Altoona Mirror, January 31, 2001

Altoona Mirror

January 31, 2001

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Issue date: Wednesday, January 31, 2001

Pages available: 96

Previous edition: Tuesday, January 30, 2001

Next edition: Thursday, February 1, 2001 - Used by the World's Finest Libraries and Institutions
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Publication name: Altoona Mirror

Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - January 31, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Sports: Central H.S. boys edge Tyrone, 4544 Bl America puts stamp on cheese production Atonna Copyright 2001 WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31, 2001 500 newsstand Boost in drug jolicy jacked Pa. House has approved expanding state's prescription (ffpgram for seniors. D. MAY The-Associated Press HARRISBURG The House overwhelmingly approved a Republican plan that would expand a state program that helps seniors buy prescription drugs despite reservations from a handful of law- makers that the plan could prove troublesome over tune. The plan approved by the House Tuesday, identical to one that died in the Legislature late last year, would increase the income caps for PAGENET, which subsidizes drugs for seniors who need help with their drug expenses but whose incomes are too large to qualify for more generous benefits in the PACE program. measure would cost an esti- misted million and is expected tcrixpand the number of seniors eligible, for benefits by more than 4flJOOp, Republicans said. The plan ajte about seniors. bipartisan support in Republican-controlled House, passing 191-5. Its fate remains unclear in the Senate. The bill first was introduced by state Rep. Patricia Vance, R- Cumberland, in September, when both major presidential candidates were talking almost nonstop about the-heed to help seniors meet the rising-costs'of prescription drugs. That plan never reached the floor of the Senate. The bill would make funding for PACE, an acronym for Pharma- ceutical Assistance Contract for fesElderly, and PAGENET, a com- pjmlbn program, supplemental to my federal money for prescription oenefits programs. Republican senators have expressed fears that putting up state funds for prescription bene- fits would result in Pennsylvania jetting fewer federal dollars if Congress acts on its own assis- tance bill Vance said Pennsylvania needs :o act now to bolster its existing programs. the Senate will.realize jtie.-will of the House is very strong the governor is apprecia- how strongly the members oKthe House feel about yalTce said after the vote. "We can! wait any longer." offered a series of sailed amendments to the plan, including one that would have abolished the deductible for PAGENET and dramatically low- ered co-payments. ST. VALEHTINFS DAY PREPARATION Above: Linda Albarano stocks hearts filled with candy at Gardners Candies in Plank Road Commons. At right: Don Beerbower of Beerbower Jewelers dis'- plays a heart necklace. 1 Mirror pholo illustration by ID. Cavrlch and Tom'Worthlnglon II LovMnoney Local businesses hoping to cash in on holiday expressions from the heart BY MIKE EMERY StaffWriter Valentine's Day is the time to show you care enough to send the very best, and local retailers once again are giving cus- tomers plenty of ways to show it. You can say "I love you" with flowers or fine dining; jewelry or gift baskets; wine or choco- lates; or, yes, you lovehpunds, a Valentine's Day card. And as always, local businesses are giving everyone ample opportunity to get senti- mental on Valentine's Day. Local businesses already have stocked their shelvesfor Valentine's Day. After the Christinas season, the holiday marks the only sales surge in whiter. February typically is considered one of the year's slowest months for retail sales because it lies between January's clearance sates and the arrival of spring in March. Last February, how- ever, was atypical in that consumers spent heav- ily, particularly leadingtip to Valentine's Day. Wal-Mart said its sales from stores open at least a year rose 6.1 percent in February com- pared with two years ago.. Sales from stores open at least a year, known as same-store sales, are considered toe most accurate measure of a retailer's business. Selected figures on last February's sales at leading retail chains include the following: Sears, Roebuck and Co., same-store sales rose 3.1 percent, total sales up 2.4 percent; Kmart, same-store sales up 2.7 percent, total sales up 4 percent; J.C. Pinney Co. Inc., same-store depart- ment store sales fell 2.4 percent; same-store sales at Eckerd drugstores up 4.7 percent; total sales up 5.7 percent; Target, same-store sales up 3.8 percent, total sales up 8.7 percent. Most local retailers ranked Valentine's Day as the third or fourth most lucrative holiday in regard to sales, trailing Christmas, Mother's Day and, in some cases, Easter. Jewelry salesj mostly to the Valentine's Day tend to increase Valentine's: DSyjls one of the more impor- tant holidays for said Don Beerbower of Beerbower Jewelers in HoUidaysburg and Greenwood Center, Altoona. "We get a bit of a surge in sales from the winter doldrums. "Diamond earrings, heart pendants and engagement rings are always popular items for .Valentine's he said. Another