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Altoona Mirror Newspaper Archive: August 31, 2001 - Page 1

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Publication: Altoona Mirror

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   Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - August 31, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania                                Miami at Penn State 8 p.m., ABC Line: Miami by 14 I Avoid an early blowout I Protect Senneca like Fort Knox I Establish run, spring a kick return Senneoa will get trial by fire at QB I Ructel: Don't count out Paterno I Beano Cook: Gators on title track Becoming sunny High: 72 Low: 48 Altoona Ultrror Copyright 2001 FRIDAY, AUGUST 31, 2001 500 newsstand Creatine popular among teens By JOHN HAHTSOCK Mirror Sports Staff During.a week when many teen- agers are preparing for their first fall sports contest, a health insur- er's survey concludes about 1 mil- lion young people in the United States ages 12 through 17 havye taken performance-enhancing sports supplements. The survey results, released ear- lier this week by the Blue Cross- Blue Shield Association, are based on random telephone surveys with 785 youths last month. The most popular substance used by participants was creatliie, a legal, widely available ammo acid- based, strength-training supple- ment for athletes. Creatine, which .is present in small quantities in many foods such as red meat, is marketed in powder and liquid forms but recently has been added as an ingredient in perfonnance- enhancing cookies and candy. Creatine works by improving muscle function and volume, often resulting in a 10 percent to 20 per- cent gain in strength. It was cited by about half the youths who said they had used supplements. Creatine can cause short-term cramping and diarrhea, especially if used incorrectly. Less is known about long-term use of the supplement, which came in vogue in the past five years. Some scientists link creatine to muscle injuries and kidney prob- .lems, but others contend there are no long-term risks. With the 2001 area high school football season set to kick off tonight, teams and individual play- ers are striving for the competitive edge. But most coaches surveyed by the Mirror said they do not push the use of creatine among their players to gain that edge. Every coach was adamantly opposed to the use of anabolic steroids, drugs that improve muscle function and dramatically improve recovery after intense exercise. coach Jolin Franco, who has directed the Golden Eagles to two Class AA state championship games and one Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Assoc- iation title, takes his stand against performance-enhancing supple- ments such as creatine a step fur- ther. Please see A6 CHEER FEAR Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec Bishop Guilfoyle High School cheerleader Monica Steckroth, 16, performs a pike toss Thursday at Building II Rec Hall. Local coaches flip over ruling BY LINDA HUDKINS For the Mirror Cheerleaders at Bishop Guilfoyle High School do a lot more than shake pom- poms at sporting events. They've competed on a national level, won a state championship and a few even have earned college scholarships. "At BG, it's treated as a head cheer- leading adviser Dana Berkheimer says. "We do a high level of difficulty." She and other area cheerleading coaches dis- agree with a ruling by an athletic oversight association in northeastern Pennsylvania that outlawed acrobatic cheers, including the bas- ket toss, cradle catch and the cheerleaders' tried and true pyramid. The Colonial League literally grounded cheerleaders in 14 school districts this year because of two injuries one of which required a thousand stitches to repair wounds on a cheerleader who fell on a spiked fence while doing a back flip. Cheerleaders within the Colonial League's jurisdiction are crying foul because it effec- tively takes them out of competition and out of the running for college scholarships. Please see AS Lawmakers want quick STB answer A decision on the fate of the Hollidaysburg Car Shop is expected at the end of September. BY ROBERT IGOE Staff Writer The Surface Transportation Board promises a September deci- sion concerning the fate of the Hollidaysburg Car Shop, but law- makers insist that is not soon enough. The STB, a three-member regula- tory agency of Congress, is ruling on whether Norfolk Southern Corp. can close the shop Oct. 1 as the com- pany has said it will do. State offi-. cials and several railroad unions claim the closing would violate promises the railroad made to win regulatory approval for its takeover of the Conrail system in 1999. STB chairwoman Linda Morgan is promising as fast a decision as possible. "I can say that we are well aware of the timing she said. "But we are actively pursuing this, and we will have a decision as soon before the Oct.l deadline as possible." U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-9th District, said that is not good enough. "I have been in contact with the STB repeatedly to try to push this date he said. "It is not fair to let these workers know at the end of [September] when we can let them know earlier. We need to get this decision sooner than that because our workers need to know what's going on." Shuster's staff also has been keeping a close eye on the process. "We're trying to get the timetable moved Shuster's press secretary Joe Terrana said. "If not, then the tuning of that deci- sion will negatively affect the workers. Norfolk Southern has set a deadline of Oct. 1. To get an answer from the STB any later than that is unacceptable." The railroad already has begun making plans for the closing, noti- fying some managers of transfer options. The railroad has promised the 380 workers at the shop they will be offered jobs elsewhere hi the Norfolk Southern system, but it hasn't offered specifics on many of those jobs. Norfolk Southern officials told federal officials recently that they won't have those specifics until 15 days before the NORFOLK SOUTHERN planned closing. Morgan said the board is aware of the timing and is fighting for a quick decision. "We definitely understand the pressure that both sides are she said. "I don' t feel the pressure, is on us any more than in any other cases, but we certainly understand the importance of this issue. We're putting just as much pressure on ourselves as anyone else is." While Shuster wants a fast deci- sion from the STB, U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said the board is not likely to move faster than it sees fit "They are a quasi-judicial he said. "When you deal with judicial agencies, they're pretty much on their own timetable. It's a very delicate situation in that if we try to pressure them into an earlier decision it could backfire. I wouldn't want to do anything precipitous. We expected a ruling some time ago." Specter did, however, say that he, like Shuster, would be willing to write letters to the STB encouraging them to come to quicken the pace. Terrana said Shuster has been lobbying the STB, to little avail. "We can't really do much beyond lobbying the STB with phone calls k and letters and letting them know our constituents are Terrana said. "They are there to make a decision and.weigh the evi- dence, but we have been in con- stant contact with them and relay- ing the gravity of the situation." G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Millers ville University said the petitioning may do some, good in the end. "As a rule of thumb, if it's a pri- vate sector decision, political forces are less likely to have as much influence on them as they are on a government board or he said. "But it can be an exception if it concerns an issue or a ruling which generates popular concern such as this decision." Jail sentence reduced for dealer BY PHIL RAY Staff Writer A Blair County judge Thursday reduced the jail sentence imposed on a city man earlier this month after learning his original sen- tence greatly exceeded the state's sentencing guidelines. Judge Jolene G. Kopriva was on vacation in early August when she learned Michael John Flaherty, 46, of the 900 block of 17th Avenue vio- lated provisions of the county- sponsored drug and alcohol treat- ment Intermediate Punishment Program. Flaherty was taken into custody Judge Jolene G. Kopriva lessened the prison time after learning it exceeded stale guidelines. at Altoona Hospital, where he had been treated for a liver ailment, and was brought to the Blair County Courthouse for sentencing. Kopriva sent him to a state prison for five to 10 years. Deputies that day took Flaherty to the state facility at Camp Hill to begin serving his time. On Thursday, deputies returned Flaherty to Blair County for a new hearing. His attorney, Brian H. Grabill of Altoona, learned Kopriva had gone well beyond the state's guidelines after Flaherty was sentenced for two drug sales. He said the guidelines in Flaherty's case recommended a minimum sentence of nine to 16 months on each of the charges against him, or no more than a 36- month minimum. Flaherty received a 60-month minimum sentence from the judge. Please see A10 Seat belt use rising; children's deaths from air bags down BY NEDIU PICKLEU The Associated Press WASHINGTON More people than ever are wearing seat belts, and fewer children are being killed by air bags, the government says in fresh evidence that a decadeslong focus on auto safety is paying off. Automakers are building safer vehicles, but experts said behav- ior is the big reason for reduced highway fatalities. "The most crashworthy vehicle, the most well-designed car in the world is not going to help you in many situations unless you take the personal responsibility to help the vehicle help National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Jeffrey Runge said. NUTS A released data Thursday showing 73 percent of people observed in the front seat of vehi- cles around the country this sum- mer were wearing seat belts the highest since the agency began keeping statistics seven years ago, when 58 percent wore seat belts. Experts said more seat belt use, along with tougher laws and improvements in highway and autosafety.arepartofachangein the culture of road travel that emphasizes safety and Is responsi- ble for a huge drop in the highway death rate. Last year, there were fatalities, or 1.6 deaths per million miles traveled. Please see A6 Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 Pi LOCAL Business Hospitals Obituaries Opinion IT A9 A1_3 Local_____ Scoreboard AS B4 Movies C4 Classifieds CS-14 Comics DS Community news_ Puzzles______B4 Television D4   

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