<![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-usFri, 29 Apr 2016 03:33:11 -0700Fri, 29 Apr 2016 03:33:11 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[FAA E-mails Show More Safety Concerns About Levi's Stadium Lights]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 23:38:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0428-2016-LevisStadiumLights.jpg

New FAA e-mails show air traffic controllers, pilots and even FAA officials were more concerned about safety issues surrounding bright lights at Levi’s and Avaya sports stadiums than previously acknowledged.

As first reported by NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit in 2015, the bright lights have blinded pilots on final approach to land at San Jose Mineta International Airport.

NBC Bay Area’s investigation showed Levi’s Stadium’s high intensity lights and building sized scoreboard were blinding and distracting pilots flying nearby. And just a few miles away, Avaya Stadium’s two-sided electronic scoreboard/advertising billboard blinded and distracted pilots while taxiing on taxiway Y and turning onto ramps C and B to the runway.

Now, according to more than 100 internal FAA e-mails obtained under the Federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), those concerns have been taken to a higher level. According to the e-mails, nearly 50 different pilots have complained about the safety issues associated with the lights at both stadiums.

“This was not well thought out, and is a huge safety problem,” said one commercial pilot who summed up his frustrations in an anonymous report filed through NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System.

The new complaint numbers show the FAA publicly downplayed the issue last fall when they released a statement saying only “a few” pilots had complained. 

According to internal emails, some inside the FAA believe the agency did not act aggressively enough to mitigate potential safety risks and even suspect the agency was possibly duped by the 49ers during early testing of the lights’ effects on pilots.

NBC Bay Area’s 11-month investigation, based on both the emails and FAA internal reports, uncovered at least 42 separate pilot complaints regarding the lights and scoreboard at Levi’s Stadium alone. That’s more than six times the number of complaints NBC Bay Area was aware of when the Investigative Unit first broke this story in September 2015.

The FAA remains tight-lipped about the situation, refusing to state how many complaints they’ve received in total. An FAA spokesman has also declined multiple interview requests from NBC Bay Area.

The agency did provide a statement, which reads in part:

“The FAA has the authority to review proposed construction to determine if structures could pose hazards to aircraft or interfere with navigation aids. The agency’s review authority does not include stadium lights or scoreboards. The FAA has a good working relationship with Levi’s Stadium officials, who have been very responsive to any lighting concerns we have raised.”

The e-mails tell a more comprehensive story about these safety issues, detailing concerns about the stadium lights from within the FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. The records show factions within the FAA were pushing the agency to take more aggressive action.

In one e-mail, the director of safety and technology for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) was blunt in his assessment of the FAA’s response to their concerns in an email to the agency before the stadium officially opened.

“Today I was a little taken aback when you told me even the stadium operators agreed the lights from the JumboTron were really bright, but nothing is going to be done to avoid a possible or maybe even probable situation starting with the first event at the stadium on August 2nd,” Dale Wright wrote. “The ‘let’s wait and see’ what happens approach is not one that NATCA prefers.”

A source intimately familiar with the stadium light issues through their work in aviation safety at SJC tells NBC Bay Area that these problems have not gone away. The source asked to remain anonymous because of fears of retaliation.

“That scoreboard emits so much light that [pilots] can see that as much as a hundred miles away from the airport,” the aviation safety source said. “We had pilots on final when they were testing the lights when that stadium was first built saying, ‘hey, what is that we can see just north of the airport?’ And we’d tell them it was the new stadium and they’d say, ‘well, we’ve been watching that scoreboard for a hundred miles.”

As noted, it’s not just the scoreboard at Levi’s Stadium that’s creating problems for pilots. The FAA’s internal e-mails also show a separate but related issue associated with the Avaya Stadium electronic scoreboard/billboard to be much worse than originally thought.

Records obtained by the Investigative Unit show at least seven complaints regarding blinding and distracting lights from Avaya Stadium’s scoreboard, which is located directly across Coleman Avenue from the airport. Three of those complaints were filed with the FAA as recently as January 2016.

In one e-mail, the FAA tower manager at SJC even threatened officials at Avaya in January to have the stadium’s lights turned off if she got future complaints.

“It is imperative that we find a better solution to this media board during dark hours,” she wrote in an email to the soccer team’s management. “Here are more complaints from last night at the airport. The next time that I receive these reports I will be contacting the airport and asking for their assistance in having this board turned off or call your stadium contact directly, regardless of the time of night.”

The San Jose Earthquakes, who play at Avaya Stadium, also declined interview requests for this story, but issued the following statement:

“Since the opening of Avaya Stadium, we have worked closely with the airport on a variety of topics. We have responded quickly to all inquiries about our video display and we look forward to continuing our positive relationship with the airport.”

“Sand Bagged”

Within the records obtained by NBC Bay Area regarding the lights at Levi’s Stadium were two emails showing the FAA suspected the 49ers of duping the agency during an early test of the intensity and brightness of the lights.

In July 2014, after receiving multiple pilot complaints concerning the lights and scoreboard, the FAA decided to perform its own test flight over the stadium to see just how bright those lights were. According to FAA emails, the agency coordinated the test with the 49ers, who were supposed to simulate game day conditions with the lights and scoreboards on full intensity.

But later emails show the FAA suspected the 49ers didn’t live up to their end of the bargain.

“Though we don’t have any hard evidence, we believe when we flight checked the lights and Jumbo-Tron, the stadium had the Tron on its lowest setting,” said FAA official Brian Durham in a September 2014 email.

An SJC air traffic controller also had suspicions.

“So it looks like we got “sand bagged” on the stadium light test that was recently conducted by the FAA,” the controller wrote in an August 2014 email. “The August 2nd night game, at Levi’s Stadium, appeared to be much brighter than was the case during the flight check. This was not unexpected.”

The San Francisco 49ers declined interview requests for this story, but issued a statement addressing this issue.

“We are not aware of any FAA flight tests that took place in 2014...The only dimming of our videoboards we have done was in early 2014 at the request of the FAA in conjunction with our initial testing and calibration. As an example of our cooperation with the FAA, we invited one of their safety representatives to be on-site March 2015 for WWE’s testing of lighting and fireworks for WrestleMania 31 and the event itself. We received no negative feedback from the FAA related to that event or any others since opening the building in 2014.

Yet FAA records contradict some of these assertions. That WrestleMania (WWE) event which the 49ers say went smoothly - actually sent a pilot to a doctor to have his eyes checked. According to FAA records, the pilot reported he was forced to stare into the bright lights coming from the wrestling extravaganza while landing at SJC.

As NBC Bay Area first reported in September, 2015, co-pilot Christina Kurowicki, was in the cockpit and was blinded too. Although Kurowicki no longer wishes to discuss the incident publicly, the veteran pilot told NBC Bay Area back in September 2015, “It was blinding. I was the one who was flying and I was kind of looking at the runway and noticing there were these beams of light coming in We just knew that we were getting beams of light in our eyes.”

When asked how bad the lights really were, Kurowicki was unequivocal: “Bad enough that I couldn’t look outside and see the runway very clearly,” Kurowicki said. “It was blinding. It was blinding. The captain that I flew with actually went to the doctor the next day because he was the one who was looking outside the most to help me.”

Records filed with the FAA and obtained by NBC Bay Area show Kurowicki and her co-pilot filed a formal complaint about the incident. And despite claiming they didn’t know about this incident in its first statement to NBC Bay Area in September 2015, the e-mails show that on March 30, 2015 the FAA Tower Manger did know about the incident and referred to it directly.

“No follow-up information of the status of the pilot from [redacted] flight operations," she wrote in the email. "Last I heard on Friday was the pilots would be out of work for a week or two.”

In addition to that incident, four additional pilots filed complaints after flying nearby in November 2014, months after the stadium opened in July. 

“Is anyone reaching out to the 49ers to express our concerns about the events that occurred last night?” FAA Public Affairs Manager Ian Gregor wrote in an email to SJC’s tower manager after that incident.

More complaints

It’s not easy to determine how many complaints have been filed by pilots about Levi’s Stadium because the FAA won’t publicly say and the complaints aren’t captured in a single database. The complaints are scattered across a number of sources, including internal emails, reported through NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System or filed as FAA Mandatory Occurrence Reports.

It’s unclear if the records obtained via the Freedom of Information Act reflect every report filed by pilots, or if some are missing. NBC Bay Area recently filed several additional FOIA requests with the FAA after learning about other possible reporting mechanisms for pilots, but those records have not yet been provided.

What’s clear is this: The number of complaints filed by pilots or the FAA about Levi’s Stadium and Avaya Stadium is significantly higher than first reported last year in NBC Bay Area’s November story.

In addition to pilots who spoke to NBC Bay Area about the stadium lights, that story was based on five complaints filed through NASA and one additional complaint filed as a laser beam exposure incident. 

However, newly obtained FAA records show at least 41 pilots have complained about the Levi’s Stadium lights and scoreboard between May 2014 and May 2015.

According to one e-mail dated July 15, 2014, the FAA Tower manager noted that, “we have begun to track and record reports from pilots (about the lighting safety issue.)”

One 2014 email shows a single test of the scoreboard before the stadium opened caused 25 separate pilots to file complaints.

“Sean Bremmer with the stadium wants to coordinate a High intensity light test,” the email stated. “BACKGROUND: they were told that after they did this last time that they need to coordinate in advance and agreed to do this after the Tower closed; this was the test that raised more concerns previously and triggered 25 complaints from pilots.”

A statement provided by the FAA last fall said the agency was unaware of any pilot complaints since 2014. Yet in March 2015, Kurowicki and her co-pilot were blinded flying over the WrestleMania event.

And just one month later, in April 2015, emails show the FAA consulted with an attorney to determine if any criminal charges could potentially be filed against stadium operators for light incidents under a law designed to prevent lasers being aimed at aircraft. A later email shows they couldn’t because the law only applies to lasers, not other sources of bright light.

In a written statement, the 49ers said they had no knowledge of those FAA discussions.

Then in May 2015, the SJC tower manager also sent an email complaining about the strobe lights from a Levi’s Stadium Kenny Chesney concert, which she said could have been directly in the flight path of incoming air traffic.

“We did however get reports of the stadium strobe lights being at least 2000 feet into the air,” she reported. “Had we been operating from the other runway end or this was on any other night than Saturday, this could have been a large concern to arriving traffic.”

City Officials Unaware of Problems 

According to Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor, she was unaware of these problems until she saw NBC Bay Area’s September investigation while cooking dinner.

“When I first saw the news story, I was a little surprised that it was an issue because I was not aware of it at all,” Gillmor said.

Gillmor said the city hasn’t received any direct complaints and has not been briefed on any issues by the 49ers or the FAA since the team was initially calibrating the scoreboard.

“Back in 2014, it’s my understanding the lights were calibrated, there was an issue, and we thought it was taken care of,” Gillmor said. “We were told that it would have been taken care of. We always want to know what’s happening. It’s a publicly owned facility and we want to make sure that it’s always safe and it’s always maintained and professionally managed.”

Gillmor said she would expect the stadium management company to work with the FAA if there were any issues.

