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Bay Area news briefs
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UC SYSTEM BANS SMOKING, CHEWING OF TOBACCO: OAKLAND  (AP) — The University of California is banning smoking and the chewing of tobacco on all of its 10 campuses.
UC President Mark Yudof announced the ban to campus chancellors this week. It will go into effect in 2014.
About 8 percent of UC students and 10 percent of employees smoke.
Those numbers are well below national averages.
It's not clear yet whether smokers who violate the ban will be fined or face some other sort of sanction.
The ban will also prohibit tobacco sales and advertising in all buildings owned or rented by the university.
BART SET TO AWARD $1B CONTRACT FOR NEW TRAIN CARS: OAKLAND (AP) — The Bay Area Rapid Transit Agency is gearing up to buy new train cars that would have easier-to-clean seats and digital information displays.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports ( that BART plans to award a $1 billion contract for 260 new cars in May. The cars would also have three doors to speed up boarding and reconfigured seating.
BART Assistant General Manager for Operations Paul Oversier says the agency would test 10 cars from the manufacturer at the start of 2015 before allowing full production. The first cars would then arrive in September 2016 with others following through the end of 2018.
The 260 cars would be paid for with $870 million in regional funds from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and money from BART's budget.
TEACHER ARRESTED FOR SEX WITH 14-YEAR-OLD STUDENT: LIVERMORE  (AP) — Police say a California math teacher has been arrested for a six-month sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student.
The 40-year-old Marie Johnson's relationship with the boy began with text messages, Facebook postings and instant messaging over the "Words with Friends" smartphone game.
Investigators say Johnson, who teaches at Granada High School in Livermore, had sex in the teacher's car and other undisclosed locations.
2 OFFICERS DISCIPLINED FOR OCCUPY OAKLAND ACTIONS: OAKLAND  (AP) — Two Oakland police officers have been disciplined for violating policy during Occupy protests.
One of the officers covered his nameplate with black tape and the other removed the tape with a videographer questioned him about it.
Officer John Hargraves and Lt. Clifford Wong were punished after a police internal affairs investigation. The lieutenant failed to report Hargraves' conduct.
State law and Oakland policy require uniformed officers to wear a badge or nameplate.
The officers were outside police headquarters when they were approached by a videographer during a November demonstration by Occupy Oakland demonstrations.
The cameraman complained to Wong that Hargraves covered his nameplate. The lieutenant then stripped off the tape.
MOM ARRESTED IN TEEN'S DRUNKEN-DRIVING DEATH: SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO  (AP) — A San Francisco Bay area mom has been arrested on suspicion of helping her child's teenage friend buy alcohol hours before the girl was killed in a drunken-driving crash.
State officials say 51-year-old Amelia Chin of Alameda was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of furnishing alcohol to a minor. Authorities also arrested 45-year-old Abduhl Azeem Buksh, the clerk at the South San Francisco market where the girl allegedly got the alcohol.
The state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control says Chin accompanied 17-year-old Margaret Qaqish to the market on Feb. 4 and stood by as Qaqish bought the alcohol from Buksh.
Qaqish died when the car she was traveling in crashed early the next morning. The 19-year-old driver was allegedly drunk.
Buksh's attorney, John Forsyth, says surveillance video shows his client sold beer and a wine cooler to Chin, not Qaqish.
2 SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN SAN JOSE BANK HEIST: SAN JOSE  (AP) — Traffic is flowing again on a San Jose highway that had been shut down for more than four hours as police investigated a bomb threat.
Police say a car used in a bank robbery on Thursday crashed on Highway 85 during the getaway. The bomb squad was called because the suspects had threatened employees at the bank with a suspicious device.
Authorities arrested two suspects who jumped out of the car after the crash. One was brought into custody on the highway. The other was apprehended at Gunderson High School, which was temporarily locked down.
BANKRUPT SOLAR FIRM SOLYNDRA EYES EMPLOYEE BONUSES: FREMONT. (AP) — A Fremont solar panel manufacturer that received a half-billion dollar loan from the federal government before declaring bankruptcy is asking a Delaware judge to approve up to $500,000 in employee bonuses.
Solyndra says the performance-based incentives will help it retain key employees whose work is critical to a successful reorganization and sale of the company's assets.
The bonuses would be for up to nine equipment engineers, up to six general business and finance employees, up to four facilities workers and up to two information technology workers.
The bonuses would range from 8 percent to 38 percent of a worker's base pay. The employees in question make between $72,000 and $206,000 a year.