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Payroll tax cuts start Friday

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House administration says Americans will start seeing the benefits of the payroll tax cut that President Obama signed into law in their paychecks starting Friday.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says the 2 percent decrease in the payroll tax will benefit more than 150 million families. He said the average worker will see take-home pay increase by about $700 a year as a result.

The White House said the cuts will provide a boost to the economy and job growth this year.

The tax cut was included in a deal Obama struck with Republicans to extend Bush-era income tax cuts for all workers. An extension of unemployment benefits was also included in the deal.

Report projects impact of huge storm in California

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A new report details the projected impact on California if a catastrophic winter storm causes extensive flooding and landslides.

The report released Thursday by the U.S. Geological Survey creates a realistic scenario to raise questions about the ability of authorities to handle such a disaster and is to be used for preparedness.

A team of 117 researchers considered a hypothetical winter storm similar to a 45-day storm that devastated California in 1861 and 1862.

They found that such a storm could cause hundreds of landslides, flooding stretching 300 miles long in the Central Valley and serious damage in the state's major population centers.

In all, researchers estimated the losses and damages could cost on the order of $725 billion.

Citrus Heights man apologizes for shining laser at CHP chopper

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA - A man who says he was just playing around with a laser pointer wants to apologize to a California Highway Patrol helicopter crew following his felony arrest.

Despite some high profile prosecutions, Jim Linstroth, 34, said he was unaware that pilots can be blinded by lasers when he aimed the device at the blinking lights of what he thought was an airplane Monday night.

"I wanted to see how far it could go," Linstroth explained.  A short time later, officers from the Citrus Heights Police Department arrived at his front door to take him away in handcuffs.

Linstroth was booked on a single felony charge of discharging a laser at an aircraft and spent three nights in the Sacramento County Jail before being released early Thursday morning.

Red Cross assisting residents burned out by Citrus Heights fire

CITRUS HEIGHTS - Residents in Citrus Heights were forced out of their home early Saturday morning because of an electrical fire.

The fire happened at 6804 Birchwood Circle.  An official with the Sacramento Metro Fire Dept. said old wiring in the attic started the fire.  It took crews close to an hour and a half to put the fire out.

In a news release, the American Red Cross said they made the scene and provided emergency lodging and food to the family.

The fire was maintained to the attic, though the rest of the home did receive some smoke damage.

Citrus Heights woman makes gifts of memories

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA - With the gift-giving part of the 2010 winter holidays pretty much over, are you already thinking about unique gifts for next year? Why not give the gift of a warm memory?

That is exactly why Alexandra Diebels, of Citrus Heights, decided to start her own business Sew & Stitch.

Diebels makes quilts out of t-shirts. You give her a dozen (or more) shirts and she'll use her hands and a sewing machine to create a 4-foot by 3-foot quilt that is durable, machine-washable and a memory made of clothing.

On how it began, she said, "I took a basic sewing class and it just kind of stuck and I took it all the way to get my degree from Sacramento State (CSUS) in apparel marketing and design."

Car slams Antelope home, gas meter; homes evacuated

ANTELOPE, CA - Six children in a duplex in Antelope escaped injury when a station wagon crashed into their living room Wednesday morning.

The children's father said no one was in the living room at the time. He said, "God was looking out for my family."

The car also struck the home's gas meter, causing a gas leak. Homes along Andrea Boulevard near Karm Way have been evacuated while a Pacific Gas and Electric crew works to cap the leak, said Sacramento Metro Fire District Capt. Christian Pebbles.

Emergency responders don't know why the 20-something driver crashed into the home. The incident was reported about 11:15 a.m. 

Mother, son arrested in Greenback fatal hit-and-run

SACRAMENTO, CA - A mother and son have been arrested in connection with the hit-and-run death of a 42-year-old man on Greenback Lane in Sacramento Monday evening, says the California Highway Patrol.

Officer Lizz Dutton said Glen Henderson, 26, and his mother, Donna Fraser, 58, of Carmichael, were taken into custody on allegations they struck Yuriy Kokhanyy who was crossing the road outside of a crosswalk on eastbound Greenback near Garfield Avenue about 6:05 that night. The victim sustained fatal injuries when he was hit in the far right lane and thrown to the ground, Dutton said.

CHP investigators determined the car believed to have hit Kokhanyy was registered to Fraser. Dutton said investigators believe Henderson was behind the wheel when Kokhanyy was hit.