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Altoona Mirror Newspaper Archive: September 24, 2001 - Page 1

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   Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - September 24, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania                                INSIDE TODAY CONTEST; Test your smarts and win cash iv SPORTS: Earnhardt Jr. wins Cal Ripken Jr. 400 bi PSU to host insect fair Atomta mirror i Copyright 2001 MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2001 500 newsstand Blair prison expands living space BY PHIL RAY Staff Writer HOLTJDAYSBURG As Blair County's prison population continues to hover at the 250 mark, comity officials take steps to free more living space within the prison, and they have begun to explore possible financial sources for expansion. Blair County Commissioner John H. Eichelberger Jr. said last week that the state might provide money to help coun- ties upgrade prisons. It's been about 20 years since state funding has been avail- able for that purpose. The Blair County Prison was remodeled and expanded in the early 1980s. Eichelberger, chairman of the county prison board, said the county is convert- ing a community area of the prison into housing. The chapel in the prison is being converted for bed space, but Warden John O'Connor is quick to point out that reli- gious programs in the prison will contin- ue. The gym will be used for various pur- poses, including meetings, exercise and bed space to help make the prison more livable for Inmates. Comments by county officials came on the heels of criticism from Pennsylvania Prison Society member Thomas Hoppel. The society is a citizen group that meets with inmates to discuss their problems. In comments to the prison board after a tour of the facility in September, Hoppel called the overcrowding "obvious, unhealthy, dangerous and serious." Hoppel said that hi one area six inmates were kept in a cell. In another, there were 50 inmates served by two toilets and two sinks. The Blair County Prison, as of Thursday, contained 216 men and 31 women. Despite talk of overcrowding, O'Connor, who has been warden for a month, dis- agreed with Hoppel that it is a serious problem. "We are three over the capacity of the O'Connor said, adding lhat to depict the prison as severely overcrowded "might be overstating where we are at." The issue of overcrowding surfaced in July 2000, when Warden John Prebish, upon announcing his resignation, indicat- ed overcrowding issues would continue to be an issue. At the time Prebish made his comments, there were 240 inmates in the prison. Hoppel mentioned the need for a bigger prison, or if he had his druthers, fewer; people sent to prison. Please see A10 Regional police division weighed Study requested to determine effects of combining area forces. BY KAY STEPHENS Staff Writer A state agency is expected to begin studying the pros and cotis of forming a regional police department for three'Central'Blair Comity municipalities within the next month. Allegheny Township supervisors, HollMays- burg and Duncansville borough councils asked the state to conduct a study to decide if their areas would be better served by a consolidated departnient instead of independent police departments. Blair Township Supervisor Terry Claar also has shown interest in having Blair Township included in the study. But Claar needs support uioin another township supervisor before Blair Township can be included. Megan Miller, a spokeswoman for the Depart- nient of Community and Economic Develop- ment, said her department is trying to name a peer consultant to begin the study in the next month or so. "We're in a tune of assigning a police peer to work on she said. After one is named, the study will move according to the consultant's schedule. would probably take around four months but that depends on the police peer's she said. Please see A10 PAGES: A5, A6, A7, Cl, C2 PSU students turn to public for donations Mirror plioto by Jason Sipes Cheyenne Billetdeaux, 5, of Lilly drops money in the donation can of Penn State Altoona Zeta Xi Epsilon sorority members who collected donations at the Station Mall Sunday for the N.Y. rebef effort. BY PHIL RAY Staff Writer A Penn State Altoona student collecting money for the relief effort in New York City said Sunday that until two weeks ago war for her was histoi-y-boqk material. War was Pearl Harbor or Vietnam, she said, a subject discussed in books or by grandparents and great-grandparents. It certainly wasn't something worrying her generation. "We never thought we'd end up in a said Nicole Smith of Reading. But now that war looms, Smith and the other students have a better understanding of the'pasL "We are just like our she said. She was among 50 or so local students who took to the streets Friday night and Sunday afternoon to collect money to be sent to the September 11 Firefighters Fund. The money is to aid rescue and cleanup operations in New York. Michael Fogarty, 23, assistant coordinator of Student Activities for Greek Affairs and Service Learning at Penn State Altoona, said the public's response to the student effort was "excellent" Please see A3 Administration vows to lay out bin Laden evidence WASHINGTON (AP) A solemn President Bush returned the American flag to full staff Sunday as the United States promised to lay out evidence making Osama bin Laden's guilt in the terrorist attacks "very obvious to the world." The administration scoffed at Taliban claims he cannot be found. Secretary of State Colin Powell said the government would "put before the world, the American people, a persua- sive case that... it is al-Qaida, led by Osama bin Laden, who has been responsible." Several officials pledged Bush will disrupt the flow of money to bin Laden with an executive order freezing his group's U.S. assets. Administration officials and congres- sional leaders turned their appear- ances on Sunday's TV talk shows into a two-pronged effort to show the gov- ernment's resolve to choke off the ter- rorists and to encourage Americans to return to a more normal routine crucial to getting the recession-bent economy moving again. As the U.S. military got ready to strike, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld suggested that brute force may not be the best way to get at bin Laden. "Is it likely that an aircraft carrier or a cruise missile is going to find a per- Rumsfeld asked reporters. "No, it's not likely; that isn't how this is going to happen." Please see A6 Nation's vaccine supply delays local flu schedule BY MAKK LEBERFINGER Staff Writer This year's flu vaccination pro- gram run by Blair Senior Services and the Blair County Respiratory Disease Society will be delayed by about a month. The reason: Another delay in delivery of the nation's vaccine sup- ply. Officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, however, the delays won't be as bad as last year, when flu shots were unavailable until late Novem- ber or early December. Fifty-six percent of the supply is expected to be delivered by the end of October. The rest will be delivered by early December, the CDC said. Under normal conditions, the program in Blair County would begin in early October. But in its newsletter, Blair Senior Services said to avoid any of the inconve- niences that can be caused by can- celing or rearranging published schedules, no 11 u shot schedule is being released at this time. "We have ordered our supply and expect it to arrive by mid- said Robin Beck of Blair Senior Services. Please see A10 A woman advocating world peace before 2010 walks through the stands Sunday at New York's Yankee Stadium, the site for the "A Prayer for America" service. The interfaith service included prayers by leaders of eight religions. The Associated Press Lunch program determines school funds BY JAY YOUNG Stqff Writer Howard Etzel may be known around the Hollidays- burg schools for being computer savvy, but his real disappointment next month won't be from a broken machine or problematic network. Instead, Etzel likely will be upset after seeing the number of students who are enrolled in the free and reduced school meal program. Especially the num- ber of students who don't participate. Districts across the nation offer the federal pro- gram to assist those who meet the established stan- dards for a lower costing meal. Please see A3 _ Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 FOUR 2 I Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Rain, thunder- storms, Forecast, A2 LOCAL Business Hospitals Obituaries Opinion '0! SPORTS A9 A9 A8 NATION Classifieds C3 D5 Altnnna THE GKEAT Call us today.. .Make money today. Ask for THE GREAT COMBINATION of MIRROR CIASS1FIEDS and HOT-AbS Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) in a minute HUFE news Puzzies D4 D4 INSIDE LIFE   

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