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New Napa County Judge Cynthia P. Smith takes oath

State-and-regional
AP
California deputy dies of injuries suffered in 1994 shooting

LOS ANGELES — Officials say a former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy has died as a result of injuries suffered when he was shot in the head 24 years ago.

Deputy Steven Belanger was 29 years old when he was struck by gunfire during a traffic stop in December 1994. The bullet lodged in his brain and could not be removed.

The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs says Belanger died Tuesday at age 52. The union says Belanger's retirement, ongoing health issues and death were all related to the shooting.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

The man who shot Belanger killed himself later the same day.


State-and-regional
AP
California deputy dies of injuries suffered in 1994 shooting

California deputy dies of injuries suffered in 1994 shooting

LOS ANGELES — Officials say a former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy has died as a result of injuries suffered when he was shot in the head 24 years ago.

Deputy Steven Belanger was 29 years old when he was struck by gunfire during a traffic stop in December 1994. The bullet lodged in his brain and could not be removed.

The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs says Belanger died Tuesday at age 52. The union says Belanger’s retirement, ongoing health issues and death were all related to the shooting.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

The man who shot Belanger killed himself later the same day.

3 arrested for 2 Santa Rosa home invasion robberies that left 1 dead

Three people are in custody in connection with two marijuana-related home invasion robberies that left one person dead in Sonoma County Thursday morning, sheriff’s officials said.

The first home invasion robbery happened in the 1900 block of Fulton Road northwest of Santa Rosa around 4:20 a.m. One person in the house was shot and taken to a hospital.

The second case was in the 3600 block of Melcon Lane off of Todd Road south of the Roseland area where a homicide occurred inside the house around 6:45 a.m., sheriff’s officials said. The victim died at the scene and their name is not being released until their family is notified.

Suspects in the home invasion robberies were arrested in Vallejo, and Vallejo police and the California Highway Patrol also are investigating the cases, sheriff’s officials said.

California prosecutors aim for execution in deputies’ deaths

SACRAMENTO — Prosecutors say a Utah man had “nothing but hate” when he arrived in Northern California before killing two sheriff’s deputies.

The Sacramento Bee reports that prosecutor Dave Tellman told jurors in closing arguments Thursday that Luis Bracamontes intentionally shot two sheriff’s deputies in 2014. He is charged with killing Sacramento County sheriff’s Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer County sheriff’s Detective Michael Davis Jr.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Bracamontes, who has repeatedly blurted out in court that he killed the deputies.

Defense attorneys say their client is mentally ill, was high on methamphetamine and should be spared.

President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign recently featured Bracamontes in an ad accusing Democrats of being “complicit” in the slayings of law enforcement officers by people in the U.S. illegally.

Teen driver who livestreamed fatal crash sentenced to prison

LOS BANOS — A California teen has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for driving drunk while livestreaming the crash that killed her younger sister.

The Merced Sun Star reports 19-year-old Obdulia Sanchez was sentenced Thursday after being convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter, DUI and child endangerment stemming from the July crash.

The car driven by Sanchez veered onto the shoulder of a road in Los Banos, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of San Francisco.

Authorities say she overcorrected, causing the vehicle to swerve and overturn, ejecting and killing her 14-year-old sister.

Prosecutors say Sanchez was livestreaming on Instagram while driving, and the video shows her taking her hands off the steering wheel.

Hiker dies after falling down 100-foot Sierra Nevada cliff

SACRAMENTO — Authorities say a hiker died after falling down a 100-foot cliff in the Sierra Nevada.

The Sacramento Bee reports Thursday that search and rescue teams skied out to Granite Chief, a 9,000-foot mountain just west of Olympic Village, on Wednesday night after receiving reports of three stranded hikers.

Placer County Sheriff’s Office one of the hikers had fallen approximately 100 feet down a precipice by the time help arrived.

The two other hikers were rescued and not known to be injured.

Authorities only identified the hiker who died as a Truckee resident as of Thursday morning.

The two other hikers were rescued and not known to be injured.

Driver dies after crashing car against bus in Berkeley

BERKELEY — Police say the driver of a car died after striking a bus that then crashed into the front of a Berkeley home.

Berkeley police says the bus driver and one passenger were not injured in the crash Thursday at Ashby and California Avenues. They say no one inside the home was injured.

Police are investigating the cause of the crash.

California officials ask for public’s help against nutria

SACRAMENTO — Wildlife officials are asking California residents to report any sightings of nutria — an invasive rodent that eats so much aquatic vegetation that it threatens wetlands and marshes.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said Thursday it is trying to eradicate the rodents from the state because once established, nutria could cause loss of wetlands, damage to agricultural crops and levees, dikes and roadbeds.

It says more than 20 nutria have been found in wetlands, rivers and canals and in Merced, Fresno and Stanislaus counties.

Native to South America, nutria can reach up to 2.5 feet in body length and 20 pounds in weight.

A female nutria can give birth to more than 200 offspring within a year of reaching reproductive maturity.

Suspense as California bald eagle eggs get ready to hatch

BIG BEAR LAKE — The most suspenseful show in Southern California isn’t on the big screen. It’s an online live feed of two bald eagle eggs ready to hatch in a nest in the mountains east of Los Angeles.

