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This Hour: Latest California news, sports, business and entertainment

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Study links California drought to global warming

WASHINGTON (AP) - A new study is asserting a link between climate change and both the intensifying California drought and the polar vortex blamed for the recent harsh winter.

Usually, researchers make those links years later, but this study does it in real time.

Utah State University scientist Simon Wang who wrote the study say he hopes what he found can help researchers predict the next big weird winter.

The new study blames an unusual combination of a strong Western high pressure ridge and deep Great Lakes low pressure trough. And it says that is linked to a recently found precursor to El Nino, the world-weather changing phenomenon. And that precursor itself seems amplified by a build-up of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

The study will soon be published the journal Geophysical Research Letters.


Slain TSA agent's family files claim for $25M

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A law firm has filed a $25 million claim against the city of Los Angeles on behalf of the wife and family of a security screener killed in a gunman's attack at Los Angeles International Airport last year.

AlderLaw P.C. said Thursday the claim was filed on behalf of the family of Transportation Security Administration Officer Gerardo Hernandez, who was killed Nov. 1. Authorities say the gunman targeted TSA officers. Three other people were injured.

The claim alleges that the city, including the Los Angeles World Airports department, failed to properly supervise and train personnel at the airport and delayed medical care to Hernandez.

A claim can be a precursor to a lawsuit if it is rejected.


NY judge adds year to sentence for philanthropist

NEW YORK (AP) - A judge in New York has boosted the prison sentence for an opera-loving philanthropist convicted in a multimillion-dollar fraud.

Federal Judge Richard Sullivan said at a resentencing Thursday that 73-year-old Alberto Vilar (vih-LAHR') must serve a decade in prison instead of nine years.

The judge said Vilar had interfered with clients trying to recover their money after the fraud was discovered.

He was convicted in 2008 of cheating investors out of $40 million through his San Francisco-based company, Amerindo Investment Advisors Inc.

Vilar gained prominence for donating millions to cultural institutions worldwide, including opera houses.

Forbes magazine estimated his worth at $950 million before technology stocks collapsed in 2000.

The judge also added a year to the five-year sentence originally given to a co-defendant, Gary Alan Tanaka.


LA sheriff tested camera plane to watch Compton

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department used a camera-laden surveillance plane to observe the city of Compton during a test program two years ago.

The Los Angeles Times reports residents have mixed feelings about the monitoring. Some say it would help ensure public safety and others decried an invasion of privacy.

For nine days in early 2012, the small Cessna outfitted with a dozen cameras beamed images to a sheriff's station, where deputies observed fender benders, necklace snatchings and a shooting.

The plane, owned by Ohio-based Persistent Surveillance Systems, flew at 10,000 feet in a loop about four miles wide. Officials said only images tied to known crime scenes received scrutiny.

City leaders were not told about the program, which was first reported by the Center for Investigative Reporting.


Ventura County issues brush clearance notices

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) - More than 15,000 weed-abatement notices have been sent to owners of Ventura County properties in the so-called wildland urban interface.

The county Fire Department said this week that the notices have been sent as wildfire danger remains high and another dry summer is expected.

Owners of properties that border areas of natural vegetation are required to clear weeds and brush to 100 feet from structures by June 1.

Capt. Mike Lindbery says this creates defensible space, allowing firefighters to get between structures and an advancing wildfire.

Lindbery says the effectiveness of the program was shown by the outcome of last year's huge Springs Fire, in which all 4,000 threatened homes were saved.


Ride-sharing app Lyft expands to new markets

NEW YORK (AP) - Lyft, the on-demand ride-sharing app best known by the fuzzy pink moustaches on its cars, is launching its service in 24 new U.S. markets.

The expansion nearly doubles the startup's U.S. markets and includes smaller cities such as Fresno, Calif.; Lincoln, Neb.; and Corpus Christi, Texas. The move comes as rival Uber is expanding internationally, with a launch in Beijing earlier this week.

