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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - July 24, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania INSIDE TODAY NATION; Pope, Bush weigh stem cell funding / Cl BUSINESS: Bureau opens door to region / A Lands of opportunity Add Summer’s the time to explore state parks [page DI © Copyright 2001TUESDAY, JULY 24, 2001 SOO newsstandCivil suit may be filed for abuse■ Accused child molester released from prison after bail reduced to $75,000. By Kevin OTT Staff Writer HUNTINGDON — The family of the victim of alleged child molester Thomas Meloy has retained an attorney, and there may be a civil lawsuit filed against Meloy. Meteor shower floods phones By Jay Young Staff Writer BLUE KNOB — Ike Wright of Scottsville, Va., and his family got an eyeful Monday when they looked to the sky from their vacation spot at Majestic World Lodge & Retreat, Blue Knob. , It was certainly a majestic site to remember. “My son called my attention,” Wright said Monday evening. "I saw what appeared to be a very large silver metallic object at a rapid descent with a very bright glow.” In about two seconds, the object disappeared behind a row of trees. “I envisioned it was going to have impact,” he said. “I actually braced myself for it. But I didn’t hear anything or feel a tremor." The apparent meteor shower triggered a flood of calls to emergency authorities in widespread areas of the state, with other reports coming from Virginia to New York. While Altoona police received no calls, they learned about the “heavy meteor shower” from an emergency management director from Indiana County, a department spokesperson said. Diana Burger, Blue Knob, was one of numerous area residents who called State Police at Hollidaysburg to make sure she wasn’t the only one who saw the streaking light in the sky. Please see Meteor/Page A5 Meloy was arrested last week and accused by state and borough police of sexually abusing a boy he met through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Huntingdon County. He confessed to the abuse after the arrest. Police believe there may be other victims. Huntingdon attorney George Zanic said Monday that he will serve as the family’s lawyer, and that he will likely bring a civil suit against Meloy. He would not say whether Big Brothers Big Sisters would be targeted as well. Meloy was released Friday from the Huntingdon County Jail after his bail was reduced from $500,000 to $75,000. He also waived a preliminary hearing scheduled for Wednesday. Huntingdon County District Attorney Robert Stewart scheduled a press conference at the county courthouse for today. Police and the Huntingdon County Children’s Services still are investigating Meloy, Stewart said. Lee Nollau, the State College attorney representing Meloy, could not be reached for comment. Meloy met the boy in late February or early March of 1999 when he was 9 years old, said his grandmother, whose name is being withheld to protect the victim’s identity. Meloy quickly became close with the victim and his family during the next few years. Meloy bought the boy a motorbike and a Hummel Figurine for his grandmother, she said. She even invited him to vacation in Florida with the family. “I had complete faith in him,” she said. Police investigated Meloy after receiving word of the incidents from caseworkers at Huntingdon County Children’s Services, who met with the victim beforehand. The grandmother said she had taken him to the People’s Choice Festival in Bellefonte July 13 and purchased a toy airplane and an artist’s caricature for the boy to give to Meloy as gifts The boy also purchased a card to give Meloy, thanking him for the time they spent together. That same night, the boy visited Meloy to give him the gifts but was sent home, the grandmother said. Please see Abuse/Page A3 ■f— ■■    f    Si *2,    y    *ir    - ' * ' -r * Proceed with caution telldf    'Md UJUIJ What you can do to reduce the risk at intersections: I ■ Enter the correct lane for your intended action well in advance of the intersection. ■ Watch for vehicles changing lanes, stay out of other drivers “blind spots" where they can’t see you in the rear- and side-view mirrors. ■ Even though your light is green, watch for cross traffic. Running a red light is a leading cause of intersection crashes. I Don’t race a yellow light. I Don’t change lanes while driving through the intersection. Source State Farm Insurance Mirror photo illustration by Gary M. Baranec/Tom Worthington ll By Tiffany Shaw Staff Writer Bernard Long knows a little something about dangerous intersections. He grew up in a house at the bottom of a steep hill that empties onto Old Route 220 South between Duncansville and Newry. Yellow signs warn drivers the hill is a 14 percent grade and down shifting is recommended. Good brakes are required. Long can’t remember the number of times vehicles careened out of control and ran into the old house and his newer home next door. “Probably more than I care to count,” he said. It started years ago when he was a child. First vehicles wrecked the wrought