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Altoona Mirror Newspaper Archive: October 12, 2001 - Page 1

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   Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - October 12, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania                                INSIDE TODAY NATION; FDA approves new pacemaker implant Ci Wolfs expansion to replace three sites A! 'IP Early detection V Self exlms; mammograms key' in fight against breast cancer Copyright 2001 FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2001 500 newsstand Coach accused of sex offenses Penn State Altoona swimming and diving coach says allegations are not true. BY MARK LEHEHFINGER Staff Writer The swimming and diving coach at Penn State Altpona is free on bond after he was arrested on alleged sexual offense's against a 16-year-old Antis Township woman over a 16-month period. Eric T. Johnson, 34, 517 Orchard St., Bellwood, is charged with aggravated indecent assault, inde- cent assault, indecent exposure and corruption of minors. "They're allegations, and they're not true and I'm going to defend myself and that's what we're in the process of Johnson said Thursday. Johnson hired Harrisburg attor- ney Terry McGowan to represent him. "I'm going to let my attorney and the law sort this thing Johnson said. Johnson was arraigned before District Justice Kenneth Carman and released on unsecured bond. A preliminary hearing is slated for Oct. 31 before Carman. Some of the alleged incidents occurred at Johnson's workplace in the Steven A. Adler Athletic Complex, according to a criminal complaint. Johnson, a full-time employee at Penn State Altoona, was suspend- ed without pay Wednesday by the college, spokeswoman Shari Routch said. "Given the nature of the accusa- tions, that was the basis of the deci- she said. .Johnson was entering his fourth year as the men's and women's swimming coach at the campus. It also was his second year as the coach of the college's men's and women's diving program. The charges include accusations of sexual misconduct while he worked this summer for Tyrone Borough as its pool manager at I Reservoir Park. I Please see A10 TEEN DRIVING Mirror phoios by Kelly Bennett Nicole Grove, 17, (driver) leaves Altoona Area High School with her friends, including Amanda Griinin, 17, (passenger At left: A car leaves the high school student parking lot, pass- ing another vehicle. Tougher teen-driving laws reduce accidents, fatalities BY MARK LEDKRKINGEK Staff Writer New research into the effectiveness of tougher teen-driving requirements shows what Pennsylvania authorities already know; The rules work to reduce fatali- ties and accidents. Restricting teen-agers' driving privileges until they prove their ability behind the wheel can dramatically reduce crashes involving 16- year-olds, according to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The research focused on laws in North Carolina and Michigan. Similar restrictions implemented in 1999 in Pennsylvania also are making a dramatic dif- ference, according to PennDOT. Fatalities for Pennsylvania teen drivers were down 61 percent in 2000 compared to 1999. In 2000, the number of 16-year-olds killed in crashes was 22, compared to 57 in 1999. Pennsylvania acted in 1999 after a rising num- ber of fatalities among teen drivers. The changes include 50 hours of supervised behind-the-wheel training for 16- and 17-year-olds; a minimum six- month learner's permit; a lighter curfew on late- night driving; and stffier sanctions on teen dri- vers who violate traffic laws multiple times or commit a single high-speed violation. Under the old system, a teen driver could get his or her permit Tuesday, pass the driving test and be licensed Thursday. Alan Owens, a driver's education teacher at Altoona Area High School, said the state's waiting period for a learner's permit has made a major difference. "Under the law, they now have to have 50 hours of driving with someone 21 or Owens said. "The system is good. The more experience is a plus. However, sometimes that experience they're getting may be a bad habit. So you could be picking up bad habits from the person that's supposed to be giving you 50 hours of driving." He said it has helped that teens are more aware on the road, but they are missing some basics such as keeping their eyes moving or checking their mirrors. Someone over 21 teaching the teen to drive may have been doing that for years, but they don't mention it to the student, Owens said. Please see A10 FBi WARNS OF NEW STRIKES PAGE A6 Bush says terrorists can't hide BY SONYA Ross The Associated Press WASHINGTON A month after the deadliest attack on America, President Bush said Thursday that the government was taking "every possible step to protect our coun- try" froin more terrorism. U.S. war- planes hit Afghanistan with bombs for a fifth day, while the United States and its allies reported freez- ing million in assets of Osama bin Laden and his supporters. There were memorial