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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - December 6, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania BUSINESS: AMES CLOSING 54 STORES, INCLUDING ONE IN TYRONE ► PAGE A9 start Bl WW > Al 1 I    I A Christmas classic The Allegheny Ballet presents holiday favorite The Nutcracker’ Altoona mirror © Copyright 2001 THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2001 500 newsstand Affidavit shows Burket was shot Burket DEVELOPMENTS ■ A firearm was used in the crime against Lorin Burket contrary to official public statements. ■ Burket suffered a gunshot wound to the face and head ■ Funeral services were held Wednesday for Dana Gates Gates By Mark Leberfinger Staff Wr iter QUEEN — State police told a district justice a gun was used to attack a Bedford County man, days before they told the 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 head." states a sworn affidavit filed by state police seeking a search warrant. That contradicts an announcement made Tuesday bv the commander of the Bedford barracks. "There were no firearms involved in this crime,” Lt. Ivan H Hoover said during a news conference Tuesday. The affidavit was filed before District Justice Erika McVicker in Schellsburg, who approved the search warrant. Ifs still not clear whether a gunshot wounded Dana Gates, 31, of 1743 Schellsburg Road, ( lays burg. Gates was taken to Altoona Hospital, where *he was pronounced dead by Dr. .Johannes Sehokker at 6:12 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 lim1." Please see Shot/Page A4 CONVENTION CENTER Manager says site turning a profit By Ray 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 $9,500 to spare. Since opening in May, the center has held 158 events, hosted 61,500 guests and served 31,301 meals. “Many businesses would raise the flag high if this happened to them in the first six months," Robert Halbritter, chairman of the Blair County Convention Center Authority, said Wednesday. At a press conference hosted by the Allegheny Mountains Convention and Visitors Bureau. Halbritter praised the bureau and its operation of the convention center in Allegheny Township, located off the recently completed Convention Center Boulevard. Bureau Executive Director Cheryl Ebersole said the center’s income for the first six months was $673,913, and expenses totaled $664,447. The $9,500 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 to know more about how the figures were calculated. “I need more detailed information to know how it’s doing, and I think the commissioners should be getting more information on a monthly basis,” Eichelberger said. Although commissioners created the convention center authority, which is considered a public agency, the authority turned over Please see Center/Page A14 Suspect battling addiction ■ 27-year-old accused of shooting woman this weekend was aiming for someone else, police say. By Pull 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, but court records show he began to slip this year. Orville Brown, who lists his address as 314 Third St., just blocks from the scene of the shooting, was arrested in 1999 for dealing crack cocaine. Instead of placing the New York City native in prison, Blair County courts accepted him into the Intermediate Punishment Program. Altoona police say Brown surfaced 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 Kfyear-old 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 addictions 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 during the past two years. Please see Suspect/Page A4 FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE 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, during their tour of the United States. Please see story, Page A12. Railroad retirement bill clears through Senate «™> From Mirror staff and wire reports WASHINGTON - The long-anticipated and fought-over feder a1 railroad retirement bill jumped the last hurdle in Congress Wednesday. The bill, two years in the making, would directly affect workers at Norfolk Southern Corp. operations in Blair County and thousands of retired rail employees throughout Pennsylvania. The measure would allow workers with 30 years of service to retire at age 60, down from 62, with full benefits and reduce the number of years employees would be eligible for benefits from 20 to IO. The bill, which passed the Senate 90-9, also would increase benefits an average of $300 per month for about I million railroad retirees, spouses and survivors, according ■■■■■Hi 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 service,’’ said Tom Lutton, 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 woul4 only get a portion of the retirement account, they will now essentially receive almost all of it, like Social Security,” Lutton said. Also in the legislation, a $15 billion 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 legislation in that it actually strengthens the retirement fund,” said Tom White, spokesman for the Association of American Railroads, Please see Bill/Page A14 The provisions of the federal railroad retirement bill approved by Congress: ■ The retirement age would be reduced to 60 from 62. ■ Employees would be eligible for benefits in 10 years instead of 20. ■ A $15 billion railroad retirement fund would be invested in stocks and bonds ■ Benefits would increase an average of $300 per month for about 1 million railroad retirees, spouses and survivors ■ Payroll taxes would be cut for rail companies. DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 22910 00050 BK) FOUR 16r 5    4i4 ■ Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Chance of showers, 64° ■ Forecast. A2 Q LOCAL Q NATION/WORLD INSIDE Business Hospitals Obituaries Opinion HI SPORTS A9 A13 A13 A8 Classifieds C7-14 Comics CB EJ LIFE Movies D3 IN NATION Three Americans were killed and 20 wounded in Afghanistan Wednesday when a U.S. bomb missed its Taliban target. PAGE Cl Local B4 Night Life D2 Planner D2 Scoreboard BS Television D5 Fuamatu-Ma’afala looks to on right foot against Jets ;

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