<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Local News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Mon, 24 Nov 2014 06:06:15 -0800 Mon, 24 Nov 2014 06:06:15 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Driver Arrested After Hitting Mountain View Patrol Car]]> Sun, 23 Nov 2014 18:03:15 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/B3KFfJxCQAAjmSo.jpg+large.jpg

Mountain View police have arrested a driver after he slammed into a patrol car Sunday morning.

Police said officers tried to pull him over near Middlefield Road and Highway 237, but the driver took off.

He ended up going up onto an embankment, hitting one of the patrol vehicles. That is when officers arrested him.

No one was injured, and it is not clear if drugs or alcohol were related to this crash.

Photo Credit: Mountain View Police]]>
<![CDATA[Niners Aren't Sharp, But Pull Out Must-Win Game]]> Sun, 23 Nov 2014 16:48:01 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/164*120/4ty9nerswiin.jpg

This was a game the 49ers absolutely, positively, no-doubt-about it, had to win.

With a Thanksgiving night showdown with Seattle looming this week, 6-4 San Francisco had to beat a 3-7 Washington team that came in struggling on both offense and defense. The 49ers couldn't stumble in a so-called trap game and let their wild-card playoff hopes slip away.

The 49ers did what they needed, however, getting the victory by a 17-13 score. But it wasn’t as easy as it should have been.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Niners – who hadn’t scored an offensive touchdown in the fourth quarter of a game this season -- trailed 13-10 and found themselves with a fourth-and-1 from their own 34 with 5:28 remaining.

But reliable Frank Gore pounded for 3 yards and a first down, Colin Kaepernick connected with Anquan Boldin for 29 yards on the next play – plus picked up another 15 yards on unnecessary roughness – and the 49ers punched in a go-ahead touchdown on Carlos Hyde’s 4-yard burst three plays later for the 17-13 lead.

The 49ers defense then held – sealed by a Justin Smith sack and forced fumble with 52 seconds remaining -- and San Francisco improved to 7-4. The team’s third straight victory allows the 49ers to keep pace with the Seahawks. Both will have the same record when they meet Thursday night, after Seattle’s 19-3 victory over the NFC West-leading Cardinals in Seattle. Arizona has a two-game lead with five remaining.

Sunday’s game at Levi’s Stadium started in a promising way for the Niners, who took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a quick, five-play drive that ended with Kaepernick connecting with Boldin for a 30-yard score. Boldin had a huge day, finishing with nine catches for 137 yards.

But other than a 41-yard field goal by Phil Dawson just before halftime, the 49ers offense wasn’t able to score again until the late fourth-quarter TD by Hyde.

Kaepernick at times wasn’t sharp – he was 20-of-29 for 256 yards and one TD and one interception – and San Francisco coughed up two fumbles. Plus, the 49ers’ field position was horrible all day. Through three quarters, the 49ers were forced to start drives five times from their own 10-yard line or worse.

But San Francisco’s defense again was tough. The Niners sacked Robert Griffin III five times – including two by Aldon Smith, his first of the year – and held Washington to just 213 total yards.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Arrested for Security Breach at SJ Airport: Police]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 05:46:43 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Zaragoza.jpg

San Jose police are investigating a security breach at San Jose airport Sunday - the third since April at this airport - and have arrested a suspect on charges of trespassing and stealing a maintenance worker's vehicle.

San Jose Police Sgt. Heather Randol said Miguel Zaragoza, 39, breached the airport on Sunday about 10:15 a.m. along the Coleman Avenue side of the airport. Employees of Atlantic Aviation captured him as he entered the property, escorted him to a lobby, and alerted police.

While waiting for police to arrive, he ran from the company's lobby to the public side of the airport and asked an employee driving a maintenance truck for a ride, police said. When the airport worker said no, the suspect stole it, according to police.

Police caught up with  Zaragoza, and arrested him at Terminal B. He never made it to the runway area, Randol said.

He will be booked into Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of possession of a stolen vehicle and trespassing, Randol said.

No one was injured in the incident and no further details were immediately available. And no flights were affected because of the incident.

In August, Marilyn Hartman, 62, was arrested for taking a Southwest Airlines flight from the San Jose airport to Los Angeles, sneaking by a security screener without a ticket. She pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of willfully and unlawfully entering Los Angeles as a stowaway.

In April, a 15-year-old Santa Clara boy hopped the fence at the San Jose wheel well before hiding in the wheel well of a plane  and flying to Hawaii, miraculously landing safe in Maui.

Photo Credit: San Jose Police]]>
<![CDATA[Video Shows Package Thieves in SF Mission District]]> Sun, 23 Nov 2014 18:56:03 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/surveillance_thefts_mission.jpg

New video has surfaced of package thieves in San Francisco's Mission District, according to Mission Local.

Surveillance cameras caught the thieves walking into an apartment courtyard and opening packages addressed to a building next door.

Police are reminding people to try and schedule deliveries when someone will be home or to ask for packages to be placed out of sight.

Police are uging people to call them if they recognize any of the suspects.

Photo Credit: Mission Local]]>
<![CDATA[Activists Rally at Levi's Against Washington's NFL Mascot]]> Sun, 23 Nov 2014 15:52:33 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/B3J6E-eCMAAobud.jpg+large.jpg

Community groups and human rights activists rallied and marched to Levi's Stadium before Sunday's game against Washington, D.C. to protest the name of the team's mascot.

The protesters said Native Americans deserve the right to determine how their culture and identity is represented in the National Football League and in the media.

The protest is part of a series of similar nationwide actions held at other games played by the Washington team.

