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Altoona Mirror Newspaper Archive: February 6, 2001 - Page 1

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   Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - February 6, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania                                Sports: Bellwood boys knock off Williamsburg Uft: Soap actress selected new Regis co-host Copyright 2001 TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2001 SOtnewMtand Date set for 9th District election BY ROBERT IGOE StaffWriter Two candidates are official, and at last, a date has been set. Now it's a matter of one more candidate being announced for the May 15 special election that will decide the successor of former Rep. Bud Shuster as the Pennsylvania 9th District representative to the U.S. House of Representatives. Gov. Tom Ridge signed the writ of special election setting the date for the election, which also is the date of the spring primary election. Ridge could have set the date for as early as April 10 since the law requires the election to be held no sooner than 60 days upon the signing of the writ. Ridge had up to 10 days after the vacancy to sign the writ. Ridge chose the primary date as a matter of con- venience arid economy for the areas affected. "This decision required balancing my desire to restore representation to the district quickly with the impact of a stand-alone election on taxpayers and county Ridge said. "In this instance, with the two dates only five weeks apart, I believe the proper decision is to schedule the elec- tion with the regularly scheduled pririiary election." While the Democrats have selected Scott Conklin as their candidate for the seat and Alanna Hartzok has accepted the Green Party nomination, the State Republican Committee has yet to name their candi- date. That decision could come as early as next week, and the Blair County Republican Committee has announced that they will meet Feb. 13 to discuss their possible choice for a candidate. One of the candidates is Blair GOP Committee Chairman and county Commissioner John Eichelberger, who was pleased to learn of the deci- sion to hold the election on the day of the spring.pri- mary elections. "I am very relieved to hear Eichelberger said. "A separate election would be very costly for the county, as high as and would have been very difficult for us to arrange. We have to coordi- nate the efforts of 500 workers, including county employees, each election, and asking them to work a third election night would have really been asking .them to go above and beyond." Eichelberger said that an early election date usual- ly is the best bet for the GOP in any race, pointing put the recent Melissa Hart race for Congress, in which she won iri a heavily Democratic area. Eichelberger feels the heavy edge the GOP has in voter registra- tion in this area will offset the later date, and the date could bring an advantage for the GOP. "It gives us some breathing room [to select a can- he said. "We had planned a worst-case date of Feb. 17 to make our choice to allow us time to campaign, but now, we don't have to be held to that. We may still announce a candidate on that date if the party feels ready, but now, we don't have to." Please see LOOKING FOR SUPPORT Ridge plan presents changes Unfamiliar ground takes spending to more than billion for first time. BY ROBERT IGOE' Staff Writer HARRISBURG Gov. Tom Ridge plans to present a 2001-02 budget today that treads on familiar ground, heavily touting tax and educa- tion reform, and not-so-familiar ground, taking spending to more than billion for the first time ever. "I think his message is that he is going to have a full agenda, even though it is his last two years of said Senate Majority Leader David J. Brightbill, R- Lebanon. "Tom Ridge has been running at full-speed, and he's going to continue doing that." In his address to a joint session of the General Assembly this morning, among other things, Ridge is expected to call for exempting more lower-income families from the state income tax; continuing the phaseout of the capital stock and fran- chise tax on business' assets; and increasing spending for early childhood programs, public libraries and museums in the fiscal year beginning July 1. Ridge also is expected to propose a tax credit to help defray educational expenses and a plan to use million of the money Pennsylvania has received from the national tobacco settlement to finance three regional life-science "greenhouses" to spur biotechnology research in the state. No tax-increase proposals are anticipated. The Ridge plan will heavily feature edu- cational spending programs, including million toward new early childhood programs and million for perfor- mance-incentive grants for state schools. The grants proposal, which would be a 10 percent increase in funding from last year, encourages schools to work to improve attendance records and increase Pennsylvania System of School Assessment reading and mathematics test scores by providing grants to those who improve. Under the program, 50 percent of the grant must be used to improve instruc- tional programs and aid in teacher develop- ment, and up to 25 percent of the grant can be used on teacher rewards. The spending is determined by a committee, including the school principal and school parents. Please see A2 Spending A look at spending trends (in billions) in the state budget since 1990: (Note: Fiscal years run from July to June.) Illgliligllh (it blidgel I a call for exempting more lower-income families from