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POSTED May 23, 2013 8:45 p.m.

SWALLOWS LAWSUIT MAY DELAY PETALUMA BRIDGE WORK : PETALUMA  (AP) — A lawsuit accuses state and federal regulators of causing the death of dozens of migratory cliff swallows by placing nets on a Sonoma County bridge during a highway widening project.

The suit filed by a coalition of conservation groups claims transportation agencies refused to remove netting or do anything to save the birds, which workers were trying to prevent from nesting on the Petaluma Bridge.

Wildlife advocates say more than 100 cliff swallows have been killed.

The 5-inch-long, brownish birds form colonies that seek out overhanging structures near water.

The lawsuit is threatening to delay a three-year, $82 million project to replace the bridge structure.

The California Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration are named in the filing.

SFO BAGGAGE HANDLER ACCUSED OF THEFT: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco International Airport baggage handler is facing charges that he stole items from passengers' bags.

Prosecutors say 45-year-old George Reyes, who works for United Airlines, was found with iPads and purses when he was arrested on Tuesday. The items had been fitted with GPS trackers as part of a police sting.

Reyes, of San Francisco, appeared in court the next day on embezzlement and stolen property charges. He did not enter a plea and was granted time to retain a private attorney.

San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe says investigators found additional stolen items at Reyes' home. He says Reyes victimized at least 50 people.

APPEALS COURT OKS MARIN DESAL STUDY: SAN RAFAEL  (AP) — A state appeals court has okayed an environmental study of a Marin County water district's proposed desalination project.

The 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco reversed a lower court decision that invalidated the study.

Marin County Judge Lynn Duryee said in August 2011 that the environmental review for the $115 million plant was flawed in part because it failed to fully assess the project's impact on marine life.

Marin Municipal Water District officials disputed that and said a more comprehensive review would be conducted once the project moved forward.

The project has been shelved for now.

But North Coast Rivers Alliance President Frank Egger, whose group was among the plaintiffs, said it will have to look into whether to appeal.

OFFICERS IN SANTA CRUZ POLICE SHOOTING CALLED HEROIC: SANTA CRUZ  (AP) — Four officers who fatally shot a man suspected of killing two Santa Cruz police detectives likely saved additional lives, the police chief said Thursday when new details of the deadly encounter were revealed.

Chief Kevin Vogel said the officers who killed Jeremy Goulet risked their own safety to protect others.

Detective Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker and Detective Elizabeth Butler went to Goulet's home on Feb. 26 after Goulet's co-worker at a coffee shop accused him of making inappropriate sexual advances.

They were speaking to him through a door, telling him he would be arrested, when Goulet suddenly appeared at a second entrance and fired five shots, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak said.

The officers were wounded. Goulet then walked up to Baker and fired two more rounds into him and then pumped two rounds into Butler, authorities said.

 

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