Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - January 4, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania
© Copyright 2001THURSDAY, JANUARY 4, 2001
50$ newsstandSHUSTER RETIRING■ Cites family, health concerns I Effective Jan. 31
Special election likely
Bud Shuster, R-9th District, rides an elevator on his way to the House chambers in this 1999 file photo. Shuster is calling it quits after 28 years in office.
Mirror photo by Kelly Bennett
By William Kibler
© Copyright 2001, Altoona Mirror
Bud Shuster, the region’s powerful and controversial congressman who helped lift central Pennsylvania from economic decline toward a promising future during his 28 years in Washington, is retiring at the end of this month.
The fallout from Shuster’s decision will linger well beyond that.
During his time in Congress, Shuster, R-9th District, displayed a pen more powerful than any earth-mover, securing hundreds of millions of dollars for roads, bridges, buildings, sewer and water systems and service programs for this area.
He’s retiring because of recent health scares involving him and his wife, Shuster said in a letter Wednesday.
“These experiences caused me to re-evaluate my priorities and responsibilities,” Shuster wrote.
Area residents appreciated Shuster, and officials from all sorts
of local and regional governments, boards, commissions and agencies routinely assumed he’d be able to get money for their projects.
But many congressional watchdogs scorned his projects as pork. Only a few months ago, Shuster endured a letter of reproval from the House ethics committee after years of investigation into untimely ties to former staffer-turned-lobby-ist Ann Eppard and for accepting gifts from organizations that stood to gain from laws he could pass.
Publicly, he brushed the rebuke aside as he did a scathing “60 Minutes” story that followed it.
“It’s tough on your family to be in public office,” said state Senate President Pro Tem Robert Jubelirer, R-Blair, a Shuster friend and legislative ally. “He took more of a pounding than many of us.”
A list of Shuster’s legislative accomplishments seems to weigh as
heavily as a chunk of concrete from Interstate 99, for which he got the money to build during the last few decades from Bedford to Tyrone, with promises of a connection all the way to Milesburg and Interstate 80.
1-99 was the ribbon that tied his local accomplishments together and linked his constituents economically to the rest of the world, attracting companies and jobs and helping this area pull itself to prosperity after the railroad lost steam.
The road enabled others to conceive and obtain the money for projects such as Blair County Ballpark and the convention center, and Shuster came up with big money needed for infrastructure to complement both.
There’s lots more, including:
■ bills that turned the idled talents of the Army Corps of Engineers to designing not military roads and bridges, but central
Please see Shuster/Page A8
>y points ir Bud Shusters, concessional
April 24,1972 — Shuster uses a large advertising budget and a grass-roots, busheled door-to-door campaign style to upset veteran legislator D. Elmer Hawbaker in the Republican primary in toe newly created 9to Congressional District. In the fall, he defeats Tyrone pharmacist Earl P. Collins to win his seat Ii the U.S. House.
March 29,1973 — Shuster tells area leaders that all the pieces are in place for economic growth rn central Pennsytv ima and thai the area should focus on luring industries suck a J machinery, precision metals, metal fabrication and transportation
March 5,1974 — Shuster is elected president of toe 45-member Republican freshman class of the 93rd Congress
November 1974 - Shuster defeats Robert D Ford, the former state Selective Service win hi second term.
Feb. 5,1975 — Shuster is eiictad to toe minority chairmanship of the transportation subcommittet )f the House Public Works Committee
1977 — Shuster clashes with Transportation Secretary Brock Adams and consumer ?lvocate Rlipti Nuclei ve< the issue of mandatory air bags tor cars. Shuster calls the air bag plan “a 120 billion ;ipaff. Shuster and Nader debate toe issue on "Good Morning America." starting a tong-st.indtng laid
Nov. ll 1978 — Shuster wins his fourth term in the House, defeating Blaine Havice. a political novice and PennDOT employee Shuster received 75 percent of the vote
January 1981 — Shuster calls for a full embargo of Iran for taking 52 Americans hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
May 25,1962 — Shuster delivers an ultimatum to state officials to include funding for construction of the limited-access Route 220 in the stated 12-year transportation plan or he would rewrite portions of a bill that would give Pennsylvania less highway money.
Oct. 11,1982 - Shuster is injured when a car skidded on a wet roadway into the path of the vehicle the congressman was riding in on Route 26. He suffers a partial dislocation of his neck, broken ribs and injuries to his finger and ankle. He later includes $6 million in the 1982 Surface Transportation Act for a safety demonstration project to encourage seat belt use and is lauded by Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Dole
Dec. 25,1982 — More than 70 truckers park their trucks and other vehicles in front of Shuster's borne on Christmas Day to protest a tax increase included in the 1982 Surface Transportation Act. Also included in the act is $77 million for a demonstration project to build a new road from East Freedom to the Bedford County line.
