The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

February 23, 2013

Laurels and barbs

The Tribune-Democrat

— Laurel: Whether it was from buying a hot dog or a hot plate of pasta, purchasing a home or finding a way to heat it, many local residents likely had an interaction with some or all of the people who will be inducted into the Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame on April 26. The class, which was announced this week, includes Peter Samuel Contacos, the former Coney Island owner; Mildred “Millie” Rizzo, who ran Rizzo’s restaurant in Windber with her husband, Tony; Adelle Picking, who was the former president of Cambria-Somerset Board of Realtors; and Robert Barrett, a former administrator for the federal Mining Enforcement and Safety Administration.

Laurel: We applaud initiatives like the one last week that allowed a tour of the Public Safety Building as part of the “Pucks & Paws Night” promotion at the Johnstown Tomahawks’ game. About 60 people, many between 5 and 12 years old, got to see different parts of the Johnstown Police Department prior to the game, which helped raise money for the department’s K-9 Corps.

Barb: We don’t know how serious the injuries are that resulted from a fight in Loretto last weekend, but we do know that St. Francis University got a black eye out of the fracas, which police said involved about 100 people. Members of the school’s football and soccer teams were included in the melee, according to state police at Ebensburg.

Laurel: The Cambria Somerset Authority continues to seek out ways to make the Quemahoning Family Recreation Area a resource that everyone can enjoy. Earlier this month, the authority gave the Laurel Highlands Off Road Bicycling Authority permission to build mountain bike trails there this summer. The board also is considering adding a store that could handle grocery and camping needs as well as possibly renting bikes and boats. We’re confident that the authority’s efforts will help the Que grow in popularity.

Laurel: Pitt-Johnstown’s Pat Pecora has received numerous awards over his long and distinguished career for his accomplishments coaching college wrestling. Now, he’s being recognized by high school coaches as well. Pecora was honored last weekend in Altoona as the District 6 Man of the Year by local high school coaches. Pecora has turned many student-athletes from our region into great wrestlers and, more importantly, outstanding young men.

Barb: Mother Nature can make it pretty easy to track down criminals. That’s the lesson that Derek Allen Schardt allegedly learned this week. State police from Somerset said that the 23-year-old Meyersdale man illegally entered a home in the 200 block of Lincoln Avenue but that they were able to trace footprints in the snow   back to his home. Schardt also was charged with intimidation of a witness, terroristic threats, harassment and disorderly conduct for an incident a few hours earlier at a bar in Garrett.

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