BC-CA--California News Digest, CA

The supervisor in Los Angeles will be Alicia Chang. If you have a news tip or questions about the report, call 213-626-1200. The supervisor in San Francisco will be Sudhin Thanawala. He can be reached at 415-495-1708.

Richard Vogel in Los Angeles photos can be reached at 213-626-2500. San Francisco photos can be reached at 415-495-1192.

AP stories, along with the photos that accompany them, can also be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com. Reruns are also available from the Service Desk at 877-836-9477 or your local AP bureau. All times Pacific.

TOP STORIES:

HEARTS FOR THE HOLIDAYS

SAN MARCOS, Calif. — Deanna Kremis remembers the exhilarating day her young sons first had the energy to race each other up a flight of stairs. The brothers, then ages 7 and 10, could barely walk before having heart transplants just a month apart. As they flew up the steps two at a time, jostling and shouting, she recalled, "my friend turned to me and said, 'Are YOU ready to get one now?'" It was a joke that became prophesy. Her health, too, was slipping away because of the same inherited cardiac condition. By Gillian Flaccus. SENT: 1,090 words, photos, video.

SANTA SLAYINGS-ANNIVERSARY

LOS ANGELES — Five years after a man dressed as Santa Claus massacred nine members of her family on Christmas Eve, the surviving daughter of the Ortega clan worked to master her mother's pozole recipe to serve at a traditional family dinner that's now forever tinged with tragedy. The recipe was one from Leticia Yuzefpolsky's childhood and a reminder of festive meals she hadn't had since Bruce Pardo walked through the door of her parents' home five years ago, killing her family and burning the place down. In a matter of minutes, Yuzefpolsky lost nearly everyone she'd looked up to: her parents, two brothers and two sisters. By Tami Abdollah. SENT: 675 words, photos.

TONSILLECTOMY-BRAIN DEAD GIRL

OAKLAND, Calif. — A Northern California family who lost their bid to keep their 13-year-old daughter on life support says "there is still time for a miracle." Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo has ruled that Jahi McMath, who was declared brain dead after suffering complications following a tonsillectomy, can be removed from the ventilator keeping her body functioning. By Paul Elias. SENT: 750 words, photos.

HEALTH OVERHAUL-CALIFORNIA

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — 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. By Tom Verdin. SENT: 515 words.

PETS-ANIMEALS ON WHEELS

LOS ANGELES — If Meals on Wheels didn't deliver donated dog food, Sherry Scott of San Diego says her golden retriever Tootie would be eating the pasta, riblets and veggie wraps meant for her. But thanks to partnerships between the program for low-income seniors and pet groups across the country, fewer people and pets are going hungry. After Meals on Wheels volunteers noticed a growing number of clients giving their food away to their furry friends, they started working with shelters and other pet groups to add free pet food to their meal deliveries. Those programs, relying on donations and volunteers, have continued to grow in popularity as seniors began eating better, staying healthier and worrying less about feeding their pets, one group said. SENT: 800 words, photos.

DUARTE SHOOTINGS

DUARTE, Calif. — A 16-year-old boy has been shot to death in the eastern Los Angeles County city of Duarte — possibly the latest casualty of gang attacks there, authorities said Tuesday. Christopher Rossi's body was found about 11:45 p.m. Monday behind the apartment complex where he lived with his family. Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies say he was associated with a local gang and the attack may have been related to feuding between black and Hispanic gangs in the suburban city. SENT: 200 words.

Also:

— WARM CALIFORNIA — 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. With photos.

— BIG SUR FIRE — All the roughly 100 residents forced to evacuate during a wildfire in central California's Big Sur region have now been allowed back into their homes, officials said.

— FATAL STABBLING-ACQUITTAL — 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.

— REAL ESTATE FRAUD SCHEME — Two of the founders of S3 Partners have been convicted in a $21 million real estate investment fraud scheme.

— GIRLFRIEND-BACKYARD BURIAL — Los Angeles County sheriff's officials say a man has been arrested for investigation of killing his girlfriend, who was found buried in a Compton backyard.

ENTERTAINMENT:

OBIT-LAWSON

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Studio drummer Ricky Lawson, a collaborator with musicians including Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins and Whitney Houston, has died at a suburban Los Angeles hospital following a brain aneurism. He was 59. Lawson's uncle, Paul Riser of Detroit, said Tuesday that Lawson was removed from life support 10 days after the aneurism diagnosis. SENT: 230 words, photos.

SPORTS:

BKN--NBA ON CHRISTMAS

NEW YORK — If the NBA had a Christmas wish, it might be for a different holiday schedule. Bad luck and bad play have weakened this season's five-game slate, which doesn't have Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose, or either of the league's two winningest teams, but does include losing squads such as Brooklyn and New York. By Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney. 700 words, photos by 3 p.m.

FBN--PLAYOFF-BOUND 49ERS

SAN FRANCISCO — For everyone who figured the San Francisco 49ers would stumble after reaching the Super Bowl, the reigning NFC champions have overcome a pair of two-game skids and are headed back to the playoffs with plenty of momentum — and still with a chance at another NFC West crown if all goes right in Week 17. By Janie McCauley. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 4 p.m.

FBN--RAIDERS-PRYOR

ALAMEDA, Calif. — Terrelle Pryor gets another shot to start at quarterback for the Oakland Raiders when he replaces Matt McGloin in the season finale against Denver. By Josh Dubow. UPCOMING: 700 words by 4 p.m.

BBN--DODGERS SIGNINGS

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers bolstered their bullpen on Tuesday, announcing deals with J.P. Howell, Chris Perez and Jamey Wright. They also brought back third baseman Juan Uribe. Howell returns to Los Angeles for a two-year contract that includes a third-year vesting option. He held opponents to a .193 batting average last season and had a 2.03 ERA, both career bests. SENT: 460 words.

See also:

—CALIFORNIA NEWS DIGEST, which moves weekdays at 1 p.m.

—CALIFORNIA NEWS DIGEST, ADD, which moves weekdays at 4 p.m.

—NEVADA NEWS DIGEST, which moves daily at 1:30 p.m.

Technical problems may be reported to 213-626-5833 in Los Angeles or 415-495-1124 in San Francisco.

Send Southern California stories by electronic carbon, fax 213-346-0200 or email losangeles@ap.org. Send Northern California stories by electronic carbon, fax 415-495-4967 or email sanfrancisco@ap.org.