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High-end home sales surging in SoCal
LOS ANGELES -- By most measures, the housing market these days is a bit sluggish. Prices are flat. Sales are drooping. A lot of people are priced out. But not everyone. The high end is hopping. Luxury home sales in Southern California are hitting levels not seen in decades. The number of homes bought for $2 million or more in recent months is the highest on record. Sales worth $10 million or more are on pace this year to double their number from the heights of the housing bubble. "It's pretty mind-blowing, to be honest," said Cindy Ambuehl, an agent with the Partners Trust in LA. "The luxury market has been completely on fire." [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Los Angeles Daily News. 2014-12-18
 
In war on coyotes, some argue for learning to live with them
Coyotes are targets of aggressive control efforts, but some say people should learn to live with the predators Shotguns. Poisons. Lethal injection. Fueled by the war on coyotes now underway across Southern California and much of the United States, debate is growing over the most humane method of executing the wily predators — as is a vigorous public push to accommodate them instead. In Seal Beach, where there have been at least 60 attacks on pets over the last year, officials recently hired a company to trap coyotes and asphyxiate them in a mobile gas chamber filled with carbon dioxide. The city was particularly concerned about safety in the local retirement community of Leisure World, where coyotes have ambushed dogs during the day. In September, for example, Jovanka Radivojevic, 78, spotted a coyote staring through her living room window. When she stepped outside, she said, the predator grabbed her Shih-poo, Sugar, by the head and ran off — with the retired doctor and neighbors giving chase. Eventually the coyote dropped a slightly injured Sugar and walked away. [Article]
by LOUIS SAHAGUN, Los Angeles Times. 2014-12-18
 
California gets more rain, 1 big mudslide
The latest in a string of storms noisily marched across Southern California on Wednesday, hurling lightning bolts, coating mountains with snow and unleashing downpours that triggered a freeway-blocking mudslide before mostly moving on. "It was rather rare to see lightning all night long as this storm system moved across the region," the National Weather Service said, noting that the tempest's instability was similar to a heavy rain event last week that produced no lightning at all. Intense rains brought on by stronger thunderstorms didn't hit any of the most vulnerable burn areas or other susceptible problem spots, the NWS said. Another weaker storm entered the northern end of the state late Wednesday, but rainfall was expected to remain light and the system wasn't expected to spread farther south than central coast counties. [Article]
by CHRISTOPHER WEBER / ASSOCIATED PRESS, Los Angeles Daily News. 2014-12-18
 
Most Influential 2014: Sheriff Sandra Hutchens
She has fought advocates on both sides of the concealed weapons debate; butted heads with one of the largest police unions in California; wrestled with stage three breast cancer and righted a department so troubled that her predecessor was sent to federal prison. So you can safely say Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Sandra Hutchens is unafraid of conflict. [Article]
by TONY SAAVEDRA, Orange County Register. 2014-12-18
 
More than 1K pounds of trash wash up on O.C. beaches after winter storm
A recent beach clean up effort in central Orange County yielded the usual expected items: cigarette butts, Styrofoam and plastic. But it also led to some shocking finds: A television, lots of shoes, a laundry hamper, a tire and five sharp syringes. Even Orange County Coastkeeper clean up coordinator Dyana Pena - who’s attended dozens of clean ups through the years - couldn’t believe how much trash washed up after last week’s rains. By the end of the Dec. 13 effort, the results were astounding. [Article]
by LAYLAN CONNELLY, Orange County Register. 2014-12-18
 
Ending Homelessness Among San Diego Veterans Remains A Challenge
President Barack Obama set an ambitious goal in 2009 of ending chronic homelessness among veterans by 2015. That’s just a few days away, and the goal hasn’t been achieved. But progress has occurred, with the number of homeless veterans in the U.S. cut by 33 percent since 2009, according to veteran service providers who presented the figures last week to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. [Article]
by Patty Lane, Peggy Pico, Alison St John, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2014-12-18
 
