The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

February 4, 2013

Readers' Forum 2-4 | Dictator will decide Cresson’s fate

Submitted by Readers

— The article “Cresson gets its chance to be heard” stated that elected officials urged everyone impacted to attend a hearing on Jan. 31.

The impact of the closing of SCI-Cresson will go far beyond Cresson. It will affect individuals and businesses in much of Cambria County.

I am the owner of a small business, and every phase of my business will be negatively affected by this closing.

Gov. Tom Corbett and state Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel are so very proud of the savings for the state, but these savings are at the expense of the 500 employees and the individuals and businesses in this county.

The cost for each employee to drive to work annually will be approximately $5,200, and that’s if the gas prices do not increase. That will be thousands of dollars more a year out of the family’s paycheck.

Because of this expense, families will have a lot less to spend, and that will directly affect the business community.

I, as a business owner, support various school and community activities. With the adverse affect on sales, every business owner will not be able to support these activities. My point being – the economic impact is far-reaching and will affect everyone in this area.

The decision to close is up to one man, Corbett. Isn’t that a dictatorship?

Bev Mandichak


We can’t retake culture by force

In response to Gale Bala’s Readers’ Forum letter on Jan. 29, “It’s essential to retake our culture”: How does the writer propose to do it without forcing the will of others?

In a recent study, 78 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians. Of those, 58 percent do not attend church regularly.

According to the study, 20 percent of all Christians attend church regularly. It’s safe to say that the church has failed to win souls for Christ.

The apostle Paul warned that there would be a falling away before the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12).

It is this failure to win souls and make disciples that has many churches and their members entering into the political arena to change others’ beliefs by force where it failed to do by love, as Jesus commands.

If we are the salt of the earth and the light, as Jesus says, then we should attract by love and truth, not by force.

God never forces the will or the conscience of his children – even on those who reject him.

Neither should we, if love doesn’t work, leave it in God’s hands, for he is the judge of all. It is Satan who forces the will and conscience, and when we impose our beliefs or morals on others, then we are doing Satan’s work. It is not the churches’ job to fill pews or force political agendas.

The Bible says we are to make disciples, we are to be like Christ (1 John 3:2). This is how we win souls for God.

Daniel Thompson


Step up and bear the responsibility

Regarding the allegations of sexual abuse against Brother Paul Stephen Baker, who once served as an educator at Bishop McCort Catholic High School: Who is one of the first persons who should be questioned? 

Some years ago, when rumors were rampant in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown about sexual abuse by ordained priests, Bishop Joseph Adamec was heard to say “not on my watch.” 

Well, guess whose “watch” it was when Baker was transferred to Bishop McCort? 

Did Adamec not have any knowledge at all about what happened in Ohio?

Let’s see who has the courage to tell us who really is responsible for what happened to those young men.

R.T. Hirsch


Hilltop ‘fixture’ will be missed by many

A great heart was stilled Wednesday evening.

Sam Hillard was a humble, loyal, devoted champion of all things Westmont Hilltop, and our world is poorer for the loss of him.

Mr. Hillard was an educator first and foremost, having taught there for 38 years, until his retirement in 1999.

He was a relentless supporter of all Westmont Hilltop School District activities. King Hillard, as he was known,

was always there, whether it was taking tickets, running the clock, working the concession stand for sporting events, or sitting quietly through the musicals, one-act plays and choral, band and orchestra concerts.

His passion for the marching band, guard and percussion groups’ competitions, culminating in their yearly Wildwood trips, was seen through the amazing “happy grams” he sent through The Tribune-Democrat.

In the past few weeks, Mr. Hillard received many online comments as well as visits from current and former students, who all spoke of the encouragement he gave them as a teacher and as a person.

Out-of-town students even asked their parents to please come and see Mr. Hillard for them.

For those of us who worked with Mr. Hillard in any capacity, we also saw how special he was, and how his loyalty to Westmont was unmatched.

Truly, Mr. Hillard was one of a kind.

As Mr. Hillard told us many times, and we now tell him, “Soar high like the eagles.”

Angels are on your doorstep, our friend.

King Hillard, the great and wonderful, you are already missed beyond words.

Sue Tower Povich


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