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Altoona Mirror: Monday, April 9, 2001 - Page 1

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   Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - April 9, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania                                INSIDE TODAY Teens Mirror; Sleeping problems: Some teens struggle to say awake. FREE 8N880E Nation: U.S. says quick end to plane standoff critical to relations. Cl______________ LIFE: 3 Doors Down: Multiplatinum not mainstream yet. Dl Atomta Copyright 2001 MONDAY, APRIL 9, 2001 newsstand BY WILLIAM KIBLER StaffWriter When Sheila Petrunak lost sight of her 2- year-old son Saturday at the Logan Valley Mall, she lived a parent's worst nightmare for 15 minutes. But an alert shopper and a smart Radio Shack clerk made sure the incident had a happy ending. Children becoming briefly separated nirfhtmsrp- You turn your back for a second, and when WUIbl lllgl 111 1 IdlC. you look again, your child has disappeared k Nathanvel wasn't there She heean srrpamine fnr heln from parents is routine at. the mall, according to a security guard. But for Sheila, knowing it was routine was cold comfort. According to Sheila, her son Nathanyel was beside her while she waited at the reg- ister at Nature's Habitat. Nathanyel was antsy, and he wanted to see his grand- mother, who was browsing the shelves a few feet away. Sheila saw him head toward grandma, then turned to the clerk for her change. When the transaction was over, she turned again to check, and he was gone. It had taken maybe a minute of her attention. Sheila went to her mother and asked, "Where is The reply: "I thought he was with you." Hurriedly, the two checked the store and the immediate common area, but Nathanyel wasn't there. "I'm never going to see my little boy Sheila thought. Kids disappear forever in TV movies, she knew. Nathanyel was cute, the kind who might appeal to someone with evil intent. And he wasn't shy. "This isn't she said to her- self. And she lost it. She began screaming for help, said Pattie Petrunak, her mother. Two boys on benches in the hall came over and said they saw Nathanyel running up the concourse. Mall security guards arrived quickly and they started a search, three of them. Some shoppers seemed curious but didn't offer to help. Please see A8 Liquor tax from flood may end BY MICHAEL RACE cBpitotoire.com HARRISBURG A state law- maker has proposed doing 'away with a "temporary" tax that Pennsylvanians have paid for 65 years. Rep. Roy Reinard, R-Bucks, introduced legislation this week to repeal the 18 percent liquor tax that was instituted to help pay for recovery costs associated with the 1936 Johnstown flood. Reinard, who chairs the House Liquor Control Committee, said the tax drives up the cost of liquor in the state and subsequently drives Pennsylvanians to buy booze in neighboring states, where prices are lower. It's illegal, but hardly uncom- mon, for Pennsylvanians to cross the border to stock up on liquor. State officials justified creating the tax as a means of paying for the flood that hit Johnstown March 17, 1936, causing about million in damage. The liquor tax started as a 10 percent surcharge in 1936 and was to be repealed after the recov- ery was completed. ".Instead, the tax remained on the books and was boosted to 15 per- cent in 1963 and 18 percent in 1968. the tax has outlived its original Reinard said. "It's time to remove this tax from our law books and offer fair- er, more competitive prices to our consumers." The tax pumped million into the state's General Fund in fis- cal 1999-2000, according to Donna Pinkham, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Reinard predicts those revenues will reach million in the cur- rent fiscal year and million in fiscal 2001-02. Please see A8 ARE YOU READY FOR SOME AREA BASEBALL? Pittsburgh Pirates open at home today to break in PNC Park. Altoona's home opener Mirror photos by Kelly Bennett Ron Vipond of Altoona, an employee of Bettwy Electric Inc., climbs down after changing some light bulbs above Blair County Ballpark. BY JAY YOUNG StaffWriter The boys of summer return to Altoona and Pittsburgh today, and they're bringing warm weather, green grass and the end of the school year with them. "Moriday is the most important day in Tim Fink, 15, of Tyrone said with pride. "It's very important to see all the new players that the Altoona Curve have." Anyone who knows this Tyrone resident also is well aware that today is the day. While most phone conversations start with hello, Tim's friends have been greeted in the past week with something like this: "Five days it's coming. I can smell it." Fink has had tickets for tonight's game for weeks, and he will be there with his Curve left with room to improve BY CORY GIGER Mirror Sports Staff ERIE opening weekend held few positives for the Altoona Curve, who hope to reverse their misfortunes in tonight's 2001 home opener at Blair County Ballpark. Altoona lost all three games to Erie over the weekend to start the Eastern League season 0-3 for the first time in the fran- chise's three-year existence. The club hosts Reading tonight at trying to break out of its early-season slump. "Obviously it won't hurt new Curve manager Dale Sveum said of his team's upcoming seven-game homestand. "I don't think anything can make it worse. When you get swept to start the season, It can only get better." Erie crushed the Curve 9-1 Sunday, hold- ing Altoona to just two hits. Please see grandfather rain or shine. "I'll go rain, shine, snow, sleet. It doesn't matter to me. We can get a flood and, we'll still he said. With temperatures hovering around 70 degrees Sunday; Mother Nature did her part to get people in the baseball mood. A muggy 80 degrees in Pittsburgh over the weekend brought many to the city streets, where they walked around the newly con- structed million PNC Park. While this will be the third home opener in the short history of the Altoona Curve, it's been a long and cold winter. Winter only became more frustrating for young fans such as Fink as he read the headlines about an NBC weatherman cut- ting on Curve mascot Steamer. Please see A8 Head groundskeeper Justin SpULman mows centerfield Sunday. Bill Bettwy of Altoona fixes the umpire dummy- that the sCurve's mascot Steamer likes to beat up between innings at Blah- County Ballpark. Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner PaulEvanko unveils a Web- based Uniform Crime Reporting system during a news conference in Harrisburg Thursday. The system is the first of its kind In the country and provides instant access to state crime data. State police place crime figures on Web From Mirror staff and wire reports Pennsylvania State Police have begun posting crime figures online in an effort to make the information available to the public and local agencies faster and to increase accuracy in reporting the statistics. A World Wide Web site officially launched Thursday is designed to provide users with information ranging from the number of homi- cides statewide in a given month to The Associated Press the number of vagrancy arrests in CRIME REPORTING SYSTEM Crime figures for the state are available online at a new Web site posted by Pennsylvania State Police. The Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting System is a specific community. State police hope the system, which cost million to develop, will lead to more efficient reporting of the figures by local departments. About three-fourths of Pennsyl- vania's police agencies volun- tarily provide statistics, which are used in reports by the FBI and other agencies, state police Commissioner PaulJ. Evanko said. "Citizens can go to the Web site and view the data as it is submit- Evanko said. For instance, >the site shows at least 42 murder suspects arrested in Pennsylvania so far this year, although officials with the project caution that the information is only as timely as departments make it The state also saw at least arrests on drunken-driving charges. Please see A8 Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 3 4 9 Lottery numbers, A2 Sun and clouds; showers, 7S" Forecast, A2 if HGT-ADS.Aom We re white-hot! Altnmta iHtrror IT HE GREAT COMBINATION Call us today...Make money today. 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