Altoona Mirror, April 18, 2001

Altoona Mirror

April 18, 2001

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Issue date: Wednesday, April 18, 2001

Pages available: 80

Previous edition: Tuesday, April 17, 2001

Next edition: Thursday, April 19, 2001 - Used by the World's Finest Libraries and Institutions
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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - April 18, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Bush upholds EPA leackeporting requirements Cl Ninth annual dining experience being held Altonna iWtrror 0 Copyright 2001 WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 2001 newsstand Report: Wright penalty wrong BY PHIL RAY StaffWriter HOLLIDAYSBURO A Pittsburgh psychologist has sub- mitted a report to the new defense team representing convicted killer William L. Wright m, saying the death penalty imposed on a him a year ago "may be excessive and unwarranted." Herbert I. Levit characterized Wright's child- hood as "sordid! arid stat-1 ing Wright's young life was filled with rejec-l tion and physical, verbal and emo- tional abuse from his stepfather. The psychological expert said based on Wright's past, the depres- sion that he often experiences and the suicidal thoughts he has had over the years, the< death penalty could be the wrong sentence. The psychologist is expected to testify in two weeks, when Blair County Judge Hiram Carpenter holds four days of hearings on defense arguments challenging Wright's first-degree murder con- viction and death sentence imposed by a jury from Lebanon County a year ago. Wright, through his Altoona attorneys R. Thomas Forr Jr. and Brian Grabill, has submitted almost 60 pages of arguments chal- lenging the way his trial attorneys Thomas Hooper; Steven P. Passarello and J, Kirk Kling handled his case, rulings by Carpenter and violations of his constitutional right to due process or a fair trial. [the hearings] will be said Blair County District Attorney Dave Gorman, who will represent the prosecution, along with assis- tant district attorney Richard Cpnsiglio. .Gorman said Tuesday that the hearings will begin May 1 and are to continue over the next three days. ;Grabill said Tuesday that one of the key defense issues is that Wright's lawyers were ineffective. Please see AS Wright Here are a few tips to hefp make your home secure. Install sturdy doors of solid metal or wood at all entrances, and keep them locked. In nearly half of all home burglaries, intruders enter through an unlocked door or window. Lock doors even if you are leaving for only a few minutes- Install deadbolt locks on all external doors and secure sliding glass doors. Secure windows with key locks. Get to know your neighbors. Watch out for suspicious activily, and join or start a Neighborhood Watch group. Trim trees and hedges to allow fewer hidino places for burglars. Install outdoor lights or lights with motion detectors. Don t store valuables in predictable places such as bedrooms, dressers or under a mattress. Don t keep large amounts of cash or jewelry in the house. Keep small items locked in a safe or well-hidden. Provided by the National Crime Prevention Council. Mirror photo by Gary M. by Tom Worthington Home security systems becoming more popular BY TIFFANY SHAW StaffWriter family heard a crash down- stairs in the middle of the night I Their dog didn't awaken, but Mary Jo did. Before she walked down the steps, she called out and realized the noise wasn't coming from her five children. When she heard the second crash, she sent her boxer dog down first. Then her husband spotted someone running out their back door. The burglars had entered through a door accidentally left unlocked when the dogs were put out that night. The crash was the television the burglars dropped and left behind. Missing were a camera, the family's car keys and remote garage door open- er. The family had returned home to the Ebensburg area just one day before from vacation. "They must have thought we were still said Mary Jo, who asked her last name not be revealed for safety. The family always felt safe in the house because they thought their dogs would scare off intruders or awaken them if there was danger. "My big thing was I always felt safe because of the Mary Jo said. "But I woke up first. The dog didn't wake up or go down. Don't count on them to alert you." Although the family recovered from the shock of their home being violated, they don't want it to happen again. So they decided what millions of AmeMcans have chosen over the past few years and installed a home security system just days after the burglary. "It makes you feel much more secure. The kids feel better Mary Jo said. "When you are in the house with the alarm on, no one can come in like that again." Please see A6 ALTOONA AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT No tax hike in budget BY JAY YOUNG StaffWriter There will be no increase in property taj under the million Altoona Area Schr. District budget presented Tuesday to t school board. But if there is a fine line between raising taxes for the first time in 16 years and holding the line at 57 mills, the million SUM: million Ofttr jmitt: million Total: million THE NUMBERS ProfdMdZtXH-eZAttoom ATM School DMrlctMffl hnbwtlon: million Supporting itnrfctr million Nonlnrtrwtlwiil: mil- lion Praftrty: Ottwr million fund: million Total: million school district is walking it right now. The recent announcement of local layoffs and downturn in the economy forced the district to cut into some pro- grams and slash noninstructional services by 17 percent. The proposed 2001-02 general fund budget is balanced at "I would say this is the toughest year that we've had to Superintendent Dennis Murray said the challenge not to raise property taxes, would say that when you look at it, it mak me nervous. I think it may be too close. We1 just not growing the local real estate tax." A key to the hold on taxes is the estimat local revenue of about million in the pi posed budget, about a 6 percent increase ov this year's projected revenue. The concern the recent announcement of job cuts at plac such as Huck Jacobson, ai Butterick Co. will lower the money collect from area incomes. Murray that estimated those job loss alone will cost the district about addition, the district is taking an unanti pated hit in the cost of salaries in order comply with a pair of union grievances hei ings in other districts that apply across t state. One of those grievances cost the distr about to make the necessary adju ments. Please see AS 9th district candidates all claim win in debate By ROBERT IGOE StaffWriter of life is a matter of per- ception, and the world of politics is no different. President Bush is at the same time a beloved and hated presi- dent. The Republican tax cut plan is both a brilliant and terrible idea. It depends on who you ask. Thaf s how all three candidates in Monday's 9th Congressional District front of a crowd of 150 at Wilson College in are claiming a victory going into tonight's debate at the WPSX-TV stu- dios in State College. "I was pleased with my plans for the future of. the 9th Democratic candidate Scott Conklin said. "And I look forward to Wednesday's debate on Channel 3." In his statement to the media, Second debate between three for 9th Congressional State College afe WPSX-TV wi broadcast debate JMpllUi Mirror Staff Writer William represent the Altoona Mifrw. .The panel also will indude rep- rWwtattves front the Chambersburg puttie-Opinion and WTAJ-TV. Conklin claimed victory in the debate over Republican Bill Shuster and Green Party candidate Alanna Hartzok, keying on his debate plat- form of job retention, family strength and senior citizen issues. Please see AS IN SPORTS Teammates and fans pack Pittsburgh church to honor Willie Stargell, the late Pirate slugger and practical joker. PAGE 81 Curve plays second of four-game series against Bowie. Sports Writer Cory Giger has complete coverage. PAGE B1 Huntingdon bed tax proposec BY KEVIN OTT StaffWriter HUNTINGDON Even though he sees the logic in it, Frank Desueza doesn't want to charge his customers an extra few dol- lars to spend the night at his hotel. His customers at Motel 22, mid- way between Huntingdon and Mount Union, won't like paying the extra charge that would come with a countywide tax on hotel rooms, he said. But that's just what county commissioners are considering at the request of the local tourism promotion agency. Commissioners met with repre- sentatives of the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau Tuesday to hear a pitch for enacting a bed tax, which would account for 3 percent of the 'price of a normal hotel room. The cost would be tacked onto regular hotel bills, then collected from hotels by the INSIDE Blair County commissioners voted to double bed tax to 3 percent and may continue the tax indefinitely. PAGEA7 county tax collector. Revenue from the tax would go directly to tourism promotion and develop- ment. The state legislature voted last year to approve a measure that would allow counties to enact the tax. Desueza agreed that the tax will provide much-needed revenue for tourism in Huntingdon County, but he's worried his customers won't appreciate that idea when it comes time to pay the bill. "They're going to say, 'wait a minute why is it he said. "Instead of paying or or 65, it's going to be 70." But tourism and county ol dais said benefits of the t would balance out the init: sticker shock. The new reven will be used to fund the HCV executive director Para Prpss said, and a portion of it will used for new tourism promoti projects. Prosser said the majority oft hotel, resort and bed-and-bres fast owners she's spoken to si port the tax. Bruce Lane, the pn ident of the HCVB board of din tors, owns a group of resort c tages and said he supports t tax. County commissioners ho revenues from the tax wou enable the agency to become se sufficient within a few yeai Less than 2 years old, the now is supported by money alii ted from county commissioner! Please see A7 Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 9 I Lottery numbers, A2 Cloudy; rain or snow, Forecast, A2 -I HqT-ADS.Com We re white-hot! Altoona iHtrror THE GREAT COMBINATION Call us today...Make money today. Ask for THE GREAT COMBINATION of MIRROR CLASSIFIEDS and HOT-ADS Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) 946-7547 ES Obituaries Opinion High schools Scoreboard A9 Ai3 A13 All B5 OJNMNN Classifieds C5-14 UK Comics D5 Community news D2 Movies D3 Television D4 BUSINESS State prison guards t( vote on union switch. Computer glitch bring reprieve to some Pennsylvania taxpayets. PAGE t ;