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NEWS FROM ACROSS CALIFORNIA

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POSTED March 20, 2014 8:33 p.m.

• OBAMA WILL SPEAK AT UC IRVINE GRADUATION CEREMONY:  IRVINE (AP) — President Barack Obama will speak at the University of California, Irvine, commencement in June after students and staff delivered thousands of postcards requesting him, officials said Thursday.

Obama is looking forward to delivering the address marking the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the campus by President Lyndon B. Johnson, said Keith Maley, a White House spokesman.

Obama will speak at a unified ceremony for undergraduates, graduate and professional schools on June 14 at Angel Stadium, campus officials said in a statement.

The school invited Obama last year and delivered approximately 10,000 postcards from students, faculty, staff and alumni to the White House earlier this month.

“We are thrilled that the President has accepted our invitation to deliver the keynote address at our commencement exercises this June,” UC Irvine Chancellor Michael V. Drake said in the statement.

The barren land that would eventually become the Orange County campus was dedicated by Johnson in June 1964. The school has more than 28,000 students.

 

• COURT UPHOLDS CALIFORNIA DNA SWABS OF ARRESTEES: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld California’s law requiring people arrested for felonies to submit samples of their DNA.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday said a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding a similar law in Maryland applies to California.

The American Civil Liberties Union objects to DNA collection because not all persons arrested are charged. The high court ruled in the Maryland case that taking a cheek swab for DNA was akin to fingerprinting all those who are arrested and was not overly intrusive.

The ACLU also argued that some California arrestees aren’t covered by the high court ruling because Maryland’s law is slightly different and covers only serious crimes. The 9th Circuit said that argument needs to be made before a trial court.

 

• LANCASTER MAYOR BLASTED FOR ‘GANG CANDIDATE’ CLAIM: LANCASTER AP) — The mayor of Lancaster is taking heat for labeling a black City Council hopeful a “gang candidate.”

Mayor R. Rex Parris told the Antelope Valley Press  Wednesday that he stands by remarks he made in the mailer, which backs two incumbents.

The mailer criticizes candidate Johnathon Ervin for helping organize a 2102 demonstration against the shooting of black Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

It says a demonstrator called local sheriff’s deputies “murderers and thugs” and also claims that if elected to the council, Ervin would pass on gang-fighting information to friends.

Ervin, an Air Force veteran and aerospace engineer with a secret clearance, said Thursday that he’s never been involved in gangs. He calls the mailer disgusting, dirty politics and says he’d like an apology.

 

• NAPA WORKER ALLEGEDLY STEALS $400,000 IN WINE: NAPA  (AP) — A Northern California man has been arrested on suspicion of stealing $400,000 worth of wine from the temperature-controlled warehouse where he worked.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports 31-year-old Jose Pina was taken into custody Tuesday.

Police investigated the theft as an inside job after about 350 cases of wine — or 4,200 bottles — went missing last week from the American Canyon warehouse in Napa County.

At least 55 cases were eventually found at a Solano County barn. Clues from there led investigators to Pina’s Vacaville apartment. There they found more of the stolen wine and $73,150 that they believe came from black-market wine sales.

Authorities say the warehouse stored bottles from several different area wineries.

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