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Altoona Mirror Newspaper Archive: April 5, 2001 - Page 1

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   Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - April 5, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania                                INCLUDED FREE TODAY: Inside Pitch, the Mirror's'Altoona Curve preseason primer. IN SPORTS THIS WEEKEND: Cory Giger will be in Erie to cover the team's opening series. COMING TUESDAY: A keepsake edition with coverage of Curve, Pirates home debuts. Altnmta Uteror Copyright 2001 THURSDAY, APRIL 5, 2001 SCO newsstand NScar shop hearing called BY CRAIG WILLIAMS StaffWriter State Rep. Richard Geist, R- Altoona, is calling Norfolk Southern Corp. to stand up and testify about its decision to close the Hollidaysburg Car Shop to the House Transportation Committee during a hearing April 12 at the Penn State Downtown Conference Center. Though no time has been set for the hearing, it is expected to run all day. Geist said another hearing also is being set for April 26 before the committee in Harrisburg, which likely will be held in the Capitol. "My committee is going to go back on the road with hearings just as we did with the Geist said referring to the 1998 merger proceed- ings where NS officials made com- mitments to the General Assembly at various hearings across the state. According to Richard R. Wilson, special council to the state Transportation Committee, it was commitments made to the General Assembly three years ago that has brought the joint petition by the commonwealth and the railroad labor unions before the Surface Transportation Board, the federal regulatory commission that over- sees all rail mergers. Officials of the STB are calling the petition the most visible of the pleadings that have come before the STB since the beginning of the breakup of Conrail. Filed March 29 with the board, Norfolk Southern has 20 days to respond to the petition for review. SS'We have not been formally invited to any hearings Rudy Husband, spokesman for Norfolk Southern, said Wednesday of the commonwealth's decision to call hearings. "Once we have, we will make our decision from there." Please see A10 PLACING PRISONS IN PENNSYLVANIA Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich The Federal Correction Institution in Loretto has not caused controversy in the community, Group battles construction BY TIMOTHY D. MAY The Associated Press WAYMART This sparsely populated, rural fanning community in northeastern Pennsylvania is exactly the kind of area the federal Bureau of Prisons looks for when scouting r ,.i places to build new lockups for the mushrooming pop-' ulation of federal inmates. There is wide open space. There is a need for jobs. And there is free land, too: When the state heard the bureau Please see A14 Sim LOCATIONS Six federal corrections facilities in Pennsylvania, their locations and approxi- mate inmate populations, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons: Federal Correctional Institution in Cresson, Cambria County. Population: including a satellite camp. McKean Federal Correctional Institution, McKean County. Population: including a minimum-security satellite camp. Allenwood Federal Penitentiary, Union County. Population: plus another inmates at three lower-security facilities. Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary, Union County. Population: Including satel- lite and boot camps. SchuytkUl Federal Correctional SchuyWH County. Population ittSJocliKlmg a satellite camp Philadelphia Population. 965 federal inmates, most of whom are matting trial Source: The Associated Press Residents accept facility BY TIFFANY SHAW StaffWriter LORETTO Dealing with a federal prison just down the road hasn't been a problem for many Loretto residents such as Helen Biller. "I think very little about it It doesn't bother me. I'm not Biller said. After more than 50 years of living in Loretto, she doesn't give the Federal Correctional Institution a second thought, except for the positive. The prison, which opened in 1984, has brought more than 200 jobs to the northern Cambria County area, providing more employ- ment than previously was available, she said. "If everyone would have more sensitivity about the importance of having employment close to home, it means so Biller said. Please see A14 Hospital pays for cleanup BY WILLIAM KIBLER StaffWriter HOPEWELL Bon Secours- Holy' Family Hospital has spent in cleanup and faces up to more in fines for shipping infectious waste in a load of munic- ipal trash to Sandy Run landfill in Broad Top Township. The waste arrived in three red biohazard trash bags slipped into dark regular trash bags by one or more staffers, who mistakenly thought the red bags contained just harmless trash, despite their color, according to Bon Secours. The surgical scrubs, tubing, bloody pads, plastic, specimen bags and IV bags.actually were distrib- uted more widely, much of it in reg- ular trash bags and there was more of it, according to officials from the township and the state Department of Environmental Protection. The incident has led Bon Secours to review and tighten its standards for disposal of infectious waste. The lOton load of compacted waste. came to. the landfill in a roll-off con- tainer March 20, and a tractor opera- tor was squashing it on the landfill when a dark bag burst revealing a red bag inside it said Barry Clark, manager of the.landfill owned by Waste Systems International Inc. The operator stopped what he was doing and summoned Clark and a DEP inspector, but by then, he already had spread the infectious materials over a 50-by-100-foot area. The waste was from the operat- ing room and the lab and may have contained some chemotherapy waste, according to the report of Ernest Fuller, a landfill inspector for the township. The biohazard bags within the dark regular trash bags had split open under the weight and motion of the tractor, which spread