LOS ANGELES, Sept 17 (Reuters) – Fire crews in California’s
rugged Sierra Nevada battled to gain the upper hand on Wednesday
against a blaze that threatened 1,600 homes and has displaced
2,100 residents as flames roared for a fifth day through dry
timber and brush west of Lake Tahoe.
The so-called King Fire, the most menacing of 11 major
wildfires across the drought-parched state, has scorched at
least 18,500 acres (7,490 hectares) of the El Dorado National
Forest since it erupted Saturday, fire officials said.
(Reuters) – A California wildfire racing through the El Dorado National Forest on Wednesday had grown to threaten more than 1,600 homes, forcing more than 2,000 people to evacuate ahead of the flames, officials said.
The increasing danger from the so-called King Fire came after firefighters battling nearly a dozen major blazes across the drought-parched state managed to halt the advance of another destructive blaze on Tuesday that charred 150 homes in a town near the Oregon border.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Fire crews in California battled on Tuesday to halt the advance of a day-old wildfire that has already destroyed about 150 homes, lapped at rural schools and caused power outages that left an evacuation shelter without electricity, authorities said.
The blaze, one of about a dozen major fires raging across the drought-parched state, prompted authorities to order the evacuation of about 1,000 households in and around the Northern California town of Weed, which has a population of about 3,000.
(Reuters) – A private autopsy has found a 22-year-old black man shot dead by police in Utah was fired at from behind six times, said a lawyer for the man’s family. Authorities say the man was shot dead when he lunged at officers with a sword.
The fatal shooting of Darrien Hunt in Saratoga Springs last Wednesday has raised tensions in the mostly white, fast-growing community 30 miles south of Salt Lake City.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California state Senator Roderick Wright plans to resign from office later this month following a perjury and voter fraud conviction that saw him sentenced to 90 days in jail, he said in a letter sent on Monday.
Wright, who was convicted in January of lying about whether he lived in the district he sought to represent, was the first of three California Senate Democrats to face criminal proceedings this year. This effectively cost the party a cherished two-thirds majority in the California Senate.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Songwriter Bob Crewe, who co-wrote such hits as “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Walk Like a Man” and played a key behind-the- scenes role in the rise to stardom of the Four Seasons pop group, has died at age 83, his brother said on Saturday.
Crewe died on Thursday at a nursing home in Scarborough, Maine, succumbing to complications from a fall he suffered about four years ago, said his brother and former business partner, Dan Crewe.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A psychology professor from Europe accused of murder in the 1995 stabbing death of a man who she says raped her pleaded guilty to a lesser charge on Friday in Southern California, and prosecutors said she has agreed to testify against others involved in the killing.
Norma Patricia Esparza, 40, who grew up in Southern California, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and is expected to be sentenced to six years in prison, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A small image of Maria Shriver on a lapel pin worn by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in an official portrait has been painted over as the actor-turned-politician and his wife go through a divorce, a former aide said.
Schwarzenegger, a Republican who left office nearly four years ago, was the featured star earlier this week when the portrait was unveiled in the state capital of Sacramento.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A fraternity at a Los Angeles university has agreed to disband due to the hazing-related death of a 19-year-old pledge who collapsed in the heat on a hike after his group ran out of water, the school’s president said on Friday.
The college, California State University, Northridge, was rocked by the July death of Armando Villa, who was “pledging” or joining a chapter of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and was made to hike in the Angeles National Forest.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Former Idaho attorney Edgar Steele, who once represented the Aryan Nations white supremacist group and expressed his own anti-Semitic and racist views, has died in California while serving a 50-year prison sentence for soliciting murder, a prison official said on Friday.
Steele, 69, was taken to a hospital near the federal prison where he was incarcerated in Victorville, California, and died on Thursday, said James Engleman, a spokesman for the high-security facility. A letter to the judge in Steele’s case said a preliminary finding for the cause of death was pneumonia.