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Altoona Mirror Newspaper Archive: June 27, 2001 - Page 1

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   Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - June 27, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania                                Life: Celebrate the Fourth of July with some star-spangled food ideas Dl Copyright 2001 WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27, 2001 500 newsstand NS files final defense with STB BY CRAIG WILLIAMS Staff Writer Norfolk Southern Corp.'s final defense for closing the Hollidaysburg Car Shop arrived at the federal Surface Transporta- tion Board offices late Monday. of the unions and the state say there is nothing new to justify the closure. The railroad was given two extra weeks this month to convince the hoard it is nec- essary to move more than 300 jobs and per- manently close the vail car repair and manufacture shop. Monday's filing is expected to be the last in a exchange of responses that started in April. The latest was precipitated by an STB decision rendered in May asking the rail- road to give stronger reasons why it must close the Hollidaysburg Car Shop. In April, seven affected labor unions and the state of Pennsylvania submitted a peti- tion based on the supposition that state- ments made by railroad officials before the state House Transportation Committee, and through public advertisements and appearances during negotiations to divide Conrail in 1997 and 1998 are legally bind- ing. "Our contention is that they didn't say they were going to close the said Nancy Boiler, lawyer for the STB. "Their contention is that they didn't say they were going to keep it open either." In this week's filing, Norfolk Southern said no guarantees were given for the shop. The company also contends that despite efforts to bring in work, the econo- my is so flat that even private rail car man- ufacturers are laying off, and the Holli- daysburg shop already has lost the compa- ny millions of dollars. Please see A6 THEARGUMENT "Since the split elate NS made substantial efforts, which went beyond those of to insource additional work from other railroads and car owners, "Some of what we anticipated in our operating plan has not materialized. NS has had to fundamentally rethink its operations to right-size its physical plant to reflect the actual traffic and revenues on the expanded NS syslem since split date." Mirror photo by Jason Sipes A state police trooper (left) uses his hat to hold evidence collected in a fatal accident that occurred Tuesday afternoon on Route 22 in Yellow Spring. Timothy B. Weyandt, 54, of Huntingdon was driving on the shoulder of the road to pass a vehi- cle stopped in the easlbound lane, state police at Hollidaysburg said. Weyandt's Ford Explorer, which had a trailer attached, traveled off the south benii and up a grass embankment. Weyandt swerved back onto the road, across the cen- terline and into the westbound lane, where his vehicle collided with a mobile crane driven by Ricky L. Donaldson, 47, Prospect. Weyandt was pronounced dead at the scene by Blair County deputy coroner Jeff Guyer. Donaldson was not injured. Both men were wearing seat belts, police said. Federal funds for Springs could dry up BY BETH N. GRAY For the Mirror BEDFORD The Bedford County Planning Commission learned Monday that federal high- way dollars earmarked for trans- portation enhancements at the Bedford Springs Resort appeal" to have been allocated to other pro- jects across the state. Commission members, planning staff and county commissioners were attempting to find out why, when and by whose decision million to million in federal Transportation Efficiency Act for the 21st Century money is going elsewhere. Retired U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster, R- 9th District, former chairman of the House" Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, had the money designated for an ctccess boulevard and parking garage in a proposal to redevelop the National Historic Landmark resort. In a report to county planners, PennDOT listed million in federal transportation money that is recommended for projects from Allegheny and Erie counties to Dauphin and Franklin counties. Shuster redirected the federal allocation before ha left office in January, said Rich Kirkpatrick, PennDOT spokesman in Harris- burg. Neither Kirkpatrick nor local officials could explain how the information only came to light now. "It left us in a confused county Planning Director Jeff Kloss said. Kloss and county Commissioner Dick Rice were not immediately able to contact Shuster's son, Bill, who now holds his father's former congressional seat, to learn more about the funding disbursement. A representative of Shuster's Washington, D.C., office, however, said that the freshman mail was choosing not to comment until he. can further research