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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - July 17, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania INSIDE TODAY SPORTS: Curve drop one to Bowie, 7-2 / BUSINESS: SKF lays off 29 employees / A7 Get on the stick Easier on gas and on the wallet, manual transmissions remain an option page DIAltoona Mirror © Copyright 2001TUESDAY, JULY 17, 2001 500 newsstand Judge is lobbying for juror pay raise ■ Panel members have been paid the same rate for 20 years, but local lawmaker says money is a big issue. By Phil Ray Staff Writer HOLLIDAYSBURG — Pennsylvania jurors haven’t gotten a pay raise in 20 years, and a Blair County judge says it’s time to change that. Judge Thomas G. Peoples urged a panel selected for a criminal case Monday to write or call their legislators to ask them to support a bill to raise the amount jurors are paid. “The General Assembly says what jurors are paid,” Peoples said. “If we are to populate I this system with good jurors, we have to compen-I sate them.’’ Jurors are paid $9 for each of the first three days of service and $25 per day for service beyond that. They also receive gas mileage from their home-I towns. On Monday, juror Will-p i    iam Stevens of Altoona was reopies    ^ for a5oUt four hours of service and $2.38 for gas. Stevens, who is retired, wasn’t upset with the low wages, but, “Everybody else has gotten a raise,” he said. Peoples said legislators “are just not being realistic when they haven’t changed anything for 20 years. It needs attention in the Legislature.” Rep. Jerry Stern, R-Martinsburg, said Monday that there are several bills before the Legislature to increase jurors’ wages. “It’s a question of how we are going to pay for it," he said. The state does not want to legislate unfunded mandates, which means passing legisla tion to require the counties to boost jurors’ wages. “We are very conscious of who will pay for it,” Stem said. Stem agreed that jurors should be paid more, adding that for some people, jury duty is a burden. A few companies won’t make up the difference in pay a person receives from jury duty as opposed to his normal daily paycheck. “It is a cost to their overall paycheck for them to serve on jury duty,” Stem said. Please see Jurors/Page A5 , .. . . MMM OHM NORFOLK SOUTHERN HEARING Legislators grill Goode ■ Railroad CEO defends Hollidaysburg decision, company's right to operate without intervention. ■ Decision now in the hands of federal regulators; court challenge likely regardless of their ruling. Norfolk Southern Corp. Chief Executive Officer David Goode testifies before members of the railroad subcommittee of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Monday at the Blair County Convention Center. Members of the public interested in the Norfolk Southern hearing line up outside the Blair County Convention Center Monday. Some people were forced to watch the proceedings on closed-circuit television. Please see story, Page A4. By Craig Williams stuff Writer | orfolk Southern Corp. Chief Executive Officer David I Goode needed six words Monday to justify his company’s plan to shut down the Hollidaysburg Car Shop Oct. I. “The economics are just not working,” he told a panel of federal legislators. U.S. Rep. James Oberstar, R-Minn., countered with six words that summed up the feelings of a fleet of railroad workers and a bevy of politicians. “You’re just not trying hard enough,” Oberstar said. By the end of the day, the matter was in the hands of the Surface Transportation Board, a three-member panel of federal regulators who will rule, in about 30 days, on whether Norfolk Southern can close the shop and idle more than 300 workers. Even then, the issue isn’t likely to be resolved. “It can go to court, regardless of the decision,” said U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-9th District, who helped organize the hearings. Although the congressmen who grilled Goode hold no direct power to keep the Hollidaysburg shop open, Goode’s mere presence at Please see Goode/Page A4 State prisons have high race disparity By JEANETTE KREBS capitolwire.com HARRISBURG — Blacks, with IO percent of the population, account for 56 percent of state prison inmates, making Pennsylvania’s prisons the most racially divided in the nation, according to a study. The report available through MotherJones.com indicates that Pennsylvania prisons had the greatest racial disparity of any state last year. For every 100,000 blacks in the state, 1,678 were in prison, according to the study. By comparison, 117 whites of every 100,000 were behind bars. The study by the liberal magazine comes at a time when Pennsylvania has been studying the racial aspects of its prison population. The state’s justices appointed members to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Committee on Racial and Gender Bias in the Justice System, and the group is working on a report analyzing the issue. Please see Prisons/Page AIQ HIGH-ENERGY DISCUSSION Vice President Dick Cheney answers a question about the Bush administration’s energy policy from Marilyn Scolnick (foreground) during a town meeting Monday at the Boyce Park Campus of Allegheny County Community College in Monroeville. Cheney, afflicted with laryngitis, visited Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to drum up support for the new national strategy. Please see story, Page Cl. The Associated Press New policy shrinks Blair court backlog By Phil Ray Staff Writer HOLLIDAYSBURG — Two weeks ago, more than 270 criminal cases were headed to trial this month in the Blair County Court of Common Pleas. But when juries were selected Monday to hear the cases, the number stood at two. That had Judge Norman D. Callan smiling but others associated with the criminal justice system shaking their heads in disbelief. Sheriff deputy Dave Sheridan DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 7    2291000059 BIG FOUR 2    2    0    4 ■ Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Partly sunny, 85° ■ Forecast, A2 Mirror oooooo )OOOc Bucks Q LOCAL BINATION Business A7 Classifieds C4-10 Movies A4 Obituaries A9 ElUFE Opinion A8 SPORTS Comics D5 Local B4 Community news Puzzles D2 D4 Scoreboard B5 Television D4 said he has been providing security for criminal juries for more than 15 years, and the process never has proceeded so smoothly or quickly. Callan and the other judges have instituted a rule that once a jury is selected, no more plea agreements will be accepted. Callan credits this new procedure with pushing cases to conclusion before the court takes time to select juries for cases that will never come to trial. Please see Backlog/Page A5 INSIDE IN NATION Dire predictions of $3-per-gallon gasoline this summer haven’t come true, with many parts of the country seeing lower prices at the pump than they did a year ago. PAGE Ct I    4 Mirror photos by Jason Sipes ;

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