Latest Northern California news, sports, business and entertainment

TONSILLECTOMY-BRAIN DEAD GIRL

Family of brain-dead Calif. girl weighs aid offers

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Relatives of a 13-year-old Northern California girl who was declared brain dead after complications from a tonsillectomy are debating whether to accept offers from nursing homes and other groups that have proposed moving the child so she can be kept on life support.

The lawyer for Jahi McMath's family, Christopher Dolan, told the Oakland Tribune on Thursday that a religious group with a facility in New York is among the organizations that have offered to care for the girl.

Dolan says the family is also discussing if it should accept the opinions of doctors who say Jahi has no chance of recovering, or if it should appeal a judge's decision that will allow Children's Hospital Oakland to remove her from the ventilator that is keeping her body functioning.

CHILD ORGAN DONOR

Girl who died on Christmas Eve becomes organ donor

(Information in the following story is from: The Modesto Bee, http://www.modbee.com)

DAVIS, Calif. (AP) — Amid the unspeakable grief of losing a child on Christmas Eve, a Central California couple has made the decision to donate their daughter's organs so other parents can avoid the kind of pain they are experiencing.

Manteca resident Tony Izzo tells The Modesto Bee that doctors at UC Davis Medical Center on Thursday were harvesting the heart and other organs from the body of his 9-year-old daughter, Mariah.

The girl suffered catastrophic brain injuries on Monday while riding in a small SUV being driven by her aunt. A larger SUV slammed into the vehicle while it was stopped at a red light.

Mariah was pronounced dead at 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

Her father says her organs will go to at least five other people. He says Mariah is his little hero.

BIZARRE CHRISTMAS EVE ATTACK

Calif. man arrested in bizarre Xmas Eve attack

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — A Northern California man has been arrested on suspicion of attacking his roommate on Christmas Eve and threatening to eat her before killing her dog.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office said Thursday that deputies were dispatched to a Santa Rosa home at about 6:30 on Dec. 24 to investigate a report of a disturbance. When they arrived, the victim said her roommate, 35-year-old Alan Evans, had grabbed her head, pulled her hair and slapped her before threatening to kill and "eat her." She then ran to a neighbor's house where she called authorities.

Deputies found the victim's dog — stabbed to death — under Evans's vehicle.

Evans was booked for assault with a deadly weapon, battery, terrorist threats and cruelty to an animal. His bail has been set at $250,000.

CALIFORNIA WATER

Interest payments boost Delta plans cost estimate

(Information in the following story is from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, http://www.mercurynews.com)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — New figures that factor in long-term financing costs have more than doubled the estimated $25 billion price tag of a plan to restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

At the heart of the Delta plan are two underground tunnels that would replace the delta's current pumping system that endangers fish and other wildlife. State officials have pegged the entire project's cost, including the tunnels, at $25 billion.

But the San Jose Mercury News reports that when interest payments on bonds to finance the project are factored in, the estimated cost goes up to between $51 billion and $67 billion.

The figures were presented at a meeting of a Central Valley water district last month. The Mercury News says their accuracy was confirmed by the state Department of Water Resources.

TRANSGENDER STUDENT LAW

Calif. schools prepare for transgender rights law

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A new law that spells out the rights of transgender students in kindergarten through 12th grade is set to take effect in California on Jan. 1. To get ready, school districts are reviewing locker room layouts, scheduling sensitivity training for staff and reconsidering senior portrait dress codes.

But educators also are watching and waiting. The first-of-its-kind statute could end up suspended within days of its launch if a referendum to repeal it qualifies for the November ballot.

To obtain a public vote on the law, a coalition of conservative groups has collected hundreds of thousands of signatures. Counties have until Jan. 8 to verify them through spot-checking.

The secretary of state can approve the referendum, determine that it failed or order a review of every signature.

JACK LONDON TREE

Jack London tree won't come down as scheduled

(Information in the following story is from: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, http://www.pressdemocrat.com)

GLEN ELLEN, Calif. (AP) — A tree in Sonoma County that provided shade and inspiration to writer and adventurer Jack London is getting a reprieve from its scheduled removal.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley said this month that the oak tree, though suffering from a fungal disease, is healthy enough to continue standing for another two to 10 years. The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa reports that it was scheduled to come down in November because of concerns that one of its branches could fall and damage London's nearby cottage or injure someone.

The 50-foot tall, 350- to 400-year-old tree sits on a ranch site in Glen Ellen that served as London's home from 1905 until his death in 1916. It is now a state park.