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POSTED February 22, 2013 7:34 p.m.

CHILD PORN CHARGES AGAINST EX-PROBATION CHIEF: SAN MATEO  (AP) — Child porn charges have been filed against a former San Mateo County chief probation officer.

State prosecutors filed two felony counts on Thursday against 61-year-old Stuart Forrest, who led the county probation department for three years.

The complaint says Forrest possessed child pornography on Dec. 20 and 21.

Forrest was placed on paid leave on Dec. 21 and he retired 10 days later.

District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe says he felt it was appropriate for the state attorney general's office to prosecute the case because of the probation department's close relationship with his office.

150 AGING TREES COMING DOWN AT GOLDEN GATE PARK: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Nearly 150 aging, dead or diseased Monterey pine, cypress and eucalyptus trees in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park are being taken down in the next few months.

Park officials said the trees are a danger to the 13 million people who visit the 1,017-acre park each year. The trees are 80 to 100 years old.

A woman was killed in 2008 when a branch fell on her car, crushing her as she loaded her dog into her Subaru.

Three people were hurt when a branch fell on them last year.

Park officials say falling trees or branches have damaged 61 cars since 2008.

Some 3,000 park trees have been examined since 2011 and nearly 360 were

HUD INVESTIGATING SAN FRANCISCO HOUSING AUTHORITY: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Federal investigators are examining contracts awarded by the troubled San Francisco Housing Authority.

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development inspector general's office contacted the agency earlier this year seeking all contracts and bidding details during the past five years.

 HUD investigators demanded the documents after the newspaper allegations that city housing director Henry Alvarez illegally steered contracts to political allies.

Housing Authority spokeswoman Rose Dennis is downplaying the inquiry, saying it's not unusual for HUD investigators to contact the agency.

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DAD FACES TRIAL FOR KIDNAPPING KIDS, STEALING BOAT: SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A 43-year-old father is set to stand trial on charges that he kidnapped his two young children and took them away on a stolen yacht.

Christopher Maffei pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony charges including kidnapping, burglary and child endangerment. He was also denied a request to contact his 3-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son.

Prosecutors say Maffei took his son and daughter from their mother's South San Francisco home and took them on a 41-foot boat he had stolen from an Alameda marina.

Authorities found the yacht after it ran out of fuel and escorted the vessel to Santa Cruz Harbor. The kids were not hurt and Maffei was taken into custody.

A jury trial has been set for May 28.

MAN SENTENCED IN $1.8M KAISER PERMANENTE FRAUD: OAKLAND,   (AP) — A former employee of California-based Kaiser Permanente has been sentenced to 33 months in prison following his conviction in a scheme that defrauded the health care giant out of $1.8 million.

Federal prosecutors say 40-year-old Asim Waqar of Canada was sentenced on Wednesday.

Waqar was accused of funneling the $1.8 million from Kaiser to the wife of his college friend over three years starting in 2005, when Waqar was a manager for Kaiser in Oakland. Prosecutors say he encouraged Kaiser to hire the friend's wife, 38-year-old Minda Kuhl, and then arranged for her to be paid without having to do any work.

In exchange, Kuhl and her husband, 44-year-old Farid Rahman, returned hundreds of thousands of dollars as kickbacks to Waqar.

Waqar pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and tax evasion. Kuhl and Rahman have also pleaded guilty and been sentenced. All three defendants have been ordered to pay restitution.

5TH PERSON CHARGED IN HOME INVASION KILLING: SAN JOSE,   (AP) — Santa Clara County prosecutors say a fifth person has been charged in the slaying of a wealthy Silicon Valley venture capitalist inside his Monte Sereno mansion.

Thirty-two-year-old Katrina Marie Fritz was arraigned on murder and robbery charges Friday in the slaying of 66-year-old Raveesh Kumra who died on his kitchen floor from asphyxiation on Nov. 30.

Fritz did not enter a plea. She is due back in court on Feb. 28.

Authorities believe Kumra, a cellphone entrepreneur and former owner of a popular winery concert venue, was set up by a prostitute he had hired who told Oakland gang members about his lifestyle.

DeAngelo Austin, Javier R. Garcia and Lukis D. Anderson have already been charged with murder. Garcia and Austin also face a gang enhancement charge.

Another woman, Raven Dixon, has been charged with being an accessory to the killing.

 

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