Altoona Mirror, December 29, 2001

Altoona Mirror

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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - December 29, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania TV MIRROR LISTINGS FOR NEXT WEEK'S PROGRAMS FREE INSIDE STATE: UPMC CONSIDERING SELLING INSURANCE SUBSIDIARY ► PAGE A6 Central vs. Williamsburg highlights busy schedule page Bl Which improvements add most value to your homeAltona mirror © Copyright 2001 SATURDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2001 SOC newsstand ■MHHCourt: Jubelirer can hold both jobs Jubelirer By Rorkrt loot: Staff Writer Robert C. Jubelirer has the state constitution’s blessing to serve as state Senate president pro tem and as lieutenant governor, Commonwealth Court ruled The court issued its ruling Friday in response to a lawsuit filed by state Rep. John Lawless, I) Montgomery. Lawless argued that Jubelirer’s succession to the state’s second-highest position represents a conli ict of interest and violates the separation of powers required under the Pennsylvania Constitution. “I feel quite vindicated,’’ said Jubelirer, R Blair. “I am verv appreciative of this opportunity to move on with my duties without this cloud hanging over me. It s unfortunate that this took so much taxpayer money to settle, but Lawless decided to be vindictive and file this suit." Jubelirer became lieutenant governor in October after former Gov. Tom Ridge resigned to accept a position as director of homeland security under President Bush Under the state constitution, then Lt. Gov Mark Schweiker became governor and Jubelirer became lieutenant governor. Senate legal counselors said because Jubelirer succeeded to the post and was not appointed or elected, he was able to hold both offices. In its o I majority opinion, the court reiterated that the constitution is clear in that it requires Jubelirer to step down from his Senate position only it In1 were to become governor. "We do not discount the genuine concerns raised in [Lawless’] brief," President Judge Joseph Doyle wrote. ‘‘Nonetheless, we believe that such arguments, in a situation where the constitutional provision is clear, are not for the courts, but rather are prop-erlv addressed to the < 'amoral Assembly Please see Jobs/Page A4THE ECONOMY 3 new reports raising hopes By JEANNIN!-: AVERSA The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Home sales climbed, orders for many big-ticket items posted gains and consumer confidence rebounded, the latest batch of economic data showed Friday. The reports raised hope that better days may be ahead for the ailing economy. New-home sales soared by 6.4 percent in November, the largest increase in almost a year, helped out by mild weather and low mortgage rates, the Commerce Department reported. Sales of previously owned homes rose by 0.6 percent in November to a rate of 5.21 million, setting the stage for a possible record year, the National Association of Realtors said in another report. Although a big drop in demand for military planes pushed down orders for costly manufactured goods last month by 4.8 percent, many other big-ticket items posted gains, another Commerce Department report showed. But in the most encouraging economic news of the day, consumer confidence rose sharply in December after three months of dramatic decline as the erosion of the economy and job market appeared to begin leveling off. The New York-based Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 93.7 this month from a revised 84.9 in November. Analysts were expecting a reading of 83. The index, based on a monthly survey of about 5,000 U.S. households, is watched closely because consumer confidence drives consumer spending, which accounts for about two-thirds of the nation's economic activity. All three reports raised hopes that the recession, which started in March, may be bottoming out. Virtually all of the weakness in orders for durable goods — items expected to last at least three years — in November came from a 57.9 percent drop in new orders for airplanes, mostly stemming from slackened demand for defense aircraft and parts, the government said. rn resident JA walks through newly fallen snow on 17th Street in Altoona Friday. While the area has had only a dusting of snow sofar, it is possible some heavy storms may hit this winter, a National Weather Service meteorologist says. Meanwhile, the recent cold spell has allowed area ski resorts to make snow and open their slopes. Please see stories I Page