The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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April 5, 2014

Laurels and barbs

JOHNSTOWN — Laurel: The Class of 2014, Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame, contains some high-profile individuals. They are: Leah Hollis, a standout volleyball player at Richland High School and Rutgers University; Ed Johnston, goaltender, coach and general manager in the NHL best known for drafting Mario Lemieux; John Kasay Sr., a 1962 graduate of Greater Johnstown High School and offensive lineman, and later assistant coach, for the University of Georgia; Randy Mazey, a United High School graduate and currently West Virginia University baseball head coach; and Tom McGough, a Greater Johnstown High School standout pitcher who was drafted by the Cleveland Indians. We congratulate the newest inductees.

Laurel: A gripping account of a businessman’s escape from the 1889 Johnstown Flood is detailed in the book “Dear Friend Humphryes.” Letters written by the entrepreneur, Charles S. Ruth, to his friend J.D. Humphryes in New York were recently rediscovered by Mary Lou Repsher and Linda Young, librarians at the Cambria County Public Library. “There are many firsthand accounts of the flood, but no one had ever seen this one before,” Repsher said. For historians, it’s bound to be a great read. And at a great price, $5.

Laurel: Cambria County Transit Authority maintenance staff was able to put the brakes on a potential runaway problem. A state-mandated safety check for the Inclined Plane included a test of the funicular’s braking system. But such a test does not exist, so CamTran had to go shopping for experts able to design the test. It finally settled on an engineering firm from New Hampshire, but at a cost of $38,000. The authority now is looking into having the test patented.

Barb: Two motorcyclists tried to flee from police after authorities tried to stop them for speeding. The duo, clocked at 66 mph in a 35 mph zone, also were observed passing other vehicles in a no-passing zone and cutting in front of a school bus carrying children. Adam Kelly and Christian Forosisky face felony and summary charges.

Barb: General Motors put many people’s lives in danger, all over a faulty ignition switch that would have cost 57 cents each to fix. GM already has recalled 2.6 million Chevy Cobalts and Saturn Ions because of the defective switch, which can cause the vehicle’s motor to turn off, disabling the power steering, power brakes and air bags. Thirteen deaths have been linked to the defective part, but the industry giant is being condemned because it took 10 years to begin recalling cars to fix the problem.

Laurel: Fifth-graders will be exposed to orchestral music when the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra presents two Young People’s Concerts. The musical expos will introduce the students to the instruments used by a symphony and teach them about the contrasts in musical styles. About 50 area schools received invitations to attend the concerts, which are held at the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center. It’s an innovative way to introduce youngsters to music.

Laurel: Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield believes in the mission of Johnstown Area Regional Industries to bring additional jobs to the area. So it has donated $50,000 toward JARI’s fundraising campaign toward that end. “Highmark has a long-standing, fruitful relationship with JARI, and

we are delighted to be able to continue our support of their efforts,” said Highmark

spokeswoman Mary Ann Papale.

Barb: A Penn State student has admitted that her kidnap story was a hoax, but we’re sure that investigating officers are not amused. Police spent two months investigating Samantha Sernekos’ claim that she was kidnapped from a campus sidewalk in January. After studying video and other evidence, police concluded there was no crime. Sernekos, of Landing, N.J., will face charges of making a false report. Police forces are stretched thin already and they certainly don’t need to be led on wild-goose chases.

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