<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Local News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Sun, 19 Apr 2015 12:21:33 -0700 Sun, 19 Apr 2015 12:21:33 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[San Francisco Giants Unveil 2014 Championship Ring]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 19:30:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*143/12345678912321.jpg The San Francisco Giants unveiled their 2014 World Championship Ring before a sold out crowd at AT&T Park Saturday.

Photo Credit: San Francisco Giants]]>
<![CDATA[Search on for Driver Behind Deadly Oakland Hit-and-Run Crash]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 15:06:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/2015-04-18_15-04-39.jpg

The search is on for the driver behind a deadly hit and run crash in Oakland.

It happened just after 2 a.m. Saturday morning. Police said a Dodge Charger was speeding down 60th Street when it slammed into a car on Martin Luther King Way near 59th Street.

One person was pronounced deceased at the scene, according to police.

Officers said the driver of the Dodge took off. Police are investigating if alcohol played a role in the crash.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Residents Prep for Mobile Home Park Closure in Palo Alto]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 14:23:05 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/mobilehomepark1.JPG

Maria Martinez and her neighbors' efforts to legally prevent the sale of Buena Vista Mobile Park came to an end this week after the Palo Alto City Council rule the owner's desire to sell is legal.

Martinez and her family will be forced to relocate once the owner finalizes the sale.

"I'm scared," she said. "Home means everything to me. This is home."

The Palo Alto City Council unanimously approved relocation benefits that would help the residents move elsewhere. But residents said it is not enough.

"I spend $1,300 per month for my rent, my mortgage and my utilities," said Melodie Cheney, who has lived at Buena Vista for 16 years. "The cheapest one-bedroom I've seen is $1,800 in the county."

Resident Mary Kear said the idea of being evicted makes her angry.

"I'm angry because it's people," she said. "It's people with kids, it's families."

Buena Vista is home to about 400 people, including many low-income families. Many of the children thrive at local schools.

Parents said the sale of the mobile home park is not just pushing them out, but also their kids who bring diversity to the wealthy area.

"It's the diversity that makes any city rich," resident Nicolas Martinez said. "Not in money, but customs, cultures."

Photo Credit: Cheryl Hurd]]>
<![CDATA[Precision Medicine Takes Personalized Approach]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 23:44:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0417-2015-Research.jpg Fighting disease is not one-size-fits all anymore. Now, it's all about personalized medicine. Ian Cull reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Golden State Warriors 2015 Fan Photos]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 20:05:59 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/CC6HlN4UkAIcRqz.jpg+large.jpg Here are some fan photos, as they root on the 2015 Golden State Warriors.

Photo Credit: Christie Smith]]>
<![CDATA[San Francisco Police Bracing for 4/20 Celebrations]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 23:35:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/0421-SF-weed.jpg

Police are bracing for thousands of revelers to celebrate 4/20 in San Francisco.

Pot smoke is expected to fill the air in the Haight-Ashbury district and at Golden Gate Park's Hippie Hill.

Police during last year's celebration made several arrests after someone fired a gun in the crowd. No injuries were reported in the shooting.

The San Francisco Police Department said officers will be out in full force Monday.

"It's basically an unpermitted unsanctioned event," San Francisco Supervisor London Breed said.

Breed said the 4/20 party also creates safety and traffic concerns. This year's event is expected to snarl the Monday evening commute.

Retailers on Haight Street are ready, with some selling souvenirs. Other shops are preparing to  to close early.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[SJFD Speeds Up Training for Fire Season]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 18:19:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/san_jose_fire_department_truck_generic.jpg

The San Jose Fire Department is getting an early jump on the upcoming fire season.

Hundreds of firefighters wrapped up "wild land" fire training on Friday, a month ahead of schedule.

The department's 650 or so firefighters usually go through special wild land training, or re-training, in mid-May. This year's training was ramped up ahead of schedule because of California's historic drought and to coincide with Cal Fire's accelerated hiring and training of its seasonal firefighters.

SJDF said the re-training will boost readiness, but emphasize there are so-called "brush patrols" ready year round.

