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SEABIRDS SUDDENLY EXPAND RANGE IN CALIFORNIA: LOS ANGELES (AP) — High-diving seabirds known as blue-footed boobies have suddenly expanded their range in California.

The birds are normally rarely found north of the Salton Sea in the far southeastern corner of the state, but in recent weeks have been found across Southern California and as far north as Marin County in the San Francisco Bay area.

Kimball Garrett of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County tells the Los Angeles Times ( that the birds are suddenly "all over the place."

The species is large, bluish-gray, with a long, serrated beak, short legs and bright blue webbed feet.

Last month, the Arizona Daily Star reported a blue-footed booby appeared at Patagonia Lake State Park, the first documented sighting of the species in southeast Arizona.

9 HURT AS BIG-RIG HITS WORK CREW ON CALIF. FREEWAY: DIAMOND BAR . (AP) — Authorities say a big-rig truck veered into a litter crew on a Southern California freeway, injuring nine people including the driver.

The California Highway Patrol says the truck swerved and ran off of State Route 60 in Diamond Bar at around 10 a.m. Wednesday.

The CHP says the rig hit the back of a California Department of Transportation truck parked on the eastbound shoulder, which in turn hit a parked Caltrans van containing some members of a court-ordered cleanup crew. Some crew members also were standing by the van.

A total of two Caltrans employees and six litter crew members received minor to moderate injuries.

The CHP says the trucker, who had to be freed from the wreckage, had moderate to major injuries.

MITCHELL WINS SENATE SEAT; ASSEMBLY RACE IN RUNOFF: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Democratic Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell has won a two-way race for a vacant state Senate seat, as expected, while the top-two vote-getters will head to a special runoff election to fill a vacancy in the state Assembly.

Mitchell collected 81 percent of the vote in one of two Los Angeles-area special legislative elections Tuesday. The seats opened after two legislators were elected to the Los Angeles City Council.

Mitchell easily defeated fellow Democrat Mervin Evans in the race to replace Curren Price in the 26th Senate District. Her victory will force another special election to fill her Assembly seat, but bolsters Democrats' two-thirds majority in the 40-member Senate.

Meanwhile, a Democrat and a Republican appear headed to a Nov. 19 runoff after they received the most votes among 11 candidates seeking to replace former Democratic Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield in the nearby 45th Assembly District.

Democrat Matt Dababneh of Encino had 25 percent of the votes while Republican Susan Shelley of Woodland Hills had 21 percent with all precincts reporting.

ASSAULT VEHICLE FIRE KILLS MARINE IN CALIFORNIA: CAMP PENDLETON  (AP) — A Marine was killed this week during a training accident in the California desert when an amphibious assault vehicle caught fire, the Marine Corps said Wednesday.

Military officials identified the Marine as Cpl. Nicholas Sell of Eagle Point, Ore. Sell enlisted in May 2010 and was a member of the 3rd Assault Amphibious Battalion, 1st Marine Division. He deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and received several medals.

The accident occurred Monday during a battalion assault course at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, about 130 miles east of Los Angeles. The vehicle was a P7A1 model, which can carry troops from sea to shore.

Four others were injured, three of whom managed to get out of the vehicle and were treated and released, said Master Sgt. Brenda Varnadore. The fourth person was taken to a hospital with unspecified injuries and listed in stable condition.