Protesters at a demonstration at Modesto Junior College. Photo courtesy Turlock Journal.
California’s public education system is racked by threats of spending cuts due to the state’s fiscal crises, which include a deficit that has ballooned to more than $25 billion.
The California State University System is facing possible budget cuts of $500 million. The University of California would also face a $500 million cut under Brown’s budget proposal.
Brown has proposed cutting $400 million from the state’s community colleges, and raising tuition by 38 percent.
Modesto Junior College (MJC) administrators recently informed faculty members that jobs may be cut as the college attempts to shed $8 million from its budget.
MJC President Gaither Loewenstein answered questions about the budget cuts in a Q&A forum with students last week. He confirmed that the entire communications department, including majors in journalism, television and radio, would be cut in his budget reduction proposal.
Modesto Junior College President Gaither Loewensteinaddresses concerns over $8 million budget cut proposal. Photo courtesy Turlock Journal.
Other programs to end are culinary arts, communication graphics, architecture, engineering, industrial technology, dental assisting and all foreign languages, except Spanish and sign language.
The MJC West Campus library would close and be used as a learning resource center. Coach stipends would end, but competitive sports would continue.
Additional faculty and management employees would lose their jobs under Loewenstein’s budget proposal. Those layoffs would be effective June 30.
Reductions in salary or benefits for employees are not included in the proposal, which have yet to be negotiated.
Many students fear losing their favorite instructors, like anthropology professor James Todd. According to anthropology major and campus President of the Anthropology Club Priscilla Peralta, the department will be crippled with the layoff of Professor Todd. “Anthropology is a much needed discipline and should continue to be offered to the fullest extent,” said Peralta.
Loewenstein said that the decision to target specific programs rather than split the cuts across the board was intended to leave the college with fewer strong programs instead of making the entire college mediocre.
Californians need to step up, get involved with their schools, and reach out to school administrators and congressional representatives about this issue.
Ms. Peralta urges those who support her cause to send a personal message to Modesto Junior College President Gaither Loewenstein via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to getting personally involved with the schools in your community, education advocates encourage citizens to express their concerns to Gov. Brown. He may be reached via phone at 916.445.2841 or log on to his website to post a comment http://gov.ca.gov/m_contact.php.
Bedell Was Arrested in Reno Before the Shooting
John Patrick Bedell Reno booking shot (AP Photo/Washoe County jail via the Reno Gazette Journal)
This undated booking photo provided by the Washoe County jail via the Reno Gazette Journal on Friday, March 5, 2010 shows John Patrick Bedell. He was arrested about a month earlier in Reno for driving under the influence of marijuana and possessing the drug.
During that Feb. 1 arrest by Washoe sheriff’s deputies, John Patrick Bedell did not appear violent or have any weapons, according to a probable cause arrest report. He appeared so intoxicated that he nearly fell over during portions of the sobriety tests he was given. Inside Bedell’s car was a pink drug pipe with marijuana residue and three plastic containers with 2.6 ounches of marijuana, the report said.
On Feb. 5, Bedell posted $2,080 cash bail in Reno on charges of driving under the influence of marijuana and possession of a controlled substance, records show. He was given a March 2 arraignment date in Reno Justice Court and failed to appear.
Pentagon Shooter Had a History of Mental Illness
DMV photo of John Patrick Bedell
AP~The man who opened fire in front of the Pentagon had a history of mental illness and had become so erratic that his parents reached out to local authorities weeks ago with a warning that he was unstable and might have a gun, authorities said Friday.
John Patrick Bedell was diagnosed as bipolar, or manic depressive, and had been in and out of treatment programs for years. His psychiatrist, J. Michael Nelson, said Bedell tried to self-medicate with marijuana, inadvertently making his symptoms more pronounced.
“Without the stabilizing medication, the symptoms of his dis-inhibition, agitation and fearfullness complicated the lack of treatment,” Nelson said.
Pentagon Police Chief Richard Keevill speaks with reporters about a shooting at the Pentagon in Washington, Thursday, March 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Last evening started out pretty routine, until shortly after 6:40pm when we all heard the horrific news that an unidentified gunman had shot two police officers outside of the Pentagon. Shortly before 8 p.m. Pentagon Police Chief Richard Keevil held an impromptu press conference to answer some of the reporters and the countries questions. He explained to the anxious reporters that a gunman entered the subway entrance of the Pentagon complex and casually reached into his coat (as if reaching for his Pentagon pass), and calmly, with no words, began shooting. He explained that the gunman was attempting to enter the Pentagon complex, and was only stopped by the officers returning fire and gravely injuring the assailant. “The two officers suffered grazing wounds and were being treated in a hospital“, said Cheif Keevill.
