Spillway crisis, Part II

Feb 15, 2017

Fingers crossed: Oroville Dam operators say they're preparing for the incoming storm.


Sacramento Bee's TONY BIZJAK: "There’s another storm bearing down on troubled Oroville Dam, set to begin late Wednesday. But state officials say they believe the precipitation will be mild enough – and the reservoir empty enough – to handle this latest challenge."


"The crisis at Oroville Dam continued to ease Tuesday. The dam’s heavily damaged main spillway was still able to expel water at 100,000 cubic feet per second, as it has around the clock since Sunday afternoon, with no apparent signs of significant new erosion. For a second day, crews worked to pack the crevice that formed last weekend in the hillside beneath the dam’s crippled emergency spillway, using helicopters and dump trucks to spread a mixture of boulders and concrete over the eroded section."


"We’re continuing to make significant gains in removing water from the reservoir, which drops the water surface elevation (and is) further reducing the risk to our situation here,” said Bill Croyle, acting director of the state Department of Water Resources, in an afternoon news briefing."


READ MORE related to Oroville Dam Spillway Crisis: Trump administration OKs Jerry Brown's disaster requests -- Sacramento Bee's SEAN COCKERHAM/CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO; Oroville evacuees return, keep wary eye on dam -- Sacramento Bee's SAM STANTON/CYNTHIA HUBERT/RYAN LILLIS; Oroville Dam inspectors ignored integrity of hillside that eroded -- The Chronicle's PETER FIMRITE/KURTIS ALEXANDER; Residents evacuated in Oroville Dam crisis reoccupy downstream towns -- The Chronicle's LIZZIE JOHNSON/SARAH RAVANI/KEVIN FAGAN; Small town pulled together to aid 200 evacuees --The Chronicle's LIZZLIE JOHNSON/JILL TUCKER; Newsom speaks first, but Brown gets last word on Oroville Dam crisis -- The Chronicle's MATIER & ROSS; An 'aggressive, proactive attack' to prevent disaster at the Oroville Dam -- L.A. Times' PAIGE ST. JOHN/LAURA J. NELSON/RONG-GONG LIN II/VERONICA ROCHA


A man attempting to produce 'Shatter' -- a cannabis extract created by running a solvent (usually butane) of some kind through processed marijuana -- has blown up his lab, prompting swift action from state officials.


Sacramento Bee's CATHY LOCKE: "A Citrus Heights man suffered burns Tuesday afternoon in what police said was an explosion of a honey-oil lab at a residence."


"Citrus Heights police received several calls about 2:50 p.m. reporting smoke coming from a duplex in the 5800 block of Sperry Drive. As officers were responding to the home, the sole occupant of the duplex ran outside suffering from burns sustained in a fire that resulted from a small chemical explosion, according to a Police Department news release."


"During the investigation, officers determined that the occupant, 49-year-old David Aaron Jantz, was attempting a chemical solvent extraction of butane to manufacture hash oil from marijuana, police said."


READ MORE related to Public Safety: Fremont man arrested in slaying was out on parole -- The Chronicle's MICHAEL BODLEY; Richmond woman's sentence called unconstitutional, is reduced -- The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO; San Mateo man who ran international prostitution ring sentenced -- The Chronicle's MICHAEL BODLEY; LAPD detectives illegally searched home of Sandra Bullock's accused stalker, court says -- L.A. Times' MATT HAMILTON; With Valley murders on the rise, LA leader pushes for LAPD report on gangs -- Daily News STAFF


The Wilton Tribe has received a Federal land grant and now controls enough area for a planned casino.


Sacramento Bee's RICHARD CHANG: "The Indian tribe that plans to build a casino in Elk Grove announced Tuesday that the federal government has taken into trust 36 acres that the tribe had purchased for the gambling facility."


"The action by the U.S. Department of the Interior on Friday means the property is now considered sovereign tribal ground for the Wilton Rancheria tribe. Elk Grove officials said the transfer means the tribe can now build its casino along Highway 99 without the city’s approval. But one lawyer who has spent many years representing casino tribes said the tribe’s ability to proceed may still be in question because of a previous agreement for the property that Elk Grove made with a shopping mall developer."


"The announcement came during a news conference on Tuesday attended by 100 members of the tribe at the site of the planned casino on a half-built shopping mall on Elk Grove’s southern edge."


The stretch of Hwy 50 between Pollock Pines and Strawberry has reopened after last week's weather forced closure when a series of mudslides completely engulfed the strip of road.


Sacramento Bee's HUDSON SANGREE: "Caltrans reported that Highway 50 had reopened from Pollock Pines to Strawberry at 10:30 pm. Tuesday after multiple mudslides had closed the section of highway for days."


"Drive safe!” the state Department of Transportation wrote on Twitter."


"Interstate 80 westbound was open to all traffic but reduced to one lane at Baxter due to mudslide cleanup, Caltrans said."


READ MORE related to Transportation: BART wants to ask voters for bridge toll hike -- The Chronicle's MATIER & ROSS


The FBI has revealed a plot involving Russian hackers and the illegal collection of personal information of minors being used for identity theft.


Sacramento Bee's ANDY FURILLO: "He went by the moniker of “Non 202” and he made a name for himself from Moscow to Sacramento in the hacking industry."


"By the middle of 2014, he had broken into the American Express accounts of 119,000 customers all over the U.S., authorities said, and he and his partners had made off with between $300,000 and $400,000 in an alleged fraud scheme that used phony online businesses created with identities stolen from Sacramento-area high school students."


