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Latest Local News

Written on 03/31/2015, 10:01 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — Farmers are expected to plant a record number of soybean acres this year, but less corn as that grain's profit potential remains low due to...
Written on 03/31/2015, 9:59 am by JULIE WATSON, Associated Press
(AP) — In a move that could heighten the hurdles faced by states attempting to execute prisoners, a leading association for U.S. pharmacists has officially discouraged its members from providing drugs for use in lethal injections. The policy adopted by American Pharmacists Association delegates at their annual meeting Monday makes an ethical stand against providing such drugs, saying they run contrary to the role of pharmacists as health care providers. The association lacks legal authority to bar its more than 62,000 members from selling execution drugs, but its policies set pharmacists' ethical standards.Pharmacists now join doctors in having national associations with ethics codes that restrict credentialed members from participating in executions. "Now there is unanimity among all health professions in the United States who represent anybody who might be asked to be involved in this process," said association member Bill Fassett, who voted in favor of the policy. Compounding pharmacies, which make drugs specifically for individual clients, only recently became involved in the execution-drug business. Prison departments turned to made-to-order execution drugs from compounding pharmacies because pharmaceutical manufacturers refused to sell the drugs used for decades in lethal injections after coming under pressure from death penalty opponents. But now the compounded version is also becoming difficult to come by, with most pharmacists reluctant to expose themselves to possible harassment. Texas' prison agency scrambled this month to find a supplier to replenish its inventory before getting drugs from a compounding pharmacy it won't identify. Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark said Monday that he had no comment when told about the ruling. After a troubling use of a two-drug method last year, Ohio said it will use compounded versions of either pentobarbital or sodium thiopental in the future, though it doesn't have supplies of either and hasn't said how it will obtain them. All executions scheduled this year were pushed to 2016 to give the state more time to find the drugs. Other states are turning to alternative methods. Tennessee has approved the use of the electric chair if lethal-injection drugs aren't available, while Utah has reinstated the firing squad as a backup method if it can't obtain the drugs. Oklahoma is considering legislation that would make it the first state to allow the use of nitrogen gas as a potential execution method. Fassett, a professor emeritus of pharmacy law and ethics at Washington State University, said the united front by health professionals might force people to finally face the death penalty's harsh realities. Lethal injections have created a sterile setting for executions, he said. "It's like we're not really executing. We're sort of like taking Spot to the vet. We're just putting him to sleep, and that's not true," he said.
Written on 03/31/2015, 9:56 am by COREY WILLIAMS, Associated Press
(AP) — More than 13,000 Detroit-area property owners have entered into payment plans hoping to avoid losing their homes to tax foreclosure, and that number will likely rise. Hundreds of applicants lined up before 7 a.m. Tuesday outside the Wayne County Treasurer's Office in Detroit before the tax repayment plan deadline. Chief Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski says another 16,000 owners living in their homes still are facing foreclosure. Homeowner Kevin Franklyn says he hopes to reach a deal on at least $15,000 he owes on his Detroit home and rental properties. Franklyn says he fell behind when tenants defaulted on rent. City and county officials urged state lawmakers to pass foreclosure prevention bills and Gov. Rick Snyder signed the legislation to cut interest rates, reduce down payments and cap past due taxes.
Written on 03/31/2015, 9:54 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — The director of a nonprofit organization that purported to help victims of international child trafficking has been arrested in New York City on fraud charges. Federal prosecutors announced the charges against Peter Senese on Tuesday morning. A criminal complaint accuses Senese of defrauding parents through an organization called I CARE. It says he collected large fees on false promises he would reunite abducted children with their families. The complaint says Senese told clients he was traveling the world as part of his efforts. It says he actually never left the United States. The 49-year-old Senese was to appear in court later Tuesday. The name of his lawyer wasn't immediately available.
Written on 03/31/2015, 9:51 am by The Associated Press
The rock band announced a 15-city stadium tour Tuesday that will kick off May 24 at Petco Park in San Diego, California. Other stops include Columbus, Ohio; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Dallas, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; Orlando, Florida; and Nashville, Tennessee. The so-called "Zip Code" tour will once again reunite singer Mick Jagger, drummer Charlie Watts and guitarists Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood. The last time the Rolling Stones played North American stadiums was during their "A Bigger Bang Tour" in 2006. They opted for arena venues for their "50 & Counting" tour in 2012 and 2013. "We love being out on the road and it is great to come back to North America," said Keith Richards in a statement. "I can't wait to get back on the stage!" And quite the stage it will be, including a section that juts far into the crowd, allowing the Stones to interact with fans. As is the band's practice, the stage design will employ cutting-edge technology to enhance the performance, including video screens and special effects. Other cities on the "Zip Code" tour include Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Kansas City, Missouri; Raleigh, North Carolina; Indianapolis, Indiana; Detroit, Michigan; Buffalo, New York; and Quebec, Canada. Tickets will go on sale April 13. The "Zip Code" tour will coincide with the rerelease of their seminal album "Sticky Fingers" on May 26. The 1971 recording features such Stones classics as "Brown Sugar," ''Wild Horses" and "Dead Flowers." The band interrupted last year's "14 On Fire" and rescheduled all their Australia and New Zealand dates after fashion designer L'Wren Scott, Jagger's companion since 2001, took her own life. The tour concluded Nov. 22, 2014 at the Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand.
Written on 03/31/2015, 9:50 am by FRAZIER MOORE, AP Television Writer
(AP) — A day after Trevor Noah was declared the new host of "The Daily Show," complete with the blessing of the exiting Jon Stewart, graphic tweets targeting women, Jews and victims of the Ebola virus are causing a social media backlash. By Tuesday, Trevor Noah was a trending topic on Twitter as he drew fire for jokes described as tasteless, hateful — and unfunny. Roseanne Barr was among those calling out the 31-year-old South African comic, who has an international following and two million Twitter followers. "U should cease sexist & anti semitic 'humor' about jewish women & Israel," she tweeted late Monday. Noah's controversial tweets were posted between 2009 and 2014. In 2009 he wrote, "Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn't look b4 crossing but I still would hav felt so bad in my german car!" A 2012 post derides "jewish chicks." Another one from 2011 jokes about "a hot white woman." In a post from 2011, he writes, "Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I'm sexy!" He attributes the joke to "fat chicks everywhere." When a fan tweeted him last fall with a request to come to Texas, Noah replied, "But you've already got Ebola?" Comedy Central did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, Conservative commentator David Frum, anticipating the network's response to the uproar, tweeted, "Daily Show method: entrap & edit targets to look stupid & bigoted. But for Trevornoah (who edited himself) they'll urge context & nuance" The tweets showed a different side to Noah than the picture painted by Comedy Central and the comedian himself just a day earlier: In a phone interview on Monday from Dubai, where Noah was traveling on a comedy tour, he likened himself to the New York-born Stewart, saying, "One thing we both share: We are both progressives." He added, "traveling the world I've learned that progressives, regardless of their locations, think in a global space." Noah, the son of a black South African mother and white European father who speaks six languages, was bring pitched by Comedy Central as reflecting a new age of global multiculturalism, "a citizen of the world," in the words of Michele Ganeless, the network's president. He was named a little more than a month after Stewart unexpectedly announced he was leaving "The Daily Show" following 16 years as the show's principal voice. Although no dates have been disclosed, Stewart is expected to depart by the end of the year, with Noah taking over soon afterward. On Monday, Ganeless spoke of the advantage of introducing Noah to a mainstream U.S. audience through "The Daily Show," with viewers coming to the show he hosts with no preconceptions. "They will get to discover him, and form their opinions of him, as they watch him host." The choice of a new host for "The Daily Show" is a critical decision not only for the satirical-news program, but for the network, whose identity has largely been forged by the "Daily Show" franchise, which for years was followed by the likewise signature "The Colbert Report." By the end of the year, Comedy Central will have completely remade this programming block. In January, African-American comic Larry Wilmore replaced the "The Colbert Report" hosting "The Nightly Show."
Written on 03/31/2015, 9:35 am by Business Journal staff
A woman who went on a "Taser" spree in a Fresno Walmart Sunday bit the chest of a man trying to protect his 12-year-old son who was hit with the stun gun. Fresno police reported that Jasmine Stevenson, 19, was arrested after a short foot chase near the Walmart on Herndon and Ingram avenues in Northwest Fresno. She's accused of entering the Walmart store and assaulting customers with a pink Taser. Victims include a 32-year-old woman, a 19-year-old man, a 30-year-old man and the 12-year-old boy. Stevenson's alleged bite of the boy's father drew blood, causing her to break free and run from the store. Stevenson was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, child abuse, assault with a stun gun and resisting arrest for the assault, which was captured on surveillance video. She was booked into Fresno County jail and faces a bail amount of $110,000 based on her charges, according to Fresno County jail online records.
Written on 03/31/2015, 9:13 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — For the first time in a century, endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep are back on their ancestral range and headed toward recovery, wildlife officials said Monday. During an ongoing relocation effort, dozens of bighorns have been captured with nets dropped from helicopters then moved to Yosemite and Sequoia national parks. "We've got the sheep where we want them on a broad geographic basis, which is a huge milestone," California Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Tom Stephenson said. "We've still got to get their numbers up a bit." Thousands of the sheep once roamed the Sierra Nevada but overhunting and disease spread by domesticated sheep herds caused near-extinction. Between 1914 and 1986, no bighorn roamed Yosemite, and statewide their numbers hit a low of about 100. The animals were placed on the federal endangered species list in 1999. Today, about 600 exist statewide in areas critical to their survival, Stephenson said. The number is about three-quarters the size called for in the state recovery plan that indicates the importance of the animals to the survival of mountain lions, bobcats and coyotes. Bighorn sheep thrive on cliffs and rocky outcropping, where they watch for predators. Standing over three-feet tall at the shoulder, rams have coiled horns that they use to butt other males during breeding season to compete for ewes. "Bighorn sheep are a true symbol of wilderness and represent the need to protect wild lands," said Frank Dean, president of the Yosemite Conservancy, which has donated $630,000 in the past two decades to support Yosemite's bighorn sheep. State biologists moved sheep from thriving herds in Inyo National Forest, in the southern end of the mountain range. Each was examined and fitted with a GPS tracking collar. Last year, 14 sheep were relocated into Sequoia National Park, and another seven ewes and four rams are being relocated in the Laurel Creek area of the park. Another nine ewes — eight of them pregnant — and three rams were trapped and released into Yosemite. Yosemite wildlife biologist Sarah Stock said only the most intrepid park visitors will ever see the sheep that roam high in the backcountry at elevations above 7,500 feet. She says helping them recover rights a wrong. "I think it says a lot about humans," Stock said. "We're capable of correcting mistakes of the past by returning this charismatic Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep back to its native habitat."
Written on 03/31/2015, 8:50 am by Business Journal staff
Central Valley organizations are slated to receive more than $2.23 from the state for projects aimed at saving both water and energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Final funding decisions are expected in early May. The funding will be the first for the Department of Water Resources to use proceeds from the state's new cap-and-trade program. Orange CoveRecommended award: $280,000The City of Orange cove requested $690,000 for a rebate program for residents to replace old toilets, shower heads and bathroom faucets with more efficient equipment, as well as upgrading pumps at the city's water treatment plant. South-Eastern Madera County UnitedRecommended award: $218,594The non-profit mutual benefit organization in Madera County will receive a full award to retrofit 4,173 residents with low-flow faucet aerators and shower heads, as well as installing 20 water meters at private residences to monitor project effectiveness for private residences not connected to area water systems.City of FarmersvilleRecommended award: $1.36 millionThe Tulare County town will received its full request to install water meters at all of the 2,556 water connections to convert from a flat-rate fee to a metered, tiered-rate volumetric system. The project will also allow the city to offer $100 water bill credit for residents to replace inefficient toilets. City hall and the community center would also replace grass with 20,000 square feet of artificial turf. Association of California Community and Energy ServicesRecommended award: $339,799The Southern California-based association that provides services to low-income households requested $340,642 to provide Tulare County residents with programs such as washer and dryer replacement. Alpaugh Community Services DistrictRecommended award: $34,953The fully-funded project will provide domestic water customers for a toolkit to reduce water use that would include shower timers, low-flow showerheads, sprinkler timers as well as literature in English and Spanish.
