<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Local News - North Bay]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/localen-usMon, 22 May 2017 10:42:04 -0700Mon, 22 May 2017 10:42:04 -0700NBC Local Integrated Media<![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[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.

]]>
<![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
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<![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]]>
<![CDATA[Drifters Sentenced in 2015 Double Murder]]>Wed, 19 Apr 2017 00:17:09 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/alligood-lampley.jpg

Three so-called drifters who confessed to killing two people in a brutal crime spree in 2015 were sentenced on Tuesday.

Morrison Haze Lampley, 24, of San Francisco, and Lila Scott Alligood, 19, of San Rafael, in February pleaded guilty to killing a Canadian tourist in Golden Gate Park and a Marin County therapist in a park near Fairfax. 

Lampley admitted to discharging a firearm and was sentenced to 100 years to life in prison. Alligood, of San Rafael, is eligible for a youthful offender parole hearing after she has served 25 years, Deputy District Attorney Leon Kousharian said.

As part of their plea, the two defendants waived their right to appeal the convictions, according to Marin County District Attorney Edward Berberian said.

Third defendant Sean Angold, 25, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. He testified under a grant of immunity against his two co-defendants at their preliminary hearing in September.

Berberian said the disposition of Lampley's and Alligood's cases was reached with extensive discussions with the families of the victims. Several members of Carter's family and Carey's aunt spoke at the sentencing by Marin County Superior Court Judge Kelly Simmons.

Lampley's expression never changed as he walked into court and looked down throughout the sentencing. In contrast, Alligood, his former girlfriend, cried through most of the testimony from the victim's families. 

"As far as I’m concerned, no punishment however harsh could do justice to the horrific, unforgivable crime that you three have committed — fully intentional and, as far as I’m concerned, without any remorse whatsoever," said Lokita Carter, the wife of Steve Carter.

Then it was Alligood's turn.

"I feel so much guilt and shame for the wrongdoings and the hurtful decisions that I made and I’m sorry," she said.

Angold's attorney read a statement in which his client said he will spend the rest of his days remembering the wrong he's done. He also begged the victims' families to forgive him. 

A statement read by Lampley's attorney said he wished he could go back in time and change things.

Lokita Carter said she had seen Lampley's letter before it was read aloud in court, but "it left me with nothing," she said. 

When asked if the sentencing will bring closure, the Carters' friend Christina Dejongh replied, "I don’t know if I will ever have it. My feeling is what can compensate for an act like this? I sort of even don’t relate to the punishment."

"Vengeance," Dejongh said, won't "bring him back."

Carey befriended the trio in Golden Gate Park, and Lampley shot her in some bushes where they were smoking marijuana, according to Angold's testimony at the hearing.

Angold testified he heard gunshots, and when he asked Lampley what happened, Lampley replied, "She's dead dude, don't worry about it."

The trio left with some of her belongings, Angold said.

Angold also testified that the trio wanted to steal a vehicle and head to Oregon with the intention of growing marijuana. They encountered Carter as he was hiking with his dog in the Loma Alta Open Space Preserve near Fairfax.

Angold testified he heard several shots but did not see Lampley shoot Carter and his dog about 30 feet away on a trail because his back was turned.

Angold said Lampley took the keys to Carter's Volkswagen Jetta and blood-soaked money from Carter's pocket. He said Alligood drove them from the scene and he threw the gun, which had been stolen in San Francisco, out of the car's window. Carter's dog survived the shooting.

Angold also testified the trio was using methamphetamine, marijuana, heroin and LSD in the days before the murders.

The defendants were arrested in a church dining hall in Portland, Oregon, on Oct. 7. They were tracked there by the Jetta's GPS.

Defense attorneys attacked Angold's credibility at the preliminary hearing and his grant of immunity to testify against his co-defendants. They also cited Angold's admission during his testimony that he has a history of blaming others for the crimes he has committed, including a residential robbery in Los Angeles and thefts from a Wal-Mart store.

The three defendants were apologetic during the two-hour sentencing in Marin County Superior Court this morning, and Alligood broke down during her brief statement, Kousharian said.

None of the defendants made any references to the facts of the case against them, Kousharian said.

]]>
<![CDATA[Man Arrested After Biting Girlfriend in Face at McDonald's]]>Tue, 18 Apr 2017 00:06:59 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Jail-Generic-Photo.jpg

Police arrested a man Sunday for several offenses after he allegedly bit his ex-girlfriend during an altercation in Novato, police said.

According to police, officers responded to the McDonald's restaurant at 5600 Nave Drive on a report of a physical altercation between a male and a female.

By the time officers arrived, the male had fled the scene. The female victim identified the male suspect as her ex-boyfriend, 30-year-old Oscar DeLeon-Aguilar of San Rafael.

According to police, an investigation revealed that DeLeon-Aguilar became enraged at the victim and bit her face during the altercation.

The injury resulted in the loss of facial tissue above the victim's eye. She was treated and released from a local hospital, police said.

Novato police located and arrested DeLeon-Aguilar in San Rafael. He was booked into the Marin County Jail on suspicion of several offenses, including mayhem, police said.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Novato Police Department at (415) 897-4361.

]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Reports Rape Attempt Near Sonoma: Sheriff]]>Tue, 18 Apr 2017 00:07:52 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0417-2017-sonoma.jpg

A 24-year-old woman was the victim of an attempted rape Sunday while she was jogging on a trail near Sonoma, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office.

The woman was attacked around 1:15 p.m. in the area of Norrbom Road and the Sonoma Overlook Trail, Sgt. Spencer Crum said.

The woman heard a man yell at her before she was pushed from behind and fell on the east side of Norrbom Road. The suspect fell on top of the woman, punched her several times and tried to rape her, but she fought him off, escaped and called for help, Crum said.

The woman was treated for injuries at the hospital and released.

Sheriff's deputies, a Santa Rosa police K-9 team and the sheriff's helicopter Henry 1 searched the area but did not locate the suspect, Crum said.

A homemade warning sign had been posted on the trail Monday, and the violence had people thinking twice about using the popular trail.

"It's scary because I do go up there often," one visitor said. "Now I'm like do I want to go up there by myself even with other people? You never know what you're going to find."

Norrbom Road is an extension of First Street West past Arnold Field and the Mountain Cemetery, Crum said.

The suspect is described as a white man in his 50s with a white bushy beard. He was wearing a black zip-up hooded sweatshirt, black sweater, black beanie and dirty jeans. The woman said the man appeared to be homeless, Crum said.

Detectives were reaching out to the homeless community hoping to identify the man. Meanwhile, the sheriff's department is urging people to walk and jog in pairs while detectives conduct their search.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call 707-565-2185.



Photo Credit: Jean Elle/NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Smashes into North Bay Barn, Kills Two Mini Horses]]>Mon, 17 Apr 2017 16:08:35 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/MiniHorsesPenngroveCrash.png

Two miniature horses were killed Saturday morning when a driver lost control of their car and plowed into a barn in the North Bay, police said.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Department said the suspect, believed to have been driving recklessly along Minnesota Avenue in Penngrove, slammed into the horses' barn around 2 a.m. Saturday. The driver killed both horses and fled the scene.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the crash, officials said. Investigators say preliminary accounts indicate that the suspect was driving a Honda.

The suspect is also in police custody.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the CHP's Santa Rosa Office or Detective Fomasi at 707-565-2121.



Photo Credit: Sonoma County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[9 Teens Injured After Shooting at Vallejo House Party]]>Mon, 17 Apr 2017 05:29:59 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4-16-17_Vallejo_Shooting.jpg

Police are investigating a shooting that injured nine teens early Sunday morning at a house party in Vallejo.

According to Vallejo police Lt. Steve Cheatham, at 12:15 a.m. police received a call about a shooting at 110 Calhoun Street, near Benson Avenue.

At the scene, police learned that a large group of teenagers were gathered for a party at the address.

According to Cheatham, a group of teenagers were gathered outside the residence when someone inside a vehicle across the street opened fire at the crowd.

Four people suffered gunshot wounds and five others suffered other injuries. All nine people, all of them minors, were transported to a local hospital with minor to serious injuries, Cheatham said.

The suspect vehicle fled the scene and is described as a four-door vehicle, possibly carrying two suspects inside, Cheatham said.

The incident is currently under investigation. Further details were not immediately available.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Chiropractor Convicted of Sexual Battery Goes Missing]]>Fri, 14 Apr 2017 19:00:38 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Darius+Bunyad.jpg

Santa Rosa police are asking the public's help finding a chiropractor who disappeared the day before he was convicted in March of sexual misconduct with eight of his female patients.

Darius Bunyad, 36, faced eight years in prison for six felony charges of sexual battery by fraud. He also was convicted in Sonoma County Superior Court on March 9 of six misdemeanor counts of annoying or molesting a child. The offenses occurred between 2012 and 2015.

Ten victims, some of them high school girls, testified against Bunyad during the two-week trial. Bunyad was in court when attorneys gave closing arguments, but he failed to show up on March 8 and when the jury returned verdicts the next day.

Bunyad was last seen by a family member talking to an unknown female around 3 p.m. on March 8 in the Walnut Creek area, Santa Rosa police Sgt. Terry Anderson said.

Bunyad lived in Petaluma but his Health Performance Chiropractic practice was in Santa Rosa.

Bunyad was born in Afghanistan in 1980 but has lived in the United States for many years, Anderson said.

He changed his first name from Daryoush to Darius and had a shaved head and full beard when he was booked on the charges. Bunyad, however, then grew out his hair and was clean-shaven during the trial.

Bunyad's attorney Richard Scott said today he has had no contact with Bunyad since the trial and has no idea where he is. He said Bunyad was close to his 4-year-old son and his family is distraught he is missing.

A date for sentencing Bunyad cannot be set until he is found and he will face additional prosecution as a fugitive from justice.

The Sonoma County Alliance has offered a reward up to $2,500 for information that leads to Bunyad's arrest, Anderson said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Santa Rosa police at (7070 543-4040.



Photo Credit: Santa Rosa Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Victims in Critical Condition After Triple Shooting]]>Fri, 14 Apr 2017 08:33:25 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/C9XLcxfVwAIU7i7.jpg

Three people are in critical condition after being shot late Thursday in Vacaville, police say.

Several gunshots rang out just before midnight at an apartment complex on the 100 block of Aegean Way. Several 911 callers reported the incident to police.

Responding officers found that a man, a woman and someone police classified as a juvenile had sustained gunshot wounds. They were taken to area hospitals with critical injuries, according to police.

Police said around 8:30 a.m. Friday that citizens helped them hone in on at least one suspect who was described as a man in his 20s, who was wearing a black hooded sweater. Investigators are collecting information about a possible second suspect. 

People with details about the shooting are asked to call Detective Aaron Potter at 707-469-4827.

Check back for updates.



Photo Credit: Vacaville Police via Twitter
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<![CDATA[Santa Rosa Doctor a No-Show After Sexual Assault Conviction]]>Fri, 14 Apr 2017 00:00:45 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sr-doctor-0413-2017.jpg

A felony no-bail warrant has been issued for a Santa Rosa doctor who had just been convicted of sex crimes but failed to show for the last two days of his trial.

Dr. Darius Bunyad, a licensed chiropractor, was last seen March 8 in Walnut Creek, according to a family member.

Bunyad has a penchant for changing his appearance. The most recent 2015 booking photo shows him with a shaved head and full beard. During his two-week trial, he was clean shaven and had a full head of hair.

Bunyad was accused and convicted of sexually assaulting four females, including two underage employees, in 2015. He was convicted of 11 counts of sexual assault and one misdemeanor.

"On the day that the prosecution rested and the jury was sent to deliberate, that was his last day in court," Santa Rosa police Sgt. Terry Anderson said by phone Thursday night. "No indication at this point that he wanted to hurt himself, it’s just a matter of him not wanting to go to jail. If somebody sees him, they should call their local law enforcement agency."

