- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 8, 2006


Inmate gets lifein killings after release

FLINT — A man who killed three persons in a crime spree after he was mistakenly released from prison was sentenced yesterday to life in prison without parole.

Patrick Selepak, 27, pleaded guilty last month to first-degree murder and other charges in the shooting and strangling of Winfield Johnson Jr., 53.

He also said he would plead guilty to killing Scott and Melissa Berels at their New Baltimore home a few days before Mr. Johnson’s death.


Vandals spray-paint ‘666’ on religious shrine

ERIN — Authorities arrested a man and were searching for a teenager after vandals spray-painted a historic monastery with the number 666 and the phrase “Happy Birthday Satan.”

The vandalism was discovered Wednesday at Holy Hill National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians, Washington County Sheriff Brian Rahn said.

A pitchfork with “666” was spray-painted on the walls, Lt. Steve Gonwa said. Some link the number to the Antichrist. Tuesday’s date was 6/6/06.

Another entrance had been painted with an obscenity and “Happy Birthday Satan,” Lt. Gonwa said.

The man was arrested Wednesday after a car carrying him and five others was stopped at the shrine entrance.


Ex-FBI agent pleads guilty in spy case

LOS ANGELES — A former FBI agent pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge in connection with a Chinese spying investigation.

Denise K. Woo, 47, pleaded guilty to one count of disclosing confidential information. Prosecutors agreed to drop five felony counts of disclosing a wiretap, revealing the identity of a covert operative and lying to FBI agents when questioned.

Miss Woo, who has been discharged from the FBI, faces one year of probation and a $1,000 fine when she is sentenced on Aug. 28.


43 Cubans stopped in ‘overcrowded’ boat

MIAMI — Forty-three Cubans aboard what U.S. immigration officials described as a “dangerously overloaded” boat were intercepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents 18 miles south of Marathon in the Florida Keys, authorities said yesterday.

CBP spokesman Michael J. Friel said the 38-foot go-fast boat was spotted and intercepted by CBP air and marine agents aboard a Maritime King Air surveillance aircraft, based out of Homestead, Fla., as it was running without lights toward the Florida Keys.

Mr. Friel said the go-fast was stopped by two of the agency’s interceptor vessels at about 7 a.m. Monday. He said agents found the boat to be overloaded with men, women and children. Forty-three Cubans were transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Diligence for repatriation to Cuba.


Mayor arrested in extortion, fraud

CHICAGO — A longtime suburban mayor was arrested yesterday on federal charges of steering business to a friend’s insurance agency in return for bribes for almost two decades.

Nicholas Blase, Niles’ mayor for 45 years, was arrested on his 78th birthday as he left his house.

Court documents show Mr. Blase threatened to withhold liquor licenses and business licenses from restaurant owners unless they bought insurance from an agency owned by Ralph Weiner, now deceased. The agency now is operated by Mr. Weiner’s sons.

Steven Weiner, 53, also was arrested and was to appear in federal court with Mr. Blase later yesterday. Both were charged with mail fraud. If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison.

Mr. Blase, who is a lawyer, has denied any wrongdoing.


Summers confers his last degrees

CAMBRIDGE — Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers presided over his final commencement yesterday, getting a warm greeting from students as he headed the academic procession.

Mr. Summers, who will leave office June 30 after five tumultuous years as president, sat at center stage but was not the center of attention. He spoke only to formally confer degrees on 6,706 students at the university’s 355th commencement.

The former Treasury secretary has kept a low profile since announcing his resignation earlier this year after clashes with faculty and a controversy over remarks he made about women failing to reach the highest posts in scientific fields. He has said he will take a sabbatical next year and then return as a professor. Former Harvard President Derek Bok will lead the university while a successor is chosen.


Dog breeder hit with dead Chihuahua

ST. PETERS — A woman angry that her new puppy had died pushed her way into a dog breeder’s home and repeatedly hit her on the head with the dead Chihuahua, authorities said.

The 33-year-old woman told police she had taken the puppy to a veterinarian, who said it was only 4 weeks old and needed to be returned to its mother. But before she could return the puppy, it died.

Early Wednesday, the woman went to the breeder’s home, pushed her way inside and began fighting with the breeder as she tried to make her way to the basement to get another puppy, police said.

The breeder wrestled the woman out of her house to the front porch, where the woman then hit the breeder over the head numerous times with the dead puppy, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, citing police.


Exercise studied to ease menopause

ALBANY — Once at the mercy of hourly hot flashes, Margaret Corino, 58, has been keeping them at bay with regular trips to the gym.

When she skips exercise, the waves of heat “shoot back up again,” she says. The woman, who lives in Johnson City, west of Albany, says her workouts have reduced hot flashes to just a couple a day.

Though the research is still thin, many health specialists say even moderate exercise can help relieve the problems of menopause in some women, including anxiety, insomnia and night sweats.

The National Institutes of Health is conducting a wide-ranging study of several issues related to menopause, including depression and cognitive and sexual function. NIH-backed research so far suggests only a link between physical activity and decreased symptoms of menopause — no proof exercise is a cure.


Girl bitten by shark in shallow water

HILTON HEAD ISLAND — A 7-year-old girl from Missouri was bitten by a shark while playing in 2 feet of water, Beaufort County deputies said.

The girl suffered puncture wounds to her foot and buttocks in the attack Wednesday afternoon, but the injuries were not life threatening, deputies said.

Lifeguards and others on the beach first thought the girl had been stung by a stingray, but the doctor who treated her found a shark tooth embedded in her foot, authorities said.


Ex-legislator found guilty of corruption

MEMPHIS — A former state senator was convicted yesterday of extortion for taking payoffs in the Tennessee Waltz corruption investigation.

Memphis Democrat Roscoe Dixon was among five current or former state lawmakers charged with seeking and accepting payoffs from E-Cycle Management, a fake FBI company that offered bribes to state and local officials across Tennessee.

Dixon was the first lawmaker to go to trial in the case. He was charged with taking $9,500 in bribes to help E-Cycle with what he thought was getting state law changed so the company could buy and recycle used government computers.


Kennedy rocker fails to sell at auction

DALLAS — A rocking chair that once belonged to President Kennedy failed to sell at auction, a spokesman for the auctioneer said.

Bids for the chair, which researchers think was a gift to Mr. Kennedy from the leader of Pakistan, did not reach the owners’ minimum asking price of $75,000 Wednesday, said John Petty, a spokesman for Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas.

Mr. Kennedy used rocking chairs because doctors told him they would help ease pain in his back.

The chair will continue to be available for one week in an after-auction sale on the auctioneer’s Web site (www.heritageauctions.com), Mr. Petty said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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