Rough first inning dooms Indians in 7-0 loss to Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Whatever could go wrong for right-hander Carlos Carrasco and the Cleveland Indians did during the first inning against the Texas Rangers.
Carrasco, the majors’ best road pitcher with a 1.74 ERA away from home this season, allowed five runs — four unearned — in the opening inning and the Indians went on to a 7-0 loss to the Texas Rangers on Saturday night.
Carrasco (9-7) allowed all seven runs — three earned — and eight hits in four innings while striking out eight. He said he felt far different from his previous outing, eight shutout innings at Oakland on Monday.
“I missed a lot of my pitches’ location,” he said. “A team like that (the Rangers), every pitch that I miss, I get hurt.”
After Ian Desmond’s one-out single in the first, Carlos Beltran slapped a grounder to the left side that Jose Ramirez fielded but couldn’t get to first base in time, ending a career-worst 0-for-32 streak/ The runners moved up on a balk when Carrasco began a pickoff throw but halted because first baseman Carlos Santana was 20 feet from the bag.
“I missed a sign,” Carrasco said.
On Adrian Beltre’s sharp grounder to third, Desmond dove back and beat Ramirez’s tag to load the bases. Rougned Odor’s hard grounder to first bounced off Santana’s glove for a run-scoring error and Mitch Moreland pulled a first-pitch slider just inside the right-field foul pole with two out for his second career slam.
Indians manager Terry Francona said the pitch “came down a little bit, but it was supposed to come at the knee so he could chase it. Something like that and get a ground ball.”
The Indians were held to seven hits by Rangers right-hander A.J. Griffin (6-3) and three relievers. Griffin had his most effective start of the season, allowing five hits and one walk in six innings for his first win since Aug. 4.
“I kind of tried to put my blinders on a little bit and execute my game plan,” Griffin said of the early lead. “That was a big grand slam Mitch hit, for sure.”
Griffin has routinely lost effectiveness in the middle innings but kept hitters off balance throughout his 95-pitch performance.
“Their guy tonight was certainly not a power pitcher,” Francona said. “But he’s throwing that real slow breaking ball and then kind of lulling us into his fastball in.”
Texas has the American League’s best record, two games ahead of Cleveland. The Indians maintained their 4 1/2-game lead in the Central.
Cleveland was shut out by Texas for the second time in three games after being blanked only three times in the previous 125 games this season.
C Chris Gimenez made his second pitching appearance of the season and third of his career, retiring the three batters that he faced in the eighth inning. That included a prolonged battle before the former Ranger got Texas C Robinson Chirinos to ground out.
“I think he’ll get a laugh about it, and hopefully I won’t have to do it again,” Gimenez said.
Ramirez had a triple and two singles for his seventh three-hit game of the season to go with one four-hit game. He has hit safely in 27 of his last 31 games. … LHP Andrew Miller struck out all three batters that he faced in the seventh inning on 12 pitches, 11 strikes.
Indians: Francona said there’s no timetable for when C Yan Gomes (right shoulder separation) will begin a rehab session.
Rangers: RHP Colby Lewis (right lat strain) is scheduled to make his second rehab start on Monday for Double-A Frisco. He last appeared in a major league game on June 21.
Indians: RHP Danny Salazar (11-5) has compiled a 10.41 ERA over six starts in July and August, lasting only 11 total innings in his last four outings.
Rangers: LHP Derek Holland (5-6) returned from the disabled list last Tuesday, allowing one run on four hits in six innings in a loss at Cincinnati.

