Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - March 1, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania
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© Copyright 2001THURSDAY, MARCH I, 2001
500 newsstandJudge tosses majority of Curve suits
By Phil Ray
JOHNSTOWN — A federal judge has dismissed large chunks of the reciprocal lawsuits brought more than two years ago by the owners of the Altoona Curve, and he declared the issues that remain will go before a jury in May.
U.S. District Judge D. Brooks Smith said the relationship between the two men most responsible for bringing Double-A minor league baseball to Altoona has been “marked by discord from its
■ The Altoona Curve, with new manager Dale Sveum, are set to begin spring training / Page B6
The legal wrangling began in October 1998, as the Blair County Ballpark was being built in Lakemont.
But as indicated in Smith’s 46-page opinion filed Tuesday, the angst between Curve majority owner Robert Lozinak of Baltimore, a former owner the Albuquerque Dukes, and minority
owner J. Taylor DeWeese of Bedford, a former federal prosecutor and a developer, almost scuttled the effort.
Lozinak pulled out of the deal after DeWeese allegedly told him he had no money to help pay the $4.5 million price of a franchise fee set by* the National Association of Baseball Leagues to obtain a Double-A club in Altoona.
DeWeese made telephone calls to scuttle Lozinak’s effort when he learned Lozinak had formed a new business to obtain a franchise
minus DeWeese, the judge said.
The pair then entered into two agreements, one a letter of understanding, the other called a Restatement of Agreement, which supposedly made Lozinak the managing partner with day-to-day responsibilities for the operation of the ball club but gave DeWeese a role in reviewing the operation of the Curve.
In their lawsuits, each claimed the other acted deviously throughout their relationship, charging violations of the Pennsylvania
Securities Act and various other laws.
Now the judge has whittled down the contentions so the case can be heard by a jury.
Smith let stand Lozinak charges that DeWeese violated Pennsyl vania Seem’ities law by allegedly misleading Lozinak that he had money and that he intended to put up his 39 percent ownership of the team and a beach house he owned in New Jersey as collateral for the $4.5 million loan that Lozinak and his wife obtained to pay the franchise fee.
But Smith dismissed charges that DeWeese had violated the agreements between the pair by attempting to negotiate a contract with Coca-Cola after Lozinak negotiated a contract with Pepsi to provide soda at the ballpark.
The judge said that under Pennsylvania security laws, Lozinak had to show the Curve lost money because of DeWeese’s interference with the soda contract. He could not, and the judge dismissed the charge against DeWeese.
Please see Curve/Page A5
Survey readied to rate Charter
■ City asks random residents to complete questions in anticipation of cable negotiations.
By William Kibler
To prepare for negotiating a new cable-franchise agreement with Charter Communications, the city is asking 2,200 randomly selected residents how <he company is doing through surveys mailed this week.
The surveys ask the residents to rate technical quality, program appeal and variety, fairness on price and responsiveness to customers. The surveys also ask Owhat types of programs are most important and whether customers might be using cable lines for computer information.
A council and staff committee is working with a consultant to get ready for the negotiations for a new agreement to replace the 15-year agreement that expires at the end of 2002.
Despite the questions concerning programming and price, the federal Telecommunications Act gives little leverage for municipalities to control either programming or price through franchise agreements, city council members said.
“We’re highly restricted,” Councilman Tom Shaheen said.
Nevertheless, the committee plans to use all the leverage it has, members said.
Please see Survey/Page Al2
Mirror photo by Gary M Baranec
Helen Ickes (left) mid Grace Moore, both of Altoona, shop Wednesday afternoon at Discount Surplus Outlet at 412 E. Sixth Ave. The popularity of discount stores in Blair County has grown by leaps and bounds.
SURPLUS SHOPPING SPROUTS
By Michael Emery
There’s Dollar General Stores, Dollar Bargain Stores and Dollar Discount Stores of America.
National chain discount stores have been around for years.
In recent years, the discount business has gone local. In Blair County, the number of discount surplus stores has grown by leaps and bounds.
There’s First Stop Shop Discount Grocery Outlet, Discount Supply Outlet, Discount Surplus Outlet, Bickers Surplus I and II and Buffs Caboose, just to name a few. v The popularity of these discount surplus stores is simple economics,
said Chad Confer, store manager of First Stop Shop Discount Grocery Outlet at 1815 Union Ave. “Most of our items cost one-third the price that you’ll find at grocery stores. We cater to those who value a dollar and want to save money.”
