Thursday, November 15, 2001

Altoona Mirror

Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - November 15, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania THAT'S RACIN': A LOOK AHEAD TO WHAT'S IN STORE FOR 2002 PAGEB3. Won for the road Y appearance in Happy Valley Htrror Copyright 2001 THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2001 newsstand Charity changes field on money All Liberty Fund donations will go 5 to Sept. 11 victims, i Red Cross decides. BY SHANNON MCCAFFREY i The Asbociuled Press WASHINGTON The Amer- ican Red Cross reversed course Wednesday and said all of the more than half-billion dollars in dona- tions that poured into its Liberty Fund will go to people harmed by Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The turnabout is an effort to repair the haltered image of one of the nation's largest charities. More terrorism coverago PAGES A6, C1, C2 The Red Cross had planned to set aside more than million of the fund to deal with future attacks, upgrade its telecommunications system, establish a blood reserve and do community outreach on anthrax and other matters. When that decision was made public, outraged critics said people gave with the assumption the money would go only to victims. The Liberty Fund has raised million through millions of indi- vidual-donations, a record for a charitable fund. The outpouring was so overwhelming that officials stopped accepting contributions two weeks ago. Red Cross interim Chief Exec- utive Officer Harold Decker apolo- gized for-what he called "a failure in communications between the American Red Cross and the American public." .'.'Americans have spoken out loudly and clearly that they want our relief efforts directed at the people affected by the Sept. ll Decker said at a news conference. He took over late last month after Bernadine Healy resigned, partly because of criticism of the fund she had set up. Red Cross officials announced that grants for families of the thou- sands of victims will be extended to a year from three months. Please see AS GREAT AMERICAN SMOKEOUT According to the American Cancer Society, 10 million Americans are expected to participate in the 25th animal Great American Smokeout today. More than Pennsylvanians will die premature- ly this year because of smoking. A story of success 70-year-old area woman says if she can quit, anyone can By MICHAEL EMERY Staff Writer The American Cancer Society commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Great American Smokeout today, and with it a Quarter-century's worth of sto- ries like Aim Nesbella's. Neshella is a self-described sports nut and an outdoor enthusiast. She says she is more active today at 70 years old than ever in her life. Her main reason for living is her family, which includes three grandchildren and her 6-year-old toy poodle, Spanky, who she walks every day. Nesbella also does volunteer work two to three days a week at Altoona Hospital, where she worked as a nurse before retiring in 1994. In addition, she's a season-ticket holder of the Altoona Curve, and toward the end of the 2001 season, she started working part time in the Curve Stockyard, the team's gift shop at Blair County Ballpark. Nesbella bowls in a league, gardens an d i-egul arly mows her lawn on Pottsgrove Road in Logan Township. Nesbella's active lifestyle wouldn't be possible if it ON THE NET For more information about how to quit smoking, visit the American Cancer Society's Web site'at weren't for one thing four or five years ago, she kicked her 35-year habit and addiction to smoking. After years of smoking up to 2 Va packs a day, Nesbella developed serious health problems, including bronchitis. "I felt Nesbella said. "Just breathing was difficult." Nesbella's doctor........and grandchildren her to quit The final motivation came from a family member who told Nesbella there was no way she could kick the habit on her own. Please see A5 CITYOFALTOONA Tax hike avoided for now City Council may be forced to cut services or find ways to generate revenue next year. BY WILLIAM KIBLEH StaffWriter Altoona City Council introduced a million tentative'budget Wednesday with no tax increase but plenty of misgivings. There's a million operating deficit, a spend- in g-revenue balance achieved only with" help of a windfall in worker's compensation and a projected year-end surplus of zero. The council seemingly is preparing for potentially unpopular tactics to gener- ate revenue and cut costs next year. Although all the council- men approved the budget's first reading, not all com- mitted to voting for a tax freeze in three weeks when the budget and a re- lated tax ordinance come up for final adoption. "It's time to stop think- ing about re-election and start thinking about what's good for the Councilman Ron Reidell said. "It's time to get some intestinal fortitude." The council needs to put itself "on the line" by rais- ing taxes now or with i-ev- enuc programs for next year, Reidell said. It might take cuts, even of staff, said Councilman Boh Johnson, who touched off the torrent of worry by saying he is "very con- cerned." Anyone who isn't alarmed doesn't have his head on straight, Councilman Mark Gels said. l .The council cut general-purpose property taxes by 2.5 mills two years ago from the state's absolute maximum of 30 mills, and they remain there. The council celebrated the cut then as a step toward 25 mills, the state's regular would eliminate the need to go to court each year for permission to exceed that limit. But last year, and now this year, the council has due into reserve funds to balance the budget. The council is offsetting the million operat- ing deficit this year with the windfall and its remaining in reserve. Please see A4 It's time to start thinking about what's good for the city. It's time to get some intestinal fortitude. Ron Reidell councilman 55 Vandals strike memorial site for 11-year-old murder victim BY WALT FRANK StaffWriter TYRONE State police are investigating the destruction of a memorial for a Florida girl who was found murdered near the Tyrone Reservoir. A group had constructed a 3 yi-foot-tall wooden cross and planted flowers along Interstate 99 in Snyder Township in memory of 11-year-old Melody Curtis. The Bushnell. FJa., girl was spending the summer with her grandmother, Lydia Booker, when she disap- peared in late June 1996 while playing outside. Her decomposed body was found July near the reservoir. Ronald Isenberg Jr. pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in the girl's death and was sentenced to 18 to 40 years in prison by Blair County Judge Hiram D. Carpenter. Melody's mother, Tracy Curtis, said she became aware of the vandal- ism through a letter from a friend in the Tyrone area. She then called her sisler, Jonna Booker of Tyrone, to look into the matter. Curtis Booker discovered the vandalism Nov. 4. Please see A12 Tyrone school kitchen workers experiencing health problems BY WALT FRANK StaffWriter TYRONE Kitchen workers at Tyrone Area High School are experiencing health problems again. School board members Tuesday agreed to pay H.F. Lenz of Johnstown to review the design of the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system and to pay another firm to conduct air quality testing in the kitchen area. "We are still having problems. A couple of the cooks ai'e still get- ting sick, and we aren't sure Superintendent William N. Miller said. "We have hired two indepen- dent firms'that we haven't dealt with in the past." In late 1999, about a dozen kitchen workers reported symp- toms of an apparent allergic reac- tion such as respiratory prob- lems, rashes, disorientation and headaches. Despite extensive testing and cleaning, officials were not able to determine what caused the problem. In response, the district added new ductwork and an air-han- dling unit in the kitchen area. The district also replaced milk coolers in which some fungi and molds were found. Miller said he is baffled by the problem. Please see A12 Subscription or home delivery questions: or (800) 267-4480 3 Lottery numbers, A 2 Classifieds Nation irl a minute C3 .Business Comics Obituaries Opinion Partly sunny, Forecast, A2 Planner Television Astronomers predict this year's Leonids meteor display, expected to appear before dawi Sunday, will be a dazzler worth missing a little sleep. PA6EC1