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Cops Find Spiked Bats Throughout San Francisco

Nearly 30 have been found around the city since Thanksgiving

(Newser) - San Francisco police are asking for help leading to those chaining up spiked baseball bats to poles throughout the city. Sgt. Michael Andraychak says officers first received reports of wooden or metal baseball bats appearing on poles and parking meters in the city on Thanksgiving morning. Andraychak says 27 bats... More »

Archaeologists on Hunt to Unearth Long-Buried Movie Set

Flights over desert helping in 'Ten Commandments' search

(Newser) - Thou shalt restore the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes to their natural state once filming wraps up. That’s the commandment given to movie director Cecil B. DeMille, who filmed his epic The Ten Commandments in the sand dunes on the Central California coast in the early 1920s, KCBX reports. Apparently, though, he... More »

Drive by LA's Prostitutes? Your Wife May Get a Letter

One civil liberties group isn't a fan of the motion

(Newser) - Los Angeles is considering a controversial policy to help cut down on prostitution: City Council voted this week to have the city attorney's office review a proposal to send warning letters to the owners of cars spotted in areas frequented by prostitutes, reports the Los Angeles Daily News . The... More »

Girl Dies Decade After Abuse, Babysitter Charged

Christopher Byrd has already served time for crime

(Newser) - A babysitter has been charged with murdering the child in his care after an incident in 2005. Here’s the weird part: the girl died this January. Authorities say Christopher Byrd violently shook the 11-month-old daughter of his girlfriend, whom he lived with in La Habra, Calif., until she fell... More »

Cops: Serial Wedding Crasher Ripping Off Bridal Suites

Arrest warrant out for 50-year-old woman accused of stealing from bridal parties

(Newser) - Southern California authorities have issued a $100,000 arrest warrant for a 50-year-old wedding "guest" who has slipped into bridal suites at about a half-dozen ceremonies and lifted cash, credit cards, and checks while the real guests were celebrating with the bride and groom, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.... More »

DNA Clears Man in Prison for 16 Years for Rape

'Shaky witness' testimony erroneously landed Luis Vargas in jail in 1999

(Newser) - A California man imprisoned for 16 years for sexual assault was exonerated Monday after DNA tests showed another man committed the crimes, USA Today reports. Luis Vargas, 46, broke down when an LA Superior Court judge granted a petition to release him from his sentence of 55 years to life... More »

Lawsuit: Airbnb User Unwittingly Hosted Porn Shoot

Woman says California mansion was littered with evidence of it when she returned

(Newser) - Built on the tail end of the Roaring Twenties, the Acacia Mansion in Ojai, Calif., likely has been the scene of many a Gatsby-esque party. But, after allegedly serving as the set for a five-day fetish porno shoot last August, it’s safe to say that the bar for wild... More »

Pharmacists Will Prescribe Birth Control in 2 States

Women in California and Oregon just have to undergo a quick screening

(Newser) - More than half of the 6.6 million pregnancies in the US each year are unplanned, according to the Guttmacher Institute . Oregon and California policymakers are trying to buck that trend with what the New York Times calls "groundbreaking" new laws that would allow birth control to be doled... More »

Red Panda Makes a Break From California Zoo

Staff worried about 'naive' and 'vulnerable' escapee Masala

(Newser) - A red panda made a break for it between feeding times Thursday at California's Sequoia Park Zoo—and now staffers are frantically searching for it, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Masala, a fully grown female described by the zoo as being the "size of a domestic cat,... More »

Drought Drops Key Calif. Lake Near 'Dead Zone'

Folsom Lake is less than 15% full with little relief in the forecast

(Newser) - It was already one of the most iconic visuals of California's historic drought, and things have only gotten worse. Gizmodo reports few people—even in California—were aware of the severity of the ongoing drought when it was officially declared in 2012. That changed in 2014 when before and... More »

Mom Guilty in Baby's Microwave Death

Ka Yang blamed seizure for daughter's horrific death

(Newser) - A jury on Friday convicted a California woman of first-degree murder and assault in the microwave oven death of her 1-month-old daughter, rejecting her argument that she was in the midst of a seizure and didn't know what she was doing. Ka Yang, 34, is facing 26 years to... More »

Google Self-Driving Car Stopped for Going Too Slow

But it did avoid a ticket

(Newser) - Apparently Google's self-driving cars have yet to learn how to evade cops. One of its bubble-shaped autonomous vehicles was pulled over during a traffic stop in Mountain View, Calif., on Thursday, though it managed to avoid a ticket, reports NBC News . An officer spotted the vehicle traveling 24mph in... More »

'Legendary Stripper' Dead at 78

Carol Doda helped introduce topless entertainment to San Francisco

(Newser) - Legendary San Francisco stripper Carol Doda, whose splashy act helped introduce topless entertainment to the city more than 50 years ago, has died at age 78. Doda died Monday in the city from complications of kidney failure, friend Ron Minolla disclosed Wednesday. Doda first went topless in 1964 at the... More »

Hungry Bears Invade Calif. Town

Drought has forced them down from the mountains

(Newser) - Black bears driven from the mountains by drought have invaded a town outside of California's Sequoia National Park in search of food. A record number of bears are seeking acorns in the tiny town of Three Rivers, home to an eclectic mix of park employees, ranchers, and hippies and... More »

Officials: Don't Eat Toxic California Crabs

What a way to open crab season

(Newser) - El Niño—already being blamed for bringing venomous snakes to the California coastline—could be at it again, as state health officials warned of poisonous crabs Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The warning to avoid eating any crabs caught along the Northern California coast couldn't come at... More »

Inside the Convoluted Case of a Vanished Deputy

Officers say Jon Aujay committed suicide, others say he was killed by one of his own

(Newser) - Six days after Jon Aujay disappeared in the Devil's Punchbowl in California's Antelope Valley on June 11, 1998, authorities assumed he committed suicide. A resident said he heard a gunshot in the Punchbowl, where Aujay often went running, and though no body was ever found, some of Aujay'... More »

7-Eleven Clerk's Mistake Wins Man $380K

Man says ticket sold to him wasn't what he wanted, but he kept it anyway

(Newser) - A KTLA reporter said in a news segment yesterday that the biggest mistake she's ever made at a 7-Eleven is coming out with nachos and a Slurpie at 2:20am—but she then (somewhat jealously) noted that that error didn't net her almost $400,000. Her envious reference:... More »

Why Hot Dogs May Get a Warning Label in California

It all boils down to the state's Proposition 65

(Newser) - Roughly three decades ago, California's Proposition 65 came into being, and it's a proposition likely on the minds of many a processed meat producer this week. That's because Prop 65 forces the state to add any item known to up one's cancer risk to a list;... More »

Calif. Town Rattled by 408 Quakes in 2 Weeks

That works out to more than one an hour—but experts say locals shouldn't worry

(Newser) - If California's San Ramon had to pick a theme song, it might be AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long." That's because over the past two weeks, the Bay Area town has endured more than 400 earthquakes—408, to be exact, which averages out to... More »

NASA to LA: Get Ready for 5.0 Quake

But JPL study is a bit controversial

(Newser) - NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is out with a study predicting that Los Angeles has a 99.9% chance of experiencing an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.0 or greater within the next two and a half years. "There’s enough energy stored to produce about a magnitude... More »

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