The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


October 31, 2013

Readers' Forum 10-31 | Thoughtful gift from pastor, wife

JOHNSTOWN — A few weeks ago, while walking down Walnut Street on my way to the post office, I came upon an older couple standing at a parking meter. The man was bent over, reading the meter aloud, while the woman was searching through her purse.

I couldn’t help overhearing their discussion. They were trying to figure out how many quarters they’d need for the time they’d be parked.

The woman said she didn’t have any quarters, and the man said he didn’t either.

At this point, I stopped, told them I had several quarters and offered as many as they wanted. Turns out they were in the city to visit a patient at the Lee Campus of Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center. I gave them several quarters and said they could pay me back by doing something nice for someone else. They thanked me over and over and said they were first-time visitors to our city, that the man was a former pastor of a church and they both were presently part of a music ministry at a church in Confluence. I welcomed them and asked that they remember me in their prayers.

At this point, right there in the middle of Walnut Street, the woman bowed her head and the man placed his hand on my shoulder and prayed for me. What a beautiful gift on that lovely fall afternoon. I thanked the pastor and his wife and walked away feeling truly blessed.

I half turned around to remind them to “pay it forward.” Suddenly it hit me – they just did.

Carol Fris

West End

Three years, $300M and nothing to show

Obamacare has been launched in such an incompetent manner it defies description. Can’t make a website work? There are millions of websites, and this administration can’t successfully implement one after $300 million and three years to prepare.

When you can’t get the website right, how are you going to get health care right? The health care system is complex and, by the way, critical. Are these guys this deficient? It seems they are. The problem is they’re making it up as they go along.

As a result, people’s health care plans are being canceled, and they’re being told they can go into the exchanges, which are managed by the federal government. Remember, they can’t implement a website but they’re going to manage your health care through these exchanges.

Many people being subjected to significant sticker shock. In California, the first state to embrace the exchange idea, if residents get their health care through the exchange, they can’t go to any University of California hospital. Does this mean we won’t have access to our leading hospitals if Pennsylvania is forced into the exchanges?

And how chaotic will it become? Imagine trying to get admitted to a hospital or trying to get a doctor’s appointment only to be told you either don’t have the right health insurance or even any health insurance. Think that can’t happen? Remember, they couldn’t make a website work.

In 2014, there will be an election for the House and a third of the Senate. You might want to think about that.

Tom O’Toole

Indian Lake

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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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