“It’s really important to us,” Gillmor said. “Especially a publicly owned facility. That is the key. So if there’s an issue, we want to know about it so that we can take care of it.”

New FAA e-mails show air traffic controllers, pilots and even FAA officials were more concerned about safety issues surrounding bright lights at Levi’s and Avaya sports stadiums than previously acknowledged.

 

As first reported by the NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit in 2015, the bright lights have blinded pilots on final approach to land at San Jose Mineta International Airport.

 

NBC Bay Area’s investigation showed Levi’s Stadium’s high intensity lights and building sized scoreboard were blinding and distracting pilots flying nearby. And Avaya stadium’s two-sided electronic scoreboard/advertising billboard blinded and distracted pilots while taxing on taxiway Y and turning onto ramps C and B to the runway.

 

Now, according to more than 100 internal e-mails among FAA officials obtained under the Federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), those concerns have been taken to a higher level. According to the internal e-mails nearly 50 different pilots have complained about the safety issues associated with the lights at both stadiums.

 

“This was not well thought out, and is a huge safety problem,” said one commercial pilot who summed up his frustrations in an anonymous report (LINK TO THIS REPORT) filed through NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System.

 

The new complaint numbers show the FAA publicly downplayed the issue last fall when they released a statement saying only “a few” pilots had complained (LINK TO STATEMENT).

 

According to internal emails, some inside the FAA believe the agency did not act aggressively enough to mitigate potential safety risks and suspect the agency was possibly even duped by the 49ers during early testing of the lights’ effects on pilots.

 

NBC Bay Area’s 11 month investigation, based on both the emails and FAA internal reports uncovered at least 42 separate pilot complaints regarding the lights and scoreboard at Levi’s Stadium alone. That’s more than six times the number of complaints NBC Bay Area was aware of when the Investigative Unit first broke this story in September 2015.

 

The FAA remains tight-lipped about the situation, refusing to state how many complaints they’ve received in total. An FAA spokesman has also declined multiple interview requests from NBC Bay Area.

 

The agency did provide a statement,(LINK TO FULL STATEMENT) which reads in part:

 

“The FAA has the authority to review proposed construction to determine if structures could pose hazards to aircraft or interfere with navigation aids. The agency’s review authority does not include stadium lights or scoreboards. The FAA has a good working relationship with Levi’s Stadium officials, who have been very responsive to any lighting concerns we have raised.”

 

The e-mails tell a more comprehensive story about these safety issues, detailing concerns about the stadium lights from within the FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. The records show factions within the FAA were pushing the agency to take more aggressive action.

 

In one e-mail, the director of safety and technology for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) was blunt in his assessment (LINK TO EMAIL) of the FAA’s response to their concerns in an email to the agency before the stadium officially opened.

 

“Today I was a little taken aback when you told me even the stadium operators agreed the lights from the JumboTron were really bright, but nothing is going to be done to avoid a possible or maybe even probable situation starting with the first event at the stadium on August 2nd,” Dale Wright wrote. “The ‘let’s wait and see’ what happens approach is not one that NATCA prefers.”

 

A source intimately familiar with the stadium light issues through their work in aviation safety at SJC tells NBC Bay Area that these problems have not gone away. The source asked to remain anonymous because of fears of retaliation.

 

“That scoreboard emits so much light that [pilots] can see that as much as a hundred miles away from the airport,” the aviation safety source said. “We had pilots on final when they were testing the lights when that stadium was first built saying, ‘hey, what is that we can see just north of the airport?’ And we’d tell them it was the new stadium and they’d say, ‘well, we’ve been watching that scoreboard for a hundred miles.”

 

As noted, it’s not just the scoreboard at Levi’s Stadium that’s creating problems for pilots. The FAA’s internal e-mails also show a separate but related issue associated with the Avaya stadium electronic scoreboard/billboard to be much worse than originally thought.

 

Records obtained by the Investigative Unit show at least seven complaints regarding blinding and distracting lights from Avaya Stadium’s scoreboard, which is located directly across Coleman Avenue from the airport. Three of those complaints were filed with the FAA as recently as January 2016.

 

In one e-mail, the FAA tower manager at SJC even threatened officials at Avaya in January (LINK To EMAIL) to have the stadium’s lights turned off if she got future complaints.

 

“It is imperative that we find a better solution to this media board during dark hours,” she wrote in an email to the soccer team’s management. “Here are more complaints from last night at the airport. The next time that I receive these reports I will be contacting the airport and asking for their assistance in having this board turned off or call your stadium contact directly, regardless of the time of night.”

 

The San Jose Earthquakes also declined interview requests for this story, but issued the following statement:

 

“Since the opening of Avaya Stadium, we have worked closely with the airport on a variety of topics. We have responded quickly to all inquiries about our video display and we look forward to continuing our positive relationship with the airport.”

 

 

“Sand Bagged”

 

Buried within the records regarding the lights at Levi’s Stadium were two emails showing the FAA suspected the 49ers of duping the agency during an early test of the intensity and brightness of the lights.

 

In July 2014, after receiving multiple pilot complaints concerning the lights and scoreboard, the FAA decided to perform its own test flight over the stadium to see just how bright those lights were. According to FAA emails, the agency coordinated the test with the 49ers, who were supposed to simulate game day conditions with the lights and scoreboards on full intensity.

 

But later emails show the FAA suspected the 49ers didn’t live up to their end of the bargain.

 

“Though we don’t have any hard evidence, we believe when we flight checked the lights and Jumbo-Tron, the stadium had the Tron on its lowest setting,” said FAA official Brian Durham in a September 2014 email.

 

An SJC air traffic controller also had suspicions.

 

“So it looks like we got “sand bagged” on the stadium light test that was recently conducted by the FAA,” the controller wrote in an August 2014 email. “The August 2nd night game, at Levi’s Stadium, appeared to be much brighter than was the case during the flight check. This was not unexpected.”

 

The San Francisco 49ers declined interview requests for this story, but issued a statement (LINK TO FULL STATEMENT) addressing this issue.

 

“We are not aware of any FAA flight tests that took place in 2014 and have no insight into any FAA discussions regarding criminal charges for lighting violations. The only dimming of our videoboards we have done was in early 2014 at the request of the FAA in conjunction with our initial testing and calibration. As an example of our cooperation with the FAA, we invited one of their safety representatives to be on-site March 2015 for WWE’s testing of lighting and fireworks for WrestleMania 31 and the event itself. We received no negative feedback from the FAA related to that event or any others since opening the building in 2014.

 

Yet FAA records contradict some of these assertions. That WrestleMania (WWE) event which the 49ers say went smoothly - actually sent a pilot to a doctor to have his eyes checked. According to FAA records, the pilot reported he was forced to stare into the bright lights coming from the wrestling extravaganza while landing at SJC. (LINK TO THIS REPORT)

 

As NBC Bay Area first reported in September, 2015, co-pilot Christina Kurowicki, was in the cockpit and was blinded too. Although Kurowicki no longer wishes to discuss the incident publicly, the veteran pilot told NBC Bay Area back in September 2015, “It was blinding.  I was the one who was flying and I was kind of looking at the runway and noticing there were these beams of light coming in We just knew that we were getting beams of light in our eyes.”

 

When asked how bad the lights really were, Kurowicki was unequivocal: “Bad enough that I couldn’t look outside and see the runway very clearly,” Kurowicki said. “It was blinding. It was blinding. The captain that I flew with actually went to the doctor the next day because he was the one who was looking outside the most to help me.”

 

Records filed with the FAA and obtained by NBC Bay Area show Kurowicki and her co-pilot filed a formal complaint about the incident. And despite claiming they didn’t know about this incident in its first statement to NBC Bay Area in September 2015, the e-mails show that on March 30, 2015 the FAA Tower Manger did know about the incident and referred to it directly.

 

“No follow-up information of the status of the pilot from [redacted] flight operations. Last I heard on Friday was the pilots would be out of work for a week or two.”

 

In addition to that incident, four additional pilots filed complaints after flying nearby in November 2014, months after the stadium opened in July. (LINK TO THIS REPORT)

 

Is anyone reaching out to the 49ers to express our concerns about the events that occurred last night?” FAA Public Affairs Manager Ian Gregor wrote in an email to SJC’s tower manager after that incident.

 

More Complaints

 

It’s not easy to determine how many complaints have been filed by pilots about Levi’s Stadium because the FAA won’t publicly say and the complaints aren’t captured in a single database. The complaints are scattered across a number of sources, including internal emails, reported through NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System or filed as FAA Mandatory Occurrence Reports.

 

It’s unclear if the records obtained via the Freedom of Information Act reflect every report filed by pilots, or if some are missing. NBC Bay Area recently filed several additional FOIA requests with the FAA after learning about other possible reporting mechanisms for pilots, but those records have not yet been provided.

 

What’s clear is this: The number of complaints filed by pilots or the FAA about Levi’s Stadium and Avaya Stadium is significantly higher than first reported last year in NBC Bay Area’s November story.

 

In addition to pilots who spoke to NBC Bay Area about the stadium lights, that story was based on five complaints filed through NASA and one additional complaint filed as a laser beam exposure incident. (Link to laser beam exposure)

 

However, newly obtained FAA records show at least 41 pilots have complained about the Levi’s Stadium lights and scoreboard between May 2014 and March 2015.

 

According to one e-mail dated July 15, 2014, the FAA Tower manager noted that, “we have begun to track and record reports from pilots (about the lighting safety issue.)”

 

One 2014 email (LINK TO EMAIL) shows a single test of the scoreboard before the stadium opened caused 25 separate pilots to file complaints.

 

“Sean Bremmer with the stadium wants to coordinate a High intensity light test,” the email stated. “BACKGROUND: they were told that after they did this last time that they need to coordinate in advance and agreed to do this after the Tower closed; this was the test that raised more concerns previously and triggered 25 complaints from pilots.”

 

(INSERT TIMELINE HERE SHOWING ALL COMPLAINTS)

 

A statement provided by the FAA last fall said the agency was unaware of any pilot complaints since 2014. Yet in March 2015, that pilot flying over WrestleMania had to seek medical attention. Internal FAA emails (LINK TO THIS EMAIL) discuss that incident. (WE HAVE PHOTO FROM THIS EVENT)

 

And just one month later, in April 2015, emails show the FAA consulted with an attorney (LINK TO EMAIL CHAIN) to determine if any criminal charges could potentially be filed against stadium operators for light incidents under a law designed to prevent lasers being aimed at aircraft. A later email shows they couldn’t because the law only applies to lasers, not other sources of bright light.

 

In a written statement, the 49ers said they had no knowledge of those FAA discussions.

 

Then in May 2015, the SJC tower manager also sent an email complaining about the strobe lights from a Levi’s Stadium Kenny Chesney concert, which she said could have been directly in the flight path of incoming air traffic.

 

“We did however get reports of the stadium strobe lights being at least 2000 feet into the air,” she reported. “Had we been operating from the other runway end or this was on any other night than Saturday, this could have been a large concern to arriving traffic.”

 

City Officials Unaware of Problems (SHOULD THIS BE HIGHER UP??)

 

According to Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor, she was unaware of these problems until she saw NBC Bay Area’s September investigation while cooking dinner.

