<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Local News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.comen-usWed, 24 Aug 2016 16:24:31 -0700Wed, 24 Aug 2016 16:24:31 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Two More in Custody in San Francisco Homicide: Police ]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 16:18:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SF+GOLDEN+GATE+PARK+BODY+RAW+SFI+-+10260705.jpg

Six people are now in custody in connection with a San Francisco homicide earlier this year in which a homeless man was allegedly beaten and tortured and then thrown into a Golden Gate Park lake, police and prosecutors said Wednesday.

Two people, Michael Grasso, 26, and Sahmanntha Rundstrom, 19, were arrested Tuesday in connection with the death of 66-year-old Stephen Williams, whose body was found lying face down in Golden Gate Park's Alvord Lake by a gardener on May 24 around 7 a.m.

Grasso was taken into custody in San Francisco, while Rundstrom was arrested the same day in Flagstaff, Arizona, by police there, Officer Giselle Talkoff said.

Rundstrom's arrest came about after an investigator with the San Francisco District Attorney's Office who was working with homicide detectives contacted Flagstaff police, Talkoff said. Rundstrom will be extradited back to San Francisco.

Grasso is being held in San Francisco County Jail on suspicion of murder and inflicting injury on an elder likely to cause great bodily injury, with bail set at more than $1 million, according to jail records. He is likely to be arraigned Thursday, according to the DA's office.

Four people have already been charged in connection with Williams' death. Police have said he was beaten and tortured over a period of three days before being dragged into the lake.

Stephen Billingsley, 20, and Nikki Williams, 34, were arrested in connection with the attack and arraigned in June.

Billingsley, who goes by the alias "Pizza Steve," has been charged with murder, as well as assault, false imprisonment, elder abuse, torture, kidnapping and conspiracy.

Nikki Williams, who goes by the alias "Evil," is not charged with murder but faces charges including assault, elder abuse, false imprisonment, conspiracy, torture and kidnapping.

Both have pleaded not guilty to all charges and remain in custody with bail set at $1 million. They are due back in court on September 28.

Two other people, Robert Tannehill, 35, and Ian Severa, 23, were also arrested in June and named on the same complaint as Billingsley and Nikki Williams, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Tannehill was ordered to stand trial Tuesday following his preliminary hearing on charges including conspiracy, kidnapping, assault, elder abuse and false imprisonment, and will return to court on Sept. 7.

Severa remains on the same complaint as Billingsley and Nikki Williams and faces charges of murder, conspiracy, torture, elder abuse, assault and kidnapping.

Both Tannehill and Severa remain in custody, with bail set at $500,000 for Tannehill and $1 million for Severa, according to jail records.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[What to Do on Labor Day 2016 in the Bay Area]]> Mon, 22 Aug 2016 13:13:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/191*120/sfbridge.jpg

Labor Day may indeed be the unofficial end of summer, but that doesn't mean you can't soak up the last bit of summer fun happening around you. Here's a guide to a variety of free and ticketed activities scheduled around the Bay Area during the Labor Day holiday.

San Francisco Fest at AT&T Park
Sept. 4, 3 p.m., AT&T Park in San Francisco

Household names will be on full display at AT&T Park on Sunday, but not of the baseball variety. Music legends including Journey, Santana, Steve Miller Band and The Doobie Brothers will be rocking the stage. Tickets for the event are on sale now. For more information, click here.

Oakland A's Baseball
Sept. 2-5, Various Times, O.co Coliseum in Oakland

If you're more inclined to enjoy a savory hot dog and sip on a cold beer while watching America's pastime, head out to O.Co Coliseum for a weekend chock-full of American League action. The Oakland Athletics host one of the AL's best in the Boston Red Sox on Friday, Saturday and Sunday before welcoming the Los Angeles Angels on Monday. Tickets for the weekend's ballgames are on sale now. For more information, click here.

Scottish Highland Gathering & Games
Sept. 3-4, 8 a.m., Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton

Bust out your kilt and get ready to open your ears to the sweet sound of Scottish bagpipes. The 151st Scottish Highland Gathering and Games features a slew of celebrations and competitions that celebrate Scottish culture. Tickets for the weekend's event are on sale now or can be purchased at the fairgrounds. For more information, click here.

Shakespeare in the Park
Sept. 3-5, 2 p.m., Presidio Main Post Lawn in San Francisco

It might make you laugh. It might make you cry. Check out San Francisco Shakespeare Festival bring William Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale" to life. The wide array of music, dancing and personality prove to be a treat for the whole family. Best of all, the shows are free, but make sure to arrive early so you can grab a good seat. For more information, click here.

San Francisco Comic Con
Sept. 2-4, Various Times, San Francisco Marriott Marquis in San Francisco

Grab that superhero cape and prep yourself for a heroic adventure. Join other comic book lovers, anime fans, Star Wars lovers and more at this interactive showcase, which also includes celebrity meet-and-greets. Tickets for the weekend's event are on sale now. For more information, click here.

Sausalito Art Festival
Sept. 3-5, 10 a.m., Sausalito Art Festival in Sausalito

Get outdoors, sip on some wine, and marvel at fine art on display at this waterfront art festival. Gourmet food and live music entertainment will also be on hand as you stroll past work shaped by award-winning artists from around the country. Tickets for the weekend's events are on sale now. For more information, click here.

San Francisco Mime Troupe's "Schooled"
Sept. 4-5, 2 p.m., Dolores Park in San Francisco

School is back in session, but that doesn't mean you can't have a little bit of fun thinking about education. San Francisco Mime Troupe presents "Schooled," a socially relevant theater presentation that features live music and political satire addressing educational topics. No need to bring any cash because this event is free. For more information, click here.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus' "Out of This World"
Sept. 2-5, Various Times, SAP Center in San Jose

Come one, come all! Treat yourself to an intergalactic performance as Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus launch you into an outer space experience. Acrobats will test the limits of gravity and majestic creatures will take center stage in this show dedicated to please the entire family. Tickets for the weekend's events are on sale now. For more information, click here.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Naked Donald Trump Stuck in Custody]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 16:16:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-18-16-naked-trump-hands-folded.jpg

There are visions of a big party, a celebration and feting of the artist who created a handful of  naked, fleshy statues of Donald Trump that popped up across the country in San Francisco over the Labor Day holiday.

Joshua “Ginger” Monroe plans to drive from Las Vegas to Lefty O’Doul’s Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge, sometime next weekend to possibly retrieve one of his statues, confiscated from the Castro, and be the guest of restaurant owner Nick Bovis.

Bovis also plans to pay the city of San Francisco $4,000 -  the cost it took the Department of Public Works to unstick the statue’s epoxy base from the sidewalk – and turn it over to Monroe, who also created naked Trump statues in New York, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Seattle.

“San Francisco is just blowing me away with how awesome they are,” Monroe said in a phone interview. “It’s amazing Nick would want to foot the bill. There’s been a lot of backlash about the exhibit, that it’s about fat shaming and trans phobia. It’s none of that. It’s about shaming Donlad Trump.”
The statues have held different fates around the country. In New York, police destroyed it – which is something Monroe had thought – and wanted – to happen. “I was kind of jealous,” he said. “I would have taken a bat to it myself.” In Cleveland, police will hold the statue for 30 days, and may charge Monroe, or whomever put it there, with felony vandalism. In Los Angeles, a gallery owner swept it up before police could get to it.
According to Lefty O’Doul’s spokesman Lee Housekeeper, San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener had spoken with the acting police chief and someone from the city attorney’s office over the weekend, working to hammer out a deal where charges wouldn’t be filed against Monroe. Monroe told NBC Bay Area he just created the art and two guys from a group called Indecline showed up in a U-Haul to take the statues away. It’s up to the city attorney’s office, according to police, whether to recommend whether charges be filed or fines levied against Monroe, Officer Carlos Manfredi said. Monroe signed a document ceding the statue to Lefty O’Doul’s this week.
Calls to the city attorney’s office weren’t immediately returned on Wednesday.
The statues definitely prompted fierce political debate. On the one hand, many in liberal cities cheered on the unflattering display, officially called “The Emperor Has No Balls.”
Political analyst Larry Gerston said San Francisco is the perfect setting of “flamboyant culture” to display the statue, where many said the Trump-likeness, with a tiny you-know-what, was simply perfect.
But others, especially on the right, felt the statues were politically inappropriate and juvenile.
Harmeet Dhillon of San Jose, a business litigation lawyer in San Francisco and a  Republican National Committeewoman, said what if the statue had been made of Hillary Clinton?
“I think body shaming and fat shaming is appalling when done to women of any political background, and same to men,” she said. “People should be treated with dignity and respect. I don’t feel that’s fair political discourse. It’s not only vulgar and juvenile, it’s mean."

