The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

January 10, 2013

Crime panel meets: Commission to study possible upturn in area problems

JOHNSTOWN — The reasons some people turn to crime are diverse and interconnected: Lack of educational opportunities, poor housing, bleak personal economic outlook, drug use, absence of family support and weak community infrastructure.

So, when state Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Johnstown, and Johnstown City Council put together a Drug and Crime Commission, they wanted to assemble a broad cross-section of individuals with knowledge in those areas.

Members came together for an organizational meeting on Thursday inside council chambers.

The group consists of Barbin as the chairman; former National Drug Intelligence Center Director Michael Walther; Johnstown police Chief Craig Foust; Cambria-Rowe Business College Executive Director Mike Artim; Cambria County First Assistant District Attorney Heath Long; Greater Johnstown High School Assistant Principal Michael Dadey; Christ Centered Community Church pastor, the Rev. Sylvia King; former Johnstown Economic Development Director Jim White; United Way of the Laurel Highlands President Bill McKinney; the Rev. Robert Wagner of Moxham Lutheran Church; West End resident George Evanisko; and Johnstown Housing Authority member John Slezak.

“We needed a panel that was diverse,” said Barbin. “It would have to represent the community as a whole: The churches, the neighborhoods, law enforcement and business owners. We’ve assembled a very good, diverse panel to look into this issue. We’re going to look at the issue rationally and we’re going to look at the issue respectfully. We’re going to see if there’s an uptick in crime, and, if there is, what are the factors that are affecting it.”

McKinney concurred, saying, “I think it’s a very good cross-section of our community.”

The panel will spend the next six months studying crime in Johnstown. Members will hold an open meeting on the second Thursday of every month.

Walther, McKinney, Wagner and Artim will chair the respective law enforcement, rehabilitation, housing and education subcommittees.

“It’s good to see a lot of people coming together with the same goal in mind, to make Johnstown a safer place to live,” said Foust. “Obviously, I don’t see anything bad coming out of it. I think it’s going to open a lot of people’s eyes to some of the statistics and so forth. It’s also going to work the other way and show that the perception within the city isn’t necessarily as bad as what a lot of people think.”

Recommendations will be made to City Council after all the information is collected.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction whatever fruits come out of it,” said Councilman Pete Vizza, who, along with Mayor Tom Trigona, came up with the idea of forming the commission.

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
  • 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

  • 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


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