Low Resolution Image: Become a member to access this full resolution image at 375% higher quality.

OCR Text

Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - August 13, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania INSIDE TODAYNASCAR: Gordon wins on road track again / Bl CONTEST: Test your NASCAR knowledge / B3Altoona Mirror © Copyright 2001MONDAY, AUGUST 13, 2001 50C newsstand Inmate overflow easing at state prisons A snapshot look at state prison populations: Pennsylvania 2000    36,847 Pennsylvania 1999    36,525 Change    +0.9% Local state prison populations (as of February 2001): Cresson    1,247 Houtzdale    1,216 Huntingdon    1,916 Smithfield    1,741 Source: U S Department of Justice. Mirror files By Fox Butterfield New York Times News Service The number of inmates in state prisons fell in the second half of last year, the first such decline since the United States’ prison boom began in 1972, says a Justice Department report released Sunday. The decline was modest, a drop of 6,200 inmates in state prisons in the last six months of 2000, or 0.5 percent of the total, the report said. But it comes after the number of state prisoners rose 500 percent over the last three decades, growing each year in the 1990s as crime dropped. The total number of people incarcerated in state and federal prisons, local jails and juvenile detention centers was 2,071,686 at the end of 2000, the report said. “I think it is a very significant development,” said Alfred Blumstein, a professor of criminology at Carnegie Mellon University and one of the nation’s most respected experts on prisons. “It is really the first change in direction in 30 years in the march toward incarceration.” Inmate population in Pennsylvania prisons nudged upward last year by less than a percent. There were 36,847 inmates in state institutions at year’s end, up from 36,525 to start the year. There are four state prisons in the region in Cresson, Houtzdale, Huntingdon and Smithfield. Experts attributed the drop to several factors: the continuing decline in crime, which began in 1992; new attitudes about offering drug offenders treatment instead of locking them up; and a greater willingness by parole officers to help parolees instead of sending them back to prison for minor infractions. “If this trend continues, it could be a real change in the most important vector that has been driving the American criminal justice system for 30 years,” said Franklin Zimring, a professor of law at the University of California at Berkeley. Please see Prisons /Page A4 U.S. CENSUS 2-wheel fata Is rise in 2000 I Increase in serious motorcycle accidents mirrors spike in sales. Mirror photo by Gary M Baranec A group of Mennonites work in the fields in the Morrisons Cove area of Blair County. Tracking Pa. Dutch is no easy task By Linda Hudkins For the Mirror Drivers in the rural areas of Blair and Cambria counties will notice yellow road signs bearing a silhouette of a horse and carriage — a warning to slow down for the “plain people” traveling slowly in horse-drawn carriages. Some are Amish, some are Old Order Mennonite, but aft are descended from German-speaking people who came to the United States in the 1700s, according to Wesley Newswanger, director of the Mennonite Information Center near Lancaster. “The early settlers here in Pennsylvania considered themselves Pennsylvania Deutsch,” or more commonly, Pennsylvania Dutch, Newswanger said. A recent survey of 700,000 households by the U.S. Census Bureau shows about 369,000 people across the country have ties to theAn expert estimates there are 49,000Amish and 12,000 Mennonites in Pennsylvania. ■ Census draws stark contrasts in black and white in two Mich, cities / Page Cl Pennsylvania Dutch. The group remains centered in Pennsylvania, particularly the counties of Lancaster, Lehigh, Berks, Lebanon and York. The Census survey shows that less than 2 percent of Pennsylvania’s 12 million residents — that’s about 169,000 people — claim Pennsylvania Dutch as their first or second line of ancestry. “Two percent is low,” said Steve Scott of the Galen Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College. “Not everybody of Pennsylvania Dutch background responded.” Scott, who wrote the book “An Introduction to Old Order and Conservative Mennonites,” estimates that 47,860 Amish live in the state and more than 12,000 Old Order or “horse and buggy” Mennonites still call the Keystone State home. The lines that define exactly who is Pennsylvania Dutch have blurred with passing time, Scott said. Some Germans, also proud of ancestral roots and willing to call themselves Pennsylvania Dutch, came later to America in the 18th and 19th centuries, while other true Pennsylvania Deutsch left