AP IMPACT: Abused kids die as officials fail to protect
BUTTE, Montana (AP) — At least 786 children died of abuse or neglect in the U.S. in a six-year span in plain view of child protection authorities — many of them beaten, starved or left alone to drown while agencies had good reason to know they were in danger, The Associated Press has found. To determine that number, the AP canvassed the 50 states, the District of Columbia and branches of the military — circumventing a system that does a terrible job of accounting for child deaths. Many states struggled to provide numbers. Secrecy often prevailed. Most of the 786 children whose cases were compiled by the AP were under the age of 4. They lost their lives even as authorities were investigating their families or providing some form of protective services because of previous instances of neglect or violence or other troubles in the home. [Article]
by HOLBROOK MOHR and GARANCE BURKE Associated Press, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2014-12-18
 
Has the December Rain Impacted Our Lakes?
Some parts of San Diego County have seen four times as much rain than normal for this month. Has it made any impact on the county’s drought stricken lakes? The deluge of rain is helpful for San Diego, but not enough, according to Jason Foster of the County Water Authority. At Lake Morena, the water lines on the rocks show it’s still too shallow. Rain makes up very little of the water in local lakes and reservoirs, Foster said. “We use only about 6 percent of our local demands from local surface water that’s captured here,” he said. [Article]
by Greg Bledsoe and Laura McVicker, NBC San Diego. 2014-12-18
 
Program to help Inland Empire families in need gets funding boost
A 300K grant to help move residents dependent on public assistance toward self-reliance has gone to the Inland Empire Economic Partnership business advocacy group. The James Irvine Foundation provided the funds toward a six- month planning phase for the “Launch Initiative,” which aims to create partnerships between government agencies, businesses, non-profits and educational institutions to address poverty. “We are honored to support the Launch Initiative in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, one of our priority regions,” said Anne Stanton, youth program director for the foundation, in a statement. “The Launch Initiative is a great example of an organic, cross-sector collaboration that is developing innovative solutions to advance the region’s prosperity.” [Article]
by NEIL NISPEROS, San Bernardino County Sun. 2014-12-18
 
Clean energy plan would bring new power lines to desert
For nearly six years, officials debated the best places to build renewable energy projects in the desert, culminating in a massive draft document known as the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan. But it’s still far from clear how that energy would be transmitted from the desert to the urban centers that need it most. The long-awaited plan — which was released earlier this year — would reshape renewable energy development across 22.5 million acres of California desert, allowing solar, wind and geothermal projects to be fast-tracked in so-called “development focus areas.” Under the plan’s preferred alternative, one of those development areas would cover large swaths of eastern Riverside County, while another would span much of Imperial County. [Article]
by SAMMY ROTH, Desert Sun. 2014-12-18
 
County’s Judge Shortage Critical
For the second time in less than two years, a state judicial report paints a gloomy picture of the availability of justice in San Bernardino County, showing the local court system with the greatest shortage of judges of any of California’s 58 counties. The California Judicial Council’s 2014 Update of Judicial Needs Assessment, released last week, shows the judge shortage as so crucial that San Bernardino County ranks first, third and sixth on a priority list for new judges when they become available, said Presiding Judge Marsha G. Slough. [Article]
by GLENN BARR, Lake Arrowhead Mountain News. 2014-12-18
 
Drought Proclamation Extended Despite Storms
Though local weather conditions seemed to indicate otherwise, county supervisors on Tuesday extended their more than four-month-old proclamation of a local drought emergency. County Emergency Services Manager Michael Antonucci told the Mountain News it will take a declaration by Gov. Jerry Brown that the statewide drought is over before the county will rescind its own proclamation. That’s unlikely to happen anytime soon, Antonucci said, because most reservoirs throughout California currently contain just a fraction of their capacity, with many in the 30-percent range. In a report he prepared for the supervisors, Antonucci reminded the lawmakers they had adopted the emergency proclamation on Aug. 5 “because San Bernardino County is experiencing drought conditions resulting from severe dry weather since 2012 and extremely low snowpack levels in California’s mountains. [Article]
by GLENN BARR, Lake Arrowhead Mountain News. 2014-12-18
 
