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Archive for Monday, July 11, 2005

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July 11, 2005

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Delaware

Two planes practicing for air show collide

Two small planes practicing for an air show collided Sunday above Delaware Bay, killing at least one of the pilots, state police said.

Rescue crews retrieved one body and divers searched the waters near Cape Henlopen State Park for the other pilot until evening but were unable to locate the plane's wreckage, police said.

The two had been part of a six-plane formation of experimental "homemade kit" planes that took off from Sussex County Airport in Georgetown.

State police recovered the body of Jay Blume, 39, of Berwyn, Pa.

The other plane was registered to Ralph D. Morgan of Rehoboth Beach, Del., said Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration. She said the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating.

Cape Henlopen, the point where Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, is the site of Fort Miles, a coastal defense fort built after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

California

Pump prices surge to record $2.33 a gallon

Gas prices have hit a record high of $2.33 a gallon, pushed up by the climbing cost of oil and strong demand in the midst of the summer vacation season, an industry analyst said Sunday.

Motorists could have more bad news on the way, with Hurricane Dennis bedeviling Gulf of Mexico oil production, which could send pump prices to even loftier levels.

The $2.33-a-gallon mark - a national average for all grades of gasoline - narrowly surpassed the prior record of $2.32 set in April, said Trilby Lundberg, who publishes the semimonthly Lundberg Survey of 7,000 gas stations around the country. The figures are not adjusted for inflation.

The record price, based on figures compiled Friday, was up nearly a dime from the survey two weeks earlier.

According to the survey, self-serve regular averaged $2.31 a gallon nationwide, up from $2.21 on June 24. Midgrade averaged $2.40, with premium-grade hitting $2.50.

Among the stations included in the survey, the highest price for unleaded regular was in San Diego at $2.55 a gallon. The best deal was in Charleston, S.C., at $2.09 a gallon.

Indianapolis

Catholic reform group calls for tougher laws

The Catholic lay reform group Voice of the Faithful approved a draft resolution Sunday calling for tougher laws against abusive priests and the bishops who have protected them.

Nearly 600 local organizers at the group's first national meeting in three years also approved a resolution seeking greater financial transparency in the church.

Voice of the Faithful's newly elected 26-member national council will take the nine resolutions passed and select one or several as goals that the group will promote across the country.

"It is definitely a work in progress," said Jim Post, president of the Newton, Mass.-based group. "This was step one. We now need to pick and choose and synthesize what we want to do."

Voice of the Faithful, which claims more than 30,000 members, and other groups have worked to change state laws that restrict abuse victims from suing or filing charges against their attackers.

Louisiana

Freed prison writer files for bankruptcy

Freed prison journalist Wilbert Rideau has filed for bankruptcy, saying he can't pay the more than $126,000 in court costs from a trial that resulted in his release after 44 years behind bars.

The order to pay court costs is under appeal, but Rideau's bankruptcy attorney said the threat of having to pay the sum called for a bankruptcy filing.

Rideau, 63, won freedom from a life prison sentence in January when a jury - the fourth to hear his murder case - found him guilty of a lesser charge of manslaughter in the 1961 death of a bank teller during a robbery. Rideau was released because the maximum penalty for manslaughter at the time of the crime was 21 years.

In ordering Rideau to pay court costs, the judge acknowledged Rideau was broke but said he could reap a windfall by turning his life story into a book. The judge compared the payment order to assessing costs to a person who expects a settlement from a pending civil suit.

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