Wildfire near Yosemite burns into fourth week
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The cost of fighting the wildfire burning in and around Yosemite National Park has risen to more than $89 million as the blaze enters its fourth week.
The U.S. Forest Service reported Saturday that the Rim Fire has burned 394 square miles, 11 more than the day before when it became the third-biggest wildfire in modern California history.
It remains 80 percent contained.
The fire started in the Stanislaus National Forest on Aug. 17.
There are still more than 3,400 people fighting it as hotter and drier weather arrived on Saturday.
Officials say it could cost tens of millions of dollars more to restore damaged habitat and waterways before the fall rainy season.
NUCLEAR PLANT CLOSING
SD utility asks public to pay $808M for nuke plant
SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego power utility that co-owns a recently shuttered nuclear power plant wants to recover its investments by collecting more than $800 million from customers.
The California Public Utilities Commission is evaluating the request from San Diego Gas & Electric, which owns a 20 percent stake in the San Onofre power plant on Southern California's coast.
San Onofre was initially shut down in 2012 after a small radiation leak led to the discovery of heavily damaged tubing in its virtually new steam generators. The plant was formally retired in June.
U-T San Diego reports that state regulators plan to consider whether it is reasonable for customers to pay for breaking down a plant that no longer produces power.
A spokeswoman for the utility says it can shift funds so that customer rates would rise.
UNKNOWN SERIAL KILLER
Public's help sought to ID Calif. serial killer
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — Santa Barbara detectives have developed a new lead in their quest to identify a serial killer suspected of murders and rapes in California more than 30 years ago.
The "Original Night Stalker" is a suspect in at least eight killings and numerous rapes that took place from 1979 to 1986 in Santa Barbara, Sacramento, Ventura and Orange counties.
Decades-old DNA evidence has linked him to the 1979 and 1981 murders of four people in Goleta, just north of Santa Barbara.
Investigators say crime reports show traces of paint were found in several crime scenes. So they're looking into the possibility that the suspect may have been a painter.
They want to talk to anyone who worked on a strip mall construction project in Goleta around the time of the slayings.
SOCAL WILD WEATHER
Wild weather brings heat, rain to Southern CA
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Portions of Southern California sweltered in triple digit temperatures while inland areas saw thunderstorms that flooded roads and caused mudslides.
The California Highway Patrol reported several road closures in Riverside County Saturday afternoon because of flooding and rock and mud going into lanes. Near Pine Valley in San Diego, up to 6 inches of rain ran across Highway 94.
San Bernardino County Fire officials said flash flooding temporarily stranded hikers in the mountain community of Forest Falls.
Meanwhile, valley and coastal areas around Los Angeles baked in above-normal temperatures. The mercury reached 104 in some places in the San Fernando Valley and topped at 95 in Long Beach.
In Irwindale, eight student athletes were taken to the hospital after suffering heat exhaustion at a track meet.
BAY AREA WILDFIRE
Grass fire breaks out on SF Bay Area mountain
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (AP) — A brush fire that broke out on a San Francisco Bay area mountain peak that abuts the heavily populated community of South San Francisco is almost contained.
CalFire spokesman Daniel Berlant said the fire broke out on Saturday afternoon on San Bruno Mountain, which lies between South San Francisco and Daly City in San Mateo County.
Berlant says firefighting aircraft were brought in to fight the flames, which were 95 percent contained and had burned about 50 acres three hours later.
He says some homes were briefly threatened.
Although smoke from the fire could be seen from San Francisco International Airport, airport spokesman Chuck Navigante says it is not disrupting any flights.
Sonoma man charged following toxic suicide attempt
(Information in the following story is from: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, http://www.pressdemocrat.com)
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — Sonoma County prosecutors have filed criminal charges against a suicidal man who allegedly exposed two sheriff's deputies to hazardous substances when he tried to kill himself with a mixture of toxic chemicals in his car.
The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa reports that the 47-year-old Santa Rosa resident was jailed on $250,000 bail on Friday, two days after the suicide attempt on a road near Windsor.
