Altoona Mirror, April 4, 2001

Altoona Mirror

April 04, 2001

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Issue date: Wednesday, April 4, 2001

Pages available: 72

Previous edition: Tuesday, April 3, 2001

Next edition: Thursday, April 5, 2001 - Used by the World's Finest Libraries and Institutions
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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - April 4, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Nation: Early reactions from crash highlight alliance Cl Ufa" Make Easter a memorable holiday with treats Dl 9 Copyright 2001 WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4, 2001 50C newsstand County, union snagged in talks By KAY STEPHENS StaffWriter HOLLIDAYSBURG- Negotiations between Blair County and one of its United Mine Workers of America union are heading for arbitration. After several negotiating ses- sions on behalf of court-related and court-appointed employees, a union representative said Tuesday that the two sides are at an impasse on wages and proba- bly on courthouse security issues. Meanwhile, county leaders are initiating policies to limit the use of radios in courthouse offices. The action comes after cour- thouse employees made recent calls to a local radio talk show to com- ment on courthouse security and to challenge statements being made by Blair County Commissioner John H. Eichelberger Jr., a guest on the talk show. Eichelberger said Tuesday that while he was on the WRTA talk show, he called the courthouse and ordered the employee's supervisor to get her off the phone because he felt she was making statements that breached courthouse security. Union representative Keith Barnhart later countered the claim by asking: "What security? There is none." Commissioners have main- tained that security improve- ments were made when the court- house addition was built, with the installation of hallway and court- room cameras. Commissioners said Tuesday that they are look- ing into the cost of securing entrances in the older section of the courthouse and hiring a secu- rity guard to roam the halls. On the arbitration, a hearing to settle the contract issues between the county and the UMWA union representing court-related and court-appointed employees will likely be held the last week of April or the first week of May, Blair County Personnel Director W.T. Williams said Tuesday. Please see AS BUUR COUNTY GOVERNMENT Mirror photo by Jason Sipes A citizen passes through Cambria County Courthouse's metal detector, part of an about security system, which also Includes an employee entrance and a single entry for the public. Blair's security dilemma: Balancing safety, budget sKmnnao HHHMS: designating an employee entrance on Union Street, county workers would enter using a mag- netic identification card; directing public to enter through front door of new section; requiring public to pass through a metal detector and having personal Items put through an X-ray machine; judges'offices and courtrooms having a system of cameras installed so secretaries could view hallways and courtrooms. Only Blair County Judge Thomas G. Peoples' office currently has the camera system; hallway patrols. BY PHIL RAY Staff Writer HOLLIDAYSBURG- Blair County Sheriff Larry Field remembers years ago when a gunman with a grudge against the court sys- tem held Clearfield County Judge John Cherry hostage. Field said the gunman went Into the courthouse looking for a judge who wasn't present, then decided to attack Cherry, a retired Clearfield judge who often presided in Blair County. Field's point was that danger is a reality of the court system no matter the size of the county, and it is why he has broken his silence on the security contro- versy in the Blair County Courthouse. The sheriff last week attended a security conference sponsored by the Pennsylvania Sheriffs' Association. He spoke Tuesday about the ideas he has been working on, many of which were discussed during the Carlisle conference. "I am not here to cut down the commissioners or the adminis- tration, my only... and I truly mean this... my only intent is the safety of the employees, the courts and the prisoners. He said that courthouse safety is a "very, truly big concern" acros's the state. "It's not just what could happen to prisoners, witnesses, the general public, but the judges he said. Please see AS Crew safe; return is uncertain BY MARTIN FACKLER The Associated Press HAIKOU, China China allowed American diplomats to meet the crew of a U.S. spy plane Tuesday for the first time since the plane landed on Chinese soil after a collision with a Chinese fighter jet, but there was no sign when they would be allowed to return home. China blamed the United States for the collision and demanded an apology. President Jiang Zemin demanded that the United States stop surveillance flights off China's coast. It was too early this morning for Chinese officials to react to a warn- ing from President Bush that any further delay in returning the 24 crew members or the plane full of high-tech equipment that U.S. officials fear China has now examined or else face possible damage to already unsettled China-U.S. relations. "This accident has the potential of undermining our hopes for a fruitful and productive relation- ship between our two Bush said in Washington. "To keep that from happening, our service- men and women need to come home." China's government-run Xinhua news agency released pictures of the damaged Navy EP-3E at an air base on the southern island of Hainan. The pictures showed the plane's left- most propeller broken and tears on the underside of its left wing. "The entire crew is in good said Army Brig. Gen. Neal Sealock, the