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Category: Inland Empire

State slams San Bernardino in redevelopment assets review

The State Controller's Office slammed the struggling city of San Bernardino in a review of assets formerly belonging to its redevelopment agency, saying the city inappropriately transferred or withheld more than $500 million in assets, including land, buildings and money.

The city filed for bankruptcy protection last summer, citing a $46-million general fund deficit.

The state's more than 400 redevelopment agencies, which used tax increment revenues for economic development and affordable housing projects, were dissolved in February 2012 and successor agencies were charged with disposing of their assets.

The state controller's review argued that San Bernardino's redevelopment agency "inappropriately" transferred $108 million to the San Bernardino Economic Development Corp., a nonprofit whose six-member governing board includes three members appointed by the City Council.

"The purpose of the asset transfer was to protect the RDA resources from elimination," the controller's report said.

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Suspect in theft of Girl Scout cookie money arrested

071300762 suspectA man suspected of swooping by on a skateboard and stealing money from a Girl Scout troop that was selling cookies was arrested, police said Monday night.

Colin Sawyer, 20, was taken into custody in connection with the theft of money from Girl Scout Troop 1303, which had spent most of Sunday selling the organization's famous cookies in front of a Stater Bros store in Phelan, police said.

Sawyer, who lives in Phelan, was spotted near a gas station about 7:20 p.m. in the small unincorporated community and taken into custody without incident, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. He was arrested after a suspect photo and surveillance video footage were released to media organizations.

As the girls were selling cookies at their table, a man on a skateboard snatched a bag containing money from the sales, police said. One of the Girl Scouts ran after him and fell, suffering minor scrapes and scratches, according to police.

The amount of money stolen was not disclosed. Anyone with additional information is asked to call Det. Jeff Toll at (760) 868-1006.

ALSO

Dead woman found facedown in sand in Newport Beach

Vegas crash victim's brother decries criminals' access to guns

Mystery donor leaves Purple Heart for fallen Santa Cruz officers

— Robert J. Lopez

twitter.com/LAJourno

Photo: Suspect in Girl Scout cookie money theft. Credit: San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department

Dog discovers alligator in Desert Hot Springs backyard

American alligator found in Desert Hot Springs
A dog made an unusual discovery Monday afternoon in a Desert Hot Springs backyard: a young American alligator.

The 3-foot-long gator was stuck between a chain link and wood fence by the 1-year-old beagle. The dog began barking loudly and alerted its owner, who called animal services officers, according to officials.

The reptile appears to be a young American alligator, which are illegal to own as pets, said John Welsh, spokesman for the Riverside County Department of Animal Services. It was unclear how the alligator ended up in the backyard.

The agency said it would work with exotic-animal sanctuaries to find a home for the alligator. 

ALSO

Dead woman found facedown in sand in Newport Beach

Vegas crash victim's brother decries criminals' access to guns

Mystery donor leaves Purple Heart for fallen Santa Cruz officers

— Robert J. Lopez

twitter.com/LAJourno

Photo: Alligator that was recovered from a Desert Hot Springs yard. Credit: Riverside County Department of Animal Services

Man sought for allegedly shooting at deputy is found dead

A man who allegedly opened fire on a San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy and then rammed the patrol car with his vehicle was discovered dead a day later from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.

Brian David Forrett, 52, of Riverside, allegedly began shooting at the deputy Friday afternoon after the deputy confronted Forrett on 2nd Street in Yucaipa. The deputy took cover and returned fire. The suspect then got into his vehicle and rammed the deputy’s patrol car.

Forrett fled the scene, and the deputy was unharmed, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.

A day later, deputies responded to a report of Forrett’s white Buick parked off Highway 38 near Angelus Oaks and discovered Forrett, dead from  an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, in the driver’s seat of the car, according to the statement.

Authorities said investigators later discovered additional gunshot wounds to Forrett’s body that may have been sustained during Friday's shootout.          

An autopsy will be performed, authorities said.         

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Las Vegas shooting suspect to appear in L.A. court Monday

Marine killed in Afghanistan remembered for his warrior spirit

Hospital bomb scare prompts evacuation of ER; man in custody

-- Matt Stevens

Residents watch Riverside County fire burn close to their homes

Firefighters beat back flames in Riverside County brush fire

As a brush fire fueled by thick vegetation singed the backyards of homes in Riverside on Thursday night, some residents ignored voluntary evacuation orders and stood their ground as fire crews battled the blaze.

