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CALIFORNIA CHARTER SCHOOL ENROLLMENT SOARS AGAIN: LOS ANGELES (AP) — The number of California students attending charter schools has risen to more than a half million.

The California Charter Schools Association announced Tuesday an estimated 547,800 students are enrolled in charter schools for the 2014-15 school year, up from 519,000 the year before.

An additional 87 new charters opened this school year, bringing the total statewide to 1,184. Thirty four were closed.

Demand for charter schools in California continues to rise; some 91,000 students are currently on wait lists.

Charter schools are taxpayer-funded but operate independently of many of the laws and regulations governing traditional public schools. California has more charter schools than any other state in the nation.


TREE TRIMMER FOUND DANGLING DIES IN SAN DIEGO: SAN DIEGO (AP) — A tree trimmer has died while trimming a palm tree in downtown San Diego.

City Fire-Rescue Department Capt. Joe Amador tells U-T San Diego that the man was found dangling from his safety harness about 50 feet up the palm tree shortly after 2 p.m.

Firefighters with ladders took about 20 minutes to free the unconscious man and bring him to the ground. He could not be revived and was declared dead at the scene, but the cause was not yet known.

Meanwhile in Ventura County, another tree trimmer was found dangling and unconscious after contact with electrical wires but was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

County Fire Capt. Mike Lindbery says both the injured man and another tree trimmer who was not hurt had to be rescued.


ARMORED VEHICLE NIXED BY DAVIS ENDS UP IN WOODLAND: WOODLAND  (AP) — The city of Woodland will acquire an armored military vehicle rejected by the neighboring town of Davis.

The Sacramento Bee reported Tuesday that the Woodland City Council voted 4-1 last week to take the MRAP, or mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle.

Proponents said the opportunity to pick up the $700,000 vehicle for free through a federal program was too good to pass up. Mayor Tom Stallard said it would give police another tool to keep officers and others safe.

Last month the Davis City Council voted to give back the MRAP. Mayor Pro Tempore Robb Davis said the vehicle risked eroding the trust the police department had built up with the community.

The Davis vote followed criticism of the use of armored vehicles by police responding to protesters angry about the shooting of a teenager in Ferguson, Missouri. 


TOO-LUCKY LIQUOR CLERK ARRESTED FOR LOTTERY FRAUD: SANTA ANA  (AP) — Orange County authorities say a suspiciously lucky liquor store clerk has been charged with defrauding the lottery.

A district attorney’s statement says 34-year-old Francis Karam, who until recently worked as a clerk at Craig Liquor in Santa Ana, would uncover a small part of scratcher lottery tickets. The DA says he would redeem the tickets if they were winners and sell them if they were losers.

Under the scam known as “pinning,” prosecutors say Karam redeemed $50,000 in cash from the illegal tickets from January 2013 until earlier this month, and cheated customers out of $100,000.

He’s been charged with felonies including grand theft, computer access fraud and forgery.

Karam was arrested Tuesday. He has not yet been arraigned and it wasn’t clear whether he’s hired an attorney.