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POSTED February 28, 2012 8:20 p.m.

PG&E SAYS NEW GAS SAFETY PLAN WILL COST $5B: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric Co. says its customers should pay the lion's share of a $5 billion plan to boost safety on its gas lines following the deadly San Bruno explosion.

PG&E Senior Vice President Tom Bottorff said Tuesday the company has listened to critics' concerns that ratepayers were being charged too much to make safety upgrades.

The company originally said customers should pay for 90 percent of a $2.2 billion plan aimed at prioritizing leak surveys, pressure reductions and safety tests on its transmission lines. He said a new proposal would have ratepayers pick up about 84 percent instead.

Bottorff also acknowledged that the plan, plus necessary financing, would cost a total of about $5 billion over time.

The Sept. 9, 2010, blast killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.

SHERIFF ASKS FOR FBI'S HELP IN 'SPEED FREAK' CASE: LINDEN  (AP) — San Joaquin County's sheriff's officials are asking for the FBI's assistance, as they search for more human remains with the help of convicted "Speed Freak Killer" Wesley Shermantine.

The Record of Stockton reports (http://bit.ly/yZtEED) that Sheriff Steve Moore met with officials from the FBI and other agencies on Friday.

Sheriff's spokesman Les Garcia says the FBI has a variety of resources that could be put to use although which ones exactly will be called in has yet to be determined.

Investigators have so far uncovered remains belonging to two of Shermantine's victims in Calaveras County. They have also found hundreds of bone fragments at a well in San Joaquin County and have been searching for another well.

Shermantine and childhood friend Loren Herzog were referred to as the "Speed Freak Killers" for a methamphetamine-fueled killing spree in the 1980s and 90s.

RIVERBANK COUNCILMAN ENTERS REHAB BUT WON'T RESIGN: RIVERBANK  (AP) — A Central California city councilman accused of crashing his car and trying to leave his son at the scene has entered an alcoholism treatment program.

Riverbank's city attorney announced Jesse James White's plan to take a medical absence at Monday's city council meeting.

The 23-year-old was arrested Feb. 20 after he crashed his Corvette into a parked car. Witnesses said White tried to run away, leaving his 4-year-old son in the car with a bloody nose.

White was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence and child endangerment, but has not been charged.

Other council members have since called for White's resignation.

RODNEY KING GETS HOUSE ARREST FOR RECKLESS DRIVING: RIVERSIDE  (AP) — Rodney King has been sentenced to 20 days of house arrest and fined $500 for misdemeanor reckless driving in Southern California.

King is the black motorist whose beating by white Los Angeles police officers was videotaped in 1991. Four officers were acquitted of charges in state court a year later, leading to rioting in Los Angeles.

The 46-year-old King was arrested in Moreno Valley seven months ago for investigation of drunken driving.

But Riverside County prosecutors say his blood-alcohol reading was 0.06 percent, which is below the 0.08 legal threshold. He also had a trace of marijuana in his system.

 

LA POLICE COMMISSION APPROVES CAR IMPOUND CHANGES: LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Police Commission on Tuesday endorsed a plan that will allow some unlicensed drivers to keep their cars instead of having them impounded after police stops — even though the county's top attorney has warned that the change may contradict state law.

The Police Department's civilian overseers approved a proposal by Chief Charlie Beck that would allow some motorists who are stopped and can't produce a license to avoid mandatory impounding of their vehicles, which can last for up to 30 days.

Instead, those who provide car registration and proof of insurance will be allowed to have another licensed driver pick up their vehicles.

Drivers who caused an accident, were previously stopped without a driver's license or who had their licenses suspended or revoked would not qualify for leniency.

"It's not a free ride," Beck said at a news conference after the commission approved the plan by on a 4-1 vote. "We will still cite everybody who we find unlicensed, we will still impound their vehicles in the vast majority of instances. What we're trying to do here is to acknowledge people who have taken the positive steps to be better drivers."

MOM: GIRL WHO DIED AFTER FIGHT DESCRIBED 1 PUNCH: LONG BEACH  (AP) — Cecilia Villanueva sat helplessly in the backseat and watched her 10-year-old daughter turn blue as her husband raced them to the hospital in a panic.

Earlier, the fifth-grader, Joanna Ramos, had come home from school vomiting and complaining of a headache after a fight with another girl.

Before she passed out on the family couch, she told her mother an 11-year-old girl had punched her in the head.

"I could see her lips turning purple and I got so scared. I tried to do CPR," her mother said Tuesday, choking back tears. "I tried my best, but when we got to the hospital they said her heart was stopped. They tried, they tried so hard."

The Los Angeles County coroner's office labeled the case a homicide and said Joanna died of blunt force trauma to the head. Police said they have made no arrests and were conducting an investigation that will be presented to prosecutors when it's completed.

Villanueva said she is certain her daughter didn't tell her the whole story, and she is wary of believing the rumors that have been circulating among Joanna's classmates.

"I told the doctor what happened and he said, 'One punch is not enough, the way that she is right now,'" Villanueva said. "My daughter told me one punch, only, just one. And the doctor said, 'Hmmm, I don't think so. One wouldn't cause too much damage.'"

 

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