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L. Robert Kimball remembered as ‘philanthropist,’ ‘visionary’ Vol. 159 No. 25

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By Ian Wissinger

of Mainline Newspapers

A local visionary and icon in the Ebensburg area has passed away. On Friday, Jan. 11, L. Robert Kimball, the man whose namesake engineering firm paved the way – quite literally – for the revitalization of Ebensburg, and who employed hundreds of local residents in projects that have extended beyond the

Ebensburg, Pa.

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Corporate leader, Ebensburg resident passes away at 89

borders of county and state, breathed his last. News of the loss affected many within the local business community, as well as leaders who had not only networked with Kimball on a business level, but on a personal one as well. “I watched him start his business from scratch,” recalls Jim Estep of Estep Realty. “As it grew, he never forgot about the community. He was always loyal to local business – he could have moved his headquarters anywhere, but he chose to remain here in Ebensburg.” Estep said he had represented Kimball as a buyer’s agent on a number of occasions, helping the latter secure several properties on the 100 and 200 blocks of West High Street that were then transformed into flourishing businesses or landmarks. “Not only did he do as much business as possible with local vendors,” Estep continued, “but he did many things to help people that no one ever knew about.” Indeed, L. Robert Kimball is remembered in his obituary for a “myriad” of philanthropic, civic and professional contributions. Born in 1923, L. Robert was the

Vacancy continues to hinder controller duties L. Robert Kimball

Thursday, January 17, 2013

son of the late Leo C. and Ursula (Myers) Kimball. As the last surviving member of his immediate family, the entrepreneur and philanthropist is preceded in death by brothers

John R. and William Kimball and sister Kathryn J. “Susie” DandreaLong. After founding his business in 1953 as a two-person surveying and

36 Pages

civil engineering firm, Kimball made savvy choices and investments that helped it grow into a 16office, 600-plus employee enterprise. Kimball finally retired in SEE KIMBALL, PAGE 20A

The American and state flags outside L. R. Kimball’s corporate headquarters fly at half staff in memory of the company’s founder. L. Robert Kimball passed away this past Friday, leaving behind a legacy in business, entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Photo by Ian Wissinger.

County failing to meet payroll obligations

By Ian Wissinger

of Mainline Newspapers

Cambria County Controller Ed Cernic, Jr. has requested that the Board of Commissioners move to fill a vacancy in his office that has thus far proven a serious impediment to meeting bill and payroll demands. Cernic made an official request at the commissioners’ Thursday, Jan. 10 meeting, though he has publicly petitioned them in the past. The vacancy has existed since Nov. 1, or approximately

the middle of the controller’s office’s busiest time of year, when unpaid bills, payrolls and other financial obligations take precedent in the midst of an endof-year budget crunch. This week, a visibly disappointed Cernic announced that he would not be able to cut checks for Cambria County’s 26 constables, and he blamed the lack of an additional deputy for this shortcoming. The county’s salary board, which comprises the com-

The State Correctional Institution at Cresson will be closed by June 30, as related in an announcement issued by the Department of Corrections last week. Photo by Justin Eger.

Loss of SCI Cresson impacts area Township Supervisors Fear, uncertainty predominant among residents reorganize for new year SEE VACANCY, PAGE 4A

By Justin Eger

Bracken to assume vice-chairman duties

By Ian Wissinger

of Mainline Newspapers

As with the beginning of every calendar year, the Cambria Township Board of Supervisors convened on the first Monday of the month to hold a reorganizational meeting. At this Jan. 7 gathering, the board chose to maintain much

of the status quo that prevailed in 2012, with a few exceptions. Under appointments, the board selected Robert Shook to reprise his role as chairman. The two remaining supervisors, however, agreed to swap positions, with second-year supervisor Tim Bracken now fulfilling the duties of vice-chairman, taking the reins from David Hoover. After these designations had been settled, the board reappointed Secretary and Treasurer Norma Cicero and her assistant, Susan Mazenko, for subsequent one-year terms. SEE TOWNSHIP, PAGE 5A

of Mainline Newspapers

While it’s been little over a week since the state’s Department of Corrections announced that SCI Cresson would be closed by the end of June, its inmates transferred to a new facility near State College and its employees scattered throughout the state prison system, there are still a lot of concerns being expressed around Cresson Mountain and its neighboring communities. The initial shock of the announcement has given way to fear and even anger for many, as the region’s biggest job provider is set to take its money elsewhere, and to a community that already has plenty of job providers, including another state prison. “It is hard to quantify the effect on our community of the SCI Cresson closure, but it will be substantial. So much of our infrastructure is intertwined with the employees and needs of SCI, and it leaves an enormous vacuum when the largest ‘player’ in a small market is yanked away, even if many of the employees continue to be employed at another far off location,” said

Cresson Township Supervisor Gary Bradley. “Our area had finally begun to adjust to the collapse of the railroad, steel, and coal industries — this will take us back to square one.” The comparison to the loss of those previous industries was not a statement unique to Bradley. Indeed, many people that this writer spoke with over the weekend, whether on-the-record or privately, expressed similar fears and concerns, often seeing Cresson’s future as little more than a “ghost town.” “The only thing you can compare it to is when the mines closed,” Jack Barlick of Lilly said, echoing Bradley’s statement. “The impact is going to be huge. So many people from the prison live here in these communities, and they don’t know what’s going to happen to them. They might be offered jobs, but they don’t know where, so they might have to move, or even if



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