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State news briefs
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STOCKTON OFFICIAL SEEKS BANKRUPTCY AUTHORITY: STOCKTON  (AP) — Stockton's city manager is requesting the authority to declare bankruptcy if the city is unable to reach a deal with its creditors by next month.

Bob Deis says Stockton's financial situation is dire, and the city has run out of other options. The City Council will take up his request on Tuesday.

The city's discussions with its creditors are scheduled to continue through June 25. Mayor Ann Johnston says she is still hopeful a deal can be reached.

But if it isn't and Stockton does not receive any other significant financial help, its general fund will be out of money by June 30.

Stockton would become the nation's largest city to declare bankruptcy.

2 WATER GATES IN DELTA ARE STUCK OPEN: WALNUT GROVE  (AP) — Two large water gates in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are stuck open, posing a threat to migrating juvenile salmon.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials say that the Delta Cross Channel gates in Walnut Grove got stuck in the open position on Wednesday. One of the two gates could not be closed due to mechanical problems, so both will remain open until the gate is repaired.

The gates were built in the 1950's and are used to divert Sacramento River water into the Delta, which is then pumped to farmers and urban water users across the state.

The gates are opened for Memorial Day weekend and subsequent weekends through June 15 for boats. But they remain closed on weekdays to ensure that migrating juvenile salmon are not disturbed in their path down the river to the ocean.

DRUG DEALER MISTAKENLY SENDS OFFICER TEXT MESSAGES: SANTA MARIA  (AP) — Police say a drug dealer mistakenly sent messages to a California central coast police officer in an attempt to sell methamphetamines.

The Santa Maria officer notified Santa Barbara County sheriff's detectives about the errant text messages early Tuesday. The officer and detectives then set up a meeting with the alleged drug dealer.

Sheriff's spokesman Drew Sugars says they arrested 39-year-old Reymundo Carlos Escobedo and seized about 2 grams of methamphetamine.

IRS SAYS CALIFORNIA CONGRESS CANDIDATE OWES $4M : LOS ANGELES (AP) — California congressional candidate Abel Maldonado owes $4 million in taxes, considerably more than the previously reported $470,000 in additional taxes for his family business, according to court documents.

The Santa Maria, Calif., Republican issued a statement vowing to pay any tax debt to the Internal Revenue Service once he gets a bill that "correctly defines our tax liability.”

The taxes in dispute stem from a filing for his family business, Agro-Jal, which includes a cauliflower, celery and strawberry farm and equipment rentals. The Maldonado family is disputing an IRS finding that it underpaid taxes by $3.6 million between 2006 and 2008.

BEAR CRASHES GRADUATION IN BAKERSFIELD: BAKERSFIELD  (AP) — The last day of classes at a Bakersfield elementary school and a graduation ceremony at an adjacent middle school were interrupted by an unexpected guest: a black bear that wandered onto school property.

Kern County Animal Control officers say the young black bear approached the grounds of Ramon Garza Elementary School on Thursday, forcing students who were outside to return to their classrooms, and surprising students and parents attending a graduation ceremony at adjacent Sierra Middle School.

A teacher called officials as the bear approached the schools. The bear kept its distance and nobody was in danger.

Within minutes officers cornered the animal at an apartment complex, hit it with a stun gun, and loaded it into a truck. They then released it back into the wild near the Tejon Ranch 1 ½ hours southeast of Bakersfield.

Authorities believe the 150-pound, 3-year-old bear followed the Kern River into town.