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NEWS FROM ACROSS CALIFORNIA

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POSTED February 28, 2014 6:46 p.m.

• SAN JOSE FIREFIGHTER WON’T FACE CHILD SEX CHARGE: SAN JOSE  (AP) — Prosecutors have declined to charge a veteran Northern California firefighter who was arrested in a drug sting with child molestation, but still plan to pursue felony charges of selling and possessing methamphetamine against him.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that the Alameda County district attorney made the decision after reviewing the evidence a California Department of Justice task force submitted in support of its allegation that Mario Enrique Cuestas had engaged in sex with a 17-year-old boy to whom he had furnished meth.

The task force started investigating Cuestas last year after receiving a tip alleging he was soliciting children through websites.

The Mercury News says the drug charges stem from allegations that the 53-year-old Cuestas sold meth to an undercover agent in the case.

He is being held on $75,000 bail and hasn’t yet entered a plea.

 

• UTILITIES ORDERED TO TELL CUSTOMERS TO SAVE WATER: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Investor-owned water companies in California have been ordered to reduce their water use by 20 percent, officials said Friday.

The California Public Utilities Commission said in a statement issued that the agency had voted Thursday to order investor-owned water companies to request voluntary conservation from customers in order to reduce consumption to the target level.

The companies must notify their customers through a bill insert or through a direct mailing, the CPUC said. If the voluntary measures are not enough, the companies may apply to the commission to activate mandatory rationing.

There 116 investor-owned water utilities and 14 wastewater utilities under the CPUC’s jurisdiction.

Jack Hawks, a spokesman for the California Water Association, which represents the interests of the state’s water utilities, said the decision was expected and that a number of utilities had already asked customers to conserve.

 

• GOOGLE PLEDGES $6.8M FOR SAN FRANCISCO PROGRAM: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google is donating nearly $7 million to allow San Francisco to continue providing free bus and other transportation services to low-income city kids.

City officials announced the donation on Thursday and said it will cover an additional two years of the free transit program. The program is currently funded by a regional transportation agency through June 2014.

The donation comes as Google and other technology companies face criticism over private buses they use to pick up employees in San Francisco. Technology workers are also accused of driving up rents and gentrifying the city.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said the donation shows Google is a true partner in addressing San Francisco’s affordability crisis for lower and middle-income families.

 

• POLICE EQUIPMENT FOUND IN CALIFORNIA STORAGE UNIT: MARINA  (AP) — A Central California storage locker held a surprise for its buyers — thousands of dollars’ worth of police equipment that may have been stolen.

The Monterey Herald says contents of the locker in Marina were auctioned earlier this month to cover unpaid rent.

Two Carmel Valley men bought the contents for $825, but when they opened it on Saturday, they found about 80 police and firefighter outfits, two badges, keys, radio equipment, sirens, lights, police reports and photographs, handcuffs, mace, batons and urine-test kits.

Police used two trucks to haul it away Thursday.

The items were from several law enforcement and fire agencies. Marina Police Chief Eddie Rodriguez says the locker was rented by a former police employee who was fired four or five years ago.

 

• HOMELESS MAN RESCUED FROM SAN JOSE CREEK: SAN JOSE  (AP) — San Jose fire officials say they had to rescue a homeless man after he became trapped in a rain-swollen creek.

The man was waist deep in the creek near the city’s golf course and clinging to trees and debris when crews found him around 5:30 a.m. Friday.

Fire Capt. Reggie Williams tells the San Jose Mercury News he was pulled out of the water and taken to a hospital for treatment of fatigue and hypothermia.

It was not known how long he had been in the creek.

San Jose was under an urban and small stream flood warning in the morning, as a storm system that is pounding the state moved through the area.

 

• FBI USES BILLBOARDS TO HELP FIND SUSPECTED BOMBER: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — In its quest to find a suspected domestic terrorist on the lam for a decade, the FBI has begun placing his image on billboards across the country.

The FBI announced Friday that images of Daniel Andreas San Diego will appear on electronic billboards from California to Massachusetts and along the border with Canada. San Diego’s image even appeared above Times Square on Friday, the FBI said.

FBI spokesman Peter Lee says billboard company Clear Channel donates its electronic billboards occasionally to help investigators track down fugitives. San Diego’s image will appear on dozens of billboards throughout the country for a week.

San Diego is an animal rights activist charged with detonating pipe bombs in 2003 that damaged two San Francisco Bay Area companies associated with animal experimentations.

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