The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

July 3, 2013

Portage runoff causes concern

PORTAGE — It’s been a wet summer, and some Portage residents are certainly feeling washed out. Concerns about stormwater management were brought before the Portage Township Board of Supervisors on Wednesday.

Resident Bob Brickley of Robel Road pleaded with the board to enforce an ordinance that would keep water flow from crossing his street and filling nearby embankments to the brim.

“The liability that Portage Township has right now is beyond belief,” he said.

He told The Tribune-Democrat he knows of at least five areas where a car could be almost entirely submerged if it slipped off the roadway. He said it’s all coming from a nearby farm, claiming the farmowners raised a line of land running parallel to the road.

According to Brickley, who said he’s owned his house on Robel Road since 1994 without any stormwater incidents, he’s spoken about the problem with representatives from the Natural Resource Conservation District, an agricultural ombudsman – a rep from the Cambria County Conservation District even came to his house.

“All admit there’s a problem up there – none of them say they can enforce it,” he said.

They told him they can’t supercede the township’s authority. Section 105-D of the stormwater ordinance also states agricultural operations are exempt from stormwater enforcement, but that’s only if they have an erosion and sedimentation plan in place. The farm does not.

But Supervisor Rick Olshavsky and Township Solicitor Calvin Webb said not only are there many obstacles to getting crews out to examine each flooded scene, it’s been a nearly nonstop rainy season.

“Every municipality seems to be having a bigger problem with runoff during these downpours,” Webb said. “If you have an area that was bad in the past, it’s terrible now.”

Olshavsky said township engineers have already been to Brickley’s property and devised a plan, but the manpower allotted to the township means the work might not get done right away. The board explained to Brickley that subcontracting is an unneeded expense, especially if the township already has the means, and piping all the problem areas is too cost-prohibitive.

“The practical problem for townships is, when you look at the amount of road and mileage, none of them have the manpower to take care of it,” Webb said. “You’d have to have taxes through the roof.”

Webb said the township could be liable for damages sustained by a car splashing into a flooded embankment or open runoff ditch, but only if it was man-made.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

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


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

I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow

House Ads