Hockey requires skating skills (duh).

As a senior member of the Richland High School hockey program, I would like to address a Readers’ Forum letter of Oct. 5 pertaining to our team and new coaching staff. Throughout my hockey years at Richland there have always been a few parents who try to make our program look bad. After only a few weeks of practices, parents are at it again.

At Richland, we are extremely privileged to have a hockey program that is funded by the school. This includes ice time and all equipment except our skates.

A mandatory parent-player meeting with the new coaching staff was held before practices began. It was clearly stated that any new players not knowing how to skate – an obvious prerequisite – should reconsider joining the hockey team. Even with that advice, some chose to stick with it. The newly hired hockey coaches are there to teach hockey, not to teach skating.

I am sick and tired of those few parents who try to make the Richland hockey program look bad. If a parent is aware that his or her child can’t skate adequately enough to play, why would they set up their child for failure and then blame others?

We are lucky to have a professional hockey coach this year to help guide us in the right direction. He does not deserve to be criticized by parents new to the game.

Brandon Bodenschatz

Richland Township



Presidential profiles are enlightening

I want to thank The Tribune-Democrat for publishing the articles on former presidents. It is a review of history and enlightening.

For those interested in historical novels, John Jakes has written “The Chronicles of the Kent Family” in eight volumes.

It is a great review of history, and the characters in the novels make them exciting.

Great reading. Thanks again, Tribune-Democrat.

Bill Rohal

Johnstown



Pet abusers should receive same abuse

After reading Robert Nelson’s Readers’ Forum letter of Oct. 5, “Pa. a hotbed of pet abuse,” I had to respond. I totally agree with him, and have written several letters in the past on the subject.

A woman in our neighborhood has a sweet, beautiful dog that she treats horribly. When he was a puppy and would bark to greet me or someone else, she would pick him up and hit him so hard that he would cry out in pain.

Then she fenced-in her back yard.

Again, if he would bark to greet me or my two dogs, she would put a muzzle on him. He couldn’t even drink water.

Finally, she didn’t like it if her dog would bark for my one dog to come out. Her solution this time? A shock collar.

Let her wear one!

Now this poor dog just whimpers, afraid to make any sound at all. He was in no way a nuisance barker. None of the dogs in our neighborhood are. But she said his barking bothered her.

She has killed his spirit, and it doesn’t bother her when this sweet dog stares at her back door, often as early as 6 a.m., for more than an hour to be let into the house. That bothers me. Yet where is she then?

Her poor dog deserves a lot better, as do the other pets that are abused or neglected.

Gail Gibala

Johnstown



Stop attacks and focus on issues

Enough is enough. The never-ending 2008 presidential campaign has hit a new low. It seems that it is no longer about important issues, but rather whom a candidate knows or sees in church or, worse yet, what name a candidate’s mother gave him that somehow makes him unqualified.

If this election is about change, as we have heard, perhaps the change needs to come from the voters.

If we want change, we must demand change from people who are asking us to elect and pay their salaries for the next four years.

Voters need to say to candidates, “Keep up the personal attacks and you will surely lose,” and then vote that way in November.

This election is not about a candidate’s minister or what a candidate talked about doing or about a person’s name or about a candidate’s husband who once belonged to an organization that advocated Alaska seceding from the United States.

This election is about the future of this country and our children and grandchildren and the issues that will make their lives better or worse. We must demand that the candidates address these matters with facts and stop their attacks now.

Sam Rizzo

Johnstown



Take a stand for whom you are

The reason for a National Coming Out Day is because we need to stand up together, united as our forefathers did, when they threw the tea overboard, when they united against the British to say enough, we want our freedom.

We deserve to be treated with respect and dignity just like anyone else, and that’s why it’s important that we can stand up and be truly who we really are and can escape the bigoted individuals who would destroy us, castigate us in a sense, who would create difficulties and problems for us or, if necessary, murder us.

We must, as Martin Luther King did during the civil rights movement, stand tall and strong because we are individuals who deserve respect, dignity and, as all humans, to be treated in a fair, honest, sincere and respectful way.

So I ask today, on National Day of Coming Out, that you, too, know it’s time to stand up for who you are. Whether you are gay or straight, stand for our freedom, stand for us being allowed to be individuals as our forefathers did.

I stand against this tyranny. Will you join me?

James Marshall

Altoona

Vice president

and other members of Keystone Alliance



Vote for candidate’s values, not labels

As you go to the polls to cast your vote, please search your hearts. I know there are those who believe the other side is always corrupt. For those, there is no hope.

One presidential candidate supports abortion even to the point of infanticide.

He supports banning guns and ammunition. His associations over the years have been with domestic terrorists, racist pastors and organizations caught repeatedly in voter fraud. He has been endorsed by international terrorist entities, and he has shown a reluctant, lukewarm support for American troops. He supported turning tail in Iraq. He speaks of his country as a failed and always-at-fault nation. His home base of Chicago is the poster child for violence and corruption. He is an extreme liberal. And he has lied about or laughed off every one of these positions.

The other candidate is pro-life and pro-gun. He speaks of love for his country and has proven it in a most graphic way. His associations over the years have been with people of both political persuasions, sometimes to the frustration of his political base. His support of American troops is above question. While claiming conservatism, he has supported positions that drive through conservatives although sometimes unpopular.

Which of these candidates best reflects your values and those you wish your children to adopt? Forget labels and vote your values.

Barry Billings

Portage



Who associates with worse group?

Sarah Palin is attacking Barack Obama for his association with Bill Ayers, a known member of the Weather Underground, founded in the 1960s, and a Vietnam War protester. Obama was 8 years old (when Ayers group was founded).

Federal charges were dropped against Ayres (for his part in three bombings).

Obama knows Ayres, a professor at the University of Illinois, through his work with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge project, which distributed $49 million in grants to education, and the Woods Charitable Fund, an anti-poverty group. Hardly palling around, as Palin says.

Palin, in her own church, associated with Kenyan Bishop Muthee, who prayed to keep her safe from “every form of witchcraft,” as seen in a 2004 video on MSNBC.

Scary. I guess the Salem witch trials did not apply to Alaska.

Palin’s husband, Todd, was a member of the Alaska Independence Party, which advocated returning all federal lands to Alaska and secession, until 2002.

John McCain was one of the Keating Five – five senators investigated in the Lincoln Savings and Loan scandal in 1989, costing $160 billion, where McCain supposedly took $1.3 million in contributions from Charles Keating.

McCain was found by the Senate Ethics Committee to have “exercised poor judgment.”

Whose association is worse – Obama’s, as an 8-year-old, or Palin’s, as a sitting governor?

You be the judge on Election Day.

Robert Kormanik

Richland Township

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