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KPAY News Archives for 2014-02

A woman is nearly shot and is bitten in a domestic dispute


A woman is nearly shot and is bitten in a domestic dispute. 32-year-old Camille Cromeenes entered her ex-girlfriend's home on Pinecrest Road Wednesday to cronfront her. According to the Butte County Sheriff's Office, Cromeenes had a handgun and fired a shot into the wall near to her ex. She tried to fire it again but the gun jammed and her ex then fought with her. During the fight Cromeenes bit her ex's leg. Cromeenes was arrested and booked into the Butte County Jail.   

A strong Pacific storm has brought rain and snow to much of California


LOS ANGELES (AP) — A strong Pacific storm has brought rain and snow to much of California but so far no major problems have been reported. There have been numerous traffic accidents early Friday, but mudslides have not materialized in Southern California suburbs below fire-scarred hillsides. About 1,000 homes in the cities of Glendora and Azusa were ordered evacuated Thursday in advance of the storm. Rain is also reported up through the central coast counties, in the San Francisco Bay region and in the Central Valley. Winter storm warnings are in effect in the Sierra Nevada for heavy snowfall. The storm is expected to last into Saturday.

An anonymous tip leads to the arrest of an alleged shooter


An anonymous tip leads to the arrest of a man allegedly involved in a Chico shooting earlier this month. 18 year old Andrew Morales was reportedly arrested by the Butte County Sheriff's Office Wednesday noon on a tip to Chico Police. He's implicated in the gang related shooting on Balboa Court in North Chico on February 14th. Anyone with more information is urged to call the Butte County Sheriff's Office. 

Shooting spree at an Alturas American Indian tribal headquarters


(AP) - Police say four people are dead and two others are wounded in a shooting Thursday inside an American Indian tribal headquarters in Northern California. Alturas Police Chief Ken Barnes says that 44-year-old Sherrie Rhoades is in custody in Modoc County Jail after allegedly opening fire around 3:30 p.m. at the Cedarville Rancheria Tribal Office and Community Center. Barnes says in a report carried by KRCR-TV that the four dead included a 19-year-old woman, a 30-year-old man, a 45-year-old woman and a 50-year-old man. The police chief says one of the victims is the tribe's leader. According to Barnes, members were holding a meeting on evicting Rhoades and her son from the Rancheria, which, according to its website, is a federally recognized tribe with 35 members. The station said that after running out of ammunition, Rhoades grabbed a butcher knife and stabbed another person.
The two wounded people are being treated at a local hospital.

Allegations that a California slaughterhouse engaged in "circumvention" of federal inspection rules


PETALUMA, Calif. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is alleging that a California slaughterhouse engaged in "circumvention" of federal inspection rules — a charge strongly denied by one of the facility's owners.
The USDA issued a short statement Thursday on the ongoing investigation into Petaluma-based Rancho Feeding Corp., which voluntarily halted operations this month following a recall of more than 8.7 million pounds of beef products that it processed. The facility is accused of processing diseased and unhealthy animals without a full federal inspection.The Santa Rosa Press Democrat says the document from the department's Food Safety and Inspection Service suggests a distinction between an accidental breach in slaughterhouse protocol and intentional wrongdoing. Rancho co-owner Robert Singleton insists the plant consistently slaughtered animals in accordance with the USDA's rules. The USDA inspector general is conducting a separate investigation into the plant.

Seasonal trout stocking of western Nevada waterways to be move up due to drought


RENO, Nev. (AP) — Nevada wildlife officials say severe drought conditions prompted them to move up seasonal trout stocking of the Truckee River and other western Nevada waterways to the earliest time in 20 years.

Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman Chris Healy says they'll begin releasing the first of 35,000 trout into the Truckee River Thursday morning at Fisherman's Park just east of downtown Reno. NDOW biologist Kim Tisdale says it's four to six weeks earlier than usual but is necessary to make sure there's still enough water in the river to support the fish before flows are expected to dwindle early this summer. Tisdale says if they don't act now, they'll end up with a hatchery full of fish and nowhere to put them.

Owner of Chico's School of Rock is accused of performing a lewd act in front of a teen


The Owner of Chico's School of Rock is accused of performing a lewd act in front of one of his former students. The Butte County Sheriff's office says 45-year-old Sid Lewis hired a 17-year-old girl to do some work around his house. She claims she was working at his home in when she looked up and saw Lewis Masturbating while looking at her. She says she looked away but then looked back and he was still doing it. Lewis was arrested but has been released on bail. He also faces assault charges stemming from a seperate alledged incident. That trial starts in May. 

State lawmakers are pledging to help drought-stricken communities


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown and the top Democratic lawmakers are proposing to spend $687 million to help drought-stricken communities throughout California, including $15 million for those with dangerously low drinking water supplies.The governor announced the legislative proposal during a news conference Wednesday, describing it as "a call to action" as the nation's most populous state deals with one of the driest periods on record. Most of the money — $549 million — will come in the form of accelerated spending from two bonds approved previously by voters. It will go toward local water conservation and recycling efforts, such as systems to capture stormwater and recharge groundwater supplies. $25.3 million from the general fund will provide food assistance in communities affected by the drought.The proposal, which now goes to lawmakers for consideration, does not address long-term improvements to California's water supply and distribution system.

Feds have agreed to pay a family of a 9-year-old boy who died at Lassen Volcanic Park


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The federal government has agreed to pay $3.5 million to the family of a 9-year-old boy crushed to death by a retaining wall at a national park in Northern California. The Sacramento Bee reports a federal judge stripped the government of its defenses following findings that the supervisor of Lassen Volcanic Park knew the wall was dangerous yet didn't fix it. Tommy Bottell was killed during a 2009 outing.

Two CHP officers killed when their squad car crashed


KINGSBURG, Calif. (AP) — The CHP says two officers killed when their squad car crashed in Fresno County yesterday were good friends and partners who trained together. Patrol officials say Officers Brian Law and Juan Gonzalez were responding to a multi-vehicle crash when they swerved the patrol car to avoid a person in the road and lost control of the vehicle.

California officials blow up explosive-laden home


REDDING, Calif. (AP) — Sheriff's deputies in far Northern California are burning down a mobile home where more than 60 pounds of highly volatile explosive material was found, forcing dozens of residents to evacuate the area.

Shasta County sheriff's officials consulted with water and air quality officials before proceeding with the incineration midday Sunday. Emergency personnel and hazmat teams were standing by. Sheriff's Lt. Dave Kent says the mandatory evacuations around the Redding home began last week and were expanded on Friday, bringing the total to about 55 homes under evacuation orders. Kent says the materials in the house are too unstable for deputies to even walk on the property without risking a blast. They were discovered Feb. 6 after authorities responded to an explosion at the home that took off a man's hand.

CA health dept. deems Mexican cactus a health risk


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California health officials are warning people not to eat cactus sold in several stores around the state because of the presence of unapproved pesticides. The state Department of Public Health said Sunday that a recent inspection of cactus imported from Mexico found traces of Monocrotophos, a pesticide that has been barred from use in the United States since 1989. Consumption of the pesticide can lead to neurotoxicity and permanent nerve damage. The department is urging anyone who bought the contaminated product at the following stores between Feb. 6 and 12 to return it or get rid of it. The cactus was sold at: La Superior SuperMercados in Sacramento, Stockton, Woodland and Pittsburg; Mercado del Valle in Concord; and La Sucursal Produce, Fresh American Produce and J&L Produce in Los Angeles.

California officials warn of measles exposure


BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco Bay Area officials say a University of California, Berkeley, student infected with measles could have exposed thousands of others by attending classes and riding public transit.

Public health officials said Thursday they confirmed that the student in his 20s was not vaccinated, and was likely infected with measles during a recent trip abroad. The student attended classes in Berkeley and took BART trains last week, possibly exposing thousands before his diagnosis. Health officials say people who have had measles before, or who are vaccinated, are unlikely to be infected even if they have contact with the contagious person. Those without a vaccination are at risk of catching the disease if exposed to the virus.

Officials say those showing measles symptoms should contact their health care provider immediately.

