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CALIFORNIA HEALTH EXCHANGE TOPS 800,000 SIGN-UPS: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — More than 800,000 Californians have signed up for insurance through mid-February on the state’s health care exchange.
Covered California, as the exchange is known, released updated enrollment figures Wednesday showing that nearly 829,000 people had signed up for individual policies through the first two weeks of February.
In September, before open enrollment began, the Obama administration estimated that 1.3 million Californians would sign up for coverage through the federal Affordable Care Act on the state-run exchange. Open enrollment ends March 31.
Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee says the state exchange has already exceeded its own enrollment projections.

HUNDREDS OF LA SCHOOL BUILDINGS NEED QUAKE WORK: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hundreds of school buildings in the Los Angeles district need to be strengthened to withstand a major earthquake.
District data indicates that 667 buildings are in need of detailed seismic evaluations and retrofitting.
Another 19 buildings have been retrofitted, 21 are being evaluated or retrofitted and five have been demolished.
The buildings were identified after a 1999 state law required a survey of vulnerable school structures around California.
The district estimates completing the work will cost nearly $1 billion.

2 SOLAR PLANTS APPROVED: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Federal officials announced the approval of two solar energy plants on public lands in California and Nevada, angering environmentalists who say the facilities will endanger desert tortoises.
The plants were expected to supply 550 megawatts of renewable energy, enough to power about 170,000 homes, Secretary of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a release Wednesday.
More than 700 jobs will be created through construction and operations, she said.
The Stateline Solar Farm Project is slated for a site in the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino County, Calif., near the Nevada line.
Across the border, the Silver State South Solar Project will be located near Primm, Nev. It will be adjacent to the smaller Silver State North facility, which is already providing power.
Both new public lands projects were proposed by the company First Solar and have commitments from Southern California Edison to purchase the plants’ output for 20 years, the secretary said.
Throughout the review process, environmentalists voiced concerns that construction will negatively impact populations of desert tortoises in the Ivanpah Valley.