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Altoona Mirror: Thursday, September 27, 2001 - Page 1

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   Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - September 27, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania                                INSIDE TODAY SPORTS: Offensive line woes continue for Penn State Bl WORLD: U.S. asks NATO allies to help collect info Cl Altunna Copyright 2001 THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2001 500 newsstand" WAR ON TERRORISM COVERAGE: PAGES A7, A13, Cl, C5 Mirror photos by Kelly Bennett Barbara Ann Roswurm of Altoona had some of the most patriotic pants Wednesday evening at the Bellwood Community Parade in Bellwood. A rally was held at Bellwood-AntisjHigh School after the parade. Josh Miller of the Logan Township United Fire Department (shown below) helps hang Old Glory on the fire ladder arch at the end of the parade route. 10 arrested in obtaining hazardous license illegally Pittsburgh examiner provided permits those charged, despite them being ineligible. m rBv KAREN GULLO Press Writer lASHTNGTON Law enforce- I merit authorities arrested 10 I Middle Eastern men in three states Wednesday on charges of 'fraudulently obtaining licenses to hazardous materials. The arrests were made In connection with die terrorist attacks investiga- ,.The arrests in Missouri, Michigan ;and Washington state followed FBI 'warnings that terrorists may strike next using chemical or biological '.Weapons. Authorities said as many >as 20 people who had the bogus per- ynits some of whom may have con- fections to the 19 hijackers involved .in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have heen charged but may not be linked to the attacks. FBI affidavits for the 10 arrested .said a total of 18 people from seven states falsely obtained licenses in Pennsylvania to haul hazardous materials between July 1993 and February 2000. It's too early to tell whether any of those arrested Wednesday are con- nected to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Justice Department spokeswoman Susan Dryden said. Those arrested got the licenses from the slate of Pennsylvania, where a driver's license examiner in Pittsburgh provided permits to peo- ple who didn't take the required tests, had suspended licenses or were otherwise not eligible, according to court records. Please see A13 Altoona Hospital cuts 90 BY WILLIAM KIQLER Staff Writer Altoona Hospital is laying off the equivalent of 90 full-time employees to help make ends meet after an audit showed unexpectedly high operating losses of million for last fiscal year. The operating loss is twice that of the previous fiscal year and mil- lion worse than projected in June, when hospital officials were opti- mistic things had stabilized after three bad quarters. At that time, the hospital budget- ed 40 additional employees for the current fiscal year, but then an audit found the additional losses in sorting year-end accounts. With finances no better, the hospital will cut payroll to The staff cuts will be wide-rang- ing and will include union and non-union workers, management and rank-and-file employees. The cuts are part of a million package of savings moves and rev- enue enhancements to balance the current budget, at least for now, Chief Executive Officer Jim Earner said Wednesday. Barncr claims the job cuts will not sacrifice service, response times or patient convenience. Despite cost management that kept hospital Inflation at 1 percent during the last fiscal year, the hos- pital is losing money on operations because of low reimbursements from Medicare, Medicaid and man- aged care, fewer patients and the high cost of paying for scarce reg- istered nurses. There's no guarantee those prob- lems won't get worse, Barner said. But for now, the staff is the right size, he said. The average daily census is 144, while the hospital is licensed for 354 beds. Although Barner said an ongoing expansion of the emergency ment didn't have a significant impact on the job cuts, the hospital lias spent million on it Officials expect the department to get formal recognition Monday as a trauma center, but the business plan doesn't predict it will make money for three years. Please see A12 City asks mill suit be tossed BY WILLIAM KIBLKK Staff Writer Residents suing the city for allegedly diverting million in recreation tax lacks standing to sue, missed early deadlines for action, threaten damage to the city if they win and have a technically flawed complaint, the city states in court papers filed this week. The city is asking the Blair County Court of Common Pleas to throw out the suit filed recently by former city controller Stu Duncan and former city Recreation Commission chair- man Bill Schirf. "It's totally lacking in merit, friv- olous and states the response submitted Tuesday by the city's attorney in the case, Joel Kormanski of Lakemont Duncan and Schirf claim that by raising recreation taxes to 4.13 mills in J9ff7and using some of that money to augment the general fund, the city exceeded the absolute 30-mHl general real estate tax limit for third-class cities by varying amounts since. It's a scheme to circumvent the general mUlage cap, Duncan and Schirf say. The suit asks the court to force the city to stop diverting the millage and any other "appropriate" relief. Duncan and Schirf have no standing to sue because they aren't personally aggrieved by the alleged illegal diversion, the city argued. They fail even to identify themselves as taxpayers although if they had, it wouldn't be enough for standing in the suit, the city states. The complainants failed to meet the deadlines for legitimately chal- lenging the diversion of money, the city states. They should have appealed under either of two sec- tions of the law that allow 30 days after approval of the tax plan or another section that allows 60 days. Please see A8 Restricting eliminates four districts, shuffles townships BY, ROBERT IGOE 'staffWrtter j-jFor a day, Menno Township became one of the most important communities in Blair County. a feat since it's hi Mifflin -County. The township will remain in Mifflin County, of course, but State Senate President Pro Tern Robert C. Jubelirer, R-Blair, and state Rep. Larry 0. Sather, R- Huntingdon, have gained the sec- ond class township as part of the redistricting of senate and legisla- tive districts as the result of Census 2000. While the addition of Menno Township is the only change for Jubelirer, who retains Bedford, Please see All MURDER PLOT CHARGES DA to request court review decision BY PHIL RAY StaffWriter The Blair County district attor- ney says he will ask the state Superior Court to reconsider a recent decision that conflicts with its own previous order. Two Altoona women charged with plotting murder in 1999 face dramat- ically different fates because of the contrary Pennsylvania Superior Court decisions. The Superior Court in March reinstated charges of criminal, solicitation and conspiracy to com- mit criminal homicide against 31- year-old Susan G. Chaplin. Her attorney, Steven Passarello, appealed the Superior Court deci- sion to the Supreme Court, but the state's highest court refused to hear further argument just more than .a week ago. This means Chaplin returned to the Blair County criminal court trial list in preparation for Jury selection. Please see A14 Subscription or home delivery questions: or (BOO) 287-4480 Lottery numbers, A2 Mostly cloudy, Forecast, A2 I The Area's Very Best Award Winning Fine Dining! ITALIAN VILLA Hlgh_schopJ_football_B4 Scoreboard B6 D3 D4 OZ Up and Coming D6 IN BUSINESS Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, in a 4-0 vote, gives Verizon Communications Inc. final approval to sell long- distance services in the slate.- PAGEAS V'   

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