Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - February 5, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania
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© Copyright 2001
City bar in danger of being closed
■ Panda’s Bar is among area taverns whose liquor licenses have not been renewed by the Liquor Control Board.
By Robert Igoe Staff Writer
A controversial downtown Altoona bar remains open, but it may not be for long.
Panda’s Bar, 1211 lith St., is among three bars in the region whose liquor license renewals the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is objecting to under the “nuisance bar” program.
The objection to the Panda’s Bar renewal follows complaints about “egregious activity and abuse of licensing privileges” at the establishment.
The two other establishments operating but awaiting a hearing are Duke’s Bunkhouse and Saloon in Johnstown and Carlisle Tavern in Carlisle.
Two other establishments, the Grand Central Hotel in Windber and Cumberland Tavern in New Cumberland, have yet to request temporary authority to operate.
Though their liquor licenses expired Jan. 31, all five taverns are permitted to remain open pending a hearing and the LCB’s decision.
If the three-member hearing board denies the establishment the right to renew, then each license holder has the right to appeal the decision in his county’s court of common pleas.
The nuisance bar program, started in 1990, targets liquor-serving establishments that are judged to encourage conduct and activity detrimental to the welfare of the community. More than 600 establishments have faced challenges to their licenses under the program.
Panda’s Bar has been the center of police action in the past several years, including a cocaine trafficking bust at the bar in January 1998, a stabbing at the bar in January 2000 and a shooting outside the bar in July.
Police have said, however, that they do not believe bar owner Frank West encourages such activity in the bar. West has said that he personally discourages drug use in his bar.
Despite the law violations in and outside the establishment, West often has claimed he is the victim of police harassment as the only minority bar owner in Altoona. West sued the city of Altoona and one Altoona police officer over a 1998 incident in which he claims that a patrolman drew his gun unnecessarily in pursuit of a suspect near the bar.
That lawsuit was dismissed Friday when U.S. District Judge D. Brooks Smith ruled that the officer did not violate the constitutional rights of either the suspect or the other occupants of the apartment building where the suspect fled.
The judge said that during the pursuit, some of the occupants oi the building attempted to interfere with the officer s actions, creating a dangerous situation, r West hung up on a reporter asking for comment on the LCB s objection.
WestMONDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2001
BUSH INITIATIVE FOR RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS
KEEPING TNE FAITH
McMahon, 17, Altoona, works with Joan Luciano at St. Vincent DePaul thrift shop on Eighth Avenue in Altoona. McMahon is employed at the shop as part of the work program at Altoona Area High School.
Bush prepares to sell his tax cut proposal to the public.
Bush courts opposition lawmakers at Democratic retreat.
Pennsylvanians head president’s controversial plan
By Claude R. Marx
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Given Pennsylvania’s rich religious heritage, it is not surprising that President Bush named two native sons to oversee efforts to expand —
the role of religious ..... groups in solving AN ALY SIS social problems.
University of Pennsylvania political scientist John J. Dilulio Jr. and Lancaster author and consultant Don Eberly come from different religious backgrounds, political parties and career specialties.
Yet they have come together to run the White House office designed to implement Bush’s “compassionate conservatism.”
Dilulio, a Catholic Democrat from south Philadelphia who will direct the office, has worked in the trenches to help enlist churches to reduce juvenile crime.
Please see Plan/Page A4
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Kevin Socie, 16, an AAHS student, carries a bin full of shoes to be sorted and put out for customers.
Mirror photos by Jason Sipes
Local charities crossing fingers for federal funds
By Kevin OTT Staff Writer
M ike Laratonda is looking forward to the IWI time when President Bush’s plan to offer ITI federal funds to faith-affiliated charities is complete.
Laratonda works part time directing St. Vincent DePaul thrift shop on Eighth Avenue in Altoona.
But lately, he’s been working so hard that he needs a few days of vacation just to get a little rest. The shop just finished its end-of-the-month sale, and the last week has been “a madhouse ” he said.
It’s not up to Laratonda whether St. Vincent DePaul, a Catholic charity that also provides financial assistance to the poor, will apply for federal funds. That will be up to the Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese.
But Laratonda thinks a little extra funding from the government might be nice.
The Associated Press
North America All-Star Mario Lemieux (center) of the Pittsburgh Penguins is congratulated by teammates after his second period goal in the NHL All-Star came in Denver Sunday. Please see story, Page Bl.
Ridge proposes $48 million for early childhood package
Please see Local/Page A4
By George Strawley
The Associated Press
HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Ridge wants to put $48 million this year into new and expanded programs aimed at helping young children grow and learn in good health, mirroring much of a plan put forward last year by business groups.
The collection of a dozen programs to be included in the budget that Ridge is expected to deliver to lawmakers Tuesday would add a little more than I percent to the about $3 billion that the administration says it spends on child-related programs of all types, including food stamps and medical assistance.
But it provides healthy boosts during a year of fiscal caution to pilot programs that place nurses in the homes of young, expectant mothers and put
computers in front of preschoolers, administration officials said. And it launches first-time efforts to help parents instill thinking skills in their young children and aid organizations establishing child-care centers.
It also offers a 6 percent increase in funding for existing early intervention programs that identify and help children with developmental delays before they reach the classroom and tests out two programs designed to improve the skills of lagging pupils in the primary grades.
“We thought that this package would put some new ideas on the table,” said Melia D. Belonus, a senior policy aide in the governor’s office. “This looks at the kid as a whole with his family and community.”
Please see Package/Page A2
EDITOR'S NOTE: This month's feature story on former Williamsburg teacher William Cramer was written and printed prior to his death Saturday. We at the Mirror extend our sympathies to Mr. Cramer's family and friends.
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