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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - May 2, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Sports: Curve set record for most hits in win Life: Some last-minute diet changes before summer D1Altoona mirror © Copyright 2001WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2001 50$ newsstand mhhhnmmmhi Timing of bars closing debated By William Kibler Staff Writer Authorities moved to shut down Panda’s Bar as a public nuisance this week despite a decline in criminal activity and a hearing later this month that could lead to the loss of its liquor license. Law enforcement claims to have had good reason to obtain an injunction Monday that padlocked the downtown bar at 1211 lith Ave. and to seek a permanent lockdown in court today. But police have gone to the bar five times so far this year, all for minor calls — a rate that is 2Vi times lower than the 78 times they’ve gone in the past two-plus years. District Attorney Dave Gorman said there were three shootings and a stabbing at the bar last year. The cases involving the bar in the past three years include IO aggravated assaults, seven fights and 21 disturbances, plus harassments and drug dealings. “God forbid, we’re presented with this type of evidence and we don’t take action and there’s another shooting and someone dies,” Gorman said. Employees and customers at the bar said Monday that they thought authorities were trying to justify the shutdown by exaggerating the number and severity of problems there. No question things are better there now, Altoona police Chief Janice Freehling said. Three years ago, there was an open air drug market outside the bar. But arrests by the Blair County Drug Task Force and increased vigilance by bar owner Franklin West has helped the rate decline. This year, there has been a domestic altercation, a reported domestic altercation, an argument that threatened to escalate into a fight, a reported disturbance and someone wanted on a warrant, Freehling said. She didn’t say whether she thought West should be allowed to continue to operate. Panda’s qualified as a nuisance bar in the past, but whether it still meets the criteria is up to liquor enforcement, she said. The liquor-law enforcement investigation, which culminated in Gorman’s petition to padlock the bar, is deeper than just the last three months of relative quiet, said Sgt. Charles Strobert of the Pennsylvania’s Liquor Control Board’s regional office in Duncansville. Please see Bar/Page A4 Tax cut accord reached ■ Republicans in Congress agree to include $1.35 trillion package in 2002 budget; Bush declares victory. By Alan Fram The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Top congressional Republicans decided Tuesday to include a $1.35 trillion, 11-year tax cut in next year’s budget, giving President Bush most of the tax reduction he long has treasured but less than he and GOP leaders wanted. After failing to persuade pivotal moderate senators to support a deeper tax reduction, the White House and Republican leaders settled for the best they could get: a $1.25 trillion cut for 2002 through 2011, plus $100 billion more for 2001 and 2002 that is supposed to stimulate the economy. This is a great day for the American people and the American taxpayer. President Bush 53 “This is a great day for the American people and the American taxpayer,” said Bush, who took to the White House Rose Garden to declare victory. He hailed the deal for promising “meaningful, significant, sweeping tax relief, the most tax relief in a generation.” Bush had called for a 10-year, $1.6 trillion tax reduction since early in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 1999, making it the pillar of his economic plan. Only last week did he concede he would have to compromise in the face of opposition in the evenly divided Senate. The agreement would let Bush and congressional Republicans claim credit for one of the biggest tax cuts in decades. But it also underscored the limits on the president’s power forced by the Senate’s 50-50 division between the two parties. The new tax figure was reached only after several moderate senators said they would support it and White House aides concluded they could do no better. Bush used the tax agreement to cast himself as a leader who can ease partisan differences. “Republicans and Democrats have today proven we can work together to do what is right for the American people,” he said. Budget bargainers also seemed close to resolving a dispute over spending, said White House officials and congressional aides speaking on condition of anonymity. That is the last remaining impediment to crafting a compromise House-Senate budget for the coming fiscal year. Bush proposed a 4 percent increase for many programs for next year, a position endorsed by the House but doubled by the Senate. On Tuesday, leaders were testing support for a 5.2 percent increase. A spending agreement would let lawmakers push a final budget through Congress this week, clearing the way for the Senate to begin writing tax-cutting legislation quickly. 