San Francisco-based Lyft says it is now available in 60 U.S. cities, up from just one - San Francisco - at the beginning of 2013. Uber, meanwhile, is available in 100 cities worldwide.

Ride-sharing apps are growing in popularity as people look beyond cabs and car rentals to get around. But they're also facing regulatory scrutiny and opposition from traditional taxi services.


Man killed by Texas trooper wanted on warrants

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - Authorities say a driver who was fatally shot by a Texas trooper after falsely identifying himself during a traffic stop was wanted on felony warrants out of California and was a gang member.

The Texas Department of Public Safety says 20-year-old Brandon Leonel Monroy of Tulare, Calif., was being detained and handcuffed when he tried to steal the trooper's patrol car. Trooper Corina Jandrew on Sunday had pulled Monroy over for a traffic violation during a stop just south of Lubbock.

DPS on Wednesday said Monroy was a documented Norteno gang member and had a long criminal history, including numerous felonies.

Texas Rangers are investigating the death. The fatal shooting will also be reviewed by a Lubbock County grand jury.

The trooper has been placed on paid administrative leave.


Suit alleges utility caused California wildfire

(Information in the following story is from: (Los Angeles) Daily News,

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Victims of a wildfire that burned 24 homes last year are suing the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, claiming the utility started the huge blaze and failed to properly maintain power lines and equipment.

The Daily News reported Wednesday that about 100 plaintiffs filed suit last month for negligence, dangerous condition of public property and other allegations. They are seeking unspecified damages.

The so-called Powerhouse Fire burned 53 structures over more than 30,000 acres near Santa Clarita and in Angeles National Forest. It began near a hydroelectric power plant.

Results of a U.S. Forest Service investigation have not been released. The DWP, in a statement, said it is also conducting an investigation.

The utility said it doesn't believe that equipment age was a factor in the fire.


ND school accused of ripping off coyote logo

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Williston High School's new coyote-head logo is causing an uproar

The Williston Herald reports that the logo of the growling coyote already is in use at a community college in Ridgecrest, Calif.

Cerro Coso Community College spokeswoman Natalie Dorrell says her school was never contacted for permission to use the coyote-head logo, which is their school's mascot. She says it's unlikely the California school would have given permission anyway.

Dorrell says the school's lawyers are reviewing the issue.

Williston Superintendent Viola LaFontaine says the district received permission to use the logo from Cerro Coso's athletic director.

LaFontaine says the logos are different colors and the shape of the angry-looking animal's teeth and eyes are not the same.


Man gets 2 years for role in Hollywood stabbing

LOS ANGELES (AP) - One of three men arrested after the fatal stabbing of a woman in Hollywood last June has been sentenced to two years in state prison.

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office says 34-year-old homeless man Jason Joel Wolstone was sentenced Wednesday after pleading no contest to one count of assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury.

The victim, Christina Calderon, was attacked after she and a friend took a photograph of three men outside the Hollywood & Highland Center and declined to give them money.

Prosecutors say Wolstone pushed Calderon and put her in a headlock, and another man, Dustin James Kinnear, stabbed her.

Kinnear has pleaded not guilty to murder and Brian Joseph Widdows has pleaded not guilty to being an accessory after the fact.


100-year-old California woman gets diploma

HAYWARD, Calif. (AP) - A 100-year-old Northern California woman is getting her high school diploma some eight decades after she dropped out.

Hayward High School in the San Francisco Bay Area awarded Mildred Principe her diploma during a ceremony at the school on Wednesday that included a limousine ride, orchestra music and a cake in her honor.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Principe enrolled at Hayward High in 1927, when some students still rode horses to school. But she left before graduating and married her high school sweetheart. Principe worked for decades at a drug store newsstand, but never completed her high school education.

Hayward schools Superintendent Stan Dobbs says he was hopeful Principe's visit would foster student pride in the school and community.

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