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Altoona Mirror Newspaper Archive: January 18, 2001 - Page 1

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   Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - January 18, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania                                World: OPEC leaders ratify cut in oil production Cl Life: Snow White on ice skating into Johnstown Dl JUto0na mirror Copyright 2001 THURSDAY, JANUARY 18, 2001 504 newsstand Accused con man jailed on charges The Hollidaysburg resident is accused of stealing from women with confidence scam. By WALT FRANK Staff Writer A Hollidaysburg man is being held in the Dauphin County Prison after being charged with operating what Lower Paxton Township police call a "sweet- heart confidence scam." Thomas Paul Donahue, 47, 330 Mulberry St., Apt. 3C, was charged with five counts of theft by decep- tion, four counts of forgery and I five counts of receiving stolen property, said Sgt. Dick Toth of the I Lower Paxton Township Police 1 Department. He is being held in lieu I of bail. Donahue also was arrested on a warrant issued by Altoona police, Chief John Treese said. Donahue was charged by Altoona police with one count each of theft by deception, receiv- ing stolen property and forgery. Donahue allegedly stole a num- ber of blank checks from a girl- friend he was living with, made out one check to himself for and forged the girlfriend's name oh the check, Treese said. The check was cashed Dec. 6 at the ARC Federal Credit Union. In the Lower Paxton case, Donahue was staying at a local hotel and used a taxi service on a regular basis with one female dri- ver, Toth said. He always called for that driver, treated her very well and tipped her well for her services all being a ploy to gain her confi- dence, Toth said. "He picks on vulnerable women who aren't very attractive and wines and dines Toth said. "They fall for this." On Christmas Day, Donahue called the driver. Since he was alone at the hotel, she invited him for dinner with her family. The woman's confidence had been secured, and Donahue hinted about wanting a romantic rela- tionship. Within a day, Donahue and the woman began to discuss finances. Donahue told the woman he could not get any checks cashed in the Harrisburg area since he was from the Altoona area. Please see A3 Donahue CENTER SPREAD Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich John Lukens of Lawruk Builder Inc. in Altoona paints a partition ceiling J in the ballroom at the Blair County Convention Center. The Blair County Convention Center and Sports Facility Authority met Wednesday to discuss the progress of construction on the center. I PAGE A10 Heart-care clinic will close down BY WILLIAM KIBLER Staff Writer A heart-care clinic started by Altoona Hospital two years ago is closing. The hospital will shut down its Congestive Heart Failure Clinic by the end of the year, forcing its 125 patients to rely on their family doc- tors to manage their progressive illnesses. If patients and then- doctors are vigilant, they should be.able to get care that is just as good, hospital officials said, but at least some patients are distressed. The clinic gave Lynne Rice of Tyrone hope she didn't have before, Rice said in a letter to the hospital she shared with the Mirror. "I entered the clinic quite fright- ened and anxious and left with a positive and new outlook on Rice said. have saved my life." Managing disease was the buzz when the hospital started the clin- ic, hospital spokesman Rick Reeves said. Health maintenance organiza- tions liked the idea of clinics to do the managing. Clinics would replace expensive hours billed by doctors with less expensive ones charged by people such as nurse practitioners and with careful adjustments to medication and diet that would minimize expensive trips to the emer- gency room. altoona hospital The. reimburse the hospital or the doctors that the clinic consulted. "It turned out to be a one-way Reeves said. The hospital has been trying to cut costs because it is running a deficit caused by the federal gov- ernment's progressive cutbacks of Medicare reimbursements and low HMO reimbursements. It's not surprising that the HMOs didn't support the clinic because they are losing money too, Reeves said. Rice doesn't appreciate the financial argument, especially with the hospital in the midst of a project that could lead to it becom- ing a trauma center. "The message is that we are not moneymakers for the facility, and so therefore the service will be abol- ished and wearetobecastoffintoa corner and she wrote. Please see AID SPECIAL EDUCATION State could nix class size limits BY JAY YOUNG Staff Writer The waiver exempting the Altoona Area School District from special education class size restric- tions would become obsolete under a proposal being considered today. The Pennsylvania Board of Education will consider eliminat- ing a law that limits the number of special education students who can be in a class with one teacher. The mandate often is criticized by school districts, which can be forced to add a full-time position if a class size exceeds the limit by one student. While the proposed Chapter 14 law still would limit the case load of each teacher, administrators could determine class size by assessing the effectiveness of their programs. The Altoona Area School District is exempt from the law after the Department of Education granted a waiver last year. The one-year waiver under the Education Empowerment Act enables the district to exceed class size limitations without penalty. In return, Altoona agreed to assess closely the program to make sure the education of the children isn't being compromised. The waiver was opposed strong- ly last year by numerous parents of special education children; Altoona district administrators said they don't have the money to meet the requirement. Please see A6 Eichelberger, Shuster continue trading jabs BY ROBERT IGOE Staff-Writer It's not exactly the Hatfields and McCoys, but the Shuster- Eichelberger feud is taking center stage in what promises to be a competitive and contentious race for the Pennsylvania 9th District seat in the U.S. House. On Wednesday, the two sides continued to fire salvos at each other with dueling press releases and media conferences. It started with retiring Repub- lican U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster calling Blair County GOP Chairman John Eichelberger Jr.'s contention that Shuster is trying to force Republican officials into sup- porting his son's run for his soon- to-be-vacant seat "a baldfaced lie." Eichelberger responded by alleging that Shuster's retirement was part of an orchestrated plan to take the decision about who will be the Republican nominee for the seat out of the hands of the voters and put it in the hands of "a select group of people." Please see A3 Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec John Eichelberger Jr. speaks about his feud with the Shusters at a press conference. New rules require accreditation of methadone treatment centers From Mirror staff and wire reports WASHINGTON Methadone clinics must be accredited in a manner similar to other health faculties, say new government rules intended to improve quality of treatment for heroin addiction. Under the rules, published Wednesday by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, clinics that dis- tribute methadone and other addiction-treating medication must tailor therapy to addicts' dif- fering needs, provide more physi- cian supervision and take other steps proving quality. "We want to promote state-of- the-art treatment said Dr. H. Westley Clark, the agency's substance abuse treatment chief. Until now, methadone clinics have been inspected by the Food and Drug Administration, but those inspections were widely crit- icized as inadequate, and the FDA is quitting them. Instead, SAMHSA will contract with private organizations the one that accredits hospitals is a candidate to inspect clinics and report which ones meet new gov- ernment quality standards. Clinics will have two years to comply. SAMHSA is part of the Health and Human Services Department. Methadone, a synthetic narcotic, has been used for more than 30 years to treat heroin addiction by suppressing withdrawal sympr toms and curbing .craving. v A plan to place a methadone facility in Ebensburg was put on hold in 1999, but by 2003, most area counties must implement a state project called Healthchoices, which includes methadone treatment. Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 I 2 I Lottery numbers, A2 wunm Cloudy, chance of snow, Forecast, C3 Altoona iHtrror THE GBEAT COMBINATION] Call us today...Make money today. Ask for THE tJliKAT COMBINATION of Ml KKOH CLASSIFIEDS and HOT-ADS Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) 946-7547 7JM7 A10 Hospitals A11 LJJNMW4 Classifieds Comics OlUFE C4-12 C2 Movies D3 Planner D2 DS Up and coming D1 IN STATE A jury will begin deciding today if a Reading man is guilty of pushing his ex-girlfriend's car in front of a train and killing her and three others. PAGE A12   

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