Police said Bunyad was seen in Walnut Creek with an unknown female.



Photo Credit: Santa Rosa PD]]>
<![CDATA[Researchers Find 3 Mountain Lion Kittens in Sonoma County]]>Thu, 13 Apr 2017 08:57:05 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Mountain_Lion_Kittens_Social_Video_1200x675_719570499504.jpg

Researchers say they've discovered three adorable 10-day-old mountain lion kittens in Sonoma County.

The Audubon Canyon Ranch research teams discovered the kittens Friday near Glen Ellen and Kenwood, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

ACR Communication Manager Wendy Coy says the team had been watching the kittens' mother, P1, for six months. It is the first time the team has had one of its tracked mountain lions deliver a litter of kittens.

The team was able to take a quick peek at the kittens when they knew the mother would not be around. The team follows P1's movements through her GPS collar.

Coy says the kittens are in good health and the team is planning more visits to track their growth.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File image]]>
<![CDATA[BART Officials Explore Service Cuts, Lower Discounts]]>Thu, 13 Apr 2017 06:48:59 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/bart38.jpg

Faced with a dwindling ridership, BART directors on Thursday mulled service cuts, reduced discounts and other ways to make up a multi-million dollar budget deficit.

BART fares are already slated to go up 2.7 percent in January. 

However, officials rejected the idea of trimming discounted prices for seniors, children and people with disabilities from 62.5 percent to 50 percent. They also scrapped a proposal to offer service starting at 5 a.m. instead of 4 a.m.

Officials left on the table the option to enact a 50 cent surcharge on magstripe tickets, in the hope of encouraging commuters to purchase clipper cards, which generate more revenue.

The transportation agency had been enjoying six years of consecutive growth, but during the first half of the 2016-2017 fiscal year, BART reported a roughly 4 percent drop in the number of weekday riders. Weekend ridership slumped by approximately 9 percent.

That drop in ridership could mean that BART will finish this year $15 to $25 million below budget. The agency could face a $25 to $35 million shortcoming as it prepares its future budget.

To prevent the agency from hemorrhaging money, BART has asked every department to cut back on spending and officials have eliminated overtime costs. 

A final decision is expected in June.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Construction of GGB Suicide-Prevention Net to Start]]>Fri, 14 Apr 2017 06:48:28 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N5P+GGB+SUICIDE+BARRIERS+PKG+-+00003129.jpg

San Francisco officials on Thursday marked the start of the construction of the suicide-prevention net under the Golden Gate Bridge.

Officials say the net will be positioned 20 feet below the sidewalk and extend out another 20 feet. 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 — invisible to drivers.

In 2016, 39 people jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and plunged to their deaths, according to spokeswoman Priya Clemens. But bridge patrol workers were able to prevent an additional 200 people from committing suicide.

Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Dianne Feinstein led the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Kimberly Renee Gamboa held back tears as she remembered her son Kyle, who killed himself at the bridge in 2013.

"He was just starting his senior year in high school at Sacramento Waldorf School," an emotional Gamboa said, pausing while she gathered her breath. "It doesn't just happen to the family. It happens to every single person he knew."

Three-and-a-half years later, Gamboa joined federal and state leaders at Thursday's festivities, which also included a planting ceremony near the bridge.

"Today we are here to observe a labor of love," Pelosi said.

The California Highway Patrol has been tasked with managing traffic during construction. The agency will be paid for opening and closing designated lanes at night, when the bulk of the work is expected to occur. The construction is scheduled for nighttime when fewer cars are on the road.

First approved in 2014, the nearly $200 million project has been delayed due to years of debate and its hefty price tag. Contractor fencing to protect workers will go up in early May, and net installation is set to begin mid-2018.

The project is expected to be completed by 2021.

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

SUICIDE PREVENTION HELP: The National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.



Photo Credit: Handout, File]]>
<![CDATA[Taxi Driver Allegedly Sexually Assaults Intoxicated Woman]]>Wed, 12 Apr 2017 22:01:08 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/216*120/mehari+tekle.png

A 42-year-old Santa Rosa taxi driver, who California Highway Patrol officers believe sexually assaulted an intoxicated woman in December, was arrested on Tuesday.

The suspect, identified as Mehari Tekle, allegedly assaulted his passenger in the cab while driving her home from Graton Casino, according to officers with the CHP Golden Gate Division.

Being intoxicated, the woman could not give him consent, the CHP said.

Using interviews, DNA and video evidence, investigators honed in on Tekle and served an arrest warrant at his house at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.



Photo Credit: CHP Golden Gate Division via Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[SF Homicide Suspect Allegedly Pulled Gun From Stroller]]>Wed, 12 Apr 2017 10:41:13 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/gun+generic+092115.jpg

A man charged in a fatal shooting in San Francisco's Tenderloin earlier this month pulled the gun used in the shooting out of his 9-month-old daughter's stroller, a prosecutor said Tuesday in court.

Johnnie Reed, a 33-year-old Vallejo resident, was arraigned this afternoon on felony charges including murder, possession of a firearm by a felon and child endangerment in connection with the April 2 death of Antonio Stanberry.

Stanberry, a 31-year-old San Francisco resident, was shot in the first block of Jones Street shortly after 2:30 p.m. and died after being taken to San Francisco General Hospital, according to police.

Reed, who was arrested two days later in Sacramento, pleaded not guilty to all charges on Tuesday.

Tiana Jacobs, a 24-year-old Vallejo resident and the mother of Reed's child, was also arrested in Sacramento on suspicion of being an accessory after the fact and was later also charged with child endangerment. She also entered not guilty pleas on Tuesday.

Deputy Public Defender Michelle Tong said Reed, the father of four children, cares for his disabled father and works at Petaluma Poultry. She said his past criminal record consists primarily of some marijuana convictions.

"The evidence is thin in terms of making any connection between Mr. Reed and Mr. Stanberry," Tong said.

However, Assistant District Attorney Michael Swart said prosecutors had video showing Reed pulling a gun out of the stroller of his 9-month-old daughter.

He allegedly shot Stanberry nine times and then placed the gun back in the stroller before he and Jacobs fled the scene with the baby, Swart said.

He also has a protective order to stay away from Jacobs because of domestic violence allegations, Swart said.

Reed remains in custody with bail set at $2 million. Jacobs is out of custody on $15,000 bail.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File image]]>
<![CDATA[Man Falls Into San Ramon Trench, Hurts Himself]]>Wed, 12 Apr 2017 12:05:46 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/San+Ramon+rescue.jpg

A man on Wednesday fell into an 8-foot trench in San Ramon and hurt himself, police say.

The incident was reported around 10:25 a.m. at Omega and Purdue roads, prompting crews from the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District to respond.

Crews put a storm drain into the trench that spans 50 feet. They were trying to shore it up before helping him out, according to police.

The man was awake and complaining of back pain. He was not buried, police said.

Crews said they hope to have the man out of the trench by 12 p.m.

No further details were immediately available.



Photo Credit: San Ramon Police]]>
<![CDATA[Vacaville Firefighters Rescue Pup From Hole in Wall]]>Tue, 11 Apr 2017 21:35:08 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Lexstuckinahole.jpg

Whoever let the dog out didn't realize what he was going to do next. 

Lex, a 1-year-old puppy, got his head stuck in a hole in a wall and was rescued by Vacaville firefighters early Tuesday morning. 

The dog learned "about physics the hard way," department officials wrote on their Facebook page, when he "stuck his head through a dryer vent hole that was cut into the siding of a garage."

A resident and her two children were unable to free the trapped pup and called for help. 

Firefighters did not have to cut into the wall and instead helped Lex squeeze out of the hole, after which he promptly scampered off.



Photo Credit: Vacaville Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[Armed Man Robs Smoke Shop]]>Tue, 11 Apr 2017 07:08:13 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4-11-17-armed-robber.jpg

The hunt is on for a masked armed robber in Suisun City. Police say the suspect on Sunday entered a smoke shop on Sunset Avenue at around 8 p.m. He flashed a gun and demanded cash before fleeing with money and cigarettes.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Marin County Students Help Track Elephant Seals]]>Tue, 11 Apr 2017 11:00:12 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0407-2017-ElephantSeal.jpg

On a windswept cliff of the Point Reyes National Seashore above hundreds of reclining elephant seals — a tiny science class of two students and their teacher began its weekly tally of the bellowing creatures below.

Unlike most classrooms where smell is usually not a consideration, the wind delivered the elephant seals dramatic aroma to the group’s vantage point.

“The smell was the hardest part,” observed student scientist Luz Torres. “Just to find out that’s their regular smell.”

Torres has gotten to know the smell well — having made weekly trips to the seashore to help count the unique mammal colony which is spread between four sites near Drakes Beach. The group has braved soaking rain, daily squalls and the aforementioned stink to record the animals’ fluctuating numbers for the National Park Service.

“I like aquatic species, I had a couple fish,” Torres revealed, “but i never thought I’d be here counting elephant seals.”

Neither did Torres anticipate she’d get so up-close-and-personal with the creatures, venturing past gates and barriers with the park service’s blessing in order to get close enough to make out the tags on the animals tail with a spotting scope.

“Our key purpose to be looking for tagged animals,” said professor Doreen Gurrola. “It supports the data that the park service is doing.”

Gurrola’s class has visited the site weekly since the first of the year compiling data used by the park service which is keeping tabs on the population. The Pacific Elephant Seal was once hunted to near extinction, dropping to only about 20, but have rebounded into the thousands and continuing to grow. Point Reyes along with Año Nuevo north of Santa Cruz remain two of California’s most populated colonies.

“The populations have been growing,” Gurrola said, “so it’s important to see where that population is growing.”

Biologists with the National Park Service have tagged many of the returning population with colored tags designating where the animal is from. Point Reyes’ tags are pink. On a recent day, Gurrola and her students also recorded tags from the Año Nuevo colony as well as a white tagged female from a colony at San Simeon.

“We want to see what age classes are using which beaches and how often,” Gurrola explained.

Aside from the main colony of hundreds of elephant seals on Drakes Beach, the professor and her students roamed the three ancillary beaches where a smattering of elephant seals had hauled out and were slumbering in the sand. A count from one nearby outlook identified 12 live sea lions and four dead pups. The two students noted the macabre finding with the clinical demeanor of a doctor.

“There’s a lot of pup mortality but you can’t prevent it,” said student Sheridan Wilner. “It’s wildlife. We’re just here to observe it.”

On this day in early April, the massive and territorial male elephant seals had already moved on leaving mothers, the young and the newborns full run of the beach.

Even though technology such as transmitters and mounted cameras have taken the study of the creatures to new levels, there was still no replacement for a set of eyes to count and record behavior.

The park service will incorporating the student’s data into its own, expanding its ability to keep an accurate grasp of the population. Gurrola said the students would compile their observations and possibility present them at wildlife conferences this Spring.

Even in the normally sterile domain of science and its ubiquitous charts and numbers, the site of a particularly big-eyed newborn seemed to melt the stoic reserve of the budding researchers.

“Oh look at the tiny one there,” Torres squealed before returning to the business of counting.



Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr./NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Man Nabs $7,000 Necklace from Napa Jewelry Store]]>Mon, 10 Apr 2017 08:28:02 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4-10-17_Napa_Theft.jpg

Napa police are asking the public for help with identifying a man who stole a $7,000 necklace from a local jewelry store.

The man tried on the pricey piece of jewelry before bolting from the store with the necklace in hand, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Napa Police Department.



Photo Credit: Napa Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Police Seek Man Suspected of Stealing $7K Necklace in Napa]]>Mon, 10 Apr 2017 05:54:13 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/napa+thief-0409-2017.jpg

Police are seeking a man who allegedly took a necklace worth several thousands dollars from a Napa jewelry store last week, police said Saturday.

On Apr. 1, a man walked into a jewelry store in town and tried on a necklace worth $7,000. The man then ran out of the store, according to police.