9TH DISTRICT DEBATE PARTING SHOTS Candidates hit hard over jobs, Medicare and Social Security By Robert IGOE Staff Writer It was the final round for Bill Shuster and Scott Conklin, and the gloves came off. Neither Conklin nor Shuster, two of three challengers for the 9th District seat in the U.S. Congress, withheld any enthusiasm or emotion from Tuesday’s AARP-sponsored debate at the Jaffa Mosque, even coming to a confrontation over the origin of their vehicles during a question about job retention. “My opponent likes to talk the talk,” said Shuster, the Republican. “But he does not walk the walk. He talks about businesses moving down to Mexico, but the symbol of his campaign is a German vehicle made in Mexico.” Shuster was referring to the customized Volkswagen Beetle that Conklin uses in his campaign. Conklin, the Democrat, responded to the jab by reminding the audience that the Dodge PT Cruiser, a vehicle sold at Shuster’s automobile dealership, also was manufactured in Mexico. The audience seemed divided in its reaction to both statements — an equal number said Shuster should not have raised the issue and that Conklin should not have responded to the barb. Please see Shots/Page A12 “What we have to do when it comes to Medicare is make sure that our seniors in rural Pennsylvania are getting the same coverage and reimbursements as those in Philadelphia. And every senior citizen who is covered by Medicare should receive prescription drug benefits.” — Scott Conklin Democrat “We have to be able to present more choices in health-care plans. In doing so, that creates competition and brings prices down and gives our seniors more options in health care.” — Bill Shuster Republican Mirror photos by J.D. Cavrich NAACP calls for increased security at PSU graduation By Dan LEWERENZ The Associated Press STATE COLLEGE — An NAACP leader called Tuesday for stricter security at Penn State University’s graduation, including metal detectors and pat-downs of guests if necessary. The Rev. Jeffrey Johnson, national youth director for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said such measures are imperative since the discovery Friday of the body of a black man about 20 miles from Penn State’s campus. The campus has been plagued by threatening letters sent to black students. However, police have said the body found doesn’t appear to have any connection to the university or the threats. Johnson said university administrators already had agreed to heighten security at graduation, in the student union, at the library and in campus computer labs, but more needs to be done. “I come before you this evening troubled. I come before you this evening upset. Please see Security/Page A5 William Wright, convicted of killing his former lover’s husband, claims he didn’t communicate with his attorneys and had little time to prepare for trial. DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 7    22910    00050    a BIG FOUR 2    9    3    7 ■ Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Mostly sunny, 83° ■ Forecast, A2 Convicted killer testifies lawyers failed him at trial By Phil Ray Staff Writer HOLLIDAYSBURG - William L. Wright of Altoona began his fight Tuesday to have his murder conviction and death sentence overturned by testifying that he and his attorneys didn’t communicate and didn’t have proper time to prepare for his trial. Dressed in a blue suit and appearing relaxed as he talked to Blair County Judge Hiram Carpenter, Wright said his attorney at the time, Thomas Hooper, failed to talk to him for months. Altoona attorney R. Thomas Forr now represents Wright in what could be several days of hearings to review the mistakes Forr said were made in the case. Forr said there was a difference of opinion on the defense’s strategy. Hooper wanted Wright to be evaluated by a psychologist to determine if he was competent to stand trial. Please see Wright/Page A4 RMHI ONA CAI*.I 1,0-    24    HOURS : V~ 3 CARS AVAILABLE AT ALL TIMES\ 942-7070 or 942-7073 □ local [3 NATION Business A9 Classifieds C6-14 Hospitals A13 Obituaries Opinion A13 A8 □ ura Q SPORTS Comics D5 Local B4 Community news Puzzles D2 D4 Scoreboard B5 Television D4 INSIDEIH WORLD Thousands of demonstrators in cities around the globe used May Day labor parades to advance their causes — often with violent results. PAGE Cl ;

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