3 FORMER EXECS PLEAD GUILTY IN ASBESTOS CASE: MERCED . (AP) — Three former executives of a now-defunct nonprofit have been convicted of violating federal asbestos laws when the former Castle Air Force Base in Atwater was cleaned up.
Rudy Buendia, Patrick Bowman and Joseph Cuellar each pleaded guilty Monday to one count of breaking a federal law for hazardous air pollutants. Bowman and Cuellar will face 27 months in prison according to a plea agreement, while Buendia will face a two-year term. They are scheduled to be sentenced June 3.
The three men were charged in 2010 and were accused of using at least nine high school vocational students to remove asbestos from an old building between 2005 and 2006.
BARD COLLEGE DEPARTS DELANO CHARTER SCHOOL: DELANO (AP) — Kern County education officials say a private New York-based liberal arts college that helped found a charter school in an impoverished Central California farm town will no longer work with the school.
The county Board of Education approved a revision to the charter of Paramount Bard Academy in Delano on Tuesday to reflect Bard College's departure.
The charter school opened in 2009 as a collaborative effort between Bard College and the Resnick Foundation and Paramount Agricultural Companies of farming billionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick. It runs from 6th through 12th grade.
Bard College had sent its graduate students to work with the charter school's students as part of its master's degree and teaching credential program.
Paramount officials say they will find other ways for staff members to get professional training.
WOMAN, 93, HURT IN OC SCOOTER ACCIDENT: SEAL BEACH (AP) — Authorities say a 93-year-old woman was seriously injured when a golf cart hit her at an Orange County retirement community.
The woman was on a mobility scooter in a crosswalk at the Seal Beach Leisure World Tuesday morning when the golf cart failed to stop and hit her.
DA: NO CRIMES IN SANTA MARIA POLICE SHOOTING: SANTA BARBARA (AP) — The Santa Barbara County district attorney says there's no evidence of crimes by Santa Maria police officers related to an officer's fatal shooting of a fellow officer while trying to arrest him last year in connection to a teenager's rape allegations.
The Santa Maria Times reported the finding Wednesday, a week after the police chief took disciplinary action against nine officers following his own review.
Chief Ralph Martin also said the officers didn't break laws, but they didn't follow police policy. He released no details.
A 17-year-old police Explorer told authorities she was repeatedly raped by Covarrubias, who allegedly threatened to kill her boyfriend and family if she didn't submit. Covarrubias was shot during a struggle over a gun while supervisors were trying to arrest him on duty.
ECONOMIC REPORT SAYS CALIF TO BENEFIT FROM REBOUND: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A new economic report shows a rise in business investment and exports will help drive California's economy in the coming year, while unemployment continues to drop.
The UCLA Anderson Forecast released Wednesday shows that the Golden State is expected to capture a large proportion of the gains as the U.S. economy, boosted by auto sales and housing starts, is poised for real growth in 2013.
The report says the nation's gross domestic product is expected to grow 1.9 percent this year and 2.8 percent in 2014.
Employment growth is expected to remain steady in California, but the yearly growth rate slowed to 1.6 percent in December. The forecast say unemployment in California will fall this year and average 9.6 percent and could drop to 8.4 percent next year.
CALIF PROTOTYPE QUAKE WARNING SYSTEM GAVE HEADS U: PASADENA (AP) — An earthquake warning system that has been under development in California worked during this week's light but widely felt temblor, scientists said Wednesday.
The prototype system gave 35 seconds of notice to seismologists in Pasadena about incoming seismic waves from Monday's magnitude-4.7 quake centered in the desert in Riverside County, said U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Doug Given, who heads the early warning effort.
For the past several years, scientists have received alerts on their computers notifying them of quakes that occurred. The system does not predict earthquakes. Rather, it detects the first pulses of energy after a fault ruptures, estimates the magnitude and fires off an alert before slower-moving but more damaging waves are detected.
The warnings are not broadcast to the public because the system is still in beta testing.
WOMAN FOUND DEAD INSIDE CAR IN SACRAMENTO RIVER: SACRAMENTO (AP) — Authorities have recovered the body of a woman who told an emergency dispatcher she was inside a car that went into the Sacramento River.
California Highway Patrol says the 58-year-old West Sacramento woman was found inside her Toyota Camry, which was found in the river near Monument Bend about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.
CHP Officer Cindy Leal says a 911 dispatcher spoke to the victim for about 10 minutes around 8 a.m. before the connection was lost. The CHP dispatcher had trouble understanding the Punjabi-speaking victim and had to find someone who spoke the language.
The woman is believed to have been on her way home from work when she called her daughter and said she didn't think her car brakes were working.
REPORT: LAWMAKER ABSENT FROM LEGAL RESIDENCE: SACRAMENTO (AP) — A state assemblyman from Sacramento does not appear to be living in the condo he bought so he could run for a seat in a newly drawn legislative district, according to a newspaper report published Wednesday.
Democratic Assemblyman Richard Pan began taking more than $28,000 in per diem payments last year, which helped him buy the condo in a city neighborhood south of downtown. His home in Natomas, a neighborhood north of downtown, was in the same district as another Democratic lawmaker following redistricting in 2011.
State lawmakers are required to live within the districts they represent. Pan registered to vote and swore under penalty of perjury that he was living in the 9th Assembly District.
In a statement, Pan said he is following state law and spends time at multiple Sacramento residences.