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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - May 13, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania INSIDE TOO AY LIFE: First-time mothers share the joys of their brand-new role Dl SPORTS; Woman raises six BG athletes on her own after husband's death OPINION: Domestic violence brings sorrow on Mother's Day A6 Altmma Copyright 2001 SUNDAY, MAY 13, 2001 newsstand Postal Service hurt by Internet Federal government may consider privatizing delivery of mail and sell billion irY'shares on stock market. BY STEWART M. POWELL Newspapers WASHINGTON Americans' skyrocket- Ing reliance on the Internet instead of first- class mail is chewing into the finances of the nation's postal system, prompting the U.S. Postal Service to threaten an end to Saturday mail deliveries and steep hikes in stamp prices to stave off bankruptcy. Congress is considering proposals this week to overhaul the Postal Service for the first time in 30 years in the wake of a stunning financial free fall that has taken the govern- ment enterprise from a million surplus to an estimated billion deficit in barely two years. Lawmakers are urging President Bush to join a campaign to deregulate the Postal Service so that the semi-independent lion-per-year government-backed monopoly could operate more like a private business. Rival overhaul plans either would empower the Postal Service to adjust postage rates faster and offer discounts for off-peak mail or ivatize the operation by sell- tog billion worth of shares in the iteCkmarket. The Postal Service attributes its financial problems to the economic slowdown, expen- sive labor contracts and the growing diver- sion of correspondence and bills from first- class mail to the Internet. Consumers' reliance on the internet for e- mail, online banking and commercial trans- actions is reducing the projected growth of first-class mail, cutting deeply into the billion-per-year that the Postal Service derives from delivering almost 104 billion pieces of first-class mail to 134 million addresses each year, The trend imperils the future of the nation's mail network because postage on first-class mail accounts for 62 percent of Postal Service revenue and covers 71 percent of its overhead, including the annual billion payroll for almost career and seasonal workers. Some independent experts forecast that the volume of so-called round-trip electronic bills and returned payments could grow tenfold by 2005 to siphon off a significant share of the 15.4 billion bills that are sent to consumers each from banks, telecommunications companies, insurance firms and utilities. Direct deposits of paychecks and benefit checks rob the Postal Service of other poten- tial revenue. Please see AS PRIMARY 2001 In the homestretch, congressional race gets nasty, expensive Mirror photo illustration by Tom Worthington I INSIDE A chart detailing where the 9th District candidates stand on the issues Martinsburg to decide on GOP nominee for mayor PAGE AS Four Republicans seek three spots on AltoonaCity Council Profiles of Blair district attorney candidates Gorman and Donaldson Other political news PAGEA9 Election officials work to ensure smooth voting BY ROBERT IGOE Staff Writer When it comes time to vote, it's one person, one vote. No audience in the. voting station. Yet at the polling places, there are a number of people at the desks with stacks of papers and huge lists at their fingertips. So who are all these folks? They are the Election Day offi- cials, all of whom have specific duties to make sure that elections go smoothly and are conducted fairly. The judge of elections, one of two elected positions, is in charge of the process. "She's there to make sure the voters get their ballots, that they know how to vote and that the election runs smoothly at that polling said Janice Blair, Blair County director of elections. The other elected officers are the two inspectors of elections, who issue ballot numbers, record the numbers in the books and record the number of ballots cast. Please see AS EDITOR'S HOrt: It's one ot the basic freedoms that our country was founded upon, yet it's taken for granted to the point that many people don't participate in this rite of democracy, or fully understand the process. It's voting. This series is intended to help educate all of us about the workings of our democracy. COMING MONDAY: Absentee .and write-in ballots BY ROBERT IGOE AND RAY ECKBNRODE StaffWriters The battle between Democrat Scott Conklin and Republican.Bill Shuster for' the vacant 9th District seat in the' U.S. Congress has escalated this week with a barrage of negative ads and a flurry of last-minute fund raising. According to documents filed with Federal Elections Commission, the two camps have raised more than in past 10 days alone Sinister with accrued entirely through contributions, and Conklin with much of it coming out of his own pocket in the form of two loans totaling An earlier PEC report that included totals as of April 25 showed that Shuster already raised nearly three times more money than Conklin (about to The two men are vying to replace Shuster's father, Bud, who served 14 terms in Congress in the heavily Republican district that covers all or part of 11 counties before resigning .earlier this year because of health concerns. The special election to fill the seat will be held Tuesday in conjunction with the May primary. The latest'fund-raising filings clearly show the money race is boiling down as one between busi- ness interests favoring-Shuster and labor interests backing Conklin. Among the most recent Shuster contributors: The American Medical Association Political Action Committee, The Transportation Political Education League, Build PAC, Associated Builders Contractors PAC, Exxon Mobil Corp. PAC, The filings also show that Bud Shuster and his wife, Patricia, contributed each to their son's campaign May 9. Among the most recent Conklin contributors: AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education, Solidarity PAC, America Works Committee, Bricklayers Allied Craftworkers, Congressional Black Caucus, The tilings also show that Conklin lent his campaign May 7 and May 8. As the fund raising in the race has increased, so has the newspa- per, radio and TV advertising frenzy. Please see AS Mother's Day proves special for St. Francis valedictorian Onink BY JAY KNAHR For the Mirror LORETTO For St. Francis University Valedictorian Lisa Onink, it is fitting that the college will hold its 2001 commencement ceremony on Mother's Day. Onink, a 36-year-old Philipsburg res- ident who majored in social work, said the support of her husband and two teen-age children has been crucial to Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 t i W .4 I Lottery numbers, A2 Partly I cloudy, Forecast, A2 Black Caucus leader graduates from Penn PAQE A10 her success as a student. "My family has been very support- said Onink, who has driven an hour each way from Philipsburg to Loretto to attend school for four of the past five years. "But they are looking forward to having mom home to do the she said. The year Onink took off from her classes at St. Francis was spent griev- ing the passing of her mother. "This Mother's Day will be extra Onink said. "It will be a trib- ute to my mother as well." At nearly 500 students, Onink's graduating class is one of the largest in the history of the institution. The 150th Commencement Exercises. at 1 p.m. today in Loretto will feature one of its most noteworthy guest speak- ers. The most Rev. Gabriel Montalvo, Apostolic Nuncio, Pope John Paul H's official representative in the United States, will address the class in the Maurice Stokes Athletics Center. The university also will present honorary degrees to Gwendolyn M. Pattillo of Altoona and Salvatore J. Valenty of Northern Cambria. While today is not a day that Onink and her family is likely to forget, she is not the only soon-to-be graduate in the family. Onink's 18-year-old son, Joshua, will graduate from Philipsburg-Osceola High School later this spring. "We've very much been experienc- ing senioritis in our she joked. "We like to do things together." Please see AID FIORE'S RRE-HOLIDAY SALE! FREE UNTIL NOV. 2001! FREE INTEREST! Nothing Down, No Monthly Payments. Free Interest 'til Nov. 2001. Then begin Easy Payments. No Penalty. No Accrual FREE INTEREST on i. 3 (do yds.) Wall to Wall Retail S949 SaSe 100% NYLON 10 YEAR WARRANTY Open Today Noon-4 Mon -Fri 9-9. Sat. 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