California bill seeks warnings on sugary drinks


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California would become the first state to require warning labels on sodas and other sugary drinks under a proposal in the state Legislature. Democratic Sen. William Monning has the support of several medical groups for the bill he announced Thursday. It would require the warning on the front of beverage containers with added sweeteners that have 75 or more calories in every 12 ounces. The label would say that drinking beverages with added sugar contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay. A similar bill introduced last year in Vermont is stuck in a committee. Monning says there's overwhelming research showing the link between sugary drinks and health problems. The industry says drink bottles already are sufficiently labeled, with calorie counts, contents and nutritional information. It says most sugar comes from food.

Auditor: State park recommendations incomplete


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California's Bureau of State Audits says the Department of Parks and Recreation has not fully implemented 16 recommendations made in the wake of a department financial scandal. The former parks director resigned in 2012 after state auditors discovered $54 million hidden in special funds as the state was threatening to close 70 of its nearly 280 state parks. Last September, state Auditor Elaine Howle recommended 16 changes to improve the department's financial tracking. Her follow-up released Thursday says all those are pending or only partially complete. Parks spokeswoman Vicky Waters says the data in Thursday's report are outdated and that the agency is "on track to deliver on a number of the recommendations." That includes using individual budgets for each park and tracking their costs separately, as the audit recommends.

Court tosses California's concealed weapons rules


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A divided federal appeals court has struck down California's concealed weapons rules, saying they violate the Second Amendment right to bear arms. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Thursday that California is wrong to require applicants to show good cause to receive a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The court ruled that all law-abiding citizens are entitled to carry concealed weapons outside the home for self-defense purposes. The divided three-judge panel disagreed with two other federal appeals courts that have upheld permit rules similar to California's. The U.S. Supreme Court often takes cases when federal appeals courts issue conflicting rulings. The Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that law-abiding citizens can keep handguns in the home for self-defense purposes, but didn't address whether that right extends outside the home.

Butte County supervisors apporve tough pot growing laws


Butte County supervisors approve tough new marijuana growing laws. The supervisors unanimously voted for amendments to the county's existing cultivation ordinance that will limit the number of square-feet for marijuana gardens. The limits will go into effect 30 days after Tuesday's vote. According to the E-R, opponents already have the documents needed to launch a petition to get a referendum on the ballot. 

Rescuers try to reach hurt skiers after Ore. slide


GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Rescuers are hoping for a break in the weather to evacuate two injured backcountry skiers who survived an avalanche that killed two others in northeastern Oregon's Wallowa Mountains. Baker County Undersheriff Warren Thompson said Wednesday morning that two National Guard helicopters were flying to the site. He says there's no word on whether there's enough visibility for the helicopters to pick up the two injured skiers, who were bundled in rescue sleds after a cold and snowy night on the mountain. Four unhurt skiers were taken out by a snow cat, which couldn't reach the injured skiers on the steep slope. Most of the skiers were from the Seattle area. They were on a guided five-day trip with an outfitter from Joseph.

Ex-New Orleans mayor convicted of taking bribes


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal jury has convicted former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on charges that he accepted bribes, free trips and other gratuities from contractors in exchange for helping them secure millions of dollars in city work while he was in office. The jury on Wednesday convicted Nagin of 20 of 21 counts against him. Nagin was indicted in January 2013 on charges he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and truckloads of free granite for his family business in exchange for promoting the interests of a local businessman. He also was charged with accepting thousands of dollars in payoffs from another businessman for his help in securing city contracts. Before the verdict was read, Nagin said outside the courtroom that he's "been at peace with this for a long time. I'm good."

French leader visits Silicon Valley to talk tech


PARIS (AP) — France's president is heading to Silicon Valley, days after a French regulator hit Google with an embarrassing regulatory slap and after years of French efforts to wrest more taxes from tech companies.

Francois Hollande holds up the U.S. tech industry as an economic success that he hopes to replicate at home. But he's also been among the leaders of Europe's fight to prevent what the continent sees as a systematic attempt by tech firms to invade privacy and avoid paying their corporate fair share. The French leader was set to meet with tech kingpins including Google's Eric Schmidt, Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook and Twitter's Jack Dorsey. The West Coast swing Wednesday is part of Hollande's three-day state visit that included a gala dinner with President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

Sheriff: Bomb hazard leads to evacuations in Shasta Co.


