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Local tax service shuttered

The owner/operator of a Palmdale tax preparation business faces trial March 7 on federal charges that he prepared and filed phony federal income tax returns on behalf of his clients. Oscar D. Alcerro Jr., 31, owner of Juniors Tax Service Inc., was arrested this week by special agents with the Internal Revenue Service on an indictment returned last month by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Following his arrest, Alcerro was arraigned in federal court and released on a $25,000 bond. As a condition of his release, Alcerro was ordered not to prepare tax returns.

High Speed Rail meeting

Local business owners and stakeholders can find out more about the proposed California High Speed Rail and its affect on the Antelope Valley at a special open house from 3 to 6 p.m. Jan. 25 in the Lancaster Council Chambers, 44933 Fern Ave.

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State proposes new rules for Aliso Canyon facility

State regulators this week issued a series of proposed regulations under which Southern California Gas Co. would be able to resume injecting natural gas into the Aliso Canyon storage facility, but at reduced amounts and lower pressure levels than the Gas Co. requested. A final decision on whether the injections can resume will not be made until after a pair of public hearings are held next month, allowing residents to comment on the proposed safety procedures and operating restrictions.

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Call for ban of LASD drone; activists cite privacy issues

Activists this week called on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to ban the sheriff’s use of a drone, which the county’s top cop said he plans to use in search-and-rescue, bomb detection, hostage situations and other critical incidents to keep the public and deputies safe. Protesters—gathered on the steps of the county Hall of Administration to launch a Drone-Free LASD/No Drones, LA! campaign—said use of the unmanned aerial craft is a “giant step forward in the militarization of local law enforcement” and called on the supervisors to intervene.

Researchers to track nearby mountain lions

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors this week approved $4,500 in funding for three GPS collars to track mountain lions in the Tehachapi Mountains. The money comes from fines charged for fish and wildlife code violations.

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PATH offers services

Representatives from PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) on Jan. 23 will be present at the Palmdale City Library from 10 a.m. to noon to provide referral services to local agencies who may provide help with a variety of homelesness-related issues. The organization will return to the library on Feb. 6 and 27 at the same time period.

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Donate blankets on Sunday

The cold, rainy weather this weekend may serve as a reminder that there are an increasing number of homeless individuals and families in need in the Antelope Valley. Lancaster’s World Mission Church of God will try to assist these persons with a Sock and Blanket drive on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. at 45313 23rd Street West.

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Civil rights exhibit through March

MOAH:CEDAR is hosting through March 4 a rare look at the people and events of the Civil Rights Movement with the exhibition “Love, Peace and Equality” by photographer W. Kenneth Coleman. Coleman, who resides in Lancaster, is a freelance photographer whose professional career has spanned six decades.

New King hospital fetes first year since reopening

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors this week took a victory lap on the success of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital, which has been fully operational for more than a year.

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Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas hosted Empowerment Congress summit

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas marked the 25th anniversary of the Empowerment Congress, a national model for civic engagement, by urging all citizens to continue the fight against homelessness,

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