<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Local News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.comen-usSat, 25 Jun 2016 09:21:19 -0700Sat, 25 Jun 2016 09:21:19 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Bay Area Opposes First Responders Tactical Training Program]]> Sat, 25 Jun 2016 00:09:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N11P+STOPPING+POLICE+VIOLENCE+VO+-+00000713.jpg

A tactical training program coming to Alameda County in September has earned the ire of some Bay Area residents.

Urban Shield comes here once a year and first responders, including police, fire, SWAT teams, train for emergencies and disasters. However, a local group is resisting, convinced that the program promotes violence in the community.

Dozens of people packed the East Bay Media Center in Berkeley Friday to disucss banning Urban Shield from the Bay Area.

“Urban shield does not train people and treat people in terms of health and well-being,” said Lara Kiswani with the Stop Urban Shielf Coalition. “It trains people to treat people as enemy combatants.”

That belief draws hundreds of protesters to the law enforcement training program every year.

It brought Matt Chang to the meeting in Berkeley Friday. His brother, Errol Chang, was shot and killed by law enforcement officials in Pacifica in March 2014.

“He was in the midst of a crisis and instead of bringing in mental health professionals, he was shot with an AR-15 rifle,” Matt Chang said.

Several coalitions around the Bay Area believe Urban Shield promotes the militarization of police here and around the country.

“It epitomizes militarization, it epitomizes police brutality,” Kiswani said.

Urban Shield’s organizers disagree. Spokesman J.D. Nelson said the conference is designed to train and prepare police, fire and medical personnel to solve problems.

“If you wait for disaster to strike before you prepare, you are too late,” he said.

Matt Chang, however, believes law enforcement wasn’t adequately prepared to respond to his brother.

“Treating someone with mental illness that’s having an episode like a terrorist is not right,” he stressed.

Chang said the San Mateo County District Attorney decided the fatal shooting of his brother was justified, but a civil law suit is pending.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Shooting on Highway 4 Damages Rear Window of Pick-Up Truck]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 23:27:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/HWY+4+FREEWAY+SHOOTING+-+00000110.jpg

A bullet pierced a pick-up truck's rear window on Highway 4 near Bailey Road in Pittsburg Friday night.

At least two people were in the vehicle during the shooting around 9 p.m., but neither suffered gunshot wounds. The passenger, who was hurt by flying glass shards, was taken to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries, Contra Costa County sheriff's officials said.

Shaken by the shooting, the driver decided to pull off Highway 4 at the Willow Pass Road exit, and park in a Chevron gas station where sheriff's units responded.

Sheriff's officials said someone opened fire from a nearby vehicle, but they did not provide details about the possible shooter or suspect vehicle. Officials have also not commented on whether the shooting was gang-related. 

A couple dozen highway shootings have plagued the Bay Area since last November.

Further details were not immediately available.

Check back for updates.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Deputies on Leave for Alleged Jail Guard Abuse: Sources]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 20:20:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0210-2016-Elmwood.jpg

Two female Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office correctional deputies on Friday were placed on leave for alleged jail guard abuse, sources tell NBC Bay Area.

Sources said the correctional deputies allegedly beat up a female inmate last summer at Elmwood Jail. Sources also said that when another correctional deputy approached the scene, the two guards told her to go away.

The sheriff's office is conducting an investigation.

The allegations come as the jail system tries to recover from other abuse allegations against inmates, including the death of Michael Tyree last August. Three inmates face homicide charges in Tyree's case.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[San Francisco Revs Up for Pride Festivities]]> Sat, 25 Jun 2016 00:07:51 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N11P+SF+PRIDE+FRIDAY+PKG+-+00002705.jpg

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to pour into San Francisco for the Pride Parade this weekend.

But in the wake of the deadly shootings in Orlando, this year's festival is taking a different tone with improving security a priority.

Signs of support following the Orlando shootings can be seen along with an increased police presence in San Francisco's Castro District.

"I trust that the community that voted for me trusts me well enough to know and respect my leadership, and would respect my decision that I made not to participate in Sunday's event," said Janetta Johnson, an executive director of the Transgender, Gender Variant and Intersex Justice Project. "And a part of that is the large police presence.

The festivities kicked off Friday with the Trans March and the transgender community celebrating the unveiling of Gene Compton's Cafeteria Way, which honors the place where trans people rioted over police harassment in 1966.

"I think that the world is ready to see us as people because that's who we are," said Grand Marshall Nya Cruz.

The march drew hundreds of participants, but the crowd turned sour when city and state leaders took the mic at Dolores Park to talk about legislative support for the community. Senator Mark Leno was booed off the stage and security personnel hurried Mayor Ed Lee to his car.

"This is our time, not a time for politicians," one reveler said.

However, politicians like Leno have been fighting for trans rights for years. Meanwhile, Lee just appointed Theresa Sparks as his Gender Equity Advisor.

"It's the first time [the position has] ever been created anywhere in the country," Sparks said.  

As the city revved up for Pride, though, the San Francisco Department of Public Health advised people Friday to get vaccinated after the State Department of Health announced an outbreak of meningococcal disease.  

Black Lives Matter Bay Area organizers on Friday also said they were withdrawing as Grand Marshals for the Pride Parade in response to the increased police presence and security measures.

San Francisco Police Department Deputy Chief Michael Redmond said plain-clothes officers will be out throughout venues and all Pride-related events.

There will also be several security check points set up around Civic Center Plaza, police said. New this year will be banning large bags or purses at the event and everyone will have to walk through a metal detector to enter the festival.

The city said there are no known threats to Pride Week. Officials are asking eveyrone who will be in the city this weekend to sign up for emergency alerts by texting "alertsf" to 888-777.

For more information on the Pride Parade and street closures, visit SFPride.org.

NBC Bay Area's Michelle Roberts and Bay City News contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Man Charged With Sending Sexually Graphic Images to Minor]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 19:10:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Emmanuel+CMS.jpg

Police in San Francisco arrested a 45-year-old man Thursday for allegedly attempting to have sexual contact with an underage girl.

Police had been investigating Alameda resident Emmanuel Ellison for nearly a month, after the department's Internet Crimes Against Children unit learned he had allegedly been contacting a minor through social media in an attempt to have sex with her, police said Friday.

During the investigation, officers learned Ellison had sent several sexually graphic images of himself to the girl, police said.

Officers arrested Ellison in Alameda, on suspicion of sending harmful material to a minor and arranging a meeting with a minor for sexual contact, according to police.

Ellison has been booked into San Francisco County jail.

The District Attorney's office has charged Ellison with two felony counts of sending harmful material to a minor and two misdemeanor counts of arranging to meet with a minor for sex.



Photo Credit: San Francisco Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[PG&E Seeks Mistrial Over San Bruno Reference in Pipeline Safety Case]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 18:10:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/KNTV_Video_Cause_of_San_Bruno_Blast_121410_66_mezzn_640x480.jpg

PG&E lawyers demanded an immediate mistrial in the pipeline safety case against the company on Friday after prosecutors referred to the San Bruno pipeline explosion in questioning a witness.

“It was completely unnecessary and unduly prejudicial to tie this to the San Bruno explosion,” PG&E lawyer Robert Sims told U.S. Judge Thelton Henderson.

The dispute comes after Henderson has previously warned both sides against mentioning the blast, which he has previously ruled is not relevant to the charges at hand.

In light of the prosecutor’s mention of the blast on Friday, lead PG&E lawyer Steve Bauer urged Henderson to declare a mistrial based on the government’s “intentional violation of your order.”

“They have completely injected the San Bruno explosion” into the case, Bauer told the judge. “This is all a big prejudicial act that is going on – it is completely unfair to my client.”

At minimum, Bauer said, the jury should be reminded that the pipeline counts are not related to the blast. Ironically, the judge has already so instructed the jury about the lack of relevance of San Bruno after PG&E itself brought up the blast in its opening statement.

The dispute erupted after Assistant U.S. Attorney Hartley West cited the Sept. 9, 2010 disaster in questioning a former PG&E engineer turned private consultant about his role in preparing the company for a regulatory audit in the months before the explosion.

In her defense, West told Henderson she only mentioned the accident so as to pinpoint the circumstances of the audit – whether it was conducted before or after the blast.

While Henderson has repeatedly reminded the jury that the case is largely unconnected to San Bruno, PG&E does stand accused of misleading federal officials probing the disaster.

Specifically, the company is accused of lying to the National Transportation Safety Board policy when it said it did not have a policy to avoid costly pipeline inspections unless gas pressure surged ten percent above historic levels.

West told Henderson that the San Bruno blast marked a “turning point for PG&E” in prompting a “cover up” of its alleged policy of avoiding costly gas pipeline inspections following pressure surges.

She said the blast itself was part of the “framework for the obstruction” charge in the case.

Henderson did not immediately rule on PG&E’s motion.

Earlier, prosecutors showed the witness, Chris Warner, documents and emails that deemed high pressure water tests of its gas pipelines “not economically feasible.”

Such tests would cost as much as $150,000 per pipeline mile, company officials said in documents. Checking its lines for rust by above ground means, however, would only cost about $2,731 per mile.

Prosecutors have told the jury that the case is about the decisions by the company to sacrifice safety for profits by avoiding costly inspections called for by regulations.

