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Altoona Mirror: Saturday, May 5, 2001 - Page 1

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   Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - May 5, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania                                Sports: Penguins planning changes for Game 5 Life: How to select quality, long-lasting furniture Dl Altoona iMtrror Copyright 2001 SATURDAY, MAY 5, 2001 500 newsstand has new coverage About local policyholders of HealthAmerica will switch hospitals. BY WILLIAM KIBLER Staff Writer The city's hospitals are tussling again, and the issues include com- petition strategy, insurance reim- bursement and patient choice. An Altoqna Hospital partner- ship has signed a deal to serve employer groups covered by the HealthAmerica insurance plan, inducing Bon Secours-Holy Family Hospital to cut ties with the company. Part of Altoona's strategy to boost income and erase an operating deficit, the deal would have given policyholders and new ones in companies with more than 150 workers access to both hospitals. But it would have given Altoona exclusive right to serve companies with fewer than 150 employees, and that led Bon Secpurs to break off with HealthAmerica. "If they [Altoona] allowed open access to everybody, we wouldn't have had a problem with Bon Secours spokesman Dave Cuzzo- lina said. "We really believe patients or persons should make the decision where to get health care" not hospitals and insurance compa- nies, he said. Exclusivity deals are common and leave room for a choice in doc- tors, Altoona spokesman Rick Reeves said. And employers are free to pick and choose their plans, just as workers are free not to par- ticipate, he said. Bon Secours does not demand to be the exclusive city hospital to serve policyholders for any insur- ance companies, including HealthAmerica, said B9n Secours' Toby Kennerdell, who is responsi- ble for physician and managed care services. Bon Secours welcomed Health- America's seeking additional options for its policyholders until it went the other way with exclu- sivity for the rival hospital, Kennerdell said. If Bon Secours had elected to continue with HealthAmerica, the dual-hospital access for big-compa- ny health plans would have given a second dual-access option to compete with Blue Shield's plan with likely savings for area employers and residents, Please see A6 SUMMER ENTERTAINMENT Mirror photo by Jason Sipes Lakemont Park lights up the sky in this 2000 file photo. Park officials hope warmer, drier weather will prevail this summer to attract more amusement-seekers than last year. Coming attractions Area amusement parks open for business this weekend BY KEVIN Orr StaffWriter Last summer there were too many days when amusement park rides went unridden, collecting puddles of rain- waterin their seats and lightly creaking in the wind. Starting this weekend, those who run those parks are hoping nature will sing a different tune. Officials at Blair County's two amuse- ment parks are hoping this week's preview of summer weather will be a precursor for the rest of the season unlike last year, when thunderheads and storm clouds dimmed hopes of packed rides. "We did as well as could be expected with the weather the way it said Melissa Vyborny, Lakemont Park spokeswoman. "It was the summer that wasn't." Weather can play heck with baseball and roller coasters, two of Blair County's major summertime attractions. Vyborny and her contemporaries are watching the skies this season and hoping for the best. "After you've been in the business for a while, you get used to she said. With Lakempnt's opening planned for today, a continuation of this week's balmy climate would benefit park owners and amusement-seekers alike. The opening will coincide with the debut of the Tin Lizzy, an attraction that puts the rider behind the wheel of classic autos. At another park just down the road and around the corner, they're watching weath- er reports j ust as closely. On opening day Sunday at DelGrosso's Amusement Park which locals still call Eland's Park the rides will be free for two hours. Please see A6 Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec Bill Browning, an artist from Riverview, Fla., paints a dragon motif on the Sea Dragon, the newest ride at DelGrosso's Amusement Park. IF YOU GO Lakemont's summer season begins at noon today. The park will stay open until 8 p.m. The Tin Lizzy, an antique car ride, will debut later this month. DelGrosso's will open at 11 a.m. Sunday with two free hours of rides. The park will close about 8 p.m. depending on attendance. The park will debut-two new rides: the Sea Dragon and the Balloon Race. Faithful boost Shuster coffers The Congressional hopeful capitalizes on GOP registration edge, his father's legacy to raise more than his Democratic rival. BY ROBERT IGOE Staff Writer Although Bill Shuster is being careful to cast him- self as his own man in his congressional campaign, for the 9th District, it appears he's tapped into some of his famous father's magic in at least one area: fund raising. According to documents filed this week, Shuster has raised almost four times as much money as Democrat Scott Conklin, with plenty of it coming from central Pennsylvania contrib- utors with ties to local business, economic development, transporta- tion and infrastructure. But a political analyst said that I while the Shuster name certainly I didn't hurt, the fund-raising gap is I just as likely a reflection of the I strong Republican registration edge I in the district. I "Probably some of the contribu-1 tors would have been the same [regardless of who the GOP nomi- nee said Penn State University associate professor of political science Michael Berkman. "But I'm sure there was some carry-over with the Shuster name. But we can't really know for sure. After all, the Republicans are very adamant on holding this seat." Shuster, who hopes to succeed his I father, former Rep. Bud has raised and Conklin has Conklin raised according to reports filed this week with the Federal Election Commission. Conklin, Shuster and Green Party candidate Alanna Hartzok will face' off in the May 15 special election for the right to represent the heavily Republican district. The vacancy was created when the elder Shuster resigned earlier this year after 28 years in office. Shuster, a first-time candidate who owns an auto- mobile dealership in East his cam- paign Conklin, chairman of the Centre County Board of Commissioners, lent his campaign Shuster had in the bank and Conklin had Hartzok raised and had no money in the bank. Shuster said the level of his support shows that commitment to fighting for tax relief and retirement security is shared by others." Conklin spokesman Ken Christensen said their campaign results indicate that "we have beat all expectations. We are campaigning aggressively, and people are starting to believe that Scott Conklin can win this race." The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which previously had been reluctant to support Conklin, contributed Please see A3 New victim awareness program aids inmates BY BETH N. GRAY For the Mirror BEDFORD "These guys come in here thinking, 'I'm the Bedford County Jail Social Services Director Patricia Richards said, gesturing toward a cellblock. "I thought only of said prisoner Sonya Oakes, serving time on a drug charge. "I thought I was the victim." "We thought we were the ones said convict Tim Deremer, sentenced for robbing a bank night depository. "We forgot what the victims were going through." Justin Winck, who committed a robbery at knifepoint, said "every- thing else was the problem. Please see All Spotlight ON COVE-BEDFORD COUNTY INSIDE TODAY Claysburg-Kimmel graduate headed to Oxford University. PAGEA10 The 40-member Bedford County Players have taken on a lease for Gardner Memorial Theatre at Old Bedford Village. PAGEA10 Electricity industry reports supply fine for summertime BY GEORGE STRAWLEY The Associated Press HARRISBURG Californians have been told to expect as many as 30 days of rolling blackouts this summer, but Pennsylvania electricity suppliers said they plan to have more than enough power on hand to get through the peak months. "Barring 10 days in a row of 100- degree temperature or major problems on the line, we don't see any problems this said Robert Hinkel, a manager with PJM Interconnection, which manages the electrical grid that extends through eastern Pennsylvania, four other states DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 BMFOUR 2 648 Lottery numbers, A2 Mostly sunny, Forecast, A2 Altoona Ifltmir THE GREAT COMB! Call us today...Make money today. Ask for of Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) 946-7547 QLOCAL Business Hospitals Obituaries Opinion y Local Scoreboard and the District of Columbia. Utility company representa- tives delivering a semiannual report on the state's power supply to regulators Friday said that the state's wholesale market pn> vides more than enough supply to meet the state's needs. Please see A7 INSIDE Measy-to-rtad of programming for the upcoming week.   

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