Governor signs first California groundwater rules
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California will no longer be the only western state with a pump-as-you-please approach to groundwater.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday requiring local agencies with depleted supplies to begin managing their wells. The state can intervene if necessary.
The worst drought in a generation gave momentum to three bills by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson of Sacramento and Sen. Fran Pavley of Agoura Hills, both Democrats.
Groundwater makes up nearly 60 percent of the state's water use during dry years but is not monitored and managed the same way as water from reservoirs and rivers.
Over-pumping of groundwater has led vast swaths of land to sink.
Republicans and Central Valley Democrats criticized the legislation, saying it punishes well-managed agencies and infringes on water rights.
CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES UPDATE
Wildfire burns homes, 2 churches, in Northern California town
WEED, Calif. (AP) - Aided by calmer winds and another day of fire-retardant bomber sorties, firefighters are mopping up around a fire in the far Northern California town of Weed.
Fire crews had a handle on the 375-acre fire Tuesday morning after it showed little growth overnight. It is 20 percent contained.
More than 1,000 people were forced to flee their homes after the fire broke out Monday.
About 100 structures, most of them homes, were destroyed. Some homes were burned to the ground, with only chimneys left standing.
The town's Catholic and Presbyterian churches also burned. Parts of the town's wood-products mill caught fire.
Fires near Yosemite National Park in central California and another east of Sacramento also led hundreds of people to evacuate their homes.
San Francisco trying shaming for quake safety
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - San Francisco is trying shaming to make its buildings safer for shaking.
The city plans this week to slap large signs on hundreds of apartment buildings to publicly shame their owners into complying with an earthquake safety ordinance passed last year.
The Los Angeles Times reports Tuesday that the signs are printed in multiple languages with red lettering and a drawing of a destroyed building.
The signs read: "Earthquake warning! This building is in violation of the requirements of the San Francisco building code regarding earthquake safety."
The new law requires that wood-frame apartment buildings and hotels be evaluated for seismic safety.
Patrick Otellini, the city's director of earthquake safety, says he wanted something that attracted attention.
But salon owner Huy Le says the signs could cause unnecessary panic.
Australian mosquito appears in California
MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (AP) - Officials say an Australian mosquito has made what is believed to be its first U.S. appearance in the Los Angeles area.
Los Angeles County vector control officials said in a statement Tuesday that the mosquito that goes by the nickname Aussie Mozzie has been found in Monterey Park and nearby Montebello.
The mosquito can transmit the nonfatal Barmah Forest and Ross River viruses to humans, though neither has ever been reported in the county. It also can give heartworm to dogs.
The specimens were discovered during searches for the Asian tiger mosquito, which was first found in Southern California in 2011 and can carry more dangerous diseases.
Scientists at the University of Sydney helped identify the Aussie Mozzie with pictures.
Robbery suspects tried to make off with $15,600
STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) - Court documents indicate the suspects in a July bank robbery in Northern California stole $15,600 before two of them and a hostage died in a shootout with police.
The Record of Stockton reports the figure from the foiled robbery was included in documents released Monday.
The three suspects held up a Bank of the West branch in Stockton on July 16, taking three hostages. Two of the suspects and a hostage were killed following a chase.
Authorities say the surviving suspect, 19-year-old Jaime Ramos, was arrested after using the hostage as a human shield. He faces murder and attempted murder charges, and has yet to enter a plea.
Police on Monday announced the arrest of a 16-year-old who is accused of moving the robbers' intended getaway car. They also are looking to question a person who might have dropped off the suspects at the bank.
TEACHER ASSAULTED AT SCHOOL
Central California teacher attacked on campus
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - Police are trying to identify the man who attacked and robbed a Central Valley elementary school teacher working on campus over the weekend.
Fresno police Lt. Joe Gomez says the teacher was coming out of a bathroom at Teague Elementary School on Saturday evening when the attacker pushed her back inside and knocked her down.
Gomez tells KFSN-TV the man, who covered his face with a shirt, tied the teacher up and punched her in the face several times; he stole her ring and cellphone and threatened to hurt her even more.
School officials believe it was an isolated incident, but they have increased police patrols on campus as a precaution.
Police are reviewing surveillance video to try to identify the attacker.
TJ Maxx, Marshalls owner ordered to pay $2.8M
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - A judge has ordered the owner of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods to pay $2.8 million to settle allegations more than 280 of its stores in California improperly disposed of hazardous waste.
The order by a Monterey County judge against The TJX Companies, Inc. was announced Tuesday by 37 California district attorneys and city attorneys.
Prosecutors say state and county inspectors examined trash bins at the retailers' stores in California, and found more than 286 branches improperly disposed of batteries and other ignitable and toxic materials.
A call after hours to Massachusetts-based The TJX Companies was not answered.
Prosecutors say the company cooperated with the probe and has since introduced proper disposal policies at branches statewide.
Police seize meth from couple exiting Alaska ferry
(Information in the following story is from: Ketchikan (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.ketchikandailynews.com)
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) - A California man and his fiancee have been charged with trying to smuggle methamphetamine into Alaska.
The Ketchikan Daily News reports 52-year-old William Riggs and 55-year-old Lisa Soares were searched and taken into custody Sunday as they got off an Alaska state ferry. Both are from Winton, California.
Prosecutors say they were found with 52.7 grams of methamphetamine, worth $21,000 to $26,000 in the southeast Alaska community of Ketchikan.
Soares and Riggs boarded a ferry in Bellingham, Washington. Police in Ketchikan were waiting for them with a search warrant.
Police say they found small plastic bags containing methamphetamine in Soares' purse and bags, along with a digital scale, empty bags and used meth pipes. Officers found more small bags in Riggs' truck.
They were arraigned Monday, with bail set at $50,000.
BABY IN HOT CAR
California woman convicted in baby in car case
ATWATER, Calif. (AP) - A Central California mom accused of leaving her infant in a hot car while she went grocery shopping has been convicted of felony child endangerment.
The Merced Sun-Star reports that 26-year-old Amanda Sagmiller pleaded no contest to the charge on Monday.
Atwater police arrested Sagmiller on Aug. 5 after they say she left her 3-month-old son in the hot minivan. The temperature outside at the time was above 90 degrees.
Police say the boy was lethargic and covered in perspiration when officers found him.
He was treated at a hospital.
Sagmiller is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 31.
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