Jim Focht, owner of Discount Surplus Outlet at 412 E. Sixth Ave., added, “Our customers get a lot more bang for their buck.”
Business has been bustling at many of the local discount stores, and the beauty of it is that consumers and business owners alike are benefiting.
“I saw a big opportunity in the discount surplus business,” said Focht, who opened Discount Surplus Outlet 2 Vi years ago after closing his former business, H&H Appliance,
which was in operation for 30 years in Altoona. “We’re able to buy a diverse variety of products and pass those savings on to our customers. It’s been very successful. A lot of our customers come from Altoona, but we also have been getting people coming in from all over the surrounding area, including Patton, Philipsburg and even Cumberland, Md. We’re relatively new to the business, but every year it grows and grows and grows.”
Lisa Ann Miller of Hollidaysburg drove a delivery express truck before she was inspired to open a discount store on Loop Road, across from Norfolk Southern in Blair Township.
Please see Surplus/Page A5
WEB CONFUSIONSites on Net linking to wrong party
By Kevin Ott Staff Writer
Here’s a fun experiment to try at home: Type www.billshuster.com into your Internet browser. Then try www.budshuster.com. Then try www.bill-shuster.net and www.shusterforcongress.com.
Each of these Web addresses is likely to take you to the site for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
This is odd for the single reason that Bill Shuster is the Republican candidate for the recently vacated 9th Congressional District seat. It would be like typing “www.georgewbush.com” into a Web browser and winding up at an Al Gore Web site or like calling a pizza parlor and somehow ordering Chinese instead.
The domain names are registered to Erin Woodhead, a State College woman. Woodhead did not return phone messages.
Whenever a Web site is created, the name for that site must be registered with the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers. ICANN regulates Web addresses, which commonly are fought over in business and industry.
The Shuster for Congress campaign issued a statement calling the links a “sophomoric prank.”
“There are 75 days until the special election, and this type of distraction is simply a juvenile disservice to the people of the 9th Congressional District,” Shuster said in the statement. “Taxpayers want to know where the candidates stand on the issues; they don’t want to see a bunch of silliness.”
Scott Conklin, the Democratic candidate for the 9th District seat, didn’t know about the links but echoed Shuster’s comments.
“The last thing I want to see is this whole campaign get sidetracked from the issues,” he said.
Ifs unclear why the woman to whom the names are registered created the links. A spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said he knew nothing of the links, and they were not part of a plan by the DCCC.
Web mischief on the campaign trail is nothing new, Conklin said. Someone hacked into a site supporting Coriklin, the Democratic candidate said, altering pictures and changing text to indicate that he supports positions he doesn’t support.
Please see Net/Page A5
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DISTRICT 6 CLASS AAAA SEMIFINALS
Lindsey Haulmah shoots from long range as the Altoona Lady Lions defeated Hollidaysburg, 56-41, at Tyrone High School Wednesday in semifinal playoff action. State College boys dropped Hollidaysburg, 57-36.
2 0 16
I Lottery numbers, A2
■ Forecast, A2
Food for thought, or to ‘earn’ higher marks
By Mike Crissey
The Associated Press PITTSBURGH - Students have been giving apples to get into teachers’ good graces for years. But police said one teen-ager may have gone too far.
Two teachers at Canon-McMillan High School face theft charges in what police called an exchange of grades for groceries with a student who worked at a store in suburban Pittsburgh.
Business teacher John Banaszak, 27, of McMurray and math teacher John Gasbarrini, 26, of Bridgeville were charged Monday with theft, conspiracy to
Student who wotted at grocery store allegedly covered bar codes in exchange for good grades.
commit theft and contributing to the delinquency of a minor for the scheme.
“The student told them he’d hook them up with groceries for a better grade,” South Fayette Township police Officer Ken Radinick said Wednesday.
Banaszak has an unlisted number. A message left with Gasbarrini was not returned.
The teachers were placed on leave during an investigation by school officials and face a hearing on the criminal charges March 26.
The teachers met with Principal Mark Hoover Wednesday afternoon, at which time they decided the men would be suspended with pay until mid-March. After that, the teachers will be suspended without pay until the case against
them has concluded, Hoover said.
Hoover said he never had heard of such an arrangement in his ll years as a school administrator. The men were first-year teachers making about $27,000 per year, Hoover said.
Police and school officials said the teen-ager, a junior, had not yet been charged or disciplined for his role. They would not say how old he was.
Police said the scheme unraveled Sunday when a manager at the grocery store noticed the teenager was placing his hand over bar codes on some items when Banaszak was in line.
Please see Marks/Page A5
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