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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - July 25, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania INSIDE TODAY NATION: Record deaths for work zones Cl BUSINESS: Lobbying begins for maglev AS Summer sweets can be easy, elegant Altoona iHirror Copyright 2001 WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2001 500 newsstand Sex abuse suspect found dead Huntingdon deputy coroner calls Dr. Thomas Meloy's death an apparent suicide by poisoning. BY WILLIAM KIBLER AND KEVIN Orr Staff Writers HUNTINGDON retired doc- tor charged last week with sexually abusing an 11-year old boy for two years apparently killed himself with poison Tuesday in his borough home, a deputy coroner said. Thomas R. Meloy, 67, was lying on his side fully clothed on a daybed on the third floor of his house, said Don Brocht, Huntingdon County deputy coroner. Clotted blood was found on the pil- low, and a residue of white powder was found in his mouth, Brocht said. His body was stiffened either by rigor mortis or a poison-induced seizure. The charges against him and die evidence at the scene led Brocht and police to conclude it was suicide. Lab tests and an autopsy today at i.C. Blair Memorial Hospital should help confirm his suspicions, Brocht said. With Meloy dead, county District Attorney Robert Stewart said the sex abuse investigation is closed. "That's it. It's over. From our per- spective, the case is he said. "If someone wants to come forward and say they're a victim, that's fine. But if they're a victim of Thomas Meloy, there's no one to prosecute." If other victims step forward, Stewart recommend counseling. Brocht did not know what the white powder found at the scene was, but he said Meloy seems to have mixed a lethal potion in his kitchen sink, where there was a spoon and powder residue. A variety of medicines were on the kitchen table, Brocht said. Being a doctor, Meloy would have known how to kill himself quickly, and he seems to have died so fast that he couldn't swallow all of the fatal com- pound, Brocht said. Please see All Smaller schools boosted By MICHAEL EMERY Staff Writer Small school districts through- out Pennsylvania got a shot in the arm recently when legislators reinstalled Small District Assist- ance into the state budget. School boards from those same districts were concerned they would be shortchanged when Gov. Tom Ridge submitted his state budget proposal earlier this year. proposal was without any SDA allocations, which many of the state's small, rural school dis- tricts have come to rely on. Ridge first implemented "SDA in the spring of 1995 to address1 the needs of small, rural schools. Overall, the state budget includes million in SDA for 128 school districts. A qualifying school dis- trict will receive multiplied by its average daily membership. To qualify, a school district's ayerage daily membership must be equal to or less than -While SDA accounts for just a small percentage of any district's budget in the case of Bellwood- Antis, about 1 percent it is a valuable resource for small dis- tricts, which tend to have limited budgets and where every dollar counts. "This will be a nice, big plus for Bellwood-Antis Superintendent Rod Kuhns said. Kuhns said the money will go to the general fund, primarily to fund increases in labor contacts, and costs of operations. Please see A10 GETTING HELP Local school districts that qualify tor Small District Assistance and the estimated amount o( money that each wiil receive as part otPa.'s 2001-02 education budget: School District Assistance Bellwood-Antis Claysburg-Kimme! Glendale Juniata Valley Moshannon Valley N. Bedford County N. Cambria County Portage Area Tussey Mountain Williamsburg Comm. Mirror pholo by Kelly Bennelt rt Hartz, 15, Altoona, takes a running leap into the 'Eight Foot'swimming hole in Bellwood Tuesday, when temperatures reached 94 degrees. Some relief from the heat may be in sight as forecasters predict a chance of showers and thunder- storms through Friday. Expect highs to be in the mid- to upper 80s and lows in the mid- to upper 60s. For more weather, please see I PACE A2 CITY SHOOTING Accused's surrender upcoming BY TIFFANY SIIAW AND PHIL RAY Staff Writers A Mount Union man accused of a weekend shooting that killed a city woman is expected to surrender to police soon, his attorney said. George Newman of Philadelphia continued Tuesday that Lavelle Richardson retained Newman's firm of criminal attorneys to represent him. Richardson is accused of ruing shots early Saturday morning outside the Arandale Elks Club on Margaret Avenue, one of which struck and killed Patience Ferguson, 21, of Altoona. Altoona police have been searching for Richardson, who left the scene in a car moments after the shooting. Newman said Richardson contacted the firm Saturday after the shooting, and Newman said Richardson intended to sur- render from the beginning. "At this point, it is our desire to sur- render as promptly as humanly possi- Newman said during a phone inter- view from his office. Blair County District Attorney David Gorman said he received a telephone call from Newman asking to discuss Rich- ardson's surrender. Gorman said if Richardson or his attorney wanted to dis- cuss aspects of the shooting, the first step for Richardson to surrender to city police. "First and foremost is he must turn himself Gorman said. i Gorman said Richardson's surrender must occur before anything else can be discussed, and efforts to find him will continue. City police have entered Richardson's information into state and national crime computers. They speculate he may be in Mount Union where he was living or in the State College area where his mother resides. Newman is trying to make arrangements before Richardson officially turns himself in, but he declined to reveal details. He said Richardson will have legal counsel present when he surrenders. "We want to make sure it [the surrender] is swift, safe and with a minimum of stress to Newman said. Please see A10 Ferguson, the victim NS leads charge for railroad retirement bill BY ROHKUT IflOE Staff Writer While Norfolk Southern Corp. is in the midst of a fight over the fate of the Holl idaysburg Car Shop, the company is fighting for quick pas- sage of a key railroad retirement bill. Norfolk Southern has joined other railroads in addressing on its Web site HR 1140, a bill being prepared for debate by the House Ways and Means Committee. The bill would aid retirees by reducing the service requirement for vesting pensions from 10 years to five years, offering a greater eli- gibility for early retirement, expanding the surviving spouse industry pension benefit and repealing the limit on certain industry pension annuities for retirees and their'spouses. For railroad companies such as Norfolk Southern, the bill repeals a supplementary annuity tax that they must pay to finance benefits for employees and adjusts pension tax rates for employers, employ- ees and employee representatives. Labor and management would like to see this bill passed before Congress takes its August recess, and each is urging its members to petition lawmakers to have that happen. "The Railroad Retirement Survivors Improvement Act of 2001 [HR 1140] has been dis- charged by the House Ways and Means Committee and is awaiting scheduling for action on the House according to Norfolk Southern's Web release, dated July 20. "In order to getthis vital legisla- tion scheduled for a vote by the House of Representatives before its early August recess, it is imperative that railroad employ- ees and their families contact their respective congressman .or congress woman. "The bill, which modernizes the Railroad Retirement system and significantly improves benefits for employees and survivors, has strong bipartisan support with 369 co-sponsors. Please see A10 BKJFOUR 9 Lottery numbers, A2 Mirror o.oopoo Subscription or home delivery questions: 936-7480 or (800) 287-4460 Chance of showers, Forecast, A2 Donoooo Bucks CS LOCAL -i t H NATION Business__ A3 Classifieds C2-14 Movies_____ A6 I Obituaries A13 I __ Opinion A8 I 'LU Comics____ D5 I Community news D2 Local ___ B4 j Puzzles D4 Scoreboard B5 television D4 rt IN SPORTS Undefeated Martin Oil set for NABF Altoona regional Thursday. PAGE B1
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