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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - March 30, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Sports: Curve pitcher on fast track to big leagues Life: Ease intd exercising by taking a walk Altoona Hlhrror Copyright 2001 FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 2001 newsstand Broken concrete plagues garage The Blair County Convention Center structure likely won't be ready for opening. BY KAY STEPHENS Staff Writer A subcontractor building the parking garage at the Blair County Convention Center has to replace about 10 pieces of broken concrete, increasing chances the garage won't be available in May, the first month the center is open. The concrete pieces were broken Thursday when a floor slab being moved by a crane struck an inside wall on the fourth level, construc- tion supervisor Blaise Michaels said. The impact caused the wall to fall onto the third level, where it hit and broke another floor slab, allowing pieces of concrete to fall through to the second level. No one was hurt during the chain of events, Michaels said. Equipment damage was limited to two tires flattened on a small loader when a piece of concrete struck a protected area of the loader. The accident was the second in two months at the parking garage. In January, a crane dropped a 40- foot precast concrete column, causing it to knock down a second pillar, which knocked down a third pillar. Cheryl Ebersole, director of the Allegheny Mountains Convention and Visitors Bureau, which will oversee management of the con- vention center, said Thursday that she is moving forward with plans to use shuttle buses and limousine services, starting with the center's May 3 opening banquet. "We were just making tentative plans. Now we're definitely mak- ing Ebersole said. While the convention center arid the neighboring Courtyard by Marriott have surface parking areas, they won't be sufficient for larger events booked at the con- vention center during the first month. The bill'for the shuttle and lim- ousine service is expected to be turned over to the general contrac- tor, Lawruk Builder Inc. Michaels said the subcontractor building the parking garage, Sidley Concrete of Thompson, Ohio, could fall about 10 days behind because of the broken concrete. Please see AS FIRE PREVENTION Mirror photo by Kelly Bennett Altoona firefighters Dan Drumm (left) and Mike Tofano prepare to install a smoke detector in a home on Fifth Avenue. STAYING SAFE Common-sense tips can ward off home blazes BY TIFFANY SHAW Staff Writer Holly Miller of Altoona decided to call for help when a friend noticed the smell of natural gas in her new apartment. Although Miller couldn't find the cause of the problem, she worried that she was feeling weak and tired.. She contacted the Altoona Fire Department and its Get Out Alive program. Firefighters made an appointment Wednesday to install at no charge two smoke detectors, a carbon monoxide monitor and a fire extinguisher in her apartment. "It makes me feel a little bit Miller said. "Now maybe we can get on our feet." Most fire safety tips are common sense, such as changing smoke detector batteries when setting clocks ahead for daylight-savings time. What Miller did takes little time but could save a life or prop- erty. Please see AS Here are some tips lo help prevent home fires. H Families must practice fife drills. Work out an escape plan and set a meeting place outside the house. HTry lo plan an escape route for the second floor' through a window onto a roof or porch- If that's not possible, store an emergency escape ladder near the window lhat hooks onto the sill. BTest smoke detectors monthly and vacuum regularly to remove dust. Change the batteries twice a year. Replace detectors every 10 years. Store a multipurpose fire extinguisher in the kitchen with others in the laundry room, workshop, garage, furnace room, second-floor bedrooms and any room where someone smokes, Check clothes-dryer vents and range hoods or venis for buildup and overheating. All gasoline and propane containers must be stored in well-ventilated areas, away from fertilizer and other lawn-care products. Never store or use gasoline inside the house. H Drain gasoline from lawn or snow equipment before storing inside for the season. If possible, store the equipment outdoors or in a separate shed. Turn off lawn equipment before filling with gasoline. Information provided by the Phoenix Volunteer Fire- Company. National Fire Protection Association and Cox Wevvs Service. Mirror graphic by Tom Worthinglon II Proposed bill would control telemarketing BY KEVIN OTT Staff Writer Jeffrey Way has tried again and again to get his telephone company to block calls from telemarketers. He can block any other call, the company tells him, but it's impos- sible to block telemarketing calls if the number isn't available. One state senator is trying to change that. Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R- Montgomery, has introduced a bill to the General Assembly that would create a list of phone num- bers across Pennsylvania that are off-limits to telemarketers. Ten states have such lists. Telemarketers salespeople who call people at home to pitch a product make their calls from long lists of names and phone num- bers provided by a number of sources. Homeowners and credit card users particularly are susceptible to phone sales pitches, as is anyone who purchases a product or ser- vice from a telemarketer. Way works third shift and usual- ly catches up on sleep during the day. That's also when his phone starts" ringing. "I just tell them I'm not interest- ed and hang he said. "It's ridiculous." If Greenleaf s bill becomes law, a ON THE WEB www.junkbusiere.com Junkbusters is dedicated to reducing the amount of junk mail, e-mail spam and telemarketing. www.ttc.gov The Federal Trade Commission regulates phone sales. www.the-dma.org The Direct Marketing Association provides lists of names and phone numbers to telemarketing companies. "do-not-call" list will be created and updated quarterly. State law then will prevent telemarketers from contacting anyone on the list. Under the bill, local telephone companies would be required to notify customers once a year that they can be placed on such a list. The Office of the Attorney General would maintain a master list composed of all' the names of telephone customers who asked their phone companies to be placed on the do-not-call list. Telemarketing groups would have to pay per year for the list. Charitable organizations and political candidates are exempt under the bill. Please see A12 Judge's reprieve fails to save dog BY PHIL RAY Staff Writer HOLLIDAYSBURG A Blair County judge took the unusual step Thursday of issuing an injunction against the demise of a black Labrador retriever. The dog's owner protested the canine was not guilty of chasing and trying to bite several children in a Martinsburg neighborhood. But in the end, the dog named Bud was put back on death row after its owner, Alphonse Delle- Curti of 306 S. Market St., told his attorney to withdraw the lawsuit. The attorney, Robert W. Lape Jr. of Roaring Spring, refused any fur- ther comment on the case, saying. only that both sides had come to an agreement. Asked if that meant life or death for the dog, Lape replied the dog was to be destroyed. Callan said he never had been asked to grant a reprieve to a dog before, but he issued the injunc- tion barring the dog's demise after court papers revealed there was a sharp difference of opinion as to what the dog did, if anything, in the March 13 incident. The dog was picked up and placed at the Central Pennsylvania Humane Society by state dog law officer Mark Miller of the Pennsyl- vania Department of Agriculture. Please see A12 House OKs tax cut for married couples WASHINGTON (AP) The House voted overwhelmingly Thursday to cut income taxes for most married couples and gradual- ly to double the tax credit, endorsing two major pieces of President Bush's trillion tax relief plan. A few hours after the 282-144 vote, which included 64 Democrats in favor, the House Ways and Means Committee approved a third component of the Bush plan: a measure that would eliminate the estate tax by 2011 at a cost of almost billion. That bill is expected to reach the House floor next week. Before the votes, Bush told a news conference that Congress was well on the way to enacting "meaningful, real, long-lasting tax even though the legislation that is speeding through the House faces almost certain change in the Senate, which is divided evenly between 50 Democrats and' 50 Republicans. The House already has passed Bush's package of billion in across-the-board income tax cuts. Bush repeated that he would not back away from his trillion fig- ure over 10 years and that any short-term economic stimulus tax such as a individual tax rebate suggested by Senate Democrats must be part of a broader plan. Please see A8 INSIDE TOD AY ALSO INSIDE: Altoona City Council introduces ordinance to change street name to Cathedral Square. The head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will speak Saturday in Altoona. PAGEA4 Female inmate pleads guilty after sea mm ing men by mail WILLIAMSPORT (AP) Although only one Pennsylvania prison inmate has been prosecut- ed for ripping off people through the mail, authorities said the problem is more widespread, and a solution is hard to find. Cheryl Koniewicz, 38, pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy and mail fraud for scamming from more than 100 men. She told them in letters that she loved them, would live with them when she got out of prison and would fulfill their sexual fan- tasies. Koniewicz told a federal judge during her hearing that 80 per- cent of women in the Muncy prison run scams, and she learned it from other inmates. But prison officials said they don't know how widespread it is. "Sure it goes said Mike Lukens, a Department of Corr- ections spokesman. "It's some- thing we try to keep an eye on." Patti Stover, a spokeswoman for the women's prison at Muncy, said there is no way of knowing how many inmates are involved because these schemes are so dif- ficult to detect unless a victim complains. Koniewicz agreed she partici- pated in a scam that involved duping men into believing she needed money to pay outstanding fines so she could get out of prison. She disputes the number of men and the amount of money authorities contend she received. She would break off the rela- tionship with a Dear John letter when she got as much money as she thought she could from a man, authorities said. Some of those who got letters would call the prison only to be told it was a scam, Stover said. "It's so Stover said. "You feel so bad for them." She said she got the sense many of the men were elderly and could not afford what they paid Koniewicz. Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 7 9 1 I Lottery numbers, A2 WEAKER Rain showers, Forecast, A2 2001 PT CRUISER IN STOCK NOW! Ready For Delivery! Chrysler Mymoirth Jeep 1549 McwMirt Valley Mvd. AHoorta, M r Gj LOCAL Business Hospitals Obituaries Opinion Local Scoreboard A8, 10 Ail A11 A6 B4 B5 QwmoN Classifieds C4-12 QUR Comics D5 Community news D2 Puzzles D4 Television D4 IN NATION A chartered airplane crashed into a hillside Thursday at an airport in Aspen, Colo., killing at least 18 people, authorities said. PAGE C1
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