Originally created 10/13/03

Across the southeast



Kentucky diocese settles abuse cases

COVINGTON, Ky. -The Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington has agreed to pay nearly $5.2 million to 27 people who said priests sexually abused them in their youth.

The men and women had accused at least six priests of abuse in the 1960s and 1970s at parishes in Lexington and northern Kentucky.

In two agreements announced Saturday, the payouts were $4,415,000 to 24 people and $750,000 to three others. The amount any individual receives was based on the severity of the abuse and its impact.

The settlements follow meetings between Bishop Roger J. Foys and many of the claimants, which included 22 plaintiffs in a lawsuit and five others who brought out-of-court claims.

Electrical stimulator can aid weight loss

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -A kind of pacemaker for the tummy, an implanted electrical device that fools the body into feeling full, appears to be an effective alternative to radical digestive surgery for helping obese people shed large amounts of weight.

If it proves out in larger studies, the experimental device could offer a new way to help very large people slim down when they cannot lose weight on diets or with appetite-suppressing drugs. Researchers Sunday presented preliminary data on the usefulness of the approach, which has already been tested on 450 people to show its safety.

The new device is called an implantable gastric stimulator and is similar to a cardiac pacemaker. Instead of stimulating the heart, this one is attached to the wall of the stomach and is intended to reduce feelings of hunger.

The researchers implanted the devices in 30 obese women and men whose average weight was 242 pounds. After a year with the implant, two-thirds of the volunteers had lost weight.

Hurricane causes massive loss of fish

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -Hundreds of thousands of fish died after rain from Hurricane Isabel washed low-oxygen water and organic matter out of swamps and into rivers across northeastern North Carolina.

The depleted oxygen had a disastrous effect on fish, says fisheries biologist Chad Thomas of the state Wildlife Resources Commission. Fish need oxygen levels of at least 3 parts per million to survive. Oxygen levels fell to near zero in the Chowan, Roanoke, Cashie, Pasquotank, Perquimans and Scuppernong rivers after the Sept. 18 storm.

"From Jamesville to the mouth, it was pretty much a complete kill on the Roanoke," Mr. Thomas said.

He estimated that at least 200,000 to 300,000 fish died along those 15 miles of the Roanoke. It was the largest fish kill on the Roanoke River since 1995, he said.