,3nbtana (Sastttc STATE Wednesday, October 30, 2002 — Page 3 Rendell still leads in polls By GEORGE STRAWLEY Associated Press Writer HARRISBURG — Pollsters delivered more bad news to the gubernatorial campaign of Republican Mike Fisher today as another survey reported a lopsided lead for Democrat Edward G. Rendell. The Keystone Poll conducted by Millersville University reported a 19- point lead for Rendell, who drew in more than half the vote for the first time in the campaign. Fifty-two percent of the 483 registered voters surveyed said they would vote for Rendeil, compared to 33 percent who supported Fisher for governor. Thirteen percent were'un- decided. Rendell, the former mayor of Philadelphia, has led comfortably in the Keystone Poll since scoring a 12 percent margin over Fisher, the state attorney general, in June. Other polls have shown Rendell with the same commanding edge, including one released by Quinnipiac University that also showed a 19- point lead for Rendell. "This is not a bright picture for the attorney general," said G. Terry Madonna, director of the poll and chairman of the political science department at Millersville. "The odds are long. He has to somehow move voters in the heavily Republican southeast in order to do it. It's just that critical." But Rendell remains strongly ahead of Fisher in Philadelphia and southeastern Pennsylvania. The race is close in the northeastern, northwestern and southwestern portions of the state. Fisher holds only a slim lead within the sampling margin of error in central Pennsylvania, traditionally a Republican stronghold, and appears to be trailing in his home base of Allegheny County, Madonna said. Fisher spokesman Kent Gates maintained that Fisher could win the election despite what the polls say. "There's one week left in this election and we are confident that we are going to get our voters to the polls on Election Day," Gates said. Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidates Ed Rendell, right, and Mike Fisher met Tuesday in a final televised debate in Philadelphia. , (AP photo) Rendell, Fisher square off on taxes, records, negative ads By PETER JACKSON Associated Press Writer PHILADELPHIA — Former Philadelphia Mayor Edward G. Rendell and state Attorney General Mike Fisher pointed fingers at and tried to talk over each other Tuesday night in a frenzied finale to the last debate of the gubernatorial campaign. Fisher, the Republican nominee, accused Rendell of trying to hide something* from voters by not publicly releasing his 2001 federal income-tax return. Rendell, the Democrat, demanded that Fisher explain why he had not kept a pledge he took in January not to run negative TV ads. "You're the one who's running the negative campaign," Fisher said, "and why don't you quit whining? All I'm talking about is your record." Rendell, who obtained extensions that allowed him to file liis tax return late a couple weeks ago, said Tuesday he would release it Thursday. He described the return as routine, showing a combined income for him Erie economy leads to rise in foreclosure rates ERIE (AP) — With the economy stalling in northwestern Pennsylvania, Erie County has watched the number of foreclosures on homes and businesses more than double over die last decade as people struggled to make payments on properties. By the end of the year, Erie County Sheriff Robert Merski's office will have processed more than 400 homes and businesses for sheriff's sales — an increase of more than 30 percent compared to last year. A decade ago, in 1992, the office had 175 properties foreclosed on by lenders. "We haven't seen the worst of it yet," David Pesch, a housing counselor with St. Martin's Center, a nonprofit social service agency in the county, told the Erie Times-News for a story Tuesday. The increase is being blamed on layoffs, high interest rates on fees and loans and business cutbacks, which sometimes lead to less income for people who rely on overtime and extra work. The problem is being felt in other parts of the state as well. In Lackawanna County in northeastern Pennsylvania, there have been 346 sales on foreclosed properties so far this year, up from 282 last year. In neighboring Luzerne County, the total number of properties processed for sheriff's sales is expected to be 974, including a sale set for Dec. 6, said Theresa Marchel, head of the real estate department for the county sheriff in Scranton. Last year, the number totaled 886 properties; in 1999, it was 693. "I feel bad for these people, I really do," said Marchel. "They don't want to lose their homes." In many cases, people are able to . find enough money to make payments or otherwise delay a lender's foreclosure. In other cases, said Marchel, people declare bankruptcy to stall foreclosure. Pesch said the growing number of foreclosures can also be partially explained by the increased use of sub- prime lenders — companies that handle higher-risk loans but charge at higher rates. He said many people who are seeking help from his agency borrowed from subprime lenders and are now overextended. "Normally, people spend between 20 (percent) and 40 percent of their income for housing, but we have beer, seeing people who have 50 (percent) to 60 percent of their income going for housing," added Gene Humenay, program director for the credit counseling service run by Family Services of Northwestern Pennsylvania. BEAUTIFUL ACREAGE! • White Twp. 2 1 A miles from downtown Indiana • 38 Acres • Excellent, Quiet Setting • Open AND Wooded • Several Springs • Fronts on Martin Road Slaltmenti made at lime nf sale lake precedence over any or all advertising or slalemeiils made prior lo sate. ^~~ FOR FURTHER DETAILS CONTACT % ffi Pete Stewart & Son Auctioneers and Realtors 923 Philadelphia Street, Indiana, PA Phone 724-463-0715 License Number AU-000904-L Since 1952 and his wife of more than $800,000, and said it was held up by complications stemming from a house that the couple are building in Ocean City, N.J. "The problem is that Michael doesn't listen and he interrupts," Rendell said. "I listen," Fisher interrupted. The exchange came at the end of an hourlong debate on live television at the studio of WPVI-TV, one week before Election Day, when the candidates were allowed to ask each other one question apiece. Most of the debate featured rapid- fire questions — by WPVI anchor Jim Gardner and reporter Vernon Odom — and similarly quick answers by Rendell and Fisher. Fisher said Rendell's $1.5 billion plan to increase state funding for schools and reduce local property taxes would inevitably require a tax increase, since the $1 billion in spending cuts Rendell proposes could come only from the half of the state budgel not earmarked for