Altoona Mirror, November 1, 2001

Altoona Mirror

November 01, 2001

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Issue date: Thursday, November 1, 2001

Pages available: 80

Previous edition: Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Next edition: Friday, November 2, 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) - November 1, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania THAT'S RACIN': THERE'S NO ROOM FOR ERROR IN PJT CREW COMPETITION B3 iij BCAF hosts Beaujolais bash Uttrror Copyright 2001 THURSDAY, NOVEMBER i, 2001 500 newsstand ADOPTION IN CAMBODIA Miifor ptioto by J.D. Cavrich Jeff Fleming holds K picture of Ms daughter, Isabel, who is stuck in Cambodia with Fleming's wife, Karen. The Flemings adopted Isabel, but the U.S. embassy in Phnom Penh wouldn't grant a visa for their new daughter. Trying to come home halts couple from bringing daughter to U.S. BY PHIL RAY StaffWriter It was love at first sight for Jeff and Karen Fleming of Hollidaysburg when they met their adopted child hi an orphanage near Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Isabel Choinpa Fleming was a tot of 2 Va years with big brown eyes. After a few days with the Flemings, she displayed a heart- rending smile and playful attitude. "She is a dream child. Our bond was immediate. She developed in three weeks, becoming potty-trained, learning 25-XO words of English. It was just unbeliev- said Jeff Fleming, a Blair County attorney. The Cambodian government quickly approved Isabel's adoption, and the Flemings, who went to Cambodia Oct. 5, felt they would be back in Blair County within a days. That's when their dream of adopting a child hit a wall. It wasn't the Cambodian government that placed an obstacle in their path; it was the American embassy in Phnom Penh. "Thei-e's our girl we were immediately in We.take her to the embassy. They say, Take her back to the orphanage. She is not your child. Jeff Fleming 39 love with. We take her to the embassy. They say, 'Take her back to the orphanage. She is not your Fleming said. The Flemings and at least six other American couples facing the same stark decree told the embassy they will not return the children to the orphanage. "From the time we got this picture, we were in love .with this Fleming said displaying a photograph oflsabel. "You don't abandon your children like that." The face-off h etween the Amer ican embassy and a group of Americans has been going on for weeks now. The Flemings feel abandoned by the embassy. They were even afraid for a time being in a foreign land of incredible pover- ty. Tensions were acute. The embassy in Phnom Penh eventually was closed to out- siders because of threats after the Sept. 11 attacks. Through the tears, anger and disbelief, the Flemings and the other American cou- ples are playing a waiting game, refusing to surrender their love or abandon their chil- dren. Karen Fleming remains with Isabel in Phnom Penh, a 34-hour flight from home, while Jeff Fleming has returned home to maintain a law practice. Karen Fleming is in a good hotel with Isabel. Jeff Fleming believes the two are safe. He said his wife is strong, although she broke down on the telephone Monday night. Please see A3 CITYOFALTOONA Dept. heads cut K from budget BY WILLIAM Krui.Eti Staff Writer As budgeting for 2002 begins, city department heads have squeezed out in expenses to offset big loss- es in earned income tax because of job cuts in the area. The expense reduction won't lead to decreased services, officials said at the city's first budget meeting Wednesday. But there still may be a tax hike, if only to ensure a financial cushion at theendofnext year. The city will lose revenue because it won't receive the same 0.5 percent earned-income taxes from city resi- dents who were among about workers losing mostly hiph-paying jobs in the county in the last 18 months. "I'm not sure anyone has an exact handle on Councilman Mark Geis said. "That's why we're erring on the side of caution." Staff gave the council the 3.73 per- cent expense reduction despite pay- roll increases of that mostly are mandated raises for -union employees. One expense item accounts for the bulk of the savings a in the costs of handling refunds of the city's 0.2 percent earned-income surtax for pensions. The city has been refunding the tax because of an ordinance mistake several years ago. It's money the city call recoup through a new surtax based on a corrected ordinance. While the refunds are ongoing, staff already has returned most of the money