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Auburn beaver makes it big

AUBURN, CA - Everyone's been talking about Aaron Rodgers being the Super Bowl hometown hero, but he's not the only local celebrity.

A beaver named Waldo, who lives in Auburn, was in the Firestone commercial that aired during the Super Bowl. The four legged starwas a rescue; he now lives atthe non-profit sanctuary Wild Things.

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High country warm-up dazzles fans of spring

DONNER SUMMIT, CA - A spectacular weekend warm up brought lovers of spring-like conditions flocking to the Sierra.

Temperatures in the low 60's at the 5,000 foot level left fans of the cold wondering where winter is.

It's warm," said Priscilla Vasquez of Sacramento as her plastic sled ended up in several inches of water at the end of her run late Sunday afternoon.

Her brother Enrique was soaked from his romp in rapidly melting snow beside the Nyack Store on Interstate 80. "There was just no water the last time we were here. It was only snow," he said.

At Boreal Mountain Resort, snowboarders stripped down to t-shirts and sweatshirts as they jumped and carved turns at the resort's terrain park.

"It's nuts, it's crazy. I mean, it's normally cold and freezing and storming right now," said Cole Stockton of Auburn.

Coroner identifies Auburn woman who drowned

SONOMA COUNTY, CA - An Auburn woman who drowned at Portuguese Beach on the Sonoma County coast on Thursday was identified Monday as Cynthia Alta Watkins-Becker, 51.

Watkins-Becker and her boyfriend were walking two pug dogs along Portuguese Beach when one of the dogs was swept into the surf, sheriff's Sgt. Dave Thompson said.

Watkins-Becker tried to save the dog and was also dragged into the water, Thompson said. A passerby summoned California State Parks rangers. The boyfriend, a State Parks ranger and another person were able to get Watkins-Becker back to shore, but she had been in the cold water for about 20-25 minutes, Thompson said.

State Parks personnel gave Watkins-Becker CPR before a Sonoma County sheriff's helicopter arrived. The helicopter crew used a long line to lift her to the top of a nearby bluff but she was pronounced dead at the scene, Thompson said.

Placer County deputies arrest man suspected of stealing identity for 17 years

PLACER COUNTY, CA - The Placer County Sheriff's Department arrested a man Tuesday on suspicion of 17 years of identity theft.

Joseph Kidd, 56, allegedly used Larry Smith's identity for the past 17 years, said sheriff's spokeswoman Dena Erwin.

Since 1993, Kidd has been arrested numerous times, sent to state prison, obtained welfare, Medicare benefits and married using Smith's identity.

Kidd was arrested along New Airport Road after a detective reviewed welfare records and determined that Kidd had stole Smith's identity, said Erwin.

Larry Smith, 67, is from Florida. He has been jailed for eight days, had liens placed against his taxes, was denied medical care and had his driver's license revoked during the past 17 years Kidd is suspected of stealing Smith's identity, said Erwin.

Kidd was arrested on charges of identity theft, welfare fraud and grand theft, Erwin said. He is being held at the Placer County Jail.

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Tour of California strengthens anti-doping program

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Tour of California has strengthened its anti-doping program to start pre-race testing earlier and have the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, not cycling's governing body, oversee in-competition testing.

The race, which runs May 15-22, dropped a provision that excluded riders who were the subject of a pending doping investigation.

Tour officials were peppered with questions Wednesday about how the rule change might affect the participation of Lance Armstrong, who has yet to say whether he will compete.

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles has been hearing evidence for months on cheating in professional cycling. The investigation turned toward Armstrong -- and several of his associates have testified -- since former teammate Floyd Landis accused him of systematic doping.

Armstrong has always denied using performance-enhancing drugs.

Police arrest man suspected in Loyalton arson

LOYALTON, CA - Sierra County Sheriff's Office arrested a man suspected of setting fire to a home at 205 Hill Street in Loyalton on Jan. 24.

Eric D. Tenant, 38, was arrested after he returned to the fire scene hours after the fire was extinguished, said Sierra County Sheriff John I. Evans.

Loyalton fire department extinguished the fire and an initial investigation with witness statement ruled the fire to be arson.

A deputy was stationed at the arson scene to protect the evidence that may still be there when Tenant was seen at the crime scene, said Evans.

Also, during the investigation, police found that Tenant drove to Sierraville and allegedly stole a wallet from someone unrelated to the fire. Police also found property that was from a home burglary also in Loyalton, Evans said.

Tenant is charged with arson, vandalism and theft.

Tenant's next court date is Feb. 8.

CHP: Man arrested in I-80 police pursuit, suspected carjacking

PLACER COUNTY, CA - The California Highway Patrol has taken a man into custody following an alleged carjacking and high-speed pursuit on Interstate 80.

The incident began at 11:25 a.m. in North Sacramento when a man in a stolen vehicle struck a white Ford 150 pick-up at Norwood Avenue and Grove Avenue, according to CHP Officer Lizz Dutton.

The car thief then got into the victim's pick-up and drove off, Dutton said. It wasn't known if the victim was injured.

A CHP unit picked up the truck at Watt Avenue and began following it, Dutton said.

The pursuit continued onto eastbound Interstate 80. Officers deployed spike strips at I-80 and Highway 174 near Colfax. The suspected carjacker pulled off the interstate with a flat tire and that is when officers arrested him, said CHP Officer David Martinez.

Grass Valley Police Department reminds Superball fans not to drive drunk

Grass Valley Police Department reminds Superball fans not to drive drunk

The Grass Valley Police Department is reminding football fans that if your Super Bowl celebration includes alcohol, make the right decision before kickoff and always have a designated sober driver. This local message to Super Bowl fans joins with the national “Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk” message from the National Football League (NFL), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the HERO Campaign and Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management (TEAM) Coalition.

The Nevada County Avoid the 5 DUI Task Force will be deploying special roving DUI patrols in several communities throughout the area looking to stop and arrest drivers who are impaired. These DUI patrols are in addition to regularly scheduled patrol officers, all looking for the tale-tell signs of an intoxicated driver behind the wheel.

Congressman Tom McClintock to hold town hall meetings

Congressman Tom McClintock to hold town hall meetings

Representative McClintock will hold a Grass Valley town hall meeting.

When: Friday, February 4 at 6:00 p.m.
Where: Hennessy Elementary School, Multi-Purpose Room
           225 S. Auburn Street, Grass Valley

The Trust book review

The Trust book review

The Trust: A Secret Society Novel.  The Trust is the 2nd book in the Secret Society Series. I read this book twice and love the mystery behind the society. Phoebe, Lauren, Patch and Nick are part of the society and they all want out of it. Nick’s Grandpa leaves them clues to get out of the society. Read more…