There are visions of a big party, a celebration and feting of the artist who created a handful of naked, fleshy statues of Donald Trump that popped up across the country in San Francisco over the Labor Day holiday.

But it's still unclear whether Joshua “Ginger” Monroe will get to go home one of his masterpieces, a 80-foot tall likeness of the Republican presidential candidate that features a huge gut and a tiny you-know-what. That's because the statue is being held as evidence in a San Francisco police department property room.

Still, the 36-year-old Monroe is hoping to drive from Las Vegas to Lefty O’Doul’s Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge in San Francisco sometime before next weekend to retrieve the statue, confiscated from the Castro last week, and be the guest of restaurant owner Nick Bovis.

Bovis also plans to pay the city of San Francisco $4,000 - the cost it took the Department of Public Works to unstick the statue’s epoxy base from the sidewalk on Market Street – and turn it over to Monroe, who also created naked Trump statues in New York, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Seattle.

“San Francisco is just blowing me away with how awesome they are,” Monroe said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “It’s amazing Nick would want to foot the bill. There’s been a lot of backlash about the exhibit, that it’s about fat shaming and trans phobia. It’s none of that. It’s about shaming Donlad Trump.”

The statues have held different fates around the country. In New York, police destroyed it – which is something Monroe had thought would – and wanted – to happen. “I was kind of jealous,” he said. “I would have taken a bat to it myself.” In Cleveland, police will hold the statue for 30 days, and may charge Monroe, or whomever put it there, with felony vandalism. In Los Angeles, a gallery owner swept it up before police could get to it.

According to Lefty O’Doul’s spokesman Lee Houskeeper, San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener had spoken with the acting police chief and someone from the city attorney’s office over the weekend, working to hammer out a deal where Monroe would not be arrested and the statue would be relinquished to Lefty O'Doul's, where Bovis would pay the fine.

Monroe told NBC Bay Area he simply created the art in Vegas, where he dabbles in costume making for horror films, and two guys from a group called Indecline showed up in a U-Haul to take the statues away. Police on Wednesday confirmed Monroe is not a suspect. They are still seeking, however, the person or people who glued the statue to the sidewalk in the Castro last Thursday.

Now, it’s up to the city attorney’s office, according to police, whether to recommend whether charges be filed or fines levied in the case once Monroe is vetted by an investigator, Officer Carlos Manfredi said. Monroe signed a document ceding the statue to Lefty O’Doul’s this week. Calls to the city attorney’s office weren’t immediately returned on Wednesday. Also, no one from Wiener's office was immediately available by phone or email either.

Monroe is floored by how much the statues definitely prompted fierce political debate - people are either sending him love letters, or hate mail.

On the one hand, many in liberal cities cheered on the unflattering display, officially called “The Emperor Has No Balls.” Political analyst Larry Gerston said San Francisco is the ultimate, progressive setting of “flamboyant culture” to display the statue, where many said the Trump-likeness, was simply perfect. Gerston recalled a ballot measure in 2008, which was ultimately defeated, where residents wanted to renamed the sewage treatment plant after then-president George W. Bush.

But others, especially on the right, felt the statues were politically inappropriate and juvenile. Harmeet Dhillon of San Jose, a business litigation lawyer in San Francisco and a Republican National Committeewoman, asked what if the statue had been made of Hillary Clinton?

“I think body shaming and fat shaming is appalling when done to women of any political background, and same to men,” she said. “People should be treated with dignity and respect. I don’t feel that’s fair political discourse. It’s not only vulgar and juvenile, it’s mean."

Monroe said he's been asked since his work has been thrust into the limelight to create a similar kind of statue for Clinton. His answer? "Absolutely, not." 

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[San Jose Artist With Cerebral Palsy Gets First Solo Exhibition]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 16:17:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/don+ryker+art+4.jpg

Amazing often takes time.

Take, for example, the hours and hours Don Ryker spends creating a single one of his works of art.

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For just one of his animal portraits Ryker, who has Cerebral Palsy, will spend somewhere between 12-15 hours painting. Because his disability makes it difficult for him to control his hands and feet, Ryker paints with a brush that is attached to a construction helmet held to his head by a Velcro strap.

An assistant helps the 31-year-old Ryker by mixing paints, moving the canvas, and changing brushes but the art is all Ryker.

And it's amazing.

[[391223451, C]]

But amazing, after all, is nothing new to Ryker. His mother, Andrea Bowers, says she and Ryker's father always did what they could to put their son in a position to succeed. Ryker, though, was the one who made it happen.

Using determination, and some creative engineering, as a young person Ryker was able to play baseball, mow the lawn, and even be a part of his high school's marching band.

"We were very proactive in making sure Don participated in everything," Bowers said. "We just had to figure out how."

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It wasn't until one of his teachers suggested painting, though, that Ryker struck upon his real passion. He recently graduated with a degree in art from San Jose City College and is having his first, solo exhibition. In the lobby of the Ameriprise Financial offices in downtown San Jose, more than thirty of Ryker's paintings adorn the walls.

"I'm excited for people to see my work," Ryker said. "And to buy it."

A typical Ryker painting will sell for more than $1,000 and he has sold a handful during the exhibition. He says it has inspired him to continue honing his craft and producing more.

Though he has accomplished so much, Ryker does not consider himself to be an advocate for the disabled. He would rather leave that to others. Ryker says he would simply like to be an example to those with (and without) disabilities of what a person in a wheelchair is capable of.

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<![CDATA[Menlo Park Venture Firm Slams Trump With Explicit Message]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 15:28:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/trump-llamado-afroamericanos.jpg

CRV, a Menlo Park-based venture capital firm is not shying away from publicizing its political agenda.

In fact, their message is quite blunt: "F--- Trump," according to its website.

CRV, or Charles Rivers Ventures, believes in the power of entrepreneurship, especially immigrant-infused entrepreneurship, according to its website. While celebrating its nine partners who originate from seven different countries, CRV has passionately denounced Donald Trump's anti-immigration stance and has thus slammed Trump's run at the White House.

"Donald Trump's anti-immigration statements are diametrically opposed to the core values of entrepreneurship," CRV said on its website. "And at CRV, we've had enough."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Viciously Beaten by Passing Stranger in SF: Police]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 15:33:05 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf-beating.jpg

A woman was viciously beaten for no apparent reason by a stranger she passed on the sidewalk in San Francisco last weekend, according to San Francisco police.

The victim, who was not identified, was taking a walk in Lafayette Park about 7:45 p.m. Saturday when a man approached her and started punching her in the head and face. A surveillance video provided by the San Francisco Police Department shows the man striking the woman and knocking her to the ground with the first punch then punching her about 20 more times as she lies on the ground. He then stands over her for a moment before walking off toward the street.

The woman still was in the hospital Wednesday, and she told police she was scheduled to have surgery soon.

Police released the surveillance video Wednesday are asking for help from the public to try to identify the suspect.

Photo Credit: SFPD]]>
<![CDATA[Nextdoor Curbing Racial Profiling Via New Description Tool]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 13:32:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Nextdoorfeature1.jpg

Plagued by a rash of racial profiling posts popping up on its website, the neighborhood social networking platform Nextdoor has launched a new tool to combat the hateful messages directed at people of color.

The San Francisco-based company's new feature, which uses an algorithm-based system to report crime and safety concerns, prevents users from simply typing a vague complaint - with potentially biased language - into a blank text box. Instead, users will be forced to provide a slew of specific descriptions, such as age, clothing, shoes, body build and more when it comes to describing a suspect in a neighborhood crime or safety concern, according to Nextdoor CEO and co-founder Nirav Tolia.

