CAMP STAFFERS RESIGN IN SUPPORT OF GAY EAGLE SCOUT: SACRAMENTO (AP) — Ten staff members at a Boy Scouts camp in Northern California have resigned to protest the firing of a 22-year-old Eagle Scout who says he was let go because he is gay.
Tim Griffin says his sexual orientation was not a secret during the eight summers he worked at Camp Winton in Amador County. He thinks the Scouts' regional council decided to fire him on Friday after the national organization last week reaffirmed its ban on openly gay members and leaders.
Glen Goddard, program director for the Golden Empire Council, tells The Sacramento Bee that Griffin was dismissed because he refused to adhere to uniform guidelines.
At issue were the nail polish and earring Griffin wore, although someone also had complained about his mannerisms, Goddard says.
Other staff members started wearing nail polish and then resigned Saturday to show their support for Griffin.
NO REVOTE ON CALIF. HIGH-SPEED PLAN FOR NOW: SACRAMENTO (AP) — Californians having second thoughts about a proposed $68 billion high-speed train system linking Northern and Southern California are going to have to wait if they want to vote again on the project.
State Sen. Doug LaMalfa, a Republican from Willows, and former Republican Congressman George Radanovich announced Wednesday that they are suspending their campaign to put the state's high-speed rail bond measure to a second vote.
Voters approved the issuance of $10 billion in bonds for the project in 2008, but public support for the plan has dwindled in recent years.
LaMalfa said in a statement that the so-called Revote High Speed Rail campaign was going on hiatus while farmers and others in the Central Valley sue to stop the project.
He said he hoped voters would have a chance to vote again on the rail project sometime in the future.
WELFARE WORKER GETS 18 YEARS FOR EMBEZZLING $400K: SAN BERNARDINO (AP) — A former Southern California welfare office worker has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for embezzling $400,000 meant for the needy.
Prosecutors say 58-year-old Arlene Francis Spinuzzi pleaded guilty on Monday to 15 felony counts.
The former San Bernardino County welfare eligibility worker authorized payments to family members for child care services that were never provided.
A county grand jury last year indicted Spinuzzi, her husband Michael Kenneth Debar, her father Gerald Zibell and her daughter Sarah Debar Parks on 90 felony counts of grand theft and misappropriation of public funds.
Debar pleaded guilty to seven felonies and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Parks pleaded guilty to a felony was placed on probation.
Zibell died while awaiting trial.
PROSECUTORS: SAN DIEGO CUSTOMS FRAUD TOPPED $10M : SAN DIEGO (AP) — A federal complaint says a San Diego customs broker orchestrated a scheme to bring at least $100 million worth of Chinese textiles, Indian cigarettes and other goods to the United States without paying more than $10 million in tariffs and other fees.
The complaint unsealed Wednesday says Gerardo Chavez's scheme resulted in lost duties, taxes and other revenue for the U.S. government. Authorities say Asian goods presumably headed to Mexico were illegally unloaded at the Long Beach port.
Chavez and two other defendants were taken into custody Wednesday.
Chavez is president of the San Diego Customs Brokers Association, a trade group that represents 45 brokers doing business on California's border with Mexico. No one answered the phone at the organization's office.
'Plain Jane Bandit' responsible for 6 bank heists
WILDOMAR, Calif. (AP) — The FBI is looking for a bank robber dubbed the "Plain Jane Bandit" who is responsible for six Southern California heists.
The latest robbery was Tuesday afternoon at a US Bank branch in the rural west Riverside County city of Wildomar, which is about 40 miles southeast of Los Angeles.
The FBI says also robbed Chase Bank and US Bank branches in Riverside County on Monday. Investigators say she's also been tied to robberies at US Bank branches in Buena Park, Santa Fe Springs and Whittier.
The FBI says she has been given the "Plain Jane Bandit" moniker because of an earlier witness description. She's 5-foot-3 to 5-foot-5 and weighs up to 170 pounds. She's believed to be 35 to 40 years old.
MILD QUAKE SHAKES LA: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Seismologists say a mild earthquake widely felt throughout Southern California was centered along the coast west of downtown Los Angeles.
No injuries were reported.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude-3.7 quake struck at 3:18 a.m. Wednesday. The quake initially was reported as a magnitude-3.8, but seismologist Kate Hutton says it was later found to be a 3.74 so it was downgraded.
The epicenter was 2 miles east-southeast of Marina del Rey near Culver City and Inglewood. A Sheriff's Department dispatcher says it "wasn't much of a quake" and no one called about it.
Dozens of people from as far away as Riverside and the San Fernando Valley logged onto the USGS website to report feeling the jolt.
Fire Department spokesman Matt Spence says firefighters rolled out of stations citywide and surveyed 470 square miles. No infrastructure or other damage was found.
SAN DIEGO APPROVES CONTROVERSIAL PTSD CENTER: SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego City Council has approved a controversial plan to open a 40-bed treatment center for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder across the street from a charter school.
The council voted 7-0 on Tuesday to approve a permit for the Aspire Center, a program that will help Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.
The decision comes after the Department of Veteran Affairs officials reached an agreement with officials from the nearby Old Town Academy who worried if veterans have outbursts, it could disrupt the school, U-T San Diego reported. The school has about 250 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
Proponents say it will help troubled veterans transition to civilian life. The average stay would be 60 to 120 days.