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Altoona Mirror Newspaper Archive: February 11, 2001 - Page 1

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   Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - February 11, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania                                Copyright 2001 SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2001 newsstand IN NATION Bush pushing for military pay raise, IN LIFE Ice sculptors create works of beauty. RJ TALE OF THE TAPE Al Rokir 40-something Age Steamar Taller than Katie Couric, shorter than Matt taller than any network morning show weather guy. Not telling, but we bet the first digit is a hey that green fur is very dense. Jovial "Today" weatherman, Claim wrote book on fatherhood. to lama Jovial Altoona Curve mascot, loved by children. Roker vs. Steamer: The rematch BY KEVIN Orr Staff Writer Some rivalries just won't go away: Holmes vs. Moriarty. All vs. Frazier. Tom vs. Jerry. And now, Roker vs. Steamer. Roker, the "Today" show's jolly mete- orologist, took his Steam-driven mock- ery a step further early Saturday morn- ing with fellow NBC personality Conan O'Brien at his side. Roker appeared on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" Friday night to trade barbs with the hipster comic and pro- mote his new book. AH seemed quiet on the western Pennsylvania front when O'Brien brought up Roker's anti-Steamer ideolo- gies. "You're having a very public war with a mascot, is that O'Brien asked. Roker blasted Altoona on Groudhog Day after meeting Steamer, the Altoona Curve's mascot, at a publicity function. He called Steamer "stupid." On national television. In front of mil- lions of people. Please see AS SOUND OFF Upset? In stitches? You can e-mail Al Roker at: mailbag (5iroker.com "They'll kick a bag of cocaine out of the way to get <0xy' woes widen BY ROGER ALFORD The Associated Press PKEVILLE, Ky. The robber asked for only one thing when he walked into a pharmacy with a mask over his head and an auto- matic rifle in his hands: OxyContin. The prescription drug, meant to be a painkiller for cancer patients, is being abused throughout the East, authorities said. In Kentucky, about 200 people were arrested and charged this week in what police said was the largest drug raid In state history. All had allegedly been using or dealing OxyContin. "They'll kick a bag of cocaine out of the way to get to Detective Roger Hall of the Harlan County sheriffs department in Kentucky said this week. Over the past two years, the drug has become popular in parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and Maine, according to the U.S. Department of Justice's National Drug Intelligence Center. OxyContin has also surged onto the scene in central Pennsylvania. Last fall, a special task force in Cambria County arrested 21 people Implicated with selling the prescrip- tion drug. Officials have said they are now investigating the sources of how users are getting the drug in Cambria and Blair counties. The drug's manufacturer has supported a series of meetings, educating law enforcement, doc- tors and pharmacists about the illegal ways people are obtaining the drug through official sources. Users also tried to get OxyContin in a series of pharmacy robberies in and around Altoona, where the armed robber demanded the pills. U.S. Attorney Joseph Famularo, who helped lead the Kentucky bust said he has studied autopsy reports and determined that the drug has caused 59 deaths in Kentucky alone. The company that manufactures OxyContin disputes Famularo's figures. "Even one death from abuse is a tragedy. My concern is that num- bers sometimes take on a life of their own in a situation like said Dr. J. David Haddox, senior medical director for health policy at Purdue Pharma in Stamford, Conn. "I've not seen any data that those numbers are anywhere close to accurate." Famularo said people have been crushing the pUls into powder and snorting it or injecting it to get a euphoric high similar to that of heroin. It sells on the illegal drug market for up to per pill. Please see A4 HERITAGE TOURISM Mirror j.b. Cavrich These exhibit models were the only "visitors" at the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Musjeum one recent afternoon. In Altoona... Rail museum still seeking niche BY WILLIAM KIBLER Staff Writer Cummins McNitt jokes about the sword of Damocles hanging over his-head. But it's no joke that as executive director of the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum, he has to do every- thing carefully to keep the sword of financial ruin from taking a fatal plunge. Still, he's hoping