Although Tolia believes that most of the racial profiling posts were inadvertent, he hopes that the new feature will prevent such episodes from happening again.

"We are asking (users) to stop and think before (they) post," he said.

East Bay Express first reported in 2015 that Nextdoor was being stricken with racist-toned accusations directed toward people of color. For example, suspicious activity complaints were filed against black people and Latinos for simply "walking down the street, driving a car, or knocking on a door," with race being the only describing factor in the post, East Bay Express reported.

Tolia said that the company worked with community groups, the Oakland Police Department and city leaders to halt those forms of racial profiling.

"We had a moral obligation to do something about it," Tolia said.

Since installing a beta program and slowly rolling out the new feature at the beginning of the summer, Tolia claims that racial profiling instances have decreased by 75 percent.

Photo Credit: Nextdoor]]>
<![CDATA[Niners Address Issue of Fumbles by Running Backs]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 12:00:32 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/emdavysfumb.jpg

There’s a lot to like about the 49ers rushing attack through the first two exhibition games.

San Francisco leads the NFL with 420 yards on the ground and six yards per carry on 70 attempts.

No. 1 running back Carlos Hyde (11 carries, 55 yards) is healthy again and eager to carry the load in Chip Kelly’s new offense, and he appears to have some capable and explosive help with rookie Kelvin Taylor (12 for 51) and second-year man Mike Davis (10 for 98).

As Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk noted this summer after the 49ers ran the ball well vs. the Arizona Cardinals in Game 1, Kelly’s offense could surprise people this season.

“One of the biggest misconceptions about coach Chip Kelly’s system is that it’s a passing offense, as a lot of people equate tempo with throwing the ball around,” he wrote. “But at its core, it has always been a power offense, and the 49ers are showing some signs they’re capable of playing it.”

But the good news about the running game has come with some bad news, too, in the form of fumbles. Over two games, 49ers running backs have lost four fumbles, one by Hyde, two by Davis and one by DuJuan Harris.

So, in practices this week, 49ers coaches have been putting running backs through special drills as a reminder to get back to fundamentals and better take care of the ball. Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com wrote that running backs coach Tom Rathman and offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins were directing running backs through drills in which they had to negotiate a series of obstacles while coaches tried to jar the ball from their grasp.

Kelly and Modkins hope the reminders can fix the problem before the regular season.

“Everybody understands how important the turnover battle is in the game of football and if you’re on the plus side, you have increased your chances of winning the football game,” Kelly told Wagoner. “It’s something we’ve emphasized and continue to emphasize.”

The 49ers’ next exhibition game is Friday night in Green Bay vs. the Packers.

<![CDATA[Hillary Clinton to Hobnob With Bay Area's Tech Glitterati]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 15:27:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-591547400.jpg

It’s back to the Bay Area for Hillary Clinton.

The Democratic presidential candidate is slated to start her packed Wednesday in Redwood City with a 1 p.m. luncheon organized by Amy Rao, the chief executive officer of Integrated Archive Systems. Hosts are expected to contribute $27,000, co-hosts $10,000, champions, as they are called, $2,700 and fighters, $1,000.

Next, Clinton will take her campaign slightly south to Los Altos for a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. The event, although at the home of Lisa and Patrice Gautier, will be hosted by Apple CEO Tim Cook and former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, who is now Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives.

Similar to the Peninsula fundraiser, co-hosts must pay $10,000 to attend and champions, $2,700. Meanwhile hosts must contribute $50,000.

On Tuesday, Clinton also attended an event, titled “Dinner and Conversation with Hillary,” in the Piedmont home of Quinn Delaney and Wayne Jordan. Guests shelled out a cool $33,400 per ticket, which also afforded them photos with Clinton, while co-hosts paid $100,000 per couple.

For more information, visit www.hillaryclinton.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Two Hospitalized After Separate Overnight Shootings in SF]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 10:51:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/082416+police+tape.jpg

A pair of shootings in San Francisco overnight Wednesday that happened less than two hours apart from each other resulted in two men landing in the hospital, police said.

The first reports of gunfire came in shortly after 10:30 p.m. in the Ingleside neighborhood near Mission Street and Geneva Avenue, police said.

A 28-year-old male told authorities that he was waiting at a bus stop when he was shot, police said. The victim suffered non-life threatening injuries and was transported to the hospital by a friend. No suspect(s) have been made known to police.

Less than two hours later, shots were fired in the Tenderloin neighborhood at the United Nations Plaza, injuring a 23-year-old male, police said.

Two men became involved in a verbal argument before both parties opened fire on each other, police said. The victim sustained a gunshot wound to the torso and was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Authorities are looking an unknown 18-year-old suspect, police said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[BART Tackles Urine Problem With Bacteria-Eating Mist: Report]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 11:51:43 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/bart38.jpg

An elevator is not a toilet, but nothing says BART more than the urine soaked smell according to frequent riders.

That might slowly change, however, thanks to a nine month improvement project titled “Dealing With The Smell” that is already underway, SFGate reports.

The Bay Area Rapid Transport system is prototyping a spray made up of a bacteria-eating enzyme which will be misted once every hour in an effort to sanitize the elevators.

Crew are also replacing the urine soaked floors. They remove the old linoleum and wood and add a urine-resistant floor that is sealed with epoxy which will make the floor water-resistant and easier to clean.

The goal is that these improvements will stop the elevators from smelling or being as easily damaged. Work has already started on the Coliseum Station and they will move onto the Civic Center and Bay Fair Stations in the following weeks. This project should be completed around April 2017 (unless crew finds more damage) and will cost around $2 million for 80 elevators according to SFGate.

BART could not be immediately reached for comment.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Zuckerberg Selling FB Stock to Charity, Public Good: Report]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 09:50:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/zuckerberg-Dec2015_Family_highres.jpg

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan are well on their way to fulfilling a potentially billion dollar promise that they made last year after the birth of their first child, but the philanthropic venture isn't exactly 100 percent charity driven, according to reports.

The wealthy couple vowed last year to sell off 99 percent of their Facebook stock to charitable causes during their lifetime and kicked off that promise this past week, selling 767,905 shares, which totals roughly $95 million, according to SFist and Wired.

The project, dubbed the Zuckerberg Chan Initiative, is actually classified as a limited-liability corporation, which means that the money can be funneled into charitable organizations as well as public advocacy programs, non-profits, philanthropic projects and more, according to SFist and several other publications. Political donations and promotional endorsements are also acceptable.

Over the course of the next three years, Zuckerberg and Chan plan to donate roughly $1 billion in Facebook stock each year, SFist reported. The Facebook CEO currently holds over 400 million shares of his company's stock.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Mark Zuckerberg]]>
<![CDATA[Cal Kicks Off 2016 Season in Australia Against Hawai'i]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 08:43:05 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/193*120/MemorialStadium.jpg

The University of California at Berkeley football team kicks off its 2016 campaign this Friday, but the Golden Bears had to travel quite a bit farther than the average road trip.

7,422 miles to be exact. That's the distance between Berkeley's Memorial Stadium and Sydney, Australia, the site of the first college football game to be played "down under" in the famous Australian city in the almost 30 years, according to the University of Hawai'i Athletic Department.

The Golden Bears will challenge the Rainbow Warriors from Hawai'i on Saturday at noon Sydney time. That means Golden Bear fans can catch the nationally televised kickoff at 7 p.m. Friday night, according to Cal's Athletic Department.

Not only was the 15-hour plane trip to Australia a first for Cal Head Coach Sonny Dykes, it was a first for all of his players, according to Cal's Athletic Department.

"The players have been really excited to get here to Sydney and have this experience," Sonny Dykes told Cal's Athletic Department. "It's a big experience for these guys. It's something they'll remember for the rest of their lives."

The Golden Bear squad took off from San Francisco International Airport late Saturday night and will spend this week on the practice field as well as around the city of Sydney exploring some of the local treasures, according to Cal's Athletic Department.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Early Summer Reviews Are Solid On Raiders' Offensive Line]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 07:58:28 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/HudJaxxx.jpg

The Raiders have invested a lot in their offensive line the past couple of seasons, and the results have been good.

