Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - January 9, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania
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© Copyright 2001TUESDAY, JANUARY 9, 2001
Shuster reflects on his past and future
The full text of Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler’s interview with retiring Congressman Bud Shuster will appear in Sunday’s Mirror.
By William Kibler
Congressman Bud Shuster was a leader in building roads, but he also may have helped lead Saddam Hussein down a wrong road, helping the United States and its allies win the Persian Gulf War.
In his first local interview since announcing his retirement from the U.S. House, effective Jan. 31, Shuster told the Mirror Monday that his involvement in the Gulfwar was one
of his proudest moments in office. The text of the entire interview will appear in Sunday’s Mirror.
After months of allied air attacks in 1991-92, Saddam was bracing for an amphibious assault. As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Shuster was visiting a ship in the Persian Gulf area when he told reporters the sea landing would be bigger than at Inchon in Korea.
To some, it appeared the congressman was giving away too much of
America’s war strategy, but Shuster said his statement was all part of the plan, floated publicly on suggestion of an aide to Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf as a diversion.
It may have contributed to Saddam’s sending key divisions to guard the expected landing point, and to thin the flanks, where the real attack came, successfully.
“I’m very, very proud,” he said, his face low over his office desk, his voice growing husky.
Shuster said he began thinking of retirement last spring.
President Clinton was signing Shuster’s big airline funding bill that, like an earlier highway bill, unlocked huge funds for transportation.
Clinton asked, “What are you going to do for an encore?” Shuster said. The congressman said he realized he reached his “pinnacle” as a lawmaker, that he didn’t have much left to accomplish.
Please see Shuster/Page A8
City must fill 3 spots
■ Police Chief John Treese is retiring: Finance Director Liesl Shaheen has new job.
By William Kibler
All of a sudden, the city is losing its police chief, its finance director and its highway superintendent.
Police Chief John Treese is retiring after 40 years on the force. Finance Director Liesl Shaheen is leaving to take a job in the State College Area School District, and highway boss Steve Wasylak is returning to private industry.
The loss of Shaheen and Wasylak to other jobs led council members to propose a committee to study how to retain managers.
Treese, 62, is leaving after 3 Va years as chief because of health problems, and he wants to spend more time with his family.
“He was a cop’s cop,” said City Manager Joe Weakland, who is responsible for replacing all three city vacancies. “His life wasn’t devoted as in some cases with chiefs, to management-type issues.”
Ruddy, husky and unmistakably Irish, Treese is proudest nevertheless of being named chief. He said the experience “topped things off’ after a long and productive career.
Treese had a bout with cancer and is undergoing some more tests.
“My health is suspect,” he said. “I’m optimistic.”
But he and his wife plan to travel to Rome this spring and visit the west coast and Alaska.
“I don’t want to wait too long,” he said.
During his term as chief, he had a hand in forming the Altoona Drug and Crime Commission, which worked from the summer of 1998 to the spring of 1999 and helped turn back the trend of big-city drug dealers importing their drug culture here. The exposure helped lead to tighter controls of rehab centers. Treese also headed the department when it moved into its new station from its digs scattered throughout old City Hall.
His biggest disappointment was the Anthony Panagopolos scandal.
“One of our own,” he said. Panagopolos was in charge of the evidence locker in old City Hall and began taking drugs for his own use from it. He is in Cambria County Prison.
But good came out of it: The evidence locker system is much tighter now and promises to get tighter still with the coming of a computer system, Treese said.
Please see City/Page A4
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WHERE’S THE BEEF?
The Associated Press
Beef cattle, angus in the front line and Hereford in the rear, line up for separate judging Monday in the large arena at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg.
Farmers present their cattle at Pennsylvania Farm Show
By Hope Yen
The Associated Press
HARRISBURG — In a beef-cattle competition where there can be only one champion, things just weren’t meant to be for 1-year-old Maple. The black Angus, a stout, half-ton heifer with a boxy torso, took first place in her age class but fell short in the overall competition.
