Altoona Mirror, March 1, 2001

Altoona Mirror

March 01, 2001

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Issue date: Thursday, March 1, 2001

Pages available: 72

Previous edition: Wednesday, February 28, 2001

Next edition: Friday, March 2, 2001 - Used by the World's Finest Libraries and Institutions
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Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - March 1, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Sports: Steelers cut All-Pro center Dawson ii Life: Kids bring 'Sleeping Beauty' to Mishler Altoona Copyright 2001 THURSDAY, MARCH 1, 2001 newsstand Judge tosses majority of Curve suits BY PHIL RAY Staff Writer JOHNSTOWN A federal judge has dismissed large chunks of the reciprocal lawsuits brought more than two years ago by the owners of the Altoona Curve, and he declared the issues that remain will go before a jury in May. U.S. District Judge D. Brooks Smith said the relationship between the two men most respon- sible for bringing Double-A minor league baseball to Altoona has been "marked by discord from its The Altoona Curve, with new manager Dale Sveum, are set to begin spring training PAGE B6 beginning." The legal wrangling began in October 1998, as the Blair County Ballpark was being built in Lakemont. But as indicated in Smith's 46- page opinion filed Tuesday, the angst between Curve majority owner Robert Lozinak of Baltimore, a former owner the Albuquerque Dukes, and minority owner J. Taylor DeWeese of Bedford, a former federal prosecu- tor and a developer, almost scut- tled the effort. Lozinak pulled out of the deal after DeWeese allegedly told him he had no money to help pay the million price of a franchise fee set by the National Association of Baseball Leagues to obtain a Double-A club in Altoona. DeWeese made telephone calls to scuttle Lozinak's effort when he learned Lozinak had formed a new business to obtain a franchise minus DeWeese, the judge said. The pair then entered into two agreements, one a letter of under- standing, the other called a Restatement of Agreement, which supposedly made Lozinak the man- aging partner with day-to-day responsibilities for the operation of the ball club but gave DeWeese a role in reviewing the operation of the Curve. In their lawsuits, each claimed the other acted deviously through- out their relationship, charging violations of the Pennsylvania Securities Act and various other laws. Now the judge has whittled down the contentions so the case can be heard by a jury. Smith let stand Lozinak charges that DeWeese violated Pennsyl-vania Securities law by allegedly mislead- ing Lozinak that he had money and that he intended to put up his 39 per- cent ownership of the team and a beach house he owned in New Jersey as collateral for the million loan that Lozinak and his wife obtained to pay the franchise fee. But Smith dismissed charges that DeWeese had violated the agreements between the pair by attempting to negotiate a contract with Coca-Cola after Lozinak nego- tiated a contract with Pepsi to pro- vide soda at the ballpark. The judge said that under Pennsylvania security laws, Lozinak had to show the Curve lost money because of DeWeese's inter- ference with the soda contract. He could not, and the judge dismissed the charge against DeWeese. Please see A5 Survey readied to rate Charter City asks random residents to complete questions in anticipation of cable negotiations. BY WILLIAM KIBLER StaffWriter To prepare for negotiating a new cable-franchise agreement with Charter Communications, the city is asking randomly selected residents now doing through surveys mailed this week. The surveys ask the residents to rate technical quality, program appeal and variety, fairness on price and responsiveness to cus- tomers. The surveys also ask Owhat types of programs are most important and whether customers might be using cable lines for com- puter information. A council and staff committee is working with a consultant to gtt ready for the negotiations for a new agreement to replace the 15- year agreement that expires at the end of 2002. Despite the questions concern- ing programming and price, the federal Telecommunications Act gives little leverage for municipal- ities to control either program- ming or price through franchise agreements, city council members said. "We're highly Councilman Tom Shaheen said. Nevertheless, the committee plans to use all the leverage it has, members said. Please see A12 DISCOUNT STORES Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec Helen Ickes (left) and Grace Moore, both of Altoona, shop Wednesday afternoon at Discount Surplus Outlet at 412 E. Sixth Ave. The popularity of discount stores in Blair County has grown by leaps and bounds. SURPLUS SHOPPING SPROUR BY MICHAEL EMERY StaffWriter There's Dollar General Stores, Dollar Bargain Stores and Dollar Discount Stores of America. National chain discount stores have been around for years. In recent years, the discount busi- ness has gone local. In Blair County, the number of discount surplus stores has grown by leaps and bounds. There's First Stop Shop Discount Grocery Outlet, Discount Supply .Outlet, Discount Surplus Outlet, Bickel's Surplus I and n and Buff's Caboose, just to name a few. The popularity of these discount surplus stores is simple economics, said Chad Confer, store manager of First Stop Shop