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GIANT SUGAR PINE TREE IN CENTRAL SIERRA COMES DOWN: DORRINGTON  (AP) — A famous giant sugar pine tree in the central Sierra has fallen victim to fungus and an infestation of bark beetles.

The estimated 600-year-old Whelan Tree in Calaveras County was brought down this fall after experts concluded it was dying.

At 33 feet in circumference and 200 feet tall, it was considered among the largest sugar pines in the world.

It stood above a Girl Scout camp near the town of Dorrington and had been visited by naturalist John Muir, who was photographed sitting at the base of its trunk.


FRESNO GIRL, 8, DRAGGED IN HIT-AND-RUN CRASH: FRESNO  (AP) — Police say an 8-year-old girl suffered major injuries after being struck by a minivan and dragged more than 100 feet in a Fresno hit-and-run crash.

Investigators are interviewing witnesses and searching for the driver of an older model minivan, possibly gray or green in color.

Police Sgt. Mike Smith says the girl was walking with her mother in a crosswalk when she was struck Sunday night.

Smith says the child was rushed to Children’s Hospital Central California with severe road rash and likely several broken bones.


POLICE: OFFICERS SHOOT MAN WHO KILLED NEIGHBOR DOG: LONG BEACH (AP) — Long Beach police say officers shot and killed a man armed with a knife and a crowbar after he allegedly broke into his neighbors’ home and killed their dog.

Sgt. Bradley Johnson says the shooting occurred Saturday afternoon when officers responded to a report of an armed residential robbery.

Officers say the suspect tried to attack them several times with the knife and crowbar before they opened fire.

City News Service reports the coroner’s office identified the man Monday as 62-year-old Richard Joseph Barrett.

The residents and police do not know why Barrett targeted them. Johnson says the neighbors lived next to each other for a decade and had no history of confrontation.

Police say in addition to killing the dog, Barrett also vandalized their property and lit a fire inside their residence.


SERIAL LA GRAFFITI SUSPECT RANE BUSTED: SANTA CLARITA . (AP) — Authorities say they have arrested an alleged graffiti vandal who has tagged buildings, windows and walls all over the Santa Clarita Valley for the past five years.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials say 23-year-old Isaiah Garcia — known by the monikers RANE and KASE — was taken into custody last week after a search warrant was served at a Newhall home.

Deputies seized spray-paint cans, markers and etching tools.

Investigators believe Garcia is responsible for about 750 scrawls since 2009.

Authorities say the suspect would leave his mark on just about any stationary object.

If convicted of the vandalism, Garcia could be forced to pay for the damage caused by hundreds of graffiti tags. It wasn’t immediately known if he has a lawyer.