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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - March 10, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania Nation: Adults can be liable for kids taking guns Cl Lite: Paint gives instant updated look to any room OIAltoona ilttrrnr © Copyright 2001    SATURDAY,    MARCH    IO,    2001    500    newsstand warn WRESTLING DEATHTeen gets life sentence■ Judge denies parole for 14-year-old. By Terry Spencer The Associated Press FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A boy who says he was imitating body-slamming pro wrestlers when he killed a little girl at age 12 was sentenced to life in prison without parole Friday after a judge refused to reduce his first-degree murder conviction. Tears rolled down Lionel Tate’s cheeks as the boy, now 14, was led away in handcuffs and leg shackles to begin serving the sentence, which was mandatory under a tough-on-crime Florida law enacted in the mid-1990s. Tate becomes one of the youngest defendants in the United States ever to be sentenced to spend the rest of his life behind bars. The prosecutor himself suggested the sentence was too harsh, but he also noted that the boy’s lawyer and his mother repeatedly had rejected a plea bargain that would have meant only three years in a juvenile prison. In imposing the sentence, Judge Joel Lazarus called the slaying of 6-year-old Tiffany Eunick “cold, callous and indescribably cruel.” Tate was found guilty Jan. 25 of beating Tiffany to death at his home. Tiffany suffered a fractured skull, a lacerated liver and more than 30 other injuries July 28,1999, from being punched, kicked, stomped and thrown. During the trial, the defense argued that the 170-pound boy did not mean to kill the 48-pound girl and thought he could body-slam people and they would walk away unhurt, just like his wrestling idols on television. On Friday, the judge rejected a defense request to throw out Tate’s conviction or reduce it to second-degree murder or manslaughter, saying: “The evidence of Lionel Tate’s guilt is clear, obvious and indisputable.” The judge also * questioned the defense argument that Tate was imitating pro wrestlers. “It is inconceivable that such injuries could be caused by roughhousing or horseplay or by replicating wrestling moves,” he said. Please see Teen/Page A6 Altoona’s numbers drop again■ Population falls below 50,000 mark; officials stay upbeat. By William Kibler Staff Writer Altoona’s population officially has fallen below 50,000 for the first time since 1910, but Mayor Tom Martin still takes an optimistic view. The city’s shrinking, but it shrank slower during the 1990s than at any time since the 1940s, he said. “It’s kind of encouraging,” he said. “Altoona may have turned the corner and begun to stabilize.” The city lost 7,770 people during the 1950s; 6,289 during the 1960s; 6,037 during the 1970s; and 4,693 during the 1980s. But it lost just 2,862 during the last decade. The drop below 50,000 has no practical significance, City Manager Joe Weakland said. At least “as far as grants and that kind of stuff,” Weakland said. Nor does it bother him that the city he manages has fallen below the milestone number, he said. His ego isn’t tied up in it, he said. Same with Martin. “Doesn’t bother me a bit,” Martin said. Besides, if the size of the city comes up in casual conversation with someone unfamiliar with it, it’s still 50,000, as far as Weakland is concerned. “You round up,” he said. It may diminish the image of the city to some officials who remember decades ago when the census’ Metropolitan Statistical Area Program dropped cities from its list if they fell below 50,000 people, said Dave McFarland, the city’s planning administrator. But now the program counts not just the city proper but the urbanized area of which the city is the core, he said. Urbanized areas are those that have a density of at least 1,000 people per square mile. Altoona’s urbanized area IO years ago was almost as populous — 76,551 — as the city proper was at its high point of 82,054 in 1930. But over time the area’s resi- ■ Asian population jumps across country / Page ClSHRINKING CITY Below is a look at Altoona’s decreasing population by the decades since the 1950s. 1950s-7,770 1960s-6,289 1970s - 6,037 1980s-4,693 1990s-2,862MORE INSIDE Census shows Pennsylvania’s two largest cities lost people in the 1990s and suburbs ballooned. PADE A7 Pennsylvania’s 67 counties by populations and percentage of change. Page A7 dents have spread out. In 1990, the urbanized area was 30 square miles, more than twice as big as in 1950 when there were 10,000 more people. The change in population of the city proper doesn’t make much difference to McFarland because municipal boundaries don’t limit his perspective. With the ascendancy of the automobile, people live in Altoona and work outside it and vice-versa. That helps blur the boundaries, he said. “We’re sort of all in the same boat," he said. “Whether we ourselves are 50,000 or the urban area is 50,000 really doesn’t matter” Since 1990, Blair County’s population has shrunk 1.1 percent to 129,144; Cambria’s has shrunk 6.4 percent to 152,598; Centre’s has increased 9.7 percent to 135,758; Huntingdon’s has increased 3.2 percent to 45,586; Bedford’s has increased 4.3 percent to 49,984; and Clearfield’s has increased 6.8 percent to 83,382. Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler can be reached at 949- 7038 or bkibler(mltoonamirror.com.DRIVING DUQUESNE Mirror photo by Jason Sipes Curt Greaser of Williamsburg drives the lane as Duquesne’s Dan Demery tries to swat away the shot Friday at Altoona Area High School Fieldhouse. Duquesne defeated Williamsburg 61-46 in the first round of the PIAA Class A boys ’ basketball playoffs. Page Bl Gay comedian to visit Juniata College By Kevin Ott Staff Writer HUNTINGDON — An openly gay comedian whose performance was canceled by a Catholic college in Pittsburgh will appear next week at Juniata College. Suzanne Westenhoefer will visit classes and give a performance next Friday and Saturday as part of Juniata’s Artist Series, an effort to bring performers, artists and musicians to campus. Officials at Pittsburgh’s Carlow College recently pulled the plug on a Westenhoefer show scheduled for later in March. Westenhoefer and her representatives said they believe the cancellation was related to her sexual orientation or the nature of her performance. Phone calls made to Carlow College representatives, as well as to the school’s attorney, were not returned. By industry standards, Westenhoefer said, the decision by Carlow to cancel the show was sudden. “Very last minute,” she said. “Very unprofessional.” Cindy Klink, a Pittsburgh producer of gay and lesbian entertainment, had booked Westenhoefer at Carlow’s Antoinian Hall Nov. 14. She paid $600 plus fees for parking and insurance. The appearance was not sponsored by the college. Klink, who could not be reached for comment had told college officials that Westenhoefer was a lesbian and had a gay-themed act before she rented the auditorium, said Steven Nash, Westenhoefer’s manager. Please see Gay/Page A6Spotlight Today's community news on Huntingdon features a community view from the Juniata Clean Water Partnership Coordinator Deb Nardone on safe methods for lawn maintenance. Juniata College students in the 100-member club Sap Suckers engaged in a spring ritual passed down from American Indians of making maple syrup near Raystown Lake. Pages A4,5 Next week: Hollidaysburg-Duncansville City Hall renovations lag behind By William Kibler Staff Writer When the renovation of City Hall started 16 months ago, officials planned to move back this week. But if they tried now, there would be no windowsills for employees to put their plants on. No finished floors to walk on either, only a few interior doors, only a handful of rooms with ceiling tracks, not many overhead lights, no emergency stairtower, no front steps, not much paint, lots of missing plaster in the main hallways and no bathroom fixtures. It’s all pretty much OK with council member Tom Shaheen because general contractor W.C. Murray is doing the job for $450,000 less than the next highest bidder — even if it means city government will move out of temporary City Hall on Cayuga Avenue two months or more late. The city granted W.C. Murray a 40-day extension, meaning the project’s $1,000-per-day tardiness penalty will wait until at least April 16. Murray is doing good work, said Shaheen, a member of the city’s building committee. The contractor has stabilized scheduling problems and deserves to be forgiven for most of the delay because unforeseen circumstances arose during the project, Shaheen said. The city has granted Murray a 40-day extension, which means it can’t impose the project’s $l,000-per-day tardiness penalty on Murray until April 16 at the earliest. The city is paying $8,000 per month to rent the temporary City Hall on Cayuga Avenue and also is paying to monitor the renovation project. But even if the delay ultimately costs $20,000, it will be worth it because of the much higher contract savings, said Shaheen, who earlier was skeptical about the project. Part of the early delays were caused by the contractor’s inefficiency in getting item specifications, getting them ordered and delivered at the right times, Shaheen said- But the project is moving along steadily now, he said. “Going in there monthly, you see major jumps,” he said. “They’ve gotten their organizational problems solved.” But Public Works Director Dave Diedrich isn’t as willing to look past the tardiness. Please see City /Page AIQ iWMBi MNBMMM I DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 7 *'22910 00050 h 4 BIG FOUR ® ® 9 I Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Mix of sun and clouds, 37* A2 «* Forecast, H0T-ADS. We re white-hot! Altoona mirror THE GREAT COMBINATION] Call us today...Make money today. Ask for THE GREAT COMBINATION of MIRROR CLASSIFIEDS and HOT-ADS Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) 946-75^7 QLOCAL Q nation INSIDE Business A9 Hospitals A11 Obituaries A11 Classifieds C3-12 BUSINESS National magazine says Pennsylvania has proved itself as a fertile ground for business growth. Opinion A8 □ SPORTS □ UFI Comics D5 Movies B6 Scoreboard B* Community news D2 Puzzles D4 Television D4 Page A9 ^ I* ;

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