<![CDATA[Moore's Law Set to Turn 50]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:47:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0417-2015-Moore.jpg Moore's Law turns 50 years old on Sunday and what was once a theory about how fast technology might someday get has come true in ways its author never imagined. Scott Budman reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland, Fans Prepare for Warriors Playoffs Fever]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:42:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/IMG_04461.jpg Oakland is awash in Warriors pride -- from City Hall to street banners to downtown buses. Christie Smith shows how the city and fans are set for Warriors playoffs fever.

Photo Credit: Ariel Nava]]>
<![CDATA[Silicon Valley Comic Con Coming to San Jose]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 15:51:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/217*120/siliconcomiccon.jpg

Apple founder Steve Wozniak and Marvel Comics' Stan Lee announced Friday that they'll bring a Silicon Valley Comic Con to San Jose next year.

The event will take place on March 19-20 at San Jose McEnery Convention Center and focus on the convergence of pop culture and technology.

"There are lots of fans like me in San Francisco and the Valley, and I’m excited that now we’ll have a Comic Con with our very own flavor," Wozniak said in a memo posted to the event website. "When I was growing up, it was hard to be a geek. It definitely wasn’t cool, and that wasn’t easy. I’m happy things have changed because now people are able to be proud of being geeks and being different. Silicon Valley Comic Con will be an event where fans of all kinds can celebrate the Age of the Geek."

Watch Wozniak and Lee in a teaser video for Silicon Valley Comic Con below:

Photo Credit: Silicon Valley Comic Con]]>
<![CDATA[SUV Slams into Redwood City Home]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:28:28 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/car_into_house_redwood_city_chopper.jpg

Police in Redwood City have blocked off a road after an SUV slammed into a home Friday morning.

The SUV ran into the home on Edgewood Drive just before 10 a.m. It also hit a gas main, forcing crews to shut down Edgewood between Scenic and Alameda. No word yet on when it will re-open.

One person was rushed to the hospital, but there is no word on the extent of injuries.

The driver will be tested for drugs and alcohol, police said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Cities Push Back on Governor's Water Cutbacks]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 19:05:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/droughtlandscapie.jpg

California cities are pushing back against Gov. Jerry Brown's order for mandatory water use reductions, but it's not likely that regulators will retreat with the state in its fourth year of drought.

The State Water Resources Control Board's proposal to meet Brown's order has some cities slashing water use by more than a third, and it will be updated in the coming days. Dozens of affected agencies say the expected reduction targets are overreaching, unrealistic and unfair.

In an attempt to reward water-conscious communities, the board is suggesting cutbacks tied to water use in September. Critics say that doesn't take into account different climates from the coast to the desert and longstanding conservation in cities that include Los Angeles and San Diego.

The board's proposal "treats agencies with a history of saving water the same as others that are now only beginning to meter water used by their consumers," Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District, which provides water to 19 million people in Southern California, said in one of 200 letters commenting on the proposed regulations.

Board officials have downplayed similar complaints in the past, noting the state may have to adapt permanently to drought conditions and must compare water use to 2013, the year before the governor declared a drought emergency.

Even so, other cities say the board is ignoring efforts to make their water supplies drought-proof by building local storage and developing technology such as desalination.

The city of Folsom, 30 miles east of Sacramento, could have to cut its water use by 35 percent, even though it has paid millions of dollars to store enough water for its residents during the drought.

"The city's ratepayers and taxpayers should not be forced to perpetually 'do more' and 'pay more' to rectify the lack of regional self-reliance of other areas in California," City Manager Evert Palmer wrote to the board.

The governor on Thursday said all communities share a common responsibility to ensure California has enough water to get through the drought.

"We're tied together," Brown told reporters. "We use water and the water flows from the mountains to the rivers and the aqueducts and out the faucets and out the bay."

Huge water cuts will come with consequences, agencies say, including big drops in revenue to water departments and a hit to the economy if manufacturers and other businesses are forced to scale back operations.

"For some areas, achieving a 35 percent reduction will mean stopping growth," said David Luker of the Desert Water Agency in Palm Springs, which anticipates losing $10 million with the cut proposed by the state.

Max Gomberg, a senior scientist at the water board, said the board is making changes to its regulations but he wouldn't elaborate before the measures are released on Friday or Saturday.

Lester Snow, former secretary of natural resources for the state and now president of the California Water Foundation, said it is natural for cities to push back and he doesn't expect the board to overhaul its regulations.