Forging a spiritual path together

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — When Eric and Alicia Porterfield met while attending Duke Divinity School in the 1990s, they were both on their own, individual paths to the ministry.
They basically stayed on those individual paths for the first 20 years of their marriage — with Eric serving as senior pastor at two different North Carolina congregations and Alicia serving in a variety of roles, from a health care chaplain to writing Bible study curriculum to serving as an interim pastor for a year.
Though they did write some Bible study books together, this month marks the first time that Eric and Alicia Porterfield’s careers are converging as staff members of the same congregation — and they’re doing so in Huntington at Fifth Avenue Baptist Church.
Last week was their first full-time week in the church, as Eric began his new position as senior pastor and Alicia began her new position as associate pastor of adult education, and as their sons started fifth, seventh and ninth grades in Huntington schools.
The Porterfields come to Huntington from Wilmington, North Carolina, where Eric was senior pastor at Winter Park Baptist Church for the past decade and Alicia was interim pastor in a neighboring town at First Baptist Carolina Beach. They were chosen after a year-long search for new leadership. Eric Porterfield replaces Allen Reasons, who retired last year after more than 15 years leading Fifth Avenue Baptist.
They heard about Fifth Avenue Baptist from two friends/colleagues in North Carolina, Tim Moore and Mike Queen, who had both grown up in Huntington attending the church. Alicia, who is originally from the Atlanta area, had been to other parts of West Virginia before, but never to Huntington. Eric, a Greensboro, North Carolina, native, had been to Huntington once.
“As a 12-year-old, I played in the Buddy League tournament here in Huntington in 1981, and I must say that we did defeat the Huntington team for the championship,” he said.
When it came to considering a position here, they started talking with the search committee several months ago.
“We talked to the committee and went through several months of conversations with them, and through that process sensed God calling us to come here,” Eric Porterfield said.
“We’re enjoying it,” Alicia said.
Not only do their new positions simplify their family life by giving them just one church schedule to build around, but they’ve also been impressed with the congregation.
“It’s a very warm and welcoming congregation, and they’re organized in how they’re warm and welcoming, which I appreciate,” Alicia said.
For example, she said, a member of the search committee formed a welcoming team, which listed opportunities for members to help with everything from tidying up the family’s yard and shampooing carpets before they moved in, to unloading the moving van.
“It took us six hours to load (the moving truck) in Wilmington and about an hour to unload it here because we had all that help,” Alicia Porterfield said. “By the time (the day) was over, it looked like a home … which was huge for us to begin to feel settled. That’s just an example of the church’s commitment to living out loving their neighbor, and we really appreciated that.
“It’s also a very mission-minded congregation — locally, nationally and internationally. It’s very focused on helping others, which was appealing to us.”
The church’s quick response to help West Virginia flood victims, its Helpington mission program and its support for an orphanage in Nicaragua are just a few other examples the Porterfields felt were impressive.
They’re excited to get to know their church and the area even more.
“We’re looking forward to getting to know Huntington better, the community,” Alicia said. “Everywhere we’ve served, it’s been interesting to learn about the history of the community. We’ve watched ‘We Are Marshall,’ and we want to learn more about the town — the blessings and the struggles.”
As for working together, they’re looking forward to that as well. They are co-teaching a Bible study class at 6 p.m. Wednesdays that got underway last week and is open to all. It will be based on a book they wrote together, “Proverbs: Living wisely, loving well.” Another book they co-authored was “Sessions with Psalms: Prayers for all Seasons.”
Alicia said she was happy to learn, when talking with the Fifth Avenue Baptist search committee, that some of the Bible study curricula she had written for Smyth & Helwys publishing house had been taught at the church.
“It was neat to know they’d taught lessons I’d written before we ever met,” said Alicia, who also wrote “A Divine Duet: Ministry and Motherhood,” which later turned into an online blog and forum for pastors who are mothers at
“That’s been wonderful,” she said of the blog, adding that it came out of her own struggle as a minister and a young mother. She’d talk about the struggles with other ministry mothers in the hallways at conferences, and realized they should have an ongoing place to share ideas.
“It occurred to me that we have to form the community that we want,” she said. “The book was first, and the blog was an attempt to get the conversation out of the hallway and more toward the center. And it gives ministry moms a safe place to talk about what does that (life) look like. We try to put something out once a week. We don’t want to flood people’s inboxes, and it’s a lot of work.”
Eric served at First Baptist Church of Sanford, North Carolina, from 1996 to 2007, before serving at Winter Park Baptist Church in Wilmington. One project of which he was proud in Wilmington was partnering with ministers at some of the city’s African-American churches, offering shared worship services and service projects “as we worked toward racial reconciliation,” Eric Porterfield said. “That was something that was a privilege to be a part of. It went very well.”
As for what they plan to do in Huntington, they want to spend some time getting to know their church members and city before they decide.
“We’re in the process of learning the congregation and the community, and it’s exciting to do that,” said 48-year-old Eric Porterfield. “In that process, we want to participate in some of the wonderful things that are already happening and seek new ways to serve our community.”
“A lot of what we’re doing at this point is listening and learning,” said 44-year-old Alicia. “We’re learning what is already here that’s going well and what are the longings and the dreams — and how has God been moving here and how do people sense God moving into the future.”
Information from: The Herald-Dispatch,