a recent feasibility study will untie the sword by helping to create an, endowment for capital costs and the bulk of the museum's million in annual operating expenses. Hindsight is but the right way would have been to create an endow- ment as soon as the museum directors Museum math A look at visitor trends at the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum: 1999, visitors: 2000 visitors: 2000 budget deficit: Source: Museum officials. began planning their expansion years ago. The expansion took the museum from a small building at the edge of the Station Mall parking lot to the mam- moth Master Mechanics Building that houses its memorabilia and interactive displays now. But the grassroots volunteer group back then was focused on growing from a local display to a regional muse- um of national significance, not on future financial stability, McNitt said. "There were just not the manpower, time and resources at that point to be able to adjust as quickly as we should McNitt said. But now it needs to happen soon, he said. Please see A4 In Johnstown... Center to display immigrants' stories Mirror photo by Jason Sipes Coded ID cards allow visitors to move about exhibits as immi- grants of various nationalities. BY LINDA HUDKINS For The Mirror JOHNSTOWN A century ago, the Germania Brewing Co. quenched the thirst of hard-working immigrants after hot, dirty shifts in steel mills and coalmines. "Nothing goes with steel more than says Richard'Burkert, a middle aged professional fellow who tells the story so well that one may believe he's actually breathed coal dust or felt showers of sparks from steel-making. In the days when immigrants came from eastern and southern Europe and landed good-paying industrial jobs in towns such as Johnstown, the wife han- dled all the finances, Burkert recounts. She would give her husband a beer allowance to spend at the end of each workday. "A shot and a beer cleared the Burkert says. "That was part of the way of life." On March 24, a million version of the immigrant story will debut in the former Germania brewery building in the ethnically rich Cambria City neighborhood. Still looking like it did when it was built in 1907, the five-story red brick building is now a museum, Please see A4 GOP suit filed BY WALT FRANK Staff Writer A Blair County court could play a big role in whom the GOP chooses to run against Democrat H. Scott Conklin in the 9th District's upcoming special election. Making good on a threat, five members of (he Blair County Republican Committee Friday filed a lawsuit in Blair County Common Pleas against selected members.'rof the county GOP committee's executive hoard- Saturday, Centre County Commission Chairman Conklin was -picked Ay Pennsylvania Democratic Party leaders tale their nominee for the 9th District congression- al seat. J Conklin, who owns an antique mall in Philipsburg, will be his party's standard bear- er in the May 15 special election to replace for- mer U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster. The lawsuit filers apparently are upset with Thursday night's executive committee deci- sion to have a single Blair County Republican party official select the delegates for an upcom- ing miniconvention. At the convention, the GOP will choose the candidate who will run for the 9th District seat. The lawsuit lists the plaintiffs those who filed the lawsuit as William J. Haberstrph, Carolyn R. Reed, Gerry M. Kester, Jan Mills Sr. and Patricia L. Raugh. Reed, Kester and Raugh are members of the executive committee. Mills is a committee member. Haberstroh, also a committee mem- ber, has been vocal in his opposition to having one official choose the delegates. At issue is whether the county Republican committee bylaws specify that delegates should be picked by a vote of all committee members or whether the choice can be made by a lone official. Please see A3 IN SPORTS Altoona edges if Claysburg, Central forlj Blair County Wrestling-- Tournament title. Bill Elliott in his new Dodge race car wins the pole for next week's Daytona 500. Alexei Kovalev's hat trick lifts the Pens over the New Jersey Devils. Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 9 7 p 9 Lottery numbers, A2 Mostly sunny, Forecast, B2 OMC T MITSUBISHI HOTORS Feb. 10 thru Feb. 17, 2001 AT LOGAN VALLEY MALL 944-2S25imwtlorBponllaeBmc.com FOX Roule 38 Logan Blvd. Between Altoona Hollidaysburq______ AUTO SHOW A7 School menus A4 Obituaries A9 Opinion AS Newsmakers B4 Strange Brew B6 Outdoors Scoreboard Astrograph Movies Puzzle Travel C9 C8 D3 D4 D6 Stocks ____ CDs, Mutuals E4 a Couples Yesteryear 62   

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