<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Local News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Fri, 01 Aug 2014 03:37:32 -0700 Fri, 01 Aug 2014 03:37:32 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[California's Historical Drought May Run Breweries Dry]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 23:40:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0731-2014-beer.jpg

Hops, barley, and malt are all important ingredients for beer. Water is essential.

"The future is the thing we have to worry about now,” Dan Gordon said.

Gordon co-founded Gordon Biersch Brewing Company in San Jose. He said the drought can tweak the taste. Luckily they can add or filter out minerals to adjust the taste.

"What we notice is when the water supply gets a lot lower, the hardness of the water increases and that's absolutely been an indicator that we're running low,” Gordon said.

Gordon said the brewery uses 2.5 gallons of water to make one gallon of beer. Most craft breweries use four to seven gallons of water for the same amount. If water companies impose mandatory restrictions, production could drop in the booming industry.

"If we were put in a position where we had to go to 20 percent restriction on the water usage, I have no idea how we would be able to cope with that,” Gordon said.

The concern is statewide. The California Craft Brewer’s Association Executive Director Tom McCormick fears if the drought continues for another two to three years, prices would jump.

"The industry has been good about water conservation in the past, but I think we need to get better. This year, we're learning to do that,” McCormick said.

California has more than 460 craft breweries. All are hoping those essential ingredients will be abundant for years to come.

"We have to prioritize. Swimming pools may have to go empty, lawns may have to go empty, but we got to keep brewing beer. We're going to have a lot of angry people out there,” Gordon said laughing.

Photo Credit: Ian Cull]]>
<![CDATA[California Drought Deepens]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 22:26:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/wxdroughtdeepens.jpg Just as expected during our typical dry Summer months, the drought is getting worse. Chief Meteorologist Jeff Ranieri tracks how much of the state is now under "exceptional drought" the worst category possible.]]> <![CDATA[Will the Obama Lawsuit Cost Taxpayers?]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 20:41:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_obama_gop_obamacare.jpg

We are hovering over uncharted territory, so to speak.

In the history of modern U.S. government, individuals have sued the president, and congressional committees have done the same - but never an institution or body of government.

Never, that is, until now.

On Wednesday, House Republicans successfully engineered a floor vote authorizing a lawsuit against President Obama on the grounds that he has abused his executive privilege as president, delaying the ‘employer mandate’ portion of his signature health care law.

"We don’t’ have the money to have this suit, they don’t have the money to [not] do better things for the American people, we shouldn’t be spending money on this," declared House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, reacting to news of the lawsuit.

Pelosi and her fellow Democrats have warned that this move will likely cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

Is that claim true?

Legal experts concur, it’s absolutely true.

We asked Berkeley Constitutional Law Professor Jesse Choper if there were any other conclusion one could reasonably draw, other than a taxpayer tab at the end of the day?

"No," Choper responded quickly. "No question. Who else is going to pay for it?"

This is not a rhetorical question, either.

The president will ultimately draw upon the help of the Department of Justice and its solicitor general, taking away services from other issues, “and that’s a cost,” declared Choper.

But the biggest single expense will come from outside counsel hired by the House on behalf of its Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, or BLAG, to prosecute the case.

The best comparison might be what took place last year, when House Republicans opted to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, before the Supreme Court when the Justice Department refused.

The outcome in that instance? House Republicans called upon renowned attorney Paul Clement, at a rate of roughly $520 an hour, to represent BLAG and justify the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.

They lost the case [the Supreme Court found DOMA to be unconstitutional], but taxpayers did end up on the hook for about $2.3 million, a figure confirmed by Bloomberg Government.

House Democrats, in an open letter to House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, implored that Republicans "provide a detailed budget for the lawsuit," because in the words of its Democratic authors, "The American people have a right to know- before the House votes to initiate such a lawsuit- how much money will be allocated to this exercise."

The request was rejected and not included in the bill’s final version.

We asked Professor Choper if there’s any way for the public to demand, and receive transparency on this issue?

"Absolutely, we have every way in the world to do that," Choper said. "All you have to do is pass a law through both houses of Congress [requiring no spending of public dollars to sue the president]."

That’s it?

"Yeah, that it," he said with a wry smile. "Very simple."

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Ebola Outbreak Puts UC Berkeley Program on Hold]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 18:29:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0731-2014-Ebola.jpg

UC Berkeley's study abroad program in Sierra Leone is being placed on hold as West Africa grapples with the worst-known outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.

University staff met on Thursday and decided the faculty-led summer abroad program will be placed on hold for at least a year.

"Needless to say we're not going to be sending our students to those parts of the world affected by this terrible crisis because we would not put our students in danger," said Darin Menlove of UC Berkeley Study Abroad.

UC Berkeley alum Susan Shepler also is in the thick of it by doing research in West Africa this summer. She said hand washing stations have sprung up everywhere and schools and government offices have been shut down.

"Even the taxi driver who dropped me off had to come out of the taxi and wash his hands with chlorine solution," Shepler said.

<![CDATA[Thousands of Dead Anchovies in Santa Cruz Harbor]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 18:51:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/07-31-2014-anchovies.jpg

Santa Cruz has declared an emergency situation in its harbor. The problem? Dead fish. Tons of them.

Hundreds of thousands of dead anchovies are floating to the surface of the harbor.

What’s killing the fish? Apparently, there were too many fish in the harbor and not enough oxygen.

Most of the dead fish are at the bottom of the harbor, but some are floating, which is why the birds are going crazy.

The smell from the dead anchovies can’t be avoided, and it will only get worse in the next couple of days.

“The sea lions and harbor seals are gorging themselves right now,” Santa Cruz Harbormaster John Hayes said.

Officials say the same thing happened last year, but not to this level. According to Hayes, this is the worst fish kill in Santa Cruz since the 1980s.

Stephen Reed, chairman of Santa Cruz Port Commission, said a massive school of anchovies swam in on Wednesday, depleted the oxygen in the water, and then started to die en masse.

Even with aerators pumping in oxygen to the harbor, there still wasn’t enough to keep them alive.

Thursday, divers tried to save a few lucky survivors, but most of the clean-up will take place at the surface. By early Friday morning, the shiny layer of dead fish on the harbor floor will start to bloat, then float.

Not only does it stink, the chemicals in the water aren’t good for boats.

“We try to get it cleaned up as soon as we can so it doesn’t go to that stage where it’s more harmful to boats,” Hayes said.

Thursday afternoon, the port of commission declared the situation an emergency in order to fund the massive clean-up, which could take up to five days.

The harbor slip was closed Thursday to prepare for Friday’s clean-up. The harbor is open, but not many boats were seen coming or going.

The harbormaster is asking for volunteers to help scoop out the fish.

A couple of weeks ago, thousands of dead gray and white fish washed up on the sand of Manresa State Beach in Aptos. California Fish and Wildlife still don't know exactly how they got there, but think they may have been trapped in a squid boat, then dumped by the crew. It is illegal to keep any fish caught in squid nets.

Photo Credit: Michelle Roberts]]>
<![CDATA[Pastor Sued for Selling Church Without Congregation's Knowledge]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 23:41:20 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0731-2014-church.jpg

Congregants of the Born Again Christian Center showed up to church services earlier this month to find the church doors locked.

The building had been sold -- by members of the former pastor's family, according to a lawsuit filed by one of the angry church members, who says the church building and a nearby home, all church property, have been unlawfully put on the market.

Andre Harris, the former pastor, and his wife Gloria Harris lived in a home at 871 Weeks Street in East Palo Alto that's been sold. The church next door is still available for nearly $1 million, the Palo Alto Daily News reported.

Church deacon Arthel Coleman is suing the Andre and Gloria Harris, and Andre Harris's brother, Kenneth, a real estate agent, for selling the properties without permission from the church, the newspaper reported.

Kenneth Harris declined comment when contact by the newspaper.

The church is essentially controlled by the Harris family: The church's four-member board is all Harris family members, the newspaper reported.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Pitcher's Wife Tweets "Sad Face" About A's Trade]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:25:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/182*120/451445948.jpg

Cop wives know their husbands might come home after getting into a scuffle on the street or worse. Lawyers' wives know their spouses might sometimes spend long evenings clocking billable hours.

And baseball wives know that part of the game is having to pick up and move when their husbands are traded.

That didn't stop Tina Milone, wife of pitcher Tommy Milone, who was traded to the Minnesota Twins from the Oakland A's, from hopping on Twitter Thursday to mourn her loss -- losing her adopted home in California.

"To my A's wives and gfs...I can't respond to your texts yet cause I can't look at them without crying. I fyou see this I'll respond soon."

And an hour before that:

But it appears Tina's husband was more excited about the move to frosty Minnesota.

CSN Bay Area reported the 27-year-old had requested a trade. The lefty was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento on July 5 despite posting sparkling numbers leading up to his demotion, CSN Bay Area reported.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sausalito Houseboat Rated Among Top Vacation Rentals]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:49:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/07-31-2014-houseboat-view.jpg

To find one of the top vacation getaway rentals in America, head to the Bay.

As in the dock on the bay.

A teak-floored Sausalito houseboat named Tobiko is one of TripAdvisor's best places to float your cares away. The $5,000-a-month two-level floating retreat has kayak access as well as a roof deck, modern appliances -- and, well, bay views all day and all night.

The boat is so popular it books up months in advance -- and, in fact, as of now it's rented until 2015.

So plan ahead. And, once you do, you'll find peace and relaxation on the not-so-high seas.

Photo Credit: TripAdvisor]]>
<![CDATA[ACLU: SJPD's New Drone Needs To Fly Back to City Council]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 17:31:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/195*120/0731drone2.JPG

The San Jose Police Department’s acquisition of a drone – making it the first Bay Area law enforcement agency to get one – may have flown under the radar, but now civil rights activists say it needs to fly back to City Council.

The Century NEO 660 V2 hexacopter was purchased by SJPD in January for just under $7,000 as part of a $400,000 Department of Homeland Security grant, but has been sitting in the department’s bomb squad unused, SJPD spokesperson Officer Albert Morales said.

The department has been laying low about the purchase, even denying it at first, Vice reported.

So far, there’s no timeline as to when the drone may actually be deployed, Morales said, adding that the bomb squad has its plate full.

“This is not something of an urgency,” he said.

But in a blog post Wednesday, the ACLU of Northern California criticized SJPD’s “secret drone purchase,” demanding that it be debated publicly before City Council so that community members have a chance to weigh in.

“When cities do not have the proper mechanisms in place to ensure transparency, accountability, and oversight when police departments are seeking to use outside funds for surveillance technology, the result is law enforcement agencies with effectively autonomous decision making,” wrote ACLU’S Thomas Mann Miller. “And that’s a scenario ripe for problems.”

Nicole Ozer, an attorney with the ACLU of Northern California, said SJPD shouldn't even have purchased the drone without community outreach.

Morales said that public outreach is definitely in the cards.

“There are some roadblocks from actually utilizing the device – we would have to have policies and procedures in place, train operators, get FAA certification and of course, our chief wants to make sure that there’s some outreach,” he said. “Right now we are just conducting research.”

An FAA spokesperson said all government agencies have to get a certificate of authorization (COA) to fly their unmanned aircraft. As of last November, about 80 law enforcement agencies operate unmanned aircraft, the FAA said, adding that the operating agency is responsible for making sure that the drone is in a safe condition to fly.

Of the COA applications received by the FAA, typically, 5 to 7 percent are from law enforcement agencies.

Since the SJPD drone was purchased through a federal grant, the department will share the drone with 13 other Bay Area bomb squads. San Jose bomb squad officers responded to 86 bomb incidents from fiscal year 2013 to 2014.

“Our bomb squad sergeant felt it was necessary to ask and apply for a drone,” Morales said. “It’s great to have a device that gives you a bird’s eye view of an explosive device or hazardous material so that we don’t put our officers or the public in harms way.”

Photo Credit: centuryheli.com]]>
<![CDATA[Elderly Driver Jumps Curb, Injures 5 at Palo Alto Cafe]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 23:31:51 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/07-31-2014-palo-alto-crash-2.jpg

Six people were injured, two seriously, when a car driven by a 90-year-old man slammed into the outside street seating at the University Cafe in Palo Alto during lunchtime Thursday, police said.

The crash was reported about 12:30 p.m. at 271 University Ave., outside the University Cafe, not far from the Stanford University campus.

Officers responded to the scene after receiving several 911 calls about a car that had driven into a building, injuring several people. Four people sustained minor injuries, including the driver. Two people were hospitalized in serious condition and would require surgery, police said, who added that one of those victims was a pedestrian, the other had been sitting at the cafe.

