Altoona Mirror, July 24, 2001

Altoona Mirror

July 24, 2001

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Issue date: Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Pages available: 64

Previous edition: Monday, July 23, 2001

Next edition: Wednesday, July 25, 2001 - Used by the World's Finest Libraries and Institutions
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Publication name: Altoona Mirror

Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - July 24, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania INSIDE TODAY NATION; Pope, Bush weigh stem cell funding Cl BUSINESS: Bureau opens door to region A7 Lands of opportunity Summer's the time to explore st'ate'parKs Alt0ona Copyright 2001 TUESDAY, JULY 24, 2001 500 newsstand Civil suit may be filed for abuse Accused child molester released from prison after bail reduced to BY KEVIN Orr StaffWriter HUNTINGDON The family of the vic- tim of alleged child molester Thomas Meloy has retained an attorney, and there may be a civil lawsuit filed against Meloy. Meloy was arrested last week and accused by state and borough polica of sex- ually abusing a boy he met through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Huntingdon County. He confessed to the abuse after the arrest. Police believe there may be other victims. Huntingdon attorney George Zanic said Monday that he will serve as the family's lawyer, and that he will likely bring a civil suit against Meloy. He would not say whether Big Brothers Big Sisters would be targeted as well. Meloy was released Friday from the Huntingdon County Jail after his bail was reduced from to He also waived a preliminary hearing scheduled for Wednesday. Huntingdon County District Attorney Robert Stewart scheduled a press confer- ence at the county courthouse for today. Police and the Huntingdon County Children's Services still are investigating Meloy, Stewart said. Lee Nollau, the State College attorney representing Meloy, could not be reached for comment. Meloy met the boy in late February or early March of 1999 when he was 9 years old, said his grandmother, whose name is being with- held to protect the victim's identity. Meloy quickly became close with the victim and his family during the next few years. Meloy bought the boy a motorbike and a Hummel figurine for his grand- mother, she said. She even invited him to vacation in Florida with the family. "I had complete faith in she said. Police investigated Meloy after receiving word of the incidents from caseworkers at Huntingdon County Children's Services, who met with the victim beforehand. The grandmother said she had taken him to the People's Choice Festival in BeUefonte July 13 and purchased a toy air- plane and an artist's caricature for the boy to give to Meloy as gifts. The boy also pur- chased a card to give Meloy, thanking him for the time they spent together. That same night, foe boy visited Meloy to give him the gifts but was sent home, the grandmother said. Please see A3 Meteor shower floods phones BY JAY YOUNU StaffWriler BLUE KNOB Ike Wright of Scottsville, Va., and his family got an eyeful Monday when they looked to the sky from their vacation spot at Majestic World Lodge Retreat, Blue Knob. 11 was certainly' a majestic site to remember. "My son called my Wrightsaid Monday evening. "I saw what appeared to be a very large sil- ver metallic object at a rapid descent with a very bright glow." In about two seconds, the object disappeared behind a row of trees. "I envisioned it was going to have he said. "I actually braced myself for it. But I didn't hear anything or feel a tremor." The apparent meteor shower trig- gered a flood of calls to emergency authorities in widespread areas of the state, with other reports coming from Virginia to New York. While Altoona'police received no calls, they learned about the "heavy meteor shower" from an emergency management director from Indiana County, a department spokesperson said. Diana Burger, Blue Knob, was one of numerous area residents who called State Police at Hollidaysburg to make sure she wasn't the only one who saw the streaking light in tile sky. Please see AS Proceed with caution What you can do to reduce the risk at intersections: S Enter the correct lane for your intended action well in advance ol the intersection. B! Watch for vehicles changing lanes, stay out of other drivers "blind spots" where they can't see-you in the rear- and side-view mirrors. B Even though your light is green, watch for cross traffic. Running a red light is a leading cause of intersection crashes. H Don't racs a yellow light. E3 Don't change lanes while driving Ihrough the intersection. Source: State Farm Insurance Mirror photo illuslratiori by Gary M. Worthinglon II BY TIFFANY SHAW Stqff Writer Bernard Long knows a little something about dangerous intersections. He grew up in a house at the bottom of a steep hill that empties onto Old Route 220 South between Duncansville and Newry. Yellow signs warn drivers the hill is a 14 percent grade and down shifting is recommended. Good brakes are