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Altoona Mirror Newspaper Archive: May 30, 2001 - Page 1

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   Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - May 30, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania                                Nation: Court won't hear Ten Commandments case Cl Life: Don't let food-borne diseases ruin your picnic Dl Altoana HHtrrcr Copyright 2001 WEDNESDAY, MAY 30, 2001 50( newsstand Alleged drug kingpin returning to face trial One suspect in last week's raid may have sold from hospital bed; another left drugs behind at bank. Smeltzer Adams Allen BY TIFFANY SHAW Staff Writer An accused drug kingpin charged with distributing cocaine in Altoona will return to Blair County this week. Meanwhile, new details have emerged about two other suspects arrested in the same drug bust last week: One allegedly was dealing heroin from a city hospital bed, and another was caught after inad- vertently leaving a package of the drug at a bank teller window. The alleged big-time dealer, Scott Smeltzer, 30, of 508 Lloyd St., was arrested in Florida two weeks ago and waived his extradition back to Pennsylvania May 21, Blair County District Attorney Dave Gorman said. Authorities have 10 days to bring Smeltzer back to Blair County, where he will be arraigned before a district justice on 16 counts of delivering crack cocaine, one count of conspiracy and two counts of participating in a corrupt organization. State Attorney General Mike Fisher said Smeltzer was responsible for sell- ing more than 18 kilograms of cocaine worth million in Altoona between mid-1997 and May 2000. Please see A4 Probe closed on add mishap OSHA closes book on Tyrone accident. Problem wasn't a leak, ChemFirst says. BY WALT FRANK Staff Writer TYRONE A federal Occu- pational Safety and Health Administration official said Tuesday that the agency will not conduct an on-site investigation into a recent accident at the ChemFirst Fine Chemicals plant. Emergency management offi- cials and plant personnel original- ly reported that hydrochloric acid leaked at the plant May 17 because a reactor processing a chemical new to the site overpressurized. But in a May 24 letter to OSHA, Ivan Riggle, ChemFirst site compli- ance manager, said what occurred was not a leak from a faulty valve but rather an unexpectedly large venting of gas and vapor. "pur investigation reveals that during processing of a new prod- uct, larger volumes of gases than expected occurred in the reactor system where the new chemical was being Riggle wrote. "The safety systems vented the gases as the vapor release to a relatively small amount of hydrochloric acid." The release of about 747 pounds was small enough to be under envi- ronmental regulatory reporting requirements, which are triggered at pounds, said Higgle, who also submitted a recap of calcula- tions and measurements that veri- fy the amount of hydrochloric acid released. At the time of the incident, emer- gency personnel said the cloud of acid vapors that escaped the plant was potentially harmful and forced many Tyrone residents to remain indoors for several hours. Please see A6 THE NAME GAME Mirror photo by Jason Sipes Huntingdon County officials are sending letters to every member of the U.S. House of Representatives to keep Raystown Lake from being renamed Bud Shuster Lake. Huntingdon working to save lake's moniker BY KEVIN On StaffWriter HUNTINGDON Just think of it as the Lake Formerly Known As Raystown. Or maybe not. Huntingdon County commissioners are doing everything they can to stop Congress from changing Raystown Lake to Bud Shuster Lake. For now, that means writing letters. Lots of letters. In the next week or so, letters signed by com- missioners Alexa Cook, Kent East and Roy Thomas will arrive in the mailboxes of every member of the House of Representatives. That's 435 letters. It's all an attempt to stop House Resolution 1955, introduced by Don Young, the Alaska con- gressman who replaced Bud Shuster as head of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. If passed, the resolution would redesignate Raystown Lake the largest artificial lake in Pennsylvania and the star of Huntingdon County's growing tourism industry as Bud Shuster Lake. Please see A7 THE BILL The text of House Resolution 1955: IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Mr. YOUNG of Alaska introduced the following bill, which was .referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure: A BILL To redesignate the Raystown Lake located on the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River in Pennsylvania as the "Bud Shuster Lake." Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1.REDESIGNATION The Raystown Lake located on the Raystown Branch of the Juni'ata River in Pennsylvania shall be known and redesignated as the "Bud Shuster Lake." SECTION 2. REFERENCES Any reference in a law, map, regulation, document, paper or other record of the United States to the lake referred to in Section 1 shall be deemed to be a reference to the "Bud Shuster Lake." Car shop hearing on for June House panel's visit likely to pull some political rather than legal strings. BY WILLIAM KIBLER Staff Writer The U.S. House Railroad Sub- committee will roll into Blair County for a field hearing on Norfolk Southern Corp.'s plans to uncouple the Hollidaysburg Car Shop. It's just a matter of setting a timetable. The subcommittee, a part of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is aiming for mid-June for the hearing, probably on a Friday or Monday, said Michael Tetuan, an aide to U.S. Rep. Jack Quinn, R-N.Y., rail subcommittee chairman. The panel will hold the hearing to ensure Norfolk Southern under- stands the full impact on the com- munity of the loss of 375 jobs and an estimated million in annual payroll, Tetuan said. The hearing could include U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, who requested the visit while he was running for the 9th District congressional seat; members of the 23-person subcom- mittee; Pennsylvania Repub-lican Sens. Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum; and representatives from the federal Surface Transportation Board, Norfolk Southern, the car shop work force and the local com- munity, Tetuan said. A railroad industry analyst pre- dicted the subcommittee will take a pro-labor bent and give a "bad time" to Norfolk witnesses. "Whatever powers the committee possesses to preclude, abort or inhibit the closure, however you want to put it, will be said Washington, D.C., analyst Bob Banks of R.L. Banks and Associates. The power of the committee is AT A GLANCE What: A hearing of the Railroad Subcommittee of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Members: 23 Committee chairman: U.S. Rep. JackQuinn, R-N.Y. Possible participants: Committee members; U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-9th District; Pennsylvania Sens. Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum; Surface Transportation Board representatives; Norfolk Southern officials; Local rail workers; Community members. political rather than legal, Banks said. The STB has the most direct say over the car shop's future. The panel indicated it may cancel Norfolk Southern's plans to close the facility because the move would violate promises the rail- road made in order to get regulato- ry approval for its takeover, along with CSX Corp., of Conrail. The STB has given Norfolk Southern until June 11 to argue the point. As of Tuesday, the railroad had not filed a response. The railroad said it will respond to the STB ruling, and Banks said Norfolk Southern will respond to pressure from politicians that could come to the field hearing. "Norfolk Southern is a political- ly sensitive Banks said. Its political sensitivity and astuteness has helped it prosper, including, ironically enough, in getting what it wanted in the Conrail merger, which led to the troubles that has made it seeming- ly imperative to shut down the Please see A6 Bidding dispute erupts over Garvey Manor job BY KAY STEPHENS StaffWriter HOLLIDAYSBURG A feud has surfaced over construction of the new Garvey Manor Nursing Home. Blair County commissioners Tuesday agreed to financial arrangements made through the Blair County Hospital Authority for up to million in tax-free rev- enue notes. But representatives for Leonard S. Fiore Inc. insisted they should have the job because their bid of million was about million less than the chosen bidder. Sister Joachim Anne Feren- chak, Garvey Manor administra- tor, said her board looked at sever- al factors when selecting a general contractor. The board chose to hire Ralph Albarano of Duncansville, who Please see AS Courtesy photo An architect's rendering of the proposed assisted living and skilled care facility at Garvey Manor. The project will cost million and be completed in January 2003. Charges dropped in 1981 homicide case BY PHIL RAY Staff Writer Homicide charges have been dropped against a mentally ill man who nearly 20 years ago killed an Altoona resident on a Saturday morning stroll along 14th Avenue. Blair County District Attorney Dave Gorman and Public Defender Don Speice requested the charges be dismissed against Donald E. Larson, 77, because he is in poor health. Judge Norman D. Callan granted the request so that Larson could be transferred from the Warren State Hospital, where he has spent most of the past 20 years, to a nursing facility. Gorman said the move will not result in danger to anyone. Please see A4 DOUVCTY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 HO FOUR I 19 3 I Lottery numbers, A2 WEADCR Sunny, breezy, Forecast, A2 Altnona THE CSREAT COMBBNAT8OM Call us today...Make money today. Ask for THE GREAT COMBINATION of MIKKOR CLASSIFIEDS and HOT-ADS Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) 946-7547_____ Q LOCAL Business Movies Obituaries Opinion Local Scoreboard AS A11 AS B4 BS QjiunoN Classifieds C3-12 Comics D5 Community news 02 Puzzles D4 Television D4 IN SPORTS The Pittsburgh Pirates and Altoona Curve continued their downward spiral as both posted losses Tuesday. PAGE B1   

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