Police Say John Patrick Bedell Stayed Calm During Shooting
Keevill said Bedell was “dressed in a suit and gave no indication of hostile intent, a very well-dressed individual. He was very calm, no distress. Walked directly up to the officers and engaged them.”
He also said that he may have uttered something before opening fire, but what he said was unclear at this time.
Bedell drove to Washington, D.C., from California over the past few weeks, Keevill said, adding that police have been able to trace his movements as he made his way. He parked his vehicle in a local garage; it has since been impounded and is being processed.
At 9pm the alleged shooter was identified as 36-year old John Patrick Bedell. That is the point when we decided to do some digital forensic investigating on our own. At 10 pm the Associated Press reported that Bedell had died of his wounds, and that his body had been delivered to Beverly Fields, Chief of Staff of the D.C. Medical Examiner’s Office.
This article is a compilation of what we discovered about John Patrick Bedell, which we shared last night with the Associated Press office in Washington, D.C. In this new digital age, it is virtually impossible not to find some details about a person’s life on the Internet. Posting as J. Patrick Bedell or JPatrick Bedell he left quite a trail to follow…
John Patrick Bedell in custody 2006
“I am determined to see that justice is served in the death of Colonel James Sabow, as a step toward establishing the truth of events such as the September 11 demolitions and institutions such as the coup regime of 1963 that maintains itself in power through the global drug trade, financial corruption, and murder, among other crimes. My work to develop information currency is an effort to create a framework for information management that uses financial markets to create the economic signals (prices) that will effect complex human actions in the real world based on specified information.
“My desire for justice led me to violate what I think is one of the most unjust laws, cannabis prohibition, by growing 16 cannabis plants on my balcony in Irvine, CA from March 2006 to June 2006. (see below)
John Patrick Bedell: Video Capture by GeoT
One desired result of my effort is (will be) billions and billions of carefully cultivated, highly valuable cannabis plants growing throughout the United States with complete security of property. I have posted the image to the right in order to illustrate the use of cannabis as a monetary system using digital financial instruments.”
The NYT/AP reports a California based, twice busted marijuana activist behind Pentagon shooting…
John Patrick Bedell: documents from 2006 arrest in Orange County CA for Marijuana cultivation with the intent to sell and resisting arrest
Bedell’s online postings railed against the government’s enforcement of marijuana laws and included links to the his 2006 court case in Orange County, Calif., for cultivating marijuana and resisting and obstructing a arrest. We found the following court records available online:
The People of the State of California vs. John Patrick Bedell
District Attorney Case @06F08252
June 8, 2006
Vodpod videos no longer available. UPDATE: 7:42 a.m. — Evacuation sirens will be sounded across Hawaii at 6 am, local time
UPDATE: 6:19 a.m. — Just issued a Tsunami ‘Advisory’ for the west coast of the United States for California, Washington, coastal Alaska, and Oregon
UPDATE: 4:35 a.m. — Tsunami warnings — Warnings from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
AP~~SANTIAGO, Chile – A massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck Chile early Saturday, collapsing buildings, killing at least 16 people and downing phone lines. President Michele Bachelet declared a “state of catastrophe” in central Chile and said the death toll was rising.
Tsunami warnings were issued over a wide area, including South America, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand, Japan, the Philippines, Russia and many Pacific islands.
“We have had a huge earthquake, with some aftershocks,” Bachelet said, appealing from an emergency response center for Chileans to remain calm. “Despite this, the system is
functioning. People should remain calm. We’re doing everything we can with all the forces we have. Any information we will share immediately.”
Bachelet said early reports were that 16 people had been killed, and “without a doubt, with an earthquake of this magnitude, there will be more deaths.”
In the 2 1/2 hours following the 90-second quake, the U.S. Geological Survey reported 11 aftershocks, of which five measured 6.0 or above.
She urged people to avoid traveling in the dark, since traffic lights are down, to avoid causing more fatalities.
he quake hit 200 miles (325 kilometers) southwest of the capital, Santiago, at a depth of 22 miles (35 kilometers) at 3:34 a.m. (0634 GMT; 1:34 a.m. EST), the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
The epicenter was just 70 miles (115 kilometers) from Concepcion, Chile’s second-largest city, where more than 200,000 people live along the Bio Bio river, and 60 miles from the ski town of Chillan, a gateway to Andean ski resorts that was destroyed in a 1939 earthquake.
