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July 20, 1978 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-07-20

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Page 6-Thursday, July 20, 1978-The Michigan Daily
Economy and spirit not the
same after Johnstown floods
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) - It was one year ago "Once you get victims fed, clothed and housed,
today that torrential rains again waylaid flood-prone people think the disaster is over. It's not," said Kitty
Johnstown, and the effects are still being felt in the Gallagher, director of the 1977 Flood Relief Center.
economy and the spirit of this lush mountain region of "The real challenge is for people to put their lives
southwestern Pennsylvania. back together."
Little physical evidence remains of the floods that BETHLEHEM STEEL Corp. employed 11,000
killed 77 persons and shattered thousands of other workers before the flood. Its payroll now stands at
lives ina city that has survived 20 major floods. 8,000, and the area's largest employer is contem-
BROKEN HIGHWAYS have been repaired, the plating more cutbacks. Some retail businesses, in-
ubiquitous mud has been flushed away, and water- cluding a major department store, simply boarded up
damaged buildings have been bulldozed into history. their windows.
"A visitor driving in here wouldn't even know the Unemployment in the immediate Johnstown area
flood had happened," said George Fattman, editor of hit 13.3 per cent in March with 14,400 out of work. The
the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat. May jobless rate was 8.6 per cent - or 8,900 persons
But Don Mibelic remembers. He lost his home and - compared to a national rate of 5.5 per cent.
bar in Tanneryville, where 41 persons died and 50 THE STATE paid out $67 million in unemployment
homes were lost when the Laurel Run Dam burst. His benefits to area residents through June, but most of
unemployment benefits run out this week. He's living the jobless benefits will dry up by the end of July.
in a trailer. Because he has no job, he can't borrow to "I really don't know what those people are going to
rebuild his home. do. They will have to either take lower-paying jobs if
"IT'S FRUSTRATING as hell," said the 49-year- they can find them or go on welfare," Casale said.
old former steelworker. "You have to live this way No statistics were available, but Casale said that
after trying to achieve a place and position in life for already, out-migration has picked up in this city of
all those years." 41,000 because of the area's stagnant economy.
Mihelic could have gotten a Small Business Ad-
ministration (SBA) loan to rebuild his business, but HOUSING IS ALSO a problem. The Red Cross says
he said he threw up his hands in frustration over the 1,000 structures in the eight-county flood area were
paperwork and regulations. destroyed and more than 5,000 others damaged.
Another flood victim-,Kay Ritchey, whose mill gate At the peak of the disaster, 12,000 persons were in
lunch bar business of 23 years was washed away in mass care shelters. About 450 families still live in
the swirling water, said she'll reopen in October with temporary trailer parks.
the help of a $100,000 SBA loan. The federal government already has poured more
IN THE LIVING room of her government-supplied than $280 million into the flood area, but city officials
trailer, family photographs surround a plaque that say more money is needed.
reads: "God is greater than any problem I have.'' "In the city of Johnstown alone, there is about $100
But for her, as for hundreds of residents, the flood million worth of work still outstanding and we're
is still a haunting force. "I get spells of depression behind the eight ball for at least $50 million of that,"
and I cry a lot. I've been doctoring," she said. Many said Barry Polster, head of the city's Department of
flood victims have sought psychological counseling. Community and Economic Development.

THE nOTOM photo was taken recenuy of Maim
Street in Johnstown, Pa. The top photo was taken one
year ago today, after floodwaters had begun to

Philadelphia strike enters seventh day
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Trash heaps 20,000city workers. folks are learningitocope withasuchastrikes. "You can't operate a cri
mounted, dung from police horses littered Employees of-the nation's fourth-largest "OUR BIGGEST problem is the trash" system without the crimina
the streets, and stacks of paper gathered city walked off the job last Friday ina con- Victor Kendrick, city public relations .. Moran, chief deputy court a
dust on the bureaucrats' desks yesterday. tract dlpute. The walkout has caused a sidrickecdty "ic reas i's amented earlier this week.
But for most Philadelphians life went on as mountain of inconveniences, some genuine 'o,si' yesterday. "In some areas it's lamented lie this w
usual despite a six-day strike by nearly hardships and some bitter feelings, yet city pilis. It s nplea i elth er leader told the and the di
are flies. But there isno real health dani' leder todhguardsante