A11 BARRY BENDER CASE Mirror photo by Kelly Bennett State boa rd suspending doc’s license By Mark Lebkrhnger Staff Writer Embattled Tyrone physician Barry L. Bender has a new legal hurdle to overcome that could come before a Blair County court judge as early as Monday morning. The State Board of Medicine last week suspended Bender’s privilege to practice medicine in Pennsylvania. The suspension comes in the wake of criminal charges filed against die physician, who is affiliated with Tyrone Medical Associates. “On Dec. 18, 2001, the Pennsyl-    R.nrtpr vania State Board    oenaer of Medicine ordered the Temporary Suspension of Barry L. Bender, License No. MD-036965-L, of Tyrone, Blair County,” according to a statement issued Friday by the Pennsylvania Department of State. Defense attorney Thomas M. Dickey said he will file a request for an injunction in Blair County Court of Common Pleas to stop the suspension. “It’s all based on unfounded allegations,” Dickey said. “He has not been convicted of anything. You’re still innocent until proven guilty. “We believe this will cause him irreparable harm by suspending him for this period, even if it’s for a couple of weeks. If a jury acquits him, the harm and damage has already been done. "This suspension is based on what’s merely written on paper. They don’t know the witnesses. Nobody has evaluated them.” Bender, 57, of 1054 Pennsylvania Ave., Tyrone, received the suspension notice Dec. 24, Dickey said The suspension will last until at least a Jan. ll preliminary hearing before the State Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, which will determine whether the case moves forward or the suspen sion is lifted. In the interim, Bender won t practice medicine at Tyrone Hospital or its affiliate, Tyrone Med ical Associates, hospital Chief Financial Officer Daniel Ashcroft said. “They took his license, but I have been given no reason why,” Ashcroft said. ‘‘We’re obligated to follow our bylaws and the laws of the state. He cannot practice medicine until ifs decided by the state.” Bender’s patients will be seen by other doctors at Tyrone Medical Associates. If the board decides the suspension should continue, it will continue until a full hearing by the board. The board could suspend or revoke Bender’s license. Please see License/Page A3 Terrorist attacks turned previous news into trivia year in review By David Crary The Associated Press President Bush was in Florida, promoting plans to boost reading skills. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld declared “war on bureaucracy” at the Pentagon. Health groups were busy on the eve of “National 9-1-1 Day” — meant to raise awareness about heart attacks. That was Sept. IO. By late the next morning, America was a changed land, counting its dead and beginning to fashion a new set of heroes, villains, fears and preoccupations. Much of what happened in the first 36 weeks of the year suddenly seemed distant or trivial. A few weeks earlier, news media had declared “The Summer of die Shark” after a handful of grisly attacks along the Atlantic Coast. Please see Trivia/Page AIQ Seeking some normalcy, Americans trudging on COMING SUNDAY: Attacks scramble Bush’s goals, make war against terrorism his top priority By David Foster The Associated Press There is no pill to undo evil, no magic word to resurrect the good old days when jetliners didn’t turn into bombs and anthrax didn’t come in the mail. Since Sept. ll, America has struggled to find a new normal, one that could wrap itself around the sharp edges of terrorism and war. We tried a thousand ways to adapt: We flew less and prayed more. We hoisted flags and draped holiday greens in red, white and blue. We canceled trips to Las Vegas and went to grandma’s house instead. We gave blood, wrote checks to charity and dusted off atlases to find Kabul and Jalalabad. We cried. Please see Normalcy/Page AIQ DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 ^" 22910 00050f a BKS FOURB 1 #€ I Lottery numbers. A2 WEATHER Mostly cloudy, showers, 29° ■ Forest. A2 n local 13 NAHON Business A7 Classifieds C3-12 Movies A5 War on terrorism C2 Obituaries A11 rn life lh. im Opinion A8 Q SPORTS Comics D5 Community news D2 Local B4 Puzzles D4 Scoreboard 95 Television D4 INSIDEIN WORLD Shoe-bombmg suspect Richard C. Reid underwent a rigorous body check and had to remove his shoes for special screening before boarding an El Al plane this past summer. F^GE ClThe Perfect Gift 946-7480 or -800-287-4480 Start that gift subscription today ;