Saturday, April 21, 2001

Altoona Mirror

Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - April 21, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania INSIDE TODAY SPEEDWAY: Aerodynamic advances change the scope of NASCAR FREE INSIDE SPOTLIGHT: This week features Hollidaysburg and Duncansville news FREE INSIDE LIFE: Each month brings new chores and challenges to gardeners Dl JUtoana Copyright 2001 SATURDAY, APRIL 21, 2001 newsstand ACCESS DENIED Ruling access to list Judge decides that a school district's resident can't have names of taxpayers. BY JAY YOUNG Staff Writer HUNTINGDON Huntingdon County resident Robert Wargq is pondering his options after losing a lawsuit filed against him by his local school district to restrict access to taxpayer information. Judge Stewart Kurtz ruled this week from the Huntingdon County 'Court of Common Pleas that Wargo may not obtain a list of names and addresses of school dis- trict residents. Wargo wanted the information to support a proposal that would give district taxpayers the choice to shift more of the district's tax burden from homeowners to wage earners. The school district argued the state Right to 'Know law conflicts with the Local Tax Enabling Act, which forbids the release of tax- related information. Wargo claimed he only was asking for a list of taxpayers and not personal information. 'Kurtz cited a 1996 federal court case from the Eastern District in Michigan in which a court ruled federal taxpayer identity is pro- tected information. "I was Wargo said of the decision. "He's quoting a feder- al law that doesn't even apply in Pennsylvania." Corinna Wilson, an attorney for the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publishers Association, said the judge simply used federal law because the 1957 Right to Know law, or any case law that followed, doesn't specifically address this particular request Please see A8 HOUSE FIRE Mirror photos by Gary M. Baranec Altoona firefighters battle a blaze at 117 Willow Ave. Friday morning. No one was injured in the blaze, but damage was estimated at to the home's upper floors. Firefighters rescue pets from Willow Ave. blaze Firefighters work on the upper floors of the Willow Avenue home. Had the fire occurred sev- eral weeks ago, there would have been more pets to rescue. BY WILLIAM KIBLER Staff Writer A pit bull, a rabbit and five hamsters survived a fire that caused about damage to the upper stories of a Logantown house Friday morn- ing. None of the four people living at 117 Willow Ave. was home when neighbors called in the alarm around but the small animals stayed inside until fire- fighters had the blaze under con- trol. The dog was in and out and in again. It's uncertain whether owner Sandra McFarland's insurance company would recommend demolition or repair of the house, where her daughter Tammy Knisely lived with boyfriend Jason Rubine, Knisely's daughter Ashley Knisley, 16, and Ashley Knisley's boyfriend, Dennis Stehley. A passerby who realized the house was burning knocked on the door to rouse anyone who might have been home. But he opened it instead acci- dentally, freeing the dog, which chased him across the street, then went back in the house, neighbor Ernie Long said. After firefighters arrived and entered the house, the dog ran out again, dashed around the neighborhood awhile, came back and went back inside, Fire Marshal Randy Isenberg said. Firefighters finally snared him in the attic around the neck with a retractable loop on a pole, Isenberg said. The rabbit and hamsters, meanwhile, were in covered glass terrarmms. The rabbit's was on the floor of a second-floor bedroom that didn't burn, and the hamsters' was on the first floor. Please see AS Airport hangar planned County airport authority will borrow from state to build facility that will be leased by Sheetz Inc. BY KAY STEPHENS Staff Writer MARTINSBURG Pennsylvania taxpayers have come up with to help Blair County build a corporate hangar, at the Altoona-Blair County Airport that Sheetz Inc. will lease, Elizabeth S. Voras, PennDOT deputy secretary for avia- tion and rail freight, flew into the airport Friday after- noon and presented a symbolic oversized check to local legislators and Blair County representatives. With matching funds provided by the Altoona-Blair County Airport Authority, work is expected to start this summer on construction of the building south of the Federal Aviation Administration's Flight Service Center visitors pass when driving toward the air- port terminal. The authority, required to provide matching funds for the project, has arranged to borrow which will be paid off with revenue received from leasing the hangar, to Sheetz, airport authority Chairman Joseph Merilli said." Altoona-Blair County Airport General Manager Charles Pillar said Friday that the lease is expected to be signed soon. Please see A8 Blair farm preserved 1 BY MICHAEL EMERY Staff Writer The-rolling valley countryside between Tussey and Lock mountains in Huston Township has been farmland for generations of families in Morrisons Cove. But all across America, farmland has been lost in receflt years to commercial developers; and urban sprawl has led more people to move from cities into rural communities; Census statistics revealed such a shift in population over the past decade in Blair County. That shift threatens farmland, farmers and the agricuir tural livelihood in places such as Clover Creek valley iri Huston Township, where Don and Donna Gearhart run their family farm. Please see A8 juniata College students lauded for volunteerism BY TIFFANY SHAW StaffWriter HUNTINGDON Students at Juniata College tried to make a dif- ference in their community last fall with a number of small projects that really added up. Their first Make A Difference Day effort Oct. 28 was recognized by USA Weekend, the national founder of the day, with a certificate as one of the outstanding local projects. The national winners will be hon- ored in Sunday's USA Weekend, which can be found inside the Mirror. One of the volunteers, Katie Kensinger, helped trim shrubbery at an elderly woman's home in Huntingdon. "It seemed like, overall, it was a good opportunity to get involved in tiie said Kensinger, a sophomore from Martinsburg. "It was a good chance to get out and meet some people in the community and do something to help somebody out." Please see AS OTHER PROJECTS Several local Make A Difference Day projects submitted entries to USA Weekend. Communities in Schools and the Penn Cambria High School Interact i Club coordinated a districtwide j book drive and planned story hours for elementary school students to promote reading. Four Christian Mothers of St. Rose of Lima parish in Altoona visited nine residents of four area nursing homes: Fifth-graders at East Freedom Elementary School cleaned up the school grounds by pulling weeds and collecting litter. They also worked with teachers to outline a new. safer football field for students to use at recess. Students from the National Junior Honor Society at Hollidaysburg Area Junior High School visited residents of the Hollidaysburg Veterans Home and delivered bags of treats. The 18 volunteers shopped for personal care items for the home residents, then delwered the bags in a social hour that featured singing and visiting. Hauler takes city's trash problem into own hands Rightenour BY WILLIAM KIBLER Staff-Writer Altoona City Council members complained recently that trash blowing off trucks heading toward area transfer stations made Sixth Avenue Road a disgrace. Last week, independent trash hauler Merle Rightenour cleaned up three-quarters of a ton of that litter from the east side of the road between the junkyard near the city line and the old round- COMING SUNDAY: Is recycling working in Blair County? house bar. He said he never knew the council had mentioned it. "I just got tired every time I drove down there looking at said Rightenour, whose base is along 10th Avenue near the rail- road tracks, not far from the 24 y2 Street Bridge. Please see A8 Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 3 i. I Lottery numbers, A2 Partly sunny, Forecast, A2 Altoona Mirror 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) Business A11 j Classifieds C6-16 Hospitals A15 j Obituaries A15 j Opinion A10 j O SMUTS i Comics D5 Community news D2 Local B4 j Movies D3 Scoreboard B5 i Television D4 IN WORLD Police in riot gear clashed Friday with protesters in Quebec as leaders met to create the world's largest free-trade zone. PAGE C1