His image was captured on surveillance video.

Anyone with information about his identity is asked to contact Napa police at (707) 257-9223.



Photo Credit: Napa PD]]>
<![CDATA[Sheriff's Deputy Injured in Suspected DUI Collision]]>Sun, 09 Apr 2017 11:54:18 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_185887181_police_lights_generic1.jpg

A Marin County sheriff's deputy suffered minor injuries in a head-on collision with a suspected intoxicated driver early Sunday morning in Mill Valley, California Highway Patrol officials said.

CHP officers received a call at 3:19 a.m. asking for help because a sheriff's deputy was in a traffic collision.

The collision occurred on Shoreline Highway, CHP officials said.

An investigation suggests that 34-year-old Justin Satterfield of Mill Valley was driving a 1997 Honda Civic on Shoreline Highway when he allegedly failed to negotiate a curve.

A sheriff's deputy was coming from the opposite direction when the 34-year-old's car allegedly crossed in front of the deputy's and the two vehicles collided head-on, according to CHP officials.

Satterfield was uninjured. CHP officers interviewed him and arrested him on suspicion of DUI causing injury. Satterfield was taken to the county jail.

The sheriff's deputy was treated and released from a local hospital.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Loved Ones Continue Search for Missing SJSU Student]]>Sun, 09 Apr 2017 22:21:37 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Kevin+Redrico.jpg

Roughly 40 desperate searchers on Sunday once again scoured Benicia and Martinez in hopes of locating Kevin Redrico, a missing San Jose State University student who disappeared on Wednesday.

Redrico, a third-year undergraduate student studying music education, is described as Filipino with black hair and brown eyes, roughly 5 feet, 6 inches tall and 125 pounds. He also has a full mustache and goatee. He was last seen wearing black or gray clothing when he ditched his car and cellphone near the Benicia Bridge.

"I can't tell you his mental state, but it's been storming, and I'm worried about his safety," Jonathan Redrico, Kevin Redrico's brother, said.

Kevin Redrico's father, Glenn, said his son was recently taking anti-depressants to help cope with a personal relationship problem, but Glenn Redrico does not believe his son presents a danger to himself.

"I talked with him, and he said he won't do that," Glenn Redrico said. "I just hope he's wandering around because of the medication."

Aside from the bridge, Kevin Redrico's most recent locations include Madison Street in Benicia, Park Road in Benicia, Shoal Drive East in Vallejo and Hayes Street in Benicia.

Kevin Redrico most likely has a purple Pokemon keychain, Honda car keys and prescription bottles in his name on his person.

Searchers on paddleboards, boats and jet skis inspected the area beneath the bridge Sunday afternoon. They also handed out fliers to local fishermen in hopes of gathering any helpful information.

Other search parties on Sunday also combed Vallejo, Pleasant Hill, Hercules and Concord as well as handed out fliers to the general public.

A longtime family friend of Kevin Redrico even brought his dog to help in the search effort.

"He goes places and gets into nooks and crannies that I would not get into," Arsenio Roldan said.

Anyone with information about Kevin Redrico's whereabouts is asked to call 911 or 707-344-7690.



Photo Credit: Jeremy Bagnol]]>
<![CDATA[Contractors Arrested for Taking Advantage of Customers]]>Sun, 09 Apr 2017 09:28:00 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Contractors1.jpg

Three Sonoma County construction contractors were arrested on suspicion of numerous offenses after they allegedly took advantage of customers, officials with the Contractors State License Board announced Friday.

According to the officials, 44-year-old Joseph Goodwin of Forestville and 36-year-old Samuel Williams of Santa Rosa allegedly used their construction business, Goodwin Millworks, to take almost $566,000 from their customers.

The company, working with 51-year-old Santa Rosa resident Anthony Joseph Irvin of AJI Construction, allegedly performed construction work for one of the victims. According to investigators, inspectors received repeated

requests to inspect substandard construction work and concerns that multiple contractors were involved with the job.

According to investigators, Irvin abandoned the unfinished job when he was paid and the victim ended up paying twice for the same work.

In a separate incident, a nonprofit organization that buys and rehabilitates houses for disabled people paid more than $460,000 for work at two homes. The incomplete jobs were abandoned and the nonprofit had to spend an additional $685,000 to pay for a second contractor to complete the work, investigators said.

Investigators have identified at least ten victims who have suffered financial losses totaling $812,411.99. Investigators believe there may be other victims of Goodwin Millworks or AJI Construction.

Anyone who believes they may be a victim should contact CSLB Investigator Amanda Martinez at (510) 540-2024 or amanda.martinez@cslb.ca.gov.

The state Labor Commissioner's Office conducted a separate investigation based on statements from Goodwin Millworks employees who claimed they were not paid wages. The commission ordered the company to pay more than $150,000 in back pay to workers and almost $600,000 in civil penalties.



Photo Credit: Lake County Jail]]>
<![CDATA[30 Athletes Treated for Hypothermia at North Bay Triathlon]]>Sat, 08 Apr 2017 15:46:28 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4-8-17_Napa_Triathlon.jpg

A triathlete went to a hospital and about 30 others suffered symptoms of hypothermia Saturday morning during the HITS Napa Valley triathlon in Napa County, a Cal Fire spokeswoman said.

A participant got on a bike after swimming in Lake Berryessa and went down at 10:13 a.m. in the 7600 block of Berryessa Knoxville Road.

Once the bicyclist went down, someone suggested that 30 others stop to warm up.

The triathletes swam in the lake before attempting a bike ride.

The temperature at the lake was 37 degrees, according to Cal Fire.

National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Anderson said the winds were light Saturday morning so wind probably didn't make the air feel any colder.

The participants with symptoms of hypothermia warmed up at the Hope Valley Fire Station and at the Bureau of Reclamation Office. All who warmed up were OK afterwards, Cal Fire spokeswoman Suzie Blankenship said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Families Unable to Return to Muddy Oakland Hills Homes]]>Sat, 08 Apr 2017 14:43:24 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N11P+EAST+BAY+STORM+DAMAGE+PKG+-+00000704.jpg

A storm that battered Northern California, endangering homes and leaving thousands in the dark, dumped only a drizzle of rain in the south and was beginning to roll out of the state Saturday.

But first, the rain softened soil already saturated by months of previous storms, causing a landslide in the Oakland hills. Five families were displaced late Thursday and four homes had been red-tagged by Friday. Some houses were filled with nearly five feet of mud and officials said the hillside is unstable. 

Being red-tagged means no one can live in those specific homes, at least for the time being. Also, all work to clean up the fallen hillside and repair the homes has to stop until city officials gives the the go-ahead.

There were also reports of several downed trees in the area. Part of Thornhill Drive was closed through Saturday after a tree slammed into a house and blocked the road. 

Neighbor Suzanne Quick said the tree came crashing down around 3:50 a.m., and she said the damage to the home resulted in a total loss. Fortunately for the residents, they were able to walk away.

"The tree apparently fell on a stud, and that's the only thing that kept from everybody being wiped out," Quick said.

Earlier in the week, Diane Henderson recalled a wall of mud coming through her home's roof and down the hallway on Thursday. Even a tree made its way into her house.

"Hillsides are full of trees and brush and plants, and you feel they are holding the hillsides up," she said. 

But that was not the case on Thursday night.

Barbara Stone, who is now forbidden from reentering her house, was given 10 minutes to evacuate.

“I don’t know what to expect next," she said. "Two minutes from now, we may have to run, to get out." 

Buckets caught rain water, but that's about all the women could do Friday to mitigate the damage as a less-severe system passed through the Bay Area.

Homeowners are also concerned about who will pay for the repairs.

"They called me back and said that we're not covered for mudslides," Stone said about her insurance provider. 

Jonathan Aragon felt like he was living in a war zone.

“We didn’t want to go to sleep last night," he admitted. "We were afraid the other tree back there was going to fall. We kept shifting through the house and everything.” 

The East Bay Municipal Utility District and PG&E temporarily cut water and power service to 23 homes in the area. 

Homeowners on Friday night hoped that a crumbling road above their properties wouldn't slide down and bring with it a lot more mud. They wondered too if a section of a water main that crews have isolated for restoration broke beneath the road, causing a lot of the damage. District officials said the scenario is unlikely, but that the pipe will be preserved as part of an investigation.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Dog Found Alive Three Days After Deadly Boating Accident]]>Sat, 08 Apr 2017 21:03:52 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/safedog.jpg

A dog whose owner died after his powerboat capsized in a bay north of San Francisco has been found alive three days after the accident.

The Labrador retriever named Yoda was spotted Thursday on a rocky beach by two firefighters scouting locations for water rescue skills training.

Marin County Battalion Chief Bret McTigue says they wrapped the cold, wet dog in a lifejacket and put him near a fireplace in a fire station to warm him up.

The dog's owner was 47-year-old Brian Ho.

McTigue says Ho died Monday after his 13-foot boat capsized in Tomales Bay.

Another man and another dog survived.

Relatives at Ho's funeral announced that his dog had survived.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Fairfield Man Jailed on Suspicion of 5 Burglaries in 2 Days]]>Sat, 08 Apr 2017 12:59:13 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/handcuffs14.jpg

Police in Fairfield have arrested a man suspected in a series of five robberies in two days.

Edwin Gaona, 31, of Fairfield, was arrested on suspicion of robbery, attempted robbery, violation on parole and on an outstanding warrant for violation of parole, according to the Fairfield Police Department.

On Thursday, officers with the Fairfield Police Department responded to a report of a robbery in the 1800 block of North Texas Street.

Police were able to get a description of the suspect believed responsible for the robbery.

On Friday, offers received reports of three other robberies that occurred between the hours of 7:35 a.m. and 10:06 a.m. at businesses in the 2300 block of North Texas Street, the 1300 block of Gateway Boulevard and the 1900 block of West Texas Street, police said.

As officers were responding to the incident on West Texas Street, they located a man matching the description of the suspect in the previous robberies.

Officers took the suspect, identified as Gaona, into custody, and witnesses from each of the four robberies positively identified him, police said.

Police said Gaona is also a suspect in a robbery that was committed in Suisun on Friday.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File]]>
<![CDATA[Man Arrested With Stolen Boys and Girls Club Vehicle]]>Sat, 08 Apr 2017 12:52:52 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/boys-and-girls-club.jpg

A Fresno resident was allegedly found driving a stolen Boys & Girls Club vehicle early Saturday morning in Petaluma and was arrested, police said.

An officer patrolling the area around Maria Drive at about 12:30 a.m. allegedly saw a moving vehicle without its taillights lit.

The officer checked records and found that the vehicle was registered to the Petaluma Boys & Girls Club.

The officer stopped the vehicle for the lighting violation and to see whether the vehicle was stolen.

Officials with the Boys & Girls Club said the vehicle was stolen and they didn't know the driver, Sandy Beckton, 35.

Beckton was arrested and taken to the county jail on suspicion of vehicle theft, possessing a stolen vehicle, possessing a stun gun and violating post release community supervision.

Post release community supervision is a program managed by a county agency such as a probation department to supervise people released from state prison.



Photo Credit: File]]>
<![CDATA[Benicia High School Teacher and Student Arrested ]]>Sat, 08 Apr 2017 12:46:31 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/91997111-marijuana-generic.jpg

A 23-year-old Benicia High School teacher was arrested Friday on suspicion of possessing stolen property and possessing marijuana at a school, police said.

School employees called police Friday and told them that they saw a 17-year-old student leaving campus frequently during the week.

Officers interviewed the student who allegedly told them that he was walking to a teacher's car.

The teacher, Riana Lane, was allegedly giving her car keys to the student to get into her car, according to police.

When officers searched the car they allegedly found some edible marijuana and stolen goods from thefts in Benicia on March 23 and 28.

Lane allegedly admitted to officers that she had some edible marijuana in her car. The student then confessed to stealing the goods found in Lane's car, police said.