The elderly driver accidentally drove up onto the curb and struck five people, Palo Alto police officials told reporters. Officers on the scene confirmed the driver's age.

Metal sidewalk cafe tables were seen askew on the sidewalk, but the crumpled 2010 Nissan four-door sedan hadn't actually plowed into the restaurant. Police said the driver was apparently trying to parallel park when he accidentally hit the gas, striking another vehicle before he drove onto the sidewalk, stopping short of the building.

Police said the driver and two other patients with minor injuries were expected to be released from Stanford Hospital sometime Thursday night.

"It was crazy," Elizabeth Johnson, 19, a journalism student at Northwestern University who is interning at a start-up.

She had been in a nearby Apple store when she heard of the crash. When she exited, the area was "full of ambulances and police cars." She said the entire windshield of a four-door silver car had been smashed.

At this point, police said, the driver isn't facing any charges or citations.

The cause of the collision is under investigation. Police said there is no indication that drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash.


Bay City News and NBC Bay Area's Mark Matthews and Gonzalo Rojas contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[San Jose Water Leak Remains Unfixed After 20 Days]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 21:10:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/07-31-2014-water.jpg

A San Jose resident is frustrated over water officials failing to fix a city water line that has been leaking for 20 days.

Betty Cooper said she has called the San Jose Water Company several time to report the leak on Shilshone Circle. She said the water line has been leaking since July 11.

"I think it's awful -- in a drought," Cooper said. "I think it's awful when we're not in a drought to be wasting water like this."

Cooper said she has contacted the water company several times to report the leak and even wrote a letter.

"I asked them who gets fined for all this," Cooper said, adding that she has yet to get a reply from the agency.

The San Jose Water Company told NBC Bay Area on Thursday it prioritizes leak calls because resources don't allow the agency to get to every request as quickly as customers would like. The agency said it will get to the Shilshone Circle leak sometime next week.

During a test, NBC Bay Area found the leak took just over 3 seconds to fill a 16-ounce cup, which amounts to about 150 gallons of water every hour going down the drain.

Meanwhile, the city is letting some of its parks, like the Roosevelt Gardens, go dry during the drought. But officials have decided to keep the Rose Garden and Discovery Meadow area fed with water to stay green.

"It's really beautiful here. Thousands of roses, so green," San Jose-resident Leah Nascimento said. "It's a shame all this water is going to this, but at the same time I can't image all this going to waste."

<![CDATA[Oakland A's Cespedes T-Shirt Giveaway Still On After Trade]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:10:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/07-31-2014-cespedes-shirt.jpg

Baseball is full of surprises.

The Oakland Athletics still plan to give away a Yoenis Cespedes "La Potencia" T-shirt to the first 10,000 fans showing up for the Aug. 2 game against Kansas City, the team announced Thursday.

Things got a bit awkward after news broke Thursday that Cespedes had been traded to the Boston Red Sox for outfielder Jonny Gomes and pitcher Jon Lester, a three-time All-Star who is scheduled to start Saturday.

After a few hours of intense speculation from fans about whether the A's would move forward with the giveaway in light of the deal, that the team tweeted the T-shirts would be distributed as originally planned.

"La Potencia means 'The Power' in Spanish and recognizes Yoenis Cespedes for his contributions to back-to-back American League West titles," the A's said in a statement.

In addition, the A's announced the team has added a new giveaway date -- on Aug. 7, 15,000 fans will receive a Josh Donaldson Silhouette T-shirt, prior to Oakland's game with the Minnesota Twins. Donaldson was among the six A's players selected to this year's All-Star team.

If fans act quickly, they can also take advantage of a special $10 ticket offer for field level tickets for the Aug. 7 game.

The A's had been heavily promoting the Cespedes T-shirt giveaway on their website, which appears to have disappeared with news of the trade.

The team even promoted the shirts with a tweet Tuesday, exciting fans.

Some tweeted back at the A's Thursday, calling the T-shirts a "collector's item."

Photo Credit: Oakland Athletics Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[Elephants, Giraffes, Bears Eat Fruit Roadkill]]> Fri, 01 Aug 2014 02:16:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/elephant8.jpg

Talk about not letting roadkill go to waste.

The elephants, giraffes and bears at the Oakland Zoo got to nosh on African jackfruit and bananas Wednesday thanks to a overturned big rig that dumped 60,000 pounds of fruit in Livermore near the Altamont Pass earlier in the week.

"The elephants loved it," Brian Deering, president of the nonprofit F.A.I.R. Foundation, told NBC Bay Area. He masterminded the transfer – taking the lightly squished fruit from the side of Interstate Highway 580 and getting about 15,000 pounds of it to the animals at the zoo.

About 35,000 pounds fed humans at the Alameda County Food Bank, and the rest was too badly bruised to be eaten.

The truck is owned by All Seasons Produce in Oakland, which grows fruit in Mexico. Deering knows the owners, who contacted him after the truck tipped early Monday morning to say they didn't want the food to go to waste. He also knows the owners of Save Tow, who schlepped the tropical fruit to the zoo.

Deering's agency, which has roots in Sunnyvale but now is headquarted in Elk Grove, is a nonprofit that connects families in custody battles with material goods, such as cars, dishwashers, computers and food.

Zoo spokeswoman Nicky Mora said there is enough donated fruit for the elephants and bears to dine on all week.

Photo Credit: Erin Harrison/Oakland Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[Burned-Down Flames Restaurant is "Blighted"]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:30:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*128/flamescoffeeshop.jpg

A kitchen fire destroyed the Flames Restaurant coffee shop in San Jose in January.

Soon a wrecking ball will take care of what's left -- but in the meantime, "what's left" is causing a problem, according to city officials.

The Hillsdale Avenue lot where the eatery once stood is now "blighted" with trash and other debris, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

The owners want to rebuild, the newspaper reported, but in the meantime the building has been tagged with graffiti as well as identified as a blighted property.

A demolition crew says that they can begin tearing down the property within the next six weeks.

Photo Credit: Craig Rose ‏]]>
<![CDATA[Drought Spreads in Parched Calif. ]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 19:47:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/216*120/DROUGHT+MONITOR+JULY29+CA.jpg

Exceptional drought conditions expanded this week to include more than half of California, marking a significant increase over just one week for a state in the middle of a third-consecutive dry year.

