Thursday, July 26, 2001

Altoona Mirror

Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - July 26, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania INSIDE TODAY NATION: Patients' rights legislation may be delayed LIFE: Country'singer trusts instincts for success Dl Local teams vie for NABF tourney title Aliomut iKtrror Copyright 2001 THURSDAY, JULY 26, 2001 newsstand Lavelle Richardson is led out of the Central Court Building Wednesday. Richardson surrendered to police after the fatal shooting of 21-year-old Patience Ferguson early Saturday morning outside the Arandale Elks Club on Margaret Avenue. Suspect surrenders in fatal shooting Mirror pholo by Kelly Bennett BY TIFFANY SHAW Stuff Writer An accused murderer surrendered to police Wednesday afternoon, the day before the shooting victim's funeral. Lavelle Richardson, 24, of Mount Union turned himself in to to state police at Hxmtingdon. He was taken to Pinecroft, and Altoona police transport- ed him to Central Court for arraign- ment hy District Justice Kenneth L. Garman. Richardson is not entitled to bail because he is charged with criminal homicide, which could be punishable by death, Blair County District Attorney Dave Gorman said. Gorman Richardson is charged with firing shots early Saturday morning out- side the Arcmdale Elks Club on Margaret Avenue. One of the shots struck and killed Patience Ferguson, 21, of Altoona. Ferguson's family scheduled a viewing and funeral services for today. Witnesses have said Richardson fired the gun into the air above the heads of the crowd that was milling outside the club after it closed. The first shot from the semi-automatic handgun may have been the one to strike Ferguson in the head, Gorman said. Ferguson did not know Richardson. Richardson is charged with homi- cide, aggravated assault, carrying a firearm without a license and two counts of recklessly endangering another person. According to a press release from one of his attorneys, Richardson main- tains his innocence. Attorney William Fleming of Belle- fonte wrote, is confident that he will be cleared of these allega- tions once he and his attorneys have an opportunity to make a full and fair presentation of the facts in this matter at the appropriate time." Fleming said neither Richardson nor his attorneys will comment on the charges or his defense. Gorman said he was pleased that Richardson voluntarily submitted to police, "We're obviously satisfied and relieved he is in custody. Now we started the long legal Gorman said after the arraignment. Police started the search for Richardson after they interviewed wit- nesses of the shooting. Investigators searched for Richardson until he sur- rendered. Please see A7 "We were attempting to pick up what was obvious." Robert Stewart, district attorney Coroner: Drugs found in system Thomas Meloy was to give authorities all medication in bail terms. BY KEVIN OTT StaffWriter HUNTINGDON Confessed child molester Thomas Meloy died after mixing and ingesting a lethal amount of a prescription medica- tion, even after police ordered him to surrender all such substances as part of the terms of his bail. though police seized two large boxes filled with different kinds of medication, Meloy would have had the opportunity to hide substances from police, Huntingdon Comity District Attorney Robert Stewart said Wednesday. "We were relying on him to turn over what he Stewart said. ..Meloy was discovered dead in his home by a friend at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Meloy confessed to police July 17 that he had sexually abused an 11-year-old boy he met through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Huntingdon County for more than two years. Stewart and Huntingdon police held a press conference to discuss the case about six hours before Meloy was found dead. please see A12 SEASON OF RENEWAL? Mirror photo by Kelly Bennett The Altoona Redevelopment Authority is weighing its options to develop the last section of Altoona avail- able for a neighborhood. Options weighed to develop lone land for neighborhood BY WILLIAM KIBLER Staff Writer The city probably has one more shot at building a major new neighborhood, and planning chief Larry Carter wants to make a better start than simply letting contractors start scratching out foundations. It takes some imagination to see the potential for northwest Juniata. There are acres of mostly scrappy woodland that's seemingly uncherished, land that slid long ago into tax delinquency, then For further explanation on the development plans PAGE A6 got repossessed and turned over to the city Redevelopment Authority, which never could do much with it. It's uphill from a patchwork neighbor- hood lacking coherence of building style and the charm of ideal urban or rural living, haphazard development that fol- lowed the city's rigid street grid over hilly terrain, disregarding contour. Please see A7 "1 Altoona planners are hoping state tax incentives will spur a new neighborhood in the largely undeveloped northwest Juniata area. Mirror graphic by Tom Worthington I Mayor files lawsuit Portage Borough official sues, saying fire department discriminates against women. BYPlllLRAV Staff Writer JOHNSTOWN Edna Greathouse wears many hats. She's mayor of Portage Borough. She's a nurse, and she's a student working toward a law degree. But there's one hat that Greathouse wants to wear and can't because she says the town's vol- unteer fire department refuses to admit female firefighters. So she filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Johnstown contending the fire compa- ny is violating her civil rights. Greathouse asked U.S. District Judge D. Brooks Smith to issue an injunction that would bar the tire company from excluding women. She also is requesting money damages, including punitive damages, that would punish the fire company for violating her rights. The confrontation she is having with the fire department, she says, has caused her a groat .deal of "mental anguish and distress." Named in the lawsuit filed by Blair County attorney Stephen D. Wicks was Fire Chief Ronald Cadwallacler and fire company President Thomas Cord we 11. Cadwallader said Wednesday night that attorney C.J. Webb of Ebensburg advised them not to talk about the lawsuit. Greathouse was cautioned by her attorney not to talk about the case, but, Wicks said Greathouse is the victim of "an unwritten pol- icy of excluding women." Please see A5 Norfolk Southern chugging down track to lower debt BY CRAIG WILLIAMS Staff Writer Despite the burden of debt acquired from the Con rail merger and slowing economy, Norfolk Southern Corp. has managed to keep its earnings level steady. It's managed to do so by paying a dividend of less than a third of last year's dividend, industry analysts said Wednesday as the railroad released its second-quarter results. For a the third quarter in a row, the company will pay 6 cents per share, which the company released Wednesday with its earn- ings report. The announcement follows a trend Norfolk Southern estab- lished in January when the divi- dend was reduced from last year's high of 20 cents per share. "Norfolk Southern has cut their Norfolk Southern earned million in the second three months of this year. dividends to accelerate their debt pay said James Fessel, ana- lyst for PNC Advisors Equity Research, a division of PNC Bank Corp. of Pittsburgh. The railroad also posted second- quarter earnings in line with industry expectations, which were slightly higher than the same peri- od at this time last year. The company said Wednesday that it earned million, or 28 cents per share, in the second three months of this year, com- pared with million, or 30 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago. Excluding a gain of million, or 4 cents per share, from the sale of interests in certain oil and gas properties, last year's second-quar- ter income was million, or 2fi Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 Lottery numbers, A2 T'l Occasional showers, Forecast, A2 V.' LOCAL Business Comics Obituaries Opinion HI WORTS, Local Scoreboard A'M A4 A13 AS B4 cents per share. "Overall, this quarter was in line with Fessel said. "On the positive side, we were impressed with ongoing strength in coal traffic and with the gains in productivity the railroad has made. It seems that every quarter there is a little improvement, though the slowing economy is impeding the progress." mswe BUSINESS Sunoco, ExxonMobil, Chevron and Texaco announce strong quarterly ces. PAGE A11 ______ ;Q [7] Che L Night Life