The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

May 7, 2013

Judges interview council hopefuls

EBENSBURG — A number of Republicans and a couple of Democrats all dressed for a job interview came in a steady stream to the Cambria County Courthouse on Tuesday to sit in front of a three-judge panel and spell out why they want to fill a vacant seat on Johnstown City Council.

In a span of three hours, the panel of Judges David Tulowitzki, Patrick Kiniry and Linda Fleming interviewed 13 people who had contacted the court requesting appointment to the vacancy created by the death of Councilwoman Ann Wilson.

All told, 18 people initially said they wanted the appointment, but five either withdrew or did not show up for the interview.

“The interviews went well. We’re committed to making a decision” in a timely manner, Tulowitzki said.

With an earlier indication that an appointment would be made before the May 21 primary election, the judges are set to meet late this morning to discuss the candidates. No timeline was given for a decision.

The appointment likely would go into effect soon after the person is named and run through the end of the year.

Wilson, a Republican from the 8th Ward, died Feb. 19, starting the clock on the 45 days council had to name a replacement. Time ran out after efforts to agree on a replacement failed twice when members split 3-3.

Council was split over the appointment of Fred Mickel and Angela Gorzelsky, both interviewed by the judicial panel Tuesday.

A group of city residents supporting Mickel filed a petition in county court seeking his appointment to the vacancy, but President Judge Timothy Creany, in light of the split on council, opted to accept applications from anyone interested in the post.

Ian Miller, a Moxham resident with a background in technical writing and a commercial baker, said it is largely because of the reputation Moxham has been given in recent years that he is seeking the seat.

William Sampson, a native of Gaithersburg, Md., is an 8th Ward resident who moved to Johnstown because he views it as just the opposite of the stress and crime he’s lived with in the suburban Washington community.

“The stress level is so much less here. I think I might be able to give a different perspective,” he said prior to his interview.

Nicktown native and now a resident of Coopersdale, Lonnie Rietsche ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for council in 2007 and 2009. He thinks he can bring leadership to the body.

“I guess I just want to do what is right for the community,” he said.

Candidates said each judge posed questions to them focusing on why they wanted to fill the seat and what they would do to bring about the change most agreed was necessary for the good of the city.

Johnstown chiropractor Joe Taranto said he wants to enact change in the city.

One of the youngest candidates, Gary Tokar, 32, of the West End, is an unemployed restaurant cook whose brother and sister moved to other areas years ago because of the lack of opportunity in this region.

“I have plenty of ideas,” he said. “I’d like to see Johnstown as it was in its heyday when there were 55,000 living here.

“Unless things change, Johnstown is going to become a suburb of Richland Township,” he said.

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
  • 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

  • Jim Siehl JIM SIEHL | Music to my ears

    Seldom has $15 produced such a high level of entertainment as it did a few weeks ago when I found myself in the second row just left of center keeping back the tears once again during my third live performance of “Les Miserables.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Michele Bender Bye, bye, Easter birdies

    Animals fascinated my mom. Riding the train between Johnstown and Philly, she saw horses, pigs, sheep, cows … a Mattel See ’n Say of farm critters.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Eggert Columnist Photo Travelogue of terror features Johnstown area

    A historic week will surround the venerable Silver Drive-In come the beginning of May.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

Poll

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

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads