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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - August 16, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania INSIDE TODAY mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmam rnmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm    m*    V LIFE: Altoona’s own Paul Winter will perform with the Boston Pops on PBS / Pl SPORTS: Curve shortshop Shaun Skrehot promoted to Triple-A Nashville / Bl WORLD: NATO approves deployment of troops to disarm Macedonian rebels / ClAltoona mirror © Copyright 2001 THURSDAY, AUGUST 16, 2001 50C newsstand Hi ■MHI Have fur, will travel: Reckless rodent stows away By William Kibler Staff Writer Drive-thru bank tellers worry about robbers; plane and ship captains worry about stowaways. Liz Leiden is a drive-thru teller who worried about a stowaway Wednesday. She learned about the unin vited passenger with a shock worthy of a bank robber’s holdup note. Modem stowaways may be dirt-poor, Third-World citizens who risk freezing in baggage compartments in hopes of a richer life. Leiden’s stowaway, in a variation of the country-mouse/city-mouse theme, is a dweller in dirt from a rural cemetery, where social life is dead. Perhaps he risked roasting in an engine compartment to get a taste of a livelier existence downtown. Leiden found him when a customer pulled up to her bank window. “He told me there s a groundhog up in my car,” said Leiden, who was working the M&T Bank kiosk alone. Her car was parked nearby. The groundhog wasn’t in her pas senger compartment; but as other witnesses who were out in the park ing lot at the time attested, he climbed onto a front tire and into her engine compartment. Other employees from nearby M&T offices opened the hood and confirmed it: “Sure enough, there he was, snuggled in between the engine and some other parts,” Leiden said. One bank employee had a mop with him, and they poked the critter. The groundhog crawled down and under the car and back up onto the right side of her back axle, Leiden said. So Leiden called for city animal enforcement officer John Iorio. But when Iorio arrived, the groundhog had left. Please see Groundhog/Page AIQ By Phil Ray Staff Writer Nathaniel G. Lundy tried his best to be sneaky Saturday evening when he entered Blair County Ballpark’s parking garage. He walked onto the garage’s second level deck and looked around. The coast was clear, so he gazed inside the front and rear windows of several vehicles — and then he noticed a van sitting innocuously to one side. The window was rolled down. It was a hot day, and it was even hotter inside the garage — sometimes stifling when mixed with the fumes of hundreds of idling vehicles coming or going from the game. ’Lundy, 22, of 814 First Ave. peeked in the open window, then stuck his head in. There he saw a Louisville Slugger baseball bat. Lundy checked the area once again. Confident that nobody was within eyesight, Lundy moved quickly, stuck his head and both arms into the van and snatched the classic baseball bat. With the Louisville Slugger in hand, Lundy— like Mighty Casey — struck out. The bat he tried to steal belonged to undercover Logan Township police officers, and the van he virtually jumped into was a surveil lance vehicle. Lundy didn’t have time to remove his head and arms before two officers leaped from the van and had him in custody. He was too stunned to offer resistance. Police rarely are so lucky, Logan police Chief Steve Jackson said. Lundy was charged with attempted theft from a motor vehicle, possession of instruments of crime and possession of drug parapher nalia. Lundy was carrying a spark plug, which may have been used to crack car windows, Jackson said. So the spark plug was considered an instrument of crime. Police also found Lundy in possession of a syringe — the basis for the charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. Jackson said Sgt. Ron Heller decided to move the surveillance van into the parking garage Saturday after four vehicles were broken into the night before. It was hot, which is why the window of the van had been rolled down. As for the bat, it was placed on the front seat as bait, Jackson said. Jackson said Lundy is a suspect in a number of other thefts. Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray can be reached at 946- 7468 or [email protected] Ugygg MMM DELIVERY I Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 22910 00050 JI4 BIG FOUR IP • •' 3 Lottery numbers, A2 ■■■■■I HBIP; HF cl Partly cloudy, 83° Forecast, A2 i Tho Magazine... Wine Spectator Says:    . , Gfj/rueiii & italian villa “/s One of the best Restaurants in the world for Wine Lovers''    -    Aug.    