Altoona Mirror, March 14, 2001

Altoona Mirror

March 14, 2001

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Issue date: Wednesday, March 14, 2001

Pages available: 72

Previous edition: Tuesday, March 13, 2001

Next edition: Thursday, March 15, 2001 - 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) - March 14, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Nation: Controller gave OK in accidental bombing Cl Lite Alternative meals to fried fish for Lent Dl Copyright 2001 iJKrrnr WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14, 2001 newsstand Belated project maybe costly Missed deadline on City Hall work could cost contractor up to in penalties. BY WILLIAM KIBLER Staff Writer The city of Altoona may end up trying to collect up to in late penalties from W.C. Murray, the general contractor on the City Hall renovation project. The original finish date for the project was supposed to be March 1, but Murray will be lucky to finish by June 1 86 day s late, architect Dave Albright said. Because of changes in the contract caused by unforeseen circum- stances, Murray has obtained a 40- day extension and could justify per- haps 15 more days, Albright said. That would leave 31 unexcused late days, at per day. Despite being late, the project still has about left of its contingency fund. It's unlikely there will be any more major surprises like those that generated the extra work. "It looks like we've opened up every can of worms we're going to open Albright told City CouncE Though none of the other contrac- tors on the project is responsible for the delay, the city has given all of them extensions until June 1. The city must continue to pay monthly in rent for temporary City Hall and also will pay more than expected for job oversight by Pathline. But that hasn't started yet because Albright made Pathline part time about three weeks ago. In other business: Solicitor Bob Alexander will write letters to the Public Utility Commission and local lawmakers urging them to fight the potential loss of local jobs because of the PUC's order that Verizon separate its retail and wholesale components. The PUC handed down the order to promote local phone competition. Two council members got into a rhubarb over the Altoona Curve Monday. Partly because of a Curve gift of to the city, Ron Reidell proposed canceling council's April 9 work session so members could attend the Curve's home opener. "I'm Tom Shaheen said. "Iwas elected to be at meetings, not to be at baseball games." Reidell replied his suggestion was "slightly tongue-in-cheek." The council reached a compro- mise by agreeing to shorten that evening's meeting by postponing a discussion of the draft administra- tive code set for that day. Mirror Staff Writer William Kiblercan be reached at 949-7038or TRANSPORTATION TROUBLES Mirror photo by Jason Sipes The view from a pothole on Allegheny Street in Newry as traffic passes. Officials say the number of potholes seems to be about average this year. ITS THE PITS Road crews tackle seasonal task of filling potholes BY TIFFANY SHAW Staff Writer As spring arrives, trees bud, birds sing and cars run over huge potholes. Every year it's the same thing. Moisture seeps into cracks in the road pavement, freezes and then expands when temperatures dip and thaws when the weather warms. Then it's repeated over and oyer until finally the road gives up and cracks open, pushing some pavement up and making the rest into a hole that can wash deeper and deep- er until it appears to swallow your car. A pothole is born. And every year, road maintenance crews approach the potholes knowing they are fighting a battle that only will end in a stalemate until next spring. Please, see AS Bump in the road To report a specific pothole, reskMM'cari call the following numbers If the pothole is in the city Cjilljhe Altoona Higfiway Departmental 9494212 if ft is in a state road, call PemDOTs toMnee number 800-flX-ROAO. The can will be routed to a local office whch'then can forward the report to the proper district Mirror graphic by Tom Worthington I Firebomb reignites firestorm Judge insists his gripes about poor security have been ignored for years. BY PHIL RAY Staff Writer HOLLIDAYSBURG The weekend firebombing at District Justice Elizabeth Doyle's office has led to complaints by Blair County's president judge that his efforts over the years to have courthouse security upgraded have been ignored. Judge Thomas G. Peoples said he persistently has asked county commissioners to limit court- house access and to install metal detectors. Peoples said Tuesday that he has directed his department