Latest California news, sports, business and entertainment


Girl is brain dead after surgery to remove tonsils

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A 13-year-old Northern California girl is brain dead after going into surgery to remove her tonsils.

KGO-TV reported Sunday that Jahi McMath's family is demanding Oakland Children's Hospital conduct an investigation after she went into cardiac arrest and died, before being brought back by hospital staff. Jahi is brain dead and on life support.

Doctors said the surgery would help with Jahi's sleep apnea, but there were complications during her recovery last week. Her mother Nailah Winkfield said Jahi had "actual clots" sliding out of her mouth, which her mother was told to catch in a cup for hospital staff to measure.

A hospital spokeswoman said in a statement that any surgery is risky and that the hospital would investigate what happened. She didn't provide details on the surgery.


Death in Compton auto crash identified; 3 unknown

(Information in the following story is from: Los Angeles Times,

COMPTON, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say a 30-year-old woman was among four people killed in Compton after a car fleeing from deputies rammed another vehicle, flipped and burst into flames.

The Los Angeles County coroner says Stacey Garcia of Los Angeles died in Saturday's crash. It was unclear which vehicle she was inside.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sgt. Peter Ramirez tells the Los Angeles Times that dental records and fingerprints may be needed to identify the other three.

Keith Wright tells the Times that his brother — 35-year-old auto mechanic Larry Gilmore — died.

George Starks says his granddaughter — 20-year-old Shawnice Osborne — also died. She recently graduated from Compton High School.

Two others were killed in Palmdale Saturday when a sheriff's patrol car collided with a vehicle at an intersection.


LA oil field blamed for illnesses to be modified

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An urban oil field blamed for causing chronic respiratory illnesses and nosebleeds in a South Los Angeles neighborhood will be modified to prevent leaks and decrease pollution.

The Los Angeles Times reports Sunday that Allenco Energy Co. plans to upgrade its air pollution control systems, inspect and repair tanks, and make other changes.

The company voluntarily suspended operations Nov. 22 at the request of California Sen. Barbara Boxer. Since then pollution and reports of respiratory ailments have dropped.

Allenco is under investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the city attorney's office and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles County Department of Health has called for a comprehensive audit of the facility to better determine the health hazards its poses.


Report: Mental hospital sent patients out of state

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Sacramento Bee has found that Nevada's primary hospital for mentally ill people has sent hundreds of patients out of Las Vegas on Greyhound buses in recent years.

The Bee reports in its Sunday editions that Greyhound bus receipts listed the names of more than 1,000 people who were given one-way tickets to cities across the country over the past three years.

The tickets were given to mentally ill men and women shortly after they arrived at Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas. More than 325 of the patients boarded buses to California.

The newspaper's investigation found that crime and tragedy often followed the bus rides. Passenger names were found in criminal databases across the state and nation for arrests involving murder, assault, sex crimes and other violations.


Fire at pizza place spreads to nearby businesses

(Information in the following story is from: KCRA-TV.)

QUINCY, Calif. (AP) — A fire that began in a pizza place in Quincy spread, destroying four other businesses on the block.

KCRA-TV reports that the fire started at about 4 a.m. Sunday on the second floor of the Pizza Factory on Main Street.

Highway 70 was closed and power was shut off, but restored, as the Quincy Fire Department fought the blaze.

Firefighters tell the television station that apartments above the pizza place sustained smoke and water damage.

Arson investigators are trying to figure out the cause of the fire.

Quincy is about 80 miles from Reno, Nev.


Union reaches deal with UC system on contract

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A union representing nearly 15,000 researchers, technical employees and health care professionals for the University of California has reached a tentative deal on their contract with the system.

The University Professional & Technical Employees union called the deal historic in a statement released Sunday. Workers at UC's 10 campuses and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will vote on it this week.

The proposed four-year contract includes cost-of-living increases of 11.5 to 13 percent, in addition to regular step increases.

Workers would contribute an additional 1 percent to the pension plan to maintain it as is.

UC spokeswoman Shelly Meron called the agreement fair and the result of two years of hard work.

Union workers include clinical lab scientists, social workers, pharmacists, staff research associates, computer resource specialists, editors and writers.


