- The Washington Times - Monday, June 22, 2009


Dad-turned-priest celebrates 1st Mass

The Rev. Alain Colliou, 63, a father and grandfather in the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, celebrated his first Mass on Sunday at Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Potomac.

Archdiocese spokeswoman Susan Gibbs said Father Colliou’s 37-year-old son and two granddaughters attended the ceremony. She said that although Father Colliou is older than the average new priest, his faith and commitment are “exceptional.”

A French native and former World Bank economist, Father Colliou was married for 34 years; he decided to enter the priesthood after his wife’s death five years ago.

According to the Catholic Standard of the archdiocese, Father Colliou said that “men over 50 don’t usually become priests in the archdiocese, but he felt a strong call and he decided to pursue it — even if it meant asking the archbishop for special permission.”

Father Colliou has been assigned to St. Peter’s Church in Waldorf, Md.



Two swimmers missing in Potomac

Montgomery County and Fairfax County rescue teams have called off their search for two men who are unaccounted for after swimming in the Potomac River on Sunday.

Montgomery County fire department spokesman Capt. Oscar Garcia said authorities responded to a 4:40 p.m. call from a hiker who said she saw people in the river near Purple Horse Beach yelling for help.

Montgomery and Fairfax county water rescue units as well as a U.S. Park Police helicopter responded to the area of the 9500 block of MacArthur Boulevard. They abandoned the search shortly before 7 p.m.

Capt. Garcia said other witnesses reported seeing at least six swimmers in the water. He says four were found by authorities after getting to the shoreline on their own. Capt. Garcia said officials think the two men remain missing, although there have been reports that they may have exited on the Virginia side of the Potomac.


Police chief out of hospital

A city police department spokesman said Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III was released from a hospital Sunday after having a medical problem during a Saturday charity run.

Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the 47-year-old commissioner became dehydrated after running about nine miles of the University of Maryland Heart Center Baltimore 10-Miler. He is a frequent runner.

Commissioner Bealefeld joined the Baltimore Police Department immediately after high school in 1981 and was appointed commissioner almost two years ago.



‘Woad’ is the word in spelling bee

Michael Petrina Jr., 64, won a state spelling bee championship at age 13, but lost at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Fifty-one years later, Mr. Petrina, of Arlington, bested 45 other spellers older than 50 to win AARP’s National Spelling Bee on Saturday in Cheyenne, Wyo. His winning word, “woad,” is a plant whose leaves yield a blue dye.

Besides a trophy, Mr. Petrina comes home with $500 and dictionary kit. The AARP bee started in 1996.


Sacagawea honored in statue change

After years of debate, a change has been made at a famous Charlottesville statue to honor the contributions an American Indian woman made to the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Residents and Indian guests erected a marker at the West Main Street tableau, which features Meriwether Lewis and William Clark along with Sacagawea, the Shoshone woman who served as a guide and interpreter.

The statue, erected in 1919, had drawn criticism for years because it depicted Sacagawea kneeling next to the explorers, who stand upright.

Roseann Abrahamson, a descendant of Sacagawea, said the marker honoring her ancestor’s contributions to the expedition is a fitting tribute.


Eight find lesson in hazing incident

A reported hazing incident at Virginia State University is turning into a learning experience for eight young men.

Six VSU students and two nonstudents were accused in the February incident after a student sought medical treatment for severe bruising. The student eventually was diagnosed with an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection. The infection apparently stemmed from a paddling he received.

In a plea agreement, the six VSU students have agreed to prepare a presentation for students on the dangers of hazing and infectious diseases. The two nonstudents will be required to attend at least one of those sessions.


Report cites gains of Jamestown fete

Virginia’s commemoration of Jamestown’s 400th anniversary generated $1.2 billion in sales and netted $22 million in tax revenues for Virginia, according to a report by the Jamestown 2007 Steering Committee.

The commemoration of North America’s first permanent English settlement was an 18-month event, capped by a visit of Queen Elizabeth II of England in 2007.

The report said the commemoration increased awareness of Jamestown’s founding in 1607 and attracted conferences and meetings to the commonwealth.

Jamestown organizers said the Virginia commemoration provided a template for planners in other areas of the country such as Plymouth, Mass., where similar events are being planned.


Pool in drowning lacked permits

A building inspector says a residential swimming pool where a Chesterfield County toddler drowned Wednesday had an improperly installed gate with a deficient latch.

William Dupler, Chesterfield’s director of building inspections, said the homeowner also lacked the proper building, barrier and electrical permits for the pool. No citations have been issued.

Relatives have identified the drowning victim as 2-year-old Donnell Williams.

From wire dispatches and staff reports



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