 

“When I first saw the news story, I was a little surprised that it was an issue because I was not aware of it at all,” Gillmor said.

 

Gillmor said the city hasn’t received any direct complaints and has not been briefed on any issues by the 49ers or the FAA since the team was initially calibrating the scoreboard.

 

“Back in 2014, it’s my understanding the lights were calibrated, there was an issue, and we thought it was taken care of,” Gillmor said. “We were told that it would have been taken care of. We always want to know what’s happening. It’s a publicly owned facility and we want to make sure that it’s always safe and it’s always maintained and professionally managed.”

 

Gillmor said she would expect the stadium management company to work with the FAA if there were any issues.

 

“It’s really important to us,” Gillmor said. “Especially a publicly owned facility. That is the key. So if there’s an issue, we want to know about it so that we can take care of it.”



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA["I Want Them To Have Everything I Had:" Oakland Teacher Crowdfunds To Save Seniors' Prom]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 23:28:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/castlemont+prom+1.jpg

If compassion were currency, East Oakland's Castlemont High School would be one of the wealthiest schools around these days thanks to English teacher Elle Jones.

Unfortunately for Castlemtont in the real world, the only currency is currency and the school's resources are limited. It is nothing close to what Jones says the experience was like growing up in Cupertino.

"I compare my high school experience to the experience my students here at Castlemont have and it's so different as to be ridiculous," Jones said.

Still, Jones, a first-year teacher at Castlemont, would like to make sure the Class of 2016 get to experience one thing most high school graduates do: prom.

"I want them to have everything I had," Jones said.

So, when Jones heard that, due to lack of resources, the Senior prom at Castlemont might simply be just a dance in the school gym to which Freshmen and Sophomores were invited, that just wouldn't do.

Jones has started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to help Seniors afford a celebration to remember.

"It matters to me because it matters to them. I love these kids. I’m a teacher because I care so deeply for these students," Jones said.

]]>
<![CDATA[3 Arrested in Connection to Series of Takeover-Style Robberies]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 23:23:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0428-2016-ArmedRobberies.jpg

Police say a team of three robbers who terrorized Bay Area restaurant workers in 23 takeover-style robberies are under arrest.

Kristoffer Jones, 18, of Albany, and two Oakland residents, 40-year-old Shawan Spragans and 46-year-old Merl Simpson, were arrested in connection with the series of takeover-style robberies since early March, according to police.

The trio was arrested while allegedly attempting to rob a San Francisco bar on Friday.

Nine of the robberies have been in Berkeley, police said. Businesses in San Francisco, San Leandro, Albany, Oakland and Hayward were also targeted during the spree.

In one of the alleged robberies, Chris Nobbie faced two masked armed gunmen who stormed the Bernal Pizza in San Francisco.

"He just kept screaming, 'Where is the rest of the money?' But it's a pizza paror, most of our stuff is in credit card transactions," Nobbie said.

Berkeley police called it a "steadily evolving robbery series" in which restaurants were hit after closing time by the same suspects, who had a calm demeanor during the incidents.

After the third Berkeley location was robbed, Berkeley police detectives began working jointly with other local police departments as well as the FBI on the investigation.

It was when the suspects tried to rob a San Francisco bar that was under surveillance by the San Francisco Police Department early Friday morning that arrests were made in the case, police said.

For victims, knowing the gunmen are off the street is a relief.

"It's definitely a relief they caught them and we don't have to worry about them coming back," Nobbie said.

Police are asking anyone who has additional information on the case to call 510-981-5900.

NBC Bay Area's Jean Elle contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[2 San Jose Brothers Arrested in Parents' Deaths]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 17:34:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Golamrabbi.jpg

Two brothers have been arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the deaths of their parents, whose bodies were found in their San Jose home over the weekend near what sources said was a scrawled message apologizing for a "clumsy" killing.

Police on Thursday announced the arrests of Hasib Bin Golamrabbi, 22, and his 17-year-old brother, who attends Evergreen High School.

"Needless to say," Evergreen Islamic Center spokesman Faisal Yazadi said,"this is one of those tragedies nobody ever wants to be in. All we can do is pray."

Golamrabbi had been missing until he was taken into custody Wednesday night. NBC Bay Area was the first to report, through sources, that Golamrabbi had been found near Tracy in the Central Valley. Jail records show Golamrabbi was booked Thursday morning and held without bail.

The younger son — who was in school Monday and whom police initially said was not a suspect — was booked into juvenile hall. NBC Bay Area is not naming him because he is a minor.

They have not yet been charged by the district attorney.

The brothers' parents, 59-year-old Golam and 57-year-old Shamima Rabbi, both natives of Bangladesh, were found shot to death Sunday afternoon inside their Lucas Court home. 

Board members at the mosque where the couple attends said the Rabbi's bodies were released Wednesday afternoon to relatives and the funeral is being planned for Friday at the Five Pillars Farm Cemetery in Livermore.

Police did not provide evidence or a motive in announcing the arrests but said "there are no outstanding suspects." Sources told NBC Bay Area the parents did not approve of the older son's sexual orientation. Cousin Nafees Hasan said his family had never discussed that matter, but if it were true, the "family wouldn't have accepted that." He added the parents were very strict about gender orientation.

Sources who witnessed the crime scene before police arrived told NBC Bay Area chilling messages were written on the floor and wall near the bodies, including one that read: "Sorry my first killing was clumsy."

Another, longer message, allegedly ended, "I can’t be like you, telling a lie. I can’t love someone without telling them."

San Jose police have not confirmed the validity of the messages, and it is unclear who wrote them.

Efforts to reach the brothers or find out if they had attorneys were unsuccessful. A cousin thought they might be looking into public defenders. When reached Thursday morning, several neighbors and mosque members said they knew nothing of the arrests until notified by NBC Bay Area.

"I can’t believe it," said mosque board member and family friend Hasan Rahim, who described both sons as "taciturn." While the father was very friendly, Rahim said, the boys were "not very communicative," Rahim said.

As for the older son's sexual orientation, Rahim had never heard the father, with whom he was friends, talk about it. And even if it were true, Rahim is of the belief that the Silicon Valley Bangladeshi community is more tolerant of homosexuality, which is forbidden in Bangladesh.

"Live and let live,” Hasan said. “The Pope said it most famously,’ Who am I to judge.’ "



Photo Credit: San Jose Police/Evergreen Islamic Center]]>
<![CDATA[Police Raid Illegal Casino Operating Inside San Jose Home]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 19:20:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/swat18.jpg

Police raided an illegal casino operating out of a home in San Jose.

Authorities said at least 10 people were arrested in Thursday morning's raid, which started when a San Jose Police Department MERGE team descended on a house on Capitol Avenue and Alum Rock to serve a search warrant.

MERGE officers, the equivalent of SWAT, could be seen breaking the back window to gain access to the house. The MERGE team was then seen piling numerous bags of cash on the hood of the police van.

"I just heard a loud noise telling them to come out with their hands up and surrender yourselves," neighbor Carmen Echavarria said.

Neighbors said the home was known as the "gambling house" and said it was no secret.

Echavarria admits she has gambled at the home before.

"I'm not going to deny I haven't been there," she said. "It's just slot machines, like when you go to Reno and there's a machine."

Echavarria also said Thursday was not the first time the house has been raided.

"They've been raided before, but not to this extent where there's police, breaking windows or throwing bombs inside the house," she said.

A San Jose police lieutenant on scene said the operation was considered high-risk because police believed there were weapons inside the home. Police would not say if any weapons were found.

Police said bags of cash were also found inside home and that more arrests are expected to be made.

]]>
<![CDATA[Broncos Draft Lynch; Kaepernick Expected to Remain with 49ers]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 20:52:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/177*120/Kapinarizz.jpg

SANTA CLARA -- The Denver Broncos moved up five spots Thursday night in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks to select Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch with the No. 26 overall pick.

The decision to draft Lynch appears to end the Broncos’ interest in acquiring quarterback Colin Kaepernick from the 49ers in a trade.

Kaepernick and the Broncos were unable to come to a new contract, which prevented the trade, sources told CSNBayArea.com. If the Kaepernick’s agents, Scott Smith and Jason Bernstein, had worked out a new contract with Denver, the trade with the 49ers would have fallen into place, according to the sources.

The Broncos offered Kaepernick a reduced contract of $7 million in base salary both of the next two seasons, CSN Bay Area’s Mindi Bach reported recently. Kaepernick was willing to accept a pay cut, but not the $12.4 million cut in salary over the next two years.

Kaepernick is scheduled to make $11.9 million in fully guaranteed base salary this season. He is now expected to remain with the 49ers and compete with Blaine Gabbert for the starting job.

The 49ers gave Kaepernick's agents permission to seek a trade. Kaepernick reportedly met twice with Broncos general manager John Elway while he was rehabbing from surgeries to his left shoulder, right thumb and left knee in Vail, Colorado.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Stanford Reporter Who Broke 'Lucifer' Story]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 19:06:23 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/boehner-Ada_Throckmorton.jpg

Stanford Daily cub reporter Ada Statler-Throckmorton, 20, has spoken with big names and tackled weighty topics in the past.

The student from Prairie City, Kansas, has done a Q&A with Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey and covered the controversial fuel-free movement at the prestigious university in Palo Alto.

But she’s never broken a national news story like the one she did on Wednesday night at Stanford University’s CEMEX Auditorium. That’s where she was the first to report to the world that former House Speaker John Boehner called fellow Republican and presidential hopeful Ted Cruz "Lucifer in the flesh."

As far as she knows, she was the only reporter covering the speech, other than internal Stanford media. And when Boehner said those words, she knew it was big. But she didn’t know just how big — so big that her mother heard about it while listening to NPR early Thursday morning.

Google News returned about 300 articles for a search of Boehner and "Lucifer in the flesh" Thursday afternoon, including all the major American political news sources, all of which cite Statler-Throckmorton's story. The Stanford Daily's original article has more than 1,000 comments and 8,000 shares on Facebook, amid what its managing editor told CNNMoney is record web traffic.

“I didn’t realize it would go this viral and this fast,” Statler-Throckmorton said, noting she isn't even a journalism student, but is majoring in Earth Systems and wants to go into environmental communications.

Boehner didn’t stop at comparing Cruz to the Devil, though, and Statler-Throckmorton wrote down what he said in a candid speech that was not broadcast or videotaped: “I have Democrat friends and Republican. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.” The Stanford Daily was able to capture some audio of the now-hyped up talk.

Later in the day — and all thanks to the scrappy Stanford sophomore — Cruz held court with reporters, taking aim at Boehner, saying the former speaker allowed his "inner Trump to come out." As for the "Lucifer" comment, Cruz said: "If John Boehner is calling me 'Lucifer,' he’s not directing that at me.  He’s directing that at you."

Statler-Throckmorton has been sought after from major news outlets ranging from Fox to CNN to NBC News, which is all the more curious to her because the headline of her campus newspaper  - “John Boehner talks election, time in office” - certainly does not sell the story the same way those outlets did. 