services around the nation to remember the more than people killed when suicide hijackers seized four com- mercial airliners and crashed them into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., and the Pennsylvania countryside. The FBI issued a public warning that intelligence indicated a pos- sible new terrorist strike in the next few days. Bush said the alert was issued because of "a general threat we received" and urged all Americans to report any suspi- cious activity. The Senate approved legislation to boost aviation security. It autho- rizes air marshals on commercial flights, directs that steps be taken to fortify cockpit doors, increases anti-hijacking training for flight crews and imposes a passen- ger fee per flight leg to pay for the changes. Bush, meanwhile, used the first prime-time news conference of his presidency to update Americans on the global effort to fight terror- ism since Sept. 11, He said citizens should report suspicious activity but avoid using that as a chance "to pick on some- body that doesn't look like you or share your religion." "Americans tonight can know that while the threat is ongoing, we're taking every possible step to protect our country from Bush said. The president started the day at an emotional service on an unscathed side of the Pentagon. Troops with machine guns stood guard in camouflage as Bush and his wife, Laura, were joined by for- mer President Clinton, dozens of FREE IMSIDE: Muslims share about their faith MORE ATTACK COVERAGE PAGES A6, A7, C1 members of Congress, relatives of attack victims and thousands of guests. Outside the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said U.S. bombing in Afghanistan now is aimed at leaders of bin Laden's al-Qaida network and the nation's Taliban rulers. Rumsfeld said it was likely that bin Laden, the suspected master- mind of the Sept. 11 attacks, still was hiding in the Afghan hills. Bush assembled his Cabinet for an update on the anti-terrorism effort and called his first formal East Room news conference to talk about the U.S. terrorism response of the past month. The government so far has ques- tioned more than 600 people sus- pected of involvement in the attacks and has frozen billion in assets, Bush said. "We want the terrorists to know that we're after them in all kinds of one good way to make them ineffective is to cut off their he said. Bush also asked Congress for action on other domestic matters: passage of trade promotion authori- ty and Senate approval of his Houser passed energy proposal, which-has languished since Sept 11. Please see A7 PLAYOFFS CONTINUE Seattle Mariners even the series against the Cleveland Indians. PAGE B2 TODAY'S PREVIEWS: Atlanta Braves go for the sweep against the Houston Astros. St. Louis Cardinals' pitcher Darryl Kile lakes on the Arizona Diamondbacks. PAGE B2 i Subscription or home delivery questions: 94S-7480 or (800) 287-4480 'J Lottery numbers, A2 Chance of showers, Forecast, A2 Layoffs send adults back to classroom BY JAY YOUNG Staff Writer As unemployment rises in the area so do the number of adults returning to classrooms. The hundreds of jobs that -have recently disappeared in the area have led to a nearly 75 percent increase in adult students at Greater Altoona Career and Technology Center. "It's definitely bumped up our center director Lanny Ross said. definitely are seeing a more mature student population." Ross said many work-oriented students are coming to the center The hundreds of jobs that have disappeared in the area have led to a 75percent increase in adult students at Greater Aitooria Career and Technology with the idea of getting back to work as soon as possible. It was those who Lake Bluff, 111.- based PCI Energy Services was searching for during a two-day visit to the center. The company specializes in field welding and machining and as a remote tool delivery service vendor. PCI representative Steve Beldsoe conducted three specialty welding demonstrations Thursday in the center's welding lab, and he will conduct three more today at 9 a.m., noon and 6 p.m. Thursday's morn- ing session attracted 28 area peo- ple, many who are unemployed because of recen t layoffs. "We're aware unemployment is rising, and we're in need of peo- Beldsoe said. "We see an opportunity to help your people out and take some of your guys." Beldsoe encouraged attendees to get training while collecting unem- ployment because those will be the first people to find jobs in other fields. "These are the people we need to look at. They are the ones in here learning, and they should be given a he said. Welding instructor George Woomer said he has several stu- dents recently laid off from C-COR.net. Please see A10 Business______ A9 Hospitals All pbiljaries _ Aff Opinion AS High schools Scoreboard JI4 B5 Movies C4 ClassHieds Comicjs_____ D5 Community nevys__D2 Puzzles _ Television D4 IN STATE Cneerleading injunction permits squads to resume stunts banned by athletic league. PAGE All   

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