Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Altoona Mirror

Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - June 20, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania SPORTS: J.R. HOUSE TO ANNOUNCE DECISION TONIGHT IN ALTOONA B1 iMtmtr Copyright 2001 WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20, 2001 newsstand: City hospital on road to recovery BACK IN THE BLACK Ketf factors in Altoona Hospital's financial improvement: Hospital officials' project admissions for the next fiscal year, more than this year. V Expenses this year have risen 1.4 percent, less than trie cost-of-llving hike. Investment earnings offset some of the million 1 operating deficit this fiscal year to create an overall deficit between million and million. BY WILLIAM KIDLER Staff Writer Four months ago, Altoona Hospital was running an operating deficit projected to be as high as million by the end of the fiscal year, and the union was warning workers to get ready for layoffs. This week, the hospital board approved a new budget based on a final operating deficit of mil- lion for this fiscal year and a full- time-equivalent increase of 40 workers for next year. Last quarter helped stabilize the hospital's financial problems after a troubled first three quarters that officials said was an anomaly. "The first half of the fiscal year was totally said Charles Zorgcr, senior vice president for finance. "Now all of a sudden we're going back to normal." The hospital may be entering a favorable five-year business cycle, Senior Vice President Dave Duncan said. The new budget projections include a operating deficit for the next fiscal year, plus invest- ment earnings that will create an overall m ill ion surplus. The hospital is recovering finan- cially because it rebuilt its inpa- tient base, cut unnecessary costs and emerged from its delayed sharj ing in the national trend for hospt tal financial problems, officials said. For the first eight months of the fiscal year ending June 30, the hos; pital was running 80 inpatients per month behind its pace for the pre- viousyear.. j Please see "We need to get people out of denial. The problem is here. It is everywhere." Sandra Jablonski Impact of gangs, cults felt in region BY TIFFANY SHAW Staff Writer It really does happen here. Gangs, cults, violence kids are experiencing them every day in central Pennsylvania, said experts who visited Altoona Tuesday. '-That's the message officials wanted to get across in a one-day seminar hosted by the Southern Alleghenies Emergency Medical .Services Council. The seminar at the Blair County Convention Center brought togeth- er law enforcement, paramedics, firefighters, game commission offi- cers, coroners and school adminis- trators from six counties for edu- cation about violence that threat- ens area teens. need to get people out of denial. The problem is said Sandra Jablonski, the council's executive director. "It is every- where." The aim of the seminar is to teach professionals to recognize warning signs that most troubled teens exhibit before it's too late. John Michalec, director of Ritualistic Crime Specialists Inc., spent eight hours presenting infor- mation to professionals who are on the front line in the community and deal with children and teens. Surrounded by tables filled with confiscated gang flags, graffiti, cult literature and drug paraphernalia, Michalec introduced the group to some of the most common gangs and cults active in the United States. The information was not news to Richard Senzel, a police officer in Greenfield and North Woodbury townships. He has seen similar artifacts in the Claysburg area among practitioners of voodoo and witnessed enough to know prob- lems in Blair County. "It's humorous to see people who didn't believe it is here, when he [Michalec] says it Benzol said. "People don't think it can happen without seeing it. It all goes on Here." -The reaction from the group especially from police rein- forced what Michalec was teaching to a more naive audience. want to heighten your sense of awareness of the issues and look at proactive responses to these crimes done by he told the crowd of nearly 250 people. One key to keeping Mds away from cults and gangs is to set a pos- itive example as a parent or t' model, he said. Please see A7 EXTREME SPORTS Mirror photo by Jason Sipes Tony Hawk, the Michael Jordan of skateboarding, performs on the half pipe for hun- dreds Tuesday in Woodward. Other skaters and bikers stopped to watch Hawk in action. Chairman Aboard Skating guru becomes pied piper of half pipe BY KEVIN OIT Staff Writer WOODWARD The skaters have the DNA of lemurs and butterflies in their boards, the bikers telekinetic control over the BMX frames that extend from their hindquarters. They might hover millimeters