I am writing about an act of kindness that took place after our neighbors’ house burned on Oct. 1.

Although the St. Michael and several other volunteer fire companies were quick to respond, the house was badly damaged. The family also lost their pets – several cats, turtles and a 12-foot python snake.

The home owner, Leo Barkley, was taken by medical helicopter to West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh. The firefighters and EMS were able to rescue the family’s dog, Lionidis, and worked on him for 45 minutes (pictured on The Tribune-Democrat’s front page on Oct. 2) until he was able to breathe on his own.

After watching the firefighters and EMS at work, I’ve gained much respect for what they do. When Leo’s wife, Amy, arrived at the scene, she asked us if we could keep the dog for a few days until she could get organized. The EMS said Lionidis should be looked at by a veterinarian if the dog had trouble breathing.

The next day, we called our vet, Dr. Jim Takacs, at Ebensburg Animal Hospital and we were told to bring him up. Takacs treated Lionidis for smoke inhalation and a scratch on an eye and gave us medication for him.

When I went to pay the bill, I was told there was no charge. I think this act of kindness is something you don’t see every day. Thanks again, Dr. Takacs.

Julie Kinkade

South Fork

Rejected rally-goers left with bad taste

I am a teacher at Northern Bedford High School. Another teacher and myself took a group of students from our district to the Sarah Palin rally in Johnstown.

A local McCain supporter did a lot of work for us to secure almost 20 tickets, which, unfortunately, went unused. She should be commended for the work she did for these kids.

We arrived at 8 o’clock, as directed on the tickets, but were turned away only 10 yards from the door. What an outrage and disappointment for the students and two social studies teachers, who could have used the issues that were brought up for class discussions.

Why would the McCain campaign give out more tickets than it could seat? I believe that more harm was done than good for McCain with this rally.

My students and I were very excited to see Palin and we were shut out without an explanation. I think that Palin should make another trip to the region and allow those who waited in line for two-plus hours only to be turned away to hear what she had to say.

Andy Barton


In liberal media’s eyes, Obama does no wrong

The liberal media clam up when it comes to negative reporting on Sen. Barack Obama. Meanwhile, they put the Republican candidates under the microscope.

Why don’t the media question Obama’s obscure past, his blatant lies, his Muslim education and his wife’s ideology?

Obama is supported by Muslims and his traditional American values are questionable. He has never served in our military.

Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a 20-year mentor and friend of Obama, damned America. And the senator’s Muslim friend, Louis Farrakhan, told a Tehran newspaper that God will destroy America by the hands of the Muslims.

The press focuses on bad soldiers while Islam radicals slaughter Christians, including murdering a bishop and bombing churches, in Iraq.

Muslims are arriving in America in record numbers, buying corporations. They have created a large enclave in Detroit and its radical members have built hate-infidel mosques. Radical clerics have joined our military and are serving in our prisons as chaplains.

Obama’s campaign money has exceeded President Clinton’s and John McCain’s combined. Why don’t the media investigate the sources?

Obama does not have the experience; two years in the Senate does not merit the presidency. His promises to address our depressed economy cannot possibly come to fruition.

Some people don’t care who they vote for as long as they are Democrats.

Ann Mazur


McCain, Palin share views on abortion

I will vote as my conscience tells me. In the twilight years of my life, I have to worry not only about my temporal welfare, but also about my immortal welfare.

I could not vote for a man who condones killing a baby inside a mother’s womb. If it isn’t a baby at the moment of conception, then the woman is not pregnant.

For those who believe in God, he gave us the commandment Thou Shall Not Kill.

Both McCain and Palin share my views. So before you vote, examine your conscience.

We are all going to die and have to answer to God.

Jack Sherlock


For Catholic, McCain divorce another issue

I am a Roman Catholic who is pro-life. Per Catholic voting guidelines, I must vote for John McCain, who also is pro-life. I cannot vote for Barack Obama, who is pro-choice. However, I have two serious reservations about voting for McCain.

I fear that McCain, like George Bush, will ignore the right-to-life issue and will pursue his proposals on other pressing issues, greatly damaging the economy and America’s middle class.

McCain divorced his first wife and has remarried. He would be denied the reception of Holy Communion at Catholic Mass, as he would be considered as living in sin.

How can I vote for someone who is living in sin?

Melvin J. Fees


City’s spending raises questions

I don’t always agree with Johnstown Councilman Jack Williams’ views. However, this is one time I agree 100 percent.

Williams’ Oct. 3 letter (“Did sewage sale funds get flushed?”) leaves several questions unanswered, ones that the city manager should address publicly to taxpayers.

First, what is this lockbox? I’ve never heard this terminology except for Boss Hog having one on TV’s “Dukes of Hazard.”

About a year ago, two councilmen asked to use lockbox money from the sewage plant sale to make improvements on our roads. The idea died. A year prior to that, there’s was also a request, that one for using $1 million of lockbox money.

Williams reports that $52,583 remains in the lockbox. I take it that council has been left in the dark on the exact amount the box contains.

Secondly, did the city manager really use proceeds from a $6 million bond to invest in the property of a local bank? What is the return on that investment?

Williams is right, the Point Stadium exists because of lockbox money, and The Tribune-Democrat reports that the Point has made only a $55,000 return so far.

At that rate, in 122 years it will show a profit.

Lastly, the $1.3 million used for other purposes that Williams mentions leaves a lot left to the imagination. A solid explanation is in order regarding this spending.

Where is the fiscal responsibility? The priorities of our city manager are certainly not those of mine, nor of many people I know.

At the rate the city is spending, are we, too, headed for a fiscal crisis?

Lonnie B. Rietscha


Halt immigration – legal and illegal

Publisher Robin L. Quillon concludes his Sunday column on the presidential candidates’ silence about illegal immigration with “(I)mmigrants who enter this great country through the front door should be welcomed with open arms. Those who enter it illegally should be arrested and deported.”

Quillon’s implication, though not explicitly stated, is that illegal immigration is problematic, but our current level of legal immigration is just fine. So I urge the publisher and the readers to consider this summary of mass immigration’s impacts on America, distilled from my observations from 1996 to 2005, before I fled southern California:

The tsunami of immigrants drives wages and living conditions in our central cities toward those of the Third World.

The influx imposes both sprawl and gridlock on our metropolitan areas.

Immigrant families needing services overwhelm our schools, taxpayer-funded health-care facilities, and other public agencies.

Those requiring services don’t assimilate and, instead, expect to be served in their native languages.

American civic culture frays as each ethnic group establishes its own grievance lobby and pushes for preferences.

Illegal aliens bring us fearsome diseases such as tuberculosis and Chagas’.

Shortages of water and other resources loom, especially in immigration-blitzed California.

Note that there is little distinguishing between legal and illegal immigration on my list.

The bottom-line question about mass immigration is whether it benefits us native-born citizens.

Clearly, it doesn’t, so it’s time to end it.

Paul Nachman

Bozeman, Mont.

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