Thursday, January 16
Wildfire burning in hills northeast of Los Angeles
GLENDORA, Calif. (AP) — Crews are battling a wildfire burning out of control in the foothills northeast of Los Angeles as Southern California braces for another day of dry and windy weather conditions.
Fire officials say the blaze has charred several acres early Thursday in a canyon of Angeles National Forest just north of Glendora. The flames are burning away from homes into a wilderness area some 25 miles northeast of downtown LA.
County Fire has deployed seven engines and three helicopters to help crews battle the fire, which was reported around 5:50 a.m. and is growing rapidly.
Officials hope to make progress against the flames before daybreak, when winds are expected to pick up.
Red flag warnings for critical fire weather conditions are posted from Santa Barbara County south through Los Angeles to the U.S.-Mexico border.
SILICON VALLEY ARSONS
Report: arrest in Silicon Valley arsons
(Information in the following story is from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, http://www.mercurynews.com)
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Police say they have arrested a man believed responsible for setting nearly a dozen blazes within a week in San Jose, Calif.
Sgt. Albert Morales tells the San Jose Mercury News the suspect was taken in for questioning Wednesday night.
Authorities released few details about the suspect. The newspaper says investigators are conducting follow-up interviews and plan to reveal more at a news conference Thursday morning.
The fire department has reported 13 fires near downtown since Jan. 8. Eleven of them were determined to be arson. The blazes usually occurred during the early morning hours. Three fires alone were set on Sunday.
The targets have included homes and businesses and a church. No injuries are reported.
Earlier in the week authorities released a sketch of a person of interest in the case.
Calif woman acquitted of model killing sues police
(Information in the following story is from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A woman acquitted last year of killing an aspiring model is suing the Santa Monica Police Department.
The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that the lawsuit filed by 48-year-old Kelly Soo Park alleges police damaged her reputation and intimidated witnesses.
Prosecutors described her as a killer-for-hire who strangled 21-year-old Juliana Redding with her bare hands in 2008. Park was arrested in 2010 when police said she matched many DNA samples collected from the crime scene. A jury found her not guilty in June.
Park's lawsuit says three witnesses who planned to testify on her behalf were scared away or tainted by a police detective.
The suit says she's suffered from "extreme and severe mental anguish" since she was arrested.
The Police Department and district attorney's office both declined comment.
HOUSING SCHEME ARRESTS
5 from Fresno charged in housing fraud scheme
(Information in the following story is from: The Fresno Bee, http://www.fresnobee.com)
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say five people from Fresno have been arrested on suspicion of running a statewide housing scheme that led to the fraudulent seizure of 23 houses in nine counties.
The Fresno Bee reports the California Attorney General's Office charged the five Wednesday with 288 felony counts including perjury, filing false court records and preparing false evidence.
A sixth suspect remains at large.
The complaint says the suspects provided fraudulent statements in court to obtain at least 23 homes across the state, some of which were then sold or rented.
The suspect face prison time and restitution payments of at least $3.5 million.
The case was headed by the Mortgage Fraud Strike Force, which investigates and prosecutes misconduct at all stages of the mortgage process.
ORANGE COUNTY QUAKE
Small quake rattles Orange County area
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A small earthquake has rattled northern Orange County but there have been no reports of damage or injury.
The U.S. Geological Survey says that the magnitude 3.8 temblor hit shortly before midnight and was centered seven miles from Villa Park, Corona and North Tustin.
City News Service says that there were no immediate reports of damage, although police dispatchers said that they received calls from people who felt the quake.
Gubernatorial hopeful to make 'major announcement'
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, a Republican candidate for governor, has scheduled a news conference for what his campaign calls a "major announcement."
Maldonado is a former state senator who last year lost a bid for Congress. He has struggled to raise money and has held few campaign events in recent months.
Maldonado's campaign manager, Ron Nehring, declined to say what Maldonado would discuss during the Thursday news conference in the candidate's hometown of Santa Maria. He would not say whether Maldonado planned to pull out of the race.
Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, is expected to seek re-election and has amassed nearly $17 million for a potential campaign. He is considered a formidable foe for any would-be opponent.
GOOGLE GLASS TICKET
Woman to testify against Google Glass citation
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A California woman faces trial over the first known traffic citation for wearing Google's computer-in-an-eyeglass while driving.
The trial Thursday in a San Diego traffic court could help shape future laws on wearable technology as it goes mainstream.
Software developer, Cecilia Abadie is among some 30,000 people called "explorers" who have been selected to try out the device, known as Google Glass, before the technology becomes widely available to the public later this year.
The device on a kind of glass-wear frame features a thumbnail-size transparent display above the right eye.
Abadie was pulled over in October. She has pleaded not guilty.
Her attorney William Concidine said the device was not activated when she was driving.
Producer: NSA revelations vindicate CBS drama
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — A producer of TV's "Person Of Interest" says revelations about government surveillance have proved early doubters about the drama wrong.
Producer Jonathan Nolan said the show, in which an all-seeing machine is used to prevent crime, was labeled far-fetched by some observers when it debuted.
But after former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden's revelations about secret government surveillance programs, there was a brief period of gloating at "Person of Interest," Nolan said.
As Nolan told TV reporters Wednesday, the NSA disclosures have "validated our decision to wear tinfoil hats."
"Person of Interest," in its third season on CBS, stars Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel.
OSCAR NOMINATIONS-BEST PICTURE
Oscar nominations announced for best picture
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — The 86th annual Academy Award nominations for best motion picture have been announced in Beverly Hills, Calif., by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The nominees announced Thursday morning are: "12 Years a Slave," ''American Hustle," ''Captain Phillips," ''Dallas Buyers Club," ''Gravity," ''Her," ''Nebraska," "Philomena," ''The Wolf of Wall Street."
The Oscars will be presented March 2 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres and broadcast live on ABC.