their sects and were assimilated into the mainstream through generations of marriages. Old Order Mennonites settled in the Martinsburg area spanning Blair and Bedford counties as recently as 1967, Scott said. Please see Dutch/Page A4 Antis officials tout manager’s management Bill Hughes A return on Antis investment? By Walt Frank Staff Writer BELLWOOD — The Antis Township supervisors who spearheaded the push to hire a township manager last year are praising the early work of the man they hired. Township Manager William Hughes has been on the job for less than IO months but has saved the township about $96,500 in one-time revenues and savings, said Supervisor Robert Wigman, who led the push to bring in a manager. The total could reach as high as $363,600 through grants and other savings and cost cutting measures, supervisors said. “The township manager has done a wonderful job. What he has saved the township is astronomical,” Vice Chairman Leo Matuszewski said. “I think we did well by bringing Bill on board. Just look at the money coming into the township, and there is more coming in.” “We are very impressed with his performance, our manager is doing an excellent job,” Chairman Robert Walker said. Please see Manager/Page A4 By Tiffany Shaw Staff Writer Local mdtorcyclists are part of a statewide trend of steadily rising numbers of crashes and fatalities. According to PennDOT statistics, there was a spike last year in the number of motorcycle-related fatalities each year in Pennsylvania. PennDOT figures show motorcycle fatalities rose by 35 percent last year to 150. Fatalities in Blair and five surrounding counties showed a slight increase in fatalities, from seven in 1999 to eight in 2000. But there was a greater increase in crashes — from 134 in 1999 to 170 in 2000. The trend of increasing motorcycle crashes was evident across the state, according to PennDOT. Accidents rose from 2,347 in 1996 to 2,696 in 1999 to 2,838 last year. Officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration commissioned a study last year to track fatalities nationwide. The results, published in June, showed motorcycle deaths actually decreased from 1993 to a low of 2,116 in 1997. Then the numbers began to climb again, with 2,294 deaths nationwide in 1998 and 2,472 in 1999. As the number of crashes has increased, hospitals have started tracking patients who were injured in motorcycle crashes and what kind of injuries they suffered. Jay Knarr, a spokesman for Bon Secours-Holy Family Hospital, said information is taken from every patient admitted to the hospital to find how they were injured. Crash victims are noted, he said. Debbie Stroup, a trauma nurse coordinator at UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh, said the medical staff began noticing a surge in accidents two years ago. Stroup and her staff began to keep records, and the numbers bore out what they suspected. “They were really kind of amazing to us,” Stroup said. “We’ve seen a 70 percent increase [in patients from] motorcycle crashes from 1999 to the present.” One possible explanation is thatWrecks ’n effects -T- — A look at total motorcycle crashes and fatalities from those crashes in 1999 and 2000: ■ Fatal ■ Total Bedford 20oo niBBBB rn 24 Blair 1999 immmmm ■ 26 2ooo ■■■ ■■■■40 Cambria 1999UHHM1 ■■32 2000 □■■■■ ■■■37 Centre i999[imiiHi ■ 25 2000 [■■■ ■■134 Clearfield 1999 F4NHHHHM 121 2000 «■■ ■ 23 Huntingdon 2000 m 12 Statewide 1999: 2,696 total, 111 fatal 2000: 2,838 total, 150 fatal Source PennDOT Mirror graphic by Tom Worthington ll there are more motorcycles on the road. In Pennsylvania, the number of registered motorcycles has risen from 173,070 in 1996 to 210,788 last year. Longtime riders say that not only are there more motorcycles, but there may be more inexperienced riders on the road. Donna Sanford of Spirit Harley-Davidson in Shaler said many new riders underestimate the skill required to handle motorcycles, particularly large American-made bikes such as the Harley-Davidson. “They think you can stop on a dime,” she said. “But you can’t. You don’t have that control. It’s a massive vehicle.” •'» She said the makeup of the biking crowd has changed, especially on expensive Harley-Davidsons. Please see Fatals/Page A4 Maw i, MU) n igwraww TflAlgW ■****-    •**»    aMMM    M    Ut*    Whs DELIVERY I Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 7    22910    00050    4 BIG FOUR p 8 #4 ■ Lottery numbers, A2 |    WEATHER Clouds, sun, a shower, 82° ■ Forecast, A2 □HH 0 NATION Business A5 World C2 Hospitals A9 Movies A3 Obituaries A9 Classifieds C4-10 □ un Opinion A8 Comics D5 SPORTS Scoreboard B5 Community news D2 Puzzles    D4 Television    D4 Bucks INSIDE ;

Clippings and Obituaries for the Altoona Mirror