The Stanford Daily hadn’t promoted the story by the time the first news organization latched onto it, and Statler-Throckmorton doesn’t even have a Twitter account. She still doesn’t know who first picked up her story.

Victor Young Xu, the managing editor of news at the campus paper, told CNNMoney that on a typical day the entire site draws 11,000 to 13,000 page views. 

Xu told CNNMoney the Boehner story had already reached 169,220 page views as of 11:40 a.m. PT, which represented 94.5 percent of all visits to the site. To compare, the second most-viewed story published over the last year — a satirical piece on Stanford's admissions rate — drew a little over 40,000 views.

Relishing in her 15 minutes of fame, Statler-Throckmorton said she’s been trying to juggle all the media attention cast on her while paying attention to classes. 

As for her family’s own political leanings, Statler-Throckmorton said “we’re certainly not Republicans.” But she added she certainly kept an open mind to what the former speaker of the House had to say. 

“He was very interesting to listen to,” she said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area; Inset: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[49ers Trade up with Chiefs, Select Joshua Garnett]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 23:33:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/167*120/GettyImages-503124246.jpg

SANTA CLARA -– Stanford guard Joshua Garnett arrived at the 49ers’ local pro day on April 13 ready to get to work.

Garnett, the winner of the Outland Trophy as the nation's best interior offensive lineman, was not expected to go through the full workout at the 49ers’ practice facility. But his eagerness to participate certainly caught the attention of the team that would eventually place a high priority on drafting him.

The 49ers traded up nine spots to get back into the first round on Thursday evening to grab Garnett with the No. 28 overall pick.

“We looked at the next seven or eight picks and who was sitting there and their needs, and for us, why not?” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said. “We like the guy. We like him a lot. We had that kind of value placed on him. Let’s go get him and let’s not sweat it out over the next seven picks.”

The 49ers gave up their second-round pick (No. 37), as well as picks in the fourth (No. 105) and sixth (No. 178) to the Kansas City Chiefs, who also sent the 49ers their seventh-round pick at No. 249 overall.

“We thought he was the best interior run-blocker in the draft,” coach Chip Kelly said. “We’ve always run the football, whether I was in college of the National Football League. . . We’re going to continue to do that.

“The one thing that’s remarkable about him is you look at some of those short-yardage, goal-line packages that David (Shaw) runs there, and you look at Josh, who’s literally three inches off the ground just driving guys out of there, it’s impressive to see.”

Garnett, a human biology major, wants to be a trauma surgeon after his football career. He worked in a cell biology lab last summer. Yet, if there’s any question about his commitment to football, he’s willing to just let his film to the talking.

“The style of play I have and the way I play, especially in the run game, (it shows) I love football and put everything into it," Garnett said.

“Based on the film and people watching me, they could tell, ‘Hey this is a guy who loves football.’”

Kelly has known Garnett for a while. He lost the recruiting battle to try to attract Garnett to the University of Oregon out of Puyallup (Wash.) High School. He ended up attending Stanford, where was a team captain and figured out what he wanted to do with his post-football career.

“He’s an extremely driven person in everything he does, whether it’s academics or athletics,” Kelly said. “I think that’s what you’re looking for, that’s what attracts you to people like Josh, that someone no matter what the challenge is ahead of him, he’s going to attack it with everything he has. I look at that as a positive.

“Josh loves football. The fact that he is actually a very intelligent young man who wants to go to med school doesn’t take away from the fact he loves football.”

Garnett proved to the 49ers how much he loves the sport when he did not shy away from workouts at the team’s local pro day. Most players who are in line to be high draft picks do not attend local pro days.

“He looked at it as another opportunity to be coached by an NFL coach and get some work with (49ers offensive line) coach (Pat) Flaherty," Kelly said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Coach Accused of Inappropriate Relationship with Student]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 23:25:23 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0428-2016-LocNguyen.jpg

A San Jose High School assistant badminton coach has been arrested on suspicion of having an inappropriate relationship with a 15-year-old male student, police said.

Loc Nguyen, 21, was arrested Wednesday on campus and has been booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail. Police said the coach was arrested for allegedly annoying or molesting a child under 18.

The San Jose Unified School District said Nguyen went through a full background check before she was hired in early February. The district fired the assistant badminton coach after she was arrested.

School officials said they received information of inappropriate behavior and contacted police, who then started an investigation.

Police are not saying how long she engaged in the alleged relationship with the student.



Photo Credit: SJPD]]>
<![CDATA[Protesters at Trump Cali. Rally]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 00:08:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/web_trump_protest_clip_1200x675_675997763888.jpg

Protesters spilled out into the street on Thursday night, broke a window of a police car, and blocked traffic at a rally for presidential candidate Donald Trump in Costa Mesa, California.

Hundreds of people swarmed Fair Drive and Fairview Road, outside the Orange County Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, where Trump was giving a speech at the Pacific Amphitheatre.

There was a report of a fist fight, and one man wearing a Donald Trump T-shirt was treated by paramedics.

Police on horses and other officers and deputies in riot gear set up skirmish lines to push protesters out of the streets.

Costa Mesa police said about 20 people were arrested.

Traffic was a nightmare as a group blocked an entrance to a freeway with what appeared to be park benches which an officer removed.

One protester could be seen sitting on a car. Another was seen waving a large Mexican flag. Others waved American flags. Several groups surrounded vehicles in the street several times as police formed lines to try and disperse the groups.

There weren't enough tickets to get into the free event on Thursday, so a large number of people were stuck outside, turned away.

Jerry Eldridge, a Fairgrounds spokesman, said officials only learned about who was coordinating logistics for the Trump campaign a day before the event.

According to the Trump camp, tickets did not guarantee a spot, Fairground officials said.

The incident happened as Trump kicked off his California campaign with a rally before he's set to address the state's Republican convention on Friday.

On Wednesday, supporters and opponents of Trump clashed outside Anaheim City Hall, and five people, including two little girls, were pepper-sprayed by a demonstrator during the heated confrontation, police said.

Fresh off a sweep of five Northeastern primaries, Trump hopes to lock up the nomination with California's June 7 primary.

NBC4 Wire Services contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Select DB Karl Joseph with 14th Pick]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 19:12:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KarlJoseph.jpg

The Raiders made their first selection of the 2016 NFL Draft on Thursday. With the pick, they drafted West Virginia safety Karl Joseph.

KARL JOSEPH

Position: Safety

College: West Virginia

Height: 5-foot-10

Weight: 205

Selection: First round, No. 14 overall

College career: Joseph was a four-year starter who became a respected team captain with the Mountaineers. He was an All-Big 12 player as a junior and had five interceptions before tearing his ACL in the fifth game of his senior season. That kept him out the rest of the season. He started every game his first two seasons, and had all-conference honors then. He recorded 284 tackles, two sacks, three forced fumbles, nine interceptions and seven passes defensed in his college career.

Scouting report: Joseph is known as an intense football player extremely committed to his craft. He is a big hitter willing to sacrifice his body for a big play, though he has quality instincts and plays smart and takes proper angles. He’s a ball hawk in the back, versatile enough to play deep or in the box. There is some concern whether he’ll be the same player upon returning from ACL surgery, and he has some technique breakdowns at times.

How he fits: Safety was the Raiders’ biggest need, though Joseph was projected as a late first-round pick at best, with a likelihood he would last until the second round. The Raiders have veteran safeties in Nate Allen and Reggie Nelson better as free safeties, and Joseph is a strong safety in ability and mentality. After losing Charles Woodson to retirement, the Raiders need some leaders in the secondary. Joseph could grow into that role as he gains experience.

Next scheduled pick: Second round, No. 44 overall (Friday).



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Buckner Joins Niners and Former Teammate Armstead]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 18:46:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/DeFor.jpg

A year after the 49ers made him their No. 1 pick in the draft, Arik Armstead was on Cloud 9 again Thursday night.

His former Oregon teammate and fellow defensive end, DeForest Buckner, was selected by San Francisco with the No. 7 overall pick. Now Buckner and Armstead are reunited on the ends of the Niners’ defensive front.

“Uh oh they messed up and let me and #DeForestBuckner back together again,” tweeted Armstead minutes after the selection was announced. That was followed with a string of happy, grinning emojis.

And why not? The 49ers needed to add a big dose of talent to their defense in 2016, and Buckner, a 6-foot-7, 291-pounder immediately makes the defensive line much stronger. He was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 and was a force both as a pass rusher and run-stopper. He had 10½ sacks and 83 tackles, including 17 for loss. 

The 49ers now have a pair of young, 6-foot-7 defensive ends that should help the entire defense put more pressure on NFC West offenses in 2016.

Buckner was a four-year starter for the Ducks, is a versatile athlete (high school basketball standout) and has enormous hands (11¾ inches).

Said Buckner to Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group shortly after being drafted: “My biggest goal is to help turn around the club, allow us to win (a) bunch of games and ultimately the Super Bowl.”

Added Buckner, who joins not only his good friend Armstead but former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly: “I’m probably the happiest guy in the draft right now.”

]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Draft Cal QB Jared Goff with No. 1 Overall Pick]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 19:10:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/207*120/04-28-2016-jared-goff-1.jpg

With the first pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams selected Jared Goff from the University of California, Berkeley.

Goff grew up in Marin County, rooting for the 49ers.

Now, as a member of the NFC West, he will play against his childhood team twice a year.

“I think it would be great,” Goff said in mid-March about the possibility of playing for the 49ers. “It would be a really cool thing. Growing up a fan of them, it would be awesome.

"But at the same time, I’d be more than happy to play anywhere and go to a team and a coach that I want to win games with and be successful with.”

The Rams were in position to take Goff because on April 14, Los Angeles acquired the top pick in the draft from Tennessee.

Over three years at Cal, Goff completed over 62 percent of his passes for 12,195 yards.

He threw 96 touchdowns against 30 interceptions.

The 49ers host Goff and the Rams in Week 1 on Monday Night Football.

San Francisco plays in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve.



Photo Credit: 2016 Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[49ers Select Oregon DT Buckner in Round 1]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 18:18:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DeForestBuckner.jpg

The 49ers on Thursday made their first pick of the 2016 NFL Draft and selected Oregon defensive lineman DeForest Buckner.

DeFOREST BUCKNER

Position: Defensive line

College: Oregon

Height: 6 foot 7

Weight: 291 pounds

Selection: First round, No. 7 overall

College career: Buckner was the 2015 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, as well as a first-team USA Today All-America and second-team AP All-America. He recorded 83 tackles, 17 for loss, and a Pac-12 leading 10.5 sacks. As a junior, Buckner was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2014 after leading Oregon with 13 tackles for losses.

Scouting report: Buckner has the size, strength, quickness and high motor that the 49ers coveted from this spot. He plays with a lot of effort. His physical skills, upside and technique make Buckner the top interior defensive lineman in the draft, according to Pro Football Focus. “Oregon’s DeForest Buckner is the clear favorite in the class, followed by Louisville’s Sheldon Rankins, but after that, it’s a big mix of unique skills and position fits,” PFF wrote in its draft guide.

