<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Local News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.comen-usWed, 28 Sep 2016 05:35:56 -0700Wed, 28 Sep 2016 05:35:56 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[One Dead After Major-Injury Crash in Martinez: Police]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 23:58:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/01generic-police-lights136.jpg

A major-injury crash turned fatal in Martinez late Tuesday night, according to police.

The Martinez Police Department responded to an incident in the vicinity of Alhambra Avenue and Benham Drive in a statement issued at 9:05 p.m.

They confirmed the crash had turned fatal on social media at 10:23 p.m.

Further details about the crash were not immediately available, but police said that Alhambra Avenue's southbound lanes were all closed and northbound travel was limited to one lane while officers investigated.

<![CDATA[Giants Crush Rockies to Keep Pace in Wild-Card Race]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 23:35:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/giants-927.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants got some help on the off day when the Mets and Cardinals went down. By the middle of Tuesday’s game they knew that both wild card competitors had won, so they they took care of business themselves.

Matt Moore was brilliant into the eighth and the lineup broke through against a young Rockies pitching staff. The 12-3 win allowed the Giants (83-74) to stay a half-game behind New York and hold a similarly slim one-game lead over St. Louis.

The Mets and Cardinals also put up a dozen runs as the three teams continued to charge toward a tense weekend.

The fifth inning represented perhaps the most impressive rally of the second half. The Giants already led 2-1 against rookie German Marquez, and they took advantage of some juicy pitches while batting around. Denard Span kicked things off with a double and scored on Brandon Belt’s liner to right. Belt was caught trying to stretch it to a double, but Buster Posey followed with a homer and Hunter Pence went back-to-back. Brandon Crawford lined a triple and Angel Pagan drove him in with a single. In all, the Giants had six consecutive hits in the four-run frame and hit for the cycle.

Moore cruised into the eighth but he was pulled after two Rockies singled. Joe Nathan stranded the runners with a strikeout of Nolan Arenado. Moore was charged with just one run in 7 2/3 innings.

Starting pitching report: Moore is on a bit of an odd run. He tied a career-high with 11 strikeouts on Tuesday and he has double-digits in two of his last four starts. In the other two, he has six total innings.

Bullpen report: Nathan wants to pitch next season. In the eighth, he looked like a man who should pitch next season.

At the plate: Posey’s homer was his 1,000th hit in the big leagues. The last player to reach 1,000 hits with the Giants was Rich Aurilia (2003).

In the field: In his first night in place of the injured Eduardo Nuñez, Conor Gillaspie scooped Nick Hundley’s rocket to third and made a strong throw to first.

Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 41,582. A moment of silence was held for Jose Fernandez.

Up next: Jeff Samardzija faces Tyler Chatwood, who has had some big nights against the Giants.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Angels Ride 7-Run Fourth Inning to Victory Over A's]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 22:10:03 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/169*120/as-angels21.jpg

ANAHEIM — Rookie Daniel Mengden surely will carry many lessons with him into this offseason after his first exposure to the majors.

As for Tuesday’s start in particular, perhaps the A’s young right-hander is best served to forget it ever took place. He ran into a fourth-inning buzz saw at Angels Stadium, during which the home team blitzed him for seven runs as the A’s were routed 8-1, losing for the seventh time in the past eight games.

It was a tough way for Mengden’s final start of the season to unfold. It was 1-0 Los Angeles when seven consecutive Angels reached base off him to begin the fourth, a rally that included Jefry Marte’s grand slam to straightaway center. The right-hander wound up allowing career highs in runs (eight) and hits (nine) in three-plus innings, as the Angels won for the sixth time in their past seven games.

On the flip side, the A’s weren’t able to break through against right-hander Ricky Nolasco (8-14), who came in pitching well lately but was 0-3 with a 5.21 ERA in three starts against Oakland this season. Ryon Healy’s double that scored Brett Eibner in the sixth kept the A’s from being blanked.

This marks just the second time in Oakland history that the A’s have posted back-to-back 90-loss seasons. They also did so from 1977-79.

Starting pitching report: Marte did the most damage off Mengden (2-9) with his first career grand slam. But — surprise! — Mike Trout again hurt the A’s. He drove in Kole Calhoun with a single in the first and walked as part of the seven-batter avalanche that caught Mengden in the fourth. It isn’t exactly news to say the superstar makes life rough on a team, but the A’s in particular bring out his best. He is 27-for-63 (.429) with five homers, 12 RBI and 19 runs in 17 games against the A’s this season.

Mengden opened his career with an excellent four-start stretch. He found the going mostly rough moving forward from there, finishing with a 6.50 ERA in 14 starts spread over two stints with the big league club. Bullpen report

Zach Neal worked three innings in relief of Mengden and Dillon Overton threw two scoreless innings, getting a strikeout of Trout.

At the plate: The A’s aren’t capable of overcoming a large early deficit with the way they’re swinging the bats right now, though an 8-0 hole is a tall order for any team. Oakland has scored one run or fewer five times in the past seven games, and that doesn’t get it done no matter what the pitching is like. Cleanup man Khris Davis 1-for-20 over his past six games, and leadoff man Joey Wendle has cooled off considerably. He’s 6-for-38 (.158) over his last 10 games.

On the plus side, Healy went 3-for-4 with the run-scoring double. He has 18 multi-hit games over his past 39 contests and is hitting .359 over that span. The rookie third baseman is hitting .309 overall. A native of nearby West Hills, Healy had a noticeable cheering section on hand as well.

In the field: Mengden wasn’t helped out in the first, when Calhoun’s double led to the Angels’ first run. His fly ball to left-center hung in the air long enough that it should have been caught. But it fell between center fielder Brett Eibner and left fielder Valencia, though Eibner got a glove on it. Both converged on it and neither appeared to call it.

Attendance: The announced turnout was 27,531.

Up next: Wednesday’s series finale holds some intrigue with Sonny Gray (5-11, 5.74) returning for his first start since Aug. 6, after being sidelined by a strained forearm. It will be brief, probably no more than 30 pitches according to A’s manager Bob Melvin. Alex Meyer (1-2, 5.91) goes for the Angels, with first pitch at 7:05 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Halloween And Other Fall Events Happening in the Bay Area ]]> Fri, 23 Sep 2016 13:06:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*160/Fall+events2.jpg While summer rolls into fall, it means its time for pumpkin contests, harvest festivals and lots of good food all over the Bay Area. Here is a look at some of the fun activities people can enjoy throughout the Bay Area this fall. Whether you are in the mood for fine wine, live entertainment, cultural foods or good people the Bay Area is a buzz with events in September, October and November. For more information on these events and other things happening in the Bay over the next three months, go to Far Out City to see them all.

Photo Credit: Kavin Mistry/NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Governor Signs Bill Targeting 'Doctor Shopping' For Opioids]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 23:53:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/lafile-proposition-prop-46-bob-pack-carmen.jpg

SACRAMENTO - California doctors will be required to check a database of prescription narcotics before writing scripts for addictive drugs under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed Tuesday that aims to address the scourge of opioid abuse.

The measure attempts to crack down on a practice known as "doctor-shopping," in which addicts visit multiple providers to obtain prescriptions for addictive drugs. The action by the Democratic governor comes amid an intensifying national focus on the problems that stem from prescription and illegal opiates.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 165,000 people died nationwide from prescription opioid overdoses from 1999 to 2014, including 4,500 Californians who died in the last year of available data.

California has maintained records of prescription histories by various means since 1939. The electronic database that exists today is an optional tool for physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners and others who write prescriptions.

For 20 years, doctors' influential lobby thwarted efforts to mandate that California prescribers review patients' narcotic prescription histories, housed in the nation's first drug-monitoring program.

That changed this year following a move by state lawmakers to provide additional funding to staff and modernize the program, quieting the disapproval of most health associations. Pharmaceutical companies took no position on the bill.

The new law, SB482 by Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, requires doctors and nurses to check the database for signs of abuse when initially prescribing narcotic painkillers like OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet, as well as steroids, sleep aids and psychiatric medications. They then have to revisit the database every four months for as long as the drug regimen is continued.

Bob Pack has been advocating for such a mandate since his son Troy, 10, and daughter Alana, 7, were run down and killed in October 2003 by a drugged driver who also had been drinking. The woman was later found to be "doctor shopping."

"If this electronic database was mandatory in 2003, I absolutely believe my kids would be alive," Pack said. "Numerous doctors had been prescribing to the woman who ran over Troy and Alana. She was a doctor shopper; she was getting a lot from numerous doctors who worked together."

When Brown was the state's attorney general, Pack persuaded him to move a warehouse of carbon-copy prescription histories online. Pack then focused on getting doctors to use it.

"It's too late for my family, but it's going to help a lot of others - and that's the whole point of this program and me pushing all these years," Pack said. "It's about all the families in the future who have loved ones with addiction issues. Hopefully it will save lives."

Medical boards will be responsible for enforcing the law, but there is no requirement for doctors to prescribe or withhold medication.

"It can and will put some doctors in an uncomfortable position," Pack said.

The requirement will take effect six months after the Department of Justice certifies it is prepared to handle increased use of the program. "Our office is ready for universal use," Justice Department spokeswoman Brenda Gonzalez said.

There were nearly 165,000 users on Sept. 15, Gonzalez said.

More than 20 other states with similar databases require health care providers to check them before prescribing addictive drugs.

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

Photo Credit: File photo]]>
<![CDATA[New Robin Williams Tribute at Golden Gate Park?]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 20:12:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_090813048528.jpg

Robin Williams' friends say the legendary San Francisco comedian needs a tribute within the city he loved and are looking into renaming a part of Golden Gate Park in his honor.

Friends would like rename the "Sharon Meadows" portion because Williams would sponsor San Francisco's annual Comedy Day held at that area of the park.

Supporters said Williams, who died in 2014, often paid for the whole event to help support young comics.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports friends are raising $100,000 to change the signs in the park to "Robin Williams Meadow."

<![CDATA[SF Supervisor Proposes Fund for Affordable Child Care ]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 19:53:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/kid+on+playground+generic.jpg

Legislation introduced Tuesday by San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee would create an infant and toddler education fund to help expand access to affordable childcare for children under 3.

The fund is intended to provide grants to early childcare providers to expand the number of spaces available for infant and toddler childcare, Yee said.

The program is modeled on the city's Preschool for All program, which provides subsidized preschool for 4-year-olds, and is expected to support both low- and moderate-income families.

Childcare, like housing, is expensive in San Francisco and demand is high for affordable options, especially for younger children. The city's Office of Early Care and Education reports that as of August, 51 percent of those on a waiting list for childcare slots were children under the age of 3.

