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State news briefs
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FEDS BACK AWAY FROM UC DAVIS HOSPITAL FUNDING CUTS: DAVIS (AP) — Regulators have backed away from a threat to cut federal funding to University of California, Davis, Medical Center after a follow-up inspection determined the hospital is now complying with patient safety and care rules.

The public hospital has been under scrutiny since a scandal over a neurosurgeon who conducted experiments on dying brain cancer patients.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services inspected the medical center and determined hospital leaders and staff failed to intervene or raise questions about the experimental treatments.

The regulators warned the hospital's Medicare funding was in jeopardy.

A second inspection in December examined general deficiencies.

CALIFORNIA PROF TO BE CHARGED WITH NEW ARSON COUNT: NEWPORT BEACH  (AP) — Orange County prosecutors say they will file an additional count of arson against a university professor who allegedly set a series of fires after his son committed suicide.

Officials say 49-year-old Rainer Reinscheid of Irvine will be charged Thursday in an amended complaint with one additional felony count of arson with sentencing enhancements for use of an accelerant.

Reinscheid has pleaded not guilty to nine arson-related felonies and one misdemeanor for fires at his son's high school, the assistant principal's home and a park.

Reinscheid was a professor at the University of California, Irvine, when he allegedly set the fires last year. Authorities believe Reinscheid was upset because his son hanged himself after being disciplined for allegedly stealing from a school store.

SOCCER REFEREE CHARGED WITH SEX WITH TEEN: SANTA ANA  (AP) — Prosecutors say a youth soccer referee used Facebook to arrange sex with 15-year-old boy.

Orange County investigators say 30-year-old Jorge Diosdado Serafin also molested two younger boys.

Serafin was charged on Tuesday with five felony counts, including forced sex with a minor, lewd acts on a child and lewd or lascivious acts with a minor. He's in jail with bail set at $1 million pending a Feb. 1 court hearing.

Prosecutors say Serafin communicated with the 15-year-old boy on Facebook in November and invited him to meet him in the parking lot where the boy was forced to have sex.

Last week, prosecutors say Serafin invited a 14-year-old neighbor boy to his apartment and molested the teen.

A 10-year-old told authorities Serafin sexually touched him during a massage.

RETIRED FIREFIGHTER SENTENCED IN ASSISTED SUICIDE: SAN LUIS OBISPO  (AP) — Authorities say a retired firefighter who survived a joint suicide attempt that claimed his wife's life revealed that the couple had planned to kill themselves for years.

George Taylor also told probation officials it was his 81-year-old wife, Gewynn, who finally decided last December the time was right.

Taylor, 86, was arrested Dec. 10 after a state park ranger discovered him driving with his wife's body in the back seat of his car.

He told the ranger he suffocated her with a plastic bag, then slashed his wrists and neck and tried to suffocate himself.

He pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting a suicide.

On Wednesday he was sentenced to time served, the two days he spent in jail following his arrest.

CREDIT CARD SKIMMERS HIT MADERA COUNTY GAS STATION: MADERA  (AP) — Madera County sheriff's detectives are investigating a credit card skimming operation that took place at a gas station on the busy highway to Yosemite National Park.

Sheriff John Anderson said Tuesday that so far investigators have found 15 thefts, but suspect that more could exist and that travelers just might not have noticed yet.

The sheriff's office reports that the credit cards were compromised after the holders pumped gas at the 22-Mile House service station on Highway 41.

The skimmers copied credit and debit card information off the magnetic strips then used it to make unauthorized purchases and withdrawals in Las Vegas and Southern California.

The skimming took place in November and December. It's the second skimming operation detected in Madera County in the past four months.