Altoona Mirror, March 22, 2001 : Front Page

Publication: Altoona Mirror March 22, 2001

Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - March 22, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Nation: Sheep may be infected with mad cow Cl    LH®: Broadway actor to    perform with local Symphony DIRumors flood %local schools By Jay Young Staff Writer Each time a school violence story makes national headlines, virtually every school district in the United States is inundated with rumors. It is slowly becoming another part of the school year. The weather shows signs of improvement, some child in America commits a violent crime and the switchboards light up with concerned calls of rumors indicating more violence on the horizon. Word on the Altoona streets gained enough attention this week that high school principal Sharon Fasenmyer appeared twice on high school television and also sent home a letter to parents in an effort to calm fears. While just about any Altoona High School student could ace a rumor test this week, the letter didn’t detail for parents what inspired the notice. The mass mailing is one of numerous lines of communication being opened. Earlier this week, Family Services of Blair County announced their 10-year-old teen hot line will accept information about threats of school violence. Any information related to violent behavior or threats will be transmitted to the District Attorney’s office and school officials to determine a reasonable course of action. The number, (800) 227-TEEN, gives all Blair County students a line of communication if they see trouble, said Mahlon Fiscel, Family Services executive director. The Altoona district is the only district in the county to offer such a number, which is posted on the high school’s walls. “We get lots of stuff on there,” school district spokesman Tom Bradley said. “Most of it just needs to be checked out.” The trend among school officials is recommending students take a safe, rather than sorry, approach. “If it makes your stomach start to turn, it probably has some validity to it, and you probably should report it,” he said. The communication continues tonight when state Attorney General Mike Fisher discusses school violence with the public at Logan Elementary School. The hour long meeting at 7 p.m. is free and open to the public. Please see Local/Page A6 HOTLINE Family Services of Blair County teen hot line: Call if you know of anyone who has made a threat of school violence, (800) 227-TEEN.Altoona Mirror © Copyright 2001    THURSDAY,    MARCH    22,    2001    500    newsstand City sued over drug findings ■ Right Turn rehab founder says ‘flawed’ report ruined his business. By Phil Ray Staff Writer JOHNSTOWN — The former owner of a city drug-and-alcohol rehabilitation center has asked the U.S. District Court to order the destruction of a crime report prepared for Altoona City Council two years ago because the information and conclusions in it allegedly were flawed. The report was prepared by a special commission appointed by City Council to investigate the surge in crime, the spread of heroin and crack cocaine and related drug deaths. The commission, headed by former Altoona Mayor Daniel Milliron, spent eight months and conducted hundreds of interviews before concluding that one of the problems was that local rehabilitation centers, including Right Turn, were bringing in drug abusers from metropolitan areas like Philadelphia and Baltimore, and that many eventually reverted to old habits such as abusing and selling drugs. Charles E. Powell, former owner of Right Turn, charges the city’s Drug and Crime Commission leaders met with state Sen. President Pro Tem Robert C. Jubelirer, R-Blair, and Rep. Rick Geist, R Altoona, to tell them about the problems that supposedly existed in the Right Turn program. Powell’s lawsuit states the two powerful officials then used their influence to shut down a lucrative rehabilitation program operated by Right Turn in which the state Department of Corrections sent prerelease inmates to Right Turn for counseling and treatment. The lawsuit filed by attorneys Steven B. Larchuk of Wexford and Steven G. Polin of Washington requests money damages in excess of $75,000 and asks U.S. District Judge D. Brooks Smith to order the city and the city’s crime commission not to interfere with the operation of present rehabilitation programs. It also requests the judge to direct the city to destroy the commission’s 1999 report and place under seal the information used in the preparation of the report. A year ago, Powell sued a Massachusetts-based management firm called CiviGenics Inc., which he said began directing Right Turn’s operations in 1996. Instead of improving the rehabilitation program, the company cut staff, did not provide experienced leadership and failed to maintain Right’s Turn’s facilities, Powell charged. This lack of leadership by CiviGenics, Powell charged, helped attract the attention of the city’s Crime and Drug Commission. The Powell suit against CiviGenics is to be resolved through a federal arbitration program. Altoona city solicitor Robert Alexander said Wednesday that he had no comment on the charges in the lawsuit but said the request to have the crime report destroyed and the information used to prepare the report sealed by court order was unusual. When asked if such a court-ordered remedy was feasible, Alexander