Altoona Mirror, May 26, 2001

Altoona Mirror

May 26, 2001

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Issue date: Saturday, May 26, 2001

Pages available: 88

Previous edition: Friday, May 25, 2001

Next edition: Sunday, May 27, 2001 - Used by the World's Finest Libraries and Institutions
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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - May 26, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Sports: Penn Cambria high jumper wins PIAA gold Bi Life: Centre County gardens open for visitors today Dl Copyright 2001 SATURDAY, MAY 26, 2001 newsstand House, Senate agree on tax BY CURT ANDERSON The Associated Press WASHINGTON House and Senate negotiators reached a final agreement-Friday night on a 10- year, trillion tax cut package that would give individual taxpay- ers a refund of up to this year and married couples up to In a statement, President Bush said the agreement means "American taxpayers will have more money in their pockets to save and invest and the economy will receive a well-deserved shot in the arm. Tax relief is the cen- terpiece of our American agenda, and I look forward to signing il into law." A blend of Bush's tax proposals and earlier versions passed sepa- rately by the House and Senate, the compromise carves out a new 10 percent bottom tax rate for the first of an individual's income, for a married couple. Most other rates would be cut by 3 percentage points. The top 39.6 percent rate would drop to 35 per- cent. The rate cuts will be phased in over six years, but the first installment will take effect July 1. Republican leaders said they planned to reconvene the House around midnight to debate the final bill. House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, predicted the House would vote final passage on it between 3 and 4 a.m. today. The Senate planned to reconvene later today to act on it. The deal was reached by four lawmakers who met all day Friday in a second-floor Capitol room. House Ways and Means Comm- ittee Chairman Bill Thomas of California and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley of Iowa represented the Republicans; Sens. Max Baucus of Montana and John Breaux of Louisiana represented the Demo- crats. Other provisions of the plan would double the child tax credit gradually by 2010 and allow people to gradually increase their contributions to IRAs from to and to plans from to The estate tax would be repealed by .2010 with exemptions rising from now to million over time. Individual taxpayers would get up to a refund this year. Single parents would get up to and married couples up to Local judge teaches other nations about U.S. court system American justice Courtesy photos Above: Federal court Judge D. Brooks Smith poses outside the Kremlin in Moscow during his trip. Below: Smith (right) is pre- sented with a steel statue of Don Quixote by Russian Supreme Court Justice Stanislaw A. Razumov. BY PHIL RAY Staff Writer JOHNSTOWN The picture shows what could be any county courthouse. The courtroom has paneled walls and bright lights. But there's one jar- ring element to one side of the courtroom, where the jury nor- mally sits, is a cage. The photograph is just one memento U.S. District Judge D. Brooks Smith brought home this week from a working vacation in Russia. He was there as part of an American Bar Association project to spread principles of American justice to nations once considered bastions of tyranny. So far, Smith said, "It is mean- ingful work." The cage in the Russian court- room holds a suspect on trial while his case is heard by a judge. In contrast, in Smith's courtroom in Johnstown, a sus- pect on trial sits with his attor- ney. There must be no hint to the jury that the suspect is in cus- tody or that he might be a crimi- nal with a prior record. There's no cage and no prison garb. Even the marshals and court- house security are in street clothes, normally suits. Sterilizing lights are installed in many cages in Russian court- rooms to keep tuberculosis from spreading from the prisoner to the cage and into the courtroom because "the conditions of Russian prisons are abom- Smith said. A statue of Don Quixote repre- sents another part of Smith's journey. Smith spent three days in the steel city of Chelyabinsk, about miles east of Moscow near the Ural Mountains and Siberia. There Smith instructed 60 Russian judges on American judi- cial staples such as guilty pleas and juries. In Russia, even when a suspect admits guilt, a trial still is held to show that guilt, Smith said. One of his jobs was to explain how guilty pleas are taken. Smith held a mock guilty-plea session to show the judges how to stream- line the system. It may seem reasonable that an