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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - August 31, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Jail sentence reduced for dealer By Phil Ray Staff Writer A Blair County judge Thursday reduced the jail sentence imposed on a city man earlier this month after learning his original sentence greatly exceeded the state’s sentencing guidelines. Judge Jolene G. Kopriva was on vacation in early August when she learned Michael John Flaherty, 46, of the 900 block of 17th Avenue violated provisions of the county-sponsored drug and alcohol treatment Intermediate Punishment Program. Flaherty was taken into custody Judge Jolene G. Kopriva lessened the prison time after learning it exceeded stale guidelines. at Altoona Hospital, where he had been treated for a liver ailment, and was brought to the Blair County Courthouse for sentencing. Kopriva sent him to a state prison for five to IO years. Deputies that day took Flaherty to the state facility at Camp Hill to begin serving his time. On Thursday, deputies returned Flaherty to Blair County for a new hearing. His attorney, Brian H. Grabill of Altoona, learned Kopriva had gone well beyond the state’s guidelines after Flaherty was sentenced for two drug sales. He said the guidelines in Flaherty’s case recommended a minimum sentence of nine to 16 months on each of the charges against him, or no more than a 36-month minimum. Flaherty received a 60-month minimum sentence from the judge. Please see Sentence/Page AIQ Seat belt use rising; children’s deaths from air bags down By NEDRA PICKLER The Associated Press WASHINGTON — More people than ever are wearing seat belts, and fewer children are being killed by air bags, the government says in fresh evidence that a decadeslong focus on auto safety is paying off. Automakers are building safer vehicles, but experts said behavior is the big reason for reduced highway fatalities. “The most crashworthy vehicle, the most well-designed car in the world is not going to help you in many situations unless you take the personal responsibility to help the vehicle help you,” National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Jeffrey Runge said. NHTSA released data Thursday showing 73 percent of people observed in the front seat of vehicles around the country this summer were wearing seat belts — the highest since the agency began keeping statistics seven years ago, when 58 percent wore seat belts. Experts said more seat belt use, along with tougher laws and improvements in highway and auto safety, are part of a change in the culture of road travel that emphasizes safety and is responsible for a huge drop in the highway death rate. Last year, there were 41,800 fatalities, or 1.6 deaths per million miles traveled. Please see Belt/Page A6 DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 7 '22910 00050" a BIG FOUR 7    5    3    3 ■ Lottery numbers, A2 Mostly cloudy, 80° ■ Forecast, A2 ■ by* Nowl 167 □ LOCAL Q NAHON Business A9 Movies C4 Hospitals Obituaries A13 A13 Classifieds C5-14 □ ups Opinion A8 P SPORTS Comics D5 Community news D2 Puzzles D4 Local B4 Scoreboard B5 t Television D4 FREE INSIDE Miami at Penn State - 8 p.m., ABC Line: Miami by 14 ■ Avoid an early blowout ■ Protect Senneca like Fort Knox ■ Establish run, spring a kick return Senneca will get trial by fire at OB Rudel: Don’t count out Paterno Beano Cook: Gators on title track Becoming sunny High: 72 Low: 48Altoona Mirror © Copyright 2001 FRIDAY, AUGUST 31, 2001 SOC newsstand Creatine popular among teens By John Hartsock Mirror Sports Staff During a week when many teenagers are preparing for their first fall sports contest, a health insur er’s survey concludes about I million young people in the United States ages 12 through 17 have taken performance-enhancing sports supplements. The survey results, released earlier this week by the Blue Cross-Blue Shield Association, are based i on random telephone surveys with 785 youths last month. The most popular substance used by participants was creatine, a legal, widely available amino acid-based, strength-training supplement for athletes. Creatine, which is present in small quantities in many foods such as red meat, is marketed in powder and liquid forms but recently has been added as an ingredient in performance-enhancing cookies and candy. Creatine works by improving muscle function and volume, often resulting in a IO percent to 20 percent gain in strength. It was cited by about half the I youths who said they had used supplements. Creatine can cause I short-term cramping and diarrhea, especially if used incorrectly. Less is known about long-term ; use of the supplement, which came :    in vogue in the past five years. Some scientists link creatine to muscle injuries and kidney problems, but others contend there are no long-term risks. With the 2001 area high school football season set to kick off tonight, teams and individual players are striving for the competitive edge. But most coaches surveyed by the Mirror said they do not push the use of creatine among their players to gain that edge. Every coach was adamantly opposed to the use of anabolic steroids, drugs that improve muscle function and dramatically improve recovery after intense exercise. Tyrone coach John Franco, who has directed the Golden Eagles to two Class