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Florida Today from Cocoa, Florida • Page 1
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Florida Today from Cocoa, Florida • Page 1

Florida Todayi
Cocoa, Florida
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SPORTS Wt MB GOP picks Martinez as its leader. Precious art deserves proper frame, place on wall. I LIFE, IE 4A I JP i LAkS i. I lMr I 'M. BREVARD EDITION I SATURDAY, JANUARY20, 2007 90 CENTS Lower gas prices slow to appear at state pumps Cost likely to drop 10 cents in next four weeks on 8A DvnnMw.oMJMnA ecting gas price trends.

TAXES. Prices may vary by the BY DONNA BALANCiA fallen 12.1 cents nationwide in Denton Cinquegrana, markets "What really has happened is taxes you pay. fallen 12.1 cents nationwide in Denton Cinquegrana, markets "What really has happened is the past month to $2,196. But it FLORIDA TODAY the reason the price of gasoline editor for Oil Price Information Service of Wall, J. "You have REBOUND.

Oil prices return to more than $50 a barrel. MAPS. Graphics show national and statewide prices. ONLINE. To learn more about the Department of Energy or AM, follow the links at floridat od.Tj com is down only 7.1 cents in Florida to $2,266, according to the latest data from AAA.

Even within Florida, the price decreases range from 4.3 cents a gallon in the past month in the Fort Myers area to 10.6 cents in the Pensa-colaarea. "There's a combination of factors at work in Florida," said far I has fallen so much is there are huge inventories of heating oil, which have built up as a result of warm weather in the Northeast," Brown said. "So the refiners have cut production, and they've switched to producing gasoline." However, "Florida doesn't See GAS PRICE, 8A The price of gasoline in Florida is not dropping as fast as it is in some other parts of the country. But analysts predict the gas prices could drop another 10 cents in the next four weeks. The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline has different distributors getting gas from different sources, so the prices will vary throughout the state.

But the good news is the price could come down by another 10 cents over the next month or so." Steven Brown, director of energy economics at the Federal MYimg spy mm ponce Eye in the shy Palm Bav Dolice have ourchased a surveillance aircraft that will be used to monitor suspected drug houses anu nuni lor not spots in wnarires, among other uses. It transmits video and other data to a portable ground station monitored by police. INSURANCE STORM Legislative Special Session Special session in final days BY AARON DESIATTE, JIM ASH and PAIGE ST. JOHN FLORIDA TODAY TALLAHASSEE The House and Senate came closer to agreement on insurance changes in negotiations that stretched late into Friday. Lawmakers will continue to swap proposals through the weekend.

Already, they have settled on several matters, including a provision taking effect in 2008 that any insurance company that sells home insurance in other states may do so in Florida if it wishes to offer other types of policies here, and one that allows homeowners to buy a policy that lacks hurricane coverage if their mortgage lender agrees. What the final measure will look like remains to be seen, but it is likely that the man who campaigned on insurance reform, Gov. Charlie Crist, may not get everything he wants. On Friday, he dialed up the people to make his point. "It's important we remember the importance of what we're See INSURANCE, 3A Cam Cameron will be stalking Fins' sideline SPORTS, ID Four schools take home district soccer titles Satellite, Rockledge, Melbourne and Holy Trinity all won district titles in girls soccer.

The Scorpions topped Bayside, 8-3, while Melbourne edged Eau Gallie, 1-0. Rockledge upended Merritt Island, 3-2, in overtime and Holy Trinity knocked off Edgewood, 2-0, ID and 4D WEATHER Sunny, highs near 68 Chance of rain 5 percent. Winds 7-16 mph. Overnight lows near 59, 12A BUSINESS Jobless rate hits low mark Unemployment in Brevard County is at its lowest point in 17 years, meaning the local and state economies are faring better than the subdued forecast for the nation, 1C SPACE Next rocket launch A United Launch Alliance Delta 2 rocket with five NASA science satellites on Feb. 15 from pad 17 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Launch window: 6:07 p.m. to 6:27 p.m. Next shuttle launch Atlantis on an International Space Station construction mission on March 16. Launch tlmo: 6:20 a.m. COMING UP Flexible wings Propeller I (jL.

Xjr Video camera smur. Palm Bay first agency in state to use drone BY J.D. GALLOP FLORIDA TODAY PALM BAY It is used to hunt the enemy above the urban battlefields of Iraq, but soon a version of the unmanned aircraft minus the military weaponry will cast an unblinking eye on criminals and even local traffic. The high-tech, lightweight aircraft could arrive next month at the Palm Bay Police Department, making the department the first municipal law enforcement agency in Florida to use a drone, according to the makers of the plane and Palm Bay police. "This is the future," said Palm Bay Police Chief William Berger after recently watching a demonstration of the craft near City Hall.