How he fits: Coach Chip Kelly and his 49ers defensive line coach, Jerry Azzinaro, recruited Buckner to Oregon before they both left for the Philadelphia Eagles. Physically, Buckner is very similar to the 49ers’ top pick last year, Arik Armstead. But Buckner is a better pass-rusher, a more consistent producer, and should step in and become an immediate impact player in the 49ers’ defense. He is a three-down player, who can stop the run from a three-man line on first and second downs, and rush the passer from inside in nickel situations. Buckner could immediately give the 49ers some spark with their pass rush after the team equaled a franchise-low with just 28 sacks last season.

Next scheduled pick: Second round, No. 37 overall (Friday).



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Protests Expected at Donald Trump's Bay Area Event]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 23:27:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/186*120/GettyImages-513916860.jpg

It’s not unusual for Donald Trump protesters to show up wherever he goes — and on Friday it’s expected to be just as much.

Anti-Trump activists flew a plane over Mountain View Thursday, with a banner that read, “Google Don’t Be Evil, #DumpTrump.”

Google, which is based out of Mountain View, plans to livestream July’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland, but activists argue that the tech giant shouldn’t give Trump a worldwide platform.

Trump’s speeches have been extremely controversial, with the business mogul calling Mexicans rapists and murderers, and even instigating fights with his anti-immigrant rhetoric.

More than 8,000 people have signed up for a Facebook event calling for an anti-Trump demonstration outside the Burlingame Hyatt Regency Friday where Trump is expected to speak before a sold-out crowd during the California Republican Convention kickoff lunch.

“Donald Trump is coming to the Bay Area — let's show him a real Bay Area welcome by peacefully protesting outside,” a message on the event’s Facebook wall says.

Turn Up on Trump, another Facebook event, has attracted nearly 2,000 people.

The stage in Burglingame where Trump will speak to about 600 people had final preparations late Thursday. Organizers are hoping supporters of all three candidates do not reduce the gathering to a shouting match.

"We've talked with everybody and we're confident that we have a good system in place," said Kaitlyn MacGregor, California Republican Party spokeswoman. "And if they don't behave, we have a system to handle that."

Sheriff's and police equipment is also parked in a staging area near the hotel -- ready to prevent a melee.

"If we do see it get heated, we'll get in between them as a buffer," Burlingame Police Lt. Jay Keily said.

Every law enforcement agency in San Mateo County will also have officers deployed to the area to keep protesters from spilling onto Old Bayshore Boulevard or Highway 101, next to the hotel.

"It's possible traffic may be impacted along Bayshore Boulevard or in the City of Burlingame," Keily said. "We hope drivers are mindful that there may be a lot of pedestrians walking about."

Supporters as well as protesters showed up at Trump’s Costa Mesa event Thursday, where he kicked off his California campaign.

Fresh from sweeping all five primary states this week, Trump will be joined this weekend by Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz — who will be speaking Saturday at noon — and his newly-named running mate, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, who is slotted to keynote Saturday's dinner banquet.

Presidential candidate Gov. John Kacish, who has so far led a lackluster campaign, will be speaking at Friday’s dinner banquet.

Just Wednesday, former House Speaker John Boehner called Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh.”

“I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a b___in my life,” Cruz told a group of students at Stanford.

In response, Cruz said: “When John Boehner calls me Lucifer, he's not directing that at me. He's directing that at you.”

Boehner described Trump as his “golfing and texting buddy.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chihuahua That Led Officers on Bay Bridge Chase Finds Forever Home]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 23:19:28 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/BayBridgeDog.jpg

Ponch, the stray Chihuahua who captured hearts around the nation after he sprinted across the Bay Bridge early this month, has finally found a home. 

After being rescued by California Highway Patrol April 3, Ponch went to stay with a foster family connected to San Francisco County's animal services department. His caretakers waited several weeks to see if someone would come forward and claim ownership – Ponch had a collar with a skull dangling from it when he was captured – but no one stepped up.

Instead, offers from animal lovers all over the world came flooding in, asking if it would be possible to give the 10-pound Chihuahua a new home. Animal Care and Control conducted several interviews, according to the department, before settling on a suitable family for Ponch. He was scheduled to go home Thursday, after his rescuers have a chance to bid him farewell.

“Taking into consideration that Ponch is a nervous fellow who loves to run, his new home and family are perfectly suited to give him the happily-ever-after life,” Animal Care and Control said in a statement. The family adopting him wishes to remain anonymous.

Ponch’s story went viral following an early morning police chase that resulted in a short shutdown of the Bay Bridge. The pup, who was visibly frightened, was darting across lanes of traffic.

The California Highway Patrol officers involved in his rescue nicknamed the pup “Ponch,” after Erik Estrada’s character in the 1970s TV hit “CHIPS.”

“We’re happy that Ponch’s story has ended with a loving new home”, says Animal Care & Control Executive Director Virginia Donohue. “We’re grateful for all of the good will Ponch has generated for shelter dogs.”



Photo Credit: CHP San Francisco
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<![CDATA[McKenzie Goes Safety First for Raiders]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 19:25:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/174*120/Kkkarljosyph.jpg

In all the lead-up to Thursday night’s draft, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said he’d take the best player available when Oakland’s turn came up at No. 14.

Yet when the time came, McKenzie decided to select West Virginia safety Karl Joseph rather than UCLA linebacker Myles Jack.

Jack, a dynamic playmaker for the Bruins, was ranked by many among the best talents in this year’s draft, a sure top-five selection. But when he tumbled down the draft board Thursday night in the wake of questions about the long-term stability of his recently repaired knee, McKenzie decided to pass on the linebacker and take Joseph, rated as the best safety available.

Joseph, 5-foot-10 and 205 pounds, also is coming off a knee injury that cost him a good chunk of his final season with the Mountaineers. But he’s known as a hitter and playmaker. The scouting report on Joseph noted he has a nose for the ball, has great instincts and an ability to leap and battle for the football. The report by Lance Zierlein of NFL.com said Joseph is a “wolf looking for his next meal as a hitter.”

His knee injury, a torn ACL, raised some questions before the draft, and some scouts also were critical of his coverage abilities, but he’s noted as a fierce competitor and Zierlein believes he will be “an early starter and high-impact safety.”

Joseph has a chance to fight veteran Nate Allen for a starting job alongside free-agent pickup Reggie Nelson. Immediately, he makes the Raiders talent and depth at the position much better.

The question is, after hitting home runs with his No. 1 picks in his past two drafts – with Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper – will McKenzie’s decision to take Joseph instead of a talent such as Mack come back to haunt him? The initial reaction from some analysts and fans Thursday night was that Joseph was a bit of a reach pick or more of a selection of need rather than best player available.

Then again, if his knee is sound, Joseph could quickly become the heir apparent to the retired Charles Woodson.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Stern Grove Fest: George Clinton, Janelle Monae Top Lineup]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 15:59:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/george-clinton-mca-13.jpg

The full lineup for the Stern Grove Festival, which takes place in San Francisco June 19-August 21, has been announced.

The 79th season opens with a free show by singer Janelle Monae on June 19. Admission to the concert, which starts at 2 p.m., is free. A ticketed fundraiser called The Big Picnic begins at 11:30 a.m., which allows festivalgoers to snag reserved picnic table seating in time for the live music. Tickets and sponsorships to that range from $250 to $20,000.

Newly revealed shows include a mix of local, national and international performers representing a wide section of styles:

June 26 – George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic and Bayonics

July 3 – Hieroglyphics and dance crews Mix’d Ingrdnts and Golden State Breakers

July 10 – San Francisco Symphony performing John Williams

July 17 – Joan Osborne’s Soul Revue and John Brothers Piano Company

July 24 – Julieta Venegas and La Misa Negra

July 31 – San Francisco Ballet with Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson

August 7 – The O’Jays and MJ’s Brass Bopper

August 14 – ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor feat Jamie Lidell, Luke Jenner, Money Mark, Sinkane, and More and Afrolicious

August 21 – The New Pornographers and Astronauts, etc.

All performances are free and begin at 2 p.m.



Photo Credit: Nicki Butkus Photography ]]>
<![CDATA[Chinese Tech Company Launches itself into Silicon Valley]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 18:54:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N6P+CHINESE+ELECTRIC+CARS+PKG+-+00000000.jpg

A new competitor to Apple, Facebook and Google just moved into San Jose, and it’s already making strides to hire hundreds of Bay Area techies.

The company isn’t a start-up, either. It’s a well-established business from China called LeEco (formerly known as LeTV) specializing in, among other things, electric cars. The business has just transplanted itself into a sprawling 80-thousand square foot building on North First Street in San Jose, the site of its new headquarters.

“Obviously, Silicon Valley is a huge place for us to go,” said Shawn Williams, the Chief Administrative Officer. He revealed that the company has plans to expand its workforce by about 200, with a goal of 800 by the end of the year.

Company officials haven’t been quiet about their plans to compete with leading tech companies in Silicon Valley. LeEco’s CEO Jia Yueting said just last week that Apple was “outdated” and said the iPhone maker’s “innovation has become extremely slow.”

Williams indicated that a bit of healthy competition might be good for the Silicon Valley icons.

“(LeEco) is distruptive, in a good sense,” said Kim Walesh, the company’s San Jose Director of Economic Development. “It’s artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, smart devices – and it wants to be the biggest city in the Bay Area.” 



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area ]]>
<![CDATA[PG&E Negligence Started Butte Fire in Sierra: CalFire]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 18:56:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/01-butte-wrongful-death-lawsuit.jpg

California fire investigators on Thursday released a report saying that negligence by Pacific Gas and Electric was to blame for starting the Sierra wildfire last year that destroyed 71,000 acres, killed two people and did more than a billion dollars in damage.

The report shows that the blaze began after PG&E crews did not properly prune a pine tree that later leaned onto a PG&E power line, triggering the blaze.

PG&E sent out a statement addressing the findings:

“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims and the communities who suffered losses as a result of the Butte fire. We are committed to doing the right thing for them and to promptly resolving their claims. We have already begun to address many claims.

We want to thank CAL FIRE and all first responders for their bravery and commitment in responding to this major fire. We cooperated fully with CAL FIRE’s investigation of the fire and we appreciate the thoroughness of its report.

Based on our preliminary review, we accept the report’s finding that a tree made contact with a power line, but we do not believe it is clear what caused the tree to fail or that vegetation management practices fell short.

Effective vegetation management is critically important to fire safety and we want to reassure all of our customers and their families that we are unequivocally committed to their safety. We monitor approximately 50 million trees a year and we trim or remove more than one million trees annually.

Our vegetation management program is among the very best in the industry and was expanded in 2014 in response to California’s historic drought to include special air and foot patrols, funding for lookout towers and cameras for early fire detection and funding for fire fuel reduction and emergency access projects and public education.

Despite these efforts, we recognize the hardships that this terrible fire caused and we are committed to helping our friends and neighbors recover.”

The Sept. 9, 2015 Butte blaze was the seventh most destructive wildfire in California history. The flames scorched 900 structures and took 22 days to knock down.

State officials now want PG&E to pay $90 million to help pay the costs of enlisting nearly 5,000 firefighters to battle the blaze.

