Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - November 13, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania
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TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2001
Father returns to get toddler
By Phil Ray Staff Writer
A Hollidaysburg lawyer returned to Cambodia over the weekend, optimistic that he and his wife will bring home the daughter they adopted almost six weeks ago.
Jeff and Karen Fleming traveled Oct. 5 to Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, to adopt a 2V*-year-old girl they named Isabel Chompa Fleming.
After obtaining clearances from the Cambodian government, the Flemings, with six other American couples, were stunned when the U.S. embassy refused to grant the children visas.
The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service was concerned the children were placed in an orphanage after being taken from their parents improperly — part of an alleged baby-selling scam. The American couples were told they could not bring their adopted toddlers to the United States until the INS investigated each adoption.
The wait has been agonizing for the Flemings. Jeff Fleming returned to Blair County to resume his law practice, while Karen Fleming stayed in Phnom Penh with Isabel.
Jeff Fleming is in a different position now than when he and his wife first traveled to Cambodia, said his law partner, Joseph W. Cavrich.
The Cambodian adoption problem has made national and international news. The plight of the American couples has been featured in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Sunday edition of the London Times.
Please see Adoption/Page A3
Crash kills hundreds
The Associated Press
Emergency personnel stand next to part of the aircraft fuselage in the front yard of a house at 130th Street and Newport Avenue at the scene of the crash of American Flight 587 in Queens, N. Y„ Monday. There were no survivors among the 260 people aboard; six others were reported missing on the ground.
Jet plunges after takeoff in New York
By Diego IBARGUEN The Associated Press
NEW YORK — A jetliner en route to the Dominican Republic broke apart minutes after takeoff and crashed in a waterfront neighborhood Monday, engulfing homes in flames and sowing initial fears of a new terrorist atrocity. At least 265 people were killed, police said.
“Everything points to an accident,” said Marion Blakey, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board. “The communications from the cockpit were normal up until the last few seconds before the crash.”
If there were an explosion on the plane — and many witnesses heardALSO INSIDE
■ Old procedures for responding to airline disasters have given way to new post-Sept. 11 rules.
■ Tight-knit Rockaway neighborhood reels from the crash blow.
one — it probably was caused by a mechanical failure, investigators said.
American Airlines said 260 people were aboard the jetliner, and authorities said none survived. Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Dunne said 265 bodies had been recovered but didn’t provide details on how many people might have died on the ground. He
said six to nine people in the neighborhood were missing.
As night fell, several hundred people working under the glare of klieg lights formed bucket brigades and separated debris into gruesome piles of luggage, plane parts and human remains.
Police said the bodies were being recovered “relatively intact” — including a man found clutching a baby.
American Flight 587, a European-made Airbus A300, left Kennedy Airport at 9:14 a.m., 74 minutes late because of security checks put in place after the World Trade Center attack, American Airlines chairman Don Carty said. It took off into a clear blue sky.
Please see Crash/Page A3Doctor freed on bail
■ Barry Bender, facing drug and morals charges, continues to treat patients in Tyrone.
By Mark Lkberfingkr Staff Writer
Dr. Barry L. Bender of Tyrone, who faces charges in a drug and morals case, is fret1 from the Blair County Prison and treating patients at Tyrone Hospital.
Bender still is employed by Tyrone Hospital through the Tyrone Medical Associates. Chief Financial Officer Dan Ashcroft said Monday that nothing has changed with Bender’s status
"These are just charges at this point,” Ashcroft said.
Ashcroft’s statement shows the hospital con tinues to stand by [fender. In 1999, the hospital questioned a state panel’s ruling that revoked Bender’s medical license. The revocation was put on hold in January atter Bender filed an appeal in Commonwealth Court.
Bender, 54. of 1057 Pennsylvania Ave, Tyrone, made bail Saturday. He was jailed in Blair County Prison in lieu of $100,000 cash hail.
The first portion of the case against the doctor was revealed by the state Attorney General’s office Friday after Bender was arrested on 38 criminal counts in connection with incidents involving drug and sex offenses during an eight year period in Clinton and Blair counties
A statewide investigative grand jury heard testimony that teen-agers were given drugs at parties held by the doctor, then enticed to expose themselves or to allow Bender to per form sexual acts on them.
The grand jury also heard testimony that Bender supplied cocaine, Ecstasy, marijuana and alcohol to minors at the parties and at other locations in the two counties.
Meanwhile, Bender’s new attorney hopi s people will remain “fair and impartial” until they hear both sides of the case.
“There’s so much more than what’s being reported,” Altoona attorney Thomas Dickey said. "I’m afraid people are becoming so tainted, are becoming so one-sided because of the nature of the charges.”
The defense attorney wants to look into what took so long to file charges because some of the alleged offenses date to 1993.
Dickey said he has the grand jury presentment and the criminal complaint to work with at this point.
Please see Doctor/Page A3Drought looms up and down East Coast
From Mirror staff and wire reports
PHILADELPHIA — Sunny skies and moderate temperatures have made it a splendid fall up and down the East Coast. But the nice weather has come with a price: Drought.
Brush fires, parched reservoirs and voluntary water restrictions are a few of the consequences. And weather forecasters see no immediate end to a dry spell that began in August.
“What started off as a couple of nice days has turned into a couple of nice weeks of warm weather, and these last six weeks have been incredibly dry — less than a quarter of our normal precipitation,” said Mark Svoboda, a climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center at the Univer-
Local communities dependent on groundwater particularly have been hard hit when some or part their water systems are down.
sity of Nebraska-Lincoln.
It was the third driest October on record for Connecticut and New Jersey; the fourth driest for Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Delaware and Virginia; and the fifth driest for Maryland, according to the drought center.
“We got a system that’s keeping the winds blowing from land. The moisture from the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico is cut off from coming inland,” National Weather Service meteorologist
Bob Stauber said.
In Pennsylvania, nine counties in the Delaware River Basin, which extends east to Franklin County, are under a drought warning where voluntary conservation measures are encouraged.
Forty-six counties are under a drought watch, including Blair, Bedford, Cambria, Clearfield, Centre and Huntingdon. In a watch condition, users only are asked to conserve. There are 12 counties in the state that are not
affected by the dry weather, mostly around Pittsburgh.
Locally, communities dependent on groundwater particularly have been hard hit when some or part of their water systems are down.
In Martinsburg, where water levels at the four wells are at a 10-year low partly because the borough’s largest well has been offline for the last five years for upgrades. Still the lack of rainfall doesn’t help matters, Borough Manager Randy Stoltz said.
"We all get our water out of wells,” he said. “And the groundwater level is going down. We’re not at the critical stage yet.”
Please see Drought/Page A5
FOR THE BIRDS
Mirror photo by Jason Sipes
'flock of birds fly over Altoona Monday on their way south for the winter.
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