Hello, loyal readers. I hope that everyone had a wonderful 2011.
Once again, it’s time for me to step out of my writer role and get down to the serious business of pronouncing my astonishingly inconceivable annual insights as the region’s perennial preposterous prognosticator. So, for your amazement and amusement, I offer my decidedly delirious and kind of serious top 10 New Year’s predictions for 2012.
10. Members of the Johnstown City Council narrowly escape death when the room where they are debating further cuts in the city’s firefighter ranks catches fire from a defective light socket.
9. Enamored by the promise of making easy gaming money, CamTran secures a license to install slot machines on the Inclined Plane. Passenger volume subsequently increases by 500 percent. However, the slots are removed after food stamp applications in the area increase tenfold.
8. After having its budget slashed, the National Park Service decides to raise cash by selling tickets for a re-enactment of the Great Johnstown Flood. NPS begins reconstructing the dam! Rep. Mark Critz becomes a local hero when he rushes through legislation to block the event.
7. Strapped for cash, Johnstown City Council votes to allow the drilling of a test gas well at Point Stadium. The project is scrapped when the Conemaugh River catches on fire.
6. Despite heated protests from local veterans groups, cash-starved Cambria County leases the War Memorial Arena to a local entrepreneur who converts it to a pierogi factory. The building finally becomes profitable.
5. Congress follows through with plans to close Johnstown’s National Drug Intelligence Center. Two months later, firefighters responding to an alarm in the vacant building discover a meth lab engulfed in flames.
4. Citing the Antiquities Act of 1906, the Department of the Interior orders a halt to Johnstown’s long-awaited sewer rehabilitation project after an excavator uncovers evidence of a lost Indian civilization buried beneath the city. The Environmental Protection Agency subsequently fines the city $1,000 per day for the delay.
3. Desperately in need of cash, PennDOT decides to close the Johnstown Expressway during winter months and convert it to a snow-tubing park. Local traffic is a nightmare, but PennDOT makes millions as people flock to the world’s longest tubing run.
2. Using the Johnstown region’s school districting as a model, state legislators in Harrisburg complete the dreaded congressional redistricting, leaving our area represented by a lawmaker in Punxsutawney.
1. And my number one prediction … despite the tough financial times, our lovely area will remain a wonderful place to live in the coming year. May God bless us one and all in 2012.
Zachary Hubbard is a retired Army officer and freelance writer residing in Upper Yoder Township. He is a member of The Tribune-Democrat Reader Advisory Committee.
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