Friday, October 19, 2001

Altoona Mirror

Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - October 19, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania PENN STATE GAMEDAY: COMMENTARY FROM NEIL RUDEL, BEANO COOK FREE INSIDE Bop-it-jfourself costume wsgtmi W3 Getting herkicks kicker makes Ultmir Copyright 2001 FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2001 500 newsstand Gas prices dropping across area BY LINDA HUDK.INS For the Mirror In this season of bad news, gaso- line prices may be the brightest spot on the horizon. "We are said Jan Mai-tin, general manager of Martin Oil Co., which operates Martin General Stores. "We thought lei- sure that with all the turmoil nationally, the prices would go up." The pump price for regular unleaded at the store at Sixth Avenue and Seventh Street rang up" at per. gallon Thursday, keeping pace with most competi- tive stations in the Altoona area. The prices oh gasoline station billboards across the region have continued to drop in recent weeks. Prices'should continue downward through the end of the year, according to the Energy Information Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Energy. Martin said prices could remain soft. "Demand is just for gasoline, but for other products. Jet fuel, for example, is not being consumed like it she said. The demand for gasoline always drops when summer and the accompanying travel season give way to winter's stay-at-home time, Martin said. When demand drops, prices follow, she said. The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Somerset County resulted in a reduction in the number of flights by airlines, and that resulted in a 20 percent drop in demand. Mai-tin and the Energy Information Administration said the cut in pro- duction of jet fuel means more crude oil will he refined into gaso- line. At the beginning of this week, the national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was per gallon, down 4.3 cents from the previous week and down .23 cents from a year ago. Please see A4 Mirror photo by Gary M. Daranec Bill Chestney of Juniata fills his car's gas tank at the BP sta- tion Thursday. Gas prices dipped to per gallon on Plank Road and could drop to per gallon. More anthrax cases verified MORE WAR ON TERRORISM COVERAGE A10.A1 2, B6.C1.C2 <tj_ reward offered The Associated Press An FBI agent walks in biohazard gear outside the American Media Inc. building Thursday in Boca Raton, Fia. A preliminary match was made between anthrax found at the tabloid newspaper publisher where one man died from contamination and another is hospitalized and anthrax sent to NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw. Altoona native helps relieve burns of Pentagon attack victims BY JON FLECK For tile Mirror Christy Montgomery and Laura Mandes have a difficult job under normal circumstances. The ter- rorist attack on the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., has made it harder. Montgomery, an Altoona native, and Mandes, formerly of Ebensburg, work as nurses in the Washington Hospital Center burn unit, caring for the worst burn victims in the nation's capital and surrounding area. Montgomery was in the middle of routine burn care when news of a plane striking the U.S. mili- tary nerve center reached the hospital. "Thehospital'sabout five miles from the she said. "We could see the smoke com- ing from the building. We thought they were going blow the whole city up." The Washington Hospital Center received the hulk of the victims. The seven worst burn victims were sent to the 10-bed burn unit All seven suffered from second- and third-degree bums over GO percent of their bodies. "It's a very stressful, 'emotional situation. Everyone cries everyday. Family, nurses, every- Montgomery said. One of the patients has died. The others are critical. "They have a long recovery ahead of Montgomery said. "They'll be in the hospital for at least three months and then face years of rehab." Please see A12 BY DAVID Esro The Associated Press WASHINGTON A CBS employee who opens Dan Father's mail and a postal worker in New Jersey were added Thursday to the troubling roster of Americans infected with anthrax. As many as three more people reported telltale skin lesions that may sig- nify additional cases. "Our labs are working around the clock to try and get said Dr. Julie Gcrberding of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disclosures brought the number of confirmed cases of anthrax nationwide to six since Oct. 4 and complicated the Bush administration's effort to reas- sure an anxious nation it was working aggressively to combat bioterrorism and other threats. "Our antennae are up for all conceivable said Tom Ridge, appointed the nation's first director of homeland secu- rity in the wake of Sept. 11 ter- rorist attacks that killed thou: sands in New York City and Washington, D.C. Standing by Ridge's side at a Hews conference, Surgeon General David Satcher said stockpiles of antibiotics are suf- ficient to respond to the anthrax threat, and Robert Mueller announced a million reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprits behind a spate of anthrax-tainted mail. Even apart from the new cases of anthrax, there was ample evi- dence of inconvenience, disloca- tion and perhaps worse as the government struggled against a lethal spore so tiny it is invisible to the human eye. Congressional activity largely was shut House offi- cially, the Senate in session, but its sprawling complex of three office buildings closed. Officials said they received laboratory results for hundreds of people but no additional reports of positive tests for an thrax exposure beyond the 31 disclosed Wednesday. Please see A12 Convention center adds former hospital spokesman to its staff By! KAY STEPHENS Steffi Writer Blair County Convention Center is making enough money to pay its bills, the director of the organization managing the facility said Thursday. With an eye on bringing in more business to the facility that opened five months ago, the Allegheny Mountains Convention and Visitors Bureau will add a third sales staffer, former Altoona Hospital spokesman Rick Reeves. Reeves recently lost I his job as director of I community relations 1 when Altoona Hospital cut the equivalent of 90 full-time positions. As I of Nov. i, the past pres- ident of the bureau's board of directors will become its deputy director of tourism and development. Executive Director Cheryl Ebersole said she wants Reeves to focus on attracting state and Ueeves national conventions. She also wants him to fill in for her when she cannot participate in events providing opportunities for the con- vention center to attract business. Reeves' new salary was not made public. He is employed by the bureau, a private, nonprofit agency contracted to manage and market the convention center on behalf of the Blair County Center and Sports Facility Authority, a public agency. Please see AS Wal-Mart center seeks tax relief BY BETH N. GRAY For trie Mirror BEDFORD Owners and opera- tors of five properties took their cases for tax relief a total of the Bedford County Tax Assessment Appeals Board Thurs- day, but it was the request from the Wal-Mart Distribution Center that drew the ire of a Bedford Township supervisor and consternation from board members. The county assessment office cal- culated Wal-Mart's market value at million for the square-foot warehouse and offices on 108 acres. Officials for Wal-Mart set its value at million. Wal-Mart says its market value in Snake Spring township is less than county calculations PAGE A4 Under the appraised value, Wal- Mart would pay in local real estate taxes this year. If the property value were reduced to million, the tax losses would be for Bedford Area School District, for Bedford County and Bedford Township, where the property lies. "I'm a little surprised we're here arguing this Supervisor Norman VanWhy told Wal-Mart representatives attorney Bert Goodman and appraiser Gary Heiland. "Several years ago, we negotiated this f tax The coiin- ty, the school district and the town- ship signed an inducement agree- ment Your [Wal-Mart's] taxes were figured, and you agreed. You're reneging on your agreement" The promises by local firms to provide munici- pal water and sewer service, road improvements, traffic signals', utilities, fire protection and con- struction permits if Wal-Mart located here also includes a W- year tax abatement plan under the Local Economic Rehabilitation Tax Assistance program. Please see A4 1 Subscription or home delivery questions: or (800) 287-4480 Mostly sunny, 62" Forecast, A2 credit approval required not available fof all terms. Chrysler Ptymouth leep 1549 Measant Valley Mwd. W-614T U' Business Movies _A9 _____ A5 Obituaries __ All Opinion AS Local____ ___B4 Scoreboard B5 Classifieds C4-12 Comics'_________D5 Community news D2 Puzzles_ _ __ JM Television D4 IN NATION A single case of smallpox would be an International emergency, triggering vaccinations for dozens close to trie patient, according lo a federal plan. PAGE C1