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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - January 6, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Sports: Altoona boys down Bishop Guilfoyle Ufo: Furnishing new homes a little at a time DIAltoona mirror © Copyright 2001SATURDAY, JANUARY 6, 2001 500 newsstandMurder-for-hire charges tossed after legal delays■ Both women originally cited in bizarre case are now off the hook. By Phil Ray Staff Writer Charges against an Altoona woman who allegedly masterminded a murder-for-hire plot aimed at her estranged husband’s new girlfriend were dismissed Friday by Blair County Judge Norman D. Callan because she did not receive a speedy trial. Carolyn Marie Burke, the mother of three, buried her head in the arms of a friend as she left Callant courtroom just after noon. The friend, Brenda Futrell, said Burke had nothing to say. “We are thrilled,” said Burke’s attorney, Public Defender Don Speice. Blair County District Attorney Dave Gorman said Burke had not been brought to trial yet because of a legal question surrounding testimony from the prosecution’s star witness. The witness, Christopher Chaplain, who was 17 years old at the time of the alleged murder plot, had notified the district attorney a few days before Burke’s trial date in January 2000 that he wanted to change part of his testimony. He was informed if he changed his story he faced arrest. At that point, Chaplain said he would cite his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimi-nation if called to testify. Gorman then tried to grant immunity to Chaplain in an effort to force him to testily. When Callan refused to take away Chaplain’s right to cite the Fifth Amendment, Gorman asked the state Superior Court to review the case. Recently, the Superior Court sent the case back to Blair County after ruling that the district attorney’s petition was not timely since Chaplain had never been called formally to testify, and therefore had never cited the Fifth Amendment in an attempt to bai’ his testimony. Please see Delays/Page A8 Mirror Photo by Kelly Bennett £ mergence? workers try to remove a person from a sport utility vehicle that collided with a tractor-trailer northbound on Interstate 99 between the Plank Road and Frankstown Road exits. The driver was in critical condition and a 3-year-old passenger was in fair condition. I Page A3 November-December period nation’s coldest on record WASHINGTON (AP) - The suspicions of millions of shivering Americans were confirmed Friday by government weather experts — it was the nation’s coldest November-December period. “Two months in a row of much below-average temperatures resulted in the coldest November-December U.S. temperature on record, 33.8 degrees Fahrenheit,” said Jay Lawrimore, chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch at the National Climatic Data Center. This broke the. old record of 34.2 set in 1898. It was the country’s second coldest November nationwide and the seventh coldest December, according to records kept by the Center in Asheville, N.C. And the outlook isn’t cheering. National Weather Service Director Jack Kelly said the weather of 2000 was shaped by variability and extremes, which will continue throughout the winter. “The eastern and western United States will experience additional cold outbreaks at least through March with periods of moderation in between,” he said. The wintry weather was not unexpected, however, with the Weather Service calling for a return to more normal winter conditions after several years of mild winters, Lawrimore noted. The El Nino-La Nina weather phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean has faded into a near neutral state, eliminating that strong weather influence of the last few years. Now conditions are more like those of the 1970s, he said, with the jet stream — the fast, high-level wind that helps direct the movement of weather — forming a trough in the central and eastern United States, bringing cold arctic air southward Forty-three states within the contiguous U.S. recorded below average temperatures during the November-December period, according to records kept by the Center, a division of the government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Penny postal increase to take effect Sunday By Walt Frank Staff Writer A penny saved is a penny earned, and those pennies are going to come in handy when the cost of mailing a first-class letter climbs a penny to 34 cents beginning Sunday. The increase will cost the average household about 15 cents per month. And that will mean a lot more pennies for the U.S. Postal Service, which delivers more than 107 billion pieces of first-class mail per year in the United