Yee said the need for affordable childcare is one of the problems driving families out of the city.

"We're working on affordable housing, but that other part of this is that parents with younger children can't afford to stay here," Yee said.

Sources of funding are still being identified for the fund, Yee said.

Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Add Veteran Infielder, Third Catcher With Trade]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 18:53:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/172*120/gs-beckham.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO -- With the left side of their infield banged up, the Giants added an insurance policy for the final week of the regular season. Veteran infielder Gordon Beckham was acquired Tuesday from the Atlanta Braves for minor league infielder Rich Rodriguez. The Giants also added a third catcher, Tony Sanchez, to the roster for the final homestand of the season.

To clear a 40-man roster spots, the Giants designated left-hander Matt Reynolds for assignment and put outfielder Mac Williamson on the 60-day disabled list with a strained quad.

The Beckham move, which was set to be announced later Tuesday, gives the Giants needed infield depth. Eduardo Nuñez will miss two or three days with a hamstring strain and Brandon Crawford is playing through a dislocated left pinky finger. With Conor Gillaspie taking over at third base for the time being, the Giants would have been playing with just two backup infielders. Thus, the trade.

Beckham, 30, is batting .217 in 273 plate appearances this season, with five homers. He has played second, third and shortstop for the Braves.

"With what happened there with Nuney, we felt we could use the help," manager Bruce Bochy said.

Sanchez, a longtime Pittsburgh Pirate, played 16 games for the Sacramento River Cats and hit .200 with two homers. He will allow Bochy to use Trevor Brown as a pinch-hitter or run for Buster Posey.

Reynolds has been charged with five runs in six innings for the Giants. Without him, the club still has five left-handed relievers available. Williamson pulled his quad running down the line during a game in San Diego. His rookie season is over.

The Giants entered play Tuesday just a half-game behind the Mets in the wild card race.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Loophole Allows Some Auto Repair Shop Owners Avoid Penalties]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 23:50:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Bureau+of+Automotive+Repair.jpg

When drivers are cheated by unscrupulous auto repair shops, the state Bureau of Automotive Repair is responsible for protecting consumers and helping drivers recoup their money. Earlier this year, the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit revealed the bureau has limited power to actually enforce consumer protection laws, and now the Investigative Unit is exposing yet another loophole that allows repair shop owners, previously sanctioned for taking advantage of customers, to stay in business and potentially avoid paying fines and penalties.

In February, NBC Bay Area first told you the story of Albert Delao, a San Jose resident who says he was taken advantage of by an independently owned Midas auto repair shop that attempted to cover-up serious damages caused to the vehicle when it crashed onto its side from several feet in the air after falling off a mechanical lift at the repair shop.

After our investigation, the Bureau of Automotive Repair partnered with the state Attorney General’s office to try to shut down that Midas and issue penalties.

State Accusations Against Khan Brothers Inc

• Dishonesty, Fraud or Deceit

• Misleading Statements

• Failure to obtain authorization to perform repairs

• Failure to describe service work performed and parts supplied

Details of the settlement have not been finalized, but the repair shop’s manager tells NBC Bay Area his family decided to sell off the Midas shop, which was operating under the corporate name Khan Brothers Inc.

“We’re honest people. Accidents happen,” management told NBC Bay Area. The business was losing money, according to the manager, and they wanted to focus on running another repair shop they own in San Jose, operating under the corporate name Asghar Brothers, Inc. according to state records. 

While the state’s investigation found a pattern of violations at the Midas shop, the now former manager told NBC Bay Area the family-owned business will not have to pay any fines, penalties, or restitution for the Delao family, so long as they do not use the corporation name Khan Brothers, Inc. to operate auto repair shops. The same owners, however, can continue to operate repair shops using other corporation names, such as Asghar Brothers, Inc.

Albert Delao says he doesn’t understand how a government agency that was created to be a watchdog for the auto repair industry can fall so short, despite being armed with so much evidence. 

“You're there for the people, which is us. Give us what we lost,” Delao said. “We have to go find an attorney that would help us to take our case, which we haven’t found. Everybody wants money up front. So we don’t have money for that. So basically we just lost. Lost our vehicle because they dropped it – we lost everything.”

A spokesperson for the bureau told NBC Bay Area that the agency only has the power to go after a company’s auto repair license and cannot go after individuals. “Although the Khan family is associated with the other corporation, [Asghar Brothers, Inc] is a separate legal entity with valid standing and cannot be affected by the current administrative action and pending decision,” the bureau said in a statement.

Repair shop owner Larry Moore has spent more than 40 years working in the auto industry. As former President of the Automotive Service Councils of California, Moore says he would like to see more stringent and proactive enforcement of bad actors within the industry.

“This is a very complex industry, and there's lots of room for people to do it the wrong way,” Moore told NBC Bay Area. Moore says he is in favor of any reform that would “help business owners, small business owners, shop owners, do it properly.”

After seeing Albert’s story, state lawmakers began demanding changes at the Bureau of Automotive Repair. Earlier this summer, the legislature passed a reform bill to give the agency the power to issue a wider-range of fines to shops that cheat customers, while at the same time requiring more transparency within the bureau.

But just last week, the Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the legislation, saying it was “unnecessary” because similar policies already exist.

The new owners of that Midas tells NBC Bay Area they’ve replaced most of the mechanics. As for the old owners, they say they had nothing to do with the cover-up and continue to blame their former employees, saying they did sloppy work.

 “There’s clearly evidence, there’s pictures,” Delao said. “I think it's very important that [the Bureau of Automotive Repair] start doing the right thing for the consumer – the person that's hurt, the person that's lost.”

Watch the entire series in this NBC Bay Area investigation:

Part 1: Auto Shop 'Cover-Up': Family Left With Thousands of Dollars in Damage After SUV Falls Off Lift

Part 2: NBC Bay Area Investigation Sparks Consumer Protection Bill

If you have a tip for the Investigative Unit, email TheUnit@nbcbayarea.com or call 888-996-TIPS. You can also email Investigative Reporter Bigad Shaban directly at Bigad.Shaban@nbcuni.com.

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<![CDATA[ More Documents Lead to More 'Millenniumgate' Questions]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 19:04:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/millennium1.jpg

San Francisco building inspection officials created a draft report downplaying risks at the sinking Millennium Tower while other documents show they urged rigorous monitoring and even a citation against the developer, documents obtained by NBC Bay Area show.

The latest document disclosure comes as San Francisco City Supervisor Aaron Peskin is fed up with the Department of Building Inspection

The whole thing is embarrassing,” he said. “This is turning into Millenniumgate.”

Peskin was reacting to the latest batch of documents we obtained under our records request this week.

One of the document is a draft report that declares the building safe after a secret visit by city building inspection officials on July 20. That visit was before the news broke about the building having sunk 16 inches.

“It says they went out there and inspected everything and everything’s is fine,” Peskin says. “This after they admitted that they don’t have the expertise in house – they are relying on third party reports paid for by the developer.”

The report belies earlier statements by building inspection officials that they did not begin any investigation until mid August.

Still other documents suggest that a top engineer with the city, Hanson Tom, told his superior in a July 25 memo that he believed that an unapproved makeshift ramp had been used to span two parts of the sinking building. He said the “steep slope” of a ramp linking two parts of the sinking structure was had not been approved and did not meet city requirements. He also recommended a rigorous protocol of monitoring, especially if the building’s sinking became more dramatic in a year period. His findings were not included in the draft report issued Aug. 4.

One resident of the building said the city’s limited efforts before the news broke were little more than a “white wash.

“It certainly doesn’t assure me at all about the safety of the building,” said Jerry Dodson, an attorney and engineer who lives on the 42nd floor of the building.

“It think it was a white wash by city officials,” he said, “to report things are fine when they are not fine. We need a real hard look at this, by competent engineers that disclose to the public and the homeowners what’s going on….and that isn’t it.”

The Millennium Tower owners association brought in an outside consultant this week who has begun to bore three holes around the building to install monitoring equipment around the sinking and leaning structure. The goal is to measure settlement, water levels and the risk of further leaning.

Meanwhile, Peskin introduced a plan to deal with the building inspection department’s document retention policies in light of evident gaps in the record exposed by NBC Bay Area.

The city has yet to find, he said, the developer’s response to city concerns about the sinking problem back in 2009.

“It is frankly unthinkable that even though the city knew seven years ago that the building was sinking,” he said.

“We have lost, thrown away, destroyed or can’t find all the responses we got from the developer. We have got to fix the city’s document retention policies.”

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Suspects Shoot, Pistol Whip Couple in Orinda]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 19:06:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N6P+ORINDA+ARMED+ROBBERY+PKG+-+00003315.jpg

Orinda police are looking for suspects in Halloween masks who they say shot a woman twice during an armed robbery and pistol-whipped her husband Monday. 

The affluent city in Contra Costa County is routinely among the top 10 safest towns in California — a fact that led the victims to initially believe they were being pranked. 

"We actually thought it was my son and his buddy doing a pre-Halloween prank on us," Tom Spalding said.

But then he saw the gun. 

Spalding and his wife Carol Brown, the Orinda Union School District board vice president, picked up groceries at a Safeway, before heading to their home about a mile away. Police say two men allegedly followed the couple to their driveway and held them at gunpoint while they were unloading groceries.

One of the suspects said, "Give it up," according to Spalding, who handed over his wallet.

Spalding, 63, was then pistol whipped, but Brown, 70, was shot "through the pelvis" and "in the upper arm," he said.

"I got down and put pressure to the arm wound, which was the one that was bleeding more profusely," Spalding said.

In a note to the community on Next Door, Police Chief Mark Nagel said that the couple's son called dispatch to say that his mother had been shot in the left arm and lower hip during the robbery on Claremont Avenue. 

"My dad runs inside the house bleeding, saying they shot my mom," said Micah Spalding, the couple's son. 

Micah Spalding quickly dialed 911, but the suspects fled.

"They must have had a car because they got away really quickly," he said.

The pair was taken to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, police said. Brown is said to be in stable condition and Tom Spalding was treated at the hospital and released.

Meanwhile, officers secured the crime scene, Nagel said. 

"We had CHP, additional agencies, K-9s, air support in an attempt to locate the suspects," he said. 

Nagel echoed Micah Spalding's thoughts on a possible getaway car because officers "did not find them."

Nagel did not say how many suspects there were, only that they had been wearing masks and were seen running away with a wallet and a purse. Investigators are now going through surveillance footage to see if they can identify the suspects, he said.

The Spalding family is working with police to offer a reward for information that yields arrests.

For his part, Tom Spalding said he never imagined experiencing such an ordeal in their quiet neighborhood.