The most severe drought rating expanded to more than 58 percent of California, a 22 percent increase over last week's U.S. Drought Monitor report. At the start of the year, no part of the state was under the "exceptional" category. But that figure increased steadily after the state completed its warmest and third-driest winter on record.

The dire appraisal of current conditions comes as new, tougher restrictions on water use take effect across the parched state. Wasting water by overwatering laws, for example, could result in fines of up to $500 a day under the new rules.

"We are in a drought of historic proportions," State Water Resources Control Board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus told The Associated Press earlier this month. "Many urban water users don't realize how bad this drought is. They're not seeing the communities that are actually running out of water. ... They don't see the streams and creeks running dry."

Exceptional drought spread significantly in the northern part of the state over the past week. Previously, the most severe conditions were confined to the a large swath of the Central Coast and Central Valley. The weekly report categorizes drought severity into abnormally Dry (D0), Moderate (D1), Severe (D2), Extreme (D3) and Exceptional (D4).

"Drought indicators point to the fact that conditions are not appreciably better in northern California than in central and southern sections of the state," according to the U.S. Drought Monitor report. "In addition, mounting evidence from reservoir levels, river gauges, ground water observations, and socio-economic impacts warrant a further expansion of exceptional drought (D4) into northern California."

Storage in California's 154 intrastate reservoirs -- those that are entirely within the state -- was at 60 percent of the historical average at the end of June. The record low is 41 percent of average, which occurred in June 1977.

The new statewide regulations approved earlier this month by the state water resources board include a $500-per-day fine for residents who waste water. The rules make it illegal for people to hose down driveways and sidewalks, waste water on their lawns or wash vehicles using a hose without a shut-off nozzle.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who declared a statewide drought emergency earlier this year, has asked Californians to reduce water use by 20 percent.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated that the new water use rules would go into effect Aug. 1. The regulations took effect July 29.

Photo Credit: US Drought Monitor]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland A's Trade Cespedes For Lester, Gomes]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 10:08:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/452587530_8.jpg

The Oakland A's are trading away fan favorite, slugger Yoenis Cespedes, the two-time Home Run Derby winner who helped put the team on the national stage.

In exchange, the A's are gaining pitcher Jon Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes from the Boston Red Sox. Gomes is from Petulama and previously played for the A's.

Alex Speier of WEEI 93.7 FM first reported the blockbuster swap early Thursday morning, citing "multiple" anonymous sources. Joe Stiglich of Comcast Sports Network Bay Area confirmed the trade, saying that the A's reportedly are receiving a modest portion of cash to help cover Lester’s remaining salary this season, and they’re sending Boston a competitive balance draft pick as part of the trade.

The Athletics officially announced the deal in an email Thursday morning.

In other baseball trading news, NBC sports reported that Tommy Milone, 27, is leaving the A's for Minnesota, and the Twins' Sam Fuld is coming back to Oakland.

Cespedes, 28, is the right-handed power hitter the Red Sox have sorely lacked, CSNNE reported. He averaged 25 homers a year in his first two seasons with the A's after defecting from his native Cuba, and has 17 homers so far this year to go along with a .256 batting average, a .303 on-base percentage and a .464 slugging percentage.

The 28-year-old Cespedes signed a four-year contract with the A's in February 2012, and can be a free agent after next season if he doesn't agree to an extension.

As MLB.com's Joey Nowak noted, the A's continue to bolster their pitching staff and position themselves for a playoff run with the acquisition of Lester, a 10-game winner already this year and a three-time All-Star.

While the Red Sox look toward next season, the A's are determined to take the next step after losing in each of the past two Octobers in five-game division series to the Detroit Tigers. Oakland was off Thursday before returning home to begin a weekend series with the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.

It's unclear what day Lester would start. Sonny Gray (12-3) is scheduled for Friday, but manager Bob Melvin has discussed the idea of giving some pitchers extra days between outings to keep them fresh in the second half.

Beane believes in starting pitching depth, and the A's sure have it. Lester joins Gray, Scott Kazmir and recently acquired Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, each dealt by the Chicago Cubs on July 4.

Lester has said leaving the Red Sox doesn't rule out a return to the team next season.

He had said he would take a hometown discount to stay in Boston, but the team's four-year, $70 million offer in spring training fell far short of what he could get on the open market.

Lester leaves his only pro baseball organization. The Red Sox drafted him in the second round in 2002. He made his major league debut on June 10, 2006 and got no decision in a 7-4 loss to the Texas Rangers. He won five of his next seven starts before taking his first loss in his 10th.

In his nine major league seasons, all with Boston, Lester is 110-63 with a 3.64 ERA. He's also a proven postseason star with a 3-0 record in his two World Series. He pitched 5 2-3 shutout innings against the Colorado Rockies in the clinching fourth game in 2007.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SF Restaurant Confused With No Noisy Kids Policy]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 12:49:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/fisherman.jpg

A San Francisco restaurant is facing a barrage of angry calls and emails from kid-loving customers who seem to have confused it with a Monterey restaurant with a similar name that's in the middle of a current controversy for its ban on noisy children.

The owners of San Francisco's No. 9 Fishermen's Grotto said they are in no way affiliated with Monterey's Old Fisherman's Grotto, which made headlines this week for its years-old policy of forbidding crying or noisy children from its dining hall. The restaurant hung a new sign out last week reminding customers that the restaurant doesn't provide booster seats or allow strollers.

Kids have been welcome to the family restaurant since 1935, said Anthony Geraldi, a partner in the San Francisco restaurant and great-grandson of the restaurant's founder, Mike Geraldi. His restaurant boasts a kids menu to prove it.

The Old Fisherman's Grotto in Monterey does not explicitly ban children altogether, but is certainly not welcoming to young people. The restaurant hung a new sign out last week reminding customers that the restaurant doesn't provide booster seats or allow strollers. Children are also not allowed into the dining room.

While many voiced their disapproval with this seemingly ageist policy, many others chimed in to support owner Chris Shake's decision to crack down on kids.

Photo Credit: KSBW]]>
<![CDATA[Spilled Fruit Donated to Oakland Zoo]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 11:01:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/edt-zoo-fruit-5.jpg After a big rig accident spilled 60,000 pounds of bananas and jackfruit onto a road, the Fair Foundation put the salvageable fruit to good use and donated it to the Oakland Zoo.

