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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - September 27, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania INSIDE TODAYSPORTS: Offensive line woes continue for Penn State / Bl WORLD: U.S. asks NATO allies to help collect info / ClAltoona Mirror © Copyright 2001THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2001 SOC newsstand WAR ON TERRORISM COVERAGE: PAGES A7, A13, Cl, C5 Altoona Hospital cuts 90 Mirror photos by Kelly Bennett Barbara Ann Roswurm of Altoona had some of the most patriotic pants Wednesday evening at the Bellwood Community Parade in Bellwood. A rally was held at Bellwood-Antis High School after the parade. Josh Miller of the Logan Township United Fire Department (shown below) helps hang Old Glory on the fire ladder arch at the end of the parade route. IO arrested in obtaining hazardous license illegally ■ Pittsburgh examiner provided permits to those charged, despite them being ineligible. By Karen Gullo Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON — Law enforcement authorities arrested IO Middle Eastern men in three states Wednesday on charges of fraudulently obtaining licenses to transport hazardous materials. The arrests were made in connection with the terrorist attacks investigation. The arrests in Missouri, Michigan and Washington state followed FBI warnings that terrorists may strike next using chemical or biological weapons. Authorities said as many as 20 people who had the bogus permits — some of whom may have connections to the 19 hijackers involved in the Sept. ll terrorist attacks — have been charged but may not be linked to the attacks. FBI affidavits for the IO arrested said a total of 18 people from seven states falsely obtained licenses in Pennsylvania to haul hazardous materials between July 1999 and February 2000. It’s too early to tell whether any of those arrested Wednesday are connected to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Justice Department spokeswoman Susan Dryden said. Those arrested got the licenses from the state of Pennsylvania, where a driver’s license examiner in Pittsburgh provided permits to people who didn’t take the required tests, had suspended licenses or were otherwise not eligible, according to court records. Please see Arrested/Page A13 By William Kibler Staff Writer Altoona Hospital is laying off the equivalent of 90 full-time employees to help make ends meet after an audit showed unexpectedly high operating losses of $7 million for last fiscal year. The operating loss is twice that of the previous fiscal year and $1.5 million worse than projected in June, when hospital officials were optimistic things had stabilized after three bad quarters. At that time, the hospital budgeted 40 additional employees for the current fiscal year, but then an audit found the additional losses in sorting year-end accounts, With finances no better, the hospital will cut payroll to 1,455. The staff cuts will be wide-ranging and will include union and non-union workers, management and rank-and-file employees. The cuts are part of a $6.8 million package of savings moves and revenue enhancements to balance the current budget, at least for now, Chief Executive Officer Jim Bamer said Wednesday. Bamer claims the job cuts will not sacrifice service, response times or patient convenience. Despite cost management that kept hospital inflation at I percent during the last fiscal year, die hospital is losing money on operations because of low reimbursements from Medicare, Medicaid and managed care, fewer patients and the high cost of paying for scarce registered nurses. There’s no guarantee those problems won’t get worse, Bamer said. But for now. the staff is the right size, he said. The average daily census is 144, while the hospital is licensed for 354 beds. Although Bamer said an ongoing expansion of the emergency depart ment didn’t have a significant impact on the job cuts, the hospital has spent $5 million on it. Officials expect the department to get formal recognition Monday as a trauma center, but the business plan doesn’t predict it will make money for three years. Please see Hospital/Page A12 City asks mill suit be tossed By William Kibler Staff Writer Residents suing the city for allegedly diverting $4.2 million in recreation tax lacks standing to sue, missed early deadlines for action, threaten damage to the city if they win and have a technically flawed complaint, the city states in court papers filed this week. The city is asking the Blair County Court of Common Pleas to throw out the suit filed recently by former city controller Stu Duncan and former city Recreation Commission chairman Bill Schirf. “It’s totally lacking in merit, frivolous and vexatious,” states the response submitted Tuesday by the city’s attorney in the case, Joel Kormanski of Lakemont. Duncan and Schirf claim that by raising recreation taxes to 4.13 mills in 1997 and using some of that money to augment the general fund, the city exceeded the absolute 30-mill general real estate tax limit for third-class cities by varying amounts since. Ifs a scheme to circumvent the general millage cap, Duncan and Schirf say. The suit asks the court to force the city to stop diverting the millage and any other “appropriate” relief. Duncan and Schirf have no standing to sue because they aren’t personally aggrieved by the alleged illegal diversion, the city argued. They fail even to identify themselves as taxpayers — although if they had, it wouldn’t be enough for standing in the suit, the city states. The complainants failed to meet the deadlines for legitimately challenging the diversion of money, the city states. They should have appealed under either of two sections of the law that allow 30 days after approval of the tax plan or another section that allows 60 days. Please see Suit/Page A8 Redistricting eliminates four districts, shuffles townships By Robert Igoe Staff Writer For a day, Menno Township became one of the most important communities in Blair County. Quite a feat since it’s in Mifflin County. The township will remain in Mifflin County, of course, but State Senate President Pro Tem Robert C. Jubelirer, R-Blair, and state Rep. Larry O. Sather, R-Huntingdon, have gained the second class township as part of the redistricting of senate and legislative districts as the result of Census 2000. While the addition of Menno Township is the only change for Jubelirer, who retains Bedford, Please see Dlstrlcts/Page AllMURDER PLOT CHARGES DA to request court review decision By Phil Ray Staff Writer The Blair County district attorney says he will ask the state Superior Court to reconsider a recent decision that conflicts with its own previous order. Two Altoona women charged with plotting murder in 1999 face dramat ically different fates because of the contrary Pennsylvania Superior Court decisions. The Superior Court in March reinstated charges of criminal solicitation and conspiracy to commit criminal homicide against 31-year-old Susan G. Chaplin. Her attorney, Steven Passarello, appealed the Superior Court decision to the Supreme Court, but the state’s highest court refused to hear further argument just more than a week ago. This means Chaplin returned to the Blair County criminal court trial list in preparation for jury selection. Please see DA/Page A14 mm Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 7 -'22910 00050    4 MD POUR SI 4 ll) 4 Lottery numbers, A2 Mostly cloudy, 56° ■ Forecast, A2 > ()^i J ^    Winriin ITALIAN VILLA The Area's Very Best Award Win n ing Fin e Din ing / Q LOCAL Business Hospitals Obituaries Opinion A9 A13 A13 AIQ High school football B4 Scoreboard BO Movies N ife tanner    D2 Up and Coming DO IN BUSINESS Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, in a 4-0 vote, gives Verizon Communications Inc. final approval to sell longdistance services in the state. PAGEAU ;

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