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State news briefs
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GOVERNOR SAYS HE'S REDUCING DYSFUNCTION: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown says he's made significant progress in reducing decades of dysfunction in California government.

Brown tells the San Jose Mercury News that his recent successes include pension reform, workers' compensation reform and other legislative victories to rid California of its image of a failed state.

The governor says, in his words, "We've made a helluva lot of progress."

Critics say Brown fell short in resolving the long-term unfunded pension liabilities.

But Brown counters that he's done more than any of his predecessors.

Brown says no governor has solved all the problems of California since Peter Burnett started in 1849.

The governor says he's gotten more than anybody would have thought about three or four years ago.

COUNTY HEALTH OFFICIALS WARN OF RABID BAT SPIKE: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles County health officials are warning that a record number of rabid bats have been found this year, and residents should avoid them.

Director of Public Health Dr. Jonathan Fielding said Monday that 45 rabid bats have already been confirmed in 2012, topping the record of 38 set in all of 2011.

Fielding says it's unclear why there are so many cases this year. In an average year only about 10 are found.

Health officials are warning the public to avoid contact with the bats or other wild animals.

If they find a bat that appears sick, they should capture it with a box or bucket, and contact animal control.

If a person is bitten by a bat, they should immediately wash the contact area and call their doctor.

DYING SALTON SEA POSSIBLE SOURCE OF LA STINK: SANTA ANA  (AP) — The saltwater lake that could be to blame for a rotten-egg stench that seeped through Southern California has bigger problems than its public image.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District is waiting Tuesday for test results that could help pin the foul odor on the Salton Sea.

Residents living more than 100 miles from the lake complained of the aroma on Monday.

The vast body of water 150 miles southeast of Los Angeles is a dying lake and is plagued with increasing salinity, receding shorelines and periodic fish die-offs triggered by low oxygen levels.

A storm late Sunday could have churned up the lake and released stinky bacteria into the air from a recent fish die-off.

The smell was abating Tuesday as breezes picked up.

14-YEAR PRISON TERM IN CALIF MORTGAGE FRAUD SCHEME : SACRAMENTO  (AP) — A former Sacramento-area mortgage broker accused of cheating lenders out of $19 million has been sentenced to more than 14 years in federal prison.

Christopher Warren pleaded guilty in January to identity theft and wire fraud charges.

He was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Sacramento to 14 years and seven months in prison. The 30-year-old also was ordered to pay more than $19 million in restitution.

Warren admitted cheating a Florida-based mortgage lender out of more than $7 million and obtaining more than $12 million in fraudulent loans while working at Loomis Wealth Solutions in Roseville.

Warren, who formerly lived in Folsom, was arrested after briefly fleeing the country in February 2009.

Prosecutors say Loomis was a front for a Ponzi scheme that stole $100 million across five states.

16 COMPLEX FIRE IN COLUSA COUNTY FULLY CONTAINED: COLUSA (AP) — Firefighters have contained a once massive wildfire burning across two counties in Northern California.

CalFire spokesman Daniel Berlant said Tuesday that crews have surrounded the Sixteen Complex fire in Colusa and Yolo counties. The blaze has consumed 28 square miles since it ignited one week ago. No structures have been destroyed.

Meanwhile, crews continue taking advantage of low winds to slow the once fast-moving Scotts Fire in Lake County.

Berlant said more than 1,600 firefighters are battling the blaze that is now 50 percent contained after burning more than seven square miles and threatening about 300 homes and 40 other structures outside Ukiah.

Also, the North Pass Fire near the Mendocino County community of Covelo is now 97 percent contained after burning 65 square miles and destroying 26 structures

NO CONTEST PLEA IN BURBANK AIRPORT PIGEON-FEEDING: BURBANK  (AP) — A businessman has pleaded no contest to creating a public nuisance for feeding pigeons and creating an air safety problem at Burbank's Bob Hope Airport.

Burbank prosecutors say 60-year-old Charles Douglas fed pigeons at his Precise Roofing Co. on Hollywood Way near the east San Fernando Valley airport.

Authorities say the burgeoning pigeon population created an air safety hazard.

After two court citations and a bench warrant, Burbank police arrested Douglas in August 2011.

The Los Angeles Times  says Douglas pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor public nuisance count on Aug. 31.

MLB COMES THROUGH FOR HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL TEAM: FOUNTAIN VALLEY  (AP) — Major League Baseball has stepped up to the plate to help replace baseball equipment stolen from a Southern California high school storage locker.

Baseball Hall of Fame player Frank Robinson, who now works for MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, read news reports about the Labor Day weekend theft at Los Amigos High School in Fountain Valley and arranged a donation.

Robinson's wife Barbara and their daughter Nichelle presented a $4,000 check to the school on Monday.

The donation, which covers the value of the stolen equipment, is the latest in a series of fundraising efforts.

The Angels, the Angels Foundation and Diamond Sports donated $3,000 in replacement equipment. A Los Angeles attorney asking for anonymity made a substantial donation.