Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - May 7, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania INSIDE TOO AY SENIORS: Couples recognized as volunteers at Altoona Hospital. FREE INSIDE STOUTS; Curve win, return to Altoona for severvgame homestand. Bi_____________ LIFE: A list of dos and don'ts in a survival guide for expectant fathers. Dl Altoona mirror Copyright 2001 MONDAY, MAY 7, 2001 500 newsstand Students learning to enjoy BY WILLIAM KIBLER StaffWrlter You know there's a problem when city officials have to point out places of interest to junior high school kids on a bus tour through their own downtown. Can you imagine those kids would need to have the sights along the Pleasant Valley commer- cial strip pointed out to them? About 70 Roosevelt students toured the core of old Altoona last week as part of a program spon- sored by the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects to encourage youngsters to appreci- ate what's left of their shrunken city and think about how to improve it. Why do you think no one's using Heritage Plaza, tour leader and architect Judy Courts asks of the kids on the bus, which had stopped in front of that outdoor gathering spot and centerpiece. it's some- one says, apparently not in jest. no one comes downtown." It's certainly not true that no one comes downtown because about people live there and work there. But even if it's well on its way to revival as advocates claim, it's nothing like it was when Altoona now with less than people had in 1930, or even 45 years ago before the rush to Pleasant Valley. And it never will be, downtown boosters admit. But the final stop on the tour, the imposing former Mellon Bank across from the U.S. Post Office, was a reminder of past glory and also the potential that remains. It is no strip-mall bank branch. There are huge pillars and pedi- ments; there's marble, granite and brass, high decorated ceilings and a big open space that speaks of the financial might that once concen- trated downtown. Please see A4 ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES Mirror pholos by J.D. Cavrich Brittany Grove, 11, of Southside Elementary School in the Huntingdon Area School District looks at a wood turtle. Where the wild things are 'VI UK Hi BY LINDA HUDKINS For the Mirror IUNTINGDON Amy Prokop's fifth-graders learned a lot about bugs, birds and scaly critters from a group of Juniata College students. The college students, working on a semesterlong project, developed a program at the Raystown Field Station to help youngsters learn about many different animals. Youngsters from Huntingdon Area School District's Brady-Henderson and Southside elementary schools recently spent a day at the field sta- tion studying birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, macroinverte- brates and food webs. For those who aren't as well- informed as those fifth-graders, macroinvertebrates are bugs com- monly referred to as trout food, and food webs are the interactions between all the animals, says Chuck Yohn, director of the field station that's run by Juniata College in con- junction with the Army Corps of Engineers. The day was packed with activi- Brian Olsen, a senior at Juniata College, holds and talks about a white-throated sparrow. ties, he says, including 20 minutes at each of seven stops. "The kids all had hands-on experi- Yohn says. "They enjoyed being able to learn more about science [in the field] compared to getting it from a text- says Prokop, a teacher at Brady-Henderson. The students liked learning from enthusiastic young adult teachers, she says. Associate professor of education Ron Pauline says enthusiasm is a hallmark of Huntingdon's education program. "One of the aspects of being a teacher is if you are enthusiastic, stu- dents will be he says. One particularly popular stop along the way created a game-show atmosphere in which the children handled things such as crayfish, answered questions and scored points. "They thought they were playing a game, but they were learn- ing about Prokop says. Another favorite stop gave chil- dren an up-close and hands-on look at birds, the teacher says. Yohn says the children were intro- duced to the idea of capture-and- release. Prokop says the youngsters learned ways to capture specimens with nets so they don't harm them- selves or the live creatures. "They were handled with care." At the end of the day, the students watched birds fly back into their own habitat where they could survive. Please see A4 PRESCRIPTION DRUGS Seniors' plans to expand BY LINDA HUDKINS For the Mirror Prescription medications save lives but paying for them even with the help of generous- state pro- grams can wipe out a lifetime of savings. Just ask Susan Hunter of Tyrone, who's mother sold her car to finance cancer treatments. "You have to give up everything you own if you get she says. A single, life-sustaining drug her mother needed cost per month. Hunter says her mother was healthy and worked hard all her life, retired from a job, rnn uriM then got cancer. She HELP ultimately received a medical card through Senior citizens who have public