• OWNER OF MARIJUANA FARM FINED FOR FOULING CREEK: REDDING (AP) — Water regulators in California have fined the owner of a former marijuana farm and a licensed excavation contractor $297,400 for fouling a creek while preparing a piece of land in Shasta County for pot-growing.
The fine announced Friday was the first to result from a multi-agency pilot project charged with reducing the negative environmental effect of marijuana being cultivated on private property, State Water Resources Control Board attorney Yvonne West said.
The farm about 20 miles west of Redding has been owned since 2013 by Christopher Cordes, 33, who is originally from Florida and most recently has been living in Texas, West said.
Cordes hired a construction company in Redding to clear about 3.8 acres of the site for planting and to extend an existing access road. The extensive grading was done without permits or erosion-control measures, causing sediment to flow into two tributaries of a creek that serves as habitat for chinook salmon, West said.
The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board voted on June 5 to fine Cordes and the contractor $139,700 for that project. Cordes was fined another $157,700 for dumping dirt into two stream crossings while building another road.
The two also have been ordered to improve the property to prevent future environmental damage.
• DISTRACTED GOP LAWMAKER ACCIDENTALLY OKS CALIFORNIA BUDGET: SACRAMENTO (AP) — A Republican lawmaker accidentally cast his party’s first vote for the California budget in years because he was distracted by Facebook.
Assemblyman Scott Wilk was the sole Republican to vote for California’s record $117.5 billion spending plan Monday.
The Santa Clarita lawmaker later clarified he accidentally supported the bill in the Capitol while opposing it on Facebook. He posted on Twitter “My wife is right — I can’t multitask!”
California’s budget is being negotiated between Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders. They have yet to reach a final deal.
Wilk’s blunder won’t show up on the official legislative record because the Assembly allows lawmakers to change their official votes.
He did so after session ended, receiving applause from fellow Republicans and boos from Democrats.
• GIRL, 10, FOUND UNCONSCIOUS AFTER THEME PARK RIDE DIES: SANTA CLARITA (AP) — Authorities say a 10-year-old girl who was found unconscious last week after riding a roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Southern California has died at a hospital.
Coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter said Monday that Jasmine Martinez of Somis died Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department said the girl and a parent were airlifted Friday from the park in Valencia.
The amusement park released a statement that said the girl was found breathing but unconscious after riding the Revolution.
The 113-foot-high looping steel coaster reaches speeds of 55 mph during a two-minute ride.
The Revolution was cleared to reopen shortly after the incident. The coaster has been at the park since 1976.