Photo Credit: Erin Harrison/Oakland Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[Search Crews Find Missing Woodside Woman]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 06:52:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ChristinaPuckett.jpg

Santa Clara County Sheriff's search and rescue crews found a missing 61-year-old woman early Thursday who got separated from her husband during a hike.

Sgt. Kurtis Stenderup said Christina Puckett was found just before 7 a.m. He did not immediately say where or how she was located.

Earlier, crews had been scouring Mount Hamilton after she and her husband were hiking on the Smith Creek Trail when they lost each from each other on Wednesday about 7:30 p.m. The area is east of San Jose and is a very popular hiking spot.

He called for help about 2:20 a.m. on Thursday.

Photo Credit: Santa Clara County Sheriff]]>
<![CDATA[Sen. Leland Yee Pleads Not Guilty to RICO Charge]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:43:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/07-31-2014-leland-yee.jpg

Suspended state Sen. Leland Yee pleaded not guilty on Thursday – as he did before to previous charges – to the latest racketeering charge, which alone carries a maximum 20-year sentence.

The senator, who is out on $500,000 bond, appeared to be in a good mood in the hallway of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

"I'll talk to my attorney and see where we go from there," Yee told reporters while leaving the courthouse in a charcoal gray suit.

His next court date is scheduled for Aug. 7.

Yee and more than two dozen others were swept up in a wide-reaching federal investigation in late March, first reported by NBC Bay Area, during an FBI raid on Yee’s office.

The San Francisco Democrat is accused of a string of illegal actions in exchange for campaign contributions, including conspiring to mastermind an international arms deal involving machine guns to an undercover FBI agent posing as a mob figure and, as alleged in the most recent indictment, offering his support on legislation for the NFL.

In April, Yee pleaded not guilty to the first set of charges. He is being represented by Curtis Briggs, who said in a previous interview that the government's case is very "weak" against Yee, who is still being paid his annual salary of $90,000.

But on Friday, federal prosecutors added the racketeering count, under the statute known as RICO, to a superseding grand jury indictment. A racketeering conviction carries a possible prison sentence of 20 years or more and huge fines.

That means Yee now faces three additional charges: one count of "conspiracy to conduct the affairs of an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity" and two counts of conspiracy "to obtain property under the color of official right."

The revised indictment alleges that Yee tried to extort "individuals and professional sports teams related to the passage of legislation governing the ability of professional athletes to collect workers compensation for injuries in California."

In 2013, investigators allege that Yee told an undercover FBI agent posing as an Arizona businessman that he should contact an NFL team owner the agent claimed to know and the owner "should contact Yee with an offer to help Yee," because he would be a key vote on the workers compensation bill, according to the indictment.

The undercover agent allegedly asked Yee how much his vote would cost. "Oh no," Yee is accused of having replied. "We gotta drag it out, man. We gotta juice this thing."

The undercover agent offered Yee $60,000 for his vote, the indictment reports, but Yee, after voting for the bill in committee, did not receive a campaign contribution. Yee abstained when the full Senate approved the bill.

The documents do not implicate the NFL.

If convicted on all counts, Yee faces a maximum of 165 years in prison and $2.25 million in penalties.

The revised grand jury indictment now includes 228 charges against 29 defendants.

Two of those high profile defendants have already entered not guilty pleas. They include: Keith Jackson, a former Yee consultant and San Francisco school board president and Chinatown gang leader,  Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow.

Chow's attorney, Tony Serra, said outside U.S. District Court on Wednesday that the government's case is weak, and that the grand jury would indict a "ham sandwich."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Interns Mentor Peninsula Youth]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 23:38:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0730-2014-Facebook-kids.jpg Facebook sent out 100 interns to participate in an event Wednesday aimed at mentoring 300 grade-school students from the Peninsula. Cheryl Hurd reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Health Expert Not Concerned Over Ebola Virus]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 23:31:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/452620484.jpg NBC Bay Area's Terry McSweeney shows why a Bay Area public health expert is not worried about the Ebola virus.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Tied Up During Home-Invasion Robbery in San Jose]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 23:34:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/217*120/0730-2014-SJ-homeinvasion.jpg

The Almaden Valley neighborhood in San Jose is on alert following a home-invasion robbery Wednesday afternoon.

Police said an armed burglar got into a home on the 7100 block of Anjou Creek Court by breaking a back door. The burglar then tied up a 17-year-old high school student, who was home alone, and demanded cash.

The robber left the area after the teen told him where he could find valuables, police said. The teen was able to cut himself free and call for help.

The victim's mother said her son is shaken up by the incident, but not hurt. Police credit the teen for doing the right thing under pressure by giving the intruder what he wanted.

Police spent Wednesday canvassing the area and going through video from security cameras residents have placed in the neighborhood.

Resident Tony Frediani said a string of burglaries that hit the neighborhood last year prompted neighbors to put up security cameras. Wednesday's incident raises concerns on how effective security cameras are in deterring crime.

"I'm a little shocked this is the house with more cameras than anyone in the neighborhood," Frediani said. "I'm surprised."

Police have not released a description of the suspect.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Snapchat Could Be Worth $10 Billion]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 21:16:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/snapchat_screenshot_f8059740976d09a452bb33e240328408.nbcnews-ux-1280-900.jpg

Bloomberg is reporting that Alibaba, the Chinese Internet giant, is considering buying out Snapchat for $10 billion.

The Snapchat app, which allows users to send messages and photos that then disappear after they're received, achieved fame for turning down a buyout bid from Facebook last year. It also has a reported 700 million messages, or "snaps," every day.

If the stories are true, it would put Snapchat in rare company: very few tech companies are worth more than a billion dollars, and even fewer can command $10 billion in valuation.

Uber, Airbnb and Snapchat.

Photo Credit: Snapchat]]>
<![CDATA[The Truth About Sunscreen]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 20:31:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Sunblock-for-Story1.jpg

It’s the height of summer, and with school out and hot temperatures blanketing most of the country, many have been seeking refuge at community pools, lakes and beaches.

The U.S. Surgeon General, though, has been keeping tabs on the nation's health, and on Tuesday issued a call to action urging Americans to stop tanning and save their skin. The Surgeon General didn't mince words in speaking to the public, stating in the report, "Keep your skin healthy - avoid sunbathing and indoor tanning."

With that in mind, NBC Bay Area looked at various claims about sunbathing and sunscreen in an effort to help provide more clarity about the risks associated with being out in the sun.

