Altoona Mirror, February 22, 2001

Altoona Mirror

February 22, 2001

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Issue date: Thursday, February 22, 2001

Pages available: 80 - Used by the World's Finest Libraries and Institutions
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Publication name: Altoona Mirror

Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

Pages available: 2,271,029

Years available: 1876 - 2014

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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - February 22, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Sports: SFU's Jubeck finishing up successful career Nation: Clinton's brother-in-law returns money Cl Copyright 2001 THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2001 500 newsstand Altoonan sentenced in 1983 murder BY PHIL RAY StaffWriter GREENSBURG Bonnie Neely of Altoona will serve 7 to 20 years in prison for the 1983 murder of her stepfather, and she testified Wednesday that confessing to police in 1999 was "a great burden off my soul." Patricia Sloan, 54, was sentenced to life in prison by Westmoreland County Judge Richard McCormick Jr., having been found guilty in December of the first-degree mur- der of Willis Casteel. The body of her stepfather, Casteel, 62, was found 18 months ago buried in the basement of an old farmhouse near Greensburg, once occu- pied by Casteel, Neely and her mother, Sloan. Neely entered a guilty plea in December to murder in the third degree, saying he took into consideration her good reputation in Altoona and the devotion she has shown to her children. But McCormick said, "We cannot avoid the fact you took part in an effort that led to the death of Mr. Casteel. ...You have to be punished." McCormick, before sentencing, heard three hours of testimony from Neely, sever- al of her Altoona neighbors and her best friend from Greensburg. Lois L. Shears of 32 Greenwood Road, who lived next to Neely, her husband, Ralph Neely, and her children Ralphie III, 6, and Kelli, 5, said Neely was "very caring." Please see A3 Ridge visits Cove school Aides would not confirm a reason for the appearance. BY MIKE EMERY StaffWriter ROARING SPRING Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge is scheduled to make a a.m. appearance today at Spring Cove Middle School. While aides would not confirm the reason for the visit, the school district is awaiting word from the governor in regard to its bid to secure a portion of million budgeted for the first digital school districts, not only in the state, but also in the nation. A spokesman from the state Department of Education confirmed Wednesday ,that an announcement is expected today on the grants. Spring Cove is one of six finalists sfill vying for the digital school district grants. Spring Cove has teamed up with Penn State University' and Schoolwires Inc. of State College to draft a proposal that will "make learning available anywhere, any- time, at your said James Scott, the district's superintendent. Please see A3 Norfolk Southern closing Hollidaysburg Car Shop JOBS GONE AGAIN Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich Workers at Norfolk Southern Hollidaysburg Car Shop pull a car. The shop will close Sept. 1. Agreement with may prove key BY CRAIG WILLIAMS Staff Writer The New York Dock agreement is the hinge that may swing and change the lives of many workers in the Hollidaysburg Car Shop if there is no work in the Juniata Locomotive Shop, and the transfer jobs offered are sever- al states away. The door that is opened by New York Dock may not be as welcoming as expected, and workers at the Hollidaysburg Car Shop may find themselves looking over the finer points of what the federal government sees as rail merger job security sometime this summer as the doors on their car shop are scheduled to be locked Sept. 1. A negotiating point between the railroad unions and Norfolk Southern during the Conrail merger, the agreement essentially states-that workers within the absorbed com- pany will be offered work elsewhere in the ran system if the shops close because of the merger, or they will be paid wages and bene- fits for the next six years. Based on a case in another merger, stan- New York Dock to aid workers Local and government officials fear clos- ing can't be stopped second time PAGE A3 dards established for the protection of jobs during a rail merger eventually were referred to by that case's name, New York Dock, the Brooklyn Eastern District case reg- ulated by the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1979. Experts and rail lawyers said the details of New York Dock are complicated. Beyond the agreement, which was overseen by the Surface Transportation Board during the merger talks, the provisions in New York Dock have recourse to binding arbitration and STB monitoring. But only if the unions and the railroad cannot resolve their differences. Altoona lawyer Richard R. Willson, a spe- cial assistant to the Pennsyjvania House Transportation Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Richard