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Altoona Mirror Newspaper Archive: January 29, 2001 - Page 1

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   Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - January 29, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania                                Nation: Calif, power crisis zaps elderly investors Cl Life: Mister Rogers moving on after 30-plus years Dl Copyright 2001 dtttrror MONDAY, JANUARY 29, 2001 50t newsstand Sprawl stopping expands to water HARRISBURG (AP) It's not only the land that is at risk from suburban sprawl it's the water, according to anti-sprawl advocates and several lawmakers who plan to seek changes in the way the state's water supply is managed. "When you have the intensity of development we have in our area, there's only so many straws you can put in the said Sen. James Gerlach, R-Chester, who rep- resents one of the fastest-growing areas in the Philadelphia suburbs. With too much development, wells dry up and faucets slow to a trickle. Rainfall cannot seep into the ground through a parking lot. Storm drains back up, creeks over- flow, basements flood. Runoff car- ries pollutants, which can contam- inate streams and wipe out wildlife habitats. In Pennsylvania, the state and its municipalities have little power to use concerns about water to stop development. But Gerlach said water issues are similar to land issues and that questions of how much water should be pumped from a region or which creek is worth extra protec- tion are best settled closer to home. Water use in Pennsylvania is now controlled by the Delaware River Basin Commission, an agency with a four-state territory: Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsyl- vania and New York. Its purview, in general, is withdrawals of the variety, not backyard wells. Gerlach and Rep. David Steil, R- Bucks, said they plan to introduce legislation within the next few weeks. Under their bills, munici- palities sharing a watershed could adopt a joint plan to protect water resources. The aim is to make rivers, creeks and aquifers the basis for planning, instead of municipal or county boundaries. Like traffic problems created by new shopping malls, water does not recognize political boundaries. The proposal builds on the efforts made last year by Gerlach and Steil that resulted in laws they hope will encourage towns through planning grants and pro- tection from builder adopt a regional outlook to plan for growth together. Though the Ridge administra- tion encourages watershed plan- ning as part of its "Growing Greener" initiative, the governor has not taken a position on increasing the state's control of water resource management. Please see A3 EDUCATION Mirror ptiolos by Cavrich Kindergartners Bryanna Luzier (left) and John Paul Dibert play in the sandbox during class at Penn Lincoln Elementary School in Altoona. Penn Lincoln was the first school in Altoona to pilot an all-day kindergarten program. ALL-DAY K Kindergartners, parents, teachers benefiting from full-time classes BY JAY YOUNG Staff Writer Day's first year of public schooling is all I in a day's work. I Just like the big kids, the Penn Lincoln Elementary kindergartner arrives at school early in the morning and leaves in the afternoon. Once a concept that seemed extremely progressive, all-day kindergarten is slowly making its way across the country, and into Pennsylvania.............., In Altoona, Penn Lincoln was tfie first school to pilot an all-day kindergarten program. While parents still have the option of half a day, administrators and teachers say all-day children are performing better and'entering grade school more prepared to learn. They're also putting up better numbers. Full-day Penn Lincoln students attended school 97 percent of the time between 1996 and 2000, compared with their half-day peers' attendance rate of 90.4 percent during that same period. "We also know that we have higher scores on the first-grade readiness test for those who have attended full Perm Lincoln principal Jennifer Mikolajczyk said. Test scores are higher because students like Tristan have more time to explore and experience life in an educational environment. And the concerns from critics that students aren't ready for a full-day of school don't seem to apply to Tristan. After a day of writing in her journal, stacking blocks and reading stories, the 5-year-old said she loves being at school all day because it's fun. The results have led the Altoona Area School District to double the number of full-day classes offered to six. Pleasant Valley, Juniata and Washington Jefferson elementaries will join the total of three classes offered at Penn Lincoln and Wright next fall as schools offering full-day kindergarten. "We just feel that it's something that we have to Classmates Matthew Keller and Tristan Day play an alphabet game in school. Superintendent Dennis Murray said. "Some people may see it as baby-sitting, but it real- ly isn't going to be. It's really developmental." There is no doubt that it's a big help to some par- ents. In 1999, both spouses in about 53 percent of mar- ried-couple families had jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A full-day program eliminates