Lane was arrested, cited and released on suspicion of misdemeanor possession of stolen property and possession of marijuana on a school campus.

Police arrested the student for petty theft and released him to a parent. His name will not be released because he is a minor, police said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Volunteers Scour Benicia, Martinez for Missing SJSU Student ]]>Fri, 07 Apr 2017 20:40:36 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Kevin+Redrico.jpg

About 30 volunteers on Friday searched for a San Jose State University student who was last seen near the Benicia-Martinez Bridge a day prior.

Kevin Redrico, 23, left his Vallejo home around 9 p.m. Wednesday without telling anyone, according to his brother. He was last seen getting out of his red 2014 Honda Accord around 9 a.m. Thursday at 1898 Park Road in Benicia and then walking south. He was wearing black clothing.

The third-year undergraduate is studying music education, his brother Jonathan Redrico said.

He is described as Filipino with black hair and brown eyes, standing 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 125 pounds.

Redrico was reported missing to Vallejo police. After his car was found, Benicia police launched a search yesterday by helicopter, boat and on foot with K-9 units, Lt. Scott Przekurat said.

Volunteers are searching parks, hiking trails, waterfronts, and downtown and industrial areas of Benicia and Martinez, Redrico's brother said.

The search is expected to restart at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

Anyone with information about Kevin Redrico's whereabouts has been asked to call Vallejo police at (707) 648-4321.



Photo Credit: Jeremy Bagnol]]>
<![CDATA[Police Investigating Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting in Napa]]>Tue, 04 Apr 2017 23:58:20 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0404-2017-NapaChopper.jpg

An armed man was fatally shot by police after they say he fired shots at officers in Napa Tuesday afternoon.

The shooting and investigation in the area of Bueno Street and Linda Vista Avenue prompted nearby West Park Elementary to be placed on lockdown at about 2 p.m. The Napa Valley Unified School District said the lockdown at the school was lifted about an hour later.

Police also shut down Linda Vista Avenue from West Park to West Pueblo avenues during the investigation.

Officers initially responded to several 911 calls reporting a man shooting a gun in the area. When officers and deputies from the Napa County Sheriff's Office arrived, the man began shooting at them as he was driving away from a home, police said.

"To protect ourselves, and the greater public, our officers fired their service weapons fatally wounding the man," police said in a release.

Photographs of the man's car, which crashed into a tree, show the vehicle riddled with bullet holes.

No other injuries were reported

An investigation is ongoing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[4 Oakland Hills Homes Red-Tagged After Storm-Fueled Mudslide]]>Fri, 07 Apr 2017 20:07:41 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4-7-2017-oakland-hills-damage1.jpg

Heavy rains softened already saturated grounds and caused a landslide in the Oakland hills, which left five families displaced and four homes red-tagged, while high gusts of wind Friday morning left thousands without power in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Gusts up to 48 mph ripped across San Francisco and blasts of up to 62 mph hit the Oakland area, National Weather Service meteorologist Anna Schneider said.

In Oakland, residents of at least five homes were forced to evacuate Thursday night following a landslide that in some cases dumped about five feet of mud in their houses. Of those, four were red-tagged by Friday. Officials say the hillside is unstable. 

Being red-tagged means no one can live in those specific homes, at least for the time being. Also, all work to clean up the fallen hillside and repair the homes has to stop until city officials gives the the go-ahead.

Diane Henderson recalled a wall of mud coming through her home's roof and down the hallway. Even a tree made its way into her house.

"Hillsides are full of trees and brush and plants, and you feel they are holding the hillsides up," she said. 

But that was not the case on Thursday night.

Barbara Stone, who is now forbidden from reentering her house, was given 10 minutes to evacuate.

“I don’t know what to expect next," she said. "Two minutes from now, we may have to run, to get out." 

Buckets caught rain water, but that's about all the women could do Friday to mitigate the damage as a less-severe system passed through the Bay Area.

Homeowners are also concerned about who will pay for the repairs.

"They called me back and said that we're not covered for mudslides," Stone said about her insurance provider. 

There were also reports of several downed trees in the area. Jonathan Aragon felt like he was living in a war zone.

“We didn’t want to go to sleep last night," he admitted. "We were afraid the other tree back there was going to fall. We kept shifting through the house and everything.” 

The East Bay Municipal Utility District and PG&E temporarily cut water and power service to 23 homes in the area. 

Homeowners on Friday night hoped that a crumbling road above their properties wouldn't slide down and bring with it a lot more mud. They wondered too if a section of a water main that crews have isolated for restoration broke beneath the road, causing a lot of the damage. District officials said the scenario is unlikely, but that the pipe will be preserved as part of an investigation.

Meanwhile, more than 40,000 Pacific Gas & Electric Co. customers in the San Francisco Bay Area were without power Friday morning because of the stormy weather that started Thursday and lasted into Friday. But late Friday, that number hovered just above 7,400.

Elsewhere in the Bay Area, residents paid close attention to erosion and downed power lines on the fire-weary Santa Cruz Mountains. Parts of the hillsides have been washed away due to the series of heavy rains this winter season.

"We did experience significantly heavy winds in the South Bay — up to 52 mph in San Jose," said Mayra Tostada with PG&E. "That’s where trees are toppling. Power lines and power poles have been coming down."

PG&E set up a base camp in Scotts Valley from where they monitored the storm and dispatched repair crews. The agency brought in additional crews from the Central Valley to help. 

“We’re prepared for this storm," Tostada said.

David Navarro said he woke up to sparking power lines after a small tree came crashing down. Now, he is worried about two nearly 150-foot trees that have roots exposed.

He complained that he’s been calling county officials for weeks, hoping someone would remove the danger above his home. PG&E restored power to Navarro’s home, but not his sense of security.

"I was scared because I have a little daughter and I’m more concerned about my family," Navarro said.

By Friday, though, it appeared that the Santa Cruz Mountains had been spared from the latest storm's wrath. Crews in fact had been sent from higher elevation areas to cities like Cupertino and Los Altos to bolster repair efforts. 

Scattered showers will continue through Saturday afternoon when things will dry out until another small storm system hits on Wednesday, Schneider said.

Forecasters warned of significant travel disruptions Friday in the Sierra Nevada passes, around the town of Mammoth Lakes and along U.S. 395.

"Avoid travel if possible, you could be stuck in your vehicle for many hours," the weather service warned.

Forecasters upgraded a winter storm watch to a warning for heavy, wet snow, effective from midnight Thursday to 5 a.m. Saturday along the eastern Sierra, west of U.S. 395.

The Mammoth Mountain ski resort in the eastern Sierra Nevada reported early Friday that up to 26 inches of snow fell overnight, with more expected over the next day or two.

That raised the season total to 562 inches or nearly 47 feet 

Advisories for small watercraft and gale warnings were in effect along about a third of the California coast.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Marin County Supervisors Battle Muir Woods Traffic Headaches]]>Tue, 04 Apr 2017 08:11:40 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4-4-17-muir-woods.jpg

Officials will receive an update on how plans are going for improving roads and traffic issues near Muir Woods National Monument in the North Bay. With close to one million visitors every year, both the county and the National Park Service want to manage and improve all the traffic.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Abalone Season on Hold Until May]]>Tue, 04 Apr 2017 08:27:10 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4-4-17-abalone-shortage.jpg

April is normally the start of abalone season off the Sonoma Coast. This year is different. The Department of Fish and Wildlife cut back abalone season until May because of concerns about food supply. Abalone season will also end at the end of October, which is one month earlier than usual. The allowable catch per diver is down this year from 18 to 12 in order to preserve the stock.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Hand Grenade Discovered in Unincorporated Benicia]]>Tue, 04 Apr 2017 08:08:31 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GrenadeBenicia.jpg

Roadside work crews in unincorporated Benicia received quite the surprise when they spotted a hand grenade near Interstate 680 over the weekend, according to the Solano County Sheriff's Office.

Explosive ordinance specialists from Travis Air Force Base and responding sheriff's deputies on Saturday determined that the explosive, which was found near Parish Road and the freeway, was an inactive training grenade, according to sheriff's officials.

Sheriff's officials are not sure where the grenade came from or how it ended up near the freeway.

The grenade was destroyed by explosive ordinance specialists at Travis Air Force Base, according to sheriff's officials.

Officials used the discovery to remind folks to never approach or play with an old grenade. People who discover a grenade are asked to contact 911.



Photo Credit: Solano County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[#EqualPayDay: Businesses Rally Behind Wage Gap Fight]]>Tue, 04 Apr 2017 06:59:41 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/161*120/EqualPay.jpg

Roughly two dozen businesses across the Bay Area and several more around the nation on Tuesday are fighting to close the pay gap between men and women.

Some of those establishments plan to offer a 20 percent discount to illustrate the roughly 20 percent pay difference between working men and women across the United States.

Women on average earn about 80 cents for every dollar that men tally, according to LeanIn.org. In California, women make about 86 cents for every dollar collected by men, according to an analysis conducted by the National Partnership for Women and Families.

Aside from smaller local businesses around the Bay Area, Lyft and Salesforce are some of the bigger names rallying behind the wage gap effort. For example, Lyft plans to donate 20 percent of its proceeds gathered from Tuesday rides completed across 240 cities to groups that fight for women and families.

Closing the wage gap could add $513 billion to the American economy, according to research from the Institute for Women's Policy Research. Individually, women could pocket $530,000 more during their careers if equal pay is achieved, according to LeanIn.org. Those funds could push 3.1 families above the poverty line and reduce hunger concerns for struggling women and their children, according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research.

Companies Participating in #EqualPayDay in San Francisco:

California Cowboy Apparel, CookieLove, Craftsman and Wolves, Dev Bootcamp, Flora Arte, Hackbright Academy, Honeycomb Salon, Kara's Cupcakes, Margaret Elizabeth, Nick's Crispy Tacos, Terra Mia Ceramic Studio LLC, The Little Chihuahua Mexican Restaurant

Companies Participating in #EqualPayDay in Silicon Valley:

Books Inc., Boutique 4, Budget Blinds, Kepler's Books & Magazines, Life in Play Company LLC, Mountain View Chamber of Commerce, Passion Fit, St. Stevens Green, The Striped Pig, Tin Pot Creamery, Title Boxing



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[1 Dead in Boating Incident on Tomales Bay: Coast Guard]]>Mon, 03 Apr 2017 14:25:22 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/tomales1.jpg

One person died Monday afternoon in a boating accident on Tomales Bay, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said.

The incident involved a 13-foot Boston Whaler pleasure craft with two people and two dogs on board. It was reported at 12:08 p.m.

A Coast Guard boat and the Sonoma County sheriff's helicopter Henry-1 responded to the incident, according to the Coast Guard.

No other information was immediately available.



Photo Credit: Riya Bhattacharjee]]>
<![CDATA[Motorcyclist Dies in Crash After Fleeing From Police]]>Mon, 03 Apr 2017 06:00:13 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/petaluma-0402-2017.jpg

A motorcyclist died in Petaluma on Sunday evening after leading police on a high-speed chase and crashing, according to the Petaluma Police Department.

At about 5:15 p.m., Petaluma police received a disturbance call regarding motorcycles speeding up and down the street in the area of Adobe Creek Drive and Ely Boulevard South, police said. When an Officer arrived to the scene and located the two motorcycles, he attempted to stop the bikers in the area of Ely Boulevard South and Frates Road. But both motorcycles fled at a high rate of speed southbound on Ely, police said.

One of the motorcyclists yielded to police about a mile from Frates, but the second motorcycle continued fleeing southbound before losing control and crashing, police said. He suffered major injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene by arriving medical personnel, police said.

The second motorcyclist then rode up to the scene and was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.

