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macon.com Midday Update: Tomatoes pulled off shelves amid salmonella scare; oil, gas prices continue skyward path; 90-year-old accepts high school diploma

Federal officials hunted for the source of a 17-state salmonella outbreak linked to three types of raw tomatoes, while the list of supermarkets and restaurants yanking those varieties from shelves and menus grew.

McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Burger King, Kroger, Outback Steakhouse, Winn-Dixie and Taco Bell were among the companies that voluntarily withdrew red plum, red Roma or round red tomatoes unless they were grown in certain states and countries.

In addition, officials at the Los Angeles Unified School District — the nation’s second largest — said Monday they have ‘‘indefinitely suspended’’ serving uncooked tomatoes.

The FDA is investigating the source of the outbreak, agency spokeswoman Kimberly Rawlings said. ‘‘We are working hard and fast on this one and hope to have something as quickly as possible,’’ Rawlings said Monday.

Cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes sold with the vine still attached and homegrown tomatoes are likely not the source of the outbreak, federal officials said.

Also not associated with the outbreak are raw red Roma, red plum and round red tomatoes from Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Belgium, Canada, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Israel, Netherlands and Puerto Rico.

Associated Press

Oil, gas prices resume skyward path

Oil prices resumed their upward trek today, rising sharply as investors focused once again on growing global demand for crude. Retail gasoline prices rose to a new record over $4.04 a gallon.

The catalyst for oil’s latest advance was an International Energy Agency report that said global demand will continue to rise, especially in China. Demand for fuel for reconstruction work in the aftermath of May’s earthquake will boost Chinese oil demand by 5.5 percent this year, the IEA said, a slightly higher forecast than in previous reports.

Light, sweet crude for July delivery rose $2.26 to $136.61 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Also supporting prices was the second attack this week on a Nigerian oil industry security vessel. At least one person was killed. Nigeria is a major U.S. oil supplier. Militant attacks have cut into that nation’s oil output.

Gas prices, meanwhile, advanced another 2 cents into record territory, reaching a new record national average of $4.043, according to a survey of stations by AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. Gas prices are following crude futures higher, and aren’t likely to stop rising until crude prices peak.

Associated Press

90-year-old accepts high school diploma in Mich.

John Lawrence Locher has accomplished many things in his 90 years, including living through the Great Depression, fighting in the Pacific during World War II and a long career with General Motors.

But missing was the diploma whose pursuit he abandoned in the early 1930s to help feed his family in Detroit.

Locher checked it off his list, wearing his cap and gown in Detroit Southwestern High School’s 2008 commencement ceremonies Monday night — more than 70 years after he dropped out.

‘‘I feel 100 percent lighter,’’ he said. ‘‘I appreciate this moment very much. ... It really was overwhelming.’’

The school sent the General Motors Corp. retiree an honorary diploma for ‘‘life credits’’ this past winter to his home in Cape Coral, Fla. Southwestern Principal Garnet R. Green later said Locher’s family had contacted the school about the diploma and allowing him to participate in commencement.

Associated Press

WHAT'S COMING UP ON MACON.COM

A man accused of grabbing a woman by the throat, forcing her into a house and raping her for several hours is on trial today in Macon. We'll give you the latest courtroom developments this afternoon.

— Candidates for Bibb County Commission, sheriff, Macon Water Authority contenders will debate tonight at a forum. We'll let you know how it goes.

— The Bibb County Board of Education will meet today to iron out budget plans. We'll let you know what happens.

VISIT US AGAIN SOON

We invite you to check out our Web site again tomorrow for the Midday Update. Monday through Friday, Online Editor Beth MacFadyen will bring you timely information about what Telegraph staffers are working on, plus news we think you need to know immediately. Send feedback to bmacfadyen@macon.com

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