Sunday's game kicked off at 1:25 p.m.

Photo Credit: Ian Cull]]>
<![CDATA[Masses Resume at Holy Cross Church in SJ After Fire]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 19:27:51 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/holy_cross_masses.jpg A fire destroyed their church, but it didn't take away their faith. Tonight, nearly a week after flames ripped through historic Holy Cross Church in San Jose, a full mass was held in the parish hall. NBC Bay Area's Marianne Favro reports from outside the hall with more.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area's Holiday Food Drive Nets 17,000 Bags]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 19:35:56 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/B3EZlEWCYAAORv6.jpg+large.jpg

Saturday marked the start of NBC Bay Area's and Safeway's big holiday food drive, where anchors, reporters, and volunteers spent the day collecting food donations.

For the last five years, NBC Bay Area has teamed up with Safeway for the "Help Us End Hunger" holiday food drive to raise money and food donations for local food banks, which feed nearly 800,000 people a year.

For those thinking a booming economy eases the need for food this season, food bank workers said that is not the case.

"The cost of living in the Bay Area has skyrocketed so much now that working households...families with two working adults are working full time," said Michael Altfest, who is the communications manager at the Alameda County Community Food Bank. "They may be able to get by in other parts of the country, but they simply cannot get by in the Bay Area."

Last year, the drive led to 134,000 grocery bags being donated. Just on Saturday, close to 17,000 bags were collected--one bag, filled with pasta, sauce, cans of tuna and vegetables is enough to feed a small family for a week.

Those who donated said they wish they could do more to end hunger.

"We’re really fortunate that we’re able to feed our children and have a good Thanksgiving," Morgan Hill resident Debi Rivas said. "So, I wish I could do 10.”

And it's not too late. The pre-filled bags are for sale at Safeway stores through Christmas.

There will be volunteers, of all ages, who will keep the push on.

“I don’t see it as giving up a day," Branham High School student Kelley Sheen said. "I see it as making the most of the holiday season, just really giving back to the community that we live in.”

Some donors were very generous:


Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Attempted Child Assault at San Francisco Park: Police]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 19:49:07 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/park_assault_sf.jpg

San Francisco police are investigating an attempted assault on a 7-year-old child, possibly inside a park bathroom.

The attempted assault happened at about 4 p.m. Friday, according to police. Neighbors said police spent lots of time investigating the bathroom area of Lafayette Park at Gough and Sacramento streets.

Police described the suspect as a white male, 30 to 40 years old, and about 5 feet, 11 inches tall. He has brown hair, brown eyes, and was wearing an orange hooded sweatshirt, with gray and black letters on the front.

He also wore blue jeans with green, black, and white tennis shoes.

Neighbors said the park is usually busy.

Police said he was last seen running parallel to the park to Washington Street and on to Gough Street.

Police have released a sketch of the suspect:

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Destroys Campbell Spa, No Injuries Reported]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 16:55:29 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/health_spa_fire_campbell.jpg

A spa employee and a customer were forced to flee Saturday morning after a fire broke out at a South Bay spa.

Fire crews were called to the LT Day Spa in Campbell just after 11 a.m.

When they arrived, the building was about 25-percent damaged, crews said. The fire ended up destroying about 75 percent of the building before it was put out.

Campbell police closed the area around South Bascom Avenue near Campbell Avenue while they put out the fire.

No injuries were reported.

Investigators said they do not know what caused the fire, and arson is not being ruled out.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Company Unveils Electronically-Powered Skates]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 10:36:43 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1121-2014-RocketSkates.jpg

Forget walking or rollerblading — how about rocket skating?

California-based company Acton has developed electronically-powered skates that can propel the wearer up to 12 miles per hour — no pushing required.

Founders said the idea was inspired by "Iron Man," "Inspector Gadget" and "The Jetsons."

"The idea of just being able to slide around the urban environment is very exciting," said Peter Treadway, co-founder of Acton. "It's kind of like a magic carpet for your feet."

The skates were released this week and sell for $500 a pair.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Social Buzz: NBC Bay Area Food Drive in Action]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 09:08:29 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/janelle_holiday_food_drive2.jpg

NBC Bay Area reporters and anchors will be out at Safeway stores across the Bay Area today for the “Help Us End Hunger” holiday food drive.

For food drive information and how to donate, click here. And for a list of locations where NBC Bay Area personalities will be appearing, click here.

Be sure to visit your local Safeway and donate today! Use the hashtag #NBCBayAreaFoodDrive to join the conversation on Twitter. We'll be tracking today's social media buzz in the Storify below.


Photo Credit: Janelle Wang]]>
<![CDATA[SJ Woman Running From NY to Bay Area to Support Navy Seals]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 12:18:09 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/christina+runs+america+3+hashtap.jpg

A California woman has been on the road for over four months, running across more than a dozen states and covering 2,700 miles in honor of the Navy Seals. Christina Lee hopes her journey from New York to the Bay Area will raise $100,0000 for the Navy Seal Foundation and allow her to cross another challenge off her bucket list.

The 23-year-old from San Jose was sitting in her New York University dorm room two years ago and thought a bucket list is just what her life needed.

"I didn't want a bunch of things I could do in a weekend," Lee says. "I wanted some real challenges I would have to work for."

That’s when she came across a Facebook post about a woman who was running across the country to raise money for charity. She decided to add that to her list.

"Once I wrote it down I was going to do it," Lee says. "There are no halfsies on the bucket list."


She set out on her trek right after graduating college this spring, hoping her effort will raise money and recognize the work of the Navy Seals in serving our country.

"We don't thank our military enough," Lee says.

She is running without any support, pushing a jog stroller filled with her extra clothing and supplies. Lee says she is doing it the hardest way she knows how because something meant to honor Navy Seals shouldn't be a "walk in the park."

She had chosen the Navy Seal Foundation as her beneficiary because she felt the Seals, working in secrecy, didn't get all the attention and respect they deserve.

The run has also gained a deeper purpose.

Christina, a life-long supporter of the military, had chosen the Navy SEAL Foundation as her beneficiary because she felt the SEALs, working in secrecy, didn't get all the attention and respect they deserve.

She began her run as a way to honor all of them, but her effort gained a deeper purpose along the way.

In the first week of the run, somewhere in Pennsylvania, she received an email from Jennifer Collins, the widow of Navy Seal David Collins. 

Collins wanted to thank Lee for what she was doing for the foundation.

"She just sent me this email that said these people changed my life,” Lee said.

Collins told Lee how her husband has suffered a traumatic brain injury while serving overseas and how the injury plagued him after his return home. Collins shared how David had eventually killed himself and how the foundation had been there to help her and their two children.

"It just put it all in perspective," Lee recalls.

She now says she is always thinking of David during her run, particularly during the most challenging times.

"I think, so what if your feet hurt? At least there's no one shooting at you," Christina says.

Lee has fewer than 300 miles to go in her journey. She hopes to put her feet in the Pacific Ocean on December 6th.

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<![CDATA[Rare Deep Sea Anglerfish Caught on Video]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 20:26:56 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/deep-sea-anglerfish.jpg

The elusive deep sea anglerfish -- named for his "baleful appearance" -- is one of the more rare ocean creatures. The fish had never been videotaped -- until now.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported that Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute scientists managed to find one of the creatures at 2,000 feet below the sea.

The anglerfish generally live at depths up to four times where the recent fish was discovered. Climate change appears to be changing that, the newspaper reported.

As oceans warm, there is less oxygen. That means that deep sea creatures used to freezing temperatures might need to migrate to shallower waters in the quest to breathe.

Photo Credit: Monterey Bay Research Institute]]>
<![CDATA[New Alert System For Palo Alto Schools]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 20:17:37 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP631399220978.jpg

A longtime school maintenance worker has improved a Palo Alto campus alert system for use during emergencies, according to Palo Alto Weekly.

Teachers currently must use colored pieces of paper to indicate to first responders how things are transpiring in their classrooms: red for bad and green for good.

Mike Jacobs' "Safeguard Notifier" is a digital update for the old-school technology that replaces the paper cards with LED lights. If something goes awry, a teacher can hit a button on a key chain or lanyard that locks the doors and puts out the necessary light.

The system is not in place yet -- Jacobs is looking to raise money to spread the innovation around.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Released Inmates See "Freedom Fridays"]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 23:05:08 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1121-2014-DonyellGreen.jpg

Donyell Green left court Friday afternoon with a new sense of freedom.

After six years of living as a felon for a 2008 drug possession conviction, a judge agreed to re-classify Green's felony to a misdemeanor under voter-approved Proposition 47.

"Today is a 'Freedom Friday' for me. I am free now," Green said. "I'm not an ex-felon no more and that's a relief off my back."

Since Prop. 47 passed earlier this month, hundreds of inmates across the Bay Area have been set free. Thousands of others who've already served time could also have their felonies cleared from their records.

In Martinez, defendants have been walking out free every Friday after the measure was approved.

"Some of the people being released quite frankly are dangerous," said Jason Peck a prosecutor who has been fighting many of the releases.

Peck is concerned the community could be at risk.

"People that have a whole career of identity theft are getting released and possibly going to do it again," Peck said. "Likewise a form of robbery is called grand theft person, which is a very serious violent act to steal something off someone's person and they are under the act allowed to be reduced to misdemeanors."

But defense attorneys said judges are carefully reviewing each case, and insist "Freedom Fridays" are reserved for non-violent offenders.

Meanwhile, Green said he is eager to get back to work and start providing for his two young daughters.

"I just thank everyone who voted for that Proposition 47 because now I'm free to go live life like a normal citizen," he said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Farmers Spray Pesticides Near Schools ]]> Sun, 23 Nov 2014 10:43:53 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/pesticide+drift+pic.jpg

Wineries and vineyards dot the landscape of Livermore with brand new homes and schools popping up right next to them. It’s this picturesque atmosphere that drew Paola Reyes to the East Bay town. “We thought, ‘this is Livermore. This is wine country.’ Everybody wants to live next to a vineyard,” Reyes said.

The beauty, however, soon became overshadowed by her family’s illnesses, and nobody knew why it was happening. “Things were at a breaking point with my family,” Reyes said. “My son’s health, especially, to the point where he couldn’t go to school, and I looked at the vineyard and I said, 'Oh my God, maybe it’s the vineyard. They must be spraying something at that vineyard.'”

Reyes started researching. She requested records from Alameda County, which showed pesticides were being sprayed at the vineyard next to her home. “The first thing I thought when I found this information was, ‘This charter school is going to open in a few months and I need to inform the principal,’” Reyes said.

She sent multiple emails, including the pesticide reports, but only received an email response from the former leadership of the Livermore Valley Charter School Parent-Teacher Organization, which said, in part, “I do find it hard to believe that the vineyards behind our school would use any pesticides. The state would have never allowed them to use pesticides near any school campus.”

In fact, state law does allow it, leaving the decision as to what to do with that information with individual counties. Reyes never got a response from anyone at the school on the issue and parents were never informed.

Records obtained by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit show pesticides were sprayed months later on school days.

The head of Livermore Charter School defended the school’s decision not to notify parents: “The simplest answer I guess is that it was a one time a year process,” said Bill Batchelor, CEO of the Tri Valley Learning Corporation, which includes Livermore Valley Charter School.

In fact, the spraying happened over several days. Batchelor said he only learned about it after the pesticide spraying took place, but conceded there could have been a better process. “We weren’t notified by the county. We weren’t notified by the vineyard itself,” Batchelor said.

Several reports, including one published in 2012 by the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, found a link between health problems and pesticide exposure for young children. “In the short term we worry about kids having skin and eye irritation. They can have headaches. They can have nausea,” said Dr. Alice Brock-Utne, an East Bay pediatrician who contributed to the report. “Even if you get an exposure today and that has no effect on you today, it’s possible over time, when you are being continuously exposed, you can still have long-term effects.”

In San Bernardino County, schools sit just feet away from farms where pesticides are sprayed. That’s why that county created the School Protection Act, which requires farms to notify the county at least 24 hours before spraying.

“Reporting it afterward doesn’t do much except tell us what was used,” San Bernardino Deputy Agricultural Commissioner Allen Lampman said. “We do encourage the grower to contact the school, and quite a few of them do because that directly tells the school what’s happening, when it’s happening and how it’s happening.”

After the Investigative Unit contacted both Alameda County and Livermore Valley Charter School, they sat down to discuss the issue and are now making changes. “We’re going to get more proactive,” said Alameda County Agricultural Commissioner Scott Paulsen. We have a work plan, and we’re going to amend the work plan for further outreach for schools and vineyards.”

Batchelor said the school will start notifying families going forward:

“Assuming that the vineyard is cooperating with us and notifying us, obviously we’ll notify our families so they can make the decision of whether to send their student to school that day,” Batchelor said. “Our goal is actually to alleviate from happening during the school year.”

It’s exactly what Paola Reyes wanted to see happen a year ago. She can’t prove her family’s sickness was directly related to the pesticides sprayed at the vineyard, but she’s since moved away. “I can tell you, we felt ill when we moved here. We got better when we moved out. We were seeing doctors on a weekly basis when we were living here. We haven’t seen a doctor in a year since we moved out,” Reyes said.

NBC Bay Area reached out to the company that leases the vineyard, Diamond West Farming, numerous times. No one from the company gave us a statement.

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<![CDATA[Boy Who Fell Off Bodega Bay Cliff Awakens From Coma]]> Sun, 23 Nov 2014 17:40:45 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-11-23+at+11.37.01+AM.jpg

After nearly 10 days, a 4-year-old boy who fell off a cliff in Bodega Bay, Northern California, has woken up from his coma Friday.

Sebastion Johnson fell more than 200 feet down a seaside cliff nearly two weeks ago, as he was throwing rocks into the ocean with his family when he slipped over the edge.

"I wanted to jump off and and grab him and make sure he's alive," Sebastion's father, Daryl Johnson, told NBC's "Today" show of the ordeal.

Rescuers rappelled down the cliff to save him. They slowly lifted him to safety. Sebastion ended up with a broken leg, arm and jaw.

But, on Friday morning, Johnson's father said his son was breathing on his own and had his neck brace removed.

"We're amazed he's pulled through," Sebastion's mom Jamie Guglielmino told "Today." "We've given him a nickname,'miracle monkey.' Everyone in our family has a monkey nickname."

Sebastion was still recovering on Sunday and a GoFundMe Hope Fund has been set up for him.

Photo Credit: NBC's "Today" show]]>
<![CDATA[Giants to Host 'Orange Carpet' World Series Film Premiere]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 11:30:51 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/141029-giants-royals-world-series-game-7-wednesday.jpg

The San Francisco Giants are celebrating their 2014 championship with an "Orange Carpet" event that will premiere their official World Series film, Giants spokeswoman Shana Daum said.

The event will take place on Monday, Nov. 24 at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. The red carpet arrivals are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and the film is expected to start at 7:30 p.m.

National League Championship Series hero Travis Ishikawa, broadcaster Jon Miller, public address announcer Renel Brooks-Moon, and mascot Lou Seal are expected to attend the premiere. The World Series trophy is also scheduled to be at the event.

Season ticket members can buy general admission tickets for $25 on the Giants' web site.

The World Series video will be available in stores Tuesday morning, Daum said.

The film is narrated by Colin Hanks, who is a Giants fan and star of the FX series "Fargo." The film will include highlights, behind-the-scenes access, and interviews, the team said.

Major League Baseball is also hosting the event. It has produced World Series films since 1943.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Window Washer Survives 11-Story Fall From SF Building]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 23:38:04 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SF-WINDOW-WASHER-CHOPPER-RAW-SD---14451915.jpg

A window washer fell screaming about 11 stories from the top of the Sterling Bank and Trust building in San Francisco Friday, landing on a car in the middle of a busy street, police and witnesses said.

The man suffered critical injuries, but he was conscious, and the driver was not injured, police said.

San Francisco Police Lt. Ed Del Carlo said the worker was getting ready to work when he "fell off the apparatus" and landed on a car about 10 a.m. after falling from the building at 400 Montgomery Street, near the intersection with California Street. The roof of the car, a green Toyota Camry, was smashed in, and the rear windshield shattered.

"The driver didn't know what happened," Del Carlo said.

