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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - March 14, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Nation: Controller gave OK in accidental bombing    Life:    Alternative    meals    to    fried    fish    for    Lent    DIAltoona Mirror © Copyright 2001WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14, 2001 500 newsstand Mirror photo by Jason Sipes The view from a pothole on Allegheny Street in Newry as traffic passes. Officials say the number of potholes seems to be about average this year.ITS IHE msRoad crews tackle seasonal task of filling potholes By Tiffany Shaw Staff Writer A s spring arrives, trees bud, birds sing and cars run ll over huge potholes. ll Every year it’s the same thing. Moisture seeps into cracks in the road pavement, freezes and then expands when temperatures dip and thaws when the weather warms. Then it’s repeated over and over until finally the road gives up and cracks open, pushing some pavement up and making the rest into a hole that can wash deeper and deeper until it appears to swallow your car. A pothole is bom. And every year, road maintenance crews approach the potholes knowing they are fighting a battle that only will end in a stalemate until next spring. Please see Pits/Page A8    Mirror graphic by Tom Worthington ll Bump in the road To report a specific pothole, residents can call the following numbers: ■ lf the pothole is in the city, call the Altoona Highway Department at 949-2212 ■ lf it is in a state road, call PennDOT’s toil-free number 800-FIX-ROAD. The calf will be routed to a local office, which then can forward the report to the proper district. Belated project may be costly ■ Missed deadline on City Hall work could cost contractor up to $30,000 in penalties. By William Kibler Staff Writer The city of Altoona may end up trying to collect up to $30,000 in late penalties from W.C. Murray, the general contractor on the City Hall renovation project. The original finish date for the project was supposed to be March I, but Murray will be lucky to finish by June I—86 days late, architect Dave Albright said. Because of changes in the contract caused by unforeseen circumstances, Murray has obtained a 40-day extension and could justify perhaps 15 more days, Albright said. That would leave 31 unexcused late days, at $1,000 per day. Despite being late, the project still has about $10,000 left of its $365,000 contingency fund. It’s unlikely there will be any more major surprises like those that generated the extra work. “It looks like we’ve opened up every can of worms we’re going to open up,” Albright told City Council. Though none of the other contractors on the project is responsible for the delay, file city has given all of them extensions until June I. The city must continue to pay $3,000 monthly in rent for temporary City Hall and also will pay more than expected for job oversight by Pathline. But that hasn’t started yet because Albright made Pathline part time about three weeks ago. In other business: ■ Solicitor Bob Alexander will write letters to the Public Utility Commission and local lawmakers urging them to fight the potential loss of local jobs because of the PUC’s order that Verizon separate its retail and wholesale components. The PUC handed down the order to promote local phone competition. ■ Two council members got into a rhubarb over the Altoona Curve Monday. Partly because of a Curve gift of $10,000 to the city, Ron Reidell proposed canceling council’s April 9 work session so members could attend the Curve’s home opener. “I’m opposed,” Tom Shaheen said. “I was elected to be at meetings, not to be at baseball games.” Reidell replied his suggestion was “slightly tongue-in-cheek.” The council reached a compromise by agreeing to shorten that evening’s meeting by postponing a discussion of the draft administrative code set for that day. Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler can be reached at 949- 7038 or [email protected] Firebomb reignites firestorm ■ Judge insists his gripes about poor security have been ignored for years. By Phil Ray Staff Writer HOLLIDAYSBURG — The weekend firebombing at District Justice Elizabeth Doyle’s office has led to complaints by Blair County’s president judge that his efforts over the years to have courthouse security upgraded have been ignored. Judge Thomas G. Peoples said he persistently has asked county commissioners to limit courthouse access and to install metal detectors. Peoples said Tuesday that he has directed his department heads to write a report for him every time there is a violent or threatening incident in one of the county’s offices. Based on these reports, he has written four or five letters