Tomassetti should be more open

Blair County residents are justified in wondering why county commissioners Chairman Terry Tomassetti was so secretive after a spat involving a Memorial Day email was resolved.

Tomassetti merits a thumbs-down for not being open with the people whom he represents.

The people of this county deserve an explanation, considering the agitation that the email spawned among officials and workers.

On May 23 county employees used the courthouse email system to circulate the email in question. The email included editorial cartoons honoring those who gave their lives in the service of this country.

Employees were summarily scolded later by the county’s human resources director, Katherine Swigart.

Blair residents don’t know the intricacies of county government policies, but Tomassetti didn’t promote understanding when he refused to say more than “the matter has been taken care of.” He should have been open with the people he serves.

On another government-related matter, Martinsburg Borough and North Woodbury Township deserve a thumbs-up for their joint comprehensive plan that has won favorable comments from the Blair County Planning Commission.

In a letter to the two municipalities, Assistant Planner Jamie Klink praised the repeated theme of the plan referring to the Martinsburg region as a “community of opportunity.”

This is an era when municipal cooperation is essential, especially in regard to obtaining state and federal funds. Martinsburg and North Woodbury are on a positive, productive track.

Beyond Blair, residents of Portage Borough must have questions – and should be expressing thumbs-down – about the attention span of several of their local government leaders. Several Borough Council members expressed confusion recently about whether they previously had voted to approve the second of three possible options regarding a joint sewer project with Portage Township.

No official on any governmental level ever should vote on anything about which he or she doesn’t have a full understanding.

Tyrone Hospital gets a thumbs-up for the positive initiatives begun as part of marking the hospital’s 60th year – in stark contrast to the troubled existence in which the hospital was mired just five years ago.

The hospital announced on June 3 that it was launching the new Tyrone Regional Health Network. That will enable the hospital to collaborate with other area health care providers, including some from beyond this county, to better serve patients.

It also was announced that the hospital will be constructing a 32,000-square-foot addition to its main building to revamp the emergency department and add new radiology capabilities.

In addition, a kidney dialysis center is expected to be operating at the hospital this fall.

The hospital’s pride in what it has accomplished in such a short time is well-deserved.

Also Tyrone-related and deserving of a thumbs-up is the commitment by the Tyrone Area Historical Society and Circus Fans of America in holding an annual memorial service at the site of the Walter L. Main Circus train tragedy at McCann’s Crossing. The accident occurred on May 30, 1893.

This year’s service included a special wreath-laying by clowns, including one on horseback.