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Trump administration pulls $1B for California's high-speed rail project – The Trump administration cancelled nearly $1 billion Thursday in federal money for California's high-speed rail project, further throwing into question the future of the ambitious plan to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco. California Gov. Gavin Newsom immediately pledged to take the administration to court, though the state has not yet filed a lawsuit. The official word of the funding cancellation by the Federal Railroad Administration came several months after President Donald Trump first threatened to withdraw it. His comments came in response to Newsom shifting the project's immediate focus to a 171-mile stretch of track in the Central Valley, saying there currently wasn't a path for the full line. (Associated Press)
California lawmakers reject $1 billion to protect homes from fires –A California legislative committee has stripped the $1 billion in funding from a bill to protect homes against wildfire through home improvements. The Assembly Appropriations Committee on Thursday removed the spending from a bill by Democratic Assemblyman Jim Wood. It comes after Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom declined to commit to the spending last week. He's said he would work with the Legislature to find money and "we'll try to do our best." Wood's proposal would have given $1 billion in financial assistance and rebates to people in high fire risk areas to harden their homes, such as by making their roofs fire resistant. Californians can already get up to $3,000 to retrofit their homes if they live in earthquake zones. (Associated Press)
Report: California gas price hike could be due to manipulation – California's skyrocketing gas prices could be driven by "possible market manipulation" by a handful of well-known retailers, according to a new government analysis. In a memo to Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, the California Energy Commission said at the end of April the difference between the state's gas prices and the national average increased by more than a dollar — "the highest increase ever seen." After accounting for the state's additional taxes and other program costs, the increase has ranged between 17 cents and 34 cents per gallon since 2015. The agency noted the price jump "roughly matches" the period in 2015 when an explosion at Exxon Mobil's refinery in Torrance crippled production in the state for more than a year. But the refinery has restored normal operations, suggesting other factors are driving up the price of fuel. (Associated Press)
Sacramento teachers union postpones May 22 strike ahead of hours-long school board meeting – The Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) announced Thursday that it is going to postpone the strike that was scheduled for May 22. SCTA President David Fisher said they made that decision based on several factors, including a letter the union received from State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, calling on all parties to meet to avoid a state takeover. The union's announcement was made right before the Sacramento City Unified School District's Board of Education budget meeting, where board members were expected to review a plan that could buy the district more time to avoid a state takeover. It was first projected that the district would run out of money by November 2019. With the cuts and layoffs the board approved this year, it’s now expected to run out of cash by October 2020. (Daniela Pardo, ABC10)
Once in a blue moon seems more frequent than not... But hey, who cares about frequency when this one is happening now. So, get out your cameras, skywatchers, because you'll get to check out a seasonal blue moon on Saturday. The next seasonal blue moon after this will occur on August 22, 2021.
Hey now, look what's finally finished... After a year and $16.2 million, Sacramento's historic Memorial Auditorium is back open. Goodbye, uncomfortable seats. Hello, new cushions. Don't worry, though, the 92-year-old building still has its charm. It just has some much needed upgrades. It'll be used for the first time this weekend for high school graduations.