Mont. man gets 3 years for guns in Calif. airport
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A federal judge has sentenced a Montana man to three years in prison for trying to board a flight in Sacramento, Calif., with four loaded guns.
Harold E. Waller of Circle, Mont., was arrested in March 2012 as he attempted to pass through security screening with a loaded 9 mm handgun in a shoulder holster. Screeners also found guns and ammunition in his three carry-on bags.
The judge issued a stiffer sentence than federal guidelines called for, saying Waller downplayed his actions and characterized them as a mistake.
The 46-year-old's mother, Helen Waller, previously told The Associated Press her son was being treated for depression at a Sacramento clinic before he bought a one-way ticket to Alaska.
He pleaded guilty to attempting to board an aircraft with a concealed weapon.
Brown defends California's business climate
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Gov. Jerry Brown is acting as California's cheerleader-in-chief, countering the state's anti-business reputation in an address to hundreds of business, agriculture and education leaders.
The Democratic governor spoke to an annual gathering in the state capital hosted by the California Chamber of Commerce.
He credited the tax hikes voters approved last fall and an improving economy for helping to end a decade of state budget deficits.
Brown acknowledged that California is often criticized for having an unfriendly business climate but said the state also fosters a creative and entrepreneurial spirit that has helped produce a $2 trillion-a-year economy.
The governor pledged to limit government spending while focusing on longstanding issues such as education funding, prison overcrowding and protecting the water supply.
Man facing up to life over mistaken affair killing
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP) - San Mateo County prosecutors say a 23-year-old man is expected to be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the fatal stabbing of an acquaintance on the campus of a Milbrae high school because he thought the man was having an affair with his wife.
Prosecutors say Laungatasi Ahio pleaded no contest to first-degree murder for the killing of 19-year-old Jared Afu near the tennis courts of Mills High School in August of 2010.
Officials had determined during the investigation that Ahio believed that Afu was having an affair with his wife. But San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told The San Francisco Chronicle that "there was no such affair."
Wagstaffe told the newspaper that by entering a no-contest plea, Ahio avoided a sentence that would have required life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Ahio is scheduled to be sentenced July 11.
OAKLAND TEENAGE GIRLS SLAYING
Details in Oakland teen slayings revealed
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - A witness says the fatal shootings of 2 teenage girls on a street in Oakland last year was sparked by a dispute over a relationship.
The Oakland Tribune reports the 16-year-old witness testified at a preliminary hearing on Tuesday for two men facing charges in the November shooting deaths of 15-year-old Raquel Gerstel and 16-year-old Bobbie Sartain. The testimony marked the first public explanation of the circumstances that led up to the shooting of the girls, whose deaths left neighbors shaken.
The witness said Sartain slapped 1 of the defendants, 18-year-old Diantay Powell, after Powell said his girlfriend was coming to join them.
Powell allegedly slapped Sartain back, prompting Gerstel to come to her defense. According to the witness, Powell then fatally shot Gerstel and Sartain.
The other defendant is 19-year-old Antonio Edwards.
Complaints filed against 4 colleges over rapes
NEW YORK (AP) - Women's-rights attorney Gloria Allred says federal complaints have been filed against four U.S. colleges over how the colleges handle rape allegations.
Allred joined students from the colleges in New York City to announce the filing of complaints against Swarthmore College, Dartmouth College, the University of Southern California and the University of California at Berkeley.
She said some of the complaints filed were Title IX complaints alleging a hostile environment for women. Other complaints charged the colleges with violating the federal Clery Act, which requires accurate reporting of campus crimes.
Complaints were filed earlier against Occidental College in southern California and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Representatives for Dartmouth, Swarthmore, USC and UC Berkeley said they hadn't seen the complaint and could not comment on the specifics.
CAL STATE PRESIDENTS
Cal State trustees appoint 5 campus presidents
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - 5 of the California State University's 23 campuses are getting new leaders.
The university's Board of Trustees announced that it had approved a round of presidential appointments. 3 of the positions were filled by administrators who have held the posts on an interim basis since last year, while two went to officials working at different campuses from the ones where they will hold the top jobs.
The schools getting fresh faces are 2 of the system's biggest - Cal State Los Angeles, which enrolled nearly 22,000 students in the fall, and Cal State Fresno, which has nearly 23,000.
William Covino, Fresno State's vice-president for academic affairs, was picked to run Cal State Los Angeles.
