<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Local News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:21:41 -0700 Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:21:41 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Teacher Arrested For Sexual Involvement With Minor]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:21:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/04-17-2014-san-leandro.jpg

A San Leandro High School teacher turned himself in to the San Jose Police Department Thursday after police started investigating whether he was involved in a sexual relationship with a minor.

Leon Chang was charged by the Alameda County District Attorney's Office for his involvement in a sexual relationship with a teenage minor

The San Leandro Unified School District was notified several months ago that Chang may have been having an inappropriate relationship with a minor. School District administrators reported the incident to the San Leandro Police Department who began investigating the allegations.

During the investigation, additional information and forensic evidence was located and reviewed, leading to Investigators determining that there had been an ongoing sexual relationship that occured between Chang and the teenage minor.

On April 15 the Alameda County District Attorney's Office reviewed the case and charged Chang with two felonies

The San Leandro Unified School District released a statement Thursday, saying that the district was "deeply concerned" by the information shared by police. The district has placed the teacher on administrative leave and asked him not to return to work or be on district property unless otherwise asked. The district is conducting its own investigation, the statement said.

"This was a collabarative investigation between our detectives and school administrators, Lt. Randall Brandt, who leads the Criminal Investigation Division, said. "This close working relationship is a force multiplier when it comes to keeping our minors safe."

Officials did not release any other information at this time.

Photo Credit: San Leandro Police]]>
<![CDATA[Hayward Bank Robber's T-Shirt: "I Have Issues"]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:19:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/04-17-2014-HAYWARD-BANK-ROBBERy-suspect.jpg

A man accused of robbing a bank in Hayward Tuesday was caught on surveillance camera wearing a t-shirt that proclaimed: "I have issues."

Hayward police released his picture, describing the suspect as a man in his 20s, 5'8" tall and weighing around 185 pounds.

The suspect entered the bank at 27000 Hesperian Blvd. and approached the teller window, according to police. He then presented a note to the teller that stated he was armed and robbing the bank, police said.

The teller gave the suspect cash from out of her drawer, and the suspect immediately left the bank through the front door, police said. No firearm was actually seen during the robbery, they said.

Anyone with any information on this suspect should contact Detective Ray Bugarin at (510) 293-7085 or Inspector John Lage at (510)-293-8688.

Photo Credit: Hayward Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[SJPD Fails to Produce Burglary Response Times]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:08:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police_generic21.jpg

Emergency calls for burglaries in San Jose come in about 100 times per week and roughly 5,000 times per year. Burglary has increased nearly 50 percent in the past decade, according to records kept by the San Jose Police Department. The combination of more calls for service and fewer officers on the streets can mean residents have to wait a lot longer than anticipated for police to respond.

Burglars broke into Chris Hennessy’s south San Jose residence in February. He dropped off his daughter at preschool and came home to find a brick thrown through his kitchen window. His television, computer and some hard drives were all gone.

“My heart sunk all the way down to my belly and it was just a tremendous shock,” Hennessy said.

He called 911, thinking the perpetrators may have still been on his property.

“After that, it was at least an hour until police arrived,” he said.

With burglaries up in San Jose over the last ten years, the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit wanted to know if other residents had to wait that long for officers to respond to their emergency calls. Is Hennessy’s story unique or testimony of a growing problem?

In response to a request to review their records, the San Jose Police Department confirmed that it does not track burglary calls. The police department’s public records office reported that producing the information would require a computer programmer, weeks of time and a cost of more than $10,000.

NBC Bay Area shared SJPD’s response with four members of the city council who are running for mayor. Here is what they said:

  • Pierluigi Oliverio: “I think the public should be disappointed."
  • Sam Liccardo: “There’s no question we can do better....No one should be satisfied until the information is made public."
  • Rose Herrera: “We need to make sure we can get information fast in the best way we can.”
  • Madison Nguyen: “I’m actually disappointed that members of the public or the media have to go through such a challenging process in order to get the data they need so they can provide information to the public.”

Other law enforcement agencies, by comparison, quickly provided burglary response times for analysis. Here are the average response times to confirmed burglaries since 2011 in the following areas:

Not only could SJPD not provide data regarding its average response time to all burglary calls, it also failed to produce the exact response time to just one burglary call—the 911 call made by Hennessy.

Deputy Chief Dave Hober said the call took more than an hour because responding officers were dispatched to a high priority call after Hennessy’s call came in.

“Would we like to have a quicker call time than that? Yes,” Hober said.

He said burglaries are “absolutely a priority” but pointed to staffing and budget issues in explaining his department’s inability to quickly and efficiently provide burglary response time records for public review.

“I think there are significant challenges but I think we are doing everything we can in an attempt to deal with the burglary issues,” Hober said.

Hennessy says the police department failed to meet his expectations the February morning he got robbed.

“Is it going to take someone getting killed before we have the police coming out sooner for a burglary?” Hennessy said.

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

More on San Jose Burglaries:

<![CDATA[Truckloads of Sod Arrive at Levi's Stadium]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:22:20 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sod.jpg

Six truckloads of sod were delivered before the sun came up Thursday at the new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, which will be home turf for the San Francisco 49ers.

In a statement, the 49ers said it will take two days to install 2.5 acres of sod from West Coast's Turf's Bandera Bermuda in Merced. Six more truckloads will be delivered on Friday.

The turf is 42 inches wide and is 100 feet long.

The stadium is on track to open this summer.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Stanford Research Shows Ahcievement Gap Begins Before Children Even Start School]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:19:20 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KNTV_000000006551656_1200x675_229846595656.jpg Could the achievement gap in school between minority kids and their white counterparts start as early as age one? Stanford University is doing cutting edge research in the heart of East San Jose - it invloves looking into babies' eyes. NBC Bay Area's Damian Trujillo is live outside the Grail Family Services Center where the researchers have set up shop.]]> <![CDATA[BART Riders Get Sneak Peek At New Fleet of Cars]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 14:56:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KNTV_000000006549510_1200x675_229626947804.jpg

BART unveiled its new fleet of cars in San Francisco Wednesday, inviting the public on board. NBC Bay Area's Monte Francis reports live from Fremont.

For more information on BART's fleet of the future and how to provide feedback on the project, visit: www.bart.gov.

