The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

February 20, 2013

Readers' Forum 2-20 | Turn focus now to Route 219 north

Submitted by Readers

— There is an avalanche of excitement over the Route 219 expansion from Somerset to Meyersdale. This has been given attention for some time and politicians have been intensely involved.

But there is also a Route 219 north proceeding from Ebensburg. All we got some years ago was a short piece of four-lane highway heading toward Carrolltown with the name of the late John P. Murtha attached to it.

It is painfully obvious that our politicians have forgotten about Route 219 north, but those of us who travel the road on occasion are constantly reminded that it stands in critical need of a major makeover into four lanes.

Perhaps a sense of urgency would be rekindled if we took the politicians, chained them to stools for a few days in the center of Northern Cambria, and forced them to watch 18-wheelers and triaxles negotiate some of those 90-degree turns in that area.

Pastor Clayton Harriger


Council should avoid closed JRA meeting

“Authority to answer questions: But closed-door format for briefing has city council members unhappy” (Tuesday Tribune-Democrat) should be of concern to the entire area served by Johnstown Redevelopment Authority and, more specifically, Johnstown Regional Sewage operations.

The idea that issues relating to billing changes made by JRA/Johnstown Regional Sewage are now off limits to the general public is more of the hide-and-seek attitude of JRA. These changes were taken and approved by actions of the JRA board at open public meetings.

Personnel issues could be classified as an exemption under the Pennsylvania Sunshine Law/Open Meetings Act, and permit a closed executive session.

The meeting scheduled for today requires public notice 24 hours in advance. It could then be recessed for an executive session to discuss personnel matters, and not sewer billing issues.

Tuesday’s article includes “the closed-door format the authority leadership demanded for Wednesday’s briefing.” By what authority can the JRA board, its chairman or legal counsel demand anything from city council? 

Home Rule Charter Article III: “Council, as a body, or through a committee thereof, shall have the power to make inquiries and investigations into the affairs of the municipality and its government and into the conduct of any of the authorities, boards, commissions or committees thereof. In the conduct of inquiries and investigations, council shall have authority to compel the attendance of witnesses.”

Council would be wise to not participate in any session that is not in compliance with the Sunshine Law/Open Meetings Act.

Jack Williams

Former city councilman

Editor’s note: The meeting was canceled on Tuesday afternoon.

Renegade JRA needs to answer questions

After reading Tuesday’s newspaper regarding the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority, I’m not only insulted but enraged, and justly so. 

Who do these board members think they are? The Mafia?

They apparently don’t want to answer to anyone, as it was stated also (by Councilman Pete Vizza) that they didn’t want the public there to jump all over them.

A closed meeting is unacceptable. Where is the transparency?

This renegade body has gone unsupervised for way too long. It’s time the board provides the people they serve with some answers.


No wonder most people in Johnstown are skeptics regarding local government.

Lonnie Rietscha



Protect a bat at expense of human life

Tree-cutting for the Route 219 project must be completed by late March because the Indiana bat (a federal endangered species) awakes from hibernation then.

Should not the baby in the womb be a federal endangered species? Protect the bat but kill the baby? Only in America.

Frank Meyers


Kudos to all involved in Fat Friday event

The Roxbury Bandshell Preservation Alliance thanks this region for supporting its seventh annual Fat Friday event.

A special thanks to those who contributed to the Chinese auction and fabulous door prizes, Flood City Brass for once again providing us with lively entertainment, Top Dog Productions for the incredible lighting effect and photo booth, Valley Printing and Design for our programs, the Pasquerilla Conference Center for efficiently and graciously accommodating a sell-out crowd, Tim Rigby for being our emcee, Deb and Lester McDaniel, who worked on the event all year, and all the volunteers who worked tirelessly behind the scenes throughout the evening to assure this was once again an enormous success.

However, most thanks go to all who believe in this project and attended this annual event. Hope to see you at the Roxbury Bandshell this summer.

Mary P. Borkow

Roxbury Bandshell Preservation Alliance


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