over the ground as they seem to skid along it, but they're moving too fast for anyone to tell. The art they practice is delicate. Like a pray- ing mantis or one of Homer's sirens, it is both beautiful and deadly. It still struggles for respect. When the BMX bikers, in-line skaters and skateboarders gathered Tuesday at Camp Woodward to watch Tony Hawk's Gigantic Skatepark Tour, they forgot for a few hours the times people called the police on them, the times they were shooed out of parking lots, the times they were told to go back to the skate parks where they belonged. They forgot how hard it is to practice a sport that, for all the video games and B-nioyies and ESPN2specials, has yet mainstream, and instead masters at their best. Hawk was there, sliding up ramps and stair- way railings in defiance of everything Newton has led us to believe about gravity. At 33, Hawk is the world's premier skate- boarder, the first ever to perform a 900-degree spin in midair two-and-a-half turns from a starting position. Please see A7 An extreme empire Fast facts about the business acumen of skateboard legend Tony Hawk: Went pro at age nearly 80 won 73 contests v Started own company (now multimilhon 1992 v Endorsement contrapte with several vicfeo gamejinakers. Annual income of npre than million from endorsements (BieGap Mountain Dew "Got 1 Published first txxA. "Hawk Occupation In 2000 Fast facts about the bodily toll of skateboard legendry: Knocked unconscious 10 limes One broken elbow Several [raclured ribs Compressed vertebrae ol stitches Mirror graphic by Tom Worthinglon II New turnpike service model shown PITTSBURGH (AP) The Pennsylvania Turnpike has un- veiled a prototype of 11 controver- sial new service plazas it intends to build over the next decade, and that will include an expanded food court and family restrooms for people traveling with small chil- dren. The service plazas are being touted as bigger, brighter and bet- ter equipped than the existing 19 facilities, some of which are 60 years old. But some business owners along the central region of the toll road have organized to oppose the superplazas, which they said will detract, from their businesses. Officials proposed building the first of these megaservice stations, called the Westgate Plaza, in New Sewickley Township in Beaver County, about 25 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, by purchasing 90 acres of farmland. Residents will have a chance to voice their opinions at a public meeting Thursday. "The plans are preliminary and Proposed western; Pennsylvania sites tope built fejtieen 2002 and 2010 include those at NewStanton, Somerset and Bedford for discussion and study purposes said Bill Capone, the runt- pike's marketing director. "They don't necessarily reflect what we would build [in New Sewickley] or anywhere eke. But they, give a pretty good idea of what we're looking at." Other proposed Western Penn- sylvania sites set fto be buUt between 2002 and 2010 include those at New Stanton, Somerset and Bedford. Officials are ing other, newer service plazas o'n toll roads' in Ohio and New York for suggestions. Please see A6 Governor attends; ground breaking for youth center! BY MIA ROHART StaffWriter EBENSBURG Gov. Tom Ridge didn't need to don sneakers and a T-shirt to get down and dirty with area children at the groundbreak- ing ceremony for a new youth cen- ter in the borough. Wearing a suit and tie, Ridge played basketball with the chil- dren. "My best times and my best days are spent with young Pennsyl- Ridge said. After, speeches from Ridge and members of the community who helped to bring shape to the Young People's Community Center, a group of about 20 children grabbed shovels to help Ridge in the ground break ing. Afterward, Matthew Cornetti and his friend Chad Millward, both 10, fought their way through a crowd of adults to give Ridge a cold soda, for which Ridge seemed grateful in the afternoon heat. Both boys enjoy sports such as baseball and basketball, which Mirror photo by Mia Gov. Tom Ridge gets help moV- ing dirt from local youngsters during Ebensburg's youth ceifr; ter groundbreaking they will be able to play at youth center. They took turns witjv a shovel at the groundbreaking! ceremony. .3 Please see A5 Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 2874480 MO FOUR Lottery numbers, A2 Partly Forecast, A2 V Altoona iEtrror 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 LOCAL I Business Hospitals A13 Obituaries A13 Opinion [jgj Local____ Scoreboard A8 QHATMN Classifieds lJR JB4 i Puzzles B5 I television C4-14 >j 1 Movies D3 D4 D4 IN NATION i; The House unanimously endorsed one ol the biggest increases ever for-- a program that has helped millions of veterans get X' college educations the end of World War II. PAGEbf 1,