required. Long can't remember the number of times vehicles careened out of control and ran into the old house and his newer home next door. "Probably more than I care to he said. It started years ago when he was a child. First vehicles wrecked the wrought-iron fence near the road. Then they knocked down the trees in the front yard. Then they started crashing into the front porch that wrapped around the house. Long's father got tired of rebuilding the porch and designed it smaller. He went to PennDOT and requested a guardrail be placed in front of the house, but was denied. He feared for the safety of his young children play- ing in the front yard. So he and his son anchored steel pipes in concrete. "They [drivers] plowed over a couple of them Long said. Finally, they constructed their own concrete wall with the steel pipes and iron rails. Every time a car crashed into it, they built it a little thicker. Now it extends to the front of Long's new house. At the height of the crashing craze in the 1970s and 1980s, Long estimates there was at least one wreck every other weekend. Most of the crashes were alcohol-related, he guesses. Please see A10 Student faces jail sentence District attorney seeks mandatory sentence for dealing drugs near a college. BY PHIL RAY StaffWriter A former Perm State Altoona student charged with dealing drugs from his dormitory room and a nearby apartment should be sent to prison if he is convicted, Blair County District Attorney Dave Gorman said. Gorman said the law enhancing the penalty for drug sales does not just apply to the area around an elementary school. The law, he said, does not distinguish between an elementary building and Altoona Campus. Because of that, Gorman is seeking the manda- tory jail term for a Rochester, N.Y., man, who as a freshman al the campus allegedly sold mari- juana from his dorm room at Oak Hall and from an off-campus apartment, which he also rented. Altoona attorney Thomas M. Dickey, who rep- resents 19-year-old Jerod D. Reid, already objects to the possibility of a mandatory jail sentence. Dickey asked Blair County Judge Norman p. Gallon Monday to send the case back to the dis- trict justice level for a new preliminary hearing. The defense attorney contended someone for the prosecution promised the district attorney's office would not seek a mandatory minimum, which Dickey said is a reason why Reid waived his charges to the Blair County Court of Common Pleas. Blair County assistant district attorney Richard Consiglio, who said he did not attend the prelimi- nary stages of the Reid case, said he has no knowl- edge that anyone from Hie district attorney's staff said the prosecution would not seek a mandatory jail term for selling drugs in a school zone. Please see A4 Wet ii wild Tony Pavlovich Clint Chrysler (center) and Rico Washington fire water balloons into the upper deck at Wet and Wild day at the Altoona Curve game Tuesday. For Curve coverage, Jim Lane's column see Page Bl Mirror photo by Jason Sipes TAX REFUND CHECKS Individual income influences impact BY JEANETTE KREBS HARR1SBURG The check is hi the mail. Now what? The question facing Pennsyl- vanians is will they spend the billion in federal refund money heading to mailboxes across the state or tuck it way in savings? Economists and accountants say the answer depends on how much money people have right now. The lower a family's income, the more likely they are to spend all the money coming from the federal government in the next several weeks, Jacob DeRooy said. DeRooy is an associate profes- sor of managerial economics at the School of Business Admin- istration at Penn State Harr- isburg. He said people who earn less are expected to spend their to refund, and they will use the remaining money buy- ing items, services and restau- rant meals close to home. "Generally, people of higher incomes will put it into sav- ings, maybe an he said. Other economists say most people may spend their refund checks because they have not had much time to think of a plan for the money. The majority of refunds antici- pated by Pennsylvanians, about million, will go to the five- county Philadelphia region, said Bill Cressman of the IRS Philadelphia office. Pittsburgh-area residents will receive million, while south- central Pennsylvanians are get- ting million in refund cash. In the northern region of the state, checks totaling mil- lion will be in the mail. President Bush made a cam- paign promise to cut taxes. He also is giving consumers money in hopes they spend it and pump up the economy, which has been sagging al! year. DeRooy said the effect from the refund might cause some companies to add staff, but nothing too significant. Please see A10 Subscription or home delivery questions: or (800) 287-4480 Lottery numbers, A2 Partly cloudy, Forecast, A2 Business Hospiials Opinion A7 I Movies_______C2 M I Classifieds AB Local____ Scoreboard B4 B5 4 Comics___ DearAbby Puzzles Television D5 D4 D4 POWER OUTWE Bird lands in wires of GPU Energy's power station behind Park Hills Plaza, causing short power outage. PAGEtt ;