‘Conscience is clear’ as priest heads for prison

Shortly before receiving a prison sentence Thursday for his bloody attack on a church employee, a suspended Catholic priest said he had a clear conscience.

The Rev. George Chaanine spoke during the hearing in District Judge Michelle Leavitt’s courtroom, focusing primarily on the financial support he gave Michaelina Bellamy, whom he hired in October 2006 as the events coordinator at Our Lady of Las Vegas Catholic Church.

Chaanine said he never expected anything in return for the money he spent on Bellamy; but the relationship troubled him, and he prayed for a way to get out of it.

"I never touched her," Chaanine said. "I’m proud of it. My conscience is clear."

Chaanine pleaded guilty in September to a felony charge of battery with a deadly weapon causing bodily harm.

The priest, who smashed a full wine bottle over Bellamy’s head in January, said he had heard many "stories" about Bellamy. Chaanine said he wanted to know the truth about the "stories," but Bellamy refused to discuss them.

"I am very sorry for what happened," Chaanine said. "I lost it."

Without commenting on her decision, Leavitt sentenced Chaanine to between four and 12 years in prison.

 

MONDAY

Chancellor, county snub governor

University system Chancellor Jim Rogers and Clark County government officials snubbed Gov. Jim Gibbons, refusing to submit lists showing where they would cut their budgets.

Rogers followed through on his pledge not to send a list showing how he would reduce spending for the Nevada System of Higher Education by $64 million. County officials also did not prepare a list of how they would cut spending on child welfare and juvenile justice, which is partially funded by the state, by $3.6 million.

Gibbons asked selected state agencies three weeks ago to prepare priority lists on how they would trim budgets by 5 percent because of lower than anticipated tax revenues.

 

TUESDAY

Singer Robert Goulet dies at 73

Robert Goulet, a longtime Las Vegan who counted showroom success on the Strip among his achievements in theater, film, television and recording, died in Los Angeles of pulmonary fibrosis. He was 73.

The big-voiced singer first played Las Vegas at the Flamingo in 1963, riding the tide of his breakthrough role on Broadway in "Camelot." He owned his valley home since 1974. His later career relied more on travel, but Goulet still held hopes of becoming a resident headliner.

"I may just die onstage. Hey, hey, that’s the dream, isn’t it?" he said with characteristic humor in 2005.

 

WEDNESDAY

Senate holds Yucca Mountain hearing

Despite gaps in safety rules and designs, the Department of Energy is rushing to show progress on the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump before President Bush’s term ends, Nevada leaders charged at a Senate hearing.

The hearing, in which leading Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton played a key role just two months before Nevada’s early caucus, signaled a shift in how the nuclear waste project is being discussed on Capitol Hill. The state’s senators urged Congress to take a fresh look at pulling the plug on the repository.

 

THURSDAY

Workers walk line for new contract

Union workers from Mission Industries laundry plants took their fight for a new Culinary union contract to the company’s customers.

At the Tropicana, about 30 workers gathered on the sidewalk about noon waiting for the arrival of a Mission Industries delivery truck.

Culinary Local 226 and Mission Industries ended talks Wednesday evening on a new contract for workers at Mission Industries’ six local plants, which provide linen and uniform cleaning services for nearly 50 hotels on the Strip and in downtown Las Vegas.

 

FRIDAY

Edwards’ client a subprime lender

A company that paid Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards hundreds of thousands of dollars has a subprime lending subsidiary that brought some three dozen foreclosure proceedings in Nevada during Edwards’ tenure in the Senate, according to court records.

The Review-Journal reported that records show almost all of the properties foreclosed upon by Green Tree Servicing LLC between late 2005 and the end of 2006 were "manufactured homes," or mobile homes, most used as primary residences, often by the elderly.

Edwards has made fighting poverty and helping people in need one of the top subjects of his campaign rhetoric.

COMPILED BY MICHAEL SQUIRES

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