SF BAY AREA WILDFIRE UPDATE
About 100 homes evacuated in SF Bay Area wildfire
CLAYTON, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire burning in a San Francisco Bay Area wilderness park is growing, forcing more people to leave their homes and leading to a smoke advisory for area residents.
The blaze in Mount Diablo State Park in Contra Costa County spread to nearly 6 square miles Monday afternoon.
CalFire says it is 20 percent contained as hot temperatures and wind gusts fueled the fire's spread.
The flames are threatening 100 homes in the sparsely populated area, which is dotted with animal pens and shooting ranges. The fire was also threatening electrical transmission lines, communications infrastructure, and a historic lookout and visitor center at the top of Mount Diablo.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory Monday for parts of Contra Costa, Alameda and Santa Clara counties.
Yosemite fire's cost reaches $100 million
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Federal fire officials say the cost of fighting the Rim Fire that has burned across nearly 400 square miles in and around Yosemite National Park has reached $100 million.
The Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/17STwFr ) reported Monday the cost has been run up as firefighters have struggled in hot and very dry conditions since the blaze erupted on Aug. 17. It is now 80 percent contained.
Authorities say the blaze was caused by a hunter's campfire.
The fire has destroyed nearly a dozen homes and almost 100 outbuildings.
More than 3,000 firefighters are still battling the flames.
Former US border inspector sentenced for bribery
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A former U.S. border inspector in San Diego has been sentenced to 6½ years in prison for accepting cash and the use of luxury vehicles in exchange for allowing people to enter the country illegally.
The U.S. attorney's office said Monday that 45-year-old Hector Rodriguez also forfeited a 2009 Jaguar, 12 luxury watches, other jewelry, televisions, cash and computers that were obtained as a result of his criminal activity.
Rodriguez pleaded guilty in March to bribery, bringing in aliens for financial gain and conspiracy. Prosecutors say the former Customs and Border Protection officer provided his lane assignment to conspirators when he was working at the San Ysidro port of entry, connecting Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego.
Rodriguez was arrested in July 2012.
BRIDGE WORKER-SMUGGLING CHARGES
Man admits trying to smuggle military equipment
(Information in the following story is from: The Gazette, http://www.gazette.com)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A man accused of trying to smuggle more than $500,000 worth of military computer equipment to China has pleaded guilty.
The Colorado Springs Gazette reports Philip Chaohui He, also known as Philip Hope, pleaded guilty Friday to violating the federal Arms Export Control Act and to smuggling charges.
Prosecutors say he bought almost $550,000 worth of memory circuits from the Colorado company Aeroflex and tried to ship them to China in baby formula containers. The circuits are used in satellite communications.
He, who was arrested in December 2011, was an engineer on the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. California Department of Transportation spokeswoman Tamie McGowen has said He's work for the department was separate from the charges, and he never had access to information that wasn't publicly available.
Senate OKs limiting local immigrant detentions
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Senate has approved a bill prohibiting law enforcement agencies from detaining people for deportation if they are living in the country illegally and are arrested for a minor crime.
AB4 by Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco creates a statewide standard for how local agencies comply with a federal program that requires law enforcement to check the immigration status of anyone arrested. The Secure Communities program also says that those who are in the United States illegally should be detained for immigration officials.
Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed similar legislation last year because it did not let officials detain those convicted of crimes such as child abuse and drug trafficking. Those crimes are exempted from this year's version.
The bill passed 24-10 Monday and returns to the Assembly.
PROP 36-EARLY RELEASE PROGRAM
1,000 3-strike prisoners have sentences cut short
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Supporters of a California ballot measure that softened the nation's toughest three-strikes law say some 1,000 prisoners have had their life terms significantly reduced and have been released from prison.
A new report released by supporters of Prop 36 show that about 20, or 2 percent, of those released were charged with new crimes once released.
That compares with a 16 percent recidivism rate for all California inmates released from prison, according to the report by Stanford's Three Strikes Project and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
It also found that 2,000 prisoners sentenced to life under the state's three-strikes law and eligible for release are still languishing in prison, awaiting action on their petition for early release.
Furthermore, the supporters bemoaned the lack of post-release programs available to the three-strike prisoners.
DRUG STING SHOOTING
6 undercover cops fired upon suspect in Sunnyvale
(Information in the following story is from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, http://www.mercurynews.com)
SUNNYVALE, Calif. (AP) — A Sunnyvale police report says a man was struck by multiple bullets when six undercover drug agents opened fire during a sting operation.
The San Jose Mercury News reports Monday that the Juan Ruelas died after the Sept. 4 shooting.
