Far Northern California fire destroys 30 homes
REDDING, Calif. (AP) — Firefighters say they've gained the upper hand on a wildfire in Northern California that destroyed 30 homes and forced about 600 people out of their homes.
The Clover Fire broke out Monday near the rural community of Happy Valley in Shasta County and was quickly fanned by gusty winds, growing to more than 11 square miles. However, lighter winds on Tuesday helped firefighters. The fire is 40 percent contained.
The Record Searchlight of Redding reported that the fire moved so quickly that some residents were given just minutes to evacuate as the fire jumped roads and engulfed residences.
Elsewhere, more than 2,700 firefighters are still battling the Rim Fire that has burned across nearly 400 square miles in and around Yosemite National Park. It is 80 percent contained.
CA-LA EARTHQUAKE STUDY
LA may make list of quake-sensitive buildings
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The city of Los Angeles is looking into creating a list of so-called soft-story buildings that are vulnerable to collapsing during an earthquake.
The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that building officials are expected to report back to a City Council committee in about two months with recommendations on how such a list would be compiled.
Soft-story buildings are the type built over carports and held up only with narrow columns, making vulnerable to collapse during a quake.
About 200 such buildings were destroyed or badly damaged during Los Angeles' 1994 Northridge earthquake.
Among them was a San Fernando Valley apartment complex where 16 people died when the multi-story building pancaked, crushing people in their apartments.
LAPD REVENGE KILLINGS
LA County Oks $100,000 in Dorner reward money
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles County has approved $100,000 in rewards for people who helped authorities track down fired Los Angeles policeman Christopher Dorner near the end of his killing rampage.
City News Service says the Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to pay $80,000 to Karen and Jim Reynolds, who contacted authorities after Dorner tied them up in their Big Bear cabin and stole their car.
Another $20,000 will go to Daniel McGowan, who reported seeing Dorner's burning pickup on a ski hill.
Various agencies had offered a total of $1 million in rewards.
Dorner killed four people during a weeklong rampage last February before he was surrounded. After a shootout, he killed himself in a burning cabin near Big Bear.
DEPUTY SHOOTING SETTLEMENT
LA County settles shooting suit for $875,000
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles County will pay $875,000 to the family of a suspected gunman killed by a sheriff's deputy.
City News Service says county supervisors approved the payment Tuesday.
The suit was brought on behalf of a 5-year-old boy whose father, 20-year-old Jonathan Cuevas, was killed in October of 2010.
Sheriff's deputies say Cuevas and several other men were walking on a Lynwood street when a deputy pulled up and told them to get out of the road.
Authorities say Cuevas grabbed a gun in his waistband and began to run. He was shot when he turned toward the deputy, who'd yelled at him to stop. A gun was found at the scene.
Sheriff's investigators concluded the shooting was reasonable and the deputy wasn't disciplined.
Calif infant dies after being left in SUV
(Information in the following story is from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A 5-month-old boy died after being left in an SUV parked outside the family's Southern California home, and authorities say the boy's father might have forgotten about him.
The Los Angeles Times reports the man drove home Monday with his son but left the infant in the vehicle when he went inside the house in Carson.
The father later left the house but took a different car. He called police in a panic when he realized where the boy was.
Deputies rushed to the family home and tried to save the infant, but it was too late. The child was pronounced dead at the scene.
Coroner's officials identified the baby as Seth Cayton.
No arrests have been made. An autopsy is expected later this week.
Bus crash on Southern Calif. freeway injuries 8
ALHAMBRA, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say eight passengers were hurt when the driver of a transit bus lost control of the vehicle on a Southern California freeway.
Capt. Dean Hartshorn of the Alhambra Fire Department says the bus was traveling west on the 210 Freeway shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday when it careened into a sound wall.
The vehicle then ricocheted across the freeway's westbound lanes and struck the center divider before the driver got it back under control. No other vehicle was hit.
Hartshorn says eight of the bus's 15 passengers were taken to hospitals. Seven appeared to have suffered only minor injuries.
