Altoona Mirror, February 15, 2001

Altoona Mirror

February 15, 2001

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Issue date: Thursday, February 15, 2001

Pages available: 80 - Used by the World's Finest Libraries and Institutions
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Publication name: Altoona Mirror

Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - February 15, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Sports: St. Francis men keep playoff hopes alive H Life: "Grace And Glorie" play coming to area Alt00na mirror Copyright 2001 THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2001 500 newsstand Bitterness swells in 9th District race Wtaf 9th District Republican minteonvwrtion. Alumni Hall, Brumbauih Science Center, Juniata Coltege. WkM: Saturday. Thm: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mmtoian: Open to the public. Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler takes an in-depth look at how the convention work and how the political drama might play out Saturday at Juniata. BY WILLIAM KIBLER StaffWrlter After Congressman Bud Shuster retired, some people suggested the Republican Party should nominate a caretaker candidate who would step aside for the next election so voters rather than politicians could nominate his true successor, said State Rep. Rick Geist, R-Altoona. It might have prevented the acrimo- ny and bitterness that came to a head Tuesday with a Blah- County Republican Committee choosing a split delegation to send to the nominating convention in Huntingdon Saturday 18 delegates for Bill Shuster, 10 for John H. Eichelberger Jr. It might have demanded less sudden uncovering of loyalties and enmities, less brandishing of rules, fewer bruised feelings, relationships and egos. It would have eliminated the fil- ing of a lawsuit by Shuster supporters to force a delegate vote of the full Blair committee. It might at least given people more time to get ready for the competition. But there doesn't seem to be any momentum for the caretaker idea any- more, said Bruce Kelley, an aide to state Sen. President Pro Tern Robert Jubelirer, R-Blair. It's gone too far. The bloodletting has already happened, so why try to stanch it now? Candidates and their supporters have worked too hard, invested too much, paid too big a price to just let it go, Geist said. The minute Shuster resigned when he did, however, it was bound to happen this way and Shuster knew it, Geist said. He wonders why his former aide Ann Eppard set it in motion, he said. Bud Shuster has answered that, say- ing repeatedly he resigned mainly for health and because he'd accomplished all he could in making laws and obtain- ing money for infrastructure projects in his district and nationwide. Please see AID Shuster Mixed reviews on public safety plan STATE PRISONS: New focus on treatment, as growth wanes Hi BY MICHAEL RACE IARRISBURG Gov. Tom Ridge appears to be borrowing from President Bush's "compassionate conservatism" theme in his spending proposal for the state's prison system. Ridge played up rehabilitation and treatment of inmates, while playing down the tough-on-crime talk that first helped get him elected, in the 2001-02 budget pro- posal he presented to lawmakers Tuesday. The reasons? Crime is down and so is the public's concern about it. Also, the once rapid growth in the state's prison population is slowing. "Six years ago, it would have been inconceivable that public safety would take up so few words in a budget Ridge told lawmakers. "But last year, once again, serious crime in Pennsylvania was down across the board." Still, tougher crime laws enacted when Ridge came into office have helped fill prisons beyond capacity. And most of those inmates will be released. While the budget plan Ridge rolled out includes more money for prison expan- sions and added staffing, the governor's office chose to stress Ridge's plans to put more money into prison-based edu- cation and treatment programs. Ridge wants to spend another million expanding vocational training programs at nine state prisons, and he is asking for to provide alcohol and drug treatment to another 200 inmates in four facilities. Corrections Department spokesman Michael Lukens said Monday that the institutions to receive the vocational training money hasn't been decided yet, but, he said, the four institutions that will receive money for additional drug treatment efforts are in Greene, Luzerne, Northampton and Mercer counties. Please see A3 Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec A guard stands in the tower at the Huntingdon state correctional insti- tution in this Mirror file photo. CRIME FIGHTERS Local state police barracks and number .of troopers assigned to each: Hollidaysburg 47 -Huntingdon 30 Rockview 39 Ebensburg 25 Bedford 37 Philipsburg 20 Clearfield 37 Everett '20. BEHIND BARS The inmate population at the area's state correctional institutions: Huntingdon Cresson Smithfield Houtzdale STATE POLICE: High-tech tools proposed over adding officers BY MICHAEL RACE HARRISBURG Gov. Tom Ridge's proposed budget won't put more Pennsylvania State Police troopers on the roadways, but the governor insists it will seem like there are more. Ridge is pushing a invest- ment in high-tech crime fighting equip- ment as a means to help troopers work faster and more efficiently. He predicts the result will be less time behind desks and more time in the field. "The time spent on paperwork will be cut by half or Ridge said in a statement touting his plan. "The time troopers save will be like deploying an extra 200 troopers to fight crime and keep our