A vice chancellor at UC San Francisco, Joseph Castro, was selected to lead Fresno State.
Ex-South Tahoe cop guilty of witness tampering
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (AP) - A former South Lake Tahoe police officer faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to multiple counts of witness tampering and obstruction.
U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said that 44-year-old John Poland entered his plea after admitting to interfering with a federal investigation of a gang member at Lake Tahoe.
A grand jury indictment said he persuaded the gang member's girlfriend to conceal and destroy evidence in June 2011. A few months later, Wagner says Poland tampered with that witness in an investigation into his own conduct as well as that of the gang member.
Poland is scheduled to be sentenced in U.S. District Court in Sacramento Aug. 7.
In addition to the prison term, he faces up to a $250,000 fine and three year's supervised release.
Calif. postal worker sentenced in mail theft
SAN CARLOS, Calif. (AP) - A San Francisco Bay area postal worker accused of stealing thousands of pieces of mail to obtain credit cards has been sentenced to 18 months in jail.
Attorneys tell the San Mateo County Times that 39-year-old Romeo Natan has credit for about 10 months in jail and will likely serve the rest of his sentence in a residential drug treatment program. He was sentenced on Tuesday.
Natan pleaded no contest in January to one felony count each of identity theft, fraud and burglary. Attorneys say he targeted credit cards and mail going through San Carlos to feed a methamphetamine habit.
A telegram from 1938 was among the thousands of pieces of mail Natan was caught with. A Daly City police detective helped get the telegram to its rightful owners.
Driver impaled by metal rod in Northern Calif.
LIVERMORE, Calif. (AP) - The California Highway Patrol is looking for witnesses, as it investigates the death of a man who was impaled by a metal rod while driving on Interstate 580 around Livermore.
The incident occurred around 8:11 a.m. The CHP says the 2 to 3-foot long rod went through the windshield of the westbound Volvo station wagon, penetrating the driver's upper torso and head area. The driver - identified only as a 33-year-old Sacramento County resident - crashed into an embankment. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
CHP officials say the rod was about an inch or 2 in diameter and may have come off a truck. They are doubtful, however, that they will find the vehicle without help from a witness since the bar had no markings or company name.
6 plead not guilty in SF school embezzlement case
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Six current and former San Francisco school district employees have pleaded not guilty to charges that they embezzled $15 million in grant money from the school system.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the six women entered the pleas on Tuesday during their first court appearance.
Prosecutors say they diverted federal and state grant money into hidden slush fund accounts. Nearly $750,000 was allegedly used for personal expenses and unauthorized salaries and bonuses. Prosecutors say much of the remainder went toward educational purposes, but not for what was specifically intended.
The defendants are Trish Bascom, Linda Lovelace, Meyla Ruwin, Lilian Capuli, Mychel Navales, and Betty Wong. Bascom was an associate superintendent. The other women were part of her management team.
Deputy crash costs Santa Clara County $5M
(Information in the following story is from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, http://www.mercurynews.com)
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Santa Clara County is on the hook for a $5 million settlement in a crash involving a sheriff's deputy who allegedly took his eyes off the road while eating a McDonald's hamburger.
The San Jose Mercury News reported on Tuesday that Deputy Greg Markovic smashed into Diem Van Lam's Honda in January, leaving Van Lam with injuries including broken ribs and a skull fracture.
Authorities say Markovic became distracted after biting into the hamburger and putting it down. He allegedly reached for his radio microphone, but fumbled, turning on his rear amber warning lights accidentally.
Police and sheriff's reports say he crashed into Lam while looking down to turn the lights off.
Lam's attorney, Michael Shea Jr., says the county is self-insured for the first $2 million. Its insurance company covers the rest.
New rules to help keep mercury from landfills
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - New California rules will require the makers of new thermostats to do a better job of keeping old ones containing the neurotoxin mercury out of landfills.
Since 2006 it has been against state law to sell mercury thermostats in California, but millions of old ones are still in use. Tens of thousands of them are replaced every year.
The rules issued by the state Department of Toxic Substances Control will require manufacturers to collect and recycle an increasing number of the thermostats annually. By 2017, 75% will have to be diverted away from landfills.
The rules are intended to bolster the 2008 Mercury Thermostat Collection Act, which required manufacturers to operate a collection and recycling program.
The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that recycling will keep 2 million tons of mercury out of landfills.
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