By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
State news briefs
Placeholder Image

WHO STRAPPED FIREWORKS TO STOCKTON DOG? STOCKTON  (AP) — Stockton police are trying to determine who strapped an M-80 firework to a dog and ignited it, causing an explosion that left the animal with burns.

Neighbors reported hearing a loud boom around 11:15 a.m. Wednesday. The dog — a long-haired Dachshund — was then found with burns to the right side of its body.

The dog is being cared for at a local animal hospital where staff members have named it "Rocket." His injuries are not considered life-threatening, with one staff member saying the dog is doing "remarkably well."

Witnesses have described at least one suspect to police.

A national nonprofit is offering a $2,500 reward for information that leads to an arrest.

JUDGE DENIES TB PATIENT'S RELEASE REQUEST: STOCKTON  (AP) — A California judge has refused to release a tuberculosis patient who was jailed and charged after allegedly refusing to take medication to keep his disease from becoming contagious.

San Joaquin County Judge Brett Morgan on Wednesday denied 34-year-old Armando Rodriguez's request for release.

The judge said he was uncomfortable releasing Rodriguez because of his methamphetamine and alcohol use and past behavior.

Health officials say Rodriguez failed to take the medication on his own, once telling a nurse he had gone on an alcohol binge and taken methamphetamine and didn't want to hurt his liver.

He pleaded not guilty Wednesday to misdemeanor charges of refusing to comply with a tuberculosis order.

TRIAL ORDERED IN VIDEO MOLESTATION CASE: FRESNO  (AP) — A former Madera County supervisor who claims he was a victim of a blackmail scheme by a roving band of gypsies will stand trial on charges he molested a 13-year-old who surreptitiously recorded the incident.

Harry Baker, 84, could face up to eight years in prison if convicted of committing a lewd act with a minor.

Baker's attorney, Richard Berman, argued in a preliminary hearing on Wednesday that Baker never intended to molest the girl, and that she had asked him to check for a lump on her breast.

The evidence came from the video, which Berman tried to exclude from evidence. In it, Baker is seen fondling and kissing the breast of the girl and an older cousin, prosecutor Becky Gong said.

Berman argued that Baker was set up by the girl and an older cousin, who planted a video camera in the man's hotel room, then re-entered and asked him to check lumps on the girl's breasts and near her vagina.

He said Baker was the victim of a blackmail scheme by the girl's family. He had paid more than $250,000 to the blackmailers for copies of the video.

"He was entrapped by a clever band of professional blackmailers," Berman told the Fresno Bee.

The alleged molestation took place in 2007. The three-day hearing had been delayed for three years as Baker suffered from heart problems.

Despite Judge M. Bruce Smith agreeing with Berman that Baker was the victim of a blackmail scheme allegedly perpetrated by the teen's family, he found probable cause to proceed with a case about inappropriate touching.

BEVERLY HILLS SUBWAY APPROVED AFTER FIERY FILMS: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Flames, explosions, sophisticated soundtracks, slapstick comedy with harmonizing hillbillies.

What started as a typical municipal dispute over public transportation ended up getting a heavy dose of Hollywood.

When the drama ended, Los Angeles County transportation officials voted Thursday to send a subway route 70 feet under Beverly Hills High School, though a long legal fight likely looms in the dispute that spawned productions that in some ways overshadowed the policy and geology of the project.

One is a virtual disaster movie, produced by Beverly Hills parents against the project, that shows students walking to class paired with images of flames and explosions.

The other, a pro-subway satire called "The Hillfolks' Lament," suggests residents of the 90210 are backward-looking hicks who fear progress.

It was "Armageddon" vs. "The Beverly Hillbillies."

It was unclear if any of it swayed the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that heard pleas for further studies and threats of lawsuits before voting 7-2 for the extension of the Purple Line.

The plan now awaits federal approval and inevitable legal challenges from Beverly Hills.

CAL STATE CHANCELLOR ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT: LOS ANGELES (AP) — California State University Chancellor Charles B. Reed announced Thursday that he plans to retire as soon as his successor is found.

Reed, 70, has led one of the nation's largest public university systems for the past 14 years, overseeing an expansion that added 100,000 more students and a campus in the Channel Islands.

Reed said he is particularly proud of his initiatives that have made higher education accessible to low-income, minority students.

"I take great pride in the CSU's mission to serve California's students," he said, adding that he's signed more than a million diplomas during his tenure.

Reed's retirement was not unexpected, but comes amid a climate of tumult in the 23-campus system, caused by a loss of $1 billion in CSU's state funding, approximately 35 percent of its budget. Reed has endured harsh criticism and campus unrest from students and faculty over resulting tuition hikes, enrollment caps and employee layoffs.

SCHOOL SUSPENDS 3 STUDENTS FOR CYBERBULLYING: SAN JOSE  (AP) — A San Jose school has suspended three eighth graders for allegedly threatening a classmate on Facebook.

Three girls at Quimby Oaks Middle School were suspended Wednesday for sending threatening messages to another student Tuesday evening.

Evergreen School District Administrator Dan Deguara told the newspaper that the girls were suspended once the school investigated the incident and notified police. The mother of the threatened student told the school about the online messages.

Deguara would not say how long the girls were suspended.

Gov. Jerry Brown authorized legislation last year that gives California schools the power to suspend students for bullying classmates on social networking sites, even if it occurs off campus.

DRIVER WHO HIT WOMAN, 3 KIDS HAD NO LICENSE: HOUSAND OAKS  (AP) — Authorities say a man who struck a woman and three children in a Ventura County crosswalk had no driver's license.

The Downey man last renewed his license in 2004 and his driving privileges were suspended in 2006.

Twenty-nine-year-old Griselda Castro, her two daughters and their friend were struck by a minivan in a Thousand Oaks crosswalk Tuesday afternoon. Witnesses say Castro managed to push a 2-year-old in a stroller to safety before the accident.

A 5-year-old girl injured in the crash was released from the hospital on Wednesday. Castro and her 6-year-old daughter are in critical condition and her 3-year-old daughter is stable.