The driver, Mohammad Alcozai, at first thought it was a bicyclist who accidently hit his car. But when he got out of his car, Alcozai said he couldn't believe what he saw.

"Somebody said they fell off the roof and I look and said, 'Oh my God,'" he said. "And when I see my car it was flat -- only my spot was OK."

Alcozai quickly ran to the man's aid.

"He was shaking pretty bad. He was shaking and wasn't able to talk," Alcozai said. "He was breathing hard."

The window washer, who has not been identified by police, was taken to San Francisco General Hospital where he remained in critical condition late Friday afternoon. Cal/OSHA spokeswoman Julia Bernstein said the man suffered a broken arm and injuries to his side. He was with a partner, who was not hurt. Bernstein said a safety engineer was on scene, trying to determine what happened.

The intersection of Montgomery and California was closed to traffic for several hours as police investigated.

Sam Hartwell, who was on his way to a meeting, saw some of what happened: "I saw a blue streak out of the corner of my eye," and then that "streak" hit a car with a great "thud." Soon afterward, Hartwell realized that "streak" was a person.

Hartwell and about 20 other people ran to the man, who was on his back. The man was lucid, though he was bleeding.

"He understood we were with him,'' Hartwell said.

The fire department says a paramedic was at the scene within five minutes of the first 911 call, but it took 10 minutes from the time of the call for an ambulance to arrive.

The bystanders, who included a nurse, put clothing on the man as they waited for the ambulance.

Hartwell said of his reaction, "It was utter, immediate shock. How do you react to something like that?''

The window washer worked for Century Window Cleaners of Concord, which has been fined for safety violations in the past. A complaint from 2008 resulted in a $2,700 settlement. The state ordered the company to train and “supervise the use of equipment and safety devices to insure that safe working practices are observed.”

NBC Bay Area contacted the company for comment, but the man who answered the phone declined. The company's website states it carries a $5 million worker compensation insurance policy and a $5 million general liability insurance policy.

The fall comes about two weeks after two window washers were stranded on top of the World Trade Center in New York City. On Nov. 12, two workers were rescued in dramatic fashion after scaffolding collapsed.

Last month in Irvine, California, two window washers stuck for hours near the top of a 19-story high-rise were pulled to safety by members of a search-and-rescue team.

Window cleaning is one of the safer industries, according to Stefan Bright, the safety director for the International Window Cleaners Association based in Zanesville, Ohio.

Among the 15,000 to 20,000 professional cleaners working on high-rises each year, there are typically fewer than three fatalities a year, he said.

While figures for window washers specifically were not available, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that seven workers in the janitorial or cleaning professions died as a result of on-the-job injuries sustained while working with scaffolding from 2011 to 2013.

The Associated Press and NBC Universal's Noreen O'Donnell and Torey Van Oot contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area chopper
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<![CDATA[Famous SF Twin Marian Brown Dies at 87]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 10:31:18 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/172*120/twins9.jpg

Marian Brown, one half of San Francisco's best-known set of twins, has died.

The Brown twins cheerfully walked the city in matching outfits over five decades.

Last year, Vivian Brown died. Thursday, her sister, Marian, died at a San Mateo hospice.

Marian was 87 years old.

“The one thing that caught my eye was how well dressed they always were,” Sir Francis Drake Hotel doorman Laban Wade said last year, when Vivian died.

The sisters were known for walking the Union Square streets, together, decked out in fashionable matching outfits, greeting visitors and locals with unison hellos.

The twins often appeared in advertisements and commercials, serving as unofficial ambassadors for the City by the Bay.

The late San Francisco columnist Herb Caen often mentioned the twins in his column, bestowing on them the kind of status reserved for the most revered icons.

Following the death of Vivian Brown, NBC Bay Area’s Joe Rosato Jr. reported a picture of the twins was taped to the window of Uncle Vito’s pizza on Nob Hill, where the Brown sisters dined nightly on twin pizza slices and red wine. Workers in the pizzeria said Marian Brown continued to dine there without her sister.

Joe Rosato Jr. contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[Grumpy Cat to Visit San Francisco]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:44:16 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/477158783.jpg

Can Grumpy Cat save the holidays?

Or, more accurately: can Grumpy Cat save us?

Help may be on the way, when the Internet's beloved "cranky kitty" pays a visit to San Francisco Friday.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Grumpy Cat will be on hand at 5 p.m. at Union Square for the unveiling of the holiday pet adoption window at Macy's.

Grumpy Cat will also be promoting her movie. Yes, she has a movie, and "Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever" premieres on Lifetime on Nov. 29. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images for SXSW
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<![CDATA[Students Help to End Hunger With Holiday Food Drive]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 08:32:25 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/claireoconner.png

Students hopped into grocery carts at a Pleasanton Safeway Friday morning, all in an effort to fight hunger and deliver beans, peanut butter, pasta and more nations to seven food banks throughout the Bay Area.

Claire O'Connor, student body president at Piedmont High School, dropped an "Help Us End the Hunger" bag into a donation barrel - from a sitting position inside a cart - to "give back to the community." She was surrounded by friends blowing their trombones and french horns from inside the store to promote the annual pre-Thanksgiving fundraiser.

All the help is sorely needed, said Michael Altfest, spokesman for the Alameda Community Food Bank.

"There's a lot more working families coming to food banks," he said. "The cost of living has skyrocketed in the Bay Area."

The food drive, a monthlong partnership between the food banks, Safeway and NBC Bay Area, is taking place at 155 Safeway locations throughout the Bay Area. The big day to donate is on Saturday. To make the donation process easier, a specially produced shopping bag filled with items that food banks need the most will be available for $10 at all local Safeway stores. Items include pasta and sauce, canned vegetables and important protein items like peanut butter and canned tuna.

