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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - November 1, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania THAT’S RACIN’: THERE'S NO ROOM FOR ERROR IN PIT CREW COMPETITION ► B3 BCAF hosts Beaujolais bash inningAltona Mirror © Copyright 2001THURSDAY, NOVEMBER I, 2001 500 newsstand ADOPTION IN CAMBODIA Mirror photo by J O. Cavrich Jeff Fleming holds a picture of his daughter, Isabel, who is stuck in Cambodia with Fleming’s wife, Karen. The Flemings adopted Isabel, but the U.S. embassy in Phnom Penh wouldn’t grant a visa for their new daughter. Trying to come home Embassy halts couple from bringing daughter to U.S. By Phil Ray Staff Writer It was love at first sight for Jeff and Karen Fleming of Hollidaysburg when they met their adopted child in an orphanage near Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Isabel Chompa Fleming was a tot of 2 x/i years with big brown eyes. After a few days with the Flemings, she displayed a heartrending smile and playful attitude. “She is a dream child. Our bond was immediate. She developed in three weeks, becoming potty-trained, learning 25*30 words of English. It was just unbelievable,” said Jeff Fleming, a Blair County attorney. The Cambodian government quickly approved Isabel’s adoption, and the Flemings, who went to Cambodia Oct. 5, felt they would be back in Blair County within a jfew days. That’s when their dream of adopting a child hit a wall. It wasn’t the Cambodian government that placed an obstacle in their path; it was the American embassy in Phnom Penh. “There’s our girl we were immediately in cc We take her to the embassy. They say ‘Take her back to the orphanage. She is not your child. Jeff Fleming 99 love with. We take her to the embassy. They say, ‘Take her back to the orphanage. She is not your child,’” Fleming said. The Flemings and at least six other American couples facing the same stark decree told the embassy they will not return the children to the orphanage. “From the time we got this picture, we were in love with this child,” Fleming said displaying a photograph of Isabel. “You don’t abandon your children like that.” The face-off between the American embassy and a group of Americans has been going on for weeks now. The Flemings feel abandoned by the embassy. They were even afraid for a time being in a foreign land of incredible poverty. Tensions were acute. The embassy in Phnom Penh eventually was closed to outsiders because of threats after the Sept. ll attacks. Through the tears, anger and disbelief, the Flemings and the other American couples are playing a waiting game, refusing to surrender their love or abandon their children. Karen Fleming remains with Isabel in Phnom Penh, a 34-hour flight from home, while Jeff Fleming has returned home to maintain a law practice. Karen Fleming is in a good hotel with Isabel. Jeff Fleming believes the two are safe. He said his wife is strong, although she broke down on the telephone Monday night. Please see Home/Page A3 CITY OF ALTOONA Dept. heads cut $742K from budget By William Kibler Stiff Writer As budgeting for 2002 begins, city department heads have squeezed (Hit $742,000 rn expenses to offset big losses in earned income tax because of job cuts in the area. The expense reduction won’t lead to decreased services, officials said at the city's first budget meeting Wednesday, • But there still may be a tax hike, if only to ensure a financial cushion at the end of next year. The city will lose revenue because it won’t receive the same 0.5 percent eamed-income taxes from city residents win) were among about 3,WM) workers losing mostly high paying Jobs in the county in the last 18 months. ‘Tm not sure anyone has an exact handle on it," Councilman Mark Gels said. “That’s why we’re erring on the side of caution.” Staff gave the council the 3.73 per cent expense reduction despite pay roil increases of $400,000 that mostly are mandated raises for union employees. One expense item accounts for the bulk of the savings — a $964,000 cut in the costs of handling refunds of the city’s 0.2 percent eamed-income surtax for pensions. The city has been refunding the tax because of an ordinance mistake several years ago. It’s money the city can recoup through a new surtax based on a corrected ordinance. While the refunds are ongoing, staff already has returned most of the money owed, and expenses for 2002 are down to $25,000 from $808,000 spent last year. Fortunately, the cut in that category won’t mean any loss of service, City Manager Joe Weakland said. Please see Budget /Page A 7 WAR