For the eighth year in a row, the downtown Johnstown library managed to convert its three stories into a live music venue. The 300-plus guests in attendance enjoyed Irish, classical and swing music, while feasting on tasty hors d’oeuvres on each floor of the building.

Added attractions included an amazing array of baskets that were chanced off, thanks to the Friends of the Library, and a strolling computer art gallery.

This would not happen without the tireless efforts of the staff and members of the Friends. The staff begins working on the plans and coming up with new twists many, many months before the spring event.

The 60-plus dozen homemade cookies were also a staff and volunteer effort.

This would be a fun evening but not a fundraiser without the many sponsors who began making their monetary donations in the fall right up to the day before the event. There were just over 40 sponsors and a dozen or so folks who gave an in-kind contribution.

Just when we think we’ll skip a year, library users and guests begin asking about next year’s event. We have heard that it takes nine years for an event to become really established.

Our standing date, the last Friday of April, is April 27, 2012. Since we felt eight was great, I expect this staff has at least another year in them to make nine just as fine.

I am very proud of every one of them.

Lyn Meek

Director, Cambria County Library, Johnstown

No hard feelings toward GOP chief

I want to thank U.S. Rep. Mark Critz for his defense of Medicaid currently under attack by radical Republicans.

I also want to let Republican State Chairman Rob Gleason know that there are no hard feelings for his attack on Critz in the paper on May 1.

After all, Gleason has no choice; he must placate the radical Republicans who support killing Medicaid and Social Security because Republican officeholders know they can’t.

So don’t be too hard on Gleason; he doesn’t really think this country is in debt because you make $10 an hour and old people get to see a doctor. He doesn’t really believe families who make less than $30,000 a year don’t need heating oil in the winter, or that grade school kids don’t need to have both a good lunch and a good breakfast.

Gleason has created many jobs in the area, like the guy who carries his golf clubs or the waitress who fetches him more coffee at the country club. He does not believe Medicaid and Social Security should die; he just knows that radical Republicans who do think those things want their leadership to say so.

Thank you, Mr. Gleason. Thank you for trying to calm the angry mob that runs your party with fear and who thinks America would be a better place if only Exxon can continue to pay less in taxes than the woman you pay to clean your floors.

William P. Faight


This one time, we need to see dead man’s face

We are a civilized people.

A couple of times in my life, I’ve attended services in funeral homes and seen people walk unashamedly to the bier to photograph the deceased. It’s a repellent sight, and judging from the expressions on the faces of other mourners, I’m not alone in that feeling.

Several days ago, a brave group of Navy SEALs located the hiding place of the man who was, for Americans, unquestionably the most hated and feared in the world.

His body was buried at sea within 24 hours of his violent death, in accordance with the Islamic tradition of the man’s birth. We are a civilized people.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, images of this monster – the soft features, the hooded eyes, the full lips usually depicted cast in an arrogant sneer – have populated the nightmares of millions of Americans. We are advised that because of the wounds which killed him – he was shot twice through the left eye, we are told – his face in death is unrecognizable.

But this once – this one time – we need to see the face of the dead man. We need closure. We need to see the monster in death, if only for the assurance that the removal of his turban and sandals did not reveal a horned head and cloven hooves.

We need to see that he was human, and therefore was subject to the physical laws of humanity.

We need to see – not despite being a civilized people, but because we are.

Carl Schultz


Offend Arab world? Show the photos

President Obama is still the worst president in American history – but everybody gets lucky.

There is a debate about pictures of the body of Osama bin Laden and whether releasing them would offend the Arab world. Who cares?

The Arab world’s chief exports are oil and terrorism, and if its people are offended by the pictures, good. We have been offended by them for a long time.

We have our own oil. We don’t need theirs.

These people cheered on Sept. 11, 2001.

They don’t deserve our respect.

Show them the pictures.

Ron Marol


Public worker unions live off taxpayers

Worker rights. Where are they found?

 The U.S. Constitution, the state Constitution, or perhaps Moses brought them down the Mount with the Ten Commandments?

Unlike private unions, public worker unions live off the taxpayers who have no choice except to pay the taxes or go to jail.

The public unions then turn around and give money from their membership to the politicians, who then give them – the unions – what they want.

As a former member of AFSCME, I know they are completely political and totally left wing. And I know they got really nasty when we left and formed our own union. Employees are really used by their public worker unions only to further the leaders’ agenda.

If you are not happy with your job, you have the freedom to quit!

Jim Davis


Armed Forces Day widely forgotten                                                                  On Feb. 27, 1950, by presidential proclamation, President Harry S. Truman established Armed Forces Day to be observed on the third Saturday in May.

The purpose was to reflect the unification of our military forces, to promote increased awareness of our armed forces to our citizenry, and to honor and acknowledge the people of our armed forces.

In his speech, the late president praised the work of the military at home and aboard, saying that military service is “vital to the security of the Nation and to the establishment of a desirable peace.”

The first Armed Forces Day was celebrated with parades, open houses and air shows across the country.

The annual celebrations were carried out for many years, but in the past 20 years, Armed Forces Day celebrations haven’t been so common.

In Johnstown, a parade would move along along Main Street, local schoolchildren and residents would join members of the armed forces at the Inclined Plane for a flag raising, and a banquet would be held honoring our men and women in uniform.

But celebrating Armed Forces Day is no longer common; it seems that it has been been forgotten. We honor our fallen heroes on Memorial Day, we celebrate the freedom of all Americans on the Fourth of July, and we salute our veterans on Veterans Day.

This year on May 21 recognize the brave men and women of our military. Show your appreciation for all they do by flying your American flag. It is a start.

Mark Foltz


Only God knows when the world will end

The end of the world is not near.

Recently, billboards have sprung up across the country indicating “Judgment Day” is May 21. This is a blatant display of ignorance of Scripture in the gospel of Matthew 24, which says “no one will know the day or the hour that the son of man will appear.”

Why would anyone believe they have more knowledge than the son of God himself?

Apocalyptic movies “2012” and “Arm-ageddon,” the end of the Mayan calendar, and current natural disasters, along with upheaval in governments around the world, have caused many to ask questions about whether these are signs of the times we are living in, and whether the “end” is near. Ironically, people have been falsely predicting the return of Christ since within a century after his death and resurrection.

The Bible predicted in hundreds of Old Testament prophecies the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, all of which were fulfilled with perfect accuracy.

The rapture of the Christian saints is possible any day God chooses to take His children out of this chaotic world. The end of this world will not take place until after Christ’s return at the end of the great tribulation, and after his 1,000-year reign on earth.

We should be asking questions and reading Scripture to find out how to determine our eternal destiny.

No one is assured of tomorrow.

Dean R. Hinton


Collection sites invite permanent dumping

As a concerned citizen, I take issue with Interstate Waste Management’s plan to conduct spring garbage collection in the city of Johnstown.

As already noted by residents from the West End, the plan to replace door-to-door collection in favor of collection sites in the neighborhoods excludes the elderly and the handicapped who find the sites inaccessible.

The neighborhood pickup sites have the potential of becoming permanent dumping sites in each neighborhood. The city says that workers from the Public Works Department will “monitor” the sites to ensure that only residents of the city use the sites. How is that possible 24/7? And who is responsible for picking up what will inevitably be left behind after the official collection?

Decisions that affect entire neighborhoods need to be made thoughtfully and carefully. It seems to me that no one in authority in the city of Johnstown has realized that fact in recent memory.

Rita Redden


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