For the last five years, NBC Bay Area has partnered with Safeway to help stock the shelves of local food banks. Last year, the food drive collected more than 134,000 bags at Safeway Stores across the Bay Area, amounting to over 1.6 million pounds of food for those in need.

Photo Credit: Henry Jerkins]]>
<![CDATA[BART's "Train to Plane" Service to Oakland Airport]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 08:48:48 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/BART+to+OAK-2.jpg

Four years after crews broke ground and $484 million later, BART’s new "train to plane" service, formally opens on Saturday - just in time, airport officials point out, for the Thanksgiving holiday rush.

The “BART to OAK” line now connects BART passengers to Oakland International Airport, where riders will be able to board one of four three-car automated people movers at either the Coliseum Station or the Oakland International Airport Station and take the eight-minute ride at 30 mph, BART officials said.

"The reliability should be much greater," BART's Project Group Manager Tom Dunscombe said Friday morning.

The 3.2-mile link will replace AirBART with a driverless automated people mover, which will arrive at the Coliseum Station every 4 1/2 minutes and can get passengers to the airport in eight minutes and 12 seconds, Dunscombe said.

BART already takes passengers to the San Francisco International Airport.

A big party to celebrate the opening is on Friday at the Coliseum Station from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. BART officials are so excited, they even created a Storify page to show off photos and videos of the new system. Click here for schedules and pricing.

In other Bay Area airport news, Mineta San Jose International Airport is offering discounted parking rates through the Thanksgiving holiday, and live musci starting on Friday through Thanksgiving Eve. The airport's volunteer ambassador and therapy dogs will be strolling through the airport so stressed out travelers can give them a pet before flying off to Grandma's.

Photo Credit: BART.gov]]>
<![CDATA[Members of LGBT Community Fear Exclusion From Immigration Order]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:01:40 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/gayimmigrant.jpg

Moments after President Barack Obama announced his immigration reform plan on Thursday, members of the gay community began fretting aloud about how the executive order would affect LGBT families.

Specifically, many wondered how Obama is defining families, as the centerpiece of his immigration order allows about 4 million people to become eligible to defer their deportations and allow them to work legally if they pass background checks and pay taxes. But the plan focuses on undocumented immigrants who are the parents of United States citizens. 

Just what defines a parent and a marriage? asked  Caroline Dessert, a self-described "queer Latina" from El Centro, Calif., who is also executive director of Immigration Equality.

If it's DNA and a municipal marriage certificate, Dessert pointed out that would leave out roughly 267,000 undocumented members of the LGBT community who could likely be excluded from Obama's intended relief. While the order is a "historic moment," she said, "once again, it appears as though the LGBT community has been excluded from a law designed to protect vulnerable people."

"If family relationships through marriage, or blood, is the only way that you can seek deferred action, or you can seek recognition or seek to come into status, " said Kate Kendall, with the San Francisco-based National Center for Lesbian Rights - another group worried about the same issues. "That will leave out tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of LGBT families."

Specifically, Dessert, Kendall and other lesbian, gay and transgender activists are worried about a few things that Obama has yet to address. Many lesbian and gay groups were part of a White House conference call on Thursday ahead of the president's announcement, but there was no time to ask the questions many in the LGBT community wanted to ask.

Emails to White House representatives were not immediately returned on Friday.

Specifically, Dessert and other LGBT immigration advocates have these questions:

  • About half the states in the United States don't recognize same-sex marriage. How will Obama define families if the parents aren't legally married?

  • LGBT parents often don't have biological children. Will this be count against them as Obama outlined the relationships between fathers and mothers who adopted their sons and daughters.

  • Being gay is a crime in about 80 countries around the world. Will Obama deport gay undocumented immigrants to these places if they've fled them recently?

  • The transgender community has historically been targeted by police and arrested; Will these "crimes" and arrests count as Obama's program would not allow criminals to be eligible to stay in the country.

Activists are hoping that if they express their concerns publicly, then Obama will heed their worries as the order won't formally be implemented for another 180 days.

 "In the past, you needed a blood relationship," Dessert reiterated in a phone interview. "We hope that won't be the case, here."

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Immigration Equality
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<![CDATA[Stanford Professor Awarded National Medal of Science]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 19:29:28 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1120-2014-ThomasKailath.jpg

Only now do I realize what was happening at the kitchen table all those days and nights. Stacks of paper, books and mugs of cold chai crowded my uncle and a few of his students.

This was a Silicon Valley think tank, before the days of the Silicon Valley. Or think tanks.

In 1977, my family and I arrived at the doorstep of my Uncle’s house in Stanford, California.

We moved from Bombay to start a new life in America.

Thomas Kailath had already started his new life in America in 1957.

To me, he wasn’t the world renowned Stanford professor, engineer and entrepreneur who President Barack Obama awarded the National Medal of Science.

Instead, he was my uncle. A man with an intense focus, contagious laugh and penchant to fall asleep in the middle of a party.

That kitchen table was legendary. He mentored dozens of Stanford PhD students who would go on to revolutionize the Silicon Valley. He researched, wrote books and started companies.

On Thursday in the East Room of the White House, President Obama honored 18 of the country’s leading scientists and innovators. The President singled out Professor Kailath, remarking on his journey from India, to MIT and then to Stanford.

"In 1957, when I came to this country you could never imagine all the nice things that have happened to me," said Kailath after the ceremony. "All the people who have helped me. My wonderful students. It’s a dream."