to commissioners outlining the lack of security. "No one has yet given me a convincing argument for why we haven’t done it [installed metal detectors],” Peoples said. County judges intend to discuss the incident at Doyle’s office. Commissioner John J. Ebersole pulled no punches when asked about Peoples’ insistence on limiting public access to the courthouse, a security measure other courthouses in the state take. He said the county doesn’t have the money to pay for more security. Ebersole said the judges insist on housing inmates who should be in a state correctional institution in the county prison. “If    he [Peoples] gets rid of those 70 state sentences out of my prison...” Ebersole said, maybe the county would have the money to bolster security, adding there’s no such thing as full-proof security. Although commissioners could limit access to only a front door, someone could let another individual intent on violence in through the back door. “You’d have to have somebody at every door. That’s a couple hundred thousand dollars. I don’t have it,” Ebersole said. The debate about courthouse security was spawned when about six Molotov cocktails, plastic soda bottles containing gasoline and kerosene and rifles shells, were tossed onto the roof of Doyle’s office at 311 Union St. over the weekend. Please see Firebomb/Page AIQ Peoples Blair to pay $300 for booth probe By Ray Stephens Staff Writer HOLLIDAYSBURG - Blair County commissioners John H. Eichelberger Jr. and Donna D. Gority agreed Tuesday to pay for a test at Blair County Ballpark that might identify why the ground at the stadium ticket booth has shifted. The test by Stiffler, McGraw & Associates, Hollidaysburg, is expected to cost about $300, depending on the time involved, Eichelberger said. Plans call for putting a camera into a storm inlet and looking for problems that allowed a greater settling than was anticipated. After the stadium was built, ■ Hyzdu dealing with latest demotion/ Page Bl the ticket booth began sustaining cracks, depressions in its floor and a door that wouldn’t close. About a year ago, general contractor Ralph Albarano made repairs, but the problems returned. Commissioner John J. Ebersole voted against paying the bill. Ebersole has been opposed to the county’s involvement in building the baseball stadium and said that while the county is being asked to pay this bill, the Altoona Curve baseball team is giving $10,000 to Altoona. Please see Booth/Page AIQ TRANSPORTATION TROUBLES Housing authority stands to lose grant By William Kibler Staff Writer The Bush administration is threatening to end a Drug Elimination Grant program that the Altoona Housing Authority used last year for police protection. The authority will lobby local lawmakers to preserve the $124,000-per-year program, which also pays for student and parenting activities at the Fairview Hills family housing project. Bush wants to end the program after reports of unfavorable statistics and mismanagement at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Please see Grant/Page A4 DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 ?    22910    00050    a BIG FOUR 9    9    6    3 I Lottery numbers. A2 WEATHER Cloudy, blustery. 45° ■ Forecast, A2 UNDER PRESSURE Altoona’s Heather Kaufmann goes to the basket while Oakland Catholic’s Meredith McDonough (25) and Audrey Tabon look for the block during playoff action. Please see story, Page Bl. HQT-ADS.com We’re white-hot! ■IMT-rf msznum Altoona Hlirror THE GREAT COMBINATION I Call us today...Make money today. for THE GREAT COMBINATION cf MIRROR CLASSIFIEDS and HOT-ADS Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) 946-7547 Personal care home charged with neglect By Phil Ray Staff Writer WILLIAMSBURG - The administrator of a personal care home has been charged with neglecting an 84-year-old female resident who suffered from a bedsore so severe and infected that three insects flew from the wound while she was examined at Bon Secours-Holy Family Hospital. Because the wound was so bad, the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General charged the coowner of Williamsburg Cove Manor Personal Care Home with violating a 3-year-old state statute designed to protect dependent people, or individuals like those in personal care or nursing homes. Please see Neglect/Page AIQ □ LOCAL □ nation Business A9 Classifieds C4-12 Hospitals A11 Obituaries AU Qufe Opinion A6 □ sports Comics D5 Local Community news D2 B4 Movies D3 Scoreboard BS Television D4 INSIDE .... IN STATE The government has decided not to seek the death penalty against a Philadelphia mob boss i his murder and racketeering trial. PAGE Mirror photo by Kelly Bennett ;

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