In 2015, center Rodney Hudson was added in free agency and provided leadership and a powerful force in the middle. Gabe Jackson was drafted in 2014 and has become one of the NFL’s best young guards. And, this offseason, the Raiders re-signed left tackle Donald Penn and brought in perhaps the best free-agent guard on the market in Kelechi Osemele. Now, with the return to health of right tackle Menelik Watson, the Raiders go into 2016 with potentially one of the most solid offensive lines in the league.

After the Osemele signing, the analytics website Pro Football Focus rated the Raiders fivesome as “the best offensive line on paper” heading into the new season, based on grades from 2015.

It not only means potentially very good things for a running game that the Raiders hope to emphasize more this season, but a huge plus for quarterback Derek Carr and the Raiders’ passing attack.

As Pro Football Focus noted, when Carr was not under pressure in 2015, he had a strong NFL passer rating of 96.4. Overall in 2015, that rating was 91.1. Because of injuries late in the season, Carr’s protection on the line crumbled, and his passer rating (never above 79.0 over the final five games) and interceptions (seven in the last five) went south.

But, after two preseason games, there are indications that the investment in the line this offseason could pay huge dividends in the regular season.

Through two games, the line has yet to allow a sack of quarterbacks Carr, Matt McGloin or Connor Cook. And, even with a subpar rushing game against the Packers last week, the Raiders are averaging 5.3 yards per carry.

Nathan Jahnke, who writes for Pro Football Focus, this week singled out the Raiders offensive line for its performance so far.

Tweeted Jahnke: “Offensive line with the best pass blocking efficiency this preseason? Oakland at 89.3. Line has yet to allow a sack or a hit; just 8 hurries.”

Longtime offensive line coach Mike Tice went into this training camp excited about the prospects of his group, and so far his linemen are living up to his expectations. Tice especially talked about the importance of Hudson, Osemele and Jackson as the core of the group.

“Those three guys, as a trio, could be as good as any I’ve ever worked with on the inside,” he told the media. “I’m really excited to coach those guys.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Shot Near Daly City BART Station]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 07:23:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-24-16-daly-city-shooting.jpg

A man in his 20s was shot, but not killed, early Wednesday morning near the Daly City BART station.

Daly City Police Sgt. Sean Begley said officers were dispatched to the end of Vendome Avenue, about a half mile from the BART station, about 12:30 a.m. They found the man suffering from at least one gunshot wound to his abdomen.

He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital. No other details were released.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Livermore School Board OKs Notice of Charters' Violations]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 00:02:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/liv-charter.jpg

The Livermore Unified School District board on Tuesday night voted unanimously to approve a notice of violation for two charter schools in the district.

The notice shows the district's concern about claims of illegal tuition charges and the transfer of students against their will at Livermore Valley Charter Preparatory and Livermore Valley Charter School. It claims the educators at those schools "bullied, intimidated, mocked and used profanity toward students."

The document alleges parent company Tri Valley Learning Corp. lacks integrity, charges illegal tuition to foreign students and has transferred some to a Stockton school against their will, has accreditation questions and is in financial trouble.

"Some of the things we've seen are so concerning, it almost makes you wish you could do more immediately," school board President Craig Bueno said.

An overflow crowd of parents at Tuesday night's meeting said they love the schools but not the corporation.

"If you think the charter schools should be taken from TVLC, then I suggest you take it away from them," parent Robert Clark said.

Some parents want a compromise.

"You don't burn down the house to make repairs," parent Bruce Wolfson said. "You have to find a good clean way to do it without forcing all the kids out."

A Tri Valley Learning spokesperson said the accusations are overblown.

"We're concerned about the proposed notice of violation that is incomplete and premature and goes against the cooperative relationship we have maintained with the district over the years," the company spokesperson said.

As a result of the alleged violations, the district has seen a mass influx of new students at its other schools, district officials said.

District spokesman Chris VanSchaack believes a lot of parents have grown frustrated and concerned with the activities of the charter schools.

"As of yesterday, we've seen an influx of almost 500 students since last June," VanSchaack said. "We know at least 80 percent of those are coming to us from the charter schools."

VanSchaack said Livermore Valley Charter Prep has lost its accreditation, and if it doesn't get accredited, those students may not receive credit for classes taken this year.

John Disimone, whose daughter attends the school, isn't worried.

"It's a bit sad to see some folks leaving, but I think it's not warranted," Disimone said. "I'm very happy with this school. I think we're getting good value here."

VanSchaack said the allegations are serious.

"We've got some recommended remedies to some of the things, and we hope they take it seriously," VanSchaack said. "We hope that they make some changes and salvage their schools."

The Alameda County District Attorney's Office is investigating the case. The charter schools in question did not respond to requests for comment.

The district's school board was slated to discuss the case late Tuesday during it's regular meeting.

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Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Giants Drop Series Opener Against Rival Dodgers]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 23:12:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/172*120/giants-la.jpg

LOS ANGELES — When the Giants finally lost the lead in the NL West earlier this month, players clung to a positive: They had nine games left against the Dodgers.

Maybe that wasn’t a good thing.

On the first night of the biggest series of the year, the Giants looked overmatched at times. The middle of the Dodgers’ order got to Madison Bumgarner early and often, knocking him out after five innings. The Giants lost 9-5, falling two games back in the NL West for the first time since April 25. They have dropped three straight and eight of 11 since returning to the West Coast.

Corey Seager, a rookie who will end up on MVP ballots, twice got to Bumgarner in the early going. Seager joined Brett Wallace as the only left-handers this season with two hits off Bumgarner in a game, and he did it in his first two at-bats. A first-inning double was followed by Justin Turner’s RBI single to left. A third-inning single started a rally that ended with a sacrifice fly. In between, 27-year-old rookie Rob Segedin hit a solo blast to left.

The Giants got the first two runs back with a string of singles off Kenta Maeda in the third. Angel Pagan — who extended his hitting streak to 19 games — and Buster Posey drove in the runs. They put two on with one out in the fourth, but Eduardo Nuñez was cut down trying to steal third and Bumgarner struck out looking. Brandon Belt would tie the game an inning later with a double, but Hunter Pence stranded two in scoring position when he swung through a high two-strike fastball. For the second time, Bumgarner couldn’t hold the tie.

With a runner on in the fifth, Seager worked a nine-pitch walk. Nuñez made a mess of Turner’s slow roller, loading the bases for Adrian Gonzalez, who lined a two-run single just over Brandon Crawford’s outstretched glove. Bumgarner was charged with a season-high five earned runs, but things didn’t get any better when he departed.

Cory Gearrin was charged with two runs in one-third of an inning. Javier Lopez gave up a two-run shot in the eighth. The Dodgers scored a run in six of eight innings their lineup came to the plate.

Starting pitching report: With a strikeout of Segedin in the fourth inning, Bumgarner reached 200 for the third consecutive season (he had 199 in 2013). He joined Max Scherzer and Jose Fernandez as the only big league pitchers with 200 and became the fifth Giant to whiff 200 in three consecutive seasons.

Bullpen report: Will Smith had his best night as a Giant. He got Seager to fly out softly and then struck out Turner to end the sixth. In the seventh he struck out Gonzalez and induced a soft grounder from Yasmani Grandal.

At the plate: Ehire Adrianza poked a pinch-hit single into shallow right to drive in a run in the sixth. He’s batting .385 (10-for-26) this season.

In the field: The Dodgers are not exactly scared of the arms in Bruce Bochy’s outfield.

Attendance: The Dodgers announced a crowd of 46,899 human beings. Two beach balls made it to the field.

Up next: Johnny Cueto makes his biggest start as a Giant? Maybe? He’ll face Rich Hill, who has been sidelined by a blister since coming over from the A’s.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Manaea Locked in as A's Slug Away to Beat Indians]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 22:05:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/as-indians1.jpg

OAKLAND — The storylines are light on positives for the A’s lately, but Khris Davis is waging a battle against that reality.

The first-year Athletic connected for his 33rd home run, a three-run shot in the bottom of the first, to set the tone for Oakland’s 9-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night. He walked and scored in the third, when the A’s bumped their lead to 5-0, and added a double in the fifth, scoring three runs total on the night.

That paved the way for left-hander Sean Manaea, who held Cleveland to three hits over seven innings to collect just his second win since June.

