Recently, my family came home to attend a concert in Central Park. Upon arrival, we were told it had been canceled. So we decided to take a walk. Three delightful hours later, we completed exploring downtown Johnstown.
We traveled the river walk to the War Memorial, took pictures shaking hands with the John Murtha statue and proceeded to the Inclined Plane for a nostalgic ride and a priceless view of our great city.
We shopped for souvenirs and ate ice cream, continued past the beautiful Point Stadium where a ballgame was in progress. Next, we found ourselves near the river wall past the old water tanks and steel mills, then the blacksmith shop.
On our way back, we saw the beautiful colored lights on the Stone Bridge, yet one more impressive Johnstown sight.
We continued along Main Street past the Ford dealership, rows of impressive business and doctor’s offices, Lee Campus of Conemaugh Health System, a trendy looking sandwich shop, Morley’s Dog, City Hall, shops, a spa and a neat little bar-restaurant where Johnnys used to be. How nice to see it occupied.
Finally, we returned to the park, where we heard loud voices and feared trouble downtown. It turned out the noise was coming from a group of diners, laughing and enjoying coffee and desserts across from the park on a Saturday night.
Johnstown is my ninth stop along my life’s journey, and I am proud to show it off.
Will U.S. troops ever leave Afghanistan?
I see that there is a deal in the works to keep American troops in Afghanistan to help protect them while they get their country in working order. We’ll stay for who knows how long. I’m guessing probably forever based on the way the Afghans are handling their own security today.
The story I saw intimated that we’re waiting for Afghanistan’s President Karzai to agree to allow us to stay, and of course to continue to pay with our blood and treasure; or at least waiting to hear his conditions to allow us to continue to fight and die for them.
I have a solution. Tell them it is time to get their heads out and take control of their own country because we’re leaving. Other than that, with our foreign “policy,” we could have another Korea on our backs.
Except it wouldn’t be as benign as the Korean fiasco has so far been.
The people who are still waiting for a Western style democracy to suddenly appear and flourish in Afghanistan are headed for a serious disappointment.
I do support our troops but I don’t necessarily support all the policies they are asked to prop up with their blood and sweat.
Barry J. Orner
Late coach influenced many young lives
Jim “Mo” Molnar died on July 25 after a valiant bout with cancer. He was 57.
Mo was a close and a trusted friend. We met as rival coaches in the Greater Johnstown Parochial Football League – he for Central Catholic and I for St. Clement.
Our games were always physical, and we talked after most games.
When I took over as the freshman football coach at Bishop McCort Catholic High School in 1989, Mo was the first person I asked to be my assistant. He agreed, and also became the head referee and league director of parochial football. Mo was a dedicated, fair, caring and effective referee.
Mo always had a smile for everyone, but he also could come up with some zingers. One comes to mind when he was my assistant coach at McCort and we lost a close game.
I was tersely telling the team that we were going back to basics. Holding up a football, I said, “This is a football.” Mo, standing in the back, chimed in, “Could you slow down a bit, coach?” The tension vanished – vintage Mo.
In the last few years, Mo had to give up refereeing as the illness sapped his energy and strength. But he continued to stop at practices and go to games and never lost his positive outlook on life. We talked about sports and his beloved daughter Brittany – his pride and joy.
Mo influenced many young men during his short time on earth.
Goodbye, good friend. Hope to see you in the next life.