Regulators sticking with water-quality standards change

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia regulators are sticking with their proposal to change the way water-quality standards are calculated.
A document made public Friday insists the decision “does not automatically” translate into an increase in the amount of cancer-causing chemicals allowed to be discharged into state rivers and streams, The Charleston Gazette-Mail ( reported.
The state Department of Environmental Protection also revealed that it’s dropping another proposal that would have eliminated a requirement for public notices in newspapers for some types of air pollution permits.
The DEP’s decisions on both of the rule changes were filed with the Secretary of State’s Office on Friday, along with other annual agency rule changes. The filing was to meet a legal deadline for the rules to be submitted for legislative review next year.
The agency’s water-quality proposal has significant opposition from the environmental community and from organized labor. The Affiliated Construction Trades Foundation has said it will fight the proposed change, after defeating it several times in the past and dubbing it the “Cancer Creek” bill.
The DEP proposal would have the agency calculate water pollution limits for cancer-causing chemicals using an average-flow figure — called the “harmonic mean” — rather than the state’s current practice of using a low-flow figure.
The change has long been sought by the West Virginia Manufacturers Association and the Chamber of Commerce.
During a DEP public hearing in July, no one spoke in favor of the change, and citizens turned out to complain that the move would allow more cancer-causing chemicals to be discharged into rivers and streams.
DEP Secretary Randy Huffman has acknowledged that using the “harmonic mean” could allow more carcinogens to be permitted, but in a formal “response to comments” made public Friday, agency officials said that’s not necessarily the case.
“While the switch to harmonic mean theoretically allows more pollutants to be discharged (more mixing/dilution), actual permitting practices limit the amount of mixing to only what is needed to meet water quality standards at the end of mixing,” the DEP document said. “Stated another way, changing to harmonic mean for carcinogens, pollutants does not automatically allow a tripling or higher of the amount of carcinogens being discharged.”
In response to one citizen comment, that West Virginia has enough cancer already and doesn’t need more pollution, the DEP said such comments “are greatly appreciated and thoroughly considered.”
On the air permit rule proposal, the DEP had faced criticism from citizen groups and the West Virginia Press Association when it suggested eliminating two types of newspaper public notices that currently must be published for “minor sources” seeking air pollution emissions permits from the DEP.
Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail,

Suspect fatally shot by West Virginia deputies

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia sheriff’s department says a suspect was fatally shot by deputies while they attempted to serve an arrest warrant.
The Dominion Post ( ) reports the suspect was transported to a hospital and pronounced dead. The report cited a statement by Monongalia County Sheriff Al Kisner that says the subject of the warrant confronted the deputies with a handgun and threatened to shoot them early Saturday. It says the deputies shot the suspect in self-defense.
The suspect’s name was being withheld pending notification of family.
The sheriff’s office says the names of the deputies involved will not be released due to an ongoing investigation. No information was given about the races of the suspect or the deputies.

Air-conditioning problems continue to plague Kanawha schools

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Officials say air-conditioning problems closed at least three Kanawha County schools on Friday.
The Charleston Gazette-Mail ( ) reports a school where teachers filed a grievance over years of AC problems was among the schools closed.
That school’s principal, Paula Potter, says Dunbar’s Ben Franklin Career and Technical Education Center was shuttered all day Friday, after it closed Thursday morning. Potter says officials hope to resolve the AC problems by Monday.
St. Albans and Riverside high schools both let students out around noon Friday.
On Aug. 12, the county closed seven schools due to AC and power failures. Four schools were closed Aug. 15 for similar issues.
Kanawha schools Superintendent Ron Duerring has said the county has old AC systems and not enough money to replace them or make major upgrades.

