Low Resolution Image: Become a member to access this full resolution image at 375% higher quality.

OCR Text

Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - November 14, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania WORLD: NORTHERN ALLIANCE CEMENTS CONTROL OVER KABUL ► PAGE Cl SSrop Guilfoyle debuts hockey program Thursday Thanksgiving meal carries a lot of traditionsAltoona Mirror © Copyright 2001WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2001 50C newsstandBlair to hold line on real-estate levy By Ray Stephens Staff Writer HOLLIDAYSBURG - Blair County residents can expect their county real-estate taxes to remain unchanged for 2002, commissioners Chairman John J. Ebersole announced Tuesday. Commissioners plan to introduce the proposal at their Nov. 27 meeting and to adopt it Dec. 18. If the county budget goes through without a tax increase, property owners will continue paying 30.5 mills, with the county using 25 mills to cover general-fund expenses and 5.5 mills for debt payments. The county is heading toward the end of the fiscal year with about $4 million to carry into 2002. Ebersole said the county has that money because the majority of department heads either held to or were under their budget allotments. Commissioner Donna Gority said an adopted budget reflects full employment. When county employees leave their jobs and are not replaced immediately, the county has money to carry into the next fiscal year. Another factor figuring into 2002 budget calculations is that most employees’ salaries have been negotiated. The county settled two contracts in 2001, both reflecting raises of or about 3 percent. After the commissioners’ meeting Tuesday, county Controller Richard J. Peo said he will review the 2001 budget to calculate the predicted year-end balance. He expects the county will have close to $4 million left. “The directors did a good job in not overspending this year,” Peo said. Peo also credited commissioners for keeping an eye on spending throughout the year, something the controller’s office encourages by generating a monthly Please see Taxe*/Page AS Tax deal will hurt Bedford budget ■ Wal-Mart will save $116,260, but schools and municipalities will lose revenue. By Beth N. Gray For the Mirror BEDFORD — The nation’? largest discount retail chain got a dis count on its Bedford County real-estate taxes Tuesday. County commissioners approved a middle-ground tax assessment on Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s distribution center in Bedford Township and its retail outlet in Snake Spring Township that will save the retailer $116,260 in county real-estate taxes next year. The county Tax Assessment Appeals Board last month denied the Bentonville, Ark.-based firm’s appeals for reduced assessments on its properties. Wal-Mart sought a market value of $27 million on the distribution center against the county-set value of $40.3 million. Wal-Mart said the market value of its store was $3 million when county assessors pegged it at $4.1 million. The appeals board, comprised of county commissioners David Thompson, Dick Rice and Ira Claycomb, along with Chief Tax Assessor Melissa Roy, stood by the county’s numbers, saying Wal-Mart had failed to prove its claims. Thompson said he couldn’t shift Wal-Mart’s tax burden to other taxpayers. When Wal-Mart was advised of the denials, company representatives said they would appeal the decisions to Bedford County Common Pleas Court, but they were willing to negotiate, Roy said Tuesday. After several telephone negotiating sessions between Wal-Mart officials and Roy, commissioners approved new assessments Tuesday: $33.3 million market value for the center and $3.15 million for the store. The county’s projected revenue losses for next year are calculated at $51,155 for the center and $13,950 for the store. The biggest loser is the Bedford Area School District, which will see $53,119 disappear from its expected income. The county will experience a shortfall of $10,354. Bedford Township, home to the distribution center, will not collect $1,445. Please see Deal/Page All HERITAGE PRESERVATION Mirror file photo by Jason Sipes A federal program that helps create tourist attractions from abandoned industrial sites could be in jeopardy under a proposed bill to cut the program’s funding. The Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum (shown above) used the program’s funds while the museum was being built in the early 1990s. Lawmakers faying to cut funds for tourist program By Robert Igoe Staff Writer A federal program that helps turn abandoned industrial sites into tourist attractions, such as the Altoona Memorial Railroaders Museum, is in danger of