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PG&E to shut down power to some California residents as fire season gets underway

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iStock/Thinkstock(SAN JOSE, Calif.) — Pacific Gas & Electric is taking preventative measures this weekend as fire season kicks into high gear by shutting off power to several communities in California’s Bay Area. The response comes as part of new guidelines instituted by the company last September during the deadliest and most destructive wildfire season on record.

PG&E power lines have been blamed for sparking many of California’s worst fires in recent years, including the Camp Fire, which killed 85 people and burned through nearly 20,000 structures last November.

Some of the first red flag warnings of the season were issued on Friday due to the high fire risk south of San Jose all the way north to Redding.

PG&E said it will be shutting down power to parts of Yolo, Napa and Sonoma counties on Saturday.
 
“We know how much our customers rely on electric service and would only consider temporarily turning off power in the interest of safety during extreme weather conditions,” Michael Lewis, PG&E’s senior vice president of Electric Operations, said in a statement Friday.

Customers are notified by automated texts, email and phone.

Though it had been suspected for months, Cal Fire officially named PG&E as being responsible for the Camp Fire last month.

“CAL FIRE has determined that the Camp Fire was caused by electrical transmission lines owned and operated by Pacific Gas and Electricity (PG&E) located in the Pulga area,” Cal Fire said in a statement on May 15. “The investigation identified a second ignition sight near the intersection of Concow Rd. and Rim Rd. The cause of the second fire was determined to be vegetation into electrical distribution lines owned and operated by PG&E.”

The company filed for bankruptcy in January in anticipation of the money they will need to pay out as a result of a number of lawsuits. It said in a release on Jan. 29 it was “working very hard to address future wildfire risks.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom warned PG&E the state expects those impacted by the wildfires will receive fair treatment.

“Wildfire survivors, employees and customers deserve to have a seat at the table during this bankruptcy process,” Newsom said in a statement in February. “These groups don’t have the resources of many of PG&E’s Wall Street creditors, but they will be directly impacted by the bankruptcy’s results and deserve to have substantial representation in bankruptcy court.”

PG&E CEO Geisha Williams resigned in January, ahead of the bankruptcy filing, over the company’s handling of wildfires and was replaced by interim CEO John R. Simon.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Single ticket in California claims $530 million Mega Millions jackpot

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iStock/homeworks255(SAN DIEGO) — Somebody in California just added half a billion dollars to their bank account.

A single ticket, sold in San Diego, claimed Friday night’s $530 million Mega Millions jackpot. That comes with a cash option payout of $345.2 million, according to contest officials.

The numbers were 17-19-27-40-68 with a Mega Ball of 2.

The winning ticket was sold at Sorrento Deli Mart, located a short walk from the famous Torrey Pines Golf Course.

Even if you didn’t win the big prize, there were three tickets — in California, Arizona and Washington — that matched all five white balls to claim $1 million each.

There was no winner of the $444 million jackpot up for grabs in the last drawing, so the Friday prize rose to an estimated $530 million — the seventh-largest in the game’s history.

It is the 15th-largest jackpot overall in U.S. lottery history.

The $530 million prize is the largest claimed in the game since October 2018, when someone in South Carolina anonymously claimed a record $1.5 billion jackpot.

Winners must match all five numbers plus the Mega Ball to take home the big prize.

The next drawing will be June 11 at 11 p.m. for the game’s starting $40 million prize.

For the lowest prize of $2, players must match the Mega Ball number.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Person of interest arrested in possible serial killings targeting sex workers: Police

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WXYZ-TV(DETROIT) — Detroit Police have arrested the person of interest identified in the case of a potential serial killer and rapist who may be singling out sex workers on the city’s east side.

Three victims, all believed to be sex workers, have been found dead at vacant east side homes in recent months, said Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

Police arrested DeAngelo Kenneth Martin, 34, who is known to be homeless at a bus stop in that part of town around 7:30 p.m. Friday, officials said in a press release.

The crimes date back to March 19, when a partially-clad woman was found dead in a vacant home on Detroit’s east side, the chief said. She died from blunt force trauma, he said.

On May 24, another partially-clad dead woman was found at a vacant dwelling on the east side, according to Craig.

The third crime was discovered Wednesday, Craig said, when a sex worker going into a vacant dwelling on the east side found a dead woman and notified police.

“It is certainly a strong possibility that one individual was responsible for all three,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said at a news conference earlier on Friday. “Rather than wait until the chief knew for sure, he felt it was important to warn this community about the possibility of someone killing women in this manner.”

One victim was 52-years-old and one was 53-years-old; the third victim was roughly 55, Craig said, noting that it appears the suspect may be targeting women in their 50s.

Detroit’s mayor is vowing to board up the city’s vacant homes because potential serial killer may be using the empty dwellings to target victims.

It’s possible another victim could be in one of the many vacant houses on the east side, Duggan said.

Officers will be deployed — beginning Friday — to go into every open and abandoned house on the east side over the next few weeks to make sure there are no more victims, the mayor said. The houses will then be boarded up.

Police have 2,000 vacant houses in the city to reach — 1,000 on the east side and 1,000 on the west side, the mayor said.

The board-up teams will work six days a week, and Duggan said his goal is to have every east side vacant home boarded up by the end of July. He hopes the plan to be completed citywide by the end of September.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Students who lost nearly everything in California's Camp Fire graduate from high school

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(PARADISE, Calif.) — With the confetti poppers and the selfie sticks, from a distance, the graduating class of Paradise High School looked like any other group of high school seniors, but something was different.

Seven months ago, the students’ homes — and almost the entire city of Paradise, California — went up in flames because of the Camp Fire.

The fire began on Nov. 8, 2018, in Butte County, burned through thousands of homes and more than 150,000 acres. It also killed at least 85 people, many in Paradise. The 27,000-person town was especially hard hit in the fire.

The students from Paradise were forced to relocate as more than 90% of the high school student had lost their homes. Yet, they pushed on, committed to graduating on time and even juggling college applications.

Later that month, an 89-year-old real estate magnate from Southern California, with no connection to Paradise, hand-delivered $1,000 checks to each of the 1,085 students and staff.

On Thursday, the 2019 Class of 220 returned to the high school’s campus for the first time to receive their diplomas. The ceremony was held on the football field, which still remains as does the school’s buildings.

“I love these kids,” said high school principal Loren Lighthall. “Super proud of them for enduring, for living in trailers, for driving an hour each way, for overcoming all that to get here on the field tonight.”

The school received the second-highest math scores in the county and boasted the only National Merit Scholar in Northern California. Some of the students even took photographs, in their caps and gowns, amid the ashes where their homes once stood.

“People have referred to us as ‘Paradise Strong,’ but this quality was never created by the fire,” senior class president Garrett Malcolm said during his speech.

“To me, ‘Paradise Strong’ means helping others and exceeding expectations (and) doing your best with what you’ve got and then some.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Air Force allows first Sikh airman to wear turban and beard

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ACLU(WASHINGTON) — The Air Force has agreed to a historic accommodation for a Sikh airman, saying that he will be allowed to maintain a beard and unshorn hair and wear a turban in observance of his faith.

The first-generation American, Harpreetinder Singh Bajwa, will be exempted from the Air Force’s grooming and dress rules, the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund said in a statement on Thursday.

“I’m overjoyed that the Air Force has granted my religious accommodation,” Bajwa said in the statement. “Today, I feel that my country has embraced my Sikh heritage, and I will be forever grateful for this opportunity.”

Last year, the Air Force granted the first Muslim airman an exemption to wear a beard while in uniform, and in 2017 the U.S. Army said it would allow turbans and hijabs.

“The Air Force can confirm that Airman 1st Class Harpreetinder Singh Bajwa was granted a religious accommodation in accordance with Air Force policy.” Maj. Nicholas Mercurio, an Air Force spokesman told ABC News.

“The Air Force places a high value on the rights of its members to observe the tenets of their respective religions or to observe no religion at all.”

Sikhs keep their unshorn hair tied in a bun or a top knot on top of their head. The hair is then covered by a turban which compromises the daily uniform of a Sikh. For Sikhs, wearing a turban form is an “external identity” according to the Sikh Coalition.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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