Davis’ homer in the first, a drive to right off Danny Salazar (11-5), gave him the most homers by an Athletic since Jack Cust reached the same number in 2008. He’s also just the second right-handed hitter to crack the 30-home run mark for Oakland over the last 14 years. Frank Thomas was the other with 39 in 2006.

Davis needs seven more over the final 36 games to become the A’s first 40-homer man since Jason Giambi in 2000. The night also provided a good rebound for him after Davis struck out in all four plate appearances Monday. Going back to Sunday, he had whiffed in six consecutive trips to the plate. But overall in his last 12 games, Davis is hitting .341 (15-for-44).

There were highlights all around for the A’s, including Ryon Healy’s three-hit night, the first career RBI for Chad Pinder and Bruce Maxwell and two hits for Danny Valencia, who also threw out a runner from right field in his first start since his clubhouse fight with Billy Butler.

Starting pitching report: Boosted by the early lead, Manaea (5-8) buzzed through the Indians’ lineup with ease, striking out eight and holding them to three hits. The seven innings pitched marked the deepest he’s pitched in a game since he went eight full against Tampa Bay on July 22.

Bullpen report: John Axford and Chris Smith closed it out for the A’s.

At the plate: Pinder’s run-scoring single to left highlighted Oakland’s two-run third. He entered the game 1-for-11 since receiving his first big league call-up Wednesday. Valencia singled and doubled in his first two at-bats and scored both times, helping ensure it would be a short night for Salazar, who was tagged for six runs over four-plus innings. Maxwell, who is quite familiar with Manaea from their time as minor league teammates, drove a two-run double in the eighth for the first RBI of his career.

In the field: Jake Smolinski sprawled out for a spectacular diving catch to rob Brandon Guyer in the eighth, the most impressive play yet since Smolinski took over as the A’s primary center fielder after the All-Star break.

Attendance: Included in the crowd of 13,141 were four people dressed in T-Rex dinosaur costumes, doing what they can to make A’s baseball lively in late August.

Up next: Coming off his first career shutout in his last outing, Kendall Graveman (9-8, 4.09) takes the hill in Wednesday afternoon’s 12:35 game. He sports the eighth-lowest home ERA in the American League at 3.03. The Indians counter with Trevor Bauer (9-5, 3.88).

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SJPD Officer Arrested in Connection With Street Gang Probe]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 13:16:59 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sjpd-generic-2015-2.jpg

A San Jose police officer was arrested Tuesday in connection with providing intel to Vietnamese street gangs, according to an internal San Jose Police Department memo obtained by NBC Bay Area.

Officer Derrick Antonio was arrested on five felony counts of unauthorized computer access and one felony count of accessory after the fact, the memo said.

The officer's arrest came after a five-month-long investigation into a Vietnamese criminal street gang that resulted in 21 arrest warrants, including Antonio's, and 33 search warrants, the memo said.

The gang is believed to be involved in numerous crimes, including assault, extortion, narcotics, bookmaking, public corruption and illegal gambling, according to a department release Tuesday. Gang members frequently operated out of Vietnamese cafes and routinely extorted cafe owners through various means, the release said.

Antonio, a veteran of more than nine years, was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail on Tuesday.

San Jose police Chief Eddie Garcia has scheduled a news conference for Wednesday at 3 p.m. at police headquarters to discuss the arrests in what has been dubbed "Operation Gang of Thrones." He will be joined by agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

On Wednesday, Mayor Sam Liccardo didn't say much other than to stand by the department.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Man Shot to Death Along Levy in Santa Cruz: Police]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 19:20:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police+tape+glin+generic2.jpg

Police in Santa Cruz are investigating the shooting death of a man along the levee path of the San Lorenzo River.

The Santa Cruz Police Department said officers responded to a report of a shooting on the levee pathway Tuesday and found a man with a gunshot wound to the torso.

The unidentified man died at the scene. Officials said his identity is being withheld until his family is notified.

The department said witnesses told police two men were arguing just before one of them shot the other. The shooter then fled the area on foot.

Santa Cruz police spokeswoman Joyce Blaschke said both men are transients and the shooter is known to police.

A motive in the shooting has not been determined.

<![CDATA[SJ Officer Shortage Looks to Require Emergency Action]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 18:39:20 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sjpd23.jpg

The city of San Jose and its police department are ready to take drastic measures to solve the severe patrol officer shortage.

The City Council on Tuesday met in a closed session with police Chief Eddie Garcia to officially start the process of staffing changes and beefed up patrols.

Originally, a series of meetings between police and city officials were to take place, but sources say emergency steps were discussed Tuesday with the chief. Now it appears an emergency action is headed for a public meeting and vote next week.

The council will be deciding whether it wants to give Garcia emergency powers and circumvent state law to make the necessary staff changes, such as shifting supervisors and more detectives to patrol duty.

With new shifts set to start Sept. 1, the department is 87 officers short of the 500 needed for patrol. The council will put the emergency action before a Rules Committee on Wednesday. If approved there, it will go on the agenda for the council meeting next Tuesday, sources say.

In the closed session, Mayor Sam Liccardo pushed for immediate action.

"This is critical so we can get more officers out on the streets, out in the neighborhoods, in the short term to hold us over until November," Liccardo said. "And hopefully, we get voter approval on Measure F at that time, and we can have more aggressive permanent solutions."

The San Jose Police Officers Association was not expecting such quick action. Just before the closed session vote, union officials had urged a quick response but also pointed out that it's a "Band-Aid approach."

"We are not able to fill the spots in our patrol division," said James Gonzales, union vice president. "Which means 911 calls don't get answered. It means if we need help, we don't have it. So an emergency is what we have, and calling it that is appropriate."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[$17K Goes Missing, Woman Fights Bank]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 23:57:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP111012189176.jpg

To help make ends meet, Karen Bates is preparing to rent out rooms in her Concord home. First, she wanted to spruce up the house.

“I need to paint it,” Bates said.

So, she withdrew a portion of her 401(k) retirement account. But right after the transfer completed, her money – about $17,000 – vanished.

“There was no money in my account,” Bates said. “There were huge chunks taken out, withdrawn, in cash.”

Police say an unidentified woman “falsely identified herself” and took Bates' money from two Chase branches, one in Scotts Valley and another in Santa Cruz.

The withdrawals took place almost 90 miles from Bates' home. She said she hasn’t been that far south in a long time.

“I went to the beach, not the banks,” she said.

Karen says she wasted three weeks on the phone trying to fix the mess.

She says her bank balance sat at zero for 22 days, a half dozen checks bounced, and Chase gave her the runaround.

“Who do you talk to when you need to confront a large institution like that,” she asked.


Karen called NBC Bay Area Responds. And we immediately called Chase.

Within a few days, the $17,000 was back where it belonged: Bates' accounts.

“Her claims were approved and the accounts have been credited,” Chase said in a statement. “If anything looks suspicious on an account statement, please contact us immediately.”

Chase declined to explain how the unidentified woman was able to access Bates' accounts and drain them. It also downplayed our role returning her money.

Bates sees it differently.

“Once NBC Responds got involved, there was immediate action,” she said.

A Chase spokesperson acknowledged that when money goes missing from customers’ accounts the bank gives itself 30 days to fix the problem. A month is “standard practice,” she said.

To Bates, that timetable is unacceptable.

“To be without that money a week was too long,” she said.

Bates' Chase balance is back at zero -- because she closed her account in protest.

If you recognize the person in the photo, the woman accused of taking Karen’s money, please contact Santa Cruz police.

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Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Tenants Forced to Live in Deplorable Conditions File Suit]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 18:39:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/OAKLAND+CHINATOWN+TENANTS+RALLY+RAW+RGO+1530+PDT+-+15332208.jpg

Tenants of an East Bay building say they have been subjected to unacceptable living conditions, cultural harassment and an invasion of privacy.

Residents of the single-room occupancy building on the edge of Oakland's Chinatown have filed a lawsuit against the property owners. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Brad Seligman said he plans to visit the building Wednesday to assess the situation for himself.

“If you can, imagine 33 households sharing three bathrooms and one kitchen,” said Katherine Chu, a housing rights attorney. “They're waiting in really long lines to be able to use the basic household facilities.”

That's what the attorney representing more than a dozen Chinese immigrants says her clients have experienced for six months. Chu said the building’s new owners have removed four of seven shared bathrooms and one of only two common kitchens, tossing out the tenants’ personal belongings during the demolition.

“Their lunar New Year celebration decorations were torn down from their front doors,” said Chu, a member of the Asian Law Caucus. “Basic things in common spaces – shoes and floor mats – taken away and thrown out; cooking ware in the kitchen, taken away and thrown out as well.”

The building's owners have also installed surveillance cameras in hallways that residents say they have to walk through to get to the bathroom and shower.

Nina Castro owns a store across the street from building and is outraged.

“Even though they speak little to no English that doesn't give people the right to abuse people, abuse their basic human rights,” she said. “The need to use a restroom, the need to cook your food so you can feed yourself – this shouldn't be something that happens in America.”

Meanwhile, Seligman has the power to order the building owner to rebuild the additional bathrooms and kitchen.

For their part, attorneys representing the building owner declined to comment in court Tuesday.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[First Day at School For Students Affected by Clayton Fire]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 17:17:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-23-16-students-return-clayton-fire.jpg

The Clayton Fire that ravaged Lake County is expected to be out any day now, which means it's finally safe for students to return to school.

Lower Lake High School, north of Napa, was closed for a week because of flames. Nearly 200 homes were destroyed and 4,000 acres scorched after a serial arsonist allegedly set fire to the community. The blaze is 96 percent contained as of Tuesday.

"A lot of people just lost their homes, and it seems like practically the whole town is gone, but we'll pull through," said Gloria Schussoln of Lower Lake. 

On Tuesday, relief was palpable on the faces of parents and faculty – all of whom credited firefighters for keeping them safe. Said firefighters were on campus Tuesday to greet returning students.

“The kids that I've talked to, especially the ones who lost their homes, want to be back at school because this is their safe spot,” said Principal Jessica Taliaferro.

A shed housing the high school's softball equipment was burnt down in the Clayton Fire, but no other major damage was reported. Taliaferro on Tuesday credited firefighters for that feat.

“We've gotten to know a lot of the firefighters, CHP, personally,” she said. “So to have them here with us means so much.”

Elizabeth Naber agreed.

“Everyone is talking about it,” the Lower Lake resident said. “We see the firefighters every day. There's a lot of them. They're working very hard and people thank them and stuff.”

Photo Credit: Pete Suratos/NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[3 Injured in SF as Taxicab Crashes Onto Sidewalk]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 23:46:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0823-2016-SFCrash.jpg

Three men suffered major injuries Tuesday after a taxicab in San Francisco jumped a curb, according to the San Francisco Fire Department.

The crash occurred about 3:15 p.m. at the intersection of Sansome and Sutter streets in the city's financial district, fire officials said.

First responders attended to two pedestrians and the cab driver, who were all critically injured, fire officials said. The cab plowed through a newspaper stand and a public toilet before hitting two men standing at a shoe shine stand, fire officials said.

The three injured men, ages 40, 59 and 66, were transported to the trauma center at San Francisco General Hospital with life-threatening injuries, the fire department said. A hospital spokesman said later Tuesday the 40-year-old remained in critical condition while the other two men were upgraded to fair condition.

Late Tuesday, the 59-year-old victim was released from the hospital.

The identities of the victims were not available. 

Witnesses said the cab approached the intersection at a high rate of speed. Susan Giammona said she was missed by inches.

"What I did see was the old man flying up in the air like something out of a movie," she said. "He was down on the ground and had a bunch of debris on top of him. I was in shock, just in shock."

Others in the area said it sounded as if a bomb went off.

"We knew it was something serious," witness Barbara Speer said. "I thought construction site, you know, mass amounts of debris falling."

Police did not know what caused the cab to veer off the roadway. Witness Kris Washoe said she had just crossed the intersection when she heard the commotion.

"How are you going so fast to knock something over?" she said. "A couple years ago, a bus hit that and only dented it.

"We personally know the guy who works at the shoe shine place, so we're really shaken up by it," Washoe added.

Sansome and Sutter streets both were closed as authorities investigated the crash. Additionally, Market Street between Battery and Montgomery streets was closed in the westbound direction.

Investigators were still at the scene late Tuesday night.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: SFFD
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<![CDATA[California's Carbon Cap and Trade Program Falling Short ]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 16:29:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/ca-smog.jpg

California's latest carbon auction has brought more bad news for Gov. Jerry Brown's landmark programs fighting climate change.

State officials announced Tuesday that 34 percent of the available carbon-emissions credits were sold as doubts about the survival of the state's carbon auctions weigh down investor demand.

California since 2012 has required companies that produce climate-changing pollution to buy pollution permits. They are auctioned quarterly and used to routinely generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the state.

The so-called cap and trade program is a keystone of the Democratic governor's efforts to reduce pollution by fossil fuels, and it is being watched closely around the world.

California's program is struggling this year against litigation by the state's chamber of commerce and opposition in the state Legislature.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cracking Down on Sexual Assaults of Unconscious Victims]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 18:03:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/brock-turner-court.jpg

On the heels of the rape case involving former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner, a state Assembly panel approved two bills that carry harsh punishments for people who sexually assault unconscious victims, according to the Mercury News.

Monday's unanimous decisions come in the wake of the controversial decision by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky to sentence Turner to six months behind bars and three years on probation for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster in January 2015.

At present, California law stipulates that sexual assault committed against a conscious victim comes with heavier forms of punishment compared to an attack on an unconscious person, according to the Mercury News. The state assembly panels set out to alter that legislation.

Assembly Bill 2888 aims to curb the sentencing flexibility afforded to judges when it pertains to sentencing sexual assaults committed against conscious versus unconscious victims. Approved 6-0, it was written by Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen and carried by Assemblymen Evan Low, D-Cupertino, and Bill Dodd, D-Napa, and state Sen. Jerry Hill, the Mercury News said.

Meanwhile Assembly Bill 701 seeks to redefine rape as any form of penetration into any body part, according to the Mercury News. Penned by Assemblywomen Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, and Susan Eggman, D-Stockton, the bill received a 5-0 vote.

The two new bills will be considered on the California assembly floor next, the Mercury News said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Man Smashes Windows at BART Station with Golf Clubs]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 16:54:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1CqkvtDhUIAAs0Lt.jpg

BART police arrested a man who used a golf club to damage windows in a BART train and in the West Oakland station Tuesday afternoon, a BART spokeswoman said.

The incident was initially reported at about 1:30 p.m. at the station's East Bay-bound platform. The man smashed windows on board a Dublin/Pleasanton train there, then started walking down the stairs from the platform and smashing windows along the stairway, BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said.

BART police responded and quickly took the man into custody. The damaged train had to be taken out of service, backing up service for all lines going into and out of San Francisco, Trost said.

Regular service resumed through the station with residual delays as of shortly after 2 p.m., Trost said.

The man never swung the golf club at any people in the station and just damaged windows, Trost said. No one was injured.

Photo Credit: Taylor Huckaby
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<![CDATA[E-40 Donates $25K Worth of Backpacks to his Alma Mater]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 06:04:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/e40main1.jpg

Bay Area rapper E-40 is giving back to his alma matter in a big way. The Vallejo, Ca. native, whose real name is Earl Stevens, donated $25,000 worth of backpacks and school supplies to students from Franklin Middle School in his hometown Tuesday.

The platinum-award-winning 48-year-old rapper, who is known to throw turkey, backpack and toy drives, told reporters at the event that he had grown up on nearby Magazine Street and made the honor roll in eighth grade.

“This is very important to me, school’s everything,” he said. “I’m just giving back. I love the kids. I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”

His message to the kids: “Stay in school, stay out of trouble, stay positive.”

A Title 1 school, Franklin Middle School has been providing backpacks and school supplies to students on the first day of school for the past two years. When E-40 found out that the school has been unable to secure a grant this year he made sure that every student was able to choose a Jansport backpack, which came filled with necessary supplies like pencils, pens, notebooks, binders and folders.

