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Stories by KPBS News

Marine Reservist Found Guilty in Death of Iraqi Soldier

A Marine reservist was found guilty today of killing an Iraqi soldier while they stood watch together at a guard post in Fallujah, Iraq. Los Angeles Times reporter Tony Perry was in the court room when the verdict came down.

Gas Prices Down Seven Cents Per Gallon, But Still at Record High

San Diego gas prices are down nearly seven cents a gallon in the last week. The Utility Consumer's Action Network tracks prices at local gas stations. UCAN's Charles Langley says the average price is now $3.30 a gallon. He says that's cheaper than last week, but nearly 75 cents a gallon higher than last year.

Average Gasoline Prices Still in Record-Breaking Territory

San Diego's average gasoline price is lower than last week, but still in record breaking territory. The Utility Consumer Action Network tracks retail prices at hundreds of local gas stations.

Southern California on Flood Watch as Storm Approaches

California officials are bracing for the worst as a major storm moves into the southern California region. Office of Emergency Services officials have opened and emergency operations center in Orange County.

California DMV Uses YouTube to Spread Training Videos

The DMV is using a popular website to connect with teenagers. The agency has posted videos on YouTube showing how to pass the California driver's test. More than 50 short videos cover subjects like unsafe lane changes, how to avoid being hit by a light rail train, and being overly cautious during a driving exam.

Researchers Say Ash From Wildfires Dangerous to Humans and Environment

Federal researchers say the ash left behind by the Southern California wildfires is bad for both people and the environment. The U.S. Geological Survey collected samples from of ash left over from the Harris Fire in San Diego County and the Grass Fire in San Bernardino County.

Big Waves Expected to Pound San Diego's Coastline

Surf's up in San Diego. The biggest waves in at least a year are expected to pound the county's coastline this afternoon. Forecasters say by tomorrow morning some areas could see waves of 15 feet or higher.

San Diego's Economy Continues to Worsen

The Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County fell 1.2 percent in October, the third significant decline in a row. University of San Diego economist Alan Gin compiles the forecast. The forecast for the San Diego County economy has been in negative territory for 18 of the past 19 months.

Subtropical System Could Bring Much Needed Rain to Parts of the County

If you've noticed a balmy feeling in the air around San Diego County this afternoon, it's because of a subtropical system moving into our region from Baja. The low pressure system is forecast to bring a chance of showers, along with some gusty winds, tonight through Saturday. National Weather Service forecaster Stan Wasowski says we could see a few drops of wet stuff in some areas of the county.

Ramona Brushfire Contained

A brush fire near Ramona was contained by noon today. Cal Fire reported that it started around 9:50 a.m. near Highway 78 and Haverford Road, and scorched about 25 to 30 acres. Cal Fire had earlier estimated that it burned 50 acres, but downgraded that number. One firefighter suffered minor injuries. No property was damaged.

Holiday Closures in San Diego City and County

San Diego courts and all city, county and federal government offices will be closed tomorrow for Thanksgiving. County, state and federal offices and courts will also be closed Friday.

Another Strong Santa Ana Headed for San Diego

Another Santa Ana wind condition is headed for San Diego County. Forecasters says the winds could be as strong as those that pushed last month's fire storms.

Five Killed in Quiet Temecula Neighborhood

Five people were shot to death last night at a house in Temecula. Authorities say it could have been a murder-suicide. KPBS News spoke with Sergeant Dennis Gutierrez from the Riverside County Sheriff's department.

Calmer Winds, Cooler Temps Helping to Aid Firefighting Efforts

Firefighters battling blazes throughout San Diego County are getting a break from the weather this afternoon. Calmer winds and cooler temperatures are helping, but there's still a long way to go.

Update: Del Mar and Solana Beach Evacuations

A mandatory evacuation is ordered for the following areas within the City of Del Mar:

Current Highway Closures Update

Caltrans reports these highway closures due to fires:

San Diego Wildfire Update 9 p.m.