Geist, R-Altoona, said the exact context of the agreement can vary with each case. Please see KB At a glance Fast facts on the Hollidaysburg Car Shop: History: Built in the early 1950s at a cost ot million. How The main shop is 2.760 feet long and 180 feet wide with about three miles ol railroad track installed under 704.472 square feet of roof. What they do: Build and repair railroad cars. How many Since Augusl 1955. about cars have been built and more ihan cars have been repaired. Employment levels at the Hollidaysburg Car Shop over the past five years: 600 440 385 320 Source: Mirror tiles Unlikely reprieve seen as doors slated to close Sept. 1. Post-merger agree- ment that halted first closing expires Aug. 22. BY WILLIAM KIBLER Staff Writer Norfolk Southern Corp. plans to close the Hollidaysburg Car Shop in September, eliminating 320 jobs for the area. This time a reprieve is unlikely. Norfolk announced plans in November to close them, but for- mer Congressman Bud Shuster reminded the company of a ppst- Conrail-merger agreement with the federal government to keep Conrail facilities operating and put the plans on hold. But the three-year agreement expires Aug. 22, and even if the recently retired congressman were still in office, it doesn't look like he could stick his foot again in the siding switch. Struggling financially, Norfolk is studying all its plants to get rid of underused and redundant ones, and Hollidaysburg is first on a list of 10 referred to in a January corporate restructuring announcement. In closing the car shop, Norfolk will leave only the Juniata Locomotive Shop among plants operated by the railroad company that founded Altoona and its suc- cessors, though once they were scattered along the tracks, loco- motive shops, roundhouses, the test plant, the Master Mechanics building, the paint shops and car shops in a city once the world's greatest railroad repair center. Sprawling and strictly function- al, without architectural grace like the much older brick build- ings, the car shops ironically dysfunctional for Norfolk, far too big to be efficient in an when the demand for railcar building and repair is. partly because railroads use equipment more efficiently now. There are no plans to close Juniata, but Norfolk is studying the efficiency of all its plants and there's no guarantee it will last long-term, NS spokesman Rudy Husband said. But no news is good news, he said. Quality of work never was a prob- lem at Hollidaysburg, Husband said. When Norfolk made the November announcement, there were some fail- ures to communicate between its departments and no one realized that the promises to stay open still held, Husband said at a news confer- ence in the shop Wednesday. Please see AS Grammys send CD seekers to stores By KEVIN OTT StaffWriter Music makes the people come together. At their local record stores, anyway. It's a beautiful day for store man- agers, who have spent the past few weeks preparing for one of the busiest tunes of the year: The days after the Grammy Awards. During that time, music fans will flood the stores making repeated requests for last night's big win- ners. It's a tune store owners look forward to each year. "It'll last for, like, 30 said Lowfideliti S14.3B S1.1B S626M Americans are buying less music, in part because of Internet options. The amount spent on music over the past two years in the United States: CDs Cassettes Source: Record Industry Association of America John Kohut, owner and manager of Off the Wall Records in Ebensburg. Kohut and his employees, over the past several weeks, have been sell- ing compact discs by Madonna and Macy Gray, Paul Simon and Papa Mirror graphic by Tom Worthington II Roach, fueled by Grammy nomina- tions released early in January. "Every one of these artists have been selling Kohut said. "They sell he emphasized. Please see A3 THE ODD COUPLE The Associated-Press Elton John (left) and Eminem share the stage after their duet at the 43rd annual Grammy Awards. Please see story PAGE D1 DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 Bienut 7 4 8 Lottery numbers, A2 WEMMR Snow, Forecast, C3 0 LOCAL Business Comics Obituaries Opinion E SPOUTS High schools Scoreboard A9 A4 A13 A7 B4 B5 Driving range set BY KAY STEPHENS StaffWriter t; An Altoona man and his son have plans to build a golf driving range beside the Blair County Convention Center on 3 acres it initially will lease for 1300 per month. The Blair County Convention Center and Sporjs Facility Authority agreed Wednesday to lease part of its site in Allegheny Townships to The Ravine Inc. fo build a golf driving range, as long as the developer cov- ers all costs associated with improving the site and construction. Mark A. Moschella and his son, J. Mark Moschella, operating under the name The Ravine Inc., expect con- tractors to begin construction of the driving range in the next three to four weeks. Please see All Q [3 LIFE Dear in case of 14-year-old charged with murder requests more time to decide Movies Puzzles D5 juvenile court should hear case. AS ;