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State news briefs
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NEW SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENT USED COPS AS CHAUFFEURS: MCCLELLAN,  (AP) — A newly-elected Northern California school board president reportedly used police officers to chauffeur him on personal trips and errands.

The Sacramento Bee has obtained Twin Rivers Unified School District police emails showing Cortez Quinn asked for officer rides on at least eight occasions when he was a board member.

Records show Quinn asked for officers to pick him up at his North Natomas home and take him downtown to his job.

School police Chief Christopher Breck, who is on administrative leave because of allegations of wrongdoing, had sent emails to officers saying chauffeuring Quinn could help garner political support and make a positive impression

CHINESE KITTEN STOWS AWAY ON LA-BOUND FREIGHTER: CARSON  (AP) — A 3-month-old kitten survived a journey across the Pacific, traveling from Shanghai to Los Angeles without food or water while locked in a freight container on a ship.

The orange-and-white short-haired kitten traveled 6,500 miles before arriving Wednesday.

It was unclear how many days the kitten was in the container. The trip can take as long as 21 days, according to

The stowaway was retrieved from the container at a Compton-area business where it was delivered.

Los Angeles County animal control officers are cautiously watching his health.

The kitten is quarantined, which is standard procedure after entering the U.S. from another country.

The kitten ate and slept well at the Carson Animal Care Center, said animal control director Marcia Mayeda. He was alert and responsive Thursday.

Mayeda says workers named him Ni Hao (NEE'-How), which means "hello" in Mandarin Chinese.

When Ni Hao recovers, gets his shots and is neutered, the shelter will look for foster and permanent homes.

WOMAN WITH DUI CONVICTION ARRESTED IN HWY 99 DEATH: FRESNO  (AP) — A Fresno woman has been arrested on suspicion of striking and killing a worker in a construction zone on Highway 99 while driving under the influence.

Authorities say 26-year-old Alyssa Marie Villanueva hit 24-year-old Regan Johnson early Wednesday morning in Fresno before speeding away. Villanueva was taken into custody hours later after police received an anonymous call about a car matching the description of the one seen leaving the scene.

Investigators say Villanueva was behind the wheel of that vehicle, a 2007 Nissan Altima, when she crossed into an area where crews were resurfacing the highway to pass slower traffic and hit Johnson.

LARGE SOLAR FLARE ERUPTS; LITTLE IMPACT TO EARTH: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A huge solar flare erupted from the sun Thursday, streaming radiation toward Earth.

The solar storm is expected to arrive early Saturday, but forecasters at the government's Space Weather Prediction Center say they expected minimal impact to communication systems and power grids.

The storm is part of the sun's normal 11-year cycle, which is supposed to reach a peak next year.

APPEALS COURT TOSSES ANTITRUST CLAIM OVER ATM FEES: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal appeals court has tossed out a lawsuit claiming that banks illegally conspired to fix the fees non-customers are charged to get cash from ATMs.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that consumers don't have standing to file the lawsuit since they don't directly pay the fees at issue.

The lawsuit alleged banks colluded to set the so-called "interchange fees" that banks charge each other for foreign ATM transactions.

The customers alleged in the lawsuit that banks artificially inflated the fee for using a foreign ATM when they passed along the charge to customers.

A three-judge appeals court panel unanimously upheld a lower court ruling that tossed out the lawsuit filed against Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., and others.

SMALL EARTHQUAKES FELT IN CALIFORNIA: WILLOW CREEK  (AP) — Earthquakes are shaking southern and northern regions of California.

A U.S. Geological Survey computer generated report says a magnitude-3.9 quake struck at 3:39 a.m. Thursday about 10 miles south of Willow Creek in Humboldt County, some 300 miles north of San Francisco.

In the south along the U.S.-Mexico border, a magnitude-3.3 quake centered 36 miles south-southeast of Calexico was reported at 1:50 a.m. Thursday. Calexico is 120 miles east of San Diego in Imperial County.