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NEWS FROM ACROSS CALIFORNIA

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POSTED March 11, 2015 7:50 p.m.

•ACRAMENTO APPROVES CONTRACT FOR $8M ARENA SCULPTURE: SACRAMENTO (AP) — Sacramento will pay $8 million for a sculpture by renowned artist Jeff Koons that will stand outside a new downtown sports arena.

The city council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a contract with the New York-based Koons, whose whimsical works have been shown in museums around the world.

The agreement also dedicates $1.5 million to local art for the arena. That money, most of it from a private donation by local art patron Marcy Friedman, was contingent upon the council approving the contract with Koons.

The newspaper says the vote came during an overflow meeting at which some residents vented frustrations that local artists weren’t considered for the main art project.

 

•HANDCUFFED MAN STEALS HIGHWAY PATROL SUV: FALLBROOK (AP) — A handcuffed man stole a California Highway Patrol cruiser in Southern California and led a 10-mile freeway chase before he was arrested trying to run from the vehicle, authorities said.

CHP Officer Jim Bettencourt told U-T San Diego that 25-year-old Aaron Teruya of San Diego was taken back into custody still wearing the cuffs Tuesday in the Fallbrook area.

Teruya had hit another vehicle on Interstate 15 south of Temecula, said the CHP.

Teruya was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. He was handcuffed and put in the front seat of a CHP SUV.

While the officer was talking to the other driver, Teruya pulled the handcuffs up around his legs and drove away, Bettencourt said.

The officer got in a tow truck and told the driver to follow his car. Teruya was taken back into custody after running into thick brush off a dirt road.

 

•TEACHERS IN STOCKTON VOTE TO SUPPORT STRIKE: STOCKTON (AP) — Teachers in Central California have voted overwhelmingly to give their board the power to decide whether to strike.

The Stockton Teachers Association says more than 1,000 teachers voted Tuesday in Stockton with and 97.5 percent of them choosing to authorize their chapter’s Executive Board to call a strike if it’s appropriate.

Teachers have been negotiating with the school district for 2 1/2 years, and have not been able to reach a contract agreement.

California Teachers Association President John Steiner says the overwhelming yes vote shows that teachers are willing “to stand up and be counted.”

A mediator was appointed to chair a fact-finding panel for the district and the union. The fact-finding panel hearing is set for Monday.

 

•PLACER COUNTY BANS E-CIGARETTES FROM PUBLIC BUILDINGS: AUBURN  (AP) — Placer County in Northern California has banned the use of electronic cigarettes within public buildings and inside county-owned vehicles.

Supervisors voted unanimously for the restrictions during a meeting Tuesday where nobody spoke about the issue during public comment. The ordinance will take effect in late April.

The use of electronic cigarettes, also known as “vaping,” has been touted by supporters as a safe alternative to traditional tobacco products such as cigarettes. But public health officials say the safety of the chemicals contained in e-cigarettes is unknown.

Kirk Uhler, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, says the ban goes toward making a comfortable work environment for public employees.

The newspaper says more than 150 jurisdictions in California have passed legislation regulating e-cigarettes.

 

•POLICE, FBI RAID CAFES, BARS IN ILLEGAL GAMBLING PROBE: SAN JOSE  (AP) — Police officers and FBI agents are raiding 11 Vietnamese cafes and bars in a crackdown on illegal video gambling machines in a Northern California city.

San Jose Police Lt. Mike Sullivan says search warrants were simultaneously served at 11 locations Tuesday.

Sullivan says the raids capped a year and a half of investigations revolving around illicit gambling and “dozens of cases of violence” linked to struggles over money.

The San Jose Mercury News reported Tuesday that details on the operation and on the businesses targeted will be released once the raids are completed.

San Jose Police Sgt. Todd Trayer and a counterpart from the FBI’s San Jose office were reviewing a string of shootings and stabbings connected to bars and cafes in November 2013 when they saw a pattern.

They began a joint investigation that led to Tuesday’s raids.

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