Altoona Mirror, December 20, 2001

Altoona Mirror

December 20, 2001

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Issue date: Thursday, December 20, 2001

Pages available: 72

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Publication name: Altoona Mirror

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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - December 20, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania NATION: MOM WHO DRUGGED, SMOTHERED KIDS CONVICTED OF MURDER PAGE Cl Legendary Tussey Mountain coach eager for Hollidaysburg tourney First Night celebration planned in State College page Dl iHtrrnr Copyright 2001 THURSDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2001 500 newsstand Fiancee char BY MIA ROHAKT Staff Writer lover's quarrel took a fatal turn early Wednesday when police say a Huntingdon man was shot and killed by his live-in fiancee. Darin Wayne Whitsel, 31, of Path Valley was declared dead at a.m. by Hunting- don County assistant coroner Ronald Morder. Whitsel was shot once in the chest with a 7-30 caliber rifle, according to the affidavit of probable cause. Christina Joan Ashton, 37, of Mount Union was arrested at the scene and charged with criminal homicide. Ashton is being hold at Bedford County Jail and is awaiting a preliminary hearing. Whitsel and his fiancee were with Lisa Ashton and Thomas WMtsel at a resi- dence on a privately owned hunting camp in Cromwell Township Tuesday night, according to court documents. Thomas Whitsol owned the residence. s death Christina Ashton and Darin Whitsel began arguing about her having an affair. At some point, Lisa Ashton attempted to use the phone, and Darin Whitsel grabbed her, according to conrt documents. Christina Ashton told Darin Whitsel to stop. Darin Whilsel and Thomas Whitsel then began to fight physically with each other. Thomas Whitsel went to bis vehicle and brought the rifle into the residence, accord- ing to court documents. All four then left the residence. Lisa Ashton began to walk away, and Thomas Whitsel followed her. Please see A12 smoking less BY RANDOLPH E. SCIIMID Th e Associated Press WASHINGTON Smoking is declining sharply among Amer- ican teens, a finding that health experts are hailing as good news for the public's future health. A report also disclosed that the recent sharp increases in the use of the drug Ecstasy are slowing, hero- in use decreased, notably among 10th- and lath-graders, and a grad- ual decline in use of inhalants con- tinued in 2001. Decreases in cigarette smoking were observed for the eighth-, 10th- and 12lh-graders surveyed. For eighth-graders: About 12.2 percent reported smoking in the 30 days before they were surveyed, down from 14.6 percent the year before. The peak in the 1990s was 21 percent in 1996. For lOth-graders: The survey found 21.3 percent had smoked in the last 30 days, down from 23.9 percent the year before; and the peak was 30.4 percent, also in 1996. H For lath-grartevs: 29.5 percent had smoked in the month before being asked. Thai was down from 31.4 percent in 2000. Their peak in the 1990s came in I997at 3S.5 percent. "These important declines in teen smoking did not just happen by Lloyd IX Johnston of the University of Michigan said. "A lot of individuals and organi- zations have been making concert- ed efforts to bring down the unac- ceptably high rates of smoking among our youth." The findings were reported Wednesday in the annual Moni- toring the Future survey conduct- B Ex-cigarette model addresses area youth PAGE A7 ed for the government by the Uni- versity of Michigan's Institute for Social Research. The report sur- veyed students nationwide in grades eight, 10 and 12. "Because the teen years are crit- ical in the initiation of nearly all lifetime smoking habits, what hap- pens during that developmental period is vital to the eventual health and longevity of each gener- Johnston said. The decline in drug use also was lauded by public health officials. "Overall, drug use among America's teen-agers has remained level or declined for the fifth year in a row, and that's good Health and Human Services Sec- retary Tommy Thompson said in a statement. "But we must remain vigilant to the threats that heroin, Ecstasy, marijuana, alcohol and other dan- gerous drugs pose to our youth." Thompson added "the finding that fewer teen-agers are smoking is very encouraging as more teens are making smart choices that will help