Altoona Mirror, October 23, 2001 : Front Page

Publication: Altoona Mirror October 23, 2001

Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - October 23, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania $800 PRIZE: PICK 15 WINNERS IN THE MIRROR'S FOOTBALL CONTEST AND WIN ► PAGE B3Altoona mirror © Copyright 2001 DJ will review murder charges By Phil Ray Staff Writer Homicide charges against Kristin M. Edmundson, 20, of Duncansville and Marie L. Seilhamer, 19, of Ashville RD I will return to District Justice John Greene for another preliminary hearing    , Blair County Judge Jolene G. Kopriva in a ruling made public Monday also ordered separate trials for the two women if Greene reapproves the homicide charges in the murder of Shari Lee Jackson of Hollidaysburg. Thomas M. Dickey, Seilhamer’s attorney, applauded the separate trial ruling. “I felt stronger about this matter for severance than any case I’ve ever had before,” Dickey said. Seilhamer wouldn’t stand a • chance for a fair trial without severance, he said. Dickey said both rulings by Kopriva were crucial to the defense cases of Seilhamer and Edmundson. He said it would have been easy for the judge to reject both defense requests for separate trials and a new preliminary proceeding to keep the cost of the cases down. “I have to give her credit, in over 20 years, I never got a separate trial. I am really pleased,” Dickey said. Edmundson’s attorney, Terry Despoy, was not available for comment Monday. Kopriva’s ruling sends the homicide case back to Greene for review, meaning nothing further will occur on the cases until Greene conducts a new preliminary hearing. Greene concluded in June that there was enough evidence to try the pair in the Blair County Court of Common Pleas, but Dickey and Despoy contend the preliminary hearing was flawed because the cause of death was established when Blair County Coroner Patricia Ross presented a report written by Dr. Sara Lee Funke, a forensic pathologist from Allentown. Please see Murder/Page A5 TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2001 JORDAN’S BACK 500 newsstand \ WRD. •J IS mm , \ I Mirror photo by Jason S»pes MMichael Jordan swoops in from the side to block a shot ami at Monday's NBA exhibition game between the Washington Wizards awl and the Philadelphia 76ers at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College. I Page Bl ► WAR ON TERRORISM: More coverage on Pages A6, A9, Cl Mail sites increase caution By Walt Frank Staff Writer It’s business as usual at the Altoona Processing and Distribution Facility, despite numerous scares surfacing at postal facilities across the country after the Sept. ll terrorist attacks. “Thus far, we haven’t had any problems,” Altoona Postmaster Charles S. Bluford said. "We are on a heightened alert. We are watching things that come through, anything that could be suspicious mail." Security at the 70,000-square-foot facility in the Strawberry Meadows development hasn’t been increased because it always has been tight. Anyone entering the building needs a security badge. About I million pieces of mail are processed daily at the facility, which serves 114 area post offices covering a multicounty region including Blair, Clearfield, Bedford, Centre and Cambria. The 215 workers have been issued gloves, but most are not wearing them because only a few touch the mail Bluford said. Postal officials are keeping a closer eye on things at the downtown Altoona post office, but it is business as usual. “We are not permitting anyone in the mailroom unless they have a badge and anything over 12 ounces has to be identified,” Burford said. The local post office hasn’t experienced any problems like Trenton, N.J., where two postal workers tested positive for anthrax skin infections last week. The Trenton postmark was discovered on anthrax-contaminated letters mailed to NBC’s newsman Tom Brokaw and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D. “We want our customers to know Jubelirer requests court toss lawmaker’s lawsuit By Michael Race capitolwire.com HARRISBURG — Lawyers for Ll Gov. Robert C. Jubelirer are asking a state court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a fellow lawmaker who wants to oust the Blair County Republican from his Senate seat. In papers filed Monday in Commonwealth Court, Jubelirer’s attorneys claim Rep. John Lawless, R-Montgomery, and two other plaintiffs fail to state a sufficient claim for their suit and lack legal standing to bring it. Lawless claims Jubelirer is violating the state constitution by serving as both lieutenant governor and Senate president pro tem simultaneously. His lawsuit asks the court to declare Jubelirer’s Senate seat vacant and order a special election to fill it. Jubelirer, who has served for years as the Senate’s president pro tempore, ascended to the lieutenant governor’s job after Gov. Tom Ridge resigned Oct. 5 to head the federal Office of Homeland Security. Ridge’s departure moved Ll Gov. Mark Schweiker into the governor’s chair. While Lawless argues Jubelirer is violating the constitutional separation of powers by serving in both posts, Jubelirer’s lawyers say their client has “no choice but to simultaneously serve as lieutenant governor when that position is vacant.” The preliminary objections filed Monday on Jubelirer’s behalf argue the state Constitution does not “hermetically seal” the branches of government from one another. The objections also claim Lawless and his fellow plaintiffs — Charles A. Pascal Jr. of Armstrong County and Joseph H. Wiedemer of Altoona — lack