the issue. Bud Shtister was unavailable for comment Tuesday. PennDOT's central office in Harrisburg announced the reallo- cation, Planning Commission Chairman Tom Cunningham said. That's not supposed to be the way it works, he said. Planning commissions are to recommend funding allotments to PennDOT. Please see A7 Report: Most Pennsylvanians satisfied with HMOs BY MICHAEL EMERY Staff Writer The consensus among the 5 million-plus Pennsylvanians who get medical care through health maintenance organiza- tions is that they generally are satisfied with the service, although coverage for certain surgical procedures varies widely, according to a report released today. Of the five HMOs available in the area that were rated in the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council report, Geisinger Health Plan scored high- est in customer satisfaction ratings, with 70 percent of its members giving Geisinger the highest rating of R to 10. Another 25 percent of its members gave Geisinger a rating from 5 to 7. "We look at information all the time that measures the quality of Geisinger Health Plan as a way to evaluate how we are serv- ing our said Lisa Hartman, Geisinger spokeswoman. "We're really pleased with the results of the PHC4 report because we want our cus- tomers to be pleased with what we're doing. The report gives us concrete infor- mation on what we're doing right, as well as what we can do better." Geisinger also received high ratings in preventive health and wellness and dis- ease management. Preventive care and wellness and dis- ease management are Initiatives that dis- tinguish HMOs from traditional health insurers, so high ratings in those cate- gories are particularly important. "One of the selling points of HMOs is that they can help patients avoid unneces- sary trips to the hospital through better preventive and primary said Marc P. Volavka, PHC4 executive director. But while the study suggests HMO plans are successful at preventing hospitaliza- tions through regular primary care, it also revealed disparities in the acute care for serious conditions such as breast cancer and chronic neck and back pain. For instance, though treatment guide- lines for chronic back and neck pain remain undefined and surgery is not always an option, the rate of patients who Please see A5 Regatta non grata Raystown tourism event vanishes without much of a wake Mirror life photo by Kelly BenncH Speedboats race along Raystown Lake during the Raystown Regatta in this June 1999 file photo. The regatta has been gone for two years, but it doesn't seem to be missed. BY KEVIN O IT Staff Writer HUNTINGDON There was no professional boat racing on Raystown Lake last year. But there still was a regatta. Derek Grubb got together with six friends, and they held their own race with gas-powered, remote-controlled boats. Grubb didn't win, but he had fun anyway. Two years after it's been gone, it's still too soon to tell where the Raystown Regatta is going. The regatta, a weekend-long pro- fessional speedboat race held at Raystown Lake, is in its second year of nonexistence. But any kind of hole it left in Huntingdon County's tourism economy doesn't seem to be gaping. The event disappeared in 1999 after a three-year run when the Raystown Country Visitors' Bureau, the official tourism pro- motion agency of Huntingdon County, went belly up financially. In 1999, the county hosted its last regatta. In just four years, the race had become a staple of summer at Raystown, drawing people not only to the lake but also to restaurants, hotels, gas stations and convenience stores around the county. Grubb manages the Days Inn in Huntingdon, one of the biggest hotels in the area. Last year, he predicted that, after that final regatta, he wouldn't see much of a drop in business over the first weekend in June, when the event was commonly held. He was right. Please see All TIMELINE 1996 Raystown Regatta debuts. Trie event is televised on ESPN2 and Fox Sports cable channels. 1397 Cursed at first by bad weather, attendance picks up by Saturday and increases 50 percent from the previous year. 1998 10 country music acts perform at the regatla. 1999 Aluminum can recycling premiers at the regatta, but this was to be its final year. 2000 Event is cancelled. r DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: or (800) 287-4480 V BK) FOUR Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Mix of sun, clouds, Forecast, A2 1' ifllimir 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 ;Q LOCAL Business Obituaries Opinion SPORTS Local Scoreboard A4 AS B4 B5 QNATKW Classifieds' C3-14 Comics D5 Community news D2 Puzzles D4 Television D4 INSIDE -.j IN WORLD President Bush pressed Ariel Sharon Tuesday to move forward on a U.S.-. backed Middle East peace plan, but the Israeli prime, minister said violence must end first. PAGE C1   

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