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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - January 23, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Sports: Herb Werner remembers Bob DiVentura Life: A preview of upcoming motion pictures DIAltoona Mirror © Copyright 2001TUESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2001 50C newsstand Police step up patrols in city ■ Law enforcement targets convenience stores to curb recent rash of robberies. By Tiffany Shaw Staff Writer Becky Fogal feels a little better about going to work now that Altoona police and state police are teaming up to keep a closer watch over city convenience stores. Fogal, assistant manager of Fe-Fi’s, 320 Howard Ave., was working one of the nights the store was targeted by an armed robber. Even after 13 years in the retail business, nothing prepared her for the feeling and aftereffects of being threatened. “I took the weekend off. I stayed inside, just rocking,” Fogal said. “You wouldn’t believe how much it changed my life in a split second.” Fogal and some other employees still get a nervous twinge when the front doorbell rings, indicating a customer entered the store. “It’s like ‘Oh Lord, not again,’” she breathes in a whisper. The word of beefed up patrols has eased Fogal a bit. “I do feel safer,” she said. “They said they’re watching stores like this. They’re keeping a special eye on us.” Convenience stores in and around the city have been targets of repeated armed robberies since the beginning of 2000. There were 70 robberies in 2000, including armed robberies and other incidents such as strong-arm robberies, Altoona police Chief John Treese said. That’s a significant increase over 46 robberies in 1999. Although city police have solved many robberies with arrests, now they want to stop the crimes before they start. “This operation we have going on is more or less to observe the store, to catch them in the act or to be in a position to move in quickly and make an arrest,” Treese said. The patrols paid off last week when police arrested a man minutes after they said he tried to rob the 17th Street Sunoco station. Even though police are keeping the details quiet, the patrols are concentrating on areas of convenience stores at night. “We’re not announcing the particulars of the patrols for obvious reasons,” Treese said. "We want to keep them [criminals! off their toes.” State police are loaning crime and patrol officers to the city to ride along for extra manpower. “We give them some extra eyes, ears and feet — any tools they need to catch these robbers,” state police trooper David White said. Please see Patrols/Page A7 Local educators wary of Bush plan to increase testing, accountability ■ Most states will miss the federal deadline for creating assessments. By Andrew Moluson Cox News Service WASHINGTON — President Bush is set to outline today his plan to hold schools accountable for student achievement. But the final report issued by the Education Department during the Clinton administration suggests it may be hard to convince states to comply. Bush said during his campaign that all states should be required to measure their own progress by establishing accountability systems that test their students in reading and math. But a 1994 law with the same goal has fallen short, according to the Education Department report. Under the law, all states were to create and administer such tests no later than this school year. But the report said that only 17 states, including Pennsylvania, had created statewide math and reading tests that meet federal standards, and only ll have submitted plans for administering such tests this year. The report was published late Friday by the department’s Planning and Evaluation Service without fanfare or any comment by departing Education Secretary Richard Riley. Congress put the testing requirement in the 1994 law, called the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, in order to find out whether Title I educational aid is improving student achievement. Title I aid, aimed at school districts serving children who are poor or otherwise at risk of educational failure, this year totals $9.5 billion — more than one-third of the federal funds for elementary and secondary education. Please see Deadline/Page A3 By Jay Young Staff Writer Education will grab the national spotlight I1 today as President George W. Bush unveils khis aggressive reform proposals. At a White House ceremony, Bush will announce plans to increase student testing and hold schools responsible for how much pupils learn. Bush has promised he also would punish and reward states depending on pupil performance and expand public charter schools. While all of the talk about vouchers and nationwide testing is popular with some voters, local educators generally are skeptical when it comes to federal intervention in local classrooms. Already swamped with state testing and internal assessment, educators are less than enthusiastic about education Bush’s promise to increase student testing. In Altoona, students in grades 5-11 already are quizzed annually with numerous different assessment tests. They provide the district with information that directs curriculum adjustments, Curriculum Director Mary Lou Ray said. A nationwide test doesn’t provide that kind of information, Ray said. With no feedback specific to local students, a federal test won’t improve local districts. “Assessment should drive what you’re doing,” she said. “When you evaluate, you’re able to identify the strengths and weaknesses in a program, your curriculum and maybe your instructional practices. If you have no data back, it’s just taking your time.” The call for federal testing comes after years of public demand to make public education accountable. That call has been answered across the country by numerous states implementing standards and testing. Please see Test/Page A3 Overseas funding dropped By Sandra Sobieraj The Associated Press WASHINGTON — On Monday’s anniversary of the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, President Bush signed a memorandum reinstating full abortion restrictions on U.S. overseas aid that his father and former President Reagan had instituted