"We are in a serious situation and if we're still in a drought one, two, three years from now and we don't take this action, the public is going to wonder why we didn't," Snow said.

The board also expects to order farmers and cities with water rights to stop taking water because of the drought as soon as next week, executive director Tom Howard said on Thursday. The comments came after Brown met with representatives of hotels, cemeteries, spas and other businesses affected by drought restrictions. Some groups fear losing business if they become symbols of water waste.

The California Pool and Spa Association has hired a public affairs firm in Sacramento. The Almond Board of California held a call with reporters to dispute the image of the nut as a water guzzling crop.

Photo Credit: Damian Trujillo]]>
<![CDATA[Adoptee Relives Operation Babylift 40 Years Later]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 19:01:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/lara+and+lonnie.jpg

Lara Price never considered she was a part of history—that her childhood was newsworthy. Her earliest memories were painted for her, a portrait of which the colors have shifted over her four decades. She doesn’t know her birth name or even the actual date of her birthday.

“You’re kind of living through someone else’s eyes,” Price said, “so it’s surreal.”

Price was taken-in by an American family after being flown out of Vietnam in April of 1975 in what was called Operation Babylift. As Saigon fell, signaling the end of the Vietnam War, President Gerald Ford authorized $2 million to evacuate orphaned children, mainly from Saigon, to the U.S. for adoption. Thousands of babies and young children were flown by transport planes to locations in the U.S., including San Francisco’s Presidio where 1500 children were sheltered on mattresses in the vast and nondescript Harmon Hall.

“Basically what you see after we had it all set up,” said Vietnam veteran and Babylift volunteer Lonnie Weissman, “was rows and rows of mattresses with babies on them.”

Among those babies, acclimating to their new country, was two-week old Price.

“So when you see those pictures and there’s a baby in a box, I was one of those,” Price said.

The operation was controversial--some questioned whether the babies were truly orphans--whether they’d merely become separated from their families during the war and were now being taken to another country. Some believed mothers trying to give their children a life outside a war-torn country, offered-up their children for the evacuations. Price doesn’t harbor those sort of regrets.

“I always wondered what my life would be if I wasn’t brought over here,” Price said. “And it usually didn’t look that great.”

Price grew up in a military family—her adopted father was an airman in the Vietnam war, so they moved around a lot. In 1997, she moved back to the Bay Area and launched a career as a professional singer.

“I don’t think I would be living my dream making money as a musician if I was living in Vietnam,” she said.

Although Price’s path toward music was clear from her childhood, the stories of her origins are still murky. She initially was told she was aboard an early Babylift military C-5 transport plane that crashed, killing many babies and volunteers. Price grew-up believing she was a crash survivor, learning only three years ago through a nun who had encountered her, she wasn’t aboard the plane after all.

“That was part of my identity,” Price said. “I found out I wasn’t.”

Price also learned she might not actually be Vietnamese, but possibly Cambodian. She planned to take a DNA test this week--hoping to learn her true nationality and possibly even find lost relatives.

As the 40th anniversary of Babylift arrived, Price gathered with other adoptees this week in the Presidio, for the opening of a new exhibit marking the Babylift anniversary. It was one of the few places where the peculiar story of her early childhood wasn’t strange at all.

She joined other adoptees and former Babylift volunteers swapping stories, and details others could only read about. As she scanned the exhibit, taking in memorabilia and newspaper headlines from the ten-day operation, it seemed to sink in—this was a page of history—and she was a part of it.

Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr.
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<![CDATA[San Francisco Commemorates Hydrants That Saved the City]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 15:47:10 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SF+EARTHQUAKE+HYDRANTS+-+23113808.jpg

San Francisco city leaders on Friday finished the first step of their annual painting project: spraying a new coat of silver finish onto two fire hydrants that saved the western half of the city during the 1906 earthquake and fire.

Every year, these hydrants on Hayes and Buchanan streets, and Ellis and Van Ness streets, are graced with a fresh silver sheen on the anniversary of the devastating 1906 earthquake which killed roughly 3,000 people.

Bill Koenig, a retired member of the San Francisco Fire Department explained that in 1905, there were 2,200 hydrants, and only about 45 of them were filled with water.

Koenig added these silver painted hydrants were two of the three that had what firefighters call “extraordinary amounts of water” used to help douse the fires that raged through San Francisco in 1906.

