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POSTED September 17, 2012 8:43 p.m.

LA STUDENTS WRITE ESSAYS ON GAY MARRIAGE: LOS ANGELES (AP) — High school students had to write essays on gay marriage views for admission to a Southern California school play based on the legal wrangle over anti-same sex marriage Proposition 8.

The Los Angeles Times says the Los Angeles Unified School District campus production may have been the first time the play "8'' was performed by a high school cast.

Author Dustin Lance Black attended the El Camino Real Charter High School performance and participated in a discussion afterward. The school is in the Woodland Hills area of the west San Fernando Valley.

About 250 students wrote essays and there was overwhelmingly support on gay marriage.

Many of them described painful family and cultural divides.

Students opposed to homosexual marriage cited religious values.

TEEN FOUND POURING GASOLINE ON SLEEPING MOM: TUSTIN  (AP) — A Southern California teenager has been caught pouring gasoline on his sleeping mother.

The woman wasn't hurt.

Orange County sheriff's investigators say the 16-year-old boy's stepfather walked into the bedroom of the Tustin home on Sunday night before the gas was ignited.

The teen and his mother had been arguing earlier in the day.

The Orange County Register says the boy is in juvenile hall where he has been booked for investigation of attempted murder.

The nature of the argument hasn't been disclosed.

NEW LAW AIMS TO END DISCREPANCIES IN SPECIAL FUNDS: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill intended to prevent state agencies from hiding special fund money and ensuring that finance officers work from the same set of figures.

The governor announced Monday that he signed AB1487 by the Assembly Budget Committee. It requires the California state controller's office and Department of Finance to compare their annual reports detailing how much money is in more than 500 special funds.

The bill is a response to a scandal involving the state parks department. The top official resigned after it was revealed that some employees kept $54 million in special fund money secret, even as dozens of parks faced closure because of budget cuts.

A subsequent review found $3.9 billion in accounting discrepancies between the controller and finance department.

NEW LAW SAYS FUNERAL PROTESTERS MUST KEEP DISTANCE: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation that seeks to balance the constitutional right to protest with the desire to let those attending funeral services mourn in peace.

The California governor vetoed a similar bill last year, citing a potential conflict with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing protests outside military funerals.

SB661 by Democratic Assemblyman Ted Lieu of Torrance prohibits protests within 300 feet of funerals rather than the 1,000 feet specified in the previous bill. Violators face fines up to $1,000 and six months in jail starting Jan. 1.

The legislation is a response to protests of military funerals around the country by the Westboro Baptist Church, a Kansas-based group that says military personnel deaths are God's punishment for society's tolerance of homosexuality.

INSPECTIONS PUT YOSEMITE TOUR BUSES OUT OF SERVICE: YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK AP) — Surprise inspections in Yosemite National Park have put five tour buses out of service because of bad brakes.

The California Highway Patrol and five other government agencies inspected 54 buses earlier this month and 65 violations were issued.

Two drivers were cited for log book and licensing violations and the CHP ordered on-site repairs for a variety of violations.

Five buses were put out of service for defective brakes.

FORMER CALIF. ASSEMBLYMAN CHARGED WITH BANK FRAUD: LOS ANGELES (AP) — FBI agents have arrested a former state assemblyman on charges he committed bank fraud while working for the Los Angeles County probation department.

Probation department chief Jerry Powers says Monday's arrest of 47-year-old Carl Washington marks the 39th employee arrest in nine months.

Powers says the department has raised hiring standards and expectations for employee conduct, and is asking the county for resources to investigate problem employees more quickly.

Washington is charged with three counts of bank fraud, among other charges, for allegedly getting credit cards and loans, spending substantial sums, then falsely reporting them stolen.

He then allegedly used police reports to wipe his credit reports of unpaid debts.

Washington, a Democrat, represented the 52nd district of inland San Diego from 1996 to 2002.

GRENADE FOUND IN LATE VETERAN'S RENTED GARAGE: SANTA MONICA  (AP) — A hand grenade has been found in a late veteran's rented Santa Monica garage.

Police Sgt. Richard Lewis says an apartment building manager was cleaning out the elderly man's 20th Street garage on Sunday when she found a box containing the grenade and other military memorabilia.

Lewis says officers examined the device and determined it was an old pineapple-style live grenade.

Residents living next to the garage were asked to leave until the Los Angeles police bomb squad removed the device.

BROWN SIGNS BILL TO PREVENT DRUG OVERDOSE DEATHS: SACRAMENTO . (AP) — Drug users and underage drinkers seeking medical help will no longer have to fear charges under a so-called "good Samaritan" bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The governor announced Monday that he has signed AB472 by Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco. The law, which will take effect Jan. 1, aims to save the lives of overdose victims by shielding them and those who would come to their aid from drug charges.

It decriminalizes the possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia when seeking medical assistance for an overdose, as long as the substances are for personal use.

Ammiano said the bill is needed to encourage witnesses and friends to call 911. Washington state and New Mexico have similar laws.

GOOD SAMARITAN RESCUES WOMAN IN BURNING HOME: BUENA PARK  (AP) — A good Samaritan has run into a burning Southern California home and rescued an elderly woman.

Buena Park police say a man driving a black sport utility vehicle spotted the blaze on Sunday afternoon and pulled over, ran inside and brought the woman outside.

The man made sure the woman, who is in her 80s and has dementia, was OK.

City News Services he then got back in his SUV and drove away.

The woman couldn't tell firefighters and police the name of her hero.

USHER, SHAKIRA TO JOIN NBC'S 'VOICE' IN SPRING: LOS ANGELES (AP) — NBC says Usher and Shakira are joining "The Voice" as new coaches next spring, when Christina Aguilera and CeeLo Green take a break from the show.

The network said Monday that original coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton will remain on board. The series began airing its third season last week.

NBC says Aguilera is going on the road to support her new album, while Green is developing new music and a sitcom based on his life.

"The Voice" started as a midseason show and then added a fall cycle after posting solid ratings for NBC. The network's entertainment chief, Bob Greenblatt, says that created a time crunch for the coaches, and NBC is glad to help Aguilera and Green take time away from the program.

 

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