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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - July 28, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania ■HI INSIDE TODAY tip Patton church gets face-lift / * LIFE: Modular homes mean affordability / DI St. Francis inducts new Hall of Fame classAltoona mirror © Copyright 2001 Amtran cutting routes, workers By William Kibler Staff Writer Rising fuel and labor costs are forcing Amtran to lay off three workers and cut bus service by 75 hours per week. This year’s budget for diesel fuel has risen $50,000 to $200,000. In addition, the union contract calls for a 3 percent wage hike, and health insurance costs have climbed 8 percent, General Manager Erie Wolf said. The bus authority will lay off two full-time drivers and a part-time maintenance worker. The contract hike is not excessive, but labor costs are the biggest area of the budget, Wolf said. The health care increase is a bargain compared to a larger increase the authority would have paid if it still dealt with the insurance organization it broke away from last year because it was getting too expensive. When it must cut service, the authority targets routes that don’t meet its minimum performance standard of IO passengers per hour. The decisions on service reductions are not fmal.There will be a public meeting at IO a.m. Aug. ll at the community room in the Logan Valley Mall to discuss the service cuts and hear counterproposals. Amtran’s policy is to hold such public meetings when the authority proposes cuts this large, Wolf said. Riders will have another opportunity for comment at Amtran’s next board meeting at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 15 at the Penn State Conference Center on 12th Avenue in the former Playhouse Theatre building. The board should vote to approve service cuts at that meeting. While expenses have risen, revenues have been level. The public utilities tax diverted to bus eompa nies has been reduced because of deregulation of the electric generation industry, said Tom Kievan, Amtran business development director. The first day for any service changes would be Aug. 27, Kievan said. Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler can be reached at 949- 7038 or bkibler(a altoonamirror.com. WHAT MAV CHANGE The authority proposes eliminating: ■ Lakemont Route 12; ■ the last daily trip at 5:35 p m of Second Avenue Route 2 from Monday to Friday: ■ the last trip at 6 05 p.m. of Pleasant Valley Route 5, Monday to Saturday: ■ dasher trips from 2:20 to 3:20 p.m. Monday to Friday. The authority has proposed the following other changes: ■ Second Avenue Route 2; Broad Avenue Route 4; and Fairview Route 6 will alternate Saturdays, similar to Sunday schedules. ■ Pleasant Valley Route 5 will serve the state Job Center on Fairway Drive and the Altoona Housing Authority on alternate trips. The 7 a m. trip will go to the Housing Authority and the 8 p.m. trip to the Job Center, establishing the pattern the route will follow all day. DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 22910 00050 'a SATURDAY, JULY 28, 2001 FUNDING FOR FARMERS 504 newsstand Mirror photo by J O Cavrich Mike Burket of Burket-View Farms makes cuts of alfalfa Friday along Piney Creek Road in Morrisons Cove. More money for conservation, preservation may be on way From Mirror staff and wire reports (pennsylvania farmers want rn* more funds to help them I reduce pollution and preserve their land, which legislators are optimistic the new farm bill will accomplish. INSIDE: Key provisions of the proposed farm legislation / Page A7 Groups say half of federal farm spending should go to conservation / Page ATO ‘‘We sense there is more interest in environmental and conservation programs that will help ease the costs of improving the environment. Some of the existing rules are too expensive for farmers who are trying to stay competitive,” said Joel Rotz, the chief federal lobbyist for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. The House Agriculture Committee was scheduled to begin work this week on a bill that sets farm payments and policies for the next IO years. The draft proposal would allo cate $168 billion over IO years. Federal farm subsidy programs focus mostly Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec Fifth-generation farmer Jerry Yahner takes a break from harvesting oats on his son’s farm outside Patton Friday. on crops such as cotton, grain and wheat, which are not grown heavily in the Northeast. Fruits, vegetables and trees, the region’s major crops, are not subsidized, so farmers in the region rely on other programs to reduce costs. Area farmers such as Raymond Diebold of Sinking Valley said it’s about time. Please see Funding/Page A7 Prisoner escapes hospital Bv Phil Ray Staff Writer A Blair County inmate admitted to Altoona Hospital early Friday for a drug overdose escaped after he stuffed the covers on his hospi tai bed full of pillows while a deputy' sheriff was in the bath room. Michael David Black. 