Monday, September 3, 2001

Altoona Mirror

Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - September 3, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania INSIDE TODAY CONTEST: Test your smarts and win cash B3 SPORTSi Ward Burton wins Southern 500 11 www.senors.com connect online Copyright 2001 MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2001 500 newsstand Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec Rodger Kyle of Greenwood delivers mail along his postal route on Third Street in Juniala. Local and state officials announced an additional 75 jobs at Veeder-Root Friday as bad news came that 265 workers at Westvaco Corp. would lose their jobs. Region suffers labor pains Ripple effects of massive job losses expected. Economic officials plot a long-term recovery. BY CRAIG WILLIAMS StaffWriter Talk about bitter irony. Local and state officials were prepared to roll out some good news this Labor Day weekend to Blair Countians beleaguered by a series of economic body shots. Veeder-Root, the equipment manufacturer, would be adding 75 good-paying jobs at its Allegheny Township plant. The press conference trumpeting goad news was still going on Friday morning when 265 workers at the Westvaco Corp. paper mill in Tyrone were learning they would be unemployed when the small-town institution shuts down for good by the end of October. Ouch. For the past few years, area economic development officials have tried to brace the region for an inevitable shift from a manufacturing to a service economy. No one ever said it would be an easy transition. Those same officials worked with plant owners to create dozens of jobs, only to see their work overshadowed by the job exodus that has rocked Blair and surrounding counties during the past 18 months. "These all were pretty good paying said Martin Marasco, executive director of the Altoona Blair County Development Corp. Please see A6 lonlirrned job losses for this year: Month Company____________ I No. Jan. March March March March April April April June July July, Aug. Aug. Aug. Oct. F.L Smifhe, C-COR.net, Tipton New Pig Corp., Tipton Laurel Crest Rehab. Ebensburg I luck Altoona F.L. Smilhe. Duncansville Small lube, Altoona New Enterprise Stone Lime, New Enterprise JLG, Bedford SKF Industries, Altoona Carol Ann Fashions, Hastings Ames, Fbensbiifg Buiterick, Atloona Westvaco, Tyrone Norfolk Southern Car Shop, Hollidaysburg 19 490 71 42 10 30 30 265 29 54 33 250 265 320 Type Permanent layoff Plant closed Fconomic layoff Budget cuts Plant closed Permanent layoff Economic layoff Economic layoff Plant closed Fconomic layoff Plant closed Store closed Plant closed Plant closed Plant to be closed pending federal appeal Wore: Economic Isyoffs are due lo a economy and can be temporary lo permanent furloughs resulting in a reduction of lypicaiiy 10 ot the overalt work farce. Mirror graphic by Tom Worthington I SPEEDWAY DEATH Charges will not be filed Bv WILLIAM KIBLER Staff Writer CLEARFIELD There will be no criminal charges filed in the death of a flagman's spotter last month at Central Pennsylvania Speedway because no criminal intent was found, investi- gators said. Ron Williams of Orient, Ohio, driver of the car that hit Frederick Pscholka, 20, was travel- ing near the inside edge of the track trying to work toward the outside when the car sud- denly darted back down, Lawrence Township police Officer Jeff Fink said. Williams was blinded by the sun momentar- ily and didn't see Pscholka, Fink said. The car was going 30 or 40 mph, speedway! race promoter Craig Wilson said. Experts checked various parts of the car's steering mechanism and found nothing that would account for the car going out of control. don't know why the car reacted like it Wilson said. Because the accident didn't happen on a pub- lic roadway, Fink will not conduct a crash reconstruction. Deputy Coroner Mary Jo Steinkamp said her investigation is finished but not her report. Witnesses who may have information to add to her report may call 765-1533, but she doesn't expect her conclusions about the accident to change. Pscholka was hit on a pit road about 3 feet inside the edge line of the track as he was walk- ing back toward the infield, according to a digi- tal photograph given to authorities. The impact spun Pscholka around and sent him from the back to the front of the car, Steinkamp said. The question of whether Pscholka was out of his designated position as a spotter remains a point of contention. Two witnesses who spoke to investigators after the accident said Pscholka was in proper position, but Wilson insisted that he wasn't. Pscholka shouldn't have been at the edge of the track near Turn 3 during sprint car warmups that night he should have been more than 40 feet away at his station, atop a mound that is protected by a railing, Wilson said. At other tracks, corner flagmen such as Pscholka occasionally may go to the side of the track to interact with drivers but Wilson doesn't permit that at his track. Only the main flagman may go to the side of the track to get cars in proper order or deliver a message to a driver who's not responding to a flag, Wilson said. The two witnesses both spectators said Pscholka was supposed to come to the edge of the track during warmups to hold a yellow cau- tion flag, so drivers would know not to come up to full speed, Steinkamp said. But Wilson said Pscholka's main job was to be at his station, spot trouble on the backstretch such as oil on the track, radio the news to the flagman and, if necessary, hold up the appropri- ate-color flag on the main flagman's orders. Please see A3 State tries to understand drop in food stamp participation By JEANETTE KREBS capitolivire.com Oielast four years, low-income families have dwindled from the rolls of Pennsyl- vania's food stamp program. The state has been puzzled by the sharp decline in enrollment, espe- cially because those who are leavi ng welfare in large numbers usually can continue to receive food stamps. Other states experienced a decline in the same period, but many are seeing their food stamp participa- tion leveling off or beginning to increase again. That is not the case in Pennsylvania. Next month, the state Public Welfare Department will announce a million program to provide funding for community groups to dp outreach to families who are eli- gible for food stamps. Please see A3 Ex-dancer gets 24 years in prison BY Pun, RAY Staff Writer HOLLIDAYSBURG A former exotic dancer was sentenced Friday to two to four years in a state correc- tional institution for selling cocaine to an undercover police officer. Blair County Judge Jolene G. Kopriva rejected the contention by Sandra Martz's attorney that she was a pawn in a drug dealing oper- ation run by Brett Davis, 27, of Altoona, who died of a heroin over- Judge upholds citation against The Palace PAQE A8 dose in August. "Brett Davis was the dealer. The money went lo said attor- ney J. Kirk Kling of Altoona, who asked the judge to sentence Martz to a year in prison. Kling argued that Martz has mental health problems and is addicted to drugs and alcohol. "She was susceptible to abuse like he said. Kopriva said she knows people who suffer bipolar disorder, which Martz has, but those people are not drug dealers or drug addicts. In Martz's June trial, police testi- fied she helped set up drug deals between the undercover officer and Davis. Martz was charged with dis- tributing 5.1 grams of cocaine to an undercover officer Dec. Please see A8 Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 237-4480 BMFQUR Lottery numbers, A2 Mostly sunny, Forecast, A2 Y pqbQo.qo Bucks O LOCAL Business Movies Obituaries Opinion IF L NATION NFL note book Scoreboard AS j Classifieds C2-10 A6 A7 I mure A4 ,i B4 B5 Comics D5 Community news D2 Puzzles D4 Television' D4