CALIF. BORDER AGENTS FIND POT ENCASED IN CONCRETE: SAN DIEGO (AP) — Border Patrol officers found nearly 400 pounds of marijuana encased in concrete on the back of a truck at a San Diego-area crossing.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement Monday that a dog at the Otay Mesa crossing's cargo facility alerted officers that the shipment of concrete barriers in the back of a tractor-trailer driven by a 59-year-old Mexican citizen on Friday could contain drugs.
Officers drilled a hole in one of the barriers and found what turned out to be marijuana. Continued searching revealed 77 wrapped packages totaling 384 pounds of marijuana with a street value of more than $230,000.
The truck was seized and the driver, whose name has not been released, was arrested and taken to the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in San Diego.
CALIF INVESTIGATES PG&E PIPELINE SAFETY PRACTICES: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California utility regulators are investigating Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s pipeline safety practices after two welders claimed that some of the company's lines contain weld defects and that repairs have not been made properly.
The California Public Utilities Commission on Monday said it is following up on reports from welders with the United Association of Plumbers, Pipe Fitters and Steamfitters who raised the concerns after working on tests of PG&E pipelines in 2011.
CPUC's Consumer Protection and Safety Division has already investigated claims that PG&E found leaks in some distribution pipelines but failed to make timely repairs. That investigation had thus far found no evidence to support those claims.
A Sept. 9, 2010 explosion on a PG&E transmission line in San Bruno killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.
OBAMA PROMOTES JOB TRAINING AT COMMUNITY COLLEGE: ANNANDALE, Va. (AP) — President Barack Obama called on Congress Monday to create an $8 billion fund to train community college students for high-growth industries, giving a financial incentive to schools whose graduates are getting jobs.
The fund was part of Obama's proposed budget for 2013. The overall package aims to achieve $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade by restraining government spending and raising taxes on the wealthy, while boosting spending in some areas, including education.
Obama warned Congress that blocking investments in education and other proposals in his budget would be standing in the way of "America's comeback."
SANTORUM CALLS OCCUPY PROTESTERS 'RADICAL ELEMENT': TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum says Tacoma Occupy protesters represent "true intolerance."
The former Pennsylvania senator clashed Monday night with several protesters gathered at an outdoor rally in downtown Tacoma, Wash. The event took place next to the Occupy protest camp site.
Police dragged away two protesters in the midst of Santorum's speech.
Santorum calls the Occupy protest a "radical element." He also says he respects their opportunity to protest.
MINN. SCHOOL BOARD ENDS POLICY BLAMED FOR BULLYING: COON RAPIDS, Minn. (AP) — The school board in Minnesota's largest school district on Monday night approved a replacement for a policy that required teachers to stay neutral when sexual orientation comes up in class, a stance that some critics blamed for fostering bullying.
The Anoka-Hennepin School Board adopted the "Respectful Learning Environment" policy on a voice vote. Only board member Kathy Tingelstad voted no.
After hearing more than an hour of testimony from more than 20 people, board member Scott Wenzel said he believed the change will help the district and the community move forward.
Tingelstad told reporters afterward she didn't appreciate all the outside pressure that has come down on the board over the issue in recent months.
The new policy commits the north suburban Twin Cities district to providing "a safe and respectful learning environment for all students." It says that when contentious political, religious, social matters or economic issues come up — it does not specifically cite sexuality issues — teachers shouldn't try to persuade students to adopt particular viewpoint. It calls for teachers to foster respectful exchanges of views. It also says in such discussions, staff should affirm the dignity and self-worth of all students, regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
The proposal was unveiled at a Jan. 23 school board meeting after an earlier revision attempt left all sides unsatisfied. The new policy takes effect immediately.
The district's teachers union endorsed the policy change.
WIS. RECALL PETITION STORAGE SITE NO LONGER SECRET: MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin elections officials disclosed Monday that a 100-year-old white brick building two miles east of the state Capitol is the previously secret location where petitions seeking the recall of Gov. Scott Walker and five other Republican officeholders are being stored, checked and processed.
While the location of the building had been kept from the public for security reasons, a webcam that broadcast, without sound, the work being done attracted tens of thousands of visitors in the opening days.
The 147,000 sq.-foot building serves many government functions, including housing the state's motor pool and printing and mail services, so it's familiar to many state workers.
"This has been a catchall facility for the state for a long time," said Kevin Kennedy, director of the Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections and is in charge of the work being done. "When I described this as gated with barbed wire, a lot of state employees knew what I was talking about."
For the past month, about 50 temporary workers earning about $10 an hour have been poring through roughly 1.9 million signatures on the recall petitions submitted Jan. 17.
DAD PLAYS PORN INSTEAD OF 'SMURFS' AT KID'S PARTY: TREMONTON, Utah (AP) — Police aren't filing charges against a father who briefly played a pornographic video instead of "The Smurfs" at his child's birthday party.
Tremonton Police Chief Dave Nance tells the Standard-Examiner of Ogden the man had rented a copy of "The Smurfs" from a Redbox kiosk and loaded the disc into his laptop. But when he turned the projector on for the children, pornographic images flashed on the screen.
Authorities got involved when the father complained somebody had tampered with the DVD. Police found nothing wrong, saying the porn was probably on the laptop.
Nance says officials aren't pursuing charges because the incident was apparently an accident.
"The Smurfs" was released in 2011 and features animated blue creatures that are chased into New York City by an evil wizard.
JFK LIBRARY TO MAKE JACKIE KENNEDY'S PAPERS PUBLIC: BOSTON (AP) — Some of former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy's personal papers, including notes from her televised White House tour 50 years ago, are now public for the first time.
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum on Monday released the first part of a collection her children donated to the library, detailing her efforts to restore the White House in a manner that preserved the nation's history.
The papers show script changes for the first lady's Feb. 14, 1962, televised tour that library officials said drew 80 million viewers after syndication. Notes demonstrate Jackie Kennedy's attention to detail, breaking down script changes by page and line.