San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said that officials gathered not just to remember the helpful hydrants, but to remind the public that the next big quake is imminent.

“This event is also part of a preparedness message from Mayor Ed Lee and the Department of Emergency Management,” she said. “The more prepared we have our residents, the better off we’ll be when the next seismic activity occurs.”

These hydrants are not just relics, firefighters say the hydrants are still fully functioning and used on a regular basis.

Koenig laughed and added that when it comes to the silver hydrants, “If something huge came up, the neighbors could say, ‘Hey, this hydrant worked in 1906, I guess it will work now.’”

If a disaster did occur, the city of San Francisco has plans in place so that the lack of emergency water the city experienced in 1906 doesn't happen again. Mindy Talmadge of the San Francisco Fire Department says that city uses two water pump stations as part of it's Auxilary Water Supply System.

"If, for some reason, the dedicated High Pressure Hydrant water supply is exhausted, with the pump stations we have the ability to pump water from the bay to the Twin Peaks Reservoir to continuously fill the system with salt water," Talmadge said. She added that the city could also tap into its portable water supply system which is charged through the bay and underground storage tanks.

At 5:12 a.m. on Saturday, the exact time of the 109th anniversary of the 1906 quake, the Guardians of the City of San Francisco will host a vigil at 20th and Church streets. After the vigil, attendees will also re-paint the golden hydrant at that location which saved San Francisco’s Mission District in 1906 with 36 hours of water supply.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Tim Cook Hot Commodity in Charity Auction]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 11:12:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/220*120/timcook2.jpg

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

In fact, on Friday, Cook was drawing the most intense interest - and the highest bid totals -  in the New York-based online auction Charitybuzz to benefit a nonprofit focused on human rights, according to spokeswoman Meryl Schrank.

The top bid for lunch in Cupertino at Apple headquarters with Cook and two VIP passes to an Apple Keynote was going for $165,000.  The runner up bid - two ringside tickets for Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight and hotel stay - was going for $115,000.

But even though Cook is the most popular in this year's online charity auction, his current appeal is a far cry from his stardom two years ago.

In 2013, Cook tied for breaking a Charitybuzz record when , someone paid $610,000 to have coffee with him. A Lamborghini Aventador Roadster sold for the same price, also that year, Schrank said.

Tickets and backstage passes to Swift’s world tour raised a little more than $2,000 and a meeting with Downey on the set of an upcoming film was fetching $5,750. That's about the same combined total that Hall of Fame Coach John Madden was drawing on Friday - $7,500 - for viewers who want to watch Sunday football with him and his nine flat screen HD televisions at his San Francisco Bay Area home.

Proceeds from the auction will support the Robert F, Kennedy Human Rights, a nonprofit organization that works to achieve a "just and peaceful world by partnering with human rights leaders, teaching social justice and advancing corporate responsibility."

The auction closes on May 6.

Photo Credit: Charity Buzz]]>
<![CDATA[3 Men Stabbed at San Leandro Bar ]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 09:09:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SAN+LEANDRO+GANG+THREAT+RAW+GOUDEAU+1705+PST+-+17304724.jpg

Three men were stabbed during a violent fight Thursday night in a San Leandro bar, police said.

Officers responded at 8:40 p.m. Thursday to Shilo's Cocktail Lounge at 991 Manor Blvd. after someone called to report a stabbing inside the bar.

When officers arrived, they found three men in their 30's suffering from stab wounds in a fight that erupted outside the bar, police said.

The men were transported to the hospital. A trauma unit transported one of them, and at least two of the men will undergo surgery for their injuries, police said. On Friday, the men were said to be in stable condition.

There were between six and seven men involved in the fight, according to police.

The suspects fled the area before police arrived, and no arrests have been made despite talking to witnesses and reviewing  surveillance video.

<![CDATA[Google Embraces 'Mobile-Friendly' Sites in Search Shake-Up]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:07:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/New+Image31.JPG

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google is about to change the way its influential search engine recommends websites on smartphones and tablets in a shift that's expected to sway where millions of people shop, eat and find information.

The revised formula, scheduled to be released Tuesday, will favor websites that Google defines as "mobile-friendly." Websites that don't fit the description will be demoted in Google's search results on smartphones and tablets while those meeting the criteria will be more likely to appear at the top of the rankings — a prized position that can translate into more visitors and money.

