Altoona Mirror, January 6, 2001

Altoona Mirror

January 06, 2001

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Issue date: Saturday, January 6, 2001

Pages available: 72

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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - January 6, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Sports: Altoona boys down Bishop Guilfoyle Ufe: Furnishing new homes a little at a time Dl JUtmnta Copyright 2001 SATURDAY, JANUARY 6, 2001 newsstand Murder-for-hire charges tossed after legal delays Both women originally cited in bizarre case are now off the hook. BY PHIL RAY StaffWriter Charges against an Altoona woman who allegedly masterminded a murder-for-hire plot aimed at her estranged husband's new girlfriend were dismissed Friday by Blair County Judge Norman D. Callan because she did not receive a speedy trial. Carolyn Marie Burke, the mother of three, buried her head in the anus of a friend as she left Callan's courtroom just after noon. The friend, Brenda Futrell, said Burke had nothing to say. "We are said Burke's attor- ney, Public Defender Don Speice. Blair County District Attorney Dave Gorman said Burke had not been brought to trial yet because of a legal question surrounding testimony from the prosecution's star witness. The witness, Christopher Chaplain, who was 17 years old at the time of the alleged murder plot, had notified the dis- trict attorney a few days before Burke's trial date in January 2000 that he want- ed to change part of his testimony. He was informed if he changed his story he faced arrest. At that point, Chaplain said he would cite his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimi- nation if called to testify. Gorman then tried to grant immunity to Chaplain in an effort to force him to testify. When Callan refused to take away Chaplain's right to cite the Fifth Amendment, Gorman asked the state Superior Court to review the case. Recently, the Superior Court sent the case back to Blair County after ruling that the district attorney's petition was not timely since Chaplain had never been called formally to testify, and therefore had never cited the Fifth Amendment in an attempt to bar his testimony. Please see A8 Speice (left) and Gorman (right) haggled over delays in a high-profile murder trial before Callan sided with the defense. HIGHWAY HAVOC Mirror Photo by Kelly Bennett 'mergency workers try to remove a person from a sport utility vehick that collided with a tractor-traikr northbound on Interstate 99 between the Plank Road and Frankstown Road exits. The driver was in critical condition and a 3- year-old passenger was in fair condition. I PAGE A3 November-December period nation's coldest on record E WASHINGTON (AP) The sus- picions of millions of shiver- ing Americans were con- firmed Friday by government weath- er experts it was the nation's cold- est November-December period. "Two months in a row of much below-average temperatures resulted in the coldest November-December U.S: temperature on record, 33.8 degrees said Jay Lawrimore, chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch at the National Climatic Data Center. This broke the. old record of 34.2 set in 1898. It was the country's second coldest November nationwide and the sev- enth coldest December, according to records kept by the Center in Asheville.N.C. And the outlook isn't cheering. National Weather Service Director Jack Kelly said the weather of 2000 was shaped by variability and extremes, which will continue throughout the winter. "The eastern and western United States will experience additional cold outbreaks at least through March with periods of moderation in he said. The wintry weather was not unex- pected, however, with the Weather Service calling for a return to more normal winter conditions after sever- al years of mild winters, Lawrimore noted. The El Nino-La Nina weather phe- nomenon in the Pacific Ocean has faded into a near neutral state, elimi- nating that strong weather influence of the last few years. Now conditions are more like those of the 1970s, he said, with the jet fast, high-level wind that helps direct the movement of weather forming a trough in the central and eastern United States, bringing cold arctic air southward Forty-three states within the con- tiguous U.S. recorded below average temperatures during the November- December period, according to records kept by the Center, a division of the government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Penny postal increase to take effect Sunday BY WALT FRANK StaffWriter A penny saved is a penny earned, and