heads to write a report for him every time there is a violent or threatening incident in one of the county's offices. Based on these reports, he has written four or five letters to com- missioners outlining the lack of security. "No one has yet given me a con- vincing argument for why we haven't done it [installed metal Peoples said. County judges intend to discuss the incident at Doyle's office. Commissioner John J. Ebersole pulled no punches when asked about Peoples' insistence on lim- iting public access to the court- house, a security measure other courthouses in the state take. He said the county doesn't have the money to pay for more security. Ebersole said the judges insist on housing inmates who should be in a state correctional institu- tion in the county prison. "If he I [Peoples] gets rid of those 70 state sentences out of my 1 prison..." Eber- sole said, maybe the county would have the I money to bolster Ppnnlps security, adding Peoples gucg thing as full-proof security. Although commissioners could limit access to only a front door, someone could let another indi- vidual intent on violence in through the back door. "You'd have to have somebody at every door. That's a couple hundred thousand dollars. I don't have Ebersole said. The debate courthouse security was spawned when about six Molotov cocktails, plas- tic soda bottles containing gaso- line and kerosene and rifles shells, were tossed onto the roof of Doyle's office at 311 Union St. over the weekend. Please see A10 Blair to pay for booth probe BY KAY STEPHENS Staff Writer HOLLIDAYSBURG Blair County commissioners John H. Eichelberger Jr. and Donna D. Gority agreed Tuesday to pay for a test at Blair County Ballpark that might identify why the ground at the stadium ticket booth has shifted. The test by Stiffler, McGraw Associates, Hollidaysburg, is expected to cost about depending on the time involved, Eichelberger said. Plans call for putting a camera into a storm inlet and looking for problems that allowed a greater settling than was anticipated. After the stadium was built, Hyzdu dealing with latest PAGE B1 the ticket booth began sustaining cracks, depressions in its floor and a door that wouldn't close. About a year ago, general con- tractor Ralph Albarano made repairs, but the problems returned. Commissioner John J.- Ebersole voted against paying" the bill. Ebersole has been opposed to the county's involve.- ment in building the baseball sta- dium and said that while the county is being asked to pay this bill, the Altoona Curve baseball team is giving to Altoona, Please see AID Housing authority stands to lose grant BY WILLIAM KIBLER Staff Writer The Bush administration is threatening to end a Drug Elimination Grant program that the Altoona Housing Authority used last year for police protection. The authority will lobby local lawmakers to preserve the program, which also pays for student and parenting activities at the Fairview Hills family housing project. Bush wants to end the pro- gram after reports of unfavor- able statistics and misman- agement at the U.S. Depart- ment of Housing and Urban Please see A4 UNDER PRESSURE Altoona's Heather Kiiufmann goes to the basket while Oakland Catholic's Meredith McDonough (25) and Audrey Tabon look for the block during playoff action. Please see story, PageBl. Mirror photo by Kelly Bennett Personal care home charged with neglect BY PHIL RAY Staff Writer WLUJAMSBURG The adminis- trator of a personal care home has been charged with neglecting an 84- year-old female resident who suffered from a bedsore so severe and infected that three insects flew from the wound while she was examined at Bon Secours-Holy Family Hospital. Because the wound was so bad, the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General charged the co- owner of Williamsburg Cove Manor Personal Care Home with violating a 3-year-old state statute designed to protect dependent people, or indi- viduals like those in personal care or nursing homes. Please see A10 DEUVEXY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 9 9 6 3 Lottery numbers, A2 Cloudy, blustery, Forecast, A2 Altona Ulirrnr THE GREAT COMBINATION Call us today...Make money today. Ask for THE GREAT COMBINATION of MIRROR CLASSIFIEDS and HOT-ADS Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) 946-7547 QLOCAL Business Hospitals Obituaries Opinion QjNfllON Local Scoreboard A9 All All A6 B5 V Classifieds C4-12 JjUFE Comics D5 Community news 02 Movies 03 Television 04 IN SUITE The government has decided not to seek the death penalty against a Philadelphia mob boss at his murder and racketeering trial. PAGEA7 ;