While Maple had the size, she apparently lacked the flair that the judges were looking for, her owner Jamie Hower said.
"They just didn’t think she was feminine enough,” said Hower, 19, of Bethlehem, as Maple, with her head down, lumbered out of the arena. Hower explained that usually means an “extension of a neck” and a “real clean end,” although it can be awfully subjective at times. “Sometimes, it just depends on how you show her,” Hower said.
It was just part of the many festivities Monday at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, where farmers showcased the animals that steer the state’s $360 million beef industry. The 150,000 beef cattle statewide — many of them in Lancaster — help make Pennsylvania the ninth largest beef producer.
For some judges, the beef-cattle competitions can pose a bit more of a challenge than other contests, particularly among the females, or heifers. Unlike their dairy counterparts, whose large, supple udders are considered a prize feature, a heifer is mostly rated for her mass, posture and the “way she moves.”
Please see Show/Page A4
Altoona teen-ager performs at event
By Michael Emery
For 14-year-old singing sensation Crystal Marie, performing in front of the largest indoor agricultural event in America was nothing to have a cow about.
After all, the Keith Junior High ninth-grader has been performing professionally for half her life. She has been singing since the age of 3. At age 7, she started performing as a professional and was performing at county fairs by ll.
She has opened for many esteemed artists, such as Bill Anderson, Danny and the Juniors, The Kinley’s, Ronnie McDowell, Connie Smith, Hank Williams III, Jett Williams, Kevin Sharp, Billy Walker and Joe Stampley.
Please see Event/Page A4
■ Advocates for poor give up fight, plan transition.
By Phil Ray
The nine-month political skirmish to save the present legal services program for the poor in four area counties has come to an end, partly because of the announced resignation of U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster.
Attorney LeGrande Perce of Bedford County, the chairman of Southern Alleghenys Legal Aid Inc., which provides legal services to the poor in Blair, Bedford, Somerset and Cambria counties, Monday gave the order for the director of the agency to begin a transition with several other programs that will move into the area to provide legal services.
Blair and Bedford counties will become part of MidPenn Legal Services of Harrisburg. Cambria County’s legal services program is to be provided by Laurel Legal Services of Greensburg, while Somerset’s program will be provided by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Aid in Washington, Pa.
Plans to dismantle the area’s present legal services program have been fiercely opposed by lawyers and others in Blair County, that opposition being led by Blair County President Judge Thomas G. Peoples.
Peoples said Monday that he was pinning his hopes of retaining the four-county legal services agency on Shuster, one of the most powerful Congressmen in the nation’s capital.
Peoples had been working with Shuster’s staff to contact the federal Legal Services Agency in Washington, D.C., to alter the state plan that called for the dismantling of the Southern Alleghenys.
The federal agency controls about half the funds for local legal services programs in the state.
With Shuster’s resignation, Peoples said, “I don’t think we can go any further.”
The new legal services programs coming into the area are promising to keep the present offices open for at least two years, but over the long run, Perce and others see the legal services program diminishing. Perce predicted there will continue to be legal aid offices in Altoona and Johnstown but questioned if they will retain an office in Bedford and Somerset counties.
Perce said Monday that he told the Southern
Alleghenys Director Don Shroyer to begin the transition.
The Southern Alleghenys, he said, will probably go out of business for good March 31.
He said he was upset because of all the legal services programs in the state, the Southern Alleghenys is the only one being dismantled.
Peoples said he believes poor people who need legal services will not be as well represented under the new system. He is concerned that under the new system, lawyers won’t be available to accompany their clients into the courtroom.
Peoples said he will keep a close eye on the new program, but he intends to appoint lawyers for the poor if the new agency doesn’t do the job. That could end up costing the taxpayers a lot of money.
Michelle DeBord, the director of MidPenn, said she will be in Altoona today to find an office for the new legal services program.
DeBord said State College legal services lawyer Steve Fleming is already taking a few cases from Blair and Bedford counties.
Please see Legal/Page A8
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