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State news briefs
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• Calif. contractors to get 30 pct of requested water: FRESNO (AP) — California residents and farmers can expect less than a third of the water they requested for next year, but state officials hope that amount will increase.
The state Department of Water Resources said Thursday that State Water Project contractors can expect to get 30 percent of their requested deliveries for 2013.
The contractors supply water to more than 25 million residents and nearly a million acres of farmland.
The initial allocation is usually low because the state receives more than 90 percent of its snow and rain from December through April. The allocation will increase as more storms arrive.
The final allocation this year was 65 percent of requested deliveries.
Higher allocations are difficult to achieve even in wet years due to pumping restrictions to protect threatened and endangered fish.

• Caregiver who served poisonous mushrooms is banned: LOOMIS, Calif. (AP) — A California woman who served poisonous mushrooms to residents of an elder-care home has been barred for life from working in such facilities after four people died, state officials said Thursday.
An investigation by the California Department of Social Services found that Lilia Tirdea, the home’s caretaker, failed to apply state standards by serving “foraged mushrooms” to five residents.
Tirdea “constitutes a threat to the health and safety of the clients,” the report said.
Four people died, and two fell ill, including Tirdea, after eating mushroom gravy in early November, the report said. Investigators previously referred to the dish as soup.
The report cleared the owner of Gold Age Villa, Raisa Oselsky, who will be allowed to keep her license.

• UC Santa Cruz expansion plan hits snag: SANTA CRUZ (AP) — The University of California, Santa Cruz’s expansion plans have suffered a setback over concerns about water.
A state appeals court ruled this week that the City of Santa Cruz failed to fully study the plans’ effect on its water supply.
The city provides water to the campus and has acknowledged that its current water resources would be inadequate to meet the expanded campus’ needs in the event of a drought.
In its 3-0 ruling, the Sixth District Court of Appeal said the city’s environmental review should have considered a smaller expansion or one that would use less water.
Sabrina Teller, a lawyer for the city, told the San Francisco Chronicle that meeting the court’s requirement would not be insurmountable.
UC Santa Cruz’s proposed North Campus would increase its 17,000-student enrollment by about 2,500 students.

• 7 face felony charges linked to San Jose party: SAN JOSE (AP) — Felony charges have been filed against six men and one woman in connection with a San Jose house party that led to 42 arrests last week.
San Jose police said Thursday the seven defendants have been charged with resisting arrest, with four of them also charged with assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer. Gang enhancements were added for each defendant.
The San Jose Mercury News reports the defendants are all San Jose residents, with ages ranging from 18 to 44.
The defendants allegedly attended a party in East San Jose on Nov. 23, when police were called following reports of gunfire. Some partygoers allegedly threw bottles at the officers.
About 70 police officers and sheriff’s deputies made arrests, prompting accusations of excessive use of force.

• Ex-fiancee of man charged in OC killings case: SANTA ANA (AP) — Orange County prosecutors have charged as an accessory the ex-fiancee of a man accused of beheading a neighbor, scattering his body parts in a park and killing the neighbor’s friend.
Spokeswoman Farrah Emami says 25-year-old Rachel Buffett of Costa Mesa will be arraigned Friday on three felony counts of accessory after the fact.
In 2010, Buffett was engaged to 28-year-old Daniel Wozniak, who prosecutors say killed Samuel Herr to steal his savings, and later killed his friend Juri Kibuishi.
Buffett is accused of lying to police several times in May and June of that year, repeating the same story Wozniak gave investigators about Herr having problems with his family.
She is being held on $100,000 bail.
If convicted she faces a maximum of three years and eight months in prison.

• Former Navy man pleads guilty of child sex abuse: SAN DIEGO (AP) — Prosecutors say a former San Diego physician’s assistant for the Navy has pleaded guilty in federal court to multiple counts of sexually abusing and exploiting children for pornography.
U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said Thursday Brandon Schroth’s plea is subject to the final approval of a judge.
Court documents say Schroth flew to Germany in December 2010 to visit a then-active duty Air Force member and the mother of two girls, ages 9 and 11.
He made sexually explicit videos of the girls, and took more pornographic pictures of another 9-year-old girl when he returned to California. He later sent the child pornography to a Colorado man.
He is scheduled to be sentenced in February and faces a minimum sentence of 30 years in prison and a maximum life sentence.

• CHP: Sneezing fit to blame for San Leandro crash: SAN LEANDRO (AP) — The California Highway Patrol says a sneezing fit caused a truck driver to crash into nearly a dozen vehicles at an auto dealership in San Leandro.
CHP officials say Antonio Zamora of Modesto was driving 30 to 35 mph around 4:40 a.m. Thursday when he experienced the sneezing attack that caused the collision at the United Auto Center used car lot.
Officer Daniel Jacowitz says no one was injured, but 10 cars and trucks were damaged.
Jacowitz says the 42-year-old Zamora was not cited and investigators do not believe drugs or alcohol were involved.

• Fake Chula Vista police officer convicted: CHULA VISTA (AP) — A man who pretended to be a police officer and pulled over drivers in Chula Vista has been convicted of false imprisonment and other crimes.
U-T San Diego says a jury convicted Kevin Kenniston Wednesday of 20 charges. He’s facing up to 24 years in prison.
Authorities say Kenniston used a car outfitted with a siren, loudspeaker and roof lights to pull over three motorists last year. In one case, he stopped a woman for allegedly running a red light but drove off when a real police officer approached.
In another, he blocked a woman’s car and demanded to see her license and registration.

• Madera shooting leaves 1 dead, 8-year-old wounded: MADERA (AP) — Authorities say a teenager was killed and an 8-year-old bystander struck by a bullet in a gang-related shooting in the Central Valley.
The shooting in Madera happened just before 7 p.m. Wednesday. Police say two men were exchanging gang signs when another group of men drove up to them. A fight ensued and one man pulled out a handgun and fired.
An 18-year-old man involved in the fight was shot in the chest and later died at Madera Community Hospital. His brother, also 18, was shot in the foot.
The 8-year-old girl was struck in the arm, as she walked to a nearby store with her uncle. She was taken to the hospital, but later released.