The fire had burned 150 to 175 acres and was about 20% contained. Firefighters hoped to take advantage of calm winds and cooler temperatures. 

Power lines were down, but it was unclear whether they had sparked the blaze. About 1,800 residents were without power, fire officials said Thursday night.

On a cul-de-sac along the river bottom, resident Jack Dalman, 84, and his wife watched flames blaze through the brush and singe the palm trees in their backyard. Their 29-year-old grandson John Dalman pulled a garden hose down to the riverbed and stood side by side with firefighters as they sprayed water onto the oncoming flames.

Jack Dalman was in a neighborhood under an evacuation order, but the retired Riverside County Sheriff’s deputy wasn’t leaving.

“We’ve been through this before,” said Dalman, who patrolled his back yard in short pants and sandals. “I don’t worry.”

Jim Ingraham, 77, saw a bank of palm trees explode into a bright orange ball of flames. But he said he wasn’t alarmed as he watched a bulldozer cut a fire line along the perimeter of the blaze.

“This is an annual thing,” said Ingraham, who also refused to evacuate.

The blaze quickly spread after breaking out Thursday afternoon along the Santa Ana River bottom between Riverside and an unincorporated part of the county, fire officials said. Flames up to 30 feet high consumed palm trees and thick patches of brush along a jagged half-mile front as firefighters sprayed water on rooftops and as residents with garden hoses doused embers in their yards. A thick plume of smoke was visible for miles.

About 200 firefighters, aided by a water-dropping helicopter, battled the blaze into the night as residents in several Riverside neighborhoods were advised to leave. Earlier in the day, the temperature at the nearby Riverside Municipal Airport hit 80 degrees and light Santa Ana winds fanned the flames.

By Thursday night, the winds were calm. Fire officials said that was providing ground crews an opportunity to beat back flames that had come perilously close to homes.

“Once the winds calm down, it allows us to get in there and do an aggressive attack,” Capt. Lucas Spellman of the Riverside County Fire Department said.

As fire crews swarmed hot spots, a mobile home about a quarter of a mile from the brush fire began burning and ignited a propane tank, which exploded into flames. Fire officials were investigating whether that blaze was ignited by embers from the brush fire.

Fire officials said crews would continue to douse hot spots through the night.

ALSO:

Las Vegas Strip shooting suspect is a pimp, sources say

Funds set up for familes of slain Santa Cruz police officers

TV anchor's disappearance is 'private family matter,' sheriff says

-- Phil Willon in Riverside and Robert J. Lopez in Los Angeles

Photo: Firefighters battle the flames Thursday night. Credit: Terry Pierson / Press-Enterprise

Evacuations ordered as Riverside County brush fire grows

A brush fire grows in Riverside County.

Some residents near a brush fire in Riverside County were being evacuated Thursday night as flames burned close to homes and had consumed up to 75 acres, officials said.

The fire was burning in Jurupa Valley in heavy brush straddling unincorporated county area and the city of Riverside. Evacuations were ordered for residents living on Greenbrier Drive and Rio Rancho Way in Riverside, fire officials said. 

It was unclear how many residents were affected by the order. 

About 200 firefighters were battling the blaze, which broke out about 4:30 p.m. and quickly grew from an initial 10 acres amid unseasonable warm weather and dry winds, the Riverside County Fire Department said.

Crews on the ground were being assisted by at least one water-dropping helicopter, the Riverside County Fire Department said. The blaze was about 20% contained.

Power lines were down in the area, but it was not clear whether downed lines sparked the fire.

Television footage showed flames burning in the darkness as they consumed palm trees. A thick plume of smoke was visible for miles. 

The fire broke out as a Santa Ana wind condition warmed up Southern California. Temperatures in Riverside County were in the low 80s Thursday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. 

ALSO:

Las Vegas Strip shooting suspect is a pimp, sources say

Funds set up for families of slain Santa Cruz police officers

TV anchor's disappearance is 'private family matter,' sheriff says

-- Robert J. Lopez

twitter.com/LAJourno

Photo: Brush fire burns in Riverside County. Credit: KTLA-TV Channel 5

Brush fire grows to 50 acres in Riverside County

Brush fire had burned about 50 acres in Riverside County

A brush fire in Riverside County quickly spread to about 50 acres Thursday evening and was burning near a residential development.

