Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - January 2, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania
Sports: Coverage of college bowl gamesLife: Robert Pennington named Man of Distinction DI
How trains fly’Altona Mirror
© Copyright 2001TUESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2001
Magnetic forces levitate the train above the track and propel it forward, faster than 240 mph.
Levitation magnets attract the train toward the guidfeway.
The train is pulled forward by a traveling magnetic field in the guideway.
Sources: Transrapid; Atlanta and Chattanooga Maglev
Mirror Staff Writer Kevin Ott can be reached at 946-7457 or [email protected]
Lawmakers in ‘training
Guidance magnets keep train laterally on
First 2001 baby born at Nason
By Kevin OTT Staff Writer
ROARING SPRING — Carrie Thompson and James Loalas first met on the way to a New Year’s Eve party before the clock struck midnight Jan. 1,1998.
Exactly three years later, they rang in the first minutes of 2001 at Nason Hospital as Thompson gave birth to their first son.
“We told him to wait until New Year’s,” Loalas said, laughing, after all was said and done.
Kristian James Loalas popped his tiny head into the world 22 minutes after midnight Monday.
Kristian may just be the true millennium baby, since the 21st century officially starts in 2001 — not 2000, contrary to what last year’s celebrations may have indicated.
But more important to Carrie Thompson and James Loalas is the fact that they have a son.
Kristian is their first child. The couple plans to have one or two more; they’d also like to have a girl. Siblings are important to both parents since Thompson loved growing up with brothers and sisters and Loalas had none but sometimes wished he had.
Besides being Blair County’s first baby of the new millennium, Kristian also has the benefit of being every mother’s dream. His birth took just 15 minutes after just a few hours of labor.
Thompson’s contractions began early Sunday, but they were light and infrequent. Obstetricians at Nason told her she could go home until they became more pronounced.
“We just sat around and waited,” she said. “Once he was ready, he came.”
Living through the holidays knowing they could have a baby at any minute had a surreal quality to it, said Loalas, who was stiff getting used to his new son Monday night.
Family members have swarmed their home over the past few months with Christmas presents, baby gifts and New Year’s wishes.
“It almost seemed like it was a dream,” he said. “Sometimes it felt like we weren’t even pregnant. It was too good to be true.”
Then they got to the hospital. Four hours and eight pounds later, they knew it was true.
Now they have a hopeful future planned.
“He’s going to be a Philadelphia Eagles player,” Kristian’s mother said.
“He’s going to be a linebacker,” his father added.
They say so because of Kristian’s extra-large hands and feet, noticeably bigger than most newborns.
They’ll understand, though, if he wants to play for the Dallas Cowboys.
“I’ll forgive him,” Loalas said, smiling. “He’s my first son.”
Mirror photo by Kelly Bennett
Kristian James Loalas was the first area baby born in 2001 at Nason Hospital, Roaring Spring. His parents are James Loalas (left) and Carrie Thompson.
Pennsylvania legislators travel to Europe to learn about high-speed rail’s benefits
By Robert Igoe
State Rep. Rick Geist, R-Altoona, promises to continue the fight to bring highspeed rail to Pennsylvania and to see it benefit the Altoona area.
Geist, who spent a week in Europe with members of his House Transportation Committee, returned with a glowing report on the progress being made in the industry.
He said the technology that transports millions of Europeans throughout the continent every year can be successful in Pennsylvania.
Before leaving for Europe, Geist made every member of the committee ride an Amtrak passenger train to show them what modern passenger rail is like in the area.
“I made sure that most of my group rode the Amtrak from Philadelphia to Harrisburg so we could compare the two systems,” Geist said. “Those Amtracs just toss you all around. It’s very uncomfortable and not very fast.” When compared with the Transrapid 08, a magnetic levitation train that is the vanguard of German raff, Geist said it’s easy to see the difference — on and off the train.
“The ride itself was not the most impressive,” he said. “The technology is so awesome that you don’t realize that the train is moving so fast. For the people there for the first time, it was impossible to try to describe. Everyone in our trip left as visionaries.
“The real thing this time was not riding it. It was when we went to the observation deck; it was misty and raining. The train comes at you, goes to your left, goes around a curve and comes back on a straightaway, so you get to observe it here, and you walk across and three minutes later, it’s here.
“It comes at us going through the switch at 120 mph. When it comes back around, it’s coming past at 250 mph. Its the most awesome demonstration of speed I can imagine. You see it coming, then it’s behind you. And when you’re riding it, there’s no feeling of speed,” Geist said.
Geist said a passenger can place a glass of water on a table and notice no movement.
State Rep. Jerry Stern, R-Martinsburg, who went with Geist, said he was equally impressed.
“I was really amazed,” Stern said. “My eyes were opened to the possibility of things that can happen here in the field of passenger transit. It was worthwhile in allowing us to see the technology and innovation of European passenger transportation by rail.
Please see Train/Page A5
Diary excerpts reflect train’s speedy, yet smooth traveling
A high-speed rail train whizzes by a boarding station in Germany. State Rep. Rick Geist, R-Altoona, led his House Transportation Committee on a tour through Europe to observe the train’s usage.
One of the guests who traveled to Europe with state Reps. Rick Geist, R-Altoona, and Jerry Stern, R-Martinsburg, was Stern's son, Jason.
While on the trip, Jason Stern kept a journal of his experiences and thoughts as he toured Europe at more than 250 mph on some of the fastest trains on Earth.
What follows are some excerpts of his journal in which Jason describes the trip, which he can sum up in one word: “impressive. ”
■ ■ ■
“Recently I was privileged to travel to several different countries with an esteemed group of individuals to tour European highspeed rail. They say first impressions leave the most impact, and my first impression of these superfast trains amazed me.
“AU of these high-speed trains
were fast, yet smooth at the same time. Besides having a comfortable ride, these high-speed trains cut travel time down greatly.”
“Around IO a.m., we boarded the I.C.E. [Inter City Express] train from Frankfurt to Hamburg [Germany]. This is my first ride on a high-speed rail system.
“The first thing that impressed me was the speed that the train was traveling and yet the ride was very smooth. Even at high speeds, my bottle of water that sat in front of me was not shaking at all.
“Later that day we had the opportunity to tour the I.C.E. train shops. It was very interesting to see how many inspections and checks they make to ensure the safety of the passengers and people who live along the tracks.”
Please see Diary/Page A5
Because of the New Year’s holiday, the January edition of Seniors Mirror appears in today’s paper.
This month’s cover story deals with seniors who reap the rewards of volunteerism.
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Community news D2
Because of the New Year’s Day holiday, the stock markets were closed Monday.
Look for Tuesday's trading results on the business page inside v Wednesday’s Mirror.
By Michael Emery Staff Writer
It’s not only God that works in mysterious ways. Sometimes it’s the rock ’n’ roll gods, too.
And when Joe Skyward is pulling the strings... well, the sky is the limit when it comes to mysterious ways, rock ’n’ roll and just about anything else.
Just ask Harold Hayford, an Altoona musician who climbed his stairway to
rock ’n’ roll heaven this Christmas season, thanks in large part to his old friend, Joe Skyward — formerly known as Joe Howard when he attended Altoona Area High School in the mid-1970s.
As high school friends, Hayford and Skyward shared a love for music. After high school, they journeyed separate paths pursuing their musical interests.
Please see Dream/Page A6
Area musician realizes dream by playing with Yes drummer