In Santiago, the capital, modern buildings are built to withstand earthquakes, but many older ones were heavily damaged, including the Nuestra Senora de la Providencia church, whose bell tower collapsed. An apartment building’s two-level parking lot also flattened onto the ground floor, smashing about 50 cars whose alarms and horns rang incessantly. A bridge just outside the capital also collapsed, and at least one car flipped upside down.
In the coastal city of Vina del Mar, the earthquake struck just as people were leaving a disco, Julio Alvarez told Radio Cooperativa in Santiago. “It was very bad, people were screaming, some people were running, others appeared paralyzed. I was one of them.”
Bachelet said she was declaring a “state of catastrophe” in 3 central regions of the country, and that while emergency responders were waiting for first light to get details, it was evident that damage was extensive. Vodpod videos no longer available.
***UPDATE Sources say the gunman is 66-year-old Johnny Lee Wicks. He was apparently angry about a reduction in his social security benefits when he stormed into the Lloyd George Federal Courthouse and opened fire.
Sixty-five-year-old Stanley Cooper, a court security officer, and an unnamed 48-year-old deputy U.S. Marshal were gunned down when Wicks opened fire in the lobby of the federal building in downtown Las Vegas around 8 a.m. Cooper is a retired Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department sergeant. A motorcade made up of dozens of police officers escorted his body from University Medical Center to the Clark County Coroner’s Office.
FBI Special Agent Joseph Dickey said the shooting started in the main foyer and continued outside. The gunman was killed across the street from the federal building, which is located on Las Vegas Blvd. between Bridger and Bonneville Avenues. Seven U.S. Marshals and security officers were involved in the gunfire. Some witnesses say they heard between 50 to 100 shots fired.
Wicks filed a lawsuit against the Social Security Administration in early 2008. In a handwritten complaint, he said discrimination had followed him from California to Nevada. Wicks wrote this about one California agent, “Doesn’t try to hide the way he feels about black people so he reduced my benefits.”
Wicks explained he suffered a stroke some years back. He claimed his benefits dropped from $886 to $445 a month and then to $128 a month.
U.S. Magistrate Judge George Foley reviewed the case and determined Wicks’ payments were reduced because Nevada, unlike California, does not provide a state supplement. When Wicks moved to Nevada he was no longer eligible for the supplement.
The case was ultimately dismissed in September of 2009.
Prior to Wicks’ arrival at the courthouse, investigators suspect he set his home on fire. He lived at Sunrise Senior Village on 30th Street in Las Vegas.
***UPDATE Marshals say they don’t know motive for shooting
***UPDATE U.S. Marshals Service Director John F. Clark said in a statement, “I can receive no news more grim or sobering than word of a line-of-duty death or injury to our U.S. Marshals personnel. … Rest assured, the brave and immediate actions of these two individuals saved lives by stopping the threat of a reckless and callous gunman who had no regard for who or how many victims were struck down by his senseless actions. They are heroes.”
***UPDATE 8 News Now has learned that the Deputy U.S. Marshal suffered buckshot wounds to his head and hand. At least five federal agents shot the gunman killing him. The gunman’s body is outside of the federal building. The court security officer is identified as being 65-year-old retired Metro Sgt.
***UPDATE (AP)~~Hospital official says a court officer in Las Vegas federal building shooting has died.
Suspected gunman is shot dead, FBI says
The Lloyd George Federal Building in Las Vegas
MSNBC—Two federal agents were shot Monday when a gunman opened fire in the lobby of a federal building in downtown Las Vegas, and the gunman was shot and killed, the FBI said.
“We have two marshals down,” Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Roxanna Lea Irwin said after the shooting ended at about 8 a.m. local time.
The condition of the federal agents was not immediately known.
Police and other federal agents swarmed the multi-story building, and paramedics wheeled at least two people out and down a ramp to ambulances. There was no immediate word on the identity of the shooter.
Las Vegas police spokeswoman Barbara Morgan said the gunman had been shot in the head.
“It looks like he went in there and just started unloading,” Morgan said.
The multi-story building houses federal courts and offices for federal officials including U.S. Sens. Harry Reid and John Ensign.
Irwin said she saw shotgun casings on the floor of the lobby.
Two Shot at Las Vegas Courthouse
Police block off the area around the federal courthouse in Las Vegas on Monday.
CNN—Two people were shot Monday in the lobby of a federal courthouse in Las Vegas, Nevada, police said.
