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

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

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California delays decision on protecting gray wolf

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - A state board says it needs more time to hear from the public before deciding whether to list gray wolves as an endangered species in California.

The California Fish and Game Commission voted Wednesday to delay a decision by 90 days on whether to grant legal protections to the species that's showing signs of a comeback after being killed off in the 1920s.

State Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Chuck Bonham says he doesn't support the listing because there haven't been wolves in California for decades and there's no scientific basis to consider them endangered. He supports other conservation efforts.

A renewed interest by advocates to protect the species started in 2011, when a lone wolf from Oregon was tracked crossing into California. Ranchers oppose protections, saying wolves threaten their livestock.


Fire truck rams California eatery; several injured

MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (AP) - Police say two fire trucks have collided in a Los Angeles suburb, slamming one engine into a restaurant and causing several injuries, some of them critical.

Monterey Park police Lt. Carrie Mazelin says the crash Wednesday afternoon took place while other trucks were responding to a fire call.

Television reports show the back end of a fire truck protruding from a Chinese restaurant and several people being taken to ambulances. At least one appeared to be a firefighter.

Mazelin says there are several injuries reported and some people are listed as critical.


Lost sea lion in California found mile from water

MERCED, Calif. (AP) - Workers at a central California ranch could hardly believe their eyes when they spotted a sea lion pup hopping through an almond orchard, a mile from the San Joaquin River.

The Merced Sun-Star reported Tuesday that the ranch hands quickly got in touch with wildlife officials after discovering the confused animal last month at Mape's Ranch near Modesto.

A Marine Mammal Center volunteer eventually coaxed the lost sea lion into a cage, where it promptly fell asleep.

The newspaper reports the 36-pound sea lion, nicknamed Hoppie, is recovering at the center. Hoppie is undergoing treatment for sores and getting some nourishment in hopes of returning him to the wild.

Officials aren't sure why the sea lion left the river or hopped such a long way on the ground.


Knife found in enchilada at California airport

SONOMA, Calif. (AP) - A woman is facing a possible fine after federal officials say they found a knife inside an enchilada in her bag during security screening at a Northern California airport.

Transportation Security Administration spokesman Nico Melendez says the 8 and a-half inch long blade was found Monday at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport.

The passenger, who has not been identified, said she made the enchilada over the weekend, and didn't know how the knife got into the bag. She was questioned by Sonoma County Sheriff's deputies, but then cleared to board her flight.

Melendez says the TSA will review the case, and the passenger could be issued a fine for carrying a concealed weapon.


Sacramento mayor to lead national mayoral group

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is the new leader of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a platform that will allow the former NBA All-Star to raise his national political profile.

Johnson was sworn-in Wednesday after the previous president, Scott Smith of Mesa, Ariz., resigned to run for governor of that state.

Johnson will lead the group's advocacy on local government issues until June 2015. The Democrat says he will push for economic development policies that include partnerships with businesses and private groups.

He is credited for keeping the Kings NBA franchise in Sacramento in exchange for a new downtown arena subsidized partly by the city. First elected in 2008, he told The Sacramento Bee he is strongly considering running for a third term in 2016.


State Senate leader seeks review of GPS tracking

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The leader of the state Senate is seeking an independent review of how parole officers tracked a sex offender charged with four Southern California slayings.

A spokesman said Wednesday that Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg will ask the corrections department's inspector general to review the monitoring of 27-year-old Franc Cano, but doubts that GPS tracking could have deterred the crimes.

Cano was wearing a GPS monitor when he and a co-defendant are charged with raping and killing four women in Orange County.

The inspector general previously found significant failures after investigating high-profile cases involving paroled sex offenders. Phillip Garrido was convicted of keeping Jaycee Dugard hidden at his Contra Costa County home for 18 years, while John Gardner is serving a life sentence for killing two San Diego teenagers.


Teen girl reportedly robbed, kidnapped

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Authorities in the San Francisco Bay Area say a teenage girl was robbed, kidnapped and later dropped off in a neighboring city after a possible sexual assault.

Berkeley Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Coats says authorities received a call just after 5 a.m. Wednesday of a female yelling for help. When investigators located the victim in Berkeley, Calif., the girl told them the attack began in Oakland.