standing to sue because only the Senate can declare a Senate seat vacant or expel a member. The two sides are in agreement on one legal issue. Both want the court to consider the case quickly. Lawless’ suit asks for expedited consideration of the case in Commonwealth Court, in the hopes it might be decided before Jubelirer’s 15-month tenure as lieutenant governor ends in January 2003. Jubelirer also seeks a quick resolution, albeit for different reasons. “This litigation misleads the public and has the potential to distract government officials from the performance of their duties at a time when the people need to feel secure in their government and in its stability,” Jubelirer’s lawyers argue. They want the case to be argued before the court in December, when the judges are scheduled to hear oral arguments in Harrisburg. Blair supervisor settles ethics suit By Ray Stephens Staff Writer DUNCANSVILLE — A Blair Town-hip supervisor has paid a $2,500 fine to settle a dispute with the state Ethics Commission over sending township vehicles to his business for $13,692 in repairs. The ethics commission concluded that David E. Burchfield Sr. unintentionally violated the state Ethics Act by approving invoices or signing checks when he should have abstained. It also concluded he technically violated the act by allowing repairs at his trucking and salvage business on Route 764 when that work should have gone through a public bidding process. Burchfield and his wife own 82 percent of The Burchfield Organization Inc., which does truck and auto sales along with service and salvage jobs. Burchfield contends he did nothing wrong and made no profit on the transactions. “I did it as a favor to the township and to save the taxpayers’ money,” Burchfield said. The agreement between Burchfield and the Ethics Commission is similar to a plea bargain, said Vince Dopko, chief counsel for the commission. The DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 ^ 22910 0005(tf 4 I I (S < 6 8 ■ Lottery numbers, A2 I WEATHER Cloudy, rain possible 71° ■ Forest, A2 HOT-ADS.com We're white-hot! Ai i tunui mirror [THE GREAT COMBINATION Call us today...Make money today. Ask for THE GREAT COMBINATION of [ MIRROR CLASSIFIEDS and HOT-ADS Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) 946-7^47 66I did it as a favor to the township and to save the taxpayers’money. David E. Burchfield Sr.ii ' two parties came to an agreement on the dispute to keep the matter from progressing into another review and possible higher penalty, he said. The wording in the order, referring to the violations as unintentional or technical, indicates the commission believed “there was no showing of premeditation or intent," Dopko said. Since the finding, Blair Township no longer sends township vehicles for repairs to The Burchfield Organization. Burchfield, who became treasurer in 1999, no longer holds his position. Those duties were turned over in June to township secretary George Harley. In its 19-page report, the commission explains that it investigated Burchfield on the allegation that he was using his public office for personal benefit. Before Burchfield became supervisor in January 1998, the township had some police vehicles, but no road crew vehicles, repaired at Burchfield’s business.    ,    _ After Burchfield was in office, all township police department vehicles not under warranty went to Burchfield’s business for service and repairs, with bills between January 1998 and September 2000 adding up to $8,857. The township also sent road crew vehicles to Burchfield’s for repairs during that same period, paying $4,836. Burchfield said that is because his business offered the lowest prices for typical service and auto body work. The commission noted Burchfield, either in his capacity as township supervisor or treasurer, signed numerous checks to pay those bills. Burchfield also responded to the commission’s inquiry by explaining that in 1998, two months after becoming a township supervisor, he asked solicitor Frederick Gieg if his business could continue doing township wort;. Please see Suit/Page AS ■H Business A7 Classifieds C4-10 Hospitals A9 Movies C4 Obituaries Opinion At AB □ un Qjhnrs m Comics D5 Local roundup 84 Dear Abby Puzzles D2 D2 Scoreboard V Television D2 in un With 1,945 I Allegheny Cl 377 bridges proper, Pitts almost has i than any oft Mirror file photo by J.D, Cavrtch Workers sort mail at the postal facility in Duncansville in this December 2000 photo. the risk is very minimal in Altoona, but we are here to prevent it very get ting into the mail system,” Bluford said. Security was increased, but ifs business as usual at North American Communications Inc., a direct mail facility in Duncansville that employs about 550 workers. NAC president Rob Herman said he could not go into details about added security. Please see Mall/Page A5 ;

  • Charles A. Pascal Jr.
  • Charles S. Bluford
  • David E. Burchfield
  • David E. Burchfield Sr.Ii
  • Frederick Gieg
  • George Harley
  • John Greene
  • John Lawless
  • Jolene G. Kopriva
  • Joseph H. Wiedemer
  • Kristin M. Edmundson
  • Marie L. Seilhamer
  • Mark Schweiker
  • Phil Ray
  • Ray Stephens
  • Rob Herman
  • Robert C. Jubelirer
  • Sara Lee Funke
  • Shari Lee Jackson
  • Terry Despoy
  • Thomas M. Dickey
  • Tom Brokaw
  • Tom Daschle
  • Tom Ridge
  • Vince Dopko

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Publication: Altoona Mirror

Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

Issue Date: October 23, 2001

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