Missing for more than 200 years, telescope returns home

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — One of the most prized possessions of Harman Blennerhassett, the colorful Anglo-Irish Renaissance man and political adventurer who created a short-lived Eden on an Ohio River island at the end of the 18th century, has been returned to the West Virginia state park charged with preserving his legacy.
The brass telescope Blennerhassett used to make astronomical observations from the roof of the mansion he had built on the island that bears his name arrived at the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History, the mainland component of Blennerhassett Island State Historical Park, on Aug. 12, nearly 209 years after it and other items that survived the island’s plundering were auctioned to pay creditors.
While the telescope’s presence on the island estate that Blennerhassett and his wife Margaret bought in 1799 and fled in 1806, after becoming enmeshed in a western land-grab plot led by former Vice President Aaron Burr, is well documented, it wasn’t until 2005 that area historians learned what became of the London-made telescope.
“During an internet search, my friend Linda Showalter at Marietta College found an Oct. 12, 1902 article in the Buffalo Express about a telescope once owned by Harman Blennerhassett being donated to the Buffalo (New York) Historical Society,” the organization that created the Buffalo History Museum, said Ray Swick, historian emeritus for West Virginia State Parks.
Swick contacted officials at the Buffalo museum and began a dialogue about possibly acquiring the piece.
“It didn’t prosper,” he said. “Museums don’t like to part with exhibits in their collections. By 2012, I more or less dropped the effort.”
But early last year, former Assistant Park Superintendent Miles Evenson asked Swick about how talks to bring the telescope back to the mid-Ohio Valley were going.
When the historian told Evenson the talks had gone nowhere, “Miles said to try again,” Swick recalled. “I went online to find out who the top person at the museum was, and I made contact with Steven P. McCarville, president of the Buffalo History Museum’s board of managers, who seemed interested in working something out.”
Swick said McCarville, aware that the telescope has more significance in the Parkersburg area than it did in Buffalo, where there is no direct connection with the Blennerhassetts, was sympathetic to the idea of returning it to the place where the Blennerhassetts left a legacy. In Buffalo, the telescope spent most of its time in storage, appearing in occasional “Ever After” and “Recollections” exhibits of unique but not necessarily Buffalo-related pieces from the museum’s vaults.
Eventually, an agreement was worked out among members of the Buffalo museum’s board of managers to sell the telescope to the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History. The telescope was appraised at Sotheby’s in New York, a selling price was established and the Friends of Blennerhassett, one of two nonprofit support groups assisting the park in its effort to improve its museum and rebuilt island mansion stepped up to the plate to purchase the piece for a price park officials declined to disclose.
“Our board members said, ‘Let’s get it while we can,'” said Mark Abbott, president of the Friends of Blennerhassett. “It’s one of our most prized possessions, even though its presence was unknown to us until 2005. It’s kind of amazing that the internet helped discover where it was and what happened to it since it left the island.”
The Buffalo History Museum received the telescope in 1905, first as a loan and later as a gift from Buffalo businessman William G. Justice, a member of the museum’s board of managers. Justice’s grandfather, George M. Justice of Philadelphia, was described as “a gentleman of scientific attainments and of considerable repute as an astronomer,” according to “The Book of the Museum” a 1921 publication of the Buffalo Historical Society.
The elder Justice bought the telescope in about 1820 from the unknown individual who bought it at one of the two creditors’ auctions held in Wood County in 1807, Swick said.
According to “The Book of the Museum,” Justice was later “commissioned by the school authorities of his day to import and mount an instrument in the observatory of their building on Broad Street — the famous school of which John S. Hart was then principal.”
The school for which Justice was charged with locating a telescope was Philadelphia’s Central High School, which in 1838 was the second public high school to open in America. The school’s early administrators budgeted funding to build an observatory with a revolving dome atop the new high school and relied on Justice’s expertise to equip it with the best telescope that could be found for $10,000, which turned out to be an 8-foot-long German-made instrument with a 6-inch equatorial reflector.
Central High operated the nation’s fourth astronomical observatory when the ‘scope was installed in the early 1840s. Justice, a member of the school’s board of controllers, was later asked to design two other observatories.
Blennerhassett bought the telescope in 1795 or 1796 on a shopping spree in London after he and his wife, who also was his niece, sold the 7,000-acre estate he inherited in County Cork and moved to America. The name and address of the telescope’s maker, W. & S. Jones, Holburn, London, are engraved on the optical tube, along with its serial number, 38.
Though a lawyer, Blennerhassett was more drawn to science and nature than litigation. In addition to the telescope, he outfitted himself with a chemical laboratory and equipment for experimenting with electricity and magnetism before beginning a new life in the United States.
After spending the winter of 1796 in Pittsburgh, the Blennerhassetts decided to move closer to America’s western frontier and set out by boat to Marietta, Ohio, then the Northwestern Territory, arriving in July. After spending the summer looking at possible home sites, they took a ride in a pirogue to an island about two miles downriver from the mouth of the Little Kanawha and landed on what was then known as Backus Island and immediately fell in love with the site. They bought the upper half of the island and built what may have been the grandest home east of the Alleghenies at the time.
The 7,000 square foot Palladian-style mansion contained furnishings brought in from London and Baltimore, oriental rugs, and alabaster lamps suspended from the ceilings with silver chains.
When the mansion was completed in 1800, Blennerhassett “had a platform built atop the middle section of roof — the highest point of the building — where he conducted his observations,” Swick said. The brass telescope “was his pride and joy. Few families at the time could afford such an elaborate rarity, and few possessed the intellectual curiosity to want to own one.”
But studying the night skies over the Ohio River was not the only thing that left Blennerhassett starstruck. In 1805, after exchanging letters, he was visited by Burr, who enlisted the wealthy frontiersman in a scheme, according to varying historic accounts, to either carve out an independent country from the southwestern portion of the Louisiana Purchase or take possession of a portion of Spanish-owned land in what is now Texas.
Burr wanted the Ohio River island to become the staging point for the expedition, and with Blennerhassett’s assistance, ordered 15 flatboats to be built in Marietta and stocked with supplies during a visit in 1806. But when word of Burr’s plans got out, militiamen seized most of the newly built boats on the Ohio side of the river on Dec. 10, 1806, and made plans to raid Blennerhassett Island the following morning.
Harman Blennerhassett and about 40 of Burr’s men set off from the island during the night of Dec. 10 in four flatboats and one smaller craft and escaped downriver to Kentucky. Margaret Blennerhassett managed to flee the island a week later and joined her husband, after seeing the couple’s home and gardens ransacked by militiamen.
Burr and Blennerhassett both were eventually tried for, and acquitted of, treason, but both were left financially ruined for having taken part in the scheme. Harman Blennerhassett visited his island and looted mansion for the last time in 1807, when he rented his farmland to his friend, Col. Nathaniel Cushing of Belpre, Ohio. A few months later, his remaining personal property, including his telescope, was ordered seized and auctioned by the Sheriff of Wood County to satisfy creditors.
Margaret Blennerhassett never returned to the island.
In 1811, hemp raised on the island that was being stored in the mansion was accidentally set on fire by a pair of slaves. The building burned to the ground.
“We will eventually construct a separate display case for the telescope,” said Abbott. “It will be fun to research how it worked and how it was built.”

