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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - June 18, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania INSIDE TODAY KIDS MIRROR: Look to the skies for fun on those hot summer nights/ PREE I'N'3‘PE U.S. OPEN: Retief Goosen and Mark Brooks in 18-hole playoff Monday / 'It_ LIFE: Big-name acts on tour hoping for big bucks despite cool economy / DIAltoona mirror © Copyright 2001MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2001 500 newsstand Maglev battle boils in politics By Robert Igoe Staff Writer The traditional Pennsylvania-Maryland rivalry has moved from the sports world into the political wars, with much more than a trophy at stake. After years of studies, tours, briefings and rhetoric, the Pittsburgh area is one of two finalists for almost a billion dollars in federal funds to construct a new magnetic-levitation rail system, the other competitor being the Washington D.C.-Baltimore region. What it comes down to is this: Can western Pennsylvania politicians give the U.S. Department of Transportation enough reason to award maglev funding to their region, rather than use the funding to upgrade rail transportation in Congress’ own backyard? Many experts give the edge to the Washington plan, feeling that lawmakers would be happier to build that system in an area that would connect them and a population base almost three times that of Pittsburgh to major airports and sports stadiums than to give the funds to the Steel City to build a circuit that would connect the Greater Pittsburgh International Airport to the downtown area, as well as major suburbs such as Greensburg and Monroeville. “You almost have to believe that if the folks in Washington really want it. they can get it.” said Terry Madonna, who chairs the political science department at Millersville University. “It’s crookish, but look at it: Pennsylvania doesn’t have anyone with any real clout.** But local officials, who someday hope to link the Altoona area to that system, promise that they are not giving up without a fight. “This would be an excellent deal for Pennsylvania,” said state Rep. Rick Geist, R-Altoona, chairman of the State House Transportation Committee. “It would create a corridor between Philadelphia and Chicago and open up this area to new financial markets. We are not giving up fight for this funds,” Geist said. Please see Maglev/Page A4 AUTO RACING IMM A ftertarnhardt In wake of tragedy, racing seeks new niche By Cory Giger Mirror Sports Staff LONG POND — NASCAR lost a legend when Dale Earnhardt died, the sport’s fans lost one of the world’s greatest competitive rivalries and time will tell if auto racing lost its momentum toward mainstream popularity. Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon, NASCAR’s biggest stars, represented the sport’s old and new guard, the bridge between traditional Southern fans and the current broad-based legion of followers. Earnhardt’s death after a crash in the Daytona 500 Feb. 18 shocked his multitudes of fans and left the sport wondering what the future might hold. In the four months since the tragedy, attendance at races has remained high and the sport’s ratings continue to blossom on the Fox network. Through the first nine races this season, Fox’s average rating of 6.9, peaking with a 10.0 at the Daytona 500, outshines CBS’ 4.9 mark in 2000. Many have attributed Fox’s high-tech improvements with helping open up auto racing to new viewers, but to keep those viewers, the sport will need to develop new stars with the same grit Earnhardt His death also left Gordon without his on-track nemesis and ended NASCAR’s biggest fan feud. The dynamic could be witnessed at any NASCAR track in the late 1990s. Earnhardt’s introduction drew roaring cheers from about half the crowd, as well as an equal number of boos. Gordon’s name drew the same response, as each driver’s fans reacted the same. “A lot of fans don’t like Gordon, maybe because he was winning all the time and he was a young kid,” said Gordon fan John Santillo of Pompton Plains, N.J. Santillo and his 8-year-old son, Justin, watched Sunday’s Pocono 500 clad in Gordon attire, Justin a rainbow jacket, his dad a T-shirt and backpack. Please see Racing/Page A5 Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich Father and son John Santillo and Justin of Pompton Plains, N.J., both Jeff Gordon fans, stop to look at a Dale Earnhardt Sr. souvenir trailer. RACING ON THE TUBE A look at the TV popularity of NASCAR: Event..............2001 rating .,,.. .2000 rating .....%    increase Daytona500    10.0 ..............8.4 ..............+19 Rockingham.........8.2 .............. .3.9  .......+100 Las Vegas ..........6.5...............4.0..............+63 Atlanta.............6.7...............5.7..............+18 Darlington  .........6.1 ...............3.5..............+74 Bristol .............6.2...............4.9..............+68 Texas..............6.2...............4.9..............+17 Martinsville    .5.4  ............3.7   .......  +46 Talladega ...........6.4...............5.3     ........+21 Average ............6.8...............4.9..............