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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - December 6, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania BUSINESS: AMES CLOSING 54 STORES, INCLUDING ONE IN TYRONE PAGE A9 Fuamatu-Ma'afala looks to start on right foot against Jets page Bl egn'eny Ballet' presents holiday favorite The Nutcracker' Dl jUtmma mirror Copyright 2001 THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2001 Affidavit shows 500 newsstand Bucket DEVELOPMENTS B A lirearm was used in the crime against Lorin Burket, contrary to official pubfic statements. B Burket suffered a gunshot wound to the face and head. H Funeral services were held Wednesday for Dana Gates. Gates BY MARK LEHKKFINGER Staff Writer QUEEN State police told a district justice a gun was used to attack a Bedford County man, days before they told fhe public no firearm was involved in the crime that led to the death of the man's fiancee. Lorin Burket "sustained a gunshot wound to the face and states a sworn affidavit filed by state police seeking a search wan-ant. That contradicts an announcement made Tuesday by the commander of the Bedford barracks. "There were no firearms involved in this LL Ivan 11. Hoover said during a news conference Tuesday. The affidavit was filed before District Justice Erika McVicker in Schellslwrg, who approved the search warrant. It's still not clear whether a gunshot wounded Dana Gates, 31, of Schellsburg Road, Clays- burg. Gates was taken to Altoona Hospital, where she was pronounced dead by Dr. Johannes Schokker at a.m. Friday. The court document states only that lead investigator Craig A. Grassmyer said he viewed Gates' body at Altoona Hospital and "saw an entrance wound on the right side of the head near the hair line." Please see A4 CONVENTION CENTER Manager C_J says site BY KAY STEPHENS Staff Writer The operators of the Blair County Convention Center say they are pleased to end the first six months of operation with their bills paid and to spare. Since opening in May, the center lias held 158 events, hosted guests and served meals. "Many businesses would raise the flag high if this happened to them in the first six Robert Halbritter, chairman of the Blair County Convention Center Authority, said Wednesday. At a press conference hosted by the Allegheny Mountains Conven- tion and Visitors Bureau, Halbritter praised the bureau and its opera- tion of the convention center in Allegheny Township, located off die recently completed Convention Center Boulevard. Bureau Executive Director Cheryl Ebersole said the center's income for the first six months was and expenses totaled The difference will be carried forward, she said. While Halbritter said he was pleased, county Commissioner John H. Eichelberger Jr. said after the press conference that he wants fo know more about how the fig- ures were calculated. "I need more detailed informa- tion to know how it's doing, and I think the commissioners should be getting more information on a monthly Eichelberger said. Although commissioners creat- ed the convention center author- ity, which is considered a public agency, the authority turned over see A14 Mirror photo by Jason Sipes Members of the Moscow Boys Choir performed Wednesday at St. Francis University. A Hollidaysburg native has been driving a charter bus for the choir members, some as young as 9, dur- ing their tour of the United States. Please see story, Page A12. battling addiction B 27-year-old accused of shooting woman this weekend was aiming for someone else, police say. BY Puu, RAY Staff Writer The 27-year-old Altoona man arrested for shooting a young woman in the head Sunday night once was on his way to beating drug addiction, hut court records show lie began to slip this year. Orville Brown, who lists his address as 314 Third St., just blocks from the scene of the shooting, was arrest- ed in 1999 for dealing crack cocaine. Instead of placing the New York City native in prison, Blair County courts accepted him into the Inter- mediate Punishment Program. Altoona police say Brown sur- faced Sunday at Fifth Avenue and Third Street when he took a 9 mm handgun and aimed it at a man identified as Cassius Manor. Police say Brown shot four times, missing the intended victim, who was standing in front of Polir Global Recycling on the 200 block of Brown Fifth Avenue. Instead, one of the bullets struck lli-yearold Ashley Johnson, who was standing next to Manor. Another n bullet hit a car, shattering the driver's side window of a car in which Elsie Lyles and Stewart Belton were sitting. A police affidavit of probable cause filed with District Justice John Greene of Tyrone, the on-call magistrate Monday night, indicated that Johnson's head wounds are life-threatening. Her condition is unavailable. IPP seeks to help those with drug and alcohol addic- tions by placing them into an intensive rehabilitation program in lieu of prison. But Brown spent many months in the county prison while awaiting his day in court. Records of Brown's cases show he was placed in the IPP for two years starting in January 2000. County officials worked intensely with Brown dur- ing the past two years. Please see A4 Railroad retirement bill clears through Senate t-P From Mirror staff and wire reports :WASHINGTON The long- anticipated and fought-over feder- al railroad retirement bill jumped the last hurdle in Congress Wednesday. The bill, two years in the mak- ing, would directly affect workers at Norfolk Southern Corp. opera- tions in Blair County and thou- sands of retired rail employees throughout Pennsylvania. The pleasure would allow work- ers with 30 years of service to retire at age 60, down from 62, with full benefits and reduce the num- ber of years employees would be eligible for benefits from 20 to 10. The bill, which passed the Senate 90-9, also would increase benefits an average of per month for about 1 million railroad, retirees, spouses and survivors, according to the Association of American Railroads. The bill's passage was good news for members of the Transport Workers Union of America, who are fighting to keep their jobs at the Hollidaysburg Car Shop. "Most of our workers are around 50, with 20 to 30 years said Tom Lutlon, president of the local TWU. "So some of the changes that ben- efit us the most include changes in .the pension, where before a spouse would, only get a portion of the retirement account, they will now essentially receive almost all of it, Hke Social Lulton said. Also in the legislation, a bil- lion railroad retirement fund would be invested in stocks and bonds for the first time. It also would cut payroll taxes for rail companies. Critics said the measure will increase the federal deficit and unduly put taxpayer dollars at risk, but railroad advocates are pleased. "It's a very positive piece of legis- lation in that it actually strengthens the retirement said Tom White, spokesman for the Associ- ation of American Railroads, Please see A14 Ths provisions at (ne federal railroad retirement bill approved by Congress: The relirement arje would be reduced to 60 from 62. Employees would be eligible lor benefits In 10 years instead of 20. A billion railroad retirement fund would lie invested in stocks and bonds. Benefits vyould increase an average of per month for about 1 million railroad retirees, spouses and survivors, Payroll taxes would be cut (or rail 'companies. 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