Dozens treated as heroin overdose spikes hit several states

CINCINNATI (AP) — Officials in several states are scrambling to deal with a series of heroin overdose outbreaks affecting dozens of people and involving at least six deaths.
The spikes in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia over the past few days have seen rescue workers rushing from scene to scene to provide overdose antidote drugs.
While it’s unclear if one dealer or batch is responsible for the multistate outbreak, the spikes reflect the potency of heroin flooding the Midwest.
In Cincinnati, police on Friday asked for the public’s help in identifying the source of the heroin behind an estimated 78 overdoses in two days.
Officials in surrounding Hamilton County are calling the latest onslaught of overdose cases a public health emergency. County Health Commissioner Tim Ingram said the number of emergency room incidents over the last six days was “unprecedented.”
Emergency rooms estimate they had 174 suspected opioid overdose cases this week, including three deaths. Last year, accidental drug overdoses killed 3,050 people in Ohio, an average of eight per day, state officials said.
A record high 47,055 people died from drug overdoses in the United States in 2014, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That was up 7 percent from the year before, spurred by large increases in heroin and opioid painkiller deaths.
The spikes in overdoses might be much worse without naloxone, a now widely available overdose antidote that many first responders such as firefighters carry. In Ohio alone, emergency medical personnel last year administered nearly 19,800 doses of naloxone, known by the brand name Narcan.
In Mount Sterling, Kentucky, one person died following a series of 12 heroin overdoses that occurred within hours of each other on Wednesday. Most of the victims were in their 30s or 40s, said Jeff Jackson, battalion chief for the Montgomery County Fire Department.
In Huntington, West Virginia, an Ohio man was charged with heroin distribution in connection with 27 drug overdoses in a few hours last week, a federal prosecutor said Friday.
Bruce Lamar Griggs was arrested after the Aug. 15 spate of overdoses clustered around an apartment complex in Huntington, a city of 49,000 residents already badly battered by drug abuse and overdoses. He made an initial court appearance Thursday in Ohio and will be transported to West Virginia. A message left with his public defender in Ohio was not immediately returned.
In southeastern Indiana, Jennings County Sheriff Gary Driver said a wave of drug overdoses Tuesday killed one person and left 14 hospitalized.
In Cincinnati, City Manager Harry Black said authorities suspect carfentanil, a drug used to sedate elephants, may be mixed in with heroin and causing the overdoses. The drug is 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which is suspected in spates of overdoses in several states.
Last month, carfentanil was discovered in the Cincinnati area’s heroin stream, but many hospitals don’t have the equipment to test blood for it.
In Hamilton County, officials say they will seek funding for treatment and expanded response teams. Each team would include a law enforcement officer, an emergency responder and a specialist who could treat people who’ve overdosed, County Commissioner Dennis Deters said.
The Addiction Services Council of Cincinnati noted that the city doesn’t have enough places to treat the rising number of drug users who seek help.
“People overwhelmingly want help,” council facilitator Nan Franks said. “But we have to have a place to take them.”

