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POSTED May 16, 2012 8:58 p.m.

DUI MOM HIT 100 MPH IN SUV TO MAKE CHILD'S PARTY: ROHNERT PARK  (AP) — A Northern California mother arrested for drunken driving hit 100 mph in her SUV while trying to make her child's birthday party.

The San Francisco Chronicle says 34-year-old Katherine Russell was behind the wheel of a Toyota 4Runner that sped past a California Highway Patrol officer in a U.S. Route 101 construction zone.

The SUV hit 100 mph by the time the CHP officer caught up with her Friday night in Rohnert Park, which is about 50 miles north of San Francisco in Sonoma County.

She told the officer she was late to her child's birthday party.

The CHP says Russell's blood-alcohol was more than three times the legal limit to drive.

She was booked for investigation of drunken driving, driving without a license and various traffic violations.

SAN JOSE RESTRICTS NUMBER OF PAYDAY LENDERS: SAN JOSE . (AP) — San Jose has approved new restrictions on payday lenders.

The City Council voted 9-1 on Tuesday in favor of a law that limits the number of lenders to the current 39. If one of those lenders closes, a new one could open at its location within six months. After that, the new lender would have to be a quarter-mile from any other lender and from low-income areas.

Payday lenders offer up front, cash loans in exchange for a postdated check and a fee.

Critics say they prey on low-income earners and force them into debt.

Although payday loans are pitched as one-time emergency measures, studies show borrowers often return to the lender repeatedly.

Annualized interest rates can reach 460 percent. Lenders say they fill a need for consumers to access quick cash.

 

 

ANONYMOUS TIP LEADS DEPUTIES TO BODY, BLOODY HOME: CASTRO VALLEY (AP) — An anonymous tip has led Northern California investigators to a body in a garage and bloody party house.

Alameda County sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson says the dead man, believed to be in his 20s, was found in the garage of the home in the unincorporated Castro Valley area.

Deputies who patrol the area went to the home after getting a tip that someone had been harmed in the house. Neighbors had complained in the past about traffic and parties at the home.

A group of people outside the house fled when deputies arrived.

The house was drenched in blood.

The coroner will determine the identity of the dead man and the cause of death.

SF PROPOSES $195M BOND TO IMPROVE CITY PARKS: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco officials have proposed a $195 million bond to upgrade city parks.

The bond proposal — unveiled on Tuesday — will be on the ballot in November and require the support of at least two-thirds of voters to pass.

The park system has about $1.5 billion in unfunded capital needs. Its share of the city's general fund, meanwhile, has shrunk.

About $100 million of the bond money would be used to improve neighborhood parks. Waterfront parks and three citywide parks, Golden Gate, McLaren and Lake Merced, would also receive money. The rest would go for water conservation, trail restoration and to replace wooden play structures that are tainted with arsenic.

OAKLAND EXPANDS CRACKDOWN ON BLIGHTED HOMES: OAKLAND . (AP) — Oakland officials are expanding efforts to cut down on blighted homes by going after properties in the earliest stages of foreclosure.

The City Council unanimously approved a measure on Tuesday that requires banks to maintain vacant homes that have received an initial mortgage default notice.

Councilwoman Jane Brunner, the measure's sponsor, says blighted homes bring down the value of all homes in an area.

But California Bankers Association spokeswoman Beth Mills says banks don't own the properties when a default notice is sent out, so they shouldn't be held responsible for any blight there.

More than 3,000 Oakland homeowners were sent default notices last year. According to city figures, roughly half of Oakland homes that have gone into default and are financed by banks are blighted.

WATER DISTRICT UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR OIL SPILLS: SAN JOSE  (AP) — The agency that supplies much of Silicon Valley with drinking water is facing possible civil prosecution for repeatedly spilling hydraulic oil in its reservoirs.

In a letter to the Santa Clara Valley Water District, county prosecutors say the spills were serious. The letter — dated March 29 — warns that civil prosecution is appropriate although the District Attorney's Office has not filed a case in court.

Water district officials tell the San Jose Mercury News the spills were small and caused no environmental damage. Tests did not show elevated levels of petroleum products in drinking water.

District records show eight hydraulic oil spills ranging from 5 to 35 gallons since 2001.

Water district officials say the leaky hydraulic systems that caused at least some of the spills will be repaired over the next decade.

OAKLAND CHARTER SCHOOL SET TO CLOSE: OAKLAND  (AP) — A charter school in Oakland that focuses on public service and arts is set to close its doors.

School officials decided last week to shutter Civicorps Elementary in June.

Civicorp Executive Director Alan Lessik says the elementary school has struggled financially due to ongoing state education cuts and a sharp enrollment decline in 2010.

Civicorp, a youth development nonprofit, also runs a recycling plant in East Oakland. Lessik says revenue from the recycling program has been used to cover funding gaps at the elementary school.

But parents say they were blindsided by the decision and are now scrambling to find new schools for their children.

 

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