February 1, 2013

New England Dispatches

From news service reports

(Continued from page 1)


Proposal would allow state to bill for some hiker rescues

Hikers and others rescued in New Hampshire's backwoods could pay several hundred dollars in fees to the state to help dig the search and rescue fund out of the red under new legislation.

Anyone rescued who possesses a current hunting, fishing or other outdoors license or buys a new hike safe card for $18 would not pay the minimum fee. The proposal also would establish a $10 surcharge on fines for fish and game law violations to go into the fund.

The minimum fee facing those rescued would be $350 if the rescue cost between $500 and $999. The fee rises to $600 if the rescue costs between $1,000 and $1,499. For rescues costing more, the fee would be $1,000..

Recent rescue costs ranged from about $200 to more than $50,000. The Department of Fish and Game has been operating the search and rescue account at an average annual deficit since 2006 of more than $100,000.

The agency has recovered some of its rescue costs by billing people determined to be negligent.


Pastor back in jail for refusal to testify before grand jury

A pastor was taken back to jail Thursday for continuing to refuse to tell a grand jury what he knows about a woman who fled the country to escape a custody dispute with her former lesbian partner.

Kenneth Miller, a Mennonite pastor from Stuarts Draft, Va., and U.S. District Court Judge William Session III continued their philosophical discussion about deeply held religious beliefs versus the needs of the law.

Miller told the judge that the week he has spent in jail has strengthened his resolve that his beliefs require him to follow God's law when they conflict with civil law. He said he is willing to pay the price, even if it means more time in jail.


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