The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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February 2, 2013

Laurels and barbs

— Laurel: People in tight-knit communities come together and help each other when problems arise. That’s exactly what the leaders of Mount Aloysius in Cresson are trying to do. The college announced last week that it is offering a tuition-free semester to any displaced worker at SCI-Cresson. It’s a remarkable gesture by the college and a tremendous opportunity for those affected by the closing of the prison.

Laurel: Twelve years after her son was murdered in the Moxham section of Johnstown, Dawn Nasewicz is still healing. She hopes that by helping others she will continue to heal. Nasewicz, the mother of Aaron Coyle, has started the Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Area Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children Inc. While we hope her services aren’t needed, it’s comforting to know that her group is there to help others in a time of crisis. She can be contacted at 539-5267 or dawn_esther_4264@yahoo.com.

Barb: Pennsylvania legislators face plenty of contentious and problematic issues that require their undivided attention. The name of a fairly obscure peak in Somerset County shouldn’t be one of them. State Rep. Rosita Youngblood, D-Philadelphia, is again launching an effort to rename Negro Mountain. While the name, which is said to be in honor of a slave who died fighting there during the French and Indian War, is no longer politically correct, it should be far down on the list of problems concerning our representatives.

Laurel: A positive role model can make all the difference in the world to our young people. That’s why we salute the GoodGuides Youth Mentoring Program of Goodwill Industries of the Conemaugh Valley

and AmeriCorps, which held a Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service last week for children ages 10 to 17 in Johnstown. The program was intended to instill the values that King stood for in the young people.

Laurel: A frightening situation in Somerset County had a happy ending, as missing snowmobiler Bruce Maust was found alive on Wednesday. The 50-year-old Jennerstown man had been missing for three days when he was found near Seven Springs Mountain Resort. Thanks to the dozens of volunteers who turned out to search for Maust.

Barb: James R. McDonald Jr. of Windber is already facing arson charges in the Moxham fire that destroyed three buildings in November. Now, the 46-year-old is in trouble again, as he is accused of carving a swastika into the passenger side of a Paint Township police officer’s private vehicle. He is now facing additional charges of criminal mischief, disorderly conduct and retaliation for past official action.

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