PG&E has said that officials repeatedly checked the tree before and it was “not identified as at risk” before the fire. The pine tree was on private land off Butte mountain road near the town of Jackson in Amador County.

The investigation cites the utility giant and two contract tree trimming companies, ACRT Inc. and Trees Inc., for violating the state’s health and safety codes. The report specifically cites a decision made in the year before the fire, to cut two at-risk trees in the area around the tree that later triggered the fire.

The prior trimming left the lone tree ‘prone to failure’ from wind gusts. The investigation found the company and its crew missed warning signs in at least two prior inspections, thus violating state codes.



Photo Credit: Courtesy Private Investigator Cody Salfen]]>
<![CDATA[Sneak Peak: 2016 SF Decorator Showcase]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 14:01:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Showcase+House.jpg San Francisco's 2016 Decorator Showcase opens this weekend in the unusual location of Telegraph Hill. Peak inside the 1929 Villa de Martini on Telegraph Hill, which has been transformed by the some of the Bay Area's top designers.

Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr. ]]>
<![CDATA[Malnourished Seal Pup Rescued From Ocean Beach]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 14:45:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/193*120/SEAL13.JPG

A young, badly malnourished seal was found and rescued at San Francisco's Ocean Beach Wednesday morning, according to Marine Mammal Center officials.

The Guadalupe fur seal was reported on the beach near Noriega Street around 6 a.m. by multiple callers, including members of the public, police and National Park Service staff, according to Giancarlo Rulli, a spokesman for the Marin Headlands-based Marine Mammal Center.

The seal appears to be young and very malnourished, weighing only around 15 to 16 pounds. It also appeared to be somewhat lethargic.

"It's emaciated," Rulli said.

A veterinarian at the non-profit center, which rescues marine mammals in an area extending from Fort Bragg to San Luis Obispo, will examine the pup Thursday to determine more about its condition, gender and prognosis.

Guadalupe fur seals, which are more common in the southern part of California and in Mexico, are a threatened species, Rulli said.

Last fall, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared an "unusual mortality event" for the species, meaning that a much higher than usual number of deaths and strandings were reported.

The species, which was hunted to near extinction in the late 1800s, is slowly recovering, with a current population estimated at more than 10,000, according to NOAA.

Rulli said the Marine Mammal Center rescued 32 Guadalupe fur seals last year, a record number in its history.

However, 2015 was also a record high for all seal and sea lion rescues, with the center reporting a total of more than 1,800 marine mammal

rescues. Officials attributed the high numbers to abnormally warm ocean waters and a lack of food.

San Francisco police said on Twitter today that officers from its Taraval Station helped protect the pup from dogs and crows until rescuers could arrive on scene.



Photo Credit: San Francisco Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Gentle Stray Gets Hip Surgery, Languishes in CoCo Animal Shelter]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 19:17:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/JerseyDogPhotoText1.jpg

The staff at the Contra Costa Animal Shelter in Martinez thought the gentle mutt with a soft muzzle deserved another chance. He went through hip surgery but is still waiting to be adopted.

The stray dog, named Jersey for his cow-like black and white markings, came into the shelter in Martinez after being hit by a car in late February, said Animal Services spokesman Steve Burdo. The driver sped off and a witness stayed with him until Animal Services arrived.

Jersey had a serious limp, so when no one came to claim him, veterinarians decided to operate. They saw the 2-year-old pup’s gentle personality and hoped someone would adopt him.

“We get a lot of major traumas. We try to help as many as we can and do as much as we can and with this one we were very successful,” staff veterinarian Jen Dalmasso said.

The dog is recovering well, but will require some special care as he heals and as he grows older, Dalmasso said. He’ll need an owner who’ll nurse him through old age, when his hip might limit his activities, just like people who get hip replacement surgery.

In the meantime, Jersey has become a favorite of volunteers like Rannie Grosvald.

“He’d make a wonderful pet. Just look at him. He’s sweet, inquisitive, very alert. He would train very easily with a person who’s patient and loving and doesn’t see him as problematic or damaged. He’s a great guy,” she said, as Jersey nuzzled her hands, looking for treats.

On a recent jaunt through the yard, Jersey watched warily a German Shepherd pass by in a car, but didn’t bark. He waited patiently for Grosvald to put his leash on, and tugged gently when he smelled a crumb of a treat on the ground.

“He’s like a butterfly. He’s recovering quickly now, but when he gets comfortable in a new home, he’ll come out of his shell and be a wonderful member of the family,” said Animal Services Director Beth Ward.

The people who nursed him through surgery all want to see him find his “forever home.” So the shelter has designated him “Pet of the Month,” which means all adoption fees will be waived.

If he’s already taken, there are plenty of other loving dogs who need homes at the shelter.



Photo Credit: Contra Costa Animal Shelter]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Pick Jared Goff as NFL Draft's Top Pick]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 18:02:05 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/207*120/04-28-2016-jared-goff-1.jpg

Surprising almost no one, the Los Angeles Rams selected Jared Goff with the no. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Goff is a 6-foot 4-inch quarterback who joins the NFL following his junior year at the University of California at Berkeley.

NFL: Rams Draft History

 The 21-year-old is a pro-style pocket quarterback and threw for 4,719 yards, 43 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his final amateur season. During his draft combine workout, the NFL Network referred to Goff as "The most ready-to-play quarterback in this draft."

Originally from the Northern California city of Novato, Goff's move to Southern California marks the start of a new era in Los Angeles. Embracing the new scenery, the team held its official draft party at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles and a sizable crowd gathered to celebrate LA's pick. By picking Goff at no. 1, the LA Rams expect to immediately make the young quarterback the face of their franchise, alongside running back Todd Gurley II.

The Rams selected Gurley with their first round pick in 2015, and Gurley rushed for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns during his rookie season. In his first season in the NFL, Gurley won the honor of 2015 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, along with receiving a Pro Bowl selection. Rams coach Jeff Fisher, who was born in Culver City, attended Taft High School and played at USC, will hope that his young quarterback and running back combo can win games to keep fans in the stands and eyes glued to television sets across Southern California.

Along with the no. 1 overall selection, the Rams also have the two picks in the fourth round, no. 110 and no. 113, and two picks in the sixth round, no. 177 and no. 190. In order to acquire the no. 1 overall pick from the Tennessee Titans, the Rams traded their first round pick, two second round picks and a third round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. In addition, the Rams also gave up a first round pick and a third round pick in 2017. As a note, Fisher previous coached for the Titans' organization from 1995 to 2010.

The LA Rams will play their first preseason game on Aug. 13 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and open the regular season on Sept. 12 at Levi's Stadium against the San Francisco 49ers. The Rams will make their home regular season debut on Sept 18 against the Seattle Seahawks.

As a no. 1 overall pick, Goff should be expected to start the season under center, but the rookie will need to beat out quarterbacks Case Keenum and Nick Foles in training camp to claim the position.



Photo Credit: 2016 Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Employee Found Dead Inside Campus ID'd]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 17:35:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CHOPPER+APPLE+-+09500421.jpg

The Apple employee found dead inside the company's Cupertino headquarters Wednesday has been identified as Edward Thomas Mackowiak, the Santa Clara County Coroner said Thursday.

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Sgt. Andrea Urina said the coroner determined that the 25-year-old Mackowiak shot himself. She said the cause of death is being ruled as a suicide by gun.

Urina would not comment on whether he was depressed. Mackowiak's now-deleted LinkedIn profile states that he worked as a software engineer for Apple.

NBC Bay Area does not usually name those who commit suicide, but Mackowiak's death quickly became a national news story, as many feared there might be a case of possible workplace rampage at such a high-profile company.

Apple released a statement on Thursday saying how "heartbroken" the company was.

"We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of a young and talented coworker," the statement read. "Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends, including the many people he worked with here at Apple. We are working to support them however we can in this difficult time."

Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to the campus after receiving a call about 8:35 a.m. about a person down at 1 Infinite Loop.

Dispatch recording obtained from Broadcastify.com indicates that a female employee on the Apple campus was escorted out of a building by security Wednesday morning, and had sustained an injury to the head, possibly from a gun. Two minutes later the dispatcher talks about a dead body found in one of the conference rooms, with a gun nearby. How the woman is related to the man's death is not clear.

On Tuesday, Apple announced its first revenue drop since 2003, sending the company's stock price down more than seven percent in extended trading.

 



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Practice Before Game 5]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 12:53:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/WARRIORS+6.JPG The Golden State Warriors practice in Oakland before Round 1, Game 5 in the NBA playoffs.

Photo Credit: Ariel Nava ]]>
<![CDATA[BART Buys Controversial License Plate Readers]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 19:02:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N11A+NEW+BART+TRAINS+VO+-+00001003.jpg

Without much fanfare or public fanfare, BART police bought and installed two automatic license plate readers at Oakland's MacArthur station, hoping to eventually put the controversial technology at every station.

BART Deputy Police Chief Ben Fairow plans to present the pilot program to the board of directors Thursday.

He told the East Bay Times that the automated license plate readers, a tool used by other police agencies in the Bay Area, could be especially useful in solving property crimes. The cameras have not yet been turned on. Piedmont began using the readers in 2013, and cities such as New York and Boston use them, too.

But privacy and civil rights advocates are concerned about how long BART will retain the collected data, how that data will be used, and who is being surveilled, the newspaper reported. The ACLU even has a web page devoted to these readers, titled, "You Are Being Tracked." 

"It's not just how are we going to use this technology, but what are the potential risks, the potential ongoing costs, and how could that money be used elsewhere," Tessa D'Arcangelew, a technology and civil liberties organizer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, told the newspaper.

 But two riders at the Lafayette station early morning didn't seem to mind.

"Yeah, I'm not against that," Kyle Stadt told NBC Bay Area. "I think BART is having a lot of issues in the parking lot. I think it's important to keep its property safe. No, it's not really an issue with me."

And Chris Maher said, "I'm always for more protection." 

Others are eerily cautious of the devices. 

"A few years late, but it's 1984," said BART rider Joanna Mest, referencing the Orwellian tale. "Big brother is watching." 

BART first bought two cameras from 3M in 2013 for $65,500, documents show. But it wasn't until late last year that those cameras were installed at the MacArthur station.

Initially, the department had intended to install the cameras at the Orinda station, where officers had seen a rash of catalytic converter thefts, he told the newspaper. But due to the station's configuration, they had no way to power the cameras and opted for MacArthur. The two cameras are mounted on light poles at the entrance and exit of the station parking lot.

According to data provided by BART police, property crimes -- including burglaries, thefts, auto thefts, and arson -- made up 94 percent of all crimes in 2014 and 93 percent of all crimes in 2015, the newspaper reported.

"The intentions for our part is to have a tool that helps us to reduce those types of crimes in our parking lots," BART Deputy Police Chief Ben Fairow said. 



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Son in Custody After Parents Found Dead in SJ Home: Jail]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 02:37:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Golamrabbi.jpg

The son of a Bangladeshi-born couple who have lived in San Jose for the last three decades, was taken into custody after his parents were found shot to death in their home on Sunday.

