The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

March 18, 2013

Readers' Forum 3-18 | Congrats to all involved in forensics

Submitted by Readers

JOHNSTOWN — One of the most heartening and best kept secrets of early March is the regional forensics meets that are held for two days at St. Francis University, Loretto.

The meets are attended by students, coaches and judges from throughout the area. They show local young people at their best.

Forensics allows students to demonstrate talent and hard work in multiple categories – among them are persuasive and informative speech, prose, public forum, poetry and duo-drama. The ability of a student to speak clearly and articulately, to form an opinion and work together as a team will enhance his or her college experience and pave his or her entrance into the job market.

Most forensics students are also involved in various other extracurricular activities in their schools and communities.

It is regrettable that these students are seldom noted by the media. One does not see reporters from any of the media converging on SFU to report on forensics meets as they most certainly would for other types of school events.

So, congratulations to the students and coaches who participated in this year’s meets. Good luck to those students who are going on to national competition.

A special recognition to the coaches, parents and schools who support these exceptional students and to St. Francis University for providing the locale.

Christine Rodriguez


Take sobering look at privatization

Pennsylvania residents should feel grateful after the helpful lecture from state Reps. Frank Burns, Gary Haluska and Paul Costa. How else would we know that if wine and liquor stores are removed from the government monopoly and sold to private operators, “social ills” will proliferate “with increased alcohol consumption.”

They need a chorus from “The Music Man,” “Ye got trouble, I say trouble right here in River City,” or the Keystone State, with “violence, burglaries, vandalism, drunken driving, teen pregnancy and addiction.”

As the esteemed legislators warn of consequences, they also imply that, with private stores, people will drink less. The government “would lose its bulk purchasing power that helps to lower prices; this would drive up consumer prices.” Because there’s at least one state store in every county, “every resident has reasonable access.” Presumably greedy private operators “locate where the market is,” causing less access.

It’s time to look sober-mindedly at privatization, not just listen to shrill warnings from state employees and politicians who support them. Beer distributors would have to change, but they don’t have to go out of business; they’d have to compete with Walmart. About 3,500 unionized state store employees would have to compete for private jobs, but nobody has a right to a protected career at a government monopoly.

The three politicians are right about the mistake of using funds from liquor license sales for “short-term education funding.” That’s because public schools are in such abysmally bad shape that no amount of government funding can save them.

Dwight B. Owen


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