those pennies are going to come in handy when the cost of mailing a first-class letter climbs a penny to 34 cents beginning Sunday. The increase will cost the average household about 15 cents per month. And that will mean a lot more pennies for the U.S. Postal Service, which deliv- ers more than 107 billion pieces of first- class mail per year in the United States. Not surprisingly, local people aren't happy about the postage increase. "I think it costs too much to send a letter now. I think it is high said Linda Becker, Juniata Gap. "It seems to keep going up every other year, I think it is ridiculous." "I really wonder if they really need said Jean Harriger Belsano. "You can almost make a call for a minute at the price you pay to mail a letter." Please see A8 Frustration, few answers at Ashville ambulance summit BY MIA ROHART 'StaffWriter five dozen peo- ple turned out Friday night to discuss the future of this community's strug- gling volunteer ambulance service, run by the Ashville Volunteer Fire Department. The Ashville ambulance service has been working under a provi- sional license for a year now because of staffing problems, said Sandy Jablonski, executive director of Southern Alleghenies EMS Council. "The service now is failing to provide ALS [Advanced Life Support] service on 60 percent of their she said. Jablonski agreed that 40 percent service is better than nothing but she said the service should aim higher. "We have to raise the she said. "We have to set goals that are reason- able and set reasonable time limits to achieve those goals." Please see A3 2 more House hopefuls surface Developer Greg Morris is the first Blair County Democrat to express interest in Shuster's seat. BY WILLIAM KIBLER Staff Writer Add two names to the growing list of those who want to fill Bud Shuster's seat in U.S. Congress: Atyoona devel- oper Greg Morris and former opponent Monte Kemmler. Morris admits his candidacy may sound a bit strange he's a Democrat in a traditionally Republican district and a political novice. But that shouldn't rule him out as a viable candidate, he said, noting that he's a conservative Democrat with views reflecting traditional Democratic positions main- ly on the social issues. On business issues, his views swing more toward the GOP point of view. Like one of the potential candidates for the Republican nomination, Bill Shuster, Morris said politics is in the blood. He said he had a grandfather who was very involved in Washington, D.C., politics. Morris, an Altoona native, considered running against Shuster in 1994 but backed off, realizing it was probably hopeless. But it looks wide open to him now. He'll be introducing himself and sharing his qualifica- tions to the Democratic committee chairman in the 11 counties in the district. He's the only Blair Democrat so far to declare interest in the seat publicly. "It's really he said. "I regard it as a national job." Democratic Blair County Commissioner Donna Gority said Thursday that she hadn't heard of any Democrats interested in the 9th District seat except State Rep. Jeff Coy of Franklin County. Gority isn't interested in the seat for herself and wouldn't be even if this were a Democratic district. Her job as the commissioner responsible for human services gives her the opportunity for community participation that would be lacking as a member of Congress, said Gority. Even if a Democrat won by fluke or unique circum- stances in the upcoming special election, it would be hard to hold onto the seat, especially if reapportionment makes the district even more Republican, she said. Kemmler, a Republican, who challenged Shuster in 1996 and 1998, hopes to be considered for the newly opened Congressional seat. He could be seen as a "sleeper" candidate, he said. "I am still considering the opening myself, and I noticed that I haven't been mentioned by any of the press Kemmler said. "I certainly don't want to walk away from my former efforts." Please see A8 Shuster Staff Writer William Kibler looks at the political maneuvering already under way in the race for Bud Shuster's soon-to-be-vacated Congressional seat. DfUVCKY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 4109 I Lottery numbers, A2 WEMHDt Cloudy, chance of snow, Forecast, C2 Altoona iHtrror THE GREAT COMBBMAT8OM Call us today...Make money today. Ask for TMfl GKKAT COMBINATION of UntHOSJ CLASSIF1KOS and HOT-ADS Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) 946-7547 0 NATWN Business Hospitals Obituaries Opinion Local Scoreboard AS Classifieds C2-8 A7 A7 n i Comics D5 Community news D2 B4 i Movies D3 B5 i Television D4 ;