Warner had headed a gas integrity unit before the blast. His team was rewarded in 2006 with bonuses, based in part for “efforts to manage” costs.

“Come see me about your checks,” Warner told various members of his team in a March 2006 email announcing the bonuses, according to one email shown to the jury. The case continues Tuesday.

]]>
<![CDATA[Brexit Could Foreshadow Win for Trump]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 19:41:05 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/trump-scotland.jpg

Hindsight shows polls predicting Brexit would fail clearly missed a key group of voters. Now, some say one surprise could trigger another: a Donald Trump presidential win in November.

“I don’t think Brexit itself changes the minds of voters, but it shows there is a potency there – that there is something he is tapping into,” said Bill Whalen, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford.

Trump’s visit to his Scottish golf resort the morning after British voters decided to leave the European Union seemed to be his way of saying ‘I told you so.’ The Republican presidential candidate was in favor of Brexit.

Friday morning, he compared what’s happening in the U.K. to sentiments in the U.S.

“I really do see a parallel between what's happening in the United States and what's happening here. People want to see borders. They don't necessarily want people pouring into their country, that they don't know who they are or where they come from. They have no idea,” Trump said during a press conference.

The Brexit decision did not hinge so much on immigration as economics, according to Whalen.

“Why did brexit prevail in England? Because you had a class of voters, white male British voters who feel economically boxed in, can’t get ahead. Why? Because their political leadership has let them down, because the country has made a lot of bad decisions with regard to trade, with regard to immigration, and Britain has lost its culture as a result,” Whalen said, adding, “That is directly parallel to what is happening in the United States right now in this presidential election.”

The research fellow says though Trump’s campaign has recently been in the rough, Hillary Clinton should be concerned. A ‘sleeper vote’ in the U.K. proved polls wrong, and political experts say Trump could be in a much better position than some polls suggest.

Clinton, who was on the Bremain side, released a statement on Brexit: “We respect the choice the people of the United Kingdom have made….This time of uncertainty only underscores the need for calm, steady, experienced leadership in the White House.”

Continuing to use the word “experienced” in her campaign could be Clinton’s Achilles heel, according to Whalen, who says it shows she is a part of the political establishment.

And if anti-establishment sentiment continues in the United States, the feelings could translate to votes in November.

“If it worked in the UK, it could work in the US,” Whalen said. “And that’s what would concern me if I were the Clinton campaign: the probability of lightening striking twice in one year.”



Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Driver of Teen Party Bus Pleads Not Guilty to Drug, Alcohol Charges]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 19:46:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/13407076_1164775056886539_666258701388035389_n.jpg

A man arrested for driving a party bus that was intercepted in Larkspur teeming with minors, drugs and alcohol pleaded not guilty Friday.

James Greene, 63, was arraigned at the Marin County Superior Court, and told NBC Bay Area that he just wants to be left alone.

The Central Marin Police Authority received an anonymous call around 5:40 p.m. Monday as the bus was about to depart the Larkspur Ferry Terminal. The passenger door of the bus was open and swinging freely when the bus made the left turn out of the terminal parking lot, police spokeswoman Margo Rohrbacher said.

On the black and silver bus, police found 33 boys and girls, between 15 and 17 years old, from Larkspur, Tiburon, San Rafael, San Anselmo, Kentfield and Mill Valley. They also smelled alcohol and marijuana, and found 30 containers of hard alcohol, a case of spiked lemonade, a jar of marijuana and a purse filled with an assortment of prescription drugs, Rohrbacher said.

The San Francisco man claims he had no idea about the alcohol and drugs on board. Claiming that he didn't know the passengers were underage, Greene said he was just taking them to their parents.

He pleaded not guilty Friday to charges, including possession of narcotics, drug paraphanelia, controlled substances, and a switchblade knife.

When asked about Greene's case, Public Defender Michael Schroettner said, “I can't really discuss anything at this moment. Our office has recently been appointed.”

A 16-year-old Tiburon resident arranged for the 45-passenger party bus. Galactic Transporter, the bus company that owns the vehicle, told NBC Bay Area it sold the bus about a year ago. It remains unclear who bought it.

Greene’s next hearing is scheduled for July 29.



Photo Credit: Central Marin Police Authority]]>
<![CDATA[Search Continues for Missing Vallejo Girl Pearl Pinson]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 20:47:32 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0527-2016-PearlPinson.jpg

It has been one month since 15-year-old Pearl Pinson disappeared and her family is still desperate to find her. While the large-scale searches have ended and the public vigils have stopped, her family's pain has not eased.

"It's hard going a month without her," sister Rose Pinson said.

Police say Pearl was kidnapped as she walked to catch a bus to school near her Vallejo home four weeks ago. But while her alleged abductor, Fernando Castro, was killed during a shootout with police in Santa Barbara County, investigators have found no trace of Pinson.

"His family knows where he's at. They have peace," father James Pinson said. "We don't know where our daughter's at, whether she's alive or dead. We just want to bring her home so we can put this all behind us."

Solano County Sheriff's investigators say while their tip line has slowed down, the case is still their highest priority. Investigators say the search has had an emotional impact on the entire department.

Billboards have gone up across the Bay Area aimed at finding Pearl.

"I need her home no matter what," said Annie Pinson, Pearl's mother. "I want her to know I love her and I need her home. I need to see her."

Pearl is 5 feet 3 inches tall, 130 pounds with brown hair dyed green and green eyes. She has a metal piercing below her lower lip and was last seen wearing a gray sweater and black leggings.

The sheriff's office's tip line is 707-784-1963, and anyone with urgent information should call 707-421-7090 or 911.


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<![CDATA[SFPD Seeks Pair Caught on Camera During $500K Jewelry Heist]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 16:28:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SplitJewelryHeist.jpg

San Francisco police are seeking the public’s help in nabbing two men caught on camera pilfering roughly $500,000 worth of jewelry from a Union Square store.

At 3:44 a.m. Thursday, the pair broke into a shop on the 100 block of O’Farrell Street, police said. Surveillance footage shows them filling a duffel bag with jewelry cases before fleeing the scene in a Ford sedan.

The first suspect is man with dreadlock-style hair, a dark jacket, white T-shirt, tan pants and white shoes, police said. The second was wearing a dark hoodie, which is pulled over his head.

People with information are asked to call San Francisco Police Department’s Anonymous Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 and begin the message with "SFPD."



Photo Credit: San Francisco Police Department
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<![CDATA[Lucas Museum Withdraws From Chicago]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 17:49:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Lucas+Museum.png

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art announced Friday that Chicago will no longer be considered a potential site for the museum "in light of extensive delays caused by Friends of the Parks."

The museum will instead move to California, officials said. 

“No one benefits from continuing [Friends of the Parks] seemingly unending litigation to protect a parking lot,” "Star Wars" filmmaker George W. Lucas, founder and chairman of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, said in a statement. “The actions initiated by Friends of Parks and their recent attempts to extract concessions from the city have effectively overridden approvals received from numerous democratically elected bodies of government.”

The announcement comes exactly two years to the day after Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson revealed they had chosen Chicago as the site of the highly-anticipated museum.

"The opportunity for a city to gain a brand new museum is rare, and this particular opportunity - gift worth approximately $1.5 billion - would have been the largest philanthropic contribution in Chicago's history," Emanuel said in a statement Friday. "Unfortunately, time has run out and the moment we’ve consistently warned about has arrived – Chicago’s loss will be another city’s gain. This missed opportunity has not only cost us what will be a world-class cultural institution, it has cost thousands of jobs for Chicago workers, millions of dollars in economic investment and countless educational opportunities for Chicago’s youth."

Museum officials had earlier said they were "seriously pursuing" locations outside of Chicago after the parks group said it opposed any site along the city's lakefront, including a recently proposed McCormick Place Lakeside Center plan.

A lawsuit by the group first targeted the museum's original site, located between Soldier Field and McCormick Place, but Friends of the Parks later warned it would either amend the existing lawsuit to encompass the new McCormick Place site or file a new suit.  

Friends of the Parks had recently released a memo, however, outlining stipulations under which it would settle its lawsuit, including a legally binding promise from Chicago to protect the lakefront from development for the next century. The memo also claimed the group wants 5 percent of museum revenues allocated to park improvements.

“It is unfortunate that the Lucas Museum has made the decision to leave Chicago rather than locate the museum on one of the several alternative sites that are not on Chicago’s lakefront," Friends of the Parks Executive Director Juanita Irizarry and Board Chair Lauren Moltz said in a statement. "That would have been the true win-win."

Hobson previously claimed efforts to build the museum in Chicago were “co-opted and hijacked” by Friends of the Parks.

“When the Friends of the Parks sued the city in order to preserve a parking lot, we were offered a different and feasible solution—the replacement of an underutilized and outdated convention space that would also add more than 12 acres of new parkland,” Hobson said in a statement. “Yet, even with this additional park space, an organization that claims to ‘preserve, protect, improve and promote the use of parks and open space' now opposes this as well.”

Still, Lucas said Friday, “While Chicago will not be home to the museum, my wife and I will continue to enthusiastically support a wide variety of educational and cultural activities throughout the city.”



Photo Credit: Lucas Museum]]>
<![CDATA[Professor Against Removing Brock Turner Judge]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 12:04:36 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0607-2016-AaronPersky.jpg

A new voice has emerged in the debate to recall the Santa Clara judge who issued a lenient sentence to disgraced Stanford Swimmer Brock Turner.

Stanford professor Barbara Babock, who was the first female faculty member to join Stanford’s Law School, has waded into the nationwide debate over the recall of Judge Aaron Persky. The judge gained national attention following the six-month county jail sentence he handed down to Turner, who had been convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman near a dumpster. 

A highly-regarded legal expert, Babcock opposes recalling Persky – a perhaps surprising move that puts her views at odds with those of many of her colleagues, including fellow Stanford professor Michele Dauber. 

Babcock, who describes herself as a “lifelong dedicated feminist,” penned a letter obtained by NBC Bay Area that details the reasons she thinks the recall attempts are misguided. 

“In making tough sentencing decisions, judges should not be responsive to public opinion, or fear fear of being removed from office,” she wrote, also noting that a parole board recommended a 6-month county jail sentence. “Even elected judges should be free from outside influences of any kind. That is the essence of unbiased judging.”

She went on to write that she didn’t know Persky personally, but the two had mutual friends who said he is “considered fair and responsible.”

Persky has remained mum following his controversial sentence, despite petitions calling for his removal garnering over 1 million signatures, a plane flying a “remove Persky” banner soaring over Stanford’s graduation and a giant billboard decrying his tenure on the bench. He slid into a new 6-year term on June 7.



Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Cameroon Gay Activist Celebrates Acceptance in SF]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 19:11:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0624-2016-Cameroon.jpg

Of the hundreds of thousands of spectators pouring into San Francisco to celebrate Pride and the strides of the gay community this weekend, one spectator will have an even greater sense of its meaning.

Like many of those celebrating, Cedric Tchante made the decision to "come out" as a gay man. But that decision carried with it additional risks and dangers in his native Cameroon where he grew-up, and where homosexuality is strictly frowned-upon.

Following the revelation of his sexuality in his college years, his life was filled with frequent threats, beatings and discrimination. But the threats only deepened his commitment as an LGBT activist, in a country where gay sexual activity is illegal.

“When you choose to be an activist in Cameroon,” Tchante said in the San Francisco office of Climb Real Estate where he works in marketing, “you decide to live with the danger.”

Danger certainly set its sites on Tchante back in Cameroon. Gangs of anti-gay thugs beat him on several occasions outside his home. There were death threats. But it was when those threats took aim at his family that a line had been breached.

“So when they begin to touch people I love,” Tchante said, “it was something I can’t accept.”

Back in Camerooon, Tchante sat in a dark room hurriedly packing his belongings, pondering a future far from home in the U.S., a country where he’d heard homosexuality was mostly accepted.

It was far from the atmosphere in Cameroon where he worked as an activist comforting and supporting others facing the same anti-gay discrimination — visiting police stations to rescue gay arrestees — listening to Sunday sermons where preachers would warn that gays were inhabited by the devil.

In that moment he weighed his decision to appear in a documentary called Born This Way, a film about his underground activities rescuing and supporting gay young people — all under the weight of the personal threats to his own life. In one scene he gripped a note that read “You think you can run, we will find you.”

“So I decide to be in the documentary because it was very important for me and my community,” Tchante said without a trace of regret.

The film wasn’t shown in Cameroon. But clips made it onto YouTube. He could no longer operate from the periphery — he was now out there. Under the cover of darkness he fled his country and eventually made his way to San Francisco where he now lives and works.

His boisterous laugh regularly echoes through the offices of Climb Real Estate — where co-workers slowly learned of his backstory.

“I think he’s got such an interesting story as an activist,” said Climb Real Estate co-founder Chris Lim, ”as a person who’s overcome insurmountable struggles.”

Though Tchante’s re-location to the U.S. took him far from the threats of Cameroon, it didn’t end his activism. After work each night he heads home to his computer where he continues to advise LGBT activists back home while providing support for the young LGBT Cameroon community still grappling for acceptance.

“I always ask them to be strong, to always be happy,” Tchante said. “When you’re happy, you make your enemies mad.”

Tchante’s enemies would probably be furious if they could see him now, joking and brimming with excitement at the new life of acceptance he’s found.

“His joy is infectious,” said friend Jenny Raymond, “and I think that’s just an incredible thing given where he’s come from.”

The tears still come when Tchante thinks of home, and his mother who still lives in Cameroon — whom he fondly describes as “the only woman I’ve ever loved.”

But now as he walks down the street of the Castro neighborhood where he lives, his eyes are aimed firmly at the future — no longer looking over his shoulder.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[U-Haul Used in Massive Motorcycle Robbery Found in SF ]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 06:13:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1741710.jpg

A U-Haul truck that was used to steal five off-road style motorcycles from a Petaluma sports shop Sunday was found in San Francisco Tuesday, a Petaluma police lieutenant said.

The vehicles valued at $38,000 were taken during a burglary at K&B Motorsports in the 300 block of Petaluma Boulevard North around 10 p.m., Lt. Dan Fish said.

The suspects loaded them into the U-Haul and fled with a ramp to the cargo area still dragging on the roadway, Fish said. The windows of the business also were smashed, Fish said.

Officer Brandon Hansen located the U-Haul on Washington Street and attempted to stop it but the vehicle fled.

Police pursued it on southbound U.S. Highway 101 to the Samuel T. Freitas Parkway in Marin County and the California Highway Patrol took over the chase, Fish said.

The U-Haul drove into San Francisco and San Francisco police were requested. A CHP helicopter lost sight of the vehicle in the area of 13th and Howard streets when it drove under an overpass, Fish said.

The Sonoma County Auto Theft Task Force took over the investigation and San Francisco police found the abandoned and empty U-Haul in the area of Candlestick Park on Tuesday, Fish said.

Task Force detective Adam Wirtz said there is no description of the suspects because the un-witnessed theft happened at night.

The damage to the motorsports shop was significant but no estimate is available, Fish said.

The stolen motorcycles are a Kawasaki KX 100 and KX 450, Yamaha KX 450, KTM 350 XC-F and KTM 350 SX-F.

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call the Sonoma County Auto Theft Task Force at (707) 565-1377.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[BART Takes Seat Hogging Rule a Step Further]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 12:03:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N6P+NEW+BART+TRAIN+VO+-+00001819.jpg

Remember when it was announced that BART would be fining passengers for taking up too many seats? Well, that plan is officially rolling out -- and it's more detailed than many might have assumed.

It was announced Thursday during a board meeting that BART passengers who take up more than one seat during peak traffic times will face warnings, questioning and even fines from BART police if they continue to be cited.

According to SF Gate, violators of the seat rule will "have their names recorded and criminal records checked." 

The punishment extends from actions as small as placing a bag or briefcase on an empty seat, to fully lying down on more than one seat. BART police will start by taking down names of offenders, and after three warnings, violators will face a fine. Passengers who can’t meet the requirements because of health or medical conditions will not be cited.

This policy was adopted by BART in April, with plans to enforce the plan later in the year. BART police are making posters to plaster inside the train cars to alert riders of the new ordinance.

The ordinance defines commute hours, and the times where the train cars will be monitored, as weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m.

These rules will start with a soft roll out on Sept. 1, and only verbal warnings will be issued during the first month. Enforcement will officially start on Oct. 1, where fines starting at $100 could be issued for the first violation.

After the second violation within one year, the fine will increase to $200, and then $500 for each additional violation within five years.

Alicia Trost, Communications Department Manager of BART, said that prior to any citation, a warning must be given. This might help protect tourists and first-time riders from facing a penalty, she said. 



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Richmond Urban Farm Contest]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 10:45:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/206*120/GloriaDaughter.jpg Richmond is holding its first Urban Garden Contest and Showcase with tours of edible plantings at homes across the city and one yard earing the title of "Best Edible Garden."]]> <![CDATA[49ers' Ellington Could be Double Threat in 2016]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 15:44:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/ellyreturrrn.jpg

The 49ers’ change in coaching staff and offensive scheme could be a huge boost for wide receiver Bruce Ellington, who appears to be the leading candidate to be the team’s slot receiver in 2016.

But Ellington appears to be the No. 1 contender for the 49ers’ job as kick and punt returner, too.

The Niners have been looking for a difference-making return specialist for a couple of years now and Ellington – a fourth-round pick out of South Carolina in 2014 – could be it.

In 2015, Ellington had an up-and-down year returning kickoffs and punts for San Francisco. He returned 26 kickoffs for a 25.6-yard average and 19 punts for a 7.2 average. But, at times he had trouble holding on to the ball.

New special teams coordinator Derius Swinton II, however, sees great potential in Ellington as a possible game-breaking returner.

“Bruce brings a weapon and a skill set that is rare in this league,” Swinton told a writer for the team’s website. “He’s a guy that we’re going to try and get the ball in his hands. He has the chance to be one of the more dynamic returners in this league if we just block him up.”

In 2015, Ellington showed what he could do, with a 40-yard kick return and a punt return of 36 yards, both career bests.

But the downside to Ellington’s speed and quickness is his ball security. In 2015, he muffed a punt against Arizona that was recovered by the Cardinals. He also lost a fumble out of bounds while returning a kickoff against Seattle. The 49ers’ special teams coach last season, Thomas McGaughey, said in early December that those type of mistakes were unacceptable.

“You’ve got to take care of the ball,” he said of Ellington’s mistakes. “Everybody’s got a job to do. Do your job.”

New head coach Chip Kelly, however, sees the potential for Ellington to be a playmaker. That stands out to him more than Ellington’s mistakes. He sees the 5-foot-10, 197-pounder as an exciting, athletic player who can make things happen as both a receiever and returner.

Said Kelly earlier this offseason: “It’s our job to figure out how we can use that (talent) to help us win games.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[North Bay Firefighter Saves Woman in Hawaii ]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 06:54:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/032716firetruck-shutterstock_a15622756.jpg

A Vallejo firefighter-paramedic is being credited with saving a woman's life while he was on vacation in Hawaii with his family this month.

Ramon Villanueva was on the island of Oahu June 18 when he saw an unresponsive woman face down in a swimming lagoon at the Marriott Vacation Club, Vallejo Fire Department Engineer Kevin Brown said.

Villanueva and two other men, one of them an Army Corpsman, removed the 60-70-year-old woman from the water, Vallejo Fire Department spokesman Anthony Shair-Ali said.

The woman was gasping for breath and Villanueva turned her on her left side to drain any water in her lungs and keep her airway open, Brown said.

Villanueva told bystanders to call 911, and he remained with the woman until paramedics arrived and took her to a hospital, Shair-Ali said.

The woman was scheduled to be released from the hospital June 21, and the woman's family thanked Villanueva for saving their mother's life, Shair-Ali said.

Villanueva, 31, who has been with the Vallejo Fire Department two years, returned from vacation Tuesday, Brown said.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Judge OKs $27M Settlement for Lyft Drivers]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 01:02:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_16139670373261.jpg

A federal judge in San Francisco gave preliminary approval Thursday to a lawsuit settlement that would give $27 million to 163,000 present and former Lyft drivers in California.

The settlement with the ride-booking company must have a fairness hearing before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria at a later date before it is finalized. Drivers will have a chance to object to the agreement or to opt out.

In addition to a monetary award averaging $142 per driver, depending on the length of time worked, drivers would have rights to receive tips and to challenge being fired.

But they would remain classified as independent contractors rather than employees for the time being.

An employee classification was originally one of the main goals of the 2013 lawsuit, because it would bring rights to workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, overtime pay and reimbursement of expenses.

Lyft and its larger ride-booking rival, Uber, both based in San Francisco, have insisted that the drivers are independent contractors.

Shannon Liss-Riordan, the Boston lawyer who negotiated the settlement, said earlier this month that she believed the agreement was the best that could be obtained because of the risk of losing the employee claim before a jury or an appeals court.

Liss-Riordan and her staff will receive $3.7 million of the settlement amount.

In April, Chhabria rejected an earlier $12.25 million settlement proposal, saying the financial amount was too small because it didn't account for a recent expansion in the number of Lyft drivers.

In today's decision, Chhabria said the new proposal seemed to be "fair, reasonable and accurate."

Another federal judge in San Francisco, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen, is considering whether to grant preliminary approval of a similar settlement that would give up to $100 million to 385,000 present and former Uber drivers in California and Massachusetts.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders' Hayden Still Has One More Chance]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 15:47:59 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Hayyyydynn.jpg

Before Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie hit home runs with his top two picks in 2014 and 2015, Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, there was DJ Hayden in 2013.

The cornerback from Houston impressed McKenzie with his skill set and style of play, so McKenzie traded out of his No. 3 overall slot in 2013, picked up additional draft help and took Hayden with the 12th selection.

As every Raiders fan knows, Hayden has been far from a home run. He’s been more of a pop-up.

The cornerback has lost time to injury and been inconsistent, flashing nice talent on one play or over one or two games, only to follow it up with key mistakes. In 2015 he had the opportunity to seize a starting job, yet faltered. The team announced a few weeks ago, too, that it would decline the fifth-year option (for 2017) on Hayden’s rookie contract.

In 34 games over three seasons, Hayden has just three interceptions.

Now, following the Raiders’ offseason program, Hayden’s status for 2016 seems shaky, with David Amerson and Sean Smith penciled in at the starting corners and several other young DBs – such as TJ Carrie and Neiko Thorpe -- ready to challenge Hayden’s spot in training camp.

Yet recently, Hayden’s somewhat dim future received some light from head coach Jack Del Rio.

Del Rio told the San Francisco Chronicle that “it’s never too late” for Hayden to take a step up.

“DJ Hayden had a really good spring. He really did,” Del Rio told the Chronicle. “I’m excited about his development.”

Hayden had to sit out the final day of the team’s recent full-squad minicamp because of a minor leg injury, but Del Rio dismissed the injury as nothing that would keep Hayden from competing for a job when training camp opens in July.

Del Rio still believes Hayden cab win the job as the team’s No. 3 corner and slot defender.

“He has terrific foot quickness,” Del Rio said. “He’s intelligent. Those things are definitely factors that help you in that slot.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Semien Homers Off Lincecum to Lift A's Over Angels]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 22:36:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/as-angels-623.jpg

ANAHEIM — Given another crack at Tim Lincecum, the A’s made life a little rougher on him this time.

Five days after beating Oakland in his 2016 major league debut, the former Giant lasted just three innings Thursday as the A’s made their early offense stand in a 5-4 victory in the opener of a four-game series.

Marcus Semien hit a three-run homer to highlight a four-run second off Lincecum, but they inflicted the rest of their damage in more subtle fashion. Opposite-field singles, grounders that found holes, bloopers that fell — including one dropped by Angels third baseman Yunel Escobar for an error.

No doubt that good fortune was shining on the A’s in some at-bats, but their approach against Lincecum clearly seemed better than it did Saturday, when he held them to two runs over six innings at the Coliseum. Manager Bob Melvin came away from that game saying he thought the A’s bailed out Lincecum (1-1) at times with their impatience at the plate.

It was a better showing Thursday, as the A’s beat the Angels for just the second time in seven games this season.

Kendall Graveman (3-6) took advantage of the early lead, working 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball and notching the first victory by an A’s starter since Sean Manaea beat the Twins on June 1. That 17-game streak without a victory by a starting pitcher wound up one short of the Oakland streak, an 18-game streak in 1997.

Khris Davis added a solo homer off Deolis Guerra in the fifth, a towering shot that kept carrying until it cleared the wall in left-center for Davis’ team-leading 17th home run of the season.

Starting pitching report

Graveman has been in sharp form over his past two starts, keeping the ball down in the zone and cutting down on the walks that had been contributing to big innings. Surely it helped to be handed an early 4-0 lead. The right-hander entered the night with the fifth-lowest run support in the AL (3.16 per game) among pitchers with at least 60 innings. He’s now 8-1 in 15 career starts with three runs of support or more, 1-14 in 20 starts with two or less.

He didn’t issue a single free pass Thursday, and he’s walked just four total over his past four starts. Before that, Graveman had walked 14 over his previous five outings. Twelve of his 20 outs Thursday came on ground balls, including two double plays.

A’s starters entered the night 0-9 with a 5.29 ERA over the previous 17 games.

Bullpen report

Melvin operated his late-inning relief corps in reverse again, as he’s done on occasion. He brought in Ryan Madson to face the heart of the Angels’ order in the eighth, and Madson responded with a 1-2-3 inning, including strikeouts of Mike Trout and C.J. Cron. Sean Doolittle came on for the ninth. He gave up Jett Bandy’s two-run homer to close the lead to 5-4. Then with two outs, home plate ump Paul Emmel suffered a gash in his head when Jefry Marte’s bat flew out of his hands and struck Emmel’s mask. Emmel was helped off the field, holding a towel to his head, and the game was delayed several minutes. Third base ump Quinn Wolcott took over behind the plate and Doolittle needed just one pitch after the delay to get Marte to pop out to end it. It was Doolittle’s fourth save.

Give an assist to lefty Marc Rzepczynski, who relieved Graveman with a man on first in the seventh. After Andrelton Simmons stole second, Rzepczynski retired Kole Calhoun on a grounder to keep it a 5-2 game at the time.

At the plate

Semien had mentioned before the game that he thought he and his teammates might benefit from having just faced Lincecum five days earlier. He also said he felt he tracked Lincecum’s off-speed stuff pretty well in that first encounter. On a 1-1 pitch in the second, he drilled an off-speed pitch low in the zone for a three-run homer to left to give him his 13th homer.

In the field

Danny Valencia made an excellent bare-hand play and throw to first to highlight the A’s defensive effort. Graveman made a nifty stop to begin a 1-6-3 double play.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Burglary Suspect Runs Right Out of His Shoes in Chase]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 21:08:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/air-jordans.jpg

A teen who literally ran right out of his Nike Air Jordans during a police pursuit was one of three juveniles recently arrested in a string of Union City burglaries, police said.

The three suspects, ranging in age from 15 to 17, were connected to five residential burglaries over the past month in the area of Alvarado and Union City boulevards, according to the Union City Police Department. Patrol officers doing extra checks in the neighborhood spotted a stolen car from a prior burglary, and the teens proceeded to get out of the car and flee on foot. One of the suspect's shoes were left behind.

Officers were able to detain the driver of the stolen car, and the other two teens were taken into custody later. Some of the stolen property from the burglaries also was recovered.

According to police, the teens entered homes late at night while the residents were home and asleep, typically finding an unlocked door or forcing a locked door open. In some instances, they stole cars.

Anyone with additional information about the incidents should contact Detective Wu at the Union City Police Department at 510-675-5220.



Photo Credit: Union City Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Wheels For Chad: San Jose Community Raises Money So Formerly Homeless Man Can Better Help Those Living On The Streets]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 11:49:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/wheels+for+chad+3.jpg

If you had to go through the worst part of your life in order to get to the best, is it really the worst?

Chad Bojorquez doesn't quite have an answer to that question yet.

Perhaps that is because the absolute best part of his journey, Bojorquez believes, is still ahead of him.

He has good reason to think so.

Earlier this week a group of well-meaning, civic-minded San Jose residents presented Bojorquez with a check for $78,000. It is money to help him purchase a specially-equipped van he will be able to drive while sitting in his wheelchair.

The van will make family life much better for the father of three, as well as help him greatly in his work: project director for Downtown Streets Team, a non-profit with a tremendous track record of helping homeless people land a job and find housing.

"I'll forever be grateful and it's life-changing," Bojorquez said.

The 36-year-old Bojorquez was born with a muscular disease that required 14 surgeries by the age of 10. His physical limitations didn't hinder his academic achievements. He graduated from Campbell's Westmont High School in just three years and was accepted to study film at the University of Southern California.

It was there, however, that some future demons first got their hooks in Bojorquez.

"I was pretty depressed, pretty lonely, using substances to kind of fill that hole," Bojorquez said.

It was the beginning of a downward spiral that ended up with Bojorquez living on the streets of Santa Cruz for four, tough years. It was an experience that taught him had strength he never realized. With the help of his grandmother, Bojorquez fought his way back into society.

"I just survived this experience that not everyone does and that was pretty empowering," Bojorquez said.

Bojorquez decided he wanted to make a life out of helping those whose lives he knew very well: the homeless and very low-income.

He was one of the first employees of Downtown Streets Team and has risen in the ranks as the nonprofit has continued to grow. His position in management posed a dilemma for Bojorquez. He was spending hours and hours navigating public transportation to fulfill his responsibilities all over the South Bay.

"The morning could be in Palo Alto, the middle of the day could be in San Jose and the end of the day could be in Sunnyvale," Bojorquez. Each leg of the journey could take upwards of two hours.

Bojorquez had often dreamed of what good he could do with a van he could drive himself but realized he would never be able to afford the roughly $100,000 needed to buy a properly equipped one.

He could, however, afford a cup of coffee with Julie Matsushima. That was enough.

Matsushima has a long record of promoting causes to improve San Jose and the lives of the disabled (Matsushima's drive to help create the Rotary Playgarden, an accessible playground in San Jose was the subject of previous Bay Area Proud story).

Matsushima heard Bojorquez's story and sprang into action.

"He's just so inspirational," Matsushima said.

Through her nonprofit, That's Amore, Matsushima and team of other women started the "Wheels For Chad" campaign. They held fundraisers throughout the year and were eventually able to come up with money, which the presented to Chad on Monday.

The money should be enough for Bojorquez to begin the process of purchasing and outfitting the van, but the group will continue to fundraise until the job is done.

Bojorquez says the van will not only make his work more productive, it helps him be a better father to his children.

"It's incredible. It's humbling, it's a dream come true. It makes me you know... I believe in humanity."


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<![CDATA[President Obama Surprises Guests at SF's Twenty Five Lusk]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 12:03:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_16175573082431.jpg

Folks taking in happy hour at San Francisco's Twenty Five Lusk were treated with quite the surprise when President Barack Obama strolled in Thursday.

Video posted on Instagram by Alex Dwyer shows Obama greeted with cheers while walking into the trendy South of Market District restaurant and bar.

"It's pretty cool," Dwyer said of the experience.

Dwyer, 27, who works at a tech startup just a block away from the restaurant, knew something was up when he arrived for happy hour with co workers.

"They said there was a special event happening and the whole street was blocked off," Dwyer said.

Dwyer said anyone entering the restaurant received an "airport security type pat down" before gaining access.

It was at that moment he had a hunch the president just may be stopping by. And when Obama arrived, it marked the second time Dwyer was able to see him.

"I met (Obama) during my first year in college randomly when he arrived at my church in South Carolina," Dwyer said.

Obama earlier in the day landed at Moffett Field in Mountain View. The president is in the Bay Area to headline the seventh annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit at Stanford University's Memorial Auditorium, where he will make remarks during a partner plenary scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Other speakers include Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and AOL co-founder Steve Case.

He will then take part in a Google Portal virtual conversation with entrepreneurs at the university shortly after noon Friday.

The president is scheduled to depart from Moffett Field at 1:35 p.m. Friday for Seattle, where he will speak at a reception for Gov. Jay Inslee and a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event.

Obama attended Democratic fundraisers during his last two visits to the Bay Area in February and April.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[High Court's Empty Chair Too Impactful: Experts]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 20:18:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/garland-scotus.jpg

Every day that passes without a ninth justice means the U.S. Supreme Court cannot decide on some of the nation’s most critical and controversial cases. The crippling reality played out Thursday, as the court split 4-4 on a major immigration policy.

Those close with President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland say there is one simple way to move the country forward.

"We’ve been stuck now at eight for quite a while, and here it seems the chickens have come home to roost," said Nora Freeman Engstrom, a Stanford Law professor who clerked for Garland in 2003.

Announced in late 2014, the Obama administration sought to use executive measures to push through immigration reform after Congress did not act. The policy tried to shield more than 4 million people from deportation. However, Texas and 25 other states sued, and lower courts blocked the policy’s implementation, claiming the president did not have the power to order the changes.

Today’s deadlock decision from the Supreme Court allows the lower court’s decision to stand.

"It means that the expanded set of common-sense deferred action policies can’t go forward at this stage, until there is a ninth justice on the court to break the tie," Obama said during a news conference Thursday. "I nominated Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court more than three months ago, but most Republicans so far refuse to even meet with him."

It’s a frustration shared on the Stanford campus.

"Probably 5 million people’s lives were affected by today’s judgment," Freeman Engstrom said. "And what we have is literally one sentence, telling them that their hopes are dashed, their dreams are going to have to be deferred when we have another person who would be just terrific literally standing on the sidelines unable to even be considered."

She says if her friend and mentor were frustrated by political inaction, he would never let on.

"This is someone with the ideal judicial temperament. I think he’s a patient person, but he’s also just ready," Freeman Engstrom said.

Thursday’s lack of decision also reinforces the Republican strategy of blocking any hearing on the nominee, who they believe would have sided with the president.

"Certainly, it would be an odd situation where Merrick Garland gets on the court and one of his first acts would be to strike down the signature policy of the president who nominated him," Santa Clara Law associate professor Deep Gulasekaram said.

Because Garland is a centrist, Gulasekaram says it’s not clear which way he would have voted had he been on the Supreme Court to hear the immigration case.

Gulasekaram says regardless of who is on the Court, having only eight justices is not good for democracy. Some of the cases resulting in ties may come back to the court, costing taxpayers more money to repeat the process.

Legal experts say they expect another 4-4 deadlock in the days ahead as the court rules on what’s considered the most important abortion case in the past 20 years – Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstdt – on Monday.

"And in this case, that means the Texas abortion ruling would be upheld, and all but 10 clinics would be left open in Texas,” Gulasekaram said.

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<![CDATA[Stop A Check and Beware]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 19:31:59 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/consumer-checks2.jpg

Recently, a Redwood City viewer named Bill reached out for help with a company that he had hired to transfer a film to video.

Bill’s 16mm movie is old. But the 1976 senior class project from San Francisco State is not antiquated enough to be silent. Yet, that is exactly how the film came out: soundless.

The picture also was jittery, he said.

“It bobs around,” Bill wrote in his complaint to us. “It’s worthless to me.”

Bill had paid handsomely for the service, with a check for $617.

Given his dissatisfaction, he stopped payment on the check and posed a question to me.

“Am I liable for payment,” he asked.

Good question.

For answers, we reached out to the American Bankers Association. It’s probably not the answer you want to hear.

The ABA explained to us that stopping payment on a check is not permanent. A representative noted that stopping payment only lasts six months. After that period expires, the check can be cashed.

Stopping payment also costs about $30, though it varies by bank or credit union.

The ABA urges consumers who stop payment on checks to communicate with the problem merchant. Talk with the manager or owner to return your check, refund your money or reach a resolution some other way before the six-month window closes.

It’s possible that you can renew the hold and stop payment on a check multiple times. But it is likely that you will incur the fee each time.

Bill says he has begun a dialogue with the film transfer company. And he’s giving them a second chance to bring is 1976 masterpiece back to life – sound included.

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<![CDATA[Startups Attempt to Woo NASA in Search of 'Big Break']]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 19:42:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N6P+NASA+PRODUCT+PITCH+PKG+-+00000802.jpg

Ten startups were given five minutes Thursday to pitch their products to some of the biggest names in space exploration.

NASA is searching for the latest and greatest technology for future missions.

Certain companies, offering software and even a cleaning product, were hand-picked to present at the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field in anticipation of NASA's next mission to Mars in 2020. Thursday's event was a component of the "Road to GES" — the ongoing Global Entrepreneurship Summit at Stanford University, according to NASA. 

Mo Kreitenberg, who hopes the Germfalcon, as it is called, will soon be used on every airplane and space craft, hoped Thursday "could be the big break."

The CEO says his robot is equipped with ultraviolet light that kills germs, virus, fungus and super bugs.

"It can disinfect an entire airplane — seats, armrest, tray tables — in under 10 minutes," Kreitenberg said.

Among the many things pitched to investors and NASA engineers were safer, lighter and more durable materials built to withstand conditions in outer space.

Others like Ursa Space Systems claim its radar technology can clearly capture ground images even on a cloudy day — helpful in space and on earth.

Adam Maher, the company's founder and president, said, in the case of an earthquake, such technology would help officials hone in on the damage and "assess where to put first-responders."

NASA Ames' Director Eugene Tu didn’t pick any favorites, but did say he’s closely watching 3-D printing technology and on the lookout for a company that can help build a more efficient and safer spacecraft.

Tu said he is searching for "light-weight material," "materials that can handle heat loads" ... and "multi-functional materials."

NASA described Thursday's event as a "matchmaking" activity because it paired investors with new products. If the event proves to be a success, the organization hopes to host similar events in the future.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[The Facts and Fallacies of the AR-15]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 21:56:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/RC+ASSAULT+WEAPONS+DEBATE+-+00011306.jpg

In the wake of another shooting massacre at an Orlando nightclub earlier this month, the national debate over gun laws has once again been revived, playing out in dramatic fashion in the halls of Congress.

But while lawmakers hold sit-ins and grapple with tough questions over who can buy weapons, and how well buyers are vetted, another target for reform has emerged: The weapon itself.

According to NBC News, no fewer than 14 mass murders have been perpetrated using an AR-15 style assault rifle.

The list reads like a virtual encyclopedia of the worst killings in modern times. The shooters in Newtown, Aurora, Roseburg, San Bernardino, Santa Monica, and now Orlando, all used some version of the weapon to inflict mass violence.

Is the right to own an AR-15 protected by the Constitution?

Santa Clara Law Professor Deep Gulasekaram specializes in Second Amendment rights, and says determining the constitutionality of this style of weapon is not simple.

“The Second Amendment doesn’t protect ownership of any particular kind of gun, or any particular type of weapon,” Gulasekaram said.

To be clear, handguns cannot be banned outright. But after that, the judicial precedent is very limited.

Gulasekaram references the District of Columbia v. Heller case of 2008, in which the Supreme Court rejected an outright ban on handguns in D.C. as unconstitutional.

But before Heller, the court had gone decades without taking a case on gun rights, dating back possibly as far as the 1930’s, according to Gulasekaram.

The Supreme Court’s desire to stay out of defining the parameters of gun ownership was on display again this week, when it declined to hear two assault weapons bans in New York and Connecticut, passed directly in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook killings.

"There's speculation that what's happened is since 2008, since the Heller ruling, we're just all watching these mass shootings over and over again,” Gulasekaram said. “And the Supreme Court also sees these mass shootings, and I think that partly informs their distaste for taking another gun case."

Seven states currently have some sort of assault weapons ban, including California.

Defining an ‘AR-15,’ however, is inherently problematic.

As Jon Stokes notes in a highly-publicized article written for left-leaning website Vox, "Why Millions of Americans--Including Me--Own the AR-15," the weapon doesn’t fit into an umbrella definition because it’s highly adaptable.

“You can use the AR-15 platform to create anything from a pistol to a long-range, high-powered sniper rifle,” said Stokes.

It’s lethality depends largely on how it’s configured.

“Because it’s a modular, open source platform where any piece of it can be changed, from the caliber to the length to the stock ... it’s hard to really describe what it is,” Stokes said.

And many states have a hard time describing an AR-15.

If you look at the list of the weapons covered under the ban, or partial ban, in those seven states, there are hundreds of styles and no two lists are the same.

“There are lots of other guns that have this sort of capacity or capability,” Gulasekaram said. “Even handguns, for example, have the ability to have semi-automatic firing, have quick reloading and unloading of magazines. So that’s some of the difficulties of fashioning bans in this way.”

Under a federal law passed in 1986, no automatic weapons are legal to buy.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[PG&E Knew it Lacked Pipeline Data, Emails Show]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 19:05:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/169*120/2014-07-28_15-56-13.jpg

Federal prosecutors on Thursday presented several internal emails showing PG&E engineers knew back in 2002 that they lacked critical data for at least 100 miles of gas transmission pipelines.

On Thursday, the issue of recordkeeping on PG&E lines became the focus for prosecutors seeking to convict the company of 12 federal pipeline safety counts and one count of obstructing the National Transportation Safety Board probe into the 2010 blast that killed eight people in San Bruno.

As evidence, they revealed a July 2002 email by one company engineer who found that PG&E lacked such simple data as the diameter of the pipe used for some 60 miles of its lines, the grade of pipe for 83 miles and wall thickness for 102 miles.

Prosecutors seeking to fine the company more than a half-billion dollars suggested the email was evidence that the company knew well in advance of new regulatory restrictions that it had systemic problems. They contend the utility deliberately chose to sacrifice safety for profit in the years before the explosion.

In previous testimony, federal pipeline safety regulator Steve Nanney concluded that when operators lack key records and fail to test pipelines, there is “no safety margin’’ left or room for error.

Instead of expensive tests for lines where it lacked records, PG&E relied on much cheaper above-ground means that could only check for rust. The company allegedly did that on the San Bruno line even after internal emails show that the company lacked key records about leaks – a key measure of pipeline integrity.

The company’s defense lawyers have countered that its engineers were just trying to keep the gas flowing and costs down amid a complex array of new regulations.

They have stressed that no individual is facing charges, and there is no evidence that any allegation relates directly to the tragic events in San Bruno.

Prosecutors used other internal emails as they questioned one former company engineer, Chris Warner, about the company’s decision to intentionally boost pressure on some lines that began in late 2003.

In an email sent in September 2003, Terry Boss of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, described what he called a “trick” that would allow PG&E to bypass draft regulations based on pressure levels.

The rules were expected to require costly high-pressure water tests if pipeline gas pressure exceeded a five-year maximum. In his email, Boss suggested that operators manipulate that window by jacking up pressure before declaring that the particular line fell under the restrictions of the regulations.

In December 2003, PG&E did just that on the San Bruno pipe and other nearby lines.

But that came after at least one official at PG&E balked at Boss’s trick.

“It smells like a loophole interpretation,” wrote Alan Eastman in response to Boss’s email. At the time, Eastman was in charge of the company’s pipeline integrity management efforts and was Warner’s boss. He later left the company.

While Eastman objected, other PG&E engineers embraced the pressure boost as a “better way” to keep lines running at full capacity while avoiding expensive tests.

“In order to protect pipeline pressure, they were trying to be proactive,” Warner said in giving the rationale for the boosting program. “This is anticipating the new regulations.”

In her questioning on Thursday, a prosecutor showed Warner several emails he received or wrote before leaving the company for a PG&E contractor in 2008.

The emails detailed the effort the company made to convince federal officials to allow it to use the cheaper, above-ground method to vouch for lines.

In one, PG&E assured regulators early on that the company planned to pressure test major pipelines. But once the above-ground method won approval, PG&E relied on it heavily at great savings.

Documents show that PG&E estimated that above-ground corrosion inspection method would cost as little as $1,100 per mile – with $30,000 per hole dug to verify accuracy.

By contrast, the company estimated that high-pressure water testing and automated in-line inspection efforts would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per mile.

Outside court, San Bruno City Manager Connie Jackson said she was startled to hear that anyone in the company thought twice about spiking the pressure on gas pipelines as a means to avoid inspecting them.

“I was a little surprised by that,” she said. “PG&E has always been quite confident of its interpretation of the regulations.”

Warner faces cross examination on Friday.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[6 Burglaries Hit East Bay Suburbs in 24 Hours: Police]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 18:42:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0623-2016-EastBayBurglary.jpg

Police are investigating at least six burglaries reported in a span of 24 hours throughout Orinda and Moraga.

The crime spike is unusual for the East Bay suburbs known for low crime rates. Police said they do not believe the incidents are connected.

For now, police have on suspect in custody thanks to a homeowner who walked in on a burglary in progress.

Michael Herwood was walking back to his Orinda home early Tuesday when he spotted his own suitcase in the front hall packed with his possessions, including several shotguns.

"I was probably pretty foolish to go check to see if my firearm was still here," Herwood said. "It was not there. He had it. So I called 911."

Police responded and were able to arrest the suspect.

Herwood was able to recover his stolen firearms and other belongings.

The incident at Herwood's home is one of six daytime burglaries to hit Orinda and Moraga in 24 hours.

Omeed Atefi witnessed one of the four burglaries that occurred in Moraga. He said it is a far cry from what he usually sees on Buckingham Drive.

"You know the worst things we have here are speeding tickets," Atefi said. "Maybe drunk kids every now and then."

Authorities said another burglary suspect in Orinda was able to get away on BART. It is possible burglars are looking for easy targets, so police are reminding residents to make sure their windows and doors are locked at all times.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors' Klay Thompson to Play For Team USA]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 00:00:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-535930176_594_screen.jpg

Team USA on Thursday got a little bit better.

