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POSTED April 9, 2013 7:16 p.m.

CATHEDRAL CITY MAYOR PRO TEM ARRESTED:  CATHEDRAL CITY  (AP) — A City Council member in Cathedral City has been arrested and charged with stealing public funds.

The Riverside County district attorney's office says Charles Vasquez, the mayor pro tem, is being held at the Indio jail in lieu of $50,000 bail. He was taken into custody Monday at his home.

Prosecutors say Vasquez was given a city-issued credit card to purchase computer equipment for his office. Instead, prosecutors say, he used the card to buy over $2,000 in prepaid MasterCard gift cards.

Vasquez is also accused of submitting fraudulent invoices and using the proceeds to purchase unapproved personal items in addition to some computer equipment.

If convicted, Vasquez faces up to six years in prison.

SEX OFFENDER ARRESTED IN SOUTHERN CALIF. KILLING: SAN BERNARDINO  (AP) — Police say a sex offender who worked as a neighborhood handyman has been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting and killing an elderly San Bernardino woman last year.

Police Chief Roby Handy said Monday that DNA evidence led detectives to 57-year-old Jerome Anthony Rogers, who was taken into custody Friday.

Handy said Rogers' DNA was found at the home of 76-year-old Mary Elizabeth Blaskey, who was beaten to death in November. Blaskey's body was found by her son when he stopped by to pick her up for a doctor appointment.

The San Bernardino Sun says says Rogers is known for knocking on doors, looking for work doing landscaping and household chores.

The newspaper says police suspect Rogers may be linked to at least two other killings.

SOBER HOMES TO FACE RESTRICTIONS IN SAN BERNARDINO: SAN BERNARDINO  (AP) — Large sober-living homes would require permits and be restricted in certain neighborhoods, under new rules being considered in San Bernardino County.

The Press-Enterprise reports the proposed changes were recommended last week by the Planning Commission.

The group homes would be limited to two tenants per bedroom and be required to provide one parking space per bedroom, plus one for the manager. In an effort to avoid clusters of homes in particular areas, the homes would also be subject to a 300-foot separation.

Neighbors complained after a number of alcohol- and drug-recovery facilities began popping up in the Lake Arrowhead area. A temporary ban on new facilities was put in place while county officials studied the issue.

The Board of Supervisors will vote on the regulations in May.

10TH SUSPECT ARRESTED AFTER BODY FOUND IN U-HAUL: SANTA MARIA  (AP) — The list of suspects arrested in the death of a man whose body was found in a U-Haul truck in Santa Barbara County has grown to 10.

Police tell the Santa Maria Times that 29-year-old Jason Michael Castillo was arrested Monday on suspicion of the murder of 28-year-old Anthony Ibarra.

Lt. Kim Graham says Castillo may not be the last suspect arrested.

Police found the U-Haul with Ibarra's body inside March 19. Investigators believe he was tortured and stabbed to death two days earlier. Authorities have not released a motive but say drugs and gangs were involved.

Eight people were arrested in the week following the killing and a ninth was arrested last week.

Authorities say eight face murder charges and two charges of being accessories after the fact.

BILL WOULD BOOST PRIVATE-COLLEGE CAL GRANT AWARDS: SACRAMENTO (AP) — Students at some private colleges and trade schools could receive more state grant money under a proposal that has passed a legislative committee.

The Assembly Higher Education Committee on Tuesday approved a bill to restore the maximum Cal Grant award to $9,708. The amount a student could receive from the financial aid program was reduced in last year's state budget.

Grants to students at certain private, for-profit colleges were cut to $4,000 for the upcoming year.

The Republican-sponsored bill by Assemblywoman Beth Gaines of Rocklin and Assemblyman Mike Morrell of Rancho Cucamonga would increase maximum grants beginning with the 2013-14 school year.

The measure, AB1085, would not alter standards approved last year preventing students from using Cal Grants at institutions with low graduation and high loan default rates.

 

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