The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


August 16, 2013

Readers' Forum 8-16 | Homeowners could use help with tap-in fees

— I live in the Roxbury section of Johnstown and had to endure five months of filth, noise, inconvenience and even rats as workers installed a sewer line on Sell Street.

We residents recently received letters basically giving us a year to tap into the new line. This will cost thousands of dollars. No assistance was offered, and the tone of the letter was threatening.

No one seems to want to take the initiative to find funds to assist homeowners to pay for this mandated tap-in. Local officials say they can’t do anything, as this is a state-mandated project. State officials want to push the responsibility onto local authorities.

And just so everyone is on the same page, this project eventually will be done citywide. All homeowners in the city will be getting new sewer lines and will be receiving letters demanding that they tap in within a year.

I think it’s time that politicians quit bickering and focusing on their own agendas.

They need to remember that they are there to represent the people and work together to find funding to help them.

This is not just a Roxbury concern. Maybe if the homeowners of Johnstown make their voices heard, our representatives will step up and do the right thing to provide the necessary help we all need.

I don’t want to see Johnstown become a ghost town as remaining homeowners get fed up and move out.

Michael A. Alberts


Keystone pipeline has no link to energy

The Readers’ Forum letter Aug. 10 by Dr. Bill Choby is wrong.

The OPEC oil crisis, with its gas lines and rationing, happened in 1973 and had nothing to do with Jimmy Carter. Carter didn’t take office until January 1977, 3 1⁄2 years later.

The crisis actually occurred during the very Republican Nixon administration.

The fact that most Americans (including many who lived through it) blame Carter is testament to the effectiveness of the conservative misinformation engine typified by Fox News, as is the deluge of bunk about the Keystone pipeline.

Energy-wise, tar-sand oil (the stuff Keystone will move) is utter foolishness. It requires more energy to extract the oil than the oil produces – wasting resources. For that reason, and many others, tar sand is environmentally catastrophic.

It is being pursued in spite of the vulgar waste because the market is such that a dollar can still be made selling the stuff to fuel vehicles, but that market is primarily in Asia. We are being asked to waste our energy and pollute our environment to fill overseas’ gas tanks and oil-company pockets.

If you don’t believe that and still think the Keystone pipeline is all about energy independence, I have a challenge. Write your favorite Republican in Congress and ask him or her to sponsor legislation mandating that until energy independence is achieved (i.e., we no longer need to import fossil fuel), all fossil fuel extracted in North America be sold exclusively for domestic consumption.

Maybe you’ll discover whose side they’re on.

Daniel Waltimire


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