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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - August 20, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania INSIDE TODAY CONTEST: Test your smarts and win cash / B3 SPORTS: Sterling Marlin wins Pepsi 400 / Bl Keeping books a hot topicAltana Mirror © Copyright 2001MONDAY, AUGUST 20, 2001 50$ newsstandAASB ponders student-alcohol test By Jay Young Staff Writer TTie Altoona Area School Board tonight will consider a policy in which a student refusing to take an alcohol test will be assumed to have consumed alcohol. Any student who school staff have “individualized reasonable suspicion” of consuming alcohol on school property or a school-sponsored event will be asked to take a test using a passive alcohol sensor (PAC), according to the proposed policy. Any student refusing to take die test “shall be considered to have failed the test.” District spokesman Tom Bradley said there have been instances in the past where students were believed to have consumed alcohol on school property. He said solicitor Dave Andrews researched the use of the passive alcohol sensor and approved its inclusion in the policy. The Altoona Police Department uses a similar device to detect alcohol consumption, but the U.S. Constitution prohibits them from assuming guilt if a resident refuses to take the test, Cpl. William Gibbons said. While a resident is assumed to have given consent when they obtain a driver’s license to test for possible drunken driving, that is not the case with a resident in the public. “You’re talking two totally different venues. Somebody has a right to refuse, and we don’t have any way to force it upon them," he said. If a resident not driving does refuse to take a test, the burden is on police to charge him with an alcohol-related offense, though such an offense often involves illegal behavior. Police can’t assume guilt from a resident simply refusing to take the test. Gibbons said. Such an assumption could be a violation of the constitutional protection against self-incrimination. “That’s almost a Fifth Amendment issue,” he said. “If the school district gets called on that, that’s probably what it would be.” The district will use a sensor used to check for breath alcohol with or without a subject’s direct participation, according to the proposal. It can be used passively to detect alcohol in containers or in enclosed spaces or actively when someone is asked to speak across the intake of the device. Please see Test/Page A7 STATT GAME LANDS Protesters ride trail to protect their rights HARRISBURG (AP) — More than IOO horse riders and bicycle riders rode to the state Game Commission offices to protest a proposal to keep them off trails throughout the state. The mile-long protest ride Friday came after an advisory group suggested the commission keep bikes and horses off most game lands. The committee of bikers, hikers, horse riders and environmentalists cites damage to trails and environmentally sensitive areas in 1.4 million acres of game lands. Game Commission spokesman Jerry Feaser said the commission isn’t proposing to close all trails to horses and bikes and would designate certain roads and trails for those uses. “We are looking to accommodate where we can and regulate where we have to,” Feaser said. But some opponents see state lands as belonging to the public. “You just can’t close it to individual groups,” said Will Mahler, co founder of the York Area Mountain Bikers Association. The eight-member Game Commission probably will make a decision on the issue next year. Horse rider Pete Johnson of Union County helped organize the protest ride from the State Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg to the Game Commission headquarters in nearby Susquehanna Township. He was joined by about IOO horse riders and 15 mountain bikers. Opponents want the Game Commission to manage problem areas individually, but officials say they need a statewide policy to keep the activities from simply moving to from one game land area to another. Please see Trail/Page AIQ PICKING PRIME POTATOES A harvester gathers tilled potatoes from a furrow as a conveyor runs into a truck to be sorted during the Fifth Annual Cambria County Ag Tour Sunday. The tour is a free drive-it-yourself farm tour sponsored in part by the Cambria County Farm Bureau. I Page A3 Mirror photo by Jason Sipes HUNTINGDON PRISON Land’s fate back in court By Mia Rohart Staff Writer HUNTINGDON — Smithfield Township this week will attempt to join the state Department of General Services as a defendant against a lawsuit brought by a Huntingdon development firm, which could determine the future of a prime piece of real estate long targeted for retail development. At stake is the possible sale of the land to two Altoona developers who want to build a shopping plaza centered around a Wal-Mart, as well as a home-improvement store and a hotel. The land is owned by the state prison system, which plans to transfer it to Smithfleld’s economic development agency — which in turn would sell the land for development. Greater Fourth Street and Associates, the Huntingdon firm, claims DGS has no legal authority to transfer the land without a competitive bidding process or to sell the land for less than the fair market value. The group is asking the Commonwealth Court to find the sale of land between the two parties null and void. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in the Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg. Smithfield Township will try to join the suit, and the court will hear testimony from the township about the arrangement between the township and the state, said township attorney Robert Long of Rhoads and Sinon law firm. Long said it is important the township join the suit because the outcome will have a dramatic affect on the township. “I think we have a good case, and we’re hoping for an outcome in the Commonwealth Court similar to the outcome in the Huntingdon County Court — the legal issues are very similar and many of the same facts are equally important in both cases,” Long said. A similar suit brought by Greater Fourth Street Associates against Smithfield Township and the Smithfield Township Economic Development Corp. was dismissed earlier this month in the Huntingdon County Court of Common Pleas by Judge Stewart Kurtz. Please see Land/Page AIQ Ribbon cut on convention center access ■ Quick link between highways will make traveling easier. By Ray Stephens Staff Writer Starting this afternoon, there will be another way to travel between Plank Road and Logan Boulevard. The entire stretch of Convention Center Boulevard, offering access only to the Blair County Convention Center, opens today with a noon ribbon cutting. “It will be a good transportation link in addition to being access to the convention center,” said Ed Stoltz, design services engineer for PennDOT and the principal coordinator for that agency on the project. When the road opens, drivers in the Wal-Mart area of Plank Road will find it easier to head to Hollidaysburg or Lakemont by using Convention Center Boulevard. Drivers on Logan Boulevard, coming from Lakemont or Hollidaysburg, can use Convention Center Boulevard for easier access to the shopping area around Wal-Mart or as faster access to the Plank Road intersection of Interstate 99. Today’s groundbreaking at Convention Center Boulevard and Convention Center Drive is the last of three ceremonies bringing together local leaders, PennDOT officials and U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-9th District, state Senate President Pro Tem Robert C. Jubelirer, R-Blair, state Rep. Rick Geist, R-Altoona, and state Rep.( Jerry Stern, R-Martinsburg. Please see Convention/Page AIQ Convention Center Boulevard, which connects Route 36 and Plank Road, opens for travel today after a ribbon cutting ceremony. Mirror photo by Kelly Bennett mm | DELIVERY I Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 [ 2291000050 a * BM FOUR I • i Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Partly sunny with rain, 78° ■ Forecast, A2 □ local H NATION > Business Movies AS A5 Classifieds C3-10 Obituaries A9 Opinion * A8 Que P| SPORTS Comics D5 Local B4 Community news Puzzles D2 EM Scoreboard BS Television IM % Bucks ;

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