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SF gets OK to proceed with subway work
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Federal officials have given San Francisco the green light to proceed with major construction work for its $1.6 billion subway expansion project.

Mayor Ed Lee said Wednesday the city received a "letter of non prejudice" from the U.S. Department of Transportation. He told the San Francisco Chronicle ( the letter is a strong sign that officials will approve nearly $1 billion in federal grants for the expansion within the next few months.

The project would extend the T-Third line from the Caltrain station, on the south side of the city, to Chinatown, on the north side.

City transportation officials say the letter will allow them to start digging a large hole near the Caltrain station where crews will lower the tunnel-boring machine.

The subway's estimated opening date is 2019.

Police find meth lab in

 home of woman fatally shot

FRESNO  (AP) — Fresno police are expanding their investigation into the killing of a 33-year-old woman after they say they found a methamphetamine lab inside her home.

Juana Zaragoza was found dead when a relative stopped by her mobile home Wednesday afternoon.

Police told the television station that it appears Zaragoza was shot to death sometime Monday night or early Tuesday morning. Fresno police Lt. Mark Salazar described the lab inside her home as a "homemade mini meth lab."

Investigators wearing protective hazmat suits spent the day Thursday removing chemicals from the home, while other investigators dusted for fingerprints.

No arrests have been made, but Salazar says investigators have developed leads in the case.

Dramatic comeback

for Catalina Island fox

AVALON . (AP) — Endangered Santa Catalina Island foxes, which were on the brink of extinction in the late 1990s because of a distemper epidemic, have made a dramatic comeback.

The population fell to about 100 when conservationists launched a recovery program in 1999.

The foxes were listed as endangered in 2004, the same year a captive breeding program ended.

Federal wildlife officials said Wednesday that the fox subspecies, found only on the 76-square-mile island, now number 1,542.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Stephanie Weagley tells the Los Angeles Times  it's one of the most successful recoveries for an endangered species

Union says 4,100 Fresno

 County workers will strike

FRESNO (AP) — Fresno County's largest labor union says 4,100 county workers will stage a three-day walkout starting Monday.

The Service Employees International Union , which represents about a third of the county's 6,000 workers, gave notice on Wednesday that the Monday-through-Wednesday walkout is a protest against recent pay cuts.

The walkout threatens to disrupt social services, such as child support, food stamps and welfare. Most jailhouse and juvenile hall guards are also SEIU members.

County managers say they are prepared and essential services, including public safety, will be maintained.

Union worker pay was slashed 9 percent or higher last month because of budget woes.

The California labor board on Wednesday issued a complaint against Fresno County for unfairly negotiating with employees.