- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 29, 2010

ALASKA

Gas prices jump to $9 a gallon

ANCHORAGE | Most Americans are paying about $3 a gallon for gas. The residents of McGrath, Alaska, saw their gas prices jump by that amount in one night.

The price at the only pump in the remote town 415 miles northwest of Anchorage went from $6 a gallon Friday to $9.20 the next day.

Crowley Petroleum Distribution said it was forced to raise the price because the winter nearly drained the town’s supply, and the only option was to fly in more fuel.

The cost increase is the difference between flying the gasoline and shipping it on a barge. Crowley said it won’t be able to send a barge until June at the earliest.

Some of McGrath’s estimated 400 residents have formed an anti-Crowley Facebook page and are trying to boycott the company while city officials look for ways to get cheaper fuel.

CALIFORNIA

Hewlett-Packard to buy out Palm

PALO ALTO | Palm Inc., a pioneer in the smartphone business that couldn’t quite make the comeback it needed, has agreed to be bought out by Hewlett-Packard Co. for about $1 billion in cash.

The companies announced Wednesday that HP will pay $5.70 for every Palm common share. Palm had closed trading Wednesday at $4.63 but traded as high as $18.09 in the past 52 weeks.

When debt is included, the deal values Palm at $1.2 billion.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of July.

CONNECTICUT

Lawsuit claims firing based on genetics

HARTFORD | A Connecticut woman claims her employer eliminated her job after learning that genetic tests showed she was predisposed to developing breast cancer.

Pamela Fink says in discrimination complaints filed this week that MXenergy of Stamford hired someone else for her duties while she was recovering from a preventive double mastectomy, then fired her shortly after she returned.

The Fairfield woman filed her complaint Tuesday with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. She cites a federal law that went into effect last fall barring discrimination based on genetic test results.

NEW YORK

Seinfeld’s wife wins culinary copy case

NEW YORK | Comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s wife did not copy a cookbook author when she released her own techniques for getting children to eat vegetables, a federal appeals court concluded Wednesday.

In a written ruling issued just two days after it heard oral arguments, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan sided with Jessica Seinfeld in her 3-year-old copyright and trademark dispute with Missy Chase Lapine, saying the books were “not confusingly similar.”

“Stockpiling vegetable purees for covert use in children’s food is an idea that cannot be copyrighted,” the appeals court wrote.

Ms. Lapine, the author of “The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals,” sued Mrs. Seinfeld after over her cookbook, “Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food.” The Seinfeld book was published several months after Ms. Lapine’s in 2007.

NORTH CAROLINA

Threat diverts airline flight

GREENSBORO | A Continental Express flight from Houston to Washington was diverted to North Carolina on Wednesday after a threatening message was written on a bathroom mirror, the Transportation Security Administration said.

Flight 3006, operated by regional carrier ExpressJet for Continental Airlines Inc., was headed for Washington Dulles International Airport when it was directed to land at Piedmont Triad International Airport near Greensboro “out of an abundance of caution,” the TSA said.

The plane was met by law enforcement officers after taxiing to a remote area of the airfield.

The Embraer 145 regional jet carried 45 passengers and three crew members, Continental and ExpressJet said. The plane landed without incident, said Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Arlene Salac.

OHIO

Flea problem closes health department

LANCASTER | A county health department in Ohio has closed because of a hygiene issue under its own roof: an infestation of fleas.

Officials with the Fairfield County Department of Health said Wednesday that its offices would be shut down through the weekend so the building can be cleaned thoroughly and fogged with insecticide.

Fleas can transmit disease, but county Health Commissioner Frank Hirsch said he does not think the bugs have posed a health risk at the department in Lancaster, about 30 miles southeast of Columbus. He said they’ve mostly been an annoyance for his employees and have been a recurring problem for years.

Several public programs scheduled at the building this week have been postponed until Monday.

PENNSYLVANIA

Creditors win bid for newspapers

NEW YORK | Publisher Brian Tierney said creditors have won the auction for Philadelphia newspapers with a $139 million bid.

Mr. Tierne said he won’t fight the bankruptcy confirmation of the bid for the company, which operates the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News.

The company is expected to emerge from the bitterly fought bankruptcy at the end of June after 14 months.

Mr. Tierney said the bidding by the local investment group led by Revlon Chairman Ronald Perelman and his father had reached $129 million.

UTAH

Mormon Church will build ‘green’

FARMINGTON | The Mormon Church, which begins a construction project every week, is looking to lessen its imprint on the environment.

Church officials debuted a pilot building program Tuesday that features solar panels generating electricity, tankless water heaters, high-tech insulation, motion-sensor lighting and other features designed to maximize economic savings and minimize environmental impact.

The church is showcasing the building practices at projects in Utah, Nevada and Arizona.

Church Bishop H. David Burton said if the prototypes perform well, the environment-friendly building practices will be used on a broad scale.

WEST VIRGINIA

More investors sue over mine disaster

CHARLESTON | More institutional investors in Massey Energy are suing the company’s board of directors over the recent underground disaster that killed 29 coal miners.

The New Jersey Building Laborers Pension Fund blames failures by Chairman Don Blankenship and other board members for the April 5 explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia. Its lawsuit was filed last week in Delaware’s Chancery Court.

The International Union of Operating Engineers Pension Fund of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware has filed a similar lawsuit. So has the Louisiana Municipal Police Employees’ Retirement System. Both sued last week in Wyoming County Circuit Court.

The Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust filed the first of these shareholder lawsuits April 15 in Kanawha County.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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