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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.

Mailbox thieves target Shingle Springs and Cameron Park

CAMERON PARK, CA - U.S. Postal Inspectors are investigating a series of mail thefts involving neighborhood parcel lockers in Shingle Springs and Cameron Park.

Brad Getter had a parcel stolen from the mailbox cluster at his apartment complex and contacted News10 after his local postmaster told him the same thing had happened to a number of other people in the area.

All of the thefts involve parcel lockers that are co-located with neighborhood delivery collection boxes, said U.S. Postal Inspector Jeff Fitch.

Fitch said there's a known security issue with the aluminum lockers and the postal service was working to upgrade all of them throughout the Sacramento region.

Getter wishes he had known about the potential problem before having the parcel shipped to his apartment by U.S. mail.

"At Christmastime if something like this is commonplace, then quit using these things," Getter suggested.

AAA offers free 'Tipsy Tow' service on New Year's Eve

 

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA - AAA says there no excuse for drinking and driving this holiday weekend. The company will offer free "Tipsy Tow" service for revelers on New Year's Eve.

From 6 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. on New Year's Day, in Northern California, anyone who has been drinking, can call (800) 222-4357 and a tow service will take you and your car home for free, up to ten miles. Just tell the AAA operator you need a Tipsy Tow and a truck will be dispatched to your location, whether your a AAA member or not.

The service will provide a one-way ride for the driver and vehicle to the driver's home. If there are additional passengers who need a ride, they will be taken to the driver's home as long as there is sufficient room for them to be transported safely in the tow truck.

California ReLeaf announces student poster contest

SACRAMENTO -- California ReLeaf announced today the release of a statewide Arbor Week poster contest for students in third to fifth grades. Students are asked to create original artwork based on the theme “Trees Are Worth It”. Submissions are due to California ReLeaf by February 1, 2011.

In addition to the poster contest rules, educators can download a packet that includes three lesson plans that focus on the value of trees, community benefits of trees, and  jobs in the urban and community forestry field. The full packet including lesson plans and poster contest rules can be downloaded at www.californiareleaf.org/programs/arborweek.