Altoona Mirror, May 19, 2001

Altoona Mirror

May 19, 2001

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Issue date: Saturday, May 19, 2001

Pages available: 126

Previous edition: Friday, May 18, 2001

Next edition: Sunday, May 20, 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 19, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Copyright 2001 HUNTINGDON COUNTY Wal-Mart deal falls through BY PAM KANE For the Mirror HUNTINGDON It's starting to look like Wal-Mart won't be com- ing to a prime piece of land near here. The economic group that con- trols the land is locked in a stale- mate with the potential developer for the strip shopping plaza between routes 22 and 26 that would include a Wal-Mart or as an anchor. Furthermore, ownership of the land hasn't been transferred to a local municipality, something that has to happen before development can proceed. On Friday, members of the Smithfield Township Economic Development Corp. began talking about exploring other options for developing the property. "We were led to believe that we made the best decision, but now we are at the point of starting all over said Wayne Mateer, presi- dent of the economic development group. Developers Dan Lawruk and Terry Astleford have been negoti- ating with both the economic group and the store chains since early this year to purchase the 72 acres of land from Smithfield Township, a small municipality southwest of Huntingdon. Smithfield Township was sup- posed to obtain the land in a deal with the state Department of Corrections, but the property hasn't officially changed hands, making a deal with the developer impossible. The deal apparently was so close to being done at one point that the developers sent out a press release touting the imminent arrival of a superstore. That move angered some eco- nomic development officials, and the relationship between the two groups hasn't improved. On Friday, members of the Smithfield panel said they haven't seen any kind of payment from developers to secure the land. "We need to take a look at some other STEDCO board member Denny Cisney said. "We need to look inside our community for other investors. Please see A13 INSIDE TODAY SPEEDWAY; Drivers are gearing up for this year's Indianapolis 500 ,v TV MiRROR: New, expanded channel listings begin in this week's guide FREE INSIDE LIFE: How to get your pool into sparkling condition for the swimming season Dl SATURDAY, MAY 19, 2001 500 newsstand WESTSYLVANIA ARTS HERITAGE FESTIVAL Mirror photos by Gary M. Baranec Zack Reese, 8, drifts away from his group of classmates from Juniata Gap Elementary School to take a closer look at some artwork on display inside the gymnasium at the Steven A. Adler Athletic Complex at Penn State Altoona. _ e s t i v a I IF YOU GO What: Westsylvania Arts Heritage Festival When: noon to 9 p.m. today, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday Where: Penn State Altoona Admission: Free Sampling nl today's events: 1 p.m. Jerry Haines, mainstage tent p.m. Central High School Chamber Singers, showcase tent 3 p.m. J.P. The Professor, community arts center portico 7 p.m. Concert by the pond featuring Blair Concert Chorale, 28th Division Infantry Band, Dave Paula Sampling o! Sunday events: p.m. Altoona Symphony Brass Ensemble, mainstage tent p.m. Roosevelt Keith Combined String Ensemble, showcase tent 4 p.m. Festival talent showcase, Margery Wolf Kunn Theatre Gage Wilsoncroft, 7, a first-grader at North Lincoln Hill Elementary School in Philipsburg, presents his teacher, Christy Johnson, with a present. Altoona responds to lawsuit on report City attorneys contend drug and crime commission's findings did not lead to the closure of rehabilitation center Right Turn of Pennsylvania. BY PHIL RAY Staff Writer JOHNSTOWN Two leaders of Altoona City Council's Drug and Crime Commission are not backing down from conclusions made in its 1999 report that a former rehabili- tation center was mismanaged and partly responsible for a 500 percent increase in drug-related crime in the city. The man who owned Right Turn of Pennsylvania, Charles E. Powell of Cambridge, Md., has sued the city and two prominent leaders of the commission, former Mayor Daniel Milliron and former Councilman Melvin L. Ellis. Powell claims his organization not only lost a lucrative contract with the state, but his reputation also was dam- aged in the process. Attorneys for the council and the crime commission have fired back in a petition filed in U.S. District Court in Johnstown. City attorneys and deputy state attorney gen- eral Scott A. Bradley have asked Judge p. Brooks Smith to dismiss Powell's lawsuit. "This report did not falsely or erroneously portray any aspect of the Right Turn operation, which was referenced in the according to papers filed by attorneys Robert E. Durrant and Mary Catherine Barkman of Pittsburgh. In their answer to Powell's lawsuit, Durrant and Barkman charge that Right Turn "persistently and com- monly housed active drug users." Right Turn, an Altoona-based rehabilitation center, had an extensive program designed to treat drug and alcohol abusers. Drugs supposedly were not permitted on the premises, but the crime commission reported that many of those in rehab not only used drugs, but also were involved in drug-related crimes and dealing drugs upon release from the facility. One program Right Turn offered was a halfway house for individuals released from state prisons. Right Turn operat- ed the program under contract with the state Department of Corrections. Powell charged that Milliron and Ellis used their political clout to get state Senate President Pro Tern Robert C. Jubelirer, R-Blair, and state Rep. Rick Geist, R-Altoona, to scuttle the Department of Corrections program. City officials denied the charge, adding that any harm that came to Right Turn or to Powell occurred because of "the inappropriate actions of Right Turn or Charles Powell, not from the fact that this report referenced those inappro- priate actions." Please see A12 Holocaust survivors bring experiences to high school BY KEVIN Orr StaffWriter When Samuel Gottesman was 19 years old, he was crammed into a boxcar with 75 other people and taken from his home in Czechoslo- vakia to the Auschwitz concentra- tion camp. Andrea Edge is 17 years old, and she goes to Altoona Area High School. She heard Gottesman's story Friday morning. She read about the Holocaust in class. Hearing a firsthand account, though, was a shock to her system. "It's such a hard thing to com- prehend. You know that it hap- pened, but it just blows you she said. Gottesman and Moshe Baran, another Holocaust survivor, took the stage Friday at Altoona high, offering their stories to junior his- tory students. They were joined by Gunner Zamzaw, a German student working at a Pittsburgh Holocaust museum. Edge was one of the stu- dents who asked questions. "The more I learn about this, I can get a better comprehension, a better grasp on what went she said. The survivors had two hours to talk to students. But Gottesman wished he had all day. If he had all day, he could have told the story of the man who was killed by a Nazi soldier for eating corn he found. The soldier told the man to run away, then shot him in the back as he ran. "These are all details that I can't bring up in such a short he said. Please see All DEUVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 BMFOUt 9 7 vl 9 Lottery numbers, A2 WEHHER Cloudy, a.m. showers, Forecast, A2 CHOPPER CHECKERS Members of 2-10 Aviation Regiment 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum, N.Y., look over the mechanics of a Blackhawk helicopter in front of the Van Zandt VA Medical Center as part of Armed Forces Day activities. Friday's events included Norfolk Southern Corp.'s presentation of a railroad bell to the medical center and The Wall That Heals officials. Please see story, Page All. Mirror photo by Jason Sipes Altnnna Mirror Call us today... Make money today. Ask for THE GREAT OOMKlNATfON of ailKKOK CLASS! and Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) 946-7547 Business Hospitals, Obituaries Opinion Local Scoreboard A13 A15 A15 A10 B4 B5 H NATION Classifieds C5-16 QUFE Comics D5 Community news D2 Puzzles D4 Television D4 SPOTLIGHT Hollidaysburg Area Junior High School students learn about the Civil War through hands-on experience. PAGE A6 ;