being derailed by some members of Congress. But supporters of the National Heritage Area Program are rallying to preserve it because they say it is cost-efficient and beneficial to communities. The program, created in 1984, has provided $210 million from Congress, including $13 million last year, for local and state agencies to renovate abandoned mines, steel mills, silos and other discontinued industrial facilities and turn them into tourist and heritage sites. Please see Program/Page A6 Bill proposes suspensions for speeders By Mark Shade capitolwire.com HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania has tried a lot of things to slow down motorists in construction zones. Now lawmakers are considering a bill that would suspend a driver’s license for 30 days if the speed of the vehicle is just 5 mph faster than posted speed limits. However, it is unclear if the proposal, which the House Transportation Committee approved Tuesday, will survive the legislative process. “Everyone knows we’re working on a comprehensive piece of legisla-tion,” said Rep. Rick Geist, R-Altoona, chairman of the committee and one of the proposal’s sponsors. “We made the commitment to move this bill out of committee, and that’s as far as it’s going to go. I’m going to honor that commitment.” A handful of committee members expressed doubt about the bdl, HB 2033. One lawmaker said he worried about “overzealous local policemen or state policemen” patrolling construction zones while another wondered if the bill would affect him. “Does that pertain to the turn- Under the measure, a motorist traveling 5 mph over die posted lim 'd in a construction zone would lose his drivers license IwX days. pike?” Rep. Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny, wondered aloud. “Anywhere,” said the committee’s executive director, Erie Bugaile, whose answer was followed by a burst of laughter in the cramped North Office hearing room from lawmakers who frequently travel on Interstate 76 to get to the Capitol. “How are we going to get to work?” Dermody asked. Although it was a lighthearted moment, construction zone speeding is an issue the state has been battling for years with legislation and with an increase in the number and tone of construction zone signs and PennDOT advertising campaigns. Please see Speeders/Page A6 Lottery rolling out costliest game ever HARRISBURG (AP) — Looking for ways to offset the spiraling costs of senior benefits, the Pennsylvania Lottery is rolling out its most expensive instant game yet. Lottery officials hope that sales of the $20 tickets, called “Yule Be A Winner," will find success by piggybacking on the holiday season, when retailers make a hefty share of their annual sales. The tickets, which guarantee winnings of at least $5 per ticket, appear this week. “We're hoping that people looking for unique and different gift ideas will think of the lottery tickets,” said Deb Snyder, press secretary for the Department of Revenue, which oversees lottery operations. Pennsylvania is the third state to try the $20 ticket game after Connecticut and Michigan. Snyder said lottery officials found their 7,000 retailers were successful in selling $10 instant game tickets last year, and they wanted to see if they could increase their profits this year. Lottery officials have good reason to be optimistic: Through Nov. 5, lottery sales were up ll percent from last year, Snyder said. Still, “Yule Be A Winner” will have a lower profile than other games. Because of its steeper price, the new game will be distributed only to retailers who specifically order it, Snyder said. So far, about 4,000 retailers have signed up for a trial run, Snyder said. Of the 600,000 “Yule Be A Winner” tickets already printed, five are $10,000 winners, 495 are $100 winners and 263,500 tickets carry winnings of at least $20. H DELIVERY *g| Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 i 22910 0bb5qjf A HID rn*yin I3v%x rwii3    6    6 ■ Lottery numbers, A2 I    WEATHER Partly sunny, 58° ■ Forest, A2 H0T^ADS^om We re white-hot! ■■militia mrrzm. ti u&yixtuu ■ Altaonu mirror I THE GREAT COMBINATION] Call us today...Make money today. Ask for THE GREAT COMBINATION of MIRROR CLASSIFIEDS and HOT-ADS Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) 946-7^47 Q LOCAL Business AU Movies A4 Obituaries AIS Opinion A10 Qsports Local B4 Scoreboard p3 nation Classifieds C6-16 Comics    OS Community news D2 Puzzles    D4 Television    D4IN BUSINESS Fleming Cos. officials are planning layoffs at its distribution plant in Altoona to compensate for work lost with the opening of the Sheetz distribution center. ^    HQ*    A11 ;

Clippings and Obituaries for the Altoona Mirror