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POSTED August 16, 2012 10:05 p.m.

Police hold 16 people at 2 pot grows in Valley

CERES (AP) — Drug agents are destroying thousands of marijuana plants after two large-scale busts in the San Joaquin Valley occurred as harvest time nears.

Officers in Madera County arrested four gang members, seized 2,000 budding plants, 120 pounds of processed marijuana and several stolen weapons near Chowchilla on Thursday.

Sheriff John Anderson said the men were members of the Tiny Rascals Gang, one of the largest Asian street gangs in the nation. The investigation began a year ago, and agents served a search warrant at their rental home early Thursday morning.

Also on Thursday SWAT teams from the Ceres Police Department and Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department discovered 2,500 plants growing on a 10-acre property south of Modesto.

Agents found 12 people on the site and were holding them for questioning.

Calif. pelican released after beak surgery, rehab

IRVINE  (AP) — A pelican found tangled in fishing line with a 6-inch hook lodged in its lower bill has been released back into the wild after surgeries and months of rehabilitation in Southern California.

Nigel, an American white pelican, underwent a first-of-its-kind procedure to straighten out the fractured beak.

The newspaper says the bird's recovery took months because it developed an infection, which led to another fracture and caused bone tissue to die.

Nigel ate 8 to10 pounds of fish each day as it was nursed back to health at the nonprofit Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach.

The bird was outfitted with a tracking device before being released Wednesday at the Irvine marsh where he was discovered last April.

Caltrans mismanaged  710 extension homes

PASADENA  (AP) — A state audit accuses Caltrans of wasting millions of dollars in its management of a series of state-owned homes along the proposed 710 Freeway extension route in Southern California.

The California State Auditor's report released Thursday says the agency didn't charge the market rate to tenants renting the 404 homes and spent more money repairing properties than it gained in rent revenue.

The report says mismanagement resulted in Caltrans passing up roughly $22 million in rental income for the properties between July 2007, and December 2011.

It recommends Caltrans prepare a cost-benefit analysis to determine if the state would save money by hiring a private vendor to manage the properties.

The audit was requested by Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-Pasadena, in 2011 after reports of inflated repair costs for state-owned homes.

NRC slaps ailing San Onofre nuke plant on security

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Federal regulators have slapped the troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant in California with a violation for a lapse in plant security.

Operator Southern California Edison reported the problem to the government, and the company said in statement Thursday it was promptly corrected.

The violation stems from a four-day Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspection in May during which officials reviewed records, observed activities and interviewed personnel.

The agency says the company failed to develop procedures to monitor electronic devices related to security. The NRC withheld most details of the problem.

 

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