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POSTED November 20, 2012 6:16 p.m.

PROSECUTORS WON'T CHARGE MAN WITH UNUSUAL WATCH: OAKLAND  (AP) — Prosecutors won't charge a Southern California man who was arrested at Oakland International Airport when security officers found him wearing a watch that looked like an explosive device.

Geoffrey McGann explained the watch was one of dozens he had made and given to friends as art pieces.

The 49-year-old Rancho Palos Verdes man was arrested Thursday night after trying to pass through airport security with the ornate watch that had switches, wires and fuses.

The bomb squad determined there were no explosive materials in the watch.

McGann was booked for investigation of possessing bomb-making materials. He was released Saturday after posting $150,000 bail.

The San Francisco Chronicle says Alameda County prosecutors didn't explain Monday's decision not to charge McGann.

PASTOR RESIGNS OVER SEX OFFENDER VOLUNTEER SCANDAL: SAN JOSE  (AP) — A California pastor has resigned in wake of a scandal involving a registered sex offender who was allowed to work as a Catholic school festival volunteer.

The Diocese of San Jose says the Rev. Lieu Vu resigned on Monday as pastor of the St. Frances Cabrini School and Parish.

The San Jose Mercury News (http://bit.ly/QqYVzV) says the diocese also released a letter written by a former diocese human resources employee permitting convicted 51-year-old pedophile Mark Gurries to participate at last month's elementary school festival.

Someone at the festival recognized Gurries and reported it to a security officer. The convicted molester was escorted off campus.

Gurries is married to a former St. Frances Cabrini teacher. He is on probation for molesting an underage relative after serving nearly a year in jail.

50-ACRE SOLAR ARRAY WOULD POWER 10,000 HOMES: SANTA ROSA  (AP) — A 50-acre solar array proposed on vacant California airport land would provide enough electricity for 10,000 homes.

The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the project at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport is still two years away from construction.

The Sonoma County Water Agency says the renewable energy project would add jobs to the area.

The solar park would generate 20 megawatts of power.

The water agency has chosen SunEdison of Belmont to install 54,700 solar panels on the western side of the airport. The cost is about $100 million.

DISPUTE COULD DELAY CHEVRON REFINERY REPAIRS: RICHMOND  (AP) — Chevron's plan to get its Richmond refinery back to full operating capacity following a massive fire could be slowed by a dispute over the type of piping it wants to use to make repairs.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Chevron plans to replace an old pipe that failed with one made of an alloy called Chrome 9.

Thousands sought medical treatment after the Aug. 6 fire, which sent a large plume of smoke into the sky.

Chevron said Chrome 9 is resistant to corrosion from sulfur-heavy oil.

But the U.S. Chemical Safety Board said that a fire at a Washington state BP refinery occurred after a rupture in the same kind if pipe.

Richmond city officials and Chevron have agreed to pause repairs until the dispute is resolved.

SANTA CLARA COUNTY SUPERVISOR PROBED FOR MISUSE OF FUNDS: SAN JOSE  (AP) — A Santa Clara County supervisor who spent taxpayer dollars on fancy dinners, a first-class airline upgrade and expensive golf round is being criminally investigated by local prosecutors and the state's political watchdog.

The San Jose Mercury News reported that lax oversight allowed 50-year-old George Shirakawa Jr. to charge taxpayers $36,717 over the past four years with few questions asked.

The charges included more than 180 meals, often at high-end restaurants, with other local officials. He also bought a high-definition television, and bankrolled trips to luxury resorts and casinos with public money.

Meanwhile, Shirakawa declared personal bankruptcy despite his $143,031 salary.

Many of his expense reports did not include receipts as required, the paper reported.

Shirakawa said he is transparent about his affairs, but would not comment further.

JUDGE DENIES SAN MATEO DA'S EXECUTION REQUEST: REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP) — A judge has rejected a request by San Mateo County's District Attorney to set an execution date for a condemned inmate.

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Barbara Mallach said on Monday that she doesn't have the authority to interfere with court orders that have put the death penalty on hold in California.

District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said he wanted to keep the case against Robert Fairbank moving. Fairbank pleaded no contest to the 1985 murder of San Francisco graduate student Wendy Cheek. He has exhausted his appeals, but remains on Death Row while courts consider the legality of the state's current three-drug execution protocol.

Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley had sought a similar court order for the immediate execution of two other Death Row inmates. A judge rejected that request as well.

DEATH PENALTY FOR TOLL COLLECTOR KILLER: MARTINEZ  (AP) — A Contra Costa County jury has handed down the death penalty for the man convicted of killing two people at a San Francisco Bay area toll plaza.

The Contra Costa Times reports that jurors deliberated for two days before determining that Nathan Burris should be put to death.

Before reaching their decision on Tuesday, the same jury had convicted the 49-year-old Burris earlier this month of first-degree murder and special circumstances.

Burris admitted to fatally shooting Richmond-San Rafael Bridge toll collector Deborah Ross and her friend, Ersie Everette III, at the bridge's toll plaza in 2009.

Prosecutors say Burris thought Ross and Everette, a bus driver with Golden Gate Transit, were romantically involved. Burris had previously been in a relationship with Ross.

Burris represented himself during his trial and told jurors that the slayings were justified.

SOUTHWEST TO CEASE DAILY RENO-OAKLAND FLIGHTS: OAKLAND (AP) — Southwest Airlines says it will end its twice-daily flights between Reno and Oakland in June.

Officials at Reno-Tahoe Airport say the move is in reaction to challenging economic times and the ability to fill seats on short flights. For many people, flying is a luxury when it takes only four hours to drive between the two cities.

A Southwest spokesman tells the Reno Gazette-Journal that air service nationally is trending way from shorter flights.

On average, seats on Southwest's Reno-Oakland flights were 55 percent filled.

Southwest is Reno-Tahoe International's main carrier, accounting for a little more than half of all passenger air travel to the region.

Alaska Airlines operates two daily flights between Reno and San Jose, and United Airlines has three daily flights connecting Reno with San Francisco.

 

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