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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - December 18, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania FREE today’s Mirror: Yule always remember Those memories of Christmas mishaps past don’t look so bad in retrospect. In fact, they’re often included when we list our favorite holiday moments ti# Grape expectations Don’t tell Frasier and Niles. hut all those daunting and highbrow rules regarding wine are out Experimentation and drinking what you like are in. Christmas calorie* Tips from a dietician on preventing holiday weight gain A reminder to mind your manners at parties. The potential pitfalls of giving fixxj as a giftAltnnna Mirror © Copyright 2001TUESDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2001 50C newsstand HMNBBMHMMBNMHINBI hhhmmNeighbors help free child trapped in submerged car By Craig Williams Staff Writer Trapped under water for nearly five minutes, a 3-year-old boy was freed from the seat belt that held him. Heroic actions of neighbors and the quick thinking of his mother helped free the boy from the confines of the car that flipped onto its roof and into a pond behind the Logan Valley Mall. Police said Tracy Novak, 38, of Altoona was driving her car Monday about 4:30 p.m. on California Avenue when she lost control of the vehicle, which then crashed through a fence and rolled into a pond in front of a house on Ruskin Drive. The car landed in a natural spring that forms the pond outside Patrick Rabits’ house, where he lives with his mother, (Jenny, and father. Frank. Novak, her 8-year-old son James, 3 year-old son Tyler and Harry’ Colver, 41, of Altoona were trapped in the car. "I heard them come through the front yard and then through the fence,” Rabits said. “It w’as eerie, real eerie " By the time Rabits called for help and rushed out his front door, Colyer and James and Tracy Novak had surfaced from their watery entrapment. Tyler remained pinned in his seat Next door in the parsonage of Calvary Baptist Church. Pastor Hon Anderson also heard a strange noise. “I rushed outside, and a lady was struggling at one side of the car,” he said. Soon. Rabits and Anderson were in 55- degree water waist-high and struggling to right the car — to no avail “The mother was trying to free her child but couldn’t reach. She asked if anyone had a knife,” Anderson said. Anderson, who has carried a pocketknife since he was 6 years old. gave it to the mother and wrenched open the back door. Please see Trapped/Page AIQ By Michael Emery Staff Writer Muhammad AH is an Olympic gold medalist and a threetime heavyweight boxing champion. He may be the greatest athlete the world has ever known. But Ali regards his role as a torchbearer at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta as one of his proudest feats. In one of the event’s lasting images, the Olympic Torch Relay culminated with AU lighting the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony. Three local residents will share the torchbearer experience for the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Ray Shaw, 40, Roaring Spring: Jill Simmons, 20, Altoona; and Suzanne Johnson, 55, Tipton, will carry the torch during the 2002 Winter Olympics Torch Relay. After relatives nominated them for the honor, all three were selected to be among the 11,500 people nationwide serving as torchbearers. Organizers said the spirit of the games is represented by the Olympic torch, passed from city to city by people who symbolize the qualities of devotion, determination and altruism that signify the essence of the Games. Friends and family say the three local torchbearers share those qualities. Each has a unique story about the path they have taken to the Olympics. Please see Torch/Page A6 THI OLYMPIC FLAME... ■ Ignited by the sun’s rays in Olympia, Greece, and kept in a lantern that travels with the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Torch Relay. ■Travels by automobile, airplane, train, boat, dogsled, skier, horse-drawn sleigh, snowmobile, ice skaters and covered wagon. ■ Visits 46 states and covers 13,500 miles. ■ Travels an average of 208 miles a day during a 12-hour day. ■ Is carried by about 11,500 torchbearers for about 0.2 miles each. ■ Stops for two major community celebrations each day. ■ On February 8, 2002, enters Salt Lake City for the Opening Ceremony, marking the official start of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake. Source: www.2002.coke.com CYPER CHARTER SCHOOL HEARING Little interest shown By Jay Young Staff Writer About 19 area school districts will consider forming a regional charter school next year after a public hearing Monday brought little resident feedback Representatives from the interested school districts filled the district board room at the Altoona high school for a presentation on the proposed Internet-based school. Those districts have agreed to join an Altoona-led effort to form a regional charter school. "We came up with the concept as a defensive position,” Superintendent Dennis Murray told the group. “It has now become an offensive thrust. We see it as an opportunity to reach any student, any place, anytime.” After the meeting, Murray estimated the venture would cost the Altoona Area School District about $40,000 to start the Central Pennsylvania digital Learning Foundation. That cost is less than the district says it pays for students who opt to enroll in several available cyber schools serving the area. State law requires the district to pay for those mostly unregulated services. Money for the venture will be paid through the Altoona Area School District Foundation. Chestnut Ridge Superintendent Tom Otis said he welcomes competition in education, but he thinks the area districts can claim the Internet-based education market. Please see Cyber/Page A6 Mirror photo by Jason Sipes Jill Simmons (left), 20, of Altoona; Suzanne Johnson (center), 55, of Tipton; and Ray Shaw, 40, of Roaring Spring will join 11,500 people nationwide to participate in the 2002 Winter Olympics Torch Relay. Shaw and Simmons will carry the torch in Martinsburg, W.Va., and Johnson will run the two-tenths of a mile in Hagerstown, Md. Judge orders $7M payment in investment scandal By Judy Lin The Associated Press PITTSBURGH — A federal judge has ordered one of the last major payouts stemming from an investment scandal that cost 50 school districts and municipalities $70 million. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Bernard Marko-vitz approved a $7 million payment to the districts and municipalities Monday. The amount brings the total repaid to $68 million of $70 million lost by convicted money manager John Gardner Black in one of the state’s largest investment scandals. “It’s extremely good recovery. In most recoveries, we can only hope to get pennies on the dollar,” said Richard Finberg, a Pittsburgh attorney representing many of the school districts. Black of Huntingdon County is serving a 41-month sentence in a West Virginia federal prison after being convicted of investment fraud. Prosecutors said Black persuaded school districts across Pennsylvania and one in Harford County, Md., to invest school construction money in risky securities in the mid-1990s. Please see Scandal/Page A4 COMMON COLD Recovery gets boost from new medicine CHICAGO (AP) — Scientists have developed the first medicine proven to reduce the length and severity of the common cold. Whether this is the long-sought cure is debatable, since it doesn’t make the sniffles disappear immediately. Nevertheless, experts say there is little doubt the medicine — which is still months away from drugstores —-makes people feel better sooner if their cold is caused by a rhinovirus, the most common culprit. The drug, called pleconaril, makes a runny nose completely clear up a day sooner than usual and begins to ease the symptoms within a day. Many over-the-counter medicines ease cold symptoms by drying up plugged noses and soothing aches. But this drug is the first to actually make a cold go away faster and to work by attacking the cold virus itself. Please see Medicine/Page AIQ DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 22910 00050 I BIG FOUR 8    2    0    9 I Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Mostly cloudy, 45° ■ Forecast, A2 I Q LOCAL Q NATION Business A7 Classifieds C6-10 Hospitals A9 War on terrorism C4 Obituaries A9 Opinion A8 0 LIFE {^SPORTS Comics DS Dear Abby D4 Local B4 Puzzles D4 Scoreboard BS Television D4 HICE INSIDE SHOPPING SPREE Look for the winner of the shopping spree contest in the 6-page broadsheet included with today’s Mirror. I I Three locals will cany Olppic torch 2002 WINTER GAMES Christmas Buffet Luncheon Friday Dec. 21st 11:30-2:30 Reservations Required 14, ITALIAN VILLA 1808 4TH AVE., ALTOONA 943-8510 ;

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