<![CDATA[FAA Invites Comments On Flight Path Changes]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:42:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KNTV_000000006544572_1200x675_229063747743.jpg

Flight paths all across Northern California are about to change. The FAA says it's a massive effort to modernize air traffic in and out of all three bay area airports.

But many are worried about what it will mean for the noise from airplanes flying overhead. NBC Bay Area's Chase Cain is live at San Jose Mineta International Airport.

FAA is holding workshops/public forums about the changes to flight paths across Northern California.

Bay Area workshops include:

April 17, 2014
San Mateo Public Library
55 W 3rd Avenue
San Mateo, CA 94402
Attend anytime between:
4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

April 18, 2014
San Francisco Federal Building
90 7th Street, Suite 1-120
San Francisco, CA 94103
Attend anytime between:
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 

<![CDATA[East Palo Alto School Kids Dig Into Piggy Banks To Help Classmate With Cancer]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:45:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/231*120/EPA+Change+Drive+4+2.jpg

One day this past winter, the mother of a kindergartner walked into Amika Guillaume's office at East Palo Alto's Cesar Chavez and Green Oaks Academy and asked the principal if she could hold a bake sale on the school grounds.

Amika had to say no.

"96 percent of our students are on free- or reduced-price lunches," Amika explains. "That means we are a Title I school and bake sales aren't allowed."

96 percent of the students at Cesar Chavez and Green Oaks Academy qualify for free, or reduced-price, lunches.

That, however, wasn't the only reason Amika thought the bake sale wouldn't work. "I know from experience that bake sales are only going to give you a hundred dollars. This mother needs more than that."

The little boy's mother needed more that that, Amika says, because she was trying to pay for her son's cancer treatments.


"He misses quite a bit of school," Amika says. "He's doing better, but still you will see him coming to the office saying he is sick and asking to go home."

Still, Amika had to tell the mother her request was denied.

Her timing, though, was perfect.

The motto at Cesar Chavez Academy is "Dream big. Work hard. Give back." It just so happens that each March (timed to coincide with Cesar Chavez's birthday) is when students at the school focus on giving back.

Each March, students at the school choose a worthy cause to "give back" to.

When it came time this year for the school's Student Council and Renaissance Clubs to pick the charity they wished to "give back" to, Amika told them about the young boy.

They decided on the spot he should be the recipient of whatever money they could raise.

But just how much money could a school, made up almost entirely of low-income students, expect to raise.

Pennies, was the answer.

It was a lot of pennies, though.

Every day in March, a pair of students walked from classroom to classroom carrying a plastic bucket, asking their classmates to give whatever they could.

Collecting mostly pennies, the student body was able to raise close to $2,000 to help a classmate with cancer.

Every day, students emptied their pockets and their piggy banks. Often, it was just a handful of pennies that student dropped into the bucket. Those pennies, however, added up.

By the end of the month, the students had raised close to $2,000 for the young boy.

"You should never underestimate the power of a penny," Amika says.

Making their accomplishment all the greater, Amika says, is that when the school's community partners heard about the fundraiser, they contributed heavily as well.

The final tally: more than $10,000.

"What I've learned is that when you step back and sow the seeds and just instigate a little bit of greatness in them, they will surprise you."



<![CDATA[BART Fined $210,000 After 2 Worker Deaths: Cal-OSHA]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:04:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/barttrain.jpg

The state agency that oversees workplace safety cited BART on Thursday for willful serious safety violations that resulted in two workers being killed by a fast-moving train in Walnut Creek last October during the height of a contentious BART strike.

The citations carry proposed penalties totaling $210,000, the largest penalties California's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has ever levied against a transportation agency.

Cal/OSHA issued the citations for three "willful serious" violations, which have since been "abated," or fixed.

The violations are:

  •  The two workers who were killed, Christopher D. Sheppard, 58, and Laurence E. Daniels, 66, did not meet the qualifications to perform work near hazardous energized third-rails. Sheppard was a BART special projects manager, Daniels was a contractor and consulting engineer.
  •  A trainee was at the controls when the accident occurred—his trainer, a high-ranking transportation manager, was seated in the passenger car with other BART managers and another trainee. He could not view the track from his vantage point in the passenger car.
  • BART’s “simple approval” procedures for employees working on the tracks were both inadequate and not followed.

In response, BART's General Manager Grace Crunican issued this statement: “The BART family has spent the past six months mourning the loss of Christopher D. Sheppard and Laurence E. Daniels while making permanent changes to our safety procedures.  Passenger and employee safety is our top priority at BART.  BART has fundamentally upgraded its safety procedures with the implementation of an enhanced wayside safety program and a proposed budget investment of over $5 million in additional resources to bolster BART’s safety performance. "

BART did not immediately address the question whether the agency would appeal the fines.

But Crunican did emphasize that BART invested $5.3 million in additional maintenance, engineering, transportation and safety departments. She said BART also implemented rail safety regulations by the California Public Utilities Commission that were designed for trail transit agencies across the state and will add extra trackside protections for workers, including have a "mandatory watch person" when maintenance vehicles are on the tracks. Changes will go into effect next month.

The OSHA citations outline the backdrop of what happened on Oct. 19 - during a heated BART strike over salaries - and seems to come to a different conclusion  than the National Transportation Safety Board ruling over "simple approval." Simple approval means that workers communicate their position over the radio, but then are largely on their own on the tracks - with one doing the work and the other being on the lookout.

At the time, NTSB Investigator Jim Southworth told reporters the "responsibility of their safety is on themselves."

However, the day after the two workers were killed last fall, BART suspended the “simple approval” process for track maintenance. Shortly after the deaths, the unions and BART management reached a deal, ending the strike.

At the time, the trains in Concord were being operated on a non-passenger basis. BART train 963, a four-car train operating in automatic mode traveling at more than 65 miles per hour with an inexperienced operator-in-training at the controls, was heading toward Pleasant Hill station around 1:45 p.m.

The high-ranking manager designated as the trainer was seated in the passenger area with three BART managers and another trainee instead of maintaining a position next to the trainee in the control cab, according to the OSHA report.

Although he could see the trainee at the controls from behind the open control cab door, the trainer was not located in a position to closely view the trainee’s actions and observe the track, OSHA investigators found.

The trainee saw the workers and was attempting to sound the horn and stop the train when the workers were struck.

Cal-OSHA noted that the  "simple approval" process didn't really work: On two previous occasions, in 2001 and 2008, employees were killed while operating under “simple approval” authorization. Cal/OSHA issued citations after investigations of both incidents.

Cal-OSHA issues citations for serious workplace safety violations when there is a realistic possibility that death or serious physical harm could result from the actual hazard created by the violation. The violation is classified as willful when an employer is aware that a hazardous condition exists and no reasonable effort is made to eliminate the hazard.

“Employers in California must comply with safety standards to protect their employees, and diligence is vital in hazardous working conditions,”  Christine Baker, director of the Department of Industrial Relations said in a statement.

BART is also awaiting a final NTSB report into the fatal accident.


Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[SJPD: Baby Forgotten in Backseat Dies]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:45:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/04-17-2014-baby-in-backseat.jpg

San Jose police are investigating the death of a 9-month-old baby after they said the father forgot to drop him off at the babysitter's before he went to work.

Sgt. Heather Randol said police received a report on Wednesday about 7:15 p.m. about an "unresponsive" baby in a car in the 3700 block of Payne Avenue. Police arrived, and the baby was declared dead a short time later. Randol said the father was supposed to drop off the baby at the babysitter's house before he went to work but forgot.

Instead, Randol said he parked his car on the street with the baby strapped in his car seat and went to work. At the end of his work day, he returned to his car to discover his baby was unconscious.

"People always want to vilify these parents," Janette Fennell, president of Kids And Cars, told NBC Bay Area by phone from Philadelphia when she heard the news. "But 90 percent of the time, they are not bad people or drug addicts. They are parents who love their children."

She added that this baby death is the first of its kind this year in the country.

On average, 38 children die from heat stroke every year after being left in a car nationwide, her organization said. Last year, however, the heat stroke car death toll hit 44.

Yousif Njimeh told NBC Bay Area that the father worked for his brother at his vending machine company, Star Vending. The father's usual routine was to park his silver Honda SUV on Payne Avenue and then take off in the company vending machine truck. The father, who had two other children, worked from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Njimeh said.

Njimeh was actually repairing his car Wednesday near the father's parked Honda. He said he had no idea that a baby was inside; he didn't hear or see anything. The Honda's windows were tinted.

When he saw the father return to the car after work, Njimeh said he was "sobbing uncontrollably."

The father has not been arrested. The Santa Clara County Coroner's Office did not identify the baby.

Wednesday's temperatures in San Jose reached 81, and Fennell noted that a baby younger than a year old would not be able to tolerate that heat for very long.

In addition, since the baby was so young, he would have been in a rear-facing car seat, which makes it much more difficult for a driver to actually see if a child is inside or not.

More than 33 percent of the heat stroke car deaths involve children younger than one, Fennell said, often because they are harder to see.

Without knowing specifics of the case, Fennell added that the number one reason for parents who inadvertently forget their children in cars is a change in their daily routines.

Fennell also offered two quick tips to remember that your child is in the car: Leave something like your wallet or work badge next to your baby, so that when you head to work or home, you can't get inside without them. And tell the babysitter or daycare center to call you if you are late bringing in your child.

More tips can be found at KidsAndCars.org.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Zynga: Back On The "Farm"]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:52:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/162*120/04_16_farmville.JPG

Attention "FarmVille" fans (and, clearly, there are many of you still out there): The sequel is here.

San Francisco's Zynga just launched "FarmVille2: Country Escape," an attempt to boost its fortunes, by returning to the site of its original hit. This time, though, the emphasis is on mobile play - a good move, given the recent rise in mobile fortunes hauled in by the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

In a release from Zynga (ZNGA) this morning, its President of Games, Jonathan Knight says "we've reimagined the franchise as a mobile experience to match how players want to connect with their farm and with their friends," A big nod to how players want to connect with both their friends, and their own devices, anywhere at anytime.

Will this be enough to bring Zynga back to the levels it held during the original "FarmVille" era? Not sure about that, but stressing mobility is important. After all, it's where the money, players, and now the cows, are all hanging out.

Scott hangs out on Twitter: @scottbudman


<![CDATA["Alcohol Involved" in SJ Accident: Police]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 10:55:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/accident4.jpg

San Jose police said it looks like a driver ran a red light early Thursday morning and nearly another driver who had a green light.

San Jose police first said the driver of a black Suburban had been killed, but later said that he was at the hospital on life support. A source told NBC Bay Area that the driver of the Suburban is a parole agent.

The accident occurred at 12:06 a.m. at Almaden Expressway and Coleman Avenue. Sgt. Matt Christian did not specifically say the driver was drunk, but did say it appeared as though "alcohol was involved."

The driver in the Suburban was on northbound Almaden with a green light when the driver of the Hona CRV allegedly ran a red light on Coleman. The driver of the Honda was taken to the hospital in serious condition, too.

Both drivers were in their 40s.

A driver in a black Suburban was on life-support after an accident occurred at 12:06 a.m. at Almaden Expressway and Coleman Avenue in San Jose. April 17, 2014 .

 Damian Trujillo contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Bob Redell]]>
<![CDATA[Egg Sale Causes Ruckus, Fight at Chinatown Walgreens ]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 10:59:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/generic-eggs-food-generic.jpg

"Hundreds" of elderly women descended on a San Francisco Walgreens on Tuesday to do battle over deeply-discounted eggs, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

Walgreens dropped jaws by offering up cartons of a dozen eggs for the rock-bottom price of 99 cents per dozen, the newspaper reported. But fisticuffs ensued when the sale proved so popular that the store ran out -- leading the remaining shoppers to scuffle over the last few cartons.

Police told the newspaper that about 20 agitated shoppers were "fighting over" what was left of the egg stock upon their arrival at 8 a.m. Tuesday, the newspaper reported.

No injuries were reported and no police report was filed.

Chaos and conflict were settled a few hours later when a truck delivered more eggs, the newspaper reported.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Are Bay Area Rental Prices At All-Time Highs?]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 08:30:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/marina2.jpg

Rental prices have been rising in virtually every part of the Bay Area. The oft-repeated, off-the-cuff comment about the Bay Area, and San Francisco in particular, is that it’s among the costliest places to live in the entire country.

And, a new report states rental prices in the Bay Area are at all-time highs.

Is that true?

The report was published by RealFacts, a real estate data company. It cited the “average” cost for renting, lumping 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments together. This is what the group found for the Bay Area’s three biggest cities in 2014:

• San Francisco: $3,057 per month.
• Oakland: $2,187 per month.
• San Jose: $2,066 per month.

These costs are no drop in the bucket, by any means. But are they all-time, record-setting highs?

It’s hard to say simply by glancing at the report, since RealFacts told NBC Bay Area that the figures are *not indexed to inflation (meaning the raw figure may be higher than ever before, but not necessarily the true value).

Many will remember the dot-com boom – rental prices soared during the late 1990s and early 2000s. When you adjust the “average” cost of renting in 2001- the peak of the boom- to reflect inflation, or the cost in 2014-dollars, here are what the dot-com rental prices project to:

• San Francisco: $2,842 per month.
• Oakland: $1,908 per month.
• San Jose: $2,228 per month.

So, for San Francisco and Oakland, the average monthly rent is at all-time highs.

But it’s a different story in San Jose. As the numbers show, it cost about $200 more to live in the South Bay’s biggest city at the peak of the dot-com boom than today.

The reality, though, is that renting in each of these cities and around the Bay Area is incredibly expensive.

“It’s as hard a time certainly as I can remember in the Bay Area in terms of housing affordability,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia, an online real estate company. “Rents have risen even throughout the housing bust. Remember, [home] prices fell significantly in many places in the Bay Area after the housing bubble burst, but rents continued to rise.”

And, as for San Francisco being one of the most expensive city in the country to live, well, that is true – in fact, it’s the most costly city to live in right now.

“When we compared two-bedroom units across the country, the most expensive rental housing now is in San Francisco. Even a bit ahead of New York," Kolko said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pricey Hotel Could Be Rare Berkeley "Skyscraper"]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:18:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/downtownberkeley.jpg

To change downtown Berkeley, all you need is $100 million.

That's the price tag to build one of the famously-stodgy East Bay city's few allowed downtown-area skyscraper, a 180-foot hotel project that could replace a one-story Bank of America on Shattuck Avenue.

The San Francisco Business Times reports that the 12-story, 297-room hotel doesn't yet have a tenant, and that the planning process has yet to begin in earnest. But for now, there "are no real pushbacks," a project sponsor told the newspaper.

Construction could begin in early 2015 -- that is, if "reticent" neighborhors can be won over. The same with a picky design review board that took issue with the building's entrance facade.

Jim Didion and Center Street Partners LLC are the main backers of the hotel. Only three highrises are allowed in the area under the 2012 Downtown Area Plan, the newspaper reported.


<![CDATA[San Francisco Officials Plan "420" Party Crackdown]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 06:54:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/224*120/04_16_Haight.JPG

“It was a little insane.”

San Francisco Supervisor London Breed is talking about last year’s April 20 "420" marijuana celebration in Golden Gate Park.

A video posted on Youtube shows a fight breaking out in the middle of thousands of people on Hippie Hill.

A soccer mom who uses the field where people gathered says the smoke-filled event was shocking.

"It was insane -- you couldn't find parking -- it was wall to wall zombie people," Linda Ravano said.

When thousands of people got into their cars and poured into the Haight Ashbury last year, Breed got an eyeful.

"I really had a problem," Breed said. "There were so many underage kids drinking and they were high ... and to see adults passing marijuana from their car windows to people they don't know the age of, that's a problem for me."

The crowd also left a mountain of trash.

San Francisco Rec and Park said it cost $15,000 to clean up 10,000 pounds of litter.

This year, Breed said, the San Francisco Police Department is stepping up patrols.

"We want to make sure there’s enough law enforcement in case there are issues," she said.

The owner of The Booksmith on Haight said last year, when she called police for dealing with a fight, officers had trouble getting through the crowd.

This year, many business owners say they are ready for "420." Some are adding staff while others are closing down.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Cow Hollow/Marina Are The Places For Millennials]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:18:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/marina2.jpg

Millennials seeking a home in San Francisco, stop and seek no longer.

Sign a lease in Cow Hollow to be with your peers.

For people born "after the early 1980s, Cow Hollow is the place to be," according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which sifted through data presented by Niche.

Niche took a look at median rent, median income, and how many other people in the area are Millennials, the newspaper reported. It found that the "well-paid and well-educated" people of Cow Hollow are also somewhat young.

The area is also "pre-gentrified," the newspaper reported, making it a guilt-free place to live well.

80 percent of the 8,000 people who live in the Marina-adjacent neighborhood are white with bachelor's degrees, the newspaper reported.

Then again, the site also says that the average rent is $1,700 a month. Maybe it was ... when the Millennials were in school.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area Wins Three SPJ Awards]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:07:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SPJ_AWARDPIC2.jpg

NBC Bay Area took home three national Sigma Delta Chi Awards for excellence in journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists.

This is the most any television news station has won at one time since 1996, according to NBC Bay Area research of SPJ archives.

Judges chose from 1,800 entries spanning print, radio, TV and online.

The entire staff was recognized for "Breaking News Coverage" of the tragic crash of Asiana Flight 214, as well as the investigative and enterprise stories in the weeks and months following the July 6 accident at San Francisco International Airport.   

Jenna Susko, Julie Putnam, Jeremy Carroll and Matt Goldberg brought home their second national award in two years for "Public Service in Television."  Their investigative reports exposed Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen and his altering of employee timesheets in order to circumvent mandatory budget cuts.

Garvin Thomas won for “Feature Reporting” with his Bay Area Proud franchise, where Thomas does all his own shooting, writing and editing. The stories Thomas entered were "Bride with Terminal Cancer Gets Amazing Wedding Gift Story," and "Students Give Choir Teacher Emotional Musical Tribute Story."

"The Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash was one of the most tragic and important stories impacting the Bay Area in more than a decade," said Jonathan Mitchell, Vice President of News, NBC Bay Area. “I could not be more proud of our team’s professional, sensitive and tireless coverage on behalf of our viewers. We are both honored and grateful for this recognition.”

Owned by NBC Universal, NBC Bay Area/KNTV is the Bay Area’s investigative station located in the heart of Silicon Valley.  The station is committed to providing continuous, in-depth journalism with unique personalities.

The Sigma Delta Chi Awards date back to 1932, when the Society of Professional Journalists honored six individuals for their contributions to journalism. The current program began in 1939 as the Distinguished Service Awards.

NBC Bay Area will be formally presented with the awards at a reception which will take place at the National Press Club on June 20 in Washington, D.C.

For a full list of 2013 winners, click here.

<![CDATA[In California, A Push To Restore Bilingual Education]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:53:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/201*120/chinese3.JPG

Some California residents are pushing to change a 16-year-old California law and restore bilingual education.

At West Portal Elementary in San Francisco, classes are taught in Chinese starting in kindergarten.

“Our graduates will graduate into a global world, a global economy, where they will be interacting on a daily basis, not just with the person next door, but with the person in the next continent,” said San Francisco Superintendent Richard Carranza.

It’s hard to start a language immersion program in California because of Proposition 227, a 1998 voter-approved law requiring that non-English speaking students be taught in English.

Waivers must be granted every year if schools want to teach in another language.

Some say that law is to blame for the state’s decline in immersion programs.

“I think voters understand now the importance of having their children be mulit-lingual, and I think it’s time for us to revisit the proposition,” said Los Angeles County State Sen. Ricardo Lara.

Lara and other supporters launched a new effort to change Proposition 227 and allow more California schools to offer multi-lingual education without the bureaucracy.

But Prop. 227’s sponsor Ron Unz doesn’t want the law changed because it’s working the way it is.

“In the first four years after the passage of Prop. 227, the test scores of over a million immigrant students roughly doubled," Unz said. "While the test scores of those who were kept in bil-lingual programs showed no improvement.”

Whether the law is changed or not, Chinese immersion student Quiaoying Chen knows that in this ever-changing world, they will have an advantage over most kids.

“There are a lot of languages in the world and if you learn some them, you get around pretty easily.” Quiaoying said.

If state lawmakers approve the change, voters will see it on the November 2016 ballot.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Man Charged With Arson, Burglary in KNTV Building Fire]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:08:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/167*120/dogs12.JPG

Three days after the former KNTV building was destroyed by fire, the Santa Clara County District Attorney charged a 55-year-old San Jose man on felony probation with arson and first degree burglary.

Stillman Pfeffer was arraigned Wednesday afternoon followng the 5-alarm fire at 645 Park Avenue, which used to house KNTV studios from 1955 to 2004. Since then, homeless people have lived in the building. Pfeffer is homeless, though there is no indication he lived in the building.

Prosecutors said witnesses saw him create the fire by dousing the building with a liquid accelerant, though no motive has been publicly established.

Pfeffer did not enter a plea and is being held without bail, while dogs were sent to the building to search for possible human remains. He is on probabtion for petty theft and had three prior convictions, according to the Mercury News.

Deputy District Attorney David Boyd said that there is no indication that Pfeffer was living in the abandoned building. He was on probation for petty theft, Boyd said.

Pfeffer was arrested late Sunday night, Boyd said, adding that more than one person witnessed the fire being started, which led to Pfeffer being identified as a suspect.

"There are eye-witness statements that show that this was not any accident," Boyd said. "There is evidence that a device designed to accelerate a fire was used in the form of some type of a ignitable liquid."

As Pfeffer was in court, San Jose fire officials brought in cadaver dogs on Wednesday, indicating human remains may be buried under the debris on the site.

"We are using two different search patterns - two different dogs ... two different times they came up with a hit in the same location," said San Jose Fire Capt. Cleo Doss. "We are going throught the excavation process right now to determine whether there is someone there."

Firefighters will be bringing back cadaver dogs on Thursday.

Investigators had told NBC Bay Area they suspect the fire was started by a person, because there were many homeless people inside at the time who had brought in their BBQ grills, propane tanks and motorcycles.

 NBC Bay Area's Cheryl Hurd and Riya Bhattacharjee contributed reporting


Photo Credit: Cheryl Hurd]]>
<![CDATA[Mom, 3-Year-Old Son Die in San Francisco Fire]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:51:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/205*120/fire123.jpg

A mother and son died in a Wednesday morning fire at their apartment during a fire at their Sunnydale apartment complex, a police official said.

Authorities didn't identify the people by name, but told NBC Bay Area a mother in her 30s and her three-year-old son died in the blaze.

Fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge fire was reported just before 9:54 a.m. at 76 Brookdale Ave. Aerial footage showed a long, two-story building with a hole in the roof. Fire personnel were surrounding the unit.

Despite earlier reports that several people jumped from the building, the latest count was that one person jumped to safety.

The fire was brought under control at 10:20 a.m. Witnesses said the boy as taken to a hospital, where he died.

How the fire started is under investigation.


Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Marine Robbed at Gunpoint, Suspects Caught on Cam]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:25:32 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/217*120/hindi.jpg

Fremont police are looking for two men who they say robbed a retired U.S. Marine at gunpoint, took his wallet and later used his credit cards to make purchases at a 7-Eleven.

One of three video surveillance clips taken on April 9 from the convenience store on Mohave Drive shows the cashier handing what appears to be a credit card and receipt to one of the suspects before the men exit the store just after 2:30 a.m.  The Marine told police he was robbed at the Bank of America ATM on Fremont Boulevard an hour earlier. The video does not show the ATM robbery.

The video surveillance shows the suspects as two 18- to 23-year-old men of Indian descent. One of the men was wearing a puffy grey jacket with a fur-lined hood and black cuffs, white-and-black shoes, and a large ring or splint on his right ring finger.

The other man was seen in the video wearing a black T-shirt with a graphic design, black-and-red basketball shorts, a black beanie with a zig-zag pattern and a ball on top, and a silver bracelet on his left wrist. The 7-Eleven clerk recalls both men speaking Hindi.

The 67-year-old Marine said the suspects fled in a white 1998-2000 Mercedes S420 or S500 model.

Anyone with information about the crime should contact Fremont Police at 510-790-6954 or through www.fremontpolice.org/tip to tip anonymously.

Photo Credit: 7-Eleven video surveillance via Fremont police]]>
<![CDATA[San Jose Students Make Blankets for Kids in Need]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:09:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/041614-blankets-blessing.jpg

Students from St. John Vianney School in San Jose have made special blankets to help children who are in need.

Wednesday the school blessed the blankets that each class made by hand -- all 116 of them. The blankets will be given to various non-profits and groups that help the sick and less fortunate.

Each homeroom class held fundraisers to raise the money needed to purchase the fabric for the blankets.

"When people experience some time of crisis or sickness... we can extend that support to them through that blanket," Sister Michele Anne Murphy said. "It’s a great project."

Some of the groups that will receive the blankets include Project Night Night, Ronald McDonald House, the Humane Society Silicon Valley and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.


Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Found in Berkeley May Be Victim of Sex Trafficking: Police]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:46:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police_generic21.jpg

Police in at least two cities are investigating after a teenage girl told them she was robbed and kidnapped from an unknown location and dropped off in Berkeley early Wednesday. The girl also told neighbors she had been raped and pepper-sprayed.

Police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said the girl said she was dropped off in the 2900 block of Piedmont in Berkeley about 6:21 a.m. She is currently at a hospital, Watson said.

Berkeley police said the girl indicated she was sexually assaulted.

Police later said that the girl had been kidnapped from an unknown location in the Bay Area and may be a victim of human sex trafficking, though no details were released to support that allegation.

But neighbors who live in the Elmwood District of Berkeley say they were awakened early Wednesday by the screams of a girl shouting, "Help me!"

When they ran outside, they found the teen sitting naked on the sidewalk. "She was screaming, 'Help me, help!' And when we got closer she said, 'I can't see. I've been pepper-sprayed; I can't see," said Senobar Lanigan, who came to her aid.

Lanigan said she gave the girl water to wash out her eyes and a blanket to cover up. "She had not even shoes. It looked like she'd been dropped from the stars, completely naked," she said.

Lanigan says the girl told her she'd been raped. "'I was raped. Somebody raped me,' she said, 'Somebody raped me,' " Lanigan recounted.

Dana MacDermott heard the screams, too, and can't stop thinking about the girl.

"It's disturbing, and I hope she's alright, whatever the story is. Whatever happened, I hope she's alright," she said.

<![CDATA["Cops" Reality Show to Feature SJPD]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 08:48:20 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/standoff4.jpg

If you have a run-in with San Jose police over the next ten weeks, you may end up on television.

The popular reality show ‘Cops’ is coming to San Jose.

For the first time in the show's 26-year history, the TV producers will be filming in the South Bay city. 

They will film through June with swing shift and midnight shift, according to the Mercury News.

San Jose police say the reality show filming could actually be a morale booster.  Apparently a number of officers are excited about the opportunity and have volunteered to be involved. 

There is a secondary benefit aside from the television exposure. Police believe the publicity could be used to aid in recruiting officers to the ranks. 

Right now, San Jose police have more than 1,000 officers, but in 2008 that number was about 1,400. 

It’s believed issues like the ongoing pension reform battle and other decisions that could impact the bottom line have led officers to seek opportunities elsewhere. 

The department is hoping officers act natural and enjoy the experience – while residents get a clearer picture of what officers really do out in the streets.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[San Jose Man Dies from Legionnaires' Disease]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:39:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0415-NancyWhitney.jpg

What was supposed to be a vacation to consider Palm Springs as a retirement location turned into a nightmare for one San Jose couple.

Nancy Whitney said she and her husband of 30 years, Bill, stayed at the Hyatt Regency Suites in Palm Springs for three nights in October 2011. When they returned, she said they both began to feel sick.

“We had headaches and our stomach wasn’t feeling good. It just felt like the flu,” Nancy said.

She would recover. Her husband did not. Nancy said she took him to Washington Hospital in Fremont where doctors soon had questions.

“They asked us where we had been, if we had been on any trips, had we been to warm weather where there was air conditioning?” Nancy recalled. “And they already had a feeling it was Legionnaires' Disease.”

It was confirmed after the tests came back.

“Already it was through his system, even that fast, already, he was having internal bleeding,” she added.

Just five days later, Bill was gone.

“I didn’t get to say bye or anything to him,” said his widow, her eyes welling up with tears two-and-a-half years after losing the man she called her best friend. “I wanted really to find out what happened to my husband. I felt anger from him. He wanted to live.”

She learned that during the stay at the Hyatt, the two of them had been just about 50 yards from the hotel cooling towers. They had slept all three nights with the door open.

Nancy hired Jeff Lawson, an attorney with the Silicon Valley Law Group. Lawson said he rarely takes on this kind of case, but added he felt compelled after hearing her story.

“What we discovered later is in response to that, the hotel, Hyatt, went out and had their systems checked. They tested it and found dangerous levels of legionella bacteria in the cooling tower,” Lawson claimed.

According to court-submitted documents, the cooling towers would later show detectable levels of legionella bacteria, which build up as slime.

In fact, one testing date revealed that the level of bacteria approached 1,000 colony forming units per milliliter – that’s a level that OSHA says requires “immediate cleaning and/or biocide treatment. Take prompt stems to prevent employee exposure.”

Lawson also argues this was not the first time a hotel guest got sick from a legionella bacteria-contaminated source at the same Hyatt hotel in recent years.

“In 2006, there was another Legionnaire’s incident at the hotel where a guest had gotten sick and Hyatt had found out about it. They did testing of the hotel, they found legionella bacteria in the water system,” he said. “After that, they put in a water treatment system but they never cleaned and disinfected the cooling tower so it stayed the way it was. And then eventually Mr. Whitney goes there, gets sick and dies.”

The Hyatt issued the following response, but would not mention specifics or details because of the pending litigation:

“The safety and welfare of our guests and associates is a top priority for all Hyatt hotels, including Hyatt Palm Springs. Hyatt hotels take appropriate precautions in an effort to ensure guests and associates remain in a safe environment and follow rigorous procedures to ensure that all practices meet or exceed recommended health standards.”

However, it did tap a couple doctors as expert witnesses. One of them, Dr. Paul Edelstein, testified that Mr. Whitney was already high-risk for Legionnaire’s because he “suffered from diabetes, was elderly and obese,” describing them as “factors that increased his likelihood of acquiring Legionnaire’s Disease from any source.”

Moreover, Edelstein claimed it would be impossible to determine exactly where Bill got the Legionnaire’s because there was no record of any other case of it at the Palm Springs Hyatt in the months before and after Bill died.

Lawson tapped medical experts of his own who countered that and said considering the incubation period of two to 14 days and the likeliest sources of legionella bacteria build-up, it had to be the Hyatt.