Although Google's new formula won't affect searches on desktop and laptop computers, it will have a huge influence on how and where people spend their money, given that more people are relying on their smartphones to compare products in stores and look for restaurants. That's why Google's new rating system is being billed by some search experts as "Mobile-geddon."

"Some sites are going to be in for a big surprise when they find a drastic change in the amount of people visiting them from mobile devices," said Itai Sadan, CEO of website-building service Duda.
It's probably the most significant change that Google Inc. has ever made to its mobile search rankings, according to Matt McGee, editor-in-chief for Search Engine Land, a trade publication that follows every tweak that the company makes to its closely guarded algorithms.

Here are a few things to know about what's happening and why Google is doing it.
To stay in Google's good graces, websites must be designed so they load quickly on mobile devices. Content must also be easily accessible by scrolling up and down — without having to also swipe to the left or right. It also helps if all buttons for making purchases or taking other actions on the website can be easily seen and touched on smaller screens.

If a website has been designed only with PC users in mind, the graphics take longer to load on mobile devices and the columns of text don't all fit on the smaller screens, to the aggravation of someone trying to read it.

Google has been urging websites to cater to mobile device for years, mainly because that is where people are increasingly searching for information.

The number of mobile searches in the U.S. is rising by about 5 percent while inquiries on PCs are dipping slightly, according to research firm comScore Inc. In the final three months of last year, 29 percent of all U.S. search requests — about 18.5 billion — were made on mobile devices, comScore estimated. Google processes the bulk of searches — two-thirds in the U.S. and even more in many other countries.
To minimize complaints, the company disclosed its plans nearly two months ago. It also created a step-by-step guide and a tool to test compliance with the new standards.

Google has faced uproar over past changes to its search formula. Two of the bigger revisions, done in 2011 and 2012, focused on an attempt to weed out misleading websites and other digital rubbish. Although that goal sounds reasonable, many websites still complained that Google's changes unfairly demoted them in the rankings, making their content more difficult to find.
While most major merchants and big companies already have websites likely to meet Google's mobile standard, the new formula threatens to hurt millions of small businesses that haven't had the money or incentive to adapt their sites for smartphones.

"A lot of small sites haven't really had a reason to be mobile friendly until now, and it's not going to be easy for them to make the changes," McGee said.
Google's search formula weighs a variety of factors to determine the rankings of its results. One of the most important considerations has always been whether a site contains the most pertinent information sought by a search request.

But new pecking order in Google's mobile search may relegate some sites to the back pages of the search results, even if their content is more relevant to a search request than other sites that happen to be easier to access on smartphones.

That will be an unfortunate consequence, but also justifiable because a person might not even bother to look at sites that take a long time to open or difficult to read on mobile devices, Gartner analyst Whit Andrews said.

"Availability is part of relevancy," Andrews said. "A lot of people aren't going to think something is relevant if they can't get it to appear on their iPhone."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[QUIZ: What Do You Know About Drought Cutbacks?]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 07:14:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/drought-quiz-3-conserve-water-snowpack-snow-poll-neighbors.jpg

The drought that's plaguing the Golden State is into its fourth year. That's long enough for you to have soaked up plenty of knowledge about the river-shriveling dry spell.

You probably think you know it all about the drought. Well, let's hope your knowledge is deeper than the state's water supply...

Previous Quizzes:
Do You Really Understand California's New Mandatory Water Restrictions?

Your Neighbors Probably Think You Should Be Saving More Water
How Water Smart Are You?
So You Think You Know About California's Drought?

CLICK HERE: Complete coverage of California's drought

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Illustration by Heather Navarro
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<![CDATA[Customers Secretly Recorded in Starbucks Bathroom]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 11:40:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/JacobTurnerofBenicia.jpg

Walnut Creek police are trying to find out who might have used the restroom - and possibly might have been caught on camera doing so - at a Starbucks after they arrested a 35-year-old Benicia man on multiple counts of hiding a video camera near the toilets and sinks and secretly recording coffee shop customers.

Sgt. Mike McLaughlin said police arrested Jacob Turner at his Benicia home on Thursday with a warrant charging him with multiple counts of placing a video recording device the Starbucks at 1152 Locust St.

