Altoona Mirror, February 22, 2001 : Front Page

Publication: Altoona Mirror February 22, 2001

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 At a glance Fast facts on the Hollidaysburg Car Shop: History: Built in the early 1950s at a cost of $13 million. How big?: The main shop is 2,760 feet long and 180 feet wide with about three miles of railroad track installed under 704,472 square feet of roof. • What they do: Build and repair railroad cars. How many cars?: Since August 1955, about 53,000 cars have been built and more than 281,000 cars have been repaired. Employment levels at the Hollidaysburg Car Shop over the past five years: 9/95 5/96    1/97    4/00    11/00    2/01 Source Mirror filesAltoona mirror© Copyright 2001    THURSDAY,    FEBRUARY    22,    2001    500    newsstand Altoona n sentenced in 1983 murder By Phil Ray Staff Writer 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 murder 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 occupied 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, several 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 Sentence/Page A3 Ridge visits Cove school ■ Aides would not confirm a reason for the appearance. By Mike Emery Staff Writer ROARING SPRING — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge is scheduled to make a 9:30 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 $5 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 still vying for the digital school district grants. Spring Cove has teamed up with Penn State University and Sehoolwires Inc. of State College to draft a proposal that will “make learning available anywhere, anytime, at your fingertips,” said James Scott, the district’s superintendent. Please see Ridge/Page A3 Norfolk Southern closing Hollidaysburg Car Shop JOBS GONE - AGAIN ■ Unlikely reprieve seen as doors slated to close Sept. I. ■ Post-merger agreement 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 former Congressman Bud Shuster reminded the company of a post-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 IO 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 successors, though once they were scattered along the tracks, locomotive 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 functional, without architectural grace like the much older brick buildings, the car shops ironically are dysfunctional for Norfolk, being far too big to be efficient in an era when the demand for railcar > building and repair is dwindling — 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 problem at Hollidaysburg, Husband said. When Norfolk made the November announcement, there were some failures to communicate between its departments and no one realized that the promises to stay open still held, Husband said at a news conference in the shop Wednesday. Please see Jobs/Page A8 Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich Workers at Norfolk Southern Corp.’s Hollidaysburg Car Shop pull a car. The shop will close Sept. I. Agreement with New York Dock may prove key to aid workers 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 several 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. I. A negotiating point between the railroad unions and Norfolk Southern during the Conrail merger, the agreement essentially states that workers within the absorbed company will be offered work elsewhere in the rail system if the shops close because of the merger, or they will be paid wages and benefits for the next six years. Based on a case in another merger, stan- ■ Local and government officials fear closing 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 regulated 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 special assistant to the Pennsylvania 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 Dock/Page A8 Grammys send CD seekers to stores BM By Kevin OTT Staff Writer Music makes the people come together. At their local record stores, anyway. It’s a beautiful day for store managers, who have spent the past few weeks preparing for one of the busiest times 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 winners. It’s a time store owners look forward to each year. “It’ll last for, like, 30 days,” said $14 6B $14.3B 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 DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 22910 00050    4 * John Kohut, owner and manager of Off the Wall Records in Ebensburg. Kohut and his employees, over the past several weeks, have been selling compact discs by Madonna and Macy Gray, Paul Simon and Papa HHMHHHHKIHH BIO FOUR Mirror graphic by Tom Worthington ll Roach, fueled by Grammy nominations released early in January. “Every one of these artists have been selling music,” Kohut said. “They sell music,” he emphasized. Please see CD/Page A3 7    4    6    8 I Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Snow, 27° ■ Forecast, C3 f 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 DI Driving range set By Ray Stephens Staff Writer    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 $300 per month. The Blair County Convention Center and Sports Facility Authority agreed Wednesday to lease part of its site in Allegheny Townships to The Ravine Inc. to build a golf driving range, as long as the developer covers 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 contractors to begin construction of the driving range in the next three to four weeks. Please see Range/Page All ■>mrn na local Q NATION INSIDE Business A9 Classifieds C4-14 Comics A4 IN STATE Obituaries A13 Opinion A7 0 life Judge in case of 14-year-old charged .. . with murder requests □ SPORTS Dear Abby D5 more time to decide Movies D3 if juvenile court should High schools B4 Puzzles D5 hear case. Scoreboard B5 Television D5 Page AS I 4 it ;

  • Bonnie Neely
  • Bud Shuster
  • Craig Williams
  • Greenwood Road
  • J. Mark Moschella
  • James Scott
  • John Kohut
  • Kevin Ott
  • Lois L. Shears
  • Mark A. Moschella
  • Patricia Sloan
  • Paul Simon
  • Ralph Neely
  • Richard Geist
  • Richard Mccormick Jr.
  • Richard R. Willson
  • Rudy Husband
  • Tom Ridge
  • Willis Casteel

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Publication: Altoona Mirror

Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

Issue Date: February 22, 2001

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