- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 2, 2006


Tropical Storm Chris forms in Atlantic

MIAMI — Tropical Storm Chris, the third named storm of the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season, developed early yesterday near the Leeward Islands, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said.

A tropical storm warning was posted for the islands of Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Barthelemy and St. Martin.

A tropical storm watch was issued for Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.


Jewell honored for heroism

ATLANTA — Richard Jewell, the security guard who was branded a suspect after the deadly bombing at the 1996 Olympics, was honored at the state Capitol yesterday, 10 years later, for saving lives by moving people out of harm’s way just before the blast.

The state legislature issued a proclamation honoring Mr. Jewell in 1998, but it was not presented in person; it came in the mail. Gov. Sonny Perdue sought to change that.

“This is what I think is the right thing to do,” Mr. Perdue said as he handed a certificate to Mr. Jewell.

Mr. Jewell said: “I never expected this day to ever happen. I’m just glad that it did.”

The 1996 blast killed one and wounded 111 others.


Remains found in New Orleans home

NEW ORLEANS — Eleven months after Hurricane Katrina, firefighters found skeletal remains in a dilapidated home filled with debris and jumbled furniture.

Firefighters broke through a back door blocked by rubble on Monday to get into the home in eastern New Orleans, said John Gagliano, chief coroner’s investigator. With the help of a search dog, they found the bones under a pile of debris in a bedroom.

The discovery was made after a man reported that he thought his mother was still in her house. DNA tests will be used to identify the remains.

The death toll from Katrina in Louisiana is 1,577, including 281 who died in other states shortly after the storm.


Man gets life for killing couple

MOUNT CLEMENS — An ex-convict was sentenced yesterday to life without parole in the slaying of a couple who were killed after he was mistakenly released from custody.

“You are truly an evil man,” Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Richard Caretti told Patrick Selepak as he handed out the mandatory sentence.

Selepak pleaded guilty last month to two counts of first-degree murder in the slayings of a 27-year-old pregnant woman, Melissa Berels, and her husband, Scott Berels, also 27. They were found dead Feb. 16.

Corrections officials have acknowledged that Selepak, 27, should have been imprisoned for a parole violation charge at the time of the killings.


ACLU accuses mayor of racial profiling

JACKSON — The national American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) yesterday accused the city’s black mayor of civil rights violations, including racial profiling in his crusade to stem crime in Mississippi’s capital city.

The accusations against Mayor Frank Melton and police are based on complaints from people who say they were pulled over on the basis of their race and searched without probable cause, said King Downing, the ACLU’s national racial profiling coordinator.

However, Mr. Melton said yesterday that he wasn’t interested in the ACLU’s complaints against him or the police, and denied he had violated anyone’s civil rights.

“We have 26 people that have been killed in Jackson this year. We have 300,000 people killed across America each year. The majority of them are African-American and it’s time to do something different,” Mr. Melton said. “I want to know what the ACLU wants to do besides criticize.”


Senator’s nephew killed in Iraq

HELENA — A nephew of Sen. Max Baucus was killed in combat in Iraq during the weekend, the senator’s office said yesterday.

Marine Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus, 28, died Saturday in Al Anbar province, the Department of Defense said yesterday . It did not release further information.

A spokesman for the senator confirmed that the Marine, who lived in the Helena area, was the Montana Democrat’s nephew.


Apartment fire kills four persons

OMAHA — Residents climbed out of windows to escape flames and smoke early yesterday as a fire in an apartment building killed four persons.

About 15 persons were taken to hospitals, said police Sgt. Teresa Negron, who also confirmed the deaths.

The fire at the three-story Colonial House Apartments was reported about 2:30 a.m.

Firefighters found residents climbing out of windows and a number of people in need of medical attention already gathered on the lawn in front of the building, Sgt. Negron said.


Man arrested in copter case

NEW YORK — A 19-year-old man was arrested after authorities said he shined a laser pointer at a police helicopter.

The bright green laser beamed into the cockpit late Monday night, temporarily blinding the officers, said Melissa Klein, a New York Police Department spokeswoman.

Police arrested Anthony Pepe a short time later, and charged him with reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon, Miss Klein said.


Treasurer sentenced for taking tax money

PITTSBURGH — A county treasurer was sentenced to one to seven years in prison and removed from office yesterday for embezzling tens of thousands of dollars and using some of the money to rent space for a sex club.

Gary Felasco, who was elected to a third term as Lawrence County treasurer in 2003, was convicted in May of theft and other offenses.

Prosecutors purported he took at least $47,000, but Judge Michael Wherry said at the sentencing that it was $171,552.

Investigators said Felasco, 39, pocketed money when taxpayers paid their bills in cash, then had the books altered to cover up the discrepancy.

Felasco used the money to pay personal bills and to rent space for a sex club he helped organize, prosecutors said.


Ship captain admits working while drunk

SEATTLE — A cruise ship captain pleaded guilty Monday to operating a Celebrity Cruise Line vessel — carrying 1,884 passengers — while under the influence of alcohol.

The U.S. Coast Guard arrested Periklis Petridis, a Greek citizen in command of the Mercury cruise liner, on May 19, hours before the ship was scheduled to depart from a Seattle pier for Alaska.

During a routine Coast Guard check, officials discovered the captain had been drinking. Tests found Petridis, 47, with a blood-alcohol concentration as high as 0.181, more than four times the federal maritime limit for operating a ship.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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