“It wasn’t just an oversight. It was a complete failure of a very important safety system. People need to understand that Legionnaires' Disease is a deadly disease. It killed Mr. Whitney,” Lawson said. “It’s not that common in California although it’s growing a lot.”

According to the California Department of Public Health’s most recent data summary on Legionnaire’s, the rate of the disease skyrocketed 325 percent from 2001 to 2011.

It’s not transmitted person-to-person. Someone must breathe in the bacteria to get infected.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is heavily under reported with only 3,000 cases reported to the agency each year out of up to 18,000 people who are hospitalized with it each year.

“You can’t see it, you can’t smell it, you can’t look around the hotel and say, ‘Oh, I think this place is dangerous.’ You have to rely on them complying with their safety systems,” Lawson said. “You are at their mercy.”

The Whitneys’ case is headed to a jury trial this year in Riverside County.

The irony of what happened isn’t lost on Nancy. The disease was named after an outbreak killed 29 people at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia in 1976. Bill, himself, was a legionnaire who had served in Vietnam.

“I miss my husband a lot. I miss him each day.”

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[California Drought Drives Up Food Prices]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 08:31:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0415-foodprices.jpg

California's severe drought is expected to cause a drastic increase in food prices.

A new study said produce prices could skyrocket -- a head of lettuce could go up as much as 62 cents, an avocado may increase by 35 cents and a pound of tomatoes appears to be headed for a 45-cent hike.

Consumers are already feeling the effects.

"It seems like they fluctuate a lot," shopper Benisa Berry said of food prices. "It seems like it's on sale one week and then you go the next day and it's like twice as much."

Carol Benevidez of Windmill Farms in San Ramon said the freeze in January combined with the unpredictable weather and drought are driving prices up.

"Customers are definitely going to see the cost increase and it's going to be across the board for everyone, from owners to customers unfortunately," Benevidez said.

A lime that used to sell for 33 cents is now 79 cents, and come summer Benevidez said more produce will be impacted by the state's lack of water including squash, lettuce and stone fruits like peaches and nectarines.

"We have gotten word from farmers that they either have to cut back on crops or just not plant at all," Benevidez said.

Grocers in response will have to import the produce, which comes at a cost.

"So we're paying over a $150 per box of limes and we're mainly only able to get those out of Mexico right now because we have nothing really here in California," Benevidez said.

Shoppers said they are now limiting their grocery lists to items they really need.

"You got to eat you know? So I just cut out some unnecessary things," shopper Susan Ni said. "Like what? Luxury things like cake, party things, drinks, all those things."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[SF Workers Protest Tax Exemptions for Tech Companies]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 03:55:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0415-seiu-protest.jpg

Hundreds of San Francisco union workers took to the streets on tax day to protest the city’s three-year old payroll tax exemptions that have lured more than a dozen tech companies, including Twitter, to the once-desolate strip of mid-Market Street.

Workers, many who are currently negotiating contracts with the city, donned fake mustaches ala Mayor Ed Lee, and characterized the incentives as a giveaway to corporate tech giants, at the expense of working families who can no longer afford to live in San Francisco.

“They have money,” said Larry Bradshaw, a San Francisco paramedic who works for Local 1021. “We’re saying why don’t we take that money and spend it on working people.”

The value of the tax breaks varies widely depending on who’s crunching the numbers.

San Francisco leaders said the incentives deprived the city of just under $2 million in taxes, while generating $8 million in new revenue.

Union leaders, on the other hand, said lost taxes total somewhere close to $56 million.

“The economy is working for a section of the city,” Bradshaw said. “But for a large number of people, they’re being left behind in San Francisco.”

San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development said the payroll tax breaks offered to Twitter, lured 17 other tech companies to mid-market. They also brought 17 small businesses, 13,000 jobs and more than 5,000 units of new housing under construction in the area.

“The 13,000 jobs support so many other jobs and economic activity in the city,” said Todd Rufo, the mayor’s director of economic and workforce development. “That supports construction jobs, it supports our local small businesses."

Rufo said the new economic activity in mid-Market is attracting new restaurants to the area, while generating new business for long-time area stalwarts.

“Now there’s an influence of the younger crowd,” said Jeannie Kim, who has owned Sam’s Diner on Market Street for more than a decade. “People who are more in business suits are coming in.”

Kim has expanded the footprint of her diner, while adding staff and new hip dishes to accommodate the new customers. But she said despite the influx of new business, the area still suffers an abundance of crime and homeless issues.

“You’re not going to make everybody happy, and there are still things that need to change,” Kim said. “It’s going to take some time.”

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Cinco de Mayo Protests Planned Outside Morgan Hill School]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 03:55:51 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/04-15-2014-flag.jpg

It's been four years since some students in the South Bay went to school on Cinco de Mayo wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the American flag.

What happened to them is still stirring up debate over free speech in Morgan Hill: The Four Live Oak High School students were asked to remove or turn inside out the American flag t-shirts they wore to school.

Administrators feared the American flag shirts would enflame the passions of students celebrating the holiday back in 2010.

The student protests that followed drew national attention.

Now, Live Oak is in the news again. The Morgan Hill Unified School District is concerned because there could be as many as three different protest groups voicing their opinions in front of Live Oak High School on May 5, 2014, which is why the district is already talking to Morgan Hill police about how to keep students safe.

Last month, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal judge’s ruling that school officials acted appropriately, a decision Georgine Scott-Codiga, the president of the Gilroy-Morgan Hill Patriots Club, strongly disagrees with.

“We are shocked they are silencing one group over another under the 1st Amendment,” Scott-Codiga said. “We all have freedom of speech.”

Scott-Codiga says that’s one reason she and as many as 50 members of her group plan to protest in front of Live Oak High School this Cinco de Mayo.

“We are planning a flag rally to exercise free speech and show our support for the boys denied freedom of speech,” Scott-Codiga said.

She says her group is planning a peaceful protest outside the school that will not disrupt classes.

There is concern that counter-protesters may also show up and tensions could flare.

The Morgan Hill school district is preparing for possible confrontations and plans to beef up security on May 5.

“We’ve had several meetings with police and city officials to prepare, and we are talking with the leader of the rallies,” district Superintendent Steve Betando said.

Betando said the No. 1 goal is to keep students safe. He said they may even learn a lesson about acceptance.

“The students can wear whatever shirts they want that day,” he said.

