Altoona Mirror, May 1, 2001

Altoona Mirror

May 01, 2001

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Issue date: Tuesday, May 1, 2001

Pages available: 56

Previous edition: Monday, April 30, 2001

Next edition: Wednesday, May 2, 2001 - Used by the World's Finest Libraries and Institutions
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Publication name: Altoona Mirror

Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - May 1, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania INSIDE TODAY SPORTS: 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. Pi NATION: Ob-gyn chief promotes advance prescriptions for 'morning-after' pill. CI JVltoona Copyright 2001 TUESDAY, MAY 1, 2001 500 newsstand Teens drink, drive less BY PAUL RECER 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 couUUose federal highway funding. "The [BAC] law for young people reinforces the law that moved the legal drinking age up to Wagenaar said. He said data from the new sur- vey is consistent with other stud- ies that have shown a 10 percent to 20 percent decline in alcohol-relat- ed 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 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 accu- rately measures the effects over time of specific laws on the drink- ing and driving habits of young people. Please see AS TEMPORARY CLOSING Mirror photo by Kelly Bennett Franklin West owner of Panda's Bar in downtown Altoona, leaves the estab- lishment Monday as it is padlocked by the Blair County Sheriffs Department. Panda's Bar padlocked Judge grants injunction Residents' reactions vary BY WILLIAM KIBLER SttffWriter 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 cam- eras, bouncers, metal detectors, warning signs, stun gun and club and no-tolerance policies for drugs or fighting? "They're trying to crush customer Mary Lefort said, sitting at a table Monday afternoon. Lefort, who is white and has a black boyfriend, thinks police have a racial vendet- ta against the bar. The authorities don't like black and white together, Lefort said. Neighbor Ed Garman thinks the racial prob- lem runs the other way at Panda's. Sitting on a blanket on a grassy lot behind his apartment in the sunshine Monday after- noon, he recalled going a couple of years ago to buy a couple of quarts of beer around p.m. on a Friday or Saturday. Please see A3 By PHIL RAY Staff Writer Panda's Bar in Altoona was closed tem- porarily Monday afternoon on order from a Blah- County judge who studied documents prepared by law enforcement, con- tending 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, 11th 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 10 cameras around the bar, as well as other monitors so he can see what goes on. Please see 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 Yi to 5 years in a state cor- rectional institution, but the prison sentence has been post- poned 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 fNixons] 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 anoint- ment or medical care since she lapsed into a coma hours before to her death. Please see A8 1991 Dennis and Lorie NixonS son. Clayton, dies Iram ear infection. They plead no contest to charges ol involuntary manslaughter andendangering the welfare ol a child, and they are placed on two years' probation and ordered to perform 120 hours ol community service. June The Nixons' daughter, Shannon. 16, dies Irom complications ol diabetes. Sept. A change in stale law pre- vents the couple from being prosecuted under the same circumstances as in 1991 so they are charged with child endangermenl and involuntary manslaughter in the death. April A Blair County jury linds the couple guilty of involuntary manslaughter and endangering the wellare ol a child. The Nixons say they will appeal the conviction. May The Nixons agree to con- lad Blair Couniy's child welfare agency if any of their other children face a life-threatening or long-term illness. June Judge Norman D. Callan sentences Dennis and Lorie Nixon each to spend years in prison on Ihe charges. He granted Ihem bail pending appeal. June Nixons file appeal with the U.S. Superior Court in Pittsburgh. Feb. The case garners national attention when reporter Ed Bradley profiles the Nixons on "60 Minutes." I April An attorney representing the Nixons argues before Ihe slate Superior Court that Shannon, not her parents, was responsible lor favoring prayer over medical Ireatmenl lor the diabetes that eventually killed her. I Sept. A three-judge panel of the Superior Court rejects Ihe Nixons'appeal. They say they will appeal Ihe case to the state Supreme Court. I Nov. The state Supreme Court accepts the case. I Nov. The state Supreme Court rules that the leen-agerS age. maturity and privacy rights cannot be used as defenses in the case and upholds the convictions and the jail sentences. March The Nixons' attorneys appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. April The high court refuses to hear arguments in trie case. Pennsylvania college students face increasing debt loads PITTSBURGH (AP) When Anne Leete graduates from Carnegie Mellon University this spring, she will have a double major and debt load. But the 22-year-old from Potter County will face more debt about more when she starts law school this fall. "It's such a huge amount of money; it's Leete said. But Leete's case is not unusual. Higher education experts said Pennsylvania's college students faced 33.8 percent more debt when they graduated in 1999 the most recent year statistics were avail- able in the state than they did five years before. hi 1994, Pennsylvania students on average accumulated a debt while completing an under- graduate degree. But in 1999, the amount rose to 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 Washing- ton, D.C. In 1993, the average student in the United States accumulated Rising college costs and changes in the way students are paying for college are two reasons for the increase. in debt while completing an under- graduate degree. That number rose to last year, Hartle said. Rising college costs are one rea- son for the increase in student debt. Nationwide, the average tuition and fees for a four-year, pri- vate college has gone up from in 1991 to this year, according to The College Board. Also, the way students are pay- ing for college has changed. Federal lending agencies increased the maximum amount of money students can borrow and eased eli- gibility 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 con- cern for the state, financial aid experts said. Costs for postgradu- ate education can be staggering. Last year's graduates of the University of Pittsburgh medical school owed an average of 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 she said, "will you make more money Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 2B7-4480 4 1 367 Lottery numbers, ASf Mostly sunny, 82" Forecast, A2 Altoona iHtrror THE GREAT COMBINATION I Call us today...Make money today. Ask for THE GREAT COMBINATION of MIRROR and HOT-ADS Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) 946-7547 Business _ Hospitals Obituaries, Opinion High schools Scoreboard Abby Puzzles working in Miami or But some new graduates said the extra debt does not bother them, and it helped them achieve a high- er 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 Wolfgang said he doesn't dread being in debt. "The debt never really bothered he said. "I'll quickly get back to a cash situation that's easy to. live with." C3-8 D3 D2 D2 D2 IN BUSINESS Report predicts job losses if steel subsidies and tariffs rise. PAGE AS ;