"That’s why we thought it was a joke," he said. "Truth be told, ... stuff never happens here."

People with information are asked to call the Orinda Police Department at 925-254-6820 or email tips@so.cccounty.us. Anonymous tips can be left via voice message at 866-846-3592.

Photo Credit: Spalding Family]]>
<![CDATA[Concern Over Rising Sea Levels in SF's Mission Bay]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 18:29:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0927-2016-MissionBaySeaWall.jpg

Situated along the waterfront, San Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood may need to strengthen its seawall and install levees to combat rising sea levels, according to a report published Monday.

The Bay Conservation and Development Commission and non-profit SPUR, partnered together to publish the 80-page study, which offers renderings of potential infrastructure additions that could save the region from future flooding.

"Climate change is real. Rising sea level is going to happen. The Bay shoreline is going to be affected. That is simply the way it's going to be," said Larry Goldzband with the Bay Conservation and Development Commission.

Projections highlight that rising sea water could overwhelm the neighborhood by 2050 if a hefty storm, coupled with high tide, hit the Bay Area.

Before that time, simple fixes include installing clear glass barriers along shoreline walkways ranging from three to four feet in height.

"I had no idea that there was any concern with the water level, and that's kind of concerning because our office just a few blocks away right next to where the Warriors stadium is going to be built," San Francisco-resident Christiane Volk said.

Goldzband said the city is simply preparing for a water problem that is coming very slowly.

Photo Credit: SPUR]]>
<![CDATA[Crews From Across State Work in Shifts to Fight Loma Fire]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 19:05:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/firefighters-loma.jpg

Firefighters from as far away as Oregon and Nevada were among the more than 500 personnel on the scene of the Loma Fire burning in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

They are working 24 hours on and 24 hours off, and when they get to base camp in Gilroy, that means they get some much needed rest.

The downtime is especially important for firefighters who've just spent weeks battling other wildfires.

San Jose firefighter Gary Laird and his crew mates were on the front line Monday night, trying to save 20 homes off Loma Prieta Road.

"The fire made significant runs up the hill in the area I was working," he said. "But we didn't lose any homes."

Laird has been on a whirlwind tour of California wildfires this season. He spent 15 days at the Soberanes Fire, which is still burning in Monterey County near Big Sur. That wildfire, the costliest in state history, has scorched more than 128,000 acres and is 81 percent contained.

Laird also battled the Uvas Fire and other wildland fires, and since he returned to San Jose, he's hasn't had much of a break.

"Inside San Jose, we had a vegetation fire almost every day," he said. "It has been so hot from the drought."

To many Bay Area firefighters this season, it seems they've spent more time on the front lines than on their front yards.

"We've had active fires the past few months so we have had firefighters moving from one fire to the next and working several days in a row," said Jonathan Cox of Cal Fire.

Some crews responding to the Loma Fire just arrived Tuesday from battling the Sawmill Fire in Sonoma County. Laird said the difference this season is the intensity of the fires. But despite the dangers, the payoff is saving lives and homes, he said.

"It's definitely rewarding despite no sleep, no food," Laird said. "I'm ready for sleep today; I'll be ready to go tomorrow."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Confessed Killer Testifies in Drifters' Double Murder Case]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 17:51:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0927-2016-Drifters.jpg

Confessed killer Sean Angold broke down on the witness stand Tuesday as he described the murders of a 23-year-old Canadian tourist and a 67-year-old therapist from Marin County.

Angold recently pleaded guilty in shooting deaths of Audrey Carrey of Quebec and Steven Carter of Fairfax and agreed to testify against his former companions, 19-year-old Lila Alligood and 24-year-old Morrison Lampley.

Alligood and Lampley are both charged in the 2015 slayings.

In his testimony on Tuesday, Angold also described a meth-fueled drug binge that ended with the killing of Carrey and Carter. He admitted he was there when Carrey was shot to death near the windmills in Golden Gate Park and when Carter was shot dead on a hiking trail near Fairfax.

In both killings Lampley pulled the trigger, Angold said.

Angold said he met Carrey as he and defendants Alligood and Lapley were smoking meth near Golden Gate Park. The Canadian tourist offered to share some beer and marijuana, according to Angold.

The trio then decided they would rob Carrey because "she was foreign and possibly could have money," Angold said.

Angold cried as he told how they jumped Carrey, tried to tie her up and then Lampley shot her in the head with a .40-calibur pistol Angold had stolen from a pickup on Russian Hill.

Angold said he, Alligood and Lampley then decided to leave for Oregon to grow marijuana. But two days later they were no further than a trail head in Fairfax, and that is when the three decided they needed to shoot someone to steal a car.

Angold said Carter pulled into the trail head parking area to take his dog for a walk when he saw the trio sitting nearby. Angold said Carter looked at them "kind of crazy, put his car in reverse and drove to anther nearby parking area."

It was that small act that put it into their heads to hunt Carter down and shoot him to get his car, Angold said.

Angold on the witness stand admitted the robberies and killings were decided in a nonchalant, casual manner. Angold said they drove Carter's car to Portland, but were there only a few hours before being arrested in the stolen car carrying the belongings of their victims.

"He's lying to save his skin," said Amy Morton, an attorney representing Alligood.

Angold has plead guilty to second-degree  murder in the Carter's death. He is not charged in Carrey's murder.

The deal Angold agreed to is 15 years to life. His former companions, Alligood and Lampley, face life in prison without parole if convicted at trial.

The preliminary hearing is expected ton continue Wednesday as the defense attorneys question Angold about lying to investigators when the trio was first arrested.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Dramatic Images From the Loma Fire: Day 1 and 2]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 17:25:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/NWP-MH-Loma-Fire-0660.JPG The Loma Fire broke out in the Santa Cruz mountains on Sept. 26, 2016 at 3 p.m. Cal Fire crews said the blaze is difficult to fight because of the rugged terrain.

Photo Credit: Neal Waters]]>
<![CDATA[Petaluma Fire Damages 14 Homes, Forces Evacuations]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 23:46:59 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/petaluma-fire2.jpg

A three-alarm fire in a residential neighborhood in Petaluma burned through 14 homes Tuesday, destroying four of them, just east of Highway 101, authorities said.

The fire started around 3:15 p.m. along the eastside of the freeway, south of East Washington Street, closing down northbound lanes of the freeway and forcing evacuations, according to fire officials. They said something from a vehicle on the freeway ignited brush on the shoulder, and it spread quickly.

"A lot of things can start a fire on the side of the freeway," Petaluma Fire Battallion Chief Jeff Holden said. "Stuff coming out of your exhaust pipe, a faulty catalytic converter will start it."

Neighbor Don Brillhart told his children to retrieve the family pets and make sure the elderly woman living next-door got out of her home OK.

"I mean it moved too quick, but by the time they got here I was like burning my feet because all those embers coming off the trees they were popping," Brillhart said.

The blaze damaged 14 homes, four of which have been designated uninhabitable, officials said. The flames were fueled by euclayptus trees bordering the homes' backyards and the freeway shoulder.

"Those leaves float when they catch on fire," Holden said. "Even a light wind will cast those embers out in front of the fire, and it'll keep spreading."

Petaluma police said 20 homes were evacuated in the area of the fire, along Stuart Drive, east of East Washington Street.

Those evacuated were being told to gather at the Safeway parking lot at the Washington Square shopping center or at the intersection of McKenzie and Cortes streets, police said.

Initially, all traffic was being diverted off north 101 at Lakeville Highway, the CHP said. One lane in the northbound direction was reopened about 4:30 p.m. The second lane reopened about 5:20 p.m.

[[395025551, C]]

NBC Bay Area's Terry McSweeney contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[SF Balks at Funding Project Tied to Sinking Millennium Tower]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 18:31:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9-14-16-milennium-tower-sf.jpg

San Francisco officials on Tuesday balked at providing $6.8 million to the joint powers government agency, which is responsible for building the Transbay terminal complex, but is now locked in a dispute over who is to blame for the sinking Millennium Tower.

City supervisors, acting as the San Francisco transportation authority commission, voted 7 to 3 to hold off some money Transbay Joint Powers Authority is seeking for design studies related to the second phase of the $4 billion transit terminal.

The first phase is set to be complete next year, but is running well over $2 billion. The authority has been forced to take money set aside for the second phase, which would use sales tax money to extend Caltrain to the transit hub as well as serve as a station for high speed rail to Los Angeles.

After the vote, San Francisco supervisors Aaron Peskin and David Campos said they wanted to send a message in light of apparent arrogance demonstrated by the Transbay authority.

Campos said he recently met with the authority’s management team and wanted to know about the current dispute over the sinking and tilting Millennium project. Transbay authorities are legally obligated to pay Millennium for damage caused by a $58 million underground wall the authority constructed between the two projects.

Transbay says it is not responsible for the sinking, but Millennium officials say the agency construction drained water needed to keep the 58-story from sinking further into Bay mud. It currently has sunk 16 inches and is leaning two inches at the base.

“It is possible that the (authority) will be on the hook, it is legally possible ... and it is legally possible that they will come back to the city and ask for more support,” Campos said after the vote. “So we have an obligation to ensure that we hold the line and hold them accountable.”

Peskin agreed, saying: “Rather than forking over money every time they request it, I want to make sure we have good management over there, that we know what we are doing.

In light of a recent quarter billion dollar bailout by the city, Campos said, "Let’s learn from our mistakes as we move forward."

In the case of the Millennium, Peskin said: “I want to make sure that (the authority) is being very transparent about all things. They have been frankly quite secretive and not very transparent. When they are asking our agency for money, this is the time to hold them accountable.”

Meanwhile, Scott Boule, with the transbay joint powers authority, said the aency had requested funds "to advance preliminary engineering and design work for the Downtown Rail Extension."

He continued: "We will continue to work with the SFCTA Commissioners and staff to provide the information required to advance these funds." 

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Kaepernick Says Presidential Debate 'Embarrassing to Watch']]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 14:09:10 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/282*120/kap-fro-wow.jpg

Colin Kaepernick said Monday's presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was "embarrassing to watch" and that both candidates are "proven liars."

The outspoken San Francisco 49ers quarterback has captured national headlines over the past month by taking a knee during the national anthem and helping shine a light on issues of police brutality and racial inequality. Speaking to reporters Tuesday afternoon from the 49ers locker room, Kaepernick was asked if he watched the presidential debate.

"To me it was embarrassing to watch that these are our two candidates," Kaepernick said. "Both are proven liars. It almost seems like they're trying to debate who's less racist."

Trump on a Seattle radio station last month called Kaepernick’s protest “a terrible thing.” Trump added, “And, you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him. Let him try, it won’t happen.”

