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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - July 10, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania INSIDE TODAY BLAIR BUSINESS MIRROR: Siemens develops world-class software / FREE INSIDE SPORTS: Curve head to break with three-game sweep of first-place Erie /_ LIFE: Hollidaysburg Arts Council enriches lives of all ages through programs / DIAltoona Mirror © Copyright 2001TUESDAY, JULY IO, 2001 500 newsstand ’-rnTrooper cited in boy’s death By William Kibler Staff Writer An off-duty state trooper didn’t tell the truth to Logan Township police last month by claiming his pickup truck flashers were on when a 14-year-old bicyclist crashed into the truck and died, Chief Steve Jackson said. Logan Township police have cited Richard J. McEldowney, 31, of Altoona for failure to use the flashers, illegal parking and an expired inspection sticker in connection with the death June 9 of Charles Ehredt, who lived on Juniata Gap Road about a half-mile uphill from the crash scene. Police also cited Ehredt’s fellow rider and neighbor Colt Cloutier, 16, for failure to have a headlamp and brakes on his bike. McEldowney didn’t return a message left at Hollidaysburg State Police barracks, where he works. His home number is unlisted. Several witnesses told police McEl-downey’s flashers were not on, including motorists who passed the truck before the accident, those who came to the scene shortly after arriving emergency workers and neighbors, Jackson said. No one at the birthday party where McEldowney was visiting said the flashers weren’t on. Flashers might have alerted the youngsters to the presence of the truck when they came down the long, straight grade at 15 or 20 mph with Ehredt in the lead from near their homes, Jackson said. A police study after the accident showed a truck with similar flashers was visible from where the boys entered the highway from a neighborhood side street about 9:40 p.m. The crash was a confluence of several unfortunate circumstances, not all of which McEldowney was responsible for, Jackson said. Neither cyclist was wearing a helmet nor had headlamps on their bikes, officials and family members have said. Ehredt was antsy and upset about his backpack being stolen at TeenFest in town earlier that day. The backpack contained the helmet he wore while biking, tools, a compact disc player and compact discs, his family said. Please see Cited/Page A4 Duel over campaign cash bills Park-goers ride the Skyliner roller coaster at Lakemont Park in Lakemont. State inspectors watch rides closely throughout the year, and 90percent of ride accidents are attributed to riders’carelessness, according to the bureau’s amusement-ride safety division supervisor. I Page A4 Charges filed in court assault case By Ray Stephens Staff Writer HOLLIDAYSBURG - The Blair County Sheriffs Department charged an Altoona man Monday with aggravated assault and related charges for brawling last week in court with three deputies. Victor Thomas of Altoona, in jail on drug charges and on charges that he threatened to kill an estranged girlfriend, faces aggravated assault, two counts of simple assault, two counts of harassment and a dis-1 orderly conduct charge. A preliminary hearing is slated for July 17. The charges were filed with District Justice Elizabeth Doyle, Hollidaysburg, after a hearing in the Blair County Court of Common Pleas where a respectful Thomas apologized to Judge Norman D. Callan for Thomas the judge he overreacted. Callan, in turn, vacated the contempt of court order he levied on Thomas and the accompanying six-month jail sentence. If convicted on the charges, Thomas could serve jail time for his actions. Also Monday, Callan released a Pittsburgh attorney from further representing Thomas and ordered the Blair County Public Defender’s office to handle his Friday’s court fracas. Thomas told cases. Thomas hasn’t been paying his bills and claims he is indigent. Attorney Lee Rothman of Pittsburgh after court Monday said his office no longer represents Thomas in Blair County or federal court, where Thomas also faces drug charges. In court Monday, Rothman made his last court appearance on Thomas’ behalf, arguing Thomas is a victim of double jeopardy with drug charges filed in both courts. Please see Court/Page A4 Plan to curb small arms trafficking rejected ■ The U.N. position turned down by the United States interferes with gun ownership. By Dafna Linzer The Associated Press UNITED NATIONS — Staking out a tough position at a U.N. conference on small arms, the United States said Monday that it would oppose any plan that interferes with the legal weapons trade or the right of citizens to own guns. The Bush administration believes the best way to curb trade in small arms and light weapons is to get every nation to adopt tough U.S.