said a judge has many options he can order. “We are going to defend it [the lawsuit vigorously,” Alexander said. The lawsuit names Milliron, the chairman; and Mel Ellis, a retired insurance executive who was vice chairman of the crime commission; the crime commission as a whole; and the city as defendants. It charges that the commission, through its investigation, violated several federal laws including the Civil Rights Act of 1871, the federal Fair Housing Act, the federal Rehabilitation Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act and the U.S. Constitution. The result of the investigation into crime was that it interfered with disabled individuals — drug-and-alcohol abusers — to move to Altoona and to obtain treatment. Powell’s lawsuit stated the information gathered by the commission was “intentionally false and inaccurate.” It criticized the commission for not interviewing former Right Turn Executive Director Diane Arnold. “The commission admitted in its report that the bulk of its information came from a small group of former staff and clients, and that it failed to verify the accuracy of this information," it was charged. Please see Sued/Page A6 HOOP DREAMS WM COVERED Mirror photo by Kelly Bennett Bishop Guilfoyle’s Katie Milward (left) fights for possession of the ball with Kennedy Christian's Erin Frankovich (center) and Bar bora Fabianova during the Class A girls' Western Final Wednesday. Mirror Sports Editor Jim Lane and girls' basketball guru Philip Cmor have complete coverage, Page Bl. rn Bls i tlanta As the Penn State men continue their historic march into the NCAA tournament, the Mirror continues to provide the region’s best coverage with stories from this weekend’s South Regional in Atlanta. Our own PSU expert Neil Rudel and Blue/White Illustrated^ Mark Brennan will be courtside this weekend. Look for their coverage in Mirror Sports. Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec jnenn State men's basketball players Jon (left) and Joe Crispin board the bus with the team for its trip to Atlanta, please see story on Page Bl. More locals keeping an eye on the Fed, markets By Tiffany Shaw Staff Writer A generation ago, keeping an eye on the actions of the Federal Reserve and the machinations on Wall Street weren’t high on the list of priorities of the average Altoonan. Boy, have times changed. Market watchers no longer are just the well-to-do with prosperous stocks in big business. Now financial planning is the topic of many residents’ dinner table conversations. The percentage of adults who own stocks directly or through mutual funds climbed steadily and dramatically through the 1990s, from 35.6 percent in 1989 to 51.8 percent in 1998. The percentage probably is higher still today. The details about Main Street’s shift to Wall Street are not surprising. The most educated people have the highest percentage of stock ownership. The more wealth or income a family enjoys, the greater the odds it owns stocks. Stock investing is more popular among people in their prime earning years, aged 35 to 54. Please see Eye/Page A6 DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 $ 2291 0 0005 BIG FOUR 4    8    9    8 I Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Cloudy with snow, 39° ■ Foreiilst, A2 Traders at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange work the Eurodollar Futures pit as the Federal Reserve announced a half-point cut in a key interest rate, hoping to encourage Americans to spend and invest to revive a sluggish economy. The Associated Press 9TH DISTRICT RACE First debate set for May 1 By Robert Igoe Staff Writer As talk of campaigns and debates are taking center stage in the race for the 9th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, the biggest debate so far seems to be over the question of whether the candidates have agreed to debate. Richard Shinier, a member of the Congressional District Team of the Altoona AARP, said they have confirmed at least some of the four major candidates to square off at 10:30 a.m. May I at the Jaffa Mosque. IF YOU GO 9th District debate 10.30 a.m. May 1 at Jaffa Mosque Debate rules: ■ first statement decided by random drawing; ■ candidate giving second statement will answer first question, alternating order each question; ■ two minutes for each answer with 30 seconds for rebuttle; ■ five minutes for a closing; Please see Race/Page A6 QlsOCAL Q NATION INSIDE Business A10,11 Comics C2 STATE Hospitals A13 Classified C4-14 Obituaries Opinion A13 A8 □ lire Attorneys argue pros, cons of moving Q SPORTS Local B4 Dear Abby Movies Puzzles D5 D3 D5 Baumhammers’ trial. Paqi A7 Scoreboard B\ Television D5 J* * Altoona mirror {THE GREAT COMBINATION I 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) 946-7^7_ ;

  • Charles E. Powell
  • D. Brooks Smith
  • Daniel Milliron
  • Diane Arnold
  • Erin Frankovich
  • Gary M. Baranec
  • Jim Lane
  • Joe Crispin
  • Katie Milward
  • Mahlon Fiscel
  • Mark Brennan
  • Mel Ellis
  • Mike Fisher
  • Neil Rudel
  • Philip Cmor
  • Richard Shinier
  • Rick Geist
  • Robert Alexander
  • Robert C. Jubelirer
  • Robert Igoe
  • Steven B. Larchuk
  • Steven G. Polin
  • Tom Bradley

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Publication: Altoona Mirror

Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

Issue Date: March 22, 2001

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