Readers' Forum 10-27 | Benefit buoyed by dedicated volunteers

Submitted by Readers

— Everywhere you turn, you see pink, a color that symbolizes breast cancer, a disease that has touched the lives of nearly every one of us. It reminds us that breast cancer does not discriminate. It doesn’t care who or how old you are, where you live, how much money you make, or if you are male or female.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it was kicked off with an event that took the diversity of breast cancer to heart. The idea was to give those who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to be part of a fundraiser, the chance to help save lives.

The first Brothers and Sisters Unite for Breast Cancer Benefit Dance was held on Sept. 30 at Ace’s. Dedicated volunteers, led by Carolyn Brumbaugh, put in endless hours. Undaunted by obstacles, they displayed a tenacity to ensure the fundraiser would be a success. Numerous local businesses, organizations and individuals donated baskets and prizes.

Survivors shared their heartwarming personal experiences. The Band-Aids band donated their time and talent. Several thousand dollars was raised for Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center. It wasn’t so much the money that made the feat a success, but rather the people who put their differences aside and profoundly joined hands to fight the disease.

Thanks to Sherry Stalley, who served as emcee, and to everyone else who strived to make a difference in achieving a successful fundraiser.

It was an honor to be part of this event.

Cathy Costlow


Church’s prayer garden offers peace, beauty

If driving along Menoher Boulevard in Westmont and passing the Community Open Door Church, you may see an older man mowing grass, raking leaves, shoveling snow or walking the driveway carrying a large sign on his body. Who is he?

He’s not the caretaker, he’s the pastor, Charles Zimmerman. He came out of retirement and founded the church because of his passion to speak the word of God and to help our community.

He welcomes all, regardless of who you are, where you’ve been or what you’ve done, if you want God in your life.

He doesn’t ask for a penny to run the church. Monetary gifts are given to local organizations that help those in need. He volunteers his time serving on the boards for some of these organizations. He is concerned with our youth and their futures.

In a recent sermon, he spoke of his vision of a prayer garden adjacent to the church. With tears in his eyes and a rattled voice, he spoke of his vision becoming a reality. Open 24 hours a day, all are welcome to enjoy the beauty that God has given us.

As Election Day nears, instead of listening to empty promises, one may want to visit the prayer garden, enjoy the beauty and peace that it provides and listen for the voice of God. He is the one who can help solve our nation’s problems, if only we’ll listen to his word.

Thank you, Pastor, for all you do for our community. I am proud to be a member of your congregation.

Pam Vranich


Before you vote, watch eye-opening movie

In reply to Jeff Rininger’s Readers’ Forum letter on Oct. 23 (“Despite GOP roadblock, Obama grows economy”):

Before he or any other Democrat votes on Nov. 6, they should watch the movie “2016: Obama’s America.”

If they still want to vote for President Obama and want to be considered a socialist and not a capitalist in 2016, that is their right.

Incidentally, in my letter of June 3, I declared I would vote Republican and I urged others to vote for Mitt Romney, because that’s my right.

John Pcola

St. Michael

Football coaches’ behavior appalling

On Oct. 20, my family and I went to the Point Stadium to cheer on my nephew and the rest of the Shade Panthers minor league football team as they played against Conemaugh Valley.

We were so excited that the team had made it that far. They had worked hard.

Our excitement quickly turned to anger.

The actions of some Conemaugh Valley coaches toward the cheerleaders, fans and our little Panthers and the Panthers’ coaches were appalling.

Those who acted this way should not be allowed to coach children. I would not let them have anything to do with my kids.

Shame on these bullies. And shame on the school for subjecting those poor boys to such abuse.

These are children. Let them play and have fun. It’s just a game, not the NFL.

The coaches may have ruined the excitement, but they didn’t put a dent in our pride.

Tamijo Bauer

Loysville, Perry County

Human risks accompany Marcellus prosperity

The finding of Marcellus Shale gas deposits in Pennsylvania and neighboring states represents a huge opportunity for financial gain, prosperity and work in a time of high unemployment and government debt.

Some inherent risks from drilling include tainting of well water and streams. Operation of rigs requires regulation and supervision.

However, a much larger risk involves the changes to the human landscape. In a recent journey through North Dakota, the site of the huge Bacchus oil and gas deposits, I learned that the influx of rig workers and others had resulted in a quadrupling of real estate values and rent fees.

One young woman I talked with in Dickinson, N.D., told me that she had to move back to her parents’ home because she could no longer afford the rent that she had been paying.

An emergency medical technician told me that people in and around Dickinson could no longer leave their dwellings and cars unlocked. Assaults that had been very rare now occurred on a regular basis.

The same story appears to be unfolding within our own borders with the discovery of Marcellus gas.

Unless our communities begin to plan ahead for the human consequences of the gas boom, many persons will suffer from increased crime, financial distress and displacement.

All booms eventually come to an end. As a seasoned geologist who had experienced other resource discoveries told me in Dickinson: “The wheels always eventually fall off the wagon.”

James W. Cochran


For many reasons, still an Obama supporter                                          I am responding to Rosalie Dill’s Readers’ Forum letter on Oct. 6 in which she claims that blacks have been insulted and manipulated.

I am not an African-American woman. She should not assume that, because I am a President Obama supporter, I would be. I am white, a senior citizen, someone who worked for more than 40 years, am married and the mother of two. I will continue to support Obama for the following reasons:

I support women and their right to make their own choices, and I support Planned Parenthood.

I support religious freedom. Dill’s final statement in her insulting article states that she is a Christian; I guess I am unworthy of being such.

I believe that everyone deserves to have health care, and if they do not have health care, they are not given a chance at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I will not apologize for voting for Obama in 2008. She should be apologizing for the previous administration’s lack of leadership for eight years that put this country in this mess and gave us two unfunded wars and an unfunded prescription plan. By the way, 9/11 happened on Bush’s watch and Osama bin Laden was eliminated on Obama’s watch.

I will not vote for a president who has his assets held in foreign countries to avoid paying taxes, who pays less federal taxes than a person making $50,000, who will continue to give tax cuts to the wealthy, and who has no idea how the average person lives.

Barbara Smith

Winter Haven, Fla., formerly of Johnstown

Nation in decline needs a new leader

America is in decline and we have President Obama and his Marxist ways to blame. He has helped bankrupt our nation and we’re all going to have to pay in the way of higher taxes.

Too many of our tax dollars go to countries that don’t like us. It’s like flushing our money down sewers.

Obama won’t allow us to drill for our own oil, but he’ll give our money to countries such as Brazil to help them drill and then sell their oil to us. It also keeps our people out of work.

Our electric rates will keep going up as the president and his Environmental Protection Agency keep closing our coal-fired power plants.

We have plenty of oil and coal and we don’t need other countries’ fuel.

Why is Obama doing this?

He also failed to protect our ambassador and other workers at the consulate in Libya. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was brutally beaten and murdered and three others were killed. That’s evil.

Mitt Romney is a good and truthful man. He loves America and its people.

“In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way” – Franklin Rosevelt.

Dorothy Seth


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