The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

May 6, 2013

Judge’s office readied: Project lays groundwork for new district borders

EBENSBURG — Work on renovations to a commercial building in Stonycreek Township got underway last week, with Cambria County court officials projecting an August completion date.

The property at 701 Belmont St. will replace the Upper Yoder Township office of District Judge John Barron, now at 110 Sunray Drive.

“I was down there this morning and they are working away,” Cambria County Court Administrator William Valko said Monday.

Beginning in January, the building also will serve as the district judge’s office for many of the communities currently served by the Richland Township office of District Judge Max Pavlovich.

 The move is necessary as Cambria County prepares to decrease the number of district judges’ offices, a step made necessary by order of the state Supreme Court.

In light of declining population in many Pennsylvania counties, and in an effort to reduce state court related costs, the state’s highest court ordered more than a year ago that two of Cambria’s 10 district judge seats be eliminated by the end of this year.

Cambria County President Judge Timothy Creany in 2012 traveled around the county, gathering public input on the best scenario for consolidating the magisterial districts. He and Valko developed a plan.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court approved Creany’s plan to eliminate the seat held by Pavlovich, who turns 70 this year, and the Cresson seat of Charity Nileski, who chose not to seek re-election.

With the Portage area soon to be merged with Cresson, Creany is closing the Main Street, Portage, office of District Judge Galen Decort and relocating it to Nileski’s Cresson Township office.

The building, located just off Admiral Peary Highway, is leased from the Cresson Township supervisors and has plenty of off-street parking.

With the closing of the Pavlovich office, efforts were made to find a more centrally located space for Barron, Valko said.

“Both of the (existing) offices were on either end of the (new) district and we wanted to bring it to a central location,” Valko said. “This is as close as we can get.”

Creany and Valko have been working with the owner of Barron’s future office and architects since the first of year detailing changes needed to the commercial space for an efficient district court office.

The go-ahead on the work was recently given when the Cambria County commissioners approved a 10-year lease agreement with Project One LLC.

The principal owners of the real estate were identified as P.J. McGowan and Ed Wian.

The rental agreement with the county calls for payments of $2,000 per month for May, June and July, with no additional payment until the premises are ready for occupancy.

Upon occupancy, the rent will jump to $3,713 per month.

Combining the two offices will eventually save some money, Cambria County Controller Edward Cernic Jr. said. But the county is locked into paying the $3,927 per month for Pavlovich’s office until the lease expires at the end of December.

Officials hope the county ultimately will save as much as $60,000 to $80,000 annually through the consolidations.

Salaries of the district judges, currently at $86,639, are paid by the state, but wages of clerical staff and building leases are paid by the county.

The landlord at the Belmont Street property, which was once a commercial insurance office, is paying for the bulk of the interior structural changes and upgrades needed, Valko said.

Cambria County’s inmate work crew will help out later with interior painting and minor work, he said.

Changes needed at what will be Decort's office in Cresson are limited to the addition of a holding cell.

The facility has no secure holding place for those in custody, and providing one likely will involve leasing additional space from the Cresson Township supervisors, Valko said.

There is no timetable for the work at the Cresson office.

While eliminating the two district judge seats means that in some cases police departments and residents may have further to travel, the 2010 census showed the county lost nearly 6 percent of its population since 2000.

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

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

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • 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

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 19, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 19, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 19, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 19, 2014

  • VIDEO | Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 19, 2014

  • Denne, Williams & Stanton Records hearing scheduled

    A Cambria County judge will consider complaints filed by two Johnstown residents seeking documents related to the city’s municipal waste water operation at hearing at the end of this month.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sen. Bob Casey Casey targets heroin

    The heroin trade has brought addiction, death, violence and theft to Johnstown and other Pennsylvania communities.
    Figuring out how to deal with those issues is difficult for local, state and federal officials.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drive-in to open with high-tech projector

    Drive-in movie theaters and the term “state of the art” seldom share the same sentence.
    But that will soon be the case for the Silver Drive-In, it’s owner said. The Scalp Avenue site, often marketed as a nostalgic summer night escape, soon will boast a high-end projector capable of displaying the latest and greatest blockbusters in razor sharp high-definition, theater owner Rick Rosco said.

    April 18, 2014

Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads