<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Local News - North Bay]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/localen-usSun, 20 Aug 2017 18:12:49 -0700Sun, 20 Aug 2017 18:12:49 -0700NBC Local Integrated Media<![CDATA[Labor Market Strongest in SF, San Mateo, Marin Counties]]>Sun, 20 Aug 2017 09:15:07 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/now-hiring1.jpg

The labor market in the San Francisco Bay Area is the strongest in San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties, according to data released Friday by the California Employment Development Department.

The unemployment rate was 3.4 percent in San Francisco, 3.2 percent in San Mateo County and 3.4 percent in Marin County.

The unemployment rate in Santa Clara and Napa counties was also below 4 percent while in Alameda and Contra Costa counties the rates were 4.3 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively.

The labor market was the weakest in Solano County where the unemployment rate was 5.4 percent.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Rosa Firefighters Free Kitten Trapped in Car Engine]]>Sat, 19 Aug 2017 16:53:53 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-19-17_SR_Kitten_Car.JPG

Firefighters with the Santa Rosa Fire Department on Saturday pulled a kitten to safety after the feline became trapped in a car engine.

The successful rescue attempt occurred around 3 p.m. along Hendley Street, according to the fire department.

Footage from the scene captured two firefighters digging under the car's hood trying to find the feline. As the firefighters pried away, faint meows from the black kitten could be heard.

The kitten was eventually freed, but before it carried on, it posed for a few photos with its rescuers. 



Photo Credit: Santa Rosa Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[Novato Police Search for ATM Tampering Suspects]]>Wed, 16 Aug 2017 10:33:55 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Novato_Police_Search_for_Suspects_for_Tempering_With_Gas_Sta.jpg

Novato police are looking for three men suspected of installing a suspicious device on an ATM inside a gas station. Surveillance video captured the suspects entering the 76 station on Ignacio Boulevard near Highway 101. Two of the men distracted the store clerk while the third suspect installed the device. The clerk discovered the item after the suspects left. Police did not say what the device does. Anyone who recognizes the men is asked to contact Novato police.

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<![CDATA[Home Prices on the Rise in Sonoma County]]>Wed, 16 Aug 2017 10:11:00 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Home_Prices_on_the_Rise_in_Sonoma_County.jpg

The housing market in Sonoma County is making big gains and continues to rebound from the recession. The Press Democrat reported that the county's taxable property is at an all-time high - valued at $85 billion. That is five percent more than last year.]]>
<![CDATA[Massive Tree Die-Off in the North Bay]]>Tue, 15 Aug 2017 09:37:07 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Massive_Tree_Die-Off_in_the_North_Bay.jpg

The Marin Municipal Water District is reportedly conducting a new study on sudden oak death syndrome. The die-off of native tanoak and live oak trees continues to increase fire danger along the Bolinas Ridge, and now the water district is trying to figure out a way to stop it. The Marin Independent journal reported the study will look for ways to remove the diseased trees.
]]>
<![CDATA[Zipcar Reportedly Coming to Santa Rosa]]>Tue, 15 Aug 2017 08:54:14 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Zipcar_Reportedly_Coming_to_Santa_Rosa.jpg

Zipcar is reportedly coming to Santa Rosa. The Press Democrat reported that the city council is working on signing a deal that will allow the company to operate two of its rental cars from city parking lots. One would be at the downtown SMART train station and the other would be next to the Russian River Brewery. City leaders hope the service will be an environmentally friendly option for people trying to get around town.]]>
<![CDATA[Wildfire in Napa County Now 85 Percent Contained: Cal Fire]]>Sun, 13 Aug 2017 15:13:35 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CalFireCanyonFireSunday.jpg

Firefighters are wrapping up operations at the Canyon Fire in Napa County, and the 114-acre wildfire is now 85 percent contained, a Cal Fire spokeswoman said Sunday.

Firefighters are continuing to strengthen the control lines and work the interior hot spots within the fire perimeter, Cal Fire spokeswoman Suzie Blankenship said.

The firefighters are also doing fire suppression repair, Blankenship said. Cal Fire repairs any damage to property, such as cut fences or gates, or the land, that occurred during the fire, and that's what's going on now, she said in an email.

Firefighting crews will be reduced in numbers as containment continues, Blankenship. At the last report, 164 fire personnel were on the scene, down from more than 300 at one point.



Photo Credit: Cal Fire]]>
<![CDATA[Nearly 1,000 Evacuate From Fire at Sonoma Campground]]>Sun, 13 Aug 2017 15:00:02 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SD-Fire-Engine-Generic.jpg

An early morning fire at a Northern California campground sent nearly 1,000 people fleeing to safety.

The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reports the fire began just before 1 a.m. Sunday at the Liberty Glen campground near the shores of Lake Sonoma. It grew to about 2.7 acres before firefighters put it out.

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineer park ranger said 886 people were booked at the campground at the time.

One of the campers, Tait Smith, told the newspaper the fire sent people shouting and scurrying to get in their cars, leaving behind shoes and camping gear.

He said it took about 10 minutes before fire crews arrived to the scene.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Monica Garske]]>
<![CDATA[Rising Number of Sea Lions Treated for Poisoning]]>Sun, 13 Aug 2017 07:49:45 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SeaLionsGeneric.jpg

Marine experts in the San Francisco Bay Area say an alarming number of sea lions are being treated for poisoning linked to toxic algae blooms.

The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito says it has treated 68 sea lions suffering from domoic acid poisoning, compared with 70 in all of 2016.

Michael Milstein, a spokesman for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says the number "is more pronounced than we've seen in the past few years."

Most of the animals are being rescued from the Central Coast and brought to the center, but experts said domoic acid levels are rising and creeping further up the coast.

The sea lions are exposed to the toxins when they eat surface fish such as sardines and anchovies that consume the algae.


Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Blaze Burning in Napa County 60 Percent Contained: Cal Fire]]>Sat, 12 Aug 2017 12:30:21 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-11-17_Napa_Fire_3.jpg

Firefighters on Saturday have reached 60 percent containment as they strive to completely extinguish and control a wildfire burning near Lake Berryessa in Napa County, according to Cal Fire.

The blaze, which ignited just before 1 p.m. on Friday, has scorched 114 acres near Highway 128 and Sage Canyon Road, according to Cal Fire.

Evacuation warnings have been lifted and previously closed roads have been reopened, according to Cal Fire spokeswoman Suzie Blankenship. The evacuation warnings were lifted around noon on Saturday.

The warnings were in effect along State Highway 128 between Turtle Rock and the Somerston Estate Winery, located at 3450 Sage Canyon Road, and between Turtle Rock and Capell Valley Crest.

State Highway 128 was closed at Lower Chiles Road and at Capell Valley Cross Road, but these closures are no longer in effect, Blankenship said.

Nonetheless, Blankenship said, "Please use caution when traveling through the fire area, for firefighters and firefighting equipment will continue to work in the area until the fire is 100 percent contained."

Firefighters are now working on improving the containment and control lines, Blankenship said. There are 15 fire engines, 16 fire crews, two helicopters, two bulldozers and a total of 343 people on hand fighting the fire, she said.

The terrain is rugged, steep and rocky, with heavy dry brush and pockets of timber, Blankenship noted.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[So-Called 'Downtown LA Predator' Moves to Rohnert Park]]>Fri, 11 Aug 2017 22:54:04 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DanielPatrickCilley.jpg

Police in Rohnert Park on Friday sent out a message to the public informing them that the self-proclaimed "Downtown LA Predator" is settling down in the North Bay city.

Daniel "Dan" Patrick Cilley, 33, was previously convicted of a sexual offense in Los Angeles County, and police consider him to be at a "high risk to reoffend," but Cilley said he's focused on following the law.

"Just don't worry at all," he told NBC Bay Area. "I mean, I did, obviously if you saw the videos that I've made, yeah you think, I mean it is bad to disrespect people if they don't want to be on camera. I'm not going to do that anymore."

Cilley videotaped a number of women, including a girl, while making lewd and harassing comments before posting that material online, according to police. He did not touch a child during his run of videotaping.

For the rest of his life, Cilley is barred from being alone with minors without a parent or guardian present, taking photos or videos of children without consent, and hanging out where young people frequently gather, according to police.

Cilley is on three years of unsupervised probation for annoying a minor. He said he is now focused on moving on and finding a job. 

"I did make mistakes," he said. "I've crossed the line."

Cilley is staying with family at the McDouall Apartments located on College View Drive, according to police.



Photo Credit: Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety]]>
<![CDATA[Blaze Chars More Than 100 Acres in Napa County: Cal Fire]]>Fri, 11 Aug 2017 15:06:43 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-11-17_Napa_Fire.jpg

A wildfire burning near Lake Berryessa in Napa County on Friday has scorced 114 acres, according to Cal Fire.

The blaze, which was 25 percent contained as of 9:15 p.m., ignited just before 1 p.m. near Highway 128 and Sage Canyon Road, according to Cal Fire.

Mandatory evacuation orders initially set in place for some areas along Highway 128 have since been lifted, according to Cal Fire. Evacuation orders are now listed as optional.

Further information was not available.

Stay tuned for details on this developing story.




Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Missing Overnight on Mt. Tamalpais Reunited With Father]]>Thu, 10 Aug 2017 12:26:03 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-10-17-teenager-missing-16-year-old.jpg

Marin County sheriff's deputies along with search and rescue teams on Thursday found a 16-year-old girl who was missing overnight on Mount Tamalpais.

Sarah Jane Tang and a friend went on a hike on the Rock Springs Trail around 12 p.m. Wednesday, deputies wrote on the Twitter. The pair got separated, but crews found the other girl around 9:30 p.m. because her phone was working at the time. 

Sarah, who was reunited with her father, was also carrying her cell phone, but it died overnight so she wasn't able to call for help.

Around 30 people combed the area starting around midnight, deputies said. However, the darkness and then the fog posed challenges. 



Photo Credit: Marin County Sheriff's Office via Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[Northern California Mountain Lion Kittens Captured on Camera]]>Wed, 09 Aug 2017 16:26:47 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_17221731375090.jpg

Northern California researchers have taken new photographs of two mountain lion kittens they are tracking.

The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa reports the Audubon Canyon Ranch research team captured pictures of the kittens Aug. 2 in Sonoma County's Glen Ellen, north of San Francisco.

Researchers say the mountain lion, named P1, gave birth to three kittens in April but they believe only two are alive.

The kittens were last photographed when they were just 10 days old.

The kittens are expected to stay with their mother for up to two years before they separate and hunt for themselves.

The team follows P1's movements through her GPS collar.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Quinton Martins/Audubon Canyon Ranch via AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man Severely Injured in Electrocution, Fall From Tower]]>Tue, 08 Aug 2017 23:39:42 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sr+tower+fall-0808.jpg

A man was electrocuted while climbing a PG&E tower, fell about 80 feet to the ground and ignited a small grass fire in Santa Rosa on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Santa Rosa Fire Department.

About 1:45 p.m., fire crews responded to reports of a grass fire near the Prince Memorial Greenway-Santa Rosa Creek, fire officials said. When they arrived, they found a man lying on the ground near a PG&E transmission tower.

Bystanders had pulled the man away from the burning grass and used fire extinguishers to stop the flames, fire officials said.

Witnesses said the man was about 80 feet up the approximately 100-foot tower when he was electrocuted and fell, fire officials said. He suffered significant burns and trauma, was treated at the scene and then transported to a local trauma center, fire officials said. He was later airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center for further care.

The fire burned a grassy area about 20 feet in diameter, fire officials said.

About 2,200 people were temporarily affected by a short power outage.

Santa Rosa police were investigating the incident.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Marin County Contemplates Transportation Future ]]>Mon, 07 Aug 2017 10:01:02 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-7-17-marin-transportation.jpg

Marin County transportation officials are looking to hear from the public as they prepare a plan for the next 25 years. The Marin Independent Journal reported that the plan is called "Getting Around Marin." The goal is to study and analyze current traffic conditions and then look for ways to grow. The public can submit comments to the transportation department until September 22.]]>
<![CDATA[Travis AFB Airman Returns Home, Surprises Family in Vallejo]]>Sun, 06 Aug 2017 23:47:49 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sgt+thomas-0806.jpg

An assistant flight chief from Travis Air Force Base got an early trip home Sunday and surprised his family at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo.

Technical Sgt. Jacob Thomas was deployed to Kuwait in January and made it back to the Bay Area earlier than expected. Discovery Kingdom officials helped Thomas set up a surprise reunion with his wife and four children during the park's dolphin and sea lion show.

With his family sitting in the audience none the wiser, Thomas was called up as a volunteer to meet the dolphins and surprised his wife Kristen and their children: 15-year-old Jacob Jr., 10-year-old Jordyn, 7-year-old Riley and 19-month-old Kayden.




Photo Credit: Six Flags Discovery Kingdom]]>
<![CDATA[SB Lanes of Golden Gate Bridge to Close for Pavement Repair]]>Mon, 07 Aug 2017 10:30:58 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-543435346.jpg

All but one southbound lane on the Golden Gate Bridge will be closed between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. starting Monday and lasting through the rest of the week for pavement repair, according to bridge officials.

Only one southbound lane on the bridge will be available to drivers beginning tomorrow and ending Friday.

All southbound traffic will be diverted through the toll booth at the far east side of the toll plaza, bridge officials said.

During the nightly southbound lane reduction, Golden Gate Transit buses won't stop at the southbound toll plaza bus stop. Riders should take the nearest bus stop at Richardson Avenue at Francisco Street, according to bridge officials.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New Details Emerge in Fatal Santa Rosa Police Shooting]]>Sun, 06 Aug 2017 13:16:56 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-5-17_Santa_Rosa_OIS.jpg

A Santa Rosa police officer shot a suspect several times and killed him as the suspect allegedly advanced on officers with a knife Saturday, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office said Sunday morning.

The sheriff's office is investigating the officer-involved shooting that happened Saturday after a call came in to the Santa Rosa Police Department at 5:58 a.m. from a residence on the 2400 block of West Steele Lane.

The sheriff's office today released a statement with additional details about what happened between Santa Rosa Police Department officers and people at the residence.

Two people called Santa Rosa police Saturday morning, one of whom spoke Spanish and used a translation line service, and one of whom was crying and said someone in the home had a small laceration and needed medical attention, the sheriff's office said.

The first Santa Rosa police officer arrived at the home at 6:03 a.m., followed by two others at 6:05 a.m., the sheriff's office said.

At 6:12, officers asked the police dispatcher to send another officer and said that the suspect had a knife. At 6:15, an officer radioed that a Taser was deployed and was ineffective. At 6:17, a patrol sergeant arrived and at 6:18 an officer radioed that shots were fired, according to the sheriff's office.

The residence houses several different families and "numerous residents" were there Saturday morning, including at least two children who were in a different part of the house, the sheriff's office said.

One person there had a laceration, and that person was taken by ambulance to the hospital for treatment, according to the sheriff's office.

Police found an "agitated" resident in a bedroom under a mattress, armed with a 12-inch, sharp kitchen knife, the sheriff's office said.

The officers Tased the man and used pepper spray to try to disarm him, the sheriff's office said.

The sheriff's office doesn't know how many times the Taser was activated or how long it was activated. This information will be downloaded from the Taser and available later.

The officers tried to talk to the man "for several minutes" to deescalate the situation, the sheriff's office said. The man was able to talk to the officers in English.

After several minutes of negotiations, the man advanced on the officers with the knife in his hand, the sheriff's office said. One officer shot the man several times, according to the sheriff's office.

The man went down and officers gave first aid, but the man died at the scene, the sheriff's office said.

A team of about 20 detectives was called in to investigate, and the team canvassed the neighborhood, did witness interviews, wrote and served search warrants, examined the crime scene and collected evidence, according to the sheriff's office.

An autopsy is scheduled for Monday morning. The dead man's identity is not being released at this time, the sheriff's office said.

Santa Rosa police said yesterday that the officers involved would be placed on administrative leave, as is customary in such cases.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Knife-Wielding Man Shot, Killed in Santa Rosa: Police]]>Sat, 05 Aug 2017 16:47:47 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-5-17_Santa_Rosa_OIS.jpg

At least one Santa Rosa police officer shot and killed a suspect Saturday morning who, according to police, approached officers with a knife in his hand.

According to a Santa Rosa Police Department press release, a call came in at 5:58 a.m. of a person at a residence on the 2400 block of West Steele Lane who was "acting crazy". Police entered the home and found the suspect hiding under a bed with a knife in his hand.

Santa Rosa police said officers ordered the suspect to drop the knife. The officers tried to subdue the suspect with less lethal measures, including "electronic control devices" and "chemical agents" several times, but the suspect didn't comply with officers' commands.

It was then when the suspect approached officers with the knife in his hands and was subsequently shot. The suspect died at the scene.

The officer-involved shooting, which was recorded on body cameras on officers, is being investigated by the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office. Santa Rosa police said the officers involved will be placed on administrative leave.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Two Armed Men Steal Marijuana, Cash From Distribution Center]]>Fri, 04 Aug 2017 19:24:23 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-4-17-pot-robbery.jpg

Police across Northern California are on the lookout for two men accused of robbing a Sonoma County medical marijuana distribution center at gunpoint Thursday evening, sheriff's officials said.

A female employee of the distribution center north of Santa Rosa noticed a red Honda Accord approach her as she walked to her car around 7 p.m., Sonoma County sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Crum said.

The employee got in her car, locked and started it, but a man wearing black clothing and gloves blocked her car with the Honda to prevent her from leaving, Crum said.

The suspect approached the employee's car door with a handgun and demanded the employee take him inside the distribution center, Crum said.

Once inside, another man entered the business and both suspects ordered the female employee to show them the distribution center's vault and open it, Crum said.

The suspects bound the woman's wrists and ankles with zip ties, forced her to get onto the ground and not look at them. The pair left in the Honda with an undisclosed amount of cash and marijuana from the vault, Crum said.

The victim was able to free herself and called for help, Crum said.

The suspects' vehicle was described as a newer, dark red Honda with paper plates and tinted windows, Crum said.

Crum said marijuana was not being grown in the distribution center warehouse which he described as "well established and sophisticated." He said the sheriff's office is investigating whether the distribution center is legal under the state's medical marijuana laws.

Crum said the marijuana robbery is one reason why Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas, who retired Tuesday, was opposed to the voter approved Proposition 64 that legalizes marijuana for adults in California.

There are rules requiring security personnel at dispensaries, and distribution sites are required to present security plans when applying for permits. State law, however, doesn’t give any specific requirements about on-site guards – just recommendations.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office says businesses should use more than one employee at closing time each night so that workers are not left so vulnerable to robberies.

NBC Bay Area's Thom Jensen contributed to this report. 



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Senior Living Facility Payroll Clerk Charged With Theft]]>Wed, 02 Aug 2017 10:55:36 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/120916+cash+money+generic.jpg

A Sebastopol woman has been charged with stealing more than $250,000 from an assisted living facility in Windsor where she worked as a payroll clerk, a Sonoma County sheriff's sergeant said Wednesday morning.

Frances Farias, 59, allegedly created 10 fictitious employee accounts at Oakmont Senior Living at 9240 Old Redwood Highway over three years, Sgt. Spencer Crum said.

The payroll accounts included contractor employees who had done work for Oakmont Senior Living and completely fictitious employees, Crum said.

The employee accounts were directed at four different online banking institutions that detectives determined were actually owned by Farias, according to Crum.

Oakmont Senior Living paid the fictitious employees checks totaling more than $256,000 over three years, Crum said.

The grand theft and identity theft investigation began Jan. 13 when the company's management called the sheriff's office to report Farias, the former payroll clerk, funneled funds to secondary fictitious employees, Crum said.

Farias left the company in May 2016. The new payroll clerk noticed the accounting irregularities, which triggered the investigation, Crum said.

Farias was arrested on a $2 million warrant on July 25 at her home where evidence of the scheme was found. She is being investigated for several other fraudulent schemes that could lead to more criminal charges, Crum said.

Farias was arraigned last Thursday on one count of grand theft and four counts of identity theft. She is being held in Sonoma County Jail under $100,000 bail and is scheduled to enter a plea on Aug. 15.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Accused of Abandoning Baby Charged With DUI, Hit-and-Run]]>Fri, 04 Aug 2017 17:43:21 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/197*120/Fairfield-Man-Abandoned-Child-Headshot.jpg

A Fairfield man charged with endangering and abandoning his 16-day-old son last month has also been charged with DUI and hit-and-run causing property damage.

Daniel Mitchell, 18, pleaded not guilty to the additional charges Thursday. His next court appearance is Sept. 14 when a preliminary hearing on all the charges will be set, the Solano County District Attorney's Office said.

Mitchell previously pleaded not guilty to the felony child endangerment and abandonment charges.

The complaint alleges Mitchell, 18, committed the offenses while he was out on bail in another case. He also has been charged with a misdemeanor count of possession of cocaine.

Mitchell allegedly left his 16-day-old son alone in a Suisun City shopping center parking lot on July 24. Employees of a barbershop in the Sunset Center shopping center at 135 Sunset Ave. found the infant in a car seat and called police around 3:15 p.m.

The infant was taken to the NorthBay Medical Center and was transferred to Children's Hospital in Oakland.

Mitchell and his vehicle were recorded on a video surveillance camera in the shopping center, police said. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI and hit-and-run after a traffic collision in Fairfield while Suisun City police were investigating the abandoned infant.



Photo Credit: Solano County District Attorney's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Sweltering Temperatures Blanket Most of Bay Area]]>Wed, 02 Aug 2017 10:38:56 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/07-29-2015-heat-sun-weather-generic-1.JPG

Sizzling temperatures will return to several locations across the Bay Area Wednesday as the region welcomes an uncommon threat: thunderstorms.

An area of monsoonal moisture will move into the southern portion of the Bay Area by the end of Wednesday, packing a chance of thunderstorms and dry lightning strikes. The system will also make for above-average humidity.

Hot temperatures in the inland valleys and locations above 750 feet have prompted the National Weather Service to issue a heat advisory through 9 p.m. Thursday.

Livermore on Wednesday is expected to top the charts at 103 degrees, Concord is forecasted to settle around 102 degrees and Antioch should peak around 101 degrees.

Moving west, Oakland is slated to hover around 80 degrees while San Francisco will max out around 75 degrees.

Areas in and around San Jose as well as locations in the North Bay will flirt with temperatures in the mid-90s.

For those looking for heat relief, the coast is the place to be. Half Moon Bay will peak around 66 degrees while Santa Cruz will enjoy temperatures in the high-70s.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Woman, 74, Mistakes Break for Gas, Slams Into Hardware Store]]>Fri, 04 Aug 2017 18:32:32 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEB-Hardware-store.jpg

A 74-year-old woman, who mistook her car's brake for the gas pedal, plowed through a wall and ended up inside a Garrett Ace Hardware in Healdsburg Friday morning.

According to police, the driver and her passenger were not hurt, but the vehicle did cause damage to the store. 

In surveillance video, the vehicle is seen crashing through the wall and pushing out a row of Yeti coolers and Weber grills. 

"It was really loud, but luckily no one was standing in the area," Assistant Manager Ryan Scott said. 

Garrett Ace Hardware will not be filing charges. 




Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Voters to Mull Novato Flood Control Tax Measure]]>Wed, 02 Aug 2017 08:19:21 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Voters_to_Mull_Novato_Flood_Control_Tax_Measure.jpg

People of Novato will head to the polls this November to decide if they should pay a flood control tax. The Marin County Board of Supervisors argreed to put the measure on the ballot Tuesday. A single family home would pay $47 per year regardless of the acreage. The county hopes to raise $20 million through the tax measure.]]>
<![CDATA[Students Step Up to Keep Varsity Football Alive at Novato HS]]>Tue, 01 Aug 2017 20:18:37 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0801-2017-NovatoHigh.jpg

Thanks to increased interest in the program, varsity football is back in play at Novato High School.

The move comes after the team previously asked for permission to abort the season because less than 10 students showed interest in suiting up for the upcoming fall season.

Novato High was a football powerhouse 10 years ago when it played Oceanside for the state championship. But this summer's turn out for preseason practice was so low administrators decided they could not field a team.

Players interviewed Tuesday said they never got a fair shot from the assistant principal.

"He gave us a chance and then he totally blew us off out of nowhere," said Eathan Portillo, a junior at Novato High. "I mean it's just not fair."

In Petaluma, former Novato High football player Scott Dennison has started printing T-shirts to help save the season. Parents also started calling the school.

Parents and players started using social media and called local reporters to spread the news of a possible lost season.

On Tuesday afternoon, Assistant Principal Greg Fister was on campus and told reporters the school's decision to withdraw from league play will be reversed.

"We've had excellent parent support the last couple of days," Fister said. "Our goal is to have 20 to 25 juniors and seniors that are ready to play football on Monday for the Hornets."

The school has called for a meeting of student athletes and parents for 6 p.m. Wednesday on campus. The players and their parents are hoping for a convincing turnout.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Heat Advisory in Effect in Parts of Bay Area]]>Tue, 01 Aug 2017 20:51:23 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/072617+heat+generic+hot+weather+generic.jpg

Temperatures in the inland parts and higher elevations of the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas will be much hotter than usual Tuesday and Wednesday, National Weather Service officials said.

A heat advisory is in effect until 9 p.m. Wednesday for higher elevations such as the North Bay mountains, mainly around Lake Berryessa, the East Bay hills and Santa Cruz Mountains.

Weather service officials may issue a heat advisory for inland locations in the two areas if forecasted temperatures rise slightly.

A heat advisory means dangerous temperatures are expected, potentially causing heat-related illnesses.

In inland areas and those at high elevations, temperatures are expected to reach 100 to 105 degrees with some areas approaching 110 degrees.

In Concord on Tuesday, De La Salle band members and football players had abbreviated practices in the sweltering heat as the school's athletic trainer closely monitored both groups.

"We have water coolers out here," trainer Doug Bauman said. "There's water on each field."

Band members took frequent breaks and moved much of their practice into the shade. The football team also made modifications.

"We won't have equipment on today," Bauman said. "Sometimes it's a matter of taking off equipment to allow bodies to cool a little better. Sometimes it's a matter of changing when (what time) practice is."

Meanwhile, weather service officials urge residents to look inside their cars before locking them to be sure no pets or children have been left behind.

Temperatures near the coast will be more seasonal and above-average elsewhere. While it may be cooler at the coast, visitors should check for any beach hazards that could make visiting beaches risky.

Weather service officials said prolonged exposure to high temperatures increases the chance that people, especially those with respiratory conditions, will suffer heat-related illnesses.

Also, pets and livestock may need extra care during the hot weather. The chance of wildfires is also higher, according to the weather service.

During the heat, residents and visitors are encouraged to drink enough fluids, stay in air conditioning, stay out of the sun and check on relatives and neighbors.

On Tuesday, several community centers in San Jose offered extended hours to help residents beat the heat.

The community centers, spread across the city, will all be open until 9 p.m. City officials said that the centers act as cooling centers when temperatures reach or exceed 97 degrees.

The locations are Bascom Community Center at 1000 S. Bascom Ave., Camden Community Center at 3369 Union Ave., Mayfair Community Center at 2039 Kammerer Ave., Roosevelt Community Center at 901 E. Santa Clara St. and the Seventrees Community Center at 3590 Cas Drive.

The city of San Ramon also released locations and hours for cooling centers this week:

Tuesday: San Ramon Community Center 8:30 am-9 pm; Alcosta Senior and Community Center 8:30 am-9 pm; Dougherty Station Community Center 8:30 am-5 pm; Dougherty Station Library noon-8 pm; San Ramon Library 10 am-8 pm.

Wednesday: San Ramon Community Center 8:30 am-9 pm; Alcosta Senior and Community Center 8:30 am-7 pm; Dougherty Station Community Center 8:30-5 pm; Dougherty Station Library noon-8 pm; San Ramon Library 10 am-8 pm.

Thursday: San Ramon Community Center 8:30 am-8 pm; Alcosta Senior and Community Center 8:30 am-9 pm; Dougherty Station Community Center 8:30 am-5:30 pm; Dougherty Station Library 10 am-8 pm; San Ramon Library 10 am-8 pm.

Friday: San Ramon Community Center 8:30 am-5 pm; Alcosta Senior and Community Center 8:30 am-7 pm; Dougherty Station Community Center 8:30 am-5 pm; Dougherty Station Library 10 am-5 pm; San Ramon Library 10 am-5 pm.

NBC Bay Area's Jodi Hernandez contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Crews Contain Fire at San Rafael Elementary School]]>Mon, 31 Jul 2017 23:45:29 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0731-2017-DixieElementary.jpg

Flames tore through the roof of an elementary school in San Rafael Monday evening, firefighters said.

The fire at Dixie Elementary School, located at 1175 Idylberry Road, was first reported at 5:50 p.m., officials said.

When crews arrived they found an active fire on top of the school's roof. Firefighters were able to contain the blaze at about 6:30 p.m. But the roof appears to be a total loss, and there's water damage inside the classroom, fire officials said.

Dixie Elementary is currently under renovation. The 2017-18 school year is scheduled to begin Aug. 24.

Crews were re-roofing the building Monday when the fire started. Firefighters said it was not immediately known if the roof work was associated with the fire. Crews found extension cords screwed into the roof, and that may have caused a spark, officials said, but no cause was provided Monday night.

Fire crews from Marinwood, San Rafael and Novato responded to the fire. Neighbors prasied firefighters for their quick response, saying if the flames had spread to a nearby hillside, it would have been much worse.



Photo Credit: Marin County Sheriff's Office
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<![CDATA[Redevelopment Talks Around Lake Berryessa]]>Tue, 01 Aug 2017 10:43:51 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Redevelopment_Talks_Around_Lake_Berryessa.jpg

Napa leaders are set to talk about redeveloping lake Berryessa. Five properties have been vacant since 2009. The Napa Valley Register reported that officials want to transform those places into new resorts. Officials have asked for public input. Ideas include a concert venue and an indoor water park.]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Cities Welcome National Night Out]]>Tue, 01 Aug 2017 06:07:44 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/cms890.jpg

Neighborhoods are ready. It's National Night Out.

Police in cities and towns across the Bay Area are hosting National Night Out celebrations Tuesday evening to help residents become more aware of how they can prevent crime and drug use.

From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in San Jose, residents will gather with police in their neighborhoods to get to know each other.

A host of events are scheduled such as potlucks, barbeques and even large block parties.

San Francisco police will host several events around the city for National Night Out, with food, arts and crafts and entertainment. Times and locations of the events can be found online.

Also in San Francisco, the public defender's office is hosting two Mobilization for Adolescent Growth in our Communities events aimed at catching children before they fall through the social services gap, spokeswoman Tamara Barak Aparton said.

The public defender's office has formed MAGIC programs in the Bayview-Hunters Point and Western Addition neighborhoods, where many residents are underserved.

"Those are the two neighborhoods that we specifically set out to serve because they are the most underserved and most in need of resources," Aparton said.

"We recognize that the best way to prevent crime is to provide underserved communities and families with resources relating to health, education and recreation and that's why we formed our MAGIC programs," she said.

Elsewhere, local law enforcement agencies and neighbors in Martinez have organized a third annual Alhambra Valley National Night Out at the Alhambra Christmas Tree Farm at 2647 Reliez Valley Road from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Neighbors can dance to live rockabilly music, savor barbeque and indulge in ice cream from the Boy Scouts of America.

In Concord, National Night Out will be celebrated from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Concord Library at 2900 Salvio St., where there will be activities for children and adults such as K-9 demonstrations, face painting and a bike rodeo.

Rohnert Park public safety officers will host National Night Out activities from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at City Center Plaza at 475 City Center Drive.

Residents can eat, get public safety information, see emergency vehicles and win prizes.

