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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - November 15, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania THAT’S RADN’: A LOOK AHEAD TO WHAT'S IN STORE FOR 2002 ► PAGE B3 seniors appearance in Happy Valley What a gas! Fast-burning Fuel enjoys life in rock ’n’ roll’s fast laneAltoona JHtrror © Copyright 2001 Charity changes field on money ■ All Liberty Fund donations will go to Sept. ll victims, Red Cross decides. By Shannon McCaffrey The Associated Press WASHINGTON — The American Red Cross reversed course Wednesday and said all of the more than half-billion dollars in dona* ftions that poured into its Liberty Fund will go to people harmed by the Sept. ll terrorist attacks. The turnabout is an effort to repair the battered image of one of the nation’s largest charities. ■ More terrorism coverage / Pages A6, Cl, C2 The Red Cross had planned to set aside more than $200 million of the fund to deal with future attacks, upgrade its telecommunications system, establish a blood reserve and do community outreach on anthrax and other matters. When that decision was made public, outraged critics said people gave with the assumption the money would go only to victims. Tile Liberty Fund has raised $534 million through millions of individual donations, a record for a charitable fluid. The outpouring was so overwhelming that officials stopped accepting contributions two weeks ago. Red Cross interim Chief Executive Officer Harold Decker apologized for what he called “a failure in communications between the American Red Cross and the American public.” ‘‘Americans have spoken out loudly and clearly that they want our relief efforts directed at the people affected by the Sept. ll tragedies,” Decker said at a news conference. He took over late last month after Bernadine Healy resigned, partly because of criticism of the fund she had set up. Red Cross officials announced that grants for families of the thousands of victims will be extended to a year from three months. Please see Fund/Page AS THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2001 SOC newsstand I ■ - GREAT AMERICAN SMOKEOUT Mirror photo by Jason Sipes According to the American Cancer Society, IO million Americans are expected to participate in the 25th annual Great American Smokeout today. More than 23,000 Pennsylvanians will die prematurely this year because of smoking. A story of success 70-year-old area woman says if she can quit, anyone can By Michael Emery Staff Writer The American Cancer Society commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Great American Smokeout today, and with it a quarter-century’s worth of stories like Ann Nesbella’s. Nesbella is a self-described sports nut and an outdoor enthusiast. She says she is more active today at 70 years old than ever in her life. Her main reason for living is her family, which includes three grandchildren and her 6-year-old toy poodle, Spanky, who she walks every day. Nesbella also does volunteer work two to three days a week at Altoona Hospital, where she worked as a nurse before retiring in 1994. In addition, she’s a season-ticket holder of the Altoona Curve, and toward the end of the 2001 season, she started working part time in the Curve Stockyard, the team’s gift shop at Blair County Ballpark. Nesbella bowls in a league, gardens and regularly mows her lawn on Pottsgrove Road in Logan Township. Nesbella’s active lifestyle wouldn’t be possible if it ON THI NIT For more information about how to quit smoking, visit the American Cancer Society's Web site at weren’t for one thing — four or five years ago, she kicked her 35-year habit and addiction to smoking. After years of smoking up to 2 x/i packs a day, Nesbella developed serious health problems, including bronchitis. “I felt miserable,” Nesbella said. “Just breathing was difficult.” Nesbella’s doctor — and grandchildren — urged her to quit. The final motivation came from a family member who told Nesbella there was no way she could kick the habit on her own. Please see Success/Page A5 CITY OF ALTOONA Tax hike avoided for now ■ City Council may be forced to cut services or find ways to generate revenue next year. By William Kibler Staff Writer Altoona City Council introduced a $19.1 million tentative budget Wednesday with no tax increase but plenty of misgivings. There’s a $1.06 million operating deficit, a spend-ing-revenue balance achieved only with help of a $700,000 windfall in