The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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March 2, 2013

Laurels and barbs

— Laurel: In these often turbulent times for education, we applaud Windber Area School District for working out a deal that will keep its teachers under contract through the end of the decade. As Superintendent Rick Huffman noted, the deal will help the district remove some of the financial uncertainty that plagues our schools and will help Windber make long-term budget projections. Kudos to the board and teachers for finding a way to come together for the good of the school.

Barb: Shame on Mei Kitchens. The Florida-based company promised Patricia Mulvehill of Ebensburg a new kitchen after she won the group’s “Ugliest Kitchen Contest” in August 2011. A year and a half later, she’s still waiting. She wanted the kitchen to be remodeled so that her husband, Robert, could get his wheelchair through the kitchen door. Robert died before Mei Kitchens even started the construction. After being contacted by The Tribune-Democrat,  Mei Kitchens told Mulvehill that it would have a design for her approval within a week. Sadly, that’s too late for her husband.

Laurel: With the cost of college always on the rise, there has become a demand for a more affordable solution. Thankfully, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College has helped fill that need for many in our area. And the college keeps spreading its reach. Penn Highlands will begin offering classes at its Blair County location inside Logan Valley Mall in July. In addition to its main campus in Richland Township, Penn Highlands also has locations in Ebensburg, Somerset and Huntingdon.

Barb: College can offer plenty of educational experiences, but a 19-year-old shouldn’t have needed to learn the one that a Mount Aloysius student did this week. Anthony Will Briscoe faces charges after threatening on Twitter to slit his professor’s throat in front of the class. Briscoe, according to an Associated Press report, told police that the tweet was a joke posted for “entertainment” purposes. We doubt Briscoe’s laughing now.

Laurel: The contribution that Forrest Mazey has made to the local baseball community shouldn’t be forgotten. And, thanks to a scholarship being established by his sons, he won’t be any time soon. The legacy of Mazey, who could commonly be found at baseball fields across the area, will live on through the Forrest Mazey Baseball Scholarship Fund, which will help a local AAABA League player find a college team. His sons, Randy and Brian, will present the scholarship during either the AAABA Tournament or banquet.

Barb: Imagine the pride in seeing your daughter’s team competing in the District 6 basketball playoffs. You make a long drive to see her play and, upon entering the school, pick up a program to celebrate the momentous occasion. You flip through it and, in the spot where her team’s photo and roster should be, there’s a big, blank space that says “No Information Submitted.” How frustrating. That’s the scenario Carrick fans faced as the City League (District 8) school joined with the local district for the first time. Westinghouse wasn’t much better, as a roster was included, but no photo. We’re not sure who’s to blame, but it’s a shame that the schools and district officials couldn’t come together to avoid this embarrassing situation.

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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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