Latest California news, sports, business and entertainment

TONSILLECTOMY-BRAIN DEAD GIRL

Teen ordered off life support; family can appeal

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A judge has ordered that a 13-year-old Northern California girl declared brain dead after suffering complications following a tonsillectomy be taken off life support.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo issued the order Tuesday but gave Jahi McMath's family until 5 p.m. Dec. 30 to file an appeal. She will stay on life support until then.

Grillo issued the order after a Stanford doctor testified that Jahi is brain dead. Dr. Paul Graham Fisher's evaluation was the second to reach that conclusion.

Children's Hospital of Oakland, where Jahi is hospitalized, has asked that the girl be taken off life support after doctors there also concluded she was brain dead. Her family wants to keep Jahi connected to a breathing machine.

The family has said it believes she is still alive and that the hospital should not remove her from the ventilator without its permission.

HEALTH OVERHAUL-CALIFORNIA

'Grace period' for health insurance ends Friday

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Friday will be the end of the grace period to get health insurance starting Jan. 1 for consumers who were frustrated in their attempts to sign up by Monday's deadline.

Santiago Lucero, spokesman for the agency running California's health exchange, says insurers need time to review policy applications so coverage can start in the new year.

The grace period was announced Monday after it became clear that thousands of people were unable to get coverage because the website and call centers were overwhelmed.

It applies to anyone who attempted to start an application Monday, although many people were not even able to get that far.

On Tuesday, Lucero encouraged people to keep trying to reach a call center, even if they could not prove their attempts to get coverage before the deadline.

BIG SUR FIRE

Evacuations lifted for Big Sur fire

BIG SUR, Calif. (AP) — Officials now say all of the 100 or so residents forced to evacuate during a wildfire in Central California's Big Sur region have now been allowed back into their homes.

U.S. Forest Service spokesman Tyson Navarro confirms that the evacuations and road closures were lifted last night, though Pfeiffer Road and Sycamore Road will be open only to residents.

Earlier Tuesday, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Mike Rivera said 34 homes were destroyed in the fire, 12 more than originally estimated.

The updated figure was the result of a more aggressive assessment of the damaged area. One property had more homes than originally thought.

The unusual late fall fire burned more than 1.4 square miles in the Los Padres National Forest.

About 180 firefighters remained on the scene.

FATAL STABBING-ACQUITTAL

SF man acquitted in 2012 stabbing

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco man charged with murder in a 2012 stabbing has been acquitted of all charges after a jury found he acted in self-defense.

The San Francisco public defender's spokeswoman, Tamara Barak Aparton, says the jury determined that 47-year-old Howard Frazier was not guilty of murder because his attacker, 54-year-old Luther Robinson III, had previously bullied and threatened him before the fatal stabbing.

Six weeks before the confrontation, Barak Aparton says, Robinson had chased and assaulted Frazier with a club, threatening to kill him.

Frazier testified at trial that he tried to diffuse the conflict by talking to Robinson's brother, to no avail.

When Robinson grabbed Frazier by the vest on Feb. 15, 2012, Frazier stabbed him once with a pocket knife. Robinson died a short time later.

OBIT-LAWSON

Drummer Ricky Lawson, 59, dies after aneurism

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Studio drummer Ricky Lawson, who collaborated with Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston and other artists, has died at a California hospital after suffering a brain aneurism earlier this month. He was 59.

Lawson became disoriented Dec. 13 during a show in Seal Beach, Calif., and was diagnosed with an aneurism.

Paul Riser of Detroit told The Associated Press on Tuesday that his nephew was removed from life support after 10 days and died Monday evening.

Lawson was being treated at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.

The Detroit native jumped into the music business even before graduating from Cooley High School, and he became one of the nation's top studio musicians in the 1980s.

His work appears on Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You."

WARM CALIFORNIA

High pressure bringing warm, dry Calif. Christmas

LOS ANGELES (AP) — As large sections of the U.S. deal with severe winter weather for the holidays, California is sunny and dry with high temperatures rising into the low 80s in some southern areas.

The National Weather Service said Tuesday that the fair conditions and above-normal temperatures are being brought by high pressure that will persist through the end of the week.

Southern California will at times feel Santa Ana winds, the gusts that blow out of the northeast toward the coast.

Forecasters say the offshore flow will range from weak to moderate, and the combination of wind, falling humidity levels and abnormally dry vegetation will bring elevated-to-critical fire danger for much of the week.

Much of California is on pace to mark 2013 as the driest calendar year on record.

STOCKING BABIES

Hospital wraps newborns in Christmas stockings

REDLANDS, Calif. (AP) — Southern California hospitals are spreading holiday cheer for new parents by delivering newborns in giant Christmas stockings.

The bright red stockings were provided this week for babies born at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. The Long Beach Press-Telegram reports it's a half-century-old tradition.

The Redlands Community Hospital has been handing out stockings to parents of infants born this month.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise reports (http://bit.ly/1eCvBli) the tradition began in 1930, but lapsed before it was revived in 2005.

This year, 16 volunteers made 250 fleece stockings during a daylong sewing bee.