the state income tax; 1 continuing the phaseout of the capital stock and franchise tax on business' assets; I increasing spending for early childhood programs, public libraries and museums; a proposal for some sort of tax credit to help defray educational expenses; I a plan to use million of the money Pennsylvania has received from the nation- al tobacco settlement to finance three regional life-science "greenhouses" to spur biotechnology research in the state; I no tax-increase proposals are anticipated. Some of the education focus of Gov. Tom 12.4 19.2 19-7 Rage's proposed budget: HI I million for new early chile irly childhood pro- grams million for performance-incentive grants for state schools million for state libraries- J million to put more computers in the classroom million to start chiid-care centers million to help expand Head Start 1390-91 1991-92 1992-93 1993-94 1994-95 1996-9; 1997-98 1998-99 1999-0) 2000-01 Mirror graphic by Tom Worthington II Bush says tax cut should be retroactive to Jan. 1 BY SANDRA SOBIERAJ The Associated Press Flanked by a jumbo refund-check stage prop, President Bush asked Americans to get behind his proposed tax cuts Monday and said the reductions should be retroactive to Jan. 1 to "help get money into the people's pockets quicker." He warned Congress and an army of lobbyists against add-ons, saying his plan is the right size "and I'm going to defend it mightily." In the White House diplomatic room, the president began a drive for the upper hand Monday as he and Congress move toward formal debate over.the centerpiece of his presidential campaign. He did not shy from the idea, emphasized by Democrats in what Bush decried as "class that the wealthiest Americans stand to benefit the most. "All the income tax rates should be Bush said. "Our tax code should not punish success at any stage of life." He stood beside a jumbo check written out to "U.S. Taxpayer" in the amount of average tax cut for a family of four under his plan, according to White House gathered around him three photogenic families who, in the bottom three tax brackets, would realize tax savings., Asked by a reporter why no one was there representing the big winners in the top bracket, Bush laughed. "Well, I beg your par- he said. "I got a little pay raise coming to Washington from Austin. I'll be in the top bracket." Please see A2 The Associated Press Commerce Secretary Don Evans watches President Bush speak Monday during a cere- monial swearing-in at- the Commerce Department. Veterans forge ahead to return grave marker BY WILLIAM KTBLER StaffWriter Most people around here still don't know the name Glenn English. He was one of five kids in a fami- ly in.Juniata. His father split for Florida when Glenn was 6. His mother worked in bars but lost the kids to the county and they dis- persed shuttling for years between a Williamsburg orphan- age and foster homes in Altoona, Homers Gap, Duncarisville arid Martinsburg. But from that unstable, tumul- tuous childhood, he went on to sta- bility and focus in the Army, and eventually amid the tumult of the Vietnam War achieved an apotheosis of heroic self-sacrifice that earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor. This spring, a local veterans group hopes to bring the tomb- stone that has marked his grave in North Carolina for three decades here to the Vietnam History Center it plans to build at Westfall Park. Staff Sgt. English was riding in the lead-armored personnel carri- er in a four-vehicle column when an enemy mine exploded in front of the vehicle, states the Medal of Honor citation. It was Sept. 7, 1970. Conditions were grim in the English home before the breakup of the family in 1946, said May Burket, who became a foster moth- er for three of "the children: Anna May, Larry and Glenn. Please see AS PLANT SHOOTING The Associated Press Navistar engine plant employees talk outside the facility Monday in Melrose Park, 111., after a man shot and killed four people, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. PAGE Cl BEDFORD COUNTY Tax increase falls short of expectations BY BETH N. GRAY For the Mirror BEDFORD Bedford County commissioners were granted a real estate tax increase for 2001, but for not as much Judge OKs city's budget request PAGE A4 as they'd petitioned common pleas court. Now the panel must find a way to trim about from the spend- ing plan. They could consider lay- offs as a most-drastic option. "We'll come up with the cuts, but it's going to be commission- ers Chairman David Thompson said. In a brief order Monday, Judge Daniel Lee Howsare authorized a 2.25-mill increase beyond the limi- THE DECISION AT A GLANCE What they wanted: 13.25 mills in taxes generating about in revenue. What they got: 12.05 mills in taxes generating about In revenue. What MM: 1 Commissioners must trim about j in spfridfojj. tation imposed by state assessment law. Commissioners had asked for 3.45 mills above the 9.8-mill cap to fund general operating expenses. Please see A8 Subscription or hpme delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 4 Lottery numbers, A2 Cloudy, chance of snow, Forecast, C3 ij We Pride Ourselves 11 on Being the Area's Very Best 5 Because We Feel Our Customers ITALIAN VILLA Deserve Nothing Less. Business Hospitals Obituaries Opinion Qtmnt High schools Scoreboard A6 B4 B5 AS i Classifieds A7 j Comics Dear Abby Puzzles Television C3-8 D3 D2 D2 O2 -1 ssisjATf IN STATE Senior citizens to attend a Capitol rally in favor of a bill for prescription-drug prices. PAGE A3   

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