The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


October 19, 2013

Laurels and barbs

JOHNSTOWN — Laurel: Concerns for keeping people warm have earned two local entities a shared laurel. Johnstown firefighters are taking part in Firefighters Coats for Kids. They hope to raise $3,500 to buy coats for all pupils in one grade at East Side Elementary School. And Hindman Funeral Homes & Crematory Inc. is collecting new or almost-new sweaters and gloves that will be given to local veterans’ hospitals, homes and service organizations. It warms our heart to read about the unselfish actions of the two organizations.

Laurel: Richland Rams quarterback Matt Shaffer has learned well from his coach, Brandon Bailey. So well, in fact, that he broke his coach’s District 6 record last week in a game against Westmont Hilltop. Shaffer’s five touchdown tosses against the Hilltoppers gave him 66 career touchdown passes, surpassing his coach’s record 65 passes, which had stood since 1991. Coach Bailey set his record while playing at Forest Hills. Ever the humble player, Shaffer gave credit to his team. “It’s their record just as much as it is mine. I credit those guys. I love those guys.” He’s a class act.

Barb: Fly-by-night contractors will always find a way to ruin it for reliable companies. The updating of Johns-town’s antiquated sewer system has meant a lot of work for contractors. Homeowners will be mandated to connect into the new system. Costs of several thousand dollars up to $15,000 have been reported, which prompted Councilman Joseph Taranto to suggest penalties for contractors who gouge customers. The best advice for homeowners came from City Manager Kristen Denne, who said: “The only thing I can say is get more than one quote.” Let the buyer beware.

Laurel: Lift Johnstown’s first Volunteer Spotlight Award could not have gone to a more-deserving individual. Don Tedjeske, a self-described jack-of-all-trades and St. Vincent DePaul volunteer, was honored recently for his tireless work during the past 17 years for the nonprofit. “You embody what we’re trying to do here,” Megan Livingston, representing Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield, a Lift Johnstown partner, told Tedjeske. “You’re ... making a difference every day.” Congratulations are in order.

Laurel: Students at Bishop McCort Catholic High School took a casual approach toward fundraising. Students raised $1,000 during a dress-down day and earmarked the money for the fight against pediatric brain cancer. The funds will go to the Mikey Czech Foundation. Mikey, son of Bishop McCort grad Steve Czech, lost his battle with brain cancer when he was 11 years old. Czech spoke to the students earlier this year and presented information about pediatric brain tumors and the foundation’s goal. It makes us proud to know these students reside in Greater Johnstown.

Barb: It was bad enough that a flaming beer-pong ball started a blaze inside a student’s apartment on the campus of Bloomsburg University. It got worse when students elsewhere in the apartment complex refused to evacuate, despite blaring fire alarms and lots of smoke. Apparently these collegians forgot to pack their common sense when they left home for college.

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