Altoona Mirror, May 1, 2001 : Front Page

Publication: Altoona Mirror May 1, 2001

Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - May 1, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania INSIDE TODAYSPORTS: Buffalo Sabres pull to 2-1 in the series with the Penguins. / Bl_ LIFE: ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ comes alive at Cresson Lake Playhouse. / DI NATION: Ob-gyn chief promotes advance prescriptions for ‘morning-after’ pill. / SIAltoona tilt mn*© Copyright 2001 ■■■■■Ma Teens drink, drive less By Paul Recur The Associated Press WASHINGTON - Teen-agers’ drinking and driving has dropped by nearly one-fifth in states with stricter blood-alcohol limits for young people, according to a 30-state survey of high school seniors. The survey shows that policies that discourage risky drinking can have an impact on society, said Alexander C. Wagenaar of the University of Minnesota, first author of an account appearing today in the American Journal of Public Health. Wagenaar said that all 50 states have set the legal blood-alcohol concentration level at .02 percent for drivers under 21, so the effects eventually should be seen in every state. There is a different threshold for adults, however. For at least 19 states and the District of Columbia, the legal limit for adults is .08 percent. A federal law passed last year requires a .08 level in all states by 2004. States that fail to comply could lose federal highway funding. “The [BAC1 law for young people reinforces the law that moved the legal drinking age up to 21,” Wagenaar said. He said data from the new survey is consistent with other studies that have shown a IO percent to 20 percent decline in alcohol-related car crashes in states with a .02 blood-alcohol level for youthful drivers. In the new study, researchers addressed a series of questions about drinking and driving to 5,000 high school seniors in 30 states. The survey is identical in method and questions to one that began in the late 1970s, Wagenaar said. As a result, he said, it accurately measures the effects over time of specific laws on the drinking and driving habits of young people. Please see Teens/Page A8 TUESDAY, MAY I, 2001 ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■I TEMPORARY CLOSING 500 newsstand Mirror photo by Kelly Bennett Franklin West (left), owner of Panda’s Bar in downtown Altoona, leaves the establishment Monday as it is padlocked by the Blair County Sheriff’s Department. Panda’s Bar padlocked Residents’ Judge grants reactions vary injunction By William Kibler Staff Writer Workers and customers of Panda’s Bar think authorities are unfair in trying to shut down the tavern-deli as a nuisance. Some neighbors agreed, but some would like to see Panda’s closed. What more can Panda’s Bar owner Franklin West do to run a clean operation, employees asked Monday — beyond his security cameras, bouncers, metal detectors, warning signs, stun gun and club and no-tolerance policies for drugs or fighting? “They’re trying to crush Frank,” customer Mary Lefort said, sitting at a table Monday afternoon. Lefort, who is white and has a black boyfriend, thinks police have a racial vendetta against the bar. The authorities don’t like black and white together, Lefort said. Neighbor Ed Garman thinks the racial problem runs the other way at Panda’s. Sitting on a blanket on a grassy lot behind his apartment in the sunshine Monday afternoon, he recalled going a couple of years ago to buy a couple of quarts of beer around 11:30 p.m. on a Friday or Saturday. Please see Panda’s/Page A3 By Phil Ray Staff Writer Panda’s Bar in Altoona was closed temporarily Monday afternoon on order from a Blair County judge who studied documents prepared by law enforcement, contending the bar is a public nuisance where drug dealing and violence are prevalent. Blair County District Attorney Dave Gorman said the shutdown of Panda’s, owned and managed by Franklin West, will bring “some relief to the citizens in that area, as well as the citizens of Blair County.” But West’s long-time associate Shirley Thompson, who was in the bar early Monday afternoon, said the injunction granted by Judge Thomas G. Peoples was “certainly unfair.” She said Panda’s Bar, lith Street at Chestnut Avenue, presents no more danger to the public than any other bar. In fact, she said, West does a better job than just about any other bar owner in the city of controlling the lawlessness that often occurs inside a drinking establishment. Thompson said West has IO cameras around the bar, as well as other monitors so he can see what goes on. Please see Locked/Page A3 High court won’t hear Nixon case ■ The couple must serve prison term for the faith-healing case involving their daughter, 16. By Phil Ray Staff Writer The U.S. Supreme Court Monday decided it would not hear an appeal Filed by Dennis and Lorie Nixon to their convictions for involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child — charges brought against them for not providing medical care for their daughter Shannon, 16, when she became ill with diabetes and died in 1996. The Nixons and their daughter belonged to Altoona’s Faith Tabernacle Congregation, which recommends rejection of medical care in favor of anointment and prayer to relieve illness. Blair County Judge Norman D. Callan sentenced the Nixons each to serve 2 Vi to 5 years in a state correctional institution, but the prison sentence has been postponed repeatedly as the Nixons appealed their convictions to the state Superior and Supreme Courts. After the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected their appeal in November, the Nixons asked for a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Nixons’ attorney, Sally A. Frick of Pittsburgh, requested a Supreme Court review, arguing that “the decision of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court directly penalizes the [Nixons] and their daughter’s exercise of their religious belief.” Blair County District Attorney Dave Gorman in a petition Filed with the U.S. Supreme Court recently stated, “There is no greater need for the fulFillment of parental duty by the Nixons than in that moment when Shannon Nixon is in a coma at death’s door and unable to care for herself.” The Nixons, Gorman argued, were not able to know what