Saturday, July 28, 2001

Altoona Mirror

Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - July 28, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania INSIDE TODAY 1 Patton church gets face-lift LIFE: Modular homes mean affordability Dl St. Francis inducts new Hall of Fame class page Bl Copyright 2001 BY WILLIAM KUU.KH Staff Writer Rising fuel and labor costs are forcing Amtran to lay off three workers and cut bus service by 75 hours per week. This year's budget for diescl fuel has risen to In addition, the union contract calls for a 3 percent wage hike, and health insurance costs have climbed 8 percent, General Man- ager Eric Wolf said. The bus authority will lay off two full-time drivers and a part-time maintenance worker. The contract hike is not exces- sive, but labor costs are the biggest area of the budget, Wolf said. The health care increase is a bar- gain compared to a larger increase the authority would have paid if it still dealt with the insurance orga- nization it broke away from last year because it was getting too expensive. When it must cut service, the authority targets routes that don't moot its minimum performance standard of 10 passengers per hour. The decisions on service reduc- tions ate not final.There will be a public meeting at 10 a.in. Aug. 11 at the community room in the Logan Valley Mall to discuss the service cuts and hear counterproposals. Aintran's policy is to hold such public meetings when the authori- ty proposes cuts this large, Wolf said. Riders will have another oppor- tunity for comment at Am Iran's next board meeting at p.m. Aug. 15 at the Penn State Conference Center on 12th Avenue ui the former Playhouse Theatre building. The board should vote to approve service cuts at that meet- ing. While expenses have risen, rev- enues have been level. The public utilities tax diverted to bus compa- nies has been reduced because of deregulation of the electric genera- tion industry, said Tom Klevan, business development director. The first day for any service changes woidd be Aug. 27, Klevan said. Staff Writer William Kihler can te reached at 949-7030 or TTjfl 3uthorily proposes eliminating: Routs 12; the last daily trip al p.m. of Second Avenue Route 2 from Monday to Friday; the last Iripat p.m. ol Pleasant 'Valley Roule 5, Monday to Saturday; dasher trips from to p.m. Monday to Friday. Die authority has proposed the following olbef changes: Second Avenue Route 2; Broad Avenue Roule 4; and Fairaew Roule 6 will alternate Saturdays, similar to Sunday schedules. Pleasaat Valley Route 5 will serve the stale Job Center on Fairway Drive and the Altoona Housing Authority on alternate trips. The 7 a.m. trip will go to the Housing Authority and the 8 p.m. trip lo the Center, establishing the pan era lira to ute wi II f ol low al I day. itttrnir Amtran cutting workers SATURDAY, JULY 28, 2001 FUNDING FOR FARMERS -V S- J> i t- i <t- J_____4B-- r sr t -T X H-- fi- wv tv J :te _ 'fc l i t s .-i-'iV1''', :.5 s Mirror photo by J.D. Cavtich Mike Burket of Burlset-View Farms makes cuts of alfalfa Friday along Piney Creek Road in Morrisons Cove. More money for conservation, preservation may be on way From Mirror staff and wire reports Pennsylvania farmers want more funds to help them reduce pollution and preserve their land, which legislators are opti- mistic the new farm bill will accom- plish. INSIDE: Key provisions of the proposed (arm legislation PACE A7 Groups say half of federal farm spending should go to conservation PAGE A1O "We sense there is more interest in environmental and conservation programs that will help ease the Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec Fifth-generation farmer Jerry Yahnor takes a costs of improving the environment, break from harvesting oats on his son's farm out- Some of the existing rules are too side Patton Friday. expensive for farmers who are try- ing to stay said Joel Rotz, the chief federal lobbyist for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. The House Agriculture Committee was scheduled to begin work this week on a bill that sots farm payments and policies for the next 10 years. The draft proposal would allo- cate billion over 10 years. Federal farm subsidy programs focus mostly on crops such as cotton, grain and wheat, which are not grown heavily in the Northeast. Fruits, vegetables and trees, the region's major crops, are not subsidized, so farmers in the region