Hasib Bin Golamrabbi, who is in his early 20s, had been missing until he was taken into custody Wednesday night. NBC Bay Area was the first to report through sources that he had been found near Tracy, Calif. in the Central Valley, coincidentally where San Jose's former top cop, Larry Esquivel, is now chief. San Jose police have not formally made the arrest public. Sources also told NBC Bay Area that the parents did not approve of the older son's  sexual orientation.

But jail records showed that Golamrabbi (his father's first name and last name put together) was booked on Thursday morning and being held with no bail.

The charges for the booking were not listed on the jail website. But San Jose police had been looking for the eldest of the couple's two sons since his parents were found shot to death Sunday inside their Lucas Court home in the upper middle-class Evergreen neighborhood. San Jose police classified the deaths of Golam, 59, and Shamima, 57, Rabbi as a double homicide. The couple has another son, a 17-year-old, who has been questioned by police and not considered a suspect.

"It's a relief," a neighbor said. "That somebody's been arrested. We wish the best for the family."

Sources who witnessed the aftermath before police arrived told NBC Bay Area that chilling messages were written on the floor and wall near the bodies. One message in black marker read: "Sorry my first killing was clumsy."

Another rant ended like this, sources claimed:  "I can’t be like you, telling a lie. I can’t love someone without telling them."

The parents have not been buried yet as the Santa Clara County Coroner will only released their bodies to the eldest son, who has not been found until his arrest. It was not immediately clear if their bodies would be released to their son, in light of his arrest.



Photo Credit: San Jose Police/Evergreen Islamic Center]]>
<![CDATA[Video Raises Questions About Alleged Cover Up in Petrov Beating]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 23:33:36 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0427-2016-DeputyVideo.jpg

A gold chain in the hand of an Alameda County Sheriff's Office deputy at a crime scene in San Francisco is raising questions about an alleged cover up.

San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi released video Wednesday that appears to show a deputy with a suspect's chain. Adachi said minutes earlier two deputies were caught on camera beating Stanislav Petrov with batons after the suspect led deputies on a high-speed chase.

Petrov claims deputies also stole his necklace.

A couple in the San Francisco alley told investigators they witnessed the beating and a deputy gave them the necklace as payment for their silence -- a claim Adachi said the newly released video appears to prove.

"What's horrifying about this is these officers not only beat a man, they took steps to cover it up by stealing form him and giving it to a witness to pay off the witness," Adachi said.

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office said it has the video and everything that happened in that alley in November is under investigation.

"We had the video enhanced," Alameda County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Ray Kelly said. "The video is being used by the DA in San Francisco and by our investigators to look into the allegations of the gold chain theft."

Kelly said the deputy with the chain in hand is a 19-year veteran. He is on paid leave during the investigation, along with the two deputies involved in the beating.

Adachi wants to know why the district attorney has not filed criminal charges against the deputies. The DA's office said the investigation is ongoing.



Photo Credit: San Francisco Public Defender
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Eliminate Rockets, Advance to Second Round]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 23:35:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/189*120/GettyImages-525183840.jpg

OAKLAND – With Stephen Curry watching from the bench, the Warriors took the floor without the reigning MVP and dominated the Houston Rockets.

Going wire-to-wire with barely a whimper of protest from the Rockets, the Warriors rolled to a 114-81 victory in Game 5 Wednesday night to win the first-round playoff series and advance to the Western Conference semifinals.

The Warriors next face the winner of the Clippers-Trail Blazers series, in which Portland holds a 3-2 edge with Game 6 scheduled for Friday night in Oregon.

The Warriors spoke of not wanting to return to Houston for a Game 6 and it was apparent early that they meant it, much to the delight of the sellout crowd (19,596) at Oracle Arena. They took a double-digit lead early and never lost it.

Klay Thompson scored a team-high 27 points, with Shaun Livingston putting in 16, and Brandon Rush and Draymond Green finishing with 15 each.

The Warriors leaned hard on their defense, which limited Houston to 32.3-percent shooting from the field. James Harden scored 35 points on 12-of-23 shooting. His teammates combined to shoot 19-of-73, for 26.0 percent.

STANDOUT PERFORMER:

The honors for this one must shared among, though Livingston, Thompson and Green are in the center of the photo.

Thompson’s line: 27 points (10-of-14 shooting, 7-of-11 from beyond the arc) and three rebounds. He played 29 minutes, finishing plus-29 for the game.

Livingston’s line: 16 points (7-of-8 shooting), three rebounds and three assists. He played 29 minutes and also was plus-29.

Green’s line: 15 points (5-of-9 shooting, 2-of-5 from deep), team-high nine rebounds, team-high eight assists and two blocks. He played 31 minutes and was plus-32.

TURNING POINT:

After a Harden jumper pulled the Rockets within five (19-14) with 6:08 to play in the first quarter, the Warriors responded with a 16-2 run, going up 35-16 with 1:12 left in the quarter.

The Warriors during that stretch of about five minutes held Houston to 1-of-6 shooting, with four turnovers.

The Rockets never got closer than 13 over the remainder of the first half and got no closer than 16 after halftime.

INJURY UPDATE:

Warriors: G Stephen Curry (R MCL sprain) and F Kevon Looney (L hip surgery) were listed as out and placed on the inactive list.

Rockets: Sam Dekker (low back soreness) and F Terrence Jones (healthy) were placed on the inactive list.

WHAT’S NEXT:

The Warriors will face the winner of the Clippers-Trail Blazers series. Game 1 will be played at Oracle Arena, date and time to be determined.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cats in Space Lightsaber Battle Lights Up SJ]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 15:23:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/catsinspacebattle.jpg

A "Cats in Space" themed LED lightsaber battle is scheduled to take over St. James Park in San Jose on Saturday.

Toronto event producers Newmindspace, who threw a bubble-blowing party in San Francisco's Dolores Park in 2015, have been throwing lightsaber battles internationally for years, including one last December in San Francisco's Justin Herman Plaza.

Newmindspace's battles used to have a Star Wars theme until Lucasfilm came calling; post-settlement with the Bay Area company and they're now called "space battles" and can't technically refer to the fighting weapon as a lightsaber.

For $10 participants will be reserved lighted stick, with a portion of the proceeds donated to Make-A-Wish Foundation.



Photo Credit: Newmindspace]]>
<![CDATA[49ers to Change Noise Levels at Practice After Complaints]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 07:39:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/49ers27.JPG

There’s a whistle followed by a series of heavy bass beats emanating from the San Francisco 49ers practice facility on Wednesday morning in Santa Clara.

However, after neighbors voiced concerns about the decibel levels, the team says it will turn the speakers inward during practice to help with neighborhood noise.

49ers representatives told NBC Bay Area players are currently taking part in a 10-week session of workouts, which occur Monday through Thursday during late morning. It’s common in the NFL to crank up the music during practice to simulate stadium noise, but the tunes are out of sync with some of Levi’s Stadium’s neighbors.

“My actual home actually shakes. The appliances shake. If I happen to have a glass sitting on my counter when the 49ers are practicing and it gets really loud, the glass actually shakes,” said Rita Miller, who has lived in the Primavera neighborhood since the early 1990s.

From Miller’s house, roughly three football fields away from the practice facility, the music peaks at about 80 decibels, according smartphone app Decibel 10th. That’s about as loud as a diesel truck passing by, which is inconvenient for people who work from home like Miller.

“I’ve actually had to go into a bathroom and shut the door so that I could actually hear,” Millers said, explaining she is often on the phone with elderly clients.

Across the street on Calle de Primavera, her neighbor Antonino Vergel de Dios also took steps to gain some peace.

“I had been planning to put in new windows, but I made it earlier because it’s really bothering me. It’s too much, you know?” Vergel de Dios said, explaining stadium noise during games does not bother him.

Neighbors say they had given up on making formal complaints because it rarely leads to change, but comments online caught the attention of newly-appointed Santa Clara City Council member Kathy Watanabe.

“The fact that people felt like they weren’t being heard – I thought this is not good. The community needs to know their concerns are not falling on deaf ears,” Watanabe said. She says she is meeting with the Santa Clara City Manager to measure decibel levels in the neighborhood if the noise becomes a long term issue.

Meanwhile, 49ers representatives say Thursday morning the speakers will be turned toward the stadium and neighbors should sense some relief. And say, if they don’t, call the team.



Photo Credit: LiLi Tan/NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Video Shows Funnel Cloud at Lake Berryessa]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 19:14:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0427-2016-FunnelCloud.jpg

Wild weather hit the Bay Area on Wednesday, including a thunderstorm that produced lightning and hail.

At around 4 p.m., the thunderstorm dumped hail in parts of the North Bay as it worked its way toward the East Bay.

Earlier in the day, a funnel cloud was seen forming over Lake Berryessa in Napa County.

Visit NBC Bay Area's weather page for the latest conditions.



Photo Credit: TACTICALBASSIN.COM
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Charles Schulz Museum Opens Snoopy-Centric Outpost in Tokyo ]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 15:32:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/snoopy+Peanuts+movie.JPG

Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa has opened a Snoopy Museum in Tokyo.

The new outpost will exhibit portions of the California collection on a rotating basis every six months. The opening exhibit is "My Favorite Peanuts," curated by Schulz's widow Jean.

Boing Boing noted that fans can purchase exclusive merchandise as well as grab a bite in the Cafe Blanket restaurant or the confectionery.

Snoopy's creator, Charles M. Schulz, started the wildly popular "Peanuts" series while living in Minneapolis. He relocated to Sebastopol in 1958, then Santa Rosa in 1969, where he lived until his death in 2000. He left behind a strong community legacy that includes the museum, an ice skating rink and even an airport named after him.

The Santa Rosa museum has an active calendar of events, including a First Friday evening film series and kids nights as well as classes in LEGO animation, iPad movie-making, cartooning and other visual arts.

]]>
<![CDATA[Teacher Posed as Woman to Get Photos from Children: SJPD]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 06:12:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0427-2016-DouglasLe.jpg

A teacher who allegedly posed as a female and lured juveniles to send harmful material online was arrested Tuesday in San Jose, police said.

Douglas Le, 25, was arrested at his home on suspicion of felony child enticement and booked into Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose, police said.

Le is a teacher at Gilroy High School and has been placed on paid administrative leave, Gilroy Unified School District spokeswoman Rachel Zlotziver said.

Investigators learned Le was allegedly given illicit images from juveniles under the impression they were in an online relationship with a female persona, who was later determined to be the suspect, police said.

Detectives found evidence that Le apparently persuaded the victims to send harmful matter over the Internet, according to police.

The police department's Internet Crimes Against Children/Child Exploit Detail task force conducted the investigation.The district has notified parents and families of the arrest, Zlotziver said.

Word of Le's arrest spread quickly around the Gilroy High campus.

"A really shocking moment for all the students around the school and the teachers and parents," said John Fox, a Gilroy High freshman. "Everyone should be really concerned about it."

Parents were also troubled to hear of the teacher's arrest.

"It's definitely troubling to hear something like that if the allegations are true," parent David Gutierrez said.

School psychologists and counselors will be available to provide support services to students through the rest of the week, she said.

"I want to reassure parents and the community that the safety of our students remains our highest priority," district Superintendent Deborah Flores said in a statement Wednesday.