26, of Hill Crest Estate escaped between 3 and 3:30 a.m., Blair County Sheriff Larry I). Field said. When the deputy returned to his post, Field said he noticed nothing different about the bed where the inmate was sleeping with the covers pulled over his head. But about 4:15 a.m., a nurse came into the room, and she and the deputy discovered Black had fled. Hollidaysburg police, who are investigating, said Black has brown hair, brown eyes and a Rebel flag tattoo on his right arm. He was last seen wearing an orange Blair County Prison jumpsuit under his hospital gown. Black was taken to the hospital because he was having trouble breathing, acting Blair County Prison Warden Larry Lavelle said. Black was placed in prison Thursday for theft and other charges. Field said Black was “detoxing from heroin." Prison authorities called the Black sheriffs department late Thursday and asked for a deputy to take Black to the hospital. Black was placed in a room, and a deputy' was assigned to stay with him. Field said the deputy was relieved by another around midnight. The inmate was not shackled because of problems with his legs. Field said Black was not a high risk for flight. Black’s record consisted of minor offenses, and he was in prison on a probation violation charge. “You don’t look at him as a major escape risk. He probably would have been able to be released on bond," Field said. The deputy said nothing appeared to be wrong. Black was in the bed “laying there like he was asleep,” Field said. Black had a blanket over his head. The deputy went to use the bathroom. and Black apparently was waiting for an opportunity to get away. Field said his deputies and city police searched in vain for Black during the early morning hours. Records in the office of the Blair County Prothonotary and Clerk of Courts show’ that Black had a record of retail thefts dating back to 1995. He also was sentenced in 1997 for simple assault. Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray can be reached at 94&7468or pray a altoonamirror.com. One man’s passion for family, service lauded at city plant By William Kibler Staff Writer Looking at Jographia Pappas in the humble surroundings of the Altoona water treatment plant dedicated to her late husband’s memory, one can imagine her as a beautiful young woman with big-city dreams. She was from Atlantic City, N.J., studied at Juilliard in New York City and had a chance to audition at the Metropolitan Opera. But she lacked confidence and took a job teaching voice at Grier School near Tyrone, postponing her ambition to go back and become an opera singer. A Greek Orthodox youth social in Altoona in 1954 — when she met Andron ic Pappas — led to making that postponement permanent. They married, and his love for his hometown, his belief he could BIG FOUR 19    6    5 ■ Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Partly sunny, 76° ■ Forecast. A2 Mirror Bucks □ local Q nation Business A9 I Classifieds C2-12 Movies A8 I Obituaries A11 Opinion A6 I 0 LIFE ' J SPORTS Comics D5 Community news D2 Local B4 Puzzles D4 Scoreboard B5 Television D4 V help transform it and his conviction that they must raise their children here trumped her cosmopolitan ambition. It’s a measure of the man’s persuasiveness and passion, and Jographia Pappas is not resentful, but grateful, he kept the family here. It’s a persuasiveness and passion he turned to public account: He not only was chairman of the City Water Authority during a key-stretch of its recently completed $180 million capital spending program, but he also was a City Council member, mayor and, after his water authority stint, chairman of the Amtran bus authority. Area officials gathered Friday to honor Pappas by putting his name on the treatment plant below Horseshoe Curve. Please see Passion/Page A8 INSIDE IN NATION The lesbian partner of a woman mauled to death by dogs in San Francisco won a surprising victory Friday when a judge said her wrongful-death suit could proceed to trial. PAGE Cl ? ;

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