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Altoona Mirror: Tuesday, July 17, 2001 - Page 1

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   Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - July 17, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania                                INSIDE TODAY SPORTS; Curve drop one to Bowie, 7-2 Bl SKF lays off 29 employees AT Getomthe.stick and e wallet, manual transmissions remain an option page Dl Altonna Uttrror Copyright 2001 Judge is lobbying for juror pay raise Panel members have been paid the same rate for 20 years, but local lawmaker says money is a big issue. BY PHIL RAY Staff Writer HOLLIDAYSBURG Pennsylvania jurors haven't gotten a pay raise in 20 years, and a Blair County judge says it's time to change that. Judge Thomas G. Peoples urged a panel selected tor a criminal case Monday to write or call their legislators to ask them to support a bill to raise the amount jurors are paid. "The General Assembly says what jurors are Peoples said. "If we are to populate this system with good I jurors, we have to compen- I sate them." I Jurors are paid for I each of the First three days I of service and per day I for service beyond that. I They also receive gas I mileage from their home- 1 towns. On Monday, juror Will- u ...i iam Stevens of Altoona was peoples pald for about four hourg of service and for gas. Stevens, who is retired, wasn't upset with the low wages, but, "Everybody else has got- ten a he said. Peoples said legislators "are just not being realistic when they haven't changed any thing for 20 years. It needs attention in the Legislature." Rep. Jerry Stern, R-Martinsburg, said Monday that there are several bills before the Legislature to increase jurors' wages. "It's a question of how we are going to pay for he said. The stale does not want to legislate unfund- ed mandates, which means passing legisla- tion to require the counties to boost jurors' wages. "We are very conscious of who will pay for Stern said. Stern agreed that jurors should be paid more, adding that for some people, jury duty is a burden. A few companies won't make up the differ- ence in pay a person receives from jury duty as opposed to his normal daily paycheck. "It is a cost to their overall paycheck for them to serve on jury Stern said. Please see A5 TUESDAY, JULY 17, 2001 newsstand NORFOLK SOUTHERN HEARING Legislators grill Goode Railroad CEO defends Hollidaysburg decision, company's right to operate without intervention. Decision now in the hands of federal regulators; court challenge likely regardless of their ruling. Mirror photos by Jason Sipos Norfolk Southern Corp. Chief Executive Officer David Goode testifies before members of the railroad subcommittee of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Monday at the Blair County Convention Center. IlllJJ VV Ni Members of the public interested in the Norfolk Southern hearing line up outside the Blair County Convention Center Monday. Some people were forced to watch the proceedings on closed-circuit television. Please see stoiy, Page A4. BY CRAIG WILLIAMS Staff Writer orfolk Southern Corp. Chief Executive Officer David Goode needed six words Monday to justify his company's plan to shut down HID Hollidays- burg Car Shop Oct. 1. "The economics are just not he told a panel of feder- al legislators. U.S. Rep. James Oberstar, R- Minn., countered with six words that summed up the feelings of a tleet of railroad workers and a bevy of politicians. "You're just not trying hard Oberstar said. By the end of the day, the matter was in the hands of the Surface Transportation Board, a member panel of federal regula- tors who will rule, in about 30 days, on whether Norfolk Southern can close the shop and idle more than 30Q workers. Even then, the issue isn't likely to be resolved. "It can go to court, regardless of the said U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-9th District, who helped organize the hearings. Although the congressmen who grilled Goode hold no direct power to keep the Hollidaysburg shop open, Goode's mere presence at Please see A4 State prisons have high race disparity BY JEANKTE KREBS capitoluilre.com HA.RRISBURG Blacks, with 10 percent of the population, account for 56 percent of state prison inmates, making Pennsyl- vania's prisons the most racially divided in the nation, according to a study. The report available through MotherJones.com indicates that Pennsylvania prisons had the greatest racial disparity of any state last year. For every blacks in the state, were in DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 945-7480 or (800) 287-4480 prison, according to the study. By comparison, 117 whites of every were behind bars. The study by the liberal maga- zine comes at a time when Penn- sylvania has been studying the racial aspects of its prison popu- lation. The state's justices appointed members to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Committee on Racial and Gender Bias in the Justice System, and the group is working on a report analyzing the issue. Please see A10 HIGH-ENERGY DISCUSSION Vice President Dick Cheney answers a question about the Bush administration's energy policy from Marilyn Scolnick (foreground) during a town meeting Monday at the Boyce Park Campus of Allegheny County Community College in Monroeville. Cheney, afflicted with laryngitis, visited Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to drum up support for the new national strategy. Please see story, Page Cl. The Associated Press New policy shrinks Blair court backlog BY PHIL RAY Stuff Writer HOLLIDAYSBURG Two weeks ago, more than 270 crimi- nal cases were headed to trial this month in the Blair County Court of Common Pleas. But when juries were selected Monday to hear the cases, the number stood at two. That had Judge Norman D. Callan smiling but others associat- ed with the criminal justice system shaking their heads in disbelief. Sheriff deputy Dave Sheridan said he has been providing secu- rity for criminal juries for more than 15 years, and the process never has proceeded so smoothly or quickly. Callan and the other judges have instituted a rule that once a jury is selected, no more plea agreements will be accepted. Callan credits this new proce- dure with pushing cases to con- clusion before the court takes time to select juries for cases that will never come to trial. Please see A5 I Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Partly sunny, Forecast, A2 Mirror ooooool DOOOOOO Bucks 0 Business Movies Obituaries Opinion SPORTS Local Scoreboard A7 A4 A9 A8 84 B5 'y H NATION Classifieds C4-10 Comics D5 Community news D2 Puzzles D4 Television D4 INSIDE IN NOTION Dire predictions of gallnn gasoline this summer haven't come true, wilh many parts of Ihe country seeing lower prices at the pump Irian they did a year ago. JAGEC1 J. U.   

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