Discount Grocery Outlet at 1815 Union Ave. "Most of our items cost one-third the price that you'll find at grocery stores. We cater to those who value a dollar and want to save money." Jim Focht, owner of Discount Surplus Outlet at 412 E. Sixth Ave., added, "Our customers get a lot more bang for their buck." Business has been bustling at many of the local discount stores, and the beauty of it is that consumers and business owners alike are benefiting. "I saw a big opportunity in the dis- count surplus said Focht, who opened Discount Surplus Outlet 2Vi years ago after closing his for- mer business, Appliance, which was in operation for 30 years in Altoona. "We're able to buy a diverse variety of products and pass those savings on to our customers. It's been very successful. A lot of our customers come from Altoona, but we also have been getting people coming in from all over the sur- rounding area, Including Patton, Philipsburg and even Cumberland, Md. We're relatively new to the business, but every year it grows and grows and grows." Lisa Ann Miller of Hollidaysburg drove a delivery express truck before she was inspired to open a discount store on Loop Road, across from Norfolk Southern in Blair Township. Please see AS WEB CONFUSION Sites on Net linking to wrong party BY KEVIN OTT StaffWriter Here's a fun experiment to try at home: Type into your Internet browser. Then try Then try www.bill- and Each of these Web addresses is likely to take you to the site for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. This is odd for the single reason that Bill Shuster'is the Republican candidate for the recently vacated 9th Congressional District seat. It would be like typing "" into a Web browser and winding up at an Al Gore Web site or like calling a pizza parlor and somehow ordering Chinese instead. The domain names are registered to Erin Woodhead, a State Coflege woman. Woodhead did not return phone messages. Whenever a Web s'ite is created, the name for that site must be registered with the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers. ICANN regulates Web addresses, which commonly are fought over in busi- ness and industry. The Shuster for Congress campaign issued a state- ment calling the links a "spphomoric prank." "There are 75 days until the special election, and this type of distraction is simply a juvenile disservice to the people of the 9th Congressional Shuster said in the statement. "Taxpayers want to know where the candidates stand on the issues; they don't want to see a bunch of silliness." Scott Conklin, the Democratic candidate for the 9tli District seat, didn't know about the links but echoed Shuster's comments. "The last thing I want to see is this whole campaign get sidetracked from the he said. It's unclear why the woman to whom the names are registered created the links. A spokesman for tlje Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said he knew nothing of the links, and they were not part of aplanbytheDCCC.. Web mischief on the campaign trail is nothing new; Conklin said. Someone hacked into a site supporting Conklin, the Democratic candidate said, altering pic- tures and changing text to indicate that he supports positions he doesn't support. Please see AS DISTRICT 6 CLASS AAAA SEMIFINALS Lindsey Haulmah shoots from, long range as the Altoona Lady Lions defeated Hollidaysburg, 56-41, at Tyrone High School Wednesday in semifinal play- off action. State College boys dropped Hollidaysburg, 57-36. PAOE B1 Mirror photo by Jason Sipes Food for thought, or to 'earn' higher marks BY MIKE CRISSEY The Associated Press PITTSBURGH Students have been giving apples to get into teachers' good graces for years. But police said one teen-ager may have gone too far. Two teachers at Canon- McMillan High School face theft charges in what police called an exchange of grades for groceries With a student who worked at a store in suburban Pittsburgh. Business teacher John Banaszak, 27, of McMurray and math teacher John Gasbarrini, 26, of Bridgevllle were charged Monday with theft, conspiracy to Student who worked at grocery store allegedly covered bar codes in exchange for good grades. commit theft and contributing to the delinquency of a minor for the scheme. "The student told them he'd hook them up with groceries for a better South Payette Township police Officer Ken Radinick said Wednesday. Banaszak has an unlisted num- ber. A message left with Gasbarrini was not returned. The teachers were placed on leave during an investigation by school officials and face a hearing on the criminal charges March 26. The teachers met with Principal Mark Hoover Wednesday after- noon, at which time they decided the men would be suspended with pay until mid-March. After that, the teachers will be suspended without pay until the case against them has concluded, Hoover said. Hoover said he never had heard of such an arrangement in his 11 years as a school administrator. The men were first-year teachers making about per year, Hoover said. Police and school officials said the teen-ager, a junior, had not yet been charged or disciplined for his role. They would not say how old he was. Police said the scheme unrav- eled Sunday when a manager at the grocery store noticed the teen- ager was placing his hand over bar codes on some items when Banaszak was in line. 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