Killed for Bamm-Bamm blingDiamond-encrusted medallion apparently cost its owner his life.3 more cars torched in S.F.A fourth vehicle narrowly avoids burning when passer-by spots flaming newspaper under tire.Driver jailed in car surfing deathSunnyvale woman, whose boyfriend fell off Camry at 30-40 mph, makes deal.
Mendota: a town scraping bottom The fact that the unemployment rate in Mendota, 38.5 percent, is the highest in California doesn't even raise an eyebrow here. The anguish, frustration and hunger are visible in every corner and on every face of this town of 7,800 people 35 miles west of Fresno - and nobody sees any relief in sight.Chain of disastersFirst came the national housing meltdown, which led to hundreds of foreclosures in Mendota and halted construction on thousands of units of housing and commercial developments in the area. More than 2,000 people moved out of town in the past two years, and the loss of both residents and workers able to buy goods sent sales of everything from chain saws to groceries plummeting.Then water deliveries from the Westlands Water District to Mendota farmers were cut to 10 percent of normal, with federal officials blaming the three-year drought and the need to protect delta smelt and other threatened species.In short order, the Spreckles sugar plant on the edge of town, a furniture store and several restaurants shut down. The main bank announced it will soon close. Even the 99-cent store and the two thrift shops, the types of places that do well in hard times, are empty of customers most days.Now, as harvest season begins in earnest for tomatoes, corn and the melons that have made Mendota the self-proclaimed "Cantaloupe Center of the World," hope is as hard to find as a shady spot in a cotton field.
SPIN METER 'Help Wanted' counting stimulus jobsHow much are politicians straining to convince people that the government is stimulating the economy? In Oregon, where lawmakers are spending $176 million to supplement the federal stimulus, Democrats are taking credit for a remarkable feat: creating 3,236 new jobs in the program's first three months.But those jobs lasted on average only 35 hours, or about one work week. After that, those workers were effectively back unemployed, according to an Associated Press analysis of state spending and hiring data. By the state's accounting, a job is a job, whether it lasts three hours, three days, three months, or a lifetime."Sometimes some work for an individual is better than no work," said Oregon's Senate president, Peter Courtney.
977,000 Mortgages in California are Toxic Waste: The Misleading Headline Numbers and New Home Sales Increase because of a $13,000 Price cut.