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NEWS FROM ACROSS CALIFORNIA

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POSTED March 21, 2014 8:17 p.m.

• SAN JOSE HOMELESS ENCAMPMENT SPARKS COMPLAINT: SAN JOSE (AP) — A California wildlife warden says the city of San Jose has shown no urgency in removing a homeless encampment that pollutes a nearby creek with everything from shopping carts to excrement.

State Department of Fish and Wildlife Lt. Byron Jones said pollution from the encampment gets into Coyote Creek, threatening fish and human health. He complained to the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board on Wednesday.

City, county and water district authorities have struggled for years to clear encampments around the city.

San Jose communications director David Vossbrink said the complaint complicates that challenge.

 

• 2 DEAD, 1 INJURED IN CENTRAL CALIFORNIA SHOOTING: WINTON (AP) — Sheriff’s officials in Central California say two men were killed and a third wounded in a shooting inside the garage of a home.

Merced County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the home in Winton, a community just north of Merced, around 10 p.m. Thursday.

It appears one or more people walked up to the garage and opened fire. The three victims were hanging out there with the garage door open.

Two of them were killed. The third ran from the scene and was found inside the home suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

He was airlifted to a hospital, though his condition was not known.

 

• 2 MEN CHARGED WITH DEFRAUDING 20,000 CARD HOLDERS: SACRAMENTO (AP) — Two California men were charged with swindling more than 20,000 American Express Card holders.

The U.S. Attorney in Sacramento announced Friday that 33-year-old Mihran Melkonyan and 39-year-old Androuslan Akhmerov were each charged with 23 counts of felony mail faud.

The two are accused of establishing a fictitious business that appeared legitimate to siphon off small charges in the range of $15 to $30 from each of their alleged victims. Investigators said the pair are accused of keeping the charges low so customers wouldn’t notice them and notify authorities.

Akhmerov of Los Angeles was arrested on March 5 and is free on bail. Melkonyan of Sacramento remains at large.

 

• 3 CHILDREN STARVING, 1 CHAINED TO FLOOR: SALINAS. (AP) — Three starving children — including one who was chained to the floor to prevent her from getting food — were found last month in the squalid home of a Northern California couple, authorities said.

All three — two boys and a girl — were taken into protective custody, and one was hospitalized, Monterey County Sheriff Scott Miller said Friday.

Authorities discovered them in the Salinas home on March 14 after two of the young people missed appointments, according to several published reports.

“It was a particularly heinous case,” Miller told the Monterey Herald. The children had “hardly eaten for months.”

The boys are 3 and 5 years old, and the girl is 8, authorities said, and they all exhibited bruises and signs of other physical as well as emotional abuse.

The girl, who appeared to have suffered the most extreme abuse, was chained to the floor to prevent her from getting any food, they said.

“It seems that the little girl was the major target of this abuse,” Miller continued, adding that she looked “like a concentration camp victim.”

 

• 5 CALIFORNIA HARBORS PLAN FOR FUTURE TSUNAMIS: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Five California harbors are preparing for future tsunamis under a new state project that arms them with maps that identify potential problem areas.

Officials with the California Geological Survey said Friday the participating harbors include San Diego, Los Angeles/Long Beach, Ventura, Santa Cruz and Crescent City. There are also plans to expand the mapping to the more than 100 marinas and harbors.

The maps take into account tsunamis of different strengths and sources, allowing harbor managers to draw up emergency plans to get vessels to safety.

Next week is the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Alaska earthquake. A magnitude-9.2 quake in Alaska triggered tsunami waves that killed 12 people in Northern California.

 

• SAN FRANCISCO PATIENT RECORDS TAKEN WITH COMPUTERS: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco health officials say personal information about 55,900 patients seen at the city’s public hospitals and clinics was stored on computers stolen last month from the Southern California offices of a billing contractor.

Director of Health Barbara Garcia said Friday that the computers taken from Sutherland Healthcare Solutions in Torrance on Feb. 5 contained names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, billing information and when and where the patients were treated.

The city started notifying people about the compromised records this week. Garcia says officials do not have any evidence indicating that the information has been used improperly.

Los Angeles County officials reported earlier this month that records identifying about 169,000 of its medical patients also were stolen during the break-in.

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