education. Rendell said he rernain's confident that enough spending can be cut. He said Fisher's alternative — requiring most school districts to hold referendums on whether voters want to swap an increase in local income taxes for a cut in local property taxes — is no alternative at all. "Folks, he's raising your taxes," Rendell said. Fisher said his plan would give voters a choice. "This is not sending the money to Harrisburg... and hopefully getting it back," he said. Most of the other topics retraced old ground. Rendell said he would veto a bill to outlaw most abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court were to reverse its current stance on the issue; Fisher said he would sign it. Fisher said he opposes any new gun-control laws, and Rendell said he supports reasonable new laws, such as limiting handgun purchases to one per person per month. But both said the recent wave of sniper attacks had not changed their views on the subject. ._-— Thursday October 31 st Halloween Part PHARMACY and Come in for Breakfast or Lunch and Receive a Treat Bag from Cafe 701 and a 25% OFF Coupon from the GIFT SHOP 8 AM - 6 PM hoices When making funeral arrangements, whether your choice is a Traditional Service, a Memorial Service, a Graveside Service or Cremation, we offer a wide variety of options from which you can choose. We will work with you to design a funeral service around your desires, wants and needs. ©2001 Luster & Associates JfjtfaSfm. Richard T. Wolfe - Owner/Supervisor 36 North 7th Street Indiana, PA 15701 (724) 349-9700 Technology needed to skirt mine threats By MARTHA BRYSON MODEL Associated Press Writer CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Mining officials from four states asked scientists and engineers for help locating old and played-out mines so today's miners don't face the hazards of breaching a wall into an abandoned operation. Depending solely on maps for details of old mining operations, some of which began in the 18th and 19th centuries, is too risky, a spokesman for the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration said Tuesday during a one-day seminar on mine mapping. Inaccurate maps have been responsible for several recent mining .industry disasters, including flooding of the Quecreek Mine near Somerset, Pa., in which nine miners were trapped for more than three days in July after their operation broke into an old mine full of water. There are other, more serious hazards. Some abandoned mines are filled with bad air that miners know as the "black damp." It is air from which the oxygen has been depleted, and there is no escape for miners who encounter it — they suffocate too quickly. Ray McKinney, MSIIA's administrator for coal mine safety and health, said that in the past three years, the nation's underground mines have averaged an inundation every two weeks. Frank Delzer, a spokesman for the Kentucky mining agency, said the focus on mine maps is a chimera, because much of the needed mapping was not done when the abandoned mines were active, while others have been lost or destroyed. Kentucky's repository of mine maps was destroyed by a fire on the University of Kentucky campus in 1948, Delzer said. What is really needed, he said, is a new technology that will enable engineers to track where voids exist underground. "The skeleton in the closet is that without some kind of breakthrough technology, anything we can do is inadequate," Delzer said. Kentucky has had to change its laws, according to Delzer. Previously all mine maps in that state were con- sidered "proprietary" and can legally be kept private by a company. Kentucky recently revised its laws to make maps of abandoned mines available to the public and the government. "It may be that laws are required to make these maps available to us," Delzer said. Joe Main, safely director of the United Mine Workers of America, argued that "mapping is a diversion." MSILA needs to consider changing its rules to make certain that every active operation "validates the boundaries before you put the miners in there," he said. Main contends the agency needs to require mine operators to drill ahead of their mining operations to determine if there are any voids in the mine's path. Existing federal regulations allow a company to mine to within 50 feet of an old mine if it is "ancestral," that is an old or abandoned working that is nevertheless part of the same operation, McKinney said. In all other situations, they are allowed to operate no closer than 200 feet without drilling holes to detect voids. The federal agency plans to run public service ads asking coalfield residents who have copies of old maps to bring them to the agency, or to call if they happen to know where an old mine might be. Doug Conaway, director of the West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training, said the state may have the most complete set of mine maps, although even those are often inadequate. West Virginia has required some form of mapping since 1883, Conaway said, although there were no attempts by the slate to preserve them systematically until 1968, after a disaster at Hominy Palls. On May 6, 1968, miners working forGauley Coal and Coke at Hominy Falls in Nicholas County accidentally tunneled into an adjacent, abandoned mine, flooding their operation. Four men died, but nearly a score of others were rescued after days spent trapped underground. That disaster prompted West Virginia and the federal government to preserve all mine maps in a fireproof vault, Conaway said. f 1 Binding The Wounds A First Aid Course For The Soul Saturday, November 2 2:00-4:00 PM And Each Saturday For 22 Weeks Indiana Seventh Day Adventist Church 1496 Indian Springs Road A Group Workshop For Hurting Individuals In Search of Answers To Life's Dilemmas. The workshop will benefit those who are divorccd.einoliointlly abused, rejected, sexually abused or depressed and professionals seeking to improve their skills. "If You're Teachable, You're Healable" Call For Reservations CLASS SIZE LIMITED (724) 422-4374 A FREE FLU CLINIC Open to residents who are low-income or have no health insurance. Sponsored by Rotary Club of Indiana & Indiana County Community Health Advisory Council NOVEMBER 25, 2002 3 P.M. - 6 P.M. RUSTIC LODGE Limited amount of vaccine is available, please call to make an appointment. 724-357-7497 IF YOU ARE: •Over 50 years of age •Have a chronic disease, such as heart, lung or kidney disease or diabetes, anemia or asthma •Have a weakened immune system due to disease •Someone who cares for a high risk individual Then...lT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU GET AN ANNUAL FLU SHOT! KICK THE FLU!
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