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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - August 2, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania INSIDE TODAYSPORTS: Heatstroke claims life of Viking / Bl BUSINESS: Defiance Metal to expand / A9 Big Ten media look forward to football seasonAltoona Mirror © Copyright 2001THURSDAY, AUGUST 2, 2001 500 newsstand mmmmmnmm MMM J rum HUI IU TOUR DE TOONA 2001 -.(r • Vt t aajjmm Mirror photo by Gary M Baranec Tour de ’Toona fans Joey Green, ll, (left) his sister Maggie, 7, (center) and Helen Golubic of Johnstown cheer on professional women cyclists Wednesday during the Crown American Johnstown Circuit Road Race in downtown Johnstown. Johnstown pushes for second race A seventh day could be added to schedule. By Linda Hudkins For the Mirror JOHNSTOWN-Officials and business leaders in this southern Cambria County city can’t get enough of the Tour de Toona. So they’re lobbying for — and have a good chance of getting — a second event next year. On Wednesday, pro men and pro women competed in a 73.5-mile route, consisting of three laps of 24.5 miles each beginning and ending at the downtown intersection of Franklin and Vine streets. The Crown American Johnstown Circuit Road Race featured a grueling 12-mile ascent up Cramer Pike. Mayor Don Zucco traveled with the pack in a radio car, smiling as he emerged between races, saying, “We are clearly interested in a second day." City Councilman Adam Henger had expressed a similar commitment to the bicycle race. “This is permanent,” said Henger, adding that discussions about expanding Johnstown’s role in the race already have begun. "The city of Johnstown is committed.” State Rep. Rick Geist, R-Altoona, the race chairman, confirmed that negotiations have begun with Crown American, a Johnstown-based hotel and mall developer, for a second day of racing that could begin in Johnstown, wind through Cambria and Blair counties and end in Altoona. “It would add a seventh day to the Tour,” Geist said. “Johnstown and Altoona have so much in common, and our futures are so linked,” he said. “We used to fight in the sandbox, and now we are kind of sis-ter-cities.” A State College day of racing during the annual Tour de ‘Toona wasn’t so warmly received by local officials and was canceled, in part, because of the cost of traffic control. Not so in Johnstown, Acting Chief Craig Foust said. Please see Tour/Page A5 Hotels chock full of spectators Local economy boosted by athletic events. By Linda Hudkins For the Mirror Everyone wants to know what’s going on in Altoona. Dorothy Kozlovac, general manager of the Super 8 Motel, 3535 Fairway Drive, said she’s answered that question quite a few times this week. Some travelers, who are passing through the region and decide to spend the night, don’t know that a sports triple-header in the region means rooms are scarce throughout the weekend. In Altoona, cyclists and amateur baseball players attend the Tour de ‘Toona and AAABA Tournament. In Johnstown, Keystone State Games attract so many spectators that the overflow of overnight visitors has shifted to Altoona. At best, a room or two may remain at some hotels or motels on weeknights, but when the weekend rolls around, visitors who failed to make reservations are likely to get sent down the Tour de 'Teema 2001 MORE INSIDE ■ Map of the Pontiac GMO Hollidaysburg Circuit Road Race PAGE A5 ■ Lyne Bessette wins the Crown American Johnstown Circuit Road Race ■ Saturn racing team finishes one-two PAGE Bl ■ Tina Skelley race diary PAGE B4 road for accommodations. Beth Deyarmin, manager of the Holiday Inn, said Pittsburgh’s river regatta also contributes to the tightness of overnight accommodations. Please see Economy/Page A5 Elks Club shooting intentional ■ Another woman may have been the target, according to testimony. By Phii. Ray Staff Writer HOLLIDAYSBURG - The shooting death of a 21-year-old Altoona woman outside the Arandale Elks Club two weeks ago may not have been as random as first suspected, Blair County District Attorney Dave Gorman said. Lavelle “Juan" Richardson, 24, a native of Philadelphia who recently was living in Mount Union, is charged with firing a .40-caliber automatic handgun in the club parking lot when about 30 patrons were leaving during the early morning hours of July 20. Patience Ferguson died after being shot in the face. In the hours after the shooting, Gorman said Ferguson likely was the victim of a random act of violence by an angry man. But after testimony in a preliminary hearing Wednesday, Gorman determined that Richardson may have intended to shoot another woman — Vickie Smith of Notre Dame Lane — who was to be a witness in an assault case against one of Richardson’s aunts. As a result, Gorman will pursue a first-degree murder conviction and possibly the death penalty — against Richardson. Vickie