McLaughlin said Starbucks employees discovered a hidden video camer in the unisex bathroom on Feb. 16 and again on Tuesday, which had been recording customers. The cameras, the size of a phone, were placed under the sink.

Police would not say what led them to Turner other than that they "developed evidence" that "indicated" he was the "suspect that placed the camera." 

A Starbucks spokeswoman on Friday said the company takes its "obligation to provide a safe environment" for its customers and employees seriously. And employees took "swift action as soon as they became aware of the issue," immediately calling police.

Starbucks customer Dino Adelfio was at the shop early on Friday, contemplating what he would feel like if he had been secretly filmed.

"It's kind of weird," he said.

Michelle Poloka of Lafayette added: "That’s really scary because we assume when we go to any kind of facility or any shop, that we’re safe. It’s really scary to know someone was doing that.”

<![CDATA[Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Cars Wave of the Future?]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 23:37:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/car+charger.jpg The electric cars and those charging stations are popping up everywhere. But many people say battery-power is not the way of the future. Peggy Bunker reports.

Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Kids Adopted in Operation Babylift Meet on Anniversary]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 23:33:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0416-2015-VietnamBabies.jpg It was 40 years ago when more than 2,000 Vietnamese children were airlifted from their war torn country to the United States. Now, some of them will be meeting each other for the first time at a new exhibit in San Francisco. Cheryl Hurd reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Stow Throws 1st Pitch at SJ Giants Home Opener]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 23:41:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0416-2015-BryanStow.jpg

It was a moment four years in the making for the Giants organization and for Bryan Stow.

The Giants fan beaten outside Dodger Stadium threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Thursday's home opener for the San Jose Giants, a team where he used to be a paramedic before he was left brain damaged in the attack four years ago.

"A lot was going through my brain," Stow said after the pitch. "This has been really big for me."

The former Santa Cruz paramedic, now 46, was left severely brain-damaged after the attack in Los Angeles in 2011. His prognosis was grim.

But then he started progressing and kept his love of baseball at the top of his mind.

Stow's son three years ago threw out the first pitch at a San Francisco Giants game in his honor because he could not himself.

Stow continues to push himself, which made Thursday's pitch a special moment for him and his family.

"I'm trying to make the best of what's come of me," Stow said. "I'm getting my walking back. I need to walk more."

Stow also joked around about the first pitch.

"I would love to do it again," he said. "When do they play again? Tomorrow? I can be here tomorrow!"

All jokes aside, Stow's pitch and the ovation he received from those in attendance is something that will fuel his comeback.

"Thank you to my fans. To the fans that are here for me, thank you," he said. "I can go home and cry over this like I'll do on the way home tonight."

The San Jose Giants are a minor league baseball team, and the farm team for the San Francisco Giants since 1988. Last year, Stow hollered "Play ball" during Game 4 of the World Series between the Giants and the Kansas City Royals.

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury awarded Stow $18 million from the Dodgers and his assailants in 2014, although his family has yet to receive any of it. Two men, Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, pleaded guilty to charges from the attack including mayhem and assault. Sanchez received eight years in prison, Norwood was sentenced to four years.

Stow had come a long way since the attack. He came out of a coma, spent many years in a wheelchair, but is now able to walk and stand with a walker for short periods of time. He recently threw balls to his father, Dave, in his parent's Capitola backyard. In his interview with the Mercury News, he was quite coherent, but it was also clear he suffers some memory loss and concentration.

To learn more about Stow and contribute to his ongoing medical care, click here.

Alan Waples, Lisa Fernandez and Kristofer Noceda contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[San Jose 13-Year-Old Invents Device To Help White Canes "See"]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:42:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/raghav%27s+cane+5.jpg

In 1921, according to the history books, an newly-blind Englishman named James Biggs was feeling threatened by the amount of traffic in his neighborhood. In order to be more visible to motorists, Biggs reportedly painted his cane white.

If true, it means the white cane as an aid to the blind is approaching its 100th birthday.

Which explains why, in true Silicon Valley fashion, Raghav Ganesh thought the world was overdue for the white cane, 2.0.

"There's an old device here that needed an upgrade," Raghav says, "and I thought I could make that better."

The San Jose 13-year-old seems well on his way to making that happen.

