Low Resolution Image: Become a member to access this full resolution image at 375% higher quality.

OCR Text

Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - December 17, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania KIDS MIRROR THE START OF HOLIDAY TRADITIONS FREE INSIDE IN NATION: ASTRONAUT RETURNS TO ALTERED WORLD AFTER 4 MONTHS ► PAGE Cl Steelers battle 2001 Super Bowl champsAltoona mirror © Copyright 2001 ■■■■HI MONDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2001 500 newsstand RMHEid mubarak and season’s greetings Cyber school forum today Local Muslims end Ramadan with interfaith celebration By Linda Hudkins For the Mirror Did you hear the one about the priest, the rabbi and the minister breaking bread with Muslims at the local Islamic center? It sounds like the opening line of an old joke, but on Sunday, no one was kidding around when Christians, Jews and Muslims gathered to mark the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Sohail Anwar, a Muslim, welcomed one and all, saying, “Eid mubarak,” which is like saying “season’s greetings.” Eid is the day of celebration that follows Ramadan, a month during which Muslims abstain from food and water for religious purposes from sunrise to sunset. Traditionally, members of the Islamic community celebrate among themselves. But the terrorist attacks of Sept. ll prompted discussions between non-Muslims and Muslims who want the world to know that Islam and terrorism are not synonymous. HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS The Claysburg-Kimmel Christmas parade PAGE A8 Afghans celebrate holiday PAGE Cl “Interfaith dialogue is very important,” said the Rev. Mark Begley, pastor of St. John’s Roman Catholic Church, Lakemont. “We are all trying to make sense of the human experience.” The Rev. Carol Custead, Zion Lutheran Church, Hollidaysburg, said, “It’s been very interesting.” The Eid celebration, she said, seemed similar to “the celebration of spiritual renewal or growth” that follows the Christian Lenten season. Please see Ramadan/Page A3 Yazid Ecklund of Irvona and his son Inniq-Noah, IO, get some food. Bv Jay Young Staff Writer There is no doubt in Superintendent Domenic Ionta’s mind that students belong in a building with teachers, not in their living rooms in front of computer. Giving Blair County and surrounding area students the latter option is the subject of a public hearing at 6 tonight at Altoona Area High School. Ionta’s point of view is unexpected con-sidering the superintendent of the Union Area School District also is president of the Board of Trustees for the Midwestern Regional Virtual Charter School. The Internet- TO VOICE OPINION ■ A public hearing for Altoona’s proposed cyber charter is scheduled at 6 tonight in the Kimmel Board Room at the Altoona Area High School. Irised school is supported by most of the 27 Intermediate Unit I school districts in Western Pennsylvania. Not because it’s want ed, but because similar private-based cyber schools were stealing their students and billing them at a higher rate than what it cost to educate them in a public school. “Many of us would like to see this go away,” Ionta said. “I don’t think it’s right. You don’t know who is on the other end of the computer.” The Western Pennsylvania schools decided to enter the world of Internet education for many of the same reasons Altoona is asking other schools to join in it’s cyber charter venture. The public schools feel they can deliver a better product for less money. While some of the cyber schools are billing local schools districts up to $8,000 annually, Ionta said it’s costing about $2,000 a year for his students. Altoona Business Manager David Piper said the Altoona proposal started as a defensive position to private cyber charters but has taken a new course in recent weeks. The list of schools interested in participating has grown from the original four founding school districts to at least 15 who plan to participate in the public hearing tonight. Please see Cyber /Page A8Community Action Agency among homeless grants recipients By William Kibler Staff Writer Allan Robison helps the homeless, and now he’s getting money to do it better. Robison’s Blair County Community Action Agency has assisted people for a couple of years with a “supportive housing” program that provides a month’s rent and — theoretically — ongoing help with DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 job skills, job searches, transportation, day care, parenting, counseling, money management, hygiene and household economics. The aim is for clients to become self-sufficient. So far with the basic supportive program, six of 65 clients have achieved self-sufficiency, he said. But too many drift from the program because they lack a permanent home, said Robison, the agency executive director. The agency recently received a 3-year-grant of $531,000 to start a transitional program to pay clients rent for up to two years so they have a permanent home. Blair Community Action is one of four area agencies to receive $1.58 million from from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for new programs to help the homeless, victims of domestic vio lence and the mentally ill. Community Action and a fifth agency received $553,000 to continue housing programs. The allocations to area agencies are among $69 million in homeless grants this year for Pennsylvania. The more than $1 billion nationally is the most homeless assistance ever for a single year. For long-term housing, clients generally pay 30 percent of their income, according to HUD guidelines. By giving clients the stability of a real home, the long-term rent money will help Community Action keep clients on the books long enough to see them through difficult times, Robison said. The new program should more than double the overall homeless-intervention caseload to 150 during the next year and a half. Please see Homeless/Page A5 7    22910    00050    4 BIG FOUR 5    3    0    5 I Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Cloudy with rain, 48° ■ Forecast, A2 The Perfect Gift 946-7480 or 1-800-287-4480 Qlocm. Accidents A7 □ nation Classifieds C3-8 Police reports A7 Obituaries A7 War on terrorism C2 Opinion A4 □un mm [J] SPORTS % NFL roundup B2 Comics D5 Community news D2 Puzzles D4 Scoreboard B5 Television D4 Lost on the list How to pick gifts for hard-to-buy-for people I    t    Mirror    photos    by Kelly Bennett Tabassun Syed (left) of Fishertown, Fatima Dowlut (center) of Hollidaysburg and Sameena Ahmad of Altoona enjoy a meal at the Islamic Center, 703 Logan Blvd., Sunday to celebrate the end of Ramadan. ;

Clippings and Obituaries for the Altoona Mirror