"We are working cooperatively with the San Jose Police Department to continue to ensure the safety of all students in the District as they complete their investigation into this matter," Flores said.

Le was subject to criminal background screening that included fingerprint clearance from the Department of Justice and FBI when he was hired, district officials said.

Le's LinkedIn profile shows he has worked at the high school since June 2013 and previously served as the head track and field coach.

Le graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in chemical biology and obtained his Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University a year later, according to the profile.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call police Detective Sgt. Brian Spears at 408-537-1381. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at 408-947-7867.

NBC Bay Area's Ian Cull contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: SJPD]]>
<![CDATA[Silicon Valley Interns Make a Lot of Money]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 18:10:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/177*120/google25.jpg

Apple and Google offer interns more than a rewarding experience – they also pay really well.

College students hired within the tech hub of Silicon Valley can make up to $8-10K a month, Business Insider reports.

A survey conducted by a Berkeley student shows the facts: Google pays their interns $6,000 a month and Facebook pays $8,000, while Snapchat takes first place with high-paid interns at $10,000 a month.

LinkedIn and Twitter don’t stay behind either. These Silicon Valley-based social media companies also pay really well – averaging up to $8,000.

Assuming a full time summer internship goes for 40 hours a week, an intern working at Facebook can make up to $50 an hour.

That, on top of $3,000 in benefits.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Synchro' Swimmers Preps for Olympic Summer Games in Rio]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 18:47:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0427-2016-SynchroSwimmers.jpg

Synchronized swimming, or synchro for short, has been called the most difficult sport in the Olympic Games.

Anita Alvarez and Mariya Koroleva are the only swimmers representing the United States in synchronized swimming during the summer games in Rio.

At 9 years old, Koroleva emigrated to the United States from Russia, took up synchro and became so good she swam for Stanford University and competed in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

"You have to show up every day and you have to be on your best game every day, even if you're not feeling well," she said. "You have to push through it."

Alvarez, 19, has synchronized swimming in her blood. Her mother is a former synchro athlete and a current coach. Both athletes said they gave up traditional upbringings to become fierce competitors.

The duo's coach, Lolli Montico, said the athletes are training from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. This will Montico's third Olympics coaching synchro swimmers.

Montico said the Olympic-caliber swimmers must have two things: legs and attitude.

"Beautiful shapes of the legs -- it's so important in synchro," Montico said. "It's the attitude. Attitude is everything."

Koroleva cannot wait for Rio, when all of the hard work is rewarded.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[San Jose High School Installs Gender-Neutral Restrooms]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 18:43:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0427-2016-AllGenderBathrrom.jpg

A San Jose high school is making a bold statement in the midst of a nationwide debate over gender rights.

Lincoln High School is changing some of its restrooms to be usable by any gender. District and campus officials said the change is part of a goal of taking a stand for what it calls "inclusive culture."

Two all-gender restrooms were installed on campus this week. The idea of setting up the gender-neutral restrooms, in addition to the usual gender-specific facilities, came from a school-wide student recommendation.

"Because so many students have been complaining about not feeling safe when they go to the restroom," student Israel Diaz said. "They're not sure which restroom to use and now we're able to go to whichever restroom we feel most comfortable."

The head of youth support group Silicon Valley Faces agrees.

"I think it's a big step for an administration to say 'Yes, we're going to move in that direction,'" said Pat Mitchell, Silicon Valley Faces executive director.

South Bay Congressman Mike Honda contacted Washington, D.C. and anticipates the campus' decision will resonate nationally.

"You know the governor of North Carolina should have waited until he talked with these students," Honda said.

Diaz also thinks the campus change will have a national impact.

"It could have an impact on other schools so that they see that it's been positive feedback from the rest of the Lincoln students," he said. "So they'll see that we're very happy."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[UC Berkeley Gymnast Headed to Rio]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 17:52:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0427-2016-RyanPatterson.jpg

We are exactly 100 days away from opening ceremonies for the Summer Olympics in Rio.

For Bay Area athletes that means more training and perfecting performances. No one knows that more than a University of California, Berkeley gymnast who just found out he will represent his native South Africa at the games.

Ryan Patterson said going to the Olympics feels surreal, especially since he has dreamed of becoming an Olympian ever since he was 3 years old.

The UC Berkeley senior is the entire Olympic mens gymnastics team for South Africa, making him the first man from his country to qualify for the team in more than 50 years.

"I was extremely excited," he said. "It just made everything worthwhile that I have been training for during the past 18 years."

Patterson is an all-rounder, which means he is planning to compete in six events during the Summer Olympics in Rio in a sport where the bar is set higher than ever before. He is training more than five hours a day preparing for the games.

"When before a single flip was considered good, now athletes are doing a triple flip," said J.T. Okada, an assistant coach for Cal's men's gymnastics team. "And when double twists were good, now they are doing quadruple twists."

Patterson was born in South Africa, but grew up in Pacifica and graduated from Terra Nova High School. He said his favorite event is the high bar.

"It is the most challenging and pretty scary," Patterson said of the event. "It really gets your heart beating, but it's also fun."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[How a Concord Housewife Learned to Soar Among The Stars]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 19:12:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/MJ+in+plane.jpg

There was a time when MJ Maggraff didn’t consider having two feet firmly on the ground was such a good thing. She was 45, a happily married mother of two — dashing off to PTA meetings and getting the kids to school.

Yet something was missing.

"I was very busy, but without anything very inspiring for myself," said Marggraff, who is now 61.

It wasn’t until she lost her planner, its pages practically black with appointments, that she eyed change in the face. Her new replacement planner represented a new life.

"When I opened it up," Marggraff said, "what I had really was a blank slate."

Today in addition to being a mom and a wife — Marggraff is a pilot, a businesswoman, and certified to fly up to the edge of space, should such a civilian sub-orbital journey prevail itself. In other words — she chased down her childhood dreams of flight decades after it potentially expired.

"I’m still an ordinary mom," Marggraff said. "I’m just an ordinary mom who flies."

Like many kids, Marggraff grew-up dreaming of space journey and airplanes. Despite the fact she came from a family of terrified fliers, she was compelled to literally rise above those fears.

"What I put in the planner was a childhood dream," Marggraff said. "I would overcome my fears and I would learn to fly."

Now, Marggraff is spreading her love of flight and space travel to high school students whom she is mentoring. After founding a company called Made in Space, she is working with a team of students at Moraga’s Campolindo High School to design games, created by 3-D printers, that astronauts on the International Space Station can play.

One game called "star catcher," is like the space version of hot potato. Just two weeks ago, a version of the game was aboard a resupply rocket heading for the space station to become part of the astronaut crew’s onboard experiments.

"It’s just going to be something for them to play with each other," said student designer Maya Buelos, "compete with each other, have fun."

Somehow Marggraff’s endless energy has rubbed-off on the students who are donating their own time to work on the project.

"That’s so incredible," said student Bennett Coates watching Marggraff bound around the classroom. "I hope that when I am like 45, I still have the same drive and passion that she has."

Somehow in between all the waypoints, Marggraff found time to write a soon-to-be-released book called Finding the Wow, which chronicles her inspirational journey from housewife to orbital traveler — a roadmap of how to avoid a life of regrets.

"I missed the opportunity to be a NASA astronaut," Marggraff said, "but I am touching the stars and I am helping these young students do the same."

Still, Marggraff hasn’t entirely given-up on visiting the stars herself.

"I will see that edge of space one day myself," she said. "I’ll be up there, I’ll float and I’ll know I’m where I ought to be."



Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr. ]]>
<![CDATA[Police Search for Armed Carjacking Suspect in East Bay]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 19:09:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N6P+SAN+RAMON+ARMED+CARJACKING+PKG+-+00003317.jpg

San Ramon police are searching for a suspect in connection with an armed carjacking Tuesday in a Safeway parking lot. The late night incident is the city's second reported carjacking in a month.

The victim, a man from Concord, planned to meet the suspect outside the San Ramon Valley Boulevard store to buy some motorcyle parts. However, the suspect, who police say was a friend of an aquaintance, pointed a gun at him instead of producing the parts.

The suspect "produced a handgun, threatened the victim, pointed it at his chest and stole money, his wallet, iPhone and then stole the victim's vehicle and fled the location," said Lt. Denton Carlson with the San Ramon Police Department.

Shoppers in San Ramon said they felt nervous and unsafe Wednesday.

"I'm not surprised," Chris Fitzgerald said. "Criminals go where they think they can get away with it."

Connie Heim agreed. 

"I'm disappointed, but obviously things are happening because we're close to the freeway," she said.

According to police, the suspect ditched a stolen Honda Civic at the scene and took off with the victim's white Chevy Malibu rental car. The Malibu had an OnStar navigation system, which helped police track the vehicle to Oakland. The suspect then disabled it, though, and gave police the slip. 

"Anywhere today you've got to be aware, you've got to pay attention, you've got to do smart things," Heim said. "You don't meet someone at night when you don't know them."

On March 26, an armed suspect tried to flee with a victim’s car from outside a Safeway on Bollinger Canyon Road. Police caught that suspect within minutes, though, and recovered the car.

On Wednesday, investigators said it's best to meet at a police station if people plan on doing business with strangers.

"Most likely if someone is looking to commit a crime, they're not going to come if you're going to meet them at a police station," Carlson said. 



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[ Lunch With Tim Cook? It’s Going to Cost You (A Lot)]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 16:46:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/280*120/timcook3.JPG

Turns out Apple CEO Tim Cook is more popular than Taylor Swift and Robert Downey Jr. combined.

Cook is drawing the most interest in an online auction to benefit the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization

With only seven days left in the auction - the top bid for a lunch with Cook at Apple headquarters is $201,000. The winning bidder also gets to be Cook’s guest at an Apple keynote event.

Travel and accommodations are not included in this package, and the winning bidder will be subject to a security screening.

We expect all winning bidders and their guests to conduct themselves appropriately when attending an experience won at Charitybuzz,” a message from Charitybuzz says. “Polite manners and respect for the generous donor and adherence to any rules or parameters are a must.”

Tickets and backstage passes to Swift's world tour have raised just over $2,000. A meeting with Downey Jr.? Just over $3,000.

In 2013, someone paid more than half a million dollars to have coffee with him, a Charitybuzz record.



Photo Credit: charitybuzz.com]]>
<![CDATA[One Killed, Two Injured in Two-Car Collision on SF's Embarcadero]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 14:09:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/192*120/bmw4.JPG

Three people were injured, one of them fatally, in a vehicle collision on The Embarcadero Wednesday afternoon, according to a San Francisco fire spokesman.

The two-vehicle collision was reported at 12:09 p.m. on The Embarcadero at Bryant Street, according to fire department spokesman Jonathan Baxter.

Three people were transported to the hospital, two in critical condition and one in stable condition. One of the victims died around 2:45 p.m., according to Officer Albie Esparza.

Police are on scene investigating the crash and drivers are being urged to avoid the area.

Service on San Francisco Municipal Railway lines, including the N-Judah, T-Third and E-Embarcadero, could be delayed by the collision, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.



Photo Credit: San Francisco Fire Department]]>