Altoona Mirror, June 13, 2001

Altoona Mirror

June 13, 2001

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Issue date: Wednesday, June 13, 2001

Pages available: 79

Previous edition: Tuesday, June 12, 2001

Next edition: Thursday, June 14, 2001 - Used by the World's Finest Libraries and Institutions
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Publication name: Altoona Mirror

Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - June 13, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania LIFE: Make Dad a sweet treat to show how much you care Dl Altonna iltrrar Copyright 2001 WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13, 2001 newsstand trooper maybe cited in death BY WILLIAM KIIILER StaffWriter A state trooper may face a cita- tion in the death of a bicyclist who died after crashing into the troop- er's pickup truck, winch was parked partly on Jwiiata Gap Road after dark Saturday. J. McEldowney, 31, of 'Altoona could receive a citation for UJegal stopping, standing and parking because his truck occu- pied 3 feet of the southbound road- way north of Avalon Road, where 14-year-old Charles Ehredt crashed and died about p.m. But Logan Township police need to consult with legal experts on issues and precedent cases con- nected with that law first, Chief Steven Jackson said. A citation is no sure thing. "At this point we think it's doubt- ful there's a Jackson said. Ehredt and his friend Colt Cloutier, 16, rode their 20-inch BMX hikes from their homes around the 'S' Curve about one-third of a mile down a gradual slope toward the crash site, intending to go to Penn State Altoona, where they could do tricks and ride, family members said. At the crash site, they went off their bikes. Ehredt, who was in the lead, suffered blunt force trauma to the head. Cloutier suffered a concussion and scrapes. Under the law, a motorist'may not park a vehicle on the roadway outside a business or residential district when it is practicable to stop, park or stand the vehicle off the roadway. The motorist must allow for an "unobstructed width of the high: way opposite the vehicle" if park- ing is necessary and make sure the vehicle is visible for a distance of 500 feet in both directions. One issue Logan Township police would like to clarify is what the law means by a motorist must not stop in the road if there is a- practicable alternative, Jackson said. McEldowney, who was off duty, stopped at the house of Carrie Seidel, where a birthday party was being held. i He parked out front against the curb in the 4-foot-wide gutter i because there was no room to get into the driveway and because the .less busy Park Drive intersecting Juniata Gap Road across the street i was full of cars as far as she could see, Seidel said. McEldowney stopped to meet his 1 father, Dick McEldowney, the elder McEldowney said. Please see A14 RECREATION IN BLAIR COUNTY Mirror photo illustration by Jason Worthington II Playing the field Rec officials still trying to find niche for Valley View County Park BY KAY STEPHENS Stuff Writer On a late spring afternoon, Valley View County Park is quiet but alive. Birds fly from tree to tree, and the sound of yalley View Boulevard traffic is muffled by the distance. A woman and child take two dogs for a walk on a recently mowed hillside of thick green grass. At a picnic pavilion, Blair County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board members look over a map of the park's grounds and listen to land- scape architect Steve Parks tell them there's not enough space for another ballfield. The advisory board to the Blair County commissioners has talked for several months about building another ball- field at the park. And they've talked about building another picnic pavilion. About two months ago, the county hired Parks to update the park's master plan, hoping he could pinpoint a place for a picnic pavilion and offer some guidance on enhancing the park and help find its niche in .the county's recreation pictm'e. Last week, the board that Mirror pholo by J.D. Cavrich A mother and daughter enjoy a walk at Valley View County Park. normally meets at the Blair County Courthouse was warmed by a late afternoon sun while gathering around a picnic table in one of the park's three pavilions. Members attending included Frank Long, Bill Wilson, Diane Meling, Joe Very, Keltic Goodman and Shawn Hicks. Trying to find space for a ballfield turned out to be a problem. It would require about 3 'A acres, and there appeared to be little flat ground of that size. At a pro- posal to carve a ballfield out of what is a hilly area, Parks gri- maced and said it would involve a lot of earth moving and a lot of expense. But with new ballfields planned for Westfall Park in Altoona and at Greenwood Park in Logan Township, the advisory board members ques- tioned if the area needs anoth- er ballpark. Please see A14 GPU deal to freeze rate hikes Proposed accord with utility commission will keep costs down until at least 2006. BY REBECCA SINDERBRAND The Associated 1'ress HARRISBURG GPU Inc.. and FirstEnergy Corp. filed a proposed settlement with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission that would eliminate the threat of rate hikes for GPU's Pennsylvania cus- tomers while helping the utility solve some of its financial woes. The settlement, reviewed and approved