California Highway Patrol Officer Patrick Kimball says the driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel.
The accident closed all of the freeway's westbound lanes for two hours.
Utility: Claims from Calif. gas line blast $565M
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric Co. says it expects to pay a total of $565 million in legal settlements and other claims from a deadly 2010 gas pipeline explosion in a San Francisco Bay Area suburb.
The utility released the figure in a filing with federal regulators on Monday. It includes $455 million that PG&E has already agreed to pay and $110 million it expects to pay in connection with recent settlements and claims.
PG&E spokeswoman Brittany Chord says the company reached settlements with nearly 350 blast victims on Friday and Monday. It had previously reached settlements with about 150 people. Only two plaintiffs' cases remain.
Eight people died in the Sept. 9, 2010, blast. Others sustained burn injuries and property damage.
Manufacturer cited $200,000 in Calif. worker death
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — State health and safety officials have cited a Northern California manufacturing plant after investigating the death of a worker who was crushed in a machine.
Cal-OSHA on Tuesday cited the Henkel Corporation more than $200,000 for six violations after the death of 26-year old David Eleidjian of Antioch in April.
Eleidjian was operating a mixing machine at Henkel's plant in Bay Point when he was caught and crushed in the mixer's shaft. He later died from his injuries.
Eleidjian was working at the plant as a temporary employee.
Henkel, a German multinational company, makes adhesives and other products.
Christine Baker, Cal-OSHA's industrial relations director, says Eleidjian's death was completely preventable.
McDonald's manager accused of robbing 2 McDonald's
SAN MATEO, Calif. (AP) — The manager of a McDonald's has been arrested on suspicion of robbing his own restaurant and another one in the San Francisco Bay area, both times by forcing workers into a refrigerator at gunpoint.
Authorities said 42-year-old Felix Becerra was arrested Sept. 2 after an officer followed a vehicle linked to the robbery of a McDonald's in San Mateo.
Sgt. Dave Norris said investigators later connected Becerra to the Aug. 28 robbery of a Pleasanton McDonald's where he worked as a manager.
The San Mateo County Times reports Tuesday that in both cases, the robber ordered employees into the refrigerator before or after he grabbed cash from the safe.
Pleasanton police said Becerra became a suspect when an employee said the masked man had eyes similar to her manager's.
PHONY DESIGNER CLOTHES
LA merchant fined $388,000 for selling fake brands
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles merchant has been ordered to pay $388,000 in fines for selling fake designer clothing — $250 for each phony item he peddled.
A court also placed Ahmad Salim on seven years' probation.
During that time he may not possess, sell, manufacture or store any counterfeit goods. If that order is violated he must close his business.
The City Attorney's office said Tuesday that Salim was arrested following a joint investigation by Los Angeles police and the FBI.
Investigators who visited his El Socalo store in downtown's fashion district say they bought knockoffs of Burberry shirts, True Religion jeans and other exclusive brands.
In all, authorities say, Salim sold 1,552 counterfeit pieces since 2004.
They say he kept the items hidden in a back room.
Marijuana grow found across Fresno Co. school
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Authorities have pulled out more than 13,000 marijuana plants found growing across the street and behind an elementary school southeast of Fresno.
The Fresno Bee reports Tuesday's seizure on comes a day after a tipster reported seeing armed men guarding the area.
Sheriff's spokesman Chris Curtice said up to 10,000 plants were growing among corn and bitter melon crops on a 30- to 40-acre parcel across the street from Sequoia Elementary School. Another 3,000 plants were behind the school.
Another marijuana grow was spotted across a Fresno County middle school in July 2012.
Curtice said 12 people were detained, but were later released. No one has been arrested.
16 arrested after raid on Northern CA pot grow
EUREKA, Calif. (AP) — Authorities have arrested 16 people and found great environmental damage after raiding a marijuana grow on a rural Northern California property.
