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POSTED October 19, 2012 8:59 p.m.

HINKLEY HOMEOWNERS ACCEPT PG&E BUYOUT OFFER: HINKLEY (AP) — About 200 people have agreed to sell their homes in a Mojave Desert town whose water supply was contaminated by toxic chromium.

About two-thirds of eligible households in Hinkley have agreed to a property buyout offered by Pacific Gas & Electric. The offer deadline was Monday.

Another 100 homes will continue to use bottled or filtered water.

In the 1950s, PG&E used chromium 6 to reduce corrosion at a cooling tower in Hinkley but the chemical polluted the groundwater.

Earlier this year, the local water board agreed to accept $3.6 million from PG&E to settle pollution claims.

The contamination was first publicized during a 1996 court case by residents that PG&E settled for $333 million. That suit inspired the movie "Erin Brockovich."

WOMAN, 82, GETS PRISON FOR SO. CAL THEFTS: TORRANCE . (AP) — An 82-year-old woman with a decades-long rap sheet has been sentenced to prison for swiping cash from Southern California medical offices.

Doris Thompson pleaded guilty to theft Thursday in a Torrance courtroom. She was given six years and eight months in state prison but could get out in three.

Her attorney says she rejected earlier plea deals that would have placed her in county jail because she believes state prison has better health care.

She thanked the judge and laughed when he wished her good luck.

Prosecutors say Thompson hid in doctors' offices in Torrance and Long Beach until they closed then pilfered $17,000 from cash boxes.

Thompson, who has 25 aliases, has a 50-year history of criminal convictions.

PRISON FIRST TO BLOCK PRISONER CELL CALLS: AVENAL  (AP) — California prison officials will start using new cellphone blocking technology at a Central Valley prison next week, the first step to rolling it out system-wide.

Avenal State Prison, 60 miles south of Fresno, will start on Monday to block inmates from making calls on smuggled cell phones.

The company Global Tel Link installed the technology for free. The company owns the pay phones in California's prisons and it now expects to see profits from collect calls soar.

California prison guards confiscated nearly 11,000 contraband phones last year, a sharp increase from 2007 when only 1,400 were found. Prison officials say the phones have been used by inmates to organize and run criminal enterprises.

Officials say the technology will be installed at the state's 33 prisons within three years.

HELLS ANGEL GUILTY OF MAKING CRIMINAL THREATS: RIVERSIDE  (AP) — A Southern California builder is facing five years in prison for threatening to unleash fellow Hells Angeles on unhappy subcontractors.

A Riverside County jury on Thursday convicted 49-year-old James Bradley of two counts each of making criminal threats and committing a felony as a member of a criminal street gang.

A subcontractor told Murrieta police in 2010 that Bradley threatened to have 150 Hells Angels come after him because of a dispute over failure to pay for cabinet installations.

GROUP SEEKS AUDIT OF $11M DONATION BY ARIZ. GROUP: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — A good-government group asked California's campaign finance watchdog Friday to investigate the donors behind an $11 million political contribution from a nonprofit based in Arizona, as Gov. Jerry Brown called on its donors to "show their faces."

The contribution was received this week by the Small Business Action Committee PAC, an Orange County-based political action committee that is active in California's November election. It is campaigning against Brown's tax initiative and in favor of an initiative to erode union power.

California Common Cause called the donation from the Phoenix-based Americans for Responsible Leadership possibly the largest "secret political donation in California history."

 

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