Smith testified that Rich ardson told her and a friend outside the club that Vickie Smith better not attend a preliminary hearing for his aunt, Jodi Brown-Hill of Altoona. Brown-Hill was accused of break ing a bottle over Vickie Smith’s head during a spat at Classic Attitudes, Mill Run, about a month ago. Vickie Smith said Richardson told her to keep her mouth shut and not to go to the hearing. Vickie Smith testified that she backed away from Richardson and summoned a cousin of his to calm him down. The cousin and others escorted Richardson to his car, but Vickie Smith then saw Richardson with a gun. Please see Shooting/Page AIQ Income tax aids school revenue HARRISBURG (AP) - A bipartisan committee studying ways to make Pennsylvania’s school funding system more equitable is considering whether increasing personal income taxes would help reduce districts’ reliance on property tax revenue. Representatives of interest groups who testified at a committee hearing Wednesday said residents would be willing to pay a local income tax if it meant lower property tax bills. “As I travel the state, mostly what I hear is that people would like to trade the property tax for the personal income tax,’’ said Timothy Potts, director of the Pennsylvania School Reform Network. “There’s also considerable support for raising the sales tax. If we come up with a system that is fair, people will accept it.” The House Select Committee on Education Funding Reform originally was expected to make recommendations on reworking the school funding formula by Sept. 15 under a resolution that passed in June. State Rep. Mario Civera, R-Delaware, the committee’s chairman, said he would ask the House to extend the deadline to Feb. 15 when the legislators return from their summer break in September. “I think what this will boil down to is, do you want to pay more in personal income taxes or would you rather leave the real estate tax alone,” Civera said. Schools currently are funded through local property taxes, plus education aid included in the state budget. Please see School/Page A7El Paso, Air Products and Chemicals Inc. near deal on power plant By Craig Williams Staff Writer EBENSBURG - El Paso Corp., the nation’s fourth-largest producer of electricity, confirmed Wednesday that it is near closing a deal for the Ebensburg cogeneration plant owned by Allentown-based Air Products and Chemicals. The Houston energy company said the sale is expected to be completed within the next few weeks pending regulatory approval. “We are in the process of finalizing the purchase of the power generating facility,” said Aaron Woods, El Paso spokesman. “We hope to close the deal within the next two weeks.” Because of federal regulations, both companies remained silent on further details of the sale. But plant manager Steve Skidd said operations in Ebensburg are expected to continue as usual after the sale. “We have 45 people working at the plant right now,” he said. “Most of our power is sold to GPU, and the remaining IO percent we use in the plant.”Operations at the Ebensburg plant are expected to continue as usual after the sale. Woods confirmed that his company will continue to sell the power back to local consumers just as it does with its other facilities throughout the nation. “We have 30 power facilities in opera tion that we own or are being developed," Woods said. As a company, El Paso has a combined value of more than $50 billion. Air Products and Chemicals is the world’s only combined gases and chemicals company. Pounded more than 60 years ago, the business has annual revenues of $5.5 billion. With operations in 30 countries, it is a leader in global electronic and chemical processing industries. When contacted, officials from both companies declined to give further information Wednesday. “Because we haven’t closed on the deal, no additional information is available,” Woods said. The co-generation plant in Ebensburg first was fired up by Air Products in the spring of 1991. It burns the area’s plentiful supply of waste coal; for years, it has supplied nearby Laurel Crest Manor, Cambria County’ nursing home, with power. Mirror Staff Writer Craig Williams can be reached at 94& 7460 or cwilliamsiu altoonamirror.com. ■HHMi SWI* DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 £2910 00050 j BIG FOUR 8    2    8    9 I Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Mostly sunny, 87° ■ Forecast, A2 k Mirror oooo ooooooo Bucks □ local 0 NATION Business A9 Classifieds C4-12 Comics Obituaries Opinion A8 AU A4 Q UFE P SPORTS Movies D3 Local B4 Dear Abby Puzzles D5 D5 Scoreboard D5 Television D5 INSIDE IN NATION The House rejected steeper increases in automobile fuel economy Wednesday as it tackled a broad energy bill that would open an Arctic wildlife refuge to oil drilling. PAGE Cl 4 ;

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