Orange County Register: Not only did your sales tax rise today, but the federal tobacco tax more than doubled. . . . Orange County health clinics for low-income residents will receive federal stimulus dollars. . . . Former Garden Grove police chief Frank Kessler, 76, pleaded guilty to one count of embezzling funds as a Canyon Lake city councilman. After 18 years of service to Garden Grove, where he also served as a mayor and councilman, Kessler retired in 1994 and moved with his wife to the Riverside County community. . . . Jeff Twaddle, a 54-year-old deckhand, decided to play a trick on schoolchildren aboard a charter boat by placing a piece of bait in his mouth. But the Huntington Beach resident choked, lost consciousness and later died. . . . Norman: The sale of Orange County businesses rebounded in March.
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Los Angeles Times: Because of a local sales tax enacted last year, the state increase that kicked in today and a county hike coming in July, Pico Rivera will have the top sales tax in the state at 10.75 percent. Guess that means no more trips to the Dal Rae. . . . Bucking the conventional notion that shitty economy = more crime, local agencies report crime is down throughout Southern California, including Orange County. When it comes to LAPD, UC Irvine professor George Tita says, "Smart, effective policing seems to be keeping a lid" on crime. . . . A serial bank robber dubbed the "Chimney Sweep Bandit" is cleaning up in Orange County, warn the feds. . . . A federal study finds high-levels of flame-retardant chemicals in waters all over the country, including Long Beach's. . . . Uh, oh: Angels starter "Millionaire" Joe Saunders may be experiencing "dead arm."