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POSTED September 3, 2013 8:25 p.m.

FEDERAL COURT UPHOLDS OYSTER FARM CLOSURE: POINT REYES (AP) — A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a decision by former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar not to renew the lease of a popular oyster farm operating in the Point Reyes National Seashore in Northern California.

In a 2-1 decision, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Salazar had the authority to allow Drakes Bay Oyster Co.'s lease to expire.

While the farm was slated to close for good in February, it continued operating after the court issued a preliminary injunction while the case was pending. Now that the injunction has been removed, the farm's immediate future is unclear.

Owner Kevin Lunny can appeal to a larger panel of 9th Circuit judges to review the three-judge panel's decision. The farm has 45 days to do so, or it can ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the matter.

Lunny said he is conferring with his lawyers to chart a course forward.

"The Ninth Circuit's decision to deny this injunction is a step backward, not only for Drakes Bay, but also for Marin County, proponents of sustainable agriculture and farmers around the country," Lunny said in a statement.

Last November, Salazar said the waters of Drakes Estero should be returned to wilderness status, as Congress decided in 1976.

CONVICTION IN FIGHT OVER EXISTENCE OF GOD CASE: OAKLAND . (AP) — An Oakland man has been found guilty of first-degree murder for shooting and killing his friend during an alcohol and cocaine-fueled argument over the existence of God.

Douglas Yim, 33.  was also found guilty Tuesday of assault with a firearm and mayhem for shooting a second friend in his living room two years ago.

Yim killed 25-year-old Dzuy Duhn Phan after a night of partying and playing video games. Another friend, Paul Park, testified the two men had engaged in a heated discussion about God.

Yim became enraged and grabbed his gun after Phan asked Yim where God was when Yim's father died of a stroke several years earlier.

Yim shot Phan at least six times. Park was also hit by a bullet.

2 DIE IN SJ HIT-AND-RUN CRASH; SUSPECT AT LARGE: SAN JOSE  (AP) — Authorities are looking for a drunken driving suspect who got into a fatal crash after speeding away from California Highway Patrol officers when they tried to make a traffic stop in San Jose.

CHP spokesman Chris Falkowski says the officers did not pursue the Mercedes sedan early Monday morning. It ran into another car carrying 63-year-old Carmen Zavala and 62-year-old Cristina De Leon Castro a short distance away.

Zavala and Castro died.

The driver of the Mercedes had fled by the time the officers arrived at the scene and remains at large.

 

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