About 150 firefighters were trying to stop the progress of the flames burning across heavy brush near the south end of the Jurupa Valley regional park, northwest of the Riverside Airport, fire officials said.

Crews on the ground were being assisted a by a water-dropping helicopter, the Riverside County Fire Department said.

Power lines were down in the area, but it was not clear whether downed lines sparked the blaze, which broke out about 4:30 p.m. The blaze, initially reported to be about 10 acres, spread quickly across the brush. 

Television footage showed flames burning in the darkness and consuming palm trees. A thick plume of smoke rose from the scene. 

The blaze broke out as a Santa Ana wind condition warmed up Southern California. Temperatures in Riverside County were in the low 80s Thursday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

Here are some images of the fire aggregated from social media:

 

ALSO:

Las Vegas Strip shooting suspect is a pimp, sources say

Funds set up for families of slain Santa Cruz police officers

TV anchor's disappearance 'private family matter,' sheriff says

-- Robert J. Lopez

twitter.com/LAJourno

Photo: Flames burning in Riverside County. Credit: KTLA-TV Channel 5

Brush fire fanned by gusty winds burns 400 acres by Lone Pine

Location where brush fire had burned 400 acres near Lone Pine
A brush fire fanned by gusty winds scorched 400 acres in Inyo County but firefighters appeared to be gaining the upper hand in stopping the blaze, officials said Wednesday night.

The blaze, called the River fire, broke out Wednesday morning and spread across thick brush near Narrow Gauge Road and California 136 east of Lone Pine, fire officials said.

Nearly 200 firefighters were battling the fire, which was 85% contained Wednesday evening, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The fire was burning as a Santa Ana wind condition helped cause warm weather across Southern California, the National Weather Service said. The weather was expected to stay warm through Saturday.

The agency said that northeast wind gusts up to 35 mph were expected in mountain canyons and passes.

“Gusty winds and thick bush are posing a challenge toward containment for firefighters,” fire officials said in a statement. Full containment was expected Thursday.

The cause of the blaze was under investigation.

ALSO:

Suspects allegedly kidnap man, force him to drive to strip club

Santa Cruz killings: Gunman took officers’ weapons, police say

Gunman who killed 2 Santa Cruz cops wore body armor, police say

— Robert J. Lopez

twitter.com/LAJourno

Map shows location of the fire. Credit: California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

Marine who died in Perris skydiving accident identified

A Camp Pendleton Marine who plummeted to his death Tuesday afternoon during a parachuting training exercise in Perris was identified Wednesday as Caleb Medley, 26, of Burlington, Colo., according to the Riverside County coroner’s office.

Medley crash-landed in the 2000 block of Goetz Road on Tuesday afternoon, the Riverside County Fire Department said. The skydiver was among a group of Marines who were conducting training, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. He sustained traumatic injuries, according to the coroner’s office.

Sgt. Lisa McConnell said Tuesday that the Marines from Camp Pendleton were at the popular skydiving spot for a military training exercise.  The incident was reported about 3 p.m. as a "skydiver down," the department said in a statement.

ALSO:

Bobby Brown gets 55 days in jail on DUI, other charges

Is corruption 'a way of life' in L.A., as Kevin James claims?

Santa Cruz killings: Gunman took officers’ weapons, police say

-- Phil Willon and Robert Lopez

Hiker finds skeletal remains in hills near Cabazon

Approximate loction of where remains were found shown in red.

Riverside County Sheriff’s Department detectives are investigating a set of skeletal remains found in the San Jacinto foothills south of the town of Cabazon.

A hiker found the human bones Feb. 19 in the hills behind the 51000 block of Ida Avenue and was able to lead sheriff’s deputies to the remote site later in that day. The bones were found south of Interstate 10 at an elevation of about 1,500 feet. Coroner’s investigators positively identified the remains as human.

Investigators, with the aid of search dogs, scoured the area again Tuesday. Additional details about the human remains have not been released.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Investigator Robert Jones at (951) 922-7100.

ALSO:

Man who gambled away pension guilty of killing wife

Bobby Brown gets 55 days in jail on DUI, other charges

Santa Cruz killings: Gunman took officers’ weapons, police say

--Phil Willon in Riverside

Map: Approximate loction of where remains were found shown in red. Credit: Google Maps

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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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