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POSTED March 20, 2013 6:11 p.m.

2 SENTENCED FOR COLLECTING PRISONER'S UNEMPLOYMENT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two people who collected unemployment benefits for an imprisoned Southern California killer will end up behind bars themselves.

A Norwalk judge on Tuesday sentenced Juan Garcia and Sandra Jaimez to five years each in prison. They were ordered to repay more than $20,000 bilked from the state.

Authorities say that for nearly two years they cashed unemployment checks and submitted change of address forms for Garcia's son, Anthony, who's serving 65 years to life for killing a man at a liquor store.

Authorities say they kept some money for themselves and sent the rest to Anthony Garcia and other imprisoned gang members.

ARMY ENGINEERS HALT STRIPPING OF LA AREA: LOS ANGELES (AP) — There's good news for bird lovers who were furious after the Army Corps of Engineers bulldozed 43 acres of a former Los Angeles wildlife refuge.

The corps on Tuesday agreed to stop removing brush and trees from the Sepulveda Basin until at least mid-September — partly because nesting birds have been discovered there.

Spokesman Tomas Beauchamp told the Los Angeles City Council that the corps will meet with environmentalists to work out a rehabilitation plan.

Last December, the corps dug up shrubs, willows and other trees. Critics say that devastated an area that attracts many birds.

The corps says the thick vegetation also drew the homeless and those committing lewd behavior.

OXNARD OFFICER APOLOGIZES FOR FACEBOOK POSTING: OXNARD. (AP) — An Oxnard police officer has apologized publicly for writing on Facebook that his job is to remove "trash" for the city.

Kyle Brantner told the City Council Tuesday that he understands many interpreted the comment as disparaging.

Brantner said he made the post three years ago and deleted it as soon as it was brought to his attention.

He is one of seven named in a federal lawsuit filed against the department regarding an overdosing Oxnard man who died last summer after police restrained him.

A community group that alleges police harassment posted apparent screenshots from Brantner's Facebook page on its website in December.

CONTROVERSIAL RURAL FIRE FEE BILLS WILL BE DELAYED: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Collection of a fee rural California homeowners were supposed to pay for firefighting service is being delayed as California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials say they're sorting through thousands of complaints challenging its billing data.

The $150 annual fee was approved by the legislature in 2011 to offset the costs of providing fire service to people who live far from services. It affects more than 825,000 homeowners who were billed for the first time between August and December of last year.

A spokesman for the department says that after the bills went out the state received 87,000 petitions for reconsideration from homeowners who said they were billed erroneously.

More than 70 percent came from people who argued the fee was an illegal tax and were denied. This year's bills will be delayed while the remaining challenges are explored.

 

BOBBY BROWN TURNS HIMSELF IN FOR DUI CONVICTION : LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bobby Brown has surrendered to authorities and will begin a 55-day jail sentence for a driving under the influence conviction.

Brown's attorney and a spokesman for the city attorney's office say the R&B singer turned himself in at a Los Angeles courthouse Wednesday.

Brown pleaded no contest to DUI and driving on a suspended license in February. He will also be required to serve four years on informal probation and complete an 18-month alcohol treatment program after he is released.

The conviction is Brown's second for DUI in less than a year. He avoided jail after pleading no contest to a March 2012 drunk driving case.

 

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