April 1983 — Shuster's book “Believing in America” is published. The 268-page book
poi trays what is good about the United States. Shuster says he wrote the book because of concern about the negativism in the country.
Fab. 4, 1988 — Orange fluorescent paint is thrown on toe door of Shuster’s Blair
County office apparently to protest Shuster's vote to approve $36 million in aid to toe
Nicaraguan Contras, but the measure fails in the House.
December 1994 - Ann Eppard resigns as Shuster s chief of staff to start her own lobbying firm January 1995 — Shuster takes over as head of the Public Works and Transportation Committee. December 1995 - The four-lane highway from Bedford lo Bald Eagle is officially designated Interstate 99 thanks in large part to Shuster's efforts. Shuster says the designation can only help the area in terms of economic development and tourism
March 1996 — Two watchdog groups, one of toern with ties to longtime foe Ralph Nader, ask for I ethics committee investigations into the ties between Shuster and Eppard.
April 1997 — Shustef wins a commitment (rom Norfolk Southern to invest $67 million in toe local
shops and add 178 jobs over the next four to five years when NS and CSX take over Conrail
November 1997 — An investigative subcommittee of the House ethics committee is appointed to look into toe propriety of personal and professional ties between Shuster ami Eppard November 1998 — Shuster trounces Mifflin County journalist Monte Kemmter for the second straight election to win his 13th term
October 2000 — The House ethics committee concludes a three-year investigation oy slapping Shuster with a letter of reproval, the mildest term of punishment available Shtfitar says he negotiated I toe settlement to end an ordeal that was hard on his family.
November 2000 — Without an opponent Shuster wins a 14to term in the House
I Jan. 4,2001 — Shuster announces he will retire, effective Jan 31.
Mirror graphic by Tom Worthington ll
Cove schools could go digital
By Michael Emery
MARTINSBURG — Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Eugene Hickok made his second-ever visit to the Spring Cove School District Wednesday afternoon, and his message will be heard worldwide.
The secretary announced that Spring Cove is in the running to become one of the first two “digital school districts” in the state, perhaps the nation and maybe even the world.
Spring Cove is one of only six state school districts being considered for two $5 million grants that will be used to integrate digital technology and revolutionize education, Hickok said.
“An international panel of technology and education experts selected these six school districts to redefine education,” Hickok said. “Their hard work will make them models for the nation.
“Panelists judging the competition represent international academic and technological institutions, so eyes from around the whole world will be watching what happens right here,” he added.
Please see Digital/Page A8
Details, detailsReade, White residents hear specifics on huge sewer plan
Mirror photo by Kelly Bennett
John Soldo, Flinton, lets his thoughts be known on the proposed sewer project for Reade and White townships.
By Linda Hudklns For The Mirror
I1 Gary Haluska, D-
I Patton, praised Reade and White township supervisors at a meeting Wednesday night when they passed ordinances to officially create the Glendale Valley Municipal Authority.
“I think your children and grandchildren will appreciate your efforts 20 and 30 years from now,” he told supervisors and members of the new authority.
The sewerage system they’re planning will serve an estimated 1.200 customers in two rural townships in northern Cambria County.
Haluska, who’s worked on numerous other multimunicipality projects in his district, explained that costs escalate each year a project is delayed.
“The time is very good right now,” he said of the prospects for government financial aid for the project.
A panel of more than a dozen people, ranging from township supervisors to lawyers and engineers, laid
Please see Sewer/Page A7
Surprise rate cut bolsters stock markets
■ With more bad news on tap later this week, Greenspan steps in earlier than expected.
From Mirror staff and wire reports
WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve, faced with a rapidly slowing economy, unexpectedly cut a key interest rate Wednesday by one-half point in an effort to avert a serious downturn. It was the first decrease in rates in two years.
Wall Street reacted instantaneously.
Within minutes of the Fed’s announcement, the Dow Jones industrial average jumped out of negative territory and roared ahead by more than 300 points before settling for a gain in the 200-point range.
The Nasdaq index picked up more than 200 points.
The Fed cut its target for the federal funds rate — the interest banks charge one another on overnight loans — to 6 percent from 6.5 percent, a nine-year high.
It also cut its mostly symbolic discount rate by a quarter point to 5.75 percent. The Fed said it stands ready to cut the discount rate by another quarter point to 5.5 percent on the request of Federal Reserve banks.
The Federal Reserve unexpectedly cut its target for the federal funds rate by one-half point.
’90 '91 '92 93 '94 '95 '96 97 98 '99 00’01
Source: Federal Reserve
“These actions were taken in light of further weakening of sales and production and in the context of lower consumer confidence, tight conditions in some segments of financial markets and high Please see Cut/Page A5
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Altoona native Paul Winter received his 11th Grammy nomination
Wednesday. His album “Journey With Th^\x Su*(’ was selected for Best World Music Album.
For a I'fc. of Grammy
nominees* please see Page D6.I