Claim No. 1: Applying any kind of sunscreen protects you from skin cancer.

This isn't true. According to the FDA, it's important to use sunscreens that protect against both UVA and UVB -- the two types of UV light that harm your skin.

And in this respect, not all sunscreen is created equal.

The SPF of a particular brand, or ‘Sun Protection Factor,' measures the product’s ability to block out UVB rays. But it doesn’t speak at all to whether the product can absorb the just as important UVA rays.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, it’s the UVA rays that penetrate the skin more deeply and are associated with wrinkling, leathering, and sagging of the skin, as well as “increasingly being seen as a cause of skin cancer on their own."

So bottom line?

You need to purchase sunscreen that says, 'Broad Spectrum SPF,' on the bottle to ensure that the product blocks both types of rays.

Even if it does, however, that’s not an assurance you’re protected against skin cancer.

A recently released, groundbreaking report from the London Institute of Cancer Research found that even the highest grade SPF 50 allows enough ultra-violent radiation to penetrate the skin, damaging cells and laying the groundwork for cancer.

Which leads us to Claim No. 2: The higher the SPF, the more effective the sunscreen.

Here, that assertion is partially true.

Sunscreens with an SPF of up to 50 deliver increasing protection. Per the American Melanoma Foundation, a product with SPF 2 screens about 50 percent of ultraviolet rays.

If you move up to SPF 15, it’s 93 percent. And if you hit SPF 34, the level runs up to 97 percent.

After that, however, according to the FDA there is no discernible difference in the quality of the product.

So a sunscreen with SPF 50 is pretty much exactly the same as one with SFP 100, when it comes to blocking UVB rays.

Lastly, what about water-proof sunscreen?

The FDA says that concept doesn’t exist. Sunscreens aren’t waterproof, and now they can only market themselves as "water resistant."

Regardless of what type of lotion you use, the recommended practice is reapplying your sunscreen every 40 to 80 minutes.

<![CDATA[New Homeless Camp Grows Near Railroad Tracks in Berkeley]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 21:11:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP889126769725.jpg

It's boom time for the homeless in West Berkeley, where a new homeless encampment has sprouted up along railroad tracks, according to reports.

The San Francisco Chronicle notes that Second and Jones, an industrial area, is now a favored place for transients and the homeless who have been uprooted from the Albany Bulb and elsewhere in the East Bay.

These campers near the railroad tracks lived underneath the Gilman Street overpass until July 18, when the city cleared the area out.

Police say that they're visiting the camps from time to time to check up on things, and politicians say that the problem is not theirs alone -- it's regional, the newspaper reported.

Homeless people themselves say that they understand residents may not be happy with trash, needles and homeless people -- but that they need somewhere to go.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[South Bay Businessman Pleads No Contest to Felony Charges]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 18:41:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ronBattistellaInCuffs1.png

Former member of Santa Clara County Sheriff's Advisory Board and prominent car dealer Ron Battistella could face 5 to 16 years in a California prison after pleading no contest, the legal equivalent of guilty, to nine felony counts of grand theft, securities fraud and for selling unqualified securities. Battistella has been the focus of several NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit reports after investors claimed $1.3 million of their investments disappeared in a Ponzi scheme Battistella operated.

Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Vishal Bathija told The Investigate Unit he doesn’t feel the legal process is complete with Battistella’s admission of guilt. “I won’t be satisfied until each one of those victims gets every dollar that they have lost in this scam,” he said. “So we will be pursuing the restitution of $1.3 million towards these victims.”

Batttistella ran an investment scheme intended to help fund his used car dealership. As part of the business plan, pink slips for vehicles on his lot were given to investors as collateral on their investments. According to the District Attorney’s office, evidence indicates the pink slips were fraudulent. Many were for cars that didn’t exist.

“White collar crime is a simple process and it’s not that different than any other sort of theft,” Bathija told The Investigative Unit. “If you lie to someone to get them to invest or if you fail to disclose material facts to get them to invest, you are stealing.”

Asked to speculate on why Batistella entered what is essentially a guilty plea, Bathija said, "I think he looked at the evidence against him and he said, 'I can't defend this.'"

“Be still my beating heart,” said one of Battistellas investors when The Investigative Unit informed her of Battistella’s plea and potential prison time. She lost money doing business with Battistella and asked for her identity to be hidden for fear of retribution. “There can never be any satisfaction in a situation like this. It's just been heartbreaking. We are really saddened by it" She added, "I think he thought he was invincible."

The Investigative Unit began to unravel Battistella’s business operations in May of 2012 when Flor Madsen from Santa Cruz said the car dealer failed to pay her $70,000 he owed her on a consignment vehicle. On The Investigative Unit’s hidden camera, Battistella claimed the money, “went into a black hole.” Madsen eventually got her money back, but victims of Battistella’s Ponzi scheme started to contact The Investigative Unit in phone calls and emails. They claimed the “black hole” was even larger than expected.

Battistella promised nearly two dozen victims 10 percent returns on their investments. Over time, Battistella accrued more than $1.3 million of debt to his investors in his Ponzi scheme. He also had more than $1 million of tax debt owed to the state of California and the IRS, debt he tried to escape from in bankruptcy filing.

In January, the Santa Clara District Attorney filed charges against Battistella, a year after the Investigative Unit first started reporting on the story. See our interactive timeline of Ron Battistella’s crimes for the full saga.

<![CDATA[Santa Cruz Man Fined $3,000 Over Leaky Toilet]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 10:45:20 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/120427372.jpg

A city in California is taking the drought very seriously.

The Santa Cruz Water Department slapped a $3,000 fine on a man for a leak caused by a running toilet, NBC affiliate KSBW reported Wednesday.

The man had the leaky toilet for eight days, the station reported.

The man, who was not identified, was able to avoid the hefty penalty by deciding to attend “water school,” a free, one-time class which teaches participants how to manage water at their property, read a water meter, find and fix leaks among other things.

Santa Cruz Water Department conservation manager Toby Goddard told KSBW that the penalty for having a running toilet for eight days ranged between $3,000 to $4,000.

“That's a terrible situation, of course it was eliminated by his attending water school,” he said.

Santa Cruz city officials are cracking down on water wasters, with residents paying more than half a million dollars in fines since the city declared a Stage 3 drought emergency two months ago.

