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Newsom launches California discussion on state's higher education system

Newsom launches California discussion on state's higher education system

California's Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday the launch of a statewide higher education listening tour and an online campaign that will engage Californian's in a public dialogue, seeking their feedback and suggestions on issues relating to the state's higher education system.

In the coming months, Newsom is expected to travel to the University of California (UC), Califoria State University (CSU) and community college campuses, to meet with a broad range of stakeholders, including students, administration officials and community and business leaders.

"I look forward to having an honest conversation and hearing directly from students, educators and administration officials on everyday issues and challenges within our higher education system," said Newsom.

North America's oldest Asian elephant dies

North America's oldest Asian elephant dies

VALLEJO - Six Flags Discovery Kingdom announced Tuesday the passing of its beloved female Asian elephant Taj. At 71 years old, she was the oldest elephant in a North American facility. Over the past several weeks, Taj's quality of life had declined significantly and she died on Jan. 17.

"Taj was a remarkable elephant that touched millions of people over the course of her long life," said Dale Kaetzel, the park's president. "We are truly in mourning for this loss. Words cannot describe how our entire staff is feeling, in particular the elephant trainers who worked with her every day for years.

One person killed in Vacaville house fire

VACAVILLE, CA - One person died in a house fire in Vacaville Friday morning.

According to Vacaville Fire Battalion Chief Brian Moore, the fire was reported at about 1:30 a.m. in the 200 block of Clayton Circle.   

Moore said the first firefighters on the scene reported light smoke coming from the house when they arrived.  Once inside, he said, they found a fire burning in the back part of the home, and requested a second alarm.   

While firefighters were putting out the fire, Moore said they found the body of a man inside the house.   The man has not been identified, but it is believed to be the homeowner.

Moore said investigators are on the scene trying to find out where the fire started, and how.  No other injuries were reported.

AAA offers free 'Tipsy Tow' service on New Year's Eve


NORTHERN CALIFORNIA - AAA says there no excuse for drinking and driving this holiday weekend. The company will offer free "Tipsy Tow" service for revelers on New Year's Eve.

From 6 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. on New Year's Day, in Northern California, anyone who has been drinking, can call (800) 222-4357 and a tow service will take you and your car home for free, up to ten miles. Just tell the AAA operator you need a Tipsy Tow and a truck will be dispatched to your location, whether your a AAA member or not.

The service will provide a one-way ride for the driver and vehicle to the driver's home. If there are additional passengers who need a ride, they will be taken to the driver's home as long as there is sufficient room for them to be transported safely in the tow truck.

Vacaville police: Man, 75, arrested for sexual assault of teenage girl

VACAVILLE, CA - A 75-year-old Vacaville man is behind bars for the alleged sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl.

Vacaville police arrested Gregorio Gonzales Rubio,75, at a home on the 6000 block of Browns Valley Road on Saturday.

Investigators say Rubio is suspected of sexually assaulting the 14-year-old numerous times starting in 2008, said Officer Bryan Larsen. 


The teen was found in the home when the suspect was arrested. She was placed in protective custody with Solano County Child Protective Services. The relationship between the victim and suspect remains unclear.

Rubio was booked into the Solano County Jail on charges of rape, lewd acts with a child, false imprisonment and sexual assault.



California ReLeaf announces student poster contest

SACRAMENTO -- California ReLeaf announced today the release of a statewide Arbor Week poster contest for students in third to fifth grades. Students are asked to create original artwork based on the theme “Trees Are Worth It”. Submissions are due to California ReLeaf by February 1, 2011.

In addition to the poster contest rules, educators can download a packet that includes three lesson plans that focus on the value of trees, community benefits of trees, and  jobs in the urban and community forestry field. The full packet including lesson plans and poster contest rules can be downloaded at www.californiareleaf.org/programs/arborweek.