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December 18, 2013 | By Robert J. Lopez
A brush fire that has scorched more than 800 acres in the Big Sur area was 74% contained, the U.S. Forest Service said Wednesday night. Ground crews made good progress containing the Pfeiffer fire and were hopeful that a cold storm system moving over the Monterey County area Wednesday night would further aid efforts to combat the fire, officials said. More than 1,000 firefighters were assigned to battle the blaze, which broke out Monday in the vicinity of Pfeiffer Ridge in the Los Padres National Forest.  Earlier Wednesday, firefighters on the ground were aided by four water-dropping helicopters, the Forest Service said.
December 17, 2013 | By Lee Romney
BIG SUR, Calif. - It's a season that residents in this storied coastal community of rugged hills and spiritual beauty normally associate with floods, not fire. But as a fine rain of ash fell on the northern stretch of Big Sur on Tuesday, old-timers, new-timers and business owners took it all in with a fierce resolve to help one another, as they have in just about every other disaster. And there have been plenty. The Pfeiffer fire, which seemed to roar out of nowhere shortly after midnight Monday, grew to 769 acres Tuesday, U.S. Forest Service incident commander Mark Nunez said at an afternoon community meeting.
December 15, 2013 | By Steve Marble
When Melvin Hayes' Ford Fusion was stolen from a Sacramento-area car wash Thursday morning, the 80-year-old knew the odds were slim he'd see the bright red vehicle again. Longer still were the odds that he would recover what was stored in the back seat - his wife's ashes. But on Saturday, California High Patrol officers contacted Hayes to let him know his car had turned up in Stockton. And, yes, the urn containing the ashes, was found too, Fox 40 reported. “Today is one of the best days of my life,” Hayes said.
December 13, 2013 | By Jason Wells
What was supposed to be a day of closure for Melvin Hayes turned out to be another chapter of grief Thursday when his car was stolen at an Elk Grove carwash -- with his wife's ashes still in the backseat. Hayes, 80, is now more concerned about getting his wife's ashes back than he is the red 2011 Ford Fusion. “Someone could dump my wife's ashes in the Sacramento River, or dumpster, or down the sewer,” he told CBS Sacramento . “I don't want that to happen to my wife's ashes.” Hayes and his wife, Annamarie, would have celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary in January.
December 4, 2013 | By Tracy Wilkinson and Cecilia Sanchez
MEXICO CITY - After a frantic search across a wide section of central Mexico, authorities said Wednesday that they had found a stolen truck that was transporting a large amount of dangerous radioactive material, a substance that can be used in making dirty bombs. The truck and its contents were found in the state of Mexico, about 20 miles north of the capital, not far from where they were stolen Monday. But the metal container with the radioactive material had been opened by the thieves, who then chucked it about half a mile from where they abandoned the truck, an official with the Mexican nuclear safety commission told The Times.
November 19, 2013 | By David Zahniser
The Los Angeles City Council approved major changes Tuesday to a harbor construction project whose has cost doubled in four years, with lawmakers criticizing port executives for failing to consult the council sooner. Councilman Joe Buscaino, whose district includes the port, said he was "blindsided" by the rising cost of the TraPac container terminal project in Wilmington, which has soared to $510 million from $245 million in 2009. Councilman Mike Bonin said he and his colleagues should have been included in the port's decision to convert the terminal to an automated crane system, a move that triggered a major portion of the cost overruns.
November 12, 2013 | By Robert J. Lopez
A brush fire that scorched about seven acres in the Cajon Pass and forced authorities to close two lanes of the 15 Freeway was 25% contained Tuesday night. About 180 firefighters, aided by a helicopter that was making nighttime water drops, were battling the blaze, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The California Highway Patrol said that one lane of the freeway remained closed and might not reopen until Wednesday morning. The fire broke out around 4:30 p.m. north of the Kenwood Avenue exit and briefly threatened homes.
November 11, 2013 | By Karen Kaplan
Movies aimed at teenagers now include more scenes of gun violence than films made for adults, new research shows. In 2012, box office hits that received a PG-13 rating from the Motion Picture Assn. of America contained an average of more than 2.5 dramatic sequences involving guns per hour, according to a study published Monday by the journal Pediatrics. PG-13 movies have matched or exceeded the gun violence of R-rated movies since 2009, the researchers found. In fact, scenes of gun-fueled death and destruction have become so frequent in PG-13 movies that the overall rate of gun violence in movies has more than doubled since 1985, even though guns have become less common in G and PG movies during that time and remained essentially flat in movies rated R. (The PG-13 rating was introduced in 1984.)
November 8, 2013 | By Chris Foster
UCLA travels to Arizona on Saturday. The winner strengthens its position in the Pac-12 Conference South Division. Staff writer Chris Foster examines the story lines: Carey carries the 'Cats No. 16 UCLA has allowed only two running backs to top 100 yards this season. The Bruins lost both games. Stanford's Tyler Gaffney battered UCLA for 171 yards in a 24-10 victory. Oregon's Byron Marshall went for 133 yards in a 42-14 victory. It's no great revelation that when a team is successful on the ground, it often wins.
November 3, 2013 | By Chris O'Brien
If it weren't for Google trying to cover it up, the old sea-worn barge stacked four stories high with customized shipping containers may not have become an object of global fascination. But Google being Google with all its out-there projects - many ripped from the pages of sci-fi bestsellers - the secrecy behind the barge has taken on a life of its own. Google isn't saying anything, and having guards shoo away prying eyes has only added to the mystery. Since the barge was discovered 10 days ago, my imagination has raced through mind-blowing possibilities.
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