It’s a shared dream by his family, students and his little nephew in the kitchen, watching a genius at work.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Critics Call for Investigation into PG&E Substation Security]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 00:02:48 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/lorretta.jpg

Two prominent critics are calling for an investigation into Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s efforts to protect the infrastructure that controls electricity in California, following an NBC Bay Area investigation about electric substation security.

California senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) and former president of the state’s Public Utilities Commission Loretta Lynch are upset with the lack of security upgrades exposed in the NBC Bay Area reports.

“The evidence that I’ve seen is certainly more than sufficient to open an investigation,” Lynch said.

Security at substations is critical because experts say a successful attack could knock out power to the Bay Area for weeks or even months.

In August, NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit visited 14 of PG&E’s largest and most critical substations in Northern and Central California. NBC Bay Area discovered what experts have called vulnerabilities in PG&E’s security network. Two facilities appeared to be unmanned. At seven others, security guards failed to patrol the perimeter of the substations. At another, an open gate provided direct access to critical electric hardware. At five substations, NBC Bay Area was able to stand close enough to the outer fences to use a thermal imaging camera and identify transformers in the dark.

“It was upsetting to me,” Hill said after reviewing the findings of the NBC Bay Area investigation. “It said PG&E has not done enough to protect the infrastructure that we so rely on.”

Hill has authored a successful bill that will force California utility companies to increase security at substations next year. Earlier this month, Hill sent a letter to the CPUC calling for the regulator to review security at PG&E’s critical substations.

Hill wrote, “…all the public has is the word of PG&E’s public relations office for assurance that its efforts to secure the electric grid are appropriate and effective.” Hill added that the CPUC has “an opportunity to demonstrate that the Commission has the courage and the capability to challenge PG&E’s assertions and the dedication to communicate to the public an evaluation of PG&E’s performance.”

Last April attackers shot 100 high powered rifle rounds into 17 transformers at the Metcalf substation in South San Jose. The incident lasted just 19 minutes, and had the potential to black out much of Silicon Valley. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has not officially labeled the attack an act of terrorism, but many high-ranking government sources and congressional leaders have raised concerns that the Metcalf attack may foreshadow a more robust attack plan.

PG&E promised to spend $100 million over three years to improve security at critical electric substations. A year and a half later, the Investigative Unit discovered what appeared to be a highly simplistic security network. A military veteran trained in special operations who visited PG&E’s most important substations concluded that PG&E would only get a passing grade when it comes to security.

“Metcalf could be repeated at all the sites you showed me in less than 15 minutes,” he said. He asked to keep his name anonymous, citing future undercover assignments.

PG&E calls its current security “high level.” After visiting 14 facilities unannounced, the Investigative Unit asked PG&E if it could provide details that indicated the utility knew when and where the visits had taken place. Senior director of corporate security Stephanie Douglas wouldn’t answer directly.

“I’ll let you give me some ideas,” she said.

Just nine days after that conversation, intruders cut through a fence at the Metcalf substation and stole construction equipment. Security guards were on the premises at the time of the break-in, which went unreported for more than four hours.

PG&E’s “high level” security network so far has failed to produce any public photos or video of the break-in. As a point of contrast, earlier this year surveillance cameras at a South Bay car dealership captured video of multiple car thefts in action.

Lynch said that the CPUC, led by president, Michael Peevey has both the power and the responsibility to look closer and demand accountability from PG&E.

“The concern I have,” she said, “is that the CPUC under Mike Peevey has been very slow to investigate when it would embarrass the utility.”

CPUC commissioners declined multiple requests for interviews but CPUC Executive Director Paul Clanon responded to Hill’s letter. Clanon said that the Commission’s investigation into the August break-in at the Metcalf substation is ongoing and “includes interviews with PG&E staff, data requests and other standard investigative steps.” Clanon also said that the CPUC has directed the utility to perform a “root cause analysis” of the incident. He said that the CPUC is monitoring PG&E’s progress of substation upgrades and “will conduct audits to assure compliance with safety requirements.”

Stephanie Douglas also denied a request for an update on substation security.

If you have a tip for the Investigative Unit email theunit@nbcbayarea.com or call 888-996-TIPS.

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<![CDATA[Scantily-Clad Techie Graces Silicon Valley Billboard]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 09:49:36 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/alex-dice.jpg

Silicon Valley commuters, meet "Alex," an underwear-clad "techie" who graces a billboard set up along Highway 101, which is now the "Gold Coast" of advertising space, according to reports.

Bloomberg notes that billboard space is so in-demand in the Silicon Valley corridor that billboard renter Dice.com, an Iowa-based career website, may be paying as much as $40,000 a month to subject commuters stuck in traffic to a "pasty" lad in polka-dotted underpants.

And Alex, for the record, is no model: he's a real-life engineer.

Photo Credit: Dice.com]]>
<![CDATA[Carr Leads Winning Drive to Snap Losing Streak]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 21:01:17 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/191*120/murrayvschiefsnov.jpg

Finally. So that's what winning feel like.

After 368 days without a win, the Oakland Raiders can at long last put a “W” in the standings.

The Raiders, who started this season 0-10 and were 0-16 dating to last Nov. 17, pulled out a 24-20 victory over the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs on national television Thursday night at O.co Coliseum.

It was an improbable win over a team that had won five straight and came into the game a heavy favorite.

After taking a 14-3 halftime lead – their first halftime lead in almost a year – the Raiders stumbled, allowing Kansas City to go up 20-17 with 9:30 remaining.

