STATE Wednesday, October 30, 2002 — Page 7 Safety manual targets Amish By BILL BERGSTROM Associated Press Writer PHILADELPHIA — Too often on winding Amish country roads, fast- moving cars and trucks encounter fragile horse-drawn buggies, moving at a walk or trot, with tragic results. State officials hope a new safety manual for buggy drivers will help them avoid crashes with the bigger vehicles that share the blacktop, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick said. "It's primarily going to be geared toward the Amish, giving them some tips on how to cope with much heavier, faster-moving vehicles than their buggies," Kirkpatrick said. Seven members of an Amish family, including five children ranging from 3 to 11, remained hospitalized Tuesday after the latest such accident. Like a "Safe Driving in Amish Country" brochure already available for motor vehicle operators, the Deli sales plunge after meat recall Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials are hoping a new safety manual will improve road safety for buggy drivers, particularly the Amish. (AP photo) buggy drivers' manual will focus on common sense and courtesy, with an emphasis on lights and reflectors the law requires to give the carriages higher visibility, Kirkpatrick said. The manual will be published in about two months, though officials are still deciding how to distribute it, Kirkpatrick said. Drivers of animal-drawn vehicles may not see it at PennDOT offices, because they don't need operators' licenses and they don't need to register the buggies. In the latest crash, a van demolished an Amish family's buggy Sunday night on an unlit, two-lane bridge across the Susquehanna River. Ben Ebersol Sr. remained in critical condition and Annie Ebersol in serious condition Tuesday at Lancaster General Hospital. The Ebersol children, Andrew, 11, Daniel, 9, John, 7, Sarah, 4, and Ben Jr., 3, remained in critical condition at Hershey Medical Center. The horse was killed. Pennsylvania had 371 horse-and- buggy crashes, killing 18 people and injuring 442, from 1996 through 2000, the latest year for which Pen- nDOT has buggy accident statistics available. In 40 percent of the crashes, the buggies were struck from the rear. "Among the topics we hope to cover in this manual is making sure the buggy has lighting and reflective markers on it," Kirkpatrick said. "We offer advice that that's one of the most important things you can do." One Amish sect has gone to court to fight the requirement for orange reflective triangles, saying it violates their belief against gaudy decorations and against placing their faith in man-made symbols. The manual will also note that slow-moving vehicles such as buggies should pull off the road to let other traffic pass whenever it is safe to do so, and should be especially careful making left turns, signaling first and turning only when the road is clear. "Obviously, these vehicles are permitted on the road," Kirkpatrick said. "It's a case where everyone has to remember that it's high-powered motor vehicles and horse-drawn carriages, and we try to urge everyone to use care and a degree of common sense." The brochure for motor vehicle drivers has a similar warning that "Rural Roads are Not City Streets." "Keep in mind that the Amish are just trying to get to their destination the same as you," it reads, warning drivers to approach horse-drawn vehicles slowly and keep a safe distance. "Don't get frustrated or impatient and begin honking the horn, this will only startle the horse and jeopardize lives." (On the Net: PennDOT: www.dot. state.pa.us/) By MICHAEL RUBINKAM Associated Press Writer PHILADELPHIA — More than two weeks after Wampler Foods agreed to the largest meat recall in U.S. history, a supermarket chain reports that sales of all deli-sliced chicken and turkey are down substantially. Acme Markets, a division of Albertson's Inc., the nation's No. 2 food and drug retailer, said consumers are staying away from poultry products sold at its deli counters — despite the fact that Wampler products- are no longer found there. "Overall sales are down, depending on the store, as much as 20 percent," said Walt Rubel, a spokesman for Acme, which has 138 stores in the mid-Atlantic region. Texas-based Pilgrim's Pride, owner of Wampler Foods, announced a nationwide recall of more than 27 million pounds of cooked turkey and chicken products earlier this month after tests found listeria in floor drains at the Wampler processing plant in Franconia, Pa. The plant is closed indefinitely. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that deli meat from the plant is the most likely source of a listeria outbreak that spread across the Northeast this year and is blamed for at least seven deaths and 39 illnesses. Pilgrim's Pride officials refused to be inter- viewed, but chief executive officer David Van Hoose said in a statement Tuesday that the CDC has not conclusively linked the outbreak to any of the recalled Wampler products. "We believe our actions have demonstrated the utmost responsibility, as well as our great concern for consumer health and peace of mind," he said. But officials from Acme and Clemens Family Markets, a family- run supermarket chain in suburban Philadelphia, said customers are avoiding Wampler products not subject to the recall. "Clearly, some customers would choose not to purchase other Wampler products because of the recall. That's not uncommon," said Rubel, the Acme spokesman. Mike Miller, Clemens' director of meats, said that while he has no hard data, "the Wampler items are not moving as well as they did in the past." However, both officials predicted the effects of the recall would be temporary. "People have so much