A Humboldt County Sheriff's statement says deputies found on Tuesday hundreds of marijuana plants, weapons and more than $10,000 in cash on the 160-acre property in Bridgeville, southeast of Eureka.
The statement says evidence suggests the suspects were selling marijuana for profit.
Officers also discovered clear cutting of trees, illegal roads cut into the hillside, and a pump illegally diverting water from a creek. The creek is under federal protection because it contains steelhead trout.
Officers found another grow in a neighboring parcel, where sewage was sent to the creek.
The people arrested hailed from Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, the San Francisco Bay area and Charlotte, NC.
Former Aspen man gets 20 years in cocaine case
(Information in the following story is from: The Aspen Times, http://www.aspentimes.com/)
ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — A 62-year-old man accused of taking part in a drug ring that distributed hundreds of pounds of cocaine in Aspen has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The Aspen Times reports Montgomery Chitty was sentenced in federal court Tuesday. The former Aspen resident was convicted in April of conspiring to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine.
He was arrested in February 2012 in Big Pine Key, Fla., nearly nine months after Drug Enforcement Administration agents snared 10 people, including six in the Aspen-Snowmass area, on conspiracy charges. The ring was accused of trafficking more than 200 kilograms of cocaine between Aspen and Los Angeles over a 15-year period.
Chitty plans to appeal the sentence, according to a motion filed after Tuesday's hearing.
Officials: Dead bat found in SoCal park was rabid
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Health officials say a dead bat found in an Orange County park earlier this week has tested positive for rabies.
The Orange County Health Care Agency is asking that anyone who came in contact with a bat in Laguna Niguel Regional Park contact the agency to learn if they could be at risk for the disease.
Rabies is generally transmitted from to humans through the bites of infected animals. In recent years most human infections in the United States have been caused by rabies strains found in bats. Because bats' teeth are small, their bites can sometimes go unnoticed.
Although easily curable when treated early, rabies can result in death if left untreated.
Health officials said Tuesday the dead bat was found in the park on Saturday.
Judge eases restrictions on freed CA third-striker
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge has eased restrictions on a Los Angeles man who spent nearly 14 years in prison for a crime he denies committing.
City News Service says a federal judge ruled Tuesday that Daniel Larsen won't have to wear an electronic monitor or remain under home incarceration while awaiting an appeals court hearing. However, he'll have to call authorities daily to check in.
Larsen, who's 46, was convicted in 1999 of carrying a concealed dagger. He was sent to prison for 27 years to life under California's three-strikes law.
Attorneys for the California Innocence Project found witnesses who testified seeing a different man throw away the knife.
Larsen was ordered freed in March but prosecutors argued his lawyers missed a paperwork deadline. He's awaiting an appellate court hearing.
STUDENT TEST SWITCH
Calif. Senate approves dropping standardized tests
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The state Senate has approved a bill that would end traditional standardized testing of students in reading, math and social science, as the top federal education official threatened to withhold federal funds if the measure becomes law.
California schools have used the STAR tests to measure student learning and school performance since 1999.
But AB494 would replace the multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper tests next spring with new language and math tests designed to follow the Common Core curriculum standards.
The measure passed Tuesday on a 25-7 vote and now returns to the Assembly.
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan objected that the abrupt shift would leave the state without test scores for a year while the state adopts the new system.
State officials support the change.
CALIFORNIA PARKS AUDIT
Audit says CA parks department needs fixes
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A new audit says California's parks department still needs to make accounting fixes in the wake of a financial scandal.
The Los Angeles Times says the state audit released Tuesday found continuing problems.
The department was hit by scandal last year when it was discovered that officials hid $54 million from the governor and Legislature in special funds at a time when a budget crisis threatened to close dozens of parks.
In addition, it's been found that employees were inappropriately reimbursed some $300,000 for unused vacation time.
The audit says enough hasn't been done to prevent such reimbursements.
However, parks spokeswoman Vicky Waters says the department plans to have a new accounting system in place by year's end.
