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Altoona Mirror: Monday, June 4, 2001 - Page 1

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   Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - June 4, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania                                Sports: Philadelphia 76ers advance to finals Life: Training can keep pets in loving homes Altoona dNtrrar Copyright 2001 MONDAY, JUNE 4, 2001 500 newsstand Filings up with pending measure More individuals are claiming bankruptcy before reform bill goes into effect. From Mirror staff anil wire reports A weakening economy and the anticipated passage of a bankrupt- cy reform bill in Washington caused a spike in the number of individuals filing for bankruptcy in the first quarter, according to an analysis of federal statistics released recently. The number of personal and busi- ness bankruptcies in the quarter ended March 31 _ are the highest Hicniu they have been ii IB BUSINESS according to sta Hormel Foods tistics from the t no longer objects Administrative to using Spam's Officeof the U S double meaning Courts. Most of for e-mail. that increase Space mission resulted from features first individual bank step toward ruptcy filings _ Internet access "A lot of the on Mars. pressure has PAOEA7 come from the Foreign shift loss of Workers Ml gaps said Elizabeth at tuxedo firm. Wai-ren, a pro PAGE.A1Q fessor at Harvard Law School and an expert on bankrupt- cies. "With families already deeply in debt, it doesn't take much for them to tumble into bankruptcy." There were bankruptcy filings in the first quarter, accord- ing to the administrative office. That figure represented an 18 per- cent increase from the period a year earlier. Much of that increase caine from individuals filing for Chapter 13. Such filings were up 21 percent. :In the western district of Pennsylvania, the federal region that includes Altoona, Pittsburgh and Eric, the trend is much the same as the rest of the nation. Since 1994, when the number for bankruptcy filings dipped to filings in the area, more Pennsylvanians have sought pro- tection under the law. Last year, more than bankruptcies were filed in the western district alone. Another reason for the rise in the number of filings was the bank- ruptcy legislation passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate in March. Please see A10 NETWORK OF OPPORTUNITY Mirror photo by Gary M. Balance Bellwood-Antis School District technology coordinator Mike Lingenfelter shows how streaming video is possible with new high-tech lines at the high school. GETTING CONNECTED Wired world A quick lesson in broadband technology: What it is _, Highspeed ".transmission of data------ Jchose 200 kbps for qualify service, about lour times faster than a 56 kbps Umodem, which, can change kl Web pages as fast as u (1 ipping Ih rough a boc' y lianyniltng fuH-j oration video, JHow It's used must '200 kbps from Internet to user and from user f back to Internet. Interne! users who spend their lime surfing the Web, 'chatting' with users [sending e-maif, praba-j bly dont utilize kbps. 'hat's available By Two on a farge scale filv FCC's definition. Cable modem service provides speeds around 1.0 mbps or higher DSL varies in speeds 384 kbps or 640 kbps IM 1 b mbps and up to 'jjfl 7.1 mbps. jsr -x-< "S. Faster and connections ability" for Internet always to be available if comput- L er is on. With dial up, user initiates connec- lion through modern KSJ can take morp j lhari a minute Source.1 Center lor Oernocfacy and Technology Mirror graphic by Tom Wotlhincjlon I Broadband could bring area growth BY WALT FRANK StqffWriler Prepare to get connected. A pub- lic-private partnership is com- mitting to a project designed to enhance and extend the state's telecommunications infra- structure, and the Interstate 99 corri- dor will be the first to be improved. Slated to sere customers from State College to Altoona along the 1-99 cor- ridor, the new infrastructure improvement has public officials and local businesses excited over the potential growth, and they are com- paring it to a new highway system. "We have built highways, put in water and sewer lines and made other improvements to help keep and attract state Senate President Pro Tern Robert C. Jubelirer, R-Blair, said. "Now, we can look to having a technology network that will enable Please see AS More seniors working From Mirror staff and wire reports IMty Corl, who will be 78 this year, enjoys getting up each morning and starting her day, and it isn't because of any special herbal remedy. For Corl and thousands of her age, putting in five hours on her feet is what gives her a lift. The Duncansville native has worked at Kmart on West Plank Road since she retired from Veeder-Root 13 years ago. The spunky septuagenarian said her day wouldn't be complete without a few hours helping her customers. "I'm at the check-out counter and I like she said. "It gets me up and out in the morn- ing and gives me extra spending money." More seniors are working during what might have been their retire- ment years, helping fill a need for