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POSTED October 14, 2013 9:30 p.m.

OLD SF BUSES TO BE TURNED INTO HOMELESS SHOWERS: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco woman has a refreshing idea to help the homeless: Portable showers on old city buses.

Doniece Sandoval has received one decommissioned bus from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Three  more are in the pipeline.

The 3,400 people who live on San Francisco's streets have irregular access to 16 public showers around the city.

After a retrofitting, the buses will have shower stalls and be driven to homeless nonprofits, where people will receive toiletries and towels.

The first one is scheduled to start rolling in March.

There will be no charge for showers, and the program will operate entirely on donations.

SCRAP METAL THIEVES GRAB FIRE HYDRANTS IN IRVINE: IRVINE  (AP) — Scrap metal thieves have grabbed a pair of fire hydrants from the streets of Irvine.

Though it's still a rare crime in the Orange County city, it's the second time in three weeks that hydrants were unbolted.

The hydrants can fetch more than $300 at recycling yards.

Many cities have been hit by thieves eager to take advantage of relatively high metal prices.

In response, the state passed laws making it illegal for junk dealers and recyclers to possess municipal metal such as hydrants and manhole covers.

Removing a hydrant isn't easy — failure to turn off the water could unleash a geyser 100 feet tall.

BAKERSFIELD WOMAN SAYS HUSBAND ATTACKED WITH SWORD: BAKERSFIELD  (AP) — A Bakersfield woman says she survived an attack by her sword-wielding husband.

The Bakersfield Californian reports that the woman, whom the paper did not identify, called police and said her husband assaulted her after an argument Friday evening.

She said her husband tried to strike her head with a sword, but she was about to escape without being cut.

Kern County sheriff's deputies arrested the husband, William Ayala, on suspicion of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

Deputies said the woman was having difficulty breathing and was treated at a local hospital but later released.

SERIES OF SMALL QUAKES JIGGLES SALTON SEA REGION: BRAWLEY  (AP) — The U.S. Geological Survey says a cluster of small earthquakes has rattled the southern end of the Salton Sea.

The quakes, ranging in size from magnitude-2.5 to magnitude-3.6, occurred early Monday. Such quakes are too minor to cause damage or injuries.

The quakes were centered 17 miles northwest of the town of Brawley in Imperial County.

The mostly agricultural region around the Salton Sea is a seismically active zone that's near the San Andreas Fault. Last year, small to moderate quakes in the region knocked trailer homes off their foundations and shattered windows.

BOY BAND FRENZY PROMPTS EARLY CLOSURE OF LA MALL: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A large throng of fans who showed up to hear a concert by an Australian boy band prompted the early closure of a Los Angeles shopping center.

About a dozen police officers helped empty the Beverly Center on Sunday evening when about 2,000 fans of the Janoskians descended on the upscale mall.

Organizers were expecting about 200 people.

KABC-TV aired footage of a crush of girls moving toward an escalator.

There were no reports of injuries.

Los Angeles police Lt. Lonnie Tiano tells City News Service that the concert was called off because "there were too many people."

LARGE TORTOISE HIT AND KILLED ON INTERSTATE: WHITEWATER  (AP) — This was a race the 150-pound tortoise was not going to win.

The first report came in to the California Highway Patrol at 3:23 p.m. Sunday: A massive tortoise was trying to cross Interstate 10 eastbound, in the Southern California desert not far from Palm Springs.

aBOUT 15 minutes later, the tortoise was pronounced dead. No motorist was reported injured.

While coyotes and even a bear have been spotted trying to cross the freeway, Riverside County Department of Animal Services spokesman John Welsh said he can't recall receiving a call about a tortoise.

"This is not something we deal with every day," he said.

SDG&E-CONTRACTED HELICOPTER MAKES 'HARD LANDING'

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The hard landing of helicopter carrying San Diego Gas & Electric workers has grounded the utility's aircraft operations.

SDG&E spokeswoman Jennifer Ramp said three people aboard the helicopter, which was contracted by the utility for routine inspections of facilities, evacuated safely and were taken to hospitals.

The incident happened just before 1 p.m. Friday, near the utility's Imperial Valley substation 14 miles southwest of El Centro.

Ramp said one employee was released from the El Centro Regional Medical Center Friday evening, and another was released from a hospital in San Diego on Saturday.

SDG&E-CONTRACTED HELICOPTER MAKES 'HARD LANDING': SAN DIEGO (AP) — The hard landing of helicopter carrying San Diego Gas & Electric workers has grounded the utility's aircraft operations.

SDG&E spokeswoman Jennifer Ramp said three people aboard the helicopter, which was contracted by the utility for routine inspections of facilities, evacuated safely and were taken to hospitals.

The incident happened just before 1 p.m. Friday, near the utility's Imperial Valley substation 14 miles southwest of El Centro.

Ramp said one employee was released from the El Centro Regional Medical Center Friday evening, and another was released from a hospital in San Diego on Saturday.

MAN ARRESTED IN MICHIGAN FOR OLD CALIF. KILLING: YUCCA VALLEY  (AP) — Detectives from Michigan and California have arrested a 41-year-old man in connection with the disappearance of his wife, whose body was found buried in the desert near Yucca Valley in 2004.

Authorities say Charles Patrick Leppan was taken into custody at his home in Brandon Township, Mich., on Monday.

Leppan and his wife, Jean, lived in Yucca Valley when she disappeared in 2004. Her skeletal remains were found by a man walking his dog.

San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies questioned Leppan at the time but he was not charged.

 

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