The California Highway Patrol was called in to investigate the crash, police said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Napa Man Accused of Drugging, Kidnapping, Raping Teen]]>Sun, 02 Apr 2017 23:01:13 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/napa-rape-0402-2017.jpg

A 50-year-old Napa, California, man with a criminal past was arrested Saturday morning for allegedly drugging, raping and kidnapping a 13-year-old girl, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department.

Authorities made the arrest after the man, who was identified as Timothy Lee Marble, called police after the girl jumped from his moving car traveling along Highway 1 in Bodega Bay, according to authorities. When officers arrived, the girl, who was covered with road rash, jumped out of nearby bushes and claimed that Marble — a convicted drug felon without a history of sexual assault offenses — sexually assaulted her.

The ghastly string of abusive events ignited on March 30 when the girl became entangled in an argument with her mom before running away from her Napa home, according to the sheriff's department.

The teen ended up at a Shell gas station during the early hours of March 31 when she came into contact with Marble, according to the sheriff's department. Marble convinced the teen that he would give her a ride in his pickup truck.

Marble drove the teen to "an unknown location in the country," according to the sheriff's department. That's when the pair smoked marijuana together before Marble began to make sexual advances. The teen resisted, but Marble exerted his force. He tied the teen to a tree and sexually assaulted her, according to the sheriff's department.

The two hopped back into Marble's car and started driving, according to the sheriff's department. Some time later, Marble pulled out a syringe and injected the teenager with methamphetamine.

Marble also cut the girl's leg using a razor blade and a knife, according to the sheriff's department. He also etched his name into the girl's skin. That name was still on the victim's body when detectives began investigating the case.

Before his run of criminal behavior was over, Marble managed to sexually assault the girl two more times, according to the sheriff's department.

The victim escaped Marble's control when she dove from his truck Saturday morning. Marble tried to find the girl in the bushes and reportedly told her he was going to kill her after she failed to show herself, according to the sheriff's department.

Marble called 911 when the girl didn't answer his demands, according to the sheriff's department. After arriving and hearing the girl's story, sheriff's deputies arrested Marble on a number of counts related to sexual acts with a minor, child abuse and kidnapping. He was transported to the Sonoma County Jail, and he was booked without bail.

Marble is expected to appear in court Tuesday afternoon.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[President Trump OKs Disaster Declaration for Calif. Counties]]>Sun, 02 Apr 2017 18:29:49 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4-1-17_Trump_Disaster_Declaration_CA.jpg

President Donald Trump on Sunday approved a disaster declaration for several California counties ransacked by powerful winter storms.

A total of eight of the Bay Area's nine counties overwhelmed by flooding and mudslides between Feb. 1 and Feb. 23 are eligible for federal funding, according to the White House. The counties listed include Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma counties.

Jurisdictions may also request money for hazard mitigation measures, according to the White House.

A drought-stricken Bay Area benefited from the record amounts of winter rainfall, but the much-needed water also triggered hillsides to crash into homes, roads to crumble and water to overwhelm neighborhoods. One of the hardest hit locations was neighborhoods along Coyote Creek in San Jose. Thousands of homes and cars were filled with flood waters when the swollen Coyote Creek breached its banks.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Rosa Firefighters Rescue 12 Ducklings]]>Sat, 01 Apr 2017 20:08:41 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/BABYDUCKS.jpg

All the ducklings are back in a row – but not without help from Santa Rosa firefighters.

The Santa Rosa Fire Department got a call around 1:30 p.m. Friday about a flock of ducklings that had fallen into a storm drain near Unocal Place and Round Barn Boulevard. Security guards at Medtronics had noticed the hatchlings plunge into the drain and were seeking help to reach them, dispatch said. 

As the mother duck paced nearby, firefighters lifted a manhole cover so they could access the dozen birds, who were trapped about seven feet below street level, according to the Santa Rosa Fire Department's Facebook page.

Firefighter Chase Richardson climbed into the drain and rescued the ducklings one at a time. Others on the ground took the baby birds and placed them near their mother.

Once reunited, the duck family waddled off toward a nearby wooded area.



Photo Credit: Santa Rosa Fire Department
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<![CDATA[Confidence in Bay Area Economy Drops: Study]]>Sat, 01 Apr 2017 20:26:52 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/120916+cash+money+generic.jpg

Economic confidence in the Bay Area has slipped to its lowest point in four years, according to a report published by the Bay Area Council.

Only 31 percent of people polled stated that the economy was "was doing better" compared to the last six months, according to the study. Compare that mark to the 53 percent of people who said the economy was on the upswing back in 2014.

The economic outlook for 2017 moving forward doesn't appear to be as cheery either. Just 24 percent of people polled this year believe that the economy will improve over the course of the next six months, according to the report. Roughly 50 percent of people back in 2014 thought the economy would be better in that same amount of time.

Millennials are much more pessimistic compared to older crowds when it comes to fears about the future of the economy, according to the report.

A traffic "crisis" and the high cost of the living are two of the main factors causing the economic concerns.

Overall, just 42 percent of people in the Bay Area think the region is "headed in the right direction," compared to 57 percent of folks back in 2014, according to the study.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Gunned Down in Vallejo]]>Sat, 01 Apr 2017 13:23:28 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/police_crime_tape_generic_640x4801.jpg

Police in Vallejo are investigating a shooting death that occurred Friday night.

Officers with the Vallejo Police Department responded Friday at 11:09 p.m. to a report of a shooting at the intersection of Marin and Pennsylvania streets.

There, officers located a man suffering from a gunshot wound.

The victim was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.

Police have not released the identity of the victim.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Vallejo Police Department at (707) 648-4280.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File]]>
<![CDATA[Suisun City Police Investigate Armed Robbery at Walmart]]>Sat, 01 Apr 2017 14:12:10 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Suisuin+city+armed+robbery+suspect.jpg

Police are investigating an armed robbery that occurred Friday evening at a Wal-Mart store in Suisun City, police said.

An image of the suspect, who was said to be carrying a gun, was captured on a surveillance camera at 6:23 p.m.

Customers and employees were evacuated and the store was locked down, according to police.

The suspect was last seen running north of the store.

Anyone with information is asked to call Officer Vera at (707) 421-7373. Tips can be made anonymously to Solano Crime Stoppers at (707) 644-7867.



Photo Credit: Suisun City Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Volunteer-Built Ship Unveiled in Sausalito]]>Thu, 30 Mar 2017 00:06:55 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sausilito-ship-0329-2017.jpg

A special ship was unveiled in Sausalito on Wednesday night.

The 130-foot-long vessel, preparing to launch soon, was built entirely by local volunteers. The project took three years, but those involved feel it has been well worth the wait.

"You think about building pyramids, building cathedrals or building barns," project director Alan Olson said. "All those things bring people together. Our objective was to build a ship and a community, and I think we accomplished that."

Private donations funded the $6 million project. The ship's first voyage will be Saturday, and it will mainly be a vessel for school field trips.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Man Found Naked From Waist Down at Santa Rosa High School]]>Wed, 29 Mar 2017 21:43:00 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police-lights-day-shutterstock_1430470310.jpg

Officers arrested a 50-year-old man Wednesday at a Santa Rosa high school after school staff found him naked from the waist down, police said.

Employees at Santa Rosa High School, located at 1235 Mendocino Ave., told officers they found the man on the campus' north side, near the door of a basement, according to police.

The man, later identified as Santa Rosa resident William Miessner, was wearing only a T-shirt and a small plastic grocery bag covering his genitals. Additionally, Miessner's hands and genitals were painted blue, police said.

Officers learned Miessner spoke to at least one student but did not approach the student.

School employees were able to keep Miessner away from other students until police arrived.

It was not immediately clear why Miessner came to the school. His clothing and other belongings were found on campus, according to police.

Officers arrested Miessner on suspicion of possession of acontrolled substance, coming onto a school campus with intent to interfere or disrupt and providing false ID to officers. He was booked into the Sonoma County Jail, police said.

]]>
<![CDATA[Man Gets 15 Months in $500K Wine Theft From French Laundry]]>Tue, 28 Mar 2017 20:33:55 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/frenchlaundry4.JPG

Prosecutors say a federal judge in San Jose has sentenced a man to 15 months in prison following his conviction on a conspiracy charge stemming from the theft of more than $500,000 worth of wine from a famed Napa Valley restaurant.

U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Abraham Simmons said a judge sentenced Davis Kiryakoz on Tuesday.

Kiryakoz pleaded guilty in December to one count of conspiracy to transport stolen goods. Prosecutors say he acknowledged stealing 110 bottles of high-end wine from French Laundry, Chef Thomas Keller's restaurant - in December 2014 and later selling some of it to a buyer in North Carolina.

The stolen wine included a bottle that can cost up to $10,000.

Kiryakoz also acknowledged stealing another $320,000 worth of wine from a steak house and a wine store.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Student Filmmakers Get a Shot in Sonoma Int'l Film Fest]]>Tue, 28 Mar 2017 19:33:57 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0328-2017-projector.jpg

The Sonoma Valley International Film Festival will mark its 20th run on Wednesday with a slew of 130 films spanning some 27 countries. But among the 200 filmmakers expected to turn up — some will come from just down the street - and won’t be even old enough to drive themselves to the theater.

Several students from Sonoma Valley High School’s intense media arts program will showcase short films during a student segment at the festival - with a pair of the school’s budding filmmakers showing films among the regular festival fare.

“It’s cool to see it on the big screen along with the other filmmakers,” said student Owen Summers whose claymation film titled “Magic Beans” will show in the main festival. “Hopefully it shows well and people like it.”

Summers’ filmmaking is a byproduct of a class that exceeds the creative rigors of most high school media arts programs. The program launched in 2002 with teacher Peter Hansen at the helm and has launched the careers of filmmakers who’ve wound up at Pixar and in Hollywood. In addition to a high tech broadcast studio, the school supplies students with cameras, lighting and computers to make their own films.

“That’s all they do is edit and film and they love it,” Hansen said, adding that he sometimes has to shoo his over-enthusiastic students back to algebra and science classes.

Hansen said the students are from a generation weened on media — video-ready smart phones at their fingertips — constantly documenting the world around them. Hansen endeavors to shape those impulses into serious filming chops.

“They were born into a world where it’s 24-7 nonstop glowing boxes,” Hansen said. “That’s what they know.”

On a recent day inside the class’s broadcast studio, lighting was set-up with fussy precision, cameras were aimed at the on-air talent dutifully seated behind the news desk — as a director barked orders to the crews. The class broadcasts a weekly live newscast with sports and weather. Beyond the studio, students sat at computer stations making last-minute tweaks to films, promotional videos and music videos.

“I’m here on Saturdays and there’s eight to 20 kids editing filming, lighting,” Hansen said. “There’s no bells.”

Summers spent months shooting his stop-motion film, eking out motion one frame at a time with his clay characters.

“It’s very slow,” Summers said, “you’re basically watching a movie as it goes — frame by frame.”

A few monitors away, Alex Epstein edited a film starring his charismatic brother who effected a convincing British accent in a riotous slapstick-esque short film. Epstein’s film is also scheduled to show in the festival

“I’ve never had my own film, any of my movies shown to many people,” Epstein said. “We actually have a chance to make a name for ourselves in this film fest.”

Sonoma International Film Festival director Kevin McNeely said the inclusion of student films in the festival wasn’t just throwing a bone to local kids, but rather the reflection of the high degree of Hansen’s media arts program it helps support.

“These students are making important films,” McNeely said. “These short films kind of tell what’s going on in their mind.”

Hansen said the program helps students find their footing in a digital landscape that is heavy on DIY — in the process helping them veer onto their own paths as filmmakers early in life.

“My kids are mostly the art kids — they’re not the quarterback, they’re not the star athlete,” Hansen said. “But for that one day when they’re in the film festival, they are the quarterback.”

The film fest runs March 29th - April 2nd. For more information, visit SonomaFilmFest.org.



Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr./NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Fairfield Man Dead After Ghastly Car Crash in Vacaville]]>Tue, 28 Mar 2017 19:18:32 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/3-28-17-vacaville-fatal-car.jpg

A Fairfield man who died in a solo vehicle crash in north Vacaville early Tuesday morning had just competed in a billiards tournament in Las Vegas on Monday, according to his Facebook posts.

Rudy Lee Carabajal III, 39, placed third in a mini-pool tournament at the Westlake Las Vegas Resort and Casino, and he said he was looking forward to the next tournament.

Carabajal, who was also known as "Thumper," had a 10-year-old daughter. Friends on Facebook expressed concern that she would find out about his death on Facebook and not be notified in person.

Carabajal was driving a 2008 Honda Civic on southbound Interstate 505 south of Vaca Valley Parkway when the car went off the road, through a fence and struck two trees around 2:40 a.m. Tuesday, according to the California Highway Patrol.

He was ejected from the vehicle when the Honda split in half and was pronounced dead at the scene. The CHP said the car was traveling at a high rate of speed.

Facebook friends said "the world has lost an amazing soul" and called him "a good friend and teammate."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Mobile Petting Zoo in the North Bay Sparks Violent Scuffle]]>Sun, 26 Mar 2017 09:15:11 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/3-26-17_North_Bay_Mobile_Zoo.jpg

The owner of a petting zoo on wheels in the North Bay was assaulted by a woman last weekend, Sebastopol police shared on Facebook.

The bizarre turn of events unfolded when several residents flooded police with calls about a woman housing two cows, a goat and three dogs in an old school bus located on Morris Street, police said.

"The owner of the menagerie had a well-intentioned, but perhaps misguided plan to turn the ex-school bus into an educational petting zoo on wheels," police wrote on Facebook.

Police scouted the bus and determined that the woman's furry friends were "well taken care of and not in distress," but the authorities noted that a yellow school bus probably wasn't the proper home for the animals.

"It was clear the owner had bitten off more than she could chew, so to speak, in her new venture," police wrote on Facebook.

The woman eventually moved her bus to a gas station located on Highway 12 and planned her next move. A Sebastopol police officer also joined in the effort to find a forever home for the animals.

Meanwhile, another woman spotted the animals in the bus. Her frustration with mobile petting zoo triggered a physical altercation with the bus owner, police said. The owner of the bus was sent to the hospital with minor injuries, but she has since been released.

After reaching out to the local community, the Sebastopol police officer was able to find a bit more open space near Cloverdale for the animals to graze.

The unusual string of events proved to be a learning experience for those involved.

"It's unfortunate that some felt they needed to resort to violence against the owner, who was perhaps misguided, but meant the animals no harm and treated them well," police wrote on Facebook. "That person let her passion for animals get the better of her, unaware that the process was already in motion to get the animals into a better situation."

A total of two assailants were arrested following the altercation, police said.



Photo Credit: Sebastopol Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Latest Winter Storm Soaks Bay Area]]>Fri, 24 Mar 2017 18:07:17 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Rain-Bay-Area-109249602.jpg

Forecasters say rain and cold temperatures will continue most of Friday in the San Francisco Bay Area before drying out and warming up on Saturday.

A cold front system moved south from the Gulf of Alaska early Friday with forecasters predicting up to 3 inches of rain in the coastal mountains with less rain in the lower elevations.

By early Friday, moderate to heavy rainfall had been reported in Vallejo and Sausalito in the North Bay; Lafayette, Concord and Moraga in the East Bay; and Tiburon and San Francisco, to name a few places.

Ponding was spotted on the Richmond-San Rafael bridge, while slick roads made for treacherous driving conditions.

Forecasters say the storm is expected to move into the South Bay later Friday with winds picking up.

The rain is returning to the Bay Area after a wet winter season that caused damage worth millions of dollars and forced state and local leaders to declare emergencies to secure funding for storm repairs. Last month, thousands of people in San Jose were displaced from their homes after Coyote Creek overflowed. 

In the Sierra Nevada, snow levels will start out above 8,000 feet (2,438 meters) on Friday, then lower to around 7,000 feet (2,133 meters) Friday night and Saturday.

Snow accumulations above 8,000 feet (2,438 meters) could range up to 12 inches (30.5 centimeters), impacting travel through the mountain range.

Saturday should bring a mostly sunny respite.

The front is expected to move slowly south down the Central Coast, bringing rain late in the day and overnight to San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Forecasters say there's a chance it could reach Los Angeles County, but will wash out on Saturday.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Crews Rescue Man Who Drove Off Hill in Marin Headlands]]>Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:52:36 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0323-2017-MarinHeadlandCar.jpg

Crews rescued a man who drove off a road in the Marin Headlands Thursday afternoon.

Officials said the car at around 11:30 a.m. went 80 to 100 feet off of Conzelman Road and down a hill.

The man was airlifted to a hospital in stable condition, officials said.

No other information was immediately available.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Security Ramps Up Following Attacks in London]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 09:40:01 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/176*120/TLMD--londres-ataque-GettyImages-656468102.jpg

Authorities in the Bay Area on Wednesday boosted security in response to the possible "terrorist incident" in London.

Folks passing through San Francisco International Airport will notice "a heightened level of vigilance," according to airport spokesperson Doug Yakel. An increased amount of uniformed police officers will be patrolling the grounds, but normal travel procedures are not expected to change.

Commuters crossing the Golden Gate Bridge should not notice any significant changes to security.

Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation district spokesperson said authorities are "always on high alert at the bridge to keep it safe from threats."

The San Francisco Police Department is monitoring the situation in London and will be ready to respond in the event that a local threat presents itself, according to police spokesperson Giselle Talkoff.

BART reported that no additional security measures have been set in place, but the agency's Critical Asset Protection team is on patrol as part of its regular schedule.

In response to the attacks, Facebook implemented its "Safety Check" feature to allow users to notifiy loved ones of their status.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Puppies Rescued After Being Abandoned Near Dumpster]]>Fri, 24 Mar 2017 21:23:14 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0324-2017-RescuePuppies.jpg

Three puppies are being cared for in Vallejo after being abandoned near a dumpster.

Someone spotted the strays in a dog bed that was left out in the cold. Two of the puppies look like hounds and the third a Chihuahua.

All puppies are three months old and have been turned over to Pits R Us, a local rescue.

The puppies are receving treatment and medicine. The rescue is asking for supplies to help care for the animals. Visit PitsRUs.org for more information.



Photo Credit: Pits R Us]]>
<![CDATA[Two Injured After Car Plunges into Santa Rosa Creek]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 08:37:55 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/3-22-17_Santa_Rosa_Creek_Crash.jpg

A vehicle carrying three people plunged into Colgan Creek in Santa Rosa on Tuesday, and the driver fled the scene, police said.

At 9:17 p.m., Santa Rosa police, fire crews, and Sonoma Life Support personnel were dispatched to the area of Colgan Avenue and Santa Rosa Avenue on a report of a vehicle collision.

At the scene, officers located a vehicle that had crashed through a fence on the west sidewalk of Santa Rosa Avenue and went into the Colgan Creek flood control channel. The vehicle then traveled about 200 feet west in the creek, before coming to a stop, police said.

According to police, officers contacted two of the vehicle's occupants who were able to exit the vehicle. They suffered injuries that are not considered life threatening and were taken to a hospital for treatment.

The driver fled the scene before officers arrived, police said.

Crews were unable to remove the vehicle from the flood control channel because of accessibility issues and damage to the vehicle. Arrangements for the vehicle's removal will be done at a later time, police said.

Officers are investigating this incident and following up on leads to determine the driver's identity. The driver is described as a black man in his early 20s, and was wearing a gray shirt and white pants.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Santa Rosa police Officer Noel Gaytan at (707) 543-3600 ext. 8517.



Photo Credit: Santa Rosa Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Heavy Downpours Trigger Slick Roads, Flooding Concerns]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 06:19:46 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/3-22-17_Rain_Orinda.jpg

Another round of rain early Wednesday lashed portions of the Bay Area, triggering headaches on the roadways and more flooding concerns.

A fatal crash on Interstate 580 near Harrison Street in Oakland temporarily blocked all lanes of westbound traffic during the early morning commute hours, California Highway Patrol officers said on Twitter.

At least three lanes of traffic re-opened just after 5:30 a.m., according to the CHP. All lanes were opened just before 6:30 a.m.

In nearby Orinda, flash flooding near Highway 24 reignited fears for residents trying to dry out after a soaking wet winter. Sandbags were put in place near Camino Pablo and Camino Sobrante in advance of the recent storm, but fast-moving water skirted right around the barriers. As dawn approached, most of the flooding had subsided.

Crews along the Peninsula Wednesday morning were busy removing a fallen tree that crashed on top of PG&E wires in Menlo Park. The tree toppled near Marcussen Drive and Oak Grove Avenue, according to police. Authorities were forced to close the entire road while they removed it from the pavement.

Wednesday's storm, which could pack wind speeds ranging from 15 to 30 mph and isolated lightning, will not generate any major river flooding concerns. Showers are expected to taper off by the afternoon hours with clearing expected by the evening.

A stronger storm on Friday and early Saturday could douse the Bay Area with one to two inches of rainfall before clearing out by late Saturday morning.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Supervisors Approve Park in Memory of Teen Killed By Deputy]]>Tue, 21 Mar 2017 15:15:31 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_fotos_andy_lopez_portada1.jpg

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday awarded a $3 million contract to construct a community park in the memory of 13-year-old Andy Lopez, who was fatally shot by a sheriff's deputy.

The board awarded the contract to the lowest of four bidders, Argonaut Constructors of Santa Rosa, to build the park at Moorland and West Robles avenues in unincorporated Sonoma County outside southwest Santa Rosa where Lopez was killed.

The teen was carrying an airsoft rifle designed to resemble an actual assault weapon when he was shot seven times by Deputy Erick Gelhaus on Oct. 22, 2013.

The death was followed by protests, marches, a civil rights violation lawsuit by Lopez's family and the county's intention to build "Andy's Unity Park" -- the first park in the Hispanic community south of Santa Rosa's automobile row parallel to U.S. Highway 101.

Argonaut Constructors' successful base bid was $3,029,445 plus $564,500 for 11 "additive alternates" that include a skateboarding spot, basketball court, shade structure, teen zone, community garden and off-leash dog area on two parcels totaling 4.22 acres.

Board members discussed at length Tuesday morning where the money for the half-million dollars in proposed additions would come from, and whether their absence would be construed as building a "bare bones" park.

Supervisor David Rabbitt said he wished the additive alternatives were included in Argonaut Constructors' "base" bid, and he insisted the county be able to pay for the additions.

Rabbitt said even without the additions, "It's still a beautiful park, but I want to see the money in the bank before we spend it."

Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, whose district includes the park, insisted the board meet the promise it made in December to fully fund the park.

"This is a huge deal for the community. They have not had a park for 20 years. It's long overdue. I don't want half a park," Hopkins said.

The board voted unanimously to award the $3 million base contract to Argonaut Constructors and to direct Sonoma County Regional Parks staff to identify funding for the additive alternatives that could include additional grants, community fundraising or money from the 2017-2018 budget.

The board begins its 2017-2018 budget hearings in June.



Photo Credit: TELEMUNDO 48]]>
<![CDATA[Benicia Police Seize Blue Meth from San Ramon Man]]>Tue, 21 Mar 2017 20:51:42 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/BlueMethBenicia.jpg

Benicia police reported over the weekend that in true "Breaking Bad" fashion, they caught a San Ramon man red-handed with blue meth, but it wasn't "Walter White."

Police in Benicia were alerted to a suspicious man scoping out cars in the 400 block of East 2nd Street, police said. Two officer stopped the man, identified as 30-year-old Joshua Scott of San Ramon, and found blue methamphetamine, which is the central drug depicted in the hit television series "Breaking Bad," in his car. Walter White is the main protagonist of the series.

Responding officers searched Scott's car after learning that he was on probation for burglary and had a $175,000 warrant out for his arrest for burglary charges, police said.