Written on 03/31/2015, 8:35 am by CANDICE CHOI, AP Food Industry Writer
(AP) — Fast-food labor organizers are expanding the scope of their campaign for $15 an hour and unionization, this time with a day of actions including college campuses. Kendall Fells, organizing director for Fight for $15, said Tuesday the protests will take place April 15 and are planned to include actions on about 170 college campuses, as well as cities around the country and abroad. Among those joining fast-food workers and their supporters will be home health care aides and child care and Wal-Mart workers, he said. The plans are a continuation of a campaign that began in late 2012. The push is being spearheaded by the Service Employees International Union and has included demonstrations around the country to build public support for raising pay for fast-food and other low-wage workers, although turnout has varied from city to city. Last May, the campaign reached the doorsteps of McDonald's headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, where protesters were arrested after declining to leave the property ahead of the company's annual meeting. Fells, an SEIU employee, said April 15 was picked for the next day of actions because workers are fighting "for fifteen." "It's a little play on words," he said. Fells noted that while the push began as a fast-food worker movement, it has morphed into a low-wage worker movement and is now shifting into a social movement with the involvement of "Black Lives Matter" groups joining in in the April protests. Still, he said McDonald's Corp. remained a primary target. "McDonald's needs to come to the table because they could settle this issue," he said. In a statement, McDonald's said it respects people's right to peacefully protest, but added that the demonstrations over the past two years have been "organized rallies designed to garner media attention" and that "very few" McDonald's workers have participated. In addition to the ongoing demonstrations, organizers have been working on multiple fronts to make the legal case that McDonald's Corp. should be held accountable for working conditions at its franchised restaurants. That finding is seen as critical in being able to negotiate on behalf of workers across the chain, rather than dealing with the thousands of franchisees who operate the majority of McDonald's more than 14,000 U.S. restaurants. McDonald's and other fast-food chains have maintained that they're not responsible for hiring and employment decisions at franchised locations. One closely watched case addressing the matter began this week, when the National Labor Relations Board began hearings on complaints filed by worker groups over alleged labor violations at McDonald's restaurants. The board's general counsel had said last year that McDonald's could be named as a joint employer along with franchisees in the complaints. The hearing is scheduled to resume May 26 and is set to be a lengthy legal battle. Whichever side loses is expected to appeal, with the possibility of the case eventually heading to the Supreme Court. In a statement, McDonald's has said the board's decision to name McDonald's as a joint employer "improperly strikes at the heart of the franchise system." "The SEIU put a target on McDonald's back more than two years ago; the Board has now joined in taking aim, and has done so by managing the McDonald's case in an unprecedented manner," the statement said.

Latest State News

Written on 03/31/2015, 9:59 am by JULIE WATSON, Associated Press
(AP) — In a move that could heighten...
Written on 03/31/2015, 9:51 am by The Associated Press
The rock band announced a 15-city...
Written on 03/30/2015, 11:51 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — Ski lifts are coming to an early...
Written on 03/30/2015, 11:48 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — StubHub is suing Ticketmaster...

Latest National News

Written on 03/31/2015, 10:01 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — Farmers are expected to plant a...
Written on 03/31/2015, 9:56 am by COREY WILLIAMS, Associated Press
(AP) — More than 13,000 Detroit-area...
Written on 03/31/2015, 9:54 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — The director of a nonprofit...
Written on 03/31/2015, 9:50 am by FRAZIER MOORE, AP Television Writer
(AP) — A day after Trevor Noah was...