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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - March 16, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Nation: Bush lays out campaign finance reform Cl Life: How many gadgets women use do you know? DIAltona Mirror © Copyright 2001FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2001 50$ newsstand Economic chill slowing some retailersMany big chains struggling; small specialty stores faring better. From Mirror staff and wire reports With consumers on a spending diet for the past six months, the nation’s top merchants are tightening their belts in what some analysts predict could be the leanest times since the early 1990s. That means cutting back on expansion plans, closing stores and selling or shutting down unprofitable divisions. Some retailers even are delaying shipment of some of their spring merchandise by up to four weeks. For example: ■ Home Depot Inc., struggling with a sales slump and a second-consecutive quarter of lower profits, announced late last month that it’s slashing new store openings by ll percent this year. It’s the company’s first retreat on new store plans in five years. ■ Gap Inc., facing declining sales in all its divisions, announced two weeks ago that it’s cutting back its expansion rate to 15 percent in 2002 and 2003. The original projection was new-store growth of 17 to 20 percent. ■ The Limited Inc., which earlier this month reported an 18 percent drop in fourth-quarter net income, is selling its Lane Bryant division and restructuring its beleaguered men’s apparel business. ■ Federated Department Stores Inc. is closing its underperforming Stern’s department store group. More than a third of the division’s 7,400 jobs will be lost as most of the 24 Stern’s units are converted to Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. ■ J.C. Penney Co., faced with a second-straight losing quarter, shuttered 45 stores last year and said this year it will close another 47 stores and catalog centers. Already, Penney’s has cut about 5,500 jobs. The sluggish retail environment helped seal the fate of two prominent but struggling retailers — Braintree, Mass.-based Bradlees Inc. and Montgomery Ward, the 128-year-old Chicago merchandiser owned by General Electric Co. And analysts expect there are more failures to come. Please see Retailers/Page A7 INSIDE ■ Pittsburgh-based H.J. Heinz to eliminate 1,900 jobs to cut costs. Page A7 ■ Legislation may make it harder for people to wipe out debts in bankruptcy court. Page Cl ■ Many consumers late paying off credit cards and loans. Page Cl 5    8    7    2 ■ Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Snow showers, 38° I ■ Forest, A2 BM FOUR The Associated Press Is there reason for Georgetown to celebrate? An official’s instant-replay review decided the game. Please see full roundup of NCAA Tourney games. / Page B4 Tournaments mean pool time for some offices By Kevin Ott Staff Writer It happens every March. College ballplayers everywhere lace up their sneakers to hit the courts, and office workers everywhere start racking up the misdemeanors. Since the NCAA tournaments began in 1939, workplace betting pools have become a familiar part of March as green beer and the end of winter. It’s like speeding or downloading songs from Napster: It’s illegal, but everyone does it anyway. In Pennsylvania, starting a betting pool in the office, among friends or with members of a church group is a first-degree misdemeanor. The degree of offense is the same for anyone taking part in a pool. But here’s the thing: Like speeding or downloading songs from Napster, it’s not an activity that’s likely to get you in a mess of trouble, unless you let someone catch you. State police don’t go in search of office betting pools — they generally stick to pools run out of bars or restaurants, where a liquor license might be violated. When police do hear about an office pool — usually from the angry spouse of someone who’s taking part in one — they pass the information on to a district Please see Pool/Page AIQ SU iiannvfl Mirror Associate Sports Editor Neil Rudel takes a look at Penn State’s first-round game from New Orleans. Rudel thinks Joe Crispin will be tested by Providence's defense. Rudel wonders how the Lions will react to being in the “Big Dance." Page Bl Penn State freshman Kelly Mazzante has a desire to be the best... and is living up to it. Page Bl Big Ten's Indiana. Wisconsin and Ohio State all take a fall in first-round games. Page B4 Nittany Lions look to leave legacy at NCAA tourney YOUTH BALLFIELDS Proposal on table for 3-way shuffle By William Kibler Staff Writer Like a bases-clearing triple that gets everyone moving, there could be a three-way ballfield reshuffle involving the Independent Youth League field, Columbia Park and Westfall Park. The proposal is for the Independent Youth League to move from Mansion Park to nearby Columbia Park; for the Columbia Park Softball League to move to Westfall and the Altoona Area School District to turn the youth league field into parking. It would require approvals from the school district: the city, which owns Columbia; the Central Blair Park and Rec Commission, which controls Westfall; and the two leagues. The whole scenario could cost about $150,000 to execute. The school district liked the proposal several years ago and offered to recreate at Columbia the youth league field with all its amenities at no cost to IYL, maybe with the help of grants, district spokesman Tom