"Altogether, federal prosecutors say, the identity thieves put a $1 million hit on their American Express victims, working with a trio of suspects who set up shop in Sacramento and Los Angeles and collected $600,000 to $700,000 for themselves before they transferred the rest of the money back to Moscow."


The Trump campaign team is now coming under increased scrutiny after investigative journalism revealed that the group had been in contact with Kremlin officials a year before the election.


The NYT's MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT/MARk MAZZETTI/MATT APUZZO in the Chronicle: "Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former U.S. officials."


"U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time that they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election."


"The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation."


 READ MORE related to Beltway: Boycotting companies tied to president is new weapon in US politics -- The Chronicle's JOHN WILDERMUTH; Russia denies that intelligence agents were in contact with Trump's campaign team -- AP; White House backs away from two-state solution in Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- L.A. Times' TRACY WILKINSON/ALEXANDER ZAVIS; Defense secretary to reassure NATO allies nervous about Trump's complaints -- L.A. Times' W.J. HENNIGAN; Trump knew Flynn misled White House weeks before ouster: officials -- Daily News' JULIE PACE/VIVIAN SALAMA; Family, friends not surprised by acting National Security Advisor Keith Kellog's rise -- Daily News' ANDREW EDWARDS/TIM GROBATY


The Affordable Care Act faces another existential threat after POTUS45 issued an executive order seeking to reduce Obamacare's 'economic burden'.


The Chronicle's KATHLEEN PENDER: "Following an executive order from President Trump to “minimize the economic burden” of the Affordable Care Act, the Internal Revenue Service said it is backtracking on its plan to reject 2016 tax returns that do not indicate whether the taxpayer complied with the act’s individual mandate."


"Supporters of the act, which is known as Obamacare, fear this behind-the-scenes change could undermine enrollment in health insurance."


"The mandate requires Americans to have a minimum level of health insurance, qualify for one of myriad exemptions or pay a penalty known as the “individual shared responsibility payment” when they file their return. Taxpayers must indicate on their tax returns whether each person included on the return had insurance for the full year, qualified for an exemption or owed the penalty. Returns that don’t provide this information are known as silent."


READ MORE related to Health: LA leader fights to boost Porter Ranch health study, says gas leak settlement 'ignores' community -- Daily News' GREGORY J. WILCOX


In the midst of an anti-immigration crisis, a church in the heart of the Texan Bible Belt works towards solidarity with war-torn refugees.


L.A. Times' DAVID MONTERO: "Pastor David Daniels didn’t really have a choice. The refugees were desperate. He could feel that. Their need was great. He could see that. But God was also talking and that, well, he could definitely hear."


"So in 2015 he sponsored a Muslim family fleeing Syria and helped them settle in Fort Worth. What’s happened at his church in the years since is a reminder of what decades of studying the Bible has taught Daniels — that God’s will doesn’t always aim toward the easy route. Enter through the narrow gate, the Book of Matthew prescribed."


"If God did go for the smooth road, perhaps God wouldn’t have put Daniels in the buckle of the Bible Belt — next to notches of Waffle Houses, Whataburgers and Wal-Marts — and ask him to welcome refugees at a time when the president of the country would rather keep them out."


READ MORE related to Immigration: Federal immigration agents arrest DACA-eligible 'Dreamer' near Seattle, lawsuit says -- L.A. Times' MATT PEARCE/KURTIS LEE


Farmers in the Central Valley are recovering from years-long drought, but are now at odds with another force: Trump.


L.A. Times' ROBIN ABCARIAN: "It’s almost impossible to get a rise from my favorite farmer, Joe Del Bosque, who grows almonds, melons and asparagus here on the perpetually water-challenged west side of the San Joaquin Valley."


"After years of drought, suddenly everything is green. It’s raining like crazy, the infamous pumps of the Sacramento Delta are working overtime to fill reservoirs to the south and all over the state, dry fields have become muddy lakes."


“So what are you Westside farmers whining about now?” I asked Del Bosque when I visited him Monday in his office, a modest double-wide trailer on the edge of an almond orchard off Interstate 5."


A Hunting Park councilwoman's consulting business is now under investigation by the local District Attorney.


L.A. Times' ADAM ELMAHREK: "The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office is looking into a Huntington Park councilwoman’s role as a political consultant in which she raised money from companies that sought to do business with the city, a spokeswoman for the D.A. said this week."


"The inquiry by the district attorney’s public integrity division follows a Times article published Sunday detailing how Councilwoman Karina Macias raised money for a state Assembly campaign by parlaying her connections throughout the community."


"Some of the contributors were linked to companies that were awarded contracts by Macias and the council majority, including the city’s bus service and dial-a-ride operator, its street sweeping and bus stop maintenance vendor and a towing company."


Southern California is under alert for an incoming storm expected to be a doozy.


Daily News' SCOTT SCHWEBKE: "Southern California is on target for a violent storm that will blow through the region starting Thursday, likely causing urban flooding and wind damage, according to the National Weather Service."


"It feels really nice outside now, but that’s deceiving because a big storm is coming,” said Alex Tardy, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service. “Orange County and Los Angeles County are right in the bull’s-eye.”


"The Inland Empire will get hit, but not as hard."


READ MORE related to California Water Crisis: Trump declares 'major disaster' in storm-ravaged California -- Daily News' STAFF



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