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View Sample Pages : Altoona Mirror, December 12, 2001

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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 (aa IB© aansQ Altoona, Guilfoyle boys look for early season wins imple or fancy, dipping $ is hip again. Just don’t double. Altoona itlirror © Copyright 2001WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2001 500 newsstand -f' rn "V MRIMNNNMiRedistricting stirs controversyAmid outcry, GOP looks to increase its edge Conklin could be shifted to 5th, instead of 9th By Robert Igoe Staff Writer State Senate Republicans say their congressional redistricting 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 Democrat ic force in Washington at the expense of Pennsylvanians as the House prepares to offer its own plan, which state Rep. Jerry Stem, R-Martinsburg, calls “more compact." “I think that the House Republican plan is a much better plan," he said, “The 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 Denounce/Page A3 By Robert Igoe Staff Writer It’s just a small move on paper, but the part (rf 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 Shuster, 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 Shuster and Peterson are Republicans, and Conklin is a Democrat. “They’re doing it because they have the power to,” Conklin said “It’s that simple.” Please see District 'Page A3 OXYCODONE OVERDOSE Police charge victim’s friend By Phil Ray Staff Writer Altoona police have flied charges against the boyfriend of a woman who died from an oxycodone overdose in March, contending he provided 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 McConnen trolled substance and possession with intent to deliver were filed by Altoona Detective Earl Krug after a nine-month investigation into the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Bobbi Jo McConnell of 2830 Sixth Ave. McConnell, 23, was found dead the morning of March IO. Colbert admitted to investigators 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 three days prior to her death and she was “clean” of any illegal substances. She said her daughter was experiencing 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. DURING MOMENT OF SILENCE The Associated Press * ii rn A MOURNING REMAINS INFLUENTIAL ti 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. ll. I Page C4 DEAR MR. RIDGE America’s letters filled with anger, fear, ideas By Michael Race capitol wire.ami HARRISBURG When a Maine retiree wrote to Tom Ridge to vent his emotions about the S. pl 11 terrorist attacks, he summed up the feelings of many Americans iii a single sentence. “Christ turned the other cheek, ’ the Navy veteran wrote, “but he’s a much stronger person than I am.” Such anger and thirst for vengeance permeate many letters sent to Pennsylvania’s former governor in the days after President Bush tapped him to head the federal Office of Homeland Security. Ridge’s former office at the state Capitol has boxes filled w ith thousands 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 mother of invention. Equip commercial airliners with remote control equipment that can override the cockpit controls, one writer suggested. Another said airline security could be improved by adding a game show element. More than a dozen people recommended equipping commercial airliners with “knockout gas,” while one man offered his plan for a “wristband dart” that can render an attacker unconscious. Please see Anger/Page A6 Please see Vlctlm/Page A7 Examiner puts brakes on driver’s test scheme By Mark Leberfinger 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 L. 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, IOU 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 examiner supervisor at the Altoona center, received an anonymous phone call Dec. 4 that the women would be Atter being asked for photo identification, the woman said she was posing as her friend. coming to the center with Walters 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 Walters 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 identification. Walters told the supervisor DELIVERY m Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 7    22910    00050    a i BIG FOUR 2    7    3    # I Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Mostly sunny, 46° ■ Forecast, A2 I if wm □ local 0 NATION Business A9 Classifieds C5-14 Movies A11 Nation C2 Obituaries A13 MIMM EJUFE Opinion A8 fp SPORTS Comics D5 High schools B4 Community news Puzzles D2 D4 Scoreboard B5 Television D4 that he was correct and she was posing as Williams and “could no longer continue this charade,” 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 Driver’s/Page A7 INSIDE IN BUSINESS Mellon Financial Corp. will lose $7 million in annual revenue from a canceled federal contract. 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