REDDING, Calif. (AP) — Authorities have ordered the evacuation of 25 homes after bomb technicians found 40 pounds of explosives last week at the residence of a Northern California man. Shasta County sheriff's spokesman Lt. Dave Kent said that evacuations remain in effect for houses within 1,000 feet 9021 Chaparral Drive in Redding, Calif., but no residents are actually being forced to leave. The suspect, 63-year-old D. Ray East, is a hobbyist rocket builder and blew off his own hand in an explosion Thursday. He is recovering from his injuries at a local hospital. Sheriff Tom Bosenko said Saturday that the explosives are so dangerous that a light touch could cause them to detonate. Kent said the sheriff's office is working with other agencies to neutralize the explosives but that there is no estimate for when the situation might be resolved.

California seeks appellate hearing on high-speed rail


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown's administration is asking the 3rd District Court of Appeal to intervene in rulings that have slowed progress on building the nation's first high-speed rail system. In a filing yesterday, the administration asks the state appellate court to overturn a Sacramento County Superior Court judge's rulings in a lawsuit filed by Kings County farmers and landowners. Judge Michael Kenny ordered the California High-Speed Rail Authority to draft a new funding plan and blocked the sale of $8.6 billion in bonds. The filing says "the stakes are high and the risks are great" if the ruling stands. Finance officials also are worried the ruling could set a precedent for other bonds. Opponents filed their brief to the court last week. The judges now will consider whether to hear it.

US suspect possibly targeted for drone attack


WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials say the Obama administration is debating whether to kill by drone an American suspected of working with al-Qaida in planning attacks against Americans overseas and how to do so legally under its new, stricter targeting policy. Four U.S. officials say the American suspected terrorist is in a country that prohibits U.S. military action on its soil. President Barack Obama's new policy says only the military, not the CIA, can kill American terror suspects overseas, creating a policy conundrum for the White House. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. The Justice Department is also required to show that killing an American citizen through military action is "legal and constitutional" because he is considered an enemy combatant.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg biggest giver in 2013


SEATTLE (AP) — Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, were the most generous American philanthropists in 2013. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy's annual list of the 50 top philanthropists, Zuckerberg and Chan topped the list with a donation of 18 million shares of Facebook stock, valued at more than $970 million, to a Silicon Valley nonprofit in December. The top 50 donors made donations last year totaling $7.7 billion, plus pledges of $2.9 billion. The Chronicle's editor says the most significant fact from the list was the amount of money coming from living donors, which totaled about the same amount as the two previous years combined. She says that's a sure sign the economy is getting better.


 

US employers add 113K jobs; rate dips to 6.6 pct.


WASHINGTON (AP) — Hiring was surprisingly weak in January for the second straight month, likely renewing concern that the U.S. economy might be slowing after a strong finish last year. The Labor Department says employers added 113,000 jobs, less than the average monthly gain of 194,000 in 2013. This follows December's tepid increase of just 75,000. Job gains have averaged only 154,000 the past three months, down from 201,000 in the preceding three months. Still, more people began looking for work in January, and some of the jobless were hired, reducing the unemployment rate to 6.6 percent. That's the lowest since October 2008. Cold weather likely held back hiring in December, economists said, but the impact faded in January. Construction firms, which sometimes stop work in bad weather, added 48,000 jobs last month.

Heavy wind gusts expected with this weekend's wet weather


Reno, Nev. (AP) — As California gets much-needed rain, The National Weather Service has issued a high wind watch for much of the eastern front of the Sierra beginning this evening through Saturday morning. The Weather Service says wind gusts could be as strong as 80 mph in wind-prone areas and more than 100 mph over the mountain ridges. Locally, The National Weather Service says today's storm could bring winds up to 30 mph, and 45 mph through mid-Saturday.

