Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - November 28, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania
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WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2001
Blair won’t pursue Curve ownership
By Phil Ray
HOLLIDAYSBURG - Blair County commissioners said unanimously Tuesday that they are not interested in purchasing the Altoona Curve Cla§s AA baseball team.
Commissioners said they want the team’s sale completed as soon as possible,
County weighs in with new fee
■ Blair businesses now must pay $7.50 for each device used for measurements.
By Phil Ray
HOLLIDAYSBURG - Although Blair County’s $51 million budget does not contain a real-estate tax increase in 2002, a new fee has been added so consumers get what they pay for when they go to the store or purchase gasoline.
The county has few sources of local revenue other than the real-estate tax, Commissioner John J. Ebersole said.
■ Jail, court costs blamed for Huntingdon tax hike / Page A7
■ Cash-strapped Bedford votes to increase levy / Page A10
The county had to do something to help pay for its Department of Weights and Measures after Altoona City Council decided it no longer would help pay for the program under which scales in stores and gasoline pump computers are checked for accuracy.
So commissioners Tuesday passed an ordinance that requires annual registration of commercial weighing and measuring devices.
The ordinance will require businesses to pay $7.50 for each measuring device.
Ralph P. Diehl Jr., the county’s sealer of weights and measures, said the fee should raise $25,092, about half the cost of the department.
The fee stems from City Council’s attempts to save money by refusing to help fund weights and measures.
Please see Fee/Page A9
but they acknowledged tho county’s option to buy the team has complicated matters.
Altoona Baseball Properties, owned by majority owner Robert Lozinak and minority partner J. Taylor DeWeese, has decided to sell the Curve to a group headed by Pittsburgh attorney Charles E. Greenberg.
But according to a contract signed by
Lozinak, DeWeese and county commissioners in 1998, the county has an option to match any offer the present owners ve.
The city of Harris five years ago purchased the Eastern League’s Senators, but county Commissioner Donna Gority pointed out that the Senators were about
to be moved from Harrisburg, a step that would have pulled the rug out from under major development plans the city was undertaking.
No such situation exists in Altoona, and Greenberg has said he will not move the Curve.
“I don't think any of us are seriously interested in purchasing a team," Gority
said. “It seems to me it would operate more efficiently with private owners.” Gority said the county would have a major financial problem if it purchased the team. It would cost several million dollars, and Gority isn’t sure that commissioners would have the borrowing power to come up with such a large sum.
Please see Curve/Page A9
SEEING THE LIGHT
Mirror photo by J.D Cavrich
Light-emitting diode traffic signals, including the one pictured above at Union and Margaret avenues, have green arrows that shine brighter than incandescent ones.
Traffic signals save electricity
By Mark Leberfinger
New, more-efficient traffic signals are a part of the Altoona landscape.
During the last two years, the city of Altoona has replaced red and green arrow incandescent lights for light-emitting diodes.
The replacement project cost between $25,000 and $30,000, city public works Director David Dietrich said.
PennDOT, which approved the LED signals for statewide use, says the signals are not only brighter than incandescent traffic signals, but
Please see Light/Page A9
WAR ON TERRORISM ► Pages Cl, C4
U.S. planes hit leaders’ compound
BY THOM SHANKER
and James Dao
New. York Times News Service
TAMPA, Fla. — American warplanes bombed a compound southeast of Kandahar, Afghanistan, Tuesday that the Pentagon said was used by leaders of the Taliban, al-Qaida and Wafa, an Islamic foundation accused of terrorist activities.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said the compound was damaged and fatalities were likely, but he added that it was too early to know who might have been killed in the attack.
Officials said they did not know whether Mullah Muhammad Omar, the leader of the Taliban, or Osama bin Laden was present at the compound when it was struck.
“Whoever was there is going to wish they weren’t,” Rumsfeld said after visiting the U.S. Central Command, which is overseeing the war in Afghanistan.
“It was clearly a leadership area,” he said, and he explained the site was bombed after surveillance had picked up evidence of "nontrivial leadership activity.”
Providing their most explicit details to date in the hunt for bin Laden, senior Pentagon officials said Tuesday that the military was focusing its search for the al-Qaida leader and the Taliban leadership on the region around Kandahar in southern Afghanistan and a narrow band of mountainous, cave-riddled terrain stretching from Kabul to the Khyber Pass and including areas outside Jalalabad.
Senior military officials also said the Pentagon had identified 40 Afghan laboratories and industrial facilities, some of them in areas still controlled by Taliban or al-Qaida
Whoever was there is going to wish they weren’t.
Donald Rumstold, Secretary of Defense
forces, that are suspected of having the potential for producing biological or chemical weapons.
American officials have visited some of the sites and begun tests to determine whether biological or chemical weapons, or their precursors, had been produced there.
The officials said the sites would be destroyed if conclusive evidence were found, but they said the chemicals uncovered so far could be used for making fertilizer and other nonmilitary products.
“We have acquired a great deal of samples, and now what we need to do is be very thorough in the analysis,” Gen. Tommy R. Franks, commander of American forces in Afghanistan, said Tuesday in a news conference at a hotel near his headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base here.
Franks said that, thus far, tests had not confirmed the presence of chemical or biological weapons.
"If I thought I had my hands on a vial of sarin gas, then I’d be a bit more circuitous in my answer,” he told reporters. "And so no, we have not found something that we believe is a specific thing.
Please see Compound/Page A12
Philadelphia quietly operates as major moonshine market
LIQUOR IN PA
By JOANN Loviglio
The Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA — If the word “moonshine” conjures images of hillbillies filling a few little brown jugs with homemade hooch for their friends, think again: Illegal liquor is big business, authorities say, and with the corncob pipe,” said Bart McEntire, Philadelphia is a major market. special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol,
"These people aren’t like Snuffy Smith Tobacco and Firearms in Roanoke, Va.
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“Moonshine is very profitable; it’s run like a corporation, and the people at the top are very rich.”
Philadelphia most recently entered the public eye as a moonshine hub in March 2000 when 27 people from North Carolina to Philadelphia were indicted as part of a federal crackdown on the illegal whiskey trade called Operation Lightning Strike.
The popularity of “white lightning” in Philadelphia surprised some, but authorities say the city has been a popular stop on moonshiners’ maps for decades.
There are no firm figures on how much illegal liquor is made in the United States each year.
But investigators say modern-day moonshiners make millions of dollars by pro
viding whiskey for illegal "shot houses” in Philadelphia and other East Coast cities where the clear com liquor is sold for as little as $1 per shot.
“It has a distribution network and a hierarchy of people working to make as much money as they can,” McEntire said. “It operates like a drug cartel.”
Please see Moonshine/Page A12
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Opinion State news
People who smoke cigarettes marketed as “low tar" or “light” tend to smoke more and inhale more deeply to get the same nicotine, eliminating any health benefit.