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POSTED February 11, 2013 4:56 p.m.

COPPER THEFTS HIDDEN CULPRIT IN TRAFFIC GRIDLOCK: SAN JOSE. (AP) — Motorists are quick to blame solo drivers, out-of-sync traffic lights and an improving economy for San Francisco Bay area traffic gridlock.

But copper thieves are a hidden culprit in the commuting mess.

They tear out copper wiring powering metering lights, traffic signals and freeway electronic signs.

The San Jose Mercury News says 59 meters have been vandalized in the bay area in the past year.

The California Department of Transportation has replaced wiring for 18 of those meters at a typical cost of $35,000 each.

And it can take up to four months to make repairs.

Copper can fetch up to $4 a pound at recycling facilities.

GOV. REPORT FINDS NO FRAUD IN OYSTER FARM STUDY: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — An internal government watchdog has found no scientific misconduct by the National Park Service in determining the environmental impacts of a Point Reyes National Seashore oyster farm.

The U.S. Department of Interior's Inspector General says there was no fraud, waste, abuse or misrepresentation of data by researchers who found that boats used by the Drakes Bay Oyster Co. had an impact on nearby harbor seals.

Oyster farm supporters claimed the park service failed to use the "best science available" when determining the farm's noise impact on the waterway.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar decided against renewing the facility's lease, saying the waterway should instead be returned to wilderness status, as Congress dictated in 1976.

Farm owner Kevin Lunny has sued the government in an effort to overturn Salazar's decision.

SAN FRANCISCO SEEKS HELP WITH AMERICA'S CUP COSTS: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco officials are racing to raise tens of millions dollars from private donors to pay for security, transportation and the other costs of hosting the America's Cup yachting championship later this year.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Ed Lee says officials have raised about $14 million of the estimated $31 million to $34 million needed by late summer.

Spokeswoman Christine Falvey said Monday that the mayor has recently stepped up his own efforts to meet personally with chief executives of prominent companies based in San Francisco in an effort to meet the goals.

The city aims to pay for the event without having to dip into its general fund.

A 2012 report by the city controller's office raised concerns that the America's Cup Organizing Committee wasn't raising funds fast enough to meet the goal.

1 DEAD, ANOTHER WOUNDED IN SAN JOSE AREA SHOOTING: SAN JOSE (AP) — There are no arrests in San Jose area shootings that left a man dead and another wounded.

KTVU-TV says Santa Clara County sheriff's deputies responding to a shooting call Sunday afternoon found a fatally wounded man in an unincorporated area of the county.

About the same time, a wounded man arrived at Good Samaritan Hospital. His injury is described as non-life threatening.

There are no details about a motive for the shootings or the gunman.

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