the infectious materials around and made it look like there was more of it than there really was, said Dan Duggan, vice president for patient care at the hospital. Staff evidently had placed the biohazard bags in regular trash bags after seeing nonhazardous trash such as paper wrappings for sterilized instruments in the red bags and assuming mistakenly it was all safe, Duggan said. The biohazard bags are as big as standard trash bags but staff doesn't let them get full, so the biohazard bags could have fit into the regular ones, Duggan said. The township and environmen- tal officials see it differently. "There were infectious waste items in black bags all Fuller's report states. "It appears that all of this waste was disposed of in black or dark- green garbage accordingSo Walt Dinda's report, DEP inspec- tor at the site. Collectively, there was enough infectious waste to fill five or six trash bags, Clark estimated. Township Supervisor Jack Decker agreed that all the haz- ardous waste in the shipment could have been in biohazard bags enclosed in regular trash bags, as Duggan said. But there were more than three biohazard bags of waste in that shipment, he said. Because the infectious waste came in contact with other traSJE Bon Secours' biohazard waste con- tractor had to take away 43 tons from the area where the shipment went. The last load went Friday to an incinerator in Norfolk, Va., where the hospital normally sends biohazard materials. Please see A10 IN POLITICS; 9TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT Speaker of House to visit Pennsylvania BY ROBERT IGOE Staff Writer The U.S. Speaker of the House is coming to Central Pennsylvania to help raise money for the GOP hopeful.in the 9th Congressional District race. The press secretary for Dennis Hastert confirmed Wednesday that the Illinois congressman is coming to the region to support Republican Bill Shuster's quest for his father's vacant seat in U.S. Congress. John McGovern, who has been in Illinois with Hastert while the Speaker has been undergoing treat- ment for a kidney stone, said Hastert will be the guest speaker at the event, scheduled for the evening of May 3 at the Comfort Inn in Greencastle, Franklin County. There had been inaccurate pub- THE HASTERT FILE Name: Dennis Hastert Position: Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Party: Republican Represents: Illinois, 14th District Born: Jan. Aurora, III. Family: Wife, two sons Elected to House: 1986 Selected as Speaker. Jan. Web site: Hastert lished reports earlier this week that the fund-raiser would be held in Altoona. Please see A3 Conklin, Shuster go head-to-head in race BY ROBERT IGOE StaffWriter With less than six weeks left until the election for a new representative for Pennsylvania's 9th Congressional District, Republican Bill Shuster and Democrat Scott Conklin are challenging each other on the question of who's being hon- est with the voters. Conklin made a public stand on this issue Wednesday by signing the Code of Election Ethics as he addressed a group of senior citi- zens at the Blair Senior Service Center. "I've stated in the beginning, and I've stated since the day I started that I do not dp negative Conklin said. "I'm going to sign this pledge now. I promised the people of this district that this would be a campaign based on issues and focused on what our accomplish- ments are." The pledge, based on a U.S. House Resolution proposed by U.S. Rep. John Baldacci, D-Maine, is a promise by the candidate that "my cam- paign will be committed to the principles of honesty, fairness, respect for my opponents, responsibility and listing specif- ic promises to carry on a campaign in a man- ner that does not attempt to distort or defame Conklin "He's trying to portray himself as the positive candidate, then he turns around and delivers this blatant attack on my family. It's outrageous. Everyone who knows our family knows that we are all hard-working." "Who I voted for in the election has nothing to do with issues. It has nothing to do with the differences between my opponent and myself. This is a political ploy to take the focus off of the issues." the record of another candidate or to deceive the voters. Conklin's public signing is, in part, his reac- tion to a press release sent put from Shuster's campaign office accusing him of "dodging the issue" of whom he voted for in the recent pres- idential election. "Who I voted for in the election has nothing to do with he said. "It has nothing to do with the differences between my opponent and myself. This is a political ploy to take the focus off of the issues." Shuster, however, said voters have the right to know in order to make decisions. "Apparently, it's important to Shuster wrote in the release, which details three times that Conklin declined to answer the question in interviews. "Political leaders running for office should be willing to stand on their voting record. This includes who they voted for in presidential elections." Shuster said that he was "very proud to have voted for George W. Bush." Conklin has responded with a statement of his own, which compares himself with Shuster in key areas. In the statement, Conklin said Shuster has no experience as an elected official and no experi- ence working with senior citizens, while say- ing that he himself has held public hearings for senior citizens affected by HMO cutbacks such as the pull-out of Geisinger Health Systems. Please see A3 Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 9 0 Lottery numbers, A2 Sunny, 56" Forecast, A2 HOT-AOS.dom We re white-hot! Altoona Mirror I THE GREAT 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) 946-7647 t QLOCAL Business Hospitals Obituaries Opinion High schools Scoreboard A11 A13 A13 A8 B4 B8 QNMWN Comics Classifieds Qun Dear Abby Movies Puzzles Television C4 C7-14 D5 D3 DS OS NATION United States expresses regret, and China demands apology. PAOlCI   

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