The camera in the San Bernardino National Forest near Big Bear Lake showed an adult eagle sitting on the eggs Thursday.

The Institute for Wildlife Studies says the first egg arrived Jan. 3 and is expected to hatch by Friday. A chick could poke its head out of the second egg by Sunday. That egg was laid Jan. 6.

The institute’s web page has thousands of comments from people watching the feed, anxiously waiting for the eggs to hatch.

The camera was installed by the group Friends of Big Bear Valley.

Court upholds San Francisco law on rental housing buyouts

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court has upheld a San Francisco law that regulates the ability of landlords to pay tenants to vacate their apartments.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Thursday the law does not violate landlords’ free speech, privacy, equal protection or due process rights.

San Francisco supervisors passed the law in 2014 over concerns that landlords were pressuring tenants to accept buyouts to get around rent control restrictions and lease the housing for much more money.

Rental prices in San Francisco have skyrocketed.

The law requires landlords to inform tenants of their rights in a buyout. It also allows tenants to back out of a buyout deal within 45 days.

An email to an attorney for landlord groups that challenged the law was not immediately returned.

Feds cancel move to restrict mining in California desert

LOS ANGELES — The federal Bureau of Land Management has scrapped Obama-era plans to exclude 1.3 million acres of environmentally sensitive Southern California lands from new mining activity.

The BLM announced Tuesday that after a review it concluded that mining operations do not pose a significant threat to the protection of cultural, biological and scientific resources.

The agency also said an environmental analysis associated with the proposed withdrawal has been terminated.

Environmental groups slammed the decision. Phil Hanceford of the Wilderness Society called it an assault on public lands.

The San Bernardino Sun says the affected lands are in San Bernardino, Riverside and Imperial counties. The newspaper says it includes the 31,000-thousand-acre Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, a desert oasis that’s one of California’s 10 largest cottonwood and willow habitats.

Hmong fear for spirits of the dead after headstones moved

FRESNO — The manager of a cemetery in central California says he will learn more about Hmong culture and traditions after an uproar on social media over headstones that were moved without the proper Hmong ritual.

The Fresno Bee reports Thursday that Mountain View Cemetery manager Randy Giovannoni says staff earlier this week moved four or five upright gravestones to dig a grave for a Hmong burial.

Hmong believe that by moving the headstones without proper ritual, the spirits of the deceased are being disturbed and that could cause harm to their living relatives, especially their grandkids.

Giovannoni says he did not know moving headstones was problematic in the Hmong community until a Hmong TV station called him about photos of the headstones being shared hundreds of times on social media.

San Francisco sues California over ride-hailing licenses

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco is suing California over a state law that allows Uber and Lyft drivers to have a single business license to drive anywhere in the state.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera says the law prevents San Francisco from requiring drivers who live outside the city to obtain a local business license when driving in the city. Herrera says that deprives the city of money that could be used to offset maintenance and traffic costs from the large number of out-of-town drivers.

The city filed the lawsuit on Thursday in state court.

Herrera says nearly every other business owner who operates in San Francisco is required to obtain a local license.

The law was passed last year. The office of the state senator who authored it did not immediately have comment.


Local
Workshop on financial decision-making for Napa wildfire survivors

A free workshop is planned on financial matters for people whose homes were destroyed or damaged in the October wildfires.

Experts will talk about repair and rebuilding financing, real estate, loan and mortgage issues and tax-related topics.

The workshop will be Feb. 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. in The Hall at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 960 Caymus St., Napa.

The program is cohosted by the United Policyholders' Roadmap to Recovery, a nonprofit consumer organization, and the Napa Valley Community Foundation.

For more information, visit www.uphelp.org/NorthBayFires.


Scott Smith 

Sanchez


Submitted photo  

Old-school pens, ink and paper revives a forgotten tradition.


Susan Walsh, Associated Press 

A intelligence memo is photographed Friday in Washington. After President Donald Trump declassified the memo, the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee released the memo based on classified information that alleges the FBI abused U.S. government surveillance powers in its investigation into Russian election interference.


Local
Napa Police: Mother arrested for suspected physical abuse of infant

Napa Police arrested a 35-year-old Napa woman for suspected child abuse Wednesday after she brought her 7-week-old infant to the Kaiser Hospital emergency room in Vallejo with skull fractures, the agency reported.

Jacqueline Javar delivered the infant, who was experiencing severe seizures, to the ER at 7:30 a.m. on Dec. 16, police said.

Napa Police began their investigation when hospital staff found "significant" skull fractures as well as bone fractures in other areas of her body, police said.

Doctors who treated the child, as well as medical experts in child abuse, said the infant's injuries were consistent with intentional child abuse, police said. Javar was living with the child at a residence in the 1400 block of Lincoln Avenue when the suspected abuse occurred, police said.

Javar was arrested Wednesday after being interviewed at the police department. She was booked into the Napa County jail for possible charges of willful injury of a child. 

The infant has been released from the hospital and placed in custody of Child Welfare Services, police said.


HOGP 

Belanger