ON TERRORISM: ► Pages MO, Cl Armed guards will patrol Farm Show By Mark Shade capitolwire.com HARRISBURG - Amid the butter sculpture, the filed mushrooms, the sheep-to-shawl contest and rows of bovines, visitors to the 86th Pennsylvania Farm Show will see something new when they arrive in January: armed security guards. Beset by anthrax attacks along the East Coast and the threat of terrorism, the Department of Agriculture has decided to begin searching for an available security force for the agency’s showcase. “We’ve always liad security, but the armed guards are a new wrinkle,” said Steve Wagner, press secretary for the state agency. However, Wagner stressed the gun-toting officials are needed more to safeguard the money raised from new parking fees than to shield visitors from terrorists. Starting with a professional indoor soccer match between the Harris burg Heat and the Kansas City Comets Saturday, motorists, for the first time, will be required to pay to park when attending a Farm Show event. Visitors will have to deposit a $5 parking fee into any one of the 22 token machines when they park on a new, 29-acre tract of macadam on Elmerton Avenue, about a mile east of the facility. Besides paying for the armed guards, which will not be in place for the Heat game, Wagner said the parking money will pay for a shuttle service to the Farm Show by Capital Area Transit and for snow removal. The guards are needed “because that money has to be removed [from the machines)," Wagner said, “and it’s not the best area in the world” for safety. Please see Guards/Page A7 Protesters’ signs cause uproar outside courthouse arenoNPRmrai I    ■    Neiahbortiood    revitalization,    lobs    and    the By Phil Ray Staff Writer HOLLIDAYSBURG — Many county employees and visitors say they were offended Wednesday by signs carried by protesters outside the Blair County Courthouse because they compared Blair County Judge Hiram Carpenter to terrorist Osama bin Laden and depicted the courts as a holocaust against children and a system of ethnic cleansing. Blair County attorney Gerald M. Nelson was particularly upset. “There couldn’t be a bigger difference between who stands for justice and who is against justice,” he said. Nelson considered con-| fronting the demonstrators, but he decided not to, noting that a confrontation only would give them the attention they want. Others in the courthouse expressed anger at the signs but didn’t want to be quoted. A young sheriffs deputy said it was inappropriate to Kearns compare any American to bin Laden, and a paralegal worker curtly stated that Carpenter is a “nice man” and should not be criticized in such a manner. As for Carpenter, he took it all in stride, laughing about the signs but declining to say anything for the record. The signs were part of an effort put together by a Hollidaysburg-area man protesting what he claims are unfair rulings in a custody case he had before Carpenter. Robert G. Keams Jr. and some friends and relatives were picketing the courthouse because Keams wants an investigation into inaccuracies in the preparation of the transcript of his custody action. In January, Carpenter dismissed a petition filed by Keams citing errors in the transcription of his case. Keams said he has contacted Blair County District Attorney Dave Gorman. Attorney General Mike Fisher, the U.S. Department of Justice and state Rep. Jerry Stem, R-Martinsburg, because “basically, we are attempting to get the courts investigated,” Keams said. Please see Signs/Page A12 Neighborhood revitalization, jobs and the budget are the big themes for City Council candidates. PAGE A4 ■ In Logan Township, incumbent Frank Meloy squares off against Libertarian candidate Romeo DeBartolome for supervisor ■ Allegheny Twp. residents will choose between two businessmen when they vote for supervisor. PAGE A5 ■ Tyrone voters will select a mayor and three Borough Council members Tuesday. PAGE A6 ■MMU DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 BIG FOUR I 0) 3 i0l|S ■ Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Mostly sunny, 71° ■ Forecast, A2 ...... \ hld^ADS^Com We’re white-hot! Altona 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) 946-7547 0 local Business A9 0 NATION Comics C3 Hospitals A11 Obituaries All Classifieds C4-12 Opinion A8 □ un 0 SPORTS H.S. football B4 Movies D5 Night Life D4 Dear Abby D7 Scoreboard B5 V Television D7 INSIDE IN NATION The U.S. economy declined in the July to September quarter in the strongest signal yet the country has slipped into a recession. ;

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