"Kids are our future and we must invest in them," E-40 said. "It's good to be involved in your community. If you're in a position to help someone, I think you should do it. I'm playing my position."

Every backpack also came with a handwritten note from E-40:

Dear Franklin Scholars,

Welcome to Franklin Middle School! For the past two years, Franklin Middle School has been providing backpacks and school supplies to our students on the first day of school through community donations and grants. When Earl “E-40” Stevens learned that the school was unable to secure a grant for the beginning of the school year, he was more than willing to meet the need of our school site. E-40 stated, “Kids are our future and we must invest in them. Not every kid is privileged to afford school supplies, but every kid deserves to be equipped with the tools necessary to succeed.” Every student at Franklin Middle School is able to select a Jansport backpack filled with school supplies and a personal message from our sponsor, E-40.

Earl “E-40” Steven is a true example of what you can accomplish with hard work and motivation. One of the most celebrated rappers of all time, E-40 has attained legendary status in hip-hop. At age 48, E-40 is an anomaly in hip-hop, maintaining his relevance over a career that spans four decades, which boasts several platinum and gold singles. E-40’s success extends beyond the music industry, most notably through his entrepreneurship in other industries. E-40 is continuing his unprecedented longevity and success as an independent artist with his double album, The D-Boy Diary: Book 1 & 2, scheduled for late 2016.

As a former Franklin scholar, it was important for him to equip each and every student with the tools necessary to succeed, while also motivating them by sharing his story. As a person who has thrown several turkey drives, backpack drives, toy drives, and more, this backpack drive for his alma mater is the latest example of his commitment to his community and Vallejo youth. E-40 concluded, “It’s good to be involved in your community. If you’re in a position to help someone, I think you should do it. I’m playing my position.” Along with E-40, this endeavor would not have been possible without the support of our amazing staff at Franklin Middle, our friends at Bridgeway Church, our Full Service Community School Site Collaborative Team, Mayor Osby Davis and staff, and our Franklin parents and families. We are truly thankful for the generosity and support of E-40 and wish everyone good luck in the new school year!

Photo Credit: E-40]]>
<![CDATA['No Justification' For Ex-Guard's Inmate Assault: Prosecutor]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 13:29:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tri2.jpg

Prosecutors on Tuesday decried the actions of a former Santa Clara County correctional deputy, who was arrested for striking an inmate in the head as he was held down by other officers in 2013.

Deputy District Attorney John Chase confirmed that 35-year-old Timmy Tri inflicted severe bodily injury on the male inmate by repeatedly kicking and punching him in the head and face, causing lacerations and snapping his jaw.

"Guards sometimes need to use force to subdue an inmate for a variety of reasons, but they must always maintain self-control," Chase said in a statement. "There's no justification for kicking an inmate in the head and face while he is pinned to the floor."

Expected to be arraigned next month, Tri faces felony charges of assault and battery by an officer and assault with deadly force. 

Chase said Tri committed the assault on the fifth floor of the jail on the heels of a dispute between the inmate and another corrections officer. During the ensuing fight, the inmate found himself on the floor.

Tri attacked the inmate while he was pinned down by two fellow officers, Chase said.

"None of the inmate witnesses or guards saw any threat to Tri that might justify such force," Chase said in a statement. It remains unclear if any of the other officers tried to stop Tri.

The alleged assault was investigated in October 2013, and recommendations that charges be filed were sent to the District Attorney’s Office, according to sheriff's officials.

The District Attorney's office took weeks to review the case and then decided not to charge Tri back then, Chase said. During a sheriff's office internal investigation, Tri was put on administrative leave.

That leave lasted about 18 months before the complaint against Tri was resubmitted to the District Attorney. It took another five months for prosecutors to pursue charges.

Speaking about the delay, Chase said only that the District Attorney's office "decided to file charges after a fresh review generated further information." He did not specify what additional details had been uncovered.

Tri was reportedly arrested at his East San Jose home. Efforts to reach him on Monday were unsuccessful.

Tri was a member of the department since 2009 but left in August 2015. Sources did not provide details of Tri's departure but said he was fired.

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office spokesman James Jensen confirmed the arrest but declined to provide other details because it included personnel information.

NBC Bay Area's Bob Redell contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Nine-Year-Old Boy Who Swam Alcatraz in San Jose]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 13:48:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/circusmain.jpg

A 9-year-old Los Banos, Calif., boy who swam to Alcatraz and back in June has been invited as the featured guest at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey show at the SAP Center in San Jose this week.

"I think it's kind of cool," James Savage said in a statement before he gets to lead the countdown before the new production, entitled, "Out of This World," which kicks off on Thursday at 7 p.m.

James completed the 3-mile “touch-and-go” swim from the San Francisco Aquatic Park to Alcatraz Island on June 14 in a little more than two hours. The swim may be counted by the Guinness World Records as the youngest person to accomplish the feat, but confirmation is still pending approval, according to James’ mother, Jillian Savage. 

Photo Credit: Ringling Bros.]]>
<![CDATA[Gay Aversion Therapy Ban Upheld for Second Time]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 11:37:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/gay+pride+flag.jpg

A federal appeals court has for the second time upheld California's first-in-the nation ban on so-called gay aversion therapy.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday tossed out a San Diego pastor's legal challenge to the counseling ban Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law in late 2012.

The pastor and other opponents of the therapy ban argued the law violated 1st Amendment religious freedom rights.

The court tossed out a similar lawsuit in 2014 and the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld New Jersey's ban the same year. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear both cases.

The 9th Circuit said Tuesday the ban doesn't violate religious rights because the law is limited only to licensed therapist and not aimed at pastors and other religious leaders.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[San Francisco Zoo Announces Baby Guanaco]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 10:37:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*128/IMG_3092edited1BabyGuanaco-XL.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Napa Church, Community 'Stronger After Earthquake']]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 10:30:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/stoker+rings+bell.jpg

Even though scaffolding still covers the exterior of the First Presbyterian Church of Napa, inside the newly restored sanctuary Reverend David Stoker was in full celebration mode as he yanked a rope hanging from the staircase, inciting the church’s once-broken bell to sound out.

Two years ago on August 24, 2014, the bell lay in a heap of rubble after a 6.0-magnitude earthquake inflicted widespread damaged across Southern Napa, leaving Stoker’s historic 1876 church in danger of sliding off its brick foundation. The church’s sanctuary was littered with debris, the stained-glass window was laying out in the street and the walls bore large cracks.

“We had not missed a single Sunday of worship in this sanctuary for 147 years,” Stoker said, “until the earthquake struck.”

The disaster knocked the church out of commission, forcing the congregation to move services into the gymnasium. But after two years in partial exile, the congregation moved back into its restored chapel in early July. And aside from the ongoing exterior restoration, Stoker said church life had mostly returned to normal.

“I think when you get on the other side you end-up being a stronger person,” Stoker said walking among the pews of the chapel. “And our church is a stronger church than it was two years ago.”

Though the rest of Napa has mostly recovered from the disaster, downtown still bears deep scars from the damage. The historic 1878 county courthouse remains encased in a protective wrap with its interior looking as battered and disheveled as it did the day of the earthquake. The county recently finished installing braces throughout the building just so planners could get inside and safely assess the damage.

“Some walls will have to be disassembled brick by brick and reassembled from scratch,” said Rick Marshall, Napa County’s Deputy Director of Engineering as he walked through the building last week.

Marshall said designers mapped every crack, every speck of damage in the building. A design plan for the restoration is due by next spring with the restoration work expected to last into summer of 2018.

But amid the tousled interior, Marshall pointed out an ornate skylight of colored glass that survived the quake virtually unscathed. He noted that the more modern end of the courthouse building had survived and was quickly put back at work. Workers erected a wall separating the damaged half from the functioning end.

“It’s tragic to see the damage,” Marshall said, “but it’s really reassuring to see it survived really well in a lot of ways.”

Across the street from the courthouse, a large gap stood in place of what had been the city’s original jail — later converted into offices and shops. Crews spent more than a year hauling away the collapsed debris. Next door another historic building that housed a bail bonds business and a law office appeared hollow as if its interior had been removed, leaving just a shell of the building.

Other damaged downtown buildings had already been restored — though a “for sale” sign stood in front of the town’s historic Post Office, which residents had hoped to see return as a post office.