Warriors guard Klay Thompson will reportedly play for the United States in the upcoming Rio Games, joining teammate Draymond Green, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.

Stephen Curry will not play, as the two-time MVP is taking the summer to rest. Cleveland's LeBron James just announced earlier Thursday he, too, will not be participating.

Thompson, a two-time All-Star, is coming off his second straight NBA Finals appearance. He was the Warriors' second leading scorer in the team's record-breaking 2015-16 season, averaging 22.1 points a game.

The 6-foot-7 Thompson just finished his fifth season with the Warriors. It's his first trip to the Olympics.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kidnap Suspect's Attorney: Cellphone Illegally Opened]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 18:18:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/muller-mug.jpg

The attorney for a man accused of kidnapping and assaulting a Vallejo couple last year is claiming some of the evidence against his client was obtained illegally.

Matthew Muller is accused of tying up and poisoning Aaron Quinn and assaulting and kidnapping Denise Huskins in March 2015. It was a highly publicized case that Vallejo police initially called a hoax.

At a hearing Thursday, Muller's lawyer, Thomas Johnson, argued that the cellphone Muller left behind at a separate home invasion in Dublin last June should never have been opened by police without a search warrant. The phone led investigators to evidence linking Muller to the Vallejo kidnapping.

"It's a phone that's Mr. Muller's that was searched without a warrant, and phones are devices that are so personal to all us Americans," Johnson argued.

But the judge ruled Muller gave up his right to privacy when he entered the Dublin house illegally.

Quinn's family says they're relieved by the ruling and hope Muller is held accountable for victimizing the couple who they say is still traumitized.

"They've been better since they caught the perpetrator, but I don't know how you ever fully get over a trauma like that," said Quinn's brother Matt Quinn. "I was nervous most of the morning. I felt pretty good the judge was going to rule in favor of keeping the phone in, but still it was that uncertainty it may go the other way."

After Thursday's ruling, Johnson said Muller would not be considering a plea deal and that they'll be ready for trial when it begins in January.

Quinn's mother, Marianne Quinn, made a plea to Muller's conscience: "I wish he'd consider what he's done and come forth with the truth, and he has not done that yet."



Photo Credit: Alameda County Sheriff]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Immigrants Protest Supreme Court Decision]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 23:46:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SJ+IMMIGRATION+MEETING+KWI+-+11043111.jpg

The Supreme Court ruling on immigration reform resounded across the Bay Area on Thursday.

Rallies denounced the 4-4 deadlock blocking President Barack Obama’s plan to shield millions living in the United States illegally from deportation.

While local leaders expressed their outrage, large demonstrations cropped up in San Jose, where dozens of community groups joined forces. Students also planned to rally outside the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

A San Jose State University student, Jose Pina, admitted that he wouldn’t have been able to live his dream without Obama’s programs for immigrant parents and children — Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, known as DAPA, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which has been dubbed DACA.

The Pina family found itself in the pews of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish after hearing about the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“I just had to come here to pray,” said Jose Pina, who is a student athlete. His team, the Spartans, will compete in the USA Track and Field Junior Outdoor Championships on Saturday.

Pina, however, is undocumented and is not able to run track without the DACA program.

“It allowed me to compete,” he said.

Pina is slated to run the 5,000-meter event Saturday, knowing his parents can now be deported at any moment, especially since the Supreme Court ruling did nothing to allow parents of immigrant students to stay in the U.S. through the DAPA program.

“I’m so proud of him, and so are my parents because it is something you fight for, and it’s not a given thing,” said Jose Pina’s brother, Omar Pina.

The Pina family will now place its fate in what they believe is the highest law of the land. It’s time to ask for another form of intervention, they said.

“We know that our power is strong, and this will not be over,” said the Rev. Jon Pedigo of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish.

NBC Bay Area and Telemundo 48 are providing a phone bank in both English and Spanish between 5:30 and 8 p.m. Thursday to help answer any questions about the Supreme Court's ruling on immigration reform. To participate, please call 1-800-548-4884.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Streaming Technology Shines During House Democrats' Sit-In]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 04:15:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Periscope-GettyImages-473860588.jpg

The shot wasn’t always steady, and sometimes people got in the way.

Such are the perils of recording video on a cellphone.

Streaming media conveyed House Democrats' message to the masses when C-SPAN cameras were turned off during a 25-hour sit-in seeking to force a vote on gun control.

Democrats have Bay Area technology to thank. Periscope and Facebook Live were put into play when the mics on the House floor were switched off. Millions of people watched, commented and encouraged the men and women of the House, who said they appreciate the support.

"I thought, well, there’s an app for that," said Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, whose Periscope stream lasted for hours.

Fellow California House member Rep. Jackie Speier said, "For 25 hours we were streaming video to outlets across the country."

Scott streams on Twitter and Periscope: @scottbudman



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Stanford Hospital Worker Arrested in Sexual Battery ]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 15:49:32 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/pa-suspect.jpg

Palo Alto police have arrested a former Stanford Hospital housekeeping employee on suspicion of sexually battering another employee working at the hospital.

The suspect, 56-year-old Luis Enrique Ramirez of San Jose, was arrested May 26 after surrendering on an arrest warrant for a charge of misdemeanor sexual battery.

It was determined that at the time of the incident, Ramirez worked as a housekeeping employee for the hospital, police said.

Early in the morning on March 26, police responded to a report of a sexual battery that had just occurred in a waiting room at Stanford Hospital, 300 Pasteur Drive. Police arrived on the scene minutes later but could not locate the suspect.

The victim, a man in his 20s employed by a contractor working at the hospital, had been taking a nap in a waiting room in the middle of working a double shift. He was awakened by Ramirez rubbing his shoulders and back, police said. Ramirez then allegedly slid his hands down the man’s pants and touched his genitals.

The victim shoved Ramirez away, and Ramirez then walked away quickly. The victim told police he had seen Ramirez around the hospital before, and believed him to be a hospital employee.

Detectives are not aware of any additional victims. Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call the 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.

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<![CDATA[SF Cycling Advocates Seethe as City Reacts to Fatalities]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 23:55:43 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/download8.jpg

San Francisco city leaders said Thursday they are saddened and outraged over the deaths of two women bicyclists in separate hit-and run collisions Wednesday night.

Cycling advocates were equally outraged, accusing Mayor Ed Lee and other officials of not backing their sentiments with action.

"What is so challenging and so tragic about these deaths is we not only know why they happened, but we also know they were preventable," said Margaret McCarthy of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

Police responded to the first fatal hit-and-run around 6 p.m. Wednesday at Golden Gate Park, where 41-year-old San Francisco resident Heather Miller was hit by a stolen white Honda Fit, near John F. Kennedy Drive and 30th Avenue.

The driver was speeding in the opposite lane of traffic while trying to pass another vehicle when he hit Miller head-on, police and witnesses said. The driver and at least one passenger were still at large Thursday.

Witness Jason Sirois was riding his bike through the park when he saw the collision.

"I heard just a loud bang, and that caused me to look up a little further, at which point I just saw the bike tumbling head over heels," Sirois said.

Another witness at the park also heard the impact.

"I look up and see the woman who had just passed us fly up, and I saw the bike fly the other direction," said Timmory Johnson.

Police believe the driver of the Honda is a man in his early 20s. They recovered the vehicle about a mile from the collision site.

The second collision was reported at 8:24 p.m. at Seventh and Howard streets in the city's South of Market neighborhood. San Francisco resident Katherine Slattery, 26, died after a driver sped through a red light in a BMW X3 and struck her, police said.

Farrukh Mushtaq, a 32 year-old San Francisco resident, was later booked into San Francisco County Jail on charges of felony hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

Mushtaq at first continued driving but then stopped at Ninth and Howard streets, where a bystander convinced the man to stay and cooperate with police. Police do not suspect alcohol or drugs played a part in the collision.

"We are simply outraged," Lee said. "These are tragedies that can be prevented."

Both women were riding their bicycles legally, Lee said.

"We're spending millions of dollars re-engineering our streets and lights and timing," the mayor said. "We're educating the public to slow down in their driving habits."

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition spokesman Chris Cassidy said the infrastructure at both intersections where the deaths occurred is woefully inadequate. The intersections are along corridors identified by the city as having high rates of bicyclist injuries.

"San Francisco is supposed to be a visionary city, but we're so behind" on some of the biking infrastructure, Cassidy said. Police also are failing in their commitment to prevent serious bicycle injuries and fatalities by not writing enough citations for speeding, running red lights, failing to yield, violating turn restrictions and running stop signs, Cassidy said.

McCarthy agreed. "What the city needs is to provide infrastructure, provide engineering that makes the street safer for all road users," she said. "We want to see protected bike lanes across San Francisco but specifically on the streets where both of these crashes happened."

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency director of transportation Ed Reiskin said the intersection of Seventh and Howard streets had recent improvements, including updating the timing of the traffic signals and installing high-visibility crosswalks.

Reiskin said the city is spending tens of millions of dollars to prevent traffic fatalities. He cited projects on other high-injury corridors such as Masonic Avenue and Polk Street.

SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said the deaths are the first two bicycle deaths in the city this year. Last year, there was just one. Reiskin said about 30 people are killed each year in traffic collisions in San Francisco.

The city has a road safety policy called Vision Zero SF, which was adopted in 2014 and aims to eliminate traffic fatalities in San Francisco by 2024.