The report said Ruelas, who was being investigated by the Santa Clara Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration, verbally threatened an undercover officer during a methamphetamine transaction in a parking lot. The report said Ruelas then made a movement that led the officer to believe he was reaching for a gun.
He was then shot multiple times by the six officers who fired their weapons.
No gun was found on Ruelas or in the truck where he was shot.
The case remains under investigation.
Suspects arrested in Calif. crossbow killing
EUREKA, Calif. (AP) — Authorities in Northern California have arrested a 20-year-old homeless man and a 16-year-old girl suspected of killing a fellow transient by shooting him in the face with a crossbow.
The Humboldt County sheriff's office says the pair were found Monday afternoon near a nature center in Arcata following an intense manhunt.
They surrendered after being spotted by a patrol helicopter.
Police had been searching for the two after two men were attacked in a heavily wooded area Sunday. A 44-year-old man died after suffering a single arrow shot to the face that was fired at close range, and a 41-year-old man suffered three crossbow injuries.
Investigators believe the two targeted the victims because they believed the men had stolen items from their homeless camp.
Calif man gets nearly 25 years for kidnapping
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California man has been sentenced to more than 24 years for kidnapping his ex-girlfriend to Mexico and threatening to kill her and dispose of her body.
Federal prosecutors say 26-year-old Rudy Soto of Oxnard, Calif., was sentenced Monday in Los Angeles. He was convicted last year of one count each of conspiracy and kidnapping.
Authorities said Soto met with his former girlfriend in September 2010, telling her he had a surprise for her. Soto had co-defendant Erin Fisher drive the pair to Mexico and told the woman she was going to die there.
Mexican authorities stopped the vehicle at the U.S.-Mexican border, which prompted the victim to scream for help.
Fisher is being prosecuted separately and will participate in a court-ordered diversionary program.
CA Senate OK bill on abortion clinic building code
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The state Senate has approved legislation that would change building code standards for California clinics that perform abortions.
The bill from Democratic Assemblyman Richard Pan of Sacramento would bring construction standards for clinics that perform abortions into line with all other primary care clinics.
Supporters, including the Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, say there is no reason why clinics providing early-term abortions should have to meet different and more costly standards for plumbing and ventilation.
Republicans opposing the bill said changing the standards would increase risks. Sen. Jim Nielsen of Gerber said even those supporting abortion rights should not want a woman to seek the procedure from an ill-prepared facility.
AB980 cleared the Senate Monday, 25-12, and returns to the Assembly for a final vote.
CA surrogate parenting agent to pay in fraud case
MODESTO, Calif. (AP) — A federal judge has ordered the owner of a surrogate parenting agency to pay $1.7 million to the victims of a fraud scheme carried out through her Central California-based operation.
The U.S. Attorney's office said 37-year-old Tonya Ann Collins — the owner of the defunct Surrogenesis agency in Modesto — was ordered to pay the restitution on Monday.
Collins was sentenced in May to five years and three months in prison.
The government said Collins took money from prospective parents and used it for personal expenses, including automobiles, homes, jewelry, clothing and vacations, between 2006 and 2009.
As a result, Collins' clients, surrogates and other businesses suffered losses of more than $2.4 million.
Prosecutors said that in some cases, victims couldn't afford a surrogate pregnancy again.
Cher, Ed Sheeran among 'The Voice' advisers
LOS ANGELES (AP) — NBC says "The Voice" is getting four new advisers, with Cher among them.
The network said Monday that coach Blake Shelton picked Cher to work with in the upcoming fifth season. As an adviser, the pop star will help Shelton groom his chosen contestants as they try to advance in the singing contest.
The other coach-adviser pairings include Christina Aguilera and Ed Sheeran; Adam Levine and Ryan Tedder; and CeeLo Green and Miguel.
"The Voice," hosted by Carson Daly, returns to NBC on Sept. 23.
Elton John to perform Liberace tribute at Emmys
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Elton John is about to do something he's never done: Perform live at the Emmy Awards.
The television academy announced Monday that the 66-year-old musician will make his Emmy debut with a tribute to Liberace, whose life story is told in HBO's "Behind the Candelabra."
The movie earned 15 Emmy nominations, including lead-actor bids for Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, who play Liberace and his lover Scott Thorson. Douglas and Damon are also set to serve as presenters at the Sept. 22 Emmy ceremony.
John's first studio album in seven years, "The Diving Board," is set for release on Sept. 24.
Neil Patrick Harris is hosting the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre, broadcast live on CBS.