Winds are pushing flames and smoke from two wildfires in San Diego County. The Harris Fire is 14,000 acres and 5 percent contained, there have been multiple structures destroyed. There were four firefighters injured earlier in the day when the fire burned over their engines. At least thirteen civilians have been burned on this fire. The communities of Potrero, Tecate, Dulzura and parts of Deerhorn Valley have been evacuated. The fire is burning to the northwest and being driven by Santa Ana winds.

Breaking News: County Officials Hold Press Conference (Raw Audio)

Listen to the San Diego County press conference for an update on this emergency situation.

Santa Ana Winds Blowing S.D. Wildfires Out of Control

(Updated 6:20 p.m. October 21) Erratic Santa Ana winds continue to push two wildfires out of control in rural eastern San Diego County. One civilian is reported dead at least 8 are injured, and four firefighters are in hospital with burn injuries.

Breaking News: Wildfires Blaze Across San Diego County

(Updated 4:50 p.m. October 22) There are two fires burning out of control in the rural areas of eastern San Diego County. We have reports of one fatality related to the fire.The fires and thick smoke are being pushed westward by dry Santa Ana Winds.

Source Says San Diego Labor Leader Butkiewicz to Step Down

The head of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council is leaving his post, an official with the organization confirmed today.

Tech Talk: Open Access Wireless Services

On Mondays we talk about news in the tech world with Brian Cooley, Editor-at-Large at

San Diego Gasoline Prices Resurge After Months of Decline

The price of gasoline surged back up this week, ending a stretch of 15 weeks of falling prices. The Utility Consumer's Action Network says the average price of a gallon of gas is $2.85.

California Lawmakers End Budget Standoff, Pass $145 Billion Plan

California lawmakers ended the nation's longest budget impasse Tuesday, agreeing to a $145 billion spending plan that eliminates the state's persistent deficit and addresses the myriad concerns of holdout Republicans.

ACLU Report: Growing Concern on Government Surveillance

The American Civil Liberties Union has a new report out that raises concerns about the government's ability to watch and record what citizens are doing.

San Diego Hospitals Sue County Over Prisoners' Medical Bills

A group of San Diego area hospitals are suing the county again. The dispute centers on medical bills run up last year by prisoners of the sheriff's department. The hospitals say the sheriff's department has to pay the bills of detainees who get treatment before they're booked in jail.

Suit Forces Walmart to Remit $4 Million in Unpaid Overtime Wages

Walmart will pay nearly $4 million in overtime wages to 50,000 workers throughout California. It's part of a settlement reached between Walmart and the California Labor Commission. The mega retailer says the underpayment was due to payroll processing errors.

UC President Announces Resignation Effective Next Summer

The president of the University of California system announced today he'll be stepping down next summer. Robert Dynes says he'll be leaving because of changes in his personal life.

Calif. Insurance Commissioner Gives Praise For Rate Amendments

California's Insurance Commissioner is praising car insurance companies that have changed rate structures nearly a year ahead of a state-imposed deadline. About 10 percent of the state's car insurance companies have changed their policies to base rates on drivers' records rather than their zip codes.

Chargers' Tomlinson Promoting Healthy Living to Fight Diseases

San Diego area hospitals are enlisting star power to bring attention to local health issues. Chargers runningback LaDainian Tomlinson will be promoting healthy living and disease prevention for the next five years. The record-setting football player says for him, the fight against disease is personal.

Forecaster Says East County Humidity Unusual But Not Unexpected

The high humidity and thunderstorms in the East County are unusual weather for San Diego, but not unexpected for this time of year.

Imperial County Tops List of Heat-Wave Deaths in July 2006

Imperial County suffered the most casualties in California during a scorching heat wave a year ago. That's according to a new study by the state Department of Public Health Services. The study looks at heat-related deaths statewide during a two-week period in July of 2006.