Goddard said most of the fines were rescinded after water wasters attended water school, which is held on Monday nights.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[BART Plans to Open Oakland Airport Connector by Thanksgiving]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:25:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0730-2014-BART-airport-connector2.jpg

BART is one step closer to opening a new way for passengers to get to the Oakland International Airport.

The new $484 million system will feature a driver-less tram running between the Oakland Coliseum BART station and the Oakland airport. Each tram can carry up to 120 passengers. Officials said the system will replace the AirBART shuttle.

BART officials said the plan is to open the new service before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Officials said trams will run every five minutes, and will get passengers from door-to-door in about 12 minutes. Riding the trams will cost passengers about $6, double the $3 it costs riders to board AirBART.

But BART officials said the tram will be more reliable than AirBART, which can take up to 20 minutes for passenger to get to the airport depending on traffic.

Tom Dunscombe, BART's Oakland Airport Connector project manager, expects ridership to remain steady on the new service as commuters try to avoid traffic.

"Between the coliseum and the airport there are nine intersections and traffic can vary from day to day depending on what events are happening," he said. "The reliability should be greater because we're grade separated from the traffic."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[San Jose PD Might Eliminate Motorcycle Unit]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 23:02:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/07-30-2014-sjpd-motorcycle-unit.jpg

The motorcycle traffic cop is a staple of police departments across the country, a staple San Jose could soon be losing.

The San Jose Police Department is considering a plan to eliminate its motorcycle traffic unit and move the 11 officers into patrol car units, NBC Bay Area has learned.

"The whole premise behind this is obviously to go ahead and help out our patrol unit, who desperately need the help," SJPD spokesman Albert Morales said.

The police union reluctantly agrees.

“Our patrol division is stretched to its limit,” the San Jose Police Officers' Association’s James Gonzales said. “We are completely reliant on overtime. And that's fatiguing our officers."

SJPOA's Paul Kelly said the department is in an "embarrassing" situation because of Measure B, which he said "has put us in a position that we have to start cutting units like the traffic units."

"It's beyond strange," Kelly said. "I think, if you look at a city our size, we should be having a traffic unit that is twice the size."

SJPD officials said it might be necessary to redeploy its motorcycle unit officers because patrols cannot handle all emergency calls.

"I think the chief and the command staff are always looking at ways to add more patrol units so that we can answer those 911 calls,” Morales said.

Some San Jose residents who spoke with NBC Bay Area said they are concerned.

"I think people are gonna possibly cut loose and not be as observant of the speed limit and the driving laws,” Julie Tornincasa said.

The chief's office said it has not set a time limit on a decision but said it will come soon. Regardless, the department said it may keep some officers on motorcycles to work with patrol units for certain situations.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Businesses Near Levi's Stadium Prep for First Game]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 17:51:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/07-30-2014-levis-stadium.jpg

More than 40,000 soccer fans will pour into Santa Clara this Saturday for the first sporting event at Levi’s Stadium, and businesses in the area are expecting big things.

Officials have decided to cap the number of tickets that can be sold to the San Jose Earthquakes vs. Seattle Sounders FC Major League Soccer matchup at 44,000, about two-thirds of the new stadium’s capacity.

Erich Smith is the general manager at the Santa Clara Hilton, which is practically in Levi’s Stadium’s backyard.

“We’re using this Saturday just like the 49ers are, as a little bit of a test,” Smith said.

Smith said the hotel would sellout every time there’s game – and that includes this weekend. The MLS match is giving the hotel a chance to see what some 40,000 sports fans feels like, and that’s important, considering the 49ers are expected to draw nearly 70,000 to each game.

“I have every single manager – whether you’re in sales or accounting – everyone is here Saturday,” Smith said. “Everyone has a position and responsibility.”

Restaurants in the area are expecting to double their normal weekend sales. One such restaurant, David’s, has been a hangout for golfers from the nearby Santa Clara Golf and Tennis Club for decades. With the first game at Levi’s imminent, owner David Ebrahimi has been getting ready for bigger crowds: He’s already bought new big screen TVS, new patio furniture, and he’s stocking up on food and beer.

This weekend is a test run, Ebrahimi said. He is expecting up to 3,000 soccer fans to frequent his establishment on Saturday. He is tripling his staff and expecting more customers to choose beer over Arnold Palmers. "We just need to experience [a game day],” an anxious Ebrahimi said.

Ebrahimi said fans will be able to hear the roar of the crowd from his restaurant’s patio.

Down the street, chicken and waffles are on the menu at Butter & Zeus

“We’re hoping the lines are out the door and that everyone will get their food in a timely manner,” owner Nga Huynh said.

Huynh said she and her husband opened up a year ago. She calls it an investment they couldn’t pass up. “Being in this area, it’s an exciting time,” she said.

Butter & Zeus has hired five part-time employees. All of them will be working Saturday. Huynh isn’t sure how many waffles they’ll sell, but she is ready for game day. “We’re preparing for a super crazy Saturday,” she said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Wary Bay Area Winemakers Eye Next Year]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 11:50:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0730-2014-DanNaumann+.jpg

Winemaker Dan Naumann paced along his vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains, ignoring the vast startling views of Silicon Valley below - eyes fixed on his grape leaves. He gingerly extended a branch of one vine, pointing out the crimson leaves.

"This is what drought will do to you," Naumann said brushing the leaves. "Eventually they’ll crinkle up on you."

Like everyone in agriculture, Naumann is nervous. Another winter with little rain has taken its toll on those who depend on nature’s irrigation. As a "dry farmer" in unincorporated Cupertino, Naumann’s irrigation is supplied 100 percent by Mother Nature.

"The most important thing we need is the soothing sound of raindrops during the winter," he said.

Like many Bay Area winemakers, Naumann expects to make it through this year with a decent harvest and quality wines. Next year, he’s not so sure. While this year has been a tough one for agriculture, another year without rain could be devastating.

"We would drop one third of the fruit," Naumann said. "That’s what we’re anticipating next year if we get minimal amount of rain."

Naumann expected the rest of the Bay Area wine industry to make similar cuts to its fruit crops if it doesn’t get the rain it needs. He said that could drive prices up 20 to 30 percent.

Just past downtown Livermore, where browning lawns are now more common than green ones, winemaker Jim McGrail surveyed his sprawling vines with the look of a man before a firing squad.

"If you don’t get water," McGrail said, "these grapes die, the fruit dies, we as a community die."

