<![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-usSat, 10 Dec 2016 10:40:41 -0800Sat, 10 Dec 2016 10:40:41 -0800NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Man in Santa Hat Caught on Camera Burglarizing SF Home]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 23:48:43 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Santa+Hat+Suspect.jpg

There's plenty of holiday spirit in Noe Valley, but people are on edge after a man in a Santa hat, claiming to raise money for charity, was caught on tape entering a home, which he is then accused of burglarizing. 

A doorbell with a camera showed a San Francisco homeowner that a man wearing a Santa hat and bow tie was at his front door. He didn't think anything of it until the camera kept rolling.

The surveillance footage captured that the suspected burglar had broken the front door and was “moving in and out of the house,” said the victim, who asked to stay anonymous, but shared the video with his neighbors.

Turns out, the suspect was working the neighborhood Thursday.

Maria Cabrera said the man told her his name was Happy Feet and that he and his friend were fundraising for charity.

Cabrera said she had a nagging feeling about the man, but his outfit – mistakenly – eased her suspicions.

“He [was] ringing other doorbells at other houses, I said, ‘It's OK,’” she said.

With a broken door frame and missing valuables, the burglary victim wants community members to know the suspect’s team is not helping the needy. They’re stealing valuables and spoiling the spirit of the season.

“People who are willing to burglarize your home can masquerade as someone you think you can trust,” the homeowner said.

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Vigils Honor Oakland Fire Victims Even as Questions Swirl]]> Sat, 10 Dec 2016 00:04:49 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-627845510.jpg

A week has passed since 36 people, ranging from 17 to 61 years old, perished in a devastating fire during an East Oakland warehouse party.

But questions remain.

How did the fire start? Why were people able to live in the warehouse illegally? Why wasn’t the building red-tagged by code enforcement officers?

On Friday, people held vigils not only to honor the lives lost, but also to call for change to make sure such a deadly incident doesn’t happen again.

An Aztec ritual kicked off a memorial service on Friday, with councilman Noel Gallo leading the way.

Gallo holds a march in the Fruitvale district every week, but this one took on a whole new meaning in the wake of last week’s destructive blaze.

The councilman said he doesn’t want to see another warehouse tragedy on his watch, so he is demanding answers from the city of Oakland.

“How many code enforcement individuals do we have? How many fire marshals do we have?” he asked.

Gallo said the city was looking at hiring people to fill positions within the Fire Department to inspect places like the Ghost Ship warehouse – but it was put on the back burner.

“We didn’t know to what level we were short,” Gallo said. “We already made commitments to the Fire Department to enhance their numbers. It was over a year [ago that] we set aside millions of dollars, but no one was hired to accommodate those positions.”

While city leaders look for answers as to why the warehouse lacked fire alarms, sprinklers and emergency exits, a community took to the streets on Friday and ended their vigil at the site of the burned down building with testimony and prayer.

One mourner said that not everyone in the march knew people who had died in the fire. But that doesn't mean they can’t love them. Another said, “Please America, stop being discriminatory against people with no money, please don’t let my friends die in vain.”

Their anguish was mirrored across Oakland as hundreds gathered to grieve for the 36 victims. There were songs, a moment of silence, and even bubbles to represent tiny prayers and thoughts of lives lost.

“I don’t know that there’s anyone here who didn’t know someone who died in the fire. We had several people there, but most of them got out,” said Oakland Museum Director Lori Fogarty.

However, one did not. Alex Ghassan, whose videos were part of an exhibition that ended six weeks ago.

On Friday, an installation shared insights about each victim.

Katie Villanueva brought her family from El Sobrante and folded paper cranes in their memory.

I think it’s a beautiful thing that Oakland is coming together like this,” she said.

Meanwhile, at Oakland’s First Congregation Church, the Pacific Boychoir Academy dedicated its performance to one of its own – 17-year-old Draven Mcgill, who died in the fire.

“Draven did not have enough time. It’s not fair,” said the Academy’s Artistic Director Kevin Fox, who added that the teenager “loved his fellow singers.”

For her part, Fogarty said: “There’s a lot of raw emotion felt and we hope to help people sustain and move forward.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sharks' Comeback Thwarted by Lindholm Goal]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 21:51:26 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-628431268.jpg

ANAHEIM – For the second straight game, the Sharks fell into an early 2-0 hole.

And for the second straight game they erased that deficit, only to lose on a late third period marker. Hampus Lindholm scored with 5:38 to go in regulation, pushing the Ducks to a 3-2 win over the Sharks at Honda Center on Friday night.

Lindholm snapped a 2-2 tie when he found open ice at the top of the circle and buzzed a wrist shot past Martin Jones, for the defenseman’s first of the season.

Anaheim improved to 5-0-1 in the last six head-to-head matchups between the Pacific Division rivals, and moved ahead of the Sharks by two points in the standings.

The Sharks lost their second straight game, including a 4-2 defeat to Ottawa on Wednesday night at SAP Center. They have scored two or fewer goals in nine of their last 12 games, going 6-5-1 over that span.

Rickard Rakell opened the scoring at 4:44. The forward found the rebound of a Shea Theodore shot after Marc-Edouard Vlasic failed to clear the zone for his 11th goal.

Antonie Vermette increased the lead to 2-0, finishing off a rush at 15:06 when he slid the puck past Jones’ far side.

San Jose got one back just before the intermission, though. One second after a power play had expired, Brent Burns hammered home a one-timer from the circle on a pass from Patrick Marleau with just six seconds left in the period, after Vlasic nicely kept the puck in at the offensive blue line.

Burns has now scored one goal in each of the past three games, and has six in the last nine games overall.

The Sharks pushed the pace early in the second period, but Jonathan Bernier made stops on Mikkel Boedker, Joonas Donskoi, Joe Pavelski and Melker Karlsson to keep the Ducks lead intact. That is, until Kevin Labanc knotted it at 2-2, finishing off a cross-ice pass by Logan Couture at 8:40 for the rookie’s third of the season.

The Sharks had a great chance to take their first lead of the night early in the third period, but Joe Pavelski missed a wide open net less than three minutes into the final frame.

The Sharks and Ducks split the first two meetings of the season series. San Jose returns to Honda Center later this month on Dec. 27.

Special teams

The Sharks were officially 0-for-1 on the power play. They killed off all three Anaheim advantages, ending a three-game streak of one power play goal against.

In goal

Starting for the 10th time in the last 11 games, Jones allowed three goals on 32 shots. He fell to 3-7-0 in his career against Anaheim.

Bernier was playing for the first time since giving up eight goals to Calgary on Dec. 4. He made 22 saves to pick up the win.


Defenseman David Schlemko missed his second straight game with a right ankle injury. Mirco Mueller was recalled on Friday morning, but did not play.

Rakell returned from being out for the last two games with an upper body injury.

Up next

The Sharks return home for the second of a back-to-back on Saturday against the Hurricanes, who claimed a 1-0 win in Carolina on Nov. 15.

A four-game road trip begins in Toronto on Tuesday, Dec. 13.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[121-Year-Old Water Main Breaks, Snarls Traffic in SF]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 18:07:04 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/12-09-watermainbreak2.jpg

A water main dating back to 1895 in San Francisco broke early Friday, causing flooding and water to seep into the Moscone Center and the unfinished MTA subway line, as well as shutting down streets and snarling traffic in the bustling area all day, city officials said.

The 12-inch main break at Howard and Fourth streets was first reported at 2:41 a.m., a fire dispatcher said. A utilities spokesman said crews responded at 3:15 a.m.

The affected water main was pressurized, so crews were struggling with erosion late Friday. The SoMa intersection was expected to reopen by late afternoon, but it is expected to be closed into the night.

Often, age causes water main breaks, but such incidents are more common in colder months, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission officials said.

"The pipe was originally put in in about 1895 so as most folks around the city know we do have aging infrastructure as old as the city," said Suzanne Gautier with the SFPUC.

In fiscal year 2013, crews replaced 6 miles of pipes, while 9 were replaced in 2014, 12 in 2015, and 15 in 2016, Gautier said. However, 53 water main failures have been reported in the first 6 months of this year, with most occuring in January.

"The PUC has taken an aggressive goal of repairing or replacing about 15 miles of pipe per year although clearly we haven’t caught up with all the vulnerable ones," said Suzanne Gautier with the SFPUC.

On Friday, the sound of jackhammers pierced the air as frustrated drivers, like Samuel Gonzalez, tried to maneuver through the gridlock.

He spent over one hour simply trying to get out of San Francisco, so he could get his family home to Fresno, Gonzalez said.

"It's really bad — the kids are hungry, they’re crying," he said.  

One commuter spent 30 minutes trying to get out of an area garage while another spent the same amount of time just trying to cross four blocks.

Muni was not affected, according to spokesman Paul Rose.

Water was shut off to about 200 customers in the area, including a senior home, as crews sought to repair the break. But all water service was restored before 8 a.m.

The SFPUC said that many water lines cross the neighborhood, which is why service wasn’t impacted for a long time.

As of Friday evening, drivers were able to turn right off Howard Street, but officials encouraged people to avoid the area because turns are not possible on the opposite side of the road and several blocks in the neighborhood have been impacted.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Man Suspected of Duping Mounting Number of Immigrants]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 19:20:37 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/James+Lopez+mugshot.jpg

Hundreds of immigrants in the South Bay are worried Friday that they've lost money and their chance to stay in the United States.

Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputies in November arrested James Lopez on suspicion of running a fraudulent immigration assistance service that is believed to have duped more than 1,000 people.

Investigators say that what Lopez did — or didn't do as the case may be — could result in his clients being deported. Lopez faces several felony charges, including forgery, grand theft and practicing law without a license, according to investigators.

After NBC Bay Area broke the story, investigators received calls from more potential victims. And people are continuing to come forward, they said.

The response has been a "little more than what we expected," Lt. Elbert Rivera said.

He continued: "We've had over 30 calls that we're filtering. There's still some calls that we've got to get back to."

A victim who identified himself only as Jesus said he was trying to remedy his wife's immigration status when he shelled out more than $1,000 of hard-earned money to Lopez, who was allegedly operating an illegal consulting service in Cupertino without state approval.

The business advertised itself as a place to help immigrants, but Lopez may have actually been targeting them, investigators believe. He is suspected of providing improper service to about 1,000 clients and counting, while charging each of them about $1,200, they said.

“He was charging fees for services in regards to immigration paperwork … which don't require any fees,” Rivera said. “It appeared he was also forging documents, just based on the evidence."

Lopez did not respond to NBC Bay Area's requests for comment.

Photo Credit: Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[One Dead, One Hospitalized After Car Crash in San Jose]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 21:42:49 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/T48+SAN+JOSE+FATAL+AX+RAW+ELU+-+06385121.jpg

One person was killed and another hospitalized after two cars collided in San Jose on Friday night.

The crash occurred around 5:30 p.m. near Monterey Road and Daylight Way, forcing police officers to shut down part of the roadway during the investigation.

Officer Steven Aponte said one victim died at an area hospital while the other sustained minor injuries. 

Witness Dino Oliveira said teenagers were speeding along Monterey Road before the fatal crash that also severely damaged both cars. Police have yet to confirm the victims' ages.

Oliveira, who lives nearby, recalled hearing a loud bang, which drew out people from the neighborhood's mobile homes, he said. Firefighters had to use the jaws of life to extricate the cars' occupants.

The collision was a "sad tragedy" for the drivers and their families, Oliveira said.

Police are still investigating the cause of the crash, according to Aponte. He also encouraged people to drive carefully in the rain and, if possible, avoid the area for the next few hours while traffic investigators are on scene.

Friday's accident marks San Jose's 41st traffic fatality of 2016.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Huge Brawl Breaks Out During Raiders-Chiefs Game]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 19:24:42 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1209-2016-RaidersBrawl.jpg

The head-to-head matchup between the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs went from the field to the stands Thursday night.

That's where a fight broke out at the top of Arrowhead Stadium during the game.

Jason Fried, who witnessed the brawl, posted the incident on Twitter.

People were seen punching each other and falling over seats while police were nearby. Officers eventually managed to break up the fight.

No word on any injuries or arrests.

The Chiefs won the game 21 to 3.

Photo Credit: @ForFriedom/Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[SF Aims to Raise $30 Million to Help Homeless Families]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 18:34:53 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/homeless-santa-clara-generic.jpg

A race to $30 million.

That's the goal San Francisco city officials have set to help 800 homeless families in the next few years.

Tech giant Salesforce is backing the plan, with CEO Marc Benioff encouraging others to do the same.

"It's easy to forget how many homeless children we have in San Francisco. We have thousands," Benioff said.

City officials said the money will help homeless families find housing. The goal for the campaign is to keep kids in school and off the streets.

"There's nothing more important than the education and health care of our kids," Benioff said. "And when you look at health care, it starts where they are living."

Yessenia Barrientos said she and her three kids were evicted from their San Francisco apartment last year. Barrientos and her family are now receiving housing assistance from Hamilton Families, a non-profit organization working with the city.

"We already place about 400 families into rapid rehousing a year we need about 800 more in the next few years to address the backlog of families who are waiting to be served," said Jeff Kositsky, director for the city's department of homelessness and supportive housing.

Benioff and his wife, Lynn, have pledged to match up to $10 million for the homelessness campaign.

Mayor Ed Lee is now asking for help to reach the $10 million goal to help more parents like Barrientos.

"I think it's going to be great," Lee said. "Not just for the schools, for families and it will make out city stronger for that reason."

There is currently a six-month wait list for families to receive housing assistance in San Francisco. The goal of this fundraiser is to offer immediate services.

For more information on the Hamilton Families, visit the group's website.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA['He's Not Manson': Music Producer Defends Derick Ion]]> Sat, 10 Dec 2016 09:40:16 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/derickion_musicvideo.jpg

He's been called a lot of things: Narcissist, predator, cult guru. And now, someone who worked closely with Derick Ion on what might be the only documented music video filmed inside the "Ghost Ship" warehouse that burned down on Dec. 2 is defending the man who led the artists collective inside that building

Ion, who made international headlines after his critics blamed him for the fire, refused to answer questions about the building's safety on the Today Show, saying he would rather "get on the floor and get trampled by the parents" of those who lost their lives in the fire.

On the one-week anniversary of the deadliest blaze in the United States in 13 years, Alexander Doré, who was a regular at the Oakland warehouse, provides a window into the art commune that went up in flames, taking 36 lives with it.

Doré, a former bassist for the San Francisco funk band, "Sly & the Family Stone," posted a link to a music video by a group called the "ROCchilds" on a Facebook memorial page for the victims, calling the space "a real bridge to the black urban music scene in Oakland." "This was not a hippie drop zone, this is some serious s---," he wrote.

The three-minute long video, titled "Do Wonts," directed by Oakland-based producer, Shaan Dimri, briefly shows Ion, and his wife Micah Allison, walking through the rooms of the warehouse to strains of electronic and funk at the 1:36 mark. "Derick produced the video, I set up how the music should roll," Doré said in a phone interview from San Diego, speaking at length about the collaboration that took place in 2014. "It may be the only video that captures the essence of the art and the space. It shows we were serious about the space  it was another dimension, a refuge from the rest of the world."

He insists the warehouse wasn't a "Burning Man clubhouse."

Doré, who previously worked in technology, said he found the warehouse while he was going through a really bad divorce. "I couldn’t find a space to do any kind of music, it was terrible. I ended up lost and exposed," he said. Doré started playing at bars and clubs in Oakland, and a chance encounter with a young woman led him to the warehouse.

"At first I was like, whatever … Then I went over there: the place was full of abandoned organs — like 150 organs, museum pieces, foot pedals … It was a really cool space," he said. "Downstairs were the makeshift lofts, upstairs was the mezzanine floor. Derick was excited I was bringing music to the place that wasn’t just artsy hippy."

Doré credits Ion for helping him through the darkest days of his divorce, with "his form of tough love."

He remembers not wanting to stay past midnight at the warehouse. "I didn’t want to leave my car outside. It was a horrible neighborhood: break-ins, prostitutes," he said. Doré eventually left Oakland after he was shot one night near Lake Merritt.

Doré remembers Ion kicking out all the freeloaders when he was there. "They (Ion and his wife) had some problem with their children and the CPS," he said. Ion was also into tantra, Doré said, remembering paintings on the wall and rooms crammed with sculptures. Ion and his wife called their collective "Satya Yoga," or the age of truth, and the collective's Facebook profile picture is that of Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction who is worshiped by tantrics.

But at the end of the day, Doré said: "It was a family and a home, and for some it was an art space, a roof preferable to living on the streets. Derick shared his food with everybody and cooked with everybody."

He remembers it being a no smoking space: "No candles or incense."

Ironically, a sign that keeps showing up in the video says: "Not responsible for fire or theft."

"Ghoulish and a prediction," Doré said.

Doré doesn’t deny that the two-story building — which had no sprinklers or fire alarms — was a death trap. "Everyone who went there and stayed there knew that," he said. "I don’t think you're thinking of a major disaster at an event when you’re thinking of how to survive."

Doré questions why the city didn’t shut down the warehouse if it was unsafe. Oakland city officials said at a press conference Thursday that building inspectors had not stepped inside the property for thirty years.

As for finding a safe place where artists’ can thrive in Oakland, Doré said: "It’s a greater problem, it’s a city problem, it’s a social problem. The city leaves it up to the non-profits and the wealthy. This situation is very bad for artists."

The mayor of Oakland pledged a $1.7 million grant for "safe, affordable" art spaces after the fire.

In the end, Doré said, "the artists collective was a great idea ruined by the trappings of poverty and city government."

A day after the fire, Ion was slammed on Facebook for lamenting more about the material possessions he lost in the fire rather than the lives lost in it.

Five months before the fire, Ion claimed in a Facebook post he was "the thriller love child of Manson, Pol Pot and Hitler."

Doré said that he got to know the "many sides of a complex personality" while spending time with Ion: He was “a man that suffered the death of his brother early in life (there was a shrine to his brother in front of the warehouse), a man that suffered terribly for his passions of life."

Ion’s critics have vociferously lashed out against him in the media following the fire, claiming he knew about the building’s hazards but didn’t do anything about it. Some pointed at his rambling Facebook posts, calling him unstable, eccentric and even dangerous. Several people who lived at the warehouse or rented it out said Ion would argue with them. One Yelp reviewer talks about Ion’s temper, saying he had slammed a promoter’s head against a door over a booking.

"Yes, he was an a------, but all artists are," Doré said. "He would never willingly harm a fly, but would give his life to protect his wife and children and his external family that he refers to about anyone that is in his circle of trust and honesty."

Photo Credit: YouTube
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[We Investigate: San Francisco’s Aging Pipe Problems]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 17:09:22 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/main9.jpg

A recent water main break in San Francisco on equipment dating back to 1895 caused flooding and water to seep into the Moscone Center and the unfinished MTA subway line, bringing attention once again to the city’s aging pipe problems.

Over the past year-and-a-half, the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit has been looking into this very issue. Leaking water pipes lose an estimated 10 percent of the bay's potable water every year. And many of the system's pipes have aged well beyond their expected retirement, causing an average of three breaks every day in the entire Bay Area and tens of millions of gallons of water lost. Local water companies have beefed up their proactive replacement efforts, but with 5,000 miles of pipes from the North Bay to San Jose, it's tough to keep up.

You can find all of our previous Investigative Unit reports on the subject here:

Photo Credit: Jeremy Carroll]]>
<![CDATA[Thefts on Rise During Holiday Season]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 19:44:41 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/12-09-2016-mail-theft.jpg

Thefts are on the rise this holiday season. Not only are gifts being targeted, but so is your identity.

Personal information, not to mention gifts like cash and checks, are all vulnerable right outside your door. And because of the volume of mail this time of year, some are arriving late.

So check your mailbox often, even if it gets late.

Postal officials said they have seen a rise in mail theft and advise to not let mail sit overnight.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Kin, Strangers Alike Reeling From Loss of Lives in Fire]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 17:54:31 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/12-09-2016-oakland-fire-victims-memorial.jpg

Nearly a week has passed since a tragic Oakland warehouse fire killed 36 people, but the community continues to struggle with the aftershocks.

Bob Lapine flew into Oakland from Utah to see the now-ravaged site of the three-alarm blaze where his 34-year-old son Edmond Lapine died. He said his son worked in a bakery but was most passionate about music and being a DJ.

“There's a lot of things I wish I had said to him that I'll never be able to,” Bob Lapine lamented. “It's sad … it's just tough.”

Friends and family members continue to flock to the so-called Ghost Ship warehouse at 1315 31st Avenue, where an electronic music party was in full swing when the fire sparked. About 20 artists who belong to a collective called Satya Yuga also lived in the building, which city officials have said was only permitted for use as a warehouse.

A group of artists on Friday placed a handmade lei, and spread lavender and sage by the charred Fruitvale structure in honor of the victims.

“It’s to honor their journey and loss of their lives,” Vaschelle Andre explained.

The women said they didn’t know any of the victims, but as Bay Area artists feel connected to them.

“They were a community, they were a family,” Andre said. “They had an experience and a way of using their music and celebrating together, and we celebrate them.”

For Lorena and Luis Dominguez, the impact is more than emotional.

“We can't stop thinking about the victims lost, their families,” Lorena Dominguez said.

The couple owns a cell phone shop as well as a clothing and shoe store just a few doors down from the warehouse. As of Friday, they still don't have power and all their merchandise is either smoky or wet from the fire and the water used to put it out.

“We haven't been able to open,” Luis Dominguez said. “This is our livelihood and we're just distressed.”

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Groups Organize to Save Art Spaces]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 19:27:26 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1209-2016-OaklandArtist.jpg

You might say Oakland architect Thomas Dolan wrote the book on live/work building conversions. Which isn’t in any way hyperbole since he actually wrote the book — “Live Work Planning and Design,” a primer on converting old industrial buildings into legal studio dwellings.

He’s helped dozens of East Bay underground warehouse spaces go legit with proper building codes and safety requirements. He speaks of Oakland’s reputation as a “wild west” as he calls it, for allowing unchecked artist warehouse communities to percolate out of sight and beyond regulations. Which is why he wasn’t surprised by last weekend's devastating fire.

“You could say the Ghost Ship or something like it was bound to happen eventually,” Dolan said.

The Ghost Ship tragedy that claimed 36 lives has also since proved the spark for zoning crackdowns across the Bay Area — as building inspectors rain down on dodgy art spaces that had been tolerated up until last Friday’s fire.

“There are probably many places like Ghost Ship out there,” Dolan said in his Oakland office. “One of the big challenges right now is how to take buildings like that -- how to take situations like that and not just evict everyone — not just close them down.”

Dolan is now helping to form what he calls a de facto “citizens inspection corp ” that would advise outlaw warehouse operators on how to get their buildings safe and up to code, before city inspectors knock on the door.

“The problem is the city can’t do it because as soon as the city does it they in affect have to lower the boom,” Dolan said. “The desire is not to take the place of the city, but intervene prior to the city coming in.”

Like artists themselves, Dolan warns of the dire impact of wide-ranging crackdowsn that force evictions and closures amid the industrial warehouse landscape which covers large swaths of East Oakland.

“A critical mass of an arts community will be greatly diluted and we will be this poorer for it,” Dolan said.

During World War II, Oakland’s major shipping port and freight rail lines fed a manufacturing boom that resulted in thousands of industrial warehouse spaces. In following declining years, many of the spaces were taken over by artists seeking cheap space to live and work.

“Unfortunately in the United States we’re not putting a lot of credibility or support behind the arts,” said Oakland artist Karen Cusolito. “That causes a lot of artists to have to seek the cheapest possible rent and that is likely to be a building that is substandard.”

Inside West Oakland’s sprawling American Steel Studio building, a former six-acre manufacturing plant that now provides studio space for 200 crafters, artist Cusolito pointed out the cacophony of work taking place in every corner. When Cusolito helped establish the space, she said safety was a key consideration — as with any public events the building has held over the years.

“Every event I’ve ever hosted here in American Steel Studios has been permitted,” Cusolito said of the legally operating building. “So what that includes is an inspection and walk through with the fire inspector.”

Cusolito said since last week's fire, she has heard from multiple artists who have been served eviction notices in the post-fire crackdown by Oakland building inspectors. She expressed hope the city would find a way to make permit application process easier, so outlaw operators would feel more secure in seeking assistance in making needed changes.

“Is there a way to make attaining these levels of safety so that more people will take those steps,” Cusolito said.

In response to the fire and following code crackdown, on Friday a group of Bay Area artists announced it was launching a new coalition called “We the Artists of the Bay Area” which would advocate for artists. In a declaration signed by artists, the group said it was asking Bay Area governments to “initiate policies to help these art spaces come into compliance, rather than saddling them with eviction notices.”

Dolan echoed importance of the group’s aims, noting that rents in Oakland have jumped seventy percent in the last five years — and that for many, the industrial spaces represent the last safety net before landing in the streets. Dolan’s eyes lowered as he considered the vast destruction of the Ghost Ship warehouse, the multitude of lost lives and the waves of evictions that have followed.

“It may result in at least more spaces being made safe,” Dolan said, “while hopefully remaining affordable.”

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[‘It’s Just Tough’: Father of Oakland Fire Victim]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:55:05 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Edmond+Lapine+for+CMS.jpg Photographer Bob Lapine flew in from Utah to take pictures the Ghost Ship warehouse, where his son, Edmond Lapine, 34, died. “There’s a lot of things I wish I had said to him. It’s just tough,” he said.]]> <![CDATA[Benefits, Concerts After Deadly Oakland Warehouse Fire]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:53:53 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_16341216327258.jpg

Artists, musicians and performers across the Bay Area have come together in the wake of the devastating Oakland fire, planning a spate of remembrance and fundraising events dedicated to the 36 victims who perished at the Ghost Ship warehouse.

Among the fundraisers are several benefit concerts. As many have pointed out, it was a shared love of music that brought the diverse crowd out last Friday for a Golden Donna concert. Several of the victims were musicians, including Cash Askew (Them Are Us Too) and Chelsea Dolan, also known as Cherushii from Berkeley radio station KALX. 

All benefits listed below are contributing to the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts fire relief fund.

Friday: The Arlene Francis Center in Santa Rosa is hosting a benefit concert that features live performances from Joshua James Jackson, Attacrobat, Horders and Living in the 90’s. Check out the Facebook event for more information.

Saturday: Hemlock Tavern in San Francisco will host a benefit concert with a roster that includes the Creepers, Religious Girls and Weed Alien. This show is 21+. For more information, check out the event’s Facebook page

Sunday: Grammy Award-nominee Moby is DJing at the Mezzanine in San Francisco. The concert also features Lights Down Low’s Richie Panic and DJ CZ. In addition to music and dancing, the Mezzanine will also be home to a silent auction and raffle, with prizes including VIP festival tickets and signed memorabilia. Tickets are selling fast over on EventBrite.  

Dec. 14: At the Fox Theater in Oakland, several Bay Area artists and journalists will take the stage on Dec. 14 for a night of “music and stories.” The concert — fittingly dubbed Oakland United — includes Boots Riley (The Coup), Christopher Willits, Dan Deacon, Gabe Meline (KQED) Geographer, Hieroglyphics, Jay Som, Josette Melchor (Gray Area), and Primus, among others. See ticket information here. 

Dec. 17: Eli’s Mile High Club in Oakland will host performances from Zack Bateman and the Coal Minds, Blatherskite, Toxic Shock Syndrome, and more. There will be baked goods for sale, as well as original art. The concert was changed from its original location at Independent Brewery due to interest and demand.

Dec. 18: The Chapel of Chimes in Oakland will be hosting a 4-hour long afternoon musical community gathering that pays tribute to the Oakland fire victims, as well as other notable community members who were lost in 2016. Kitka, Tyrell Williams, Sarah Cahill and others will be performing. Check out the Facebook event page for more information. 

There are also several ways to help artists who may be displaced as a result of the fire, including residents who previously lived at the Ghost Ship. Amoeba Records has compiled a list of several of those fundraisers.

This list will be updated to with additional benefits as they are announced. If you know of an event happening, pleaser email or text NBC Bay Area’s Contra Costa County reporter, Gillian Edevane, at Gillian.Edevane@NBCuni.com or (669) 263- 2895.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez]]>
<![CDATA[Inmate Who Escaped from County Jail Pleads No Contest]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:37:16 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1129-2016-LaronCampbell.jpg

One of the inmates who broke out of the Santa Clara County Main Jail the night before Thanksgiving pleaded no contest Friday to charges of escaping from jail and destroying jail property, both felonies.

Laron Campbell sat quietly in the San Jose courtroom as he faced charges related to the Nov. 23 escape, as well as sentencing for a numerous prior conviction, including felony burglary and robbery.

Campbell and three other inmates escaped by cutting through bars of a jail window.

The 26-year-old Campbell was later caught hiding at his sister's home in Antioch.

Judge Daniel Nishigaya sentenced Campbell to 16-months in prison for the escape and an additional concurrent sentence of 16-months for destroying jail property.

The judge said the sentences were determined by a formula that included Campbell's three-strikes status and prior convictions.

Prior to issuing the sentences related to the escape, Nishigaya slapped Campbell with a total of 46-years, four months for two armed home invasions, one in Fremont in August 2014 and another in Cupertino in November 2014.

Then, the judge hit Campbell with another 16-months for an attempted residential burglary in Palo Alto in April 2014.

Nishigaya showed little leniency because, as he put it, Campbell's actions in the crimes were planned out and targeted homeowners who were vulnerable at the time, such as a break in at night while they were asleep.

Campbell was taken back to jail after sentencing.

Prosecutor Anne Seery told NBC Bay Area she was pleased with the sentencing.

"I'm very happy that Laron Campbell will be held accountable for what he has done," she said. "And I commend the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office and its deputies for recapturing him so soon."

The other inmate who successfully escaped, but was eventually recaptured, Rogelio Chavez, was scheduled to enter a plea Friday. His hearing was continued to Jan. 19.

Photo Credit: Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland Warehouse Blaze: Faces of the Victims]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 16:14:56 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/oakland-warehouse-fire-victims-collage.jpg

[[404539615, C]]

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Move to LA Almost a Done Deal: Sources]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:18:09 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-503292588-1280-720.jpg

A plan to move the San Diego Chargers to Los Angeles is almost a done deal, multiple sources tell NBC4's Fred Roggin.

Chargers owner and chairman Dean Spanos said he would not make a final decision about moving the franchise to Los Angeles until after the season, but NBC4 has learned many of the building blocks are in place.

The Chargers would train in Orange County and there are no plans to rebrand, sources say.

The agreement with the Chargers to lease the as-yet-to-be-built Inglewood stadium has been executed and sources say, soon to be signed. The Rams signed an agreement with the NFL before moving to Los Angeles agreeing to lease space to another team.

The Chargers drive for a new stadium to replace their aging residence fell short in the Nov. 8 election, re-energizing talk of a move to Los Angeles. The ballot initiative's failure left everything in play, including a future move to join the Rams in their new Inglewood stadium, opening in 2019, and the possibility of a more aggressive timeline that would likely mean playing at the LA Memorial Coliseum with the Rams until a new stadium is built in Inglewood.

L.A. Coliseum Commission president Mark Ridley-Thomas confirmed earlier this week that the Chargers have spoken with the commission.

"In light of the vote of the people of San Diego, it's back on the table in earnest," Ridley-Thomas told USA Today. "So the appropriate amount of due diligence continues to be done, and we will see if in fact we can strike a deal."

Also this week, Spanos and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer met to discuss the team's future in San Diego.

A move to the Coliseum would likely require a change to the stadium's lease terms, which currently allow for only one NFL team -- the Rams.

This all might sound somewhat familiar to football fans in Los Angeles, San Diego and Oakland. In January 2016, the Rams, Chargers and Raiders all appeared to be candidates for a move to LA.

NFL owners later approved the Rams' move at a meeting in Houston. A proposal to build a new stadium in Inglewood, opening in 2019, beat out a competing stadium plan in Carson, where the Chargers and Raiders planned to built a 72,000-seat stadium. The Chargers applied to relocate to LA, but that plan was rejected by league owners.

The Chargers, who have played in San Diego since 1961, were given the option of joining the Rams in the Inglewood stadium. They have until Jan. 15 to make a decision.

NFL team relocations require three-fourths approval of the member teams.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Nail Artist, Music Manager Died 'Where She Wanted to Be']]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:48:38 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/JenniferKiyomiTanouyeOaklandFire.jpg

Jennifer “Kiyomi” Tanouye, 31, of Oakland last texted her dad about 6 p.m. on Friday night. She was on her way to paint nails as part of a regular underground nail bar she helped out with at music venues. This venue was on East 31st Avenue in Fruitvale, at a warehouse now infamously known as the “Ghost Ship.”

She and her dad, Court Tanouye, had been exchanging messages about when and where to hand over some dog toys she had left at his house in Alamo, Calif., belonging to her pooch, Jejune. Father and daughter didn’t get specific, but they were supposed to meet Saturday morning for breakfast, Court Tanouye said.

"Pure and Beauty"

Instead, his daughter, who liked to be called “Kiyomi,” which means “pure” and “beauty” in Japanese, died Friday night in a tragic fire. She was one of 36 people, a collection of artists and musicians, whose lives were taken in the country’s deadliest blaze since 2003.

“That’s where she wanted to be,” Court Tanouye said in an interview on Friday, a day before a private memorial at a Bay Area temple for her. “She was a big part of that community and instrumental in the music scene. She would have been there regardless. These musicians can’t afford expensive venues. At this point, being angry isn’t going to change anything. It won’t help us heal.”

Her mother, Tomoko Tanouye added: “This has nothing to do with Buddhism. This is who we are.”

Anger Won't Help Us Heal

There is plenty of anger to go around: At the city of Oakland for not inspecting the warehouse in the last 30 years and at the main lease holder of the space, Dereck Ion Almena, who has said he is sorry, but who had been told by friends his collective was full of junk and faulty wiring over the years. A makeshift staircase inside the warehouse, illegally converted to a living space, was one factor, firefighters said, in preventing party goers from escaping quickly enough.

But that’s not what the Tanouye family wants to think about. They are all, including brothers Kevin, 26, and Chris, 29, helping each other, in grieving and putting on a funeral.

Chris Tanouye is working on his eulogy. He’s likely to touch on the time his older sister took him to a Velvet Teen concert in San Francisco for the first time when he was 17 – and without parents. “We ate Vietnamese food, I got to hang out with college kids. She was so inviting. I felt so cool,” he recalled. She also took him to Lalapalooza in Chicago. “I had so much fun. I will cherish that trip.”

Kevin Tanouye called his sister “genuine.” She was always there to help, he said, including a time recently when he was designing a T-shirt and she tried to put him in touch with someone in the know about making his idea happen.

Cool Sister, Genuine Soul

Tanouye lived her early years in Japan and England before moving to the Bay Area and attending Monte Vista High School in Danville, where her family remembers her taking on controversial causes, like supporting the Gay Straight Alliance Club. She then attended Mills College in Oakland, where she graduated with a degree in biology, as well as minors in film and music, her family said. She was a music manager for the music-recognition app, Shazam, in Redwood City, and she was an early organizer of the Mission Creek Festival in Oakland. She often fought for causes that she believed in, like taking to the streets, for example, to protest the Iraq War.

Doing This Together

The Tanouyes got a call from their daughter’s friend at 3:55 a.m. Saturday about the fire. They hopped out of bed and drove to the scene, checking out hospitals and getting no answers until 12:30 a.m. Sunday that she had died. They had picked up her dog in the meantime, which is where Jejune is now, together with the small Tanouye clan. They are filled with sadness, but they are helping each other work through the grief.

“We are all hurt,” Court Tanouye said, “but we’re doing this together.”

To read a Q&A about Tanouye on the Work It Berk blog in 2012, click here.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Kiyomi Tanouye/Facebook
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[6 Sex Battery Reports at SJSU, Suspect Arrested]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:02:15 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/12-8-16-sjsu-male-suspect-sexual-assault1.jpg

A San Jose State student has been arrested as the university police department announced on Thursday evening that officers have investigated six cases of sexual battery reported in nearly two months.

These reports stemmed from allegations first reported on Oct. 17 in Duncan Hall, Sweeney Hall, the Student Union, and Boccardo Business Complex. All of the victims were students, according to school president Mary Papazian.

The suspect in the Student Union was arrested, and identified as Huaien "David" Kong, 19, and he is a student at the school. Papazian said officers believe “he may have committed additional unreported sexual batteries,” but she did not elaborate. That report came into police on Monday. Police had previously sent out surveillance video of the suspect. School spokeswoman Pat Harris said Kong is subject to the "student conduct process," which is confidential.

Papazian asked that anyone who felt that he or she was a victim of a sexual battery within the last week in the area of Clark Hall or the Dining Commons, should call university police.

Police do not know if the other suspects in the other cases are affiliated with the university, Papazian said. She added that police believe that a single suspect may be associated with at least two of the remaining cases. Leads provided over the past few days are being pursued and police foot patrols have been intensified around campus.

She also stressed what the definition of sexual battery is: Touching intimate body parts without consent. “While this may sound less severe than sexual assault, this behavior is deeply traumatizing to victims,” she said.

According to annual crime reports, 11 cases of sexual battery were reported at San Jose State in 2015, compared to 17 cases so far this year.

Vice President for Administration and Finance Charlie Faas has been developing a comprehensive safety plan in the wake of these statistics.

Here are some changes being made on campus:

• Additional security cameras: Twenty-four additional cameras will be purchased and installed in the near future to complement existing video surveillance systems. The video will be used as an investigatory tool and is not monitored in real time.

• Police staffing: Recruiting is underway for six additional campus patrol officers, which will increase the number of sworn officers on our campus to 32. UPD has received approval to hire an additional four Public Safety Assistants, which provides our own students with the opportunity to gain professional experience and expands the Safety Escort program.

• Enhanced lighting: Additional lighting and related work will begin during the winter break, and continue through spring term.

IF YOU'RE INTERESTED: A Student Advisory Board composed of students is being formed to help police figure out how to better keep the campus safe. To get involved, contact Chief Peter Decena directly at peter.decena@sjsu.edu.fort.com

Photo Credit: San Jose State University Police Department
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Whooping Cough Cluster in Palo Alto Schools]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 07:59:10 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Whooping-Cough2.jpg There has been a whooping cough cluster in three Palo Alto Schools. Kris Sanchez reports.]]> <![CDATA[Rain, High Winds Delay Air Travel at SFO, Road Traffic]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 07:51:30 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sfo+rain.jpg

Rain and wind put air travelers behind on Thursday and likely will do the same for those driving the Friday morning commute.

San Francisco International Airport saw significant delays Thursday due to reduced visibility caused by the morning downpour and then afternoon high winds, airport officials said.

"We have weather here at SFO," airport spokesman Doug Yakel said Thursday. "We're seeing flight delays averaging about 60 to 90 minutes."

SFO is one of the biggest casualities from the slew of showers that hit the Bay Area starting late Wednesday night. The airport and surrounding Peninsula areas received a little more than an inch of rain from the latest storm.

After heavy rains let up around midday, wind took over and caused a ground stop, parking planes at the terminal and causing a travel headache for passengers with almost every flight delayed. But they got off the ground eventually.

"Not a lot of folks are stranded," Yakel said. "That's because the airlines have better backup systems in place."

Yakel estimated the residual flight delays would continue into Thursday night until about 11 p.m.

Intermittent showers also were expected to continue through the night and into Friday morning, according to forecasters.

Friday morning commuters could see off and on periods of lighter rain, not quite the levels seen Thursday morning. The next batch of heavier rain should arrive later Friday night and into Saturday, NBC Bay Area Meteorologist Rob Mayeda said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Influence of John Glenn Resonates Across Bay Area]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 23:48:17 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/glenn3.jpg

While John Glenn certainly made his mark on the universe, he also had an influence on a number of people right here in the Bay Area.

The former astronaut, who in 1962 became the first American to orbit Earth, died Thursday at the age of 95.

Paul chapman, now a retired principal, remembers the photo he took with Glenn and the school report he wrote as a boy that Glenn autographed. There are plenty of others in the Bay Area who were inspired by Glenn.

Gerald McKeegan is an astronomer at Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, where there’s a full-size duplicate of the Mercury spacecraft Glenn flew in 1962, with room for just one astronaut who had to be shorter than 5-foot-11.

While McKeegan could barely fit into the capsule, he attributes his pursuits in the space sciences to men such as Glenn.

"There were a couple of things about John Glenn: He was a marine, he was the epitome of an astronaut, by his character, his knowledge and by his bravery," McKeegan said.

McKeegan proudly guides people to the Mercury space suit like the one Glenn wore.

"We need people who will inspire us beyond politics or the economy," he said. "We need something that’s awe-inspiring."

Volunteers at the center say the inspiration Glenn provided is still needed today.

"We need heroes," volunteer Teri Schlesinger said. "We need people willing to take risks, people who see the problems of today and yet move forward."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Niners May Have a Chance to Pick Up Second Victory]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 09:03:35 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/cccchhhip.jpg

The 49ers will be in a strange situation Sunday.

San Francisco, which has lost 11 consecutive games since the season opener, benched its starting quarterback in an ugly loss to the Bears last weekend and is in the hunt for the worst record in the NFL for 2016, will be the favorite against the New York Jets at Levi’s Stadium.

Oddsmakers have made the 49ers 2½- to 3-point favorites over the Jets.

While the Niners have been worse than the Jets this season, the team from New York/New Jersey hasn’t been much better -- and now it has to travel cross-country. Young quarterback Bryce Petty will be making just the second start of his pro career, and his performance in a 41-10 loss to the Colts last week wasn’t encouraging. He completed just 44 percent of his passes (11-of-25) for 135 yards and a touchdown, was picked off twice and sacked once. His quarterback rating was just 41.2. The Jets, who have lost four straight, rank among the NFL’s worst offensive teams (24th overall, 27th passing) and fans and media are unhappy with head coach Todd Bowles.

There’s not much on the line in this game except pride, the hope of gaining some momentum heading toward the offseason and – for the loser – a better draft position. If adversity teaches lessons, both teams are learning a lot in 2016.

“One of the things we always talk about with sports is it teaches us certain life lessons and it brings out the best in us or exposes the worst in us,” Jets receiver Brandon Marshall told USA Today this week, about the matchup with the 49ers. “This is a great season for both teams to really mature and grow not only as a team and organization but also as men.”

After his benching against the Bears, Colin Kaepernick will be back starting at quarterback for the 49ers. But, it’s been an odd week for the Niners, who were without head coach Chip Kelly for a time because of the death of Kelly’s father. Niners wide receiver Torrey Smith says he and his teammates have given Kelly their support during this time.

“Obviously we want to win for ourselves because it’s been way too long, but when something like tht happens, you know what it would mean to him and his family,” Smith said this week.

After Kelly returned to the team, he said he appreciated the support of the team's management and players. Despite his team’s 1-11 record, he still feels positive about his players as they head into their final games.

“I think there’s a lot of like-minded individuals here,” Kelly said. “This group likes to work. They’ve got a great work ethic. … I really enjoy coaching this group. It’s a really good group of men.”

Kickoff is set for 1:05 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders' Big Game Provides Distraction From Tragic Fire]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 23:41:00 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/rickys-oakland.jpg

When you go to Ricky’s in San Leandro, get ready to be swallowed up by Raider Nation.

It was a raucous crowd lined up outside the sports bar at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, eager to get in to watch one of the Raiders' biggest games of the season thus far, a showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs.

By the time the game ended, the general mood was sour, as the Raiders suffered a 21-13 loss. to their AFC West rival.

It also was a big game for Oakland fans, who had a chance to get their minds off the horrific warehouse fire last week that left 36 people dead.

"In times of crisis, sports has a great facility for healing," longtime Oakland sportswriter Dave Newhouse said. "What’s happening with the Warriors, the Raiders, it takes people’s minds off things."

Fans agreed.

"It takes away from all that negativity and brings some positive to the town," Raiders fan Alonzo Drew said about the Thursday Night Football game.

Bar owner Ricky Ricardo said indeed the game, although taking place halfway across the country in Kansas City, provided a pause.

"It's a positive thing," Ricardo said. "People were looking for something positive instead of a negative thing. And this is positive, their team winning and playing."

While the Raiders have been winning, all Bay Area sports teams have been showing a lot of heart for victims of the tragedy in Oakland. Along Interstate 880, just past the Coliseum, motorists will see a huge sign that says "Oakland," with the "O" in the shape of a heart. And underneath, "#oaklandghostship."

The sign pays tribute to those who lost their lives in the fire and their families.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Road Through Postseason May be Harder Now]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 08:49:36 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Hillvsoak.jpg

Six straight victories and a 10-2 record by the Raiders had started to spark hopes of a return to the playoffs and – could it be dared? – a return to the Super Bowl after so many horrible seasons.

Those hopes weren’t dashed Thursday night by a 21-13 loss to the Chiefs in Kansas City. The Raiders are 10-3 and still are tied for the second-best record in the AFC. But the loss does mean Oakland will need some help or have to take a tougher road through the playoffs.

The Raiders and Chiefs both are 10-3 in the AFC West, but Kansas City is 2-0 over its old AFL rival, which puts it on top and in the driver’s seat. With three games left, even if Oakland wins out to finish 13-3, the Raiders will need the Chiefs to stumble in order to gain the division title and a possible first-round bye.

The Chiefs have their next two games at home against the 6-6 Titans and 8-4 Broncos, then finish in San Diego against the 5-7 Chargers. The Raiders are at the Chargers in their next game, Dec. 18, host the 6-6 Colts and finish at Denver.

If the Raiders had beaten the Chiefs Thursday night, they would have had the inside track to a division title and a possible No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Now it’s more likely they will be a wild-card team that might have to play on the road.

The loss Thursday night was a blow to a team that had enjoyed an exciting run for a month and a half. Quarterback Derek Carr, who wasn’t as sharp as usual, admitted after the game that he and his team had been “punched in the mouth.”

Added Carr: “Now we’ve got to respond.”

Head coach Jack Del Rio will try to get his team back on track against the Chargers. If the Raiders can regain their momentum, they’ll head into the playoffs for the first time since the 2002 season with at least a chance to avenge their 0-2 mark against Kansas City and win their way to the NFL’s championship game.

Said Del Rio: “Perhaps we see this team again.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland in State of Emergency Following Deadly Fire]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 07:38:20 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-627885014.jpg

Oakland is officially under a local state of emergency after the deadly warehouse fire that claimed the lives of 36 people.

The city council formally approved the declaration on Thursday, hours before a special forensics team was poised to head to the scene to try to determine its cause.

Meanwhile, new questions are being raised about why the so-called Ghost Ship warehouse had not been inspected by the city in decades.

Council members said they want answers too.

One council member said all the unknowns about inspections came as a surprise. Many artists spoke before the council Thursday, urging its members not to overreact and begin closing other artist spaces because of the deadly fire.

Artists and workers who attended the council meeting voiced concerns about other warehouses in the city now coming under new scrutiny.

At least one committee member also offered a blunt assessment of the city's code and fire enforcement efforts in light of the 36 people killed inside the Ghost Ship warehouse.

"It takes a tragedy for us to react, and us in Oakland we got to get our act together," council member Noel Gallo said.

As NBC Bay Area was first to report Wednesday, the warehouse had not been inspected by fire officials for at least a decade and code inspectors had not been inside for 30 years.

"I think it is a surprise and at this moment I can't tell you what the scope of it is," council member Lynette McElhaney said. "Is it less than 1 percent of our buildings? Is it less than 5 percent? We don't know. We want to give the administration and public the opportunity to let us know."

Some blame years of budget cuts and job vacancies that are slowly being filled.

But nobody seems to have a clear answer for why this building was not on the city's radar.

"I don't have an answer to that that's why we have to look to see what happened what was missed and what info did we not receive," council member Dan Kalb said.

Kalb said he hopes the current investigation will provide answers.

Calls to the Oakland Fire Department seeking comment were not immediately returned.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Conjoined Twins Separated After 17-Hour Surgery at Stanford]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 15:47:57 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/EvaErika.jpg

Erika and Eva Sandoval will be able to share the uncanny connection twins are said to have, but a grueling 17-hour surgery has ensured that they can soon do that safely.

The 2-year-old twins from Antelope, California, were born conjoined, but as of Wednesday were separated by surgeons at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. The surgery began on Tuesday and lasted through early Wednesday, hospital officials said.

The girls are in stable condition, hospital officials said Thursday, although they remain in the intensive care unit. 

Erika and Eva's mother, Aida Sandoval, was overcome with emotion as she spoke to reporters Thursday afternoon. In Spanish, she said that her first words upon seeing the girls emerge from their respective operating rooms were, "You're missing your other part, my daughter. Where is your sister?"

"It still seems very surreal when I see one on one side and the other one on the other side," Aida Sandoval said. "But it brings us all joy to see them, that it happened, that it was a dream come true for everybody." 

Dr. Gary Hartman, a pediatric surgeon who led the medical team that performed the lengthy, complicated procedure, recalled meeting the girls' parents, Aida and Arturo Sandoval in 2014. They had just learned that their twins were conjoined and were experiencing "multiple anomalies," he said.

[[405661806, C]]

"From that moment forward, the goal of the family and of all of the providers here at Packard has been the same goal that we have for all of our children — and that is that we end up with two happy, healthy girls," Hartman said. 

Anyone who met Eva and Erika Sandoval prior to Tuesday's surgery "can testify to the happy part. That is entirely the fault of the Sandovals," he quipped.

"We think that this week we made a big step toward the healthy part," Hartman explained.

Aida Sandoval's pregnancy was overseen by Lucile Packard's perinatal center. She was 32 weeks along when the girls were born via emergency C-section, according to Hartman.

Eva and Erika have spent the first two years of their lives closely monitored by Stanford doctors and others closer to the Sandovals' home in Antelope. 

"They were basically joined at the pericardium – which is the sac that covers the heart – joined at the sternum, joined at the liver, they shared parts of the ... small and large bowel, and they shared most of the pelvic organs," said pediatric surgeon Dr. Matias Bruzoni. "So for us it was a big challenge, but little by little and with the help of a lot of people … we were able to, from the top down, finally separate them."

[[405497506, C]]

On Tuesday, too, Eva and Erika's surgery depended on about 50 experts in pediatric surgery, orthopedics and anesthesiology as well as plastic surgeons, radiologists, urologists, and more.  

Bruzoni said that once the girls were separated, the medical team split into two groups for Eva and Erika's reconstruction phases, which lasted longer than the separation.

"Everyone is very focused on the separation and all the questions are about the separation," Hartman said. But it "doesn’t matter if you get them separated, if you can't get them reconstructed and get them closed."

Hartman admitted that he was extremely concerned about Erika, the smaller twin. "She basically kept getting smaller. The more calories we gave her, the bigger Eva got," he said.

Doctors were worried about her ability to make it through the "stress of the surgery," but Hartman said the girls were reconstructed so well that Erika has already been taken off the ventilator and is recovering faster than Eva.

Hartman joked that he took it upon himself to add levity to the complex surgery.

"I wanted each girl to have half of [their] belly button so for the rest of their life they can look at that half a belly button and think, 'That was where I was connected to my sister,'" he said. "So that's the goofy thing."

The Sandovals knew, going into Tuesday, that Erika and Eva faced an estimated risk of mortality of up to 30 percent, Hartman said  

But Aida and Arturo Sandoval stuck by their decision. 

"Once you see them, you know their personalities are different," Arturo Sandoval said. "They [got to] have their own lives."

To that, Aida Sandoval added that it was difficult to watch one child feel sick and seek rest and sleep while the other was healthy, happy and wanted to play. She recalled one of the girls experiencing pain when plastic surgeons used tissue expanders to stretch their skin, but her sister simply wanted to "crab walk."

Expressing gratitude to the doctors at Stanford for supporting them, Aida Sandoval said that she had heard "how peaceful it was" in the operating rooms during Eva and Erika's separation and reconstruction.

Now, however, the girls' mother is excited to get "more gray hair."

"They always say, 'When you have twins, you're going to go crazy because one's over here, the other's over there," Aida Sandoval said. "I want to go chasing after one that way and then go chasing after the other. That’s something I do look forward to doing."

Photo Credit: David Hodges / DNK Digital]]>
<![CDATA[Changes to Dental Anesthesia Lie Ahead]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 22:09:32 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1208-2016-Anesthesia.jpg

Six-year-old Caleb Sears died after having a tooth pulled at the dentist. His dentist was performing double duty -- pulling the tooth while also administering general anesthesia

“Once we had the information about his brain and consulted with the neurologist, we realized that we had to let him go,” said Eliza Sears, Caleb’s mom.

We wanted to know how many other kids had died after a dental procedure involving anesthesia. The answer was hard to get.

The Dental Board of California, whose goal is to protect the health and safety of consumers, couldn’t tell us how many kids have died. Instead, it gave us a stack of inconsistent and heavily redacted reports submitted by dentists after a procedure had gone wrong. We couldn’t make sense of most of it.  

Soon after that, the legislature stepped in, and ordered the board to study the safety of dentists giving kids anesthesia.

“I kept thinking, I wish someone had done this years ago, to save Caleb,” Stears said.

Many medical experts say it’s unsafe for dentists to administer anesthesia in kids while also doing dental work. They’ve attended dental board meetings over the past several months, asking the board to ban the practice.

“I implore you, as I have before, do not allow a child to be treated by the same person for anesthesia and whatever surgical treatment there is to be done,” dental professor Larry Trapp told the board.

But the board hasn’t been willing to go that far.

“The single operator anesthesia model is accepted nowhere in medicine, but exists only in dentistry,” Paula Whiteman, representing the American Academy of Pediatrics of California, told the board. “Despite the fact that this is my fourth time in front of the California Dental Board, the committee has ignored our recommendations.”

But, in an unexpected move, the board’s president said changes to how general anesthesia is given to kids needs to happen.

“I’m concerned that our recommendations at this point do not reflect the concerns that I’ve heard,” said Steven Morrow, board president.

The board is now recommending a ban on dentists administering general anesthesia while also performing dental work in children under the age of seven.

Medical experts call this a move in the right direction.

“Children ages seven and up are just as important as seven and below,” Whiteman said. “But this is a start. It gets our foot in the door. We’ll take this win.”

The board will now submit this new recommendation to the legislature. NBC Bay Area will continue to follow this story.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Taste, Smell Issues With SF Water Tied to Harmless Algae]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 22:34:33 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/water+tap+generic.jpg

Unpleasant odors and flavors reported in drinking water this week are caused by a harmless algae byproduct, San Francisco water officials said Thursday.

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission officials have found evidence of the substance, known as geosmin, at the Sunol Valley Water Treatment Plant and have taken steps to take the plant and the San Antonio Reservoir that feeds into it offline while they work to flush the system.

However, it could be as much as a week in some areas before the water returns to normal.

"We normally drink from the tap, but it tastes different; it tastes like dirt," resident Julio Soriano said. "We stopped drinking, started buying bottles."

SFPUC Assistant General Manager Steve Ritchie said the water department began receiving customer complaints of earthy, musty flavors and odors on Friday, shortly after employees began taking steps to lower the water levels in local reservoirs in anticipation of rain.

Officials initially assumed the issue was related to sediment in pipelines, and standard tests did not show any problems. However, after the complaints continued, the agency conducted more detailed analysis that detected the algae byproduct.

Ritchie said the problem was missed initially because it is extremely unusual to have algae problems in the cooler winter months, and no algae bloom is evident at the San Antonio Reservoir, the presumed source of the algae.

The utility said it stopped adding San Antonio water to the system Thursday and will switch to the San Andreas reservoir in Millbrae. But it will take time for the geosmin to be flushed out of the system.

Customers like Emily Otero sais she'll give it a week, but she is skeptical.

"I'm suspicious," she said. "There's been too many other things in the past where people drink contaminated water."

Despite the fears of some residents, however, Ritchie emphasized that the water is completely safe.

"The water meets all water quality standards and is truly safe to drink," Ritchie said.

The San Francisco Health Department issued a supporting statement Thursday noting that the SFPUC's water treatment removes all algae but cannot remove the byproducts, which can produce the odors and flavors even at very low concentrations.

"These compounds are harmless to humans and pose no health risk when water containing them is consumed or when exposed to their odor," the health department said.

The SFPUC supplies water to 2.6 million customers in the Bay Area from both the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Tuolumne County and from local reservoirs. Customers are typically supplied with water from a mix of sources that changes throughout the year in response to system conditions.

Photo Credit: Consumer Bob]]>
<![CDATA[Teacher Accused of Having Sexual Relationship with Student]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 23:51:09 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1208-2016-TrudyHill.jpg

A South Bay high school teacher has been arrested on suspicion of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male student, police said Thursday.

Trudy Hill, 32 and who teaches at Santa Teresa High School in San Jose, has been placed on leave, school officials said. The educator surrendered to detectives at the San Jose Police Department on Thursday, where she posted bail and was released, officials said.

Hill was also arrested for sending harmful matter to a minor and oral copulation, police said. No other victims have been identified, according to police.

East Side Union High School District Superintendent Chris Funk said the district is assisting and cooperating with the police investigation.

No other information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: San Jose Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Chiefs Again Have the Solution to Raiders]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:00:30 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/kctouchdnynnyn.jpg

Oakland’s road warriors finally met their match.

The Raiders were undefeated this season away from O.co Coliseum when they went into Kansas City Thursday night for an AFC West showdown with the Chiefs, but wound up on the short end of a 21-13 score.

The loss – which halts a six-game winning streak -- drops Oakland to 10-3 and into a tie atop the division with the Chiefs. But because Kansas City has now beaten the Raiders twice in 2016, the Chiefs hold the tiebreaker in the race to the AFC West title.

The Raiders grabbed a quick 3-0 lead, but then saw the Chiefs storm back with three consecutive touchdowns. At the half, Kansas City led 21-10.

Oakland managed a field goal in the third quarter to get within eight, which set the stage for quarterback Derek Carr to work some more late-game magic. Carr, an NFL MVP candidate, has led six fourth-quarter comebacks this season.

On Thursday night, however, he and the Raiders came up short. Late in the fourth quarter, the Raiders drove from their own 15 to the Kansas City 19, before finally turning the ball over on downs. A fourth-and-6 pass from Carr to Seth Roberts was batted away to stop the drive.

The Chiefs then ran out the clock to earn their 10th victory.

Carr finished 17-of-41 for 117 yards with no TDs or interceptions. Latavius Murray rushed 22 times for 103 yards and a score.

For the Chiefs, quarterback Alex Smith again was solid, as he usually is against Oakland, throwing for 264 yards on 17-of-26 passing, with tight end Travis Kelce catching five balls for 101 yards.

The Raiders now will be off until Sunday, Dec. 18, when they go to San Diego to take on the Chargers.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Big Rig Spills Chicken Parts All Over Highway 101]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:53:29 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/221*120/guts1.JPG

We hope you have a strong stomach – you’ll need one to read or watch this story!

A big rig spilled chicken parts all over Highway 101 in San Mateo, closing lanes for about half an hour.

California High Patrol, Redwood City tweeted out a little before 4 p.m. that the truck had spilled part of its load, closing three right lanes.

CHP said the truck stopped abruptly due to traffic stopped ahead and the load shifted forward, spilling over the front.

Around 4:17 p.m., CHP tweeted that all lanes were open. “Drive safe, it’s raining in the area as well.” The tweet warned evening commuters.

Traffic delays are expected during Thursday evening's commute on Highway 101.

Photo Credit: CHP Redwood City
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[UC Berkeley Professor to Be Subpoenaed in Millennium Probe]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:56:08 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9-14-16-milennium-tower-sf.jpg

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ government oversight committee voted Thursday to issue a subpoena compelling a reluctant UC Berkeley structural engineering professor to explain how he vouched for the foundation of the now sinking Millennium Tower.

Before the unanimous vote to subpoena Jack Moehle to testify and produce records, Supervisor Aaron Peskin called the measure “rather extraordinary.”

Moehle had served as a city peer review adviser on the Millennium project. He also served as a peer review adviser on another tower project that was ultimately abandoned, after experts warned it could sink dramatically.

Moehle has not returned calls seeking comment on the new developments, but earlier told NBC Bay Area that he was surprised there was no geotechnical review of the project.

Moehle’s colleague on the peer review process wrote a letter in 2006 in which he stressed that no one asked him or Moehle to account for the Transbay transit project slated to be built next door to the Millennium.

It is that project that Millennium blames for destabilizing its foundation. A foundation that is not tied to bedrock.

In an email Moehle sent to Peskin on Wednesday, the professor wrote that he was sorry he had not been able to attend earlier hearings on the Millennium project.

“Certain contractual matters have restrained me in that regard,” Moehle told Peskin, but he did not elaborate.

“I’m not sure what that means,” Peskin said to the committee before the vote, “because ultimately he was the city’s peer reviewer. I don’t know that he has any contractual restrictions.”

Moehle had been one of two structural engineers who reviewed the structural aspects of the foundation of the 58-story building, which is now sinking and tilting. No expert reviewed the findings of the geotechnical engineers for the project.

Peskin had strong support from two colleagues on the panel.

“I think the public deserves to know what the heck happened,” Supervisor Norman Yee said in support of the subpoena action.

That may be a challenge.

Moehle told Peskin that he will testify if commanded to do so, but he will be unavailable for nearly all of next month as he will be attending a seismic conference in Chile. That gathering is slated for Jan 9-13.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[SJSU Police Bolster Patrols After Rash of Sexual Batteries]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:33:35 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/12-8-16-sjsu-male-suspect-sexual-assault1.jpg

San Jose State University police bolstered their presence around campus Thursday after the report of a man groping a female student Wednesday. It was the fourth sexual battery report at the college in less than a month.

The latest incident happened about 1:10 p.m. Wednesday on the second floor stairwell of Duncan Hall. A female student was walking down the stairs when a man groped her then ran away, university police said.

The incident came just two days after another student said she was groped after walking into the student union.

Campus police released photographs of who they believe is the suspect in that case.

"I'm always cautious because of the area, but its definitely keeping me on edge," student Alice Soroka said.

A similar battery occurred last Wednesday in the stairwell of Sweeney Hall. That’s near the same location where two other women say they were groped by the same man within seconds of each other on Nov. 21.

Student Alexandria Hernandez said she carries pepper spray wherever she goes, just to be safe.

"All of the women here should definitely carry pepper spray, just in case,” she said.

Police are not certain if one man is responsible for all of the gropes or if there are more suspects to look for.

Photo Credit: San Jose State University Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Musician, UC Student Are Latest Oakland Fire Victims ID'd]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 23:49:34 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/JosephJenniferCollage.jpg

An electronic musician and a health psychology student are the latest Oakland warehouse fire victims to be identified by the Alameda County Coroner's Bureau.

On Thursday, officials said Joseph Matlock and Jennifer Mendiola were among the 36 people who perished in a three-alarm fire that broke out during a Friday night party at the East Oakland warehouse dubbed the "Ghost Ship." The families of all the victims have been notified of their deaths, officials said.

Markus Schulz brought flowers to the site where his friend and fellow artist Jonathan Bernbaum also was among the victims. Although the county coroner has not officially released his name as a victim, Bernbaum's family has confirmed he was at the party, and his school, USC, already has held a vigil in his honor.

Schulz said Bernbaum was well known in the music scene for creating visual backdrops for musicians at some of the biggest venues in the country. "He was a one-of-a-kind talent," Schulz said.

Matlock, a 36-year-old Oakland resident, also goes by the stage name Joey Casio. He was part of the lineup and scheduled to play at Friday's Golden Donna 100% Silk event. 

The Willamette Week said Matlock previously lived in Portland, Oregon and Olympia, Wash. Friends and fans flocked to social media to honor Matlock.

Laurel Smith wrote on Facebook that she was "beaming love out toward all the tender souls taken by the #oaklandfire. we needed those people. here's to the graceful genius #joeycasio who performed so generously over the years and had kindness for everyone."

Calvin Johnson, the owner of Olympia-based K Records, sold a compilation of of singles Matlock recorded for the label's International Pop Underground series to help raise money for the Ghostship Fire Relief Fund. The label's website indicates that Matlock's collection is sold out, but Johnson directed them to the Gray Area Foundation's fundraiser. As of Thursday afternoon, 9,758 donors have helped raise $542,610 of a $750,000 goal. 

Mendiola, 35, also of Oakland, was a doctoral student at UC Merced. 

Her family told NBC Bay Area: "Our beautiful Jennifer has been identified. She died without suffering. She was unconscious in 15 minutes and was not touched by the fire. She died of smoke inhalation."

In a statement about the Sacramento woman's death, the university's Chancellor Dorothy Leland wrote, "Colleagues have described Jennifer as a passionate and determined scientist, with an inquisitive mind and a collaborative spirit."

Leland said that Mendiola was a fifth-year graduate student in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts. She was "studying factors that influence risk behaviors and poor health, including one’s close relationships and emotional experiences," according to Leland.

The university is slated to hold a moment of silence for Mendiola at 12 p.m. on Dec. 12 by an oak tree in front of the Leo and Dottie Kolligian Library.

Meanwhile, investigators are still searching through what's left of the building that housed a collective of artists called Satya Yuga. ATF officials said they have called in a special forensic mapping team to help out in the investigation.

With Thursday's update, 31 of the 36 victims have been identified. 

The victims include:

  • Donna Kellogg, 32, of Oakland
  • Cash Askew, 22, of Oakland
  • David Cline, 35, of Oakland
  • Nick Gomez-Hall, 25, of Coronado
  • Sara Hoda, 30, of Walnut Creek
  • Travis Hough, 35, of Oakland
  • Brandon Chase Wittenauer, 32, of Hayward
  • Draven McGill, 17, of San Francisco
  • Em Bohlka, 33, of Oakland
  • Micah Danemayer, 28, of Oakland
  • Chelsea Dolan, 33, of San Francisco
  • Feral Pines, 29, of Berkeley
  • Alex Ghassan, 35, of Oakland
  • Michela Gregory, 20, of South San Francisco
  • Alex Vega, 22, of San Bruno
  • Edmond Lapine, 34, of Oakland
  • Jennifer Morris, 21, of Foster City
  • Benjamin Runnels, 32, of Oakland
  • Jennifer Kiyomi Tanouye, 31, of Oakland
  • Wolfgang Renner, 61, of Oakland
  • Jason McCarty, 35, of Oakland
  • Billy Dixon, 35, of Oakland
  • Johnny Igaz, 34, of Oakland
  • Ara Jo, 29, of Oakland
  • Amanda Kershaw, 34, of San Francisco
  • Griffin Madden, 23, of Berkeley
  • Vanessa Plotkin, 21, of Lakewood
  • Hanna Ruax, 32, of Helsinki, Finland
  • Nicole Siegrist, 29, of Oakland
  • Jennifer Mendiola, 35, of Oakland
  • Joseph Matlock, 36, of Oakland

    Photo Credit: Facebook, Mendiola family
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Graphic: Inside the Oakland Warehouse]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:34:37 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KNTV_000000020142616_1200x675_828267587639.jpg The Oakland fire started on the first floor of a converted warehouse. ATF Special Agent Jill Snyder said the flames possibly sparked by electrical issues quickly sparked to the second floor. Partygoers upstairs were trapped and unable to get down the building's two wooden staircases. “The occupants of the building were consumed by smoke before they were able to get out of the building,” Snyder said. ]]> <![CDATA[Cupertino Students Treated to Holiday Shopping Spree]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:41:59 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/SHOPPING+SPREE.jpg

    Christmas came early for dozens of South Bay elementary school students.

    Thirty students from the Cupertino Union School District were treated to a holiday shopping spree Thursday morning.

    Each student boarded a bus to Target with a volunteer and was let free to spend $245 on clothes and shoes.

    “Each of the schools select children who they think would benefit from this,” said Barbara Nunes, president of the Cupertino Quota Club, an international service club. Many of the students were selected based on financial need.

    Days before the trip, each student and a parent or guardian was asked to provide the child’s clothing and shoe size and clothing needs. On Thursday at the store, a volunteer helped little ones pick out their favorite jackets, sweaters, pants, hats, shoes, socks and pajamas.

    After hours of shopping, student were treated to lunch at the YMCA and surprised with a visit from Santa.

    Cupertino Quota Club hosts fundraisers each year to sponsor the shopping spree. The Cupertino Rotary Club also donated, as well as Target.

    Thursday marked the 20th annual holiday shopping spree.

    Photo Credit: Ryann Vargas]]>
    <![CDATA[These Are the 10 Best Places to Work in San Francisco]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 14:21:05 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/LinkedInHQ.jpg

    If you're a Facebook, Google, or LinkedIn employee, chances are you like your job more than the next person. 

    Jobs and recruiting website Glassdoor released its 2017 edition of its annual list of the 50 best places to work on Wednesday. The list is compiled using employee feedback on benefits, salary and pros and cons of working for the employer.

    Bain & Company is the best company to work for. The management consulting firm's comprehensive benefits program, which offers low co-pays and an employee wellness program, has consistently remained a top five place to work for the past seven years. 

    Employee reviews say the "tough, but rewarding" work culture makes a job at the firm the "best post-MBA job to have." Bain also boasts the highest-rated CEOs on Glassdoor for a second straight year.

    Runner-up Facebook is the second-best large company to work for in 2017. The social network offers its employees 16 weeks of paid maternity or paternity leave, an extra month more than the 12 weeks mandated by New York state.

    Gooogle, LinkedIn and Adobe were the other top ten large companies to work for. In one review, a LinkedIn employee wrote "Generation X and [Baby] Boomers need not apply", which implies the professional social networking service's work culture is millenial-friendly. 

    In-N-Out Burger came in at number seven.

    Tech companies who made the top 20 were: Salesforce, Intuit and SAP.

    NBC New York contributed to this report.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Holiday Activities on the Peninsula ]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:56:23 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/NightofLightsThumbnail.jpg

    Thousands poured into the Half Moon Bay historic district for the annual "Night of Lights" celebration to kick off a weekend of festivities in cities on the Peninsula. 

    With the Caltrain Holiday Train making stops in four cities across San Mateo County throughout the weekend and a citywide gathering in Redwood City for "Hometown Holidays,” the weekend was full of family-friendly events, featuring everything from holiday carolers to artificial snow pits.

    Here are more upcoming events and seasonal traditions to look for on the Peninsula in the next two weeks:

    Caroling - Many holiday groups will be performing throughout the Peninsula this month. One of the holiday performances is by Golden Chordsmen, a barber shop quartet, on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. in San Mateo Hillsdale Mall. The following day, Transfiguration Episcopal Church is hosting caroling from 2 to 4 p.m. at 3900 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo. Men’s acappella group, Ragazzi Continuo, will be performing "Christmas Time Is Here" and other Christmas carols at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 178 Clinton St., Redwood City, on Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 to $20 in advance or $15 to $25 at the door. Burlingame Music Club will be performing on Dec. 12 at 1 p.m. at 241 Park Road, Burlingame, and the Gryphon Carollers will be performing its holiday concert on Dec. 17 at 7:00 p.m. at Cañada College Theater, 4200 Farm Hill Blvd, Redwood City.

    Every Christmas Story Ever Told - In Half Moon Bay, actors are taking a different approach to the classic Christmas stories - by just telling them all. This local theatre is performing its show from Dec. 9 to 18 and tickets cost between $17 and $30. More information can be found on Coastal Repertory Theatre's website.

    Holiday Festival - San Mateo High School Gym is hosting a “Holiday Festival of Dance" on Dec. 10 and 11 at 5:30 p.m. at 506 N. Deleware St., San Mateo. Tickets cost $2 for young children and $13 at the door for ages 13 and older.

    Great Dickens Christmas Fair - This fair has been held in the Bay Area since 1970 and transforms a hall in Daly City into "Charles Dickens' London Town,” including everything from old fashioned shops to actors recreating scenes from history. The holiday party occurs between Nov. 19 and Dec. 18 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. with tickets costing between $14 and $30. Children aged five to 12-years old are admitted for free. The fair takes place at Cow Palace Exhibition Halls, 2600 Geneva Ave., Daly City. More information can be found on the Great Dickens’ website or at (800) 510-1558.

    Hanukkah - Latkepalooza! is a free Hanukkah celebration on Dec. 11 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Peninsula Jewish Community Center, 800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City. The Shamati Acoustic Trio will be performing, and there will be vendors for holiday shopping and wine tasting. More information can be found on the event's website.

    Hillsdale Shopping Center Community Performances - In the middle of San Mateo County sits Hillsdale Shopping Center, which will be hosting local music groups and schools in its Nordstrom Court throughout the month. The performances are free and details on which holiday community performances will be there during your trip can be found on its website.

    Holiday Market - The Half Moon Bay Ritz-Carlton is hosting a holiday market on its Ocean Lawn for the first time. The event is free with optional valet parking for $30. It will be held on Dec. 18 from noon to 5 p.m.

    Ice Skating Holiday Rinks - With the newest outdoor ice skating rink, San Mateo on Ice, open for the season in San Mateo Central Park, 50 E 5th Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401, ice skating activities are in full swing for families on the Peninsula. Golden Gate Skating Rink, 1303 Main St, Redwood City, CA 94063, Winter Lodge, 3009 Middlefield Rd, Palo Alto, CA 94306, Nazareth Ice Oasis, 3140 Bay Rd, Redwood City, are among other ice skating locations in the area.

    Holiday Concerts- Kitka women's chorus group will be arriving on the Peninsula for a "Wintersongs" performance at St. Bede’s Episcopal Church, 2650 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, on Dec. 11 at 4 pm. Tickets cost between $15 and $40. Tickets and more details can be found on its site. The Westbay Community Band will be performing its Winter Holiday Concert. on Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. at 400 Murchison Drive, Millbrae. Tickets are $10 at the door. Also on Dec. 14, Off the Grid will be hosting Groovy Judy for holiday songs at its food market from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at 1120 Merrill St. Menlo Park. The performance is free.

    Mary Poppins - Hillbarn Theatre Company will be presenting the Disney classic from Nov. 25 to Dec. 18 at Hillbarn Theatre, 1285 E Hillsdale Blvd, Foster City. Tickets cost between $45 and $48. Tickets and more details can be found on its site.

    Meeting Santa - Santa and his elves will be making their rounds throughout cities on the Peninsula all month. He will be joining San Mateo County librarians in San Carlos, 610 Elm St. San Carlos, on Dec. 17 from 12:30 to 1:30 pm and at the Hillsdale and Stanford shopping centers throughout the month. For a $10 donation or unwrapped new gift, families can join firefighters at Station 21, 120 S. Ellsworth Ave. San Mateo, for Breakfast with Santa on Dec. 10 from 9 to 11 a.m. Photos by Carl Ward Photography will be available for children meeting with Santa on the 1921 fire engine.

    Nativity Scene - In Redwood City, Bethlehem A.D. performs their annual nativity scene for families on the Peninsula. Performances will occur from Dec. 21 to 23 from 6 to 9 p.m. at 1305 Middlefield Rd. Redwood City. 

    The Nutcracker - In several cities, the Nutcracker will be performed in theatres throughout the Bay Area. On the Peninsula, some performances include Bay Pointe Ballet in San Mateo from Dec. 16 to 18 and at the Peninsula Ballet Theater in Redwood City on Dec. 17 and 18. Prices vary by performance. 

    Our Lady of Guadalupe Pilgrimage - Every year, thousands embark on a 12-mile hike from All Souls Church, 315 Walnut Avenue, South San Francisco, to St. Mary’s Cathedral, 111 Gough Street San Francisco. This year, the journey will begin at 5 a.m. on Dec. 10 and end with a 2 p.m. mass on the steps of St. Mary’s Cathedral. More information can be found on Cruzada Guadalupana's website.

    Pillar Point Harbor Lighted Boat Festival - The 29th annual festival in Half Moon Bay will be held on Dec. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. There will be a boat decorating contest and vendors along the Pillar Point Harbor.

    Tree Lighting Ceremonies -  The Foster City Recreation Center in Leo Ryan Park is hosting its annual tree lighting ceremony. It is free to attend on Dec. 7 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

    ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas - More than 80 actors will put on the classic holiday performance on Dec. 10 and 11 with performances at 1 and 4 p.m. It will take place at Woodside Performing Arts Center, 199 Churchill Ave., Woodside. Tickets cost $15 for children and seniors and $25 for adults

    Wine Stroll- San Carlos Chamber is hosting a holiday wine stroll in downtown San Carlos on Dec. 11 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Cherry Street at Laurel, San Carlos for $40 per person (aged 21 and up). San Carlos will also be the site of a holiday mixer at Sparky's Hot Rod Garage from 5 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 14.

    Wreaths Across America - A family-friendly tradition that supports our veterans, Wreaths Across America is looking for volunteers to assist in laying wreaths on Dec. 17 for a national moment of silence. The ceremony will start at 8:45 a.m. at Golden Gate National Ceremony, 1300 Sneath Lane, San Bruno. 

    Do you know of another event happening on the Peninsula this month? Help us update this list by emailing rebecca.greenway@nbcuni.com.

    Photo Credit: Rebecca Greenway]]>
    <![CDATA[Trans Woman Consults With Authorities After Warehouse Fire]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 18:15:21 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Bohka_Pines_Askew.jpg

    If you pay close enough attention, there’s a woman with dark brown hair and hoop earrings whose head was cocked to the left behind a podium while she was listening to sheriff, police and fire authorities give the latest on Oakland’s deadly warehouse fire.

    Tiffany Woods, 53, of San Leandro was steps away from Oakland’s mayor, fire chief and a host of other leaders who were announcing the latest grim updates on a fire that ripped through a warehouse on 31st Avenue on Friday night, killing 36 people, including three transgender women.

    The self-described “trans lesbian mother of three,” was invited by Oakland Police spokeswoman Johnna Watson and Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly to navigate the tricky waters of naming the trio of people who died in the fire who were born with one name, and died with another.

    “They texted me to come Saturday night and provide grief counseling and handle the press,” Woods said. “They’d handle the crime part and I’d handle all the trans stuff.”

    [[405621615, C]]

    Behind the scenes, Woods has been advising the coroner’s office on how to sensitively release the names of the transgender women in death, after they perished in a blaze Friday night during an electronic dance party of artists and musicians at a warehouse nicknamed the "Ghost Ship."

    Woods even gets tagged on Twitter by the sheriff’s office to let her know that authorities have done what she’s recommended – to release a person’s legal name on the death certificate, but tell the public that the victims’ preferred their chosen name. At the same time, she’s also dealing with some members of angry trans community who are upset with her for working with police in the first place and are also mad at reporters, including ones at NBC Bay Area, who state the birth names of the three who had transitioned from their male identities to female ones. The three transgender women who died in the fire are: Cash Askew, 22; Em Bohka, 33 and Riley Fritz, aka Feral Pines, 29.

    [[404855626, C]]

    “They’re just trying to take control of the situation in any way they can,” Woods said. “They are grieving and they are mad.”

    In the trans community, naming a person by their birth name, and not by the name they chose, is called “dead naming,” activists explained. Women who transitioned into men, and vice versa, don't want to reminded of their old life and their old names.

    And for the sheriff’s part, Kelly said the department is thrilled to have Woods’ expertise. This is the first time he has had to deal with naming people who identify as transgender, and he said having the right language and nuance is key.

    “When you have a tragedy like this, what’s important to the family becomes important to you,” Kelly said, noting that members of the sheriff’s office are also part of the larger LGBTQ community.

    Because of meeting Woods, Kelly is now hoping to put a class together for deputies who encounter members of the trans community. “We ask for their names, and, they give us their new name and we say, B.S. You know how we are. But I learned through Tiffany that if you talk to them right, and asked for their preferred name, and then their legal name you can get the answers you want without confrontation.”

    On a personal level, Kelly said he just thinks Woods is remarkable. “She’s the first transgender woman I hugged in my life,” he said.

    [[405494305, C]]

    Law enforcement and society in general have come a long way, since Woods first became an official liaison to the Oakland police department after Brandy Martell, a transgender woman who had worked for Woods was shot and killed in downtown.

    Woods was also called in to assist police after Sasha Fleischman, a 17-year-old agender teen who had their skirt lit on fire by a 16-year-old boy on an AC transit bus in Oakland in 2014.

    “It took a month for them to call me after Brandy, and three hours after Sasha,” Woods recalled, noting that police have been very quick to embrace the LGBTQ sensitivity trainings that then-Oakland Mayor Jean Quan ordered during her tenure.

    She has the experience to do so.

    [[405284845, C]]

    For the last 14 years, Woods has run TransVision in Fremont, the only health and resource center for transgender and transsexual women in Alameda County and is funded by the county's Office of AIDS. Woods, who lives with her wife and three kids, co-founded the program in response to the death of Gwen Araujo, a 17-year-old transgender woman who was beaten and strangled to death by four men in Newark on October 3, 2002.

    The Oakland warehouse fire is the first time that Woods has worked directly with the sheriff’s office. And she feels it’s a great opportunity to be able to educate another law enforcement agency as well as the public about issues that are dear to the trans community. She was invited to the news conference on Sunday to let the police handle the nuts-and-bolts part of the investigation and let her handle the media asking questions about what being transgender means.

    [[405020546, C]]

    She said she’s been treated with kindness and respect. And she thinks that can do a world of good for future relationships and interactions between transgender people and the public.

    “They keep telling me they are so glad you’re here,” Woods said. “I think the conversations with the city, the mayor, the sheriff and the command staff has never been as respectful on these issues.”

    Photo Credit: Family
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Remembering Couple Found Dead in Each Other's Arms ]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 12:46:46 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Embracing.png

    The deadly fire at the Oakland warehouse took the lives of 36 people, including three young Peninsula natives. 

    Michela Angelina Gregory, 20, Jennifer Morris, 20, and Alex Vega, 22, have been confirmed among the identified victims.

    A third-year student at San Francisco State University, David Gregory described his daughter, Michela, as "ambitious" and "just something else." 

    "Between work and school, she was always going," he said.

    After graduating from South San Francisco High School, Michela Gregory headed to San Francisco State University to pursue special education and communicative disorder studies.

    She was inspired through programs in high school, where she would volunteer to work with autistic and special needs children. 

    Her father said she would have likely wanted to find a job close to home after graduating.

    Michela Gregory had attended the gathering in Oakland with her boyfriend of five years, Alex Vega. 

    Vega was living with family in San Bruno and had graduated from Capuchino High School.

    The two had become inseparable through the years, according to David Gregory. 

    [[405511745, C]]

    The Alameda County Sheriff's Department said firefighters found the high school sweethearts in the warehouse in each other's arms. Gregory's father said he knew they would be found together.

    "I knew it, I just felt it, it gave me peace knowing," Gregory said.

    "They were always together. They always go everywhere together. There is no way that one of them would have gotten out without the other."

    Hundreds of people stood in the rain Wednesday night in San Bruno holding candles to remember the two.

    A quiet, good kid, Gregory remembers his daughter's long-term boyfriend fondly. 

    He ate meat, she was a vegan. He was quiet and reserved, she was outspoken and bubbly, he said.

    "It’s funny, he’s a very quiet person. The minute you get him to open up, he was very open, very intelligent," he said. "Her and Alex will always be in our hearts forever."

    A memorial fund has been started by a family friend of the Gregory family, while another has been started for the Vega family here.

    [[405321436, C]]

    As families and friends mourn the loss of loved ones, the national incident brings in support and prayers from across the region.

    "I know we don't know each other but I have a son the same age," commenter Corinne Gaeta Choulett wrote to Michela Gregory’s mother. "I've been following and praying.” 

    Jennifer Morris of Foster City was also among the victims Friday. 

    A junior majoring in media studies at UC-Berkeley, she was with her roommate Vanessa Plotkin, who died that evening as well. 

    UC-Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks addressed students in a statement following the fire. 

    “We also stand together, in solidarity and support, with all in our neighboring communities who have been impacted by this terrible tragedy," Dirks wrote.

    Photo Credit: Submitted Photo
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Arts Organization Raises Half a Million Dollars After Fire]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 13:26:40 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-627885450.jpg

    Josette Melchor said she launched an online fundraising page “in a moment of desperation” on Saturday, a few hours after hearing about the warehouse fire in Fruitvale, when only nine people were confirmed dead.

    Just five days later, when the Alameda County Coroner's Office has announced that 36 people died in that Oakland warehouse blaze, the page has gathered more than half a million dollars from more than 9,000 donors. That breaks down to about $14,000 for each victim’s family to cover funeral costs, medical bills, and other emergency expenses.

    Melchor, founder of the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, never imagined that the campaign would exceed her original modest goal of $10,000 in only an hour.

    “People didn’t have a place to direct their support,” she said. “I didn’t expect it to have this impact. But then again, I didn’t expect the size of this tragedy. I thought a lot of our friends would be found and rescued.”

    While organizing to channel the outpouring of grief and compassion for the victims of the fire, Melchor and her organization are also grieving.

    “The past five days (since the fire) has felt like a year,” she said.

    Melchor said her San Francisco-based non-profit is working with the Oakland Mayor’s Office and the American Red Cross, which will be the first contact for victim’s families.

    She sat down with city emergency officials and Red Cross officials on Tuesday. She said they suggested pooling the funds.

    “It wasn’t a hard ask, just a suggestion,” she said. “But our community gave us the funding because they trust us to keep it in the community.”

    The Gray Area Foundation for the Arts is no stranger to six-figure fundraising. The organization dealt with displacement in San Francisco’s South of Market, mid-Market and Tenderloin neighborhoods, before finally finding a home in the Mission. Melchor led a campaign to raise $450,000 to renovate the Grand, a single-screen Art Deco movie theater on Mission Street that had been used as a dime store for years. Gray Area now has an operating budget of $1.1 million.

    Melchor and her board welcome advice and guidance on distributing the funds, promise to provide transparence and remain committed to making sure the donations stay in the community.

    “We’re trying to figure out how to be sensitive to transgender people, people who may have been cast out by their families, the nuances of our community,” she said.

    Melchor chose YouCaring to raise money online because the site charges lower fees for each donation. Many other crowdfunding and charity websites take a cut of anywhere from 3 to 10 percent. YouCaring still has to pay credit card processing fees, so donors can add those fees (30 cents plus 2.9 percent) to each donation.

    The local Red Cross is handling donations from the three sports teams of $50,000 each, plus $75,000 from Sutter Health. With that funding, the YouCaring page set up by the Oakland Athletics has raised about $420,000 for those who lost loved ones, injured or displaced.

    “This initial financial assistance helps for immediate emergency needs. The great thing about the A’s fund is that it’ll help them through the next stage of piecing lives together,” said Red Cross spokeswoman Cynthia Shaw.

    The role of the Red Cross is to distribute emergency donations to clients, and provide meals, counseling to first responders at the site and at the family assistance center, Shaw said.

    The Gray Area Foundation is a “well-known, reputable, engaging, and smart non-profit with a great team. They have the best of intentions. This community rallies together,” she added. “We shared some of our experiences and best practices. But it’s up to them to decide what’s fits the spirit of the funds they raised, the donor intent, and the mission of the organization.”

    Melchor said the fundraising page will stay up as long as people want to give.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA['Facebook Miracle': Fire Victim's Girlfriend Finds Photo]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 09:46:47 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ArkenAvan.jpg

    The girlfriend of an Oakland warehouse fire victim experienced a “Facebook miracle” in a time of crippling grief when hundreds of social media users helped her track down a special year-old photograph of the two of them.

    Saya Tomioka's boyfriend Griffin Madden, 23, was among 36 people who perished in a fire at the Ghost Ship warehouse Friday. Amid her mourning for the loss, she turned to social media in an attempt to find the person who captured a a photo of the couple during a trip to New York City last June. 

    It had been Tomioka's first time in Times Square, she recalled in a Facebook post published Sunday. Tomioka and Madden were mid-embrace when a photographer captured the moment.

    “I've always longed to find this particular photograph and thank the photographer,” she wrote in the post. “Friends, possibly with your help, I can be reunited with this photograph, this treasured memory that I'll always keep in my heart.”

    Tomioka acknowledged that finding it would be akin to a “Facebook miracle,” but wrote it would be something to lift her spirits.

    After being shared more than 300 times, the post made its way to Arken Avan, a professional photographer who is known for taking pictures of couples in New York's bustling city center. After a quick search through his photo collection, Avan zeroed in on the now famous photo and send it to Tomioka. 

    “Two people shared that post with me yesterday, my NYPD friend I know from Times Square, and some of Saya’s friends,” Avan told NBC Bay Area, on how he heard about the photo search. 

    He told Tomioka he remembered that exact moment.

    “I actually remember this moment — young lady was holding pretzel in her hand and young man had lipstick on his cheek,” he wrote in a message to her. "What a beautiful and adorable couple I thought at that moment. I'm sorry for your loss and hope you will keep these pictures for memory, forever.”

    He says also plans to share the photo on his @NewYorkFaces Instagram, in honor of Madden.

    Tomioka has since taken to Facebook again, describing the agony of learning about the devastating fire and having to wait for days until crews recovered Madden's body and identified him.

    "I thought that I'd feel better when the waiting ended, but instead, I felt dissatisfied. I felt like I hadn't found you---yet," she wrote.

    But Avan's photo helped bring a "glimpse of your light back into my life," Tomioka said. "With the infinite help from our families, friends, and strangers, I finally found you."

    Avan's photograph came at the end of a June 2015 evening that included Madden and Tomioka laughing hysterically over "The Book of Mormon" and haggling over a pretzel. After finding the photo, Tomioka said she "sobbed" and "immediately laughed uncontrollably."

    She continued: "Life is so strange. I've lost you, but I've never felt stronger in my life. Through our many years of love and growth, I learned how to be strong from you."

    NBC Bay Area's Rhea Mahbubani contributed to this report.


    Gillian Edevane covers Contra Costa County for NBC Bay Area. Contact her at Gillian.Edevane@NBCuni.com or at (669) 263-2895. 

    Photo Credit: Arken Avan Photography
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>