uinal court
ls," Dennis
His problem
hen a union
eputies to go

Cool items hot sellers
in Texas heat wave
DALLAS (AP) - Some of the hottest weren't going quite as fast as hotcakes but
items for sale yesterday in northern Texas were in unusually heavy demand.
were some of the coolest as temperatures "We've just never slowed down this
reached the 100degree mark for the 18th summer," said Tom Anderson, general
consecutive day. sales manager for Anthony Pools in the
Department stores and businessmen Dallas-Fort Worth area.
reported brisk sales of ice, swimming pools, "Things normally slow down by this time
air conditioners and soft drinks. Beer sales, of summer because it's getting late. But
however, were levelling off or declining. there's been no let up this year."
THE HEAT WAVE, caused by a ANDERSON SAID he already has sold
stagnant high pressure system and hot about 70 home pools in July, up 40 units
desert winds blowing north from Mexico, from last year.
has been blamed for at least 21 deaths in the "The hot weather has stretched our sales
Dallas-Fort Worth area. The National season. A lot of people want to wait until
Weather Service said no change in the next year in July, but 110 degrees sure
weather isexpected today. changes their mindsein a hurry."
Wihiita Falls, one of the state's hottest Air conditioner sales also were booming.
spots, recorded a temperature of 106
yesterday afternoon. It was the town's 23rd "WE'RE TRYING to shift air con-
straight-100degree-plus day. ditioners from other parts of the nation to
"I know it's bad for everybody else, but this area," said a Sears department store
it's good for us," said Bob Russell, manager manager. "We're selling just about all we
of an ice company in Forth Worth. "We're' can get our hands on."
selling it faster than we can make it. I've Soft drink bottlers are fighting to keep up
talked to people who've been in the ice with demand.
business for 40 years and they say they've "Our vending machine outletshave been
never seen anything like this." running on overtime the last two weeks,"

at the moment."
Philadelphia has had its share of strikes.
In thepastfewyears, school teachers, tran-
sit workers, school maintenance employees
and bus drivers have walked the picket line.
School teachers say they are going out
again in the fall.
The current walkout, by members of the
American Federation of State, County and
Municipal Employees, involves garbage
workers, prison guards, Recreation Depar-
tment personnel and Health Department
CITY HEALTH centers, which provide
free service to the poor, are handling only
emergencies. "If you have a heart attack,
you're going to be taken care of," said Ken-
drick. "If you have a pain in your big toe,
you may have to comeback next week."
But no matter what adversity, love finds
a way. The marriage bureau is closed
because of the strike, so people are getting
hitched in the suburbs. Anthony Semeraro,
register of wills in neighboring Delaware
County, reports that half of all marriage
applications since Friday have been filled
out by Philadelphia residents.
Philadelphians also can't get a copy of
their birth certificate here, because that of-
fice is closed too. Kids can't go swimming
because the public pools are closed.
AND UNTIL yesterday, people in jail
awaiting trial had to wait a little longer

back to work, in compliance with a judge's
The city has designated 19aiims for
citizens to dump trash. They were busy
places yesterday. Businessmen, with at-
tache cases and green garbage bagson the
back seats of their cars, deposited the
family refuse on the way to work.
MARJORIE AND Steve Heitzman came
to one dump together.
"It's a mess," she said, "but where are
you going to put it? If you leave it in the
back of the house, the ratscome."
Said her husband: "These hot dogs
(striking workers) are sitting in bars
drinking. They ought to get rid of them all
and give the jobs to people who are willing
to work."
BUT MOST people just shrugged when
asked about the strike. "What can you do?"
said one.
At the dump, an unidentified man heaved
four bags of trash from the trunk of his car.
A reporter asked if he was annoyed by the
"No, I don't care," he replied. "I'm a
policeman. I make a lot of money."
For five days, before the union leaders
sent the guards back to work, police man-
ned the prisons, pulling in overtime while
trying tokeepthe inmates inside.
At the Youth Study Center, a facility for
vu "ni" 'llir-'' tc ho"rir 'at^ -} ^

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