Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - April 14, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania
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© Copyright 2001
■ The county’s DA responds to couple’s request for a hearing in nation’s top court.
By Phil Ray
Blair County District Attorney Dave Gorman has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to deny a hearing for an Altoona couple who failed to seek medical care for their gravely ill 16-year-old daughter.
Instead of medical treatment, the parents allowed the youngster to be anointed by an elder of the Faith Tabernacle Congregation.
If the nation’s highest court accepts Gorman’s plea, then Dennis E. and Lorie A. Nixon of Altoona, members of the Faith Tabernacle, will have exhausted their appeals.
They then will be required to serve 21 Ii to 5 years in prison on their convictions of involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child.
Shannon Nixon, their daughter, who was just shy of her 17th birthday, died from complications of diabetes in 1996. The young woman requested that a church elder anoint her and pray for her recovery.
Then-District Attorney William Haberstroh and Gorman, then Haberstroh’s top assistant, contended that the Nixons should have sought medical care for Shannon despite her wishes and their religious beliefs.
The Nixons did not seek medical care for Shannon even after she went into a coma, Gorman said.
In November, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected the Nixon’s defense that their daughter was a “mature minor” who had
Please see Nlxon/Page A7
SATURDAY, APRIL 14, 2001
By Jeff Donn
The Associated Press
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The American handgun market has dropped off so steeply that some industry experts worry it may never fully recover.
Observers and critics cite a number of factors for the decline, including tougher rules for purchasing handguns, a possible growing disenchantment with firearms because of the stream of horrific workplace and school shootings, and the fact that Americans already may own all the handguns they need.
The handgun business is “a dying industry,” said Cameron Hopkins, editor-in-chief of American Handgunner magazine.
“It seems to me like everything’s wrong with the handgun industry,” said Dave Tinker, founder of the Firearms Business newsletter.
Combined production for domestic and overseas handgun sales tumbled by 52 percent between 1993 and 1999, according to an Associated Press analysis of theAltoona projects
By William Kibler
Staff Writer .
The Altoona Housing Authority plans to spend $4.6 million for capital projects over, the next five years, mainly for upkeep and repairs on its Fairview Hills family project and the Green Avenue and Eleventh Street elderly housing towers.
The expenditures are part of a five-year plan required by the Department of Housing and Urban
■ Smith & Wesson branches out its product line / Page A3
latest data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Industry experts foresee more rough going in the future for the country’s 50 handgun manufacturers, many in New England’s Connecticut River Valley, where firearms have been made since George Washington established his armory there during the Revolution.
Handgun imports also are way down, ATF figures indicate.
Among possible factors:
■ The market may be saturated. Handguns aren’t like cars that wear out in a few years or have built-in obsolescence.
John Rosenthal, chairman of Stop Handgun Violence, said makers have “oversaturated the nude market and failed in engaging women.” Larry Flatley, who runs specialty manufacturing for Smith & Wesson handguns, preferred to call it a “mature industry.”
Please see Industry/Page A3housing planned
■ Residents required to perform community service / Page A7
Development, a plan for which the authority held a hearing Thursday. • *
The plan calls for a total of $135 million on Fairview Hills, $1.37 million for Green Avenue and $739,000 at Eleventh Street. It also calls for spending $199,000 at other sites and an additional $620,000 for authoritywide work.
Please see Projects/Page A7
ALL WOUND UP
Mirror photo by Kelly Bennett
Mason Schmidt throws a pitch Friday as part of his rehabilitation assign-J ment with the Altoona Curve. Schmidt, a righthander for the Pittsburgh Pirates, says he’s happy to be back on the mound. I Page Bl
iWHERE IN SPORTS:
Solid pitching helped lift the Cubs over the Pittsburgh Pirates Friday in Chicago.
Most of the Pittsburgh Penguins took the day off ahead of today’s Game 2 with the Capitals.
An Altoona man will box in tonight’s Regional Golden Gloves competition at Roosevelt Junior High.
7 9 3 6
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Mostly sunny, 68°
■ Forecast, A2
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Norfolk Southern Corp. President David Goode did not testify at a state House Transportation Committee hearing in Altoona Thursday as indicated in a story on Page A1 of Friday’s MirrocTt was an editor’s error;
High tension keeps Easter pilgrims away
Virgin Mary image draws in hundreds
By Larry Kaplow
Cox News Service
JERUSALEM — Tucked between pillars at the doorway of the hulking Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Palestinian Christian Fadi Abu Manneh watched the worshippers enter.
The 28-year-old business manager for a Canadian foreign aid agency is one of about 9,000 Jerusalem Christians. They can usually count on Easter pilgrims from around the world to shore up the faith’s presence in the Holy Land.
But Abu Manneh said he saw too few pilgrims and too few fellow local Christians this Good Friday.
“It is a sad Easter,” Abu Manneh concluded as he held his two-year-old son. “This is no atmosphere for a holiday. It is mostly just prayers.”
Nearly seven months of Israeli-Palestinian fighting, which has killed about 370 Palestinians and about 70 Israelis, have cast gloom over the season.
The number of foreign pilgrims is far fewer than normal.
Please see Tension/Page A6
The Associated Press
About 1,500 people line Pioneer Avenue in Brookline past midnight Friday waiting to enter the home of the Semplice family (far right) to see an alleged version of the Virgin Mary on an attic door.
By Allison SCHLESINGER The Associated Press
PITTSBURGH — A family allowed hundreds of people to file into their home Friday morning to view a glowing image of what they claim is the Virgin Mary.
Pittsburgh police estimated about 1,500 people stood in line to get into the Pittsburgh home, where the Semplice family says the image appeared on an attic door Tuesday night.
Mark Semplice, son of the home’s owner, said the glowing image is a sign from God on the eve
of Good Friday.
“I think she’s telling us to pray to her,** Semplice said. “Her son died for our sins, and we should respect that. People forget that there is a God.” Some described the image vividly: a warm, yellow and white image of the Virgin Mary, with her hands held in a prayer position and fish on each side. Others said they simply saw something.
The image reportedly only appears at night and when the windows to the second floor are open.
Please see Image/Page A6
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