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<![CDATA[Bay Area Leaders Sound Off Against SCOTUS Deadlock]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 15:02:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N11A+STEPH+VO+2+-+000001241.jpg

Following the Supreme Court’s announcement Thursday that it deadlocked on a case that would lift a block on President Obama’s immigration plan, Bay Area politicians and attorneys are vowing to ratchet up their immigrant rights efforts ahead of the November general election.

The case, United States v. Texas, was brought before the court after the president used executive action to implement "Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents," nicknamed DAPA for short. Thursday's ruling also impedes Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has been dubbed DACA

DAPA, which would have temporarily allowed undocumented immigrants to work legally, give greater protections to minors in the country and shield millions from deportation, was tied with a 4-4 deadlock, ultimately leaving a previous block in place from the appeals court. The ruling is likely to put a strain on what the president had hoped would be one of his administration's legacies. In a news conference Thursday, he called the tie "heartbreaking." 

In San Francisco, a sanctuary city that has policies in place to protect immigrants from being prosecuted solely for being undocumented, the Supreme Court's tie was also met with disappointment. 

Mayor Ed Lee called the decision a "setback", and suggested that the federal policies on immigration were not a reflection of a modern society. 

"That’s why we’re sanctuary city in San Francisco, because sometimes federal policies have not been modern," he said. "I think this is why the current president and the new president will struggle with reforming immigration policies." 

Leaders from The San Francisco LGBT Center also released statements scolding the court for the deadlock's repercussions on families living in the U.S, calling DAPA "necessary." 

"The court's inaction leaves thousands of immigrant families in legal limbo and in constant fear of deportation," said Alberto R. Lammers, the director of communications at the center. 

Meanwhile, immigration rights attorneys are vowing to fight back against what they have described as a sharp blow. 

Attorney Mark Silverman has said that he will rally harder to mobilize people to vote in the 2016 general election, the impact of which on immigration cannot be understated. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has taken notoriously hard line on immigration, using the premise of building a wall and enforcing a temporary ban on Muslims from entering the U.S. as his central -- and most controversial -- platforms.

Meanwhile, presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has said that the system does need reform but has characterized Donald Trump's remarks as racist and irresponsible. She has aligned herself with Obama's plans and says she plans to take them a step further. 

But the issue is not just political fodder, says Silverman.

"Probably hundreds of thousands in the Bay Area were hopeful that they would be able to have protection against deportation, have a work permit and be able to live together as families with more security," Silverman said. "So that's very disappointing." 

The case will still work its way through the lower courts in Texas, where the state's governor has been one of the plan's most ardent critics. 

"The action taken by the president was an unauthorized abuse of presidential power that trampled the Constitution, and the Supreme Court rightly denied the President the ability to grant amnesty contrary to immigration laws," Governor Greg Abbott said. "Today's ruling is also a victory for all law-abiding Americans—including the millions of immigrants who came to America following the rule of law."

The case is likely to make its way back to the US Supreme Court after the seating of a ninth justice to replace the late Antonin Scalia. 



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Major Movement Detected Along San Andreas Fault ]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 06:35:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/creeping+segment+san+andreas+fault.jpg

A new analysis of GPS data has revealed previously undiscovered movement along the San Andreas Fault, which forms the tectonic boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American plate and spans much of California.

According to the analysis, which is built on records that have been available for over a decade, large sections of land on either side of the fault are moving up or down every year in what, seismically speaking, could be considered "major movement."

"While the San Andreas GPS data has been publicly available for more than a decade, the vertical component of the measurements had largely been ignored in tectonic investigations because of difficulties in interpreting the noisy data,” said Samuel Howell, the lead author of the study. “Using this technique, we were able to break down the noisy signals to isolate a simple vertical motion pattern that curiously straddled the San Andreas fault.”

The GPS records, which were studied by a slew of research teams from University of Hawaii at Manoa, University of Washington and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, also reveal nearly 125-mile long "lobes" of motion that straddles the fault system. Although the motion has been predicted before, it had never been documented.

To anyone who isn't studying fault lines, the data may not mean much at this point. But many researchers have said that this new insight into how the fault operates could help them predict "The Big One" -- the large earthquake that many believe is overdue to hit California.

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<![CDATA[Union Pacific Employee Arraigned on Felony Charges]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 17:54:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0621-2016-UPDriver.jpg

A Union Pacific employee was arraigned Tuesday on felony negligence charges for his role in a fatal crash at a Gilroy railroad crossing last year.

Lindberg Thompson, 58, slammed a massive rail maintenance vehicle weighing an estimated 50 tons into a pickup truck making a left turn across the tracks on a green arrow at Masten Avenue and Monterey Avenue.

Don Williams, 55, was killed in the collision as he returned home from work.

According to the California Highway Patrol accident investigation and multiple witnesses, the rail maintenance vehicle never activated the crossing gates or warning bells at the crossing, giving drivers no warning the vehicle was approaching.

Witnesses say the same rail maintenance vehicle failed to activate the crossing gates at other railroad crossings minutes before the crash.

Thompson, who was operating the maintenance vehicle in reverse with an obstructed mirror, violated multiple Union Pacific safety policies, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.

According to the accident investigation, Thompson never stopped the rail vehicle when the crossing gates failed to activate, blindsiding Williams as he crossed the tracks.

Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Traci Mason said they decided to file felony negligence charges because of the multiple safety precautions Thompson failed to take.

"We filed these charges in part because of the negligent operation we believe occurred in this case, but also because there was a tragic death," Mason said. "The message that we have is that when there are rules and regulations in place, they need to be followed."

Thompson, with the aid of a Navajo interpreter, pleaded not guilty to the charges. NBC Bay Area could not reach him for comment.

A May NBC Bay Area investigation found rail maintenance vehicles don't always activate the crossing gates and warning bells at railroad crossings, putting drivers at risk.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, there have been at least 187 accidents involving these types of vehicles over the past five years.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Sheriff's Office Investigating In-Custody Death]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 14:21:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/emergency-lights-generic-df.jpg

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office authorities are investigating an in-custody death reported early Thursday.

Officials say the 57-year-old man was booked into jail March 9 for no bail outstanding warrants. During the booking process medical staff was told the man had several pre-existing medical conditions.

On June 17, the inmate was transported to Valley Medical Center. The inmate was pronounced deceased at the hospital at 6:19 a.m. Thursday, officials said.

No other information was immediately available.



Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[North Bay Teen Nabbed for Fatal Shooting]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 14:20:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/210*120/police+siren.JPG

Vallejo police on Wednesday arrested a juvenile suspect in the shooting death of a 19-year-old man earlier this month, a police sergeant said.

The 17-year-old suspect was arrested in the 100 block of Stephanie Court in Vallejo, Sgt. Fabio Rodriguez said.

The teen is suspected of killing Antonio Navarrete, of Vallejo, outside the Springstown Bottle Shop liquor store at 2154 Springs Road on June 7.

Police responded to the shooting at 1 p.m. and Navarrete later died at a hospital.

The juvenile was identified as the suspect and police got a warrant for his arrest.

The U.S. Marshals Service's Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force assisted Vallejo police with the arrest, Rodriguez said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[PetSmart Groomer in Court After Dog Dies While in His Care]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 17:05:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/dogmug.jpg

A PetSmart groomer, who was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty after a dog died in his care at a store in San Mateo, appeared in court Thursday.

The suspect, identified as 38-year-old Juan Zarate of San Francisco, was assigned an attorney, but did not enter plea. His plea hearing has been scheduled for July 21. 

The dog, a 1-year-old male dachshund named Henry, died on May 15 at the PetSmart on the 3500 block of South El Camino Real. Officers responded and spoke with the dog's owner, a 47-year-old San Mateo resident who said he brought Henry to the store to be groomed, according to police.

About three minutes later, Zarate exited the grooming office holding Henry and told officers the dog was suffering a medical emergency, police said. Henry was bleeding from the mouth and having trouble breathing.

Zarate took Henry to the on-site veterinarian, who took emergency measures to try to save him. The dog died a few minutes later, police said.

A postmortem X-ray determined Henry had suffered two broken ribs and a punctured lung, authorities said.

San Mateo police determined Zarate's deliberate actions contributed to the dog's death. Zarate was arrested at the scene and booked on suspicion of felony animal cruelty. He posted bail and was released from custody. 



Photo Credit: Family photo
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<![CDATA[SF Police Commission OKs New Use of Force Policy]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 09:46:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sfpd9.jpg

San Francisco's police commission Wednesday night unanimously approved a new use of force policy that focuses on de-escalation and strives toward minimal force.

But it's not quite over yet.

Commissioners and the police officers association said they agree on about 80 percent of the document. The commission president said it's critical that the policy not be held up by disagreements in language.

"'Shall de-escalate' is so important, but it is being held hostage to other issues," said Suzy Loftus. "This needs to move forward as soon as possible."

The POA said it could not agree to give up its right to negotiate on part of the policy while there is still disagreement. The issues holding up concensus are policies about shooting at cars, using carotid chokehold restraints and reassessing shots-fired situations between each shot. Those policies affect officer safety, the POA said.

The use of force policy now goes to what is called a meet and confer, where city leaders and the POA work to reach agreement on every issue. Then it goes back to the commission.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>