employees in low- skill fields while also seeking cash for their health care needs and as with Corl spending money. According to a recent Census Bureau report, the number of Americans (55 and older working or seek- ing work increased 10 percent to 4.5 million between March 1999 and March 2000. There was a 22 percent increase in seniors in administrative support positions, including clerical jobs, and an 18 percent increase in sales jobs. The fig- ures arc from a survey separate from the 2000 census. Data from the latest headcount on older Americans will be released over the next year. Employers give older workers favorable reviews. "My older workers bring experience with said Bob Bardine, area manager of the Altoona Kmart. "And they are definitely dependable. I have a lady working for us now who is in her 70s, who has been here as long as 1 have since the early 1980s, over 20 years and she has no desire to retire. Currently, there are three older workers here at Kmart, and they are all good workers." Healthier, more active seniors are helping to fill job openings in offices and fast-food restaurants. However, some are not seeking just extra cash and a reason to get out of bed. The increase in working seniors also points to a need for the federal government to address rising prescription drug costs, which have forced some older Americans to work, said Batty Cooper, spokes- woman for the labor-backed Alliance for Retired Americans. The surge was primarily because- of a 16 percent increase between 1999 and 2000 in men 65 and over in the work force. Overall, there are 32.6 million people in that age group, 1 percent more than the previous year. Other findings: 83 percent are non-Hispanic white; women account for 57 percent of those 65 and over and 67 percent of those 85 and older; two-thirds in poverty are women, largely because of the fact that women live longer than men, analysts said. Please see A10 Lawmaker seeks compromise to dispute with Amish sect EBENSBURG (AP) A Cambria County lawmaker hopes to add a third side com- promise to a dispute between the slate and a strict Amish sect that refuses to use orange reflective triangles on their buggies. State Sen. John Wozniak, said he'll introduce a bill today that would let the Swartzentruber sect instead use reflective tape to outline the rear-facing edge of their buggies. "The first step is to get my colleagues to accept the Wozniak said. "The devil is in the details." The Swartzentruber sect deems the trian- gles used by most of Pennsylvania's Amish too garish for their beliefs. The reflective triangle is the state's officially required emblem for "slow-moving" vehicles. The issue came to a head in December when Amishman Jonas Swartzenlruber spent three days in jail after being cited for not having a triangle on his buggy. Since then, Swartzentruber, 23, again was cited for driving without a triangle as have 12 others in his settlement in Carroll town. Please see A3 City Hall renovations still lagging Bv WILLIAM KIIH.EH StaffWrlter In April, officials predicted the City Hall renovation project might not finish until early August, five months late. Now they're saying it might be as late as October almost seven months late. However, unlike a monthlong slow spell in late winter, the million pro- ject is advancing, and there's a renewed sense of effort, Public Works Director Dave Diedrich said. Rut some items on order such as fire-rated interior doors have a long lead time, meaning the project is at least 12 weeks away from completion, said Councilman Tom Shaheen, a member of DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 SKI FOUR Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Mostly sunny, Forecast, A2 Altmnta 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) 946-7547 Action from City Council in briaf PAGE A5 tho project committee. The delay is keeping city staff from moving out of the temporary City Hall and forcing the city to extend its per month lease there, plus payments to keep managing the renovation project. But a lale penalty against general contractor W.C. Murray should help offset the additional expense. The city gave Murray a 40-day grace period for change orders, but the remaining 170 days or so theoretically could generate in penalty fees owed to the city. The city will retain 10 percent, or almost in keeping with safeguards in the contract, which should make it easier to collect the fines. The city can collect only enough fines to defray actual expenses, Shaheen said. The city was aware of prior delays and payment problems for Murray before it awarded the contract for the City Hall job, which began in late 1999. However, Murray's bid was the lowest at million, lower than the next one and the bond, financial statement and other documents were in order. Mirror Staff Writer William Kibter can be reached at 9-19-7038 or El LOCAL Business Movies Obituaries Opinion 03 SPORTS Little League Scoreboard i H NATION A7, 10 Classifieds A7 I A9 AS j 13 UFE ffiffiS INSIDE C3-10 B4 B5 rft Comics D6 Cprnmunily news D2 Puzzles D4 Television D4   

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