SDG&E Turns On High-Voltage Power Line

Electricity began flowing today through San Diego Gas & Electric's new high-voltage transmission line. Officials say the line will provide enough energy to power 500,000 homes and businesses.

Report: 'Mistakes Made' in Sunroad Project

An internal probe turned up no evidence of illegal behavior at City Hall involving construction of an office tower near San Diego's Montgomery Field. But the report faults staffers for their handling of the project.

DuPont Teaches Engineering to 4th Graders -- With Lifesavers

Fourth graders at a Southeast San Diego school got some hands-on engineering experience on Wednesday. Chemical company DuPont helped about a hundred youngsters at Walter Porter Elementary build and race cars made of lifesavers and straws.

Mayor Wants Higher Water Rates, Lower Sewer Rates

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders is calling for a reduction in city sewer rates. The reduction is part of a settlement of a lawsuit filed by consumer advocates. They say the city overcharged residents and needs to make amends.

Tony Gwynn Preps For Hall of Fame Send-Off

Tony Gwynn is getting ready for his trip to Cooperstown. The eight-time batting champ will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame July 29th. He talked today about some of the festivities taking place at Petco Park this weekend.

Sharp Hospital Nursing Strike Averted

Nurses at Sharp hospitals in San Diego have averted a strike set for today. The union and hospital officials brokered a labor deal over the weekend.

Homeless Vets Get Free Meals, Guidance

Hundreds of homeless veterans enjoyed free meals, shelter and medical treatment today. The 20th annual Stand Down event helps veterans get off the street and apply for housing and jobs.

California AG: San Diego Deputy Was Justified to Kill Unarmed Man

California's attorney general has found a San Diego County sheriff's deputy was justified when he fatally shot a man two years ago. The decision is the final evaluation of five fatal officer-involved shootings in Vista in 2005. The victims were all Latino men and the shootings caused community outrage.

Debate Amplifies Over Bajagua Tijuana Sewage Treatment Project

The debate over sewage treatment in Mexico continues to heat up in Washington. The disagreement is between San Diego Democratic Congressman Bob Filner and members of the International Boundary and Water Commission.

Sheriff's Dept. Praised by Office it Paid to Review Police Shootings

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department received glowing praise today. The department paid the privately-run Office of Independent Review to look into 25 shootings involving deputies between 2003 to 2005. Three of the shootings took place in Vista within a five-day period.

Weather Service Says Wildfire Conditions Even Worse This Week

The National Weather Service says there's a high risk of wildfire in Southern California on Wednesday. They've issued a Red Flag Warning for the mountains and forests, meaning humidity has dropped below 10 percent in those areas.

Rebelling Inmates Try to Break Windows at Otay Mesa Facility

As many as 65 inmates were involved in a disturbance at an Otay Mesa jail early this morning.

Growing concerns over lack of migrant farm workers

California farmers say their fall harvests are beginning to accelerate, but their numbers of farm workers are not. Growers in some counties report financial losses due to the lack of migrant farm workers.

Overweight at risk for dying early

A large government study says baby boomers that are a little overweight run a greater risk of dying early. The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine involved more than a half million people.

2,500 Marine reservists called back

Marine Corp officials are calling back 2,500 reservists to meet the demands of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The involuntary return is just the latest sign that American forces are under strain, and the military is having trouble recruiting.

Arellano Felix arrives in San Diego

Accused drug kingpin Francisco Javier Arellano-Felix arrived on U.S. soil this morning in San Diego. He was immediately whisked away to a downtown federal detention center where he will be booked.

New Miramar warplane would conflict with joint-use airport proposal

Marine Corps officials say a new warplane coming to the Miramar Air Station will mean civilian use of the airport won't be possible. The Joint Strike Fighter or F-35, would play a critical role in national defense. Miramar officials say the development comes as no surprise. But it could affect an advisory measure on the November ballot.