by both state consumer advocate Irwin Popowsky and John Hanger, head of the public interest group PennFuture, gives the two utilities a boost as they seek final approval for a planned merger. The PUC is scheduled to vote on the proposal at a special meeting Thursday. Hanger and Popowsky were crit- ical of GPU's previous request for a million rale increase to cover its losses in the wholesale power ing the company creat- ed its problems by selling off gen- erating plants and not signing long-term contracts at fixed prices. Pennsylvania's electric competi- tion law requires GPU to offer power at previously capped prices to customers who do not shop around for competitive electricity rates. Breaking those caps, Pop- owsky and Hanger argued, would defeat the purpose of electric dereg- ulation. GPU has about 1 million cus- tomers spread across Pennsyl- vania, many in the southeastern and central parts of the state. The proposed merger between Ohio-based FirstEnergy and GPU, with headquarters in New Jersey, was approved by the PUC last month. It still must be reviewed by regulators in New Jersey and the federal Securities and Exchange Commission. The plan presented Tuesday comes days before a Friday dead- line imposed by GPU's bankers requiring the company to detail how it would stabilize its cash flow and debt level. If GPU was unable to meet the deadline, it could have been forced to suspend its dividend and forfeit around million in collateral. AT A GLANCE Highlights of the proposed agreement between GPU Corp. and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission: The utilities would not be able to .seek a rale increase tor Pennsylvania customers until 2006 at the earliest, and only under certain special circumstances. Electricity rales would remain frozen at 1997 levels until the end of 2010, slightly longer than called for in the current agreement. The companies will commit new resources to conservation efforts. GPU will place its wholesale power losses in a deferral account through 2005 and keep those losses" on the books until 2010. Future wholesale power profits would be credited against tne losses, and GPU would write off any remaining losses in 2010. Hanger said he approved of the new proposal because the utilities agreed to increase investments in renewable energy and conserva- tion programs. "We got everything we wanted when we first entered these discus- Hanger said. "The rate cap has been pre- served, and GPU has made some important commitments to devel- oping energy sources that don't depend on fuel costs that have more stable prices." Under the proposed agreement, the combined utilities would not be able to seek a rate increase for Pennsylvania customers until 2006 at the earliest, and only under cer- tain special circumstances. Electricity rates would remain frozen at 1997 levels until the end of 2010, slightly longer than called for in the current agreement. The proposal also states that the combined companies will commit new resources to conservation efforts. The settlement would allow GPU to place its wholesale power losses in a deferral account through 2005 and keep those losses on the books until 2010. Please see AID Hicfh rnnrt rnnlrt hear records case BY Pun. RAY Staff Writer 'The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has been asked to j review a Blair County judge's order allowing I the release of mental health records of a woman convicted of killing a Penn State j University student and injuring another in 1996. Julian P. Robbing, then 19, stepped onto I Penn State's main campus with a rifle and opened fire on several students. She woundgd Nicholas Mensah, then 22, of Philadelphia, and then killed 21-year-old Melanie Spalla Please see A14 There are 300 separate parcels of game land statewide in 65 of 67 counties thai total million acres. Here's a took at local tracts: ri f" it Note: Green area indicates game lands. Pa. ponders game lands ban on horses, bicycles Mirror graphic by Tom Wonhinglon I Fi'oni Mirror staff and wire reports heading to game lands in the future may be limited to enjoying the great outdoors on two feet rather than on two wheels or four hooves. The state Game Commission is consider- ing whether to close the state's 1.4 million acres of game lands to bicyclists and horse riders, amid complaints they cut trails wherever they roam and spook wildlife. "Obviously, this would ruffle some feath- said Jerry Feaser, a game commission spokesman. "But we have an obligation to preserve and protect wildlife and what our license holders have paid for." An advisory group that suggested limiting bikes and horses to maintenance roads and designated trails will consider the ban Thursday. The commission will vole on the idea after a series of hearings across the state next month. State game lands have no trail systems nor any history of them, so it would be up to the commission to add them, Feaser said. Please see A12 y DELIVERY j Subscription or home delivery questions: S 946-7480 or (800) 287-4-180 BKJFOUR {0) 4 I Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Mostly sunny, Forecast, A2 Altnnna DHttrnr YHE GREAT COMBINATION I 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 O H -I [3 D3 INSIDE IN NATION The teen pregnancy rate hit a record low in 1997 with births falling fast and abortions falling even faster, PAGE C1 ;