Altoona Mirror, February 8, 2001

Altoona Mirror

February 08, 2001

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Issue date: Thursday, February 8, 2001

Pages available: 64

Previous edition: Wednesday, February 7, 2001

Next edition: Friday, February 9, 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) - February 8, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Basketball: Penn State men defeat Michigan El Life: SAMA Altoona exhibit features Rau photos Dl Copyright 2001 Utrror THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2001 500 newsstand 9TH DISTRICT RACE Delegate selection at issue BY ROBERT IGOE StnffWriter Tempers are flaring again between congressional candidates Bill Shuster and John Eichelberger Jr., this time over how Blair County delegates will be selected for the upcoming miniconvention to select a Republican nominee for the vacant 9th District seat they are seeking. At issue is whether delegates will be picked by a vote of committee members or appointed by the coun- ty chairman. Shuster, the son of retired U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster, and Eichelberger, a Blair County commissioner and head of the county GOP, are two of a handful of Republicans battling for the right to face Democrat Scott Conklin in a May 15 special election. "I am deeply concerned about the conferee selection process in Blair Shuster said at a Wednesday press conference. "It is unclear as to when we will elect conferees. We do not know who will chair that [Blair County] meet- ing. John Eichelberger stated weeks ago that he would step aside if he were a candidate. At this late date in the process, he is still in full control of the county Republican committee." "It was his father that put us in this Eichelberger responded when contacted after the press conference. "He was the one who decided to retire in the midst of his term, and now there are rules we have to follow in order to name a candidate. Please see AS GOP officials questioning tribute timing BY ROBERT IGOE StaffWriter A major tribute dinner for retired U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster may see a few empty seats. But it isn't the menu or the a pop ticket price that could keep key GOP leaders the timing. At least that's according to two area county GOP committee chairmen: Blair County's John Eichelberger Jr. and Franklin County's Allen Twigg. Both are upset that the Lincoln Day Dinner, sched- uled for Friday in Harrisburg, is honoring Shuster one'week before party chairmen and conferees from the 9th Congressional District, which Shuster repre- sented in Congress since 1972, are expected to meet at Juniata College to announce their candidate for the May 15 special election to fill that seat. Shuster's son, Blair County automobile dealer Bill Shuster, is one of the candidates for that nomina- tion, and both Eichelberger and Twigg feel the tim- ing pf the dinner gives the younger Shuster an unfair edge! Please see AS Two area companies are laying off more than 500 people. ECONOMIC DOWNTURN Mirror file photo Above: In this September 1999 photo, Ron Ferguson checks the color for a catalog project being printed at Butterick Co. Inc.'s Beale Avenue plant. At left: Workers walk in the parking lot during a shift change at the facility Wednesday. Butterick announced that its Altoona plant is closing. Mirror photo sends home 260 workers until March BY WALT FRANK StaffWriter officials announced Wednesday the temporary furlough of 260 workers at its manufacturing facility here. The furloughed workers, who will be called back to work March 5, are primarily second- and third-shift workers and a few first-shift workers, Director of Investor Relations Sally Thiel said-. The workers will receive benefits during their time off the job. Thiel said the furloughs are necessary because of reduced and delayed capital spending by's customers. "Some have indicated they are not ready to start ordering Thiel said. Please see A7 What to do Karen Carstegsen, site administrator at the AltoonaJjngrjIboyment Compensation Service Center) re you are si inds taking the following steps if left without a job. you mususall the PA -T -areer link Mirror graphic by Tom Worthinglon I Butterick will close its facility in Altoona From Mirror staff reports The Butterick Co. Inc., recog- nized worldwide for its cloth- ing patterns and locally for its impact on the Blair County econo- my since the 1940s, could not sur- vive its distressing pattern of declin- ing business. As a result, Butterick officials announced Wednesday to staff mem- bers that the company was bought by McCall Pattern Co., a fashion design company based out of Manhattan, Kan., effective within 30 days, according to employees. The Butterick plant, which has operated since 1947 in its square-foot manufacturing facility on Beale Avenue, will close its oper- ations about four to six months thereafter. In all, about 250 local employees will be affected by the closing. Spme local workers may have the option of moving to the McCall plant in Kansas, a distribution and manu- facturing plant similar to the Butterick plant in Altoona, although Butterick administrators did not confirm that speculation. Administrators refused to com- ment Wednesday, saying instead that a press release would be forth- coming today. A spokesman for McCall also refused to comment. Local workers were "all in pure shock" after the announcement, said Dot Walter, a Butterick employee for 40 years. "Right now, we haven't even had a chance to let it sink Walter said. "This announcement came totally said Sandy Marra, who has worked at Butterick for 35 years. "This company has been like a family to everybody said David Gracey, a 31-year veteran at Butterick. "The average person working here has been with the company between 30 and 40 years. "We sometimes fight like a family, but if we could, everyone here would pull together to do'whatever we could to keep this this family going." Edward Charles, president of Butterick's union, UNITE Local 1071P, We're all devastated, from the plant manager on down." Please see A7 Bedford libraries fall victim to county's budget slashing BY BETH N. GRAY For the Mirror BEDFORD Bedford County's 2001 allocation to its four libraries is being slashed by 39 percent, county commissioners said Wed- nesday at a grim budget reorgani- zational meeting. In addition, most contributions to nonprofit service organizations are being eliminated, and a 1 per- cent cut in outlays or a 1 percent gain in revenues is being mandat- ed of all county departments. The action was necessitated when Judge Daniel Howsare last week turned down the commis- sioners' request for a 3.45 mill real- estate tax increase and instead allowed a 2.25 mill boost. Commissioners need to lop in outlays from this year's budget, Chairman David Thompson told department directors. Thompson admitted to "a lot of reservation" in cutting from the previous allocation of to libraries at Bedford, Everett, Saxton and Hyndman and to the bookmobile. Commissioner Dick Rice said he soul-searched over the matter. But both said the cuts had to come from somewhere. Library system Supervisor Leslie Rock forecast "major cuts" in library services or materials. The funding reduction will result in a loss of up to in state aid, which is pegged to local sup- port, Rock said. Please see A6 Security Blue drops its rates on premiums in 17 counties PITTSBURGH (AP) Subscribers to the standard Security Blue plan in Blair, Bedford and Cambria counties will see their health insurance rates drop. The plan, run by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, said Tuesday that the monthly rate for a standard plan in Bedford, Blair and Somerset counties will drop from to The rate in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington and Westmoreland counties will drop from to The rate cut will be higher in three northwestern Pennsylvania coun- ties where subscribers will pay 28 percent less each month for their health insurance. In Erie, Mercer and Crawford counties, rates will drop from to per month. The plan uses Medicare health- maintenance organizations. There are Security Blue subscribers in western Pennsyl- vania. The northwestern counties had such a big drop because Erie was reclassified as a metropolitan area, which justified a larger payment on behalf of its patients, said Denise Grabner, a Highmark spokes- woman in Pittsburgh. The insurer is receiving a 2.9 per- cent increase in funding this year from the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration under the federal Benefits Improvement and Protection Act. The Security Blue plan also had strong financial results last year, allowing it to cut rates, Grabner said. Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 Lottery numbers, A2 Mostly cloudy, 46" Forecast, C3 J I. We Pride Ourselves j on Being the H Area's Very Best i Because We Feel Our Customers ITALIAN VILLA Deserve Nothing Less. V, NATION middle-aged with a history mental illness fired shots outside the Life Planner D2 House Wednesday and then was shot by the Secret Service. PAGE C1 ;