+39 Source: Fox Network INSIDE THE RACE: Gordon widens point lead over Jarred, but who took the checkered flag? Sports writer Cory Giger has the results. PAGE Bl CONTEST: Test your smarts and win cash by picking the winner of next week’s race. PAGE B3 Bomb threats remain a problem ■ This year’s total equal to last year’s; few received locally. BY JEANETTE KREBS capitolwire.com HARRISBURG — Most schools may be reporting fewer violent incidents to the state, but bomb threats are still a problem. FNB rural Warren, suburban Indiana and urban Chester, officials around the state were closing or delaying school days and calling in costly emergency response teams because of bomb threats. This school year, through the end of May, officials reported 112 bomb threats at schools across the state. While bomb threat cases involving local school closings this spring were very rare, threats caused disruptions at some area schools. After a bomb threat was received at William P. Kimmel Alternative School this year, police charged a 15-year-old boy with making a bomb threat. The boy later was cleared of the charge when a judge said the boy’s voice could not clearly be identified on a 911 tape. A tip about threatened violence at the Huntingdon Area High School led school officials to keep students in classrooms in March. Police later arrested and charged Andrew T. Scott, 19, with misdemeanor counts of terroristic threats. Shortly after that arrest, a girl also was charged with making bomb threats at that the same high school. With the academic year not yet finished for some students, that is the same number as last school year’s 112 reported total, according to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. The numbers are even higher because they do not reflect the Philadelphia schools. The city does not report incidents to PEMA, said Marko Bourne, the agency spokesman. TTiey are not required to do so under state law. Bourne said before the school shooting at Columbine High School April 20,1999, the state received an average of one or two bomb threats per week. “Usually, you knew it was around finals, midterms or it was a very sunny day,” Bourne said. That is no longer the case. The threats are indiscriminate, private schools, elementaries, vo-techs and school administration buildings all are targeted. While Bourne said the numbers are definitely higher than they were a few years ago, they are lower when compared to the weeks after Columbine in 1999. Please see Bomb/Page A3 DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 7    ‘22910    00050    4 A    t BIG FOUR I Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Sunny, 84° ■ Forecast, A2 Smithfield may be back to drawing board Court challenge of building shopping centers on former prison grounds may change direction of development Mirror map by Tom Worthington ll By Kevin OTT Staff Writer HUNTINGDON - For a while there, it seemed as if the future of the Smithfield Township prison land was certain. Now plans for a shopping center are on shaky ground, and a pending court decision may mean township officials have to start looking for a developer all over again. Smithfield Township obtained the land, which consists of three parcels totaling 116 acres, from the state Department of Corrections. Township officials plan to give the land to the Smithfield Township Economic Development Corp., a nonprofit group formed to oversee new development. STEDC planned to sell parts of the land to two Altoona developers, who would have built a shopping plaza centered around a Wal-Mart, as well as a home-improvement store, such as Lowe’s or Home Depot, and a hotel. But STEDC’s process has been challenged in court by the H.L. Libby Corp. of Wexford, which already has constructed the township’s two main shopping plazas, both on Route 22. Libby claims that STEDC is bypassing standard bidding procedures and met with STEDC attorneys in Huntingdon County court earlier this week. “It may allow the township to totally bypass ever having to publicly bid another piece of land again,” spokesman Robert Libby said. “I think it’s a pretty undemocratic way of doing things ... there’s no due process.” If Libby has its way, STEDC may have to accept bids on the land instead of choosing a developer itself. Pennsylvania’s township code allows townships to give land to any one of a number of organizations such as local ambulance companies and other emergency services. Please see Board/Page AIQ urn □ local Q NATION Business Movies Obituaries Opinion A6,7 A6 A9 A8 Classifieds C3-10 Q UFE U SPORTS Comics D5 Local B4 Community news Puzzles D2 D4 Scoreboard B5 Television D4 A dispute over who will develop a prime piece of real estate in Smithfield Township near routes 22 and 26 has delayed plans for a major retailer to move into the Huntingdon area. Altoona liltrror THE GREAT COMB I NATION I Call us today...Make money today. Ask for THE GREAT COMBINATION of MIRROR CLASSIFIEDS and I D Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) 946-7547_ INSIDE An overview of giraffes PAGE D3 ;

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