hot seller for Valentine's Day, Beerbower said, are 24-karat gold roses. Live roses are dipped and preserved in 24-karat gold. "Our most popular Valentine's Day items are engagement rings and a variety of heart- shaped jewelry, like diamond heart pendants, rings and said Charles Kranich of Kranich's Jewelers in the Logan Valley Mail "Our average sales at Valentine's Day are generally less in terms of the average dollar amounts, but in terms of units sold, it is one of our better sales days in the year." Please see A13 Colleagues bid adieu to Shuster BY ROBERT IGOE StaffWriter This week Bud Shuster will answer roll call for the final time as he officially retires as the Pennsylvania 9th District's repre- sentative to the U.S. Congress, a seat he has held since the district was created in 1972. In those 28 years, Shuster, a six- year chairman of the powerful House Transportation and Infra- structure Committee, has endured investigations, critical press and his share of controversy. But he worked to put his vision of economic strength through transportation and infrastructure improvement into action on pro- jects such as Interstate 99 in Blair and Bedford counties and on legis- lation such as the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century and the Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century, bills Which greatly expanded transportation funding. Besides seeing his ideas come tn" life, Shusterls reward for his years of service has been the praise of his colleagues in Congress, partic- ularly in the Pennsylvania delega- tion, where Shuster is considered a role model and a symbol of progress. State Rep. John Peterson, R-5th District, said Shuster has been a catalyst for improving transporta- tion in areas that long had been ignored. "He will go down in history as having put in place funding for both highways and airports that will serve this country Peterson said. "I think that those efforts are unparalleled. I don't know of any member of Congress who has done as much. "In rural America.iwe rely heav- ily upon the roads J so they're a huge need for us. And airports have been undervalued. I think he changed that." Please see A14 Mirror file photo U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster R-9th District, talks with U.S. Rep: Chris Smith, R-NJ., oh the subway from their offices to the- Capitol Building. Special election could be costly BY KAY STEPHENS Tom Ridge pri- mary as the date of elec tipn to replace refafing Bud Shuster, R-gtlfDistnet, BJair County taxpayers likely will: spehi about to hold the election on another date. And they won't be the only ones with such a bill. Clearfield County taxpayers will have to come up with about and taxpayers will about District, which Franklin, Fulton, Hunt- Juniata, Mifflin and Snyder and portions of Centre and Perry counties. "It would be a huge expense for the 11 Blair County Commissioner Donna Gority said. Please see A14 Williamsburg man sentenced to jail for fatal car accident RAY Writer stood before a Blair County judge for several -minutes' Tuesday, fighting back the emoUBfts of the moment and gathering to apologize to the family of a man he had killed in a traffic accident in March. Dressed in a Blair County orange prison suit, his ankles bound by chains, Kifer, 28, finally spoke. "I didn't know I was going to have the chance to speak today. To the [Jay] Yerty family, I can't apqlogize.enough." Kifer the March 19 accident oil Piney Creek Road for the rest of his days on Earth. Following Kifer's statement, Blair County Judge Hiram A. Carpenter sen- tenced him to serve 21 Vz to 43 months in the Blair County Prison for leaving the scene of an accident in which a death occurred and for hit-and-run while not having a license. Kifer, a tree-cutter by trade, sdso must pay more than in fines and costs. He will be on probation for two years after his prison sentence because at the time of the head-on crash, Kifer had no license and was undergoing treatment under the county's Intermediate Punish- ment Program on drug charges. As Kifer was being sentenced, the wife of the man who was killed in the accident, Tina Yerty, fought to hold back her tears. She was so distraught that she could not deliver her statement in Carpenter's emo- tion-laden courtroom Tuesday afternoon. Blair County Assistant District Attorney Doug Keating delivered it for her. Tina Yerty said Jay Yerty, 38, was her- best friend for the 18 years of their mar-: riage. She said the two Yerty daughters also are very distraught over their father's death, and she concluded she has no one to share "my pain, my sadness, my grief." Please see A12 POJVHV Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 I Lottery numbers, A2 Chance of snow. or rain, Forecast, C3 Altnnna Ultrror THE GREAT COMBINATION 1 Call us today...Make money today. Ask for THE GREAT COMBINATION of MIRROR CLASSIFIEDS and HOT-ADS Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) 946-7647 QLOCAL Business Hospitals Obituaries Opinion Movies Scoreboard A13 A15 A15 A10 B2 BS Qwmft ,V Classifieds C7-16 Comics -O5 Community news D2 Puzzles Television O4 IN WORLD Doctors at a prominent hospital removed hearts, brains, eyes and heads from thousands of dead children without the consent of their parents PMECt ;