LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The former city administrator of Bell, California, who came to represent local government corruption when news surfaced of his annual salary of nearly $800,000, was sentenced on Wednesday to 12 years in prison, officials said.
An apologetic Robert Rizzo, 60, who pleaded guilty last year to 69 state criminal counts – from perjury to misappropriation of public funds – also was ordered to pay $8.8 million in restitution to the city, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.
(Reuters) – Young, casual marijuana smokers experience potentially harmful changes to their brains, with the drug altering regions of the mind related to motivation and emotion, researchers found.
The study to be published on Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience differs from many other pot-related research projects that are focused on chronic, heavy users of cannabis.
(Reuters) – Naturalist Peter Matthiessen, an award-winning American author who helped create the Paris Review and brought to life tales from the wilderness centered on his excursions to faraway lands, died on Saturday at age 86, his publishing company said.
“Peter passed away this evening,” Riverhead Books said in a statement on its Facebook page. “We are honored to have known him and his beautiful and wild mind.”
March 10 (Reuters) – Journalist Joe McGinniss, an author who
got up close to his subjects for revealing books such as “The
Selling of the President” and “Fatal Vision,” died on Monday at
age 71, his friend and attorney said.
McGinniss died of complications from prostate cancer at
UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Massachusetts,
lawyer Dennis Holahan said in an email. The author had announced
last year that he was in the advanced stage of the disease.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Waiting for a bus in her heavily immigrant Los Angeles neighborhood, cleaning lady Yesenia Hernandez looked up at a new apartment block across the street that will boast such luxuries as a rooftop pool and dog park, with rents far beyond her reach.
“I want to move,” said Hernandez, 38, standing in the shadow of another sleek residential building, the Wilshire Vermont Station. “The houses are being fixed but the rent is going higher. So people can’t afford it.”
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Bears in Yosemite National Park in California have adopted the wildlife version of a health food diet after increased safety measures largely blocked them from scavenging for food in campgrounds over the last 15 years, a study showed on Tuesday.
An estimated 350 to 400 black bears roam Yosemite, one of the most popular U.S. tourist destinations. Interactions between the park’s bears and people reached a record level in 1998 as the animals raided campgrounds and broke into cars in search of groceries and leftovers, according to Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman.
(Reuters) – The ex-boyfriend of Amanda Knox is distancing himself from the U.S. former exchange student, convicted of murdering her British roommate in an Italian university town, as he pursues his own appeal in the case, his U.S.-based lawyer said on Wednesday.
Italian Raffaele Sollecito was convicted of murder along with Knox at a retrial last month in the 2007 stabbing death of Meredith Kercher, in a decision that reversed an earlier appeal judgment that cleared the pair. The case is expected to conclude next year before Italy’s highest court.
(Reuters) – San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge marked a milestone in 2013 as 46 people leaped to their deaths in what appears to be the deadliest year for suicides at the California landmark, a watchdog group said on Tuesday.
The Bridge Rail Foundation, which tracks fatalities at the 4,200-foot-long (1,280-meter) span, said the high number of suicides demonstrates the need for a safety net to be installed to make it more difficult for would-be jumpers to take their own lives there.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Two men were sentenced to prison on Thursday after pleading guilty to charges stemming from the severe beating of a San Francisco Giants fan outside Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on opening day of the baseball season in 2011.
Bryan Stow, a 45-year-old paramedic and father of two from Northern California, was left with brain damage from the attack in the stadium’s parking lot after a game between the Dodgers and Giants on March 31, 2011.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Seventeen people who brought sexual abuse lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles have won a $13 million legal settlement, with most of the allegations involving a priest who left the country as an investigation got under way, attorneys said on Wednesday.
The settlement, reached last week, averted a trial that would have centered largely on abuse allegations against Father Nicolas Aguilar-Rivera, who in 1988 left his Los Angeles parish for Mexico as a probe was being mounted against him. His whereabouts are unknown.