rely on other programs to reduce costs. Area farmers such as Raymond Diebold of Sinking Valley said it's about time. Please see A7 500 newsstand Prisoner escapes hospital BY PHII, HAY Staff Writer A Blair County inmate admitted to Altoona Hospital early Friday for a drug overdose escaped after he stuffed the covers on his hospi- tal bed full of pillows while a deputy sheriff- was in the bath- room. Michael David Black, 26, of Hill Crest Estate escaped between 3 and a.m., Blair County Sheriff Larry D. Field said. When the dep- uty returned to his post, Field said he noticed nothing different about the bed where the inmate was sleeping with the covers pulled over his head. But about a.m., a nurse came into the room, and she and the deputy discovered Black had fled. Hollidaysburg police, who are investigating, said Black has brown hair, brown eyes and a Rebel flag tattoo on his right arm. He was last seen wearing an orange Blair County Prison jump- suit under his hospital gown. Black was taken to the hospital because he was having trouble breathing, acting Blair County Prison Warden Larry LaVelle said. Black was placed in prison Thurs- day for theft and other charges. Field said Black was "detoxing from heroin." Prison authorities called the Black sheriffs department late Thursday and asked fov a deputy to laKo Black to the hospital. Black was placed in a room, and a deputy was assigned to stay with him. Field said the deputy was relieved by another around mid- night. The inmate was not shackled because of problems with his legs. Field said Black was not a high risk for flight. Black's record con- sisted of minor offenses, and he was in prison on a probation viola- tion charge. "You don't look at him as a major escape risk. He probably would have been able to be released on Field said. The deputy said nothing appeared to be wrong. Black was in the bed "laying there like he was Field said. Black had a blanket over his head. The deputy went to use the bath- room, and Black apparently was waiting for an opportunity to get away. Field said his deputies and city police searched in vain for Black during the early morning hours. Records in the office of the Blair County Prothonotary and Clerk of Courts show that Black had a record of retail thefts dating back to 1995. Ho also was sentenced in 1997 for simple assault. Mirror Staff Writer Phil Kay can be reached at or One man's passion for family, service lauded at city plant By WIU.IAM KHILER Staff Writer Looking at Jographia Pappas in the humble surroundings of the Altoona water treatment plant ded- icated to her late husband's memo- ry, one can imagine her as a beau- tiful young woman with big-city dreams. She was from Atlantic City, N.J., studied at Juilliard in New York City and had a chance to audition at the Metropolitan Opera. But she lacked confidence and took a job teaching voice at Grier School near Tyrone, postponing her ambition to go back and become an opera singer. A Greek Orthodox youth social in Altoona in 1954........when she met Andronic Pappas led to making that postponement permanent. They married, and his love for his hometown, his belief he could help transform it and his convic- tion that they must raise their children here trumped her cos- mopolitan ambition. It's a measure of the man's per- suasiveness and passion, and Jographia Pappas is not resentful, but grateful, he kept the family here. It's a persuasiveness and passion he turned to public account: He not only was chairman of the City Water Authority during a key stretch of its recently completed million capital spending pro- gram, but he also was a City Council member, mayor and, alter his water authority stint, chair- man of the Amtran bus authority. Area officials gathered Friday to honor Pappas by putting his name on the treatment plant below Horseshoe Curve. Please see A8 DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 346-7480 or (800) 287-4460 BKJFOUR ii; 9 (6) "5 I Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Partly sunny, Forecast, A2 Mirror ooooo DOOOOOO Bucks GLOCM. Business Movies Obituaries Opinion JTJ SPORTS Local Scoreboard I NATION INSIDE A9 AS AH A6 B4 B5 Classifieds C2-12 Comics D5 Community news D2 Puzzles D4 Television D4 IN NATION The lesbian partner ola woman mauled to dealh by dogs in San Francisco won a surprising victory. Friday when a judge said her wrongful-deaHi suil could proceed to trial. PAGE C1