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POSTED June 19, 2012 7:21 p.m.

REDDING FIRE CREWS FIGHT BLAZE STARTED BY KIDS: REDDISNG  (AP) — Redding firefighters are battling a brush fire that was sparked by kids and now threatens a subdivision and apartment complex.

The Redding Record-Searchlight reports that the 20-acre blaze was started Tuesday by three children under 10 years old who were playing with fire.

Deputy Fire Chief Gerry Gray says the children have been released to parents who could be held liable for the costs of fighting the fire. No injuries have been reported.

Gray says the blaze is being fought by numerous fire crews, a helicopter and at least two air tankers. Off-duty personnel have been called for station coverage.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY WILDFIRE 75 PERCENT CONTAINED: CAMPO  (AP) — Firefighters were able to contain 75 percent of a nearly 1,000-acre wildfire in mountainous eastern San Diego County despite gusty winds that kicked up Tuesday and low humidity levels.

It remained calm around the fire east of Campo from Monday night into Tuesday despite wind warnings, so firefighters increased containment from 30 percent to 75 percent, said Capt. Mike Mohler of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

More than 900 firefighters were battling the rural blaze Tuesday afternoon and maintaining containment lines despite flame-fanning winds. Full containment was expected Wednesday night.

One mobile home and recreational vehicle were burned and 150 homes have been evacuated. Evacuation orders remained in effect Tuesday because of road conditions and emergency equipment in the area, Mohler said.

One firefighter was treated for minor heat exhaustion and returned to duty.

18 INMATES INJURED IN PRISON FIGHT: SOLEDAD (AP) — Eighteen inmates were injured Tuesday when fighting broke out among dozens of armed inmates at a maximum-security prison in Central California, corrections officials said.

One correctional officer hurt his back as he helped to break up the fight at Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad, but he was not assaulted by inmates, said Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The prison is located about 130 miles southeast of San Francisco and holds nearly 3,600 inmates.

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 STATE FINDS NO LINK TO BIRTH DEFECTS IN FARM TOWN : KETTLEMAN CITY,   (AP) — State health officials say the number of birth defects in the Central Valley community of Kettleman City mirror the state average.

Some Kettleman City residents claim the region experiences an unusually high number of birth defects they believe caused by pollution.

California Department of Public Health officials said during a public meeting Tuesday that tests near the homes of women who gave birth to affected children didn't reveal any substances that could be directly linked to causing defects.

Researchers did detect high levels of certain pesticides in the air, and arsenic and benzene in the water. The benzene is filtered out.

In 2008-2009 the town of 1,400 recorded 8.51 cases of birth defects per 100 births. Last year the rate declined to 1.79, close to its historic average.

 

Seven more inmates were treated at the prison.

The 18 inmates had "a variety of slash wounds and stab wounds and some head trauma," Thornton said. The inmate who was airlifted was stabbed in the head, she said.

She did not know the condition of the wounded inmates.

MURDER CHARGES FOR CRASH INTO FOOD TRUCK CROWD: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A suspected drunken driver is facing murder charges after crashing into a taco truck crowd in East Los Angeles, killing two people.

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office says 37-year-old Elba Jimenez is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday on two counts of murder, DUI, evading an officer and other charges.

She remains jailed on $2 million bail.

Authorities say the Upland woman was driving erratically on Interstate 5 Saturday night and fled from California Highway Patrol officers.

After a 100-mph chase, authorities say the Camry left the freeway, ran a red light, hit a dip, went airborne and plowed into a taco truck and surrounding crowd.

SHASTA COUNTY TO PAY $855K TO END DEFAMATION SUIT: REDDING  (AP) — Shasta County has agreed to pay $855,600 to settle a lawsuit that accused former District Attorney Jerry Benito of defaming another county employee.

The Redding Record-Searchlight reports the settlement reached Friday ends a legal fight that began about seven years ago.

A federal jury ruled late last month that Benito and three female co-defendants maliciously defamed Joyce Gardner, former director of the county's victim witness program.

The jury found the defendants made unfounded accusations against Gardner involving improper payments, an extramarital affair and misappropriation of public funds.

The same jury had been scheduled to meet Monday to determine possible punitive damages against the defendants.

Benito lost his re-election bid for district attorney in 2010 and now works for the state office of the inspector general in Rancho Cucamonga.

3 CHARGED IN PROSTITUTION RING: SANTA ANA  (AP) — Three people in Southern California have been charged with running a prostitution ring that recruited women from Latvia and Russia to work in the sex trade in Los Angeles and Orange County, federal authorities said Tuesday.

Mher "Mike" Hakopyan, 38, and his wife, Natalya Muravyeva, 31, were arrested Monday by immigration agents and the Santa Monica Police Department. A third suspect, Alla Kassianova, 43, who is Hakopyan's ex-wife, remained at large and may have left the country, said Virginia Kice, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman.

The three used paid recruiters to find potential prostitutes overseas and then helped the women apply for visa waivers and bought them plane tickets to Los Angeles, according to a search warrant affidavit. Once in the U.S., the women would work out of homes and often returned to their native countries after three months before coming back again.

MAN SUSPECTED OF RAPING WOMAN TWICE ON SAME DAY: MURRIETA  (AP) — A Riverside County man has been arrested after police say he raped a woman, returned to her home and raped her again.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise  says 38-year-old Frank Kelly of Murrieta was arrested Friday. He remains jailed Tuesday.

Police say Kelly, who has prior convictions for assault, befriended a 60-year-old Murrieta woman and helped her unload items from her car last Wednesday.

Sgt. Phil Gomez says he returned to her home later that day, raped and robbed the woman and threatened her so that she didn't immediately report the attack.

Police say two hours later, Kelly returned and rang the doorbell. The woman was expecting a neighbor and opened the door. Police say he raped her again and left.

 

ESCONDIDO DRIVER KNOCKS HOME OFF ITS FOUNDATION: ESCONDIDO  (AP) — Escondido police found out Monday night that sometimes home is where the harm is.

A suspected drunken driver crashed into a home at the Sunset Terrace Mobile Home Park, knocking it off its foundation. He says a woman in the car complained of pain but no one else was injured.

The 42-year-old driver, who lives in the park, was arrested for investigation of drunken driving.

The sergeant says the man's car ended up wedged beneath the mobile home.

 

 

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