Bradley said. The district also would have created a parking lot with islands and trees on the highly visible site of the current youth league field, Bradley said. But the city didn’t run with the idea and it languished, he said. The youth league is eager for the reshuffle — like a kid on opening day — though it couldn’t occur for at least a year. The switches would move the youth league off its busy comer of Mansion Park, where balls can fly onto Logan Boulevard from the bats of big kids, such as last year during the home mn derby at the Little League World Series. It’s just lucky a home run never has caused an accident, league President Joe Miller said. Going to Columbia would eliminate the need for scheduling games around big Mansion events such as Relay for Life or all-star football games, Miller said. MARCH MADNESS Neil Rudel, the Mirror’s PSU guru, is in the Big Easy with the Nittany Lions. Look for his coverage in Saturday's Mirror. DELIVERY ,| Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 22910 0005(? □ LOCM. Business A7 Hospitals A9 Obituaries A9 Opinion AO £ SPORTS Movies B3 Scoreboard Bp By NEIL RUDEL Associate Sports Editor NEW ORLEANS - The Penn State basketball team is happy to be here. Really happy. The Nittany Lions endured a rocky airplane ride late Wednesday night. The pilot, bumping through lightning and fog before hovering above the New Orleans airport for more than an hour, told the team he had enough fuel to try one landing. If it didn’t look like they could land, he’d have to take the plane back to Memphis. “I didn’t know whether to strangle him or try to help him,” PSU coach Jerry Dunn said, laughing, Thursday. “I guess it wasn’t that bad. I think any flight that lands is a good flight.” Dunn and the players shook it off and are hoping they won’t be back in the air until at least late Sunday night. To delay their travel that long, the Lions (19-11) need to beat Providence (21-9) in tonight’s first-round NCAA South Regional game at the Louisiana Superdome. The winner gets a likely matchup with North Carolina (25-6) Sunday afternoon. The Tar Heels first must beat Princeton (16-10) tonight. Please see Legacy/Page AIQ Discount on $nt% GREEN Vehiet# Chrysler - Plymouth Please see Shuffle/Page A3 INSIDE TODAY Tales from the front pew Page 2 Christian ministry New Day Inc. establishes roots in Altoona Page 3 Spiritual notes Page 7 Drug eases colds Company: Preliminary results show treatment shortens bout By Bill Bergstrom The Associated Press PHILADELPHIA — A new treatment for the common cold may mean less sniffling and sneezing and a 6-day rather than 7-day bout with the illness, a pharmaceutical company said preliminary study results indicate. ViroPharma Inc. of Exton, a Philadelphia suburb, said it will seek U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of Picovir as a cold treatment in light of the clinical studies, which involved a total of 2,096 patients in 200 U.S. and Canadian locations. The results contrasted with an earlier clinical trial that did not show significant effects of ViroPharma’s Picovir, also known as pleconaril, in treating colds or viral meningitis. Stock in the 128-employee company dropped 68 percent in one day April ll after that study. The stock closed at $25.31 Thursday, down $1.88. “These are the first pivotal studies in which patients... experienced a reduction in the severity and duration of their illness,” said Dr. Mark A. McKinlay, vice president of research and development and a co-founder of ViroPharma. If successful in getting FDA approval, ViroPharma would be prepared to begin shipping Picovir early next year, company officials said. “Our goal is to make it a commercial success,” said Michel de Rosen, the former head of drug giant Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, who was named president and chief executive officer of the 7-year-old Exton firm in August. Rosen said ViroPharma is seeking a partner to help market the drug. ViroPharma financed the research. De Rosen described it as a multimillion-dollar study, though he declined to give specific cost figures. The company announced only preliminary analyses of the study results, saying it intended to present additional data at the September meeting of the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in Chicago. “We need more information,” said Dr. Ron Turner, a noted cold researcher who heads the division of pediatric infectious diseases at the Medical University of South Carolina. "I think the issue that is going to have to be resolved over time is whether it is enough of a treatment effect to translate into a clinical benefit.” The company said that among patients in the study who were infected with rhinovirus, the leading cause of colds, two-thirds of those taking Picovir got over their colds in 6.3 days, instead of the 7.3 days colds lasted for those who didn’t receive the treatment. Cold symptoms became less severe within 24 hours of the first dose of pleconaril. IN THI STUDY ■ Patients were infected with rhinovirus. ■ Two-thirds taking Picovir beat colds in 6.3 days, instead of 7.3 days. ■ Cold symptoms became less severe within 24 hours of first dose of pleconaril. On the Net http://www.viropharma.com Q NATION Classifieds    04*10 □ LIFE Comics    DB Community news    D2 Puzzles    D4 Television    D4 INSIDE STATE Transsexual accused of killing husband by castration wanted to be a nurse and practiced surgery on animals. Page AB V    JC ;

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