But the Raiders came roaring back, with Derek Carr leading a clock-eating, 17-play, 80-yard drive that culminated with Carr’s 9-yard touchdown strike to James Jones with just 1:42 left in the game.

The Raiders then withstood one final possession by the Chiefs, who got great field position on a kickoff return to their own 39, then drove into Oakland territory, aided by a Raiders penalty on a Chiefs fourth-and-3 play to keep it alive.

Finally, after a Sio Moore sack of Chiefs QB Alex Smith on third down, a fourth-and-13 pass from Smith with 28 seconds remaining fell incomplete, and the Raiders could celebrate a victory.

From the start, it looked like it might finally be Oakland’s night.

The Raiders jumped out to a 7-0 lead on their second possession, driving 60 yards for a touchdown, with running back Latavius Murray going around left end for 11 yards.

It was a great-coming out party for Murray, who had a good game last week against the Chargers and was given an opportunity Thursday night to show what he could do.

He certainly proved himself, following up his first TD with a 90-yard burst for another score to put Oakland up 14-0.

But after gaining 112 yards on four carries and giving the Raiders the running game they’ve been searching for all season, Murray took a blow to the head and was knocked from the game.

The Raiders offense then proceeded to go flat, and Kansas City climbed back into the game.

The Chiefs caught the Raiders at 17-17 on a 30-yard pass from Alex Smith to Jamaal Charles with 12:29 left, then forced a three-and-out by Oakland. Kansas City then drove for a go-ahead 25-yard field goal by Cairo Santos with 9:30 remaining.

That’s when Carr and the Raiders offense came alive, engineering the 80-yard, game-winning drive.

Now 1-10, the Raiders return to action Sunday, Nov. 30, with a game in St. Louis against the Rams -- and a chance for a two-game winning streak.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Burglars Targeting San Jose Schools]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 05:32:07 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1120-2014-SchoolBurglar.jpg

Burglars appear to be targeting the Mount Pleasant School District in San Jose.

Sanders Elementary School is the latest campus to be broken into after thieves Wednesday made their way onto the campus and took cash intended to help low-income students pay for everyday necessities.

"Gave me the absolute chills," Principal Julie Howard said. "Made me sick to my stomach."

Wednesday's incident is the third time the school has been hit by burglars since August. Sanders Elementary is one of five schools in the Mount Pleasant School District. School officials report all five campuses have been burglarized this year, with thousands of dollars of equipment taken.

District officials said they have installed bars over windows and security cameras at schools this year, which has not stopped burglars from breaking into the campuses. The district reports seven break-ins this year.

"It's devastating," Howard said. "They're stealing from all of our kids."

Howard and other school officials hope surveillance video of two suspects from Wedneday's incident will put an end to the rash of burglaries.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Niners Can't Look Past Struggling Washington]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 09:51:22 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/gorerheddzune.jpg

With six games remaining this season, including Sunday’s vs. Washington at Levi’s Stadium, the 49ers are on the playoff bubble.

At 6-4, they’d be out of the postseason if the regular season were over, a game behind the 7-3 Cowboys, Eagles and Packers.

But Sunday’s game represents the beginning of a six-game season of its own, with four of those games at home. They’ll have Washington and the Seahawks at home this week and next, while finishing at home vs. the Chargers and Cardinals after back-to-back road games at Oakland and Seattle.

Going 6-0 will do the trick, of course, but that’s unlikely. But they need to go 5-1 or at least 4-2 and hope for some help to get into the tournament for a fourth straight season under Jim Harbaugh.

But this final stretch begins with what seemingly is a winnable game against 3-7 Washington. Oddsmakers have made the 49ers 9-point favorites. But they can’t look past Sunday’s game to their big Thanksgiving night matchup vs. the Seahawks. They have to take care of business in Game No. 11 before Game No. 12.

The Niners have some momentum with consecutive victories over the Saints and Giants, but this season the opponent has seemed to matter very little. It’s how the 49ers offense has performed that has dictated whether San Francisco has won or lost. The defense has been steady, despite some major absences. The offense has been up and down week to week.

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman told reporters that the 49ers need to be better in the red zone, avoid negative plays and score more consistently. So far, San Francisco has yet to score an offensive touchdown in the fourth quarter in 2014.

“Point production, obviously we’ve got to produce more points,” he said. “We know that. And when you look at it, we just had too many negative plays. So I’ve got to do a better job of coaching and we’ll do a better job of executing and get that right.”

When it comes to efficiency in the red zone, Roman acknowledged that perhaps he’s abandoned the run, which has been effective in the past and now has the luxury of two hard-running backs in Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde.

So, if the 49ers get inside the 20 Sunday, expect to see more power-running plays.

“I do think that we need to run the ball better in the red zone as well,” said Roman. “I don’t think we’ve set ourselves up well down there running the football.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Robin Williams' Former Napa Estate Listed For $25.9 Million]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 07:40:14 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/robin-williams-home.jpg

Robin Williams' former Napa Valley estate is back on the market.

The 640-acre "Villa of Smiles" is for sale for $25.9 million, 13 percent cheaper than when it hit the market prior to the actor and comedian's death, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The villa is 20,000 square feet and sports five bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a library, a bell tower, a theater and "safe rooms," according to the newspaper.

There's also a 65-foot-long swimming pool, a ranch and "more than 18 acres of vineyards," the newspaper reported.

No word on what grapes are planted.

The villa was built specifically for Williams, who died at his Tiburon home in August.

Photo Credit: Coldwell Banker Previews International]]>