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Standstill ordered in diocese bankruptcy

Thu., Sept. 21, 2006

A federal bankruptcy judge on Wednesday granted a 30-day standstill in the Spokane Catholic Diocese bankruptcy case as attorneys try to build on mediation progress made last week in Reno, Nev.

With the case nearing the two-year mark, lawyers representing the diocese, sex abuse victims and Catholic parishes are attempting to come to a fair and financially workable settlement.

The standstill is akin to a delay in proceedings so that lawyers can concentrate on mediation rather than continuing to work on other aspects of the case.

The federal mediator from Reno, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Gregg Zive, issued a gag order on mediation discussions.

About 180 claims alleging sexual abuse by clergy were filed in the Chapter 11 case.

The diocese has filed objections to about 35 of those, alleging some missed the filing deadline; some were duplicates; others involved clergy that were not from the Spokane Diocese; and still more may be disallowed because of statute of limitations concerns.

While those objections move along, the diocese is busy reaching claims settlements with others to limit its financial exposure.

– John Stucke


West Nile cases drop after aerial spraying

West Nile cases in Ada County have been declining every week this month since officials used an aerial pesticide sprayed from low-flying planes to kill mosquitoes that carry the potentially deadly disease.

Dibrom was sprayed twice in late August over 35,000 acres. Officials at the time predicted it would take about three weeks to have an impact on West Nile cases.

During the week ending Sept. 1, Ada County, the state’s most populous, reported 45 new cases. The next week, there were 26, and by the week ending Sept. 15, only 15 new cases were reported.

“We feel good about it,” said Brian Wilbur, the county’s mosquito abatement director, adding that cooler weather, the public taking steps to avoid bites and mosquitoes growing less active all have played a part in reducing the number of new cases.

Across Idaho, about 750 people have been infected, while 13 people have died after contracting the virus.

In 12 of the 13 Idaho deaths, the victims were older than 60, including the most recent deaths, a Gem County man and a Bingham County woman, reported this week.

– Associated Press

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