Kaepernick on Tuesday responded and said, “That’s a very ignorant statement, that if you don’t agree with what’s going on here and that if you want justice and liberty and freedom for all that you should leave the country.

 “He always says ‘Make America Great Again.’ Well, America’s never been great for people of color. And that’s something that needs to be addressed. Let’s make America great for the first time.”

Clinton and Trump's first face-to-face showdown Monday night was confrontational from the start, with Trump frequently trying to interrupt Clinton and speaking over her answers. Clinton was more measured and restrained, often smiling through his answers, well-aware of the television cameras capturing her reaction.

The two nominees are locked in an exceedingly close presidential race and competing vigorously to win over undecided voters. The first debate was watched by some 80 million people.

Kaepernick appears to not favor any of the candidates, and said "At this point, in talking to one of my friends, you have to pick the lesser of two evils, but in the end, it's still evil."

Kaepernick since August has taken to kneeling before games during the national anthem to raise awareness to issues of police brutality and racial inequality.

On Friday, the 49ers quarterback was joined by the Castlemont High School football team when he visited students and attended their game.

When the first strains of the national anthem floated across the field and Kaepernick knelt, the high school football players lay on the ground with their hands up in the air.

Social unrest has rocked the United State recently. Police shootings in Tulsa and Charlotte have spawned massive demonstrations and even riots. Amid this social landscape, Kaepernick’s ongoing protest has ignited a maelstrom of conflicting reactions.

His face will grace the cover of Time magazine next month, but he has also received death threats and a recent poll reflects his unenviable achievement of being the most disliked player in the National Football League.

Closer to home, the quarterback has had not only the 49ers head coach Chip Kelly in his corner, but even a muralist, who created artwork on the side of an Oakland wall to remind Kaepernick, “We got your back.”

CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco and The Associated Press' Josh Lederman and Lisa Lerer contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Matt Maiocco]]>
<![CDATA[Loma Fire Timelapse]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 15:41:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/IMG_0063_1200x675_774186051728.jpg A timelapse of the Loma Fire in the Santa Cruz mountains. Mandatory evacuations were ordered Tuesday morning for Santa Cruz Mountain residents living near the Loma Fire, which had charred 2,000 acres and was 5 percent contained early in the morning. Video produced by Jennifer Gonzalez.]]> <![CDATA[Elon Musk Outlines Plans to Go to Mars]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 03:44:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_16271781854596-elon-musk-mars-spacex.jpg

It was a press conference with a little bit of everything — space travel, science, technology and the offer of a kiss.

Welcome to the world of Elon Musk.

Musk spoke at the International Astronautical Congress about SpaceX's plan to take us to Mars.

Spoiler alert: It's going to take some time, and there's no guarantee of a return trip.

Musk was honest about the speculative nature of it all; it will be very expensive (at least at first), and very time consuming.

Also, he was fairly honest about the fact that it's just not yet possible.

He showed a "timeline," admitting (a nod to Tesla deliveries) that "I'm not very good at these."

He also addressed whether or not he himself would travel to space, saying that "I may die, so I'd want a succession plan in place."

A crewed mission to the Red Planet could come in 10 years "if things go super well," Musk said, as CNBC noted. The spaceship would have to fit around 100 people and come with everything needed to build a colony: "iron foundries, pizza joints, you name it."

During a surreal Q&A session, Musk was asked if Mars was like Burning Man (he's not sure), and if someone could come up to the stage and give him a "good luck kiss."

He demurred.

With NASA, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and others talking about space travel, Musk laid out more detail than we've heard before. You can see his whole talk here:

Scott scans the skies on Twitter: @scottbudman

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[San Mateo County Election Candidate Forums]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 13:36:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Resized+PresDebateWatchParty.jpg

Now that you’ve heard from our presidential candidates in last night’s debate, learn about who is on the November ballot for city offices in San Mateo County at a forum near you.

Throughout the next month, the League of Women Voters of North and Central San Mateo County is hosting a series of forums for candidates in special elections, city council and school district races. Here is a look at the upcoming month of events open to the public.

See a full list of candidates for San Mateo County ballots:

San Mateo County Harbor District Candidate Forum

Current Harbor Commissioners Sabrina Brennan and Tom Mattusch are up for reelection this November to serve four-year terms. Pietro Parravano is not running for reelection. Incumbents Virginia Chang Kiraly, Sabrina Brennan and Tom Mattusch are running for that seat alongside Shawn Mooney. There is also a two-year seat that Brian Rogers and Ed Laderas will be on the ballot for.

7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 28 at Granada Community Services District Community Room, 3rd Floor, 504 Avenue Alhambra El Granada, CA 94018

Midcoast Community Council and the Montara Water and Sewer District Candidate Forum

Current Montara Water and Sewer Board of Directors Members Scott Boyd and Kathryn Slater-Carter are up for reelection this November for a four-year term. Thomas “Gus” Peterson will also be running. Current Midcoast Community Councilmembers Daniel Haggerty, Lisa Ketcham and Laura Stein will be on the November ballot seeking reelection with Barbra Matheweson and Brandon Kwan seeking two-year terms.

7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at Seton Medical Center Coastside, 600 Marine Blvd. Moss Beach, CA 94038

Half Moon Bay City Council Candidate Forum

Neither councilmembers Marina M. Fraser and John Mullar are running for reelection this November. Adam Eisen, Carol Joyce, Harvey Rarback and Michael Thompson are running for the two open seats.

7 p.m Wednesday, October 5, 2016 at Emergency Operation Center, 537 Kelly Ave. Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

Brisbane School District Candidate Forum

Lillian Markind, Yahim “Kima” Hayuk, Rual Alcaraz and Jacque Mclaughlin have qualified for the ballot and will be running for the two open seats.

6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 12, 2016 at Lipman Middle School at 1 Solano St. Brisbane, CA 94005

Cabrillo Unified School District Candidate Forum

Kate Livingston is up for reelection this November with Sophia Layne and Kimberly Hines also running for two open seats.

7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 at Granada Community Services District Community Room, 3rd floor, 504 Avenue Alhambra El Granada, CA 94018

Colma City Council Candidate Forum

Current Councilmembers Diana Colvin and Raquel "Rae" Gonzalez are up for reelection this November for four-year terms, while Councilmember Joseph A. Silva will not be seeking reelection. Barry Lazardo, Laura Walsh and John Irish Goodwin will be seeking one of the three open seats as well.

6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at Colma Community Center 1520 Hillside Blvd. Colma, CA 94014

Daly City City Council Candidate Forum

Current City Clerk Annette Hipona and Treasurer Daneca Halvorson are running unopposed for reelection while Councilmembers David J. Canepa and Gonzalo "Sal" Torres will not be seeking reelection. Juslyn Manalo, Glenn Sylvester, Braxton Lethco, Gabriella Makstman, Claro “Larry” Formalejo and Dana Claire Smith will be seeking election to one of those two open seats.

6:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 27, 2016 at Daly City Council Chambers 333 90th St. Daly City, CA 94015

Attending a candidate forum that isn't on here? Help us update this list by emailing public candidate forums in your neighborhood to rebecca.greenway@nbcuni.com.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area/Rebecca Greenway]]>
<![CDATA[Armed Man Detained, Nordstrom Lockdown Lifted: PD]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:54:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Nordstrom-Generic.jpg

Palo Alto police on Tuesday apprehended a suspect, who they say flashed a .45-caliber handgun during a road rage incident and prompted a lockdown at Nordstrom at the Stanford Shopping Center.

A man in his 30s was driving on Embarcadero Road near Middlefield Road with his wife around 10:45 a.m. when the suspect, identified as Charles Christian Simbulan Blanco of Fremont, made an unsafe lane change, police said. The ensuing road rage incident spanned several blocks.

The victim called police and reported that Blanco brandished a pistol and threatened him at Quarry and Arboretum roads.

Officers located Blanco's unoccupied white 2016 Honda Fit in Nordstrom's parking lot at 550 Sand Hill Road. While they searched for the man, police put Nordstrom was locked down as a precaution.

Roughly 225 employees and shoppers were allowed to leave the store in about 40 minutes, police said, adding that they don't have any evidence that points to Blanco ever entering the shop.

During the investigation, police found that 28-year-old Blanco worked at Stanford Health Care and detained him there around 12:40 p.m. Police said they also found an unloaded .45-caliber Glock in the front door pocket as well as loaded gun magazines in the glove compartment.

Blanco owned the gun and ammunition legally and so was issued a criminal citation for brandishing a firearm and not properly stowing it. Both charges are misdemeanors, said police, who released Blanco at the crime scene.

People with information about the incident are asked to call 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent to 650-383-8984. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Treasure Island Music Festival Moves to Eastern Shore]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 18:35:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/14125037_599542213562167_6907030449175301194_o.jpg

The 10th annual running of the Treasure Island Music Festival will have a new backdrop.

A multi-million dollar construction project has shifted the October festival from the west side of the island to the eastern shoreline, which will display views of the San Francisco Bay Bridge's western span and the Oakland hills, according to a press release.

Despite the venue shift, organizers say the event, which is scheduled for Oct. 15-16, will not suffer. The VIP section will be beefed up and the venue's design will better facilitate the movement of attendees between various performance stages. A 60-foot-high ferris wheel and silent disco space will also be moved and housed on a pier that protrudes out above the Bay, offering a new viewpoint for concertgoers.

Featured artists for the 10th and final showcase on Treasure Island include hip-hop artist Ice Cube and Icelandic rock group Sigur Rós, according to the press release.

In an attempt to reduce traffic congestion, organizers are limiting the amount of available parking spaces on the island, according to the press release. Concertgoers are asked to take public transportation or catch provided shuttles that will carry attendees from the East Bay and San Francisco to the event.

Photo Credit: Anh Nguyen ]]>
<![CDATA[Chip Kelly in No Hurry to Make a Move to Kaepernick]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 08:58:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Gabbynblaynne.jpg

After the Seahawks pounded the 49ers Sunday, 37-18, Seattle defensive lineman Michael Bennett said he was surprised San Francisco didn’t pull starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert in favor of backup Colin Kaepernick.

"I think Kaepernick gives the team a better chance of winning, but that’s just my opinion," Bennett told the Seattle Times.

Bennett and Kaepernick met on the field and chatted for a few minutes after the game.

"I just talked about him getting a chance to play again," Bennett told Jayson Jenks of the Times. "I think he’s a great quarterback. I think he’s just missing his opportunities. Hopefully, he gets to play."

