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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - November 9, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania I GAME DAY f SCOTT ' CORNERS LEADERSHIP MARKET FREE INSIDE SPORTS: MIRROR SPECIAL OLYMPIAN OF THE MONTH ► PAGE B5 Christian coffeehouses offer change of pace SP- Not-so-empty nest I k & Wk Wm' ACT’S “Aloin a comedy that’s kid stuffAltoona Mirror © Copyright 2001 Altoona to raid funding in trust ■ Worker's comp money will balance the books for city’s budget next year. By William Kibler Staff Writer There’s a new reason safety will be at a premium among Altoona city workers next year. City Council balanced the 2002 budget Thursday by agreeing informally to transfer $700,000 from the worker’s compensation trust fund to cover a shortfall caused by the sour economy. The council’s move wUl cut the trust fund in half. In approving the action, the council rejected its other option of covering most of the deficit by raising taxes 2.5 mills to the state limit of 30 mills, which would have generated $490,000. It would have been a dirty trick to raise taxes two days after the election, said council member Mark Geis, who with Wayne Hippo won a new term. The worker’s compensation fund shift is a one-time windfall made possible with state approval after success in the last couple of years in reducing long-term compensation costs by settling old claims. In addition to the $700,000 transfer, balancing the budget depends on using all of the 2002 starting balance of $344,000, leaving a projected zero surplus for the end of next year. The council faces a challenge next year to find ways to generate additional revenues for the 2003 budget. If it fails to find such revenues, the council would need a 5-miU tax hike for 2003, twice what the law permits, Mayor Tom Martin said. The council must attend immediately to the 2003 issues, even as it puts the finishing touches on the 2002 spending plan, officials said. The new budget reflects the sour economy, which has cost Blair County about 3,000 jobs in the last 18 months. The budget projects a $200,000 loss in earned income tax because of the hefty number of Altoona residents who lost jobs. Many of those lost jobs were high paying, and most of the replacement jobs probably pay less, officials said. Please see Budget/Page A3FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2001 RED-LIGHT CAMERAS 500 newsstand Jury finds man guilty of murder ■ Elmer Westover still proclaims innocence in 1980 killing of an elderly Cambria man. By Phil Ray Staff Writer EBENSBURG - Elmer Thomas Westover of Mentcle adamantly proclaimed his innocence Thurs day night, even after a jury found him guilty of third-degree murder for the 1980 killing of an elderly Cambria County man. “I had nothing to do with it,” said the    41-year-old Westover, whose face was drawn and tired after four days of trial. His statements came as sheriff’s deputies transported him to Cambria County Prison. Prosecutor Gary Jubas of the Cambria County District Attorney’s office called the jury’s ver Westover dict “a great victory for society” because it shows police never close the books on a homicide case. The jury repeatedly asked Judge Norman Krumenacker to re-read definitions of third-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter during three hours of deliberations. Defense attorneys Robert Davis Gleason and Thomas Finn also felt like they had a victory because the jury found Westover, 41, innocent of murder in the first and second degrees and burglary. A conviction of first-degree murder would have placed Westover in prison for life. The third-degree conviction means he faces at least IO to 20 years. The sentencing guidelines used for the Westover case, according to the defense, will be those in place in 1980, when the killing occurred. Jubas said that today, third-degree murder carries with it a 20-to 40-year sentence. He said he will research the question whether the 1980 standards or today’s standards apply to the Westover case. Krumenacker will sentence Westover in January. Please see Guilty/Page A4 Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec A red-light camera monitors traffic on East Chestnut Avenue at the traffic light for the Eighth Street Bridge.Bill takes slow course From Mirror staff and wire reports The state House Transportation Committee heard testimony Wednesday on legislation that would allow municipalities to use passive cameras to catch drivers running red lights. But House leaders expect little immediate action on the idea. "There are many questions that have to be addressed before this bill comes to the floor,” said Rep. Rick Geist, R-Altoona, committee chairman. “We need to take a serious look at this bill and make sure it is a safety measure, not a revenue enhancer.” Altoona motorists, however, are well aware of the cameras, which the state has set up at intersections on Interstate 99,17th Street and Plank Road to monitor traffic and congestion problems. Even with the cameras already in place, Geist said the use of those cameras to catch red Please see Camera /Page A3 BRUSH BLAZE Courtesy photo by Chip Clarke Firefighters work to contain a brush fire in Carson Valley Thursday evening. The cause is unknown. Fifteen volunteer lire companies from Blair and Cambria counties responded the blaze. No one was injured, but the fire burned 24 acres of wooded land and 7 acres of grass land near Carson Valley Road and Longview Drive in Allegheny Township, a Blair County 911 dispatcher said.Two arrested in raid on alleged heroin house in Juniata By Mark Leberfinger Staff Writer Agent Randy Feathers of the state Bureau of Narcotics Investigation said Thursday that police were keeping an eye on a Juniata home for more than a month as a suspected “extensive heroin house.” The Blair County Drug Task Force made its move Wednesday and arrested two men in a raid on the home. Taken into custody were Richard E. “Dicky” Shannon Jr., 37,115 N. Fifth Ave., and T. Nolan Hardeman III, 7449 Funkstown Ave., Pittsburgh. The suspects were placed in Blair County Prison after failing to post bail. “We think this was an extensive heroin house,” Feathers said. “We have had numerous complaints on the [Push Out The Pusher! hot line and complaints from the neighbors.” The arrests stem from confidential informants making heroin buys during the last month and an investigation by Altoona police and the drug task force, according to court documents. Police made three drug buys with Shannon and one buy with Hardeman. In facilitating his buys, Shannon took a cut of the heroin for himself, police said. According to court documents, Shannon made a drug sale Oct. ll at his home to a confidential informant for $200. Shannon took the marked $200 and walked into the pantry of the kitchen with a man named “Boo.” A few seconds later, Shannon and “Boo” walked out of the pantry, and Shannon was holding five bags of suspected heroin police said. He chose to keep the one with the most content and gave the rest to the confidential informant, police said. Please see Raid/Page A4 DELIVERY || Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 71 2910 00050 BMI FOUR P 2 Aa Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Partly cloudy, 48° ■ Forecast, A2 1 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee 0.0%    -    G,... Limited Term. Requires credit approval. Offer Ends Soon    ^ S)&97i Chrysler - Plymouth - Jeep 1549 Pleasant Valley Blvd. Altoona, PA    943-6167 T □local 0 NATION Business AB Movies C4 Hospitals A13 Classifieds C7-14 Obituaries A13 Opinion A12 |3 UFS Hi SPORTS Comics D5 Local " "......... Community news D2 B4 Puzzles D4 Scoreboard B5 I Television D4 IN NATION The Supreme Court agreed Thursday to decide whether schools may give drug tests to nearly any student involved in after-school activities. PAGE Cl k * ;

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