worker’s compensation and a projected year-end surplus of zero. The council seemingly is preparing for potentially unpopular tactics to generate revenue and cut costs next year. Although all the councilmen approved the budget’s first reading, not all committed to voting for a tax freeze in three weeks when the budget and a related tax ordinance come up for final adoption. “It’s time to stop think ing about re-election and start thinking about what’s good for the city,” Councilman Ron Reidell said. “It’s time to get some intestinal fortitude.” The council needs to put itself “on the line” by raising taxes now or with revenue programs for next year, Reidell said. It might take cuts, even of staff, said Councilman    »« Bob Johnson, who touched off the torrent of worry by saying he is “very concerned.” Anyone who isn’t alarmed doesn’t have his head on straight, Councilman Mark Gels said. The council cut general-purpose property taxes by 2*.5 mills two years ago from the state’s absolute maximum of 30 mills, and they remain there. The council celebrated the cut then as a step toward 25 mills, the state’s regular limit, which would eliminate the need to go to court each year for permission to exceed that limit. But last year, and now this year, the council has dug into reserve funds to balance the budget. The council is offsetting the $1.06 million operating deficit this year with the windfall and its remaining $344,000 in reserve. Please see Tax/Page A4 It’s time to... start thinking about what’s good for the city. It's time to get some intestinal fortitude. Ron Reidell councilmanVandals strike memorial site for 11-year-old murder victim By Walt Frank Staff Writer TYRONE — State police are investigating the destruction of a memorial for a Florida girl who was found murdered near the Tyrone Reservoir. A group had constructed a 3 ^-foot-tall wooden cross and planted flowers along Interstate 99 in Snyder Township in memory of 11-year-old Melody Curtis. The Bushnell, Fla., girl was spending the summer with her grandmother, Lydia Booker, when she disappeared in late June 1996 while playing outside. Her decomposed body was found July 7,1996, near the reservoir. Ronald Isenberg Jr. pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in the girl’s death and was sentenced to 18 to 40 years in prison by Blair County Judge Hiram D. Carpenter. Melody’s mother, Tracy Curtis, said she became aware of the vandalism through a letter from a friend in the Tyrone area. She then called her r .    sister, Jonna Booker of Tyrone, to Curtis    i^k into the matter. Booker discovered the vandalism Nov. 4. Please see Memorial/Page A12Tyrone school kitchen workers experiencing health problems By Walt Frank Staff Writer TYRONE — Kitchen workers at Tyrone Area High School/Middle School are experiencing health problems again. School board members Tuesday agreed to pay H.F. Lenz of Johnstown $5,000 to review the design of the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system and to pay another firm to conduct air quality testing in the kitchen area. “We are still having problems. A couple of the cooks are still getting sick, and we aren’t sure why,” Superintendent William N. Miller said. “We have hired two independent firms that we haven’t dealt with in the past.” In late 1999, about a dozen kitchen workers reported symptoms of an apparent allergic reaction such as respiratory problems, rashes, disorientation and headaches. Despite extensive testing and cleaning, officials were not able to determine what caused the problem. In response, the district added new ductwork and an air-handling unit in the kitchen area. The district also replaced milk coolers in which some fungi and molds were found. Miller said he is baffled by the problem. Please see Kltchen/Page A12 ■■■■■MMI ■MBI DELIVERY | Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 7    22910    00050    a BIO FOURP 3 I Lottery numbers, A2 Partly sunny, 63° ■ Forecast, A2 ■ C. .V ;    .. 11,1    Make rf* A11 J Reservations for Ufo I ||t 1I1    your Holiday J ^    Party    Now! ITALIAN VILLA    943-8510 □ loc AL S3 NATSON Business A9 Classifieds C4-12 Comics A8 Nation iii a minute C3 Obituaries All ........-......... Opinion AO |»1 LIFE ■■■■Mi fp SPORTS MMM Movies 03 Night Life 02 Local B4 Planner 02 Scoreboard BS Television OS INSIDEIN NATION Astronomers predict this year’s Leonids meteor display, expected to appear before dawn Sunday, will be a dazzler worth missing a little sleep. PAGE Cl ;