Assisted living fines go uncollected in California

(Information in the following story is from: U-T San Diego,

SAN DIEGO (AP) — California regulators fail to collect half the fines levied on assisted living homes for failing to properly care for elderly residents. When they do, payments often arrive late.

U-T San Diego reported Sunday that the California Department of Social Services has collected only half of the $2.9 million in penalties it levied against facilities statewide since July 2007. One reason is there is no penalty for late payment.

State officials say they do their best to collect but violators often close and move away. With limited resources, they say they must juggle responsibilities, and collecting penalties is not always at the top of their list.

The maximum penalty for a violation is $150, even when a resident dies due to negligent care.


Sonoma fairgrounds plays host to pot contest

(Information in the following story is from: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat,

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — In a sure sign of the sizable role marijuana plays in California's agricultural economy, a competition for pot farmers who grow their crops outdoors is being held this year at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.

The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa reports that hundreds of people gathered there over the weekend for the 2013 Emerald Cup, which started a decade ago as an underground, end-of-harvest celebration for growers in Mendocino and Humboldt counties.

Only weed that has been grown organically in the sun and hashish cured without chemicals were eligible for the contest.

A panel of judges that includes buyers for medical marijuana dispensaries was expected to name the winners on Sunday from among more 150 entries.

A Field Poll released last week found that 55 percent of voters surveyed favor legalizing marijuana use for adults.


Monument status eyed for former Santa Cruz dairy

(Information in the following story is from: Santa Cruz Sentinel,

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) — California land preservationists are hoping to have a former dairy farm north of Santa Cruz crowned as a national monument.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that conservations are seeking the designation for Coast Dairies, a 7,000-acre tract of sloping hills dotted with redwood trees and beaches.

The land has been closed to the public for decades, but that is expected to change in the next few months when the Bureau of Land Management takes control of it.

Sam Goldman, California program director for the Conservation Lands Foundation, tells the Sentinel that being declared a monument could bring in more federal dollars for managing the property.

The foundation also is pursuing monument status for another slice of the California coast that once housed a dairy, the 1,100 Stornetta Public Lands in Mendocino County.


NV sage grouse critics say feds bent on listing

(Information in the following story is from: Elko Daily Free Press,

ELKO, Nev. (AP) — An ex-state lawmaker and longtime critic of U.S. land managers says he's convinced the feds have already made up their mind to list the Greater sage grouse as a threatened or endangered species.

But a Bureau of Land Management official says that's not the case and insisted at a public meeting in Elko this week they want the community's input on how best to save the troubled bird without a federal listing.

Ranchers, miners, energy developers and state officials fear restrictions on the use of public lands in sage grouse habitat would have deep economic consequences in the rural West.

Former Republican Assemblyman John Carpenter told the Elko Daily Free Press he believes the government is determined to list the chicken-sized game bird as part of a bigger strategy to lock up federal lands.


Joan Fontaine, Oscar-winner for 'Suspicion,' dies

CARMEL, Calif. (AP) — Oscar-winning actress Joan Fontaine has died at the age of 96.

Longtime friend Noel Beutel says she died in her sleep in her Carmel home Sunday morning.

Fontaine won an Academy Award as a naive wife in Alfred Hitchcock's thriller "Suspicion" and also starred in Hitchcock's "Rebecca," which won the Oscar for best picture. Her other films included "The Women," ''Jane Eyre" and "Born to be Bad."

Fontaine was the sister of fellow actress Olivia de Havilland.


'Hobbit' cools 'Frozen,' takes top box office spot

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tolkien tops princess power at the multiplex.

Per studio estimates Sunday, Warner Bros. "Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" was No. 1 at the weekend box office with $73.7 million.

Melting down to the No. 2 position, Disney's animated tale "Frozen" earned $22.2 in its third weekend, bringing its overall domestic ticket total to $164.4 million.

Lionsgate's holiday-themed "Tyler Perry's a Madea Christmas" came in third place with $16.2 million, while "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" earned $13.2 million for the fourth place slot. To date "Catching Fire" has grossed $739.9 million, surpassing the worldwide box office total for "The Hunger Games," which gained $691 million.

Disney's "Thor: The Dark World" continues to thrive, as it took fifth place with $2.7 million, bringing its domestic total to $198.1 million.