The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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March 1, 2013

Readers' Forum 3-1 | What purpose does authority serve?

— Last December, I spoke to City Council about the three locked-out sewage workers being put in the office at the sewage- treatment plant. At that office, three workers died from cancer and three continue to battle cancer. Recently, yet another employee was diagnosed with cancer.

The redevelopment authority has projected a $200,000 savings because of employees’ careful use of lime. What it didn’t say is it switched from lime to lime kiln dust, which it buys at a fraction of the cost. I explained that our plant process is called lime stabilization. We mix lime with sludge, apply it to farmers’ fields and they sell their crops at the market to the public.

Also, what the authority didn’t say was lime kiln dust contains crystalline silica, a known carcinogen.

Is this why the authority operates under a veil of secrecy? How many employees and consumers will be sickened or die while it outsources jobs and profits? Our health care is constantly downgraded while co-pays skyrocket. Does anyone remember Love Canal or Silkwood?

The authority has three people working and five board members. This board can’t or refuses to answer even the simplest questions. Since we have a Cambria County Redevelopment Authority, the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority seems redundant and has outlived its usefulness.

Council needs to abolish the Johnstown authority, go back to the old billing system and bring the sewage profits back to the Johnstown banking systems.

Craig Cernic


President, USW Local 2635-17

Our veterans deserve recognition

Bill Heinrich was stationed on the island of Tinian during World War II. He said the military police guarding the Quonset huts there announced that what was in those huts would change the history of the world.

I know a number of brave men from that era, including Virgil Faust, who was captured and taken prisoner after bailing out of his burning plane, and Emmett Lang, who authored a book on his combat experiences in the Battle of the Bulge.

On Feb. 17, one Johnstown family lost its war hero. His name was Rudy Dragovich. While in the Navy, he endured numerous South Pacific battles, suffering injuries during an attack on his ship by an enemy kamikaze. He later witnessed the signing of the Japanese surrender on the USS Missouri.

Like the other men previously mentioned, Dragovich had a list of honors, medals and awards of which most of us will never fully comprehend.

For years, I’ve appreciated the recognition of athletes, educators and businessmen for their accomplishments. Our veterans deserve no less. We are indebted to the soldiers and families of Faust, Lang and Dragovich, knowing our freedom was ensured by them as well as by all veterans who served on foreign and home soil.

When you meet these heroes, consider it a privilege to thank them for their service. With that in mind, I offer a proud but posthumous salute to Bill Heinrich.

Thanks, Dad, for your service and sacrifice to this country.

Bonnie Warren


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