before him. “It is my conviction that taxpayer funds should not be used to pay for abortions or advocate or actively promote abortion either here or abroad,” Bush wrote in his executive memorandum to the U.S. Agency for International Development, which oversees family-planning aid to foreign countries. It was Bush’s first major policy action since becoming president. It reverses the Clinton administration’s position on unrestricted family-planning aid and bars U.S. money to international groups that use their own money to support abortion — either through performing the surgery, counseling on abortion as a family-planning option or lobbying foreign governments on abortion policy. On his first workday in the White House, Bush also gave a written statement to marchers on the 28th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that abortion legalized abortion. “The promises of our Declaration of Independence are not just for the strong, the independent or the healthy. “They are for everyone, includ-\ ing unborn children,” his statement said. “We share a great goal, to work toward a day when every child is welcomed in life and protected in law ... to build a culture of life, affirming that every person at every stage and season of life is created equal in God’s image.” Abortion-rights supporter Rate Michelman saw it as Bush’s latest act of war on women’s reproductive rights, following on his nomination of staunch abortion opponents to key Cabinet posts — former Sen. John Ashcroft for attorney general and former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson as secretary of health and human services. Bush “is using his presidential powers quite aggressively already to undermine a woman’s right to choose and clear a pathway to the overturning of Roe v. Wade,” Michelman said. Please see Funding/Page A3 Pa. pro-lifers march in D.C. From Mirror staff and wire reports WASHINGTON - About 800 Pennsylvanians urged the federal government Monday to do more to reduce or eliminate abortions. Several marchers said the inauguration of President Bush and the continued existence of a GOP-con-trolled Congress made them more optimistic than before. Members of the congressional delegation met with their constituents after the rally and predicted that progress will be made toward further reducing abortion but said change would come slowly. “We are going to undo the damage that [former President! Clinton has caused,” said Anita Blawas of Jeannette, who left at 6:30 a.m. to participate in her third March for Life. The Westmoreland County resident added that “life is the most important thing; I have to work to preserve life.” Blawas was one of several thousand people from throughout the country who participated in the march and rally, which has been held annually since 1974 to protest the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion. Though the marchers want to ban abortion, many said that outlawing a late-term procedure that opponents call “partial-birth abortion” would be a good start. Three times during his presidency, Clinton vetoed legislation that would have banned the procedure. Though Bush has said he favors a ban, the bill passed by Congress is similar to the Nebraska law that the U.S. Supreme Court declared unconstitutional last year. Please see March/Page A3Attorney general sues firm raising money for police PITTSBURGH (AP) — The state attorney general’s office has sued a telemarketing Finn that raises money for law enforcement groups, saying it implied the telemarketers were police and the money would be used for training. Attorney General Mike Fisher Filed the lawsuit in Commonwealth Court in Pittsburgh against Liberty Publishing Co. and its president, George W. Lee, alleging violations of state law. Lee did not immediately return a telephone call made to the Pittsburgh company Monday morning. According to the attorney general, Liberty Publishing solicits donations for law enforcement groups such as the Fraternal Order of Police, Central Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association and the County and State Detectives Association of Pennsylvania. The lawsuit, which was Filed Friday, alleges donors may have wrongly been led to believe telemarketers were police officers. The suit also claims donors were misled to believe the money would be used to train police or that police need Financial help in Fighting crime. Fisher’s office said the donations benefit only the clients of the telemarketing finn — not police departments. “The money does go to the civic organizations, but not to fight crime,” said Sean ss&fcMi DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 4 22910 00057    4 BIG FOUR5    3    0    5 ■ Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Partly cloudy, 36° ■ Forecast, C3 Connolly, Fisher’s spokesman. “Your tax dollar pays for crime Fighting, not your donation to charities,” he added. The lawsuit alleged that Liberty Publishing employed convicted felons as telemarketers in violation of the Charities Act. It also claimed tliat the company offered stickers, decals and membership cards, implying they would result in special treatment by law enforcement officers. It also said the company sent donors ^ il*V We Pride Ourselves rf* Jll J on Being the Area’s Very Best JI" Because We Feel 1/ Our Customers ITALIAN VILLA Deserve Nothing Less. _______________________It \ . __________ Q LOCAL |3 NATION Business A5 Classifieds C3-8 Hospitals A7 Obituaries A7 Opinion A6 □ □FI SPORTS Comics OS Community news D2 Local B4 Puzzles D4 Scoreboard B5 Television D4 invoices without their agreement or wrote invoices for amounts higher than those agreed upon. Finally, the lawsuit said the company failed to register with the Bureau of Charitable Organizations and Fisher’s office. Fisher is asking the court to order restitution to donors. He also is asking the company be fined $1,000 for each alleged violation and $3,000 for each alleged violation affecting anyone over age 60. INSIDEIN NATION Acting on a tip, authorities Monday captured four of seven convicts who broke out of a Texas prison nearly six weeks ago and allegedly gunned down a policeman on Christmas Eve. 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