The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


July 13, 2013

Laurels and barbs

— Laurel: Tim Layton was a name on the lips of many an outdoors lover this week. The Windber man was appointed to the Pennsylvania Game Commission in what was viewed as an exceptionally quick decision for a traditionally slow process. The decision came as a shock to many who cover the commission, as he was a bit of an unknown commodity. Layton will represent District 4, which is made up of Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon and Somerset counties. Best of luck, Tim. We know plenty of hunters will be watching as you weigh in on the state’s deer-management program.

Laurel: Lou DiCerbo is looking to help St. Francis University expand its horizons with a $1 million endowment to the Loretto school. The endowment, which is named after the university’s president, the Rev. Gabriel Zeis, is, in part, to help open the school to more than just Catholic scholars. DiCerbo wants to attract “all people of good will,” according to Robert Crusciel, the university’s vice president for advancement. From DiCerbo’s generous endowment, it certainly seems as though he knows a thing or two about good will.

Barb: The news on the college front wasn’t all good. The cost of an education is going up again. Officials announced Tuesday that it will cost $194 more per year to attend schools in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education – which includes Indiana University of Pennsylvania – according to The Associated Press. That’s made even worse by the fact that Congress’ inability to pass a student-loan bill means that the average college student could be facing an extra $2,600 on returning to campus in the fall.

Laurel: Johnstown put on a wonderful display during its Fourth of July celebration. From the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra’s masterful performance at Point Stadium to the patriotic lighting of the Stone Bridge to the fantastic fireworks show that made sure the night ended with a bang, it was a night well-done. Kudos to all involved.

Barb: To the wanna-be pyrotechnic experts in our area, we say enough is enough. Not only is it illegal for amateurs to set off fireworks in Pennsylvania, it’s also dangerous, disturbing and annoying. We’ve heard a number of complaints about noisy neighbors creating their own rockets’ red glare. From fireworks going off at all hours of the night to the mess it can leave on neighborhood properties, it’s time to give it a rest. Thank goodness we’ve had plenty of rain to eliminate the fire danger that often accompanies such displays.

Laurel: With students from Cambria, Somerset and Bedford counties making up the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies’ Youth Philanthropy Internship program, the participants know plenty about taking different routes to get to Johnstown. Now they plan to launch Routes – a community initiative that will link students, families and businesses for success. Routes will award one regional organization a $25,000 grant to fund a program that will benefit students in elementary through high school. We wish them success on their journey.

Barb: So many people rely on the United Way and the organization does such good in communities around the world that it’s especially disheartening when we hear about a case like the one in Centre County this week. Bellefonte resident Doris Conner, the former finance director for the Centre County United Way, allegedly used the nonprofit’s credit card to pay for $17,000 in personal expenses, including airline tickets for family members, paying veterinary bills and attending events.

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