a parent having to leave work in the middle of the day to transport a child to or from school. There's nothing wrong with that, Mikolajczyk said. "If in doing that I've accommodated the parent, I don't see anything wrong with she said. "I think that's part of my job. I want to help those par- ents provide the best possible education for their children." It's also helping teachers like Bonnie Adler. The Penn Lincoln kindergarten teacher started teaching a hatf-dayinim "What am I going to do to fill all of the she wondered when making the transition. Please see A8 POLITICS Bush set to turn up heat Hotly debated issues of prescription drug coverage, religious-run programs will be next on president's agenda. BY SCOTT LINDLAW The Associated Press WASHINGTON After starting his presidency with a focus on the safe topic of education, President Bush this week ventures into more treacherous waters: He is pro- moting his proposal to turn certain government services over to religious institutions and pushing the GOP plan to provide prescription drugs to senior citizens. Both initiatives are sure to spark intense debate as Bush opens his second week in the White House. The president today is to establish a White House office that would distribute billions of dollars to religious groups and charities over the next 10 years. Bush wants to let such groups compete for taxpayer money to provide after-school programs, prison ministries and drug treatment. To build support, he will meet throughout the week with leaders of spiritual and charitable groups, and he planned to attend the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday. Critics said that shifting government money to church- es, synagogues and mosques so they can expand charitable work raises church-state separation questions. Even some churches are wary of government money that might come with strings. Please see A3 Bud Shuster's career at end BY CLAUDE R. MARX The Associated Press WASHINGTON With his storied 28-year career com- ing to an end, U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster, R-9th District, is focusing on his legacy and his possible successor. earned the nickname "King of the Roads" because of his success in securing large-scale public works projects in Pennsylvania and throughout the country may be less successful in influencing who replaces him. He ran the House transportation committee forcefully and often won battles against the congressional GOP lead: ership. But at home, his strong control of the party appara- tus has made some enemies in powerful corners. Those dynamics may prevent his son and designated sup- cessor, Bill, from winning the right to represent the heavi- ly Republican district in the special election later this yearj "The blood is flowing an over that district. There are a lot of people who tolerated Shuster because of everything he brought home but may want a fresh start with him said Millersville University political scientist G. Terry Madonna. "A Shuster without the goodies may not sell." Please see A3 Supervisor seeking to reduce Antis board's number to three BY WALT FRANK Staff Writer BELLWOOD Antis Township Supervisor Ronald Gensamer wants to see the board of supervisors reduced from five to three members, saying the current setup is ineffective. Gensamer's fellow supervisors dis- agree, saying a five-member board has allowed more input and public access to local government. Gensamer is circulating a petition to secure enough signatures to have his request placed on the election ballot and give residents a chance to vote on the matter. Gensamer will need to obtain sig- natures of 5 percent of the township's registered voters, said Ken Johnson, a local government policy specialist for the Governor's Center for Local Government Services. There were no provisions to reduce the number of supervisors until a 1995 amendment to the Second Class Township Code enabled a reduction to occur, Johnson said. "I have never seen that reversed [from five to Johnson said. "Antis is a significant, growing township. There is probably no rea- son to reduce it." Gensamer disagrees. "The five-member board is not accomplishing much for the taxpay- Gensamer said. "I would like to get three people who are interested in the taxpayers of our community." In November 1994, township resi- dents voted 918-557 in favor of chang- ing from three to five supervisors. The change became effective in January 1996. Supervisors approved a resolution to have the question placed on the ballot as a way to address growing workloads caused by increasing pop- ulations, additional traffic from the new Route 220, a proposed business enterprise and other developments. Please see AS FLYING HIGH Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Brandon Stokley (80) celebrates with teammates Shannon Sharpe and Qadry Ismail after scoring on a 38-yard pass. The Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV, 34-7. Please see coverage, Page Bl. The Associated Press HELMUT Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 I Lottery numbers, A2 wumnt Mix of sun, clouds, 36" Forecast, C2 Altoona Mirror [THE GREAT COMBl_MATiOMl Call us today.. .Make money today. 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