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State news briefs
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BILLY RAY CYRUS HAS AN ACKY BREAKY HEART AS HE AND  WIFE OF 19 YEARS, GETTING DIVORCE: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Billy Ray Cyrus' wife has filed for divorce from the country singer after 19 years of marriage.

Court records show Tish Finley Cyrus filed Thursday in Los Angeles, citing irreconcilable differences. She's seeking custody of their teenage child and spousal support.

It's the couple's second divorce attempt. Billy Ray Cyrus filed for divorce in 2010 but later withdrew the petition.

The couple issued a joint statement seeking privacy for their family. They say they want to find a resolution that's in the best interests of their family.

The two got married in December 1993 and have three children together, including actress-musician Miley Cyrus.

Billy Ray Cyrus rose to fame in 1992 with his song "Achy Breaky Heart."

MERLE HAGGARD HONORED BY CAL STATE BAKERSFIELD: BAKERSFIELD  (AP) — They call him "The Hag," but now Merle Haggard can answer to "doctor" as well.

Haggard was presented an honorary doctorate Friday by California State University, Bakersfield.

The doctor of fine arts honor was conferred during School of Arts & Humanities commencement ceremonies that also celebrated the late Buck Owens.

The university does not bestow honorary doctorates posthumously, so Owens was instead awarded the President's Medal.

The music of Haggard and Owens exemplifies country music's "Bakersfield Sound."

WEDDING RING MISTAKENLY SOLD AT YARD SALE RETURNED: LAGUNA NIGUEL  (AP) — A diamond wedding ring that was mistakenly sold at a community yard sale has been returned to its owner.

A couple given a wooden watch box by one of their relatives who bought it at a communitywide garage sale recovered the ring.

Laguna Niguel resident Racquel Cloutier had hidden her $23,000 ring inside the box for safe keeping from her twin toddlers before heading to the hospital to give birth to her fifth child on May 31. When she returned she learned her husband had sold the box at the yard sale for $10.

The story attracted widespread media attention, which prompted the couple to search for the ring.

Cloutier says her husband never expected they'd get it back.

LUCAS' CALIF. HOUSING PLAN LOSES PARTNER: SAN RAFAEL  (AP) — Filmmaker George Lucas' plans to build affordable housing on the Marin County ranch where he originally proposed erecting a film studio have suffered a setback.

The community foundation that was partnering with Lucas on the housing plan announced on Thursday that it had pulled out of the project.

The Marin Community Foundation said obtaining the necessary state and federal funding appeared unlikely.

Lucas spokesman Angelo Garcia said in a statement that the Star Wars creator would continue seeking a developer willing to move ahead with the project.

Lucas last year abandoned plans to put a film studio on his O'Grady Ranch in the face of opposition from neighbors.

EX-TEACHER   PLEADS GUILTY TO SEX WITH MINOR: VENTURA,   (AP) — A former Southern California schoolteacher now acknowledges that she had sex with an underage student.

Malia Brooks pleaded guilty Thursday to three counts of committing lewd acts with a child under 14. A day earlier, she pleaded not guilty to five charges. Under the plea-change deal, she'll face up to 12 years in prison instead of a possible 16.

The 32-year-old was a sixth-grade teacher at Garden Grove Elementary School in Simi Valley. She resigned last week and was arrested on Tuesday.

Prosecutors say the married mother of two had sex with a student earlier this year. Her attorney, Ron Bamieh, says Brooks suffered a "manic episode" brought on by memories of teenage abuse. He'll seek a four- to six-year sentence.

CONTRACTOR GETS $20M BONUS IF BRIDGE OPENS ON TIME: OAKLAND,   (AP) — The contractor building the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge will get a $20 million bonus if the span opens Labor Day weekend.

American Bridge/Fluor Enterprises and government agencies overseeing the project agreed to the bonus in September 2010 as part of a $293-million incentives package.

Bay Bridge officials say the span will only open when it is safe, regardless of incentives.

But some lawmakers have raised concerns that these incentives could lead to constructions shortcuts that could comprise the span's safety.

Crews are still working on a repair for 32 seismic safety bolts that cracked in March.

A decision on the bridge's opening timetable is expected at a meeting on July 10.

COMPTON JURY AWARDS $8 MILLION OVER SHOOTING: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Compton jury has awarded $8 million to the parents of a man fatally shot by a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy three years ago.

City News Service reports the jury on Friday rejected the claim that 21-year-old Robert Thomas Jr. was armed at the time of the shooting in Willowbrook.

Authorities say deputies patrolling the area noticed a party in the South LA neighborhood, saw Thomas acting suspiciously and tried to talk to him. He then ran away.

Deputies say they found a gun on scene, but it's unclear who it belonged to. The family's attorney, John Sweeney, says Thomas did not have a gun, and his DNA was not found on it.

According to Sweeney, Thomas was shot seven times.

SAN BERNARDINO OFFICER RULED JUSTIFIED IN SHOOTING: SAN BERNARDINO  (AP) — A San Bernardino police officer's fatal shooting of a knife-wielding man two years ago has been deemed justified.

The district attorney's office released a report Friday that concluded the officer responded to an immediate threat of injury or death in the January 2011 shooting of 43-year-old Richard Matus.

The officer kicked in a bathroom door and confronted Matus as he held a knife to the throat of an elderly man. Police say the officer tried to grab the hostage, then reached behind the man and shot Matus twice in the back.

2 BODIES FOUND IN TENT IN LOS PADRES FOREST: SANTA MARGARITA  (AP) — The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department says two decomposed bodies have been found in a tent in a campground in Los Padres National Forest.

Sheriff's spokesman Tony Cipolla says the discovery was made Thursday afternoon at the La Panza Campground, about a 30-mile drive from Santa Margarita.

The Sheriff's Department says the state of decomposition indicated the bodies had been at the location for some time and the deaths do not appear suspicious.

The area is on the Central Coast about 200 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

AQMD HEARS FORM PUBLIC OVER BEACH FIRE RINGS: NEWPORT BEACH  (AP) — Southern California's anti-smog agency has heard an earful as it decides whether to regulate or even ban beach fire rings.

A woman choked back tears Thursday as she told the South Coast Air Quality Management District that her child's bedroom reeks of smoke.

Others speakers at the Newport Beach meeting called the fire pits a tradition. The agency will decide the issue next month.

Newport Beach officials want to ban the rings while neighboring cities want to preserve them. AQMD staff have recommended regulations that would prohibit fire rings within 700 feet of homes.