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Bay Area briefs
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Utility uses waste to produce power

OAKLAND. (AP) — A Northern California utility is using a new turbine and truckloads of chicken blood, food scraps and other waste to produce more electricity that it uses.

The Contra Costa Times says Oakland's East Bay Municipal Utility District has been generating electricity from sewage gas and other waste since the 1980s.

The $32 million power plant expansion unveiled this week makes use of aggressive waste collection.

Truckloads of food scraps, chicken blood and cheese factory waste are put into large vats where bacteria chomp on it, producing methane gas to fuel the plant's turbines.

The new 4.6 megawatt turbine increases the plant's capacity to 11 megawatts, or enough for about 13,000 homes.

The plant uses about 4.5 megawatts and the excess is sold back to the grid.

Animal handler at preserve near Santa Rosa gored

SANTA ROSA (AP) — An animal handler at a wildlife preserve near Santa Rosa is recovering after she was gored by a buffalo.

Nicole Smith was trying to coax the 7-year-old buffalo at the Safari West preserve back around 11 a.m. Wednesday after it strayed through an open gate onto a neighboring property.

Safari West spokeswoman Aphrodite Caserta said the animal instead charged and gouged Smith's leg with a horn.

She suffered a significant wound to her thigh and was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, where she was expected to be held overnight.

The buffalo was tranquilized and returned to its pen.

SJ police: Man posing as cop is stealing cash

SAN JOSE  (AP) — San Jose police are trying to identify a man who has been posing as a police officer and stealing people's cash.

Police say the man has victimized at least three people, including two people on Tuesday, employing the same routine.

He comes up to Spanish-speaking immigrants in a green van claiming to be an undercover officer. Police say he then lifts up his shirt to show what looks like a badge, pats the people down and asks for their wallets to run their names for warrants.

When he returns from the van, the money in the wallets is gone.

Police are trying to see whether they have enough information to draft a sketch of the suspect.

Police say undercover San Jose police officers don't use green vans.

Oakland charter school to stay open

OAKLAND (AP) — An Oakland charter school that has among the best student test scores in the state will stay open despite allegations of fraud and mismanagement.

The city school board voted 4-3 on Wednesday to renew the charter of the American Indian Public Charter School II. Board members, however, demanded that the organization behind the school implement stricter accounting policies.

A state audit of the school is ongoing. But its preliminary findings have raised questions about $1 million in payments made to the school's founder, Ben Chavis, and his wife, Martha Amador, and produced evidence of lax financial oversight by the school's board.

Chavis has said he has responded fully to state investigators' concerns.

Oakland school district staff had recommended the school board deny the charter school's renewal application.