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State news briefs
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COALITION RECOMMENDS PROJECTS IN DELTA: SACRAMENTO (AP) — An influential group of farmers, environmentalists and water exporters is recommending $1 billion in short-term projects to help the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

The Coalition to Support Near Term Delta Projects agreed on Monday to support 43 projects, including levee upgrades, habitat improvements, wildlife research and sewage recycling.

The projects are separate from the planned $14 billion massive twin tunnel system to carry water from the Delta to farmland and cities.

The coalition does not have decision-making power, and at least some of its projects would require action by the Legislature or regulatory agencies. But its members are considered influential when it comes to Delta water policy.

They are also often in disagreement with each other.

BROWN DECIDES JANUARY IS BEST FOR SPECIAL SESSION: SACRAMENTO . (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown plans to wait until January to call a special legislative session on health care reform, timing the move to lawmakers' normal working schedule.

He previously had been expected to call the session as early as December after alerting legislative leaders of the move in an August letter.

That timing would have required lawmakers to make special trips to Sacramento, a cost to taxpayers. A spokeswoman for the governor, Elizabeth Ashford, said in an email Tuesday that Brown intends to start the special session in January, "concurrent with the Legislature reconvening."

Lawmakers start their new session in December but will not begin meeting routinely until the new year.

FEINSTEIN CHALLENGER EMKEN IN DEBT: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — The Republican challenging U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has taken on $300,000 of campaign debt.

A Federal Election Commission report posted for public review on Tuesday shows autism advocate Elizabeth Emken has about $100,000 cash on hand but owes $310,000 for the period ending in September.

Feinstein, a Democrat, has $3.3 million on hand and has spent a total of $2.8 million.

Emken spokesman Mark Standriff says Feinstein is raising money from special interests hoping to buy influence. Bill Carrick, Feinstein's consultant, responded Tuesday that her campaign was taking in many small donations. He said Emken "should focus on paying her bills."

Emken, from the San Francisco Bay area suburb of Danville, raised $324,000 for the quarter. She previously loaned herself $200,000 but has not given herself any more money.

PRISON FOR GROOM WHO ATTACKED BRIDE: SANTA BARBARA . (AP) — A man is going to prison for dragging his bride to a fifth-floor balcony and threatening to toss her to her death on their wedding night.

A Santa Barbara judge sentenced 46-year-old John Fitzgerald Gibbs to more than seven years in prison for the Valentine's Day attack.

The woman was terrorized for hours.

She was beaten, choked and pinned against a wall before she was pulled off the hotel room bed by her feet and dragged to the open balcony.

During Monday's sentencing hearing, the woman said she was certain the man who months earlier swept her off her feet was going to kill her.

Gibbs was convicted of making criminal threats, inflicting corporal injury on his spouse, dissuading a witness and other counts.

COUPLE FACES CHILD ABUSE CHARGES: RIVERSIDE  (AP) — A California couple whose home was outfitted with a strip club faces child abuse charges after they allegedly beat their adopted children with belts and metal objects, authorities said Tuesday.

Riverside County prosecutors filed the charges against Gregory Lacy, 60, and LaQuron Lacy, 43, both of Perris, earlier this month. Gregory Lacy also was charged with sexual assaulting his 7-year-old daughter. Both are scheduled to be arraigned next week.

Investigators were called to the couple's home during the early morning hours of July 22 after Calvin Lynch, 46, was shot and killed in the front yard. No arrests have been made in connection with Lynch's murder.

When sheriff's deputies went inside the house, they found the lower level was converted into a strip club where parties would occur late into the night, according to court documents. Authorities also said they found five Ecstasy pills on a kitchen counter.

Gregory Lacy is accused of hitting four children with belts and a metal cane as well as threatening them with a stun gun. LaQuron Lacy allegedly beat her kids with belts and metal objects. She also often refused to feed them and locked them in their bedrooms, court documents show.

The couple has seven adopted children, all under the age of 11. The kids were taken by county workers.

SURGERY DELAYED FOR FILIPINO DOG THAT LOST SNOUT: DAVIS  (AP) — A dog from the Philippines who became an international hero after she sacrificed her snout to save two young girls will have to wait a little longer for surgery to replace her missing muzzle.

Veterinarians at the University of California, Davis said Tuesday that Kabang needs treatment for heartworm and chemotherapy for a vaginal tumor before she can undergo facial reconstruction.

The mixed-breed dog ended up in Davis last week after a nurse from Buffalo, N.Y., spearheaded a fundraising campaign to bring her to the U.S. Veterinarians in the Philippines had been unable to treat her injuries.

Newspapers in the Philippines reported that Kabang had her snout and upper jaw sheared off when she jumped in front of a speeding motorcycle while she was walking with her owner's daughter and niece.

PASTOR ORDERED TO TRIAL ON 9 CHILD SEX COUNTS: INGLEWOOD  (AP) — A Southern California pastor is facing trial on nine felony child sex counts involving a girl he met at his Inglewood church.

A judge ruled at Monday's conclusion of a preliminary hearing that there was enough evidence to order trial for 50-year-old Gordon Barrington Solomon. He remains jailed with bail set at $3 million pending arraignment on Oct. 30.

The Christ's Community Church pastor is charged with seven counts of committing a lewd act on a child, and one count each of continuous sexual abuse and oral copulation of a person under the age of 14.

If convicted, he could be sentenced to nearly 27 years in prison.