owed, and expenses for 2002 are down to from spent last year. Fortunately, the cut in that category won't mean any loss of service, City Manager Joe Weakland said. Please see A7 WAR ON TERRORISM: Pages AVO.C1 Armed guards will patrol Farm Show BY MAHK SHADE HARRISBURG Amid the butter sculpture, the fried mushrooms, the sheep-to-shawl contest and rows of bovines, visitors to the 86th Pennsylvania Farm Show will see something new when they arrive in January: armed security guards. Beset by anthrax attacks along the East Coast and the threat of terror- ism, the Department of Agriculture has decided to begin searchingfor an available security force for the agency's showcase. "We've always had security, but the armed guards are a new wrin- said Steve Wagner, press secre- tary for the state agency. However, Wagner stressed the gun-toting officials are needed more to safeguard the money raised from new parking fees than to shield visi- tors from terrorists. Starting with a professional indoor soccer match between the Harris- burg Heat and the Kansas City Comets Saturday, motorists; for the first time, will be required to pay to park when attending a Fann Show event. Visitors will have to deposit a parking fee into any one of the 22 token machines when they park on a now, 29-acre tract of macadam on Elmerton Avenue, about a mile east of the facility. Besides paying for the armed guards, which will not be in place for the Heat game, Wagner said the parking money will pay for a shuttle service to the Farm Show by Capital Area Transit and for snow removal. The guards are needed "because that money has to be removed [from the Wagner said, "and it's not the best area in the world" for safety. Please see A7 Protesters' signs cause uproar outside courthouse IIECTIONPREVIEW Nemhborhood revitalizalion. lobs and mo BY PHIL RAY SlqffWriter HOLLIDAYSBURG Many county em- ployees and visitors say they were offended Wednesday by signs earned by protesters outside the Blair County Courthouse be- cause they compared Blair County Judge Hiram Carpenter to terrorist Osama bin Laden and depicted the courts as a holocaust against children and a system of ethnic cleansing. Blair County attorney Gerald M. Nelson was particularly upset. Kearns "There couldn't be a big- ger difference between who stands for justice and who is against he said. Nelson considered con- fronting the demonstrators, but he decided not to, noting that a confrontation only would give them the atten- tion they want Others in the courthouse expressed anger at the signs but didn't want to be quoted. A young sheriffs deputy said it was inappropriate to compare any American to bin Laden, and a paralegal worker curtly stated that Carpenter is a "nice man" and should not be criticized in such a manner. As for Carpenter, he took it all in stride, laughing about me signs but declining to say anything for the record. The signs were part of an effort put togeth- er by a Hollidaysburg-area man protesting what he claims are unfair rulings in a cus- tody case he had before Carpenter. Robert G. Kearns Jr. and some friends and relatives were picketing the courthouse because Keams wants an investigation into inaccuracies in the preparation of the tran- script of his custody action. In January, Carpenter dismissed a peti- tion filed by Kearns citing errors in the tran- scription of his case. Reams said he has contacted Blair County District Attorney Dave Gorman, Attorney General Mike Fisher, the U.S. Department of Justice and state Rep. Jerry Stern, R- Martinsburg, because "basically, we are attempting to get the courts Kearns said. Please see A12 Neighborhood revitalizalion, jobs and mo budget are the big themes for City Council candidates ii PAGEA4 In Logan Township, incumbent Frank Melpy squares off against Libertarian candidate Romeo DeBartolome for supervisor. Allegheny Twp. residents will choose between two businessmen when they vote for supervisor. PAGE AS Tyrone voters will select a mayor and three Borojgh Council members Tuesday. PAGEA6 Subscription or home delivery questions: 9-16-7480 or (800) 287-4480 V X 8 I Lottery numbers, A2 Mostly sunny, Forecast, A2 We're white-hot! Altnotra I THE GHEAT 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) 946-7647 Business Hospjtajs_ Obituaries Opinion All All A8 A H-SJoqlball Scoreboard Comics Classifieds Movies ,.B4 I Dear 85 I television C3 C4-12 D5 M D7 D7 IN NATION The U.S. economy declined in the July to September quarter In the strongest signal yet the country has slipped inlo a recession. PAGE C1 ;