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State news briefs
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NORTHERN CALIF. DIALECT DOWN TO ABOUT 12 SPEAKERS: BOONVILLE  (AP) — A Northern California dialect that is one of just two homegrown languages in the United States may soon go extinct.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Tuesday that there are only about a dozen speakers of Boontling left.

The dialect from the area around the small Mendocino County town of Boonville consists of more than 1,500 words, many of them drawn from local names. The Chronicle says a phone booth, for example, is a 'buckey walter,' because a century ago someone named Walter had the first phone in the area and charged a nickel — then called a buckeye — to use it.

Other words are variations of existing nouns. The exact origins of Boontling are not known.

But linguistics experts say only Appalachian English in the Southeastern United States is similar in scope.

2 TEENS DEAD AFTER RUNNING FROM POLICE: PORTERVILLE  (AP) — Porterville police say two teenagers are dead after speeding away from a traffic stop.

Officers with the Porterville Police Department say they stopped a driver on suspicion of driving under the influence on Monday at about 9:30 p.m. After officers asked the driver to step out of the car, authorities say passenger jumped into the driver's seat and drove off.

According to police, the car later rolled multiple times before hitting a large tree.

A 15-year-old girl and an 18-year-old male were pronounced dead at the scene. An 18-year-old female was airlifted to Kaweah Delta Hospital and her injuries were non-life threatening.

NEARLY 500 FIREFIGHTERS BATTLE 406-ACRE WILDFIRE: LONE PINE  (AP) — California fire bosses say a wind-driven 406-acre wildfire east of Lone Pine should be surrounded on Wednesday.

The Inyo County blaze broke out Sunday morning north of State Route 136 in the high desert Owens Valley river bottom about 200 miles north of Los Angeles. Winds were clocked at about 25 mph.

A California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Tuesday that the fire is 75 percent contained and it is expected to be fully surrounded on Wednesday.

Nearly 500 firefighters are battling the flames.

Cal Fire spokesman Bill Peters says there is no active flame. The fire burned grass and salt weed, which has an extensive root system requiring firefighters to dig deep to snuff embers.

SON GUILTY OF STEALING $330K FROM ELDERLY MOTHER : SANTA ANA AP) — A Southern California man and his ex-wife have been convicted of stealing $330,000 from the man's elderly mother.

The 89-year-old mother discovered the theft when she was unable to pay her bills at an assisted living center.

The Los Angeles Times reports on Tuesday that 70-year-old Peter Garcia and 50-year-old Virginia Kay Furr-Garcia were convicted of taking the money from the victim's closed annuity funds.

Orange County prosecutors say the San Clemente defendants face up to six years in prison when they are sentenced on March 22.

EDUCATION GAP STARTS IN 2ND GRADE FOR BLACK STUDENTS: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A study shows black students in Los Angeles County public schools have learning difficulties by second grade and those education gaps widen with age, leading to the highest dropout rates among all races.

The Oakland-based nonprofit Education Trust-West report also says African American students are far less likely to take college prep classes and they are more likely to miss school because of suspensions.

The study show one in 20 black kindergartners will graduate from a four-year California university if current trends continue.

The study is based on academic achievement, suspensions and the psychological conditions of 135,000 black students in 81 public school districts in Los Angeles County.

SMALL QUAKE SHAKES INLAND REGION EAST OF LA: LOMA LINDA (AP) — A small earthquake has shaken the inland region east of Los Angeles, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude-3.6 quake struck Tuesday about 2 miles southeast of Loma Linda. The agency received about 60 reports from residents in San Bernardino and Riverside counties who felt shaking.

USGS Geophysicist Don Blakeman says quakes this size can be felt in populated areas, but typically are too small to cause any damage.

72 CATS SEIZED FROM RIVERSIDE COUNTY MAN'S HOME: MENIFEE  (AP) — Authorities say there was that repulsive urine smell and overloaded litter boxes, but every one of the 72 cats seized at a man's home in Riverside County was spayed or neutered and well fed.

Animal Friends of the Valley spokeswoman Monique Middleton says the Menifee man was taking in unwanted cats and it just got out of control. She says he was not arrested so his name is being withheld. He is lone caretaker for his wife, who has health problems.

The man has turned over all the indoor cats to animal control officers but initially balked because he feared the cats would be killed.

An animal rescue group took a dozen cats and Ramona Humane Society took 60. Most are available for adoption.


RIVERSIDE  (AP) — Riverside police say they've arrested a woman they believe beat and stabbed an 80-year-old woman, stole her car and broke into a neighbor's home and stabbed their dog.

Officers say 25-year-old Shannon Lynn Jones of Bishop was arrested early Tuesday for investigation of attempted murder, home invasion robbery, burglary, animal cruelty and vehicle theft.

Sgt. David Amador says Jones was arrested after a short chase in the Wildomar area. He says Jones crashed the stolen car and fled on foot but was located and arrested.

UNCERTAINTY CLOUDS FUTURE OF NUKE PLANT: LOS ANGELES (AP) — The cost of repairs, inspections and replacement power at the shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant jumped to more than $400 million through December as the company that runs it contends with extensive equipment repairs, regulatory filings disclosed Tuesday.

"The scope of necessary repairs for the steam generators ... or the length of the units' outages could prove more extensive than is currently estimated," wrote Edison International, the parent company of San Onofre operator Southern California Edison.

The plant hasn't produced electricity since January 2012, after a tiny radiation leak led to the discovery of unusual damage to hundreds of steam generator tubes that carry radioactive water.

TESLA CEO VOWS TO PAY OFF DOE LOAN EARLY: PALO ALTO (AP) — The chief executive of electric car maker Tesla Motors says his company plans to pay back an Energy Department loan in half the time required by the government.

CEO Elon Musk said Tesla plans to pay off the $465 million federal loan in five years, rather than 10 years. Musk made the comment Tuesday at a summit on energy innovation, where he appeared on stage with Energy Secretary Steven Chu and defended the Obama administration's clean energy program.

Noting the firestorm of criticism aimed at the Energy Department after the bankruptcy of solar company Solyndra, which received a $528 million federal loan, Musk said it was only fair that the administration wins praise for success stories such as Tesla. He said the company is on course to earn a small profit this quarter.