Instead of relying solely on the Brevard County Sheriff's Office helicopter, Berger envisions this 2 lst-century technology being used to find fleeing suspects or to search for missing people in the sprawling, 100-square-mile city. The onboard cameras also will give Palm Bay Fire-Rescue a bird's-eye view of a spreading brush fire or help officers sort out major traffic congestion, he said. "We can get this small model plane up in the air and be able to see what's happening, whether we're looking for a missing child or doing surveillance on a drug house," Berger said. Palm Bay police are using $30,000 in forfeiture money funds generated from the seized assets of drug dealers to purchase the Cyberbug from CyberDefense Systems, a St. Petersburg-based company.

The company began See SPY, 6A uy De rung ij II About the plane Cyber Defense Systems makes three sizes of the unmanned, remotely controlled plane. Palm Bay police will get the medium-sized version: Wingspan: 48-52 inches Weight 8 pounds Cruise speed: Up to 45 mph i Hi Range: Up to 6.2 miles Cost: About $38,000 (includes the plane, training and computer) Aerial photo taken by the CyberBug. Online Photos of Brevard residents' visit to the cap-tial. Compare the House and Senate insurance reform proposals. Check out our special hurricane insurance issues site.

Dermis Lowe, FLORIDA TODAY Source:; Palm Bay police ONLINE AT floridatculavccom 7 Inside Alex Sink a growing political force in capital, 8B TALK ABOUT IT. Chat about what you think of Palm Bay's use of this technology. Si VIDEO. See video of the surveillance plane in action. LEARN MORE.

Find links to learn more about the surveillance system and company. KEEPING UP. Find out everything about Palm Bay, Brevard County's largestcity, including updated news, sports, community information and photo galleries at florldatoday.compalmbay Anti-satellite test alarms U.S. On the Web Find Michael Shane Townson's arrest report, a linkto Department of Corrections information on Townson, more photos and a tape of the 9-1-1 call at fWidn I 1 (aan Gen. Kevin Chilton noted that satellites play such a large role In combat plans that any threat to them Is serious.

"-t rr i -T- -in- Investigators: Friend beat woman to death Pamper your puppy Treat your poodle like a princess? Or your Labrador like your kid? Then doggie social events like Yappy Hour just might be for you. Sunday in life The latest Space Coast news: flor idat ay ccom Gannett Co. Inc. First reported by Aviation Week and Space Technology, the test involved launching a missile with a "kinetic kill vehicle a projectile that blasted an aging Chinese weather satellite to pieces 537 miles above Earth. "They T-boned it big time," said Craig Covault, senior editor at the magazine.

"They basically shot it down like a surface-to-air missile would shoot down an airplane." Chilton declined additional comment. But Covault said the test proved China's space technologies are maturing. It also showed that China could attack U.S. spy satellites, and it almost certainly will have political implications. "It's really more of a policy weapon at the moment," Covault said.

"It's a space control issue that percolates into political leverage." Contact Halvorson at 639-0576 Of Ex-astronaut wants systems to warn craft BY TODD HALVORSON FLORIDA TODAY PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE China's successful test of an anti-satellite weapon last week shows a need to equip U.S. spacecraft and ground controllers with ways to identify threats in orbit, a U.S. military space official said Friday. "If you look at air, land and sea domains, the first thing any commander wants is an understanding of the battle stage, and who is operating in it," said Gen.

Kevin Chilton, commander of Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs, Colo. "We need to do those exact things for space. Space situational awareness is going to be key to us no matter INSIDE. U.S. opposes any militarization of space," 3A ONLINE.

Get updates on our space blog, The FlameTrench, at floridat oftayfcom what the threat is or what the future holds for us." A former NASA astronaut, Chilton spoke during a visit to the Air Force 45th Space Wing at Patrick, which oversees launch operations at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. With its Jan. 11 test, China became only the third nation to destroy an orbiting spacecraft. The U.S. and the former Soviet Union are the other two.

INDEX Classified 1-8F Comics 10E Crosswords 9E 5-Minuteread 12A BY SUSANNE CERVENKA FLORIDA TODAY TITUSVILLE A longtime friend of Sherri Carman was charged Friday in the bludgeoning death of the 29-year-old mother of three. Michael Shane Townson, 37, of Orlando is being held without bond in the Brevard County jail in Sharpes. He is charged with first-degree murder. Authorities say Townson was one of the three people inter viewed in Orlando after Carman's 2002 blue Chrysler M-300 was recovered. Carman's body was found Wednesday evening beneath a pile of clothes in the laundry room of her home in the 3300 block of Virginia Drive, just north of the Titusville city limits.

Her boyfriend had reported her and her car missing earlier that day. See TOWNSON, 9A 3E (oL 3 Lottery. 12A.8B Obituaries 6B Opinions 10-1 1A Real Estate 1-16H 7M ITiVTUiltKOlMtYE. i lij mum.

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