TV anchor John Hambrick dies of cancer
UNDATED (AP) — Former news anchor John Hambrick — whose 30-year career took him from Texas to Ohio to California to New York to Florida — has died of cancer. He was 73.
Hambrick's son Jack confirmed that he died Tuesday under hospice care at Scott and White Hospital in Bell County, Texas. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2012, and it metastasized to his brain.
Hambrick's TV news career ran from the early 1960s to the 1990s. He anchored newscasts on WNBC in New York, KABC in Los Angeles, KRON in San Francisco, WTVJ and WCIX in Miami, KHOU in Houston, WEWS in Cleveland, WCPO in Cincinnati and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas.
Hambrick received many professional awards over the years, including an Emmy in 1984 for co-anchoring the best newscast in New York.
Google loses appeal in Street View snooping case
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal appeals court is affirming a judge's decision that Google overstepped its bounds by enabling its vehicles to collect emails, Internet passwords and Web surfing behavior while photographing neighborhoods for the search giant's popular "Street View" mapping feature.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco said in a report Tuesday that the Google cars with cameras mounted on their roofs went far beyond listening to accessible radio communication.
A Google spokeperson says attorneys for the Internet giant are disappointed in the 9th Circuit's decision and are considering our next steps."
Google has apologized for the snooping, promised to stop collecting the data, and said what it did was inadvertent but not illegal.
Netflix launches in Netherlands, its 41st country
LOS GATOS, Calif. (AP) — Netflix is launching its video streaming service in the Netherlands Wednesday, making good on plans it announced three months ago. It also set a price: 7.99 euros ($10.63) per month. The first month is free.
The Netherlands marks Netflix Inc.'s 41st country of operations. The online movie and TV show company now has more than 37 million streaming customers around the world, with about 30 million in the U.S.
CEO Reed Hastings said in a statement that the Dutch have "incredible" broadband, but haven't been able to take full advantage of their fast connections until Netflix's arrival.
Along with Netflix originals like "Orange is the New Black," and movies like "The Kite Runner" and "The King's Speech," Dutch customers will also have access to locally made movies and TV shows.
FILM-PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN
'Pirates' sequel not coming July 2015 as planned
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The next "Pirates of the Caribbean" sequel has been temporarily docked.
The release date for the fifth installment in the film series starring Johnny Depp has been removed from Disney's distribution schedule. It was originally scheduled to launch July 10, 2015.
Disney previously announced that the fifth "Pirates" film will be directed by "Kon-Tiki" filmmakers Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg and was expected to begin production next year.
The move comes after Disney's "The Lone Ranger" failed at the box office this summer and the studio moved the debut of Marvel's "Ant-Man" from Nov. 6, 2015, to July 31, 2015.
The most recent "Pirates" installments, "At World's End" and "On Stranger Tides," were both released in time for Memorial Day weekend in 2007 and 2011.
'Jurassic Park' sequel titled 'Jurassic World'
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The fourth installment of "Jurassic Park" has a name: "Jurassic World."
Universal Pictures announced the film's new title and release date Tuesday. The sequel will hatch in 3-D on June 12, 2015.
The studio has already said "Safety Not Guaranteed" filmmaker Colin Trevorrow will direct the film and Steven Spielberg will serve as producer.
Spielberg directed the first two "Jurassic Park" films, while "Captain America" director Joe Johnston helmed the third installment.
The dinosaur franchise has grossed $1.9 billion at the box office worldwide since the first film was released in 1993.
Clint Eastwood's wife files for legal separation
MONTEREY, Calif. (AP) — Clint Eastwood's second wife has filed for legal separation from the actor and director.
Dina Eastwood's petition filed in Monterey County Superior Court on Monday seeks spousal support and physical custody of the couple's 16-year-old daughter, Morgan.
The Monterey County Herald reports the petition also indicated the couple had a premarital agreement.
The Eastwoods have been married since 1996 and lived in Carmel. They met when she was assigned to interview him for her TV news station.
Clint Eastwood was married once before, to Maggie Johnson, from 1953 to 1984.