Raghav has created a device that attaches to a cane and, using ultrasonic and infrared technology, alerts the user via vibrations to upcoming obstacles. His work has garnered him a growing group of admirers and recently won him a Prudential Spirit of Community Award.




"It's pretty extraordinary for a 13-year-old to develop from scratch a device that is this sophisticated," says Steve Mahan, CEO of the Santa Clara Valley Center For The Blind.

Raghav sought out Steve a year ago after throwing together his first prototype of what he now calls SmartWalk. Raghav says he was inspired after watching a documentary about the daily life of the blind and visually impaired.

Meeting monthly for the past year, Steve and clients of the SCVCFTB would test out Raghav's prototypes and suggest improvements or modifications to the design. They also gave Raghav the confidence to continue working on his idea.

"After going to the blind center and seeing people working with it," Raghav says, "I thought 'Wow, I can really make a difference in someone's life.'"

What Raghav would really like to do, though, is help many people's lives.

Steve says there is a similar, though less-sophisticated, device already on the market at a cost of $900.

Raghav's price point is a quite a bit less. "My prototype cost about $55, but I'm projecting about $20 for the final price.

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<![CDATA[SFPD Expects Fewer Revelers at 4/20 Celebration]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 21:33:36 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/marijuana-GettyImages_698723.jpg

SFPD will try to take the spark out of revelers celebrating April 20, an unofficial marijuana celebration day.

Sgt. Ron Meyer of the Park Station told SFist that about 15,000 to 20,000 marijuana enthusiasts gathered on and around Golden Gate Park's "Hippie Hill" last year. He expects between 5,000 and 15,000 people this year since it falls on a weekday and points out that since the city does not recognize the day as a holiday, the city won't pay for cleanup costs, which were estimated to be around $100,000 in 2013.

Cracking down on actual marijuana consumption may prove too pervasive to handle, but Meyer noted that there will be less tolerance for selling food or drinks on the street.

"We're going to attempt this year to deny access to illegal food access, and put a few more people in charge of that," Meyer said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SF Marathon Organizes Boston Solidarity Run]]> Sun, 19 Apr 2015 11:57:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/sfsolidaritymarathon.jpg

San Franciscans will run locally in solidarity with Boston Marathon participants on Monday.

For the third year in a row, San Francisco Marathon organizers will present a 5K course starting and ending at Justin Hermann Plaza that runs simultaneously to the Boston Marathon. It is a way to pay homage to the victims of the 2013 bombing in Boston.

“The San Francisco Marathon organized this community run since 2013 to celebrate the indomitable nature of runners and to honor Boston Marathon runners both past and present," said Michelle LaFrance, director of marketing for the San Francisco Marathon. "While we can’t be in Boston to cheer on the runners, we are there in spirit.”

Organizers have confirmed that more than 100 runners are scheduled to participate on Monday. Meanwhile, the 38th annual San Francisco Marathon event takes place on July 26.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of San Francisco Marathon]]>
<![CDATA[Roadkill Report Maps Out Dangerous Roads]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 23:35:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/generic+road+pic.jpg

Researchers and volunteers from the Road Ecology Center at the University of California, Davis have released a report on the deadliest stretches of road for the state's native species.

The center used 29,000 roadkill incidents documented by volunteers between 2009 and 2014 to create the report.

Researchers in the report call the highway system in the Bay Area a ring of death.

"They are abutted up against open space so animals wander onto the road easily," said Kathryn Harrold of the Road Ecology Center.

Caltrans is now reviewing the report. The agency said it needs funding to improve fencing and add safe crossings for animals.

A project is in the planning stages for Highway 17, one of the many roadkill hot spots identified in the report.

Dan Despera, a Bay Area driver who said he has hit two deer, said any plans Caltrans has to improve highways is a wise investment that can save drivers thousands of dollars.

Harrold adds improvement to the highways, which can include deterrents, can save lives.

"This isn't just fatal for the animals," said. "People are injured and killed as well."

Here are the top five worst wildlife roadkill hotpots in California as ranked by Fraser Shilling, co-director of the Road Ecology Center at the University of California at Davis:

1. Interstate 5, the state's major north-south corridor: Particularly deadly for owls and other birds of prey, for black bears living near Mount Shasta in Northern California, and for all wildlife on the Tejon Pass linking Central and Southern California.

