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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - October 1, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania INSIDE todaySPORTS: Steelers record first win of season / Bl UFE: Christian artists to perform at Jaffa / DIAltoona mirror © Copyright 2001MONDAY, OCTOBER I, 2001 500 newsstandCoping with a tragedy ■ Area students raise money and write letters to come to terms with the Sept. ll terrorist attacks. By Jay Young Staff Writer CW. Longer Elementary School fourth-grader Domenic Cuzzolina • feels better these days, a lot better than three weeks ago. A lot of children are smiling again as things slowly return to normal. Normalcy, or as close as they can get after the Sept. ll terrorist attacks, has been accomplished in schools by teachers setting aside portions of regular plans to allow time to cope. It was a need that became apparent early in the school day Sept. 12. Younger students may not have a complete understanding of what has happened, but they have a sense that something is wrong. “They are dealing with some really .strong emotions that they aren’t used to dealing with,” Longer counselor Trish Gray said. "They are little sponges for picking up on the emotional tone in the community, in school and at home. They look to us to see if they’re OK, and when they look at us and we’re not OK, then they know they’re not OK, either.” The motions were so strong for Cuzzolina the day after the attacks that classroom work nearl was impossible. During a visit to the office that day, the boy shared an idea he and his 12-year-old brother discussed. “We came up with this, and it was a really good idea,” Cuzzolina said, sitting in front of a desk covered with pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. In the background, other students counted change, while fourth-graders Anahi Meneses Bucio and Kaitlyn Felty spread out a pile of crumpled dollar bills. The more than $1,000 raised so far will go to the Salvation Army to assist in their relief efforts. But first, it must be counted. Gray thought about finding an automatic coin counter, but she realized that might defeat the purpose. "I think the actual physical act of counting is more memorable for them,” she said. Please see Tragedy/Page A6 PAGES A6, A7, Cl, C3 Mirror photos by Jay Young Above: C.W. Longer Elementary School fourth-grader Anahi Meneses Bucio counts a portion of the money she and her classmates collected for a relief fund to help those touched by the Sept. ll terrorist attacks. School staff had the students count the money by hand to help them cope with the strong feelings sparked by the tragedy. At right: Longer fourth-grader Domenic Cuzzolina was one of about 20 students who helped count money raised by the school. The boy shared his idea to collect the funds with school staff shortly after the attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.BELLWOOD-ANTIS SCHOOLS Residents opposing proposed upgrades ■ One critic says $3.7 million to improve district’s athletic facilities and parking availability has nothing to do with enhancing education. By Walt Frank Staff Writer BELLWOOD — Bell wood-Antis School District officials face opposition to a $3.7 million proposal to improve the district’s athletic facilities and to create additional parking. Superintendent Rod Kuhns hosted two feedback sessions with government officials, business people and residents Tuesday to gain public input before school board members decide whether to proceed with the project. District residents also can comment on the project at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 9 before the monthly school board meeting. Meanwhile, opposition to the project is growing Resident Clyde Flaugh has placed more than 300 letters at various locations expressing his objections. A petition also is circulating in the community and is expected to be presented to board members. “I am definitely against it,” Flaugh said. “Look at the economy in the area. Look what is going to happen to Tyrone [ Westvaco plant closings]; a number of jobs have been lost in Altoona.” “My biggest concern is, what does this do for education? It does almost nothing. If it were for education, I wouldn’t complain.” But extracurricular activities are an important part of the school’s curriculum, Kuhns said. “Every school knows how important it is to have an athletic program,” he said. “It is very important here at Bellwood-Antis.” Leo Matuszewski, vice chairman of Antis Township supervisors and chairman of the Northern Blair County’ Regional Sewer Authority, said the time is not right to proceed with the project. “I think that as a taxpayer and an elected official, it is a very worthwhile project,” Matuszewski said. “But in light of the past few weeks, it is not the time to do it. “We need to see more stability before we undertake a project of that magnitude. The land acquisition is a good move.” In August, board members reached sales agreements with M&T Bank to purchase about IO acres for $188,000 and with CRH Catering Co. Inc. for about one acre of land for $23,500. Please see Project/Page A4 District residents can comment on the proposed project at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 9 betore the monthly board meeting in the high school cafeteria. ‘Slight murmurs of change’ Census data show population up in Pennsylvania’s rural areas BY JEANETTE KREBS capitolwire.com HARRISBURG — In the heartland of Pennsylvania, more children are living in two-parent families, minority residents are growing and homeownership is increasing. At the same time, rural workers earn far less than the national average and have access to fewer doctors; and teens are not as likely to go to college as their urban counterparts. Pennsylvania has the largest rural population of any state in the nation, although that may change when the final census numbers are released. While much of the conversation generated by the cen sus has focused on population changes in urban and suburban areas, the once-a-decade snapshot of rural Pennsylvania shows the landscape of many small towns also is changing. Nationally, Pennsylvania ranks 48th among the 50 states in percentage of population change. Please see Change/Page A8 PENN STATE ALTOONA Students’ off-campus behavior will reflect standing at college By Mark Leberfinger Staff Writer The behavior of Penn State Altoona students who live off campus will affect their on-campus standing. “Most of our students are making wonderful decisions,” said David Shields, Penn State Altoona’s director of student affairs. For students who don’t make wonderful decisions, Penn State University has implemented a new code ■ Spokeswoman: Nittany Pointe Apartments tries to help students/ Page A4 of conduct covering off-campus misconduct. Previously, off-campus offenses such as underage drinking, public drunkenness, retail theft and criminal mischief wouldn’t have registered on the university’s judicial radar. But that changes with the new code of conduct. 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