The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


January 26, 2013

Laurels and barbs

JOHNSTOWN — Laurel: February will be a special time in our region again. That’s because the Special Olympics Pennsylvania Winter Games will be held in our area from Feb. 9-12. About 350 athletes are expected to ski, skate and snowshoe in competitions in Cambria, Somerset and Blair counties. We’re proud to have the competition in our backyard and hope that plenty of volunteers turn out for the event again this year.

Barb: We understand the fears that tragedies like the one in Newtown, Conn., have raised. And we get the fact that schools must take every threat seriously. But when a Northumberland County school suspended a kindergarten student for saying she was going to shoot another girl with a pink toy gun that blows soapy bubbles, it has gone too far. An attorney for the suspended girl says that Mount Carmel Area School District labeled her a “terroristic threat” and suspended her for 10 days. That punishment was reduced to two days, but that’s still two days too long.

Laurel: A local neighborhood was going to the dogs, but needed a little help. A homeless pooch was loose on the Luzerne Street Extension, but no one in Westmont and Southmont neighborhoods could catch it. With frigid temperatures on the way, neighbors enlisted the help of the Humane Society of Cambria County. A live-catch trap was set up and the dog was rescued just before the extremely cold weather hit the area.

Laurel: It takes a lot longer to build a reputation than it does to tear one down. Pat Dumm Construction has been working on its reputation for 50  years. It’s paid off, and the family-run business is still going strong. With such a solid foundation, we’re confident that the business will continue to succeed.

Barb: We thought we’d seen it all when it came to embezzlement. Our region has had people convicted of stealing money from worthy causes like volunteer fire departments and youth sports programs. That’s bad, but a Huntington, W.Va., case might take the cake. Leigh Anne Zappin was arrested on a 17-count indictment for allegedly stealing more than $23,000 from a food bank.

Laurel: The Johnstown Tomahawks said from the start that the first-year club would feature some exciting young players. The team has delivered on its promise, as evidenced by the selection of five players to the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament in Troy, Mich. Andrew McDonald, Cody Gylling, Mitch Kontny and Casey Nelson will play in the event while J.B. Baker will be featured in the tournament for players 18 and younger. Tomahawks coach Jason Spence will serve as a coach for the young prospects team.


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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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