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State news briefs
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PRISONER STEALS FIRE ENGINE TO ESCAPE: SAN DIEGO (AP) — An official says an inmate escaped from a state prison in San Diego County by stealing the prison fire engine on New Year's Day.
Authorities are seeking 51-year-old Thomas Kelley, a convicted car thief who was jailed at Donovan state prison in November for a parole violation.
Prison spokesman Lt. Patrick Logan says Kelley worked as a firefighter at the prison near the Mexican border. He was discovered missing Sunday night from the minimum security section.
Logan says at about the same time, sheriff's deputies saw a fire engine being driven erratically about 10 miles from the prison. Prison officials say the driver fled when the truck was stopped.
FATHER: CA CONDO VICTIMS WERE NAVY PILOT, SISTER: CORONADO: A Navy pilot in training who recently took his first flight in an F/A-18 fighter jet and his sister, a girls volleyball coach, were among the four people found dead in a New Year's Day shooting at a condominium in a toney neighborhood on San Diego Bay, the victims' father said Monday.
David Reis, 25, who was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, and his sister Karen Reis, 24, were confirmed as victims by the Navy, said their father, Tom Reis of Bakersfield.
The siblings were found at the Coronado condo after authorities responded to a report of gunfire shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday.
DUELING HMONG NEW YEAR FETES END WITH UNITY HOPES: FRESNO  (AP) — Dueling Hmong New Year festivals have come to an end in Fresno with the hope that next year the two spatting groups will come together.
The Fresno Bee reports that 30,000 people gathered at the Fresno Fairgrounds and another 8,000 people at a sports complex Sunday to close out the weeklong celebration.
Native costumes, food and music transformed both venues, and revelers placed the traditional white string around their wrists to ensure a safe and prosperous year.
This is the second year of dueling celebrations.
The United Hmong Council and Hmong National New Year Inc., which put on the sports complex event, sued the United Hmong International New Year committee and Hmong International New Year Foundation for spending money improperly. The latter group denies the accusation.