Laurels and barbs

Laurel: A pair of Johnstown sports teams are under new leadership – Jared Kersner has been named the third coach of the Johnstown Tomahawks in the North American Hockey League, and Josh Merrill is the new manager of baseball’s Johnstown Mill Rats in the Prospect League. Both have expressed excitement for being here. Kersner called the city “a really special place to coach” and said: “When that opportunity presented itself to me, I attacked it. I wanted this job. I couldn’t be happier or more excited to be here to continue the traditions of Johnstown hockey …” Merrill said he’s “excited to be a part of the Mill Rats and what they’re doing,” calling the team’s new-look local ownership “an awesome thing.”

Barb: An in-depth special report by CNHI News and The Associated Press on the state of long-term health care in the U.S. put the spotlight on major challenges involving affordability, access, staffing and equity. Many Americans will need long-term care as they age, but few are prepared to pay for it, the investigation found. Medicaid, the government health care program for people with limited income and resources, has become the primary safety net, covering more than half of the nation’s estimated $400 billion in annual long-term care costs – but many people must “impoverish themselves” to qualify, one advocate said. Also, the care industry is struggling to cope with a shortage of workers, who often make little money and face the risk of injury, and demand for these workers is rising as the U.S. population gets older. “With baby boomers getting older, the need for long-term care services will only be getting greater, so we’ve got a real crisis on our hands,” said Howard Bedlin, of the National Council on Aging.

Laurel: A strong performance by regional athletes at the Pennsylvania track and field championships this past weekend in Shippensburg was highlighted by gold-medal performances from Penn Cambria’s Josh Stolarski, who won the 200- and 400-meter dashes, and Richland’s Sasha Garnett, who repeated as state champion in the shot put.

Laurel: Eight area women with major professional and community achievements were honored last week at the YWCA Greater Johnstown’s 37th annual Tribute to Women awards. The ceremony drew a crowd of nearly 400 people. Congratulations to Cathy Seymour, Camillya Taylor, Lyn Garbarino, Marilyn Roseman, Francine Glass, Elizabeth Bolton Penna, Karlice Makuchan and Tara Bosserman.

Laurel: Downtown Johnstown’s spring and summer events season got its unofficial start this past Saturday with this year’s installment of Taste & Tour, for which 1,200 tickets were sold. Co-coordinator Kayla Puchko Stephenson called the event “an open house for the downtown businesses to show everybody all the great businesses that have been here for a while, as well as the new businesses that are opening.” Some 40 businesses were open to show off their offerings.

Laurel: A team of Greater Johnstown High School students finished second in Pennsylvania in this year’s “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” competition. Nykos Kobal, Jordyn Powell, Zayla Thomas, Ava Hoffman, Kayona Jeffers, Eli Felosky and Aiden Albright worked with JWF Industries to make a video about the armored vehicles that the Johnstown company produces. They were advised by fellow students Addison Synan and Aubreyonna Nash and teachers Eddie Mikesic, Darren Buchko, Christian Wrabley and LesPaul Buchko. Powell said it “feels good to bring something good to Greater Johnstown High School.”