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California Briefing

Reports from Norwalk, Los Angeles and Pomona

December 05, 2009

NORWALK

Owner of lost pony sought

Officials are seeking the owner of an affable Shetland pony that was found wandering the streets of Norwalk early Thursday.

The 4-foot-tall tan pony, which animal workers have nicknamed "Big Dog," was walking near Studebaker Road and Hayford Street. Sheriff's deputies managed to keep the animal out of traffic while waiting for animal control officers to arrive.

The pony was taken to the animal control center in Downey.

-- Seema Mehta LOS ANGELES

UCLA doctor settles lawsuit

A UCLA School of Medicine professor of cardiothoracic surgery has settled a lawsuit brought by the state's attorney general forcing him to repay $140,000 to a research charity he founded and removing him from multiple positions he held within the charity.

In the lawsuit filed in September, California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown alleged that Dr. Gerald Buckberg and five officers of the nonprofit L.B. Research & Education Foundation used money from the charity to fund their personal business ventures and medical research activities.

Under the settlement, Buckberg must return the diverted funds to the charity and will only be allowed to serve as the director -- giving up his other positions as manager and chief executive officer.

-- Raja Abdulrahim POMONA

Men plead guilty in fatal car race

Two men charged in the death of a woman who was killed when one of them lost control of their cars during a street race last year pleaded guilty Friday to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, authorities said.

Elias Sibiano Munoz, 21, of La Mirada, and Brian Rene Galvez, 24, of Rowland Heights, face 10 years in prison as part of a deal struck with prosecutors, said district attorney's office spokeswoman Shiara Dávila-Morales.

The two men were accused of racing each other on March 2, 2008, reaching speeds of more than 80 mph in the Rowland Heights area. Munoz lost control of his car and crashed into an electric pole, Dávila-Morales said. A passenger, Ondrea Alvarez, 20, of Bellflower, was killed in the collision.

-- Jack Leonard

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