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Altoona Mirror Newspaper Archive: August 20, 2001 - Page 1

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Publication: Altoona Mirror

Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

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   Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - August 20, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania                                INSIDE TODAY CONTEST; Test your smarts and win cash B3 SPORTS: Sterling Martin wins Pepsi 400 Bl Kids Mirror Copyright 2001 MONDAY, AUGUST 20, 2001 504 newsstand AASB ponders student-alcohol test BY JAY YOUNG StaffWriter The Altboha Area School Board tonight will consider a policy in which a student refusing to take an alcohol test will be assumed to have consumed alcohol Any student who school staff have "indi- vidualized reasonable suspicion" of con- suming alcohol on school property or a school-sponsored event will be asked to take a test using a passive alcohol sensor (PAQ, according to the proposed policy. Any student i-efusing to take the test "shall be considered to have failed the test." District spokesman Tom Bradley said there have been instances in the past where students were believed to have consumed alcohol on school property. He said solicitor Dave Andrews researched the use of the passive alcohol sensor and approved its inclusion in the policy. The Altoona Police Department uses a similar device to detect alcohol consump- tion, but the U.S. Constitution prohibits them from assuming guilt if a resident refuses to take the test, Cpl. William Gibbons said. While a resident is assumed to have given consent when they obtain a driver's license to test for possible drunk- en driving, that is not the case with a resi- dent in the public'. "You're talking two totally different venues. Somebody has a right to refuse, and we don't have any way to force it upoii he said. If a resident not driving does i-efuse to take a test, the burden is on police to charge him with an alcohol-related offense, though such an offense often involves illegal behavior. Police can't assume guilt froni a resident simply refusing to take the test, Gibbons said. Such an assumption could be a viola- tion of the constitutional protection against self-incrimination. "That's almost a Fifth Amendment he said. "If the school district gets called on that, that's probably what it would be." The district will use. a sensor used to check for breath alcohol with or without a subject's direct participation, according'to the proposal. It can be used passively to detect alcohol in containers or in enclosed spaces or actively when someone is asked to speak across the intake of the device. Rtease see A7 STATE CAME LANDS Protesters ride trail to protect their rights HARRISBURG than 100 horse riders and bicycle riders rode to the state Game Commission offices to protest a proposal to keep them off trails throughout the state. The mile-long protest ride Friday came after an advisory group sug- gested the commission keep bikes and horses off most game lands. The committee of bikers, hikers, "Horse ridel's and environmental- ists cites damage to trails and'ehvi- rpmnentally sensitive areas in 1.4 million acres of game lands. Game Commission spokesman Jerry Feaser said the commission isn't proposing to close all trails to horses and bikes and would desig- nate certain roads and trails for those uses. "We are looking to accommodate where we can and regulate where we have Feaser said. But some opponents see state lands as belonging to the public. "You just can't close it to indi- vidual said Will Mahler, co-founder of the York Area Mountain Bikers Association. The eight-member Game Comm- ission probably will make a deci- sion on the issue next year. Horse rider Pete Johnson of Union County helped organize the protest ride from the State Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg to the Game Commission headquarters in nearby Susquehanna Township. He was joined by about 100 horse rid- ers and 15 mountain bikers. Opponents want the Game Commission to manage problem areas individually, but officials s say they need a statewide policy to t the activities from simply moving to from one game land area to another. Please see A10 PICKING PRIME POTATOES A harvester gathers tilled potatoes from a furrow cw a conveyor runs into a truck to be sorted during the Fifth Annual Cambria County Ag Tour Sunday. The tour is a free drive-it- y ours elf farm tour sponsored in part by the Cambria County Farm Bureau. I PAGE A3 Mirror pholo by Jason Sipes HUNTINGDON PRISON Land's in court BY MIA ROHAHT Staff Writer HUNTINGDON Smithfield Township this week will attempt to join the state Department of General Services as a defendant against a lawsuit brought by a Huntingdon development firm, which could determine the future of a prime piece of real estate long targeted for retail development. At stake is the possible sale of the land to two Altoona developers who want to build a shop- ping plaza centered around a Vf al-Mart, as well as a home-improvement store and a hotel. The land is owned by the state prison system, which pians to transfer it to Smithfield's economic development agency which in turn would sell the land for development. Greater Fourth Street and Associates, the Huntingdon firm, claims DGS has no legal authority to transfer'the land without a com- petitive bidding process or to sell the land for less than the fair market value. The group is asking the Commonwealth Court to find the sale of land between the two parties null and void. A hearing is'scheduled for Wednesday in the Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg.' Smithfield Township w ill try to join the suit, and the court will hear testimony from the township about the arrangement betvyeen the township and the state, said township attor- ney Robert Long of Rhoads arid Sinon law firm. Long said it is important the township join die suit because the outcome will have a dra- matic affect on the township. "I think we have a good case, and we're hop- ing for an outcome in the Commonwealth Court similar to the outcome in the Huntingdon County Court.....- the legal issues are veiy similar and many of the same facts are equally important in both Long said. A similar suit brought by Greater Fourth Street Associates against Smithfield Township and the 'Smithfield Township Economic Development Corp. was dismissed earlier this month in the Huntingdon County Court of Common Pleas by Judge Stewart Kurtz. Please see A10 Ribbon cut on convention center access Quick link between highways will make traveling easier. BY KAY STEPHENS StaffWriter Starting this afternoon, there will be another way to travel between Plank Road and Logan Boulevard. The entire stretch of Convention Center Boulevard, offering access only to the County Conven- tion Center, opens today with a noon ribbon cutting. "It will be a good transportation link in addition to being access to the convention said Ed Stoltz, design services engineer for PennDOT and the principal coordinator for that agency on the project. When the road opens, drivers in the Wal-Mart area of Plank Road will find it easier to head to Hqllidaysburg or Lakemont by using Convention Center Boule- vard. Drivers on Logan Boulevard, coming from Lakemont or Holli- daysburg, can use Convention. Center Boulevard for easier access to the shopping area around Wal- Mart or as faster access to the Plank Road intersection of Interstate 99. Today's groundbreaking at Convention Center Boulevard and Convention Center Drive is the last of three ceremonies bringing together local leaders, PennDOT officials and U.S. Rep. Bill Sinister, .R-9th District, state Senate President Pro Tern Robert C. Jubelirer, R-Blair, state Rep. Rick Geist, R-Altoona, and state Rep., Jerry Stern, R-Martinsburg. Please see A10 Convention Center Boulevard, which connects Route 36 and Plank Road, opens for travel today after a ribbon cutting ceremony. Mirror photo by Kelly Dennett Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 L J I Lottery numbers, A2 "vs Partly sunny with rain, Forecast, A2 Mirror oppfo oo V f a Bucks Business Movies___ Obituaries Opinion Local Scoreboard A5 Classifieds C3-10 AS j" i A8 LIU -v ,f'i! Comtes __ ___ 05 u-j i Puzzles ____ B5 Television D4 INSIDE   

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