(gazette REGION/STATE Wednesday, October 30, 2002 — Page 5 Fireball burning probed ISABELLA (AP) — A volunteer fire department is under federal investigation for two fires in close succession that destroyed its fire hall, an attorney for the department has confirmed. The Isabella Volunteer Fire Department social hall and an antique fire engine were destroyed in fires June 26 and June 30. An attorney representing the department told the Greensburg Tribune-Review that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is investigating the fires and has seized department records. Attorney Philip Fabiano described the federal investigation as a "cowboy expedition." "It's ludicrous to say that they all conspired to burn it down," Fabiano said. "What burned was their moneymaker, the fire hall, and their pride and joy — their fire engine." The Isabella department is seeking $500,000 from the Selective Insurance Group of New Jersey. According to Fabiano, federal investigators seized the minutes of the department's meetings, along with a freezer and some bar stools that members removed after the first fire. Fabiano said members of the department have told him that the freezer and stools were not on claim forms seeking payment for lost items. Fabiano confirmed that the department increased its coverage about six months before the fires, but he said the department was approached by an insurance salesmen who advised them to do so. Selective Insurance confirmed that the company has opened an investigation into the fire, but spokeswoman Sharon Cooper declined to further comment. An ATF spokeswoman also refused to comment. State police Sgt. David Heckman of the Uniontown barracks confirmed that his department is cooperating with the ATF in an investigation of the fires. Both fires have been described by state police investigators as suspicious and having multiple points of origin. Fabiano accused the insurance company of attempting to avoid payment on the claim by casting suspicion on firefighters. "An insurance company is happy to sell you an umbrella when it's sunny outside, but wants to take it away as soon as it starts raining," he said. Isabella is an old coal-mining community on the Monongahela River about 35 miles south of Pittsburgh. The fire hall was built in 1900. "I would hate to think the department has a firebug," Fabiano said. "If there is one, that individual should be prosecuted and put in jail. But there were Isabella firefighters hurt fighting that fire. It's my position that the claim should be paid." Anti-abortion protesters crash parade YORK (AP) — Anti-abortion protesters crashed the Halloween parade in York mis weekend, marching down the street carrying massive pictures of aborted fetuses. Some parents in the crowd covered their children's eyes as the protesters went by, in front of the floats, baton twirlers and classic cars. "I don't need my kids seeing that," said Heather Smith of Dover, who brought her three children. "I had a few words for those people." The protesters were not registered for Sunday's parade, police said. Officers said they didn't realize the antiabortion group was not supposed to be there for several blocks. When they did, police took them out of the parade. York Police Sgt. Russ Tschopp said he didn't cite the protesters. Some people in the crowd said that while they were opposed to abortion, they didn't approve of the protesters' behavior. "I'm against abortion, but I wouldn't cram it down somebody's throat," said Robin Schanbacher of York. "We just couldn't believe it." Decorate Your Home With The Look Of Autumn Scarecrows * Decoys * Folk Dolls Pie Racks * Wood Pumpkins * * Wreaths * Step Baskets * Candles * Lamps & Shades J, *SALE* Berry Garland & Wreaths • (724) W3-7H* 1486 Ok) Rl. 119 N.. Indiana * « T Briefs By The Associated Press District apologizes for novel assignment HARMONY—The Seneca Valley School District sent a letter to parents apologizing for a recent English course assignment to read a novel about the leader of a Nazi concentration camp and a murderous teenager. The book "Apt Pupil" was written by horror novelist Stephen King. The protagonist of the story is a high school student, who becomes the protege of the concentration camp commandant. The teenager thinks about killing his parents, torturing young girls and later, begins murdering the homeless for thrills. The book was not part of the district's approved curriculum, said district spokeswoman Linda Andreassi. "Apt Pupil" was immediately replaced and will not be assigned in the future," she said. The district has not released the identity of the teacher. If there is any disciplinary action for the teacher, Andreassi said it would be handled confidentially. Suspect in crippling of child to face trial NEW CASTLE—A man was ordered to stand trial on homicide charges 14 years after police said he fractured the skull of an infant who died two years ago. The child spent much of his 11 years of his life either bedridden or in a wheelchair after on Nov. 5,1988, when Alfred Kenneth Paige was watching the child, according to court records. Paige, 38, formerly of New Castle, is serving a two- to four-year state prison sentence in Northumberland County for an unrelated assault. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney. According to court documents, Andre Tolbert was left in the care of Paige, a former boyfriend, when their mother went to work. Paige told the mother that the child was acting strangely after another child at the home collided with the infant. Police investigated the case at the time, but no charges were filed. Student parade float gets OK By MICHELET. HUEY Gazette Staff Writer. REYNOLDSVILLE — The Jefferson County-DuBois Area Vocational Technical School operating committee gave its approval Monday night for students to build and enter a float in two area holiday parades. Under the direction of John Smelko, welding and metal-fabrication instructor, and Letitia Peace, learning-support instructor, students belonging to the school's new PULSE (People Using Leadership Jeff Tech Skills Effectively) Club will design and build a 17-foot float to enter Punxsutawney's Home for the Holidays parade Nov. 29 and Reynoldsville's holiday parade Nov. 30. In presenting the proposal, Smelko and Peace told the operating committee that the float project has a dual purpose: to showcase the school to the community and to fos- ter teamwork and school pride. "We want the students to take ownership of the school," Smelko told committee members. With their parents' permission, students will work after school on the project, which will be funded through donations, and will participate in the parades. In other business, the committee voted to require all seniors who did not receive proficient or advanced ratings on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests last year to retake the tests this fall. Teachers unions backing Shuster The congressman running to represent most of Indiana County has been endorsed by teachers unions at the state and national level. The National Education Association and its state affiliate, the Pennsylvania State Education Association, support the re-election campaign of Bill Shuster, R-Hollidaysburg, according to an announcement from his campaign. The announcement quoted the NEA's fund chairman, Bob Chase, as saying that Shuster meets the union's criteria on strengthening public education, ensuring children's health and safety and respecting school Campaign trail employees." Shuster represents the 9th District, which has been redrawn to cover about three-fourths of the county, including the northern half of Indiana Borough and the western half of White Township. He is running against John Henry, a Democrat from Beford County. Business for Reed Representatives of a statewide business association were coming to a Blairsville factory today to drive home their support for Dave Reed's campaign for the state House of Representatives. Reed, an Indiana Republican, is challenging Rep. Sara Steelman, D- Indiana, for the 62nd District. In an announcement, the political-action arm of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and industry said it likes Reed's support of cuts in business taxes and of other initiatives to promote job creation. ChamberPAC is the business association's political-action committee. It raises money to support candidates who support the association's aims. 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