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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - April 7, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania INSIDE TODAY CURVE OPENt-F Curve opens in Erie; Sports Writer Cory Giger has full coverage. / Bl NATION: Wingman says missing pilot had no chance against U.S. spy plane. / Cl LIFE: Stars in the Garden: Centaurea designated as flower of the year. / DIAltoona mirror © Copyright 2001 SATURDAY, APRIL 7, 2001 50C newsstand Housing funding soon available By Ray Stephens . Staff Writer CROSS KEYS — Allegheny Township will receive $376,240 to offer as grants to low- to moderate-income residents wanting to fix up their homes. .Supervisors learned this week that the township for the first time has been approved for funding through the state’s HOME program, which administers federal housing money. “We might see some repairs made before the end of the year, at least I hope,” Supervisors Chairman William Bryan Jr. said. The EADS Group, which prepared the township’s application for the program, has taken applications from interested residents and will continue taking applications, Bryan said. EADS Grants Coordinator Jessica Sheets is aware of residents interested in the program and will handle paperwork to see that money is made available for energy-related or code improvements. This is the first time Allegheny Township has received this type of money, and it expects to help about 2f> households. Funding is set up as a loan, which is forgiven if the homeowner remains in the home for five years. Applicants must have lived in a house for two years to be eligible. “Based on the initial response from applicants, we believe this grant will meet the needs of the community,” Bryan said. “We will continue to work to pursue future grants if there is interest in the community.” Bryan, along with supervisors John Knee and David Burchfield Jr., looked into the program in fall and contacted The EADS Group, which helped Snyder Township near Tyrone secure $255,000 to help residents of that township. In December, Allegheny Township held public hearings and asked residents wanting to make repairs to their homes to provide financial information showing their eligibility. Please see Funding/Page A8 YELLOW RIBBON PROGRAM Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec Tina Henderson, who lost a son to suicide, will speak to area parents Monday. !""" Suicide summit What: Suicide prevention workshop When: 7 p.m. Monday Where: Altoona Area High School auditorium Admission: Free and open to the publicSAVING LIVES The Yellow Ribbon Program, which has been used in Blair County for more than two years, was started by a Colorado couple, Dar and Dale Emme, whose son killed himself after the breakup with a girlfriend. The friends of Mike Emme asked them what they could do to help and they told the young people “if you are ever at that awful place in your life, don’t do this. Suicide is not an option. Go talk to Grandma, or Grandpops, a friend or parents.” That’s the message of the yellow ribbon card, which is distributed to teens, lf they are feeling despondent, instead of telling someone about it, they simply have to hand them the card. It says: This is a call for help. Listen and take it seriously. Call immediately for professional help.targets parents By Phil Ray Staff Writer People think it will never happen to them. Tina Henderson knows better. When people think their children will never become depressed enough to consider suicide, the Bedford County woman can provide them with a stark reality check. Her life changed forever Sept. 29,1996, when she came home from a Sunday visit to find her 13-year-old Son, Erie, dead from a selfinflicted gunshot wound. She knows the shock and questioning that follows the death of a child by suicide. Why? Were there signs? Henderson has dedicated her life to helping make sure other parents don’t have to face those questions through the Yellow Ribbon Campaign, a now worldwide effort toward teen suicide prevention. The program aims: ■ to make parents aware that problems sometimes bother their children to the extraordinary point where suicide is contemplated; Please see Parents/Page A8 Summer gas prices may soar BY H. JOSEF HEBERT The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Drivers could face a new round of surging prices at the gas pump this summer, the government says, citing tight supplies through the year’s heaviest driving season. Last year, price spikes reached $2 per gallon. The Energy Department’s forecast also anticipates continued high natural gas prices that are likely to fuel steeper electricity costs across much of the country. Many power plants run on natural gas. The government’s seasonal forecast predicted a high probability that motorists this summer will pay on average more for gasoline than the $1.53 per gallon they paid last summer. How much more will depend on supply and distribution problems, the department said. Average gaso line prices nationwide this week were about $1.44 per gallon, according to the government survey. With current inventories tight, the gasoline markets will be “vulnerable to sharp price run-ups if supply disruptions or