Power Line Snafu Hikes Cost
The failure of the Southern California Edison Company to relocate correctly one of its power lines as part of now-complete public works project in Crestline has cost taxpayers an additional 35,040.16, but the county is seeking repayment of the added expense from Edison. County supervisors on Tuesday authorized increasing by that amount a 126,670 contract the board awarded to William Kanayan Construction of Rimforest on Aug. 5 for drainage improvements on San Moritz Drive. According to a Public Works Department report to the board, the department had worked with utility companies, including Edison, to have their utilities relocated to allow the project to proceed. [Article]
by GLENN BARR, Lake Arrowhead Mountain News. 2014-12-18
 
Arcularius honored for 21 years of service
Inyo County staff and leaders and various organizations and individuals attended Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting to honor longtime First District Supervisor Linda Arcularius, who will be retiring at the end of the month. [Article]
by MIKE GERVAIS, Inyo Register. 2014-12-18
 
County planners approve Porterville general plan
VISALIA — The County Planning Commission approved the revision of the City of Porterville’s Urban Development Boundary (UBD) during a meeting Wednesday. The city’s general plan with the UDB revision will now go before the Tulare County Board of Supervisors to be considered for adoption into the county’s general plan. Once the board approves, the City of Porterville can begin working on annexation and other methods which would help to hook East Porterville residents to the city’s water system. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Recorder Online. 2014-12-18
 
Strip club hearing continued again
It’s the public hearing that never ends. For a third time, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors agreed to continue a public hearing to allow the owner of a Lindsay strip club time to make her case for the reinstatement of her business license. A business license application for the Saints and Sinners Gentlemen’s Club was denied by the county in August, after the County Sheriff’s Department cited assorted crimes that had occurred at the business. Owner Marilu Lopez appealed to the board of supervisors. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Recorder Online. 2014-12-18
 
How accurate is that gas pump?
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - A Bakersfield man worries he didn't get all the gas he paid for, when he filled several gas cans. Dave Coleman says when the pump read 2 gallons, the fluid in the can was below the 2-gallon mark. Kern County officials quickly came out to check the pump in question, and they find it's accurate. "The last time I was here, when I got exactly 2 gallons, the 2 gallons didn't show," Coleman told Eyewitness News. He said that was Dec. 4, and he had 1- and 2-gallon cans. [Article]
by CAROL FERGUSON, Bakersfield Californian. 2014-12-18
 
How does Madera County fare?
According to Children Now, an organization dedicated to promoting children’s health and education within California, when looking at figures countywide, 43,015 children live in Madera County, with 73% Latino, 21% White, 2% African-American,1% Asian, 3% other. The average family income is 51,463, 32% of families can afford basic living expenses, and 34% of children live in poverty. The county received two-and-a-half stars out of five in the area of education, the same for health, and three stars for child welfare and economic well-being. These ratings show the county’s ability to meet the educational needs of children, and are based on standardized scoring. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Sierra Star. 2014-12-18
 
PROPOSITION 47 IMPACT BEING FELT IN TULARE COUNTY
TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Tulare County district attorney's office is being inundated with petitions from convicted felons asking to be resentenced. It's all part of the impact from proposition 47 passed during the November election. 59 percent of California voters passed proposition 47 in November changing many non-violent felony crimes into misdemeanors. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Tulare Advance-Register. 2014-12-18
 
FUNDING CUT TO IMPACT AGENCIES FIGHTING ILLEGAL MARIJUANA IN FRESNO COUNTY
FRESNO, Calif (KFSN) -- The trillion dollar spending bill signed off by President Barack Obama this week will keep the government operating for the next nine months but it also has some far reaching impacts on federal agencies including those fighting against illegal marijuana grows in Fresno County. Robert Carpenter has a medical marijuana card which he says under state law allows him to smoke pot legally in California. "It is my right. We voted for it. The county or the city doesn't have the right for patients such as me," said Carpenter. [Article]
by MARIANA JACOB, KFSN ABC30 (Fresno County). 2014-12-18
 
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