Judge rules CalFire owes $30M in 2007 fire suit


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A Northern California judge has found the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection guilty of 'egregious and reprehensible' conduct in its response to the 2007 Moonlight Fire and ordered the agency to pay more than $30 million in penalties and legal fees. Retired Superior Court Judge Leslie C. Nichols said Tuesday that CalFire's efforts to pin the blame for the fire on the company Sierra Pacific were corrupt and tainted. Nichols said CalFire withheld documents for months, destroyed evidence and engaged in a campaign of misdirection with the purpose of recovering money from Sierra Pacific. The Sacramento Bee reports that the ruling is the latest twist in a legal battle that began soon after the fire erupted on Labor Day 2007, scorching more than 65,000 acres in Plumas and Lassen counties.

Brown urges pension fund to address rising costs


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown says longer life expectancies for government retirees will blow an even larger hole in California's unfunded pension liabilities and is criticizing inaction by the state's retirement system. The Democratic governor sent a letter yesterday to the board of the California Public Employees' Retirement System. In it, he urged board members to acknowledge the demographic changes immediately and phase in the costs over three years rather than waiting two years to take action, as CalPERS' staff recommends. Brown's letter did not suggest how the phase-in should be done but says two years of inaction will cost $3.7 billion over the next 20 years. The pension fund is $45 billion in the red. A CalPERS spokeswoman says life expectancy is one of many factors used in setting contribution rates.

Gubernatorial candidate Kashkari raises nearly $1M


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Former U.S. Treasury official Neel Kashkari is reporting that he has raised nearly $1 million during the first two weeks of his campaign for California governor. The $976,000 reported yesterday includes contributions from former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and his wife, Kashkari's parents and several bankers at Goldman Sachs, Kashkari's former employer. The report demonstrates Kashkari's ability to attract the kind of money that has been elusive for other Republican candidates, including state Assemblyman Tim Donnelly of Twin Peaks and former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, who dropped out last month amid lackluster fundraising. Donnelly reported raising $374,000 last year but had just $54,000 remaining. He has since collected another $55,000. Meanwhile, Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat and heavy favorite to win re-election, has nearly $17 million in the bank.

Target data breach pits banks against retailers


WASHINGTON (AP) — The finger-pointing is on between banks and big retailers in the wake of the Target data breach. At issue: Which industry bears more responsibility for protecting consumers? The retailers say banks must upgrade their credit card security technology. The banks say that wouldn't have helped in the Target breach and retailers need to tighten their card processing security.

Obama secures $750M in pledges to get kids online


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has secured commitments from U.S. companies worth about $750 million to get more students connected to high-speed Internet. AT&T, Sprint, Apple and Microsoft are among the companies pitching in. Obama is expected to announce the commitments today at a middle school in the Maryland suburbs near Washington. The Federal Communications Commission plans to devote $2 billion generated from service fees to connecting 20 million students. It's all part of Obama's goal to get 99 percent of American students connected within five years. The White House says Apple is pledging $100 million in iPads, computers and other tools. AT&T and Sprint are contributing free wireless service. And Microsoft is making Windows available at a discounted price and offering 12 million free copies of Microsoft Office software.

Hackers sue German government over NSA spying


BERLIN (AP) — A group of computer hackers and human rights campaigners in Germany say they are suing their government for allegedly breaking the law by aiding foreign spies. The Chaos Computer Club and the International League for Human Rights say they've submitted a criminal complaint today claiming that Chancellor Angela Merkel (AHN'-geh-lah MEHR'-kuhl) and her government tolerated spying and effectively even helped members of the U.S. National Security Agency and Britain's GCHQ to spy on German citizens. The groups point to documents released by NSA leaker Edward Snowden as evidence. In a statement they say the criminal complaint is meant to spark a "long-overdue investigation by federal prosecutors" into alleged lawbreaking by German officials and foreign spies. Federal prosecutors have been considering for months whether to open an investigation of alleged NSA activities.

School shootings continue despite safety emphasis


WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite increased security put in place after the rampage at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, there's been no real reduction in the number of U.S. school shootings. An Associated Press analysis finds there have been at least 11 school shootings this academic year alone, in addition to other cases of gun violence, in school parking lots and elsewhere on campus when classes were not in session. Experts say the rate of school shootings is statistically unchanged since the mid- to late-1990s, yet still remains troubling. "Lockdown" is now part of the school vocabulary. In Pennsylvania and New Mexico, Colorado and Tennessee, and elsewhere gunfire has echoed through school hallways, and killed students or their teachers.

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