Syrian rebels advance on Kurds as Turkish strikes kill 35

By SARAH EL DEEB, Associated Press
BEIRUT (AP) — Turkey-backed Syrian rebels seized a number of villages and towns from Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria on Sunday amid Turkish airstrikes and shelling that killed at least 35 people, mostly civilians, according to rebels and a monitoring group.
Turkey sent tanks across the border to help Syrian rebels drive the Islamic State group out of the frontier town of Jarablus last week in a dramatic escalation of its involvement in the Syrian civil war.
The operation, labeled Euphrates Shield, is also aimed at pushing back U.S.-allied Kurdish forces. The fighting pits a NATO ally against a U.S.-backed proxy that is the most effective ground force battling IS in Syria.
Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency said Turkish airstrikes killed 25 Kurdish “terrorists” and destroyed five buildings used by the fighters in response to attacks on advancing Turkish-backed rebels in the Jarablus area.
The Turkish military is “taking every precaution and showing maximum sensitivity to ensure that civilians living in the area are not harmed,” Anadolu reported.
A Turkish soldier was killed by a Kurdish rocket attack late Saturday, the first such fatality in the offensive, now in its fifth day.
Various factions of the Turkey-backed Syrian rebels said Sunday they have seized at least four villages and one town from Kurdish-led forces south of Jarablus. One of the villages to change hands was Amarneh, where clashes had been fiercest. Rebels posted pictures from inside the village.
Ankara is deeply suspicious of the Syrian Kurdish militia that dominates the U.S.-backed Syria Democratic Forces, viewing it as an extension of the Kurdish insurgency raging in southeastern Turkey. Turkish leaders have vowed to drive both IS and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, away from the border.
The SDF crossed the Euphrates River and drove IS out of Manbij, a key supply hub just south of Jarablus, earlier this month. Both Turkey and the United States have ordered the YPG to withdraw to the east bank of the river. YPG leaders say they have, but their units play an advisory role to the SDF and it is not clear if any of their forces remain west of the Euphrates.
Turkey is part of the U.S.-led coalition fighting IS, but the airstrikes that began Saturday marked the first time it has targeted Kurdish-led forces in Syria.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the bombing killed at least 20 civilians and four Kurdish-led fighters in Beir Khoussa, a village about nine miles (15 kilometers) south of Jarablus, and another 15 in a village to the west.
ANHA, the news agency of the Kurdish semi-autonomous areas, said Beir Khoussa has “reportedly lost all its residents.”
SDF spokesman Shervan Darwish said the airstrikes and shelling started overnight and continued Sunday along the front line, killing many civilians in Beir Khoussa and nearby areas. He said the bombing also targeted Amarneh village. He said 50 Turkish tanks were taking part in the offensive.
Syrian state news agency SANA reported that 20 civilians were killed and 50 wounded in Turkish artillery shelling and airstrikes, calling it Turkish “encroachment” on Syrian sovereignty under the pretext of fighting IS. Turkey is a leading backer of the rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.
An Associated Press reporter in the Turkish border town of Karkamis spotted at least three Turkish jets flying into Syria amid heavy Turkish shelling from inside Syrian territory on Sunday morning.
Associated Press writer Zeynep Bilginsoy in Istanbul and Mucahit Ceylan in Karkamis, Turkey contributed to this report

