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Altoona Mirror: Saturday, March 3, 2001 - Page 1

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   Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - March 3, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania                                Nation: Napster engaged in fight to stay online Cl Ufa: Clutter expert shares how to lose excess junk Dl Copyright 2001 iHirror SATURDAY, MARCH 3, 2001 newsstand Ball is rolling onrec center Ebensburg to open construction bids for million complex. Bv MIA ROHART Staff Writer EBENSBURG Bids for work on a million recreational com- plex here will be opened Monday, and construction could begin as soon as April. The project includes construc- tion of a community center on a 4- acre tract of land part of it donated and improvements to the 6-acre, borough-owned Memorial Field. The fields should be ready by spring, and the community center should be finished by October. The Young People's Community Center and the refurbished Memorial Field will provide out- lets and activities for children of all age groups with various inter- ests, said John Seymour, a mem- ber of the community group that envisioned the project in 1999. "In Ebensburg there's no real place for kids to hang Seymour said. Fifth-graders Adam Petrosky and Lauren Collins each travel to The Summit Tennis and Athletic Club in Altoona to play basketball. The long drives will be history once the community center is open. "It's right in town, and we can walk Collins said." And for the people who aren't into sports, they can do other things there." In fact, the facility will offer activities in four core programs arts, social, education and sports, Seymour said. The community group is trying to set up an artist in residence pro- gram, line up music teachers to allow kids to showcase their tal- ents in a coffeehouse-type atmos- phere and have local theater groups give lessons on acting and backstage techniques. For educational purposes, the group has secured someone to take youth on nature hikes and educa- tion students from St. Francis University to have after-school tutoring sessions with them. Social events will include a fami- ly night, craft show and a Halloween dance. Athletic opportunities include several baseball fields, a basketball court, soccer field, walking trails and playground equipment. Please see A6 LAW ENFORCEMENT Mirror photo by Jason Sipes A targeted enforcement area sign is posted facing south on Route 220 between Bald Eagle and Tyrone. This area is being targeted for aggressive driving. Right on target Police, PennDOT cooperation showing some effects BY TIFFANY SHAW Staff Writer Targeted traffic enforcement areas on two local highways are being called a safety success even without hard statistics to prove it. In the past four months, state police have stepped up patrols in heavily traveled areas of routes 22 and 220 while PennDOT has erected signs warning motorists about dangerous dri- ving habits. Although statistics aren't available to show if crashes have been reduced, some preliminary studies show a marked improvement in seat- belt use through the areas. In September, one month before the signs were installed, a PennDOT study showed 60 percent of drivers on Route 220 near the Bald Eagle intersection used their seat belts. In December, the rate was up to 69 percent. "We like to think [the signs] are having some impact on said Kelly Whitaker of PennDOT's District 9 in Hollidaysburg. In similar targeted areas in Centre County, 75 percent of drivers used seat belts before the signs went up. Months later, 82 percent wore their seat The numbers rose even more dramatically in Huntingdon County, where 59 percent of dri- vers wore seat belts before the sign campaign and 72 percent more recently. "It's still so early. We're waiting it out to see the Whitaker said. Please see A6 practice Three target enforcement areas in'tfie region: Route Bald Eagle through Port Matilda to targets ag'gressivg'drivlng. f Route 22 West from Pittsburgh through Cambria County heavy truck traffic f" Route 22 EasVaround Huntingdon targets drunken driving Indiana l--s. Mirror graphic by Tom Worthington I HEALTH CARE HMOs in Medicare paid more Reimbursements to private health plans boosted to encourage program participation. BY ANJETTA MCQUEEN The Associated Press WASHINGTON The govern- ment began paying more money Thursday to private health plans that serve Medicare patients, with the prospect of a further increase in 2002. The higher reimbursement for health maintenance organizations is intended to help keep HMOs in the federal