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Other Commentaries

Wolf leaving too many in cold

By Gene Barr In a year that’s already been plagued with financial hardships, small businesses, nonprofits, day cares and the education and medical communities recently received more troubling news when Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed critical liability protections on the last day of the 2019-20 ...

Innovation brings hope to horizon

For centuries, America has been the land of promise, and we have led the way in lifesaving advancement. In the span of my own medical career alone, I have witnessed remarkable innovation — from groundbreaking discoveries to new therapeutics and even cures for deadly diseases. In 2020, ...

We are in ‘bluebird moment’

It is Judy Garland versus Vera Lynn. It is The 1939 song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” versus the 1942 hit “White Cliffs of Dover.” It is America in its prewar reverie versus Great Britain in its wartime trial. This is, for America’s two political parties, a Bluebird ...

America’s presidential process matters

The 2020 presidential election is not over yet. There are multiple legal challenges and recounts pending in key states, and, under a long-standing legal process, those events must play out before a winner is officially declared. I know roughly half the nation does not want to hear that, ...

Court ‘balance’ has often swung

Recent controversy over the recent Supreme Court nomination and its impact on the balance of the court suggests an historical analysis might provide some insight into the matter. I use the political party (D or R) of the president making the nomination as proxy. Judicial temperament ...

School bus industry in jeopardy

Most of us remember the popular children’s song, “The Wheels on the Bus.” When we were kids, we sang it with our friends as we rode a yellow bus to school; as parents, we taught it to our own children. But in every school district across the state, the future of the yellow bus is at ...

Kudos to Direct Support Professionals

This week, Sept. 13-19, is observed nationally as Direct Support Professional Recognition Week, and for good reason. Direct Support Professionals, or “DSPs” as they’re often called, are the frontline workers at human services agencies that support people living with intellectual or ...

Kudos to Direct Support Professionals

Local Voices By Rebecca Aungst This week, Sept. 13-19, is observed nationally as Direct Support Professional Recognition Week, and for good reason. Direct Support Professionals, or “DSPs” as they’re often called, are the frontline workers at human services agencies that support ...

Legalizing pot would harm state

As executive director of The Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association and as a former member of the Pennsylvania Department of Health Medical Marijuana Advisory Board, I would like to express my concerns, and those of many of our membership, about the legalization of marijuana and the ...

Altoona needs ‘leaner’ government

The city of Altoona’s finances have made the news lately. Like many local governments, we’re facing the challenge of building a budget for 2021 without knowing where the economy is headed. Since January, the federal government has printed over $3 trillion and may print a few trillion ...

US must change China trade deal

It is well known that the Chinese Communist Party steals intellectual property of American businesses and forces the transfer of technology as a condition of doing business in China. These practices eliminate American competitive advantage and enable CCP companies to produce cheap knockoff ...

Schools can’t be blamed for opening

With just weeks to the start of a new school year, Pennsylvania’s public school districts find themselves under siege, facing extreme public pressure and scrutiny, as they furiously plan for how to safely reopen schools. It’s a fight they shouldn’t have to wage alone. They’re ...

PA ignoring state’s Supreme Court

By Ron Evans Reportedly, when Andrew Jackson disagreed with a decision of the Supreme Court’s chief justice, he said, “John Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce it.” All three branches of commonwealth government are saying the equivalent regarding a ruling the ...

Skill games seek PA regulation

As Blair County navigates the pandemic, we are facing a time when many businesses and social clubs are determining if they can stay alive. I know this because I hear everyone from restaurants, bars, social clubs, convenience stores, tobacco shops and many other small business owners worry as ...

Pandemic made hospital better

In recent weeks, I have been reflecting on the unprecedented challenges that our community and our team at Conemaugh Nason Medical Center in Roaring Spring have faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. More specifically, I’ve been intentionally looking for every possible silver lining in ...

Improving election night process

Editor’s note: This commentary was written by Blair County commissioners Laura Burke, Bruce Erb and Amy Webster. As the Blair County Board of Elections, we always knew that the first election after the passage of Act 77, allowing no excuse mail-in voting, would be much different than the ...

Learn from the heroes in your life

My heroes have died. How fortunate am I. Though sad that I have had three life mentors die in the past two years, I feel fortunate to have had them bless my life in a time when many young men have none. What lessons have I learned from my heroes? My heroes were from the Greatest Generation. ...

PA holds troopers to high standards

Pennsylvania state troopers don’t enlist for medals or to win popularity contests. Many of us grew up wanting to be troopers, proud to serve our communities and willing to lay down our lives if necessary. Since the formation of our department in 1905, our ranks have suffered 98 ...

Cyber charters cripple public schools

Due to the economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pennsylvania’s public school districts face declining local revenue collection that is projected to range from $850 million to more than $1 billion for 2020-21. At the same time, Pennsylvania cyber charter schools are entitled to ...

‘Both sides put down their weapons’

Sorting out events of the last week, I flash back four decades ago. The first time I saw a rubber bullet was 40 years ago, when I lived in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I arrived there as a volunteer with a Nobel Peace Prize-winning group called the Peace People. They sent a hip young social ...