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POSTED March 8, 2012 7:36 p.m.

SACRAMENTO CO. BANK ROBBERY SUSPECT KILLED BY COP: CITRUS HEIGHTS  (AP) — Police shot and killed a man suspected of robbing a Sacramento County bank and threatening to detonate an explosive device.

The coroner identified the suspect Thursday as 51-year-old Jeffrey James Gonzales.

Police say the Citrus Heights man entered a Union Bank branch shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday and claimed to have a gun and explosive device. According to police, an officer felt threatened as Gonzales came out of the building, and opened fire.

Gonzales was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities then cleared the area to search for a possible bomb. They later determined that there was no explosive device.

The officer has been placed on administrative leave, pending the investigation.

CALPERS TOLD TO CUT PROFIT RETURNS BY HALF-PERCENT: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — The chief actuary of California's main pension fund is urging it to lower its assumed rate of return on investments. That likely would force the state and 3,000 local agencies to increase their annual contributions.

Actuary Alan Milligan this week recommended that the California Public Employees' Retirement System lower the assumed annual investment return from 7.75 percent to 7.25 percent. The proposed cut will be taken up by a committee Tuesday and the full board on Wednesday.

Last year, the board rejected a more modest recommendation from Milligan to cut the rate of return rate from 7.75 percent to 7.5 percent.

The fund recorded a 20.9 percent increase in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2011, but just 1.1 percent for the 2011 calendar year.

San Jose facing state audit over pension costs

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — San Jose is facing a state audit over accusations that officials who want to cut employee pension costs deliberately overstated those costs.

The Joint Legislative Audit Committee approved the audit on Wednesday. The audit could cost taxpayers around $200,000 and could begin in a week.

San Jose officials question the need for an audit. City Manager Debra Figone says the city pension funds already have passed several independent reviews.

San Jose's employee retirement bill has more than tripled in a decade to around $245 million. The City Council this week agreed to put a measure on the June ballot that would reduce pensions for new hires and make current employees pay more for pensions unless they switch to a cheaper plan.

 CALIF. GIVES $602M TO HELP BUILD 11 COUNTY JAILS: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Eleven California counties will be getting millions of dollars from the state to help pay for expanding their jail facilities as responsibility for lower-level criminals shifts from state prisons to county lockups.

State prison officials say $602 million will be handed out for county jail construction or expansion projects.

The awards include $100 million each to Los Angeles, Riverside and Orange counties.

Stanislaus County will be getting $80 million, while Tulare and Santa Barbara counties will be getting $60 million each.

Kings and Shasta counties will be receiving $33 million.

Imperial County will be getting nearly $24 million, Sutter County more than $10 million and Madera County $3 million.

The money was awarded Thursday by the Corrections Standards Authority.

The grants will help cover the cost of incarcerating tens of thousands of criminals who are now the responsibility of counties under a law that took effect in October.

 BALD EAGLE CHICK HATCHES IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: SAN BERNARDINO  (AP) — A bald eagle couple has produced a chick near Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino National Forest.

Officials said Thursday that the chick was spotted last month by a Forest Service wildlife biologist during a field trip with a group of third graders from Big Bear Elementary School.

The chick was born to a pair of eagles, nicknamed Lucy and Ricky, who built a nest near Grout Bay in Fawnskin several years ago. Biologists had no idea that Lucy had laid an egg.

The chick is nicknamed "Jack" to honor a Forest Service volunteer who died a few years ago.

Officials will close a picnic area, two trails and the area around the eagle's nest to allow the chick to grow and learn to fly without human disturbance.

 AUTHORITIES ID 2 MEN FATALLY SHOT IN FAIRFIELD: FAIRFIELD . (AP) — Authorities have released the names of two men who were shot and killed in a Fairfield neighborhood known for its drug activity.

Solano County officials identified 24-year-old Vedell Jamar Chew of Fairfield and 18-year-old Bernard Francis Knight of East Palo Alto as the two men who were gunned down late Wednesday afternoon.

Fairfield police spokesman Cleo Mayoral says Chew and Knight were shot around 4:48 p.m. Wednesday after what he described as a "conflict" between several people outside a condominium complex.

No arrests have been made and police have not released any information about a suspect, or suspects.

CONDOR READY TO HATCH AT SAN DIEGO'S SAFARI PARK : SAN DIEGO (AP) — A California condor chick is about to hatch at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and a webcam is offering a birds-eye view.

Zoo officials said Thursday that the egg has begun to pip — the process of the chick breaking through the shell from the inside. The pipping period can take two to three days until the chick emerges.

Viewers of the Condor Cam on the zoo's web site may see the chick's beak protrude through the shell or the parents gently removing broken fragments to help their offspring hatch.

The public can suggest names for the chick via the zoo's Facebook page through March 15.

The Safari Park has hatched 172 chicks and released more than 80 of the endangered birds in the wild since the 1980s.

OAKLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT AGREES TO CHARTERS: OAKLAND . (AP) — Two Oakland elementary schools have been given the go-ahead to become independently-run charter schools.

The Oakland school board voted unanimously on Wednesday in favor of converting ASCEND and Learning Without Limits into charter schools.

The district had objected to the change earlier. The Oakland Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/xr5kyz) that it had once projected it would lose more than $800,000 if the schools left.

But an agreement negotiated in recent weeks requires the two schools to purchase custodial, food and professional development services from the district, reducing the financial impact.

The two schools are in Oakland's Fruitvale neighborhood. Under their agreement with the district, they will decide if they want to rejoin the district two years from now.

WHITNEY HOUSTON'S DEATH WAS FEARED, RELATIVE SAYS: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Whitney Houston's sister-in-law says she feared that the singer's life would be ended by drugs.

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Patricia Houston said she would be "kidding herself" to say otherwise.

Patricia Houston, who was her sister-in-law's manager, was asked if she thought drugs would end up "taking" Whitney Houston. The "handwriting was kind of on the wall," Patricia Houston replied in an interview to air 9 p.m. EDT Sunday on the OWN channel.

The pop star's life was changing, Patricia Houston said, suggesting that substance abuse wasn't the problem but rather her "lifestyle." Whitney Houston was looking for love "in all the wrong places," her sister-in-law told Winfrey.

 

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