While there’s nothing in Kaepernick’s performances over the 2014-2015 seasons to indicate he’s a "great" quarterback, Kaepernick was a scintillating performer in 2012 and 2013 when he was 17-6 in the regular season and led the 49ers to a Super Bowl.

But on Monday, 49ers head coach Chip Kelly said Gabbert – even with another subpar performance in Seattle – will be the starter for this Sunday’s game against the Cowboys and for the near future.

Kelly told reporters Monday that he believes Kaepernick is still not 100 percent fit after three offseason surgeries and some significant weight loss because he wasn’t able to do his usual offseason weight work. Kelly said Kaepernick will remain Gabbert’s primary backup, however, if he should be injured.

"I don’t think he’s ready to go full time," Kelly told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. "He’s continuing to work on it."

Shea noted, however, that Kaepernick had said Sunday he’s fit and ready. In fact, in the 49ers final preseason game against the Chargers on Sept. 1, Kaepernick started and was 11-of-18 for 103 yards passing and rushed four times for 38 yards.

“I think I showed that in the last preseason game,” Kaepernick said. “I’m out at practice every day working, making sure I’m ready for when that time does come.”

In the 49ers’ second straight loss Sunday, Gabbert threw for just 119 yards. The offense was able to convert just 4-of-15 third-down opportunities and was held without a touchdown until the game was out of reach in the fourth quarter.

Gabbert has a quarterback rating of 68.6 – which ranks 39th in a 32-team league – and his average of 5.5 yards per pass play ranks 41st.

The 49ers face the Cowboys Sunday at Levi’s Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1:25 p.m.

<![CDATA[Photos from Fire in Santa Cruz Mountains]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 13:08:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9-27-16-loma-fire-raw4.jpg The Loma Fire broke out in the Santa Cruz mountains on Sept. 26, 2016 at 3 p.m. ]]> <![CDATA[Loma Fire Forces Swedes to Evacuate, Threatens Wedding]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 14:26:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sveadal1.jpg

A group of Swedes was among hundreds forced to evacuate from the Santa Cruz Mountains because of the Loma Fire, which on Tuesday had charred more than 2,000 acres and burned two homes.

And for bride-to-be Lindsey Stiles, of San Mateo, that means she probably can't get married Saturday at the Sveadal campground in Uvas Canyon, a sacred site that's been part of her family since even before she was born.

"I'm trying not to lose it," Stiles told NBC Bay Area on Tuesday. "It's always been my dream to get married there. But yeah, now, there's a fire."

The 31-year-old half laughed when she said history seemed to be repeating itself: Her parents were supposed to be married at Sveadal (SVAY-ah-DAHL) in the 1980s. But a fire the year before dashed their hopes, too.

So now, Stiles has been forced to make contingency plans for the big day. She's gotten her head around the fact that will will most likely marry Steven Cavella, a Stanford University student, an hour away in the coastal city of Pescadero instead of the rustic Sveadal campgrounds. She'll just need to divert the caterers and band to the Pacific Ocean instead.

As of Tuesday morning, no one was allowed to enter the Sveadal campsite, a 110-acre piece of property in southern Santa Clara County owned by the members of the Swedish American Patriotic League since 1926.

For 90 years, the group has been renting quaint cabins for summer stays and weddings, most of them built in the early 1900s. Sveadal means "Swedish Valley." Countless vacations, family reunions and Thanksgivings have been spent there.

Stiles had brought her boyfriend to Sveadal plenty of times. She even used a photo of the two on her wedding website. The happy couple is smiling in front of a cabin with a big flag of Sweden behind them; Stiles is Swedish American and her fiance is Italian.

Those who belong to the tight-knit Sveadal community know that fire has long been a part of its history.

"We've been through this before," said Kent "Gus" Gustafson, 55, a property management owner in San Mateo, who owns a "vestbo" or cabin at the campground. "The last time, we snuck through the barricades with a TV truck to get our priceless items and photos. This time, there's no way to get in."

Many other areas along the Loma Prieta ridgeline in Santa Clara County were also evacuated.

Cal Fire officials did not immediately say which two structures were destroyed in the fire, which broke out Monday afternoon. The wildfire was threatening at least 300 more structures on Tuesday, and was headed toward the Sveadal grounds.

Swedish American Patriotic League president Conor Massey told NBC Bay Area that a park ranger told him the burned buildings were not near the campground, and that he was heartened 10 engines were sent to fight the fire on the Sveadal property. The area escaped the wrath of the Santa Cruz Mountain Summit Fire in 2008, and Massey is hoping the campgrounds will get "get lucky again."

As for Stiles, she is trying to hold steady and looking to her own mother for inspiration.

Not only has her mom been "amazing" about her wedding changes, but Stiles said her parents have been in a wonderful marriage for about four decades, despite not getting married at Sveadal, as originally planned. Her parents chose to marry at the recreation center in suburban Foster City.

But Stiles doesn't want to follow in her parents' exact path on wedding venues — she's going to choose a beachfront ceremony instead.

"I'm not going to go that route," Stiles said with a laugh.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lindsey Stiles
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<![CDATA[Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Reopens After Big Rig Fire ]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 17:33:43 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bigrigfire1.jpg

Eastbound lanes on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge reopened nearly 10 hours after a tractor trailer was engulfed in flames Tuesday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The CHP said that a big rig crashed into a temporary construction barrier, causing the vehicle's cab to catch on fire around 8 a.m. The report also said that the big rig was carrying 24 tons of contaminated soil.

"It blew up twice. There was a couple of explosions. I've never seen anything like it," said Art Androyna, who had a front row seat to the fiery crash. His painting crew was removing scaffolding on the bridge when the big rig slammed into the guard rail.

"We all got out of there once that happened," Androyna recalled. "Everyone cut and ran."

Eastbound Interstate Highway 580 en route to Richmond was blocked by the aftermath of the collision and was reopened around 5:25 p.m., but the CHP has warned drivers of residual delays. The westbound lanes remained open during the day.

The closure meant there was no way out of Marin County and commuters were forced to go through San Francisco and across the Bay Bridge to enter the East Bay.

"We are extremeley fortunate he was able to keep [the big rig] in a straight line," said CHP officer Aristotle Wolfe. 

No one was injured in the crash and subsequent fire, the CHP said, noting that the driver made it out before the explosion. Investigators, who are looking into the cause of the crash, said the driver was not driving under the influence.

Emergency crews have spent all day cleaning up the wreckage. They had to drain the big rig of its remaining diesel fuel, and remove the contaminated dirt and fuel that spilled onto the deck.

"We have to make sure this is safe," Wolfe said. "We don't want to open anything until it is. I hope everyone across the Bay Area exercises patience. They're going to need to deal with this kind of corridor being closed for a while."

The CHP has advised drivers to take eastbound Highway 37 to westbound Interstate Highway 80 as an alternate route. 

"I'm just going to have to wait it out," said commuter Kelii Amantiad. "Not much we can do but wait it out."

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Photo Credit: CHP Marin
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<![CDATA[Raiders Make "Tough Choice" to Release Reece]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 08:05:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/175*120/Mahhcelle.jpg

For several seasons, Marcel Reece was one of the Raiders’ few bright spots.

The former wide receiver at the University of Washington converted to fullback with Oakland and became a favorite of fans, teammates and owner Mark Davis since joining the team in 2009. The four-time Pro Bowler excelled as a receiver out of the backfield and also as a tailback at times. He was a hard-nosed player on the field who was a friendly, gracious reprsentative of the team at community functions. 

But when Reece’s four-game suspension was lifted Monday, the team announced it had released him. His suspension – for the final game of 2015 and the first three regular-season games of 2016 – was the result of testing for a banned performance-enhancing substance last year.

The Raiders declined to state a reason for his release.

At this point, Reece is 31 and the Raiders, who are off to a 2-1 start, now have a younger fullback in Jamize Olawale, who was signed to a contract extension after 2015. The backfield is full, with Latavius Murray, rookies Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington and Taiwan Jones, a special teams ace.

Said head coach Jack Del Rio, to Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com: "We feel like it’s a good group and we don’t want to disrupt it."

Del Rio called the move "a tough decision," and general manager Reggie McKenzie said all Reece's contributions over the years, on and off the field, won’t be forgotten.

Davis also released a statement that indicated the decision was a difficult one to make, calling it “a sad day for the Raider Family and Raider Nation.”

"My father once said I would have a tough time running this organization because I was too close to the players, and that rings true today," Davis wrote. "Marcel Reece has been a pillar of the organization for nine years and was the glue that held us together during a rough transition after my father’s passing."

"He helped put us on the upward path we are on today and his leadership will be sorely missed. The motto ‘Once a Raider, Always a Raider’ has never been more appropriate. When Marcel finishes his playing career, there will always be a spot for him within the Raider organization."

Reece said he used a plant root extract that he did not know would result in a positive test for a PED. Said Del Rio, at the time Reece was suspended: "I know he’s disappointed and doesn’t feel like it’s really justified."

Olawale, 27, will now remain the No. 1 fullback. He’s a solid blocker and short-yardage runner who’s carried three times in 2016 for 13 yards and a touchdown. The 6-foot, 235-pounder from North Texas last year averaged 4.0 yards per carry. He also had 23 catches.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Police Use Trading Cards to Connect]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 07:41:05 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/pleasanton+police1.jpg

Amidst nationwide polls showing a decline in public trust, police departments in the East Bay are finding new, and sometimes unique, ways to try and connect with their communities.

Perhaps one of the more trendy ideas comes from the Pleasanton Police Department, where a series of trading cards featuring the images of its officers will be made available to the city's youth.

The 41 collectible cards will be handed out at kid-friendly events sponsored by the department. In keeping with the theme of targeting younger residents, all card giveaways will be announced via the department’s social media accounts, according to Shannon Revel-Whitaker, a crime prevention officer.

The department tried using trading cards as a way to familiarize youth and police in the early aughts, but this is the first time they’ve incorporated a collection game, she said. 

“It came about because another officer here, a school resource officer, suggested the idea as we sat down to talk about furthering engagement,” she said.

When all the cards have been collected, kids can enter for a chance to ride along with an officer during the Hometown Holiday Parade, among other prizes. Collector's game boards, which resemble posters and show pictures of all 41 cards, can be picked up at the front desk of the department office. 

In other parts of the East Bay, programs that are designed to diminish adversarial relationships between police and community members have become routine.  

Typically, each program is geared towards placing officers in an approachable environment: Pittsburg has its upcoming “Chips and Dip with a Cop” event on Sept. 29; Martinez hosts sit-downs with police over coffee, and in Richmond, officers swapped their uniforms for chef’s aprons during a barbecue and voter drive earlier this month.

