Altoona Mirror, February 15, 2001, Page 5

Altoona Mirror

February 15, 2001

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Issue date: Thursday, February 15, 2001

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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - February 15, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Thursday, February FROM PAGE ONE Altoona Mirror Page A3 RIVALRY a sense of humor' (Continued from Page Al) "We've had a great time up until this Curve spokesman Rob .Egan said. "No real harm's been ;done." There are plenty of mascots out that don't really resemble much, Egan said. "Yet they've endeared them- ;Selves to their he said. Roker stressed that while he like to maintain a good rela- tionship with Altoona, he can't 'firing himself to believe that 'Steamer looks anything like a loco- ftiotive. 5 "I'm asking you to have a sense if humor about all he wrote. Sff somebody insults 'Mr. jirhich 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 is needed. "Don't take it too he "because we're not." Mirror Staff Writer Kevin Ott ffm be reached at 946-7457. PRISONS 'Shift in focus toward rehabilitation1 (Continued from Page Al) There are four state prisons in the area Huntingdon, Smithfleld, Cresson and Houtzdale that have vocational and drug treatment programs. Ridge also wants million for additional parole officers statewide. Lukens said the spend- ing plan reflects shifting priori- ties 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 Lukens said. The proposals earned Ridge limited praise from some who normally don't share the gover- nor'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 Evans said. "It means less costs operating, less costs capital." House Democratic Leader H. William DeWeese, D-Greene, said Ridge's plan makes sense, espe- cially considering the Corrections Department predicts nine of 10 inmates now in the sys- tem will someday be released. "Now that the number [of inmates] has leveled off, we have two options. Either ask for a small- er line item in the corrections bud- get or focus those dollars into DeWeese said. Larry Frankel, executive direc- tor of the American Civil Liberties Union in Pennsylvania, called Ridge's proposals "refreshing." "The shift in focus toward reha- bilitation and treatment is a posi- tive Frankel said, adding that Ridge's emphasis on rehabil- itation is "better late than never." There is one new spending pro- posal for prison expansion in this budget Ridge wants million to open two new housing total of 350 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 com- ing year, according to the gover- nor's office. The projected Inmate population for December 2001 is 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 inmates in 200445. This year's budget projects a popu- lation of 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 billion budget for the Department of Corrections. He had proposed a billion bud- get last year. House Majority Leader John Perzel, R- Philadelphia, noted the state's "shocking" billion-plus prison budget in his post-budget com- ments 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 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 con- tributed to this story.) POLICE million for improvements to computerized history (Continued from Page Al) f, "With the new computer- equipped patrol cars, the impact on crime fighting in Pennsylvania will be astound- Ridge said. i -Local state police barracks have yjBtto see the high-tech changes. Tjfe in-car computers are in the tewing phase at the Harrisburg Sfittion, said Trooper David JJgSaryey from the Hollldaysburg bggracks, headquarters for Troop Ojjwhich covers Blair, Bedford, Centre, Mlfflin and Fulton counties. still are working out of integrating the computer into other equipment in the car and the air bags, he said. "Once they work out the logis- tics, they will roll them out to the rest of the 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 he said. Now, troopers plan to devote at least two hours to a typical acci- dent or incident. That time span includes time investigating and writing up a report. If the inci- dent is serious or complicated, it can take much longer. "If we assign someone to an accident, we figure they'll be tied up that McGarvey said. But with a computer at his fin- gertips, 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: million for improve- ments to the state police's exist- ing computer equipment to sup- port the state-of-the-art informa- tion-gathering system; million for improvements to a computerized criminal histo- ry record-keeping system main- tained by the state police; million for improvements to a "Common Law Enforcement Assistance or CLEAN, to allow the computerized informa- tion system to store photographs and fingerprints electronically; million for upgrades to the State Police Enterprise Network, the department's sys- tem of personal computers in police barracks and offices across the state; to create four civilian jobs and buy related equipment for the state police's computer crime unit, which investigates offenses such as computer hack- ing, cyber-stalking, software pirating and the electronic distri- bution of child pornography. But the investment in technolo- gy might not satisfy lawmakers who want something more basic: more troopers. Rep. Ron Marsico, R-Dauphin, who wrote to Ridge last year ask- Now Save On The RX 300 Lexus Value Package! vysr S5SS- us But we are now offering substantial savings on new RX300s generously packed with luxury features. You get sumptuous, leather-trimmed seating. A six-disc CD auto-clianeer. A VEHICLE SKID CONTROL Senses potential traction loss in power moonroof. A sophisticated air filtration system. And driver's d turn, orchestrates the brakes seat As jf this wasn-t enough, Vehicle Skid Control and throttle, and the driver keep the vehicle on track." is standard equipment on all 2001 RX 300s. Granted, it was already the best-selling luxury SUV But, being Lexus, we couldn't stop there. Hutry to your Lexus dealer today. uius ouut. futsiiino FUUCCIIOH. LASH LEXUS 425 Electric Ave., Lewistown (717) 248-0119 on AutoData CY1998.1999 CYID thru vehicle sales lor the Allison-Fisher Luxury SUV segment. 'Savings based on MSRP ol individual options AcUa! dealer vary Vehicle slwwn will, optional equipnwnl net included h the Lexus Value foclage. "Lewis Chicle Sk'd Control (VSC) is an electronic system designed to help ihe driver mainta n vehde conlrol under adverse qondiforis It is not a sjbstitute kv sale driv ng practices Factors including speed, road conditions ard driver steeling -ftpjl can all aflect wither VSC ellective m preventing j Le'us' a Div.sion ol Toyota U S A.. !nc Lexus reminds you lo wear iealbellt. secure f h.ldrcn in rear seal, obey spcod and diive responsibly ing him to put money in the latest budget for more troopers, has mixed feelings about Ridge's plans to invest in high-tech equip- ment instead of manpower. "I'm disappointed, but it's a good 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 Marsico said. "I think there are more needs out there than the governor 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 troopers, plus anoth- er 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.) Ail SPORTSWEAR DMSSES AND FOR EXAMPLE: (tan SM PRICE Wooitami WOOL PANTS WOOL Dm 02 CTMBflT FASHIONS FOR WOMEN DOWNTOWN AITOONA FREE EASY PAIRING NINETY DAYS WITH No FINANCE CHARGE SHOP MONDAY THURSDAY TUESDAY. 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