emerging justice system such as Russia's would want to adopt trial by jury as part of its new criminal procedures code. In fact, Russia has a history of trial by jury dating back to czarist Russia. Also, the jury sys- tem is being tested in eight of Russia's 89 oblasts, or states. Please see A6 BLAIR COUNTY DA duel may play out again in the fall Challenger Robert Donaldson wins the Democratic write-in vote in the May 15 primary election. BY PHIL RAY Staff Writer County District Attorney Dave Gorman may have pushed challenger Robert Donaldson off the fall Republican ballot, but Donaldson isn't finished. The close race for the Republican nomination for DA could be played out again in the fall because Donaldson who lost to incumbent Gorman on the GOP ticket won the write-in contest for the Democratic nomination. Donaldson's name will not automatically go on the ballot as the Democratic nominee. He must inform the county board of elections if he intends to accept the nomination. He also must do what any potential candidate for office does file a loyalty oath, said Janice Blair, county director of elec- f tions. Donaldson, contacted Friday, said f he was surprised by his 421 to 398 victory over Gorman on the Democratic primary ballot. He said he will take a few weeks to decide if he will oppose Gorman in the fall. "I am humbled by this Donaldson said. "I need to take some I time with my family and my team to I think about this and pray about Donaldson this." Gorman was out of town Friday and not available for comment, but a key member of his campaign com- mittee, assistant district attorney Wade Kagarise, said Gorman is aware of the situation. "Dave's campaign is pleased we won the Republican nomination. Our campaign focused our resources and money to get the Republican Kagarise said. Gorman encouraged his Democratic friends to write in his name, but he did not have an organized sticker campaign for the nomination. "We didn't [go after the Democratic nomination] because we needed to concentrate the resources we had on what we knew would be a tough Kagarise said. Gorman won the Republican nomination to according to the official tally. Blair said Friday afternoon that the official count for the May 15 primary election was concluded after six days of deliberations by a five-person returns board. The reason for the lengthy recount was because of the large number of write-ins across a large number of offices. More than write-in votes were cast by Blair County voters. Please see A6 POMP AND CIRCUMS1ANCE Bishop GuUfoyle High School kicked off the area's graduations during a ceremony Friday night at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. For more information on BG's graduates, please see Page A6. DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 Mirror photo by Jason Sipes BNFOUR 4 0 22 I Lottery numbers, A2 Local lawmaker says Bush's plan for energy will gouge consumers BY ROBERT IGOE Staff Writer HARRISBURG While Capitol Hill debates President Bush's energy plan, one local legislator has a plan of his own. And any similarities between state Rep. Camille "Bud" George's plan and the presi- dent's is strictly a coincidence. "The biggest energy crisis Pennsylvania faces is an energy outage by its said George, D-Houtzdale. "Innovation and energy sparked right here, right and not a conservation of effort, George will keep Pennsylvania powered, pro- ducing and protected." George criti- cized the pres- ident's plan as relying on bad information and miscalcu- lations. For example, George said that despite what Bush has said, competition among energy providers has not created a bet- ter market for Pennsylvanians, whom George says face an aver- age of 50 percent higher prices if they switch providers. "Instead of promoting the false promises of deregulation, the president should be pushing for an investigation of the out- rageous price increases in the wholesale market for electrici- George said. "Communities across Penn- sylvania that buy bulk power for resale to residents risk being hammered by price increases, and I don't see how that is any different from the debacle in California. "I fear for the future if the rest of the president's energy plan is .based on similar misinforma- tion." Many Republicans, however, beg to differ, saying that the president's plan is a sound one. They are urging voters to log onto a new Web site, www., which they say tells the real facts about the energy situation. "After eight years of neglect, we now have a sound energy Republican State Committee Chairman Alan Novak said. Please see A6 WEATHER Cloudy, possible showers, Forecast, A2 Altuona iHtrror THE GREAT COMBiNATIOM Call us today...Make money today. 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