The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

January 7, 2014

Surprise cash for Cambria

EBENSBURG — Cambria County is receiving an unanticipated windfall from the state Department of Aging, money which will benefit the aging in a number of ways, officials said Tuesday.

The $340,000 must be spent by June 30 and comes with a number of restrictions. However. It will be spent with the goal of providing a degree of comfort and convenience within homes of the elderly, said M. Veil Griffith, administrator of the countywide aging program.

“Senior centers are not an approved cost center,” Griffith said.

But the money will be spent for needs such as emergency/snowy weather boxes, bathroom handrails or bars and similar improvements.

The hope it that funding can be stretched to include investigations into allegations where elderly people may be exploited or neglected, she said.

State guidelines restrict use of the money to service initiatives. In this case, some of the funds will be used for a new idea to the county, said  President Commissioner  Douglas Lengenfelder.

“The boxes will include emergency meals which are not perishable, a warm blanket. It’s emergency rations,” he said of the one-time delivery.

Bids were opened at the court-house on Tuesday for the

850 snowy weather boxes that will be distributed within weeks, Griffith said.

Nutrition Inc., which manages the county’s senior centers, was the only bidder for the contract. The company submitted a price of $81 per box for a total cost of $67,850.

The items will be sufficient to carry a senior through a span of two to four days in the event of severe weather or some other emergency, Griffith said.

There will be four shelf-stable meals, cold cereal, canned tuna, peanut butter, canned fruit and juice, granola bars and water.

The funding is allowing the Cambria Area Agency on Aging to expand the package to include a heavy blanket, flashlight with the phone number of the agency, batteries, slippers and two rolls of toilet paper.

“They are items that would tide a person over for a few days,” Griffith said. “I think it will give an elderly person a sense of comfort.”

Nutrition Inc. already has conducted a similar program in a number of western Pennsylvania counties, making Griffith confident it is one that the company can pull together in a short time.

“They should have them out to the people by Jan. 24,” she said.

The boxes are not just for those who fall below state income guidelines, but recipients of the more permanent planned improvements must fall within the lower income rates.

The county commissioners must approve the contract with Nutrition Inc.

The $270,000 remaining from the one-time windfall will allow some improvements to homes of the elderly, Lengenfelder said.

“We want to serve older adults who are in need with things like handrails and grab bars – bathing needs,” Griffith said.

Applications and more information for the safety improvements can be made by contacting Griffith’s Johnstown office.

As funding allows, Griffith hopes to be able to use some of the money to fund investigations into reports of elder abuse in the county, be it physical or financial, and neglect, be it self-neglect or by recipients.

“We have professional investigators. We want to step in and help,” she said.


Kathy Mellott covers the Cambria County courthouse for The Tribune Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    April 18, 2014

  • new councilman Judge fills City Council vacancy

    A lifelong Johnstown resident who has never sought election to public office was named Thursday to fill the vacancy on City Council.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cawley Lt. Gov. Cawley pushes jobs plan during Johnstown visit

    Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley got to see firsthand many of the training tools used by Hiram G. Andrews Center students on Thursday and took some time to promote a program called Jobs for All, part of Gov. Tom Corbett’s JOBS1st PA agenda.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • home VIDEO | Volunteers ‘blitz build’ replacement home for Upper Yoder man

    One week ago, Joey Varmecky had almost nothing.
    In October, a flue fire claimed his Swank Street home. That night, Varmecky, a deaf and partially blind man who doesn’t speak, showed up on the doorstep of his friend’s home. His feet were covered only by a pair of stockings.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Toomey & Shuster Bill would help identify unclaimed remains of veterans

    The cremated remains of an estimated 47,000 veterans are stored throughout the United States, sometimes in nothing more than nondescript metal canisters on shelves.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • million Lucky Seward man finds ticket to riches

    People often play the lottery and dream about the things they would do if they won the big one.
    That dream came true for Karl Kadi of Seward, who won $1 million on a $20 Max-A-Million scratch-off lottery ticket.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Farrish, James State police make another drug bust on turnpike

    A Pittsburgh man was jailed Thursday after state police said they found about $120,000 in suspected heroin during a traffic stop on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Stonycreek Township, Somerset County.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sisco, Ryan James & John Patrick Two brothers charged in beating at bar

    Two Johnstown brothers were jailed Wednesday after police said they beat a man so badly he suffered a concussion and may end up blind in one eye.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • path of flood Path of Flood entries due

    Anyone interested in participating in Johnstown Area Heritage Association’s  Path of the Flood Historic Half Marathon and 5K race will need to get in gear before the April 30 registration deadline.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drilling fees should fund education, Democrats say

    Democrats running for governor seem to be competing to convince voters they will dip deepest into the pockets of gas drillers to replace $1 billion that Gov. Tom Corbett has cut from education spending.

    April 17, 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