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State news briefs
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• WHITNEY HOUSTON’S DRESS, EARRINGS UP FOR AUCTION: LOS ANGELES (AP) — There had to be an auction, but so soon?

A black velvet dress that belonged to Whitney Houston and a pair of earrings she wore in “The Bodyguard” will be sold to the highest bidder next month.

Celebrity auctioneer Darren Julien said Sunday the pieces and other Houston items became available after the singer’s unexpected death on Feb. 11 and will be included among a long-planned sale of Hollywood memorabilia such as Charlie Chaplin’s cane, Clark Gable’s jacket from “Gone With the Wind” and Charlton Heston’s staff from “The Ten Commandments.”

Julien said celebrity collectibles often become available after their namesakes die.

“It proves a point that these items, they’re an investment,” Julien said. “You buy items just like a stock. Buy at the right time and sell at the right time, and they just increase in value.”

But could it be too soon to profit from Houston’s passing? She was just buried on Saturday.

“It’s a celebration of her life,” Julien said. “If you hide these things in fear that you’re going to offend someone — her life is to be celebrated. These items are historic now that she passed. They become a part of history. They should be in museums. She’s lived a life and had a career that nobody else has ever had.”

• SCHOOL OWNER: MID-AIR CRASH COULD’VE BEEN DEADLY: RIO VISTA (AP) — The owner of a helicopter flight school whose student was involved in a mid-air collision said Monday the pilot narrowly escaped what could have been a deadly crash after the chopper was hit from behind by a small plane.

Instead, the pilots of both the Robinson R22 helicopter and Beechcraft Bonanza plane escaped with minor injuries after making rough emergency landings Sunday evening just north of Antioch, about halfway between Oakland and Sacramento.

The chopper pilot, a 29-year-old woman, is an experienced commercial airplane pilot who was logging night-flying hours alone toward a helicopter license, said Wayne Prodger, owner of Vertical CFI Helicopters in Hayward.

The woman told Prodger she briefly saw the plane behind her around 7 p.m. The next thing she knew, it struck the chopper’s skids and she was falling to the ground, Prodger told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

“A few feet higher, it would’ve been catastrophic because the plane would’ve crashed right into the copter,” he said.

• AUTHORITIES BUST ILLEGAL COCKFIGHTING OPERATION: RIVERSIDE  (AP) — Riverside County authorities busted a suspected illegal cockfighting operation for the second time in one week.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call near Perris on Sunday. John Welsh, spokesman for Riverside Animal Services says when deputies arrived about 100 people tried to flee.

Authorities found 15 dead roosters at the site and Animal Services officers euthanized another 131 birds, some of which were injured.

: IRVINE  (AP) — Authorities arrested a 41-year-old part-time aide for the Tustin Unified School District on suspicion of lewd conduct with a minor.

The Orange County Register reports that Irvine resident Nicole Ethel McMillen was arrested at 1 a.m. Sunday for what detectives believe was sexual contact or other inappropriate physical contact with a 14-year-old boy. Police say McMillen had contact with the boy on a number of occasions during the past six weeks.

McMillen was booked into Orange County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail and released Sunday afternoon after posting bail.

: ANAHEIM (AP) — A man was arrested for investigation of battery and assault after workers were attacked at Disney California Adventure Park, authorities said.

Suspect Glenn Horlacher, 53, fought with at least one security guard and several onlookers on Saturday, police Sgt. Bob Dunn told the Los Angeles Times.

“There were reports that he had been drinking,” Dunn said.

The scuffle was caught on video and posted on the Internet.

Police were called about 3:30 p.m. and arrived to find several guests holding a man down. Horlacher was booked and later released on a citation, Dunn said.

A security guard was taken to a hospital and treated for minor injuries and released, according to Suzi Brown, a Disneyland spokeswoman.

Brown said officials were investigating what triggered the incident and said they were grateful that theme park guests came to the aid of the security guard.

Efforts to reach Horlacher were not successful.

: COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is praising George H.W. Bush as she speaks at the former president’s government school at conservative-leaning Texas A&M University.

The California liberal was greeted warmly Monday evening as she appeared before about 600 people in what’s billed as a conversation moderated by the George H.W. Bush School of Government’s acting dean, Andrew Card.

Pelosi said Bush’s name is synonymous with civility and that’s something lacking today.

Card was deputy chief of staff during the Republican Bush’s White House years. The former president and his wife, Barbara, were in the front row at the event in College Station. Bush invited Pelosi to participate.

Card also served as chief of staff when Bush’s son was president and Pelosi famously derided George W. Bush as a total failure.