A judge blocks plans to convert two private prisons to an immigration detention facility. And the state tightens rules on regulator-oil industry relationships. Plus: Just because huge school districts are doing it doesn't mean little ones have to do it too, the state's superintendent says about reopening in some areas.
It's Arlene with Wednesday's news to know.
But first, reunited and it feels so good: After seven years apart, a Tulare man and his dog are back together again.
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Judge blocks prison-to-ICE center conversion plans ... for now
A federal judge has put on hold a private prison company’s plans to convert two prison facilities in a small, cash-strapped Central Valley city into immigration detention centers.
McFarland's elected leaders in April approved The GEO Group’s proposal to convert two 700-bed facilities into annexes for its 400-bed federal immigration detention center in nearby Bakersfield, the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Center. The plan expands GEO's immigration detention capacity in Kern County by 350%.
The modified permits for the facilities were slated to take effect July 15, according to court filings.
But U.S. District Judge Troy Nunley on Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order, barring the city of McFarland from modifying the permits for the two facilities, and preventing The GEO Group from transferring any immigrants into or out of the facilities until he rules on an outside request for a preliminary injunction.
Vacation rental demand soars, water wars and the elusive sturgeon
The demand for vacation rentals, particularly in non-urban areas, is rising as people seek closer-to-home destinations and want to avoid hotels.
A contentious legal battle that puts competing Western public agencies at odds over who gets precious Colorado River water gets underway in court.
The curious case of the long-living, giant sturgeon that dwell in the deepest waters of Lake Shasta, and why it's so rare to see one.
Some schools can 'safely reopen,' state education chief says
The Los Angeles and San Diego school districts said earlier this week they'll start the school year off virtually, while Orange County plans to allow some students to return.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond on Wednesday applauded the decisions by L.A. and S.D. not to reopen but said the same rules need not apply in counties with low rates of infection.
He called for “an abundance of caution" as many of California’s 1,000 school districts finalize plans for the new school term but stressed there was no one-size-fits-all template for reopening schools.
Many small, rural communities argue they shouldn’t have to comply with the same rules as big cities, where infection rates are higher, and Thurmond indicated Wednesday he agreed.
“We have some counties in this state where the number of cases is actually quite low,” he said. “Schools in those counties will actually be able to open and, if they’re following the guidance that our experts have provided ... we believe that those schools can open safely.”
🎧. LISTEN: The president of the Association of California School Administrators talks to host Carl Cohn on the EdSource podcast, "Schools on the Frontlines."
Sandwiches will be served here, a Twitter hack and no Rose Parade in '21
At least two delis are staying open in Redding despite state orders to shut down. One customer who bought food in support applauded the "brave" decision.
Tesla's Elon Musk, rapper Kanye West, reality star Kim Kardashian West and President Obama were among those whose Twitter accounts were hacked. Here's what might have gone wrong.
The Rose Parade traditionally scheduled for New Year's Day has been canceled. What is my abuelita supposed to watch now?
A new ethics policy for oil relationships
The state Department of Conservation, for years accused of too-cozy relationships with the oil industry, has quietly introduced a new ethics policy.
The new conflict-of-interest manual forbids employees from maintaining financial holdings, such as stocks, in businesses they regulate without written approval from the department's director.
The manual was recently obtained by Consumer Watchdog, which advocates for California taxpayers. "We really applaud the Newsom administration for biting the bullet and doing this," the nonprofit's Liza Tucker said.
The department oversees a range of matters including oil and gas development, mine reclamation, earthquake research and land management policy.
What else we're talking about
Is another round of stimulus checks coming? Is there another bump in unemployment benefits heading our way? We take a look at what's being proposed and what might be different in the next round.
Drivers 70 and older whose driver's licenses expire between March 1 and Dec. 31 get an automatic one-year extension, the DMV announced.
The nation's largest public pension fund, CalPERS, misses its investment target for the second straight year. That means higher payments from member agencies, whose taxpayers fund the difference when the markets fall short.
One in five Shasta County residents who tested positive for the coronavirus in the past month had no symptoms, a troubling sign of the virus' potential to spread — people don't take precautions because they don't feel sick.
L.A. Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s chief of staff will be reassigned after he wrote on Facebook that a young man killed by a sheriff’s deputy "chose his fate." The coroner said Andrés Guardado was shot five times in the back.
A SoCal attorney took his wife on a cruise to kill her and make it look accidental. For that, he could spend the rest of his life behind bars, after jurors in Santa Ana federal court found him guilty of first-degree murder.
Lastly, until the day one can visit San Francisco again, enjoy this picturesque city in photos.
In California brings you top news and analysis from across USA TODAY Network newsrooms. Also contributing: Sacramento Bee, Voice of OC, Associated Press, LAist, EdSource.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: California, ICE, prisons, Rose Parade, Twitter, CalPERS: Wed news