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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - August 13, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania INSIDE TODAY NASCAR; Gordon wins on road track again Bl 'CONTEST: Test your NASCAR .knowledge B3 The last dance Copyright 2001 MONDAY, AUGUST 13, 2001 newsstand LOCAL FIGURES .'A snapshot look at state prison populations: Penhsylvania'2000 ...Pennsylvania 1999 Change Local state prison populations (as of February 'Cressbh: Houtzdale Huntingdon 1.741 Source; U.S. Department ol Justice, Mirror fites Inmate overflow easing at state prisons IlV FOX nuTTEHFlEI D New York Times.News Service The number of inmates in state prisons fell in the second half of last year, the first such decline since the United States' prison boom began in 1972, says a Justice Department report released Sunday. The decline was modest, a drop of inmates in slate prisons in the last, six months of 2000, or 0.5 percent of the total, the report said. But it comes after the number of state prisoners rose 500 percent over the last three decades, growing each year in the 1990s as crime dropped. The total number of people incarcerated in state and federal pris- ons, local jails and juvenile detention cen- ters was at the enfl of 2000, the report said. "I think it is a very significant develop- said Alfred Blumstein, a professor of criminology'at Carnegie Mellon University and one of the nation's most respected experts on prisons. "It is really the first change in direction in 30 years in the march toward incarceration." Inmate population in Pennsylvania prisons nudged upward last year by less than a per- cent. There were inmates in state institutions at year's end, up from to start the year. There are four state prisons in the region in Cresson, Houtzdale, Huntingdon and Smithfield. Experts attributed the drop to several fac- tors: the continuing decline in crime, which began in 1992; new attitudes about offering drug offenders treatment instead of locking them up; and a greater willingness by parole officers to help parolees instead of sending them back to prison for minor infractions. "If this trend continues, it could be a real change in the most important vector that has bech driving the American criminal jus- tice system for 30 said Franklin Zimring, a professor of law at the University of California at Berkeley. Please see A4 U.S. CENSUS Mirror pholo by Gary M. Qaranec A group of Meiinonites work in the fields in the Morrisons Cove area of Blair County. Tracking Pa. Dutch is no easy task BY LINDA HUDKINS For the Mirror Drivers in the rural areas of Blair and Cambria counties will notice yellow road signs bearing a silhouette of a horse and carriage a warning to slow down for the "plain people" traveling slowly in horse-drawn carriages. Some are Ainish, some are Old Order Mennonite, hut all are descended from German-speaking people who came to the United States in the 1700s, according to Wesley Newswanger, director of the Mennonite Information Center near Lancaster. "The early settlers here in Pennsylvania considered themselves Pennsylvania or moVe commonly, Pennsylvania Dutch, Newswanger said. A recent survey of households by the U.S. Census Bureau shows about people across the country have ties to the An expert estimates there are Amish and Mennonites in Pennsylvania. Census draws stark contrasts in black and white in two Mich, cities PAQE C1 Pennsylvania Dutch. The group remains centered in Pennsylvania, particularly the counties of Lancaster, Lehigh, Berks, Lebanon and York. The Census survey shows that less than 2 percent of Pennsylvania's 12 million resi- dents that's about people claim Pennsylvania Dutch as their first or second line of ancestry. "Two percent is said Steve Scott of the Galen Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College. "Not everybody of Pennsylvania Dutch back- ground responded." Scott, who wrote the book "An Introduction to Old Order and Conservative estimates that Amish live in the state and more than Old Order or "horse and buggy" Mennonites still call the Keystone State home. The lines that define exactly who is Pennsylvania Dutch have blurred with pass- ing time, Scott said. Some Germans, also proud of ancestral roots and willing to call themselves Pennsylvania Dutch, came later to America in the 18th and 19th centuries, while other true Pennsylvania Deutsch left, their sects and were assimilated into the main- stream through generations of marriages. Old Order Mennonites settled in the Martinsburg area spanning Blair and Bedford counties as recently as 1967, Scott said. Please see A4 Antis officials tout manager's management Bill Hughes A return on Antis investment? BY WAI.T FRANK Staff Writer BELLWOOD The Antis Township supervisors who spearheaded the push to hire a township manager last year are praising the early work of the man they hired. Township Manager William Hughes has been on the job for less than 10 months but has saved the township about in one-rime revenues and savings, said Supervisor Robert Wigman, who led the push to bring in a manager. The total could reach as high as through grants and other say- ings and cost-cutting measures, supervi- sors said. "The township manager has done a wonderful job. What he has saved the township is Vice Chair- man Leo Matuszewski said. "I think we did well by bringing BUI on board. Just look at the money coming into the town- ship, and there is more coming in." "We are very impressed with his per- formance, our manager is doing an excel- lent Chairman Robert Walker said. Please see A4 2 wheel fata Is rise in 2000 Increase in serious motorcycle accidents mirrors spike in sales. BY TIFFANY SHAW Staff Writer. Local motorcyclists are part of a statewide trend of steadily rising numbers of crashes and fatalities. According to PennDOT statis- tics, was a spike last year in the number of motorcycle-related fatalities each year in Pennsylvania. PennDOT figures show motorcycle fatalities rose by 35 percent last year to 150. Fatalities in Blair and five sur- rounding counties showed a slight increase in fatalities, from seven in 1999 to eight in 2000. But there was a greater increase' in crashes from 134 in 1999 to 170 in 2000. The trend of increasing motorcy- cle crashes was evident across the state, according to PennDOT. Accidents rose from in 1996 to in 1999 to last year. Officials at the National High- way Traffic Safety Administration commissioned a study last year to track fatalities nationwide. The results, published in June, showed motorcycle deaths actually decreas- ed from 1993 to a low of in 1997. Then the numbers began to climb again, with deaths nationwide in 1998 and in 1999. As the number of crashes "has increased, hospitals have started tracking patients who were injured in motorcycle crashes and what kind of injuries they suf- fered. Jay Knarr, a spokesman for Bpn Secours-Holy Family Hospital, said information is taken from every patient admitted to the hos- pital to find how they were injured. Crash victims are noted, he said. Debbie Stroup, a trauma nurse coordinator at UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh, said the medical staff began noticing a surge in acci- dents two years ago. Stroup and her staff began to keep records, and the numbers bore out what they suspected. "They were really kind of amaz- ing to Stroup said. "We've seen a 70 percent increase [in patients from] motorcycle crashes from 1999 to the present." One possible explanation is that Wrecks'n effects A look al lolal motorcycle crashes and fatalities from those crashes in 1999 and 2000: I Toial 40 Huntingdon Statewide 1999: tolal, 111 fatal 2000: total, 150 fatal Source- PennDOT Mirror graphic by Tom Worlhinglon II there are more motorcycles on the road. In Pennsylvania, the number of registered motorcycles has risen from in 199H to last year. Longtime riders say that not only are there more motorcycles, but there may be more inexperi- enced riders on the road. Donna Sanford of Spirit Harley-Davidson in Shaler said many new riders underestimate the skill required to handle motorcycles, particularly large American-made bikes such as the Harley-Davidson.- "They think you can stop on a she said. "But you can't. You don't have that control. It's a massive vehicle." She said the makeup of the biking crowd has changed, especially on expensive Harley-Davidsons. 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