-style regulations on exports, weapons transfers and brokers, Undersecretary of State John Bolton told delegates to the conference. “The United States will not join consensus on a final document that contains measures contrary to our constitutional right to keep and bear arms,” Bolton said. Finding a way to halt the illegal trade in small arms and light weapons — responsible for millions of deaths worldwide — will be tough for nations with vastly divergent stances. Some want to ensure profits are not touched, others oppose interference in their right to self-defense. Please see Gun/Page A3 ■ House takes up reform measures as McCain, GOP leaders battle. I Shuster, Peterson support compromise bill; Murtha undecided. By Robert Igoe Staff Writer When the U.S. House begins debate on campaign finance reform this week, it will be maverick Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on one side, the House Republican leadership on the other and about everyone else in between. Widely different views on how far a ban on soft money should go have blossomed into accusations and counteraccusations about political strongarming as the House reconvenes this afternoon. The area’s two Republican congressmen — U.S. Rep Bill Shuster, R-9th District, and U.S. Rep. John Peterson, R-5th District — oppose the McCain-backed bill. U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-12th District, said he’s still undecided on the issue. Jennifer Burita, press secretary for Peterson, said she thinks the Ney bill alternative has a better chance of passage. “The main issue in campaign finance reform is soft money,” she said. “The Ney bill puts a limit on how much a person or group can donate, but it allows it to be used for voter awareness and registration campaigns but not for issue advocacy campaigns. “That is the key to the bill. A lot of our representatives, particularly those from minority districts, worried that a total ban on soft money would hurt efforts to get more minorities out to the polls. That’s why this bill has a wide range of support from both conservative Republicans and the Black Caucus.” Shuster said he does not support McCain-Feingold because he feels it is “unconstitutional because you are denying certain groups the right to participate in the electoral process by weighing in on the issues.” McCain THI LETTER Following is the complete text of the June 20, 2001, letter sent to freshman members of the U.S. House of Representatives by Sen John McCain. R-Ariz,: “It was so invigorating during the campaign last year to travel across America, campaigning for you and other Republicans, and feel the incredible, energetic support for reform from every crowd at every stop on the campaign trail. “[Name], I especially remember the event we did together in [city], just before election day on [date). And I remember our personal conversations about our shared passion for reform. We both promised to lead the fight to make meaningful campaign finance reform law. I urge you to keep up that commitment to reform in the coming weeks, as we will finally have the opportunity to see campaign finance reform become a reality. "Our efforts to propel campaign finance reform to the forefront of the political debate have been successful. As you well know, the House will bring up campaign finance reform in July. Now, you have the opportunity to fulfill the campaign promise you and I made together on the state in [place]. I know you share my excitement at the opportunity — atter so many years and at the urging of the American people — to make campaign finance reform a reality. “I look forward to speaking with you personally at your earliest convenience about the fight for campaign finance reform and your support for this important issue." Sincerely, John McCain Murtha said legislation alone will not cure the ills of campaign Finance. “I haven’t seen a bill yet that would change anything that improves the system,” he said. “As fast as these bills are introduced, somebody comes up with a way around them. Please see Cash/Page A3 DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 22910 00050 a BIG FOUR 0 6    6    4 1 Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Partly sunny, 85° ■ Forecast, A2 HOT-ADS.Com We're white-hot!Altoona mirror Tthe great combination Call us today...Make money today. THE GHEA'|ASk ^BINATION of MIRROR CLASSIFIEDS and Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) 946-7547   - □ local Business A5 Movies A4 Obituaries A7 Opinion A6 I ] SPORTS Local B4 □ nation Classifieds C2-8 (3 LIFE Comics D3 Dear Abby D2 Puzzles D2 Scoreboard B5 Television D2 INSIDENATION Anti-abortion activists head to Wichita for weeklong renewal of Summer of Mercy. PAGE Cl Ehredt SUMMER SAFETY CHECKS ;

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