Pittsburg police captain Ron Raman noted that these events remove the high-stress contexts in which police and community members usually come together.

“If you’re going to a domestic violence call or a violent call, you’re not going to be able to have the same interaction you can when you’re in an environment like Chips with a Cop,” he said. “It changes the officer's focus, and it changes the focus of the people who are there.”

While these types of programs may not be new, more recent installments do come at a significant juncture: The Bay Area is still grappling from a sexual exploitation scandal that rocked several police departments, and debates over officers’ use of force has sparked numerous protests around the country.

Research has also shown levels of waning trust: A nationwide Gallup poll found that confidence in law enforcement is the lowest it has been in 22 years.

Public information officers from both the Pittsburg and Pleasanton police departments were quick to point out that their community programs were not designed in response to scandals or nationwide events. Instead, both said they were hopeful that these new programs would strengthen already existing ties within the community. 

“Whether or not police are in the media and are shown in a positive or negative light, we are always looking for opportunities to connect with our community,” Revel-Whitaker said.

Gillian Edevane covers Contra Costa County for the digtal team. Contact her at Gillian.Edevane@NBCuni.com or follow her on twitter @GillianNBC. 

Photo Credit: Pleasanton Police Department ]]>
<![CDATA[Loma Fire Scorches 2,250 Acres, Evacuations Mandatory]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 23:45:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/loma-day2.jpg

Mandatory evacuations were ordered Tuesday for Santa Cruz Mountains residents living near the Loma Fire, which by the evening had charred at least 2,250 acres and was 10 percent contained, according to Cal Fire.

The fire continued to churn through dry fuel in the mountainous terrain Tuesday, erupting at times as flames hit patches of thick vegetation. Evacuees were in a little more of a hurry Tuesday.

"It's burning pretty hot and pretty fast, and they're hitting it pretty hard with all the bombers here," one resident named Stephen said.

The new evacuations include all of Croy Road, which includes the Swedish community of Sveadal near Uvas Canyon County Park and Little Uvas Road. Cal Fire officials worried the fire was headed that way. Mandatory evacuation orders were previously ordered on Monday for the Loma Prieta ridgeline area including all tributary roads along Summit Road from Soquel San Jose Road to Ormsby Fire Station. This includes Uvas Canyon County Park, Loma Chiquita, Casa Loma, Loma Prieta Way, Highland Road and Mount Bache Road.

The Red Cross has set up three evacuation centers for those who needed food and shelter: the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, 2601 East Lake Ave., Watsonville; the Jewish Community Center of Silicon Valley, 14855 Oka Road, Los Gatos; the Morgan Hill Presbyterian Church, 16970 DeWitt Ave, Morgan Hill. Soquel High School is no longer being used as an evacuation center.

Cal Fire officials said Tuesday that one home and six outbuildings had been destroyed, and 300 more structures remained threatened in the rugged terrain with little or no access roads.

Crews were making some headway on the west side of the flames, with bulldozers building fire walls, but the east side was still a concern, fire officials said.

This kind of "extreme" fire behavior is the "new norm," according to Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mike Mathiesen. "It's fall, we're coming off a four-day heat wave."

Loma Fire Information Officer Bill Murphy agreed.

"What's unique about what we're seeing, and we've seen this the last couple of years, is this fire is spreading very fast, very aggressively in almost the complete absence of wind," he said.

Murphy said later Tuesday that the fire is down at the bottom of the drainage and moving up toward the road. So now there are firefighters along the road to hold the fire there.

For some residents, the fire's steady and rapid spread meant no more waiting.

"I was here through the night, and the fire was getting real close to the house right now over here to the south," resident Eric Bischoff said. "So we bailed out early this morning after we got everything put away."

The blaze is in the area of Loma Prieta and Loma Chiquita roads in Santa Clara County, west of Morgan Hill, and is spreading in the southeast direction toward open space, Cal Fire said.

Fire officials do not know the cause of the fire. They expect the blaze to burn for a few days. It started on Monday about 3 p.m. By Tuesday afternoon, 500 firefighters were battling the blaze.

For the latest updates on the fire, visit the Cal Fire website or a dedicated groups.io page.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[A's Waste Another Gem From Rookie Manaea in Loss to Angels]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 00:01:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/as-angels4.jpg

ANAHEIM — With the A’s having promoted so many fresh-faced rookies recently, it’s easy to forget how green Sean Manaea still is himself.

He earned his first call-up back in April, which makes the big lefty seem like a grizzled vet on a pitching staff that’s employed an Oakland record-tying 12 rookies total. But the 24-year-old Manaea has endured his share of bumps over the course of his 23 big league starts.

That’s what has to make his recent roll so gratifying for manager Bob Melvin and the Oakland front office. Manaea spun his third impressive start in a row Monday since coming back from a minor back ailment. But in truth, his stellar body of work extends back to before the All-Star break.

He’s showing signs of becoming the front-end starter that the A’s envisioned when they acquired him at last year’s trade deadline. And that’s a bright ray of optimism as the A’s (67-89) sputter to the finish line.

They fell 2-1 to the Angels on Monday when reliever Ryan Dull mishandled a tapper off the bat of Albert Pujols in the eighth with the bases loaded. But that didn’t diminish Manaea’s night, as he gave up just one run on four hits over seven innings.

“(He’s been) everything that we want him to be,” Melvin said. “Aside from maybe a few outings early on where he was just getting his feet wet here learning the league, he’s been borderline dominant at times ever since. Against good lineups too.

“Other than Calhoun, it’s an all right handed-hitting lineup (for the Angels). He goes through the lineup three times against them and does a great job. He did his job, and he’s been doing it for quite a while now.”

Manaea, 6-9 with a 3.89 ERA overall, acknowledged how far he’s come. The A’s planned on giving him more time to develop at Triple-A, but injuries prompted a late April promotion. His ERA was a bloated 6.02 over his first nine starts. In just four of those did he allow fewer than four earned runs. Trouble would find him quickly, before he knew how to steer clear.

But since returning from a strained forearm on June 29, Manaea has posted a 2.72 ERA with 79 strikeouts and just 20 walks in 89 1/3 innings.

“When I first came here I didn’t really know what I was doing,” Manaea said. “I didn’t have a routine. I just wasn’t really confident in myself. Going through all those ups and downs and struggles, having success, I’ve really learned a lot. And i’m just constantly trying to learn and learn from veterans and what they do.”

Dull was kicking himself for rushing on the Pujols play in the eighth, when Yunel Escobar scored the game-winning run from third. But he commented on the maturation he’s seen with Manaea.

“He’s been unbelievable,” Dull said. “This is the guy I remember watching in the spring — just go out there and dominate. Continue getting better with each start, learning how to adjust during games.”

Melvin said a key for Manaea has been the development of his slider. He threw a nasty one to Kole Calhoun to end the third.

“It was mostly fastball/changeup when he got here,” the manager said. “His changeup wasn't as good as it is right now, but the slider is the pitch that really has made him a complete pitcher at this point.”

One adjustment Manaea is still trying to make: How to handle Mike Trout, who is 3-for-4 with a homer and two walks off him. He went deep on a 3-2 pitch in the fourth Monday for the only run Manaea allowed.

“It seems like he just has my number,” Manaea said of the AL MVP candidate. “I try to throw him a changeup and he takes me deep, or a first-pitch fastball and he hits it for a single. I don’t know what to do against him. But it’s all about the learning process and it’s fun to … try to have those rivalries and just try to beat him next time.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Loma Fire: Not Many Staying at Soquel High Evac Center]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:46:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/evac-fire.jpg

About 18 miles south of the front line of the Loma Fire sits Soquel High School. It was the first of three evacuation centers opened Monday for those who needed food and shelter after fleeing their homes.

The center, at 401 Old San Jose Road in Soquel, had a steady stream of evacuees Monday evening, but not many of them stuck around. Instead, they headed back to the fire line to see if their homes were still around.

"We have about 10 people here right now," said Craig Jenni, of the Red Cross, which also set up evacuee centers at the Jewish Community Center of Silicon Valley, 14855 Oka Road in Los Gatos and the Morgan Hill Presbyterian Church, 16970 DeWitt Ave. in Morgan Hill.

Many of the estimated 300 evacuees stopped by the Soquel High campus, but the stay was short.

"I was just planning to have an early dinner, watch the debate, and it turned out to be different," evacuee Lisa Ryan said.

Some people checked into hotels, while others just decided to rest in their vehicles, as close to their homes as officials would allow.

Emergency pet and animal shelters saw a number of drop-offs.

"We are welcoming any animals if people are being evacuated from their homes," said Melanie Sobel of the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter.

Four animals were being kept there while their owner, whose house was threatened by the fire, looked for a more permanent family shelter.

"We will make it work," Sobel said.

Even with the low turnout of evacuees at the center, the giving remained high. Dozens of residents signed up to volunteer or donate.

"I brought all kinds of stuff like clothes, toothbrushes and things like that," said Leanna Nicholson.

The Loma Fire had burned more than 1,000 acres and was still threatening hundreds of structures by late Monday night.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Voters on Both Sides Not Swayed Much by Debate]]> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 23:50:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/debate-sf.jpg

After Monday night's debate between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Bay Area voters were essentially sticking to their guns.

Dozens of SF Young Republicans gathered for a watch party and cheered their hopeful.

Among them was Erin Page, of Redwood City, who had a favorite moment during the debate.

"When Trump said Hillary had 30 years to think about her policies, and she hasn't gotten them right," Page recalled.

The GOP hasn't won a presidential contest in California since 1988 and has only 8 percent of the registered voters in San Francisco.

"The more we get a chance to see Trump speaking Hillary speak, it will encourage people to vote and register with the Republican Party," said Hilary Hatenbuch of SF Young Republicans.

Another GOP group, the Log Cabin Republicans, also thought Trump did well in the debate.

"He's the one who has donated to LGBT organizations," said Juan Hernandez. "He is the one who has gone to same-sex weddings. He is the first person who owns a resort to open it up to same-sex couples."

A few blocks away, at a Starbucks in the city's Laurel Village, the opposite opinion dominated with praise for Clinton.

"She was more measured; her temperament was better," said Alex Nation, of Sunnyvale. "She had better answers to the questions."

Linda Law, of San Francisco, agreed Clinton was the more presidential debater.

"If he got in control of the button to push for the nuclear button, and he acted like he did tonight during the debate, it will be a disaster," Law said about Trump.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Another Busy Wildfire Season by the Numbers]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 12:36:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/092616-santa-cruz-fire4.jpg

It's been another busy and costly fire season throughout California, and the end doesn't seem near in the northern part of the state, with big wildfires igniting this week in Santa Clara (Loma Fire) and Sonoma (Sawmill Fire) counties and the costliest wildfire in state history still burning in Monterey County (Soberanes Fire).