The girl, whose age and identity were not released, was transported to a local hospital, and her condition was unknown.

The Oakland Police Department has now taken over the investigation, and spokeswoman Johnna Watson says no further details are being released in the case.


Toddler is among 2 dead in San Francisco fire

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Authorities say a toddler is among two people dead from an apartment fire in San Francisco.

Mindy Talmadge, a fire department spokeswoman, says a toddler died Wednesday from the blaze inside a two-story public housing building shortly before 10 a.m. in the city's Sunnydale neighborhood.

Talmadge says firefighters on the scene trying to rescue five adults and one child, saw one resident jump out of a window to escape the flames and heavy smoke coming from the first floor.

She says firefighters found one person dead inside the apartment. The child, who was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, died Wednesday afternoon.

Talmadge says she didn't know if the victims are related.

The blaze was put under control around 10:20 a.m. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.


New Los Angeles newspaper hits the streets

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A new daily newspaper has hit the streets of Los Angeles.

Editors and staffers handed out free copies of the Los Angeles Register early Wednesday at downtown locations including City Hall and the Union Station rail and bus transit hub.

It's the latest expansion by Freedom Communications Inc., owner of the Orange County Register, and follows the introduction of the Long Beach Register and several other small papers in the last year or so.

The debut edition's front page offerings included a story on the amenities and prestige of downtown skyscraper rooftops, and an explanation of why the newspaper was launched, referring to itself as "the new voice of L.A."

It's the first direct challenge to the 132-year-old Los Angeles Times' home market since the Herald-Examiner folded in November 1989.


Challengers show ability to compete for dollars

WASHINGTON (AP) - Challengers in California's most competitive congressional races are showing strong fundraising for the first three months of the year.

Campaign financial reports were fully available Wednesday after candidates met the Federal Election Commission's midnight Tuesday filing deadline.

One of the most competitive races is for the 52nd Congressional District in San Diego. Supporters of Democratic Rep. Scott Peters are responding with robust fundraising. He has about $1.5 million cash on hand, while his main challenger, Republican Carl DeMaio, has about $1.2 million.

Democrats view the 21st Congressional District just to the south of Fresno as one of their best pick-up opportunities. Republican Rep. David Valadao raised $322,000 for the quarter and has about $850,000 in the bank. The top Democratic challenger in the race, Amanda Renteria, has $424,000 in cash.


Badly burned man found on California freeway dies

INDUSTRY, Calif. (AP) - Authorities say a badly burned man found on a Southern California freeway with his hands and feet bound has died.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says homicide detectives are investigating.

KABC-TV reports a passing motorist discovered the man Tuesday afternoon on the Interstate 605 connector to State Route 60 in the city of Industry.

The man's hands and feet were partially tied and he had severe burns over his entire body, including his face and head.

Los Angeles County sheriff's officials say the man appeared to have been assaulted, then lit on fire. He managed to crawl from a wash beneath to the freeway to the roadside.

The victim was not identified.


Sheriff seeks photos, video from Isla Vista bash

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) - Authorities are seeking photos and video of a melee that erupted during an annual street party in the Isla Vista area near Santa Barbara earlier this month.

The April 5 brawl at the unsanctioned event known as Deltopia resulted in dozens of arrests and injuries to several law enforcement officers.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department is encouraging anyone with photographs or video of the unrest to share it with investigators on a website that allows the sender to remain anonymous.

Seventeen-year-old Desmond Edwards has been charged with assault and mayhem for allegedly hitting a University of California, Santa Barbara, police officer in the face with a backpack filled with glass liquor bottles.

Hundreds of people threw things at officers, tore down stop signs, rocked cars and smashed windows.


California home prices surge in March, sales fall

SAN DIEGO (AP) - A research firm says California home prices have surged to a new six-year high amid lackluster sales.

DataQuick said Wednesday that the median sales price for new and existing houses and condominiums reached $376,000 in March, up 6 percent from $355,000 the previous month and up 20 percent from $313,000 in March 2013. It is the 25th straight month of annual increase and the highest level since January 2008.

Slightly less than 33,000 homes sold in the state last month, down 13 percent from the same period last year. It was the lowest March sales tally in six years.

DataQuick says low inventories kept a lid on sales.

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