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Altoona Mirror: Wednesday, December 12, 2001 - Page 1

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   Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - December 12, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania                                IN STATE: LAW BARRING EX-OFFENDERS FROM HEALTH-CARE JOBS RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL PAGE A14 Altoona, Guilfoyle boys look for early season wins imple or fancy, dipping is hip again. Just don't double. page Dl Copyright 2001 WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2001 500 newsstand Redistrictin Amid outcry, GOP looks to increase its edge BY ROBERT IGOE Staff Writer State Senate Republicans say their congressional redisti-icting plan that passed the Senate Tuesday morning is fair and reasonable for Pennsylvania. They're getting very little support from the other side of the aisle, however. Democrats in the House and Senate decry the plan as a partisan formula to crush the state's Democratic force in Washington at the expense of Pennsylvanians as the House prepares to offer its own plan, which state Rep. Jerry Stern, R-Martinsburg, calls "more compact." "I think that the House Republican plan is a much better he said. "Tlie Senate plan seemed more gerrymandered as far as a few of those seats go, but both plans will create some competitive seats in the southwest areas." Please see A3 Conklin could be shifted to 5th, instead of 9th IJv ROBKKT IGOE Staff Writer It's just a small move on paper, but tbe part of the state Senate's plan to redraw Pennsylvania's U.S. House dis- tricts that deals with Centre County threatens to have a major impact upon 2002 congressional races. Under the plan, all of Centre County would become part of the 5th Congressional District, currently rep- resented by U.S. Rep. John Peterson, rather than remain part of the 9th District, represented by U.S. Rep. Bill Sinister. Among the communities that would become part of the 5th District is Rush Township, home of Centre County Commissioner and possible congressional candidate Scott Conklin. Sinister and Peterson are Republicans, and Conklin is a Democrat. "They're doing it because they have the power Conklin said. "It's that simple." Please see A3 OXYCODONE OVERDOSE Police charge victim's friend BY Pun. RAY Staff Writer Al toona police have filed charges against the boyfriend of a woman who died from an oxycodone over- dose in March, contending he pro- vided drugs that led to her death. The boyfriend, Michael Vernon Colbert, 37, of 1405 Eighth Ave. as of late Tuesday had not been taken into custody by police, but a warrant was issued for his arrest by District Justice Todd F. Kelly of Altoona Charges of pos- session of a con- TvrrrmlT1pii trolled substance and possession with intent to deliver were filed by Altoona Detective Earl Krug after a nine month investigation into the mys- terious circumstances surround- ing the death of Bohbi Jo McConnell of 2830 Sixth Ave. McConnell, 23, was found dead the morning of March 10. Colbert admitted to investiga- tors that the two injected the painkiller during the night. He told police he and McConnell each brought drugs to her apartment. They used each other's supply, he said. Thelma McConnell, the woman's mother, doesn't agree with Colbert's story. She says her daughter had undergone a medical examination throe days prior to her death and she was "clean" of any illegal sub- stances. She said her daughter was expe- riencing severe back pain a point Colbert agreed with as the result of a traffic accident in 1999. Her normal medication taken for back pain had not been restarted after her medical examination. This may have been the reason her daughter agreed to take oxycodone that night, Thelma McConnell said. Oxycodone is an opiate and is part of the same family of drugs as OxyContin, a pain medication that has received wide notice because of those who have died from it. Please see A7 DEAR MR. RIDGE letters filled The Associated Press a n unknown firefighter wipes his eyes during a memorial service held at Ground Zero Tuesday, the three- month anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States. Memorial services were held at the sites in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, where planes were used as missiles Sept. 11.1 PAGE C4 BY MICHAEL RACK cupitulwire.cotn HARRISBURG When a Maine retiree wrote to Tom Ridge to vent his emotions about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he summed up the feelings of many Americans in a single sentence. "Christ turned the other the Navy veteran wrote, "but he's a much stronger person than 1 am." Such anger and thirst for vengeance permeate many letters sent to Pennsylvania's former gov- ernor in the days after President Bush tapped him to head the fed- eral Office ofllomeland Security. Ridge's former office at the state Capitol has boxes filled with thou- sands of letters, e-mails and faxes voicing rage and fear over the attacks and suggesting ideas for fighting the war in Afghanistan and thwarting future terrorist plots. Terrorism might be the new mo I her o f in ve n lion. Equip commercial airliners with remote control equipment that can override the cockpit con- trols, one writer suggested. Another said airline security could be improved by adding a game show element. More than a dozen people recommended equip- ping commercial airliners with "knockout while one man offered his plan for a "wristband dart" that can render an attacker unconscious. Please see A6 Examiner puts brakes on drivers test scheme BY MARK LKBEHFINGEK Staff Writer An Altoona woman failed- the written exam for her driver's license at least four times and tried to come up with a better way to pass her test, state police said. Danina L. Williams asked her friend Amber Walters to take the test for her. Walters agreed, but the two were caught at the Altoona Driver's License Center, police said. Williams, 19, 1011 23rd Ave., and Walters, 18, 609 26th St., have been charged with unsworn falsification to authorities, conspiracy to commit unsworn falsification to authorities and criminal attempt to commit unsworn falsification to authorities. Court documents state Donald Peachman, a driver's license exam- iner supervisor at the Altoona cen- ter, received an anonymous phone call Dec. 4 that the women would be After being asked for photo identification, the woman said she was posing as her friend. coming to the center with Wallers posing as Williams. Both showed up at the center with Walters signing in as Williams, court documents state. The supervisor called Williams by name, and Wallers approached his desk. She presented him with a birth certificate and Social Security number in Williams' name. Peachman told Walters that he had reason to believe she was not Williams, but in fact Walters, and asked Walters for photo identifica- tion. Walters told the supervisor that he was correct and she was posing as Williams and "could no longer continue this according to court documents. Trooper Kip A. Brown already was at the license center. Both women were read their Miranda rights, and both admitted that it was their intent to have Walters pose for Williams so Williams could obtain her driver's license. Please see A7 Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 J' BIO FOJR_ 2) 7 Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Mostly sunny, 46" jBfiiCil Forecast, A2 'V The Perfect Gift 946-7480 Of Start that gift subscription today Bus mess Movies Obituaries Opinion SPOUTS High schools Scoreboard A9 A11 A13 AS B4 B5 Classifieds C5-14 Nation C2 Comics D5 Community news D2 Puzzles D4 Television D4 IN BUSINESS Mellon Financial will lose million in annual revenue from a canceled federal contract. PAGE A9 v   

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