States. Not surprisingly, local people aren’t happy about the postage increase. “I think it costs too much to send a letter now. I think it is high enough,” said Linda Becker, Juniata Gap. “It seems to keep going up every other year, I think it is ridiculous.” “I really wonder if they really need it,” said Jean Harriger Belsano. “You can almost make a call for a minute at the price you pay to mail a letter.” Please see Postal/Page A8 Frustration, few answers at Ashville ambulance summit By Mia Rohart Staff Writer ASHVILLE — About five dozen people turned out Friday night to discuss the future of this community’s struggling volunteer ambulance service, run by the Ashville Volunteer Fire Department. The Ashville ambulance service has been working under a provisional license for a year now because of staffing problems, said Sandy Jablonski, executive director of Southern Alleghenies EMS Council. “The service now is failing to provide ALS [Advanced Life Support] service on 60 percent of their calls,” she said. Jablonski agreed that 40 percent service is better than nothing but she said the service should aim higher. “We have to raise the bar,” she said. “We have to set goals that are reasonable and set reasonable time limits to achieve those goals.” Please see Ambulance/Page A3 2 more House hopefuls surface ■ Developer Greg Morris is the first Blair County Democrat to express interest in Shuster’s seat. By William Kibler Staff Writer Add two names to the growing list of those who want to fill Bud Shuster’s seat in U.S. Congress: Altoona developer Greg Morris and former opponent Monte Kemmler. Morris admits his candidacy may sound a bit strange — he’s a Democrat in a traditionally Republican district and a political novice. But that shouldn’t rule him out as a viable candidate, he said, noting that he’s a conservative Democrat with views reflecting traditional Democratic positions mainly on the social issues. On business issues, his views swing more toward the GOP point of view. Like one of the potential candidates for the Republican nomination, Bill Shuster, Morris said politics is in the blood. He said he had a grandfather who was very involved in Washington, D.C., politics. Morris, an Altoona native, considered running against Shuster in 1994 but backed off, realizing it was probably hopeless. But it looks wide open to him now. He’ll be introducing himself and sharing his qualifications to the Democratic committee chairman in the ll counties in the district. He’s the only Blair Democrat so far to declare interest in the seat publicly. “It’s really stimulating,” he said. “I regard it as a national job.” Democratic Blair County Commissioner Donna Gority said Thursday that she hadn’t heard of any Democrats interested in the 9th District seat except State Rep. Jeff Coy of Franklin County. Gority isn’t interested in the seat for herself and wouldn’t be even if this were a Democratic district. Her job as the commissioner responsible for human services gives her the opportunity for community participation that would be lacking as a member of Congress, said Gority. Even if a Democrat won by fluke or unique circumstances in the upcoming special election, it would be hard to hold onto the seat, especially if reapportionment makes the district even more Republican, she said. Kemmler, a Republican, who challenged Shuster in 1996 and 1998, hopes to be considered for the newly opened Congressional seat. He could be seen as a “sleeper” candidate, he said. “I am still considering the opening myself, and I noticed that I haven’t been mentioned by any of the press outlets,” Kemmler said. “I certainly don’t want to walk away from my former efforts.” Please see Hopefuls/Page A8 Shuster DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 7 '22910 00050 a I BIG FOUR 4    10    9 ■ Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Cloudy, chance of snow, 29° ■ Forecast, C2 HQT-AOS.com We 're white-hot! Altouna mirror  GREAT COMBINATION Call us today...Make money today. Ask for THE GREAT COMBINATION of MIRROR CLASSIFIERS and HOT ADS Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) 946-7547 □ LOCAL Q NATION Business A5 Classifieds C2-8 Hospitals A7 Obituaries A7 Opinion A6 Qufe (3 SPORTS Comics D5 Community news D2 Local B4 Movies D3 Scoreboard B5 Television D4 Staff Writer William Kibler looks at the political maneuvering already under way in the race for Bud Shuster’s soon-to-be-vacated Congressional seat. fMHMMiiMSMM INSIDE oV / hllhWW A complete list of television programming for the upcoming week. ft Speice (left) and Gorman (right) haggled over delays in a high-profile murder trial before Callan sided with the defense. ;

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