BODY OF STORM VICTIM LAY UNDETECTED FOR MONTHS: NEW YORK (AP) — In the chaotic days after Superstorm Sandy, an army of aid workers streamed onto the flood-ravaged Rockaway Peninsula looking for anyone who needed help. Health workers and National Guard troops went door to door. City inspectors checked thousands of dwellings for damage. Yet, even as the months dragged by, nobody thought to look inside the tiny construction trailer rusting away in a junk-filled lot at the corner of Beach 40th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. If they had, they would have found the body of Keith Lancaster, a quiet handyman who appeared to have been using the trailer as a home the night Sandy sent 5 feet of water churning through the neighborhood. It took until April 5 before an acquaintance finally went to check on the 62-year-old's whereabouts and found his partially skeletonized remains. His body lay near a calendar that hadn't been turned since October and prescription pill bottles last refilled in the fall. New York City's medical examiner announced this week that Lancaster had drowned, making him the 44th person ruled to have died in New York City because of the storm.
PERRY, FILIBUSTER STAR CLASH OVER ABORTION: GRAPEVINE, Texas — Gov. Rick Perry hit back Thursday at the star of a Democratic filibuster that helped kill new Texas abortion restrictions, saying state Sen. Wendy Davis' rise from a tough upbringing to Harvard Law graduate should have taught her the value of each human life. The Republican governor expanded on those remarks later, publicly wondering what might have happened if Davis' own mother had undergone an abortion rather than carry her child to term. Davis, a Fort Worth Democrat, shot back that Perry's statement "tarnishes the high office he holds." Before the white-hot battle over abortion in the nation's second-largest state turned personal, Davis staged a marathon filibuster Tuesday helping to defeat an omnibus bill that would have further limited abortions in a place where it's already difficult to undergo them. But Perry called lawmakers back for a second special session next week to try and finish the job.
JEWELL MAKES EMOTIONAL PLEDGE TO NATIVE AMERICANS: RENO, Nev. — In her first address to Indian Country as the 51st U.S. Interior Secretary, Sally Jewell made an emotional pledge Thursday to help right past wrongs against Native Americans and work together with tribes "nation-to-nation" to protect their sovereignty and develop their cultural and natural resources to become more economically self-reliant. Jewell, who became secretary in April, fought back tears and paused to compose herself near the close of her remarks to about 300 delegates of the National Congress of American Indians in Reno. The casino-ballroom audience gave her a standing ovation. In her speech, the former Seattle CEO of outdoor retailer Recreational Equipment Inc. told of her childhood experiences with Native Americans growing up in and around the Puget Sound area of Washington state. She then recounted the "different view" she had when she first returned as secretary this spring to a favorite kayaking spot at an island near Olympia across from reservation land.