The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

March 19, 2013

Official seeks to shut bar in Oakhurst for at least 1 year

JOHNSTOWN — Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan has filed a civil lawsuit against the owner of a bar and restaurant in the Oakhurst section of Johnstown – the scene of dozens of violent acts over the past few years.

In the 2-inch-thick document, Callihan is asking the county court to step in and close Edder’s Den for a period of not less than one year because it is damaging the peace and good order of the neighborhood.

In a subsequent action, Callihan is requesting an injunction seeking immediate action to close the bar and restaurant located at

534 Sheridan St.  

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, a hearing on the injunction or the civil lawsuit had not been scheduled, according to the office of the Cambria County court administrator.

Callihan would not comment Tuesday on her action, saying she will wait until Edder’s owner, Edward Gawel, operating as Sheri-Den Inc., has received notice of the suit through the sheriff’s department.

In the lawsuit, Callihan terms violent actions at Edder’s Den a statutory nuisance, “creating an unsafe public condition by attracting violent patrons and by failing to prevent actions of its patrons.”

Attempts to reach Gawel for comment Tuesday were unsuccessful.

In the lawsuit, Callihan lists 68 times the Johnstown Police Department has been called to the bar between June 30, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2012, including 20 times for assaults and fights and three times for shots fired.

The action to seek closing of the bar, while not unheard of, is relatively unusual due to reasons being used, said one attorney who asked not to be named. Such action is known due to persistent complaints of loud noise or lewd behavior, but seldom violence, the attorney said.

The bar is operated in a manner that creates an unsafe public condition by unnecessarily draining manpower and resources from the Johnstown Police Department, according to the document.

It is also creating an unsafe public condition by causing local residents living near Edder’s Den to fear for their public safety and poses a distinct threat to their health and safety.

Bar patrons conduct themselves in a disorderly manner in and around the premises, engaging in drug use and dealing, disorderly conduct, alarming and intimidating behavior, illegal firearms possession, theft, public intoxication and assaultive and threatening conduct, Callihan alleges.

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

The bar has received numerous citations by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board for serving alcohol to visibly intoxicated people, serving after hours, giving false information on liquor license application, allowing gambling and lottery on the premises, serving to underage people and other violations of state law.

Callihan said she has no adequate remedy under the state’s criminal code, so she is seeking civil action.

Along with notice of the lawsuit going to Gawel, also being notified is the director of licensing and the attorney representing the PLCB, and attorney Ryan Repark, representing the Johnstown Police Department.

Edward Gawel is listed as the primary shareholder of Sheri-Den Inc., while Roberta Louise Gawel is secretary, treasurer, director, stockholder and manager of the bar, according to documents filed with the state.


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

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

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • District Deaths April 20, 2014

    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

  • Sheetz work underway

    Earthmoving is underway at Richland Town Centre for a nearly 6,500-square-foot Sheetz store.
    And the real estate broker marketing the land says a 3,000-square-foot retail building will be built next door.

    April 18, 2014

  • Smith, Shakir Mosi Police seize heroin, money in Prospect

    Johnstown police reported that several bricks of heroin, along with $4,000 in cash and a handgun, were discovered in the city's Prospect neighborhood around 4 a.m. Friday. An arrest warrant has been issued for the man be­lieved to be the owner or renter of the two homes raided.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Comedy night targets serious problem

    Animal advocates are using comedy to take aim at a serious problem.
    The third annual Funny Fundraiser to benefit the Nardecchia Spay and Neuter Fund will be held at 8 p.m. May 16 at Ace’s, 316 Chestnut St. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

    April 18, 2014

  • Local briefs 4/19/2014

    April 18, 2014

  • Early morning police raid in Prospect area leads to arrest warrant

    Johnstown police reported that several bricks of heroin, along with $4,000 in cash and a handgun, were discovered in the city's Prospect neighborhood around 4 a.m. this morning.

    April 18, 2014

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    April 18, 2014


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?

I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads