Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - September 8, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Penn Cambria vs. Richlan Altnona iHtrror Copyright 2001 SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2001 500 newsstand A frenzied Friday in county seat Prison fire evacuates inmates from restricted area at Blair County Prison. BY PHIL RAY AND KAY STEPHENS Staff Writers HOLUDAYSBURG The construc- tion that makes it difficult to escape from jail made it tough to fight a fire Friday at Blah- County Prison. Prison staff evacuated 250 orange-dad inmates about 10a.m. after a fire started in the wall of the prison's restricted housing unit on the third floor of the 116-year-old section. Another lire and oil spill keep crews hopping PACE AS Nobody was injured, and there were no problems with the inmates, who were moved to the prison laundry build- ing, the fenced-in area around it and exercise area for about two hours. Firefighters were permitted into the prison after the evacuation. Hollidays- burg fireman Kelly Leydig said the fire was found behind the steel wall of a cell in the restricted unit The fire, which produced a large amount of smoke, was between the steel wall and the original stone wall. Dust and debris from Inmates of past generations is probably what caught on fire, Leydig said, although no one knew. A cutting torch was used to get through the steel wall, he said. Please see A6 Mirror photo by Jason Sipes Inmates were evacuated from the Blair County Prison Friday after a minor fire. KEYSTONE COUNTRY FESTIVAL Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec Darlene Stewart of Duncansville looks at a window painting Friday the Keystone Country Festival at Lakemont Park. Inspiring loyalty through time Festival draws repeat and new vendors, customers BY-MARK LEBBHFINGUK For The Mirror For an event like the Hoss's Keystone Country Festival to last for 28 years, it must inspire loyalty. Apparently it does. More than 300 vendors from across the United States are at Lakemont Park this weekend for the annual event. One of those vendors is longtime festival veteran Bob Reynolds of Lancaster, who with his wife sells bells and other crafts. Reynolds has been at the festival for almost 10 years, and his wife was com- ing before then. "The main thing that keeps me coming back is the [Allegheny Mountains Convention and Visitors Bureau] running the Reynolds said Friday. "You couldn't ask for a better group of people to work with." Reynolds said he has many people come back every year for his bells. He features brass and plat- ed bells in a variety of styles, including 18th Century-style strap bells like those seen on the Budweiser Clydesdales. "This is not an impulse Reynolds said of his bells. "I don't sell bells. I show the bells, and the bells sell themselves." Linda Heinbach of Linda's Crafts; Hershey, has been a five-year vendor at the festival. She said the guests each year are "very friendly." She also appreciates that they are shoppers, not just lookers. "And that's what she said. Heinbach, who sells snowmen and bears, rates the Keystone Country Festival as one of the top fes- tivals she participates in each year, But loyal vendors arc only one side of the equa- tion. A good festival also needs good guests. Good guests include many first-timers such as Sharon and Dick Lope of Clearfield, who heard about the festival through its advertising campaign. Please see A6 EVENTS Today Noon and 5 p.m. Big German Band 2 and 4 p.m. Vicksburg Quartet Reunion 6 p.m.........Dusk 'Til Dawn All day Petting Zoo and Blair County Antique Auto Club Hot Rods Sunday 8 a.m. Moss's Run For Your Lungs 11 a.m. Gospel Brunch 1 and 3 p.m. Big German Band 2 p.m. Crystal Marie 6 p.m. Morgan All day Petting Zoo and Blair County Antique Auto Club Hot Rods Peoples fined over explosion Gas company also agrees to pay for more employee training in tentative settlement with PUC over 1999 pizza shop blast in Lakemont. From Mirror staff reports The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission approved a tentative settlement with Peoples Natural Gas Co. Friday over the 1998 Lakemont gas explosion that destroyed 12 buildings and damaged 51 other's. Under the terms of the settlement, Peoples will: pay a civil settlement of for violating state and federal gas safety regulations; conduct additional training for for its employees who provide turn-off and turn-on procedures and connecting service line procedures. The training will include a review of pipeline safety regulations; pay for all settlement costs, which cannot be recovered in the costs of any future rate ch anges. On Dec. a Peoples employee turned on the gas to the vacant Boardwalk Pizzeria building, 320 Logan Blvd., where a new business operation was about to begin. The employee also conducted routine gas tests at the site. The following day, Peoples investigated a gas odor complaint from next door, hut it found no indications of a leak and left the property without contacting the occupants. Early Dec. 10, an explosion at the pizzeria destroyed seven homes and five businesses and damaged 51 buildings. No one was injured seri- ously. The explosion occurred when an electric heater in the pizzeria The PUC reduced the amount of the settlement by the company spent that much on the training, Elmore Lockley said. building ignited gas in the air that had poured out of an uncapped pipe in the kitchen. A workman cut the pipe andstuffed a rag in it when the pizzeria operation moved out months earlier. The settlement is fair, said Elmore Lockley, a spokesman for the company, known as Dominion Peoples Gas. He said the settlement reflects the company's prompt response to community needs and its "immedi- ate, thorough and voluntary initia- tive." The initiative included extensive training and retraining of workers and community support, including economic development work, corpo- rate giving and partnerships with nonprofit and community groups, Lockley said. The PUC reduced the amount of the settlement by because the company spent that much on the training, Lockley said. Please see A5 Motorcycle club riders quietly promote image BY KAY STEPHENS Staff Writer I.Some of the Gold Wing Road Riders wear black leather vests and jackets. But they're a far cry from Hell's Angels. ..-'.'So many people want to stereo- type said Gary Diller of Cabot, Butler County. "We're try ing to pro- mote our image quietly. Most of us are in our 40s and up, and you can hear our stereos instead of our motorcycles." Since Thursday night, members of the Gold Wing Road Riders on brightly colored touring motorcy- cles that cost as much or more than Please see AS Altoona man upset with charges, system BY Pun, RAY Staff Writer An Altoona man is upset with the justice sys- tem because he was charged earlier this year by city police when he used a gun to protect his fam- ily from an armed intruder, he says. Charles Bellon, 22, was in court Friday to be sentenced for shooting at a man he said tried to force his way into his home on the 2100 Mock of Washington Avenue. It was a blistering cold Sunday night, Jan. 21, when Bellon heard a knock at his door. He looked Bellon out and saw a man who said he had just wrecked his car. When Bellon opened the door to his apartment, another man brandishing a silver-colored handgun and wearing a ski mask Iried to force his way into the residence, Bellon said. Bellon said he struggled with the intruder and ripped off the ski mask. As the man ran away, Bellon got a gun and began shooting at him. In the follow-up investigation by city police, Bellon was charged with recklessly endangering another person and firing a handgun within city limits because one of his bullets went through a neighbor's window. The man accused of trying to break in to Bellon's home, Devon N. Rochester, 26, of Altoona pleaded guilty to the summary offense of criminal trespass before District Justice Joseph Moran. Bellon let his anger be known at the disparate charges Friday when he appeared before Judge Jolene G. Kopriva, entering no contest pleas to Please see A5 Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 L "_ WO FOUR (9, 6 Lottery numbers, A2 L _ Partly sunny, 83" Forecast, A2 Altoona Mirror 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 Busjness Moyies_ Obituaries Opinion P H.S. football Scoreboard i A9 A7 All AS B1-4 US Classilieds C2-12 JJEJ UR Comics_____ OS C pm m unity n ews D2 Puzzles D4 television D4 INSIDE Filth-grade students put quilt together with trie sig- natures of all 50 gover- nors. See Spotlight on Huntingdon County, Page A4.