A detailed list of National Night Out events around the Bay Area is listed below: 

North Bay:

Sebastopol Fire Department BBQ: 220 S. Main St., Sebastopol

Rohnert Park City Center Plaza: 475 City Center Dr., Rohnert Park

Petaluma Target Parking Lot: 401 Kenilworth Dr., Petaluma

San Francisco:

Ella Hill Hutch Community Center: 1050 McCallister St., San Francisco

Bayview Opera House: 4705 Third St., San Francisco

Peninsula:

Grundy Park: 586 Cherry Ave., San Bruno

East Bay:

Alhambra Christmas Tree Farm: 2647 Reliez Valley Rd., Martinez

Concord Library: 2900 Salvio St., Concord

Martinez Block Party: 600 block of Main Street, Martinez

St. John's Catholic Church: 264 E. Lewelling Blvd., San Lorenzo

South Bay:

Downtown Gilroy: Fifth Street between Eigleberry Street and Monterey Road, Gilroy




Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Spare the Air Alert Issued For Bay Area Tuesday]]>Tue, 01 Aug 2017 05:52:29 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bay+smog-0622.jpg

A Spare the Air Alert has been issued for Tuesday in the Bay Area because of an excessive amount of smog expected in the region, air quality officials said.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued the alert, the sixth for smog in 2017, because of a forecast of light winds and triple-digit inland temperatures.

A heat advisory is in effect until 9 p.m. Wednesday for higher elevations such as the North Bay mountains, mainly around Lake Berryessa, the East Bay hills and Santa Cruz Mountains.

In areas well inland and high elevations, temperatures are expected to reach 100 to 105 degrees with some areas approaching 110 degrees.

Air district executive officer Jack Broadbent said in a statement that more alerts are possible this week "due to tailpipe exhaust from the 5 million cars on Bay Area roads each day combined with hot temperatures."

During Spare the Air days, air quality officials advise people to limit outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day and to take public transit or carpool instead of driving alone. If possible, people are also asked to work from home.

Aside from trying to keep the air as clean as possible, officials are also asking people to reduce their energy usage.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company recommends that residents wash clothes in cold water, unplug electronics that are not in use, avoid using ovens, dim the brightness on televisions and use compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) light bulbs in order to save energy. 

Temperatures near the coast will be more seasonal and above-average elsewhere. While it may be cooler at the coast, visitors should check for any beach hazards that could make visiting beaches risky.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area file]]>
<![CDATA[Hazardous Weather Expected Across Bay Area]]>Mon, 31 Jul 2017 07:36:25 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Sun_Trees_Heat_Generic.jpg

The National Weather Service Sunday issued a hazardous weather outlook for early this week and midweek for portions of the Bay Area.

Weather officials said the threat of heat-related illnesses will increase today and especially Tuesday and Wednesday, with the danger greater for elderly and at-risk populations, as well as those engaging in outdoor activities.

Residents are urged not to leave people or pets in a parked vehicle for any reason, for any length of time, weather officials said.

The officials also noted that increased fire weather concerns are also likely as a result of hot and dry conditions.

Temperatures in the North Bay will range from the 90s to the low 100s in interior valleys and the 60s to the low 70s at the coast, weather officials said.

In the East Bay, temperatures in the valleys will range from the 90s to the low 100s, while temperatures will be in the 70s to the low 80s along the bay.

Temperatures will generally be in the upper 70s in San Francisco and in the 60s along the Peninsula coast.

In the South Bay, temperatures will be in the 90s in the valleys and in the 80s along the bay, weather officials said.

In the Monterey and Santa Cruz areas, temperatures will reach the 90s inland and the 60s and 70s on the coast.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Police Seek Suspects in Costco Smash-and-Grab in Novato]]>Mon, 31 Jul 2017 23:35:55 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/novato+costco-0730.jpg

Novato police on Monday released surveillance video as they continued searching for three suspects involved in a smash-and-grab jewelry robbery at a Costco store Sunday morning.

About 10:10 a.m., officers were dispatched to the Costco at Vintage Oaks on reports of a robbery. Three suspects entered the store wearing surgical masks and proceeded directly to the jewelry display cases, police said.

The suspects used a hammer to smash the glass cases and stole numerous pieces of jewelry. They ran out of the store to a waiting vehicle and fled the area before officers arrived, police said.

"Went straight to the jewelry display case, smashed it open, took an undetermined amount of jewelry," Novato police Sgt. Alan Bates said. "We’re going to do what we can do to identify the suspects. We’ll work with outside agencies that have experienced the same kind of incident, and see if we can collaborate."

No weapons were seen, and no one was injured during the robbery, police said. The suspects and suspect vehicle were not found.

Witnesses described the suspects as African American men, possibly in their 20s, police said. The suspect vehicle was described as a dark-colored, four-door sedan with paper dealer plates.

Police are looking at surveillance video from the front entrance of the store to see if it will help identify the suspects. 

Other Bay Area Costco stores have been targeted in similar robberies over the past two months. In May, a Danville store was hit twice. One suspect was arrested in the first robbery. The second happened about a week later, and the suspects made off with high-priced watches.

Last month, the Foster City Costco also was robbed. In all the robberies, the suspects wore masks.

Police asked for the public's help in locating the vehicle and the suspects in Sunday's heist. Anyone with information should call 415-897-4361.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Police in Marin County Caution Residents About Phone Scam]]>Sun, 30 Jul 2017 15:32:42 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/199*120/Generic+Phone+Generic+Call.JPG

Police are cautioning Marin County residents to beware of a telephone scam in which callers pretend to represent law enforcement and demand money, supposedly to avoid an arrest.

This week, a resident of the county was bilked out of nearly $2,000 in the so-called Green Dot scam, according to the Central Marin Police Authority.

The resident got a call from someone who pretended to be with the Marin County Sheriff's Office and said the resident had failed to attend jury duty and had an outstanding arrest warrant, police said.

The caller falsely said the resident could avoid arrest by buying a Green Dot gift card and providing the card information and PIN to the caller, police said.

The victim followed the instructions and lost close to $2,000, according to police.

Law enforcement officers do not contact residents by telephone to collect warrant or fine payments and will never ask for credit card, debit card or personal information on the phone, the Central Marin Police Authority said.

Residents who receive this type of call should not provide any personal information, hang up and notify their local police agency, police said. More information is available at the National Consumer League's website, www.fraud.org.



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend Temps Could Ail Those With Respiratory Conditions]]>Sun, 30 Jul 2017 08:36:38 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Sun_Heat_Generic_Hot_car.jpg

High temperatures predicted for this weekend could make breathing more difficult for people with respiratory issues, officials with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District said Friday.

Studies show that very high temperatures can make it harder to breathe for people with conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart problems, especially children and the elderly.

Officials have not issued a "Spare the Air" alert for poor air quality, but those with known respiratory conditions should try to stay in cooler locations, drink plenty of water, avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest parts of the day and keep inhalers and medications handy at all times.

Residents who wish to be notified when a Spare the Air alert is in effect can sign up at www.sparetheair.org or call (800) HELP-AIR. Residents can also download a Spare the Air app or connect with Spare the Air on Facebook and Twitter.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[City in Pink: Accidental Retardant Drop Leaves Colorful Mess]]>Fri, 28 Jul 2017 08:38:30 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/fire+retardant-0727.jpg

The pilot of a Cal Fire air tanker mistakenly dropped fire retardant on a neighborhood in Windsor, where there was no fire, and left a big, pink mess.

The air tanker was carrying 1,000 gallons of the retardant Thursday as it flew over the neighborhood. About 100 gallons dropped on the Decantor Circle yards, sidewalks and parked vehicles below.

Resident Alex Cruz and his neighbors regularly see air tankers filled with fire retardant flying in to land at the Sonoma County Airport. On Thursday, they got a close-up look at the material.

"I came outside everything was pink," Cruz said. "I've never seen this before."

Cal Fire crews broke out their fire hoses to clean up the mess Thursday. The agency said a pilot returning from a fire in Penngrove accidentally made the drop before touching down at the airport, coating nine houses, 12 cars, a camper, landscaping and the street.

"We got the heavy part of it," Cruz said. "Looks like they stopped; probably noticed they did something wrong."

Cal Fire said the pink stuff is a mixture of water, fire retardant, dye and fertilizer. The agency said it is not toxic to fish and wildlife.

City crews came out to cover storm drains and pump the water into trucks as firefighters sprayed streets and sidewalks and scrubbed cars that could be damaged.

"It's slippery when wet," said Ben Nicholls of Cal Fire. "It's a slip hazard, has a reaction with automotive paint if its left on it, will create issues with the paint."

Cruz's daughter's car was scrubbed, but some pink spots remained. The family has called their insurance company.

Cal Fire said the remaining pink residue will dissipate over time. The incident is under investigation.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Man Arrested for Driving Drunk to Petaluma Police Station]]>Thu, 27 Jul 2017 22:32:21 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/handcuffs-generic-on-black2.jpg

A man showed up at the Petaluma police station to talk about a hit-and-run crash, only to be arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after police determined he had driven to the station intoxicated.

The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa reported that 68-year-old Richard Elwood was awaiting a morning interview Tuesday in the police lobby when the smell of alcohol tipped off a desk clerk.

Petaluma police Lt. Tim Lyons said Wednesday that officers determined that Elwood had driven to the station while under the influence of alcohol. Elwood was arrested and booked into Sonoma County Jail.

Lyons said Elwood is the suspected driver of a hit-and-run Monday and had been called to the station after a witness gave police the license plate number of the departing vehicle.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

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<![CDATA[Child's Torture, Murder Land Napa Couple in Prison for Life]]>Thu, 27 Jul 2017 13:57:26 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/02-05-2014-Kayleigh-Slusher.jpg

A Napa County Superior Court judge on Thursday morning sentenced Sara Lynn Krueger and Ryan Scott Warner to life in prison without parole for the first-degree murder with torture of Krueger's 3-year-old daughter in 2014.

Judge Francisca Tisher also sentenced the couple to 25 years to life in prison for the blunt force assault of Kayleigh Slusher that caused her death. The judge, however, stayed imposition of that sentence, Assistant District Attorney Paul Gero said.

In a Facebook post, the Napa County District Attorney's Office said, "We've waited a long time for this day to come."

"This office owes a debt of gratitude for the commitment of Deputy District Attorneys Lance Hafenstein and Kecia Lind, investigator Leslie Severe and the Napa Police Department. Each were champions of the highest caliber," prosecutors said in the post.

Krueger, 27, and Warner 29, were convicted by separate juries on May 30.

Slusher's body was placed in a freezer then left in a suitcase on a bed in an apartment at the Royal Gardens Apartments on Wilkins Avenue in Napa. Police went to the apartment after a request for a welfare check on Feb. 1 and found Slusher's body, which had with 41 visible injuries and multiple internal injuries.

Krueger and Warner were seen leaving the apartment with luggage. A citizen reported seeing them at a restaurant in El Cerrito, and BART police officers contacted them at the El Cerrito del Norte station, Napa police said. Napa police responded and arrested Krueger and Warner after interviewing them.

A motion by Krueger's attorney Jim McEntee Jr. to continue the sentencing today was denied, and he and Warner's attorney Mervin Lernhart Jr. said they plan to appeal the convictions, Gero said.

In court this morning, the defendants proclaimed their innocence, did not express remorse and took no responsibility for Slusher's death, Gero said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Charges Filed Against Teen Caught on Camera Abandoning Baby]]>Wed, 26 Jul 2017 21:08:32 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Mitchell+3.JPG

An 18-year-old man who police say deserted his newborn baby in the parking lot of a Suisun City strip mall was charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor on Wednesday.

Daniel Mitchell on Monday was caught on surveillance camera driving from a baby carrier — with the 16-day-old boy strapped in to it — on the 140 block of Sunset Avenue. Officers were able trace the car's license plate back to Mitchell, Suisun City police said

On Wednesday, a criminal complaint against Mitchell stated that he was charged with felony child abuse, felony abandonment and misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance.

Mitchell got emotional and broke down when the charges against him were read aloud in court Wednesday. He pleaded not guilty to endangering his child.

After leaving behind the newborn on Monday, Mitchell got into a hit-and-run crash in Fairfield on Monday and was apprehended by police in connection with that incident. He was transported to the North Bay Medical Center, where he was treated for injuries sustained in the collision.

Suisun City police interviewed him at the hospital and identified him as the infant's father. The teenage parolee, however, told police that he was on drugs and did not recall abandoning his newborn child.

Mitchell was previously arrested on June 27 by Suisun City police on multiple felony charges, including possession of a firearm, after a burglary was reported on Gray Hawk Lane, police said.

Police said the boy's mother is not considered a suspect, but their investigation continues. On Wednesday, the infant, who was rescued by a group of barber shop employees, was said to be in stable condition.

Mitchell returns to court Aug. 3. He's being held at the Solano County Jail on $500,000 bail.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Detective Sousa at 707-421-7361. Information can also be reported anonymously to Solano Crime Stoppers at 707-644-7867.

NBC Bay Area's Jodi Hernandez and Bay City News contributed to this report.




Photo Credit: KCRA]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Leaders Focus on Sustainable Growth]]>Wed, 26 Jul 2017 05:58:38 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/199*120/Close5Header.jpg

Leaders from all nine Bay Area counties on Wednesday will meet to discuss a plan focused on improving housing, jobs and infrastructure in the region by 2040.

The concept, coined "Plan Bay Area 2040," hopes to pack 820,000 more housing units into the Bay Area and add 1.3 million more jobs between now and 23 years down the road. Most of those additions will be made in and around San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, but leaders will also look to expand in smaller cities such as Mountain View, Emeryville and Richmond.

Leaders will also tackle traffic concerns and formulate potential solutions, which could be paid for by $303 billion in expected revenue from federal and local levels over next 20-plus years.

Keeping an eye on the environment, the plan complies with Senate Bill 375, which aims to keep the state on track with sustainable strategies. The bill calls for a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions when it comes to transportation and makes sure to focus on creating adequate housing for the growing population.

The meeting slated to take place in San Francisco at 7 p.m. is expected to welcome representatives from more than 100 Bay Area cities.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Barbers Rescue Abandoned Baby, Say 'He's Part of the Family']]>Tue, 25 Jul 2017 18:11:58 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/abandoned+baby-07241.jpg

A group of barbers on Tuesday said they couldn't stop thinking about a 16-day-old baby who they helped save after he was abandoned in a Suisun City strip mall by his teenage father.

"He was so adorable, peaceful, calm," Tagred Saeidah said. "He wasn't crying at all."

A woman with children of her own was stunned by the actions of the baby's father, Daniel Mitchell. The 18-year-old later told police he was on drugs and did not recall deserting his child.

"It's still shocking to me, being a mother myself," barber Cynthia Meeks said. "I can't see how someone could want to leave their baby like that."

Surveillance video shows Mitchell driving away after leaving a baby carrier — with the infant strapped in to it — in the North Bay parking lot. Officers were able trace the car's license plate back to Mitchell, police said.

A little after 3 p.m. Monday, a pair of barber shop employees at the strip mall on the 140 block of Sunset Avenue noticed the car seat and went to pick it up. When they saw the baby, they called 911.

Initially, the boy did not appear injured, but he was airlifted to Children's Hospital Oakland as a precaution when he appeared to have redness in one eye, police said.

On Tuesday, police said the infant remains in critical, but stable condition, and is expected to survive. 

"We just want to know what's going on with the baby because he looked alright sitting in his seat. He was alert, relaxed, sucking on his pacifier," barber Wendell Cooper said.

The group of barbers at J S Barber Shop and Hair Salon said they want the baby — who Saeidah said "had a lot of hair" — to know he will always be welcome there. 

"We want him to grow up and come here and and get a haircut at J's shop. He's part of the family now," Saeidah said.

For his part, Mitchell was involved in a hit-and-run crash in Fairfield later Monday and was apprehended by Fairfield police in that incident. He was transported to North Bay Medical Center, where he was treated for injuries sustained in the collision.

Suisun City police interviewed him at the hospital and identified him as the boy's father. 

"The suspect admitted to ... using drugs the day of the incident," said Jose Martinez with the Suisun City Police Department. "He was not aware he had left the baby."

Police said the baby's mother is not considered a suspect, but their investigation continues.

Mitchell was arrested and taken into custody on probable cause for child endangerment, child abandonment, committing a felony while on bail and misdemeanor possession of suspected cocaine, Suisun City police said.

He was previously arrested on June 27 by Suisun City police on multiple felony charges, including possession of a firearm, after a report of a burglary on Gray Hawk Lane, police said.

Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to contact Detective Sousa at (707) 421-7361. Information can also be reported anonymously to Solano Crime Stoppers at (707) 644-7867.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area/Suisun City PD]]>
<![CDATA[Father Arrested After Abandoning Baby in Suisun City: Police]]>Mon, 24 Jul 2017 23:47:07 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/abandoned+baby-07241.jpg

Police arrested the father of a 16-day-old baby boy who was abandoned in the parking lot of a Suisun City strip mall Monday.

Daniel Mitchell, 18, was taken into custody on probable cause for child endangerment, child abandonment, committing a felony while on bail and misdemeanor possession of suspected cocaine, Suisun City police said.

A little after 3 p.m. Monday, a pair of barber shop employees at the strip mall in the 140 block of Sunset Avenue noticed a car seat sitting in the parking lot and went to pick it up when he saw the baby inside of it, police said. The barber took the baby inside and called police.

"He pulled up, took the baby out, put him down," said Wendell Cooper, explaining what he saw outside the barber shop at the Sunset Mall. "He sat him down, took him back out then he gets in the car and he leaves."

Eriq Keeton grabbed the car seat and brought it inside the barber shop.

"I walked over (there) and saw the baby sitting in the car seat," he said.

Surveillance video from one of the businesses captured it all, and officers were able trace the license plate back to Mitchell, police said. 

Mitchell was involved in a hit-and-run crash in Fairfield later Monday and was apprehended by Fairfield police in that incident. He was transported to North Bay Medical Center, where he was treated for injuries sustained in the collision.

Suisun City police interviewed him at the hospital and identified him as the boy's father.

The baby was in the care of Solano County Child Protective Services late Monday, police said, and investigators were talking with the baby's mother.

Initially, the boy did not appear injured, but he was airlifted to Children's Hospital Oakland as a precaution when he appeared to have redness in one eye, police said.

Mitchell was previously arrested on June 27 by Suisun City police on multiple felony charges, including possession of a firearm, after a report of a burglary on Gray Hawk Lane in Suisun City, police said.

Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to contact Detective Sousa at (707) 421-7361. Information can also be reported anonymously to Solano Crime Stoppers at (707) 644-7867.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area/Suisun City PD]]>
<![CDATA[Body of Missing Tomales Bay Oyster Co. Owner Found]]>Sun, 23 Jul 2017 09:20:47 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0718-2017-MissingBoaterSearch.jpg

The body of Tomales Bay Oyster Company owner Charles "Tod" Friend, who disappeared from his boat in Tomales Bay, was found Saturday and "brought to shore surrounded by those who love him," according to the Tomales Bay Oyster Co. Facebook page.

Friend, 70, of Oakland, was last seen around 3:15 p.m. Tuesday. An employee of Marshall-based Hog Island Oyster Co. saw Friend's boat going in a circle with no sign of Friend aboard it, according to the Marin County Sheriff's Department.

Friend's body was pulled from the water sometime Saturday afternoon, according to the Facebook page.

"We are deeply saddened by his loss but also heartened by the outpouring of love from all of our extended family and friends," a statement on the oyster company Facebook page read. "Please know how very much we appreciate all of the support we've been given over these last, very difficult days."

Investigators believe Friend was not wearing a life vest and fell off his boat.



Photo Credit: Marin County Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[Three North Bay Road Projects on Fast Track for Repairs]]>Sat, 22 Jul 2017 11:45:44 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/road+work+generic.jpg

Three North Bay projects are among 13 in the state that are on the fast track for road repairs this summer, Caltrans officials said Friday.

The accelerated construction work is occurring in every Caltrans district in California and in rural, suburban and urban areas, according to Caltrans and the California State Transportation Agency.

The North Bay projects include $2.8 million to resurface more than four miles of state Route 116 in Sebastopol, $1.5 million to resurface nearly two miles of State Route 116 in Dixon and $1.7 million to place chip seal on nearly 18 miles of state routes 84 and 220 in Solano County.

The "fix it first" expedited construction projects are funded through the Senate Bill 1 Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 that provides $54 billion over the next decade. The money is split between state and local investments.

Caltrans also is expediting the design of 50 more projects that will begin construction this fiscal year.

The $285 million for expedited road repairs across the state are starting months before the Senate Bill 1 revenue starts to accrue this fall, according to Caltrans.

Projects include repairing and resurfacing hundreds of miles of highways and improving lane line visibility in any weather with new highly reflective striping that contains durable beads. Some roads in the state will be completely repaved.



Photo Credit: Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[668 Square Foot Home Listed for $800,000]]>Wed, 19 Jul 2017 20:12:29 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/0729larkspur2.jpgFinally, a home for sale in the Bay Area that is less than a million dollars. Of course though, there is a catch.
It is only 668 square feet.

Photo Credit: Own Marin]]>
<![CDATA[668 Square-Foot Larkspur Home Listed for $800,000]]>Fri, 21 Jul 2017 10:45:04 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/0719larkspur15.jpg

Finally, a home for sale in the Bay Area that is less than a million dollars. But there's a catch: It is only 668 square feet.

That’s right folks, for $800,000 you could own the quaint home in downtown Larkspur.

Hidden in Baltimore Park, the home has a bedroom and one bathroom. While small, the home at 123 William Ave. provides a rustic feel nonetheless.

The property’s realtors, Whitney Potter and Barr Haney of Own Marin, labeled the listing as having “an old world charm.” Potter also highlighted the surrounding Redwood trees and nearby access to Dolliver Park. Being nestled in this corner of nature is a great option for outdoor lovers of all ages.

Don’t worry though, as the listing is also in close proximity to downtown shopping and prestigious schools.

If the coziness of the home still deters you, the building resides on a lot just over 3,000 square feet. This extra land may provide space for those adventurous enough to expand the house. While daunting, buyers can be sure that their investment will not go unrewarded.

The housing website Zillow estimates home values in the area to be just over $1.6 million -- a 15 percent increase in just the past year. If looking closer into the neighborhood, a house just down the street sold for $2.26 million in 2015.

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<![CDATA[Crews Search for Missing Boater in Tomales Bay]]>Wed, 19 Jul 2017 00:04:51 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0718-2017-MissingBoaterSearch.jpg

The search for a missing boater whose unmanned motorboat was located in Tomales Bay Tuesday evening was expected to extend late into the night and early Wednesday morning, according to officials with the Marin County Fire Department.

The boater has been identified only as a 70-year-old man employed by the Tomales Bay Oyster Company. But friends in the community said they are looking for the owner of the company, Tod Friend.

Marin County rescue crews said late Tuesday night they planned to stay out on boats until 2 a.m. using sonar equipment.

The man was reported missing at about 3:15 p.m., after fire officials received an emergency call from an employee at the Hog Island Oyster Company in Marshall.

The employee said their boat was near the boat that was being operated by the missing man. Operators on the Hog Island Oyster Company boat said they looked back and saw the Tomales Bay Oyster Company boat going in circles.

Rescue crews were able to recover the missing man's motorboat.

Officials said Friend wasn’t wearing a life jacket. Friends say he is an experienced water man who worked on the water daily and knew the bay well. They also said he is a beloved member of the community.

Using rescue watercrafts and helicopters, the search includes personnel with the fire department, the Marin County Sheriff's Office, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. National Park Service, the U.S. Coast Guard and the California Highway Patrol.



Photo Credit: Marin County Fire Department
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<![CDATA[Chemical Spill Prompts Hazmat Response in Novato]]>Tue, 18 Jul 2017 23:43:15 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/novato+hazmat-0718.jpg

The hazardous material that closed the Atherton Avenue overpass over U.S. Highway 101 in Novato on Tuesday morning was muriatic acid commonly used as a pool cleaner, the Novato Fire Protection District said.

A passerby saw several containers spilled on the on-ramp around 7:35 a.m. When fire crews arrived, the chemical was emitting gas, and the Marin County Hazardous Materials Team responded.

The hazmat team neutralized the chemical from four one-gallon plastic containers with sodium bicarbonate to lower the ph level to the same level as water. Traffic was diverted away from the spill, and all roads in the area were open by 10:45 a.m., the fire protection district said.

When undiluted, muriatic acid, also known as hydrochloric acid, can lead to skin tissue burns and irritation, and inhaling the fumes can cause respiratory issues, according to the Novato Fire Protection District.

The spill caused the asphalt to bubble and release what appeared to be smoke, the California Highway Patrol said. The CHP closed Atherton Avenue between Redwood Boulevard and Armstrong Avenue.

Traffic on both sides of Highway 101 was not affected by the spill, the CHP said.

Investigators believe the four gallons of acid were not properly secured in a vehicle and slid off when the vehicle made a left turn onto the on-ramp of northbound 101, the CHP said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Man Arrested for Hitting Man With Golf Club in Santa Rosa]]>Tue, 18 Jul 2017 08:26:38 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/175*120/Golfclubgeneric.jpg

Santa Rosa police arrested a man on suspicion of assaulting another man with a golf club Saturday afternoon, a police detective said.

Officers responded around 1:45 p.m. to a report of a man with a golf club chasing a man on a bicycle on Howard Street.

Violent crimes detectives learned the men got in an argument in front of the suspect's residence and the suspect chased the victim with a golf club but couldn't catch him, De Leon said.

As the suspect walked home, he saw the victim riding his bicycle toward him and struck him with the golf club, De Leon said.

The bicycle collided with a parked vehicle and the victim struck the windshield. The victim then went home for help.

The 33-year-old victim's family said he suffered a head injury and needed medical attention, Detective Hector De Leon said. The victim was taken to a hospital and was listed in critical condition.

The suspect was later identified as Roderick Anthony Bell, 48, of Santa Rosa. He was arrested and booked in the Sonoma County Jail for assault with a deadly weapon and battery causing serious bodily injury.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Search for Missing Tomales Bay Oyster Co. Owner Suspended]]>Thu, 20 Jul 2017 15:34:45 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0718-2017-MissingBoaterSearch.jpg

The search for Tomales Bay Oyster Co. owner Charles "Tod" Friend, who disappeared from his boat in Tomales Bay, was suspended Wednesday, a Marin County sheriff's spokesman said.

Friend, 70, of Oakland, was last seen around 3:15 p.m. Tuesday. An employee of Marshall-based Hog Island Oyster Co. saw Friend's boat going in a circle with no sign of Friend aboard it, according to the sheriff's office.

"After conducting thorough searches by literally land, sea and air, no clues or information was developed to aid us in our search efforts," sheriff's Lt. Doug Pittman said. "Should any new clues or information come forward, we will reevaluate the need for whatever appropriate action will then be taken."

Investigators believe Friend was not wearing a life vest and fell off his boat.

The U.S. Coast Guard, National Park Service, the Marin County Search and Rescue team and the sheriff's dive team searched for Friend Tuesday and Wednesday.



Photo Credit: Marin County Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[Napa County Judge Who Stole Cardholders Agrees to Resign]]>Mon, 17 Jul 2017 21:39:07 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/judge+gavel+generic.jpg

A Northern California judge has agreed to resign after swiping two art deco-style business cardholders from a judges' dinner in San Francisco.

The Commission on Judicial Performance on Monday announced its censure of Judge Michael S. Williams of Napa County. Williams' resignation will take effect in December.

Williams was attending a dinner hosted by a matrimonial lawyers association in March 2016 when he took two cardholders in the art deco decor of The City Club of San Francisco. They were each worth about $30 to $50.

The commission says Williams returned the cardholders after being informed that he was caught on video.

The judge expressed remorse and said he had an "unexplainable impulse" to take the cardholders.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Tetra images RF]]>
<![CDATA[Crop Dusting Plane Crashes in Sonoma County Vineyard]]>Sun, 16 Jul 2017 10:10:32 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/7-15-17_Sonoma_Plane_Crash.jpg

A crop dusting plane crashed Saturday in Sonoma County, sheriff's officials said.

According to Sonoma County Sheriff's officials, the privately owned, fixed-wing plane crashed in a vineyard in the area of state Highway 12 and Dunbar Road near the unincorporated Sonoma County community of Kenwood.

The pilot walked away uninjured, sheriff's officials said.

Further details were not immediately available.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[California's Highest Home Prices Found in Bay Area]]>Wed, 19 Jul 2017 13:30:48 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-79425812.jpg

Supply and demand economics are escalating housing prices across California, particularly in the Bay Area.

In June, the state’s median home price was $555,150, representing a 0.9 percent increase from May and a whopping 7 percent jump from June 2016, according to a new report by the California Association of Realtors.

In the Bay Area, meanwhile, housing supply cannot keep pace with job growth, hiking up prices.

The local median home price climbed to $908,740, a 1 percent bump from May’s $899,730. But, at just shy of a million dollars, that price tag is 7.9 percent higher than June 2016’s $841,960, outpacing the statewide cost increase.

A closer look at the report's year-over-year sales growth reveals that Santa Clara County’s median home price jumped 12.6 percent to $1,182,500 while Alameda County’s rose 12.1 percent to $900,000. It increased 9.8 percent to $1,433,750 in San Mateo County, 8.8 percent to $1,469,000 in San Francisco County and 5.6 percent to $660,000 in Contra Costa County.

In June, the Inland Empire saw California’s largest year-over-year sales increase at 10.4 percent to $346,380, and was followed by the Los Angeles metro area at 8.3 percent to $500,240, which demonstrates the marked difference between home prices in the Bay Area and elsewhere in the state.

“A lack of available homes for sale continues to be the largest single factor influencing California’s housing market,” said Geoff McIntosh, president of the California Association of Realtors.

In June, San Francisco County also came in first in terms of average price per square foot: $909. It was followed by San Mateo County at $848 and Santa Clara County at $662 per square foot. In comparison, California’s average was much lower at $270, the report said.

The report further shows that the median amount of time a property spends on the market has fallen to 22.4 days in June. One year ago, that was 27.1 days. Last month’s gains come second only to May 2004 when a house was sold after spending 21.9 days on the market, the report said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sizzling Temps Prompt Heat Advisory, Red Flag Warning]]>Sun, 16 Jul 2017 13:28:26 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Sun_Heat_Generic_Hot_car.jpg

A scorching Sunday furthered a heat advisory and prompted a red flag warning for several Bay Area locations as the region swelters during another summer heat wave.

A heat advisory implemented Saturday morning for the Diablo Range, Santa Cruz Mountains, Big Sur region, East Bay valleys and North Bay mountains will remain in effect until Sunday at 9 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures in those regions could reach 105 degrees or more.

Due to blistering temperatures, gusty winds and low humidity, a red flag warning is also in effect for spots above 1,000 feet where wildfires could ignite and spread quickly. Those areas include North Bay hills, East Bay hills and the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Heat sensitive residents are at moderate to high risk of heat-related illnesses and the danger of wildfires will rise with the rising temperatures, according to weather officials.

Cooler temperatures are forecast for early next week.

The hottest temperatures for inland valleys and ridges will be in the North Bay, East Bay, South Bay and in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.

In the North Bay, interior valleys could reach the low 100s, according to weather officials.

On East Bay ridges temperatures are forecast to reach the 90s.

The inland areas of the South Bay are forecast to reach the 90s while ridges will be near 100. San Jose will open several cooling centers Sunday across the city.

Inland valleys of Monterey and Santa Cruz counties are expected to be in the 90s. The ridges could reach the low 100s.

Coastal temperatures from the North Bay to Monterey Bay will be lower, weather officials said.

Across the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas, temperatures in the hilly and mountainous regions could stay above 70 degrees during the night and early morning hours.

Weather officials said pets and livestock may require extra care during the heat.

The officials suggest residents drink plenty of fluids, stay in air conditioning and out of the sun and check up on neighbors and relatives.



Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Police Shooting in Vallejo Draws Questions From Neighbors]]>Sat, 15 Jul 2017 22:52:05 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/7-15-17_Vallejo_Shooting_PD.jpg

Some residents in Vallejo are raising concerns after an officer opened fire at a car-jacking suspect sprinting along neighborhood streets.

Video footage from the scene of the shooting captured an officer fire multiple shots at the suspect, who has since been identified as Victor Hurtado, during a foot pursuit last weekend. Neighbors have since started asking questions about why the officer opened fire, but police have insisted that Hurtado was armed and posed a threat to the public.

The shooting and part of the pursuit occurred along Santa Clara Street. At least three shots were fired, but the suspect was not hit. 

Flying bullets made life uneasy for nearby resident Claire White, a local criminal defense attorney who recently voiced her concerns with the city council.

"Those rounds went somewhere," she said. "My kids were home right across the street from where this happened.”

Police countered those concerns by insisting that Hurtado had a gun. Just before the foot pursuit, Hurtado and his partner were wanted for pistol-whipping a man and stealing his car, according to the Napa County Sheriff's Department. The pair was later spotted in Vallejo before the foot pursuit took place.

"In this situation, you have an armed felon with parole violations fleeing through a neighborhood that’s dense with innocent people," Lt. Kent Tribble with the Vallejo Police Department said.

A gun was never recovered, but the officer who opened fire thought Hurtado was armed, according to Tribble.

"It looks like he may be holding something," Tribble said. "I can’t tell you if he was holding something or not, but [Hurtado's arms] are definitely not free-swinging like someone running an all-out sprint."

The officer has since been placed on administrative leave while an investigation is conducted.

White plans to take a group of neighbors to the next city council meeting to press city officials for more answers about the incident.

]]>
<![CDATA[Heat Advisory in Effect as Bay Area Boils]]>Fri, 14 Jul 2017 18:36:59 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-74094872.jpg

A heat advisory for the Diablo Range, Santa Cruz Mountains and Big Sur region has been expanded to the East Bay valleys and North Bay Mountains, National Weather Service officials said Friday.

The advisory is in effect from 8 a.m. Saturday to 9 p.m. Sunday for all five locations where temperatures could reach 105 degrees or more.

Heat sensitive residents are at moderate to high risk of heat-related illnesses and the danger of wildfires will rise with the rising temperatures, according to weather officials.

Cooler temperatures are forecast for early next week.

The hottest temperatures for inland valleys and ridges will be in the North Bay, East Bay, South Bay and in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.

In the North Bay, interior valleys could reach the low 100s, according to weather officials.

On East Bay ridges temperatures are forecast to reach the 90s.

The inland areas of the South Bay are forecast to reach the 90s while ridges will be near 100. San Jose will open several cooling centers Sunday across the city.

Inland valleys of Monterey and Santa Cruz counties are expected to be in the 90s. The ridges could reach the low 100s.

Coastal temperatures from the North Bay to Monterey Bay will be lower, weather officials said.

Across the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas, temperatures in the hilly and mountainous regions could stay above 70 degrees during the night and early morning hours.

Weather officials said pets and livestock may require extra care during the heat.

The officials suggest residents drink plenty of fluids, stay in air conditioning and out of the sun and check up on neighbors and relatives.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Alleged DUI Driver Leads CHP on Chase After Collision, Theft]]>Sat, 15 Jul 2017 10:22:57 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/chp-generic-pursuit-1.jpg

The California Highway Patrol arrested a Lakeport man Thursday night on suspicion of assaulting a driver with his vehicle after a collision and stealing a cell phone, all while under the influence.

The incident occurred after a rollover collision around 8:40 p.m. on northbound U.S. Highway 101 near North San Pedro Road in San Rafael, CHP Officer Andrew Barclay said.

A driver who was stopped in traffic behind that collision told the CHP his vehicle was intentionally hit from behind, and the driver who rammed him stole his cell phone and drove away.

A witness to the rear-end collision called 911 and said he was following the driver who fled and that there appeared to be a physical fight happening inside the suspect's vehicle.

CHP Officer Kenneth Giordano located and tried to stop the suspect's vehicle in Novato at the San Antonio Road exit. The suspect, identified as Neil Anthony Hart, 58, of Lakeport, fled toward Petaluma at speeds near 100 mph with Giordano in pursuit.

Hart exited the highway at state Highway 116 in Cotati and drove to an apartment complex parking lot off Enterprise Drive. CHP officers from Santa Rosa and a CHP airplane responded and took Hart and the passenger in his car into custody, Barclay said.

The passenger was a 56-year-old transient Hart met in San Francisco earlier Thursday evening, and he fought with Hart because he wanted to get out of the vehicle, Barclay said. The CHP determined the transient was an unwilling accomplice and he was released from the scene, Barclay said.

CHP officers determined Hart was driving under the influence of drugs, and he was taken to the Marin County Jail where he was booked for reckless evading, assault with a deadly weapon, robbery by force, DUI, battery, false imprisonment and driving on a suspended license, Barclay said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File]]>
<![CDATA[Man Rescued After Driving Into Carquinez Strait in Benicia]]>Sat, 15 Jul 2017 10:33:01 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DEuoEoBUAAAR_T-.jpg

The Benicia police and fire departments helped rescue a man who drove his vehicle into the Carquinez Strait Friday afternoon.

Bystanders reported that someone drove a compact, 4-door vehicle off the West Ninth Street boat launch and into the water around 1 p.m., Benicia Fire Department Division Chief Jason Fein said.

The driver was able to escape the vehicle, which was still under water late Friday afternoon, Fein said.

The man was taken to a hospital and there is no reason to believe anyone else was in the vehicle at the time, Fein said.

The Solano County Sheriff's Office and U.S. Coast Guard also responded.

A Coast Guard spokeswoman said the area where the vehicle sank was marked with a buoy and the Coast Guard left the scene.



Photo Credit: Benicia Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[Petaluma Police Arrest Transient For 'Test-Drive' Car Theft]]>Sat, 15 Jul 2017 10:16:11 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/handcuffs14.jpg

Petaluma police arrested a transient for vehicle theft from an auto dealership Thursday morning, a police lieutenant said.

Rolando Lucas Neri, 28, asked an employee at Auto Mario Used Car Sales in Petaluma if he could test-drive a 2008 Honda Accord around 11:20 a.m., Lt. Tim Lyons said.

Neri did not have a driver's license but the employee gave him a key so he could look inside the Honda. Neri drove away and the employee called police, Lyons said.

The Honda had a GPS vehicle location device and police tracked the Honda at 12:20 p.m. to Holly Lane where Neri lived in an encampment, Lyons said. When police stopped the Honda, Neri said he was test-driving the vehicle, Lyons said.

Neri did not have a license and he had removed all sales tags and stickers from the Honda, Lyons said. He was booked in the Sonoma County Jail for vehicle theft and possession of a stolen vehicle.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File image]]>
<![CDATA[USF Professor Killed in Plane Crash Remembered as 'Blessing']]>Fri, 14 Jul 2017 17:18:28 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/planemain.jpg

The University of San Francisco community is grieving the loss of William Sachs Goldman, a professor who was killed in Thursday's plane crash near Sonoma Skyport Airport that injured three other passengers, including his children.

The 38-year-old, an assistant professor of international studies, died around 12:45 p.m.  in Schell Vista in the area of San Luis Road and Broadway south of Sonoma, according to Sonoma County Fire and Emergency Services.

The Sonoma County Fire Department said two children under 16 — Goldman's son and daughter — were airlifted to Children's Hospital in Oakland. Their condition is unknown.

A female passenger also was hurt and taken to a hospital. Her relationship to the family remains unclear. 

On Friday, grief was palpable on the USF campus as people who knew Goldman described being devastated by his untimely death.

Chalwe Mwansa, a University of San Francisco alumni who visited the campus to drop off flowers in Goldman's honor, simply said, "He was family."

University President Paul Fitzgerald wrote in a statement Thursday that Goldman impacted the lives of his colleagues and students, both former and current, and will be "greatly missed." 

"The University of San Francisco community is devastated to learn of the death of faculty member Bill Goldman in a Sonoma County plane crash," Fitzgerald wrote. "Bill, an assistant professor in international studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, was an accomplished scholar, a beloved and generous teacher, and a valued member of our community."

He continued: "Bill's wife Serra is an alumna of the USF School of Law and a member of the university's Board of Trustees. We are standing in prayerful solidarity with her and with Bill and Serra's young children, George and Marie, now and in the days ahead."

The New Israel Fund, a social justice nonprofit that counted Goldman among its board members, said they mourn the death of their “beloved friend,” a man with “vision, idealism and a sharp sense of humor.”

“Our thoughts are with his family, and especially his children,” the statement said. “As we begin to process this loss, we know that his memory will be a blessing, as was his life.”


Preliminary information shows the plane crashed under unknown circumstances, Gregor said. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash, but it could take up to a year before a cause is revealed.

Robert Castillo was one of several people who ran straight for the crash site when they heard a plane in distress. He helped pry the children out of the plane.

"Maybe it was about 75 feet in the air and descending, and that’s when I heard a bang and saw the parachute come out of the back of the air plane," Castillo said. "It sputtered louder, cut out, started sputtering, cut out and was off.

"When I got there, there was a little hand in the back window," Castillo continued. "I said, 'Oh my gosh, someone’s alive, let’s see what we can do.'"

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the plane was a single-engine Cirrus SR-22 and was equipped with a parachute system that can deploy in case of emergencies.



Photo Credit: USF]]>
<![CDATA[USF Professor Dies in Small Plane Crash in Sonoma County]]>Fri, 14 Jul 2017 08:33:03 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/planemain.jpg

A 38-year-old man killed in a plane crash Thursday near the Sonoma Skyport Airport has been identified as William Sachs Goldman of San Francisco, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office.

Goldman was an assistant professor of international studies at the University of San Francisco.

The crash occurred around 12:45 p.m. in Schell Vista in the area of San Luis Road and Broadway south of Sonoma, according to Sonoma County Fire and Emergency Services.

Three others were injured in the crash. The wreckage could be seen in a field about 1,000 feet west of Sonoma Skypark.

The Sonoma County Fire Department said two children under 16 were airlifted to Children's Hospital in Oakland. The injured children were Goldman's son and daughter. The extent of their injuries were unknown.


A woman passenger also was injured in the crash and transported to a hospital. Her relationship to the family was not clear.

Goldman was being remembered by the campus community as a scholar, generous teacher and valued member of the university.

"The University of San Francisco community is devastated to learn of the death of faculty member Bill Goldman in a Sonoma County plane crash," USF President Paul Fitzgerald said in a statement. "Bill, an assistant professor in international studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, was an accomplished scholar, a beloved and generous teacher, and a valued member of our community.

He will be greatly missed by his colleagues, students and the countless alumni who were inspired by him in and out of the classroom.

Bill's wife Serra is an alumna of the USF School of Law and a member of the university's Board of Trustees. We are standing in prayerful solidarity with her and with Bill and Serra's young children, George and Marie, now and in the days ahead."

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the plane was a single-engine Cirrus SR-22, a plane equipped with a parachute system that can deploy in case of emergencies.

Robert Castillo was one of several people who ran straight for the crash site when they heard a plane in distress. He helped pry the children out of the plane.


"Maybe it was about 75 feet in the air and descending, and that’s when I heard a bang and saw the parachute come out of the back of the air plane," Castillo said. "It sputtered louder, cut out, started sputtering, cut out and was off.

"When I got there, there was a little hand in the back window," Castillo continued. "I said, 'Oh my gosh, someone’s alive, let’s see what we can do.'"

Preliminary information shows the plane crashed under unknown circumstances, Gregor said.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, Gregor said.



Photo Credit: USF]]>
<![CDATA[Overturned USPS Mail Carrier Snarls Traffic on NB SR-29]]>Thu, 13 Jul 2017 11:35:48 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/7-13-17-napa-mail+truck-crash.jpg

All lanes have reopened on northbound state Highway 29 near American Canyon after a big-rig loaded with mail overturned early Thursday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The crash was reported around 4:30 a.m. The 55-foot U.S. Postal Service trailer landed on its side, spilling mail on the highway at South Kelly Road and prompting the closure of both lanes, according to the CHP.

CHP Officer Marc Renspurger said the incident is under investigation but the mail carrier driver might have been sleepy.

An employee from the Napa Post Office responded to collect the mail that fell out of the trailer, Renspurger said.

The northbound lanes of the highway reopened at 9:02 a.m. Traffic lights, however, were not working and cars were backed up for miles.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Suspected of Buying Baked Goods With Fake Money]]>Wed, 12 Jul 2017 09:08:57 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/7-12-17_Cotati_Baker.jpg

Police in Cotati are seeking the public's help in locating a woman suspected of paying for baked goods from a fundraiser with counterfeit money.

According to police, at about 2 p.m. Monday a woman used a fake $100 bill to purchase baked goods from the Rancho Cotate High School music program, which had set up a bake sale booth in front of Oliver's Market at 546 E. Cotati Ave.

After presenting the fake bill, the woman allegedly asked for $80 in change, which was given to her. She then took her baked goods and walked toward her vehicle, police said.

According to police, a student noticed the $100 bill was fake and attempted to contact the woman as she got into her car.

When the woman saw the student approach her, she sped away from the parking lot, police said.

The woman was described as white, 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 225 pounds with a tattoo on her left forearm. Her vehicle appeared to be a dark-colored, older model Honda with after-market chrome rims, police said.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call Cotati police at (707) 792-4611.



Photo Credit: Cotati Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland Teen Drowns on Russian River in Sonoma County]]>Mon, 10 Jul 2017 12:22:49 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ambulance+GettyImages-478895016.jpg

A 19-year-old Oakland man drowned Sunday evening on the Russian River in unincorporated Sonoma County, sheriff's officials said.

At about 4:30 p.m. someone called 911 to say that a man went under the water near Steelhead Beach Regional Park.

The man was last seen about 300 yards upstream from the park's main beach, according to sheriff's officials.

Forestville firefighters and California State Parks personnel searched by boat while sheriff's deputies and California Highway Patrol officers searched by land.

The sheriff's office also used a helicopter.

At 5:05 p.m. searchers found the man about five yards from where he was last seen. The man was in a pool of water near some trees on the shore.

Fire personnel pulled the man to shore and a short time later pronounced him dead.

The man's name will not be released until his family is told. Sheriff's officials give their condolences to the man's family.

The cause and manner of death will be determined by the Sonoma County coroner.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighters Knock Down 3-Alarm Brush Fire in Solano County]]>Thu, 06 Jul 2017 23:49:14 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0706-2017-cowsrun_720.jpg

Firefighters in Solano County knocked down a fast-moving three-alarm brush fire in Suisun City that was burning some structures and threatening others.

The fire was reported about 4:15 p.m. near the 500 block of Bella Vista Drive in Suisun City. Some of the burn lines could be seen reaching all the way up to the property lines at a sports complex, where some structures were damaged by flames.

"We were worried about some of the structures on the sports complex," Suisun City fire Chief Mike O'Brien said. "As it is, the buildings we lost were not in use. A debate was going on about what they were going to do with them, so the city is not terribly disappointed that they're gone."

The fire also burned near a group of cows on one property, but the animals were able to avoid the flames and were safe, O'Brien said. The fire burned about 50 acres total, including about 15-20 acres on Travis Air Force Base.

The fire started in a tree between two homes, O'Brien said. He said embers from the burning tree were carried by the wind to an open field of dry grass at Travis.

No injuries to residents or firefighters were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Animal Shelters Packed With Frightened Runaways After July 4]]>Thu, 06 Jul 2017 10:34:00 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Animal_Shelters_Swell_Following_Fourth_of_July.jpg

Bay Area animal shelters are packed with animals that were scared by fireworks and ran away over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. 

Twenty-one animals were found wandering the streets of San Mateo County, and as of Thursday, 17 of them are still waiting to go home, according to the Peninsula Humane Society & Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

"We believe many of the animals that came into our shelter fled their homes after becoming frightened by fireworks and other festivities associated with the Fourth of July," PHS/SPCA spokeswoman Buffy Martin Tarbox said.

It's more of the same in Sonoma County. 

Animal control officers brought in 16 strays from Sunday to Tuesday — and that number could rise. 

Of them, nine dogs ended up at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter, which was nearly filled to capacity. Two dogs have since been reunited with their families.

California law requires shelters to keep found animals for four days before making them available for general adoption.

Any San Mateo county residents who are missing their pets are advised to look for them at the Coyote Point facility in San Mateo at 12 Airport Blvd., between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays or 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekends.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File image]]>
<![CDATA[Lawsuit Can Continue in Vallejo Kidnapping Case: Judge]]>Wed, 05 Jul 2017 19:13:35 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/VALLEJO+RANSOM+KIDNAPPING+PRESS+-+14450621.jpg

A federal judge says a couple's defamation lawsuit against a Northern California city can proceed after a kidnapping so bizarre that police initially called it a hoax.

U.S. District Judge Troy Nunley ruled Wednesday that a reasonable jury could eventually decide that Vallejo investigators' conduct was extreme and outrageous.

Police discounted the story told by Denise Huskins and her boyfriend, Aaron Quinn, after she reappeared following her kidnapping in 2015.

She said she was drugged and dragged from their home, while Quinn described being bound and drugged by a man who claimed to be part of a band of "gentleman criminals."

Police realized the couple was telling the truth only after the perpetrator, disbarred Harvard University-trained attorney Matthew Muller, was implicated in another crime. He's serving a 40-year prison term.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Man on Meth Arrested After Burning Trash on North Bay Road]]>Wed, 05 Jul 2017 13:44:40 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police-lights-generic-080615.jpg

Sonoma County sheriff's deputies responding to a report of a naked man lighting fires in the middle of a road near Healdsburg arrested a man on suspicion of unlawfully lighting fires and possession of methamphetamine Monday morning.

The incident was reported in the 4700 block of Mill Creek Road around 5:45 a.m.

Responding deputies found a plastic garbage can that had been burned in the middle of the road, with smoldering sticks and clothing inside. Nearby, they found another fire burning in the middle of the street, but firefighters were already on the scene.

Local resident Jesse Wagy, 36, was found nearby wearing only shorts and sandals despite cool weather, according to the sheriff's office.

Wagy told them he was practicing using fire extinguishers with a friend, and that they'd been told it was "OK" by another unknown person. The friend and the person who gave them the go-ahead could not be found, sheriff's officials said.

Wagy appeared to be under the influence of meth and was found to be in possession of more than 5 grams of the drug. He was also carrying matches and a propane torch.

He was booked into Sonoma County Jail, and remains in custody on $10,000 bail.



Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Man Dies Following Hit-and-Run Collision in Napa]]>Mon, 03 Jul 2017 13:37:24 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police+lights+generic+picccc.jpg

A Napa man who was struck by a vehicle in a hit-and-run Thursday night died at a hospital early Monday and the alleged driver was arrested Sunday evening, a Napa police lieutenant said.

Andrew Lynch, 57, was struck around 9:20 p.m. on Redwood Road west of Solano Avenue. The female driver of the 2005 Cadillac Escalade briefly got out of the SUV, then got back in and drove away, Napa police Lt. Brian Campagna said.

Lynch suffered major injuries including spinal, neck and pelvis

fractures, and he died at about 2:10 a.m. today, Campagna said.

The driver of the Escalade, Laura Ha, 47, of Napa, was eventually arrested in Santa Rosa on Sunday evening.

Witnesses, video surveillance from businesses and tips from the community led police to identify Ha, also known as Hang Ha, as the hit-and-run driver, Campagna said.

Police searched Ha's residence in the 2200 block of Tejas Avenue in Napa around 5:15 p.m. Saturday and another residence associated with her in the 600 block of Seymour Street in Napa on Saturday evening.

The Seymour residence was unoccupied but the Escalade with front-end damage and other evidence of a collision was found on the property behind a locked gate, Campagna said.

Police contacted Ha's husband Peter Hoang at the Tejas Avenue residence and arrested him on suspicion of being an accessory to a crime. He was booked into Napa County Jail.

On Sunday, Napa police investigators learned Ha may have been in the 400 block of Russell Avenue in Santa Rosa and they contacted Santa Rosa police, Campagna said.

Santa Rosa police located a vehicle believed to be associated with Ha around 5:50 p.m. She was located in the vehicle during a stop and Napa police investigators took her into custody. She was booked into Napa County Jail under $1 million bail for felony hit-and-run.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Napa police Officer Aaron Medina at amedina@cityofnapa.org or at 707-257-9560.

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<![CDATA[Water Main Break Floods Roadway in Napa]]>Mon, 03 Jul 2017 12:02:46 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WaterMainBreakNapa.jpg

Police and firefighters secured a water main break that flooded a roadway in Napa late Sunday night, police said.

According to police, the water main break occurred in the 2500 block of Laurel Street.

The break created a large hole in the ground with water flooding onto the roadway, police said.

Crews managed to secure the water main break before any property was damaged, police said.

Laurel Street between Freeway Drive and Avon Avenue will be closed for part of the morning as the road is repaired, police said.



Photo Credit: Napa Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Golden Gate Bridge Toll Prices on the Rise]]>Mon, 03 Jul 2017 05:30:18 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-543435350.jpg

Journeying across the Golden Gate Bridge just got more expensive.

Beginning Monday, FasTrak users, Pay-by-Plate payers and carpoolers are now required to fork over an additional 25 cents when they cross the toll plaza, according to the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District.

That means FasTrak users now have to pay $6.75, Pay-by-Plate payers must cough up $7.75, and carpoolers have to hand over $4.75. There are also price hikes for multi-axle vehicles.

The toll jump is part of a multi-year increase designed to help a budget deficit, according to the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District.

This time next year, Golden Gate Bridge tolls will jump once again by another quarter for most vehicles.

Golden Gate Ferry rates and Golden Gate Transit Bus rates also increased for some routes starting Monday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Officials Urge Public to Avoid Water With Blue-Green Algae]]>Sun, 02 Jul 2017 15:02:26 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-74385832.jpg

Napa Valley health officials are urging people planning to go swimming or boating to avoid close contact with lakes and other bodies of water containing blue-green algae.

"Be aware of posted signs that indicate the presence of blue-green algae. Also, if the body of water has algae or scum floating in it, it may be best for you and your pets to avoid the water," Dr. Karen Relucio, Napa County's public health officer, said in a statement.

People should avoid wading, swimming or waterskiing in water containing algae blooms, scums or mats, Relucio said.

The algae produce toxins that can cause eye irritation, skin rashes, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhea and flu-like symptoms, according to Relucio.

Blue-green algae poisoning is most common in pets. "Symptoms including death can be more severe in pets because they tend to drink the water from affected lakes and reservoirs," Relucio said.

Children and adults can experience serious injury to the liver, kidney and nervous system if affected water is swallowed, according to Relucio. Medical treatment should be sought immediately, the doctor said.

Blue-green algae are microscopic bacteria found in freshwater lakes, rivers and streams, Relucio said. These algal blooms appear as blue-green, white or brown foam, scum or mats that typically float on the water's surface.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tuberculosis Scare at Vallejo 24 Hour Fitness Gym]]>Fri, 30 Jun 2017 18:01:44 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0630-2017-24fitness.jpg

Patrons at 24-Hour Fitness gym in Vallejo are on edge after a member tested positive for tuberculosis.

Solano Public Health Officials notified the club on June 16 that a member was infected with the disease.

A club spokesperson refused to answer why it took two weeks to notify other members.

On Friday, county health officials reached out to anyone who was in the club at the same time as the infected patron.

"Everyone checks in so that's how we know who was in the club while he was there," said Dr. Michael Stacey with the Solano County Health Department.

Members said they have never been concerned about potentially contracting anything at the club before.

"I'm not really personally worried," Vallejo-resident Steve Freund said. "You have to be close to get it. But still, this happens."

The Vallejo gym is located on Sonoma Boulevard.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[People Asked Not to Set Off Fireworks to Limit Air Pollution]]>Sun, 02 Jul 2017 10:41:32 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/fireworkssdsan.jpg

Officials with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District are asking San Francisco Bay Area residents to avoid setting off their own fireworks this Fourth of July to limit air pollution.

The smoke, dust and soot from fireworks can trigger asthma attacks, coughing, wheezing and eye irritation.

People who are sensitive to air pollution such as those with respiratory conditions, heart or lung disease and children and the elderly should limit their exposure to fireworks.

Jack Broadbent, the air district's executive director, suggests families go to a professional fireworks display instead of setting off their own.

Because of the use of fireworks on July 4, air in the Bay Area often exceeds federal air quality standards in the evening of the Fourth and on July 5.

Even safe and sane fireworks contain metal salts, which create excessive levels of smoke.

Fireworks also increase the risk of wildfires, which add to air pollution.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Coast Guard Stepping Up Boating Safety Patrols]]>Sun, 02 Jul 2017 10:30:18 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/219*120/coast-guard-generic.jpg

The U.S. Coast Guard is beefing up boating safety patrols throughout the Bay Area this Fourth of July holiday weekend to make sure boating under the influence laws are enforced, agency officials said.

As part of a national effort called Operation Dry Water, members of the Coast Guard will be boarding boats in the San Francisco Bay and elsewhere to check for boating under the influence, a spokeswoman said.

"The Coast Guard is going to be out there making sure everybody is safe on the water," said Coast Guard Lt. Megan Mervar. She said boating under the influence, or boating while intoxicated, is just as dangerous as drinking and driving.

It is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in every state, according to the Coast Guard.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Vallejo-Fairfield is Hottest Real Estate Market in U.S.]]>Fri, 30 Jun 2017 14:18:20 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/200478945-001.jpg

The most in-demand housing market in the United States is in the Bay Area.

No shock there, right?

But you may be surprised by where it is: the Vallejo-Fairfield market in Solano County.

A Realtor.com tool called the Hotness Index measures where homes are selling the fastest. In that part of the North Bay, properties sell within 31 days. In May, a single-family home in Vallejo was able to fetch $365,000, according to the Mercury News.

Overall, the Bay Area is well represented among the 20 hottest real estate markets in the nation, which also reflects the housing crisis that grips this part of Northern California, the Mercury News reported.

Housing supply is at a historic low in the Bay Area, while housing prices continue to climb. The combination has sent commuters scurrying further away to more affordable locations, which are still within reach of the jobs-rich area.

The second market on the Hotness Index is the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward area. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara is No. 9, the Mercury News reported.

The Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade metro area came in fourth place, Santa Rosa is 17th, Yuba City is the country’s 19th hottest market, and Modesto rounded out the list at No. 20.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighters Battle Three-Alarm Blaze at Fairfield Junkyard]]>Thu, 29 Jun 2017 14:06:37 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NBC+Bay+Area+Breaking+News+Image22.png

A three-alarm fire was reported Thursday at a junkyard in Fairfield, officials said.

Firefighters were battling flames in the vicinity of Wiley Lane.

A bystander captured video of the fire, which was sending plumes of thick, black smoke into the air.

No further details were immediately available.

Check back for updates.

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<![CDATA[SMART Train Begins Free Preview Rides in North Bay]]>Thu, 29 Jun 2017 12:13:26 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/6-29-17-smart+train.JPG

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District is offering free preview rides on its train between Rohnert Park and the Marin Civic Center stations starting Thursday.

SMART trains left Rohnert Park at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. They will leave the Marin Civic Center at 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The district also will run trains between the Sonoma County Airport station and the Marin County Fair at the Marin Civic Center on July 1 and July 4.


Trains from Sonoma County to the Marin County Fair on July 1 and 4 will leave the Airport station at 5 p.m., stop at seven stations in between and arrive at the Marin Civic Center around 6 p.m.

Trains will leave the Marin Civic Center after the fireworks at the fair on both days at 10:36 p.m. and arrive at the Airport station at 11:37 p.m. with seven stops in between.

"It was a great ride, nice and smooth," said SMART passenger Jim Selmi. "I’m going to be using it every day to commute to work. I work at the Civic Center. There’s a train station a quarter mile away from my house so it's going to work out for me."

Phyllis Mo agreed, noting, "We got to see parts of the county we couldn’t see because we can’t see it from the freeway."

The soft launch is in advance of full regular train service between the Airport station and downtown San Rafael. A starting date has not been announced.

SMART'S free preview ride destinations were selected after SMART received more than 1,000 responses from the public that identified the stations they will use and the days they want to ride.

In the coming weeks, SMART is offering preview rides between Rohnert Park and the Marin Civic Center, the downtown Santa Rosa Railroad Square station and Novato San Marin station, downtown Petaluma and San Rafael and between the Sonoma County Airport station and downtown Petaluma.

Space is limited for the free preview rides, which will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

More information about the free preview ride schedules can be found at SonomaMarinTrain.org/SMART-Preview.



Photo Credit: Alan Waples/NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Band Ready to Quit After SF Break-In But Gets a Little Help]]>Tue, 27 Jun 2017 23:46:54 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sweet+crude-0627.jpg

The show must go on.

A band from New Orleans took the stage in Petaluma on Tuesday night, just hours after losing their equipment and belongings after their van was broken into in San Francisco.

Sweet Crude initially planned to call it quits, but the kindness of strangers allowed them to play their set at Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma.

Band members admitted when they found their touring van broken into at Market and Jones streets in the South of Market neighborhood, they were ready to wave the white flag.

Band members said the loss of luggage, computers, microphones and two Barcus Berry violins was too much.

But Sweet Crude changed it's tune when managers and family members encouraged them to keep playing. And strangers stepped in to help.

"We were able to pull off some impossible feats today thanks to our management pushing us,"band member Sam Craft said. "Thanks to Lagunitas for being nice and giving us clothes to wear."

Another stranger loaned Craft a violin. They bought new computers, and supporters at the show chipped in to keep the music going.

"They're doing phenomenally," one fan said. "Even if I didn't like their music, I'd buy something. But they are fantastic. So now I'm buying a shirt to support the group."

That support will keep the band on the road.

"For every horrible person out there, there are a thousand amazing people," Craft said. "This is what it teaches you; we are grateful."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Fourth of July Festivities Around the Bay Area]]>Wed, 28 Jun 2017 12:29:24 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-71370037.jpg

[Editor's Note: For our extensive list of dozens of events taking place around the Bay Area, click here]

The Fourth of July has always been accompanied by flashy fireworks, barbeques and parades. While this year’s Independence Day falls on a Tuesday, families still have a plethora of events they can attend. Here are some of the top celebrations to attend in the Bay Area this year:

East Bay

4th of July at the Berkeley Marina: Berkeley’s Fourth of July party is an all-day affair. Beginning at noon, attendees will be able to enjoy live music, photo booths and free boat rides from the city’s canoe racing club. There will also be festivities for children with an Adventure Playground, zip line, and petting zoo. A spectacle of fireworks will wrap up the day at 9:35 p.m. by the Berkeley Pier.

4th of July Backyard BBQ: If the most exciting part of this American holiday for you is the food, head over to the Backyard BBQ at Jack London Square in Oakland. This is a free event filled with the best barbeque. Last year, over 10,000 turned up for the party and were able to enjoy local vendors and beer gardens. The event runs from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., leaving plenty of time to find fireworks for the night.

Red, White and Blues Festival: The Alameda County Fair will be hosting the annual Red, White and Blues festival for the Fourth of July. Families at the fairgrounds on Tuesday will be able to soak in the sweet soulful tunes of different jazz and blues musicians. Fireworks will also follow around 9:30 p.m. Be sure to buy a ticket early as all sales will desist after 6 p.m.

Green, Red, White and Blue Celebration: Albany’s celebration will be officially held between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. Early birds who arrive between 9 a.m. though can grab a pancake breakfast at the Veteran’s Memorial Building. Once the event has begun, people will have the chance to relive their childhood with classic family fun. Make sure to also check out the Mustache and Beard Contest to see the best hipster looks.

Peninsula

Redwood City’s Annual Fourth of July Celebration: Redwood City is celebrating their 150th Anniversary this year and has planned a day packed with events. Beginning in the morning, community members can either join a 5K run at 8 a.m. or enjoy a plate of pancakes with the Redwood City Fire Department. Following, attendees can check out Northern California’s largest Independence Day Parade which will be hosted by the appointed Grand Marshal, Kenny Ortega. The day will continue with a street fair and fireworks.

Foster City’s Fourth of July Celebration and Festival: Foster City will be hosting their own Independence Day party at Leo Ryan Park. The admission will be free for all who attend. Festivities will run from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., concluding with a fireworks show by the lagoon at 9:30 p.m. Along with the usual events, there will also be a Family and Dog Parade. Prizes will be given to families and pets for Most Patriotic, Most Unique, Best group and Best Overall.

Palo Alto’s Chili Cook-Off: Families will have to push forward their best cooks for Palo Alto’s 36th Annual Chili Cook-Off and Summer Festival. Competitors can win a cash prize if deemed to be the best chili cooker. Of course, those who can’t handle the kitchen heat will still enjoy the day munching away on Independence Day delicacies.

San Francisco

Fourth of July Pub Crawl: Starting at 4 p.m., beer lovers will be able to check in to Bar None for a pub crawl through San Francisco. Each bar will be holding $3 drink specials until midnight. Those who would rather trade a beer for a bratwurst can also take part in the annual hot dog eating contest. The form to sign up can be found here.

July 4th Celebration at the Pier: The Fourth of July is built off a foundation of good music and a frenzy of fireworks. Pier 39 will have both to enjoy. Live perfromances will be going throughout the day, including one from the cover band Tainted Love - The Best of the 80s Live! at 5 p.m. Fireworks will be put on by the City and County of San Francisco, guaranteeing a spectacular display.

Dockside Fireworks Viewing Aboard SS Jeremiah O’Brien: Head to Pier 45 in Fisherman’s Wharf to board a World War II ship and enjoy the fireworks on the water. Tickets can be purchased either online or in person. Gates will open at 6:30 p.m., three hours before the show.

South Bay

4th of July Dinner and Rooftop Fireworks Viewing: For a more reserved Independence Day, book at spot at Scott’s Seafood fireworks viewing party. $80 will get guests a four-course meal and sparkling wine. Such a setup will also make for a romantic evening. Be sure to request either outdoor or window seating when reserving a spot.

Milpitas 4th of July Celebration: Escape the July heat at the Milpitas Independence Day celebration. Families can make their way over to the sports center for a pool party that will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The event will be free for all who attend, although space is limited. The night will close with the city’s "Red White and Boom" Fireworks and Concert. Attendees will be able to enjoy the music of The House Rockers with a traditional fireworks show.

San Francisco Symphony: The San Francisco Symphony will be moving to the Shoreline Amphitheatre for the night. Here, conductor Edwin Outwater will weave together a procession of music into the night’s Fourth of July firework spectacular. Some songs that will be performed include “Somebody to Love” and the Imperial March from The Empire Strikes Back.

North Bay

Sausalito 4th of July Festivities: The City of Sausalito will be putting on a handful of patriotic events. Along with a parade in the morning, attendees will also be able to enjoy a picnic accompanied by food, tug-of-war, and an egg toss. A Journey tribute band will also perform prior to the evening’s fireworks.

Independence Day Wine Train: For a sophisticated Fourth of July Experience, check out Napa Valley’s Wine Train. Those on board will be able to watch the Yountville fireworks. Travelers will also be served a gourmet dinner and wine on their 3.5 hour journey. Tickets are $201 and can be booked by phone.

And...

If you're looking to celebrate the 4th of July outside of the Bay Area, take a trip to Squaw Valley for the rare chance to shred the slopes in July.

Here's a full list of cities where Safe and Sane fireworks are permitted:

  • San Bruno
  • Pacifica
  • Union City
  • Newark
  • Dublin
  • Gilroy
  • Petaluma
  • Sebastopol
  • Rohnert Park
  • Cloverdale



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Golden Gate Bridge Toll Prices Set to Increase]]>Tue, 27 Jun 2017 07:49:01 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-543435346.jpg

Heads up, drivers. Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge is about to get more expensive.

FasTrak users, Pay-by-Plate payers and carpoolers will all have to fork over an extra quarter beginning July 3, according to the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District.

That means FasTrak users will now have to pay $6.75, Pay-by-Plate payers will need to cough up $7.75, and carpoolers must hand over $4.75. There are also price changes coming for multi-axle vehicles.

The toll hike is part of a multi-year increase designed to help a budget deficit, according to the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District.

This time next year, Golden Gate Bridge tolls will jump once again by another quarter for most vehicles.

Golden Gate Ferry rates and Golden Gate Transit Bus rates are also increasing for some routes come July 1.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Police Arrest 2015 Homicide Suspect During Credit Fraud Raid]]>Mon, 26 Jun 2017 17:46:30 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/handcuffs-generic-on-black2.jpg

San Rafael police Sunday arrested a suspect in a 2015 Hayward homicide during a credit card fraud investigation at an extended stay motel, police said.

Police arrested two people in a room at the Extended Stay Deluxe Suites at 1775 East Francisco Av. in San Rafael, Sgt. Carl Huber said. One of the occupants who was arrested gave a false name to police, and during the booking process at the Marin County Jail he was identified through a live-scan fingerprint analysis as Joseph Abraham Darling, 41, of Hayward.

Darling had a warrant for his arrest on suspicion of murder for the Dec. 7, 2015 fatal shooting of 31-year-old Anton Williams of Hayward.

Police also arrested Christine Marie Salazar, 44, of Hayward on suspicion of fraud.

The Hayward shooting occurred in the 28000 block of Biscayne Avenue near Ruus Elementary School. Williams was pronounced dead at a hospital.

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<![CDATA[Start Your Engines: NASCAR Takes the Track at Sonoma]]>Sun, 25 Jun 2017 09:52:08 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-800203344.jpg

Taking a break from a customary oval track, NASCAR drivers on Sunday will navigate the 12-turn road course at Sonoma Raceway.

The green starting flag for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race will drop at 12 p.m. Racers will then zoom around the course 110 times in hopes of crossing the finish line first after 218.9 miles.

Points leader Kyle Larson, who won last week at Michigan, is on the pole for Sunday's race. Kyle Busch, a two-time winner at Sonoma, will start fourth. Martin Truex Jr., the 2013 victor, is in the third position just after Jamie McMurray.

Larson won't have to worry about fending fend off last year's Toyota/Save Mart winner Tony Stewart. The three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has retired from the NASCAR racing scene.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trapped Cat Rescued From Golden Gate Bridge Median Barrier]]>Sun, 25 Jun 2017 20:57:31 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GGBTrappedCat.png

A cat trapped in the Golden Gate Bridge's movable median barrier received a helping hand Saturday from some concerned California Highway Patrol officers.

Not only did the cat survive the "unusual save," but he found a temporary owner in the form of a CHP officer, according to CHP Marin.

"We are very perplexed as to how [the cat] managed to get so far out in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge without being hit by another vehicle," CHP Marin wrote on Facebook. "Until then, this cute little guy, tentatively named Bridges, is on his way to a new home with people who will take great care of him."

The bizarre ordeal started around 2:50 p.m. when a person called authorities and said they spotted a kitten on the bridge, according to the CHP.

Officers immediately responded, but after one trip across the bridge, they didn't come across the trapped animal. They made another sweeping pass and as they neared the bridge's south tower, they "noticed a little furry head popping out from the inside of the movable median barrier," CHP Marin wrote on Facebook.

CHP officers blocked one lane of traffic, grabbed hold of the cat and transported him to safety, according to the CHP. 

Needing to find some care for the furry feline, Officer Smith with the CHP made some calls and eventually decided to bring newly-named Bridges to the VCA Madera Pet Hospital in Corte Madera, according to the CHP. Bridges was given an exam and offered a bath before being handed back over to Officer Smith with a collection of supplies including medicine and a cat carrier in hand. But a looming question remained: What now?

Bridges did not have a collar or a microchip, according to the CHP. On the spot, Officer Smith decided to foster the kitten and nurse him to full strength.

The animal hospital didn't charge Smith for the medical services and sent the new duo on their way.

"We are so grateful for such a caring group of people who truly care about the well being of an animal in need of some TLC," CHP Marin wrote. "You are absolute rock stars in our books!

Officers with CHP Marin are still looking for the cat's owner. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact CHP Marin.



Photo Credit: California Highway Patrol - Marin
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<![CDATA[Dozens May Have Fallen Prey to Gas Station Card Skimmer]]>Sat, 24 Jun 2017 13:58:05 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Card_Skimmer_Found_on_Gas_Pump_in_Essex.jpg

Dozens of customers may have been victims of card skimming at a Sebastopol Fas Gas station pump since March, Sebastopol Police Chief Jeff Weaver said.

The Redwood Credit Union informed police that multiple account holders had fraudulent charges on their credit or debit cards since March, Weaver said. West America Bank also reported the fraud.

The skimming device that captures credit and debit card data is physically installed in pumps where motorists insert their cards.

Sebastopol police Officer Cameron Fenske met with a Redwood Credit Union representative on June 13. Police and the staff at the Fas Gas at 1080 Gravenstein Hwy. inspected the card readers three times but did not find any suspicious devices, Weaver said.

A gas pump technician conducted a deeper inspection of the pump's hardware on June 21 and two skimming devices were located and taken as evidence. Sebastopol police and other law enforcement agencies are trying to identify the suspects.

Fas Gas also is taking additional security measures to prevent future placement of skimming devices in the pumps, Weaver said.

Anyone who has purchased gas at the Fas Gas since March 1 should check their bank and credit card statements and report any fraudulent transactions to Sebastopol police at 707-829-4400.

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<![CDATA[Santa Rosa Police Arrest Five Men During Sideshow]]>Sat, 24 Jun 2017 13:52:25 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/police+lights+siren2.jpg

Police in Santa Rosa on Friday arrested five people in connection with a sideshow that was occurring in the parking lot of a business center.

Nicholas Uribe, 23, and Mario Espinosa Jr., both of Santa Rosa, were arrested on suspicion of reckless driving in a parking lot and violation of probation, Mario Hernandez, 31, and Raymond Herrera, 18, both of Santa Rosa, were arrested on suspicion of reckless driving in a parking lot, and Uriel Cordova-Lomei, 27, of Santa Rosa, was arrested on suspicion of reckless driving in a parking lot and felony child endangerment, police said.

Officers with the Santa Rosa Police Department responded Friday night to 1950 Santa Rosa Avenue to reports of recent sideshows that have been occurring over the past several weeks.

Police said hundreds of people and vehicles have been gathering in the parking lots of Costco and Best Buy on Friday nights, and police had been receiving complaints of vehicles driving recklessly, putting the public at risk and disrupting businesses.

On Friday, police set up cameras to capture reckless driving and officers were deployed to the area to assist with traffic stops on vehicles that were driving recklessly.

In addition to the arrests, there were six citations issued, police said.

Police said typical sideshows include vehicles spinning doughnuts, speeding, screeching tires, racing and other various legal activities.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File image]]>
<![CDATA[Huge, Homely Mastiff Named Martha Wins World's Ugliest Dog]]>Fri, 23 Jun 2017 21:37:10 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/191*120/AP_17175106375003.jpg

Martha is big, ugly, lazy and gassy. And a world champion.

In a competition annually dominated by the old, the tiny, and the hairless, the 3-year-old, 125-pound Neapolitan Mastiff used her lollygagging youth to win the 29th annual World's Ugliest Dog Contest.

She was a favorite of the Northern California crowd from the start, often plopping down on her side on stage with her droopy face spread across the ground when she was supposed to be showing off. The judges didn't even need to hear her signature snore to give her the award.

"Do you know you just won the World's Ugliest Dog Contest?" asked Kerry Sanders of NBC News, one of three judges who gave Martha the crown. Her handler Shirley Zindler answered for her: "I'd gloat, but I need a nap."

Martha lumbered away with $1,500, a flashy trophy and a trip to New York for media appearances, all things she could hardly care less about.

The dog, from nearby Sebastopol, was rescued when she was nearly blind from neglect by the Dogwood Animal Rescue Project in Sonoma County, where the contest was held. After several surgeries, she can now see again, Zindler said.

The only animal in this year's contest too big to be held by her handler, Martha beat out 13 other dogs, most of them the kind of older, smaller dogs who win here.

Moe, a 16-year-old Brussels Griffon-pug mix from Santa Rosa, California, who was the oldest in the competition, came in second. He had lost his hearing and sight but his sense of smell is strong and he was enjoying all the smells at the Sonoma-Marin Fair where the contest is held, including funnel cakes and other fried goodies.

Chase, a 14-year-old Chinese Crested-Harke mix, came all the way from Neath, United Kingdom to take third place.

The contestants were judged on first impressions, unusual attributes, personality and audience reaction.

Many of the contestants were adopted. Monkey, a 6-year-old Brussels Griffon, and Icky, an 8-year-old unknown breed, were both rescued from the homes of hoarders.

These dogs — some with acne, others with tongues permanently sticking out — are used to getting called ugly. But for their owners, it was love at first sight.

"He's my sexy boy," Vicky Adler, of Davis, California, said of her 8-year-old Chinese Crested named Zoomer.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Eric Risberg]]>
<![CDATA[Bowyer Hopes to Take Lightning McQueen to Victory Lane Again]]>Fri, 23 Jun 2017 15:46:52 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-543222942.jpg

Lightning McQueen went to NASCAR's victory lane last week when Kyle Larson drove the "Cars 3" vehicle to a win.

The McQueen paint scheme has shifted to Clint Bowyer's car this week, and he's looking to keep the winning streak going.

"Hopefully, lightning strikes again." Bowyer said. "The kid (Larson) won in the Lightning McQueen scheme last week and it would be cool to take Lightning McQueen to victory lane again this week."

His odds could be decent. Bowyer won at Sonoma in 2012 and is piloting the car that Tony Stewart drove to victory — the last of Stewart's NASCAR career — last year.

So Bowyer smartly removed any additional pressure by not telling 2-year-old son Cash about the special "Cars 3" paint scheme. He estimates he's watched the franchise with Cash "no less than 300 times," and his son would have been extremely thrilled by the car.

But Cash wasn't invited to this race weekend in picturesque wine country, so Bowyer didn't mention Lightning McQueen.

"It is almost impossible to bring the kids on the road out here. The wives go out and have some fun," Bowyer said. "That is why we didn't tell him. Hopefully, he will be able to see it on the news come Sunday afternoon back home."

That would be a breakthrough for Bowyer, who is in his first season driving for Stewart-Haas Racing and has yet to win as Stewart's replacement. In fact, Bowyer hasn't won at all since the 2012 season. The move to SHR has been helpful in getting him closer to the front, and Bowyer is currently 12th in the Cup standings.

He has a pair of top-five finishes, which already have him on pace for his best season since 2015.

Now he could in theory make a push to end his losing streak with a victory at Sonoma. Bowyer has developed into a decent road racer — his average finish is 11th and he has eight career top-10s at Sonoma — and the success sometimes boggles his mind.

"I have no idea how this became one of my best tracks," he said. "The win (in 2012) was a shocker. I always have fun here. Attitude is everything and you don't want to believe that until you see it, but this has always been a fun weekend for me. The area, the event of this race track is awesome. The fan base. Everything about this place."

Of course, Bowyer will have a ton of competition on the race track, including from Larson, the current Cup points leader.

Larson's victory at Michigan last week was his second of the Cup season, but marked a roll in which Larson won four races in eight days that included his sprint car schedule.

It's given him the momentum headed into his home track. Larson is from nearby Elk Grove and attended this race as a child — and avid Jeff Gordon fan — before launching his career.

"Being the point leader coming home to California is a cool thing," he said. "To get it back before we come home is cool. And then we have been running good a lot of us young guys have been running good this year, so it's a great time for us all to kind of step up and show the sport and the fans that we can take it over."

Larson then praised the current young crop of talent that includes Chase Elliot, Ryan Blaney, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, Austin Dillon and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

"We are all under 30. (Joey) Logano is still really young," he said. "It is a great opportunity for all of us."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[ Firefighters Quickly Control Fast-Moving Fire in Vallejo]]>Thu, 22 Jun 2017 17:27:46 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/06-22-2017-vallejo-grass-fire.jpg

At least two structures were damaged in Vallejo Thursday afternoon due to a fast-moving 4-alarm grass fire.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Swelters Amid Dangerously High Temperatures]]>Thu, 22 Jun 2017 20:45:04 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-53263722.jpg

The Bay Area is in the grips of a dangerous heat wave that was expected to peak Thursday. 

A National Weather Service excessive heat warning is in effect until 9 p.m. The National Weather Service says they expect daily records for the Central Valley and the rest of the interior.

High temperatures across the Bay Area are expected to range between 90 and 105 degrees across most inland areas with locally hotter temperatures possible, forecasters said.

Caltrain posted on Twitter around 1:45 p.m. Thursday that a Level 1 heat restriction was in place on all main tracks that connect San Mateo and San Jose. That means trains will be running at slower speeds than normal. The restriction expired about 6:40 p.m.


Two people died this week due to the extreme heat wave. A 72-year-old man and an 87-year-old woman died in San Jose Monday, when temperatures reached 94 degrees. A third person died Tuesday, but the Santa Clara County coroner has yet to confirm that it was caused by the heat.

The soaring temperatures and stagnant air are also likely to create unhealthy levels of ozone, prompting the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to issue a Spare the Air alert for Thursday


Another major concern during the scorching temperatures is a growing strain on the local power grid, which could prompt widespread outages. 

All week, PG&E has been ramping up for Thursday.

Crews have combed through neighborhoods on the hunt for vulnerable tree limbs, which were taken care of before they could fall and potentially take down light poles.

The utility is using smart meters to identify outages faster than relying on customers calling in. PG&E meteorologists are also using outage prediction models to pinpoint where the heat could trigger power outages before they happen so crews can preemptively get in place.

For a list of Cooling Centers and information on heat-related illnesses and prevention, visit the County of Santa Clara Office of Emergency Services website or call 211.

People are being urged to take every possible precaution in the heat. Here are some ways to beat the heat:

Additional tips for those who must work or exercise outdoors:

  • Ensure that cool drinking water is available.
  • Drink water or electrolyte-replacing sports drinks often; do not wait until you are thirsty.
  • Avoid drinking sweetened drinks, caffeine, and alcohol.
  • Avoid drinking extremely cold water as this is more likely to cause cramps.
  • Allow athletes or outdoor workers to take frequent rests.

Older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions:

  • During peak heat hours stay in an air-conditioned area. If you do not have access to air conditioning in your home, visit public facilities such as cooling centers, shopping malls, parks, and libraries to stay cool.
  • Older adults and those on certain medications may not exhibit signs of dehydration until several hours after dehydration sets in. Stay hydrated by frequently drinking cool water. If you’re on a special diet that limits liquids, check with your doctor for information on the amount of water to consume.
  • Stay out of the sun if you do not need to be in it. When in the sun, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim, and loose-fitting, light-colored clothing with long sleeves and pants to protect against sun damage. And remember to use sun screen and to wear sunglasses.

Infants and Children:

  • It is illegal to leave an infant or child unattended in a vehicle (California Vehicle Code Section 15620).
  • Infants and young children can get dehydrated very quickly. Make sure they are given plenty of cool water to drink.
  • Keep children indoors or shaded as much as possible.
  • Dress children in loose, lightweight, and light colored clothing.

Pets:

  • Never leave a pet unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows cracked or open.
  • Outdoor animals should be given plenty of shade and clean drinking water.
  • Do not leave pets outside in the sun.
  • Pets should not be left in a garage as garages can get very hot due to lack of ventilation and insulation. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Vallejo Grass Fire Damages Homes]]>Thu, 22 Jun 2017 15:40:11 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/062217-vallejo-fire-3.jpgAt least two structures were damaged in Vallejo Thursday afternoon due to a fast-moving 4-alarm grass fire. ]]><![CDATA[Heat Wave Scorches Bay Area, Strains Power Grid]]>Wed, 21 Jun 2017 12:14:43 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/179*120/GettyImages-81651821.jpg

PG&E customers across California have been asked to conserve electricity through Wednesday before the statewide heat wave peaks.

The California Independent System Operator, which oversees the operation of the state's bulk electric system, transmission lines and electricity market, on Monday issued a statewide Flex Alert, asking people to voluntarily cut down on utility consumption.

The goal is to save 500 megawatts to avoid widespread blackouts, the agency said. And that means everyone must pitch in. Electric customers are urged to conserve electricity from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We find that 500 megawatts shaved off is enough to get us over the critical time," said Anne Gonzales, a CAISO spokeswoman. "If consumers can respond, that will take a lot of the stress off of the grid."

Conservation is especially recommended during the late afternoon, when air conditioners are typically at peak use, officials said.

According to CAISO officials, electric customers can help avoid power outages by turning off all unnecessary lights, using major appliances before 2 p.m. or after 9 p.m., and setting air conditioners to 78 degrees or higher.

Temperatures are expected to soar Thursday, forcing the National Weather Service for the Bay Area to upgrade a heat advisory to an excessive heat warning for some of the hotter inland areas of the North Bay mountains and the East Bay valleys and hills.

The heat advisory has also been extended until Thursday evening for most inland areas and expanded to the San Francisco Bay shoreline, including Berkeley, Oakland, Fremont, Redwood City and San Mateo — but not San Francisco.

Coastal locations will be near normal, but inland weather is expected to be roughly 20 degrees hotter than usual.

Temperatures will rise an estimated two to five degrees from Tuesday to Wednesday, then another two to five degrees on Thursday — and some areas may exceed 110 degrees.

The weather will begin to cool off Friday, continuing into the weekend.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Father, Children Killed in Santa Rosa Murder-Suicide ID'd]]>Wed, 21 Jun 2017 00:13:15 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/225*120/06-19-2017-santa-rosa-murder-suicide.jpg

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office has identified Alvaro Botelho Da Camara, 40, as the father suspected of killing his two children before hanging himself in his Santa Rosa apartment over the weekend.

The sheriff's office identified the children as Juliana Camara, 6, and her 19-month-old brother Julian Camara. Autopsies are scheduled for Wednesday, Sgt. Spencer Crum said.

Da Camara was in a custody dispute with his wife, who lives in an unincorporated area of Sonoma County, and was with his children on Father's Day Sunday, Santa Rosa police Lt. John Cregan said.

The children's mother went to pick up the children at Da Camara's apartment in the 700 block of Slater Street on Sunday evening, but it appeared he was not home, Crum said.

She called the sheriff's office, and deputies looked in windows, knocked on doors and left a business card at the door, Crum said.

Deputies and the children's mother were in phone contact overnight, and deputies returned to Da Camara's apartment around 9 a.m. Monday. The children's mother and two of her brothers also went to the apartment Monday morning, according to Crum.

A deputy climbed a ladder to enter the apartment by removing a screen on an open bathroom window. The bodies were found in a bedroom, and deputies called Santa Rosa police around 9:50 a.m., Crum said.

Da Camara's sister, Jessica Espada, told NBC Bay Area she wished her brother would have reached out for help.

"Talk to somebody. That's the thought that's been in my mind," Espada said. "We were here for you, we wanted to help you any way we could. But it was just too late. With everything that came down, custody, divorce and just him finding out things that didn't help out just all bottled up inside, and he snapped." 

Da Camara and his wife were in Sonoma County Superior Court on Friday regarding a custody issue, but they came to an agreement, Santa Rosa police Lt. Mike Lazzarini said.

On Friday night, the couple argued over the phone. Juliana was with her father, and Julian was with his mother at the time, Lazzarini said.

Prior to the tragic discovery Monday, investigators didn't "have any information he was a danger to himself or the children," Lazzarini said. "There was no domestic violence."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Sheriff's Deputies Wrangle Llama on the Lam in Vacaville]]>Tue, 20 Jun 2017 12:50:29 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/194*120/llamafb.PNG

A llama caused some drama in Vacaville on Monday.

After the animal got loose from its pasture, two deputies with the Solano County Sheriff's Office were forced to "think outside the box to coax this llama out of the roadway."

Dashcam video posted on the Solano County Sheriff's Office Facebook page using an orange rope to corral the llama back onto the field. 

"They things they don't you in the academy ... llama wrangling," deputies quipped.

Four other llamas watched the interaction in rapt attention. 

The video also shows one of the deputies escorting the llama back to the field, while the other deputy followed in a car.

The llama was reunited with the rest of its herd after "verbal counseling," deputies wrote.



Photo Credit: Solano County Sheriff's Office via Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Pliny the Elder Loses Top Spot in 'Best Beers' List]]>Mon, 19 Jun 2017 20:33:40 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/GE35RBJF.jpg

Pliny the Elder is no longer No. 1.

Zymurgy Magazine, which ranks the best beers in the nation, placed the Russian River Brewing Company's popular beer at No. 2 after holding to the top spot for eight years, according to SF Gate.

Two Hearted Ale, one of several creations by Bell’s Brewery in Michigan, is the new No. 1 in Zymurgy Magazine's 15th annual Best Beers in America survey.

View the full rankings on the American Homebrewer’s Association’s website.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bike Sharing Program Expands in Bay Area]]>Mon, 19 Jun 2017 18:43:00 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bicycle+generic.jpg

A Bay Area bike share program rolled out an expansion this month, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Brooklyn-based Motivate runs the program and is operating under a 10-year contract with the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission, according to the Chronicle.

The bike share program is currently available in San Francisco and San Jose.

Motions to expand have already begun, with the company moving into three more cities with a total of 7,000 bikes. The new areas in the expansion include Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville.

With the increase of bikes and cities, here are some new paths to check out in each destination:

Emeryville

If looking for a scenic bike path, head to the Emeryville City Marina. This cove will give riders an opportunity to peddle a portion of the 500-mile San Francisco Bay Trail. The dock will provide paved roads and make for a great outing for the whole family.

Being in a marina, visitors will be able to take in the fresh Bay water as well as admire the boats inhabiting the harbor. Bikers can also pull over after their trip to shop or grab something to eat on Bay Street in Emeryville.

Oakland

While the marina will provide views of the ocean, Butters Canyon will lead your through untouched greenery. As reported by the East Bay Express, this bike route will temporarily alleviate city stress and replace it with nature’s serenity. To begin, cycle over to the Oakland Hills and enter from Mountain Boulevard.

Berkeley

Another route praised by the East Bay Express is the Layfayette-Moraga Regional Trail. Another ride great for families, this path takes cyclists for a tour of Bay Area neighborhoods. There are side paths as well, allowing riders to spice up the route with intermediate hills. East Bay Express warns enthusiast to head there early to beat the heat.

]]>
<![CDATA[Police Activity Shuts Down NB I-680 in Milpitas for Hours]]>Mon, 19 Jun 2017 21:52:21 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0619-2017-I680closure.jpg

All lanes of northbound Interstate 680 were closed for nearly five hours Monday in Milpitas due to police activity.

The closure was reported at 4:42 p.m. on the highway south of state Highway 237 and West Calaveras Boulevard, according to CHP officials. All lanes were re-opened about 9:30 p.m.

The CHP did not elaborate about the police activity.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Father Kills His Young Children, Hangs Self: Police]]>Mon, 19 Jun 2017 23:42:48 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0619-2017-SantaRosaHomicide.jpg

A father involved in a custody dispute with his wife killed his 6-year-old daughter and 18-month-old son and then hanged himself in a central Santa Rosa residence, police said Monday.

Santa Rosa police were called to the home in the 700 block of Slater Street around 9:50 a.m. Monday by Sonoma County sheriff's deputies who had been investigating a child custody violation that originated in the sheriff's office's jurisdiction, Santa Rosa police Lt. John Cregan said.

Sheriff's deputies made multiple attempts to contact the 40-year-old Santa Rosa father and check on the children's welfare before they entered the home and found the bodies, Cregan said.

People who live at the Slater Patio apartments say the two kids used to play outside with their dad. The 6-year-old on her bicycle was well known and well liked.

"She was happy, rode her bike," neighbor Julia Poncia said. "He was good to those kids from what I could see."

Police say the man's estranged wife dropped off the kids for a court-ordered Father's Day visit Sunday. The wife called the sheriff's office that night when she couldn't find the father and kids at the scheduled 7 p.m. pick up time.

Deputies found their bodies inside the father's apartment Monday morning. The father was hanging in a bedroom and the two children were nearby. The cause of the children's deaths is pending autopsies.

Poncia is angry a mother will never see her children again.

"Now she has to feel guilty for the rest of her life because she listened to what a court order said; very upset about that," Poncia said.

The names of the father and two children had not yet been released.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Dies in Mobile Home Blaze in Santa Rosa: Fire Official]]>Sun, 18 Jun 2017 22:04:43 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/santa+rosa+fire.jpg

A woman died Sunday after a fire ripped through her mobile home in Santa Rosa, according to the Santa Rosa Fire Department.

The blaze broke out about 1 p.m. Sunday on Bejay Avenue. Firefighters said the home was fully engulfed when they arrived at the scene.

The woman's husband and son managed to escape the flames, fire officials said. They said on average it takes just 20 minutes for a mobile home to be destroyed by fire.

No other injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation, fire officials said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Triple-Digits Blanket Inland Locations, Set Records]]>Mon, 19 Jun 2017 16:41:55 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/6-18-17_Heat_Santa_Cruz.jpg

Triple-digit temperatures once again blanketed portions of the Bay Area Sunday, provoking some to flock to pools and ice cream shops in hopes of escaping the dangerous heat.

A heat advisory, which kicked into effect Saturday morning for most of the Bay Area, has been extended to Thursday night. Temperatures away from the coast and immediate locations surrounding the San Francisco Bay are expected to top out anywhere from the upper-90s to mid-100s during that time period, according to the National Weather Service.


Sunday, which is likely to be the hottest day during the lengthy heat wave, featured a slew of unofficial record-breaking high temperatures across the Bay Area.

Temperatures in San Francisco were forecasted to range anywhere between the high-70s to low-80s, but San Francisco by 12 p.m. reached 88 degrees, breaking a record previously set in 1993, according to the NWS. Nearby San Francisco International Airport reached 96 degrees, shattering the previous record-high of 88 degrees established in 1981.

The thermometer at the Oakland International Airport also eclipsed a new high of 96 degrees, breaking a previous high of 93 degrees set in 1962. In San Jose, the mercury rose to 100 degrees, breaking the previous high mark of 99 degrees cemented in 1945.

Other records broken Sunday were in San Rafael with a high of 105 degrees (previous record 98 in 1962); Livermore with 106 (previous record 105 in 1918); and Moffett Field with 100 (previous record 95 in 1993).

The coast, for the most part, is the spot for those looking to cool down. A light on-shore flow of air is bringing cool conditions to areas such as Half Moon Bay, which was only forecasted to reach a high of 67 degrees Sunday. Santa Cruz, on the other hand, was forecasted to top out at 88 degrees.

The sweltering heat is bringing even higher temperatures to Arizona, Nevada and California's Central Valley, which is under an excessive heat warning. Neighborhoods in and around areas such as Sacramento and Fresno are flirting with 110 degree temperatures. Death Valley on Sunday will check in just below a sizzling 120 degrees. 

High temperatures reach new records in nine Bay Area locations:

  • In San Rafael, the temperature reached 105 degrees, breaking the record of 98 degrees set in 1962.
  • At Moffett Field the temperature reached 100 degrees, which broke the record of 95 degrees set in 1993.
  • It was 106 degrees in Livermore where the previous record was 105 in 1918.
  • It was 103 degrees in Kentfield, one degree higher than the previous record set in 1945.
  • The temperature in Richmond reached 92 degrees, breaking the old record of 85 in 1957.
  • In San Francisco, the temperature rose to 88 degrees, which broke the record of 86 degrees set in 1993.
  • At San Francisco International Airport the temperature reached 97 degrees, breaking the previous record of 88 in 1981. At Oakland International Airport, the temperature also reached 97 degrees, breaking the record of 93 degrees set in 1962.
  • In San Jose, the temperature reached 103 degrees, breaking the old record of 99 in 1945.

Here are some tips on how to stay cool:

  • Drink plenty of liquids
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugar
  • Limit physical activity, especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Don't leave people or pets in closed, parked cars
  • Stay in air-conditioned areas, including malls, libraries, movie theaters and community centers
  • Cool off by taking a bath or shower.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing
  • Do not bundle babies or put them in blankets or heavy clothing.
  • Cover your head with wide-brimmed, vented hats or use umbrellas 
  • Wear sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Rest in shady areas
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Sweltering Heat Grips Bay Area]]>Sat, 17 Jun 2017 15:41:54 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/6-17-17_Santa_Cruz_Heat.jpg

Summer has not officially arrived, but summer-like temperatures sure did blanket most Bay Area cities with uncomfortable heat Saturday.

A heat advisory, which kicked into effect Saturday morning for most of the Bay Area, has been extended to Wednesday night. Temperatures away from the coast and immediate locations surrounding the San Francisco Bay are expected to top out anywhere from the upper-90s to mid-100s during that time period, according to the National Weather Service.


Sunday is likely to be the hottest day during the lengthy heat wave. Antioch is expected to top the charts as the hottest Bay Area spot with a high temperature of 105 degrees on tap. Tri-Valley locations will hover around the low-100s. In the South Bay, San Jose will top out at 95 degrees while Gilroy will reach 101 degrees.

Somewhat more comfortable Sunday temperatures will be found around the bay. Oakland is expected to reach 87 degrees and San Mateo will sit at 86 degrees. Along the Embarcadero in San Francisco, highs will stretch to 80 degrees while the Outer Sunset will enjoy 75 degree weather.

The coast, for the most part, will be the spot for those looking to cool down thanks to a light on-shore flow of air. Half Moon Bay will only approach a high of 67 degrees. Santa Cruz, on the other hand, will top out at 88 degrees.

Fire personnel in the East Bay stocked up on extra water in the event that they would have to help in an emergency related to the heat. PG&E crews also beefed up staffing just in case they would have to manage heat-related power outages.

Here are some tips on how to stay cool:

  • Drink plenty of liquids
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugar
  • Limit physical activity, especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Don't leave people or pets in closed, parked cars
  • Stay in air-conditioned areas, including malls, libraries, movie theaters and community centers
  • Cool off by taking a bath or shower.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing
  • Do not bundle babies or put them in blankets or heavy clothing.
  • Cover your head with wide-brimmed, vented hats or use umbrellas 
  • Wear sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Rest in shady areas
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Braces For Heat Wave]]>Fri, 16 Jun 2017 19:39:22 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/181*120/GettyImages-71477253.jpg

It's about to get hot, hot, hot!

A potentially record-shattering heat wave has started enveloping the Southwest United States and is threatening to bring temperatures of more than 120 degrees to parts of Arizona and California next week. Strong high pressure building over Western states is behind the onslaught.

Officials warned of excessive heat throughout the 450-mile length of California's Central Valley. Almost the entire Golden State is predicted to simmer above normal temperatures.


In the Bay Area, temperatures are expected to hover around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, while the coast will be much cooler.

The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for all of Northern California. Solano County will be under a heat warning. It will be in effect from 11 a.m. Saturday through 11 p.m. Monday.

Young children, elderly people, pregnant women, people with disabilities and animals are especially vulnerable to the heat.

Forecasters say prolonged heat will make snow melt faster in the Sierra Nevada, where massive winter storms coated towering peaks after years of drought. Waterways could flood, with vacationers warned to be cautious near water and avoid camping close to streams.

Camp counselor Sabrina Chu, 17, said she and others in San Francisco were having kids drink lots of water while playing outdoors. The city was expected to have a high of 82 Sunday, well above the normal upper 60s.

"Compared to other places in California, the Bay has pretty consistent weather, so this is unusually hot for the area," Chu said.

In Pleasanton, this weekend marks the start of the Alameda County Fair, and the threat of triple-digit temperatures doesn't seem to be scaring people away.

Even so, officials are urging people to be prepared.

"Drink plenty of water," said Angel Moore with the fair. "Make sure you wear your sunscreen, wear loose fitting clothing."

Fire and medical teams will also be scattered throughout the event as well as five misting stations. 

"We're expecting a lot of heat related emergencies," said Alameda County Fire Department Division Chief Eric Moore. "We're well prepared to deal with heat-related injuries."

Here are some tips on how to stay cool:

  • Drink plenty of liquids
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugar
  • Limit physical activity, especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Don't leave people or pets in closed, parked cars
  • Stay in air-conditioned areas, including malls, libraries, movie theaters and community centers
  • Cool off by taking a bath or shower.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing
  • Do not bundle babies or put them in blankets or heavy clothing.
  • Cover your head with wide-brimmed, vented hats or use umbrellas 
  • Wear sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Rest in shady areas

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Dance Group Debuts on 'World of Dance']]>Wed, 14 Jun 2017 00:00:06 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/dance+group.jpg

The Chapkis Dance Family of Suisun City made its debut on "World of Dance" Tuesday night, and wowed Jennifer Lopez and her fellow judges enough to advance to the next round. Jodi Hernandez reports.

Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Lockdown Lifted After No Active Shooter at Travis Air Base]]>Wed, 14 Jun 2017 17:30:27 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0614-2017-TravisAFB.jpg

A lockdown at Travis Air Force base was lifted Wednesday afternoon after reports of an active shooter turned out to be false, law enforcement officials told NBC News.

According to sources, a call about an active shooter from the base was a false alarm. There were no injuries reported.

Travis Air Force base officials tweeted at 5:20 p.m. that "emergency personnel responded to reports of gun shots @ the Base Exchange. It was determined to be a false alarm. Lockdown is lifted."

A Facebook post around 3:30 p.m. advised people to avoid the area so emergency responders can do their jobs. People were also urged to shelter in place due to a "real world incident" and asked to lock doors and windows.

The facility's main gate was closed, Fairfield police wrote on Twitter, and social media users reported an active shooter situation.

Scenes from an NBC-affiliate chopper showed people walking around at the base, a sprawling campus located in Solano County. Some people were holding hands as they were being escorted to safety, and police cars dotted the parking lot.

A simulated security drill was scheduled to take place Wednesday and Thursday, but Travis Air Force base officials said on social media the security incident was unrelated to it.

Dozens of parents of military personnel who are based out of Travis posted on the base's Facebook page, looking for information.

No further information was immediately available.




Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[4-Alarm Brush Fire in Vallejo Contained]]>Tue, 13 Jun 2017 14:53:04 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0613-2017-VallejoFire.jpg

Emergency crews contained a four-alarm vegetation fire in northern Vallejo Tuesday afternoon, a fire spokesman said.

The fire was reported just after 2 p.m. in the vicinity of Bennington Drive in the Hiddenbrooke area.

The Vallejo Fire Department has requested mutual aid from other firefighters in the area, according to spokesman Kevin Brown.

No injuries had been reported and no structures were threatened, Brown said.



Photo Credit: Vallejo Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[Here's Where You Can Fly Drones in the Bay Area]]>Tue, 13 Jun 2017 14:14:34 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NoDrones.jpg

Popular droning sites along the San Francisco Peninsula no longer allow the use of any unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) following a park superintendent order.

While drones are currently allowed in California State Parks, local district superintendents are allowed to ban them at any of its local sites. Christopher Spohrer, the Santa Cruz District Superintendent joined other regional park districts in May when he signed new restrictions on drone use at its parks.

Santa Cruz District's new order is not yet online, but a notice should be posted at all parks and beaches it is being enforced.

It includes restrictions on all use of model aircraft, UAS or gliders at any the state parks and beaches in its district, which encompasses the Santa Cruz Mountains as well as the parks along the coast from Watsonville to Half Moon Bay, including Half Moon Bay State Beach, New Brighton State BeachPescadero State Beach, Pomponio State Beach and San Gregorio State Beach.

The Bay Area District previously restricted model aircraft and UAS in September, which included Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, as well as all parks in the East Bay Regional Park District.

Where to Fly Your Drones in the Bay Area:

Know Before You Fly

Between the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) easing its unmanned aircraft guidelines last year and new drone models being released each year, more drones are in the air than ever. 

According to a FAA report, sales of consumer drones were expected to spike from 2.6 million drones in 2016 to 7 million in 2020 with some of the highest concentrated users in the Silicon Valley.

Here are some things to keep in mind before you fly:

  • NO NATIONAL PARKS: Currently, the National Park Service (NPS) prohibits drones at national parks which include the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Mateo, San Francisco and Marin counties; Rosie the Riveter grounds in East Bay, Fort Point, Presidio, Alcatraz Island and the Maritime in San Francisco as well as Point Reyes and Muir Woods in North Bay. See all national park trails and parks where drone use is currently prohibited. National Park Service rangers may issue citations of $125 and additional fees to drone users who violate its policies.
  • SOME STATE PARKS: California State Parks allow drone use, with the exception of some regional districts have posted their own local rules. In the Bay Area, the local parks are currently prohibiting drone use at the majority of state parks. View some exceptions above.
  • SOME CITY AND COUNTY PARKS: There are currently no drones allowed at many local parks such as San Mateo County and Santa Clara County parks as well as the majority of city parks in the area. The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, which maintains parks throughout Santa Clara County as well as for the cities of Milpitas, Santa Clara, Campbell, San Jose and Morgan Hill also ban the use of drones unless granted a permit for use. The Port of San Francisco, which maintains Heron's Head Park, also bans all drones as part of its status as a wildlife protection area. Mission Bay Park, maintained by MJM Management Group, says they have added a park rule banning drone use as well. 
  • PRIVATE LAND Privately-owned fields, farms, and other spaces may be a good option with permission from the landowner. Santa Clara County Model Aircraft Skypark is a local nonprofit that allows its members to fly drones and aircraft if they follow Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) guidelines. 
    • REGISTER: Register your UAS online if it weighs more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds or file a paper request for drones more than 55 pounds. Registration costs $5 and is valid for 3 years.
    • FLY SAFE: Fly at or below 400 feet and keep it in sight. Never fly over groups of people, stadiums, sports events or near emergency response efforts such as fires. The FAA also mandates UAS users never operate under the influence. The FAA outlines several safe flying practices here. 
    • RESPECT NO FLY ZONES: Never fly near other aircraft, especially near airports, and be aware of airspace requirements. In the Bay Area, this includes no flying zones surrounding three large airports (SFO, OAK and SJC) and smaller airports. You can download the FAA "Know Before You Fly" application to verify if you’re in a safe fly zone. B4UFLY is available for free download in the App Store for iOS and Google Play store for Android.



Photo Credit: Rebecca Greenway]]>
<![CDATA[Police Arrest Man Who Allegedly Threatened Cops With Hammer]]>Mon, 12 Jun 2017 10:36:01 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/6-12-17-hammer-santa-rosa.jpg

Police arrested a man early Sunday morning in Santa Rosa after he allegedly threatened officers with a hammer, police said.

According to Santa Rosa police, at 1:47 a.m. officers responded to a home in the 2500 block of Pawnee Street to investigate a disturbance. The person who called police said a relative was out of control and was hitting walls and vehicles.

Officers arrived and were immediately confronted by the suspect, 38-year-old Juan Gabriel Rincon-Mercado of Santa Rosa. He had exited the house through the garage, was holding a hammer in the air and approached the officers, police said.

According to police, the officers drew their firearms and ordered Rincon-Mercado to drop the hammer, but he ignored them and allegedly advanced toward one officer with the hammer raised in a threatening manner.

The other officer warned Rincon-Mercado that he would be tased if he did not drop the hammer.

Rincon-Mercado did not comply and was tased. He was handcuffed and taken to a local hospital where he was treated for minor abrasions, police said.

At the hospital, Rincon-Mercado told police he threatened the officers with the hammer because he wanted them to shoot him, police said.

According to police, Rincon-Mercado allegedly used methamphetamine and was binge drinking prior to the officers arriving at the home.

Rincon-Mercado was booked into the Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of threatening an officer, public intoxication, and possessing methamphetamine and narcotics paraphernalia.

The officers involved were not injured, police said.



Photo Credit: Santa Rosa Police Department ]]>
<![CDATA[One Dead in Solo Vehicle Rollover Crash in Napa County]]>Sun, 11 Jun 2017 23:40:29 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/napa+crash-0611.jpg

An elderly man was killed in solo vehicle rollover crash on Highway 121, between the cities of Napa and Sonoma on Sunday, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The car ended up about 20 feet down an embankment off the roadway at Haire Lane about 12:30 p.m., the CHP said.

The 82-year-old driver was traveling northbound on Highway 121 at an unknown rate of speed and crossed over into the southbound lanes, off the shoulder and down the embankment, the CHP said.

CHP officials said two lanes of the highway were closed until about 4 p.m. The cause of the crash is under investigation.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Homeless Man Arrested in Sexual Battery of Girl, 15]]>Wed, 07 Jun 2017 19:14:52 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/stratta-0607.jpg

Mill Valley police arrested a homeless man on suspicion of the sexual battery of a 15-year-old girl in a market Tuesday night.

James Dominic Stratta, 55, allegedly accosted the girl in a Whole Foods market at 731 E. Blithedale Ave. around 8:20 p.m., police said.

Stratta confronted the girl, grabbed her arms and touched her inappropriately, causing her to become fearful, police said.

The girl pulled away from Stratta and notified her father, who confronted Stratta and with the help of a witness tried to detain him, police said.

Stratta, who has a previous address in Santa Maria, fled in a vehicle but was located and arrested by police.

The girl identified Stratta as the suspect, and he was booked into Marin County Jail on suspicion of false imprisonment, sexual battery and annoying or molesting a child under 18 years old.



Photo Credit: Mill Valley PD]]>
<![CDATA[Charges in Theft of 'Star Wars' Items From Petaluma Compound]]>Tue, 06 Jun 2017 06:45:43 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/star+wars-0605.jpg

In the first "Star Wars" film, Obi-Wan Kenobi said, "in my experience there is no such thing as luck." Steve Sansweet thinks differently.

Sansweet, the owner of the largest privately owned collection of Star Wars memorabilia in the world, said Monday he feels lucky he found out about the theft of $200,000 worth of prized vintage action figures from his California nonprofit museum before it was too late.

About 120 pieces were stolen between 2015 and 2016 by a friend who stayed at the compound four times during that period, Sansweet said.

The sprawling collections are set up on shelves and are not behind glass or under lock and key.

About 100 of the stolen items have been recovered, he said.

Police arrested Carl Edward Cunningham, 45, of Marietta, Georgia, and in March, the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office charged him with felony grand theft.

Cunningham is free on $25,000 bail and is scheduled to be in court June 27 for a preliminary hearing.

Neither Cunningham, nor his lawyer, Amy Chapman, returned calls for comment.

"It was very lucky we found out when we did — but not so lucky that he had a year to steal things," Sansweet said.

Sansweet, the founder of Rancho Obi-Wan in Petaluma, California, owns roughly 400,000 pieces of Star Wars memorabilia that are on display and shown to visitors.

That includes everything from the original banner Lucasfilm used to promote Star Wars at fan conventions in 1976, to a Darth Vader costume and all of the more than 2,500 small action figures issued over the past 40 years.

The thefts surfaced after a collector learned he had inadvertently purchased a Boba Fett action figure stolen from a Texas warehouse, Sansweet said.

Star Wars actors Mark Hamill and Peter Mayhew tweeted about Sansweet's news Monday.

"Maybe publish a list of stolen items to protect potential victims from purchasing 'hot' merchandise. #TheFraudIsStrongInThisOne #SithHappens," Hamill said.

"This is despicable. Keep an eye out. Get the word out," Mayhew tweeted.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Animal Lovers Remember Dogs Killed, Dumped at Vallejo Park]]>Sat, 03 Jun 2017 21:05:22 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/6-3-17_Vallejo_Dogs.jpg

A somber crowd of animal lovers on Saturday gathered in Vallejo to remember the lives of one dozen dogs found dead at a park back in February.

The ceremony was held near Blue Rock Springs Park where a woman originally found the dogs stuffed in garbage bags. A suspected killer has yet to be identified.

“We feel that if don’t give voice to these dogs, these dogs will be forgotten and this crime will be unpunished,” Monica Stevens from Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch said.

The event started with a blessing. Then, mourners flew white kites in honor of the pups before resting those kites on the spots where the animals were discovered.

The Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch originally offered a $10,000 reward for information about a possible killer. That number was increased to $15,000 Saturday.

"We're really hoping that this person gets caught so that they don't continue their acts, but also perpetrate humans at the same time," Stevens said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Police Investigate Fatal Shooting in Vallejo]]>Sat, 03 Jun 2017 11:10:47 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Police-GettyImages-187062332.jpg

A man was shot dead in Vallejo early Saturday morning, police said.

After responding to reports of gunfire on the 400 block of Corcoran Avenue around 12:15 a.m., officers came across the remnants of a crime scene. They also learned that a man, who had been shot, had been taken to a local hospital prior to their arrival.

The victim later died of his injuries, police said. He has not yet been identified, pending notification of his family. 

Investigators are encouraging anyone who may have witnessed the crime or has additional information about the case to contact Detective Rob Greenberg at 707-648-4280 or Detective Kevin Rose at 707-651-7146.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[President of Golden Gate Bridge Board Dies Unexpectedly]]>Wed, 31 May 2017 20:05:57 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/stroeh-0531.jpg

Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District Board President J. Dietrich Stroeh died unexpectedly last night in his sleep, bridge district officials said Wednesday.

Stroeh, an 80-year-old Novato resident, was appointed to the board in 1997 and served on committees including the finance committee, which he chaired.

He also worked as general manager of the Marin Municipal Water District and served on the Bank of Marin Board during his career in public service.

Sabrina Hernandez, the board's first vice president, will step in as acting president.

Marin County Supervisor and bridge board member Judy Arnold said she had also worked with Stroeh on the downtown Novato Theater restoration project and on flooding issues in Novato, and was deeply saddened by hisdeath.

"His accomplishments and contributions to Marin County and Novato are stellar," Arnold said. "Diet was an irreplaceable community leader and friend and I will miss him dearly."

Bridge Board member Brian Sobel called Stroeh a "towering figure in North Bay politics," and credited him with getting a water pipeline built across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge during a drought in the 1970s.

"Diet epitomized the idea of giving back selflessly," Sobel said. "His kind of determination to do good, with excellent public discourse and debate, is an example to all of us."



Photo Credit: County of Marin]]>
<![CDATA[Board Approves Stadium Lights Project at North Bay HS]]>Wed, 31 May 2017 00:21:24 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/san+marin+hs-0530.jpg

After months of debate and contentious meetings, a North Bay high school finally may be getting lights for its football stadium.

The Novato Unified School District board on Tuesday approved a proposed $1.2 million stadium lights project at San Marin High School in Novato.

Students and other supporters say the Mustangs are eager to have a night home game, something most high schools have experienced for years.

But there also were many opponents of the project on hand at a special meeting of the board in the school gym. They say their fight is not over. Neighbors of the school say the 80-foot polls, bright lights, PA system and crowds that come with it all will deliver an assault of light and noise pollution.

"By approving the project, you are unavoidably violating Novato's noise ordinance," opponent Ken Levin said. "We're against the lights for environmental reasons; gonna be a lot of noise."

One neighbor, Tarry Winfrey, welcomed the change.

"We live in a beautiful community; let's light it up cheer," Winfrey said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Mom, Boyfriend Convicted in 3-Year-Old Girl's Death in Napa]]>Wed, 31 May 2017 00:03:11 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/kruegerandwarner.jpg

Jurors on Tuesday convicted Sarah Lynn Krueger and Ryan Scott Warner in the death of Krueger's 3-year-old daughter at the couple's Napa apartment in 2014, prosecutors said.

A Napa County Superior Court jury returned its verdict against Krueger, 27, around 10:10 a.m., and a separate jury then returned its verdict against Warner, Krueger's 29-year-old boyfriend, for the death of Kayleigh Slusher.

The juries heard evidence separately against the defendants during the same trial that began May 1.

The defendants face life without the possibility of parole for first-degree murder and a special allegation that the slaying on Jan. 30, 2014, involved torture, and 25 years to life for assault on a child causing death, Assistant Napa County District Attorney Paul Gero said. They are scheduled to be sentenced on July 27.

An autopsy determined Kayleigh died of blunt force trauma. Her body had been placed in a freezer, then left in a suitcase on a bed in an apartment at the Royal Gardens Apartment. Napa police found the body on Feb. 1, 2014.

Krueger and Warner were arrested the next day at a BART station in El Cerrito.

The jury hearing the evidence against Krueger reached a verdict Thursday after a day of deliberation, but the verdict was sealed until the other jury reached a verdict against Warner on Tuesday morning.

The Napa County District Attorney's Office did not seek the death penalty against the defendants. The trial was held before Judge Francisca Tisher.

"We're pleased with the verdicts. It's what we asked for," Gero said.



Photo Credit: Napa Police Department
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<![CDATA[Foo Fighters Unplugged and Undeterred at BottleRock]]>Mon, 29 May 2017 20:26:45 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/foo+fighters-0529.jpg

The Foo Fighters hardly missed a beat Sunday night after the plug was pulled on their final song at the BottleRock festival in Napa Valley.

Dave Grohl and Co. were in the middle of "Everlong" when festival organizers, adhering to a strict 10 p.m. curfew, shut off the sound and video screens.

But the band continued playing, and the enthusiastic crowd picked up the vocals. The band finished the song before bidding good night.



Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kevin Klein/LIVE105]]>
<![CDATA[Flames Destroy Two-Story House in Sonoma]]>Mon, 29 May 2017 08:33:41 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-29-17_Sonoma_House_Fire.jpg

A Sonoma house was destroyed after a fire broke out early Monday, according to the officials.

Responding crews found the two-story home, which is located along the 400 block of Chestnut Avenue, completely engulfed in flames, according to Sonoma Valley Fire and Rescue Authority Fire Chief Steve Akre.

Three people in the home were displaced, according to Akre. Seven others living in two cottages on the property were also displaced because they lost access to electricity and water. The American Red Cross is assisting those displaced.

Two nearby residences were also evacuated because the fire destroyed a gas meter, triggering a natural gas leak, according to Akre. PG&E crews were called to the scene.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Vehicle Pursuit Ends in Police Shooting in Vacaville]]>Mon, 29 May 2017 05:23:52 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-29-17_Vacaville_OIS.jpg

A man has died in an officer-involved shooting that occurred Monday morning in Vacaville, police said.

According to Vacaville police Lt. Mark Donaldson, at 12:38 a.m. a police officer spotted a stolen vehicle on East Monte Vista Avenue near Callen Street, followed it onto Interstate Highway 80, then called for assistance.

Additional officers arrived and a pursuit ensued.

According to Donaldson, the driver of the stolen vehicle exited the highway at Leisure Town Road, then turned onto Orange Drive.

At Nut Tree Road, just north of Orange Drive, officers performed a pit maneuver to stop the vehicle.

A short time later an officer-involved shooting occurred and one man died, Donaldson said.

One officer suffered injuries that are not considered life-threatening and was taken to a hospital.

Further details were not immediately available. The shooting remains under investigation, Donaldson said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Flames Engulf Car Port in Vallejo]]>Sun, 28 May 2017 17:51:55 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-28-17_Fire_Vallejo.jpg

Firefighters managed to control a blaze that engulfed a detached car port in Vallejo Sunday morning, according to fire officials.

The fire was reported around 6:30 a.m. at a residence located in the 1900 block of Griffin Drive, fire officials said.

No one was injured, and firefighters managed to keep the flames from spreading to adjacent homes, according to fire officials.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, fire officials said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Events Honor U.S. Military Members]]>Sun, 28 May 2017 14:58:53 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/052515+memorial+day+flags+generic.jpg

Joining the rest of the nation Monday, folks in the Bay Area will take time to pay their respects to past, present and future U.S. military service men and women at a variety of Memorial Day events.

Here is a list of just some of the local events dedicated to veterans and their families:

San Francisco

San Francisco's 149th Memorial Day Commemoration: Event begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Presidio Officers' Club. A 21-gun salute and a grand march with veterans will highlight the event. Ret. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, the former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, and poet laureate Dana Gioia will also speak.

San Jose

Memorial Day Ceremony: Event begins at 11 a.m. at Oak Hill Memorial Park. Medal of Honor recipient James Livingston is slated to speak.

South San Francisco

Vietnam Veterans Procession & Memorial Day Ceremony: Event beings at 9:30 a.m. at Fire Station 61. Vietnam veterans will march from the fire station to the eternal flame sculpture at Orange Memorial Park.

Alameda

Memorial Day Ceremony Aboard the USS Hornet Sea, Air and Space Museum: Events begins at 11 a.m. at the USS Horney Museum. A wreath casting ceremony will highlight the event.

San Rafael

Memorial Day Program: Event begins at 10 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. A keynote address by Tom Tarantino, a Balkan and Middle Eastern conflict veteran, will highlight the event.

Danville

Memorial Day Ceremony: Event begins at 10:30 a.m. at Oak Hill Park. Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Maj. James Taylor will deliver a keynote address.

Livermore

"Wings of Freedom" Tour: Event begins at 10 a.m. at Livermore Airport. World War II aircraft will be on display.

Hillsborough

Memorial Day Parade and Music Festival: Event begins at 10:30 a.m. at town hall. The parade will continue to Hillsborough North School.

Aside from these events, members of the military and veterans are eligible for additional discounts at stores and restaurants.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Officials Urge Caution During Memorial Day Weekend]]>Sun, 28 May 2017 13:31:54 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-590713310_master.jpg

Cal Fire officials are urging the public to be cautious about the increased fire danger during Memorial Day weekend.

In a statement, Cal Fire officials said that while holiday weekends are a great time to gather and enjoy the outdoors, the public is asked to be aware of fire danger and risks posed in the outdoors.

"We urge safety and preparedness when in wildland areas," Cal Fire Director Chief Ken Pimlott said. "California's extremely dry conditions are primed for wildfires, and it takes diligence from everyone to avoid sparking a fire."

According to fire officials, despite heavy rainfall during the winter season, drought conditions continue across much of California and wildfires can spark easily if caution is not followed.

Anyone who is camping is asked to check local fire restrictions in their area, to clear away grass, leaves and other debris within a 10-foot perimeter of any campfire, and to completely extinguish it before leaving.

Campers are also reminded not to leave a barbecue grill unattended.

Anyone traveling by car is reminded to properly maintain their vehicles, make sure nothing is dragging on the ground and to never drive or pull over onto dry grass. When towing, drivers are urged to make sure trailer chains are properly secured.

According to fire officials, since Jan. 1, Cal Fire crews have responded to over 1,000 wildfires that have burned nearly 15,000 acres.



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Juveniles Charged for Alleged Napa Football Team Hazing]]>Sat, 27 May 2017 20:01:42 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/court-gavel-generic-law.jpg

Six juveniles were charged Friday for alleged criminal actions, but no charges were filed against a coach, in connection with alleged football team hazing incidents at Napa High School in the 2015-16 school year, the district attorney said.

Napa County District Attorney Allison Haley said charges would not be filed against Napa High School football coach Gerald Harris in connection with the alleged incidents. Haley said six juveniles were charged in Napa County Juvenile Court today, and 11 remaining cases are under investigation.

The Napa Police Department asked the District Attorney's Office on Feb. 6 to review a possible misdemeanor charge against Harris for failing as a mandated reporter to report a possible child abuse, Haley said.

At the same time, several juvenile petitions also were referred to the District Attorney's Office for filing of charges arising out of alleged hazing incidents at Napa High School in 2015-2016, Haley said. Napa police

submitted their report on the alleged incidents to the District Attorney's Office March 9.

"After a thorough review of the evidence, our office has made a determination that we cannot charge Coach Gerald Harris with any crime," Haley said in a statement.

"In our professional judgment, the alleged violation cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law at this time and we are therefore ethically prohibited from filing any criminal charges," Haley said.

Seventeen juveniles were referred to the District Attorney's Office for prosecution, Haley said. Criminal charges against six juveniles were filed in Napa County Juvenile Court today, and the remaining 11 cases are still under investigation, Haley said.

Releasing further information about the juvenile proceedings is prohibited by court rules, Haley said.

Napa High School and the Napa Valley Unified School District also investigated the alleged hazing incidents, Haley said. However, Haley said their actions had no bearing on her decision-making and are a "separate and distinct process."

Hazing incidents allegedly took place in 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 in the weeks leading up to the "Big Game" between the Napa High School Indians and Vintage High School Crushers, Napa police said in a March update issued by the department.

According to police, the department was notified on Nov. 19, 2016 of an alleged on-campus assault. The victim was a member of the football team and there was a possibility of additional victims, police said.

Police began an investigation and determined that the assault was related to hazing incidents that allegedly occurred during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years, according to the police update.

The scandal has shaken the school and the community.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[AAA to Offer Free Tows to Tipsy Drivers on Memorial Day]]>Sat, 27 May 2017 20:23:59 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Craft-Beer-Generic-Getty-1.jpg

AAA is offering free "Tipsy Tow" services to celebrants this Monday for the Memorial Day holiday.

The service will run from 6 p.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Tuesday and is available to anyone, not just AAA members.

"If your plans involve alcohol, plan ahead for a safe ride home," AAA Northern California spokesman Mike Blasky said in a statement. "If those plans fall through, please don't get behind the wheel. Call AAA and we'll get you home safely."

Drivers, passengers, party hosts, bartenders and restaurant managers can call (800) AAA-HELP (222-4357) and provide the driver's name, home address, phone number and their pick-up location.

AAA will send out a tow truck and give the driver, the driver's vehicle and one passenger a free 10-mile tow and ride home. For distances beyond 10 miles, a standard towing rate will apply.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[79-Foot Blue Whale Killed by Boat Strike: Scientists]]>Sat, 27 May 2017 19:22:14 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-27-17_Blue_Whale.jpg

A dead 79-foot endagered blue whale that recently washed up on a beach in Bolinas died due of blunt force trauma suffered during a boat strike, officials said Saturday.

Following a necropsy, a team of scientists determined that the adult female whale sustained broken ribs, a fractured spine and trauma to her skull, according to the Marine Mammal Center. Those wounds are "indicative of significant blunt force trauma that is consistent with ship strikes."


"It is a tragedy that this whale’s story ended due to vessel collision,” Barbie Halaska, a research scientist at the Marine Mammal Center, said in a statement. "These types of examinations have enabled the scientific community to make recommendations for slower shipping speeds and route changes, and hopefully that will help future whales."

Ship strikes are a leading cause of whale deaths, according to the Marine Mammal Center.


This particular whale was first identified in 1999 swimming off the California coast. She spent most of her time in and around the Santa Barbara Channel area. Two to three years ago, she was spotted swimming with a calf.

Blues whales are currently listed on the Endangered Species Act, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.



Photo Credit: Clive Beavis/The Marine Mammal Center
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<![CDATA[Man Argues DUI Arrest, Claiming He Could Do Math, Hopscotch]]>Sat, 27 May 2017 22:06:15 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/204*120/18738597_1045318995598382_4629072055889391664_o.jpg

After running a red light early Saturday, a suspected drunk driver challenged a Sebastopol police officer who pulled him over, claiming that he wasn't "fall down drunk" because he could play hopscotch and do math equations.

That didn't go over so well.

In a post on Facebook, police said Officer Charles Wong saw the suspect run a light at Sebastopol and Petaluma avenues. He stopped the driver and a breathalyzer revealed that his blood alcohol content was slightly above the legally allowed 0.08, police said. 

The man contended, however, that he wasn't driving under the influence.

"While no one wants to impugn the driver's hopscotch and math skills, he was certainly impaired," police wrote on Facebook. 

The driver was arrested and police stressed that the crime is called a DUI for a reason.

"A person does not have to be a stumbling, sloppy drunk to have their driving ability negatively and detrimentally affected by onboard substances," according to police. Alcohol is the most common culprit, but marijuana, narcotics, over-the-counter and prescription medicines are equally dangerous.

"Driving is a divided attention, multitask which requires both mind and body to be sharp," Sebastopol police stressed, urging people to be mindful of their actions "before hurtling a two-ton hunk of metal down the road at high speeds."



Photo Credit: Sebastopol Police Services via Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Happy Birthday! SF's Iconic Golden Gate Bridge Turns 80]]>Sat, 27 May 2017 17:33:13 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-543435350.jpg

Happy birthday, Golden Gate Bridge!

The iconic International Orange bridge was erected 80 years ago, spanning the narrow Golden Gate Strait – from which it took its name – between the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean. 

Pedestrians first set foot on the bridge on May 27, 1937, and cars rumbled over it the next day. To that end, officials invited people to sing "Happy Birthday" to the Golden Gate Bridge at 12 p.m. Saturday.


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Saturday tweeted birthday wishes to the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge was built over four years. Upon its completion, it made headlines for being the world's longest suspension bridge – at 4,200 feet, according to its website. New York City's Verrazano-Narrows Bridge usurped that title in November 1964.

Both have since been overtaken by bridges in Japan, China, Denmark and other countries, and the Golden Gate Bridge now ranks ninth on the list of the world’s longest suspension bridges.

The Golden Gate Bridge connects San Francisco to Marin County. Before it was built, the only way across the bay was by ferry.

Today the famous structure symbolizes not only the City by the Bay, but California and even the West Coast to tourists, millions of whom immortalize the bridge every year in their photographs. 

Recently, officials started the process of installing $200 million suicide-prevention nets to deter people from jumping to their deaths. Made of seven football fields worth of stainless steel, the structure will curve up slightly at its ends and be suspended 200 feet above the Pacific Ocean on both sides of the bridge. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[79-Foot Endangered Blue Whale Washes Up in Bolinas]]>Fri, 26 May 2017 23:30:12 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/5-26-17_Whale_Carcass_Bolinas.JPG

A dead whale that washed ashore at Agate Beach in Bolinas earlier this week has been identified as an endangered blue whale, according to officials.

Scientists from the Marine Mammal Center identified the whale as a sub-adult female measuring at about 79 feet in length. The scientists on Friday collected skin and blubber samples for testing, and a full necropsy to determine the animal's cause of death is scheduled for Saturday.


This is just the ninth time in the Marine Mammal Center's 42-year history that their scientists have responded to a blue whale discovery.

"We rarely have the opportunity to examine blue whales due to their endangered status," Barbie Halaska, a research assistant at the Marine Mammal Center, said in a statement. "The opportunity to perform a necropsy on a carcass in this good of condition will help contribute to our baseline data on the species."


The deceased whale was first identified while swimming off California in 1999, according to the Marine Mammal Center. It typically spent its time near the Santa Barbara Channel area.

Roughly 2,800 blue whales currently call water off the California coast home, according to the Marine Mammal Center. The species is listed as endangered according to the Endangered Species Act.



Photo Credit: The Marine Mammal Center
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<![CDATA[BottleRock Organizers, Police Mindful of Security Concerns]]>Fri, 26 May 2017 18:18:48 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bottlerock.jpg

As hundreds of thousands of people flock to Napa this weekend for the annual BottleRock festival, law enforcement officials are keeping an extra eye on security in the wake of the Manchester concert bombing.

Routine bag checks and metal detection wands were enforced at security entrances, but police and event organizers aren't drastically ramping up security.

"We are aware of people's heightened sense, and we're just there to assure them that we can do everything we can," Lt. Chase Haag from the Napa Police Department said.

BottleRock organizers did not speak about this year's security levels, but they did offer a statement.

"BottleRock Napa Valley works in coordination with local and regional law enforcement agencies to provide the very best in safety measures for our festival guests," the statement read.

Inside the venue, police and private security officials could be spotted. Outside, California Highway Patrol officers with police dogs roamed the perimeter, keeping an eye out for any suspicious activity just days removed the Manchester bombing.

"The events that occurred in Manchester this last week, as unfortunate as it was, it's got some people on edge," Sgt. William Bradshaw from the CHP said. "Again, speaking with most people that have come into the event, they feel pretty comfortable here having the dogs here and again, it's just another level of confidence."

BottleRock attendees did not appear to be too concerned about the security presence or the threat of danger.

"We feel for what happened (in Manchester), but we can't let it affect our processes here," Wyatt Scott from Orange County said.

All tickets to the BottleRock festival happening Friday through Sunday at the Napa Valley Expo in downtown Napa have sold out.

This year's festival includes musical performances by 85 acts, with Maroon 5 headlining Friday, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on Saturday and Foo Fighters on Sunday.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Modest Mouse, The Roots, Mavis Staples, The Devil Makes Three, Ani DiFranco and Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals are also among the performers.

Doors open at 11:30 a.m., the performances start at noon and end at 10 p.m. each day. There are after-show performances by nine groups at venues in Napa, some of which have not sold out, according to the BottleRock website.

Star chefs will pair with musicians, entertainers and celebrities including Martha Stewart on the Williams Sonoma Culinary Stage over the weekend.

Parking passes are $35 a day. Napa Valley's Vine Transit system offers free rides and extended late-night service all weekend, including regional express service to BART.

BottleRock buses run from San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, San Jose, Fairfield, Sonoma, Mill Valley, Palo Alto and Santa Rosa. Festival goers can buy bus tickets at Eventbrite.com.

People can download the BottleRock app or visit the festival's website at BottlerockNapaValley.com for more information.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Family Seeks Closure, Answers in Case of Missing Teen]]>Thu, 25 May 2017 18:23:33 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0527-2016-PearlPinson.jpg

A vigil was held Thursday to remind people a Vallejo teen is still missing a year after she was kidnapped.

Pearl Pinson, who was 15 at the time, was kidnapped while walking home from school on May 25, 2016. The suspected kidnapper, Fernando Castro, was shot and killed by police the next day in the town of Solvang in Santa Barbara County. But there's been no sign of Pearl.

"I'm heartbroken. I'm sad. I'm upset," the missing teen's sister, Rose Pinson, said of what she is feeling on the one-year anniversary of Pearl's abduction. "I need to know where she's at -- where he took her."

Castro, 19, was someone she knew. A witness reported seeing a man with a gun pulling a female, who was bleeding and yelling for help, on the overpass. Responding deputies found blood on the ground, sheriff's officials said.

Pearl's family made banners for Thursday's community vigil. The family does not want people to forget about the missing teen and said their pain has not faded.

"We need closure on this," Rose Pinson said. "We just need her home. We need some peace in our minds, in our souls.

Pearl is 5 feet, 3 inches tall, weighs about 130 pounds and has brown hair dyed green and green eyes. She has a metal piercing below her lower lip.

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<![CDATA[Netflix to Hold Bay Area Casting Call For '13 Reasons Why']]>Fri, 26 May 2017 08:26:12 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/NETFLIX4.jpg

Netflix’s controversial hit show “13 Reasons Why” is gearing up for its much-anticipated second season, and Bay Area natives are invited to take part in its production. 

An open casting call for extras will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 4 at USA World Classics Museum in Vallejo.

As eagle-eyed fans might have noticed, a good portion of the show's first season was filmed in the Bay Area. Netflix is headquartered in Los Gatos in the South Bay.

The call is open to all ages, but producers are specifically looking for people who appear high school-aged, including football players, cheerleaders, student athletes and boxers. Older participants have the opportunity to appear as teachers, parents or coffee shop patrons.

Those attending the casting call should bring a non-returnable photo or headshot and resume with them. Two photos will also be taken at the call. Be sure to leave your ball gowns and fancy tuxedos at home because the casting call recommends “casual dress.” 

All ethnicities have been invited to attend, and no SAG card is necessary. Hopefuls under the age of 18 must have a California Entertainment Work Permit. 

The teen drama focuses on 16-year-old Hannah Baker, who commits suicide and leaves behind audio tapes for people who were, in some way, instrumental in her life and death. It has drawn praise from corners of the internet for tackling teenage depression, and scorn from psychologists, critics and parent councils for glorifying suicide. 

There was some debate over whether the show could — or should — have a second season, having already wrapped up the Baker storyline in the season finale. Netflix has released few precious details about the direction of the next installment, but those connected with the show did say that it would focus on Hannah's death through the perspective of other characters.



Photo Credit: Netflix]]>
<![CDATA[Death Linked to Botulism Reported in Napa County]]>Wed, 24 May 2017 18:02:34 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Death_Linked_to_Botulism_Reported_in_Napa_County.jpg

A second death from botulism in Northern California. Napa County health officials confirmed Wednesday a death tied to botulism reported in the last month. The death is not related to the botulism outbreak linked to contaminated nacho-cheese sold at a gas station in the Sacramento suburb of Walnut Grove. In that case, one person died and nine other became sick. Botulism is a rare kind of food poisoning that can lead to paralysis, breathing difficulty and sometimes death.]]>
<![CDATA[Unemployment in Bay Area Counties Below 5 Percent in April]]>Sun, 21 May 2017 10:02:16 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/165*120/141970054.jpg

Unemployment in all nine Bay Area counties was below five percent last month, officials with California's Employment Development Department said Friday.

Unemployment in San Mateo County was the lowest in the Bay Area at 2.5 percent. In Marin and San Francisco counties the unemployment rate was 2.7 percent.

Except for Solano County, unemployment in the other Bay Area counties was between 3.1 and 3.6 percent.

In Solano County the unemployment rate was 4.7 percent.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[High-Speed Chase Ends in Oakland]]>Tue, 23 May 2017 12:48:54 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-23-17-high-speed-chase-oakland.jpg

A suspect in a stolen pickup truck took California Highway Patrol deputies on a high-speed chase from Marin County all the way to Oakland before crashing early Tuesday. The driver was injured. It took firefighters 30 minutes to get the driver out of the car. The driver was taken into custody.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Rosa Teen Steals Jeep, Leads Police on 14-Mile Chase]]>Tue, 23 May 2017 18:30:03 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/handcuffs15.jpg

A 14-year-old Santa Rosa boy with 10 warrants out for his arrest has been arrested after stealing a Jeep and leading police on a high-speed chase.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports the 14-mile chase had come to an end early Friday after the boy drove over a median and flattened his tries.

He had been driving at about 2 a.m. without his headlights on when an officer signaled to pull over. The boy, who had 14- and 15-year-old passengers in the Jeep, continued driving recklessly, reaching speeds of up to 100 mph.

The boy had been arrested by Rohnert Park police on suspicion of felony evasion and possession of a stolen vehicle. The passengers had been detained but not arrested.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File]]>
<![CDATA[Spare the Air Alert Issued For Monday]]>Sun, 21 May 2017 14:02:38 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/12-24-2013-spare-the-air.jpg

A Spare the Air alert for smog in the San Francisco Bay Area has been issued for Monday, officials with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District said Sunday.

Smog is expected in parts of the East Bay and the Santa Clara Valley because of light winds and a weak and delayed afternoon sea breeze, according to air district officials.

This is the second Spare the Air alert for smog in 2017.

Commuters who drive to work alone are encouraged to use other ways to get to work.

Smog is especially harmful to children, seniors and people with respiratory and heart conditions, air district officials said.

People who decide to exercise outdoors should do so in the early morning hours when smog levels are lower.

Transit will not be free on Monday and air district officials have not issued a wood-burning ban.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Vallejo Residents, Animal Activists Upset Over Dog Killings]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 23:48:32 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/dead+dogs-0518.jpg

Someone has been killing dogs and dumping them in a North Bay city, and Thursday, a nonprofit stepped up with an increased reward for catching the person responsible.

After three bags of dead dogs were found in Vallejo earlier this year, another gruesome discovery surfaced in the same area: a mutilated goat. The animals' remains were found along Columbus Parkway, near Lake Herman Road, authorities said.

On Thursday, Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch (JARR), along with two other rescue groups, put together a $10,000 reward. That is up from an initial $4,000 reward offered.

"They’ve all been killed by seemingly a shovel, a garden implement, and a box cutter," JARR spokeswoman Julia Orr said. "Animal cruelty is a precursor to human cruelty."

The goat carcass was found Tuesday near the same area where the dogs were found in February. Orr would like the Solano County Sheriff’s Office and local police to do more to investigate the crime.

"We really feel there’s an apathy surrounding this case," she said. "Authorities may be thinking it’s not important because it’s animals."

Other animal lovers, too, think more should be done.

"We should do all we can to catch 'em. Just put this thing to rest because we have to look out for our furry friends," Vallejo resident Chris P. said.

Neighbors are so outraged about the killings, they have been packing City Council meetings, demanding the case get more attention.

The mayor says the sheriff’s department is investigating.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Elderly Novato Couple Died in Apparent Murder-Suicide]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 10:40:50 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-17-17-novato-homicide1.jpg

An elderly couple discovered with fatal gunshot wounds in a Novato home on Wednesday died in an apparent murder-suicide, the Marin County Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies responded to a residence on the 600 block of Bugia Lane around 8:30 a.m. after family members called 911. The bodies were found in a room in the house and a deputy confirmed that Michael Puig De Vall, 84, and Anita Puig De Vall, 79, had been shot dead.

There is no evidence that other people were involved in the married couple's death, according to the sheriff's office. 





Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Elderly Couple Found Dead With Gunshot Wounds in Novato Home]]>Wed, 17 May 2017 13:42:04 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-17-17-novato-homicide1.jpg

An elderly couple on Wednesday was found dead of gunshot wounds in a Novato home, the Marin County Sheriff's Office said.

Officers responded to a residence on the 600 block of Bugia Lane around 8:30 a.m. after family members called 911.

The death of the man and woman, who are believed to be in their mid-70s, is an isolated incident, sheriff's officials say. There is no threat to the neighborhood. 

An investigation is ongoing and could last several hours. Sheriff's deputies said they are awaiting a search warrant so they can reenter the house and comb through it.

There is no confirmation yet on whether the pair's deaths were a murder-suicide.

Check back for updates on this developing story.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighters Douse Two-Alarm Blaze at Vallejo Home]]>Wed, 17 May 2017 07:22:09 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/DABlNKuU0AAreI5.jpg

Firefighters responded to a fire that broke out at a home in Vallejo on Wednesday morning, fire officials said.

At about 2:20 a.m., Vallejo Fire Department officials announced on social media that firefighters were responding to a structure fire in the 600 block of Laurel Street.

At the scene, fire crews saw smoke coming from the home's garage and attacked the blaze.

At 4:18 a.m. crews were completing salvage and overhaul operations, fire officials said.



Photo Credit: Vallejo Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Rosa Teen Carrying Loaded Replica Gun, Drugs Arrested]]>Wed, 17 May 2017 12:46:42 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/Replica+revolver+and+drugs+%282%29.JPG

Police arrested a 16-year-old suspect Tuesday afternoon in Santa Rosa after he allegedly caused a disturbance and threatened to shoot someone at a shopping center.

According to police, at 4:25 p.m. officers were dispatched to the Montecito Shopping Center in the 6200 block of Montecito Boulevard on a report of a person with a gun.

The suspect was allegedly yelling and threatening to shoot a person who he said stole something from him. The suspect also allegedly had a silver handgun in his sweatshirt pocket, police said.

When officers arrived they located and attempted to detain the suspect. A struggle broke out and one officer found what appeared to be a real revolver in the suspect's pocket, police said.

Upon further inspection, officers determined that the gun was a replica firearm, and it was loaded with bullets. Officers also found Xanax, cannabis and marijuana cigarettes on the suspect.

The suspect is a 16-year-old resident of Santa Rosa whose name will not be released because of his age. He was arrested and booked into juvenile hall on suspicion of numerous drug offenses, police said.



Photo Credit: Santa Rosa Police Department ]]>
<![CDATA[Missing 12-Year-Old North Bay Girl Found Safe]]>Tue, 16 May 2017 07:01:04 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_185887181_police_lights_generic1.jpg

A missing 12-year-old girl who was last seen leaving her North Bay middle school Monday afternoon was found safe Tuesday, according to police.

Treasure Anderson was seen by friends on a school bus after classes, but she never returned to her grandmother's home in San Anselmo, according to police. The young girl was later found safe somewhere in San Anselmo.

Further information was not available at the time.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Peace Officers Remembered During Annual Tribute]]>Mon, 15 May 2017 07:35:08 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-15-17-peace-officers-memorial.jpg

President Trump on Monday will mark National Peace Officers Memorial Day with a wreath laying ceremony on the grounds of the Capitol. About 40,000 people are expected to attend the service. In the Bay Area, the Sonoma County Sheriff's office will hold its annual peace officer memorial service to honor nine deputies who have died in the line of duty.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Discover Popular Bay Area Bike Rides During Bike Month]]>Fri, 12 May 2017 14:31:54 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/211*120/Thumbnail46.jpg

Whether you want to discover a new part of the Bay Area or just get some exercise, these bike trails are great for beginners and experienced bikers alike. You'll even get gorgeous views along the route!


San Francisco Bay Trail: The 500-mile trail loops around the Bay Area's bayfront cities and has several route options on its website. From the six-mile Bay Farm Island Loop in Alameda to the nearly 15-mile route through Baylands Park in the South Bay, each trail is sure to provide spectacular views.


Coastal Trail: Views of the ocean are a given on this beautiful stretch of trails and you’ll have a flat path most of the way. If you feel like an extra challenge, stop at one of Pacifica’s bike paths or nearby Montara Mountain if you feel like really breaking a sweat.


Golden Gate Park: San Francisco’s Route 30, called the Wiggle, is marked with green signs labeled "SF Bicycle Route 30" and loops around downtown for a city tour before taking you straight into Golden Gate Park through Fell Street. The park boasts miles of paths through the greenery, waterfalls, and gardens around Stow Lake. If you want a slice of city riding with a view of the ocean as well as a picnic in the park, try this four-mile route from Haight-Ashbury to Ocean Beach. The last one to dip their feet in the ocean buys dinner!


The Silverado Trail: A relatively flat ride, this trail through Napa Valley isn't one to miss. The scenic trip through wine country is maintained through the Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition and is great for families. 


Golden Gate Bridge: Choose a bike path with the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Use Google to route yourself to Black Sands Beach, which includes a steep incline at Conzelman Road, or take your bike to Sausalito, which includes a ride on the ferry. Another popular option is riding through the Presidio’s trails and along the shoreline


Tennessee Valley: There’s plenty to do on this route in Marin County, offering a stop at Muir Beach, sightseeing and lounging on the beach at Tennessee Cove. Watch for horses as it is also a trail for horseback riders.


Angel Island: Perimeter Road, which loops around Angel Island, is an easy ride with loads of views to take in. Get to the island through the ferry service and head around the island on your bike. If you don’t have a bike to bring along, you can rent one on the island during certain seasons.


Crystal Springs and Cañada Road: Starting south of San Bruno into Woodside, the nearly 18-mile route on the Peninsula has restrooms and picnic areas at the Sawyer Camp and includes Woodside’s popular Cañada Road. Cañada Road even closes its road to traffic on Bicycle Sundays


Haul Road: This roughly 10-mile round trip takes bicyclists through picturesque redwoods in Portola Redwoods State Park until reaching Pescadero Creek. The thick forest provides a contrast to the ocean and bayfront bike trails in other Bay Area cities.


Lake Chabot: A ride along the lakeshore is perfect for families and provides great views of Lake Chabot. If you want a challenge, the area boasts some popular mountain biking routes in the East Bay. The lake is also a popular kayaking spot, so if you need to cool off, just head over to the boat rental and lounge on the water.


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<![CDATA[2 Hospitalized After Hwy. 101 Shooting Near Healdsburg]]>Thu, 11 May 2017 17:48:21 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0511-2017-Hwy101Shooting.jpg

Two men were hospitalized after a shooting on southbound Highway 101 near Healdsburg, California Highway Patrol officials said Thursday.

The shooting was reported just after 12 noon.

CHP spokesman Jonathan Sloat said the men were driving on the freeway in a white Honda when a suspect vehicle pulled alongside it and opened fire.

Both the driver and passenger in the Honda were struck by gunfire, Sloat said. Their conditions were not immediately known.

A full highway closure was in effect at the Dry Creek Road on-ramp to southbound Highway 101 at 12:54 p.m., according to the CHP. Lanes were expected to reopen just after 4 p.m.

No other information was immediately available.

Bay City News contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Missing At-Risk Man Hitchhikes Back to Bolinas Home ]]>Thu, 11 May 2017 07:08:23 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-11-2017-missing-bolinas-man.jpg

A Bolinas man, who was reported missing late Wednesday, hitchhiked back to his home early this morning, police say.

Authorities in Marin County initially issued a Silver Alert and sought the public's help in locating Robert Edward Rich, who they described as an at-risk man because he has dementia.

According to San Rafael and Central Marin police, the 71-year-old man was last seen on foot in the 1400 block of Fifth Avenue in San Rafael, near City Hall, at 7 p.m. when he borrowed a phone from a passerby.

Rich's wife called police early Thursday and informed them that he was back safe.



Photo Credit: San Rafael Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[2017 Mother's Day Events in the Bay Area ]]>Thu, 11 May 2017 16:10:16 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mothersdaygen.jpg

If you forgot to make Mother's Day plans this year, don't fret. It's not too late to plan a memorable day for the mom in your life. 

Here are some of NBC Bay Area's favorite events happening this weekend: 

Free Day at the Exploratorium:

Families are invited to celebrate Mother's Day at the Exploratorium in San Francisco for free on Sunday. Spend the morning making crafty flowers, or immerse yourself in some of the interactive activities the museum offers. The area is packed with brunch places nearby, too. Visit the Exploratorium's website for more details. Free tickets are first come, first served. 

Mother's Day at the Zoo:

Mom and her cubs might enjoy a docent-led cycling tour through the San Francisco Zoo. You have to bring your own bike, and pre-registration is required. But there's a free continental breakfast at the end of the tour, so there's no need to make additional lunch plans. Visit the San Francisco Zoo website for more details. Tickets are $35 for non-members. 

Downtown Alameda's annual Spring Festival:

One of Alameda's most popular hubs will transform into a large-scale festival, complete with live music, arts and crafts booths, bounce houses, and more. A lot of pop-up shops will be selling artisanal goods, so this activity could also double as a leisurely shopping trip. Visit the Spring Festival's website for more information: 

Stanford Powwow:

The 46th annual Mother's Day Weekend Powow will bring Native American music, dancing and cuisine to the prestigious university's scenic campus. The event runs Friday through Sunday, and families are invited to camp overnight. The event is free, but donations are accepted. Check the Powwow's website for more information. 

Urban Tilth's Festival of Flowers:

The community farm in Richmond on Saturday will host its inaugural Annual Festival of Flowers, complete with live music, a brunch buffet and a raffle. Prizes include tickets to the Oakland symphony, a professional manicure and pedicure, and gift baskets. Families will also have the opportunity to make unique flower arrangements, flower crowns and Mother's Day cards. The best part? The event is completely free! Check out the website for more information. 

Wine and painting: 

If you and mom are looking for something more low-key, consider one of the many Paint-and-Sip classes that have popped up in recent years. There are dozens of shops scattered around the Bay Area that offer attendees the chance to sip wine, listen to relaxing music and get a painting lesson straight from the professionals! Check out the Canvas and Cabernet website to see what the classes entail and find price information. 

Plan your own adventure: 

Visit one of the Bay Area's many beaches, or scour parts of your neighborhood that you've never been to before — maybe start a new tradition. Ultimately, you can't go wrong on Mother's Day so long as you and mom have quality time together. 

Is there an event missing from this list? Email Gillian.Edevane@nbcuni.com with details for possible inclusion. 

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<![CDATA[Wildlife Camera Captures Images of Mountain Lion Kittens]]>Tue, 09 May 2017 22:12:39 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/209*120/1-21.jpeg

Photo Credit: Quinton Martins, Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR)]]>
<![CDATA[Parolee, Sex Offender Arrested at Santa Rosa Junior College]]>Mon, 08 May 2017 23:38:15 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/daniel+lee.jpg

A parolee and registered sex offender from Orange County was arrested Monday at Santa Rosa Junior College, where he was attending classes using a different name, the SRJC District Police Department said.

Daniel Jaebok Lee, 41, was wanted since October in Orange County for a felony violation of sex offender registration requirements. His past offenses include indecent exposure, child molestation, attempted lewd acts on a child under 14 and assault with intent to commit rape, college police said.

Campus police became aware of Lee because of reported unusual behavior in one of his classes, police said.

"There were quality of life medical issues. He was reported to be despondent in class," Lt. Robert Brownlee said.

Police conducted a routine threat assessment and learned Lee was using an alias to attend the college as a student, failed to register as a sex offender and illegally fled Orange County where he was on parole, Brownlee said.

After a week's search, Lee was arrested outside a class at Emeritus Hall around 10:50 a.m. Monday. He was booked in the Sonoma County

Jail and will be extradited to Orange County, police said.

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<![CDATA[Dead Man Found Inside Car Near School in Novato]]>Mon, 08 May 2017 20:55:17 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Police-tape-generic-jpg.jpg

A man was found dead inside a car parked near a Novato school Monday afternoon, police said.

At 1:25 p.m. officers responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle on Grant Avenue near Virginia Avenue, just outside Our Lady of Loretto School, according to police Sgt. Chris Jacob.

Responding officers located a man's body inside the vehicle. Officers determined the vehicle was not related to the school and did not pose a threat to the students or the public.

Based on an initial investigation, police said it did not appear as if a crime had occurred.

"It doesn't appear that foul play was involved," Jacob said.

The manner and cause of the death will be determined by the county's coroner's division, according to police.

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<![CDATA[2 Dead After Small Plane Crashes Near Lake Berryessa]]>Tue, 09 May 2017 00:01:11 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-8-17-plane-crash-napa.jpg

Two men died after a small plane crashed near Lake Berryessa Monday morning, officials said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane was a single-engine Icon A5 which crashed under unknown circumstances. The two who died were the only ones on board, officials said.

The Napa County Sheriff Coroner's Facility has identified the victims has Jon Murray Karkow, 55, and Cagri Sever, 41. Karkow was the pilot in commane of the plane when it crashed, officials said. Both Karkow and Sever are employees of ICON Aircraft, based in Vacaville.

"Both of these were employees and part of the family," said Steen Strand, ICON co-founder. "It's a devastating event for the company today."

ICON aircraft has strong Silicon Valley roots. Founder Kirk Hawkins is a Stanford graduate, and several valley venture capitalists are backing the company.

It's aircraft has been widely regarded as a well-designed. Tracy Vaniwarden works on Icon A5s at Nut Tree Airport in Vacaville and has flown them.

"It's extremely safe," Vaniwarden said. "Even with engine failure, you can land on the water, so there's no great risk there. So to see the photos that I saw, something catastrophic happened."

Flight instructor Max Trescott put together a map of Lake Berryessa for pilots, pointing out the safe areas and the dangerous ones.

"It's a very safe area as long as they stay in the northern two-thirds of the lake," Trescott said. "If you're down in the southern part of the lake, things are quite tight. There are a lot of wires and other obstructions."

Lake Berryessa is located less than 20 miles north of Napa.

The FAA and NTSB are investigating the crash, and officials said a final report could be months away.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Communities Push for ‘Quiet Zones’ Along SMART Tracks]]>Mon, 08 May 2017 08:05:16 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/BOB+LIVE+FOR+HENRY+-+11433609.jpg

As Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit service in the North Bay gears up, there is a growing push to silence blaring train horns. The Marin Independent Journal reports several communities are calling for "quiet zones." Those zones are stretches of track where trains don’t sound their horns at crossings, but added safety measures must be put in place to get approval from federal officials. San Rafael could get its approval as early as this week. Opponents argue silencing the horns could put people in danger.

Photo Credit: Henry Jerkins]]>
<![CDATA[Marin County Deputy Coroner Arrested For Child Molestation]]>Tue, 09 May 2017 00:05:51 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/darrell+harris.jpg

Marin County's deputy chief coroner was arrested last week on accusations of multiple counts related to child molestation, as first reported by the Marin Independent Journal and confirmed by police.

Darrell Harris, 46, of San Rafael committed offenses ranging from continued sexual abuse to lewd acts involving an underage girl in Marin over the course of several years.

"We are deeply saddened and troubled by Mr. Harris' arrest," the Marin County Sheriff's Office wrote in a statement. "Our thoughts are with the victim during this difficult time."

The deputy chief coroner faces one count of sexual abuse involving a girl under the age of 14, according to police. The alleged molestation occurred at least three times between May 2008 and May 2011, the newspaper reported. Other counts are related to lewd acts and oral sex with the girl between 2011 and 2015. A final count accuses Harris of sexual battery involving the same girl between May 2015 and March 2017.

In court Monday, defense attorney Douglas Horngrad said he is convinced after meeting with his client that Harris is innocent.

"The unanimous reaction is shock, and no one believes it to be true," Horngrad said. "Mr. Harris’ family does not believe it to be true."

Harris' wife and son were in court Monday.

Harris was arrested last Thursday in Humboldt County by Santa Rosa police after the Marin County District Attorney's Office filed the criminal complaints, according to police. Despite the crimes occurring in Marin, the criminal investigation was conducted by the Santa Rosa Police Department because of Harris' association with Marin authorities.

Harris was taken into custody without incident and transported to the Humboldt County Jail, according to police. He was arraigned in Marin County Superior Court Monday morning. His bail has been set at $750,000.

Harris has worked in Marin County since 2003. Back in 2008, he was dubbed as the investigator of the year by the California State Coroners' Association.

Editor's Note: There is only one alleged victim in this case. A previous report indicated that multiple victims may have been involved.



Photo Credit: Santa Rosa PD]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Beaten in Santa Rosa, Suspect Charged]]>Mon, 08 May 2017 08:19:44 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_police_tape_lights_generic24.jpg

Authorities in the North Bay say a woman is in critical condition after being savagely beaten and hauled off in a car. Just before 9 p.m. Sunday night, Santa Rosa police received reports of a man at Montgomery Drive and Second Street striking a woman repeatedly with a weapon. About a mile away, police spotted a car matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle. Officers found the woman unconscious in the car. Robert Holladay, 56, now faces attempted murder and kidnapping charges.]]>
<![CDATA[Potential in Cannabis to Fight Opioid Epidemic: Researchers]]>Mon, 08 May 2017 17:24:04 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/91997111-marijuana-generic.jpg

After watching a generation of patients fall victim to overdoses and addiction from the mass prescribing of pain pills, researchers seeking alternatives to prescription opioids are turning more frequently to a drug the federal government has long said is neither safe nor effective for the treatment of any medical condition.

A growing consensus in the scientific and medical community points to marijuana having the potential to reduce patients’ dependence on prescription painkillers and help roll back the opioid epidemic ravaging communities across the United States.

Although some government agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, are slowly evolving their stance on cannabis, others like the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration aren’t convinced of its medical potential. They classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug, alongside drugs such as heroin and ecstasy, and say more clinical trials are needed to demonstrate an accepted medical use for the plant and its extracts.

Some researchers who spoke with NBC Bay Area called it a bit of a catch-22. The government wants to see more tests, but because it’s a Schedule I drug, researchers studying the therapeutic effects of marijuana are subject to tight controls and limited federal funding.

“I’m a total believer,” said Marin County pain management doctor Michael Moskowitz, who has practiced medicine for 40 years. “I’m not a believer like I believe in the religion of marijuana. I’m a believer in the science of it.”

Moskowitz has been tracking the results of 78 patients using medical cannabis in conjunction with prescription opioids. His data shows more than half of those patients were able to reduce their dependence on opioids, and five have stopped taking them altogether.

“I was listening to people say they are lowering their medicines, but when I actually looked at the data, I was blown away,” Moskowitz said.

One of those five patients is an East Bay grandmother who suffered through a decade of sometimes unbearable chronic pain after neck surgery, a car crash and breast cancer. She asked her name be kept private over concerns her career in healthcare could be impacted, despite the recent legalization of marijuana in California.

“I feel like if I pulled all of my hair out it would be better than what I was going through,” she said.


Just like tens of millions of other Americans, she relied on a bevy of prescription painkillers to get her through each day. 

According to federal data, more than one-third of people in the United States age 12 and over took prescription pain killers in 2015. Even in the Bay Area, where the epidemic is mild compared to other parts of the country, state data shows about 1,200 people have died from prescription opioid overdoses between 2011 and 2015.


The grandmother says she took the drugs responsibly and never developed any dependency issues, but remained wary after a career in healthcare exposed her to their potential harm.

When Moskowitz approached her about trying medical cannabis, she was nervous at first. She had no interest in "getting high." But faced with the alternative of chronic pain and a dependence on prescription painkillers, she decided to dip her toes in the water, and started with a strain low in THC, the principal psychoactive component of cannabis.

“I wasn’t sure if it would work or not,” she said. “I was nervous and shy about the whole process until I began to realize I was getting better.”

Moskowitz refers patients to Synergy Wellness, a medical cannabis collective in Marin County that specializes in products that heal without the high. Owner Leonard Leinow says half his members are patients seeking medical marijuana to get off their pain pills.

Although Moskowitz has seen success with his own patients and believes marijuana should have a prominent place in treating pain, he says more clinical trials are needed to sway the greater medical community.

That’s exactly what Dr. Donald Abrams, chief of hematology and oncology at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, is working on right now.

“Most doctors have adopted the stigma that [cannabis] is a substance of abuse and has no accepted medical use,” Abrams said.

Abrams became interested in studying cannabis in the early 1990’s and has since become one of the world’s foremost experts on its therapeutic potential. In 2016, he was part of a committee at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that spent six months reviewing all of the published literature on the health benefits of cannabis and its compounds.

“It’s very difficult to find published studies in the literature looking for a potential benefit of cannabis,” Abrams said. “As an oncologist in San Francisco for three-plus decades, I can tell you that I’ve seen my cancer patients decrease the doses of opiates or wean totally of them altogether by using cannabis.”

Abrams said there’s a need for more randomized, placebo-controlled studies to gain a full understanding of the plant and convince the greater medical community of its potential. Now, Abrams is running just one of eight clinical human trials in the country funded by the National Institutes of Health that study the medical benefits of cannabis or one of its compounds. 


This is the kind of study officials at the FDA and DEA want to see more of before accepting cannabis as a drug with medical benefits.

“The FDA’s scientific and medical evaluation has determined that the marijuana plan continues to have high potential for abuse and does not meet the criteria outlined by the [DEA] for currently accepted medical use, requiring its continued placement in Schedule I under law,” FDA spokesperson Michael Felberbaum said in a written statement.

But some agencies within the federal government, such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which currently funds more cannabis research than any other NIH institute,, are shifting their positions on the drug. According to NIDA, its mission traditionally was to study the adverse effects of drugs and develop treatments for addiction. NIDA says it recently broadened its portfolio to include studies on the therapeutic potential of cannabis, which it says is a reflection of increased interest from the research community.

 A recently posted entry on NIDA’s website specifically discussed the potential of cannabis to reduce prescription opioid use in pain patients.

“Research into the effects of cannabis on opioid use in pain patients is limited, but data suggest that medical cannabis treatment may reduce the dose of opioids required for pain relief. In addition to its research portfolio on the roles of the cannabinoid and opioid systems in pain, NIDA is funding additional studies that will provide data relating to medical marijuana and opioids,” it says.

Another recent NIDA study looking at Medicare prescription drug data found that opioid prescriptions were significantly down in states with access to medical cannabis.

Even the DEA, which has yet to budge on its position that marijuana should remain a Schedule I drug, recently began approving more growers to meet the rising demand from researchers. As of now, the only approved source of cannabis for research purposes is a lab at the University of Mississippi.

Yet others in the federal government, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, remain unconvinced that tight controls on marijuana should be lifted.

"I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another," Sessions said at a recent conference for Virginia law enforcement officials

For researchers like Abrams, the strict controls on cannabis limit his ability to study the drug. He not only needs to get approval from a handful of government agencies, but it can also take a long time to obtain the product and there are limited strains available for testing.

“As long as we have the DOJ making decisions as opposed to scientists and physicians, something is broken,” he said.

But Abram says those hoops are worth jumping through given the potential he sees in the plant.

“It’s a lot of work and there are a lot of barriers, but I still think that they’re worth trying to overcome to answer important questions,” he said.

Angeline Bernabe also contributed to this report.

Have a story you want the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit to look into? Email theunit@nbcbayarea.com or call 888-996-TIPS. Like Liz on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[High Surf Advisory in Effect For Bay Area Beaches]]>Sun, 07 May 2017 11:29:08 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Waves-generic-san-diego-091715.jpg

A high-surf advisory is in effect until Sunday afternoon for all of the San Francisco Bay Area and Monterey Bay Area coastlines, according to National Weather Service officials.

The advisory is in effect until 2 p.m. for the coastline from northern Sonoma County to southern Monterey County and the Big Sur coast.

Forecasters are expecting a northwest swell of 15 to 18 feet with 11-second swell periods.

Large waves will be capable of sweeping people into the water, which is cold and turbulent. The high surf will also produce rip currents, weather officials said.

People are urged to avoid coastline beaches, rocks, jetties and piers until the high surf subsides.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Vallejo Man Falls to Death at Winery in St. Helena]]>Sat, 06 May 2017 20:43:59 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police-lights-generic-080615.jpg

A Vallejo man installing refrigeration piping at Sutter Home Winery in St. Helena died Thursday afternoon after falling 16-feet through the roof, according to the Napa County Sheriff's office.

The sheriff's office said 56-year-old Daniel Colombo was doing repair work at 100 Main Street around 12:40 p.m., when he fell through a fiberglass light panel to his death.

According to the sheriff's office, Colombo was not wearing a safety harness at the time of the incident and died as a result of severe head injuries.

Both the District Attorney's Office and the Division of Occupational Safety and Health are conducting investigations.



Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Man Busted For Offering Housing in Exchange For Sex: Police]]>Sat, 06 May 2017 20:51:54 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/handcuffs-GettyImages-141810855.jpg

A man posing as a landlord in San Rafael was arrested Friday for offering housing in exchange for sex, police said.

Tifano Ariel Rodas Maldonado, 38, of San Rafael used a fake name when he posted advertisements about open housing in the city's Canal neighborhood, according to police. One victim approached Maldonaldo, who police say was specifically preying on the immigrant population, about the housing offer before learning that they would have to pay in both money and sexual acts.

After being tipped off about the behavior, police and the Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California conducted an undercover sting operation. They called Maldonaldo about the housing offer. He responded by demanding $2,000 per month in rent and sex in order to live in one of his supposedly available apartments, police said.

An undercover officer scheduled a meeting to finalize the housing deal, according to police. When Maldonaldo arrived, police arrested him. He confessed to not being in the real estate business and not having any rental properties in his possession. He also admitted to posting the advertisements.

Maldonaldo was arrested and booked into the Marin County Jail on felony fraud and prostitution charges.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sonoma State Police Officer Shoots Domestic Violence Suspect]]>Fri, 05 May 2017 14:22:16 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0505-2017-CotatiShooting.jpg

A Sonoma State University police officer shot a 22-year-old domestic violence suspect in Cotati early Friday, Sonoma County sheriff's officials said.

As the bars in downtown Cotati were closing around 2 a.m., several fights broke out and Cotati police requested backup from campus police.

Four women told officers near the Plaza that, when they tried to break up a physical fight between a man and woman, the man had pointed a gun at one of their heads and threatened to kill her if they didn't leave, Sonoma County sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Crum said.

The officers then followed gunshots they heard nearby and collected four handgun casings, but did not find the victim or suspect.

Around 4:45 a.m., the Sonoma State officer was following up on a domestic incident in the 100 block of East Cotati Avenue, near the Plaza, when he saw a man walk out of a creek bed, Crum said.

The officer believed the man was the suspect from the previous domestic violence incident and tried to talk with him, but he ran away, prompting a foot chase.

The officer used his stun gun on the man and then shot him twice, Crum said. The suspect was taken to a hospital, where he had surgery.

The sheriff's office is investigating the incident. Anyone with information about it has been asked to call 707-565-2185.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Four Arrested For Throwing Beer Bottles at Police Officers]]>Sat, 06 May 2017 15:12:02 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/police-tape-shutterstock_56280433191.jpg

Four people were arrested late Friday night in Petaluma on suspicion of battery on a police officer after police tried to detain a youth who allegedly assaulted concert security, police said.

Officers responded at 11:21 p.m. to a fight in front of the Phoenix Theater at 201 E. Washington St. and throughout the Keller Street Garage.

Earlier in the night rapper Iamsu! performed at the theater, police said.

When officers arrived, a mob was allegedly throwing beer bottles at citizens from the third floor of the parking garage. The mob also allegedly threw bottles at officers, according to police.

Security at the concert told police of a youth who allegedly assaulted them after the concert. When officers tried to detain the youth, others were allegedly combative with the officers.

Police were allegedly spit on, battered, and were concerned for their safety.

Officers arrested two youths and two adults on suspicion of battery on a police officer, public intoxication and obstruction of justice.

The adults arrested were 19-year-old Petaluma resident Frederick Genazzi and 20-year-old Petaluma resident Zachary Bowler, police said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File]]>
<![CDATA[3 Juveniles Accused of Assault With a Deadly Weapon]]>Sat, 06 May 2017 14:08:44 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/handcuffs14.jpg

Three youths were arrested Friday on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and felony assault related to two fights last month in Petaluma that sent a fourth youth to a hospital, police said.

The three youths were arrested at their homes at about 9 a.m.

They are suspected of knocking a youth unconscious and kicking and punching the victim. The injured youth has since been released from the hospital, Lt. Brian Miller said.

One of the alleged fights occurred at around 11:30 p.m. April 28 in the Keller Street parking garage. A second allegedly occurred a little while later in the 800 block of Petaluma Boulevard North.

The next day officers went to Petaluma Valley Hospital where they found the victim.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File]]>
<![CDATA[Man Shot by Cotati Sheriff's Deputy in Critical Condition]]>Sat, 06 May 2017 13:37:41 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0505-2017-CotatiShooting.jpg

A 22-year-old man is in critical condition after he was shot Friday morning in Cotati by a Sonoma State University police officer, sheriff's officials said on Saturday.

The shooting took place at about 4:45 a.m. in the area of the 100 block of East Cotati Avenue.

The officer saw the man walk out of a creek bed as he was following up on a domestic violence call.

The officer tried to talk to the man because the officer thought he was a suspect in a different domestic violence incident and the man ran, sheriff's officials said.

The officer used a stun gun on the man and then shot him twice.

The suspect's name is not being released, according to sheriff's officials.

The officer who shot the man has been put on paid leave.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Sonoma County Sheriff IDs Suspect in 2004 Double Homicide]]>Fri, 05 May 2017 17:41:54 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-5-17-shaun-gallon-suspect.jpg

Sonoma County sheriff's officials believe they have solved the slayings of two young Bible-camp counselors found shot to death as they slept on a Jenner beach more than a decade ago, they said Friday.

 The young couple, Lindsay Cutshall, 22, and her fiance Jason Allen, 26, was found next to each other on a driftwood-strewn beach, still zipped into their sleeping bags, on Aug. 18, 2004.

On Friday, Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas said investigators have interrogated Shaun Gallon, 38, of Forestville, who was taken into custody in connection with the fatal shooting of his brother in March and previously arrested for shooting another man with an arrow in 2009.

The sheriff's office received over 1,200 tips after news broke about Cutshall and Allen's deaths. One of them was about Gallon, who was identified as a person of interest early in the investigation and was never ruled out as a suspect. When he was taken into custody for the March killing of his brother, detectives took the opportunity to talk to him about the cold case. 

Gallon knew things about the killings that no one who wasn't involved could have known, the sheriff said, and authorities have also found corroborating evidence.

"We feel confident we have Jason and Lindsay's killer," Freitas said of the young couple, whose mysterious killings drew national attention.

No one has ever been charged in the killings, and no motive has ever been made public. Authorities have said neither victim was robbed or sexually assaulted. Freitas said authorities believed the killing was random, and that there was no previous connection between the two and the suspect.

Officials have not yet found the weapon.

The victims' parents wrote a letter to the sheriff's office, which Freitas read aloud during a news conference. 

"When we at times wondered if this day would ever come, the detectives in particular wouldn’t allow us to lose hope," their note said in part.

Chris Cutshall, father of Lindsay Cutshall, later said he and his family were "just really pleased that they finally captured this guy."

Lindsay Cutshall, a native of Fresno, Ohio, and Allen, from Zeeland, Michigan, were on a weekend trip. They worked at a Christian youth camp in California's Sierra Nevada foothills.

The pair was killed during a three-day sightseeing trip to Northern California. A helicopter unit heading to a rescue flew over the remote area and noticed the couple who looked like they were sleeping. When they flew back later and realized that the man and woman had not moved, it struck them as suspicious. That prompted a massive response from the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office. 


Before being linked to the Jenner case, Gallon was arrested in 2009 after an arrow fired from his bow pierced the convertible top of a car and struck the hat James McNeil was wearing. McNeil at the time didn't understand why he was targeted, but the new information announced Friday regarding Gallon's history gave him some clarity.

"Apparently it wasn't an accident," he said. "It all makes sense now. I don't know why he was after me."

Gallon served two years behind bars after shooting at McNeil before being released. McNeil questions the length of that sentence.

"Two years for attempted murder; maybe they should have gave him longer," McNeil said. "More people would be alive."

After Gallon's arrest Friday, Freitas described feeling "joyful" because Gallon's actions were "traumatic" for the entire Jenner community.

A former neighbor of Gallon said the man didn't seem violent, but added that Gallon became increasingly reclusive over the years.

"It worries me," the neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said. "Somebody that could be that normal was that unhinged."

Sheriff's officials will soon send the double homicide case to the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office. Gallon is expected to be arraigned in a few weeks.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Sonoma County Sheriff's Office
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<![CDATA[Flaring at Valero Refinery Prompts Evacuations in Benicia]]>Fri, 05 May 2017 23:51:59 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/valerosocialgiphy.gif

A power outage at the Valero refinery in Benicia triggered flaring and dense black smoke, prompting a shelter-in-place and evacuations in the city for a couple of hours Friday morning.

Power has since been restored. In addition, all shelter-in-place and evacuation orders have been lifted. Environmental Protection Agency and Air Quality officials were still monitoring the incident late Friday.

A PG&E power disruption around 6:30 a.m. caused thick plumes of smoke to waft into the nearby Industrial Park, according to Valero spokeswoman Lillian Riojas.


Benicia Fire Department Chief Jim Lydon said his agency was notified at 6:45 a.m. that flaring would begin. At 7:30 a.m., the situation escalated and Valero advised the fire department to begin evacuations, Lydon said.

The flaring could be seen from miles, some Twitter users said, while others complained that they were struggling to breathe. 

Police urged people to keep the doors and windows of their homes closed and bring pets inside. A shelter-in-place order was lifted, except for Matthew Turner and Robert Semple elementary schools, police said on Twitter around 9 a.m. Evacuations for the city were lifted by 9:20 a.m.

Displaced people were able to take shelter at the Benicia Community Center at 370 E. L Street. Entrances to the park have been closed, including off-ramps from Interstate 680.


EPA officials said at a news conference that the level of hydric sulphide and sulphur dioxide — typical near a refinery — peaked at "up to 10 times normal background" on Friday morning. The city's response was appropriate, officials confirmed.

Bay Area Air Quality District inspectors were at the refinery just before 10 a.m. guiding first responders. Valero and the Petrochemical Mutual Aid Organization are also monitoring the air quality.

As a precaution, the California Highway Patrol briefly closed I-680 in Benicia. Northbound traffic was diverted to westbound Interstate 780 and southbound cars were directed to the Lake Herman exit. The freeway has since been reopened.




Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[No Injuries After Car Smashes Into Santa Rosa Pet Store]]>Tue, 02 May 2017 07:02:08 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-1-17_Pet_Store_Santa_Rosa_Car.jpg

A driver suspected of being under the influence of marijuana plowed into a Santa Rosa pet store Monday night, but no humans or animals were injured, according to police.

The 26-year-old driver, who was identified as Jeffrey Dallas Pearson, told police that he was driving about 60 mph when he lost control and smashed into the Village Pets store, which is located at 4125 Montgomery Drive, just before 9:20 p.m. Witnesses told police that Pearson tried to ditch the scene just before authorities arrived.

Shattered glass and dislodged bricks littered the scene, but the car only made it a few feet into the store before coming to a stop.

A subsequent investigation revealed that Pearson was smoking marijuana before the crash and may have also consumed alcohol, according to police. Tests were conducted before Pearson was eventually arrested for driving under the influence of drugs and booked into the Sonoma County Jail.

Firefighters stayed on scene to help install a temporary wall so that the business was secured for the night.

An investigation into the crash is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact Officer Vlahandreas of the Santa Rosa Police Department at 707-543-3600.



Photo Credit: Santa Rosa Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[Days After Crashing Into Pet Shop, Man Rams Into Parked Cars]]>Thu, 04 May 2017 08:33:03 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/542017-SantaRosaCrash.jpg

A man crashed a vehicle into several parked cars Wednesday afternoon in Santa Rosa, just two days after he crashed another vehicle into a pet store, police said.

At 4:50 p.m. Wednesday, police were dispatched to the 500 block of Montecito Boulevard for a traffic collision.

According to police, witnesses reported that a 2000 GMC Yukon was traveling west on Montecito Boulevard at a high rate of speed when it collided with several parked vehicles. The vehicles involved sustained significant damage as a result.

Montecito Boulevard was closed for several hours to remove the damaged vehicles and clear trees that were also damaged, police said.

The driver of the Yukon, identified as 26-year-old Jeffrey Dallas Pearson of Santa Rosa, was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

Drugs and alcohol do not appear to be factors in the collision police said.

According to police, Pearson was the subject of another investigation involving a collision that occurred at 9:20 p.m. Monday.

In that incident, Pearson allegedly lost control of his 2014 Ford Focus and crashed into the Village Pets & Supply store at 4213 Montgomery Drive in Santa Rosa.

Pearson allegedly tried to walk away from the scene, but was detained by police. He allegedly told them that he smoked marijuana before driving, police said.

Police found evidence of possible alcohol consumption and of controlled substances in the Ford Focus, police said. Pearson was subsequently arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs and booked into the Sonoma County Jail.

There were no injuries to people or pets at the pet store, police said.

Police are investigating and asking anyone with information to contact Santa Rosa police Officer Meiger at (707) 543-3600.



Photo Credit: Santa Rosa Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Fight for Rights: Thousands March in May Day Rallies]]>Mon, 01 May 2017 17:41:49 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-1-17_May_Day_SF.jpg

Joining hundreds of thousands around the world, droves of demonstrators on Monday are gathering across the Bay Area for May Day rallies, which are drawing special attention to immigrants' rights in the wake of the Trump administration's controversial executive orders and promises.

Traditional May Day demonstrations were originally designed to propagate workers' rights and combat exploitative working conditions. But, in recent years, the annual day of action has been highlighted by a range of social issues, particularly the need for immigration reform and a living wage.  


The jam-packed day of activity started with people blocking off an intersection near the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in San Francisco. Standing in the street in front of cars, demonstrators overtook crosswalks and hoisted signs reading "Sanctuary For All" and "Resist Hate, Racism, Corporate Greed" into the air. Others grabbed chalk and paint to decorate the concrete with phrases such as "Resist" and "No Ban, No Wall" in large red and white letters.

Roughly 20 protesters stamped with white pieces of paper on their shirts reading "#ResistUniteProtect" or "#SanctuaryForAll" also linked arms, formed a human wall and planted themselves in front of the entrance and exit point for deportation buses at the ICE building. The move was designed to promote solidarity with immigrants, according to protester Dalia Yedidia.

"So we know that there are workers, immigrants, and immigrant workers, and we're here in solidarity with them denouncing the intense escalation of anti-immigrant racist policies coming out of the Trump administration," she said.


Demonstrators blocks away at Justin Herman Plaza waved politically-themed signs and shouted in support of immigrants' rights while simultaneously chastising the Trump administration's border wall proposals and commitment — despite a blocked executive order — to defund sanctuary cities that do not cooperate with U.S. immigration officials.

"Folks are feeling a lot of fear right now in both with the executive orders and with we don't know what's going to come down the pipe," demonstrator My Trinh said. "I think they're feeling unsupported. There are folks who are being pushed into the shadows."


Across the Bay Bridge, motionless people — outlined by chalked silhouettes — rested on the ground outside the Alameda County Administration building while demonstrators stood over them chanting for an end to police violence, mass incarceration and immigration raids.

At least four people attending that rally were arrested for trespassing, according to the Alameda County Sheriff's Department.

Shops and restaurants across the Bay Area joined the movement behind the May Day rallies by closing their doors, students engineered school walkouts, and even major tech hubs like Facebook and Uber allowed their employees to participate in workers’ strikes without penalization.

Work at the Port of Oakland temporarily came to a halt, but it wasn't a walkout, a spokesman for the longshoremen's union told NBC Bay Area. He said it's a negotiated day off in the port workers' contract because typically hundreds of dock workers participate in May Day demonstrations. Only the day shift at the port was affected, he said.

Check below for a list of protests, rallies and demonstrations:

San Francisco: Rally and festival at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office at 8 a.m.; Chinatown community rally at Portsmouth Square from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; Rally at Justin Herman Plaza with a march to Civic Center Plaza at 11 a.m.; Montgomery Bart Station rally from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Mountain View: March at Rengstorff Park Community Center at 4 p.m. A rally will follow at 5:45 p.m. at City Hall.

San Jose: Rally at Mexican Heritage Plaza at 1 p.m.; March to Arena Greens at Autumn and Santa Clara Streets at 3 p.m.; May Day rally and march at Story and King Roads from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. 

Morgan Hill: March from Galvan Park to ICE office on Vineyard Court at 4 p.m. 

Oakland: People's Climate Movement contingent march on 12th street near Citibank at 2 p.m.*; Hotel Workers contingent march at Mandela Parkway and Yerba Buena at 1:30 p.m.*; May Day Restaurant Industry contingent march on 1419 34th Avenue at 2 p.m.*; Rally at Fruitvale Plaza at 3 p.m. 

*These marches will likely feed into the rally at Fruitvale Plaza. 

Berkeley: Workers’ Day Rally at UC Berkeley at noon. 

Concord: Rally at Meadow Homes Park at 4 p.m.; Rally at Todos Santos Plaza at 6 p.m. 




Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Cal Fire Requires Permits for Open Burning at Residences]]>Mon, 01 May 2017 12:38:12 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-1-17-cal-fire-dead+vegetation.jpg

Beginning Monday, Cal Fire requires a permit for open burning in certain areas. The agency says during times of the year with high fire danger that burning dead vegetation at homes isn't safe. The permits will be needed in San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Sonoma and Napa Counties.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area ]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Drowns in Sonoma County Creek]]>Sun, 30 Apr 2017 14:08:22 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Creek+Generic.jpg

A woman drowned Saturday afternoon in a Sonoma County creek near Cloverdale, a battalion chief with the Cloverdale Fire Protection District said Saturday.

Battalion Chief Rick Blackmon said that it appears a couple was wading in Big Sulphur Creek, a tributary of the Russian River, when they may have slipped or were just taken down stream by the current.

Rescue personnel with the fire protection district were called at 4:39 p.m. to an area of the creek near Pine Mountain and Geysers roads where the couple had been.

Both appear to have slipped into the creek or were swept downstream, Blackmon said. The man was able to get out.

The creek in the spring is pretty rough and the water moves fast.

"It's got some pretty good flow in there," Blackmon said.

No more details were immediately available.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Thousands Expected to Show at Bay Area May Day Rallies]]>Sun, 30 Apr 2017 23:36:58 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/may+day-0430-2017.jpg

Hundreds of thousands of protesters on Monday are expected to gather across the country for International Workers' Day, a May 1 tradition that has gained renewed momentum as strident immigration rhetoric continues to seep out of the Trump administration.

The demonstrations, which originated with the labor movement, are marked by employee strikes against exploitative working conditions. But, in recent years, the annual day of action has highlighted a range of social issues, particularly the need for immigration reform and a living wage.  

Given that President Donald Trump's campaign platform — and a slew of his executive orders — have targeted undocumented immigrants, this year's protests are expected to be yet another pointed rebuke of the business mogul's presidency.

Shops and restaurants across the Bay Area are expected to shutter on Monday. Students are planning school walkouts. Even major tech hubs like Facebook and Uber have allowed their employees to participate in workers’ strikes without penalization.

Work at the Port of Oakland will come to a halt, but it won't be a walkout, a spokesman for the longshoremen's union told NBC Bay Area. He said it's a negotiated day off in the port workers' contract because typically hundreds of dock workers participate in May Day demonstrations. Only the day shift at the port will be affected, he said.

Also in Oakland, volunteers prepared signs for Monday's march. Among them was a high school student who helped organize hundreds of fellow Oakland students joining the march along its route.

"When you really talk to the youth, they really care about it and want to know how they can help," student organizer Reyna Jauregui said.

Another high schooler helped energize a movement at St. Elizabeth Church in Oakland, where people of faith and workers' groups will also meet to join the march.

"I think it's incredible," said Jocelyn Medina of Oakland Community Organizations. "Love of everyone."

Migrant worker rights groups are among some of the most energized. Organizers estimate more than 70 groups are involved so far. Their goal on May Day is connecting with a Latino community, which they say is living in fear of the Trump administration's new immigration policies.  

In San Jose, busy Mendoza’s restaurant is one of several businesses that plan to close Monday. Workers there will instead join thousands of others in a march through downtown.

"The workers that want to participate, we made T-shirts with our logo: 'No one is illegal' or 'Black Lives Matter or 'Love is love,'" Adilene Mendoza said.

On Sunday, faith and community leaders talked about showing solidarity in a peaceful event.

"We march because we feel that we need to stand together," said the Rev. Jon Pedigo of the Diocese of San Jose. "We have been placed together in a difficult situation with undocumented persons, with Muslim persons, with LGBTQ persons. ... We are telling Trump we are here to stay, we are here to fight and be truly represented by our government."

Check below for a list of protests, rallies and demonstrations:

San Francisco: Rally and festival at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office at 8 a.m.; Chinatown community rally at Portsmouth Square from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; Rally at Justin Herman Plaza with a march to Civic Center Plaza at 11 a.m.; Montgomery Bart Station rally from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Mountain View: March at Rengstorff Park Community Center at 4 p.m. A rally will follow at 5:45 p.m. at City Hall.

San Jose: Rally at Mexican Heritage Plaza at 1 p.m.; March to Arena Greens at Autumn and Santa Clara Streets at 3 p.m.; May Day rally and march at Story and King Roads from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. 

Morgan Hill: March from Galvan Park to ICE office on Vineyard Court at 4 p.m. 

Oakland: People's Climate Movement contingent march on 12th street near Citibank at 2 p.m.*; Hotel Workers contingent march at Mandela Parkway and Yerba Buena at 1:30 p.m.*; May Day Restaurant Industry contingent march on 1419 34th Avenue at 2 p.m.*; Rally at Fruitvale Plaza at 3 p.m. 

*These marches will likely feed into the rally at Fruitvale Plaza. 

Richmond: 

Rally at Lovonya Dejean Middle School in Richmond with RYSE youth center, the Richmond progressive alliance and United Teachers of Richmond at 4 p.m. 

Berkeley: Workers’ Day Rally at UC Berkeley at noon. 

Concord: Rally at Meadow Homes Park at 4 p.m.; Rally at Todos Santos Plaza at 6 p.m. 



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[UC Berkeley Named 'America's Best Value College': Forbes]]>Sun, 30 Apr 2017 11:09:06 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/UCBerkeleyGeneric.jpg

Tuition might be expensive, but attending the University of California, Berkeley provides the most bang for your buck, according to a new Forbes report.

The East Bay university topped the list of Forbes' "America's Best Value Colleges" list, which calculates what schools are worth the financial investment. Southern California's University of California, Los Angeles and the East Coast's Princeton University rounded out the top three, respectively.

UC Berkeley wasn't the only institution in the area labeled as a school worth the investment. Stanford University checked in at No. 7 on the list while University of California, Davis grabbed the No. 9 spot.

Not to be left out, Santa Clara University (No. 63), San Jose State University (No. 140), University of San Francisco (No. 176), San Francisco State University (No. 210), Saint Mary's College (No. 234), California State University, East Bay (No. 240) and Sonoma State University (No. 300) also nabbed a spot on the list.

The annual list takes into account "tuition costs, school quality, post-grad earnings, student debt and graduation success," according to Forbes.

An interesting trend noted in the report indicates that roughly 70 percent of the schools listed in the top 100 are research universities, meaning that the education is centered around science, technology and engineering. A STEM-oriented education is defined by Forbes as being increasingly valuable because that's where the jobs are in this day and age.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[High School Student Arrested on Suspicion of Sexual Battery]]>Fri, 28 Apr 2017 20:11:06 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police-lights-generic-080615.jpg

A juvenile suspect in a sexual battery that happened Thursday on the Santa Rosa Junior College campus was arrested Friday, campus police said.

Two underage high school students, one male and one female, were on a field trip at the junior college's planetarium when the male suspect groped the girl over her clothing without her consent while he masturbated, the Santa Rosa Junior College Police Department said.

The girl notified high school officials and the officials contacted Santa Rosa Junior College District Police, officers said.

Neither of the students attend the junior college, police said.

Campus police investigated the incident along with local police, crisis counselors and high school officials. The girl was provided with victim resources and counseling by police and high school officials, and her parent was notified, police said.

The underage male was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor sexual battery and taken to Sonoma County Juvenile Hall, and his parent was notified, police said.

The names of the two students won't be released because they are juveniles, police said.

The high school will be conducting its own investigation.

Anyone with information regarding the case should contact campus police at (707) 527-1000 and reference Case No. 17-227.



Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Couple Arrested on Drug Sales, Weapons Possession Charges]]>Fri, 28 Apr 2017 14:55:17 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/santarosa1.jpg

Santa Rosa police arrested two people Thursday on suspicion of possessing large amounts of cocaine for sale from their south Santa Rosa home.

John Conway Telesmanic, 24, and Julia Smith, 28, also were arrested for possession of illegal assault weapons at the residence, Sgt. Rich Celli said.

Narcotics detectives were investigating the sales and distribution of cocaine in Sonoma County since December, and they saw Telesmanic selling the drug to customers for several months, Celli said.

Police and federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents set up surveillance of Telesmanic's home in the Olive Street area of Santa Rosa Thursday, and they served a warrant to search the house where he and Smith live when Telesmanic drove away from the residence, Celli said.

Detectives found loaded handguns, short-barrel AR-15 pistols, an AK-47 assault rifle, a short-barrel, pump action 12-gauge shotgun and ammunition in two bedrooms of the home, Celli said.

Detectives also found a half-kilo of cocaine, Xanax, crack cocaine, MDMA, psilocybin mushrooms, scales, packaging and $17,214 in the residence, Celli said.

Telesmanic and Smith were arrested and booked in the Sonoma County Jail on charges of possession of drugs for sale and possession of illegal weapons charges.

An investigation is ongoing.

People with information about this case are asked to call the Santa Rosa Police Department (707) 543-3600.



Photo Credit: Santa Rosa Police Department
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<![CDATA[Police Arrest Man in Connection With String of Fiery Attacks]]>Fri, 28 Apr 2017 13:43:55 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/4-28-17-fairfield-suspect-arrested.jpg

Fairfield police on Friday morning arrested a man on suspicion of setting off four firebombs across the city, including one in front of the police station lobby.

Based on similarities between the explosive devices, police believe Matthew Scott Jones, 39, of Fairfield, is behind the rash of fiery attacks. 

The first explosion was reported just before 10 p.m. Thursday when Jones threw an incendiary device into the window of an apartment complex on the 2900 block of North Texas Street, police said. The two people inside were not hurt and firefighters responded and doused the flames. Police were called to the scene due to the nature of the fire. 

Roughly an hour later, a car on Thames Court was firebombed, said police, who noticed similarities between the first and second explosions.

Jones is then believed to have targeted the Fairfield Police Department on Webster Street by causing an explosion in front of the lobby around 1 a.m. The building itself did not catch fire, KCRA said, but the explosion left a scorch mark on the ground.

Jones' alleged actions were seen by witnesses and he was also caught on surveillance camera near the police department, police said. 

Police located the suspect's car around 1:40 a.m. Friday and detained Jones, according to police. 

However, later Friday morning, officers and a bomb squad went to the 2900 block of North Texas Street to search for any additional explosives, KCRA reported. During the investigation, people who live nearby were evacuated for their safety, and some described hearing loud pops, police said. The scene has since been declared safe by the bomb squad and people have been allowed back into their apartments. 

And again, just after 12 p.m. Friday police released a Nixle alert about the discovery of a suspicious device inside a warehouse. A bomb squad was dispatched, and police wrote that "the device is located near chemicals that, if ignited, pose a threat to people in the area."

Residences and businesses on Crocker Circle and Huntington Drive were evacuated and people were asked to avoid the area, police said.

Police noted that the device in the warehouse resembled firebombs set off late Thursday. By 1:30 p.m., however, police had declared the area safe and lifted the evacuation order.

Jones is a neighbor of two of the victims and has been accused of "acting erratically" and hurling racial epithets at them, police said in a statement.

He has been booked into Solano County Jail on a litany of charges, including attempted murder, committing a hate crime, two counts of possessing a destructive device, possessing a destructive device with the intent to injure people, exploding a destructive device with the intent to commit murder, and two counts of arson.

Police said the attacks are not acts of terrorism, but didn't reveal Jones' motive. Police are not looking for any other suspects.

People with information about the case can call 707-428-7600. You can also call our Tip Line at 707-428-7345, Solano CrimeStoppers at 707-644-7867, or Text “TIP FAIRFIELDPD” followed by your message to 888777. Callers and texters can remain anonymous.



Photo Credit: Fairfield Police Department
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Man Suspected of Having Sex With Teen Boy in Novato: Police]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 22:51:15 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Jail-Generic-Photo.jpg

Novato police arrested a 52-year-old San Rafael man Wednesday afternoon on suspicion of having sex with a minor.

A police officer saw a vehicle parked in a secluded area behind a building in the area of State Access Road near Hamilton Parkway in Novato around 4:15 p.m.

Theodore Bahora, 52, of San Rafael, was in the back seat with a 16-year-old male, police said. Police learned Bahora and the teen met using an online application and arranged to meet for sex, police said.

Bahora was booked in the Marin County Jail for sexual intercourse with a minor, sodomy and oral copulation with a person under age 18, indecent exposure and arranging to meet a minor for sex, police said.

]]>
<![CDATA[Tiburon Officials, Residents Debate Removal of 42 Trees]]>Tue, 25 Apr 2017 23:52:44 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tiburon+trees-0425-2017.jpg

Officials and residents of Tiburon, an upscale town in Marin County, were divided Tuesday night over the future of 42 trees.

A proposal to cut down the cluster of trees that can be seen on the drive into the town had heading to town hall to weigh in.

Arborist Duffy Hurwin said she and a group of neighbors want to spend $70,000 to cut down the trees on Tiburon's south knoll. Her arborist report says the pines and eucalyptus are dangerous.

"If they fall, I'm worried someone is going to get injured or about my neighborhood catching fire," Hurwin said.

Some agree that eucalyptus trees are a fire hazard and called widowmakers for a reason.

"The widowmakers come about because we lost loved ones because they were walking or standing under the tree," said Cris Jones of Greenbrae.

Town staff recalled a large limb falling on the bike path at the knoll in 2006. No one was hurt, but the threat was readily apparent.

Not everyone agreed with the proposal or assessment Tuesday and instead thought it was more important to keep nature intact.

"Preserve as many trees as possible," resident Terry Hennessy said. "Nature and trees are more important than views."

Neighbors on both sides were digging in Tuesday night.

"We should find some solution or resolution before it divides us," Hazel Caldwell said.

The Parks, Open Space and Trails Commission decided to study the proposal further, hoping to find a compromise.

Hurwin said she hopes the decision will change the landscape.

"If they are given the chance, we'll have a hillside full of oak trees," Hurwin said.

The commission subcommittee is expected to report back in a month.



Photo Credit: Jean Elle/NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighters Douse Blaze at Empty House Near Vallejo]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 09:09:43 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4-27-2017-vallejo-fire-pic.jpg

Firefighters battled a two-alarm blaze that broke out at a house near Vallejo on Thursday morning, fire officials said.

At 12:42 a.m., the Vallejo Fire Department received a call about a fire at 1012 Benicia Road in unincorporated Solano County, near Vallejo.

According to a fire dispatcher, the home was vacant when crews arrived.

At 1:07 a.m., Vallejo fire officials announced on Twitter that the fire was under control.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Further details were not immediately available.



Photo Credit: Vallejo Firefighters via Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[After School Program Director Accused of Child Endangerment]]>Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:57:50 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/04-25-2017-boys-and-girls-club.jpg

The director of a Boys and Girls Club after-school program was arrested Monday on suspicion of posting a 6-year-old girl's photo and her personal information in an internet child pornography chat room, according to the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety.

Benjamin Goerke, 22, of Rohnert Park, was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment and was booked into Sonoma County Jail. Goerke posted $50,000 bail early Tuesday and is scheduled to be arraigned in Sonoma County Superior Court on Friday.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security informed the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety on March 29 that the girl's photo and personal information were posted on the Internet site, where images of child pornography are shared and arrangements are made to have the children available for molestation.

The girl's parents confirmed the girl's posted name, Petaluma address and phone number were correct and that her photo was taken at an afterschool program at a Boys and Girls Club in the Petaluma area, according to public safety officials.

The IP address of the user who posted the photo and information was traced to Goerke's residence on East Cotati Avenue in Rohnert Park. Goerke was program director of the after school program the girl attended and he worked at other Boys and Girls Clubs in Petaluma, public safety officials said.

Investigators got a $50,000 arrest warrant for child endangerment and arrested Goerke at the after school program on Monday. Officers searched his home and took electronics that access the Internet.

Goerke admitted taking non-pornographic photos of the girl with his cellphone and accessing her personal information remotely through the Boys and Girls Club's network, Rohnert Park Cmdr. Aaron Johnson said.

Officers are still investigating whether there are additional victims related to Goerke's activities.

The Boys and Girls Club in a statement Tuesday said Goerke was subject to multiple background checks and the organization does not tolerate any inappropriate or illegal activity on the part of any club staff.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Five Deaths in Santa Rosa May Be Linked to Heroin Overdoses]]>Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:23:10 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0219-2015-SonomaSheriff.jpg

Five deaths over the last 10 days in the Santa Rosa area may be linked to heroin overdoses, officials said Tuesday.

The Sonoma County Coroner's Office said the final cause of the deaths has yet to be determined, but is warning the public of the disturbing trend.

"The Coroner's Office is concerned that the heroin being distributed in Santa Rosa right now is very volatile and potentially toxic," the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. 

Of those who died, the sheriff's office said a 27-year-old woman, a 30-year-old man and a 28-year-old man were transients. The other victims were a 52-year-old man and a 66-year-old woman. All five were found in different parts of the city, according to the sheriff's office.

It's possible that people are mixing the heroin with other things, but that will not be confirmed until toxicology reports are are available, the sheriff's office said. 

"All health, rehabilitation and treatment centers need to know that this substance is out there and any signs of overdose should be taken seriously. Anyone exhibiting signs or symptoms of an overdose should seek medical attention immediately or call 911," the sheriff's statement continued. 

No other information was immediately available.

Editor's note: The sheriff's office initially reported nine deaths and then updated that number. 



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Thieves Nab $24,000 in Apple Products From North Bay Store]]>Tue, 25 Apr 2017 07:59:57 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4-25-17-corde-madera-applestore.jpg

Five young men on Monday managed to nab roughly $24,000 in Apple products from a company store in Corte Madera, according to police.

The group of suspects ran into the store located at the Village Shopping Center around 8 p.m. and swiftly grabbed 17 iPhones, two computers and three iPads, according to Central Marin Police Authority Sgt. Grady Joseph.

A patrol officer happened to be in the area at the time the robbery call came in and responded immediately, but the suspects managed to slip out of the store's back exit, Joseph said.

The store was closed at the time of the heist, but the doors were still open because shoppers were wrapping up their purchases, Joseph said.

Police on Tuesday will comb through surveillance footage in hopes of finding any helpful information.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Six-Figure Salary in Some Bay Area Spots Dubbed Low Income]]>Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:11:17 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/MoneyBayAreaIncome.jpg

It's no secret. The Bay Area grows increasingly expensive by the day.

What may come as a surprise — or not really at this point anymore — is that six-figure salaries in some Bay Area locations classify families as being low income.

That's right. In Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties, a family of four earning $105,350 is considered to be living at the low income limit, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. That's because the median income in those regions has soared to $115,300.

A "very low" income mark in those three counties equates to a family of four earning $65,800, according to the data. "Extremely low" income means that same family is only bringing in $39,500.

Folks living in the Bay Area's six other counties aren't experiencing much of a financial break either. A family of four living in Alameda and Contra Costa counties tallying $80,400 per year is labeled as low income, according to the data. In those spots, the median income for a family of four has jumped to $97,400. A family of four in Santa Clara County is considered to be low income if they bring in $84,750. The median income in the South Bay currently sits at $113,300.

The low income line for a family of four drops slightly for those in Napa ($74,500), Solano ($64,300) and Sonoma ($70,500) counties, according to the data.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Goodbye: High Number of Residents Ditching Bay Area]]>Tue, 25 Apr 2017 10:19:23 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*160/1493076386-housing-afford.png

The Bay Area has higher numbers of people migrating elsewhere than any other region in the nation, according to a new study. New York finished in second place while Los Angeles settled in at No. 3 on the list. The study compared Redfin users in the nation's 75 largest metro areas.]]>
<![CDATA[Search Suspended for Santa Rosa Couple's Plane]]>Mon, 24 Apr 2017 12:25:16 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Missing+Plane+4192017.jpg

The Civil Air Patrol suspended the search Monday in the Sierra Nevada mountains for a plane with two Santa Rosa residents on board that never arrived at the Petaluma Municipal Airport a week ago.

Brenda Richard, 53, the pilot, and her husband Mark Richard, 54, left the Truckee-Tahoe Airport in Truckee in their blue and white Socata TB-20 Trinidad plane at 4 p.m. April 17. They were due to arrive that evening.

During the six-day search CAP aircrews from California and Nevada conducted visual and photographic searches for more than 60 flight hours over a heavily-wooded andsnow-covered area 18 miles northwest of Truckee.

"We are extremely disappointed in the outcome of this search," CAP Incident Commander Major Shane Terpstra said in a news release Monday morning.

"We always hope for a fast resolution with missing aircraft searches, but rapidly changing weather compounded with fresh snow worked against us this entire search. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family," Terpstra said.

The Richards have four daughters.

More than 117 CAP volunteers, 15 CAP aircraft and 12 CAP vehicles participated in the search.

The California Highway Patrol and California National Guard also searched under the command of the Sierra County Sheriff's Office, which suspended its search Sunday night.

Volunteers on the ground reviewed more than 8,000 high-resolution digital images of the search area. The photos were taken by wing-mounted cameras on CAP search planes.



Photo Credit: Civil Air Patrol]]>
<![CDATA['Strange' Morning: Napa Police Respond to Traffic Incidents]]>Mon, 24 Apr 2017 10:05:48 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4-23-17_Napa_Car_Fire_Crash.jpg

First responders in Napa on Sunday were kept busy dealing with two "strange" traffic incidents, according to police.

Police first responded to reports of a car fire along Silverado Trail around 4:15 a.m. Turns out a man pulled over and idled his car while he took a nap, but the car was parked over a patch of dry brush, which eventually ignited.

The driver woke up to the smell of smoke billowing inside the car and managed to escape to safety, according to police. Unfortunately for the driver, the car engulfed in flames.

Less than one hour later, police were alerted to a report of a car crashing through a building located along Sierra Avenue. The driver in this case failed to properly negotiate a turn and plowed straight into a building, according to police. Shards of glass and drywall could be seen littered around the damaged vehicle and gaping hole in the building's exterior.

No one was seriously hurt in either episode, but the two scenes sure made for an interesting morning, police said.

"It was a bit of a strange early morning for us today," police wrote on Facebook.



Photo Credit: Napa Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Ignites Underneath Parked Car in Napa]]>Mon, 24 Apr 2017 08:30:28 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4-24-17-napa-car-ignites.jpg

A man taking a nap on the side of a road in Napa received a rude awakening Sunday when flames started to ignite underneath his vehicle. Firefighters said the man parked the car in dry brush, which then ignited. Fortunately for the driver, he was able to wake up in time and escape to safety.

Photo Credit: Napa Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Man Arrested After Stealing Truck, Leading Police on Pursuit]]>Sun, 23 Apr 2017 10:34:35 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4-23-17_Solano_Co_Stolen_Truck.jpg

Sheriff's deputies arrested a man Thursday in Solano County who allegedly stole a vehicle and led deputies on a foot pursuit.

According to a post on the Solano County Sheriff's Office's Facebook page, someone called sheriff's officials to report that they spotted their friend's stolen truck. The caller attempted to follow the stolen vehicle but lost sight of it.

According to sheriff's officials, deputies soon located the unoccupied truck in an orchard next to a creek just off of Rockville Road near Oliver Road in Fairfield.

Deputies searched the area and located a male suspect who had fresh dirt, mud and water on him, as if he'd just ran through a creek. As deputies contacted him, the suspect allegedly took off running.

A short foot pursuit ensued, and a deputy was able to catch the suspect before he climbed a fence.

The male suspect was later arrested on four unrelated warrants, sheriff's officials said. His name has not yet been released because the incident remains under investigation, sheriff's officials said.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact sheriff's investigators at (707) 784-7050.



Photo Credit: Solano County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[Men Steal Credit Cards, Tally $5,000 in Fraudulent Charges]]>Sun, 23 Apr 2017 08:49:50 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4-23-15_North_Bay_Credit_Cards_Stolen.jpg

Police in the North Bay on Sunday are searching for two men accused of stealing four credit cards last week and running up a tab of over $5,000 in fraudulent charges.

The men on Thursday snatched the credit cars from a car in Woodacre before embarking on a shopping spree at Nordstrom and Macy's in Corte Madera as well as Target in Marin City, according to police.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Deputy Chris Gullet of the Marin County Sheriff's Department at cgullett@marinsheriff.org.



Photo Credit: Marin County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[Gunfire Narrowly Misses Toddler, Other Passengers in Car]]>Sat, 22 Apr 2017 23:41:06 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SuisunCityCarShot.jpg

Bullets fired at a moving car in Suisun City Saturday afternoon narrowly missed a toddler and other passengers sitting inside the vehicle, police said.

Witnesses told police that the driver of an orange Chevrolet Camaro shot at a silver sedan driving along Canvasback Drive just after 2:00 p.m., according to police.

Gunfire shattered the back window of the silver sedan, punctured the front passenger seat's headrest and stopped just before striking the back of the toddler's car seat, but no one sitting in the car was injured, according to police.

Police confirmed that the suspect vehicle was an orange Camaro.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Suisun City Police Department's Investigations Unit at 707-421-7361. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call Solano Crime Stoppers at 707-644-7867



Photo Credit: Suisun City Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Armed Woman Inhales Nitrous Oxide in Front of Police]]>Sat, 22 Apr 2017 20:04:28 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4-22-17_Arrest_Armed_Woman_Santa_Rosa.jpg

An armed woman sitting in a car in Santa Rosa on Saturday inhaled nitrous oxide from a whipping cream container in front of police before being arrested for having a gun and ammunition inside her vehicle, police said.

The bizarre unfolding began around 12 p.m. when police were alerted to reports of a woman sitting in her car, which was parked near the public entrance of the emergency department at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, with a gun in her possession, according to police.

The first officer on scene carried on a conversation with the female and other passengers in the car until other units arrived, police said. At one point, the woman "began taking hits off a 'whip-it cracker' in an attempt to get high from the nitrous oxide," according to police.

Officers eventually pulled the woman from the car and took her into custody, police said. After combing through the vehicle, police found a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol and loaded magazine inside a purse resting on the floor of the car. That purse was located directly beneath where the woman was sitting.

Police said they do not believe the woman flashed the gun in a "threatening manner" at anyone walking outside the hospital.

The woman was arrested and charged with inhaling nitrous oxide with intent to get high and carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle, police said.



Photo Credit: Santa Rosa Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Calistoga's Historic Rails Reach End of the Line]]>Fri, 21 Apr 2017 18:57:37 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0421-2017-CalistogaRail.jpg

The town of Calistoga will soon remove a stretch of 170 feet of battered train tracks — over the protests of preservationists who view the rails as the significant last remnants of an electric train line that once delivered passengers to the Napa Valley town.

The history group Native Sons of the Golden West had urged the city to re-install the tracks once it completes a badly needed upcoming repaving job on Washington Street which runs past the city’s fire station. But city leaders balked at the additional $80k the rail re-installation would’ve added to the tab for the repaving work.

“I didn’t realize it would get as heated as it did for a brief period of time,” said Calistoga Mayor Chris Canning over the ensuing debate surrounding the fate of tracks.

The lingering train tracks, spanning roughly the length of a city block are the last vestiges of the The San Francisco, Napa and Calistoga Railway which carried tourists taking the ferry from San Francisco to Vallejo — into the Napa Valley. The rail line opened in 1905 with the tracks reaching Calistoga several years later.

The rail company ended service in 1937 after the demise of the Vallejo ferry. Of the 42 miles of track, only the short stretch in Calistoga remains.

“The tracks have more importance to the history of Calistoga than just pieces of steel in the street,” said Doug O’Neill who is part of the Native Sons group. “More and more people want to come up here and this is part of the story of what made Calistoga.”

Canning said the city decided to store the rails once they’re removed, and possibly reinstall them somewhere else along the original train route at a later time — if preservation groups would contribute some of the funding.

“So we’ll see how committed people are to the historical value and interest of these tracks,” Canning wisecracked.

At one point the city hired a historian to study the tracks. Canning said the historian concluded the tracks weren’t historically significant.

“Other people felt otherwise,” Canning said with a laugh.

Preservationists said they were caught off-guard by the quick process of hiring a contractor to perform the work. O’Neill said his group didn’t have enough time to raise the funds necessary to retain the tracks. He said he and his fellow history buffs were disappointed with the city’s decision.

“Some people are interested in history, some aren’t,” O’Neill said. “I think we got the short end of the stick here.”

O’Neill pointed out a plaque his group installed in 1999, commemorating the rail line and its significance. He lamented that a new generation of town residents didn’t seem to care share the same passion for the town’s history — which includes many original historic buildings.

“A lot of people aren’t the old time residents here,” O’Neill said, “and really I don’t know how much they care about the old history of Calistoga.”

Others viewed the tracks as a symbolic line between the town’s old-time charm and the modern world of shopping malls and chain stores.

“People move into an area like this and they want to change it to something else sometimes,” said Bob Havens who owns a pharmacy in town, but said he ultimately didn’t care whether or not the tracks were removed.

The road work is set to begin on April 24th, with the tracks set to come out the following week. If the city can’t work out deal to later install them, it will mark the end of the line for the historic rail line.

“This is just a tiny piece of history here,” Havens said. “You can picture this train coming up here and all the way to Vallejo.”



Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr./NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Appears to be at Full Employment: Analyst]]>Fri, 21 Apr 2017 23:00:55 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/205*120/now+hiring1.jpg

Unemployment rates in the Bay Area were among the lowest in the state in March indicating the region is at full employment, according to a state labor market analyst and labor market data.

In San Mateo County, unemployment was at 2.7 percent, the lowest in the state, while in Marin County and in the City and County of San Francisco unemployment was at 3 percent, the second lowest level in the state.

The unemployment rate in all other counties except Solano County was below 4 percent last month.

"Many consider we are at full employment," Janice Shriver, a state labor market analyst based in the Bay Area, said.

Full employment is typically considered 4 percent unemployment, Shriver said. Four percent unemployment is considered full employment because at any time people are changing jobs while others are entering or leaving the workforce.

Full employment means that virtually everyone who is willing and able to work is working.

But Shriver cautioned that for individuals still looking for work, the numbers have less meaning. "If one person is unemployed, he's 100 percent unemployed," she said.

Employment growth in the East Bay has been particularly strong.

Last month in Alameda County unemployment was 3.9 percent while in Contra Costa County unemployment was 4.1 percent.

In March 2016, the unemployment rate in Alameda County was 4.3 percent and in Contra Costa County 4.5 percent.

The February unemployment rate in Alameda and Contra Costa counties was the same as last month.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Shooting in Fairfield Leaves One Person Hospitalized]]>Fri, 21 Apr 2017 07:20:50 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4-21-17-fairfield-shooting-investigation.jpg

Police in Fairfield on Friday are investigating a shooting that sent one person to the hospital.

Police said the shooting occurred early this morning in the area of the 2400 block of Cement Hill Road.

The victim is being treated at a hospital. 

Police said there are traffic delays on Cement Hill Road between Peabody and Clay Bank roads due to the investigation.

Police have not yet shared any suspect information. 

No further details were immediately available.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Armed Man Arrested After Posting Threat to Social Media]]>Thu, 20 Apr 2017 23:48:50 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/periscope+arrest.jpg

A 20-year-old North Bay man was arrested after posting a troubling video on social media.

Vallejo police said when they first saw the Periscope posting, they feared it could be a copycat of what happened in Cleveland earlier this week, when a man posted a murder on Facebook Live.

The Periscope video shows Christen Brown holding a handgun with a loaded magazine nearby, Vallejo police said.

During the live video while in his car, Brown posted a title: "I need 100 views so I can shoot my 40."

Then he continues to point the gun at the camera.

"Forty is the caliber of the handgun," Vallejo police Capt. John Whitney said. "That's our opinion; he was referring to the caliber."

A Vallejo resident noticed the threat and alerted police on their Facebook page.

The incident comes just days after an Easter Sunday shooting in Cleveland, where gunman Steve Stephens posted video of his fatal shooting of an innocent 74-year-old man.

"We don't want something like that in the city, and that's why we acted on it as quick as we did," Whitney said.

Brown was arrested with the gun in his possession, police said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Man With Shotgun Arrested in Attempted Bank Robbery]]>Thu, 20 Apr 2017 23:34:34 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/logan-scott-0420-2017.jpg

Santa Rosa police arrested a man who tried to rob a Chase Bank in west Santa Rosa on Thursday morning.

Police responded around 11:20 a.m. to a report of a man with a gun demanding money in the bank at 760 Stony Point Road, police Sgt. Josh Ludtke said.

As police were responding, bank employees reported the man left to put the gun in a vehicle and returned to the bank.

Police contacted the suspect, Logan Reece Scott, 23, of Santa Rosa when he left the bank a second time, Ludtke said.

Detectives learned Scott went into the bank with a 12-gauge shotgun slung around his back and demanded money. Scott claimed he was frustrated because the bank fraudulently took money from him, and he wanted to frighten the employees with the shotgun so they would return the money to him, Ludtke said.

Scott made a mobile deposit of several checks days before and brought physical copies of them to the bank Thursday to try to receive the money twice, Ludtke said.

Police recovered the unloaded shotgun in Scott's vehicle in a parking lot near the bank, and Scott was arrested for attempted robbery and burglary and booked in the Sonoma County Jail, Ludtke said.



Photo Credit: Santa Rosa PD]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area in Top 10 for Worst Air Pollution Nationwide]]>Thu, 20 Apr 2017 14:03:44 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4-19-17-state-of-the-air-report.jpg

The San Francisco Bay Area ranks among the top 10 most polluted regions in the country, according to a report issued Wednesday by the American Lung Association.

State of the Air 2017 is based on air quality monitoring from 2013 to 2015, and includes San Benito and San Joaquin counties in the greater Bay Area.

San Joaquin County has the highest level of year-round particle pollution levels in the region. The county suffered its worst period ever for pollution from diesel exhaust, wood burning devices, wildfires and other sources of soot, a situation exacerbated by climate change and recent drought conditions, according to the American Lung Association.

Overall, the Bay Area's particle pollution ranked sixth nationwide for the number of unhealthy days and fourth nationwide for year-round levels. This puts area residents at risk for health problems like asthma and lung cancer.

"I run cross-country and compete in track and field, so I always need to be aware of my surroundings," Jaxin Woodward, a 15-year-old high school athlete from Vacaville, said in a statement. "Exhaust from cars triggers asthma attacks a lot for me."

There was a reduction in the number of days with unhealthy levels of ozone. San Francisco, Marin, Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties all had zero unhealthy ozone days during the period monitored.

The report also indicates that the number of unhealthy ozone days have dropped throughout the state and nationwide, which the American Lung Association attributes to the federal Clean Air Act.

Air quality laws and policies to combat climate change save lives, according to the American Lung Association, and need to be protected in Congress.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Shells Out Big Bucks to Mend Storm-Battered Roads]]>Thu, 20 Apr 2017 07:03:03 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/potholes8.jpg

Anyone driving around the Bay Area knows our roads have taken a beating during this winter’s heavy rain. Now the question remains: How much will it cost to fix potholes and other pockmarks?

NBC Bay Area reached out to the public works departments in five major counties and found that four have experienced significant increases in the taxpayer dollars needed for road repairs. Moreover, their expenditure does not factor in money spent by individual cities and Caltrans, officials say.

Public works officials say Alameda County was forced to spend: $143,757 during the first quarter of 2017, which is a staggering 51.5 percent increase over the $69,585 spent in the same time frame in 2016.

Meanwhile, San Francisco city and county public works officials spent the most, shelling out $759,836 to fix over 10,000 potholes. Officials say that expense is 35.5 percent more than the $490,188 spent during 2016’s first quarter.

In Contra Costa County, the Public Works Department reported spending $124,215 to fix potholes in the 2017’s first quarter. That’s a 32.6 percent jump from last year’s $83,766, according to officials.

A similar situation unfurled in Santa Clara County where $217,715 was required to fix roads in the South Bay versus $168,248 in 2016. That’s a 22.7 percent increase, officials say.

Alternately, the San Mateo County public works officials say this year’s pothole-related expenses didn’t fluctuate much from 2016. Why? Because potholes took a backseat to their problem with mudslides.

California’s lawmakers recently approved Gov. Jerry Brown’s $5-billion-a-year plan to boost gas and vehicle taxes to pay for major road repairs.

It will raise gas taxes by 12 cents a gallon — a 43 percent increase — and diesel taxes from 16 cents per gallon to 36 cents. Drivers will also face a new annual fee to be paid with their vehicle registration, ranging from $25 to $175 depending on the value of their vehicle. The taxes and fees will rise each year with inflation.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Small Boat Found Capsized on Muir Beach]]>Thu, 20 Apr 2017 06:39:38 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/211*120/0419-2017-USCoastGuard.jpg

The Marin County Fire Department, U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies are searching an area of Muir Beach where a small boat was found capsized Wednesday morning.

A chest containing ice and fish and other debris was found in the water after someone aboard "The Zodiac" vessel reported the capsized boat, about 14 feet long, on a marine radio channel to the Coast Guard around 11:30 a.m., Marin County Fire Battalion Chief Bret McTigue said.

"There's strong evidence someone was on board," McTigue said.

The response is still considered a rescue operation, he said.

The National Park Service, Southern Marin Fire Protection District, Muir Beach and Stinson Beach fire departments and helicopters from the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office, California Highway Patrol and Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco are participating in the search.

The Marin County Fire Department was able to re-right the boat, which did not have identifying markings on it, McTigue said.

The water near the shoreline where the boat was found is about 30-40 feet deep and dive teams are standing by, he said.

Three Coast Guard boats, six Jet Skis and an inflatable boat are at the scene, McTigue said.

Firefighters were attending a Jet Ski rescue training class nearby when the report about the capsized boat was received.

"We were able to put rescuers in the water in 12 minutes," McTigue said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Crews Search For Missing Petaluma-Bound Plane]]>Wed, 19 Apr 2017 23:52:42 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Missing+Plane+4192017.jpg

Air rescue crews are searching Northern California mountains for a single-engine plane reported missing after it failed to land in Petaluma as scheduled.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat newspaper reported the Socata TB-20 Trinidad with two people aboard left the Truckee-Tahoe Airport near the Nevada border Monday afternoon. 

The white and blue four-seater, which features gold trim, is registered to William Sherlock of Santa Rosa, according to public documents.

Officials said passengers of the plane were reported to be pilot Brenda Richard and her husband, Mark Richard.

The plane was expected to land about 180 miles away at the Petaluma Municipal Airport north of San Francisco.

Family members reported the plane missing, and a search was started by the Civil Air Patrol, the all-volunteer civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force.

Mark Madigan is a neighbor of the missing couple.

"It's a shock, an absolute shock to hear something has happened to them," he said.

Neighbors say the Richards are parents of four daughters, ranging in age from late teens to late 20s. The Richards are also grandparents.

The Madigans remember them as always busy and Mark as a car fanatic.

"He used to have a sports car," Madigan said. "It was an R-8, and he'd warm it up in the morning, and you could hear throughout the neighborhood. It was a rumble, and you know he was heading out."

Officials say the aircraft is equipped with an emergency locater transmitter, but crews have not picked up any signal.

On Wednesday, crews were said to be focusing their efforts in a mountainous region 18 miles northwest from where the flight departed.

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

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Civil Air Patrol]]>
<![CDATA[Man Accosts Girl Walking to School in Rohnert Park: Police]]>Tue, 18 Apr 2017 14:56:11 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police+car+generic_seattle.jpg

An 11-year-old girl was accosted while walking to school in Rohnert Park on Monday morning by a man who blew her a kiss and showed her a picture of a naked woman on his phone, according to the city's Department of Public Safety.

The incident began around 7:50 a.m. on Camino Colegio near Casa Way where the girl first saw the suspect's white SUV, public safety officials said.

The man pulled next to her as she was crossing Circle Drive. After he accosted the girl, she ran and hid behind a parked car and called her mother. The man drove away on Circle Drive, and the girl's mother called authorities. Officers drove the girl the rest of the way to school.

The girl said the man did not speak to her or try to get her into the vehicle, according to public safety officials.

The suspect was described as a man in his late 30s or early 40s who is bald on the top of his head with blond hair on the side. He was wearing a light gray shirt. His vehicle is possibly an early 2000s white Toyota 4Runner or other SUV similar to a Toyota 4Runner with a bike rack on top.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to contact the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety at 707-584-2630 or via rpdpsinvestigations@rpcity.org.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Two Hurt in Big-Rig Crash, Diesel Leaks Into Fairfield Creek]]>Tue, 18 Apr 2017 17:28:19 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4182017-fairfield-crash.jpg

Two people suffered minor injuries Tuesday morning in a four-vehicle collision involving a big-rig that leaked 30 gallons of diesel into a nearby creek along Interstate 80 in Fairfield, according to the California Highway Patrol.

A 21-year-old woman from Redding was driving a Honda Accord west on Highway 80 east of Air Base Parkway when she attempted to change lanes and sideswiped a Chevrolet Tahoe around 9:35 a.m., the CHP said.

Both vehicles spun out of control and collided with the big-rig, which was being driven by a 42-year-old man from Hayward.

The Accord struck the center divider and the Tahoe went through a guardrail, rolling over onto its roof. The big-rig then struck a Chevrolet Prism driven by a 20-year-old woman from Vacaville.

The driver of the Tahoe was trapped in her vehicle for roughly two hours and had to be extricated by firefighters. She was transported to a hospital. The driver of the Prism was also transported to a hospital.

All of the vehicles had to be towed away from the scene.

The big-rig's fuel tank was damaged and roughly 30 gallons of diesel fuel leaked into a creek near the roadway, but officers said the hazardous materials threat was mitigated by emergency personnel at the scene.

Anyone with additional information about the collision is asked to contact the CHP's non-emergency line at 800-835-5247 or the CHP's Solano Area office at 707-428-2100.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>