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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - December 26, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania LOCAL: BELLWOOD TEEN'S EAGLE SCOUT PROJECT IS ALL WET ► PAGE A5 Weaver helps develop popularity of sport in area Seeps families safe from food poisoningAltoona mirror © Copyright 2001WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2001 50( newsstand ■■■I ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■ HH And they’re off... Shoppers rush back to stores for sales, returns INSIDE IN BUSINESS Small cable companies feel pinch Architects honored for design of area building PAGE A9 By Craig Williams Sta ff Writer It’s over — or is it? AU the rushing around and buying gifts, the maddening crowds and the stress of trying to find that special present is just a memory. But now it’s time for more rushing around to return unwanted gifts, to get in on the Christmas bargains, to buy discounted wrapping paper, to grab all those holiday decorations and lights on sale and to use those gift certificates that served as stock ing-stuffers. For the weary salespeople who are on the receiving end of all this clatter, the retail season isn’t over until the spring clothes are hung on the racks with care. Before the raincoats can replace the parkas, there are customer returns to process, inventories to mark down, sales fliers to put out and more general mayhem as stores throughout the area rush to sell what is left of this year’s merchandise. Tis the season of the after-Christmas sales and post-holiday bargains. “Our Christmas season has been strong, but our trucks are still pouring in with merchandise from our distribu tion centers,” said Brian Miller, executive team leader of the Target store on Sierra Drive. As the warehouses are emptied to make room for the next season of inventory, Miller said stores will offer deep discounts to move merchandise off the floor. Please see Shoppers/Page A7 It’s back to the business of bargains today for shoppers. DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 ?    2291000050    4 BIG FOUR9 2 4 4 I Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Mostly sunny, cold, 28° ■ Forecast, A2PAPER LATE Due to a major electrical breakdown on the printing press, today’s Altoona Mirror was delayed by several hours. Wednesday’s Mirror was printed at our Ogden Newspapers sister paper, Williamsport Sun-Gazette. The Mirror apologizes for the delay. Q LOCAL Business Movies Obituaries Opinion it] SPORTS Fearless Forecast B2 Scoreboard B5 Q NATION Classifieds    C3*12 JTJ UFE Comics    D5 Community news    D2 Puzzles    D4 Television    04 INSIDEOPINION Columnist Cal Thomas says a recent decision by NBC to start accepting ads for hard liquor will prove to be a big mistake. PAGE A8 issues surface By William Kibler More mortality CHRISTMAS IN AFGHANISTAN■■■■ Staff Writer Six area hospitals have 15 high-death rates not initially disclosed in a recent report released by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council. The new information appears on the group’s Web site and was not part of an initial written report released statewide last week that showed high death rates for four area hospitals in five treatment areas. The hospitals say the deaths don’t reflect quality-of-care problems, rather tiny sample groups or an excess of very sick patients, many with do-not-resuscitate orders. The council stands by its methods, saying it equalizes differences that otherwise would skew the numbers. Altoona Hospital doctors review every death, and they found no quali ty-of-care problems with the deaths flagged in the report, hospital spokesman Hon McConnell said. Bon Secours-Holy Family Hospital’s three high-death-rate categories involved a total of four deaths, all of which could have been expected, according to a memo from Carol Crum, director of quality assessment. A death in the nutrition and metabolic deficiency category was an 83-year-old with cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and a do-not-resuscitate order. Two deaths in the seizure category were of patients severely retarded mentally and physically, both of whom arrived in respiratory arrest and both with chronic heart, liver and kidney disease, Crum said. Both died despite aggressive treatment. A death in the transurethral operation category was a 78-year-old with bladder cancer, chronic renal failure, diabetes, heart disease and paralysis from an earlier stroke. J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital experts weren’t available for comment on its three high-death categories, but spokeswoman Chris Giidea said she highly doubted if any of the deaths reflected a quality-of-eare problem at the Huntingdon hospital. UPMC Bedford Memorial Hospital’s Dr. Marc Finder reiterated comments on the first report for the two additional high-death categories at his hospital. The agency’s statistical methods misinterpreted anomalies with some old and sick patients, placing them in a low-risk category and skewing the findings, he said, in one category, one patient died. “One death in six cases?” Finder said. “Come on.” Please see Mortality/Page A3 The Associated Pres A U.S. Special Forces soldier adjusts a Christmas tree decoration at the military base in Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan Christmas morning. For a look at developments in the war on terrorism, please see pages Cl and C2. WAR ON TERRORISM Outside N.Y., firefighters deal with different aftermath ■ Locally, there’s more awareness but no boost in funding, new volunteers. Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec Bob Whitefore checks equipment at the Excelsior No. I Volunteer Fire Company, Bellwood. By Mark Leberfinger and William Kibler Staff Writers Fire departments locally and nationwide are seeing a mixed response from the public in terms of donations and volunteers following the Sept. ll terrorist attacks. For example: ■ Donations to the South Media Fire Company in suburban Philadelphia are down about 40 percent, said company Treasurer Bob Clancy, who has been with the fire company for about 45 years. “Everybody sent their money to New York and forgot about us.” ■ Firefighters in Newport Beach, an affluent section of Orange County, Calif., never have needed to raise money but have found strangers pressing $1,000 checks into their hands. The Newport Beach department, well-funded by the city, started a firefighters’ fund and raised more than $100,000, said Rich Thomas, head of the department. Locally, the effect of the attacks hasn’t been as dramatic. Excelsior Fire Company Chief David McCloskey of Bellwood said his department sent a lot of money to New York for their efforts but hasn’t noticed any more or less interest here. “We have 25 to 30 active people,” hi1 said. “It’s been that way for a good period of time.” The Martinsburg Fire Company may have collected more money but not more volunteers than otherwise would be expected, Chief Randy Acker said. Heather Schafer, executive director of the National Volunteer Fire Council, said the organization does not have figures on how departments outside New York City have fared with donations and volunteers since September. Please see Fire/Page A7 ;

Clippings and Obituaries for the Altoona Mirror