assistance to problems paying for prescrip- help with the costs, tions can call Apprise Program a, had to sell her car. "She felt terrible because she always Had health says Hunter, still mourning for her mother who died earlier this year. "It's sad that you have to sell your life to get drugs to keep you alive." Pennsylvanians fare better than the residents of half the states when it comes to getting help paying for prescription medications, state legislators But even so, they're looking at ways to expand pro- grams such as PACE and PAGENET, which help the elderly pay for prescriptions. Dan Shea of Blair Senior Services is the local coor- dinator for the Apprise Program, which helps people understand how best to pay for prescriptions. Some routine medications, he says, would cost to per month. But programs such as PACE keep the cost at a level each, he says. But he says he's known people who legitimately take as many as 20 medications. At each, that adds up to per pretty big bite out of a fixed income, he says. Some seniors fall through the cracks, Shea says.'A person who retires at age 62 must wait three years.to become eligible, and they only can buy into a health insurance program from their employer for half that time. Others have a bit too much money to be eligible even for PAGENET, which covers married couples who earn a maximum of per year. Albert Anderson of Cresson says he doesn't use the state programs, opting instead for private insurance coverage. He's not complaining about the cost: per month for the prescription plan, a deductible and 20 percent of the cost of each prescription. Some prescription medications can be very sophis- ticated and expensive, he says, acknowledging that research and development of new drugs takes a lot of investment capital. Pharmaceutical companies must cover their costs and earn their profits before patent rights expire, he says. Please see A4 Study finds nurses dissatisfied with jobs, concerned about patients BY BILL BERGSTROM The Associated Press PHILADELPHIA Many acute care hospital nurses are frustrated to the point of burnout by what they said are inadequate numbers of nurses, rising patient loads, declin- ing quality of patient care and even verbal abuse directed at them on the job, a new survey shows. One of every three U.S. nurses surveyed under age 30 planned to leave their jobs within the next year, according to the study released in the May-June issue of the health policy journal Health Affairs. More than 43 percent scored high on a "burnout inventory" used to measure emotional exhaustion and the extent to which they felt overwhelmed by their work. More than half said they had been sub- jected to verbal abuse. "A lot of people were saying to us that the equivalent of 'ward rage' was occurring in said Linda Aiken, director of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing's Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, which oversaw the survey of registered nurses at 711 hospitals in five countries. More than 43 percent of nurses scored high on a 'burnout inventory' used to measure emotional exhaustion and the extent to which they felt overwhelmed by their work. The verbal abuse came either from patients, family members or staff members frustrated because they feel "the situation is not within a reasonable level of said Aiken, a professor of nursing and sociology. "The nurses receive the brunt of that frustration because they are the only professionals who are there around the clock." Aiken said the hospitals need to offer personnel policies and bene- fits comparable to those in other businesses such as better advancement, lifelong learning opportunities and flexible work schedules if they are to retain qualified nurses, rather than rely on what she said were "popular short-term strategies such as sign- ing bonuses and use of temporary personnel." The American Hospital Association and its affiliated American Organization of Nurse Executives agree that "nurses have one of the toughest jobs in said Pam Thompson, executive director of the nurse executives' group. Improving working conditions is difficult because of shortages of people qualified for the jobs and financial constraints on the health- care industry in general, Thompson said. "We are trying to take a limited amount of dollars and... looking at how to use those resources in the best way she said. The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania issued a report April 11 saying nursing shortages were likely to persist and the problem is "compli- cated by the shaky financial condi- tion of Pennsylvania's hospitals and a broader range of job oppor- tunities for all workers." Please see A10 Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 jf 4 0 0 2 I Lottery numbers, A2 wtAtritK Mostly sunny, 67" Forecast, A2 THE GREAT Call us today.. .Make money today. Ask for TV r noN of and >v Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) 94B-7547 QLOCAL Business Hospjtals Obituaries Opinion Local Scoreboard [ij NATION A7 i Classifieds C3-10 AS I i Comics OS Community news D2 84 Puzzles D4 B5 j Television D4 at flowers PAGED?