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September 17, 2013 | By Larry Gordon
SAN FRANCISCO - The UC regents took a step toward possibly restoring a university-owned mansion to once again become the official residence for the system's president. Some regents, however, said it might make more sense to sell off the Contra Costa County property. A regents committee approved initial repairs of Blake House, the estate where most UC presidents had lived since the 1960s but which has been empty for the last five years. The 13,200-square-foot-house, located about 11 miles north of the UC system's Oakland headquarters, needs a major overhaul, officials say. Tuesday's vote, expected to be approved by the full board Wednesday, authorized spending $620,000 from a privately funded UC endowment for short-term seismic strengthening and roof repairs and for architectural and engineering studies about the long-range future of the house.
September 14, 2013 | By Larry Gordon
Blake House, the Northern California mansion that is intended to be the official residence of the University of California system president, may be coming back to life. Because of its rundown condition, UC executives in 2008 stopped living in the Mediterranean-style mansion in the unincorporated Contra Costa County neighborhood of Kensington. With a financial crisis for the university at the time, nothing much was done to fix up the 13,200-square-foot house, which is surrounded by 10 acres of gardens.
September 12, 2013 | Wire reports
New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez expressed hope recently that he'd soon be ready to play again, but those plans may have to be put on hold because his injured throwing shoulder eventually may require surgery. ESPN reported late Wednesday night that Sanchez, who had seen noted orthopedic surgeon James Andrews earlier in the day to seek a second opinion, is likely to have surgery after Andrews confirmed he has a labral tear in his shoulder. However, two people with knowledge of the situation said surgery is not an immediate option, although Sanchez might end up needing to have the shoulder repaired if he is unable to rehab sufficiently to resume playing.
September 10, 2013 | Angel Jennings and Richard Winton
For 10 hours, crews combed the rubble in a charred auto mechanic shop near Compton, looking for a mother and her 12-year-old daughter who disappeared in a pre-dawn fire Monday. A search-and-rescue team pushed through "pack-rat-like" conditions inside -- carrying out piles of debris and using a plow truck to dig out of a mound of rubbish taller than the firefighters, Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Scott Miller said. After numerous trips into the building with a cadaver dog, authorities confirmed that the bodies of a woman and a girl had been discovered.
September 5, 2013 | By Annlee Ellingson
In "TV Man: The Search for the Last Independent Dealer," director Steve Kosareff digs his old 12-inch black-and-white Zenith Jetlite out of his closet, dusts it off and turns it on. Nothing happens. He's clearly attached to the set - he sold Christmas cards to buy it for $100 when he was 14 - and sets out to find someone to repair it. This is a fair enough structure for this documentary in which a fan visits six of the few remaining mom-and-pop joints that sold and repaired televisions back in the day, although he's a bit disingenuous when his first step is to dial a 50-year-old phone number off an old flier.
September 3, 2013 | By Alana Semuels
SCHWENKSVILLE, Pa. - Engineers think that three of the bridges closest to Dave Wisler's home are about ready to collapse. One, a picturesque one-lane structure built in 1893, became so perilous it was closed last summer, and the county doesn't have the money to fix it. Another bridge, just down the road, is well-known for the concrete that chips off the bottom as children play in the creek below - it's currently under repair. Traffic was diverted to a third bridge nearby, but some drivers noticed a worrying humming noise as they drove over it, and their windows rattled.
August 24, 2013 | By Stephen Ceasar
The Rim fire, which has scorched more than 125,000 acres and spread into Yosemite National Park, should pose less of a threat to the power supply of San Francisco as firefighting efforts continue through the weekend, officials said. The fire, which is only 5% contained, destroyed nine structures and is threatening 4,500 more, according to a recent update by the U.S. Forest Service. On Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown extended a state of emergency to include the city and county of San Francisco because of the threat to utilities -   which caused damage to the electrical infrastructure serving the city and county of San Francisco.
August 23, 2013 | By Steve Lopez
Later this year and in years to follow, your Los Angeles Department of Water and Power rates will go up, not down, despite the new employee  contract for which city officials are uniformly patting each other on the back.  The deal with Local 18 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers involves real savings for years to come, no question about it. But as DWP boss Ron Nichols said at a recent City Council hearing, the contract...
August 23, 2013 | By Louis Sahagun
Ending decades of bitter disputes over fragile Mono Lake, Los Angeles and conservationists on Friday announced an agreement to heal the environmental damage caused by diverting the lake's eastern Sierra tributary streams into the city's World War II-era aqueduct. The controversy over alkaline Mono Lake, which is famous for its bizarre, craggy tufa formations and breeding grounds for sea gulls and migratory birds, is one of California's longest-running environmental disputes. The settlement resolves all of the issues among weary combatants, including the city of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Trout and the Mono Lake Committee.
August 22, 2013 | By Joseph Serna
Repairing a tunnel that linked the northbound 5 and 2 freeways and was severely damaged by a fuel-tanker fire in July will cost $16.5 million, state transportation officials said. The repairs will begin in October and are slated to be completed by Christmas, the California Department of Transportation said on  its blog . The tanker truck was carrying 8,500 gallons of fuel when it overturned July 13 and caught fire in the tunnel, creating a massive traffic headache. After the incident, Caltrans said "intense heat from the tanker fire caused  extensive damage to the pavement , walls, support columns, drainage and lighting.
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