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Altoona Mirror: Wednesday, August 29, 2001 - Page 1

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   Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - August 29, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania                                INSIDE TODAY BUSINESS: Blair jobless rate among highest in Pa. A9 LIFE: Canning preserves the tastes of summer Dl When Joe speaks Tailback starter stiff lip Aitama iJltmir Copyright 2001 City murder case stalled by lab work BY WII.TJAM KIBLER Staff-Writer The father of the deaf man beat- en to death in Juniata two months ago is frustrated the case is stalled while police wait for crime lab results. "I'm totally said Bob Buchanan, father of victim Randy Buchanan. Randy Buchanan's body was found in his apartment around the corner from his father's gun shop June 21. Bob Buchanan said he thinks he knows who might have killed his son, and he thinks police know, too. But he fears that waiting too long to make an arrest will blur the chances of proving who was the killer. City police Chief Janice Freeh- ling said she'd be frustrated, too, if she were Bob Buchanan, but the lab is busy, and there's nothing to do but wait for the results. She's not worried because if the evidence that police sent to the state police crime lab in Greens- burg identifies a suspect now, it will do the same months from now, shesaii. There are frequent backlogs at the six state police crime labs in Greensburg, Erie, Wyoming, Harr- ishurg, Lima and Bethlehem, state police spokeswoman Ltnette QiUnn said. Quinn said staffing seems ade- quate and delays aren't excessive, although it would be hard to calcu- Buchanan late how long it takes to process an average item. "Most of the time they [lab investigators] work with some- thing in a decent amount of Quinn said. Homicide cases similar to Buchanan's have higher priority than lesser crimes such as bur- glary, said. Time-sensitive evidence such as blood evidence thai can deterio- rate if left sitting also gets high priority. By contrast, samples that are weak may need more intensive processing, which can take longer, (Juinn said. Evidence that must go to a sec- ondary unit such as serology or DNA or to another lab system is subject to backlogs at those places. And lab workers simply must go slowly enough to do -a good job because a slipshod one can ruin a case. "You don't want to mess Quinn sain. But Buchanan is bewildered. "You get so used to hearing the same he said. "Itgets hot, it's cold, we got this, we got that, we've got nothing." Everything is at a standstill, he said. Police have warned him that lab analysis can lake as long as a year. Police sent evidence from the crime scene to the lab a few days after the murder, with items such as clothing that may have hair and fibers on it, Freehling said. It would be nice to have the results back quickly, she said. Please see All WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 29, 2001 HHH KEEPING THE PEACE newsstand 'Mirror photo by Jason SipeS A group of peacekeepers wearing blue T-shirts walks past a line of state and local police along a relatively empty Beaver Canyon section of Beaver Avenue after the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts July 14. State College officials hope the riot-free streets become a familiar scene in the borough. Police hope PSD riots are history BY PHIL RAY StnffWritcr STATE COLLEGE police, university officials and community members are braced for the possibility that this historic football weekend could be marred by riotous behavior. But they're hopeful that past mob scenes won't be repeated. Police officials said they will have a strong presence on campus and in town Saturday night, but not the massive, cop-on-every-corner approach that kept the peace on the final night of this'summer's Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. In the summer of 1938, the first of three costly, destructive riots rocked State College centered in the downtown area known as Beaver Canyon, where high-rise apartments line each side of Beaver Avenue. "We're just a little concerned in view of the past State College police Sgt. John Gardner said. "Riotous behavior is not going to be tolerated by the people of tlie town, by the police, by the uni- versity or by [Penn State president} Graham he said. Law enforcement officials have been preparing warily for Saturday since the university announced earlier this year that kickoff time for the game was pushed back to 8 p.m. to accommodate national tele- vision. Please see All Judge feels retention heat at dealer's sentencing Callan BY PHIL RAY Staff Writer HOLLIDAYSBURG November's election was on Blair County Judge Norman Callan's mind Tuesday when he imposed a light sentence on an Altoona man who pleaded guilty to selling crack cocaine. Callan said the sentence probably would be criticized by those who are trying to oust him from office, but he had to do what he thought was right. "It would be easy for this court to sentence this individual in confor- mancc with the [sentencing] guide- lines, straight down (he middle to a standard Callan said. If Callan imposed the sentence that Blair County Assistant District Attor- ney Wade Kagarisc wanted, it would "probably enhance this court's posi- tion in the retention election. "However, I would fail the oath of my office if I would do this because the sentencing code requires that I look toward the individual, see if there is anything that would make an he said. "The court must do its job as the court sees his duty." With that, Callan sentenced Wayne Bennett, 20, a native of Philadelphia and a graduate of Tyrone Area High School, to serve 24 to 54 months in Bl air County Prison. Bennett already has served nine months, so he will be eligible for parole in 15 months. Kagarise said because of Bennett's extensive drug dealing, a minimum sentence of five or six years in a state correctional institution would have been more appropriate. "I am Kagarise said. "Basically the facts of this case estab1 lisheii [that] Mr. Bennett and his girl- friend were engaged in a pattern of drug activity out of that house [on the 1800 block of: 2th Please see All Frankstown Elementary School teacher Diana Kline prepares her classroom prior to the arrival of her new first-grade class. While Kline is starting her 31st year of teaching, she said every new class also is an education for her. Classes begin today for many Blair County students, including in Aitoona. Changes await some students as school year gets under way Mirror pholo by Jay Young BY JAY YOUNG Staff Writer It's a big day. Even for the young at heart. For the 31st, time, Diane Kline will open her classroom door and watch as her family members for the year explore their new daytime home. There are books and crayons on every desk. There is blank space on the colorful walls so students can hang their own drawings. It's a little touch that helps them claim the room as their own. "You want them to have that good feeling when they come Kline says while cutting a pattern through bright red paper. The arrival of her new first-gradevs is a scene that will occur today in hundreds of Hollidaysburg and Altoona classrooms. The day that par- ents have boon waiting for and many students prayed would never arrive is here. While the basics are the same everywhere, a few changes await stu- dents in each district. In Hollidaysburg, parents will be introduced to the power of the Internet. The popular Tigernet that previously served only junior high students was expanded to include fourth- through 12th-graders. Tigerwires will give students and teachers direct access to teachers' grade books. The new Web site (www.tigerwires.com) is the result of a partnership between the school dis- trict and State College-based School- wires. Please see A14 MORE INSIDE As children start back to school, more of them will be walking down halls vwth armed police officers. Tyrone's Field work is nearly complete. PAGEA12: A retired teacher seeks a seat on the Tyrone Area School Board." Area 2001-02 school calendars. PAGE AM. jv urea 1 Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800> 287-4480 BWRXJR 9 5 Lottery numbers, A2 Mostly sunny, Forecast, A2 .V. .Mirror oooooo 7J LOCAL j Business A9, 10 Movies _ A13 Obituaries____A13 Opinion A8 El NATION Classifieds Comics C4-14 Local Scoreboard .................._____D5 1 Community news D2 _B4 I JM B5 Television D4 IHNftTOH officials at a hearing Tuesday called on the pharmaceuti- cal industry and the medical community to help them stem OxyConlin abuse. PAGE C1   

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