The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

April 5, 2014

It’s always sad to see businesses move away

By Lynn Saternow

- — HERE ARE SOME thoughts from a guy who – like everyone else locally – was saddened to see the announcement that the longtime Cattron business is leaving Sharpsville.

The story in Friday’s Herald made it official that the business owner, Laird Technologies Inc., was leaving for greener pastures. Greener in the sense of tax breaks and a chance to make more money.

But that’s the way of big business today. While locally owned companies often have loyalty to their hometowns, not so once they are sold to outside interests.

Laird bought the company, which was founded in Sharpsville in 1946 by Jim Cattron, in 2010. In recent months, there has been discussion about the company possibly moving to Hermitage or to Ohio.

The company takes with it 150 local jobs, although many of the employees will probably stay on. But it also takes away tax money from Sharpsville.

While it obviously doesn’t have the devastating effect of the demise of the Sharon Steel and Westinghouse plants in the Shenango Valley and the loss of thousands of jobs, every business loss hurts. And attracting new business ventures to western Pennsylvania is no easy task.

Speaking of big business deals, they don’t come much bigger around here than the sale this week of Sharon Regional Health System to for-profit Community Health System Inc.

The deal should be a huge plus for communities where the business operates, since their buildings will now be placed on the tax rolls.

It will be interesting to watch if there are many changes to the business structure once the takeover is complete.

• Another very interesting front-page story this week concerned the Frank Crash slaying in Hempfield Township last July. Mercer County District Attorney Bob Kochems explained that putting together the proper evidence to get a sure conviction once charges are filed takes time.

Come on, Bob. It only takes those people on “CSI” an hour to solve a case. What’s the holdup?

OK, I’m being facetious, but that’s the feeling of a lot of people who watch those television shows, and they expect things to be done immediately.

In the real world, as the saying goes, “The wheels of justice turn slowly.”

But hey, just so they turn.

And if the evidence comes in and Kochems gets a conviction, the wait will be worth it.

I’ve heard people say for years: “If you want to commit murder and get away with it, do it in Mercer County.”

While a few have, there have also been many convictions. Let’s hope one is coming in the near future in the Frank Crash case.

The Herald’s Lynn Saternow writes this column each week for the Opinion page. He can be reached at