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Altoona Mirror: Friday, September 7, 2001 - Page 1

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   Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - September 7, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania                                INSIDE TODAY 1: Curve coach among Pirates firings Bl Chamber hands out awards A9 artoon character religion Copyright 2001 FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2001 500 newsstand PLEASANT VILLAGE DISPUTE Mirror plioto by J.D. Crwrich A family moves into Pleasant Village housing project Thursday. Under a. proposed agreement, the Altoona Housing Authority will maintain ownership of the project if it pays the city million over 10 years. Ownership settlement could mean higher rent for project's residents BY'WILLIAM KlDLEfl Staff Writer Settling the Pleasant Village ownership dispute between the city and the Altoona Housing Authority likely will come at a cost for the housing project's residents. As part of the proposed agree- ment, the authority will pay the city million over 10 years to retain the title to the 120-unit facility, and it will almost certainly make rais- ing rent necessary. Housing officials say rent rates for the one-, two-and three-bedroom apartments are below market prices. But Todd and Melissa Mountain pay per month for three bed- rooms. Even now, they don't have enough _______ for a down payment on a home. And while finances aren't really tight, they don't know how much more they can afford. Carol Love has been at Pleasant Village for 20 years. She, her husband and son came with the intention of staying. Her husband died and her son moved away, and now she makes do on per month she's on disabili- ty to help cover the rent for her one-bedroom flat. Heat and garbage is included, but phone, lights, cable and water are not. She can't afford any more. "Any more than that and I'm she said. She likes living at Pleasant Village. Everybody knows every- body else's business, but she likes having her own washer and dryer, close proximity to the commer- cial district and the bus stop to take her along it. The city recently pro- posed the million payment to end a 2 K-year dispute over whether a clause triggered by Please see A4 Gimme shelter Housing Authority and city oiiicials struck a deal this week that ended the legal battte over ownership of ihe Pleasant Village housing complex. Mirror graphic by Tom Worttiinglon II BATTLING DRUG ABUSE Opiates Blair faces methadone access issue State: Residents must have treatment available within an hour's drive by 2004. BY KAY STEPHENS Staff Writer Officials have about two years to find a way for Blair County's Medicaid recipients to have access to methadone treatment within an hour's drive. A Blair County group could wrestle with that issue later this month when it meets with repre- sentatives from two state agencies to hear what others have done to address a similar demand. State Department of Public Welfare regulations dictate that starting in January 2004, Blair County's Medicaid recipients will participate in a managed health- care service called HealthChoices. Under that program, access to methadone treatment is required to he available within a hour's drive to residents of rural coun- ties, including Blair. "If there isn't treatment avail- able by then, the department would probably issue a waiver for up to a state welfare depart- ment spokeswoman Stephanie Suran said. "But they couldn't just expect waiver after waiver. They'd have to come up with a plan. They have to work with another county or find another way to make it avail- able." Methadone is a treatment for people with dependency on opiates such as heroin or painkillers. Please see A10 OxyContin Legislators seek to toughen laws BY ROBERT IGOE Staff Writer A bipartisan group of state law- makers unveiled proposed legisla- tion Thursday that would impose stiffer penalties for people who ille- gally sell the powerful painkiller OxyContin, which has been blamed for more than 100 deaths nation- wide, including several in Blair County. House Majority Leader John Perzel, R-Philadelphia, joined sever- al state lawmakers and Philadel- phia District Attorney Lynne Abraham at a press conference out- side a Philadelphia pharmacy to announce the new OxyContin legisla- tion, which Perzel will introduce when the House reconvenes Sept. 24. Under the proposed legislation, prison time for those convicted of dealing or trafficking in Oxy- Contin would be increased by five years and stronger penalties would be issued for theft, illegal use or possession of prescription pads and for druggists involved in ille- gal OxyContin sales. "Used properly, OxyContin is a Perzel said. "Obtained illegally and used improperly, OxyContin is as deadly as a bullet between the eyes." Please see A10 Sex act during police probe won't result in any charges BY WILLIAM KIW.ER AND JAY YOUNG Staff Writers HOLLIDAYSBURG Blair County District Attorney Dave Gorman said Thursday that he will not press charges against a pair of state troopers who allowed a woman to perfonh a sexual act on them during an investigation this summer. Charges never were brought against Garden Health Spa, 2062 Old Route 220 North, Duncans- ville. Instead, Joung Lonnie Cho, 44, of Dale City, Calif., was charged with two counts of prosti- tution in the incident. She later was convicted on one of the charges and fined the other was withdrawn. Gorman said he does not plan to recommend any disciplinary action against the troopers. "I have absolutely no Gorman said. "That's a Pennsylvania State Police matter." State police Lt. Michael Hample declined Thursday to name the two investigators involved, but he said the two allowed the physical contact hoping to bring charges against the spa. According to the criminal com- plaint, on July 19, the investiga- tors each paid for massages and were receiving them when Cho entered one of the two mas- sage rooms. Please see A6 FROM KARRISBURG Cellular phone fee considered to improve county 911 service HARRISBURG (AP) Pennsyl- vania cellular telephone users could be charged an extra 50 cents to per month to help them obtain the same level of 911 service provided to users of fixed tele- phones, under proposals being considered in the Legislature. The new surcharge would help counties make technical improve- ments to their 911 services including automatic location checks which some counties Upgrades must be done to help dispatchers better locate sources of cell phone calls, officials say. already provide to wire-line tele- phone callers. Deborah Palmieri, state presi- dent of the National Emergency Number Association, told mem- bers of the House Veterans' Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee this week that dis- patching services for cellular users are "not as good as the wire lines at this point, and we need to make it the same." The main difference is in the abil- ity of dispatchers to track the loca- tion of callers using cellular phones. Please see A3 Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 207-4480 KM FOUR 2 ffiih 5 ,jfy I lattery numbers, A2 WEATHER Mostly sunny, Forecast, A2 "The Ultimate I a -a i_ rV EL Chrysler'- Plymouth 1549 Pleasant Valley Bfvfi PAX 6147 CJLOCM. Business NATION Classifieds C5-12 QUFE Comics D5 Community news D2 Puzzles IN NATION In a dramatic shin, Ihe Bush administration Thursday abandoned the Clinton-era effort to break up Microsoft. PAGE C1 .i. Movies Obituaries Option [jj WORTS Alt A3 f i B4 B5   

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