Scott was arrested and transported to Solano County jail, police said.



Photo Credit: Benicia Police Department]]>
<![CDATA['Day to Remember': Police Reunite Boy with Stolen Bike]]>Tue, 21 Mar 2017 07:19:31 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/MarinCountyStolenBike.jpg

A young boy in the North Bay on Sunday was reunited with his stolen Christmas present thanks to the Marin County Sheriff's Department.

The gifted bicycle was recently stolen from a front yard in the San Geronimo Valley, police wrote on Facebook.

Days later, the victim spotted his bicycle on an online auction and notified police.

Undercover officers contacted the thief and formulated a plan to meet him in San Rafael.

The thief, who was identified as 35-year-old Saul Merino of San Rafael, showed up for the exchange with the bicycle in hand. That's when police arrested Merino and returned the bicycle to its rightful owner.

Police wrote that bringing the bicycle back to the boy was a "day to remember."



Photo Credit: Marin County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Another Round of Rain Lashes the Bay Area]]>Tue, 21 Mar 2017 10:28:05 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/3-21-17-los-gatos-trees2.jpg

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Trees Topple as Rain Soaks Saturated Bay Area]]>Tue, 21 Mar 2017 06:48:45 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/3-21-17_Vallejo_Tree_House1.jpg

Widespread rain and gusty winds across the Bay Area on Tuesday once again triggered a slew of problems for an already saturated and battered Bay Area.

A roughly 100-year-old oak tree in Vallejo came crashing down on a home near Capitol and Glenn Streets. The tree, which fell just after 2 a.m., dented portions of the home, causing PG&E officials to red tag the residence. No one was injured, but homeowner Veronica McElroy said the ordeal was "really stressful."

"We thought we were having an earthquake," she said.

In the South Bay, crews were busy early Tuesday removing another fallen tree from Highway 17 in Los Gatos.

Winter-like conditions during the morning hours prompted San Francisco International to delay some arriving flights by nearly one hour.

As of late Tuesday morning, Boulder Creek in the Santa Cruz Mountains had already accumulated 3.27 inches of rain since the recent storms arrived. Mill Valley in the North Bay topped out at 2.27 inches while San Francisco's Noe Valley reached 1.59 inches of rainfall. Oakland recorded 0.88 inches of rain while San Jose received 0.44 inches.

Scattered showers across the Bay Area will linger into the Tuesday afternoon hours with isolated thunderstorms possible. A chance of rain and thunderstorms will remain into Wednesday with a stronger storm possible for the end of the week.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[The French Laundry Now Requiring Prepaid Reservations]]>Mon, 20 Mar 2017 20:25:29 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/french+laundry-0320-2017.jpg

A world famous, Michelin three-star restaurant in Napa County is among the latest high-end establishments to join the trend of requiring prepaid "tickets" for reservations.

The French Laundry in Yountville, long considered one of the finest restaurants in the world, began using a service called Tock on Monday for its customers to book prepaid tables online because, it seems, even a three-star dining room isn't immune to no-shows.

The new booking system requires diners to pay for some or all of their meals when they schedule their reservations. And at the time of purchase, they also can tell the restaurant about any food allergies or make other special requests.

The French Laundry's booking options through Tock include a table in the dining room for up to seven guests, which costs $310 per person, and a table in a private dining room for eight to 12 guests, which costs $400 per diner.

Other restaurants using the Tock system include Lazy Bear in San Francisco, Staplehouse in Atlanta and Lûmé in Melbourne, Australia.

The French Laundry has received Michelin's top three-star rating for the past six years, according to the restaurant's website.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Welcomes Spring with Even More Rain]]>Sun, 19 Mar 2017 22:54:09 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/191*120/rain-generic-umbrella-raindrops.jpg

Spring arrives on Monday, but the Bay Area won't be soaking in sunshine and warmer temperatures. Folks will be soaking in more rain.

A string of storm systems this week will once again douse portions of the Bay Area, bringing even more precipitation to a region that has been saturated with much-needed rainfall after five years of devastating drought.

During this year's rainy season, Bay Area rainfall totals have topped out anywhere from 120 to 173 percent of average. As of Sunday, Santa Rosa had accumulated 52.71 inches of rain this winter in comparison to the average mark of 30.52 inches of precipitation.

San Francisco had received 27.75 inches of rain compared to the average standard of 19.93 inches. Oakland had welcomed 24.29 inches of rainfall, a mark that is more than seven inches above its average. Livermore's 22.10 inches of rainfall this winter is 9.06 inches above its average mark. Portions of the South Bay such as Mountain View and San Jose have only collected roughly 15 inches of rain this winter season as of Sunday, but those marks are still above the average standard by more than two inches.

Scattered showers and even periods of heavy downpours early this week could bring up to threes inches of rain to the North Bay mountains and the Santa Cruz Mountains by Tuesday afternoon. Most parts of the Bay Area will receive less than one inch of rain after the early systems pass through the area.

A chance of rain will linger into Wednesday before subsiding by Thursday, but another storm on Friday could pack even heavier pockets of moisture.

The expected spring showers could also deepen the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which is already well above seasonal averages. Snow levels across the Golden State are 166 percent of average as of Sunday.



Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Search Teams in North Bay Scour Region for Missing People]]>Sun, 19 Mar 2017 21:12:09 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/3-19-17_MissingVallejoPeople.jpg

Search parties on Sunday were spread across Vallejo searching for two at-risk people. One, a 26-year-old woman, was found safe while the search continued for a 74-year-old man.

Roughly 80 volunteers scoured Solano County in hopes of finding 26-year-old Lexus Dupaty, who had disappeared Friday evening, according to the Solano County Sheriff's Office. Search and rescue teams were worried after learning that Dupaty, who has a mental disability, tended to hide in parks and bushes.

Their efforts were rewarded when the Vallejo woman was spotted by a passerby on Lake Herman road about two miles from Dupaty's home.

Dupaty's family was ecstatic about locating their missing loved one.

"I just want to say, 'thank you,'" Tomoroa Hill, Dupaty's aunt, said. "Praise God that my niece has been found safely. We barely could stand. We didn't sleep. We hardly ate."

After locating Dupaty, search crews reorganized and shifted their efforts to finding 74-year-old James Christian. The Vallejo man, who suffers from dementia, left his home Saturday night and walked to a store, but he has not been seen since.

Christian was last seen wearing a black leather jacket, black leather hat, blue jeans, and red, white and yellow tennis shoes, according to police.



Photo Credit: Vallejo Police Department, Solano County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[At-Risk Missing Woman Found Safe in Solano County]]>Sun, 19 Mar 2017 14:40:11 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/LexusDupaty.jpg

An at-risk Vallejo woman missing since Friday evening was found Sunday afternoon following a search that included about 80 volunteers, a sergeant with the Solano County Sheriff's Office said.

Lexus Dupaty, 26, was found at about noon on Lake Herman Road about two miles from her home.

She was walking in an area that pedestrians don't normally use, which prompted a passing driver to check whether Dupaty was the person the driver heard was missing, Sgt. Jackson Harris said.

Dupaty appears to be in good health. She is getting checked out at a hospital with her family at her side.

Harris described the family's reaction to finding Lexus as "Overjoyed. Very relieved and very overjoyed."



Photo Credit: Solano County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[Police in Sonoma County Search for Missing Elderly Man]]>Sun, 19 Mar 2017 09:57:50 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DavidElliot.jpg

Sonoma County sheriff's officials are looking for an elderly man who went missing Thursday in Sonoma County.

Around noon, David Elliot, 68, was hiking in the Sonoma Regional Park when he got separated from his caregiver. Elliot suffers from frontal temporal dementia, sheriff's officials said.

Elliot is described as a white man, 196 pounds, with gray hair. He was wearing a red-checkered flannel shirt, blue jeans and a tan baseball cap with "Grand Canyon" written on it.



Photo Credit: Sonoma County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[Three Injured in Vallejo Shooting, Suspect at Large]]>Sun, 19 Mar 2017 08:54:14 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_185887181_police_lights_generic1.jpg

Police are investigating a shooting Saturday night in Vallejo that sent three people to a trauma center, police said.

At about 10 p.m., police received a report of numerous shots fired in the 100 block of Westwood Street.

According to police, a 27-year-old male and a 26-year-old female were at the residence visiting family. They were on the home's porch when a man approached them and fired multiple rounds.

The male victim suffered a grazing wound to his head and the female victim suffered a gunshot wound to her right shoulder. According to police, her brother suffered a gunshot wound to the back of his right thigh, but was able to give her first aid.

All three victims were taken to a local trauma center for treatment of injuries that are not consideredlife-threatening, police said.

The suspect is currently at large and was last seen walking east on Westwood Street. He is described as a man in his 30s, 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a medium build, a goatee and was wearing a white shirt.

According to police, the victims did not know the suspect and police have not yet identified a motive for the shooting. The incident is currently under investigation, police said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Struck with Rock During Fight in Intensive Care]]>Sat, 18 Mar 2017 19:29:45 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Emergency-Hospital-Stock-Generic.jpg

A man is in intensive care following a fight with two other men Thursday in Suisun City, police said Saturday.

Officers were dispatched at 3 p.m. to the 700 block of Monte Carlo Drive on a report of a fight.

When officers arrived they found a 29-year-old man on the ground with injuries he received from being hit by two men and hit in the head with a rock, according to police.

The 29-year-old man was allegedly carrying a knife before he was in the fight.

The two men who hit him left the area in a black late model Volvo with two female passengers inside, police said.

Anyone with information about the fight is urged to call Officer Carson at (707) 421-7373. Tips can also be made to Solano Crime Stoppers at (707) 644-7867.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Emergency Funds for Rain-Ravaged San Mateo, Napa Counties]]>Sat, 18 Mar 2017 16:25:31 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/192*120/AP_17019735293789.jpg

San Mateo and Napa are among 15 counties statewide that are in line to receive additional federal aid to help repair damage caused by flooding, mudslides and erosion during a wet winter season. 

FEMA announced Thursday that the additional emergency funds would be available to repair damage from storms between Jan. 18 and 23.

This is in addition to relief funds approved by President Donald Trump for storm repair in 34 California counties, including Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa and Santa Clara counties. His assistance applies to needs that may have arisen due to heavy rain from Jan. 3 to 12.

Gov. Jerry Brown had issued emergency proclamations for 48 of California’s 56 counties on Jan. 23 to secure funding from the Federal Highway Administration's Emergency Relief Program and Office of Emergency Services. His goal was to help communities rebuild wind- and rain-ravaged homes, roads and infrastructure.

Following Brown's announcement, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors announced a separate emergency proclamation following the discovery of a sewage pipe that broke in a mudslide. Early estimates of repair costs for the broken pipe alone were up to $3 million.

The storm, which filled the San Francisquito Creek to the sixth highest level since 1998, also resulted in damage to coastal properties in San Mateo County.

Bay City News contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Police Shoot, Kill Stray Pit Bull During Suspect Pursuit]]>Sat, 18 Mar 2017 16:05:40 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Fairfield+suspect.jpg

A traffic stop in Fairfield Friday afternoon ended with the arrest of a man who had several warrants for his arrest, as well as the fatal shooting of a stray pit bull that allegedly attacked a police dog.

The incident began at about 4:30 p.m., when officers tried to stop conduct a traffic stop near Olive Road and East Tabor Avenue, according to police.

The suspect vehicle, however, did not stop and drove south into a dead end on Olive Road. The vehicle's driver then fled on foot and began jumping the fences of homes into neighboring Suisun City.

At one point, the suspect forced his way into a home's garage, but then fled and continued jumping fences, police said. 

During the chase, officers recognized the suspect — later identified as Antoine Gordon, 44, of Solano County — as someone who had an outstanding felony warrant for his arrest.

Fairfield officers, along with Suisun City police and Solano County sheriff's deputies converged in the area.

