The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

March 21, 2013

Closing time: Oakhurst lounge locked, hearing next week

EBENSBURG — A Cambria County judge Thursday ordered the immediate closing of Edder’s Den, and sheriff’s deputies were dispatched from the courthouse at 3 p.m. to have the locks changed.

The order, signed by President Judge Timothy Creany, closed the bar at least until Monday when a hearing will be held at 10:30 a.m. at the courthouse in Ebensburg.

“We got two guys headed down there now. One deputy will meet them and we’ll have a locksmith there,” Cambria County Sheriff Bob Kolar said.

The immediate closing came three days after Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan filed a civil lawsuit against the owner of the Oakhurst bar. The suit asking the court to intervene cited ongoing crime in the neighborhood as the basis.

In his opinion, Creany said he based his decision to grant the temporary injunction closing the bar on concerns raised by Callihan that its operation is causing immediate and irreparable injury to the commonwealth and particularly the city of Johnstown.

It appears, he said in the court order, that the operation of Sheri-Den Inc., also known as Edder’s Den, “constitutes a public nuisance which threatens the peace, safety and public welfare and morals of the commonwealth.”

The bar, at 534 Sheridan St., whose owner is listed as Edward Gawel, will remain closed until farther court order, Creany said.

Creany’s order left the sheriff scrambling as he searched for the best way to close the bar and make sure it stayed secure during the weekend.

Having deputies man the facility 24 hours a day was not one of his options, he said.

After conferring with the district attorney and the judge, Kolar opted to bring in Spory’s Locksmith of the 1200 block of Scalp Avenue in Richland Township to install new locks on the establishment’s doors.

“And the keys come back with my deputies,” Kolar said.

The 2-inch-thick civil lawsuit filed by Callihan earlier this week seeking to have Edder’s Den deemed a nuisance bar cites 68 times the Johnstown Police Department has been called to the address between June 30, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2012.

The incidents include 20 times for assaults and fights and three times for shots fired.

The bar has received numerous citations by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board for serving alcohol to visibly intoxicated people, serving after hours, providing false information on liquor license application and other violations.

Fear levels of those living around the bar have reached the point that many residents interviewed in a recent investigation declined to give their names for fear of reprisal from Edder’s Den patrons, the lawsuit states.

More than a half-dozen subpoenas seeking witnesses for Monday’s hearing were being served by sheriff’s deputies on Thursday.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • Halfway house inmates can ease back into society

    Prison life can be a time warp.
    When inmates are locked away – for months, years, decades – society moves forward: Technology evolves, major events occur, pop culture changes. From a personal perspective, families and friends live their lives: weddings, funerals, graduations, births, retirements. All the while, criminals bide their time, existing in a regimented world of cement walls and metal bars.
    Almost all of them eventually rejoin society, though.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crime board took aim at house

    Johnstown’s unemployment rate is around 8 percent.
    One-third of the city’s population lives in poverty.
    Burglaries and assaults significantly increased between 2010 and 2012. There is a thriving illegal trade in heroin and prescription drugs.
    Given those conditions, it can be challenging for Johnstown Community Corrections Center residents to find jobs when living in the facility or to avoid falling back into a criminal lifestyle upon their release.

    April 19, 2014

  • Homicides linked to center

    Three homicides that took place in Johnstown last year involved either a suspect or victim who previously resided in the Community Corrections Center.
    Police Chief Craig Foust confirmed the name of one victim, who spent almost two months in the facility on Washington Street during 2007, a time period verified by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

    April 19, 2014

  • bachota Volunteers helping to spruce up community

    Walls and ceilings inside the Cambria County Library look clean and bright with fresh new coats of paint on them.
    The work was recently done by inmates from the Johnstown Community Corrections Center.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • alanna Hartzok targets income disparity

    Alanna Hartzok described herself as being a conservative progressive.
    The Franklin County resident said she is in favor of conserving environmental resources, education opportunities, Social Security and Medicare, while wanting to progressively address wealth inequality, health care and taxation.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Schools rise to leadership challenge

    Forest Hills and Cambria Heights high school students put the spirit of healthy competition toward a good cause and picked up some lessons in leadership along the way.

    April 19, 2014

  • KATEY LADIKA Student’s photos win awards

    A Forest Hills High School junior has captured several awards in a high school arts and writing contest that has identified greats such as Truman Capote and Andy Warhol.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local briefs 4/20/2014

    April 19, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 19, 2014

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 19, 2014

Poll

Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads