<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Local News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.comen-usSat, 21 Jan 2017 20:08:15 -0800Sat, 21 Jan 2017 20:08:15 -0800NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA['We Will Not Be Silent': Bay Area Women's Marches Packed]]> Sat, 21 Jan 2017 11:18:47 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1-21-17_SF_March.jpg

As the nation comes to grips with Donald Trump assuming his seat in the Oval Office, thousands of people from across the Bay Area on Saturday continued to take the opportunity to voice their opinions about the new reality.

People scattered across the region's three major metropolitan areas, in addition to a number of other smaller communities, gathered at a multitude of locations to either fight for women's rights, decry the election of Trump, safeguard the environment or stand up for immigrant communities among a slew of other issues.

Police said an estimated 25,000 people flocked to San Jose City Hall for a roughly one-mile-long walk and rally in solidarity with the national Women's March in Washington D.C., an event that witnessed hundreds of thousands of people pack the National Mall.

Signs spotted in the San Jose crowd read, "We Will Not Be Silent," "Stop the War on Women" and "Women Can!" Men, women and children could also be heard chanting, "Yes we can!"

Nicole Hadsell of San Jose partook in Saturday's event because she is concerned about the future of reproductive rights.

"No one should have a choice about what we can and cannot do with our own bodies," she said.

Fellow San Jose resident Anette Dow is worried about Trump's stand on climate change.

"I'm worried he's going to roll back and that any gains made over the last year will be undone and the health of the planet will deteriorate past the point of saving," she said.

Droves of people clad in pink, pointy-eared "pussyhats" also took to the streets of Oakland to take aim at the new president and propagate the message that women will not remain silent over the coming years. The scene was raucous, but people remained peaceful while voicing their opinions.

"It's just amazing, so amazing that so many people are opposed to the new regime and what's happening with women's rights," Kathryn White from Oakland.

An estimated 60,000 people walked in unison near Frank Ogawa Plaza and Lake Merritt during the march, according to city officials.

Hours later, droves of people stood shoulder-to-shoulder outside San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza preaching similar messages.

Marchers could be seen flashing signs reading "Women's Rights are Human Rights" and "We are All Immigrants."

The Women's March in San Francisco just so happened to take place hours after anti-abortion advocates graced city streets during the Walk for Life West Coast rally.

Those taking part in Bay Area marches and rallies were advised to expect traffic delays both on city streets and public transportation. BART and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority increased service in hopes of accommodating those attending the various events.

Smaller scale marches also popped up in Bay Area cities such as Albany, Walnut Creek and Redwood City.

A unifying theme among speakers in Redwood City was a call for active citizenship as community leaders each vowed to continue work at the local level on education, protection of minorities and constitutional rights for all Americans.

Aside from the national Women's March in the nation's capital, an estimated 600 "sister marches" were planned to stretch across the United States, according to The Associated Press. In total, organizers believe roughly three million people took time on Saturday to speak up for women.

Follow NBC Bay Area on Twitter for the latest updates pertaining to the marches around the Bay Area:



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Third Storm Packs Heavy Rain, High Winds, Flooding Concerns]]> Sat, 21 Jan 2017 12:20:07 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/rainzo.jpg

The Bay Area on Saturday morning and afternoon experienced a brief break from widespread soggy and blustery conditions, but a third system arrived by the evening hours.

The latest storm, which is expected to batter the region beginning late Saturday, has triggered a number of serious weather warnings, including a flood warning for Solano and Santa Clara counties.

Residents in Hollister are bracing for the worst after a broken levee on Friday flooded several roads, homes and farms. With rain in the forecast, folks are being told to stay alert and prepare for possible evacuations.

Flash flood watches across the Bay Area will go into effect late Saturday before expiring on Sunday. The areas that could see the highest amount of rainfall include the North Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains.

High wind warnings have also been implemented across nearly every Bay Area county.

High winds on Saturday night and early Sunday could fluctuate anywhere from 30 to 50 mph. Gusts could peak near 60 mph.

Folks along the California Coast are also being alerted to a high surf warning. Large breaking waves reaching 25 to 30 feet on Saturday are expected to pound shorelines from Sonoma to Monterey counties. The high surf warning is scheduled to expire at 3 p.m. on Sunday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sea of Pink: Live Updates from Women's March]]> Sat, 21 Jan 2017 10:31:11 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/RiyaBlogPhoto.jpg

NBC Bay Area's Sr. Digital Editor Riya Bhattacharjee, Anchor Raj Mathai and multimedia reporter Gillian Edevane are in D.C. covering the inauguration and marches. Follow us online and on Twitter and Facebook for Live updates from the capital.

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Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area/Riya Bhattacharjee]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Woman Makes Giant Suffragette Banner for D.C. March]]> Sat, 21 Jan 2017 10:41:48 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GEESE6.jpg

A few weeks ago, Susan Jackson let out a sigh and plunked herself down on her dining room chair. The retired teacher promised over 1,000 people that she would write their names on a banner she’s taking to the Women’s March on Washington — but the clock was ticking.

“Well, it started out with 250 names,” she said dryly, waving a hand toward the white banner and pens littering the table in her San Francisco home. “But then it became, ‘oh no,’ let’s do 400. Then 700. Now we’re at over 1,000.” 

The banner Jackson made honors the Suffragettes and is modeled on sashes they wore while fighting for a woman’s right to vote. She posted her idea for it on Together We Will, a Facebook group made up of progressives, and the response was overwhelming. Within a few short days, Jackson had hundreds of comments from people requesting the addition of their name or the name of one of their ancestors.

“The response was really amazing,” Jackson said, adding that she found the group to be a solace after the election. “It’s a lot of work…but I’m proud and happy to do it!” 

The election was a devastating blow to Jackson. On Nov. 8, she had been at a comedy club in the Mission District when the results started coming in, and recounted seeing updates on a muted television stationed near the comedy set. When it became clear Trump was headed for a victory, she bolted from her seat. 

“I said, I’m sorry. I have to go,” she recalled. “Nothing’s funny anymore.” She remembered running outside crying, wondering why others on the street weren’t weeping too.

Since then, the North Carolina transplant has yet to find a “silver lining” in what she sees as a black cloud hanging over the county for the next four years, but the banner and women’s march renewed her sense of purpose

To accommodate all the names, the banner is much bigger than she had originally intended – it’s easily over five feet long and a foot wide. She also reduced the size of her penmanship, which starts fairly large and gets smaller and smaller, until you have to squint to see each name on the banner.

“We’re going to make them fit, one way or another” she laughed, noting the size discrepancy. “They’re all going on there. I’ve been adding to it almost every day, and I’m checking each name several times to make sure it’s there.”

The names belong to people of different genders, sexual identities and cultural backgrounds, making it far more inclusive than the sashes modeled by the suffragettes.

“I’m marching for everyone who has been left out. I have decided I will never be quiet again," she said. "If someone calls me a bad name, I will no longer just duck my head and pretend I didn’t hear it. Or if someone says something bad about someone I’m with, I will not be silent." 

When the march is over, Susan says she’s planning on mailing it to Hillary Clinton. Although the Democratic Nominee’s loss continues to sting, Susan says she’d like to honor the trailblazer for putting another major crack in a seemingly shatterproof glass ceiling.



Photo Credit: Gillian Edevane ]]>
<![CDATA[Man Killed While Paragliding in Pacifica]]> Sat, 21 Jan 2017 14:39:56 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/PacificaRescuePhoto.jpg

A man on Saturday paragliding in Pacifica was killed after he crashed into the Pacific Ocean, police said.

The victim was pulled from the water by bystanders and immediately given CPR along a beach near Esplanade Avenue, according to police.

Emergency personnel arrived a short time later and took over the life-saving attempt, but the victim was unable to be resuscitated, police said.

The San Mateo County Coroner's Officer is investigating the accident.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Women's March Generates Nationwide Rallies]]> Sat, 21 Jan 2017 17:34:06 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Washington_March.jpg From Washington D.C. to San Francisco, droves of people gathered at Women's Marches across the country to stand up for women's rights. Raj Mathai reports.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[San Jose Women's March Draws Tens of Thousands]]> Sat, 21 Jan 2017 17:58:29 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WomensMarchSJ.jpg Droves of people on Saturday took to the streets of San Jose to speak up for women's right and a host of other issues that may be in question as President Donald Trumps takes office. Marianne Favro reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area/Marianne Favro]]>
<![CDATA[Third Storm Barrels Toward Bay Area]]> Sat, 21 Jan 2017 17:45:00 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1-21-17_Rob_Weather.jpg The next system in a round of storms is expected to bring heavy rain and gusty winds to the Bay Area beginning Saturday evening. NBC Bay Area meteorologist Rob Mayeda provides an update on the winter weather.]]> <![CDATA[Flooded Hollister on Edge as Next Round of Rain Approaches]]> Sat, 21 Jan 2017 17:38:30 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0120-2017-Hollister.jpg The city of Hollister, which was overwhelmed by flood water earlier in the month, is doing what it can to prevent a similar episode as a new storm rolls into the Bay Area. Thom Jensen reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Fallen Tree Blocks SB Highway 17 in Los Gatos]]> Fri, 20 Jan 2017 18:56:32 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0120-2017-Hwy17Tree.jpg

Some people were left stranded after a large tree fell and blocked southbound Highway 17 during Friday's evening commute.

Motorists on the highway were left at a standstill at Redwood Estates Road in Los Gatos when the tree came crashing down during the evening commute, snarling traffic for hours. Many drivers were stuck waiting for hours and ended up turning their cars off.

Other drivers decided to turn around and go the wrong way to escape the traffic standstill.

California Highway Patrol said the tree fell at 5:30 p.m.

The traffic nightmare is nothing new for those who regularly roll through the highway.

"Pretty much, if you live over the hill this is what you put up with," Aptos-resident Conrado Montes said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Trump's Inauguration Sparks Bay Area Actions]]> Fri, 20 Jan 2017 13:13:18 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0120-2017-OakProtest.jpg

As the United States on Friday ushers in a new era of power, people in the Bay Area took different approaches to welcoming in President Donald Trump. Or not.

Almost as soon as he took office, people donned purple coats and hats — a color that many say represents unity and also is the mixture of red and blue. And they lined up along portions of the Golden Gate Bridge's pedestrian and bike paths to form a human chain as part of a "peaceful demonstration and performance art piece," according to event organizers.

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The event, which began at 10 a.m., was not defined as a protest or a march, according to those spearheading the gesture. The stunt was simply designed to "promote love and positivity." In fact, one demonstrator was seen taking down an anti-Trump sign.

The Flint family from Cuptertino was among those preaching unity.

"I wanted my kids to see people can have a peaceful disagreement," Della Flint said. "We have the power to change things. It is not hopeless."

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While protesters and police in Washington D.C. clashed violently following the Trump's swearing in, demonstrations around the Bay Area remained fairly peaceful during the late morning and early afternoon hours.

A flock of protesters shortly after 8:30 a.m. illegally blocked Caltrain tracks near 16th Street. Less than two dozen people were arrested two hours later for failing to leave the area, police said.

Earlier Friday morning, protesters also blocked Uber's headquarters in San Francisco. They locked hands and walked down Market Street carrying signs that read "Uber collaborates with Trump."

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Although not entirely targeting the nation's new president, protesters in San Francisco blasted Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick for being a "bad community actor that destroys good jobs in favor of precarious work, contributes to rising rents in Bay Area cities but does nothing to mitigate their impact," according to Sarah Nelson, a spokeswoman for the protest.

Nelson added that protesters are frustrated with Uber's backing of Trump.

"Together, (Kalanick) and Trump want to drive us off a cliff and we won't let them," Nelson said.

Uber responded with this statement: "As a company we're committed to working with government on issues that affect riders, drivers and the cities where we operate. Just as we worked with the Obama Administration, we'll work with the Trump Administration, too."

About 1,500 protesters marched through the streets of San Francisco late Friday. Police officers monitored the demonstration by walking with protesters.

Protesters took to the streets in Oakland throughout the day as well, carrying anti-Trump signs in the downtown area. Flocks of people meandered through city streets for several hours, prompting temporary street closures at times.

Claudia Arroyo held a sign in Spanish that said 'Respeta Mi Existencia or Espera Resistencia." In English, she said out loud to Trump: "If you don't accept our existence expect our resistance."

About 200 people marched through Oakland late Friday. There was no violence, but police report three people were arrested during the demonstration.

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Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Trump's Inauguration: Celebrations and Protests]]> Fri, 20 Jan 2017 23:40:48 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/636205471435239819.jpg Donald Trump, the real estate mogul and reality television star who upended American politics and energized voters angry with Washington, took the oath of office Friday to become the 45th president of the United States and lead a riven nation. Raj Mathai reports.

Photo Credit: EFE]]>
<![CDATA[Rifle, Bullet Proof Vest Stolen Out of Agent's Vehicle: FBI]]> Fri, 20 Jan 2017 16:03:28 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/FBI-Generic2.jpg

A rifle, three magazines and bullet proof vest were stolen out of an FBI agent's vehicle this month in Contra Costa County, authorities confirmed Friday afternoon.

The FBI said the theft occurred between 6 p.m. January 8 and 10 a.m. January 9 in Concord, Orinda or Lafayette.

The FBI is working with the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office to locate and recover the items.

Anyone with information regarding the weapons should contact the FBI San Francisco Field Office at 415-553-7400 or visit tips.fbi.gov.

No other information was immediately available.

 

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<![CDATA[California Responds to Trump's Inauguration]]> Fri, 20 Jan 2017 23:04:06 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/218*120/AP_17020666423323.jpg

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Hands Across the Golden Gate Bridge]]> Fri, 20 Jan 2017 12:41:36 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1-20-17-protests-trump-women-march.jpg

Photo Credit: Robert Handa/NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Storm Prompts More Flooding, Evacuations in Hollister]]> Fri, 20 Jan 2017 17:41:51 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0120-2017-Hollister.jpg There were more evacuations in Hollister Friday after a levee broke in the same creek that forced residents out of their homes last week. Damian Trujillo reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Storm Causes Traffic Problems in East Bay]]> Fri, 20 Jan 2017 17:51:03 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0120-2017-EastBayStorm.jpg In the East Bay, widespread flooding could be seen on Alhambra Valley Road near Pinole, where an entire roadway gave way. Elyce Kirchner reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Sewage Seeps Into San Francisco Neighborhood - Again]]> Fri, 20 Jan 2017 12:59:45 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sewage2.jpg

Sewage seeped into the Mission Terrace neighborhood of San Francisco—again.

Resident Blane Bachelor told NBC Bay Area that for at least the third time in as many years, raw sewage and water flooded into homes in the neighborhood. She lives on Rotteck Street. "It's 4:30 a.m. and the sewers are flooded again," she said in a Facebook post on a page called "Solutions Not Sandbags." "It's a nightmare."

In an interview Friday morning, she reiterated: "This is a catastrophic sewage failure. This is raw sewage." About a dozen homes, she said, were affected. She awoke to the awful sound of manholes blowing off and the smell of raw sewage spewing through the street.

The Department of Public works was called out to Cayuga Avenue on Friday, and crews helped clean up the mess. San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Charles Sheehan spokesman acknowledged the issue, but added that "no storm system can be designed to handle all storms."

Neighbor Donna Marie Ponferrada created the Facebook page, and named it as such because she said, "The city's solution has always been sandbags, elevate your belongings, get flood insurance. But when the sewage is coming up through the drains and toilets in the house, there isn't much residents can do."

She said she lost her apartment two years ago to a similar sewage eruption. And on Friday morning, she said her toilet gurgled, followed by sewer water entering her home and creating an "ocean" in the street."

The neighbors are openly calling on San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to fix the problem. His office did not respond on Friday for comment.

This is not the first time sewage seeped into this neighborhood. In 2014, the San Francisco Chronicle noted that rains flooded 26 homes with raw sewage, displacing six families. And ten years prior to that, there was similar damage, prompting the city to put out more than $1 million. Ponferrada said that several families have an active lawsuit against the city because of the ongoing problem.

 

For her part, Bachlelor said she can barely take it any more.

Standing outside in the dark in pink rain gear, her voice weary and angry, she said: "I'm furious I'm so over this. I'm fed up."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Cop Breaks Into Song, Hoping to Break Barriers]]> Fri, 20 Jan 2017 12:40:42 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/singing+san+mateo+cop+1.jpg

Walking the best in downtown San Mateo is unlike any other assignment in that city's police department. There are days when it is every bit as much public relations as police work.

It is why the job seems to suit 8-year-veteran Colby Darrah just fine. It's the type of police officer he's always wanted to be.

"I want people to feel completely comfortable to ask me questions, spout off their problems and try to work with them to find a long-term solution to the problems they are having," Darrah said.

In his effort to be all those things to his community, Darrah isn't afraid to try out new techniques when he learns them. A couple of months ago, though, Darrah discovered that something old was just what he was looking for.

His love of music.

"It’s always been a part of my life," Darrah said. Growing up in Redding, his parents ran their own business and on weekends Darrah would accompany his father on work calls. "Sometimes we'd have a long drive, windows down, singing country music."

Darrah continued singing as a teenager as a member of groups, even winning a few competitions. When his focus turned to a career in law enforcement and raising a family, however, music faded somewhat into the background. But not completely.

"Walking the beat I hum or whistle or sometimes I sing," Darrah said. "I can't help it."

What Darrah did one night in November, however, brought music back in a whole new way. He spotted a street musician, a regular in downtown San Mateo, and walked up to him.

"I asked if I could play his guitar. He said 'sure.' The rest is history," Darrah said.

That's because Darrah's partner snuck a video of the performance and placed it on social media. "It was posted. And shared. And shared. And shared," Darrah said. By now, he says, it seems as if everyone in town has seen it.

It's become just the ice breaker Darrah says he been looking for. People smile when they see him play and Darrah feels it makes him much more approachable and less threatening.

He now plans to regularly break out into song and, perhaps, break down some barriers in the process.

"I never thought doing it that one time would have such an impact."


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<![CDATA[Thunder, Lightning, Hail, Rain Pound Bay Area]]> Fri, 20 Jan 2017 12:30:17 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEB+LIGHTNING+AT+SF+GIF_22193196.gif

The rain was relentless on Friday morning, and the wet weather continued to cause problems throughout the day's entirety.

The National Weather Service issued flash flood watches for almost every Bay Area county, and heavy rains pounded the Bay Area, most heavily in the Santa Cruz mountains early in the morning. Ben Lomand, for example, reported receiving .94 inches in just one hour, the NWS reported.

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SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS

The new rain also caused new problems for residents in the Santa Cruz Mountains, an area already saturated by heavy rains. Residents near the San Lorenzo River, which is expected to rise again, are on standby and ready to leave at a moment's notice.

"For Felton Grove, there's always this pooling and sort of flooding. But when the San Lorenzo comes up it gets more serious," resident Richard Shaffer said. 

Shaffer is not taking any chances and has placed sandbags by his front door.

EAST BAY

In other parts of the Bay Area, water poured in, flooded roads and caused trees to fall in places such as Highway 13 in Oakland and into a home in San Carlos.

In the East Bay, widespread flooding could be seen on Alhambra Valley Road near Pinole, where an entire roadway gave way. Authorities said it could take a year for the road to reopen.

Last week's storm left more than $9 million in damages throughout Contra Costa County, prompting the county to declare a local emergency for the first time in more than a decade.

"That opens up avenues potentially for state and federal money to help with the recovery costs," said Julie Bueren, director of public works for Contra Costa County.

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THUNDER AND LIGHTNING

Thunder and lightning also punctuated the skies.

Flashes were seen across the East Bay and in San Francisco. Emilie Porter, who lives in the Castro district, captured the rare image from her home. The strikes she captured on video turned the dark sky into a watercolor painting of light blue and purple. "We weren't scared," she said. "It was beautiful." She added, however, that her dog, Georgia, "was not a fan."

A line of thunderstorms also rumbled across the San Mateo coast, the National Weather Service reported.

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HOLLISTER FLOODING

Just days after facing widespread flooding, the city of Hollister on Friday was forced to battle rising water once again. Rain water blanketed city roads and yards as people attempted to make their way through ankle-deep water.

Pacheco Creek on Friday could be seen flowing right through Lovers Lane in Hollister, prompting everyone on the street to be evacuated again.

San Benito County leaders said the levee that is on private property broke, which sent rainwater rushing down Lovers Lane.

Authorities said 21 people had to be rescued by a San Benito County Sheriff's Office water rescue team. Several farm animals were also in the process of being rescued late Friday.

The county has declared a local emergency.

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Photo Credit: Emilie Porter
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<![CDATA[Women Arrive in DC For Saturday March]]> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 23:58:07 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/dc+women+raj.jpg Along with plenty of Donald Trump supporters from the Bay Area, there were dozens of women arriving at Dulles Airport in Washington, including incoming Sen. Kamala Harris for the women's march on Saturday. Raj Mathai reports.]]> <![CDATA[Energy in DC On Eve of Trump Inauguration]]> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 23:54:49 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/dc-raj.jpg President-elect Donald Trump was enjoying the moment as a big crowd of his supporters joined him at the Lincoln Memorial for a concert and spectacular fireworks show Thursday night. Raj Mathai reports.]]> <![CDATA[Hundreds 'Shine a Light' For Ghostlight Project in SF]]> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 23:02:34 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ghostlight-sf.jpg

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Geary Theater in San Francisco, holding lit candles and illuminated cellphones to signify what organizers dubbed "shining a light on the dark days ahead."

It's called the Ghostlight Project, and organizers said the demonstration was also meant to represent support of inclusion for all.

"This campaign has released and amazing amount of hate speech, and it is becoming the new norm to denigrate women, to denigrate people of color, to denigrate people with disabilities publicly and without shame," one demonstrator said.

The Ghostlight Project is a nationwide event, and the San Francisco demonstration was one of many that took place across the country.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Peaceful Marches in Oakland Preview Bigger Trump Protests]]> Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:08:37 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/oakland+protest3.jpg

Dozens of people took to the streets of Oakland on the eve of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.

And while two peaceful protests were taking place Thursday night, Oakland police were preparing for bigger protests Friday and Saturday.

The collective message Thursday night was "We will not be silent." It came from dozens who marched to City Hall in what they dubbed a call to action.

"This will not stand; we will resist, and we will rise against his administration," a protester said.

The call to action was a preview of sorts for Friday’s general strike against Trump. Oakland police are ready for the protest to turn violent.

"We have done a lot of training," police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said. "We’ve trained in crowd management, different tactics and strategies. We’ve also trained in de-escalation."

Days off for officers have been canceled.

"I want to strongly encourage demonstrators to keep in mind that Trump may be a source of hate, but the local Oakland businesses are not the enemy," Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan said.

Businesses in downtown Oakland are boarding up, preparing for protesters to take their frustration out on them. It’s happened many times in past protests.

Peace also was one of the underlying themes Thursday night, with concerns that the new administration may encourage violence.

"I think we need to look at ways in which Trump, in his own crazy, bizarre, ugly, nasty way, can empower us and not make us weaker," protester Bruce Schmichen said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[South Santa Clara County Braces For Possible Flooding]]> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 23:41:23 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sandbags-mh.jpg

The looming storm, No. 2 in a triple-header for the Bay Area, is expected to slam areas in southern Santa Clara County again, just as last week's torrent flooded areas in Morgan Hill, Gilroy and Hollister.

And those who escaped those floods aren't feeling as lucky this time.

Residents were stocking up on free sand bags, hoping to block what could be fast moving water toward their homes.

If the water happens to rise too high, they say even the sandbags won't help.

"It's never been this bad before," said one Morgan Hill resident named Nick.

Last weekend, Nick's home quickly became waterfront property, as a once dry field in front of his house was pounded with rain and within hours turned into a lake.

"The intersection was closed, this whole road was closed and completely underwater," he said.

On Thursday, he was building a sandbag wall at his home, just in case the latest round of rain is a repeat.

Nick's street isn't the only area of concern for people living in Morgan Hill. There's a long list of hot spots where homeowners are advised to protect their property. And after the last storm lesson, some aren't waiting until the last minute.

"I kept all my sandbags, and I'm ready," Nick said. "Hopefully, the water doesn't come to the door or behind the house."

The rain was due to hit some areas in the region late Thursday night and continue well into Friday. Free sandbags were available in multiple locations throughout the area.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Niners' York May be Leaning Toward Gutekunst as GM]]> Fri, 20 Jan 2017 08:42:43 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/yorkzearch.jpg

Brian Gutekunst is hardly a household name. But in his capacity as a scout and executive with the Green Bay Packers for 18 seasons, he’s certainly connected to some of the biggest names in the NFL.

And that long track record with a Packers franchise that has been stable and successful apparently has him as the leading candidate to become the next general manager of the 49ers.

Michael Silver of the NFL Network tweeted this week that Gutekunst is the “frontrunner” for the job, with Terry McDonough of the Cardinals and George Paton of the Vikings also still in the running.

If the 49ers go with Gutekunst it will be in large part because of his record as a talent evaluator, an area in which the recently fired Trent Baalke can be criticized. Though Baalke routinely stockpiled draft choices, recent draft classes have been devoid of high-impact talent, especially among offensive skill players. The 49ers are lacking at quarterback and wide receiver in particular.

Gutekunst was a college scout with the Packers for his first 13 years, then in 2012 was promoted to director of college scouting. Last March he became Green Bay’s director of player personnel. During his tenure, the Packers have drafted such high-impact talent as quarterback Aaron Rodgers, wide receiver Jordy Nelson and outside linebacker Clay Matthews.

According to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 49ers CEO Jed York was impressed in his first interview with Gutekunst, and compared him favorably to former 49ers GM Scot McGloughan as an elite talent evaluator.

“It’s been Gutekunst for two weeks,” one scource told McGinn, of the 49ers’ interest.

McGinn reported Gutekunst could be hired by the 49ers as soon as next week, even if Green Bay defeats the Falcons this Sunday and moves on to the Super Bowl, with the Packers allowing him to leave early.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Couple Fumes Over 'Costco' Wedding ]]> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 19:33:24 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/plastic-cup.jpg

A Vallejo bride and groom are emphatic: Don’t judge our wedding reception by the photos.

“The pictures look fine,” explained Mia Bennett, who married J.R. back in August.

Photos of the Bennett wedding reception are artfully shot, showing a colorful array of food. But the bride and groom say don’t be fooled by these creative angles. This party was subpar for the price they paid.

“It was embarrassing,” Mia Bennett said.

She points to the plates.

“Plastic,” she says.

She points to the cups.

“Plastic,” she says.

She points to the flatware.

“Plastic,” she says.

She points to the food.

“Cold, store-bought food from Costco,” she says. JR Bennett nods in agreement.

The Inn at Benicia Bay hosted Mia and J.R.’s reception. The Bennetts paid $3,800 for fewer than three dozen to dine and drink beer or wine.

“We had 30 guests, plus ourselves,” Mia said. “So 32.”

That breaks down to $118.75 per person for a meal they thought would include hot, heavy hors d'oeuvres – served on china.

Instead, they say their guests dined with plastic and ate a spread of cold meatballs, hummus, cheese cubes, and vegetables that resembled the sample tables at a warehouse store.

“Hopefully you’re a fan of variety,” JR said. “Hopefully, you’re the guy who likes walking around Costco getting every free sample.”

Mia and J.R. expected more for their money but admit a specific menu was not spelled out in their contract. All the contract says is that food “shall consist of heavy hors d’oeuvres at the choice of Shorelight Inn/the Inn at Benicia Bay.”

After the reception, the couple complained about the ambiguity in their agreement. They say they got nowhere. So, they contacted us.

When we called the Inn at Benicia Bay, a manager said the inn “did the best we could.” She said $3,800 isn’t a big enough budget to furnish a 32-person wedding reception with china, glassware, flatware, linens and hot food.

Later, an attorney for the inn wrote us and said, “The Inn at Benicia Bay fully performed its contractual obligations.” She said negative reviews that the Bennetts had posted on social media included “false and misleading accusations.”

We wanted to help settle the dispute. And we tried. But the two sides have chosen to let American Express handle it, since Mia paid with her Amex card.

 “A full refund is fair because you can’t redo it,” she said. ”That was our one wedding reception.”

The Bennetts told me part of the reason they called NBC Bay Area Responds is to educate others.

“We wanted our story told. We don’t want this to happen to other people,” Mia explained.

If they had it to do all over again, they’d spend a lot more time writing up the contract.

“Go over details,” JR advised. “Our contract is vague.”

They said be sure to nail down dos and don’ts. Be specific – especially if you’re particular about things like the china, stemware, utensils and such.

“It cannot be plastic; no plastic allowed,” J.R. said.  

“Add what it cannot be, just as much as what it should be,” his wife suggested.

The key point to remember from the Bennett reception is that when you sign a contract – even if it’s for a party – details matter. Get all the particulars in writing. Both sides should want the contract to be as clear as possible.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders' McKenzie Recognized for Terrific Work ]]> Fri, 20 Jan 2017 07:58:15 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/181*120/awarrddmaky.jpg

When Reggie McKenzie Thursday was selected as the Executive of the Year in the NFL by the Pro Football Writers Association, he accepted it as a team award.

It was, he said, proof that from the top down – from owner Mark Davis to McKenzie and his staff, the coaching group under Jack Del Rio and the players – the franchise had come together to build something good.

But he acknowledged, too, that it was a long, hard climb to get to the team’s first winning record and playoff berth since the 2002 season.

“It was very difficult,” McKenzie told reporters. “There’s so much change around this league, but when you stay true to what you believe in and people around you support you and that vision, it makes it easier. But yeah, it got hard. Yeah. You know what you guys were writing back in the day. Nobody likes losing, so I get that.

“If you really believe in what you’re doing and you’re supported, the hope is to start to win games, and to get to the playoffs is a step. We feel good about that, but we’re only scratching the surface. We still want to hold up the (Super Bowl) trophy. That’s what we’re going to continue to strive to do.”

Davis told the media that he believes the team now has a foundation for further success with McKenzie and Del Rio in place.

“We’re just really, really proud of Reggie and the job he’s done,” Davis told Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com. “He’s just so unselfish. It’s good to see him honored like this. With him and Jack bringing some leadership in there at the top of the food chain, things are looking up.”

McKenzie already is looking ahead to a busy offseason. He has decisions to make on which free agents to keep on the roster and which new ones to pursue from other teams. He’ll also have the 24th pick in the first round of the draft.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Student Walkouts Planned to Protest Trump's Inauguration]]> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 18:11:40 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0119-2017-StudentWalkouts.jpg

Schools across the Bay Area are preparing for potential student walkouts in protest of Donald Trump's inauguration.

In San Jose, students and faculty at the East Side Union High School District received a letter from the superintendent to get engaged in the process, hold a rally and to talk about the inauguration.

The superintendent also said for students to protest on campus or face possible consequences.

"Well we're not going to block them from leaving campus, but if they do cut school, then the normal consequences for cutting will be there," ESUHSD Superintendent Chris Funk said.

The San Jose Unified School District said it alerted its police resource officers at every high school to be vigilant in case of walkouts Friday. The district said it encourages students to express their thoughts on campus instead.

"We want to make sure they're doing it at the appropriate time and not class time," SJUSD spokesman Peter Allen said. "We want to give them space on campus, even give them a microphone if they need a PA or something."

Students in the East Side Union High School District are also being told to express themselves and to stay on campus.

"We simply gave them permission to air the inauguration speech if they so desire," Funk said. 

Meanwhile, Oakland school officials said they will hold teach-ins, talk to students about tolerance, history and the electoral process.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Storm-Related Issues Persist in SF, Santa Cruz Mountains]]> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 18:21:10 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1-19-17-rain-storm-damages-lauras-tweet-image.jpg

The rain is great for thirsty plants, parched Earth and dry reservoirs. But it can wreak havoc on saturated hills, causing mudslides, sinkholes and floods.

That's what's happening in several regions throughout the Bay Area, from mountainous areas to inner city neighborhoods.

Even with more sunshine than rain on Thursday, parts of the South Bay and Santa Cruz Mountains continued to face a big muddy mess after Wednesday's heavy rains.

Near Summit Road, a huge tree was ripped right out of the ground, a common sight along the mountain roadway. Homeowners took a hit, too, as the near constant rain began eroding the property right from underneath their feet.

Mark Holt, of Santa Cruz, knew the recent storms were going to hit hard in his neighborhood, but he never expected to see what he saw Thursday.

"While I was up in my room, a little before seven, I heard a big crack, and I looked out, and the hot tub was sliding down," he said, pointing to where his deck slid down the hill almost to the nearby road.

Philipe Hobson, who has lived in the area for 40 years, hopped on his Ford tractor and took it upon himself to help out. "Clearing the culverts and making sure the road is passable," he said.

Nearby, Lexington Reservoir wasn't spilling over like last week, but that's likely to change as two more storms are expected to arrive this weekend.

In San Francisco, crews spent Thursday picking out loose rocks from a hillside above O'Shaughnessy Boulevard. The street was closed Wednesday and remained shut down Thursday due to the threat of another rockslide. Crews with hand tools and equipment were on the hillside Thursday to try to reduce the risk.

"That’s one of the reasons we closed the road because we were concerned about the heavy rains last night and into the future knocking those big pieces out," said Raymond Lui of the Public Works Department.

Geotechnical experts determined there were some major pieces that were loose, and that prompted an emergency declaration by the Public Works director and closure of the road, Lui said.

Meanwhile, drivers such as Tony Cain tried to get around the closure.

"It's very inconvenient when I leave to go home after work," Cain said. "Instead of going down the hill to my house, I have to go all the way around."

Muni's 44 bus line has been detoured, and neighbors say commuters who use the road to get to Interstate 280 might find a backup.

O'Shaughnessy had a previous closure on Jan. 10 because of a rockslide. Officials said they are hoping to have the roadway reopened by Friday afternoon, though morning rains could alter that timeline.

Rain is in the forecast through Tuesday.



Photo Credit: Laura Malpert/NBC Bay Area ]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland Braces for Inauguration Protests]]> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 22:32:58 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0119-2017-TrumpProtest.jpg

Oakland city officials and business owners are bracing for a wave of protests on Friday.

Local demonstrators have called for a general strike to coincide with President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration.

Oakland has seen protests turn violent in the past, including demonstrations for Occupy Oakland, Black Lives Matter and Election Day.

On Election Day, protesters covered Boyd Patterson's business on Broadway Street in graffiti and destroyed windows.

Patterson, who owns Frin Graphics, is afraid his business will be hit again on Friday. He already has spent $1,400 to replace broken windows.

"We didn't even vote for Trump, but we are getting punished for him being in office," Patterson said.

City spokesperson Karen Boyd said officials will activate their emergency operation center to monitor the protests. All police officers will be on duty to manage the expected crowds.

"We've been preparing since Election Day," Boyd said.

In addition, all public garbage cans are being removed.

"The main thing that we've seen with some of the large spontaneous protests is a lot of garbage can fires," Boyd said.

The largest crowds are expected Saturday for one of the many planned women's marches.

Organizer Alison Mata said volunteers are working with police and local businesses to keep their event peaceful.

"We really want people to come to stand together," Mata said.

Still, Patterson is not taking any chances and will close up shop for the next two days.

"We lost the election and now we are losing business," he said.



Photo Credit: Lynda Brendish]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors' Curry and Durant Named All-Star Starters]]> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 21:09:36 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/curry-steph-durant-kevin-face-white.jpg

The Warriors will have two starters in the 2017 All-Star Game.

Steph Curry and Kevin Durant will be on the floor for the opening tip, the NBA announced on Thursday.

James Harden, Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis round out the starting five for the Western Conference.

The Eastern Conference starters will be Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, Jimmy Butler, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Fans accounted for 50 percent of the vote, while the media and players accounted for 25 percent each.

The reserves will be announced next week.

Curry is starting for the fourth straight season, while Durant will be playing in his eighth straight All-Star Game.



Photo Credit: CSN Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[Manufacturing Jobs Uptick: Trump May Be the Key]]> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 19:15:55 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/britelab.jpg

Manufacturing jobs in the Bay Area are seeing an uptick, and at least one Silicon Valley company believes a Trump administration could be the key to bringing lost jobs back home.

From robotics to 3-D printing to new ways to get around, manufacturing is hot again in Silicon Valley.

"We're seeing that there's gonna be a need for greater manufacturing capabilities," said Peter Leroe-Munoz of the Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group.

BriteLab CEO Robert Deneve added, "I think the new administration will go a long way to achieve that."

Executives and workers at the recently opened BriteLab manufacturing facility in San Jose are optimistic that indeed the new president could be the change the economy needs to spur local job growth. The company just opened the 55,000 square-foot facility to make tech products for companies such as Tesla and Cisco.

"We reached out to prior administrations, and it didn't quite get traction," Deneve said. "We think because this is a business focus, maybe a new way of looking at things, that our voices will be heard."

The bulk of tech manufacturing jobs have been located outside of the country for years. Companies like BriteLab are now working to bring them back, and Silicon Valley is looking to benefit.

"We're looking forward as an organization working with the president-elect and other leaders to increase the opportunities for manufacturing jobs here," Leroe-Munoz said.

Companies have said one of the biggest reasons they're building products in the U.S. again is security. Intellectual property, they say, is safer when things are built close to home.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Stanford Group to March in Washington Saturday]]> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 18:57:08 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/STANFORD+COMMUNITY+MARCHERS.jpg

Over 100 Stanford University students, professors and alumni are expected to join the Women’s March in Washington Saturday.

The Stanford Community Marchers organized the group to advocate for human rights, women’s rights and racial justice. The community marchers are not officially representing the university.

“I think about the women I know in my life. I think about the rights I want to have in the future. I think about making sure the next administration knows how we feel and that we are going to get involved, even as students. No matter where I am in my life I hope to always get involved,” said Kayla Guillory, a junior at Stanford.

Students lead the charge to plan a trip during a post-election discussion in Professor Allyson Hobbs’ history class called American Road Trips.

“We were talking about the election and trying to think about what we could do to make sure that our voices were heard and to make sure that we were sort of standing up and speaking out for the more vulnerable members of our communities,” said Professor Hobbs.

Now the students and faculty are heading to the nation’s capital. Students fundraised and reached out to alums and other donors for financial help to ensure anyone interested could attend regardless of financial need.

The group will include both men and women of all races.

“It seemed very important to me to give our current students a chance to attend a historic event,” said Estelle Freedmen, a Stanford history professor. “That says something about American politics and the long history of women’s activism; marching in Washington for suffrage, and now marching for both women’s rights but also for economic and political justice across the board.”

Friends of the marchers provided pink knitted “pussyhats” which will be worn at the march as a sign of solidarity with other marchers. Students created a banner as well to represent the Stanford marchers.



Photo Credit: Ryann Vargas/NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[State Director Responds to Workers’ Comp Criticism]]> Wed, 18 Jan 2017 23:58:00 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0118-2017-baker.jpg

After more than six months of reporting by the Investigative Unit, the director tasked with administering California’s workers’ compensation system responded to criticism from injured workers and doctors who say obtaining authorization for medical treatment has never been more difficult. Many claim critical medical care needed to get employees back to work has been delayed or outright denied by employers and insurance companies.

Christine Baker, the director of the Department of Industrial Relations, defended the system, saying reforms made four years ago improved access to medical treatment and helped contain costs. She also credits a new law enacted in January for further strengthening the system. Although the new legislation will speed up care to workers with new injuries, it won’t directly benefit employees with long and complex injuries who feel stuck in the system.

Director Defends Workers’ Comp Reforms

The major changes launched in 2013 under SB 863 emphasized evidence-based medicine and shifted treatment decisions from the courts to medical reviewers using state-approved guidelines to authorize or deny treatment requests. According to Baker, the changes are paying off.

“Benefits are going to workers, treatment has been sped up and appropriate treatment is being approved,” she said. “It is overall an improvement to the workers’ comp system, which is very complex.”

According to recent estimates, the reforms also cut costs to the nation’s most expensive workers’ comp system by more than a billion dollars per year.

But many doctors and attorneys who represent injured workers told NBC Bay Area the savings have come at a price. They say denials have reached all-time highs. They believe the guidelines touted by state administrators are too rigid and don’t always keep up with modern treatment techniques.

Baker rejects those claims.

“Ninety-five percent of medical care decisions are approved,” Baker said. “There are a few that don’t get approved and it could be that it’s inappropriate care or the doctor didn’t document the requirements for care.”

Lack of Data Called Into Question

But the data cited by Baker is impossible to verify. Until this year as a result of new reforms, the state has not collected data on the number of medical treatment requests that are approved or denied by insurers.

Instead, state administrators point to studies published by the California Workers’ Compensation Institute. The research group relies on data voluntarily provided by its members – insurance companies – which is not made available for public inspection.

More than a dozen doctors that spoke to NBC Bay Area say the denial rate for workers’ comp medical treatment requests made by their respective practices is substantially higher than what those studies reported.

In 2014, the California Medical Association surveyed doctors about the 2013 reforms Baker said improved the system. Sixty-seven percent of physicians reported difficulties obtaining treatment authorization and more than half said the greatest problem was the denial of “medically necessary tests, procedures or services.”

The new law, authored by State Senator Tony Mendoza (D)-Artesia, requires the state to track approvals and denials of medical treatment though a process known as utilization review. Doctors working on behalf of insurance companies and employers review requests for medical treatment made by an injured worker’s treating physician. They approve or deny treatment based on a standard set of guidelines

Mendoza chaired the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee for the past two years. During hearings concerning workers’ comp, Mendoza said injured workers repeatedly complained about treatment denials. He said the database of treatment decisions will bring transparency to the process and accountability to insurance companies.

“Why are injured workers being denied and for what reasons,” Mendoza said. “It will really begin to shed light on what’s going on in our state.”

Injured Workers Battle System for Medical Care

Many injured workers who shared their stories with NBC Bay Area had similar concerns. They say they’ve been stuck in the system for years, still hurting and off the job. For many of them, like former paramedic Chuck Hood, the pain is not just physical.

“It’s been the most frustrating three years of my life,” Hood said.

Prior to 2014, Hood says his life was full of meaning. As a paramedic, he answered the call to help on 9/11. For seven days after the attack, he performed search and recovery operations in the south tower of the World Trade Center.

Most recently, Hood worked at Oracle Arena catering Warriors games. He loved the job, especially interacting with fans. But three years ago, a hot box he was wheeling inside the arena tipped and crushed his arm against a post. The injury caused severe nerve damage. The pain, he said, is unrelenting.

His doctor requested a series of treatments, including surgery, to improve his condition. Hood said medical reviewers denied about 80 percent of those requests. At 48, he is headed toward permanent disability.

“Being caught in the system is not much fun, I wouldn’t wish it on my own worst enemy,” Hood said. “It feels like you are a prisoner in your own body.”

New Law Speeds Up Care

A new reform made under Mendoza’s legislation would speed up care to workers with new injuries beginning next year. In the first 30 days of an injury, workers will no longer be subjected to the utilization review process many blame for denying treatment.

Mendoza is hopeful the reform will expedite treatment and get workers back on the job faster. But he admitted his legislation may not go far enough to help people feeling forgotten after spending months and years fighting for treatment.

When asked about those injured workers who feel like they’ve been strung along with no resolution, Baker pointed to the state’s independent medical review process.

When medical care is denied, workers can ask the state for a second look at the decision. But an NBC Bay Area analysis of decisions found reviewers uphold treatment denials nearly 90 percent of the time.

Hood said the red tape and roadblocks are exhausting.

“It’s gotten to the point some days where I’ve felt so beaten down by the system I have contemplated suicide,” he said.

Delays, Denials and Endless Frustration

Last year, NBC Bay Area reported more stories like Hood’s.

Lorrie Mays was a nurse who dealt with chronic pain and depression after being badly injured on the job. Medical reviewers abruptly stopped approving the only treatment her family said provided her any relief. She committed suicide shortly after her appeal was denied. A note she left behind said, “We treat our employees while injured worse than we treat our veterans.”

Then there was California Highway Patrol Officer Ryan Snyder, hit by a drunk driver in 2013 while patrolling the Napa area on his motorcycle. Snyder was launched from his bike and landed chin-first on the asphalt. He has yet to return to work fulltime and suffers from chronic neck and back pain. Snyder and his doctors say requests for medical care on constantly denied, even for basic items such as a $30 heating pad.

Marty Hoenisch, a San Jose firefighter, was crushed under a toppling wall during a massive warehouse fire. His injuries, including a fractured pelvis, were severe. But San Jose city administrators had to step in and overrule the city’s third party workers’ comp administrator, Athens Administration, when reviewers denied treatment requests made by Hoenisch’s doctor.

Baker said she’d have to look at these individual cases to understand why they faced denials, but reiterated the majority of the 250,000 workers who go through the system each year get satisfactory results.

“Most people are not stuck,” Baker said. “Most get back to work. Most people are getting their treatment.”

New Oversight of Insurance Industry

Mendoza’s legislation will also require more oversight of insurance companies and third party administrators. The medical treatment guidelines that many doctors said were outdated and overly rigid will also be revamped.

Baker said the state is also coordinating an outreach effort to help doctors understand how to properly document a request for a specific course of treatment, which she expects to further reduce denials.

“It’s an education piece and the Division of Workers’ Compensation is working hard at getting information and educational information about treatment guidelines on our website and how to use them,” Baker said. “We’re hoping the holistic approach will overall really make improvements to workers’ comp in California.”

Hood is hopeful the changes will make life better for him and other injured workers. But he’s cautious.

“People don’t understand the pain, the disappointment, the false hope and the lies that you are going to be treated,” he said. “Basically you aren’t.”

If you have a tip for the Investigative Unit email theunit@nbcuni.com or call 888-996-TIPS. Follow Liz on Facebook and Twitter.

After more than six months of reporting by the Investigative Unit, the director tasked with administering California’s workers’ compensation system responded to criticism from injured workers and doctors who say obtaining authorization for medical treatment has never been more difficult. Many claim critical medical care needed to get employees back to work has been delayed or outright denied by employers and insurance companies.

Christine Baker, the director of the Department of Industrial Relations, defended the system, saying reforms made four years ago improved access to medical treatment and helped contain costs. She also credits a new law enacted in January for further strengthening the system. Although the new legislation will speed up care to workers with new injuries, it won’t directly benefit employees with long and complex injuries who feel stuck in the system.

Director Defends Workers’ Comp Reforms

The major changes launched in 2013 under SB 863 emphasized evidence-based medicine and shifted treatment decisions from the courts to medical reviewers using state-approved guidelines to authorize or deny treatment requests. According to Baker, the changes are paying off.

“Benefits are going to workers, treatment has been sped up and appropriate treatment is being approved,” she said. “It is overall an improvement to the workers’ comp system, which is very complex.”

According to recent estimates [LINK to WCIRB Nov. 2016 report], the reforms also cut costs to the nation’s most expensive workers’ comp system by more than a billion dollars per year.

But many doctors and attorneys who represent injured workers told NBC Bay Area the savings have come at a price. They say denials have reached all-time highs. They believe the guidelines touted by state administrators are too rigid and don’t always keep up with modern treatment techniques. 

Baker rejects those claims.

“Ninety-five percent of medical care decisions are approved,” Baker said. “There are a few that don’t get approved and it could be that it’s inappropriate care or the doctor didn’t document the requirements for care.”

Lack of Data Called Into Question

But the data cited by Baker is impossible to verify. Until this year as a result of new reforms, the state has not collected data on the number of medical treatment requests that are approved or denied by insurers.

Instead, state administrators point to studies published by the California Workers’ Compensation Institute. The research group relies on data voluntarily provided by its members – insurance companies – which is not made available for public inspection.

More than a dozen doctors that spoke to NBC Bay Area say the denial rate for workers’ comp medical treatment requests made by their respective practices is substantially higher than what those studies reported.

In 2014, the California Medical Association surveyed [LINK TO CMA SURVEY] doctors about the 2013 reforms Baker said improved the system. Sixty-seven percent of physicians reported difficulties obtaining treatment authorization and more than half said the greatest problem was the denial of “medically necessary tests, procedures or services.”

The new law, [LINK TO SB 1160] authored by State Senator Tony Mendoza (D)-Artesia, requires the state to track approvals and denials of medical treatment though a process known as utilization review. Doctors working on behalf of insurance companies and employers review requests for medical treatment made by an injured worker’s treating physician. They approve or deny treatment based on a standard set of guidelines.  [LINK TO MTUS]

Mendoza chaired the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee for the past two years. During hearings concerning workers’ comp, Mendoza said injured workers repeatedly complained about treatment denials. He said the database of treatment decisions will bring transparency to the process and accountability to insurance companies.

“Why are injured workers being denied and for what reasons,” Mendoza said. “It will really begin to shed light on what’s going on in our state.”

Injured Workers Battle System for Medical Care

Many injured workers who shared their stories with NBC Bay Area had similar concerns. They say they’ve been stuck in the system for years, still hurting and off the job. For many of them, like former paramedic Chuck Hood, the pain is not just physical.

“It’s been the most frustrating three years of my life,” Hood said.

Prior to 2014, Hood says his life was full of meaning. As a paramedic, he answered the call to help on 9/11. For seven days after the attack, he performed search and recovery operations in the south tower of the World Trade Center.

Most recently, Hood worked at Oracle Arena catering Warriors games. He loved the job, especially interacting with fans. But three years ago, a hot box he was wheeling inside the arena tipped and crushed his arm against a post. The injury caused severe nerve damage. The pain, he said, is unrelenting.

His doctor requested a series of treatments, including surgery, to improve his condition. Hood said medical reviewers denied about 80 percent of those requests. At 48, he is headed toward permanent disability.

“Being caught in the system is not much fun, I wouldn’t wish it on my own worst enemy,” Hood said. “It feels like you are a prisoner in your own body.”

New Law Speeds Up Care

A new reform made under Mendoza’s legislation would speed up care to workers with new injuries beginning next year. In the first 30 days of an injury, workers will no longer be subjected to the utilization review process many blame for denying treatment.

Mendoza is hopeful the reform will expedite treatment and get workers back on the job faster. But he admitted his legislation may not go far enough to help people feeling forgotten after spending months and years fighting for treatment.

When asked about those injured workers who feel like they’ve been strung along with no resolution, Baker pointed to the state’s independent medical review process.

When medical care is denied, workers can ask the state for a second look at the decision. But an NBC Bay Area analysis of decisions found reviewers uphold treatment denials nearly 90 percent of the time.

Hood said the red tape and roadblocks are exhausting.

“It’s gotten to the point some days where I’ve felt so beaten down by the system I have contemplated suicide,” he said.

Delays, Denials and Endless Frustration

Last year, NBC Bay Area reported more stories like Hood’s.

[LINK TO PART III] Lorrie Mays was a nurse who dealt with chronic pain and depression after being badly injured on the job. Medical reviewers abruptly stopped approving the only treatment her family said provided her any relief. She committed suicide shortly after her appeal was denied. A note she left behind said, “We treat our employees while injured worse than we treat our veterans.”

[LINK TO PART II] Then there was California Highway Patrol Officer Ryan Snyder, hit by a drunk driver in 2013 while patrolling the Napa area on his motorcycle. Snyder was launched from his bike and landed chin-first on the asphalt. He has yet to return to work fulltime and suffers from chronic neck and back pain. Snyder and his doctors say requests for medical care on constantly denied, even for basic items such as a $30 heating pad.

[LINK TO PART I] Marty Hoenisch, a San Jose firefighter, was crushed under a toppling wall during a massive warehouse fire. His injuries, including a fractured pelvis, were severe. But San Jose city administrators had to step in and overrule the city’s third party workers’ comp administrator, Athens Administration, when reviewers denied treatment requests made by Hoenisch’s doctor.

Baker said she’d have to look at these individual cases to understand why they faced denials, but reiterated the majority of the 250,000 workers who go through the system each year get satisfactory results.

“Most people are not stuck,” Baker said. “Most get back to work. Most people are getting their treatment.”

New Oversight of Insurance Industry

Mendoza’s legislation will also require more oversight of insurance companies and third party administrators. The medical treatment guidelines that many doctors said were outdated and overly rigid will also be revamped.

Baker said the state is also coordinating an outreach effort to help doctors understand how to properly document a request for a specific course of treatment, which she expects to further reduce denials.

“It’s an education piece and the Division of Workers’ Compensation is working hard at getting information and educational information about treatment guidelines on our website and how to use them,” Baker said. “We’re hoping the holistic approach will overall really make improvements to workers’ comp in California.”

Hood is hopeful the changes will make life better for him and other injured workers. But he’s cautious.

“People don’t understand the pain, the disappointment, the false hope and the lies that you are going to be treated,” he said. “Basically you aren’t.”

If you have a tip for the Investigative Unit email theunit@nbcuni.com or call 888-996-TIPS. Follow Liz on Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/LizWags/]  and Twitter. [https://twitter.com/lizwags]

After more than six months of reporting by the Investigative Unit, the director tasked with administering California’s workers’ compensation system responded to criticism from injured workers and doctors who say obtaining authorization for medical treatment has never been more difficult. Many claim critical medical care needed to get employees back to work has been delayed or outright denied by employers and insurance companies.

Christine Baker, the director of the Department of Industrial Relations, defended the system, saying reforms made four years ago improved access to medical treatment and helped contain costs. She also credits a new law enacted in January for further strengthening the system. Although the new legislation will speed up care to workers with new injuries, it won’t directly benefit employees with long and complex injuries who feel stuck in the system.

Director Defends Workers’ Comp Reforms

The major changes launched in 2013 under SB 863 emphasized evidence-based medicine and shifted treatment decisions from the courts to medical reviewers using state-approved guidelines to authorize or deny treatment requests. According to Baker, the changes are paying off.

“Benefits are going to workers, treatment has been sped up and appropriate treatment is being approved,” she said. “It is overall an improvement to the workers’ comp system, which is very complex.”

According to recent estimates [LINK to WCIRB Nov. 2016 report], the reforms also cut costs to the nation’s most expensive workers’ comp system by more than a billion dollars per year.

But many doctors and attorneys who represent injured workers told NBC Bay Area the savings have come at a price. They say denials have reached all-time highs. They believe the guidelines touted by state administrators are too rigid and don’t always keep up with modern treatment techniques.

Baker rejects those claims.

“Ninety-five percent of medical care decisions are approved,” Baker said. “There are a few that don’t get approved and it could be that it’s inappropriate care or the doctor didn’t document the requirements for care.”

Lack of Data Called Into Question

But the data cited by Baker is impossible to verify. Until this year as a result of new reforms, the state has not collected data on the number of medical treatment requests that are approved or denied by insurers.

Instead, state administrators point to studies published by the California Workers’ Compensation Institute. The research group relies on data voluntarily provided by its members – insurance companies – which is not made available for public inspection.

More than a dozen doctors that spoke to NBC Bay Area say the denial rate for workers’ comp medical treatment requests made by their respective practices is substantially higher than what those studies reported.

In 2014, the California Medical Association surveyed [LINK TO CMA SURVEY] doctors about the 2013 reforms Baker said improved the system. Sixty-seven percent of physicians reported difficulties obtaining treatment authorization and more than half said the greatest problem was the denial of “medically necessary tests, procedures or services.”

The new law, [LINK TO SB 1160] authored by State Senator Tony Mendoza (D)-Artesia, requires the state to track approvals and denials of medical treatment though a process known as utilization review. Doctors working on behalf of insurance companies and employers review requests for medical treatment made by an injured worker’s treating physician. They approve or deny treatment based on a standard set of guidelines. [LINK TO MTUS]

Mendoza chaired the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee for the past two years. During hearings concerning workers’ comp, Mendoza said injured workers repeatedly complained about treatment denials. He said the database of treatment decisions will bring transparency to the process and accountability to insurance companies.

“Why are injured workers being denied and for what reasons,” Mendoza said. “It will really begin to shed light on what’s going on in our state.”

Injured Workers Battle System for Medical Care

Many injured workers who shared their stories with NBC Bay Area had similar concerns. They say they’ve been stuck in the system for years, still hurting and off the job. For many of them, like former paramedic Chuck Hood, the pain is not just physical.

“It’s been the most frustrating three years of my life,” Hood said.

Prior to 2014, Hood says his life was full of meaning. As a paramedic, he answered the call to help on 9/11. For seven days after the attack, he performed search and recovery operations in the south tower of the World Trade Center.

Most recently, Hood worked at Oracle Arena catering Warriors games. He loved the job, especially interacting with fans. But three years ago, a hot box he was wheeling inside the arena tipped and crushed his arm against a post. The injury caused severe nerve damage. The pain, he said, is unrelenting.

His doctor requested a series of treatments, including surgery, to improve his condition. Hood said medical reviewers denied about 80 percent of those requests. At 48, he is headed toward permanent disability.

“Being caught in the system is not much fun, I wouldn’t wish it on my own worst enemy,” Hood said. “It feels like you are a prisoner in your own body.”

New Law Speeds Up Care

A new reform made under Mendoza’s legislation would speed up care to workers with new injuries beginning next year. In the first 30 days of an injury, workers will no longer be subjected to the utilization review process many blame for denying treatment.

Mendoza is hopeful the reform will expedite treatment and get workers back on the job faster. But he admitted his legislation may not go far enough to help people feeling forgotten after spending months and years fighting for treatment.

When asked about those injured workers who feel like they’ve been strung along with no resolution, Baker pointed to the state’s independent medical review process.

When medical care is denied, workers can ask the state for a second look at the decision. But an NBC Bay Area analysis of decisions found reviewers uphold treatment denials nearly 90 percent of the time.

Hood said the red tape and roadblocks are exhausting.

“It’s gotten to the point some days where I’ve felt so beaten down by the system I have contemplated suicide,” he said.

Delays, Denials and Endless Frustration

Last year, NBC Bay Area reported more stories like Hood’s.

[LINK TO PART III] Lorrie Mays was a nurse who dealt with chronic pain and depression after being badly injured on the job. Medical reviewers abruptly stopped approving the only treatment her family said provided her any relief. She committed suicide shortly after her appeal was denied. A note she left behind said, “We treat our employees while injured worse than we treat our veterans.”

[LINK TO PART II] Then there was California Highway Patrol Officer Ryan Snyder, hit by a drunk driver in 2013 while patrolling the Napa area on his motorcycle. Snyder was launched from his bike and landed chin-first on the asphalt. He has yet to return to work fulltime and suffers from chronic neck and back pain. Snyder and his doctors say requests for medical care on constantly denied, even for basic items such as a $30 heating pad.

[LINK TO PART I] Marty Hoenisch, a San Jose firefighter, was crushed under a toppling wall during a massive warehouse fire. His injuries, including a fractured pelvis, were severe. But San Jose city administrators had to step in and overrule the city’s third party workers’ comp administrator, Athens Administration, when reviewers denied treatment requests made by Hoenisch’s doctor.

Baker said she’d have to look at these individual cases to understand why they faced denials, but reiterated the majority of the 250,000 workers who go through the system each year get satisfactory results.

“Most people are not stuck,” Baker said. “Most get back to work. Most people are getting their treatment.”

New Oversight of Insurance Industry

Mendoza’s legislation will also require more oversight of insurance companies and third party administrators. The medical treatment guidelines that many doctors said were outdated and overly rigid will also be revamped.

Baker said the state is also coordinating an outreach effort to help doctors understand how to properly document a request for a specific course of treatment, which she expects to further reduce denials.

“It’s an education piece and the Division of Workers’ Compensation is working hard at getting information and educational information about treatment guidelines on our website and how to use them,” Baker said. “We’re hoping the holistic approach will overall really make improvements to workers’ comp in California.”

Hood is hopeful the changes will make life better for him and other injured workers. But he’s cautious.

“People don’t understand the pain, the disappointment, the false hope and the lies that you are going to be treated,” he said. “Basically you aren’t.”

If you have a tip for the Investigative Unit email theunit@nbcuni.com or call 888-996-TIPS. Follow Liz on Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/LizWags/] and Twitter. [https://twitter.com/lizwags]

 



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Submit Las Vegas Relocation Papers]]> Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:05:50 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/las-vegas-raiders.jpg

"Raider Nation," your team is gearing up to say goodbye.

The Oakland Raiders on Thursday officially submitted paperwork to relocate to Nevada, according to Steve Sisolak, the Clark County Commission Chairman.

The relocation effort still needs approval from 24 of the league's 32 owners. Those votes are expected to be cast at some point in late March during owners meetings.

Sisolak's relocation announcement was punctuated with enthusiasm. "It is official!" he tweeted. He followed up with an official statement, which read, "Today, we moved one step closer to having an NFL team to call our own. This is very exciting for Las Vegas."

The relocation move, on the other hand, surely feels like a gut punch for fans of the East Bay franchise. While Raiders officials and Nevada politicians ramped up moving talks, dedicated supporters flashed "Stay in Oakland" signs and "Las Vegas: If You Build It, We Won't Come" banners in hopes of keeping the "Silver and Black" cemented in Oakland.

Despite pressure from fans, Raiders owner Mark Davis has remained steadfast in his plans to pack up and head for "Sin City." Those efforts received a boost in October when Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval approved a bill to construct a $1.9 billion stadium in Las Vegas.

Nevada plans to raise $750 million from a hotel tax to fund the stadium with billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson contributing $650 million and the Raiders and NFL kicking in $500 million.

The Oakland City Council in December countered that action by approving a financial and development plan to build a $1.3 billion stadium at the Coliseum site in hopes of preventing an exodus. A group of investors — highlighted by former San Francisco 49ers and Raiders safety Ronnie Lott — helped make that plan become a reality by pledging $400 million to the potential stadium's construction. Despite Thursday's official relocation announcement, the group will not throw in the towel just yetl.

"Oakland is a top-10 media market," a spokesperson representing the collective said. "It's got the land available. It's got a solid investment team. It's got two NFL stars behind the proposal. We think that beats Vegas every time. We are in this to win. We think when the final call of this game is made, Oakland is going to be the spot that the NFL chooses."

The Bay Area Council, a public policy organization that pushes for a robust economic enviroment, echoed a similar sentiment in its official statement.

"The Bay Area, millions of stalwart fans and the business community are not giving up on keeping the Raiders here where they belong," Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the group, penned. "We continue to believe that a deal can be reached to build a modern stadium complex that the Raiders deserve and that benefits Oakland. We urge the Raiders, the NFL and Oakland to work together to find an agreement that can benefit everyone and avoid the disruption and pain of a costly move. Relocating a franchise with the deep roots and storied history that the Raiders have here in the Bay Area would be a disaster for the community."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[March Against Stomach Cancer at Sonoma Raceway]]> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 16:05:06 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0119-2017-SonomaRacewayMarch.jpg

The 6th Annual John's March Against Stomach Cancer will take place Saturday at the Sonoma Raceway.

The march honors the legacy of longtime raceway spokesman John Cardinale, who passed away from the disease four years ago.

"So well respected in the industry and so well respected and loved by everybody he worked with," said Steve Page, Sonoma Raceway President and General Manager. "It was a tough blow to lose him, but he continues to be an inspiration for all of us."

Among those inspired by Cardinale is Caroline Saenz, who will participate in her third march this weekend. The 2.5-mile walk around the track will be the second year in a row Saenz will march without her husband, James.

"I remember walking the track last year without my husband for the first time and that was one of the hardest walks I've done because he's always been by my side," Saenz said. "There's a sense of pride now. I see my kids continue to grow and I see so much of their father in them. And it just helps me remember that he's still here and he's walking with us each step of the way."

Funds raised from the event go to "No Stomach For Cancer."

The march starts at 9 a.m. and cost to register is $40 per person, which you can do at the event beginning at 7:30 a.m.

Advanced registration is also available here.



Photo Credit: Sonoma Raceway]]>
<![CDATA[Pounding Waves Expected to Batter Bay Area]]> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 11:34:10 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WavesPacifica.png

Waves up and down the California coast could peak anywhere from 20 to 30 feet this weekend as the next round of storms barrel into the Bay Area.

The National Weather Service on Friday afternoon will implement a high surf warning for Bay Area beaches extending from Sonoma County to Monterey County. That advisory is expected to expire at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

The highest waves are expected to pound the Bay Area Friday night into Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

The U.S. Coast Guard is warning people and pets to stay out of the water.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area/Dave Elkinson]]>
<![CDATA[Tango Lessons to Help Veterans Heal]]> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 10:33:03 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tangothumbnail.jpg

Even though it was a chilly winter morning outside on the Peninsula, a dance floor was heating up inside as the next session of "Tango for Veterans" brought out seniors from a variety of military branches to a veteran's hall in San Bruno.

Ivan Shvarts, the founder of the program, strode across the dance floor with Air Force Veteran Grace David and directed partners to step this way and then that - and then back again.

"I was dancing tango for many years,” Shvarts said. "My mother was a bali and tango dancer. She always wanted me to take on tango. Her last words were, ‘go and learn tango.’" And after retiring from architecture and building, that is exactly what Shvarts did. 

In 2005, he began to instruct a senior's tango class in Emeryville, and years later, he founded the Golden Age Tango Academy.

Now he works as an instructor, bringing tango to programs with the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department as well as San Francisco Veterans Affairs.

"Ivan Shvarts had been running the Golden Tango Academy for some time - it’s a nonprofit - and he wanted to serve veterans,” Dan Evenhouse, director of community services and a therapist at the San Francisco VA Health Care System, said.

Evenhouse began connecting Shvarts to local halls such as the American Legion in San Bruno where he could host dance lessons.

"The dance instructor does it for free for veterans so it makes sense for to put them in a veteran’s hall," Lonnie Sopko, Commander of American Legion Post 409, said. "Things to help the community, get vets back involved in things. When you first get out, you're not too anxious to get involved in stuff, but after a couple years you start relaxing a little but and then all of a sudden, you find out were here and the comradeship comes back and it really makes it nice."

Many of the participants at the tango class in San Bruno come from the nearby veterans clinic, but the program attracts different crowds at its five locations around the Bay Area.

"The self-esteem, self-worth, self-importance and physical ability and mental ability all comes from tango - dancing tango," Shvarts said.

There's something to that, the therapist said. "Creative pursuits" as it turns out makes a world of difference. 

"Our folks who are involved in this program, they have measurable impacts on their lives," he said. "Their health gets better, they're getting more exercise, they're socializing more. That improves their mood and other mental health problems so it's a really great fit for what we want to do,” Evenhouse said.

However, the dance instructor didn't need to see the science behind it to know. Shvarts says he sees it first hand.

"I found that people got involved for different reasons. People with disability, people with all kind of physical and mental illnesses so I see that yes, this dance makes them well and happy," Shvarts said. "The community of tango and the wellness and the musicality and all of these good things you can learn for life."

Interested veterans can attend for free or $10 to the general public by contacting goldenagetangoacedemy@gmail.com.

Using his unique gifts on the dance floor, Shvarts gliz and glides across the dance floor at the San Bruno American Legion.

Music, laughter and a shared dance are the ingredients behind Tango for Veterans, an idea formed by a retired man looking to give back.

"I was dancing tango for many years,” Ivan Shvarts, Founder of the Golden Age Tango said. "My mother was a bali and tango dancer. She always wanted me to take on tango. Her last words were, ‘go and learn tango.’"

That he did – but years later, he had the idea to bring the lively dance to the community.

"Ivan Shvarts had been running the Golden Tango Academy for some time - it’s a nonprofit - and he wanted to serve veterans,” Dan Evenhouse, Director of Community-Based Services at the San Francisco VA Health Care System said.

So, about two years ago Tango for Veterans program was born.

[ADD QUOTE] “…That improves their mood and other mental health programs so it's a really great fit for what we want to do,” Evenhouse said.

His assistant tango teacher swears by it.

“Tango change my life,” Veteran of the Gulf War, Skylar --

Now in five locations, the retired works with senior veterans from across the Bay Area.

“The dance instructor does it for free for veterans,” Lonnie Sopko, Commander of American Legion Post 409 said. “So, it makes sense for to put them in a veteran’s hall.”

The hall has recently been opened to community events and is close in proximity to the San Bruno VA Clinic.

The collaboration sprang between veteran and music halls and the Veterans Affairs to make it happen five years ago.

All of these good these good things. The self esteem, self worth, self worth and physical ability and mental ability all comes from tango - dancing tango=.

Veterans for Peace and American Legions and One Veterans Voice help sponsor the program.

Also open to the public now, [ ] says tango classes are held on Sundays and Thursdays from 7 am to 11 am.



Photo Credit: Rebecca Greenway]]>
<![CDATA[Thunder, Lightning Strike Palo Alto, More Rain Pounds Down]]> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 12:37:42 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1-19-17-sf-bay-thurs-rain-bursts.jpg

Thunder and lightning rumbled across the Bay Area on Thursday morning, surprising those who haven’t heard those sounds in about half a decade.

The National Weather service reported lightning struck the Palo Alto area about 9 a.m., with more showers approaching.

NBC Bay Area meteorologist Kari Hall reported a strong cell of rain crashing down on San Jose just about the same time, with the storm headed east.

Round two of rain and gusting are on tap for later Thursday into Friday morning. The NWS also issued high surf warnings for San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma and San Mateo counties starting at noon on Friday.

[[411219395, C]]



Photo Credit: Dean Jenco
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<![CDATA[Why They March: Bay Area Women on Why They Are Headed to D.C]]> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 07:57:45 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-620927030.jpg

Scores of women and allies are traveling from the Bay Area to D.C. this week for the Women’s March on Washington, an event likely to be the largest demonstration against President-elect Donald Trump thus far.

The march, which bills itself as an inclusive march against sexism, racism, hatred and prejudice will be held on 10 a.m. Saturday, the day after the inauguration. For those who attend, it means skipping the slew of local marches happening at home, walking for hours in the capitol’s unforgiving winter weather and spending hundreds — if not thousands — on airfare and hotels.

Yet all say the chance to attend is well worth the physical and financial burden. 

“It’s outrageously expensive,” said Susan Jackson, a retired teacher living in San Francisco. “But I had to go. I just had to. It’s about standing up for what I believe in, and you can’t put a price on that…not after what we saw during the election.” 

Jackson is one of many women making unique crafts to carry on the long trek. She commissioned a suffragette banner and has been meticulously adding the names of Bay Area women, nonbinary folks, children and men who will be marching with her in spirit. So far, she’s added more than 1,000 names. 

Julie Stevens, who runs the 17 Jewels Salon in Oakland, is also taking a piece of the Bay Area with her. 

Inspired by the Aids Memorial Quilt, she’s been handing out swatches of fabric on which she’s asked immigrant and minority youth to write how they feel about the election. She’ll then carry the quilt to the march.

Stevens, who is deeply involved in the Oakland community, says she struggled with attending the local event or going to D.C. Ultimately, she decided the best course of action was to represent those who felt the neglected or persecuted by the government in the capitol. 

“There are loads of people I’m marching for,” she said. “Those that don’t have the means to make it to DC, those people who aren’t old enough to vote or are scared because they’re undocumented. I’m doing it for them.” 

Others say they are attending to pay tribute to people in their family who have died.

Terry Wing Ot, who lives in Brentwood, says she’s going for several reasons: To represent women of color at the march and to advocate for reproductive healthcare. She never knew her grandmother, who died due to complications stemming from an unsafe abortion in the 1930s — decades before Roe v. Wade would protect a woman’s rights to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. 

She recounted how, on election night, she found herself in a daze. Crying, she wandered from room to room in her home, leaning against furniture to prop herself up. She said she felt like she might faint when Trump took Pennsylvania and Michigan, swing states that ultimately clinched his victory.

“I'm marching for all of family, including my grandmother,” she said. “I march for my two children because they, as people of color, should never be subjected to being treated like second class citizens. And because I feel like if I don’t, I’ll be sunk in despair.”

The desire to present younger generations with positive role models is also fueling Jennifer Katz of San Francisco, who is taking her 8-year-old daughter, Pearl, to the march. 

“I’m a business owner, and I’m constantly feeling like I need to apologize before I ask something, be mindful of how things are worded and cautious of my tone or how it’s presented,” Katz, who owns a private speech therapy practice in the city, said. “That’s not how it should be.” 

Pearl will also be learning another life lesson on the trip — how to be generous. The mother-and-daughter pair has been making friendship pins to hand out to fellow marchers, and they’ll be distributing pens that have the words “Fight The Patriarchy” inscribed.

“It’s important that my daughter has that strong woman role model in her brain,” Katz explained. “She needs to hear and see other women being vocal and not being afraid to speak up and voice their disagreements – or agreements — about what is right or wrong."

She continued: "Ultimately, it’s about putting myself and her in a position to be surrounded by other female warriors from all over the country." 

Are you going to Washington D.C. to support — or oppose — the inauguration of President-elect Trump? Contact Gillian Edevane below. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Windy Commute on the San Mateo Bridge]]> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 07:06:52 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/weatherguage.jpg Winds on the San Mateo Bridge, and the rest of the Bay Area, were gusty on Wednesday night, although the CHP lifted the wind advisories on Thursday morning. Kris Sanchez reports.]]> <![CDATA[Preparing in Pacifica For the Next Storms]]> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 07:08:30 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1-18-17-pacifica-waves.jpg Waves in Pacifica could reach 8 feet high. The city is preparing by cleaning out storm drains and trying to repair a sink hole before the next storm hits Friday. Bob Redell reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[San Francisco Educators Rally For Public Schools]]> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 11:33:01 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/usef.JPG

A small group of educators staged a protest Thursday at Galileo Academy of Science and Technology before school started to join a movement across the country as a national day of action, the day before Donald Trump becomes president.

The principal of the school, however, early Thursday morning came outside to see news trucks outside the school and was surprised. The protest was not sanctioned. The 20 or so protesters, carrying United Educators San Francisco signs, stood outside the school at 7 a.m. and were set to leave just before the first bell rang.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin came out to support them. "Now we have an administration at a time in this country where there’s an attempt to privatize our education," he said. "To marginalize our teachers. To work against the union that gives these individuals….a living wage."

Trump's pick for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, is a champion of vouchers and has a historical past of steering taxpayer dollars away from traditional public schools. Educators were also worried about Trump's anti-immigration stance, and the fact that they are being left off the White House agenda.

Across the country schools will be participating in efforts to “protect and defend” public schools as part of the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools .

“Public education has been a cornerstone of American democracy for a longtime and to dismantle it would mean we are taking away an essential part of our society,” UESF Executive Vice-President Susan Solomon said. "We wouldn’t be out here unless we thought we could affect change."



Photo Credit: Pete Suratos
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Storm Watch: San Francisco Streets Flood]]> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 01:23:06 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf+rain.jpg In San Francisco, the drains were no match for the rain as drivers motored through standing water on 19th Avenue, near Stonestown shopping center. Terry McSweeney reports.]]>