to think about that they lose track. The situation that was created a month ago is something they might not be thinking about today," Miller said. Steven Cohen, spokesman for the Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service, said the recall is progressing smoothly. Absentee-ballot demand high in Fisher, Rendell hometowns By MARTHA RAFFAELE Associated Press Writer HARRISBURG — The demand for absentee ballots in the home counties of the gubernatorial candidates is substantially higher this year than it was in the last election for governor, county election officials said Tuesday. In Allegheny County, which includes Republican candidate Mike Fisher's hometown of Upper St. Glair, more than 11,000 ballot applications have been sent out so far, said Kathy Guzzi, manager of absentee ballots. That compares to about 8,000 mailed in the 1998 general election, she said. And in Philadelphia, where Democratic candidate Edward G. Rendell served two terms as mayor, more than 8,100 absentee ballot applications were mailed as of Monday, compared to 4,500 in the previous governor's race, county election supervisor Dennis Kelly said. Kelly said he thinks the interest is being generated by mailings from RendelTs campaign and the Republican State Committee that include absentee ballot applications. "I would think that people who weren't even thinking about it would be interested, because it's right there at the doorstep, so people might as well fill them out," he said. Dan 'Fee, Rendell's campaign spokesman, said the campaign was coordinating its efforts along with the state Democratic Party. "We want to do everything we can to make sure that every voter understands there are alternatives to going to the polls if they can't vote in person," he said. Dan Hayward, political director of the Republican State Committee, said the committee has been mailing literature along with two absentee ballots. "We're not just telling them about the candidates; we're also educating them about how they can vote," he said. Tuesday was the deadline for voters to apply for civilian absentee ballots, while those in military service can file applications by Nov. 1. Friday is the last day for county election offices to receive completed ballots. Absentee ballots will be totaled after the polls close on Nov. 5. Mother asks that son be castrated EASTON (AP) — Linda Macaulay told a judge that her mentally retarded son, who is charged with sex crimes against children, should be castrated. Macaulay spoke at a hearing Tuesday for her son, William A. Smith, 30, who has been in prison since 2000 on charges of sex crimes. It was his fourth such charge. "Ma'am, you understand I can't order that your son be, as you put it, fixed," Northampton County Judge Stephen G. Baratta said. At the hearing. Psychiatrist Daniel Greenfield testified that Smith, who New leads sought in Song case Victim's mom, FBI, police join forces WFNGATE (AP) — It's been nearly a year since Perm State student Cindy Song disappeared and investigators are looking for any new information regarding her whereabouts. "A lot of people out there may have some scrap of information they don't think is relevant," state police Sgt. Steven B. Byron said Tuesday at a news conference. "But we want to hear everything." The FBI and area police joined Bansoon Song, Song's mother, to make their request. The 21-year-old South Korean student was last seen in the early morning hours on Nov. 1, 2001, in Ferguson Toivnship. "One of you watching (his program knows what happened to my precious daughter," Bansoon Song wrote in a statement read by Byron. "My life cannot go on until I also know where Cindy is." Police asked that anyone who saw Song on Oct. 31 in State College, excluding those they have already interviewed, contact them. "This information is critical in | completing and confirming the I timeline of her activities that night," \ Byron said. Investigators are also seeking peo- Iple who demonstrated sudden, un- lexpccted changes in behavior after [Song's disappearance, police said. has an IQ of 50 to 60, functions on the level of a "first-, second- or third- grader" and is incompetent to stand trial. He recommended that Smith be housed in a secure residential setting. But Macaulay said she wanted Smith at home with her. She said that if he was castrated, he couldn't commit sexual abuse. "I'd take his rights away as a man," she said. Texas law offers voluntary castration to repeat offenders, but Pennsylvania has no equivalent legislation. Smith's attorney Mark Minotti has asked that Smith be declared incompetent and Assistant District Attorney Patricia C. Broscius has petitioned to have Smith placed in a secure facility. . Baratta said he would rule on those requests in early December. Smith was arrested on June 28, 2000. Police said he exposed himself to a 5-year-old and asked the child to perform a sex act. He is charged with attempted involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent exposure and corruption of minors. 724-465-5555 Call I 4t*t"*lU*J"«J«JO*J to reserve your ad space and add extra sparkle to your holiday profits HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE PUPLISHING DATE Is FRIDAY,. 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Fifty percent of teen suicides, homicides and assaults result from alcohol. Seems like right now would be a good time for your son or daughter to learn about the perils of underage drinking. And there's a free booklet that can help you with the facts. Just call 1-800-537-6531. Bennsylvanians Against Undone D Help protect the future of our youth - learn what you can do to prevent underage drinking.
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