neighborhoods and highways safe." The'planyras greeted with skepticism from some in the General Assembly. "Not very many lawmakers are going to buy the governor's program today as a way to increase state said House Democratic Whip Mike Veon, D- Beaver. "I think they'd rather have the 200 troopers, and the governor is going to work real hart to make that case to Republicans and Democrats." There now are troopers in Pennsylvania, but some lawmakers said more are needed to deal with an increase in "road-rage" incidents and other traffic troubles. Ridge wants to spend million to continue the implementation of the state police's "criminal incident infor- mation management a net- work of equipment that includes com- puters in patrol cars. The equipment allows troopers to instantly access both state and national data on vehicle registrations, driver's licenses, wanted-persons lists and other also can record Infor- mation and prepare reports on-scene. Please see A3 Charge filed in murder Former Cambria County resident accused in 1980 killing of man from Emeigh. BY PHIL RAY Staff Writer EBENSBURG A lumberjack who once lived in northern Cambria County was charged Wednesday with the 1980 killing of a reclusive radio and television repairman from Emeigh. r- Cambria County District Attorney David J. Tulowitzki said Elmer f .Thomas arrested without incident at his Mentcle, Indiana County, I home and charged with the I May 24, 1980, killing of I Andrew Fenchock. The 66-year-old Fenchock lived at the end of a lane in' Emeigh. He had a garage westover next to his home in which he repaired radios and televisions. Prosecutors believe that Westover, then 19 years old, was burglariz- ing the workshop in search of copper and other items when Fenchock entered the building. Prosecutors claim Westover shot Fenchock" with a .22-caliber, single-action revolver. Fenchock died of a head wound. About four months ago, police in Susquehanna Township, Cambria received a tip stating that they could find out about the Fenchock homicide if they would talk to a person whose name has not been revealed. Township officers passed the information to state police investigators, Cpl. Frank Adamczyk and Trooper Gregory Bernard. From there, it was like dominos, Tulowitzki said. One witness led police to several others. Please see A12 Legislation aimed to clean up disputes of dairy farmers BY ROBERT IGOE StaffWriter While politicians on Capitol Hill always are scrambling to form alliances within their party, U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., hopes to get more accomplished by crossing party lines. Santorum hopes that by work- ing with Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis, who has been a major opponent the Northeast Dairy Compact, the two can pass legislation that will be fair to all of the nation's dairy farmers, rather than create advan- tages to one region at the expense of another. -IMthatvKhavecome up with b piece of legislation that in its goals. n "What I have tried to do is to work with someone who is 180 degrees from me as far as dairy legislation Santorum said. "In working with Sen. Kohl, who has been an opponent of the Northeast Dairy Compact, I feel that we have come up with a piece of legislation that is regionally neutral in its goals and can help see our nation's dairy farmers through tough times." Under the plan, small- and medium-sized commercial dairy producers would be provided with a safety net for mflk prices through a sliding scale of reim- bursement payments based on the average price of Class III mUk over the past year. That price would be calculated for the first hundredweight of produc- tion, regardless of the class of milk produced. Please see A12 Weatherman vs. mascot rivalry may end after e-mail arrives in Altoona By KEVIN On StaffWriter It all ends with an e-mail. Hopefully. The battle between jovial "The Today Show" weatherman Al Roker and Altoona Curve mascot Steamer looks to be on the wane after Roker sent an open e-mail to the people of Altoona this week. "I have received hundreds of e- mails from you folks, some upset, some agreeing with me and other who want this whole thing to go Roker wrote. Roker called Steamer- "stupid" on Groudhog Day after the mascot showed up at Rockefeller Center, where "Today" is taped. Since u Steamer in no way looks anything like the front end of a steam engine, and I'm a railroad fan. 77 then, Altoona has exploded in a firestorm of contempt some for Roker, some for Steamer. But Roker is asking Altoona to recognize that Steamer doesn't quite resemble... well, anything. "The San Diego Chicken, while not exactly a chicken, looks like a the weatherman said. "Steamer in no way looks anything like the front end of a steam engine, and I'm a railroad fan." He .also asked the people of Altoona to put the rivalry behind them. "Can you get over he asked. Apparently so. May 2, originally planned by the Curve as "Al Roker is Stupid Day" at Blair County Ballpark, has been downgraded to "Al Roker Gets Educated Day." _It's part of a move to lighten the discourse in the debate. Please see A3 DUMMY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 6 <9 5 I Lottery numbers, A2 Cloudy, chance of showers, Forecast, C3 February 27 at Fiiielli's Italian Vilfaf Entertainment, Music and Magic Make Reservations Early and Stay All Night! Business Obituaries Opinion Qsrans High schools Scoreboard QNOMN A9 Comics C4 A13 j Classified C5-14 AS HlUR I Dear Abby I Dr. Gott B4 i Puzzles B5 i Television DS D5 D5 DS IN NATION Federal prosecutors launch investigation into Clinton's pardon of fugitive financier. ;