Shannon’s choice was — anointment or medical care — since she lapsed into a coma hours before to her death. Please see Nixon/Page A8 ■ 1991 Dennis and Lorie Nixon's son, Clayton, dies from ear infection. They plead no contest to charges of involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child, and they are placed on two years' probation and ordered to perform 120 hours of community service. ■ June 21,1996 The Nixons daughter, Shannon, 16, dies from complications of diabetes. ■ Sept. 5,1996 A change in state law prevents the couple from being prosecuted under the same circumstances as in 1991 so they are charged with child endangerment and involuntary manslaughter in the death. ■ April 22,1997 - A Blair County jury finds the couple guilty of involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child. The Nixons say they will appeal the conviction. ■ May 23,1997 - The Nixons agree to contact Blair County’s child welfare agency if any of their other children face a life-threatening or long-term illness. ■ June 10,1997 - Judge Norman D. Callan sentences Dennis and Lorie Nixon each to spend 2’/?-5 years in prison on the charges He granted them bail pending appeal. ■ June 26,1997 - Nixons file appeal with the U.S. Superior Court in Pittsburgh. ■ Feb. 1,1998 The case garners national attention when reporter Ed Bradley profiles the Nixons on “60 Minutes." ■ April 14,1998 An attorney representing the Nixons argues before the state Superior Court that Shannon, not her parents, was responsible for favoring prayer over medical treatment for the diabetes that eventually killed her. ■ Sept. 22,1998 A three-judge panel of the Superior Court rejects the Nixons’ appeal They say they will appeal the case to the state Supreme Court. ■ Nov. 1,1999 The state Supreme Court accepts the case ■ Nov. 28, 2000 - The state Supreme Court rules that the teen-ager's age, maturity and privacy rights cannot be used as defenses in the case and upholds the convictions and the jail sentences. ■ March 1, 2001 The Nixons' attorneys appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. ■ April 30. 2001 - The high court refuses to hear arguments in the case.Pennsylvania college students face increasing debt loads PITTSBURGH (AP) — When mne Leete graduates from Carnegie Mellon University this pring, she will have a double lajor and $25,000 debt load. But the 22-year-old from Potter bounty will face more debt — bout $100,000 more — when she tarts law school this fall. ‘‘It’s such a huge amount of Honey; ifs incomprehensible,” ^eete said. But Leete’s case is not unusual. Uglier education experts said ’ennsylvania’s college students aced 33.8 percent more debt when hey graduated in 1999 — the most recent year statistics were available in the state — than they did five years before. In 1994, Pennsylvania students on average accumulated a $12,551 debt while completing an undergraduate degree. But in 1999, the amount rose to $16,798, according to the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. The state statistics mirror the national Figures, said Terry Hartle, spokesman for the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C. In 1993, the average student in the United States accumulated $10,200 Rising college costs and changes in the way students are paying tor college are two reasons tor the increase. in debt while completing an undergraduate degree. That number rose to $16,000 last year, Hartle said. Rising college costs are one reason for the increase in student debt. Nationwide, the average tuition and fees for a four-year, private college has gone up from $9,391 in 1991 to $16,332 this year, according to The College Board. Also, the way students are paying for college has changed. Federal lending agencies increased the maximum amount of money students can borrow and eased eligibility standards, Hartle said. Fewer families save for college. About 47 percent of families with college-bound children have not set up a savings plan for school, according to a survey by Academic Management Services, a Swansea, Mass.-based student loan broker. The debt load of Pennsylvania college graduates should be a concern for the state, financial aid experts said. Costs for postgraduate education can be staggering. Last year’s graduates of the University of Pittsburgh medical school owed an average of $110,829, said Linda Berardi-Demo, the school’s director of financial aid. This debt load — and the interest that gets tacked on over the years — influences where new doctors take their first job and sometimes discourages them from going to rural communities “If you’re a general surgeon,” she said, “will you make more money working in Miami or Millersville?” But some new graduates said the extra debt does not bother them, and it helped them achieve a higher quality of life after school. Rich Wolfgang, 29, of Philadelphia will graduate this spring from Carnegie Mellon University and looks forward to a high-tech job with a salary in the mid-$80,000s. Wolfgang said he doesn’t dread being $50,000 in debt. “The debt never really bothered me,” he said. “I’ll quickly get back to a cash situation that’s easy to live with.” DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 7    22910    00050    4 I    < BIG FOUR $367 I Lottery numbers, AZ WEATHER M m&r *V I sr* BBW WM Mostly sunny, 82° ■ Forecast, A2 * Altoona terror J \ ii/*T a n C? A ___ (the great combination I HQ I-AD£>.Com We 're white-hot! Call us today...Make money today. .Ask For THE GREAT GOM BINATION of MIRROR C1ASSIFIEDS and HOT-ADS Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) 946-7547 * P LOCAL 0 NATION Business A5 Classifieds C3-8 Hospitals A? Obituaries AT □ UTE Opinion A6 H SPORTS Comics D3 Dear Abby D2 High schools B4 Puzzles D2 Scoreboard B5 I Television D2 HHMNH INSIDE IN BUSINESS Report predicts job losses if steel subsidies and tariffs rise. PAGE A5 ;

  • Alexander C. Wagenaar
  • Dave Gorman
  • Franklin West
  • Lorie Nixon
  • Mary Lefort
  • Norman D. Callan
  • Sally A. Frick
  • Shannon Nixon
  • Shirley Thompson
  • Terry Hartle
  • Thomas G. Peoples

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Publication: Altoona Mirror

Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

Issue Date: May 1, 2001

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