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State news briefs
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POLICE STANDOFF ENDS WITH ARREST IN SF: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Police arrested a robbery suspect Wednesday after a nearly seven-hour standoff that began when he barricaded himself inside a marijuana growing site in San Francisco.

Four people who worked inside the building had been taken hostage but were freed hours before the standoff ended. Police would not say if they had been released by the suspect or rescued by a SWAT team.

The suspect was taken into custody after a tactical team with a police dog rushed the building in an industrial area of the city's Bayview district.

The incident began before 4 a.m. as an attempted robbery by four men who stormed the building that police initially thought was a medical marijuana dispensary, authorities said.

Arriving officers arrested three suspects wearing ski masks who ran from the scene while another person stayed inside and refused to leave the building.

They waited several hours before rushing the building, where they also discovered about 1,000 marijuana plants. Police later determined that the marijuana grow site is in compliance with permit requirements.


SANTA CRUZ  (AP) — Community members cried, prayed and left remembrances at a closed-casket visitation for two slain Santa Cruz Police Department detectives.

Wednesday's public casket viewing at Santa Cruz Memorial cemetery is the first of several events honoring detectives Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker and Officer Elizabeth Butler. Jeremy Goulet shot and killed both officers when they came to his house on Feb. 26 while investigating a misdemeanor sexual assault case. Goulet was killed in a subsequent chase and shootout.

The main memorial ceremony is scheduled for Thursday at San Jose's HP Pavilion, 525 West Santa Clara St., from noon to 3 p.m. A procession of 200 local law enforcement officers leaves the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk amusement park at 8:30 a.m. to attend the memorial.

MAN PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO STEALING GIRL SCOUT CASH: SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — A 20-year-old accused of snatching nearly $500 from a table where Girl Scouts were selling cookies has pleaded not guilty in Victorville Superior Court.

Colin Sawyer entered the plea Wednesday to a petty theft charge for the incident outside a Phelan supermarket on Sunday night. He was arrested the next day after he was identified on store surveillance video.

Separately, Sawyer has also been charged with shoplifting and giving false information to a peace office. He also pleaded not guilty to those charges.

The alleged cookie money theft on Feb. 11 would have violated his probation terms, so he is being held without bail.

2 YACHT THEFT SUSPECTS FREED; 3RD TO BE CHARGED: REDWOOD CITY  (AP) — Two of three people arrested on suspicion of stealing a yacht were set to be released from jail just days after the vessel ran aground in Northern California.

Charges were dropped on Wednesday against 54-year-old Dario Mira and 56-year-old Lisa Modawell after prosecutors determined they didn't know the 82-foot sailboat was stolen.

Prosecutors said charges will still be filed against 63-year-old Leslie Gardner of Gillette, Wyo.

Police say the vessel "Darling" was taken early Monday from Sausalito Yacht Harbor, and ran aground more than 20 miles south at Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica.

The boat's owner saw reports of the grounded boat on television, and alerted police.

Life guards searching to boat afterward found bottles of beer and a pizza box.

COUNTY SEEKS BAN ON LA'S SEWAGE SLUDGE ON FARMS: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Kern County is asking California's highest court to weigh in on whether the city of Los Angeles can continue using treated sewage sludge as fertilizer on farms it owns within the county.

Kern County's Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to petition the California Supreme Court.

The move comes after a state appeals court denied Kern County's request to be allowed to enforce a local, voter-approved ban on the use of sewage sludge on lands in the county.

Kern voters passed the ban, called Measure E, in 2006; Los Angeles successfully sued to block the measure.

Los Angeles exports treated sewage — so-called "bio-solids" — to its Green Acres farm southwest of Bakersfield for use as fertilizer.

LA VOTERS REJECT PROPOSED HALF-CENT SALES TAX HIKE: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles voters have rejected a proposed sales tax hike to help close a looming budget deficit.

The city clerk's office says more than 55 percent of voters opposed Proposition A on Tuesday's ballot.

The measure would have added a half-cent to the city sales tax, bringing it to 9 ½ percent. It would have raised an estimated $200 million a year to help fill a projected $216 million deficit.

The measure was backed by Police Chief Charlie Beck and outgoing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa but opposed by leading mayoral candidates.

DEAD KIDNAPPER'S DNA HELPS SOLVE CALIF COLD CASE: TORRANCE, Calif. (AP) — Police say they have solved a 23-year-old murder by linking DNA evidence to a man who was shot and killed by a woman he tried to kidnap.

Torrance police said Wednesday that forensic evidence found on the body of Luis Herrera matches the blood of Kevin Kemp. Herrera was found in a trash bin in September 1990 strangled to death.

Three weeks later, a woman shot and killed Kemp when he attacked her in front of her home.

Police suspected Kemp was responsible for other crimes and they recently put his DNA into a database. A match was found earlier this year showing Kemp's DNA was found at the Herrera crime scene.