Here are some statistics and historical data from Cal Fire:

  • Cal Fire is currently battling 20 wildfires across California – only 8 of them are contained.
  • So far this year, there have been 5,794 wildfires across California, that have burned 555,866 acres (includes Cal Fire and US Forest Service).
  • California has seen about 500 fewer fires so far this year compared to the same time period last year.
  • Cal Fire spends more than $200 million each year fighting wildfires.
  • The causes of most fires in the state actually go undetermined – about 20 percent each year.
  • Historically, California wildfires burn about 100,000 acres each year; the last spike we saw was back in 2008 - the number of acres burned across the state was more than 380,000.
  • Over the last decade, California has seen anywhere between 2,400 and 4,900 wildfires per year.
  • California averages close to 3,000 wildfires each year.
  • In recent history, Northern California has generally seen about double the amount of wildfires each year as Southern California.
  • Looking at historical data, the 3 p.m. hour is when California sees most of its wildfires.

See a map of the active wildfires burning across the state.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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    <![CDATA[New Law Requires Officers to Lock Up Guns Left in Vehicles]]> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 21:34:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/katesteinle.jpg

    Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Monday that will require California law enforcement officers to lock away their handguns when left in an unattended vehicle, state officials announced.

    Senate Bill 869 was introduced by Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo and Santa Clara counties) back in January.

    The bill will update an already existing state law, which requires civilians who leave their handguns in their car to store them securely in a lockbox attached to the vehicle or the vehicle's trunk, and out of plain view. Law enforcement officers had previously been exempt from the requirement, Hill's office said.

    A violation of the requirement will be met with a fine of up to $1,000, Hill's office said.

    The bill, however, would exempt peace officers carrying out official duties during circumstances that require immediate aid or action. Handguns being shipped legally though a carrier such as FedEx or UPS will also be exempt, according to Hill's office.

    "Senate Bill 869 closes a loophole so law enforcement officers - just like every other gun owner - must safely and securely store their handguns when leaving them in a car," Hill said in a statement. "This is a matter of basic public safety and common sense."

    A number of recent incidents involving handguns stolen from law enforcement vehicles and then used to commit crimes have occurred in the Bay Area.

    San Francisco resident Kate Steinle, 32, was fatally shot in July 2015 when a homeless man shot a gun near Pier 14. The gun was later confirmed to have been stolen from an off-duty federal agent who left it in a parked car.

    In August 2015, guns were also stolen from the vehicle of a Hayward police officer in Oakland, as well as from the vehicle of UC Berkeley's police chief while she was jogging.

    Then in September 2015, Emeryville resident Antonio Ramos, 27, was fatally shot as he was working on a mural in Oakland. The gun used in the shooting had been stolen from a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent in an auto burglary in San Francisco earlier that month.

    Additionally, two fatal shootings in October committed during robberies in San Francisco and Marin County by a trio of drifters were linked to a gun stolen from a vehicle in San Francisco just days earlier.

    Also, in February, a U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agent reported losing his pistol in San Francisco.

    Both San Francisco and Oakland have put similar laws into effect earlier this year, requiring firearms to be locked in a lockbox or trunk of a vehicle.

    Hill said while the passing of SB 869 is a victory for gun safety, he plans on working on legislation that would help law enforcement agencies keep track of guns that are lost or stolen.

    "Building on SB 869, I plan on introducing legislation next year to tighten up these practices so that every enforcement agency is required to have a process in place to account for all the weapons they own or use," Hill said.

    SB 869 will take effect on Jan. 1, according to Hill's office.

    <![CDATA[Federal Grants Bolster Bay Area Law Enforcement Agencies ]]> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 19:28:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Body+Camera+Generic.png

    Alameda County won a $1 million grant from the U.S. Justice Department on Monday to enhance the use of body-worn cameras by law enforcement officers, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced.

    The county's award was one of 106 national, state and local grants, totaling more than $20 million, that were made by the department's Bureau of Justice Assistance to improve body-worn camera policy and use.

    The Foothill-De Anza Community College District was given a $27,194 award for its police force's use of the cameras.

    "When backed by sound policies and procedures, body-worn camera use has the potential to heighten transparency, reduce complaints, and improve evidence collection, leading to safer neighborhoods and greater respect for the law," Lynch said in a statement.

    In another set of Justice Department grants announced Monday, Contra Costa County was given nearly $400,000 for a Smart Defense Initiative aimed at making sure criminal defendants have effective lawyers.

    Contra Costa was also one of six counties nationwide to share in a $6 million Smart Reentry award to aid people released from prison in successfully reentering society.

    The county's two awards were among $34.5 million in grants to more than 40 agencies and research institutions in a department initiative to reduce crime by providing a science-based approach to criminal justice operations.

    Photo Credit: necn]]>
    <![CDATA['Pretty Good Fire' Breaks Out in Novato: Fire Official ]]> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 21:38:03 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Fire_Truck_Generic_NECN_Chris_Caesar.jpg

    Fire crews quickly knocked down a two-alarm fire in Novato on Monday night, according to the Marin County Fire Department.

    The Novato Fire District said it was working a "pretty good fire" about 7 p.m. at Sunset Parkway and Shon Court that was close to some homes. Sheriff's deputies evacuated about 15 homes, but no structures were burned, fire officials said.

    Marin County Fire said at about 7:30 p.m. the fire had burned about 4 to 5 acres and that the forward progress of the blaze had been stopped. The fire was about 40 percent contained at that time, fire officials said.

    One firefighter suffered minor burns to his legs. No other injuries were reported.

    Fire crews would remain at the scene overnight for overhaul. The cause of the fire was not known and is being investigated, fire officials said.

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    <![CDATA[49ers Offensive Tackle Anthony Davis Retires From NFL ]]> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 17:16:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/49ers726.jpg

    San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Anthony Davis on Monday retired for the second time in 15 months.

    “Offensive lineman Anthony Davis informed the team that he has retired from the National Football League,” the 49ers announced in a statement.

    Davis stepped away from the game in June 2015 to let his mind and body to heal, he said. The 49ers traded up two spots to select him at No. 11 overall in the 2010 draft.

    After stating that he planned to return to the NFL, Davis did not participate in the 49ers’ offseason program, but applied for reinstatement the week of training camp.

    The NFL approved Davis’ application for reinstatement and he reported to training camp on time.

    Second-year player Trent Brown beat out Davis for the starting job at right tackle. Davis was moved to right guard, where he was in line to open the regular season as the starter.

    But two days before the 49ers’ season opener against the Los Angeles Rams, Davis did not attend practice and contemplated retirement, multiple sources told CSNBayArea.com.

    The 49ers ended up moving Davis back to tackle, where he served as a backup for the opener. Andrew Tiller was the 49ers’ starting right guard.

    Davis, 26, was diagnosed with a concussion after a padded practice on Thursday, Sept. 15. He was not cleared to play in the game Sept. 18 against the Carolina Panthers or on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. Davis did not make the trips to those cities with is teammates, which is standard for a player in the concussion protocol.

    In 2014, before retiring for the first time, Davis had an injury plagued season. He underwent offseason surgery on his left shoulder. He was plagued by hamstring, knee and ankle injuries that limited him in the early part of the 2014 season.

    Davis also sustained a concussion that sidelined him for four weeks. Davis appeared in just seven games in 2014 after starting every game at right tackle in his first four NFL seasons.

    During the time he experienced post-concussion symptoms, Davis provided a sobering glimpse of what he was enduring.

    “You look out and it’s a white fog,” Davis said. “Or just having simple conversation, you feel slowed down. . . . It’s scary when your brain is not working how it’s supposed to, and the culture of this league is big, tough guy.”

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Labor Dept. Sues Silicon Valley Tech Firm for Discrimination]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 04:23:03 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/karp.jpg

    The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit accusing a high-flying Silicon Valley software company of systematically discriminating against Asian job applicants over the last five years.

    Palantir Technologies was co-founded by prominent tech financier Peter Thiel, with backing from an investment arm of the CIA. The Palo Alto, California, company makes data analytics software used by the U.S. military and law enforcement agencies, along with banks, insurance companies and other private clients.

    The lawsuit claims Palantir routinely eliminated Asian job candidates during the resume-screening and telephone-interview stages of the company's hiring process. The claims are based on a statistical analysis conducted by federal officials responsible for making sure government contractors comply with anti-discrimination rules.

    Palantir denied the allegations, saying the government's analysis is flawed.

    Palantir's chief executive is Alex Karp, who also co-founded the company.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images file]]>
    <![CDATA[Wildfire in Santa Cruz Mountains Prompts Evacuations]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 15:51:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/loma-night.jpg

    Fire crews aggressively responded to a fast-moving vegetation fire burning on the Loma Prieta ridge in the Santa Cruz Mountains, which prompted evacuations, destroyed one structure and charred at least 1,000 acres by late Monday night, fire officials said.

    At least 300 structures are threatened by the Loma Fire, which is in proximity to television towers. Evacuations are in effect along Summit, Mount Madonna and Croy Ridge roads. About 300 people have evacuated the area, Cal Fire said.

    Resident Fred Eggers lives on Summit Road.

    "My basic plan is to protect my property and my family," he said. "I will be the last one to leave if we have to."

    Santa Clara County residents described seeing a plume of smoke resembling a volcano from their homes and backyards. Footage from the NBC Bay Area chopper, which was the first to arrive at the scene, showed fire crews and a DC-10 tanker using retardant to control the fire.

    According to CalFire, 200 firefighters from multiple agencies were on scene, and the fire was 5 percent contained by late Monday night.

    The Red Cross set up three evacuation centers Monday evening for those who needed food and shelter: Soquel High School, 401 Old San Jose Road in Soquel; the Jewish Community Center of Silicon Valley, 14855 Oka Road, Los Gatos; the Morgan Hill Presbyterian Church, 16970 DeWitt Ave, Morgan Hill.

    The blaze is in the area of Loma Prieta and Loma Chiquita roads, west of Morgan Hill, and is spreading at a rapid rate in the southeast direction toward open space, Cal Fire said.

    "We're in a very remote area of Santa Cruz County-Santa Clara County, so travel distances are long," said Jim Crawford of Cal Fire. "The terrain is very steep. The vegetation is very dry."

    The fire can be seen from as far away as Monterey, according to residents in the area.

    Ben Brown, who was tweeting photos of the fire from his living room in the north end of Scotts Valley, said he watched the fire grow really rapidly in the first half-hour. “It’s not at a threatening distance. I can only see smoke but I’m keeping a close eye on it.”

