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State news briefs
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COUNCIL RELEASES PLAN TO RESTORE RIVER DELTA: FRESNO  (AP) — A state-sponsored advisory council has released a long-range plan to restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and provide a more reliable water supply to farms and cities.

The Delta Stewardship Council issued the final draft of the Delta Plan on Friday.

The plan contains policy recommendations such as reducing water suppliers' reliance on the delta and expanding floodplains and habitat around levees. It doesn't propose any new construction.

The delta is formed by the confluence of California's longest rivers, the Sacramento and San Joaquin. It supplies drinking water to two-thirds of Californians and irrigates about 4 million acres of crops.

The ecosystem's rapid deterioration has spurred regulations that limit delta pumping. In 2009, the Legislature created the seven-member council to come up with a plan to manage the delta.

HIGHWAY 99 NEAR MADERA REOPENS AFTER AM SHUTDOWN: MADERA . (AP) — The California Highway Patrol say Highway 99 has reopened in both directions just south of Madera after being closed all morning due to a gas main rupture.

CHP Officer Marc McWilliams says the freeway's northbound and southbound lanes were shut down Friday morning after a tractor struck a gas main, causing a small explosion, a fire and a gas leak. Rail traffic in the area was also halted.

PG&E spokeswoman Brittany Chord says there have been no injuries. Several residents and businesses in the area were evacuated.

Crews were able to shut off the gas that was blowing off the ruptured pipe. The concentration of gas has gone down.

MAN CONFESSES TO KILLING WIFE IN COURT: FRESNO  (AP) — A Central California man accused of murdering his wife has confessed to the killing and demanded the death penalty.

Keith Beyer of Sanger made the surprise confession during his first appearance in Fresno County Superior Court on Thursday.

The 34-year-old man told the judge he accepts full responsibility for the crime and asked to be sentenced to death.

Beyer was arrested Monday and charged with murder after police found Sandra Beyer's body inside the couple's Sanger home on Sunday.

Keith Beyer is also facing charges of sexually abusing a minor. According to court records, he committed several sex acts with a young relative the day before and the day of his wife's murder.

NOVATO MAN FACING INTERNET FRAUD CHARGES: NOVATO  (AP) — A Novato man is facing federal charges in an alleged Internet fraud scheme that bilked people out of tens of thousands of dollars.

The Marin Independent Journal reports that 49-year-old John Winston Boone was scheduled to make his first court appearance on nine counts of wire fraud on Friday, a day after he was arrested by the FBI.

Authorities say Boone sold website domain names and content, telling his customers that his previous websites had generated advertising revenue and showing them falsified financial documents and PayPal records. He allegedly cut off contact with them when they realized they were not receiving revenue.

He is accused of bilking customers out of $69,000.

The indictment was filed in Los Angeles, where authorities say the crimes occurred between at least 2005 through July 2010.

Boone's lawyer, James Lassart, declined comment to the Independent Journal.

PG&E WORKER DIES IN CRASH IN STORM: WEST SACRAMENTO  (AP) — A Pacific Gas & Electric employee has died after his truck crashed into a traffic signal pole as he was driving during stormy weather.

West Sacramento police say the driver lost control of his vehicle before 2 a.m. on Friday, and the rainstorm moving through the area may have been a factor.

The worker died at the site of the crash.

PG&E workers at the scene tell KCRA-TV in Sacramento that the driver had been working overtime and was returning from Clarksburg in southern Sacramento County.

The traffic signal pole was damaged and was being replaced before traffic could begin using the intersection.

SAN BERNARDINO POLICE CHIEF TACKLES SUSPECT: SAN BERNARDINO (AP) — San Bernardino's police chief has hit the streets — literally.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise ( says Chief Rob Handy tackled a suspected thief on a sidewalk on Wednesday.

Police say the chief, wearing a suit, was heading to a meeting with a local Neighborhood Watch leader at a restaurant when he was told someone outside was peddling power tools.

Handy talked to the man, suspected the tools were stolen and called for a patrol car.

When it arrived, police say the man took off with Handy in pursuit. The man dropped a gun during the chase before he was tackled by Handy.

An officer helped Handy arrest the 22-year-old transient. Police say the tools were stolen that day from an auto center.

TENNIS REFEREE MURDER CASE DISMISSED: LOS ANGELES (AP) — The arrest of a tennis referee before a match at the U.S. Open in connection with her husband's death was a shocker last summer. On Friday, the case took another surprise twist when prosecutors dropped the murder case against Lois Goodman.

The case was dismissed by Superior Court Judge Jessica Silvers after prosecutors said they received additional information and were unable to proceed because of insufficient evidence.

"I feel I'm being treated fairly now. It was just a terrible accident," Goodman, 70, said outside court.

Goodman has refereed matches between some of the greatest tennis players in the world. She was arrested by Los Angeles police in New York in August as she arrived to be a line judge at the U.S. Open and made her first court appearance wearing her uniform.

District attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons declined to elaborate on the new information that led to the dismissal.

However, defense attorney Alison Triessl said she believed private polygraph tests conducted by a former FBI polygraph examiner were pivotal in proving that Goodman did not kill her husband

The case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning it could be refiled. But Triessl believes it's over.