California on track for driest year in recorded history

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Just how dry is it in California? During the first 10 months of 2013, The Golden State had its lowest recorded rainfall in 164 years of record keeping, according to government meteorologists. Because of that, 84 percent of the state is considered to be in severe drought. And several counties, including Kern and Santa Barbara, are in extreme drought, which is even worse. State officials say we’ll be heading into winter with several key reservoirs at less than 40 percent of capacity…The mood has turned testy in the corruption trial of former Assistant Bell City Manager Angela Spaccia.  She sparred with prosecutors during her seventh and final day on the witness stand. One of the most contentious exchanges involved pay and benefits she received during an extended leave to care for family members. Prosecutors say Spaccia took 18 months off to care for sick family members and to have surgeries, and received her full pay and benefits, including vacation in San Diego go to the polls today in a special election to replace disgraced former Mayor Bob Filner. Councilman Kevin Faulconer, the only Republican in the race, is the frontrunner. He’ll be trying to capture more than 50 percent of the vote and avoid a run-off with one of a handful of Democratic hopefuls, Filner stepped down this summer amid allegations he’d sexually harassed at least 17 women…The owner of the Riverside Press Enterprise newspaper says it’s entertaining all offers after a deal with the owner of the Orange County Register failed to close on time. Dallas-based A.H. Belo Corp. announced last month that it had agreed to sell the paper to Freedom Communications for $27 million. The deal was originally scheduled to close in October, but the deadline was extended when Freedom paid a non-refundable $1 million deposit. Freedom insists the deal is still on…And finally, Kobe Bryant has been medically cleared to play basketball again. It’s another step in his comeback after tearing his left Achilles tendon seven months ago. The 35-year-old Bryant returned to practice over the weekend, doing some drills with the team. But a Lakers spokesman says there’s no timetable for the 15-time All-Star to play in a game.