The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

November 1, 2013

Readers' Forum 11-1 | Emphasize Christmas, not Halloween


Submitted by Readers

JOHNSTOWN — The Johnstown Halloween parade has filled the streets of downtown Johnstown with ghosts and goblins for more than 40 years. Every year, it seems like more and more people support the parade in some way. The floats, marching bands and other sights entertain the large crowd for hours on end.

Then there is the annual Christmas parade every November that lasts only about 15 minutes and gets a very small crowd.

It is a really big shame that our community makes a big deal about Halloween more than it does about Christmas. Basically, the people of Johnstown are saying that they would rather worship the devil than Jesus Christ. We should really get more involved with the Christmas parade.

Eric Norton Jr.

Johnstown



Columnist’s points have been debunked

Regarding Jim Scofield’s column on Oct. 29 (“Criticisms of new Affordable Care Act”), it’s troubling when someone uses talking points and research that are old and have been mostly debunked. His entire commentary uses a socialist-style central government as the basis for his theory of utopia.

He mentions that coverage should benefit 32 million out of the estimated uninsured 45 million. Does the word “should” mean maybe? What about the other 13 million? What about the estimated

16 million who will lose their coverage by year’s end because of the Affordable Care Act, as recently reported by NBC News?

He also mentions that exchanges are producing cheaper rates than existing insurance. Really? So far, only five states are showing reductions in premiums and they are Colorado, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island. And that’s in three categories – adult age 27, adult age 50, and family of four. The remaining 45 states show increases from 3.6 percent in Maine to 256.5 percent in Virginia. That’s not a good showing of cheaper rates.

Scofield mentions how popular health care is in Massachusetts and in wealthy nations. Numerous articles state there is nearly a 60-day waiting period just to see a primary care doctor in Massachusetts, and it’s no secret that European and Scandinavian countries boast tax rates of 60 to 72 percent to get all that popular stuff.

It’s doubtful that Scofield would be willing to participate in the Affordable Care Act debacle at his own expense because nowhere in history has a socialist ever participated in the good-intentioned garbage designed for the people.

Debra Gindlesperger

Davidsville



Catholics exude winning attitudes

I like being a Roman Catholic. Incidentally, I was raised a Jew and converted to a Catholic 20 years ago. To me, it was a simple choice of continuing the Old Testament to the New Testament; going from Abraham and Moses to our Lord Jesus Christ.

What I liked about my new religion is that I chose to come to it, it did not necessarily come after me.

I like being a Catholic in many ways because of what it does not do. For example: We try not to prejudge people, and we tend not to overpreach with threats of damnation for abuses that all are not guilty of. For the most part, the church teaches us to expect the best from others. We do not need to hear the worst examples of society from our homilies in order to know what is right and what is wrong in our life.

I was lucky to have a priest in my family who is known for his humanistic approach to his teaching and homilies. One such homily was about a priest in a rough neighborhood who chose to equip the new basketball court with the best-named basketballs and quality hoops. Guess what? The courts were kept clean and the equipment was not damaged or stolen. That priest expected the best from people ... and he got it.

For me, being a Roman Catholic is having high standards that are looked up to and sought by those who need a change or an upgrade in their lives. It’s a winning attitude that says when you are

ready, we are here for you. Being a Roman Catholic is like playing for the Yankees. I’m from New York, so what can I say?

Jack Fagan

Johnstown



Is city sewer work being overregulated?

As the new sewer lines make progress up and down Johnstown’s streets, I hear more and more stories of interior sewer lines that are being replaced because they do not meet new pressure-test requirements.

Clay terra-cotta pipes are still one of the best systems available and, for the most part, will last indefinitely, potentially hundreds of years. They do not rot, decay, rust or deteriorate with chemicals.

As I ask more questions, I am hearing that neither the Environmental Protection Agency or the state or federal governments require pressure testing of in-house sewer pipes. But Johnstown City Council does.

Daniel Gresh

Johnstown



Gay Straight club offers a safe haven

As a sister of a gay man and mother of a lesbian, I am writing to say that I wholeheartedly agree with Richland school board’s decision to allow a Gay Straight Alliance Club to be formed at the school.

Every school district should have one. These students need the support. Many are bullied and need the club as a safe haven. There is a very high incidence of suicide among these students. The club will give them a place to be themselves and to be accepted for who they are and (there will be) someone to talk to so they don’t feel all alone in this world.

Sometimes it takes one person to change things, and I applaud Casey Karon for having the courage to push for these changes.

Kathy Bold

Appleton, Wis.

Retired Teacher, Greater Johnstown School District