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NEWS FROM ACROSS CALIFORNIA

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POSTED May 22, 2014 8:26 p.m.

• FARMERS SUE TO STOP LAKE WATER RELEASE: FRESNO (AP) — A group of Central California farmers have asked a judge to halt the release of water from behind a dam east of Fresno.

A lawsuit filed this week by the Friant Water Authority, representing 15,000 East San Joaquin Valley farmers, seeks a temporary restraining order against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Bureau officials announced Tuesday that California’s lingering drought has forced them to tap water behind Friant Dam on the San Joaquin River. The dam forms the Millerton Lake reservoir.

The bureau says Millerton Lake water is needed to meet their contractual water obligations to the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority.

But east-side growers say federal officials are not following a long-established water-rights pecking order in releasing Millerton water.

 

• MOM IN ALLEGED BULLYING CASE IN COURT: SANTA ROSA (AP) — Prosecutors say they need more time to decide whether to file criminal charges against a Northern California mother suspected of attacking a 12-year-old boy she said was bullying her daughter.

The mother, 30-year-old Delia Garcia-Bratcher, made her first court appearance in Sonoma County on Thursday. The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa reports (http://bit.ly/1n5EHsx) that Deputy District Attorney Anne Masterson said more investigation was needed.

A judge set the next court date for June 19.

Sheriff’s officials say Garcia-Bratcher went to her daughter’s Santa Rosa elementary school on Friday and grabbed the boy by the throat. They say they have found no evidence of any contact between the boy and Garcia-Bratcher’s daughter.

Garcia-Bratcher’s attorney, Ben Adams, says his client did not touch the boy, but only talked to him. He called Garcia-Bratcher a folk hero who had stood up for her daughter.

 

• DAD OF TEEN WHO HAD LOADED GUN ON CAMPUS ARRESTED: CHULA VISTA  (AP) — A San Diego County father turned himself in to police after his 14-year-old son was caught carrying a loaded .44-caliber revolver in a backpack at his high school.

Zachariah Joseph Dow, 36, was booked Wednesday night on counts including being a felon in possession of a firearm, child endangerment and criminal storage of a firearm.

Police responded earlier Wednesday after students at Hilltop High School in Chula Vista reported that the boy was showing off the revolver and saying he could potentially use it to shoot someone at school.

Officers went to the boy’s classroom and arrested the 9th grader. Investigators believe the boy brought the gun from home.

Police Lt. Fritz Reber says detectives served a warrant at Dow’s residence and found a .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol unsecured under a bed.

 

• DRUG AGENTS DESTROY FOOTBALL FIELD-SIZED POT GROWS: O’NEALS  (AP) — Authorities in Central California say they have seized more than 500 full-grown marijuana plants from a sophisticated growing operation near Fresno.

Agents with the Madera County Narcotic Enforcement Team said they dismantled four greenhouses filled with plants during the pot bust on Thursday in O’Neals, an unincorporated community 30 miles north of Fresno. No arrests have been made.

Madera County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Erica Stuart says some of the greenhouses were nearly as large as football fields. Agents found another 100 starter plants that were ready to be put into the ground and a 2,600-gallon tank used to water the plants.

The cultivation setup was hidden amid rolling hills on a 40-acre private property. Stuart would not identify the property’s owner because the investigation is ongoing.

 

• MILK STAMP DRAWS LINE AT SAN FRANCISCO POST OFFICE: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The post office in San Francisco’s Castro District is selling more stamps than usual now that a neighborhood icon is the face of the nation’s newest Forever Stamp.

The U.S. Postal Service on Thursday started issuing stamps honoring the late San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, who was one of the first openly gay men elected to public office and represented the Castro before he was assassinated in 1978.

AIDS Memorial Quilt creator Cleve Jones, who was an aide to Milk, and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, who won an Oscar for the 2008 movie “Milk,” joined dozens of people who lined up at the Castro post office to buy the new stamp.

Thursday would have been Milk’s 84th birthday. He and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were shot to death at City Hall by Dan White, a former city supervisor.

 

• BABY HUMPBACK WHALE WASHES UP AT HALF MOON BAY: HALF MOON BAY  (AP) — Scientists will try to determine what killed a young humpback whale that washed up on the San Mateo County coast.

KGO-TV reports (http://abc7ne.ws/Sn0qRt) the whale was spotted floating on its back in Half Moon Bay Wednesday afternoon and it eventually drifted onto rocks on the beach near an RV park.

A large crowd gathered to check out the giant mammal, estimated to be about 30 feet long.

The California Academy of Sciences says it will examine the whale Thursday and eventually do a necropsy to find out how it died.

The Pillar Point Harbor master says it will dispose of the carcass, probably by towing it out to sea.

Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are studying tissue samples from a 50-foot fin whale that washed up onto a San Diego County beach on Monday.

 

• MAN CHARGED IN BB GUN ROAD-RAGE ATTACK: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Prosecutors say a 28-year-old man who allegedly shot a woman in the eye with a BB gun during a fit of road rage has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

  Cory Allen Flenory is accused of trying to ram the woman’s car in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Stevenson Ranch on Saturday. Prosecutors say he then trailed her car to an intersection, where he opened fire with a BB gun, striking her in the face.

The 22-year-old woman, who was in driving with her boyfriend at the time, may lose sight in her right eye. Her boyfriend was not hurt.

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