    Jacquie Heffner, who lives in the San Jose foothills, said she could see a lot of smoke from Santa Teresa Boulevard and Dunn Avenue. “We’re one hill away as the crow flies. The end of my street goes into the foothills. I can smell the fire a little bit.”

    Dozens of South Bay residents tweeted photos of the fire from their evening commute home. A time-lapse video of the fire showed white smoke from the fire quickly turning dark black, and then a fiery red around 5:30 p.m.

    Monday, a Spare the Air day in the Bay Area, was an exceptionally hot day in the South Bay, with temperatures rising to 100 degrees in some parts.

    Crawford said fire crews are doing their best to save any threatened property, but public safety comes first.

    "Our top priority is rescue and evacuation of people," he said. "And unfortunately, if people don't heed our evacuation requests, we are in a place where we have to provide rescue at some point to those people."

    Fire officials do not know the cause of the fire. They expect the blaze to burn for a few days.

    For the latest updates on the fire, visit the Cal Fire website or a dedicated groups.io page

    NBC Bay Area's Laura Malpert and Gonzalo Rojas contributed to this report.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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    <![CDATA[U2 Headlining Concert for Bay Area Children's Hospitals ]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 00:51:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_81333877674.jpg

    Twenty-two-time Grammy-winning band U2 is headed to the Bay Area and they are poised to effort a good cause.

    As part of the seventh annual Concert for UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals, the Ireland-based group will be headlining an October gig that will raise money for pediatric care and research, according to UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals.

    Tickets, which start at $1,000, are currently available for the 7 p.m. show on October 5 at the Cow Palace in Daly City. Proceeds from ticket sales along with outside sponsorships will directly benefit UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals.

    Not to be outdone, pop artists will.i.am and MC Hammer will be hosting an after party to keep the donation celebration going, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals said.

    During previous benefit concerts, notable artists including Bruno Mars and Green Day have rocked the stage, according to the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

    Photo Credit: Rich Fury/Invision/AP]]>
    <![CDATA['Dirty Jobs' Host Almost Shoots Down Invasive Drone With Gun]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 13:11:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mikerowe1.jpg

    From slopping through feces-filled sewers to braving shark bites while wearing a chainmail suit, Mike Rowe, the former host of Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs," is used to battling not-so-ideal situations.

    But the San Francisco resident found himself face-to-face with a new challenge last week, that being a new age piece of technology infringing upon his privacy, according to Rowe's Facebook post.

    While fast asleep inside his San Francisco home, Rowe thought we was immersed in a deep dream about buzzing bees before he came to and realized that something was noisily moving about outside. The former television host, who happened to be naked at the time, whisked the blinds open only to find a drone peering into his abode recording his every move, Rowe wrote in the post.

    Rowe grabbed his 12-gauge shotgun, scurried out onto his deck still entirely exposed and pointed the barrel into the blue sky. He pumped a round into the chamber and was about to slam the trigger, but the potential consequences sunk into his decision-making process and he set the weapon down.

    As to why he had a change of heart, Rowe penned that he'd rather not have the headline "Dirty Jobs Guy Totally Loses It - Gets Naked and Shoots Drone From San Francisco Skies" forever linked to his reputation, according to the post.

    The detailed and, at times, whimsical tale has been shared over 10,000 times on Facebook and collected more than 56,000 reactions ranging from sympathy to laughter and outrage to shock. One Facebook user even suggested that Rowe construct a potato cannon to blow the machine out of the sky if it ever makes a second appearance while another nonchalantly recommended that a power washer would do the trick.

    Although Rowe resorted to his usual satire while describing the ordeal — something that some commenters appreciated from the quick-witted character — many were disgusted by the breach of privacy, according to the post.

    Photo Credit: Mike Rowe
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    <![CDATA[Presidential Debate Watch Parties Around the Bay Area]]> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 19:52:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/split2-clinton-trump-somber.jpg

    Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are set for a Monday night showdown during the first presidential candidate debate moderated by NBC's Lester Holt. If you don't want to stay home and watch the presidential candidates duke it out from the comfort of your own couch, there are plenty of watch parties scheduled to take place across the Bay Area.

    Nonpartisan Watch Parties

    San Jose State University Watch Party

    Where: Martin Luther King Jr. Library at San Jose State University in San Jose

    When: 6:00 p.m.

    Description: Millennial-aged voters will be a heavy contingent at this watch party on the South Bay campus.

    Status: Open


    Santa Clara University Watch Party

    Where: Learning Commons at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara

    When: 5:45 p.m.

    Description: College-aged voters will be on hand to voice support for both candidates at this watch party.

    Status: Open


    University of California, Berkeley Watch Party

    Where: Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley

    When: 6:00 p.m.

    Description: Crowds will watch the two candidates face off in a neutral environment.

    Status: Open


    Brigade Watch Party

    Where: Hotel Zetta in San Francisco

    When: 5:30 p.m.

    Description: A range of voters are expected to attend this sold out nonpartisan event that will both screen the debate and enlist a discussion about the millennial vote, technological innovations in the election, the state of the current political climate and more.

    Status: Sold out


    Watch Parties Supporting Republican Candidate Donald Trump

    Marin County Trump Campaign Debate Watch Party

    Where: Marin Trump Headquarters in Novato

    When: 5:00 p.m.

    Description: Donald Trump supporters will be out in full force to voice their favor in the republican candidate.

    Status: Open


    Santa Clara Trump Campaign Debate Watch

    Where: Round Table Pizza at Cambrian Plaza in San Jose

    When: 5:00 p.m.

    Description: Donald Trump supporters will be out in full force to voice their favor in the republican candidate.

    Status: $10 charge, RSVP necessary


    Alameda GOP Debate Watch Party

    Where: Katalina's Island Grill in Hayward

    When: 6:00 p.m.

    Description: Donald Trump supporters will be out in full force to voice their favor in the republican candidate.

    Status: RSVP necessary


    Watch Parties Supporting Democratic Candidate Hillary Clinton

    Presidential Debate Watch Party

    Where: Santa Clara County Democratic Party Headquarters in San Jose

    When: 5:30 p.m.

    Description: Supporters of Hillary Clinton will join together to watch the democratic candidate go toe-to-toe with Donald Trump.

    Status: RSVP necessary


    Beer for Hillary Debate Watch Party

    Where: Thirsty Bear Organic Brewery in San Francisco and Half Moon Bay Brewing Company in Half Moon Bay

    When: 5:00 p.m.

    Description: Millennial voters and progressives are expected to attend this event while simultaneously supporting Hillary Clinton and sipping on local craft brews.

    Status: Open


    The Chapel Watch Party

    Where: The Chapel in San Francisco

    When: 5:00 p.m.

    Description: A large crown of Clinton supporters will be brandishing #StrongerTogether and sipping on drinks while watching the first presidential debate.

    Status: RSVP necessary

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[$15.3 Million in Federal Grants Headed to SJC]]> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 09:33:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/SJC+Airport+Still.jpg

    Mineta San Jose International Airport was awarded two federal grants totaling $15.3 million last week, an airport spokeswoman said.

    The grants are administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, and Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, helped the airport secure the grants, spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes said.

    "I'm pleased to see another sizeable federal investment in Mineta San Jose International," Lofgren said in a statement. "By ensuring the airport's safety and by maintaining critical infrastructure, we are taking steps to ensure that more businesses and travelers will choose Mineta as the gateway to the Valley."

    One grant for $8.1 million will enhance the airport's security by upgrading perimeter fencing technology, Barnes said. The second grant for $7.2 million will rehabilitate 200,000 square feet of asphalt apron used for parking aircraft.

    The airport had a series of security breakdowns in 2014, including one in which a Santa Clara boy stowed away in the wheel well of a plane that flew to Hawaii.

    "These funds will go a long way to ensuring the safety of the more than 10 million passengers who fly in and out and to assuring the airport can accommodate its ongoing passenger growth," Honda said in a statement.

    "The safety and security of all airport users is our number one priority. This funding allows us to achieve our goals by upgrading perimeter security through state-of-the-art technology and restoring commercial aircraft parking areas," airport director of aviation Kim Becker said in a statement.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Soil Engineers Test Sinking Millennium Tower]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 00:47:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9-14-16-milennium-tower-sf-sign.jpg

    Crews began to bore the first of three test holes, each more than 200 feet deep, outside the Millennium Tower on Monday to better assess soil conditions in the areas where the building is sinking and tilting along Mission and Fremont streets.

    The tests – conducted by a consultant who has evaluated sinking around hundreds of buildings worldwide – will help the owners learn the forces has caused the building to sink some 16 inches and lean to the north and west.

    The chief engineer on the project, Pat Shires, says that based on early data, the building could sink as much as 31 inches. But, he said, no one will know for sure until the test holes are dug and the data is evaluated.

    Shires said the holes will go as far as 260 feet down into bedrock, but the building’s foundation piles go to less than half that depth.

    Crews on Monday began sinking the first hole along Mission; the second will be at the corner of Fremont and Mission and the third will be bored on the west side of the building on Fremont, he said.

    He showed one device known as a “spider magnet” that has arms that spring out and grab into the soil at various depths. The magnet in the device allows its exact level to be measured.

    “You pull a string, and it releases these legs,” Shires said. A second device, which resembles a microphone on a long wire, measures the pressure exerted by the water that fills the bay mud.

    The current range of estimates for that sinking are 8 inches to some 30 inches.

    “I certainly would’ve never bought here if I’d known that,” said Jerry Dodson, who bought his $2.1 million condo on the building’s 42 floor back in 2009.

    Dodson has been leading the fight to learn more about the troubled building. He says it is now clear that the Millennium building developers knew back then that the building was sinking.

    “The homeowners were not told this until May 10, 2016, and it was a gut check for all of us,” he said, adding that his current concern is that the building’s sewage system lines may break under the force of the leaning building.

    Dodson showed NBC Bay Area one hallway in the building, where the floor slopes so badly that a dime rolls down the marble. From Dodson’s unit, there are no signs that the building is leaning. But, he says, owners simply cannot sell or decide their future as long as the foundation issues are unsettled.

    “We’ve really relied on Millennium Partners, and they’ve failed to disclose anything that’s been going on here,” Dodson said.

    Last week, the City Attorney’s Office levied subpoenas on Millennium seeking disclosure documents to see what, if anything, was told to prospective buyers.

    Dodson, who is both a patent attorney and mechanical engineer, has put together a website for residents to review documents. On Tuesday, he said, there will be a vote on who will serve on the association board.

    Dodson also wants the FBI to get involved to investigate what he believes to be fraud by the developers for failing to disclose the problem.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>