bottlenecks occur,” said the report, issued Friday by the Energy Information Administration. It said that by the end of May, the beginning of the summer driving season, gasoline inventories are expected to be about 200 million barrels, or 9 million barrels below what they were at the same time last summer. Even with refineries churning at top capacity, the low stocks “are expected to remain low throughout the driving season” making the market vulnerable to unexpected problems such as refinery or pipeline disruptions. Please see Gas/Page A7 Gasoline price forecast According to an Energy Department forecast, motorists this summer could pay more for gasoline than last summer’s average price of $1.53 per gallon. National average retail price for gasoline $1.70 per gallon Projected price range SOURCE: U S Department of Energy Plank Road widening project delayed By Ray Stephens Staff Writer HOLLIDAYSBURG — A bidding error is forcing PennDOT to rebid the Plank Road widening project, a move that will delay construction and push completion from 2002 into 2003. Grannas Brothers Contracting Co. Inc., Hollidaysburg, submitted the lowest of four bids for the work and was expected to start in May on the job between Plank Road Commons and the Wye Switches. PennDOT representatives, however, announced Friday that they need to rebid the job so road widening construction probably won’t start until late June or early July. The Grannas Brothers bid of $11.8 million was calculated based on several factors figured into the cost. One part of Grannas’ bid was based on a price that differed from a price PennDOT included in bid specifications. “It was a bidding error on their part, which pointed out a possible PennDOT retains the authority to accept or reject bids and decided to rebid the project. error on our part,” District Engineer Earl Neiderhiser said. Scott Grannas of Grannas Brothers said the error was clerical. “We made a mistake in the way we filled out our bid form, but it wasn’t anything that gave us any type of advantage. It was an honest mistake,” Grannas said. PennDOT, through the bidding process, retains the authority to accept or reject bids and decided to go through the process again. Neiderhiser said the project specifications will be refined, with the rebidding slated for May IO. Meanwhile, utility companies that started moving utilities along Plank Road between Plank Road Commons and the Wye Switches are expected to continue that work, probably through Memorial Day, PennDOT officials said. Plans to build a turning lane on Plank Road at the intersection of Convention Center Boulevard are also expected to move forward because that is part of the Convention Center Boulevard construction. Because of the time involved in rebidding, construction work to widen Plank Road probably won’t begin until late June or early July, PennDOT spokesman Asbury Lee said. Because of that delay, the projected completion date probably will be summer 2002. Originally, the road widening project — expected to extend for more than a year — was supposed to be finished by the fall of 2002. Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens can be reached at 94&7456 or [email protected] trying to get a read on some overdue books From Mirror staff and wire reports PITTSBURGH — Ifs a simple policy: Return to lender. But getting people to comply with that universal library request calls for creativity. That’s why, through today, the last day of National Library Week, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is forgiving all fines on overdue materials — and giving a secret grand prize to whomever returns the most overdue book. “Focus groups have told us returning [overdue! library books can be embarrassing, so we’re trying to add some fun to it,” said Peggy Pievach, the library’s marketing director. Fine-free weeks in 1989 and 1996 prompted the return of books borrowed as long ago as the 1940s, Pievach said. Some librarians said amnesty programs can be abused, and the older materials returned are often no longer useful. “We did a fine-free week and ... for a period afterward, people would always be calling up asking when we were doing another,” said Diane Mirror photo by Kelly Bennett Brian Peters of Altoona checks in a stack of books at the Altoona library. Freiermuth, director of operations at the St. Louis Public Library. “Once they got past a cer tain level of fine, they weren’t going to bring [the book] back until there was another free week.” Please see Books/Page A3 DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 ?    22910    00050    4 <1 (* BIG FOUR 4    12    6 ■ Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Cloudy with storms, 58° ■ Forecast, A2 We re white-hot!Altoona mirror THE GREAT COMBINATION Call us today...Make money today. for THE GREAT COMBINATION of MIRROR CLASSIFIEDS and HOT-ADS Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) 946-7547 Qlocal Q nation Business A7 Classifieds C2-8 Hospitals Obituaries Opinion A9 A9 A6 [•J LIFE □ SPORTS Comics D5 Community news D2 Movies B6 Puzzles D4 Scoreboard B5 Television D4 INSIDESCHOOL MENUS Because of space constraints, school lunch menus for the upcoming week will appear in Sunday’s Mirror. ;