By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
State news briefs
Placeholder Image

DMV CANCELS HALF-FINISHED TECHNOLOGY OVERHAUL: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — California officials have canceled a half-finished Department of Motor Vehicles technology overhaul of the vehicle registration process.

HP Enterprise Services has so far been paid nearly $50 million so far on the $208 million project.

The DMV registration part of the project was halted because there was little progress. Agency secretary Carlos Ramos says the project was canceled on Jan. 31.

The California Technology Agency, which oversees state computer upgrades, told lawmakers about the contract termination on Tuesday.

Last week, the state controller's office fired the contractor responsible for a $371 million upgrade to the state's payroll system. More than $254 million has already been spent.

POLICE SAY ELDERLY RETIRED PASTOR MOLESTED GIRLS: TORRANCE  (AP) — Police say a 77-year-old retired Southern California pastor molested and threatened three young girls at his Torrance home and his nearby church.

The Daily Breeze of Torrance says Pedro Emilio Vallejos was arrested and charged with multiple counts of child molestation. Bail is set at nearly $18 million.

Vallejos led the now-defunct Santuario de Oracion church.

Sgt. Robert Watt says the investigation began in December when a teenage girl told a school counselor that Vallejos had molested her repeatedly more than three years earlier.

Two more victims said Vallejos also had sex with them at the church and at his home.

PROBATION FOR POLICE OFFICER IN TICKET FIXING CASE: WESTMINSTER . (AP) — A Southern California police officer has been placed on probation for conspiring to dismiss a woman's speeding ticket after she promised to send booze.

The motorist works in the alcohol industry.

Prosecutors say 44-year-old Huntington Beach police Officer Erik Michal Krause and 47-year-old Garden Grove police Officer Michael John Zannitto were convicted of misdemeanor conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Krause had ticketed the woman for speeding near a school bus. While off duty later that month, Zannitto met the woman and told her he could have the citation dismissed in exchange for free alcohol.

Zannitto called Krause and he took care of the ticket.

A judge on Friday sentenced Krause to probation and 30 days in jail, which was stayed pending completion of community service. Zannitto got the same sentence earlier.

CONVICTION IN DRUGGED DRIVING DEATH OF PEDESTRIAN: SANTA ANA  (AP) — A Southern California man is facing 19 years to life in prison for a drunken driving crash that killed a pedestrian.

Mary Steves was attempting to find the owner of a loose dog two years ago when she was struck down and killed near her Laguna Niguel home.

An Orange County jury on Thursday convicted 29-year-old Adam Harrison Hall of murder, driving under the influence of drugs and forgery of prescription drugs, among other things.

Prosecutors say Hall was behind the wheel of a sport utility vehicle that drove through a red light and collided with a Toyota SUV before striking and killing Steves.

Hall, who had two prior convictions for driving under the influence, faces 19 years to life in prison when he's sentenced on April 5.

PARENTS OF DEAD SOLDIER SUE DIET SUPPLEMENT MAKER: SAN DIEGO (AP) — Parents of a soldier who died after taking a dietary supplement called Jack3d (pronounced 'jacked') have sued the makers and retailer for wrongful death.

U-T San Diego says Michael Sparling's family sued Wednesday in San Diego.

Sparling died of a heart attack in 2011 after collapsing during physical training at the Army's Fort Bliss in Texas. He'd been taking Jack3d before workouts.

The supplement contains DMAA, which the suit claims can cause heart problems.

The military pulled the supplement from its store shelves after Sparling and another soldier died.

U-T San Diego says the supplement maker, USPLabs, and the ingredient producer, San Marcos-based Natural Alternatives International, didn't immediately respond to comment requests. Retailer GNC said it doesn't comment on pending litigation.

SAN DIEGO CHARITY LAUNDRY TOLD TO RETURN $6,000: SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego County officials say a charity laundry didn't come clean about its use of grant money and they want $6,000 returned.

Auntie Helen's Fluff 'n' Fold in San Diego provides free laundry services to people with AIDS.

The charity received a $10,000 county grant but U-T San Diego says officials are demanding repayment of more than $6,000.

The county says Executive Director Michael Dudley spent it on unapproved expenses, including car repairs and carpeting, instead of on washing machines.

Dudley says he returned nearly $4,000 this week and if authorities want to wring the rest out of him, they'll have to go to court.

FORMER CALIF. PROSECUTOR FACING ETHICS CHARGES: WOODLAND  (AP) — A former Northern California prosecutor is facing ethics charges over statements his campaign made about a rival for superior court judge.

California State Bar attorneys filed the charges against former Yolo County Deputy District Attorney Clint Parish on Tuesday, saying Parish knowingly misrepresented his rival for Yolo Superior Court judge, Dan Maguire, and used false and deceptive campaign materials.

Mailers Parish sent out last May sought to connect Maguire to corporate bribery and a controversial prison sentence commutation.

Maguire, already a sitting Superior Court judge, won the election.

Parish declined comment to the Sacramento Bee, which reports that such disciplinary actions by the State Bar are rare. The newspaper says Parish fired the person who created the mailers and has said he did not verify the claims.

TEACHER PLEADS NO CONTEST TO CHILD PORN CHARGES: SANTA CRUZ  (AP) — A former youth choir teacher accused of secretly videotaping teenage girls during a weekend trip has pleaded no contest to criminal charges.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported that 26-year-old Aldrin Nicolas entered his plea Thursday in Santa Cruz County Superior Court.

Nicolas is charged with three felony counts of creating child pornography, and two misdemeanors for unlawful invasion of the girls' privacy and eavesdropping.

Nicolas taught with the San Jose-based Vivace Youth Chorus, and was with a group on a weekend trip at the Pajaro Dunes Vacation Rentals when prosecutors say he videotaped the victims, ages 13-17, getting undressed.

He was working as a choir teacher at Salinas High School when he was arrested.

LA UNIFIED TO USE TEST SCORES TO RATE TEACHERS: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Standardized test scores and other measures of student achievement will count for 30 percent of a teacher's performance evaluation in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Superintendent John Deasy announced the new appraisal guidelines on Friday after both the school board and the teachers union approved an agreement allowing measures of pupil progress to be used in evaluations.

Deasy says the remaining 70 percent of the guidelines will comprises classroom observation and other factors.

The 2013-14 guidelines are the result of a court order stemming from a lawsuit.

The suit charged that the district was violating state law by not using student test scores to evaluate teachers.

The teachers union United Teachers Los Angeles has opposed the use of standardized test scores to rank classroom instructors.