AA state championship games and one Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association title, takes his stand against performance-enhancing supplements such as creatine a step further. Please see Creatine/Page A6 Lawmakers want quick STB answer ■ A decision on the fate of the Hollidaysburg Car Shop is expected at By Robert loos Staff Writer The Surface Transportation Board promises a September decision concerning the fate of the Hollidaysburg Car Shop, but lawmakers insist that is not soon enough. The STB, a three-member regulatory agency of Congress, is ruling on whether Norfolk Southern Corp. can close the shop Oct. I as the company has said it will do. State officials and several railroad unions claim the closing would violate promises the railroad made to win regulatory approval for its takeover of the Conrail system in 1999. STB chairwoman Linda Morgan is promising as fast a decision as possible. ‘‘I can say that we are well aware (rf the timing issue,” she said. “But we are actively pursuing this, and we will have a decision as soon before the Oct.I deadline as possible.” U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-9th District, said that is not good enough. “I have been in contact with the STB repeatedly to try to push this date up," he said. “It is not fair to let these workers know at the end of [September! when we can let them know earlier. We need to get this decision sooner than that because our workers need to know what’s going on.” Shuster’s staff also has been keeping a close eye on the process. "We’re trying to get the * timetable moved up,” Shuster’s press secretary Joe Terrana said. “If not, then the timing of that decision will negatively affect the workers. Norfolk Southern has set a deadline of Oct. I. To get an answer from the STB any later than that is unacceptable." The railroad already has begun making plans for the closing, notifying some managers of transfer options. The railroad has promised the 380 workers at the shop they will be offered jobs elsewhere in the Norfolk Southern system, but it hasn’t offered specifics on many of those jobs. Norfolk Southern officials told federal officials recently that they won’t have those specifics until 15 days before the the end of September.MIS f NORFOLK SOUTHERN planned closing. Morgan said the board is aware of the timing and is fighting for a quick decision. “We definitely understand the pressure that both sides are under," she said. “I don’t feel the pressure is on us any more than in any other cases, but we certainly understand the importance of this issue. We’re putting just as much pressure on ourselves as anyone else is.” While Shuster wants a fast decision from the STB, U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said the board is not likely to move faster than it sees fit. “They are a quasi-judicial agency,” he said. “When you deal with judicial agencies, they ’re pretty much on their own timetable. It’s a very delicate situation in that if we try to pressure them into an earlier decision, it could backfire. I wouldn't want to do anything precipitous. We expected a ruling some time ago.” Specter did, however, say that he, like Shuster, would be willing to write letters to the STB encouraging them to come to quicken the pace. Terrana said Shuster has been lobbying the STB, to little avail. “We can’t really do much beyond lobbying the STB with phone calls and letters and letting them know our constituents are concerned,” Terrana said. “They are there to make a decision and weigh the evidence, but we have been in constant contact with them and relaying the gravity of the situation.” G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Millersville University said the petitioning may do some; good in the end. “As a rule of thumb, if it’s a private sector decision, political forces are less likely to have as much influence on them as they are on a government board or agency,” he said. “But it can be an exception if it concerns an issue or a ruling which generates popular concern such as this decision.” CHEER FEAR Mirror photo by Gary M Saranac Bishop Guilfoyle High School cheerleader Monica Steckroth, 16, performs a pike toss Thursday at Building II Rec Hall.Local coaches By Linda Hudkins For the Mirror A heerleaders at Bishop Guilfoyle High I _ School do a lot more than shake pom-w poms at sporting events. They’ve competed on a national level, won a state championship and a few even have earned college scholarships. “At BG, it’s treated as a sport,” head cheerleading adviser Dana Berkheimer says. “We do a high level of difficulty.” She and other area cheerleading coaches disagree with a ruling by an athletic oversight association in northeastern Pennsylvania thatflip over ruling outlawed acrobatic cheers, including the basket toss, cradle catch and the cheerleaders’ tried and true pyramid. The Colonial League literally grounded cheerleaders in 14 school districts this year because of two injuries — one of which required a thousand stitches to repair wounds on a cheerleader who fell on a spiked fence while doing a back flip. Cheerleaders within the Colonial League’s jurisdiction are crying foul because it effectively takes them out of competition and out of the running for college scholarships. Please see Cheer/Page A5 ;

Clippings and Obituaries for the Altoona Mirror