The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

May 23, 2013

Cambria leaders laud ‘role model’

NORTHERN CAMBRIA — The Cambria County commissioners held an evening meeting Thursday at Northern Cambria High School. Aside from cleaning the simple administrative tedium from their plates, they gave special recognition to a man who helped draw in close to $750,000 for the county – all through helping convicts in the adult probation program.

The panel of community officials passed, among other things, approvals for a $15,000 expansion to the Northern Cambria Senior Activity Center parking lot and the new county prisoner rate of $68 per day, per prisoner – which is about $30 lower than the state’s rate. They also adopted an agreement to match CamTran’s $25,000 advertising revenue shortfall for the fiscal year – which is $10,000 higher than last year.

As the last agenda item, Commissioner Doug Lengenfelder commended Hal Dues, assistant supervisor of the Community Service Industrial Arts with the Cambria County Adult Probation Department, as being a consistently “strong role model” while helping probationers to pay off their court costs through community service.

This praise came after a time Dues had spent on the wrong side of the law.

Dues was pulling community service after being found guilty of a theft by deception charge. He shined in the job, taking his own initiative to learn skills from his supervisors and prompting Cambria County Senior Judge Gerard Long to take notice.

“He saw that I was very motivated and always busy,” Dues said. “When the judge said, ‘You want to be a supervisor?’ I laughed.

“To know Judge (Gerard) Long – he’s like a father.”

Dues said he felt fortunate to have received the “proper grooming” to help him get a leg up on charges that could haunt future employment. He gave thanks to Long when he shyly accepted his recognition award – for seeing more in him than just another docket number – and also praised President Judge Timothy Creany.

“They know the individual, instead of the crime – that means a lot,” he said.

Community service hours are figured by taking the total court costs held against an offender and dividing it against the minimum wage.

While working with probationers in the program – DUI convicts, minor drug offenders, domestic violence instigators, check bouncers – Dues came to develop personal relationships and, through his supervision, helped them pay off three-quarters of a million in court costs and fees that many owed.

“We may never have recouped any of that,” said Lengenfelder, who sees Dues’ value as a mentor figure to those trying to pay back the community through the program. “(He’s) someone who understands what it means to get into trouble and how to get out of it.”

“We try to take people who made bad choices and correct them,” Dues said. “You can make mistakes and you can get past them.”

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
Local News
  • smothers ‘It breaks my heart’: Shooting victim’s death leaves trail of shattered lives

    Victoria Smothers knows what people thought when they heard that a young black male had been shot to death in Moxham last week.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • School violence studied

    On a typical day last year, Pennsylvania schools caught 11 students toting weapons similar to ones used to slash 21 students and a security guard at a Pittsburgh-area high school, according to the state Department of Education. An untold number of others likely brought weapons to school but weren’t caught, safety experts say.

    April 16, 2014

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    April 16, 2014

  • egg hunt17 ACRP quietly notes 25th anniversary

    There will be little or no fanfare accompanying Alternative Community Resource Program’s 25th anniversary.
    And that’s how the executive director, Frank Janakovic, wants it.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • windber17 Windber students earn top ‘Overchiever’ rank

    Windber Area school’s PSSA scores have been tops in the region for the past several years.
    This year, they’re among the head of the class statewide, Pittsburgh Business Times annual Schools Guide shows.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wise, Charles Police charge bank robbery suspect

    A Johnstown man was jailed on $250,000 bond after police said he robbed the West End Branch of AmeriServ Financial. Charles Wise, 48, of Barron Avenue, was charged with two counts of robbery.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Inmate awaits sentencing for assault on guard

    A former inmate faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced for assaulting a corrections officer at State Correctional Institution-Somerset, authorities said.

    April 16, 2014

  • windber pool Pool stays afloat despite troubles

    When a valve broke at the Windber Recreation Park pool last month, its municipal authority caretakers feared that meant the end for the pool’s aged, much-patched liner.
    But the old liner has held up – a stroke of luck that will save Windber Municipal Authority from having to seek a line of credit to cover repairs or risk delaying the pool opening, the authority’s recreation director, C.W. Beckley, said.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Creativity blossoming for spring art show

    The 16th annual Art in Bloom spring art show will brighten the Cambria County Courthouse in Ebensburg from noon to 6 p.m. April 26 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 27.

    April 16, 2014

  • Alcatraz Challenge offers escape from routine

    Greater Johnstown Community YMCA is gearing up for its indoor biathlon, the Alcatraz Challenge.

    April 16, 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
House Ads