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February 20, 2014 | By Paresh Dave
Kayla Michelle Finley is probably regretting her decision to rent a VHS tape of “Monster-in-Law” in 2005 -- not because DVDs or Blu-Ray would offer a better picture, but because that VHS rental cost her a night in jail. If that wasn't bad enough, the crime she was arrested for no longer exists in South Carolina. “Larceny -- failure to return a rented video” was taken off the books in 2010. Finley's bad luck began earlier this month when she went to the Pickens County Sheriff's Office to report a “domestic situation,” a sheriff's spokesman told the Los Angeles Times.
February 20, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO - A healthcare workers union will launch its signature-gathering effort for a hospital pricing ballot measure Thursday, marking the latest front in a looming initiative fight that will pit labor against hospitals.  Thursday's event in Sacramento is the latest in a series of kickoff events SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West has held throughout to state to start its signature drive. This time, they're gathering right at their adversary's front door: outside the headquarters of the California Hospital Assn.
February 20, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Consumer prices barely budged last month, a slowdown that showed inflation was well in check to start the year -- and maybe running too low. The consumer price index rose 0.1% in January, down from the 0.2% increase the previous month, the Labor Department said Thursday.  During the 12 months ending in January, prices increased 1.6%. That was the same annual rate as in December and below the Federal Reserve's target of 2%. PHOTOS: Federal Reserve chairs through the years January's small price increase was in line with analyst expectations.
February 19, 2014 | By Christine Mai-Duc
When the weekend rolls around, many locals in Belmont Shore don't even bother to leave home. At least not in their cars. Parking in "the Shore" is so notoriously difficult that residents are accustomed to circling the neighborhood, block by block, in search of a parking spot, and consider themselves lucky to find one close to home. It became so bad that businesses agreed 25 years ago to tax themselves to increase parking spots and the city formed a neighborhood parking commission to tackle the problem, handing over local parking meter revenue to help pay for a solution.
February 17, 2014 | By S. Irene Virbila
Small wonder French wine producers are looking forward to this year's biennial wine fair Vinexpo Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong. According to the French wine trade body FEVS (Féderation des Exportateurs de Vins & Spiritueux), in a story reported by the British Wine magazine Decanter , French wine exports in 2013 were down by 3.1% in volume. (The sales value was just 0.1% less.) Interestingly, the volume of low-priced exports eroded the most, a whopping 17.3%. Champagnes and higher-priced wines with A.O.C.
February 15, 2014 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
CARRIZO SPRINGS, Texas - Just a few years ago this was a sleepy town of 5,600, and people eked out a living from the land. They farmed, worked ranches and leased their property to hunters to make a few dollars. Now, an oil and gas boom is transforming the economy of south Texas, turning Carrizo Springs into a busy city of at least 40,000. Texas oil companies, tapping a vast formation called the Eagle Ford shale, have nearly doubled oil production over the last two years and by next year are expected to produce 4 million barrels a day. That would catapult Texas ahead of Iran, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates to become the fifth-biggest oil producer in the world.
February 14, 2014 | By Dylan Hernandez
PHOENIX - The price of general-admission parking at Dodger Stadium will return to what it was when the Dodgers were owned by Frank McCourt. The increase from $10 to $15 is part of a plan to improve the flow of traffic into the ballpark, Dodgers President Stan Kasten said Friday. The Dodgers will continue offering $10 general-admission parking passes, but only to fans who purchase them in advance. “The main bottleneck we have is transactions at the gates,” Kasten said. “That was the first thing they wanted for us to tackle.
February 13, 2014 | By Andrew Khouri
San Francisco Bay Area home prices took a seasonal dip in January from a month earlier, while sales plunged to a six-year low for the month as high prices and tight inventory handcuffed buyers. The median sales price in the Bay Area fell 4.3% from December, to $525,000 in January, research firm DataQuick said Thursday. Still, compared with January of last year, prices are up 26.5%. Across the nine-county region, 4,696 new and resale houses and condos sold in January, the lowest level for the month since 2008, as buyers struggled with higher prices and few homes for sale.
February 13, 2014 | By Jerry Hirsch
Shares of Tesla Motors crossed the $200 barrier Thursday before falling back, but still closed at a record level for the upstart automaker. The electric car company's closing price of $199.63, a gain of $4.31, or 2.2%, from the previous day, gives it a market value of $24.5 billion. Put another way, it is worth about $1.1 million for each of the 22,450 Model S cars it sold last year. The cars sell for $70,000 to $100,000, depending on options. The market value of General Motors Co. is about $56 billion, or about $5,200 for each of the 10.7 million cars it sold globally last year.  “Tesla is not something that should be compared to a conventional car company,” said Craig Irwin, an analyst with Wedbush Securities.
February 12, 2014 | By Andrew Khouri
Southern California home buyers continue to turn their backs on an expensive market with few houses for sale. Home prices fell 3.8% in January compared with December, though the median price remained up sharply compared with January of last year, research firm DataQuick reported Wednesday. The price decline, coupled with falling sales, revealed a market that has lost momentum after an explosive price run-up in the first half of 2013. "Buyers are not overpaying," said Broker Derek Oie, owner of Century 21 the Oie Group in the Inland Empire.
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