iron fence near the road. Then they knocked down the trees in the front yard. Then they started crashing into the front porch that wrapped around the house. Long’s father got tired of rebuilding the porch and designed it smaller. He went to PennDOT and requested a guardrail be placed in front of the house, but was denied. He feared for the safety of his young children playing in the front yard. Wet ’n wild So he and his son anchored steel pipes in concrete. “They [drivers] plowed over a couple of them too," Long said. Finally, they constructed their own concrete wall with the steel pipes and iron rails. Every time a car crashed into it, they built it a little thicker. Now it extends to the front of Long’s new house. At the height of the crashing craze in the 1970s and 1980s, Long estimates there was at least one wreck every other weekend. Most of the crashes were alcohol-related, he guesses. Please see Crossings/Page AIQTAX REFUND CHECKS Student faces jail sentence ■ District attorney seeks mandatory sentence for dealing drugs near a college. By Phil Ray Staff Writer A former Penn State Altoona student charged with dealing drugs from his dormitory room and a nearby apartment should be sent to prison if he is convicted, Blair County District Attorney Dave Gorman said. Gorman said the law enhancing the penalty for drug sales does not just apply to the area around an elementary school. The law, he said, does not distinguish between an elementary building and Altoona Campus. Because of that, Gorman is seeking the mandatory jail term for a Rochester, N.Y., man, who as a freshman at the campus allegedly sold marijuana from his dorm room at Oak Hall and from an off-campus apartment which he also rented. Altoona attorney Thomas M. Dickey, who represents 19-year-old Jerod D. Reid, already objects to the possibility of a mandatory jail sentence. Dickey asked Blair County Judge Norman D. Callan Monday to send the case back to the district justice level for a new preliminary hearing. The defense attorney contended someone for the prosecution promised the district attorney’s office would not seek a mandatory minimum, which Dickey said is a reason why Reid waived his charges to the Blair County Court of Common Pleas Blair County assistant district attorney Richard Consiglio, who said he did not attend the preliminary stages of the Reid case, said he has no know! edge that anyone from the district attorney’s staff said the prosecution would not seek a mandatory jail term for selling drugs in a school zone. Please see Jail/Page A4 Tony Pavlovich (left), Clint Chrysler (center) and Rico Washington fire water balloons into the upper deck at Wet and Wild day at the Altoona Curve game Tuesday. For Curve coverage, Jim Lane’s column see Page Bl Individual income influences impact Mirror photo by Jason Sipes BY JEANETTE KREBS capitolwire.com HARRISBURG — The check is in the mail. Now what? The question facing Pennsylvanians is will they spend the $1.8 billion in federal refund money heading to mailboxes across the state or tuck it way in savings? Economists and accountants say the answer depends on how much money people have right now. The lower a family’s income, the more likely they are to spend all the money coming from the federal government in the next several weeks, Jacob DeRooy said. DeRooy is an associate professor of managerial economics at the School of Business Administration at Penn State Harrisburg. He said people who earn less are expected to spend their $300 to $600 refund, and they will use the remaining money buying items, services and restaurant meals close to home. “Generally, people of higher incomes will put it into savings, maybe an IRA,” he said. Other economists say most people may spend their refund checks because they have not had much time to think of a plan for the money. The majority of refunds anticipated by Pennsylvanians, about $555 million, will go to the five-county Philadelphia region, said Bill Cressman of the IRS Philadelphia office. Pittsburgh-area residents will receive $370 million, while south-central Pennsylvanians are get ting $158 million in refund cash. In the northern region of the state, checks totaling $130 million will be in the mail. President Bush made a campaign promise to cut taxes. He also is giving consumers money in hopes they spend it and pump up the economy, which has been sagging all year. DeRooy said the effect from the refund might cause some companies to add staff, but nothing too significant. Please see Impact/Page AIQ HMMHMMMMMIfliMMI mmmmmsm 9HH9HHI MHM I rn DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 22910 00050 HH BM FOUR | 3 I 9 I Lottery numbers, A2 WEAMER Partly cloudy, 92° ■ Forecast, A2 rot* oooooo oSoooo Bucks HT* P LOCAL ■I H NATION Mum rn Business A7 Movies C2 Hospitals Obituaries A9 A9 Classifieds C3-10 0u* Opinion A8 0 SPORTS HHH B4 Comics D5 Local Dear Abby Puzzles 04 D4 Scoreboard B5 Television D4 POWER OUTAGE Bird lands in wires of GPU Energy’s power station behind Park Hills Plaza, causing short power outage. PAGE A3 ;

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