The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

May 17, 2013

In Northern Cambria, 13 battle for four slots

NORTHERN CAMBRIA — With four seats on the Northern Cambria school board up for grabs, a long list of residents have lined up hoping to capture one of the slots.

On Tuesday, residents of Northern Cambria Borough and Susquehanna and Barr townships will choose from 13 candidates, 12 of whom are on both Democratic and Republican ballots.

One of those who has cross-filed, Ronald Dolansky of the 500 block of Apple Street, Northern Cambria, hopes his unusual placement on the two ballots will help him win one of the seats.

“I’m at the top of one and bottom of the other,” he said. “So if Republicans vote from the top down and Democrats vote from the bottom up, I should be OK.”

Dolansky, a retired engineering supervisor, served on the board from 1989 to 2007. He took a break but now is looking for another opportunity.

“I think fiscal responsibility and the education aspect of the students have taken a second place to whatever they’re doing over there,” he said.

One of his biggest complaints, one repeated by many attending recent school board meetings, is the $150,000 the district has spent in recent months on outside lawyers to pursue a number of lawsuits and complaints.

With so many candidates, incumbent board member Delvin Lockard is convinced the primary will fail to produce any clear winners.

The number of winners in the primary could be as high as eight. Lockard predicts there will be six or seven names on the fall general election ballot.

Lockard, a concrete contractor, also has concerns about the amount of money the district is spending for lawyers, money that could have gone to teacher aides and restoring the tutoring program.

Lockard, of Marsteller, spent 14 years on the board, took a hiatus and came back on in 2009.

“We had accomplished a lot until recently,” he said. “It makes you sick.”

Brian Bougher, of the 700 block of Double Dam Road, is a Northern Cambria  graduate. He said he is running because of his three sons.

“This matters; it really does,” he said. “I have three boys, and a lot of the things I had at Northern Cambria are being taken away.”

For example, the board not long ago eliminated art and music teachers in the elementary school. Those duties now must now be handled by the classroom teachers.

Bougher said he has little hope for change in light of an $800,000 deficit, a push by some present board members to not increase taxes and a lack of any significant budget meetings.

Some have expressed concerns about Superintendent John Jubas, who is out of the office battling health issues, and word that newly hired business manager April Miller is leaving before the end of the month.

Anthony DePetro, of the 500 block of Maderia Street, Northern Cambria, said he isn’t sure about what changes need to be made, but he has concerns about the long-running fiscal issues the current board has been unable to resolve.

“We need to make a change for the good of the school,” he said. “I need to get in there and see what’s going on.”

Along with Lockard, incumbents Sherry Atkins, Robert Tomallo and John Sedlock are hoping to hold on to their seats.

Also on the ballot are three candidates who share same last name: Norman and Kevin Krug of Log Road, Nicktown, and  Betty Krug of the 700 block of Nicktown Hill Road, Northern Cambria.

Also on the ballot are:

• Jeff Messina of Mountain Drive, Northern Cambria.

• Mike Hassen III of the 2000 block of Philadelphia Street, Northern Cambria.

• Ted Pawlikowski of the 800 block of 38th Street, Northern Cambria.

Another contest of interest in the northern part of the county is the seat for Northern Cambria Borough mayor, where four Democrats will be on the ballot.

There are no Republican candidates for the four-year term.

Candidates are:

• Bernard Despoy of the 400 block of Joseph Street.

• Carol Jarvis of the 100 block of Crawford Avenue.

• James Sabella of the 1000 block of Oak Street.

• Wilbur R. Kelly, Jr. of Hickory Street.

Kelly also is a candidate for the one four-year term for council Ward 4. Also running for this seat is Rita Montanaro of the 1000 block of 39th Street.

 A little to the south, three candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination for Cambria Township supervisor. They are:

• Incumbent Robert “Buzzy” Shook of the 200 block of Maple Avenue, Ebensburg.

• Jeffrey Evans of the 600 block of Pensacola Road, Ebensburg

• Jim Melnyk of the 1100 block of Wilmore Road, Ebensburg

In Barr Township, Vincent Rietscha Jr., of the 900 block of Alverda Road, Nicktown, and Thomas Brawley of the 100 block of Henry Street, Nicktown,  are seeking the Democratic nomination for a six-year term as township supervisor.

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