The shooting suspect was shot and killed, FBI Special Agent Joseph Dickey said.
The incident occurred about 8 a.m., said Barbara Morgan, spokeswoman for Las Vegas Metropolitan Police.
The two victims were a deputy U.S. marshal and a court security officer, according to U.S. Marshals spokesman Jeff Carter.
Authorities were in the process of evacuating the building, Dickey said.
One person was dead at the scene, and two others were transported to University Medical Center in unknown condition, according to Tim Szymanski, spokesman for the Las Vegas Fire Department.
No one else was in the lobby at the time of the incident, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police spokeswoman Barbara Morgan said.
This report will be updated as information becomes available.
On YouTube, a man who claimed to have a jury summons captured audio of the shots (contains graphic language): Vodpod videos no longer available.
Carrie Prejean Threatens to Leave Larry King Live due to Larry Being “Inappropriate”
posted by GeoT
“Non-traditional” Video Release TBA– It’s Paris Hilton 2.0 😉
—The sudden end to a legal battle between dethroned Miss California USA Carrie Prejean and pageant officials was prompted by the revelation of a “sex tape,” according to a source familiar with the lawsuits’ settlement.
Prejean was fired in June after lingerie-modeling photos of her emerged that pageant officials said were a breach of her contract. Prejean sued the pageant in August, arguing her firing was religious discrimination because of her opposition to same-sex marriage.
Pageant officials countersued last month, demanding their former beauty queen repay $5,200 in pageant money spent for her breast implants and give them all proceeds from a book she’s written.
A settlement of both lawsuits was signed in New York Tuesday, but no details were made public. Lawyers and parties for each side were bound by a confidentiality pledge, according to the source.
TMZ's Harvey Levin (click image for TMZ story on Carrie Prejean Sex Tape)
The veil of secrecy was partially lifted Wednesday after celebrity gossip Web site TMZ reported the deal was sealed after pageant lawyers presented an “extremely graphic” home video involving Prejean.
TMZ Managing Editor Harvey Levin said during a webcast Wednesday that he obtained the Prejean video during the summer, but found it “too racy” to post on his site. He indicated Prejean was alone in the video.
The source with knowledge of the settlement talks told CNN those details were accurate.
The video was taken back in 2007 (Carrie was 20) and not when Carrie was 17 yrs. old. He further revealed that there were people (on Prejean’s camp) contacting him to “lie” about Carrie’s actual age when the video was taken.
In response to Carrie’s awkward appearance on “Larry King Live” and her ex-boyfriend saying he was told to lie about her age in her solo sex tape, Miss Cali Prez Keith Lewis tells TMZ:
“The public is finally getting a glimpse of the real Carrie Prejean who lives in her own delusional world.
The childish behavior, her negative attitude, the sarcasm and condescending tone, the disrespect and continual lying she is demonstrating now is only a fraction of what we endured during her reign and after.
Anyone who buys her book is supporting a woman who is actually the opposite of everything she claims to be.
I sincerely hope she is able to get the psychological help I believe she has shown to clearly need.”
Keith and Mary Felch have cut their driving in half by using e-bikes.
CNN —Keith Felch is admittedly a big guy, but more than a few super-fit cyclists in Southern California have been left wondering how that dude just went flying by. And then his wife, Mary, comes motoring past.
“They stare, like how can a girl go past me,” she says, laughing. It takes the other riders a few seconds but then they figure it out.
They have electric motors.
The Felches, who live in Aliso Viejo, California, used to drive everywhere, except when they used their bikes for recreation.
That changed when they got their new e-bikes, made by a company called Optibike. Now, they ride to go shopping and to go to breakfast — but mostly they ride to work.
Keith Felch says the couple has cut 50 percent of their car-use since they started electric biking.
And there are other benefits. Keith Felch dropped 30 pounds and his blood pressure fell 10 points in the first six months he owned the bike, he says.
The Felches don’t exactly classify themselves as “environmentalists,” although Mary said it is important to have a positive effect on the planet.
“I learned that the worst amount of smog that you put out [in an automobile] is in the first mile, so if we can make even some of those shorter trips on our bicycles, it makes a big difference,” she says.
What’s an ‘e-bike’?
E-bikes run on 1 horsepower motors, or good old-fashioned pedal-power.
By law, electric bikes must have no more than 1 horsepower and go no faster than 20 mph (on motor power alone).
Basically they are much like traditional bicycles with small motors that power the bike or assist a rider with pedaling. Many have gears like a regular bike.
