COLD SNAP-WINTER CROPS
Calif. citrus growers toil to fight freeze
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - Plummeting temperatures have California's citrus growers running wind machines and employing other grove-warming techniques, as the industry braces for days of cold weather.
Officials say temperatures in the citrus-rich San Joaquin Valley dropped to the low 20s Wednesday night, but it was too early to tell whether there was any crop damage. The forecast predicts a similar temperature dip into the low 20s early Friday.
California Farm Bureau Federation spokesman Dave Kranz says any damage to mandarin oranges, tangerines and navel oranges may not be known for weeks.
To protect the $2 billion citrus crop, farmers pump water into groves, which warms the ground. Wind machines circulate the warm air rising from the ground.
Alyssa Houtby of California Citrus Mutual, an industry association, says Valley mandarin farmers spent about $1.7 million overnight on frost protection.
Man linked to drug cartel faces Calif. sentencing
SAN DIEGO (AP) - A man linked to a Mexican drug cartel will be sentenced Friday in San Diego after pleading guilty to attempted murder in a plot to kill a couple in Southern California.
Prosecutors say Jorge Sillas was working for the Arellano Felix cartel, one of Mexico's oldest drug trafficking organizations. Authorities say his older brother, Juan, was one of Tijuana's most violent hit men when he was arrested in 2011.
Juan Sillas has not been charged in the murder-for-hire case, but the criminal complaint says he offered to pay $50,000 for the killings. The plot was foiled when authorities raided the home of Jorge Sillas in Palmdale in February 2011.
3 arrested for alleged rape of 2 girls in Richmond
RICHMOND, Calif. (AP) - Three teenage boys have been arrested after allegedly getting two girls drunk and raping them at a Richmond park.
The Contra Costa Times reports the suspects, a 15-year-old and two 17-year-old boys, were arrested Wednesday and booked for investigation of rape and conspiracy.
Authorities say the attacks occurred Nov. 29 when the three boys and two girls, ages 14 and 17, were in a picnic area. The boys allegedly plied the girls with enough alcohol for them to pass out. The victims woke up the next day and told investigators they had been sexually assaulted.
Two men were given lengthy prison sentences in October for the 2009 gang rape of a 16-year-old girl outside a Richmond High School dance.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA MAYOR
Pot clinic owner now mayor of California city
SEBASTOPOL, Calif. (AP) - A medical marijuana dispensary owner is riding high after being named mayor of a Northern California city.
Sebastopol's City Council selected 36-year-old Robert Jacob as mayor earlier this week. Jacob runs two pot clinics in Sonoma County and officials believe he's the first dispensary owner in the nation to serve as a mayor.
Jacob has been on the City Council for two years, and most recently was vice mayor. He's worked to create statewide dispensary regulations.
Americans for Safe Access, which advocates for safe and legal access to therapeutic cannabis, called Jacob's selection as mayor historic and unprecedented.
Apple guides shoppers inside stores with iBeacon
NEW YORK (AP) - GPS will tell you how to get to the nearest Apple store. With iBeacon, Apple hopes to guide you around once you're inside.
On Friday, Apple Inc. will begin using the technology at its 254 U.S. stores to send you messages tailored to where you are inside, provided you have downloaded the Apple Store app and have given Apple permission to track you.
The company demonstrated the technology to The Associated Press in New York this week.
One day, commuters might get information on subway delays as they stand on the platform, while museum visitors might get details on the painting they are standing in front of.
In-store location technology does raise privacy concerns, though many shoppers have shown a willingness to be tracked for discounts.
Could it be the year newcomers dominate Grammys?
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Not a lot of fans knew who Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Lorde were a year ago when Grammy Awards nominations were announced.
Yet thanks to a series of inescapable and smart hits, these upstarts could very well muscle Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift and other Grammy favorites out of the way when nominees are announced Friday night in a televised special airing live from Los Angeles on CBS.
Lorde's hit "Royals" and Macklemore's run of "Thrift Shop" and "Same Love" dominated all but a few songs for attention this year, and each carried a progressive message in a pop music world obsessed with swag and navel gazing - something The Recording Academy's voters tend to award.
The Grammy Awards will be presented Jan. 26.
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