Italy investigates quake buildings, checking for code fraud

By VANESSA GERA and HAKAN KAPLAN, Associated Press
AMATRICE, Italy (AP) — Bulldozers with huge claws pulled down dangerously overhanging ledges Sunday in Italy’s quake-devastated town of Amatrice as investigators worked to figure out if negligence or fraud in building codes had added to the quake’s high death toll.
The quake that struck before dawn Wednesday killed 290 people and injured hundreds as it flattened three medieval towns in central Italy. Giuseppe Saieva, the prosecutor in the regional capital of Rieti, said the high human death toll “cannot only be considered the work of fate.”
Investigations are focusing on a number of structures, including an elementary school in Amatrice that crumbled despite being renovated in 2012 to resist earthquakes at a cost of 700,000 euros ($785,000). No one was in the school at the time, but many were shocked that it did not withstand the 6.2 magnitude quake.
After an entire first grade class and teacher were killed a 2002 quake in San Giuliano di Puglia, Italian officials had vowed to ensure the safety of schools, hospitals and other critical institutions.
Questions also surround a bell tower in Accumoli that collapsed, killing a family of four sleeping in a neighboring house, including a baby of 8 months and a 7-year-old boy. That bell tower also had been recently restored with special funds allocated after Italy’s last major earthquake, which struck nearby L’Aquila in 2009.
Italy’s national anti-terrorism prosecutor, Franco Roberti, also vowed to work to prevent the mafia from infiltrating in public works projects to rebuild the earthquake zone.
“This risk of infiltration is always high,” he said in comments Sunday in the La Repubblica newspaper. “Post-earthquake reconstruction is historically a tempting morsel for criminal groups and colluding business interests.”
Roberti said, although he does not wish to prejudge the outcome of the investigation into the area’s damaged buildings, the high number of public buildings to collapse in the quake raises suspicions.
He said if buildings are well-constructed according to regulations for earthquake zones, “parts of buildings can be damaged and cracked but they don’t pulverize and implode.”
Italy’s state museums, meanwhile, embarked on a fundraising campaign, donating their proceeds Sunday to relief and reconstruction efforts in the earthquake zone.
Wednesday’s quake destroyed not only private homes but also churches and other centuries-old cultural treasures. The idea is to use art for art — harnessing the nation’s rich artistic heritage to help recover and restore other objects of beauty in the hard-hit towns.
It’s one of several efforts that have sprung up to help the towns rebuild: restaurants in Italy and elsewhere are also serving up pasta all’Amatriciana, the region’s most famous dish, in another fundraising effort.
Also Sunday, Pope Francis vowed in his weekly address from a window over St. Peter’s Square to visit people of the earthquake region soon and bring them “the comfort of faith.”
Amatrice bore the brunt of earthquake’s destruction, with 229 fatalities and a town turned into rubble and dust. Eleven others died in nearby Accumoli and 50 more in Arquata del Tronto, 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of Amatrice.
Overnight was relatively calm, the first since the quake struck without strong aftershocks. In all, the region has seen 1,820 aftershocks, according to the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology.
On Saturday, a state funeral took place for 35 of the victims in the town of Ascoli Piceno, where mourners prayed, hugged, wept and even applauded as coffins carrying earthquake victims passed by ahead of being buried.
“It is a great tragedy. There are no words to describe it,” said Gina Razzetti, a resident at the funeral.
Saturday’s funeral involved most of the dead from Arquata del Tronto. Many of the dead from Amatrice, however, are still awaiting identification in a refrigerated morgue in an airport hangar in Rieti, 65 kilometers (40 miles) away. On Tuesday, a memorial service — without the bodies — will be held for the dead of Amatrice.
Nobody has been found alive in the ruins since Wednesday and hopes have vanished of finding any more survivors. The number still missing is uncertain, due to the many visitors seeking a last taste of summer in the Apennine mountains.
Hundreds of people have also been left homeless by the quake, with many spending their nights in tent cities and a gym in Amatrice. Longer-term housing needs for earthquake survivors will be another key challenge for Italian authorities.
Gera reported from Rome. Frances D’Emilio in Rome contributed.

English highway closed for 2nd day over collapsed bridge

LONDON (AP) — A major British highway linking London with key cross-Channel routes remains closed for a second day as safety officials remove rubble from a collapsed bridge and make sure the rest of it won’t fall down as well.
The M20 highway running southeast of London has been closed since midday Saturday, when a westbound truck struck and partly destroyed a pedestrian bridge. A motorcyclist fell off his bike and was hospitalized with broken ribs, while the trucker was treated for shock.
Highways England had hoped to reopen the M20 by midday Sunday. But spokesman Stuart Thompson says the safety checks are proving “very complex,” particularly on the part of the bridge that still looms over the highway’s eastbound lanes.
Safety officials are installing motion detectors to confirm the bridge remains stable.