The deputies did not notice the smell of chemicals when they removed the man from his car, but authorities say they were overcome by a cloud of toxic gas that was later determined to be from a mixture of Lysol and lime sulfur.
One of the deputies was hospitalized with lung damage, while the man was not seriously hurt.
Teen killed, 2 hurt in Vallejo drive-by shooting
VALLEJO, Calif. (AP) — Vallejo police say one teenager has been killed and two others injured during a drive-by shooting.
The 18-year-old male who was killed and his 16- and 15-year-old passengers were riding in a car late Friday when another vehicle pulled up and fired inside.
Officers say the driver's side of the car was riddled with bullet holes.
The name of the victim has not been released. His death is the city's 15th homicide this year.
Police say they do not yet have a motive for the shootings
POLICE OFFICER-SEX ASSAULT
Former Orange Co. cop convicted of forcible sodomy
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — An Orange County jury has convicted a former police officer of forcibly sodomizing three women he dated.
Jurors concluded that Jesse Andrew Green physically restrained and attacked the women during what prosecutors said had been consensual sexual encounters.
The assaults happened between 2006 and 2009, when Green was an officer with the Garden Grove Police Department. He was charged in October 2010.
On the witness stand, Green denied numerous details from the women's testimony, including that he threatened them during sex.
Green faces a minimum of nine years and a maximum of 24 years in prison when he is sentenced in November.
SCHOOL GUNMEN-FIGHTING BACK
Schools in Orange Co. teach ways to combat gunmen
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Teachers at school districts in southern Orange County are being taught that if they can't hide or get away from a campus gunman, they should try to take him out.
It's a very different message than the past emphasis on avoiding confrontation.
The new approach: As a last resort, aggressively use chairs, tables, fire extinguishers and even books as weapons. Not just to defend yourself and students, but to disable a shooter.
The Orange County Register reports that the Capistrano Unified School district and others are adopting this kind of "run, hide and fight" strategy.
The rethinking comes in response to the killings last year at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Calif city blames drought, heat for fish die-off
ATASCADERO, Calif. (AP) — Officials believe hot weather and the lack of rain led to the death of hundreds of fish at a Central Coast lake.
Atascadero city officials say crews pulled out a few hundred perch and carp from Atascadero Lake Friday.
The San Luis Obispo Tribune reports temperatures in the area have soared into the 90s and low 100s this summer. In hot weather, algae blooms grow and deplete water of oxygen.
The lake is connected to a creek, making it entirely dependent on rain.
Lake levels dropped to more than 50 percent — the worst in nearly two decades —but city officials say they can't add water to the lake because it's cost prohibitive.
Instead, park workers have put in pumps and floating fountains to help aerate the water.
BEAR MOUNTAIN SMOKE
Fire crews respond to reported smoke near Big Bear
BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. (AP) — On this high fire danger day, crews responded to a report of smoke near Southern California's Bear Mountain ski resort, but left without finding flames.
A fire dispatcher for the San Bernardino National Forest says a golfer called to report seeing smoke just before 9 a.m. Saturday.
A plane, helicopter and several engines were dispatched to the mountainous area about 100 miles east of Los Angeles.
Dispatcher Vance Persing says it could have been water vapor from recent rain.
While they were in the air, crews double checked on several small, lightning-strike fires in the forest that started Friday.
Persing says all of those are believed to be out.
LA'S NEON PAST
Once-famous Hollywood dragon looking for some love
(Information in the following story is from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The dragon that once welcomed visitors to a famed Hollywood movie palace now has a far less distinguished lair.
The former guardian of Grauman's Chinese Theater sits in a nondescript warehouse in Pomona, along with other treasures from Los Angeles' past.
Now, the Los Angeles Times reports that the Museum of Neon Art wants the public to see the dragon once again.
It was one of two that for four decades sat above the theater's marquees, its body lit up in yellow and green. After a less-than-delicate removal in 2001, the dragon is now dinged up, rusted — and in two pieces.
In need of about $35,000 worth of restoration, the museum is raising money to put it back together.