Bist    Edition □ local Business A9 Comics A8 Obituaries All Opinion A4 ^SPORTS i '*■? fT: . Local B4 Scoreboard B5 "4t % NATION Classifieds C3-12 rn life ImM Movies Night Life Puzzles Television D3 D2 D5 D5 INSIDE INSTATE Pittsburgh Steelers fans will be able to drink a few beers while watching a game at Heinz Field, the state Liquor Control Board ruled Wednesday. PAGE A3 9 Ii TOBACCO SETTLEMENT Hospitals consider spending options By Michael Emery Staff Writer The money that Gov. Tom Ridge released this week to area hospitals as part of Pennsylvania’s share of the national tobacco-set-tlement funds will help offset deficits for uncompensated care. But the real boon could come from future provisions. Ridge this week released $15 million to reimburse hospitals for health care they provided that was not paid for by any public or private insurance programs or companies. It marks the first major release of funds from Ridge’s tobacco-set-tlement plan to make Pennsylvanians healthier. Overall, the state will be eligible for $11.5 billion paid in annual installments of $340 million for the next 25 years. The funding comes from an agreement 46 states signed with the major tobacco companies in 1998. “Pennsylvania’s hospitals have an obligation to the people and communities they serve,” Ridge said. Please see Spending/Page A5 BIG MONEY The following local hospitals are receiving uncompensated care payments from the state’s tobacco-settlement funds: UPMC Bedford    $15,798 Altoona Hospital    $99,692 Tyrone Hospital    $11,711 Conemaugh Valley    $187,973 Philipsburg Area    $13,635 Dubois Regional    $87,764 J C. Blair    $28,537 .BUT. Mirror photo by Jason Sipes fherese Suba, 15, of Huntingdon sweeps bedding from walkways of the rn stable where cows are housed this week at the Huntingdon County Fair. Bovine fitting and showmanship were among the categories judged Wednesday. Please see story I Page A5 IN POLITICS Democrats try to retool Blair efforts By Robert Icxie Staff Writer Although Republicans have a sizable edge in voter registration in Blair County, the county’s Democratic Party says it’s not too late to make a difference in the November election and gain more footholds in the future. The county’s Democratic committee and the Blair Bedford Labor Council conducted an informal meeting Wednesday night at the council’s hall. The organizations agreed that the Democratic Party is at a crossroads, and the party needs to focus on more feasible and worthwhile goals. “We need to stop trying to sell the idea of victory through voter registration," Democratic State Committeeman Tom Healy said. “We need to sell our party’s programs and tell the voters what we are for and what we are against. If we get people behind our programs, they will get behind us.” Most agreed the committee needs a major reorganization — beginning with establishing which party vacancies need to be filled and finding the right people to fill them. “We need to know where our vacancies are,” one member said. “We have to find out who we haw in there who isn’t active because that’s the same as having a vacancy.” Healy asked all committee members to adopt one or two wards in the county and work to find people will ing to serve on the committee and support the party. Once the organization is in place, the committee (an begin its efforts in earnest “We need to get some solid candidates badly,” Healy said. cc lf we get people behind our programs, they will get behind us. Tom Healy Democratic State Committeeman ll ■ Ridge expected to endorse Fisher for governor / Page A6 "But we can’t expect to attract good candidates when there is no organization. We have to get more organized and have a spokesman in legislative matters, someone who can present our views to the media.” Healy again called for the resignation of committee chairman Robert “Whitey” Miller, who Healy said has not been active enough in committee activities, particularly during the recent clee tion to fill the 9th Congressional District seat vacated by Bud Shuster. Although Shuster’s son Bill won the election, Healy said the Democratic Party did not put enough support behind Democrat Scott Conklin, who lost by ll percent of the vote — including a loss in Blair County. Miller could not be reached for comment Wednesday night. Please see Dams/Page A6Not-so-smooth criminal: Suspect caught red-handed at ballpark ;

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