them avoid tobacco-related health threats." Glen Hanson, acting director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said: "We hope that our concerted effort to give adolescents science-based information about the health risks of Ecstasy and other drugs will contribute to a further reduction in the use of these drugs." Please see A7 Louise McNelly (right) of Blandburg stops at McAbec's Cornet- Grocery at First Avenue and Eighth Street in Aitoona to buy lottery tickets on her way home from work. Cashier Melinda Robenolt rings up the sale. Powerball fever, which had many residents flocking to West Virginia to buy tickets in August, will come to the Keystone State this summer. Mirror file photo by Jason Sipes Pa. to join multistate lottery game From Mirror staff and wire reports Pennsylvania will join the Powerball multistate lottery this summer, and the idea is winning over local players. "You might as well go for the big Tony DeStadio of Altoona said as he waited in line to buy his daily tickets at McAbee's Corner Grocery on First Avenue. "Oh yeah there's a lot more money paid out, 10 times as Steve St. John said before he left the store. The state is joining Powerball to boost lot- tery revenues to meet the mounting cosls of the senior citizen programs they help subsi- dize. "Residents who fancy the lottery want the Gov. Mark Schweiker said, stand- ing in front of a newsstand that sells lottery tickets at a suburban Harrisburg mall Tuesday during the official announcement to expand players' choices. "There isn't a week that goes by that lot- tery players don't encourage me and those at the Department of Revenue to bring in the game." Please see A5 State's new welfare reform plan covers most nearing 5-year limit BY JEANETTE KHKIIS capitohmre.com Virtually every family receiving a welfare check will have the chance to stay on public assistance for an undefined amount of time if they meet certain requirements. According to new public welfare regulations unveiled Tuesday, the stale could include all adults who will reach their five-year life- time limit on welfare between March and June in an exemption program. More time will be offered to recip- ients who are victims of domestic violence, are caring for a disabled family member or who have mental or physical limitations. Others will be required to work 30 hours per week to continue to receive benefits. Right now, 60 per- cent of the people needing to work are not. Pennsylvania, like every state, has the option of placing 20 per- cent of its welfare caseload into a federally funded, open-ended exemption program. State officials say families reach- ing the five-year mark would be only about 9 percent of that case- load, and they predict the 20 per- cent mark won't be reached for three years. What that means is the real hard choices in welfare reform, which could he made worse by the poten- tial of federal funding cuts next fall, will be made by the next governor, who will be elected in November. Please see AS CONGRESSIONAL REDISTRICTING Murtha silent on future as speculation continues Mascara BY ROBERT IGOK Staff Writer While U.S. Rep. John Murtha has not spoken directly about his future in Con- gress, there has been no shortage of rumors concyrning his plans. Talk exploded this week as the state Legislature prepares to work out a com- promise between two radically different plans for redrawing Pennsylvania's con- gressional districts. Under the Senate plan, Murthars 12tli District would be redrawn to include twd corridors reaching across the southwest ern part of the state to the West Virginia border. The plan also would pit Murtha against fellow Democrat Frank Mascara, 20th District, for the new district in 2002. 1 The House plan would leave both dis tricts separate on the map and have them more geographically compact. Please see A4 DELIVERY j Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7J80 or (800) 287-4480 rf- J--TV BIG FOUR 0928 I Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Chance of snow, Forecast, A2 ITALIAN VILLA 1808 4TH AVE., ALTOONA fj LOCAL Business Hospitals Obituaries Opinion Local Scoreboard A9 A11 A11 A8 B4 B5 Classifieds Comics Movies Nighl'Lite Planner Television C6-12 C4 j D3 D2 D2 D5 INSIDE -_ iJ IN BUSINESS A federal panel sent recommendations for tariffs of up to 40 percent on imported steel to the Bush administration Wednesday. PAGE A9 1 ;

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