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State news briefs
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FRESNO BUS FIRE MAY HAVE BEGUN IN ENGINE AREA: FRESNO  (AP) — Authorities in Fresno say a fire that caused $1 million in damage to school buses appears to have started in the engine compartment of one of the vehicles.

Sixteen buses were heavily damaged in the blaze early Sunday at a bus yard. Six others suffered minor damage.

Fresno fire spokesman Koby Johns says the cause of the blaze is still under investigation.

The buses carry special education students for the Fresno Unified School District. They are provided through a contract with an outside company.

Fresno school spokeswoman Susan Bedi tells the Fresno Bee the contractor has assured the district that bus service will not be interrupted. Students are on winter break until Jan. 14.

30K SETTLEMENT IN MINIATURE HORSE MAULING: RIVERSIDE (AP) — The owner of two wolf-dog hybrids that got loose and mauled a Southern California miniature horse has paid a $30,000 settlement.

Lake Mathews rancher Chris Herron, whose tiny horse Bojangles was killed two years ago, says he hopes the deal with the wolf-dog owner will encourage others to do a better job of keeping their animals penned up.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise says Herron sued Cesar Siordia for $65,000, which included $25,000 in punitive damages and $25,000 in lawyer fees. Trial was scheduled for March.

But the case was dismissed in November when both sides settled for $30,000.

Ranch workers saw Siordia's wolf-dogs eating Bojangles.

A ranch hand shot and killed one of the dogs and the other was euthanized.

Siordia was cited for violating the county leash law.

TREE TRIMMER ELECTROCUTED BY POWER LINES: RANCHO PALOS VERDES  (AP) — A Southern California tree trimmer is dead after touching power lines.

The Daily Breeze in Torrance says the 31-year-old tree trimmer was electrocuted on Saturday afternoon while working in Rancho Palos Verdes. His name hasn't been released.

Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators say he accidentally touched power lines.

State Division of Occupational Safety and Health officials are investigating.

DEL MAR WOMAN FIGHTING FAIRGROUND GUN SHOWS: DEL MAR  (AP) — A resident of tiny Del Mar in San Diego County town is taking aim at gun shows following the Connecticut school massacre.

Former teacher Rosanne Holliday has begun a grass-roots campaign to stop shows at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Holliday says it's wrong to celebrate gun culture in a public facility.

She says about 50 people in the town of 4,100 have expressed support. Supporter Bud Emerson says the group has put together a draft petition against the shows.

Fair board President Adam Day says five shows a year bring the fairgrounds a net profit of $324,000. He says the shows, which have been held for two decades, meet all laws and undercover law enforcement officers are on hand.

MOUNTAIN LION FOUND IN SANTA BARBARA BACKYARD: SANTA BARBARA  (AP) — A mountain lion spotted in a Santa Barbara backyard has been captured for return to the wild.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says the lion was spotted at 8:30 a.m. Monday in the heavily wooded yard bordering the Santa Barbara Golf Club, about two blocks north of U.S. 101.

A department statement says wildlife officers determined the young, male lion could not be chased back into the wild, and so it was tranquilized at about 12:30 p.m.

The approximately 100-pound lion was taken to Los Padres National Forest for release.

WRECKAGE OF PLANE FOUND IN CENTRAL CALIF.: PORTERVILLE  (AP) — Authorities in California's Central Valley have located the wreckage of a small plane that disappeared from radar en route from San Diego to Fresno.

Kern County Sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt tells the Porterville Recorder the wreckage was located around 8:30 a.m. Monday by a sheriff's helicopter on the Kern County-Tulare County line southeast of Porterville.

There was no immediate word on possible survivors.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says the single-engine Beechcraft BE-35 was carrying two people when it disappeared from radar around 4 p.m. Sunday southeast of Porterville.

LAWSUIT SAYS JAILERS IGNORED INMATE VOMITING BLOOD: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — The family of a man who bled to death in the Sacramento County jail has filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming jailers didn't help the inmate even though he was vomiting blood for 12 hours before he died.

The 17-page federal lawsuit was filed electronically on Saturday by a lawyer representing 48-year-old Mark Anthony Scott's mother and three sisters.

The suit blames inadequate Sheriff's Department policies, practices and training for Scott's death last January.

Scott's pleas for help were met with silence, derision and indifference, according to the lawsuit, and the unchecked vomiting led to a torn esophagus, internal bleeding and death.

Sheriff Scott Jones says results of the death investigation are at odds with the lawsuit's version of events.

LA-AREA PERSIMMON GROWER MAY HAVE TO TRASH TREES: LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE  (AP) — A Southern California urban farmer may be forced to cut down his persimmon grove or find himself an outlaw.

The Los Angeles foothill suburb of La Canada Flintridge is drafting a general plan that doesn't permit agriculture on the land where William Johnson planted 475 trees several years ago.

If the City Council adopts the planning blueprint in the next two months, Johnson might have to tear out his grove — which hasn't borne fruit yet.

However, City Manager Mark Alexander says the Planning Commission could find a way to accommodate Johnson's operation after the fact if he submits an application.

Johnson, meanwhile, isn't stopping at persimmons. He used to have cows and says if he gets approval, he'd like them again.