Altoona Mirror, February 15, 2001, Page 3

Publication: Altoona Mirror February 15, 2001

Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - February 15, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Thursday, February 15,2001 FROM PAGE ONE Altoona Mirror ■ Page A3 Sponsored by Shy Beaver Pro Shop _______ r    5    UNIS I VSLVflt* Kl J Performance Boats Pontoons Yachts Cruisers SPECIAL FINANCING VINES suvm Runabouts S.9% -jiA-yji    irsrji rvs/'JL Surly Jyujoj)    HTjstuuiiiat Saturday    Sunday HWW HMIflHWOS k TU ft UFO .•9 p.m. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.    IV U Villi 10 a.m Altoona Armory, Fraokstown Road *2 Admission Fee - 16 & Under FREE For more Information call 814-658-3777 or visit our website: www.shybeaver.com No Purchase Necessary from Leidy’s HOME FURNISHINGS on the square Martinsburg, I Call us overaghievers. But we are now offering substantial savings on new RX 300s generously packed with luxury features. You get sumptuous, leather-trimmed seating. A six-disc CD auto-changer. A power moonroof. A sophisticated air filtration system. And drivers seat memory. 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Inc Lexus rem rids you to wear seatbelts, secure ch bren in rear seat, obey all speed laws and drive responsibly R JONASSON Tau An e™ 20% Off Free & Easy Parking - Ninety Days With No Finance Charge Shop Monday & Thursday 10am - 8:30pm; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 10am-5pm PRISONS / ‘Shift in focus toward rehabilitation’ RIVALRY / ‘Have a sense of humor’ (Continued from Page Al) “We’ve had a great time up until this point,” Curve spokesman Rob Egan said. “No real harm’s been done.” There are plenty of mascots out there that don’t really resemble much, Egan said. “Yet they’ve endeared themselves to their towns,” he said. Roker stressed that while he would like to maintain a good relationship with Altoona, he can’t bring himself to believe that Steamer looks anything like a locomotive. “I’m asking you to have a sense of humor about all this,” he wrote. “If somebody insults ‘Mr. Met,’ which is an odd looking mascot as well, I don’t get upset. It’s a joke and a mascot.” Egan agreed that a cool-down period is needed. “Don’t take it too seriously,” he said, “because we’re not.” Mirror Staff Writer Kevin Ott can be reached at 94&7457. (Continued from Page Al) There are four state prisons in the area — Huntingdon, Smithfield, Cresson and Houtzdale — that have vocational and drug treatment programs. Ridge also wants $1.6 million for additional parole officers statewide. Lukens said the spending plan reflects shifting priorities that resulted from a slowing growth in inmate population. “Now that the population appears to be flattening out, what that allows us to do is focus more on the programs we have going,” Lukens said. The proposals earned Ridge limited praise from some who normally don’t share the governor’s corrections agenda. Rep. Dwight Evans, D-Philadelphia, called Ridge’s focus on rehabilitation “smart.” “If it was up to me, it would have been done a lot sooner,” Evans said. “It means less costs operating, less costs capital.” House Democratic Leader H. William DeWeese, D-Greene, said Ridge’s plan makes sense, especially considering the Corrections Department predicts nine of IO inmates now in the system will someday be released. “Now that the number [of inmates] has leveled off, we have two options. Either ask for a smaller line item in the corrections budget or focus those dollars into rehabilitation,” DeWeese said. Larry Frankel, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Pennsylvania, called Ridge’s proposals “refreshing.” “The shift in focus toward rehabilitation and treatment is a positive thing,” Frankel said, adding that Ridge’s emphasis on rehabilitation is “better late than never.” There is one new spending proposal for prison expansion in this budget. Ridge wants $2.3 million to open two new housing units — a total of350 new beds — at Somerset County’s Laurel Highlands state prison, which houses inmates who are aging or infirm. Pennsylvania’s state prisons are expected to see a population increase of 0.5 percent in the coming year, according to the governor’s office. The projected inmate population for December 2001 is 36,999 —189 more inmates than the system had in December 2000. The administration also is revis ing its projections for prison growth in the years ahead. Last year’s budget proposal predicted the state prisons would be home to more than 42,362 inmates in 20044)5. This year’s budget projects a population of 37,610 for the same year. The prison system continues to hold about 40 percent more inmates than it was built for, Lukens said, but that rate, such as the population itself, appears to be leveling off. Overall, Ridge is proposing a $1.3 billion budget for the Department of Corrections. He had proposed a $1.24 billion budget last year. House Majority Leader John Perzel, R-Philadelphia, noted the state’s “shocking” $1 billion-plus prison budget in his post-budget comments but used the figure to emphasize education reforms, not punitive measures. “Don’t get me wrong. I’ll spend whatever it takes to keep people behind bars who shouldn’t be let loose on the public,” Perzel said. But he added that “most of those in prison were let down long ago by our public school system.” (Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray contributed to this story.) POLICE / $5.9 million for improvements to computerized history (Continued from Page Al) “With the new computer-equipped patrol cars, the impact on crime fighting in Pennsylvania will be astounding,” Ridge said. Local state police barracks have yet to see the high-tech changes. The in-car computers are in the testing phase at the Harrisburg station, said Trooper David McGarvey from the Hollidaysburg barracks, headquarters for Troop G, which covers Blair, Huntingdon, Bedford, Centre, Mifflin and Fulton counties. Planners still are working out the problems of integrating the computer into other equipment in the car and the air bags, he said. “Once they work out the logistics, they will roll them out to the rest of the state,” McGarvey said. Having more time on the road with a computer could be handier than returning to the barracks for paperwork, McGarvey said. “Once we work out these things, it could be helpful and beneficial to troopers on the road,” he said. Now, troopers plan to devote at least two hours to a typical accident or incident. That time span includes time investigating and writing up a report. If the incident is serious or complicated, it can take much longer. “If we assign someone to an accident, we figure they’ll be tied up that long,” McGarvey said. But with a computer at his fingertips, a state trooper could write the report in his car instead of traveling back to the station. State police also hope to better manage trooper dispatching by consolidating 81 dispatch centers into five. The new centers will use global positioning technology to help map calls and dispatch the nearest available troopers to any reported incidents. Ridge also is calling for: ■ $14.7 million for improvements to the state police’s existing computer equipment to support the state-of-the-art information-gathering system: ■ $5.9 million for improvements to a computerized criminal history record-keeping system maintained by the state police; ■ $2.8 million for improvements to a “Common Law Enforcement Assistance Network,” or CLEAN, to allow the computerized information system to store photographs and fingerprints electronically; ■ $1.4 million for upgrades to the State Police Enterprise Network, the department’s system of 2,800 personal computers in police barracks and offices across the state; ■ $466,000 to create four civilian jobs and buy related equipment for the state police’s computer crime unit, which investigates offenses such as computer hacking, cyber-stalking, software pirating and the electronic distribution of child pornography. But the investment in technology might not satisfy lawmakers who want something more basic: more troopers. Rep. Ron Marsico, R-Dauphin, who wrote to Ridge last year ask ing him to put money in the latest budget for more troopers, has mixed feelings about Ridge’s plans to invest in high-tech equipment instead of manpower. “I’m disappointed, but it’s a good beginning,” Marsico said. “I think he got the message.” As for the governor’s claim that existing troopers will have more time to patrol under his proposal, “there’s no guarantee that’s going to happen,” Marsico said. “I think there are more needs out there than the governor realizes,” he said. Putting more troopers on the state payroll would require more than just a line item in the state budget, however. Under state law, the Legislature caps the number of troopers allowed. That cap now allows 3,940 troopers, plus another 228 who are assigned to patrol the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Even if Ridge adds money to hire more troopers, the Legislature must still raise the cap. (Mirror Staff Writer Tiffany Shaw contributed to this story.) f or Example: Original Sale Price Em LOI Off! Wool Sweaters $80 SEO $32 Wool Pants STO $35 $28 Wool Dm BOO HOO $80 PiusSavi I Blo 60% On All Winter Coats AndI BTo 60% On All F IN! FUHS E-mail the Mirror at altoonamirror.com Now Save *1,500 On The RX 300 Lexus Value Package. ;

  • David Mcgarvey
  • Dwight Evans
  • H. William Deweese
  • John Perzel
  • Kevin Ott
  • Larry Frankel
  • Phil Ray
  • Rob Egan
  • Ron Marsico

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Publication: Altoona Mirror

Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

Issue Date: February 15, 2001

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