McGrail only lays only some of the blame with nature, the rest he’s reserved for state leaders who he said need to come up with a better system for storing rain during wet years.

"We put people on the moon,” he said. “We do heart transplants and there’s absolutely no reason we don’t have water.”

Naumann produces about 700 cases of merlot and cabernet sauvignon a year - and considers himself a boutique winemaker. But from his hilltop perch overlooking the valley, Naumann strangely seemed to be looking up.

"We’ll make it through," he said. "Eventually Mother Nature will get us our rain back."

Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr.]]>
<![CDATA[Westboro Baptist Church Plans SF Protest]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 18:35:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/79282403.jpg

The Westboro Baptist Church is bringing its circus to San Francisco.

The well-known Kansas-based evangelical faith group, which has been called a hate group for its anti-LGBT protesting of funerals and other touchy events, is planning to protest in San Francisco and Silicon Valley on August 12, according to reports.

The reason behind it? Silicon Valley bigwigs like Mark Zuckerberg "cram sodomite propaganda down everyone's throats," according to the church. 

SFist reports that the church's adherents will roam the campuses of "Facebook, Google, and Apple" as well as the San Francisco locations of social media networks like Twitter and Reddit.

The August 12 protest schedule has the God-fearing Kansans going from Menlo Park to Mountain View instantaneously, so maybe, as SFist points out, it's a bit too ambitious.

Either way, prepare for signs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jerry Garcia's SF Homes to be Honored With Plaques]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 18:26:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/07-30-2014-jerry-garcia.jpg

Jerry lives on in the Excelsior District.

Jerry Garcia is one of San Francisco's most famous sons, and the legendary Grateful Dead frontman and guitarists' former homes in the Excelsior District are to be honored with plaques.

The San Francisco Examiner reports that homes at 121 Amazon, where Jerry lived until he was 5, and 87 Harrington Street, where Jerry lived with his grandmother until he was a teenager, are going to be marked with commemorative plaques.

While the Grateful Dead is more strongly associated with the Haight-Ashbury, the roots run deep elsewhere in the city: The only book Garcia wrote was about his memories of the Excelsior as a child, the newspaper noted.

The plaques could go up in time for the anniversary of Jerry's birth and death next month.

<![CDATA[Thousands of Blue Sea Creatures Wash Up on Local California Beaches]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:47:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/velella.jpg

Social media is teeming with pictures of small bright blue sea creatures washing up all over California beaches, with sightings reported in Humboldt County, Monterey and Ocean Beach.

Despite being described as "strange," "bizarre," "mysterious," and even "aliens," it turns out these creatures have a name.

Marine researchers are calling it Velella velella, a name the Santa Cruz Sentinel wrote sounds "like a nominee for the Best Foreign Language Film."

"Some people call them jellyfish, but they are in fact only distantly related and only superficially similar," said Rich Mooi of the California Academy of Sciences.

The small delicate-looking marine invertibrates are commonly called "by-the-wind sailor." They are 40 to 80 millimeters long as adults and are characterized by a clear, chitinous semicircular sail sticking above water.

Velella can be found floating at the sea surface. They feed on zooplankton and fish and their predators are snails. They generally float offshore but can be blown onshore in large numbers.

Nobody knows for sure why so many are washing up this late in summer.

Although they are related to the Portugese man-o'-war -- notorious for its stinging ability -- Mooi said the creatures are completely harmless to humans, though he doesn't recommend eating them.


Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[5-Alarm Fire in San Jose Burns 2 Homes]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 14:21:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/07-30-2014-sj-fire-2.jpg

San Jose firefighters battled a a five-alarm fire on Wednesday morning that started at a house and spread to an adjacent home, according to Fire Capt. Cleo Doss.

The blaze was first reported at 11:22 a.m. at a two-story home in the 4300 block of Hampshire Place. It was knocked down at 12:37 p.m.

The second alarm was called as the flames spread to the adjacent home. Just after noon, the fire reached five alarms.

NBC Bay Area's chopper flew overhead, showing smoke billowing from the roof, and firefighters spraying water to quell the flames.

In addition to the 80 or so San Jose firefighters on the scene, fire crews from a number of other  departments stood ready to respond in the event of another fire breaking out.

"A fire of this size does thin resources," Capt, Doss said, "but with help from other agencies, all other parts of San Jose were safe while the incident was dealt with."

No injuries were reported in the fire. The cause is still under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[49ers Photos, Art Unveiled at Levi's Stadium]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 13:25:32 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Million+Dollar+Backfield.jpg

It’s the reason why millions of sports fans re-watch old games on ESPN Classic. They already know the outcome — maybe it was an upset, a career-changing play, or miraculous final minute. A single game can evoke memories from a time, both in the sports world and one’s own life, be it bittersweet or just bitter.

When 49ers fans visit and tour Levi's Stadium, they will get to relive some of their memories through the monumental unveiling of more than 700 photographs and original pieces of artwork, all encompassing the legends of Candlestick Park, the ups and downs of the team and the beauty of California. Public tours to see the art can be arranged by visiting www.LeviStadium.com/art.

The "Art Collection at Levi’s Stadium" includes 500 archive photographs of the 49ers and 200 pieces of original artwork, all provided by team photographers, media partners, as well as Bay Area artists.

The collection, curated through Tracie Speca-Ventura and her team at "Sports and the Arts “was created and installed at Levi’s Stadium as another unique and innovative way to enhance the stadium experience for their fans. The collection was designed to highlight all that is special about the Bay Area and the San Francisco 49ers.”

Of the 23 artists showcased, 19 are local California natives.

For painter Liz Walsh, the collection is particularly meaningful and emotional. Her father, Bill Walsh, was the renowned former head coach of the 49ers and Hall of Famer. She told Sports and the Arts, “What I hope to evoke when people see my work is something…something emotional, something you cant quite put your finger on. Maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe it’s something that resonates deeply with you.”

Walsh sees her paintings as a chance to contribute something special to the opening of Levi’s Stadium. “It was sort of a chance for me to share that legacy with the future of the 49ers and the future of their new stadium.”

IF YOU'RE INTERESTED: The Art Collection at Levi’s Stadium will be open to the media for one day on Aug. 1 from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Levi’s Stadium is located at 4900 Marie P. DeBartolo Way in Santa Clara. For more information, including a compilation of the artists and photographers and their work, visit www.LeviStadium.com/art.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Levi's Stadium]]>