insurance program for the elderly, and disabled and to attract new participants. "This is a positive step, but more needs to be said Phil Blando, spokesman for the American Association of Health Plans, which represents HMOs. About 250 HMOs supplement Medicare's traditional health cov- erage in some way, but 179 are reg- ular providers. Nearly 6 million of the overall 39 million Medicare participants pay for expanded ben- efits that include assistance in buying prescription drugs. As of January, 1.6 million people have been affected by HMOs leaving the Medicare program, accordihglp the AAHP. There are no estimates for this year. To retain or attract private health plans, lawmakers hafe raised government payments; to HMOs, many of which have passed them on to doctors and Health advocates and some' gov- ernment officials have criticized this approach, saying that HMOs are leaving Medicare for reasons other than money. The higher rates that took effect Thursday reflect a roughly 5 per- cent increase, depending on com- plex formulas that take into account where an HMO is and how many and what type of patients they serve, according to the Health Care Financing Administration, which runs Medicare. Please see A6 Drug coverage battle may be won in House BY PETER DURANTINE capitolwire.com HARRISBURG When it comes to expanding the prescription drug plan in, Pennsylvania, House and Senate leaders have drawn lines in the sand while Gov. Tom Ridge has opened his door a crack. What kind of. plan eventually is and there will be a pre- scription plan before the Legislature breaks for summer be determined by who wins the test of wills. For House Majority Leader John Perzel, his first initiative this year coming in the wake of a narrow re-election win to a seat he has held for more than two decades was a prescription drug plan that uses money from the tobacco sef- tlement. It appeared the bill was dead" oh arrival when it reached the Senate', where Sen. David "Chip" Brightbill, R-Lebanon, the new majority leader, opposes expand- ing the state's pharmaceutical prig gram for senior citizens. Brightbill stands with Ridge, who would prefer to wait for program President Bush tuts promised as part of the restructur- ing of Medicaid. "We feel comfortable the feds are going to do Brightbill said. Please see A6 State distributing million to improve child-care programs BY ROBERT IGOE StaffWriter HARRISBURG Blair County residents will be among the benefiting from million in grants intended to help communities improve and establish child-care programs. State Public Welfare Secretary Feather Houstoun, acting on behalf of Gov. Tom Ridge, announced the grants from the state Department of Public Welfare Friday. Groups in Blair, Cambria and Clearfield counties were among those who received grant money. "Planning for child-care services is as essential to the future of a healthy community as planning for new roads, schools and job cre- Houstoun said. "These grants are an important step in building safe, affordable child- care options for working families and preparing children for school." The money can be used for a vari- ety of purposes, including improving the quality of local facilities or creat- ing more child-care and after-school programs, Houstoun said. In Blair County, was awarded to the Altoona YWCA. Please see A6 INSIDE TODAY'S MIRROR SPORTS: Williamsburg boys, including (from left) Travis Prough, Travis Lee, Kyle Bellew and Jeff Detwiler, and Bishop Guilfoyle girls take home District 6 Class A basketball championships. See story, Page B1. COMMUNITY NEWS: Today marks the debut of the Mirror's community spotlight pages. Each month, the Mirror will feature community news from one of four areas: Cambria County, Cove-Bedford County, Hollidaysburg-Duncansville and Huntingdon County. Cove-Bedford County news can be found inside today on Pages A4andA5. Next week: Huntingdon County. REAL ESTATE: The Central Pennsylvania Tour of Homes is included in today's Mirror. This guide of property listings from the area's top real-estate agencies will appear in the Mirror on the first Saturday of each month. MLHBtt Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 4 1 Lottery numbers, A2 Mostly cloudy, Forecast, A2 iEtrror We re white-hot! QREAT COMBINATION 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) 946-7847 QlMAL Business Movies Obituaries Opinion Local Scoreboard AT A6 A9 A8 B4 B5 .III IMION Classifieds C3-10 Qun Comics D5 Community news D2 Puzzles 04 Television 04 Because of space constraints, school menus will appear in Sunday's Mirror this week.   

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