“It’s just adding the throttle aspect, other than that it handles like a regular bicycle,” Keith Felch said. He says he uses the throttle all the time, choosing one of two modes — eco [half power] or fast [full power].
He says he once tried a regular bike for his 4 ½-mile ride to one of his music studios where he teaches jazz improvisation.
But the hills nearly got him. He calls his electric bike a “hill eraser.”
It also makes the ride to his farthest studio — 22 miles away — seem much closer. He says he gets about 35 miles on his primary battery and has an additional one for long rides.
Watsonville solar project to power thousands of homes
WATSONVILLE — A plan to install solar panels at the city dump to provide enough power for 4,700 homes (10% of the city population) is moving forward with the blessing of the City Council.
Solar Panels in Watsonville, CA
Construction of more than 6,500 panels could start at the end of March and be generating 2.3 megawatts of power before the end of 2010, according to Steve Schumer of San Jose-based Cupertino Electric Inc.
The city would lease the land to Cupertino Electric at a price yet to be negotiated. The council, which approved the project Tuesday in a 6-0 vote with Councilman Greg Caput absent, must still approve the lease agreement.
Schumer said a third party, whose name he declined to disclose, has signed a letter of intent to buy the electricity if the price is right.
“We’re close,” Schumer said.
The city also is working with Cupertino Electric to install solar panels at the Watsonville Municipal Airport to produce another megawatt of power. Don French, general manager of the airport, said the deal will go before the City Council after engineering studies are completed. He supports the project.
“I like the idea of solar panels, and if the airport can make a few bucks, I’m all for it,” French said.
A third project in the works would put solar panels on rooftops of city buildings.
Throughout her life Melissa Jesperson Moore hid a part of her identity. She had pretended that life was perfect after her parents divorced and she was suddenly uprooted from everything familiar. She had to be silent and to pretend not to be disturbed when her father brutally strangled stray animals in front of her. These experiences prepared Melissa to hide the deepest, darkest secret of all……..
Then one day far from her hidden past her young daughter asked an innocent question,”Mommy…everybody’s got a daddy.Where’s your daddy?”
This was the starting point in her memoir, “Shattered Silence: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer’s Daughter“.
Shattered Silence is an honest reflection of growing up with a sociopath as a father and having to relearn what ‘normal‘ was through observation of friends, outside family, and peers.
Who is Keith Hunter Jesperson?
Keith Hunter Jesperson
Keith Hunter Jesperson (born April 6, 1955, Chilliwack, British Columbia) is a Canadian born American serial killer known as the “Happy Face Killer” for the smiley face he drew on his many letters to the media. Keith Hunter Jesperson was first arrested in 1995 for the murder of his girlfriend, Julie Ann Winningham, 41, of Camas.
In addition to his conviction for Winningham’s murder, Jesperson has been convicted of murdering four women in Oregon, California, and Wyoming. While Jesperson sat in the Clark County Jail for the murder of Julie Winningham, he began talking to his attorney, Thomas Phelan, about other crimes that he had committed starting with Taunja Bennett. He is currently serving three consecutive life sentences at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem. Learn more about Jeperson at the TrueTV Crime Library.
Another Book on Keith Hunter Jesperson
Prize-winning journalist Jack Olsen, armed with unprecedented access to one of the most infamous serial killers in American history, provides a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a murderer in the killer’s own words . . .
In February 1990, Oregon State Police arrested John Sosnovke and Laverne Pavlinac for the vicious rape and murder of Taunja Bennet, a troubled 23-year-old who had been mildly mentally disabled since birth. Pavlinac had come forth and confessed, implicating her boyfriend and producing physical evidence that linked them to the crime. Authorities closed the case.
There was just one problem. They had the wrong people…
And the real killer wasn’t about to let anyone take credit for his kill. Keith Hunter Jesperson was a long haul truck driver and the murderer of eight women, including Taunja Bennet. As the case wound through police precincts and courts–ending in life sentences for both Sosnovke and Pavlinac–Jesperson began a twisted one man campaign to win their release.
Happy Face Murders, the 1999 movie
An eccentric older woman (Ann-Margret) implicates her brutal & controlling lover in the murder of a young mentally disabled girl. Absorbed with “Murder She Wrote” and “Matlock“, she creates details of the murder from clues she picks up from the detectives (Marg Helgenberger, Henry Thomas) on the case. Implicating herself and sentenced to jail, she then recants her testimony. But no one believes her until clues surface from the real killer that he is still out there, has killed before, and will kill again. He signs his messages with Happy Faces.