But the imposing emergency traffic barriers that once stood outside Molinari Caffe after the quake had finally been removed which had lead to an uptick in business.

“Now the street’s open, the building’s are a lot farther along in their construction,” Marshall said. “Things are more back to normal than they were.”

After the earthquake badly damaged Christina Jamieson’s two-story Victorian home, the professional house-cleaner waged a high-profile campaign to save her house, even though some building inspectors said it would have to be torn down.

Jamieson hung banners from the porch calling for the building to be saved and even launched a crowd-funding campaign which she said netted all of $165.

She said it was a visit from Senator Diane Feinstein (D- San Francisco) to the neighborhood following the earthquake which finally helped her secure for a loan to get the house repaired. Two years after the quake, the house was finally on its way toward full restoration, its front facade looking as it probably did when it was built in the 1800s.

“I was determined to make this house stand up,” Jamieson said beaming at the newly restored house. “I love this house, I would not let it go.”

Stoker of First Presbyterian Church said like his church, many homeowners didn’t have earthquake insurance and were forced to pay for repairs out-of-pocket. Church members raised $1.5 million of the $2 million needed for the church’s restoration — even though some were facing their own hardships.

“I know people wanted to give more,” Stoker said, “and they couldn’t because they were having to use their own funding to fix up their own homes.”

Stoker said many people were worried tourism in Napa would fade after the earthquake. But he said it quickly rebounded as the area touched-off an aggressive rebound.

 Stoker leaned on the pulpit, taking in the newly repaired sanctuary with its new stained-glass windows glowing with a prism of colors.

“I think our town is stronger for having gone through the earthquake,” Stoker said.

<![CDATA[LeBron James Says 'Ultimate Warrior' T-Shirt Wasn't Planned]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 10:08:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/LeBronshirt.jpg

It's been more than two months since the Cleveland Cavaliers won three straight elimination games to dethrone the Golden State Warriors and capture an NBA title.

For Warriors fans, the sting of the championship collapse burned even deeper when LeBron James sported an "Ultimate Warrior" T-shirt as he departed the team plane in Cleveland, hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy for all of Cleveland to gawk at.

However, the four-time NBA MVP denied that his T-shirt selection was planned in advance, according to NBC Sports and James' interview with Business Insider.

James told Business Insider that his wife had purchased him a number of wrestling shirts before the Cavs' championship run. As the playoffs rolled on, James packed a number of those shirts, which included "Ultimate Warrior," "Sting," "Ric Flair" and more, in his travel bags.

The 2016 Finals MVP was donning a specific shirt as his newly-crowned team made its way back to Cleveland, but after a celebratory stop in Las Vegas, that piece of clothing ended up doused in champagne. James tossed it in the trash and said that the only other shirt in his carry-on bag was the "Ultimate Warrior" one, according to Business Insider.

"That was the only one because all our bags were underneath the plane," James told Business Insider. "Everybody thinks it was set up that way, but it really wasn't. It kind of worked out that way."

Even if the Cavs had lost Game 7 and come home empty-handed, James told Business Insider that he would still sported the "Ultimate Warrior" T-shirt, or pull off a J.R. Smith stunt and go shirtless.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[2 Sisters Die After Truck Plunges Into Russian River]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 23:47:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/08-22-2016-jenner.jpg

Two young sisters drowned Tuesday morning after a pickup truck they were in plunged into the Russian River in Jenner, authorities said.

The California Highway Patrol said the mother lost control of the vehicle when she missed a turn in the fog on Highway 1 and slid into the river. Her daughters, identified as 4-year-old Hailey Markus and 6-year-old Kaitlyn Markus, were wearing seat belts in the backseat and couldn't get out fast enough when the truck rapidly sank into the river, according to the CHP.

“They were just beautiful little girls, the light of everybody’s life," said John Gallagher, an uncle to the girls.

The 32-year-old mother told CHP investigators the truck fishtailed after she took a left turn on Highway 1 to take her daughters to school. That area of the highway has no guardrail. CHP said the mother was driving around 35 mph.

"There was heavy fog in the area and the roads were slick," said Jonathan Sloat with the CHP. "And it sounds like the truck started to slide and ran off the roadway and into the river."

The mother was able to get out of the truck by breaking a window. CHP officials said the mother and her two daughters were the only ones in the vehicle.

"Cars go really fast coming through here," Gallagher said. "If she punched it, hit some oil, spun sideways, just got out of control. It was sad."

A passing truck driver and three sheriff's deputies dove into the river to try and save the girls, but the truck was already 15 to 20 feet down the river. It was about a half-hour later until a parks officer with dive equipment was able to recover the bodies.

Biyclist Lance Rittenhouse witnessed the scene and also dove into the water to try to help.

"Apparently the two girls were strapped in the car seats and couldn’t get out," he said. "It was 20 feet deep; no way I could get that deep, nothing else I could do."

The accident on state Highway 1 was reported around 8:25 a.m. 

Highway 1 at the Jenner Beach trail was closed in both directions for several hours so crews could remove the vehicle from the river.

Harry Kenney and his wife were watching birds in the river Tuesday morning when the accident occurred.

Kenney said his wife wondered what was causing ripples in the water then the couple noticed a vehicle in the river.

Kenney said they saw the vehicle sink into the river, and a woman shortly after popped up to the surface screaming what appears to have been "my babies, my babies!"

An investigation is ongoing and drugs and or alcohol are not being considered a factor at this time, authorities said.

The father of the family was working in the East Bay at the time of the accident. Deputies were sent to let him know of the accident.

Bay City News and the Associated Press contributed to this story.

“They were just beautiful little girls, the light of everybody’s life

Photo Credit: Courtesy of family
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<![CDATA[North America to See First Total Solar Eclipse in Decades]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 10:39:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/total+eclipse.jpg

North America will see its first total eclipse since 1979 in a year, and some people are planning ahead by booking hotel rooms.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon crosses between the earth and the sun, which is blocked out. The moon and the Earth will be perfectly aligned for a few minutes on Aug. 21, 2017. 

If folks in the Bay Area want to enjoy this rare occassion, they will be required to take a roadtrip. The prime viewing spots in the western United States include a swath of the Oregon coast, southern Idaho and central Wyoming. 

Self-described eclipse chaser Mike Kentrianakis told KPCC the best viewing spots for the total eclipse will be within a 70-mile wide path that stretches from the Pacfic Northwest to South Carolina. 

"Oh, it's bigger than the Super Bowl, much bigger," said Kentrianakis

The next total solar eclipse after the 2017 alignment will happen in 2024.

Read more at KPCC.

NBC Bay Area contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Koko the Gorilla Jams With Flea From Red Hot Chili Peppers]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 10:49:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/210*120/2016-08-23_8-46-00.jpg

Most people know by now that 45-year-old Koko the gorilla, born at the San Francisco Zoo, knows sign language.

But who knew she could play bass guitar?

Red Hot Chili Peppers' bassist Flea did. The Australian-born rocker, who apparently is one of the gorilla’s favorites, got to hear Koko strum - or rather, try to strum - at the Gorilla Foundation in Woodside, California. The foundation posted a short video of their jam session, adding: "Koko rocks a flea bass like it ain't nuthin."

The Aug. 19 post, also on the Chili Peppers Facebook page, has had more than 11 million views so far.

Flea appeared to be starstruck by Koko’s rudimentary bass playing.

“This is the greatest thing that ever happened,” Flea said. “I will never forget.”

The Gorilla Foundation's development director Jane Narich told NBC Bay Area on Tuesday that it was really great having Flea come to the foundation — the rocker emailed that he wanted to play with Koko about six months ago, and his wish was granted.

Narich added that Koko has had a long line of famous visitors meet with her over the years including Mister Rogers, Betty White and Robin Williams.

Koko is probably the world's most famous gorilla, all because she learned American Sign Language in the 1970s with Dr. Penny Patterson.

Narich is quite enjoying all the buzz. She's hoping the jam session will bring awareness to her foundation, which she would like to upgrade for the other gorillas living there.

Donations to support the Gorilla Foundation can be made at Koko.org.

Photo Credit: The Gorilla Foundation
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