The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


April 12, 2014

Laurels and barbs

JOHNSTOWN — Laurel: YouthBuild Johnstown participants got to tout their accomplishments to community and business leaders during National YouthBuild Day. Fourteen students are enrolled in the community-based, alternative-education program, where they receive instruction and occupational skills training. “I needed to get my life on track and needed an education,” student Kirk Hooter of Johnstown told reporter Kelly Urban. “This is the place that can help you do that.” Good luck to the participants as they rebuild their lives.

Laurel: A contentious issue has been settled in Portage. Township officials and the operators of Bar-Ann Drive-In agreed to a deal that would move the theater’s sign about 25 feet from its current location, which had been in the center of Cyran Alley. The drive-in will lease a 5-by-10 foot plot from the township for $100 a year for 99 years. We’re pleased that the two parties sat down with Cambria County Judge Patrick Kiniry and hashed out an agreement. That’s what compromise is all about.

Barb: Apparently an Erie County municipality no longer recognizes coins as legal tender. Millcreek Township officials hastily wrote a policy limiting how much change they will accept from residents paying sewer bills after a woman paid a $200 bill with a shoe box full of nickels, dimes and quarters. The new policy limits residents to $10 in unrolled coins or $20 in rolled coins when making payments. This is preposterous.

Barb: If you are hauling a methamphetamine laboratory in your car and have a sawed-off shotgun in plain view, would you want to draw attention to yourself by speeding? That’s just what Christopher Charles Adams Sr. is accused of doing. Authorities say Adams Sr., of New Florence, was stopped for exceeding the posted speed limit on Haws Pike as he traveled toward Johnstown with the drug paraphernalia on the back seat. He faces a list of charges and is wanted by authorities in other counties for traffic-law violations.

Laurel: Alternative Community Resource Program is putting the finishing touches on an Activity Play Center in the former St. Columba School in Johnstown. The center is geared toward 3- to 13-year-old children and is the recreation center that parents said was needed in the Cambria City neighborhood. The center features a two-level playhouse, climbing wall and inflatable bounce houses. Plans call for a baseball pitching machine and sports nets on another floor and the eventual installation of a water park. This is an excellent example of repurposing a once-vacant structure.

Laurel: Johnstown’s police dogs are riding in style as a new K-9 vehicle hit the streets. A community-wide initiative provided the funds to the cash-strapped city to purchase at least two new vehicles for the special division of the police department. “This is like a big Christmas gift we’re getting,” K-9 Corps Officer Mike Kanuch said. We’re pleased at how the community saw a need and met it.

Laurel: The north squads captured the boys and girls AmeriServ Senior Hoops Showcase trophies, but we extend our congratulations to all participants in the annual event. The basketball games were the last time that the players would take to the hardwood as high school athletes. We will fondly remember their highlights during their high school years, and we wish them the best as they move on to colleges or careers.

Barb: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. A brazen robber, wearing the same outfit, no less, held up the Gander Mountain sporting goods store two times in less than a week. “Same method of operation. And same actor,” said Richland Township Detective Kevin Guadlip. Police are following leads and they ask anyone with information to contact them at 800-281-1680.


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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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