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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - March 26, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Sports: Mich. State, Arizona advance to Final Four    Nation:    Older    motorcyclists    drive    up    fatality    rate    Ct Field of dreamsAltoona Mirror© Copyright 2001    MONDAY,    MARCH    26,    2001 500 newsstand Threat of violence creates fear, uncertainty SECOND OF TWO PARTS Editor’s note: This is a look back at a week where rumors of school violence grabbed a community’s collective ear, while facts went by the wayside. There was no violence in the Altoona schools last week, but just the idea of it occurring was enough to disrupt the educational atmosphere. By Jay Young Staff Writer Brandon Ledford has the answer. He doesn’t really like it, but he’s figured it out. Emerging Thursday from Altoona Area High School, he leaves the hallway talk behind. Word on the street is tomorrow’s the day. There’s going to be a gun. Or was it bomb? Either way, something’s going to happen. The catch: Brandon has never missed a day of high school. He wants perfect attendance when he graduates next year. A letter was sent home from the high school earlier in the week saying there was no truth to the rumors, but it didn’t say exactly what had been investigated. Even the suspension of three students for making separate threats hadn’t defused the slippery slide of gossip. “You know what you’re going to do?’’ Brandon’s mom, Renee Ledford, says as her son climbs into the car. With the door closed, and all the talk left behind, Brandon responds. “Mom, I’ve got to go.” Brandon has play practice tomorrow. If he’s not in class, he can’t practice. If he wants to be in the play, he can’t miss practice. “I’m really dreading it,” he says. “It’s just really, really scary knowing tomorrow’s the day when stuff is supposed to happen. Please see Threat/Page A8 Top Bucs prospects will play for Curve By Cory Giger Mirror Sports Staff The Altoona Curve markets their players as “the Pittsburgh Pirates of the future,” a slogan that could fit more this season than the past two. The Curve, Pittsburgh’s Double-A franchise, will field several of the Pirates’ top prospects when the 2001 season opens April 6. Such marquee players have been lacking on the Curve roster during the first two years, but the pendulum will start swinging the other way beginning this season. “Ifs just going to be fun to watch special talent,” Curve general manager Jeff Parker said. Some of that talent includes catcher J.R. House, rated the Pirates’ No. I prospect by Baseball America, and outfielder J.J. Davis, who’s ranked No. 3 in the Bucs’ organization. Pitcher John Grabow (No. 9) also is slated to be in Altoona this season. The Curve have had only one organizational prospect ranked as high as No. 3 the past'two years — Rico Washington in 2000. Later this season, they might field a team with the Pirates’ top three prospects if pitcher Bobby Bradley, who’s No. 2, receives a promotion from Single-A. Please see Prospects/Page A8 TRAINING REPORT Cavrich    Giger Mirror photographer J.D. Cavrich and sports writer Cory Giger are in Bradenton, Fla., with the Curve during spring training. Catch their reports from the Sunshine State beginning in Tuesday’s Mirror. By Robert Igoe A SHINING Staff Writer Pittsburgh—just weeks ■^before the first baseball game I will be played at PNC Park, an older construction worker sits alone in Section 213, enjoying his lunch on break from putting the final touches on the stadium before the Pittsburgh Pirates’ first exhibition game Saturday. As the sun lights up the lush, green field where Kris Benson will pitch to baseball’s best hitters, the right field wall where Jason Kendall and Brian Giles will aim to be the first Pirate to knock a baseball into the Allegheny River, and the magnificent Pittsburgh skyline that was hidden from fans by Three Rivers Stadium, he lights up with pride. “I think we’ve built a beautiful new ballpark,” he said as a plastic bag danced in the wind nearby. “I feel like I have the seat of honor, • huh?” On Thursday, the Pirates opened the gates to Pittsburgh-area television crews to get them accustomed to the electronic setups they will use to broadcast games and news from the $228 million stadium at the corner of General Robinson Boulevard and Federal Street. What the fans will see on television and in person is a ballpark with the charm of the mid-20th century and the conveniences of the 21st century. The field surface, unlike Three Rivers Stadium, is grass surrounded by a cinder warning track. PNC Park follows the trend of baseball stadiums that are moving away from artificial turf, which became popular in the 1960s and 1970s for low maintenance. The turf quickly grew out of favor with players, however, who found that the hard fields encouraged injuries. Please see Diamond/Page A8 DIAMOND Final details being finished for PNC Park's opening day Play ball__ Fir»t game (exhibition): March 31 vs. New York Mets 1 36 pm First game (regular season): April 9 vs Cincinnati Reds 1.35 p m Last game of season: Sept 26 vs Chicago Cubs. 7 OS p m Groundbreaking: April ? 1999 Cost of construction: $2?8 million site acquisition Architect HOK Sport (Kansas City, Mo) and L D Astonno & Associates (Pittsburgh) Construction Dick Corp (Pittsburgh) and Barton Malow (Baltimore) Surface: Grass By the numbers Left field line: 325 feet (6-foot fence) Left center power alley: 389 feet including a 410-foot nook (10-foot waft) Straightaway center field; 399 feet Right center power alley: 375 feet Right field line: 320 feet (21-fort wall hononng Roberto Clemente) Seating capacity; 38.127 lf you go Phone: (877)893 BUCS Online: www prrateball com or www tickets cgm In person: PNC Park Ticket Officp or Pirate Clubhouse Store locations Price range: $3t' (Dugout boxes) lo $9 (Out! eld grandstand) Mirror graphic by Tom Worthington ll Mirror photos by J.D. Cavrich Above: The view of PNC Park from the upper deck behind home plate includes part of downtown Pittsburgh’s skyline. Below: From the upper deck of PNC Park, over the main entrance, the Steelers’ new stadium can be seen (right). INSIDE TODAY COVER STORY: Getting your body ready for spring and summer Penn State bars nudity, sex acts at campus event STATE COLLEGE (AP) — A gay rights group said it agreed to special conditions and accepted the possibility of outside scrutiny in order to hold a “Safer Sex Cabaret’’ on Penn State University’s campus. After recent flaps over sexual content of other student-run events reached the state Legislature, students in the ALLIES group agreed to have no nudity, lewd touching or sex acts in exchange for being allowed to stage the cabaret in a university auditorium. One of the organizers, ALLIES member Jennifer Dumin, said administrators warned the group that if it held the event on campus it could be subject to close scrutiny by conservative groups. Dumin said the students decided at a meeting last week to hold the event on campus anyway. “We did it last year, and nobody raised an eyebrow,” she said. The cabaret is among events planned on campus this week as part of an annual Pride Week, supporting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Please see Nudity/Page A6 DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 '22910 00050 BIG FOUR 0 8 (2 8 I Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Cold with flurries, 30° ■ Forecast, A2 Alumna Mirror THE GREAT COMBINATION Call us today...Make money today. -A.sk for THE GREAT COMBINATION of MIRROR CLASSIFIEDS and HOT-ADS Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) 946-7^47_ SMILING WITH STATUES ll f TV i rn 8 .. * Russell Crowe (left) receives the Oscar for best actor in “Gladiator” and Julia Roberts (right) presents an award prior to her best actress win for “Erin Broekovich” Sunday. See story, Page bl. □ local □ nation Business A7 Classifieds C3-10 Movies A7 Obituaries A9 Opinion A4 □ life □ sports Comics D5 Community news D2 High schools B4 Puzzles D4 Scoreboard B5 Television D4 The Associated Press INSIDE Learning about the mechanics of robots PAGE 03 ;

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