<![CDATA[Students, Lawmakers Take Stand Against Sexual Violence]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 18:46:34 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/0415-sexualviolence_UCB.jpg

Thirty-one sexual assault victims have filed a federal lawsuit against the University of California, Berkeley.

Several of the victims joined Bay Area lawmakers on Tuesday to take a stand and demand an end to sexual violence on campus.

"Neither the department of education nor UC Berkeley have made an effort to address culture of sexual violence on campus," student Sofie Karasek said. "This is not only disappointing, it's dangerous for the students who attend college here."

Representatives Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, said assaults against students is a nationwide epidemic.

UC Berkeley's chancellor met Monday night with several survivors and told them changes are being made. The university has added staff to help in the reporting process, but school officials said more needs to be done.

"We are not indifferent to this issue," UC Berkeley spokeswoman Claire Holmes said. "We take it seriously, put resources in place to explain what is acceptable and what is not."

View Cheryl Hurd's report in the video above for more information.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[San Jose Residents Frustrated About Water Main Breaks]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:22:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/04-15-2014-sj-water-main.jpg

The San Jose Water Company is under fire from frustrated residents who had to deal with a water main leak that lasted two days.

Residents who live in the 400 block of Rosewood Avenue, near Santana Row, said the leak started out as a 3-inch crack on Sunday night. By Tuesday it had grown to at least 3 feet, with the affected streets bubbling with water and softening.

"It's very soft and mushy, so driving over it would definitely be out of the question," said Kaylyn Lehmann, whose driveway is next to the water main break. "And it's just sad not to just see the waste of water in drought, but also the cost of repairs go up so much."

Neighbors said they called San Jose water officials for days before they finally showed up to repair the leak Wednesday.

The San Jose Water Company, which serves 240,000 households and businesses, said it cannot get to every leak right away. On Tuesday, there were 223 leaks on the company’s repair waiting list.

John Tang of the San Jose Water Company said calls are prioritized.

"More severe leaks are given a higher priority and it can take many days to repair some leaks because of availability of personnel and the volume and severity of leaks in the system," Tang said.

But concerned customer Elizabeth Bertolohny told NBC Bay Area the company’s response was far from timely. Bertolohny said she reported water running down the streets in front of her family’s South San Jose apartment three weeks ago.

Bertolohny said she called San Jose water five times before crews finally showed up.

“We can’t waste water, but they can waste water - I don’t think that’s fair,” she said.

Bertolohny is just one of many San Jose residents who are concerned that water leaks in their neighborhood are not being fixed in a timely manner, leading to water wastage in the middle of a drought.

Water company officials say crews try to fix the biggest leaks first.

“We would love to have them all fixed instantly but we would have to have a much larger work force and that just wouldn’t be affordable to our customers - so we prioritize them,” said San Jose Water Company’s Andrew Gere.

View Nannette Miranda's report in the video above for more information.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[SJ Hospital Guard Arrested on Charges of Child Molestation]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 20:28:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/11-5-2013-arrest-jail-generic.pg.jpg

A hospital security guard employed by Santa Clara County is in jail on charges that he molested children and hoarded child porn, according to authorities.

Sheriff's deputies on Monday announced the March 19 arrest of Derrick J. Hammond, who is accused of committing unspecified crimes at an unspecified time, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

His victims are now "adults," a sheriff's spokeswoman said, but were minors at the time of the alleged crimes.

No names or other details were released.

"Computer tech evidence" is still being analyzed by sheriff's experts, the newspaper reported. No additional victims are suspected.

Hammond, 39, spent "an inordinate amount of time" on a personal laptop computer while at work, the newspaper discovered, while working at a different medical clinic in Sunnyvale in 2010.

<![CDATA[Penthouse Fire Spreads to Roof of SF Apartment]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 20:37:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf-fire-2014.jpg

San Francisco firefighters battled a rooftop blaze at a six-story apartment building in the Castro Tuesday afternoon that fire officials said began on deck of the penthouse unit.

The fire was reported about 4:40 p.m. at a building on Dolores at 14th Street, SF Fire Department spokesperson Mindy Talmadge said. The fire was contained at 5:36 p.m., after opening up the roof for ventilation, fire officials said.

Talmadge said the fire started in a penthouse apartment unit and spread to the roof.

Residents of the building were evacuated while fire crews battled the blaze.

Talmadge said the fire was the third to break out in San Francisco in a short period of time Tuesday afternoon.

Nine residents were displaced in the fire and no injuries were reported.

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, who represents the neighborhood where the fire occurred, wrote on Twitter, "At fire at Dolores/14th. Thank you SF Fire Dept for great work & quickly getting the fire out."

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Bay City News contributed to this report.


<![CDATA[SF Pride Parade to Honor Chelsea Manning]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 20:24:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/pridesf88732252.jpg

Chelsea Manning is an honorary grand marshal after all.

The imprisoned former United States Army intelligence analyst last year was named as a possible grand marshal for the annual San Franciso Pride Parade.

However, her name was dropped from contention following an outcry over extending an honor to a person some call a traitor.

Manning changed her name from Bradley and announced her new gender identity as a trans woman following a conviction and imprisonment for leaking secret cables to WikiLeaks.

More outcry followed from supporters who said Manning is a whistle blower -- along with "thousands" of supporters marching in the parade last year.

This year's honor is a way to make up for a "mishandling" of last year, organizers told The Advocate.

In a statement issued from prison, Manning said that she is "honored."

“As a trans woman, I appreciate the Pride movement’s significant role in bringing together diverse communities and elevating the public profile of the fight for queer rights," the statement read. "I have always enjoyed attending Pride celebrations given the opportunity, and I'm deeply honored to receive this title.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Protesters Descend on Apple Store, Decry Offshore Earnings]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 20:33:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/apple+logo2.JPG

Siri! Where is Apple hiding all of its money?

Overseas, according to protesters dressed as Apple Store employees, who want the company to start paying its fair share, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Apple stashes as much as $102 billion in holdings "overseas," said a group of protesters, who arrived on-scene at San Francisco's Union Square store for about half an hour on Tuesday. Organizers called the protest a little "Tax Day fun."

The protesters include union members with SEIU USWW, who organize security guards and janitors at tech firms and other companies in San Francisco and the East Bay.

The store did not close during the half-hour long protest, the newspaper reported.

Photo Credit: AP]]>