2. State Route 17 between San Jose and Santa Cruz: Deadly for puma, bobcats, deer and other animals.

3. Interstate 280 in the San Francisco Bay Area: Bad for deer.

4. State Route 50 in the Sierra Nevada Mountain area: Lethal for several species.

5. State Route 101 through Northern California redwoods: Lethal to all forms of wildlife.

Worst highway carving up animal habitat: Interstate 80 across the Sierra Nevada.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Honor Flight For Bay Area Vets Allows Them to See World War II Monument]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 20:45:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/BROTHERS3.JPG

Some Bay Area veterans are on a different kind of tour of duty tonight.

The vets are part of an "honor flight" for Bay Area service people who saw action in World War II.

The trip to Washington allows them to see monuments dedicated to their sacrifice. These flights take on added significance this year — the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Bill and Dick Abbott, a pair of brothers from the Oakland Hills, would only make the trip together.

“There's some memorials we haven’t seen — I think that's the main part of it, the World War II monument and hopefully we can go to some of the others that we haven't seen before," the brothers said.

One Abbot brother served in the Atlantic — the other in the Pacific.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[California Set to Crack Down on Water Use]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 20:15:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/drought8.jpg California's 400 water districts on Friday will get new conservation rules from the state. Larry Gerston reports.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland A’s, Firefighters Donate $2,000 to Hayward Little League]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 18:41:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/199*120/littleleague5.JPG

“Play ball" will be heard in Hayward after all.

The upcoming season for the Tennyson Little League was in doubt after thieves stole the kids' fundraising money in a weekend break in.

Treasurer Jody Perry said the youth baseball clubhouse – an icon in town because of its brightly painted murals - was broken into on Sunday about 9:45 p.m. and a safe was taken containing the league’s rent money.

“I’m disgusted to say that neither us, nor the police think it is a coincidence that it was the weekend we collected our fundraiser,” Perry said on Wednesday. “Stealing that money is like directly stealing from the 200 kids our league serves each year.”

Now the Oakland A's and the Hayward Firefighters Association have stepped in with a "nice save," donating $2,000. And Hayward City Councilman Francisco Zermeño set up a GoFundMe site to help raise funds.

Most of the stolen money was covered by insurance, but Thursday’s gift will cover the $1,000 deductible with some funds left over.

<![CDATA[US Marshal's Nationwide Sweep Nets 137 Fugitives in Bay Area]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 19:12:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/216*120/0416-2015-USMarshals.jpg

United States Marshals arrested 137 fugitives wanted for crimes in the greater East Bay.

The Bay Area sweep was part of a six-week nationwide operation that resulted in more than 7,100 arrests focused on outstanding warrants in the biggest crime hot spots in America.

"Your federal law enforcement partners here live and work in the East Bay," said Melinda Haag of the US Attorney's Office. "We call it home and we want to do whatever we can do to help."

Authorities in the East Bay sweep also seized 27 firearms, ammunition and illegal drugs.

US Marshals said they took advantage of their resources to move across city, county, state and even international borders to pursue criminals.

"With this regional approach to combating crime, this is what law enforcement really needs to be doing," Antioch Police Chief Allan Cantando said. "What the community needs to understand is these criminals don't understand what borders are -- they will go from city to city to commit crimes. And by working together we're actually stopping that."

Among those arrested was Alex Davis, who is being charged in the murder of Chyemil Pierce, an Oakland mom who was trying to shield her children when she was shot and killed in March.

Authorities were able to track down and arrest Johnell Carter in Mississippi. Carter is a suspected child molester who escaped from a San Jose hospital after allegedly assaulting a Santa Clara County deputy.

"These criminals have been removed from our community and it enables all of us to go forward in prosecuting cases," Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Teresa Drenick said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Netflix Stock, Subscribers Soar to an All-Time High]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 17:35:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Netflix-Logo.jpg

A great day for Netflix.

Stock for the Los Gatos-based company soared to an all-time high Wednesday.

Netflix said it added 4.9 million subscribers in the first three months of the year, better than any other quarter since the company started streaming video eight years ago. All told, Netflix finished March with 62 million subscribers around the world. Traders drove the company's stock up $86.59, or 18 percent, to $562.05, the biggest gain in the S&P 500.

Information from the Associated Press was included in this report.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>