Ophelia Leaves N.C.,

May Hit New England

HATTERAS, N.C. -- Ophelia left North Carolina on Friday, downgraded to a tropical storm but picking up speed for a possible run-in with the New England coast.

The storm extensively damaged eastern North Carolina, eroding beaches and battering houses and businesses, but the region was spared the devastating blow that some had feared when Ophelia first brushed the coast Tuesday.

"We were really blessed. . . . We had a potential to be neck-deep where we're standing," said lifelong Hatteras resident Allen Fagley, 54.

Ophelia, which meandered north after forming off the Florida coast last week, was offshore again Friday, moving north-northeast at 15 mph, the National Hurricane Center said. At 11 p.m., Ophelia was centered about 265 miles south-southwest of Massachusetts's Nantucket Island.

A tropical storm warning was posted for southeastern Massachusetts, including Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, and for southwestern Nova Scotia.

* LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Thirty-eight Nobel Prize laureates asked state educators to reject proposed science standards that treat evolution as a seriously questionable theory, calling it instead the "indispensable" foundation of biology. The group, led by the writer Elie Wiesel, said it wants to defend science and combat "efforts by the proponents of so-called intelligent design to politicize scientific inquiry."

* ALBUQUERQUE -- New Mexico's Treasurer Robert Vigil and his predecessor, Michael Montoya, were charged with racketeering, accused of taking about $700,000 in kickbacks from investment advisers. Montoya was allegedly paid about $632,000, while Vigil allegedly received about $54,000.

-- From News Services