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State news briefs
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SUPER SCOOPERS ARRIVE IN LA FOR FIRE SEASON: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Canadian aircraft that can dump thousands of gallons of water on wildfires have arrived in Southern California as the region faces a brutal fire season.

City News Service says two Super Scoopers and an Erickson Air-Crane Helitanker arrived at Van Nuys Airport on Wednesday. Each of the giant fixed-wing planes can scoop up 1,600 gallons of water in seconds. The helicopter holds 2,650 gallons.

Los Angeles County leases the aircraft annually from Quebec, where the wildfire season is ending.

The county is preparing for a hot, dry season that's already seen wildfires torch dozens of homes and buildings in Southern California.

7 CHARGED WITH STEALING SCRAP FROM USS MIDWAY: SAN DIEGO (AP) — Seven people have been charged with stealing scrap metal from the USS Midway Museum in San Diego to sell for recycling.

U-T San Diego says grand theft charges were filed Tuesday. They carry a possible three-year prison term.

Authorities contend that the men were involved in a ring of employees that systematically looted the historic aircraft carrier of scrap metal such as copper and steel.

The scrap was created when parts of the ship were demolished to make way for new displays. It was sold to recyclers but the museum says it only received a portion of the proceeds and thieves may have kept hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Fourteen employees were fired in January following a museum investigation.

LA JURY REJECTS ABUSE CLAIM BY AUTISTIC BOY: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A jury has rejected lawsuit claims that alleged an autistic boy was abused by an aide at a Los Angeles school.

City News Service says the jury on Wednesday found that Evan Adger suffered no harm even though it determined the company that hired the aide was negligent. The panel also cleared the school district of responsibility.

The lawsuit contended that the aide yelled at Evan, hit him and threw him against the wall in 2010 at Valley View Elementary School.

The boy was 10 at the time. The lawsuit claimed he suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and deserved $6.3 million in damages.

CONVICTED ROBBER CHARGED WITH 1990 KILLING: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A robber who was paroled after spending nearly two decades in prison is back behind bars, charged with killing a Los Angeles grocer 23 years ago.

The Los Angeles Times says Marcus Perkins was arrested Monday, shortly after completing a sentence for attempted murder and robbery.

He's now charged with murder for the death of Timoteo Pena during a July 1990 holdup at a neighborhood market.

Authorities say Pena was shot as his 9-year-old daughter hid behind a refrigerator, although he managed to shoot and wound his attacker.

Perkins was long considered a suspect but there wasn't enough evidence to charge him until detectives began reviewing the case two years ago. Authorities say new DNA tests found Pena's blood on clothes taken from Perkins in 1990.

DAY CARE TODDLER TESTS POSITIVE FOR POT: LA CRESCENTA  (AP) — Authorities have closed a Southern California day care center after a 2-year-old girl tested positive for marijuana.

Glendale police say the girl's parents noticed she was lethargic after bringing her home from Bina's Family Child Care in the La Crescenta area on Tuesday. She tested positive for the active ingredient of pot at a hospital.

On Wednesday, authorities declared the center uninhabitable. Investigators say there was no electricity or working toilets, the kitchen was filthy, knives were improperly stored and there were rodent droppings.

Police also say they found marijuana pipes.

The operator, 50-year-old Roubena Hartounian (hahr-TOON'-ee-uhn), was arrested on suspicion of child neglect and endangerment.

She was released on $100,000 bail and couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.

JUDGE HALTS WATER RELEASES FOR SALMON: FRESNO  (AP) — A U.S. District judge in California has temporarily halted the planned releases of water from a Northern California reservoir to prevent a salmon kill in the lower Klamath River.

The judge ordered the releases from the Trinity Reservoir temporarily stopped until August 21.

The order comes after farmers in California's San Joaquin Valley sued the federal government over the releases, alleging they would be unlawful and would further decrease the little water available to them for irrigation.

In 2002, lack of water left tens of thousands of salmon in the Klamath dead before they could spawn.

This year, authorities expect a large fall run of salmon, yet the river is extremely low.

Environmental groups and Indian tribes say the order to stop the releases could be disastrous for the salmon.

DWP EMPLOYEES EARNED $77M IN EXTRA PAY THIS YEAR: LOS ANGELES (AP) — City officials say Department of Water & Power employees earned $77.3 million in extra pay in the first six months of 2013 and earn 20 percent more than other city employees, on average.

The Los Angeles Times reports an analysis released Thursday by the city controller found the utility's workers are on track to earn an average of nearly $16,000 in extra wages.

Extra wages are paid for things like overtime or working in bad weather.

Controller Ron Galperin says the higher expenses translate to higher rates for consumers and less money for infrastructure improvements.

The report comes a day before a public hearing to discuss DWP's proposed contract before the City Council. The four-year contract would hold off on raises until a four percent increase in 2016.