U.S. Embassy defense attache, one of two diplomats who visited the crew members. "They are being well taken care of." He added, "Our goal is to get them home as soon as possible." The Chinese laid down ground INSIDE. Reactions from family, friends eager for return of Pennsylvania sailor, one of two Pennsylvania residents of the 24-member crew. PAOE A6 AT A GLANCE- American diplomats meet with crew. China dernands U.S. apology. President Bush warns any further delay in crew's return or damage is possible to already rocky relations. rules for the meeting, but the diplo- mats with Chinese officials in attendance were allowed to dis- cuss the crew members' health, the operations during the emergency landing and standard procedures taken to protect intelligence, a senior U.S. official in Washington said on condition of anonymity. As a result of the talks, the Bush administration believes the.crew managed to destroy some of the intelligence information on the plane, the official said. A-Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhu Bangzao, said China's decision to allow the meet- ing showed its "humanitarianism" and desire "to handle this case prop- erly." Earlier, he said the crew's fate would be decided in light of a Chinese investigation. Asked when the crew would be released, Zhu replied: "I don't know." "The U.S. should face the facts responsibility and apologize to the Chinese side instead of seeking excuses for Zhu said in an earlier press conference. Please see A6 Pa. lawmakers trying to leash dangerous dogs BY JEANETTE KREBS HARRISBURG An 8-year-old boy in Harrisburg is severely injured when a 10-year-old girl allows a pit bull to attack him. In rural Butler County, a 12-year-old girl collecting money for her paper route is brutally bitten by a fam- ily's boxer. Across the Pennsylvania border, two Rottweilers attack a third-grader in Cleveland. And a college stu- dent in New Jersey remains helpless as a pit bull latches onto her face. The stories are becoming more common, and sta- tistics bear out the fact that the number of dog-relat- ed injuries and deaths is growing in the United States. Studies show dog bites mean emergency room visits each year, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 17 deaths annually. Locally, 204 dog bite cases were reported in the 2000 Altoona Police Department animal enforcement report. Bon Secours-Holy Family Hospital reported 72 dog bite cases treated. The average age of victims was 32. Please see A4 Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 2874480 Lottery numbers, A2 Mostly sunny, Forecast, A2 9 IN SPORTS Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Aramis Ramirez (right) tags out Cincinnati Reds' Alex Ochoa after a rundown in the third inning of the Pirates' opening game for 2001 in Cincinnati. PAGE B1 Curve players Jayson Bass Lee Evans (center) and Shaun Skrehot wait along the dugout as the media mixes it up on the field during Curve Media Day. PAGE II Inside Pitch, the Mirror's annual guide to the Attoona Curve season, will be included free in Thursday's paper. Cambria youth experimenting with substances, survey shows BY MIA ROHART StaffWriter JOHNSTOWN About five per- cent of Cambria County's sixth- graders have drank excessively at least once, according to a survey recently compiled by the Child and Adolescent Health and Wellness Council. Dr. Matt Masiello, chairman of pediatrics at Memorial Medical Center, Johnstown, said the study completed on Cambria County youth should cause concern but not fear among parents. Masiello, direc- tor of the Child and Adolescent Health and Wellness Council, and other members of the council released the survey results Tuesday of student involvement in drinking, smoking, violence and other com- munity problems. Responses from students in. grades six, eight, 10 and 12 in eight Cambria County school districts were included in the survey. Four school districts decided not to par- ticipate. Any surveys received with inconsistent responses were discarded by the developmental Peer pressure Ttie percent of Cambria County youths who participated in the follow- ing activities in the last 30 days prior to being surveyed: 33.3% 17.2% m 6th 8th 49.6% 51.5% 10lh 12ln Binge drinking 32.6% 31.8% 19.9% 5.4% 6lh 81h 10th 12th Cigarettes 21.5% 31.9% 37.1% 7.6% 6lh 8lh 10ih 12th Source: Pennsylvania Youth Survey 2000. research program, Council Coordinator Diana Schroeder said. Masiello said that as a pediatrician, he was most concerned with the occurrence of alcohol and tobacco use among students in grades sk to 12... Of the sixth-graders, 17.2 percent responded they had used alcohol in the past 30 days. The percentage rose to 51.5 when seniors were questioned. "We should be shooting for zero percent of our sixth-graders drink- Schroeder said. About 22 percent of females in grades six to 12 responded that they had smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days, slightly above 20.3 percent of males. The council has already shared the information with the Drug and Alcohol Task Force. They are look- ing at implementing project Students Taught Awareness and has had a 40 per- cent reduction rate in other counties including Lycoming, Schroeder said. The study also found that Cambria County youth have high levels of positive influencing fac- tors to deter negative activities. They included emphasis placed on family and religion. Please see A12 Altnmta ittttrrnr We re white-hoi' 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) 948-7647 Business Obituaries A11 Opinion AS High schools Scoreboard Classifieds C4-12 QlJR Comics D5 Community news D2 Movies D3 Television D4 STATE Suspect in Catholic school shooting is due in court. PAM A4 ;