Authorities eventually found Gordon hiding on the roof of a home in the 600 block of Canvasback Drive, according to police.

As officers attempted to enter the home's backyard to apprehend the suspect with a police K-9, a pit bull emerged from the yard and attacked the K-9, police said.

Officers tried to stop the pit bull but were unsuccessful and one officer was forced to shoot the pit bull to stop the attack.

Meanwhile, Gordon, who was on the home's roof, began shouting at officers, saying that he wanted them to kill him.

Officers talked with him for several minutes and eventually convinced him to surrender, according to police.

Gordon was arrested on suspicion of engaging in a reckless pursuit, resisting arrest, obstructing and delaying a police officer, as well as for the felony warrant.

The pit bull who was shot by police died, police said. Officers learned the animal was stray dog that roamed the neighborhood and the home's resident occasionally let it stay in her backyard.

Aside from the pit bull, no other injuries were reported, according to police.



Photo Credit: Fairfield Police Department ]]>
<![CDATA[Vallejo Kidnapping Suspect Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison]]>Fri, 17 Mar 2017 09:45:36 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/muller-mug.jpg

A disbarred Harvard-trained attorney was sentenced to 40 years in prison Thursday for a kidnapping so elaborate and bizarre that police in California initially dismissed it as a hoax.

It was the sentence federal prosecutors sought for Matthew Muller, who pleaded guilty in September to holding a Bay Area woman for ransom. They realized that Denise Huskins was telling the truth about her March 2015 abduction only after Muller was implicated in a different crime.

On Thursday, Huskins and her boyfriend Aaron Quinn faced Muller in the Sacramento courtroom. Huskins spoke to her abductor directly.

"I am the woman behind the mask, the woman you raped and tortured," she said, sobbing.

Quinn’s mother said the couple had hoped for a life sentence.

"Life would have been a little bit better for Denise and Aaron because they would have never had to worry about this ever again," Marianne Quinn said.

Huskins' mother also was at the sentencing. She called her daughter incredibly brave: "She is a beautiful human being."

Muller, 39, could have received life in prison by U.S. District Judge Troy Nunley, but prosecutors agreed to recommend 40 years in exchange for his guilty plea.

"Public safety requires that he be imprisoned until he is old and weak,'' wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Dean Segal, calling the crime "depraved and egregious.''

Defense attorney Thomas Johnson wanted a 30-year sentence, saying his client has been diagnosed as manic and depressive and can be rehabilitated with proper treatment for what he called "a truly debilitating mental illness.''

Muller mostly looked ahead emotionless but briefly addressed the court, saying he is "sick with shame." A Muller family spokesperson said it’s been shocking to hear what the former Marine and Harvard Law School graduate did.

"He is on his meds," Steve Reed said. "He is in a controlled environment, and to some degree, he is very happy he is in a controlled environment."

Federal prosecutors say Muller used a remote-controlled drone to spy on his victims before he broke into the Vallejo home Huskins shared with Quinn, tied up the couple and made them drink a sleep-inducing liquid. They were blindfolded while Muller played a pre-recorded message that made it seem as if there was more than one kidnapper.

He put Huskins in the trunk of his car, drove her to his home in South Lake Tahoe and held her there for two days before eventually releasing her in her hometown of Huntington Beach.

He claimed in emails to a San Francisco reporter that Huskins was abducted by a team of elite criminals who were practicing their kidnapping tactics.

After Huskins reappeared, Vallejo police called the kidnapping a hoax and erroneously likened it to the movie "Gone Girl,'' in which a woman goes missing and then lies about being kidnapped when she reappears.

Investigators dropped that theory after Muller was later arrested in an attempted robbery at another Bay Area home. Authorities said they found a cellphone that they traced to Muller, and a subsequent search of a car and home turned up evidence, including a computer Muller stole from Quinn, which linked him to the abduction.

Vallejo police have since apologized. Huskins is suing the city and two police officers, accusing them of defamation and inflicting emotional distress.

Muller, a former Marine, was admitted to practice law in California in 2011, and his state bar profile says he attended Harvard Law School. He lost his law license in 2015 in an unrelated incident.

"He will be dangerous for the rest of his life,'' Quinn wrote in advance of Muller's sentencing.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Alameda County Sheriff]]>
<![CDATA[Brother of Slain Penngrove Woman Seeks Answers]]>Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:05:21 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AnnieBailly.jpg

The brother of a Penngrove woman who went missing for two years and was found dead last month says he always suspected his sister was murdered. Now that his fears have been confirmed, he wants answers about how it happened and who did it.

On Tuesday night, victim Annie Bailly's husband said the FBI and sheriff's deputies ransacked his home. On Wednesday, Kerry Bailly, who has been named a person of interest in his wife's death, would only say his attorney told him to stop talking to reporters.

Meanwhile, Annie Bailly's brother said he has suspected murder ever since he visited his sister's home in December 2014 to meet for lunch and found her car, her driver's license and her purse, but not her.

For more than two years, Annie's disappearance was treated as a missing person's case. Then, on Feb. 27, her body was found at Point Reyes National Seashore. That's when the focus of the case changed.

"It is a murder investigation," Sonoma County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Crum said Tuesday.

Crum did not say exactly how Annie Bailly, 63, died or why her death is being investigated as a homicide. The couple was going through divorce proceedings at the time of her death.

After a thorough search of the Bailly home Tuesday, 73-year-old Kerry Bailly spoke out.

"They are not accusing me of anything; they think I murdered my wife," he said, accusing deputies and FBI agents of trashing his home during a search.

A spokesman for the sheriff's department said it was a routine search backed by a court-approved warrant.

"This is a murder investigation, a murder case, and we're only going to take what we deem is necessary evidence from the home," Crum said.

Annie Bailly's brother said by phone Wednesday that his sister was ready to move on and had planned to meet him the day she vanished. When he arrived at her home and she wasn't there, he called the sheriff's department to report her missing -- and fearing the worst.



Photo Credit: Sonoma County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Marin County Sustains $10M in Storm Damage]]>Wed, 15 Mar 2017 14:04:27 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Raindrops-Storm-generic.jpg

This winter's storms caused nearly $10 million damage in Marin County and its towns and cities, county officials said Tuesday.

The damage in the unincorporated area alone was $8.76 million, according to the county's Department of Public Works.

Of the county's 24 roads and properties that were significantly damaged, eight sustained damage of more than $500,000, county officials said.

The county is seeking state and federal reimbursement for storm damage repairs but that could take years. The long-term impact on the county's budget will not be known until the repairs are completed and reimbursements are made.

"It's imperative that we get all roads in a critical state done as fast as we can for safety reasons," Department of Public Works Director Raul Rojas said in a statement.

Marin County activated personnel to the Emergency Operations Center five times between December and February because of the storms that sometimes coincided with king tides.

The county experienced hundreds of cases of flooding, mudslides, toppled trees, erosion damage and power outages, county staff said in a report to the Board of Supervisors.

Marin County and Gov. Jerry Brown declared a local state of emergency on Jan. 24. President Donald Trump approved a major disaster declaration for California on Feb. 14 that made federal funding available to Marin County for some repairs during the storms between Jan. 3-12, county officials said.

Marin County residents may be eligible for tax relief if they sustained $10,000 or more in storm damage. Application forms for tax relief are available by calling 415-473-7215 or going on the county's Assessor-Recorder-Clerk's website.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bank Teller Arrested on Suspicion of Assisting Robber]]>Wed, 15 Mar 2017 11:53:52 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Jail-Generic-Photo.jpg

San Rafael police arrested a Petaluma man Tuesday on suspicion of participating in the robbery of a bank where he worked as a teller, police said.

Javier Corona-Leyva, 19, was arrested at his Petaluma apartment and booked into Marin County Jail on suspicion of felony robbery, burglary, embezzlement of more than $400, grand theft, receiving stolen property and conspiracy.

The alleged bank robber, Cedric Ray Vincent, 21, of San Rafael, was arrested in downtown San Rafael on Saturday morning for the robbery of the Westamerica Bank at 1 Mitchell Blvd. in San Rafael around 9:40 a.m. Friday. His arraignment was scheduled for this morning.

Police were conducting an alcoholic beverage sting Saturday morning when a police decoy saw what she believed was a drug deal involving three people, one of whom resembled the photo of the male bank robber.

Vincent, who was recently released from prison and was on parole for robbery, was in possession of a large amount of currency and he agreed to be questioned at the San Rafael Police Department, police said.

During the questioning, bait money taken from the robbery was found in Vincent's pockets, according to police.

San Rafael police detectives Scott Ingels and Alex Holm searched Vincent's cellphone over the weekend and they recognized Corona-Leyva as someone police had previously contacted. The detectives wondered if it was a coincidence that Corona-Leyva was the target of the bank robbery, police said.

The detectives used contact information Corona-Leyva provided at the time of the robbery to search Vincent's phone call logs and they determined Corona-Leyva had communicated wth Vincent more than once within 48 hours of the bank robbery, police said.

One message on Friday indicated both men were communicating about the robbery that was to occur that day.

Corona-Leyva was arrested at his Petaluma apartment at 5:14 p.m. Tuesday.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File]]>
<![CDATA[Napa Man Arrested on Suspicion of Sexually Assaulting Woman]]>Wed, 15 Mar 2017 09:16:25 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/handcuffs14.jpg

A man was arrested Monday evening in Napa after he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman in her home, police said.

At 5:49 p.m., officers were dispatched to a residence on Pine Street on a report of a sexual assault.

An investigation revealed that the suspect, later identified as Lester Morris Ivy, was selling magazines door-to-door. He allegedly entered the victim's home uninvited, then sexually assaulted and threatened her, police said.

The victim was taken to a hospital for treatment and then later released.

Police located and interviewed Ivy. He was arrested and booked into county jail on suspicion of burglary, sexual battery and threatening crime with intent to terrorize.

Anyone with information about the case can contact Napa police Detective Pat Wilson at (707) 257-9388 or pwilson@cityofnapa.org.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File]]>
<![CDATA[Taco Truck Catches Fire While Driving in Vallejo]]>Wed, 15 Mar 2017 08:44:01 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/taco-truck-wall-las-vegas.jpg

A taco truck sustained extensive damage after it caught fire while it was being driven in Vallejo Tuesday evening, according to a Vallejo Fire Department spokesman.

At 6:02 p.m., fire officials received a report of a food truck that caught fire in the 700 block of Springs Road, according to fire spokesman Kevin Brown.

The road was briefly shut down as firefighters responded.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire within about 15 minutes, according to Brown.

While the food truck, which was identified as Tacos Vallejo, sustained extensive damage, the truck's driver was not injured.

The cause of the blaze was determined to be related to mechanics and not cooking, Brown said.



Photo Credit: Pili Tobar]]>
<![CDATA[Sea Lion Trapped in Vacaville Canal Heads Home]]>Wed, 15 Mar 2017 07:06:02 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/3-15-17_Sea_Lion_Vacaville.jpg

After adventuring far from its natural habitat, a young sea lion previously trapped in a Vacaville canal appears to be headed back to the San Francisco Bay.

The marine mammal, which was originally spotted Tuesday morning in the canal by an animal services official, was discovered Wednesday morning in a stream nearly two miles downstream from the canal, according to NBC affiliate KCRA.

Vacaville police officers, fire officials and more than a dozen Marine Mammal Center responders on Tuesday tried unsuccessfully for hours to flush the animal out of a drainage pipe in the canal.

The rescue was called off for nightfall and was scheduled to resume Wednesday, according to Marine Mammal Center spokesman Giancarlo Rulli said. But when folks came out Wednesday morning to resume the search and rescue effort, the wayward animal couldn't be found in the canal.

After learning that the sea lion had been spotted Wednesday morning, the Marine Mammal Center announced that it was deploying a team to launch a new search and rescue effort.

Residents did manage to name the animal in a contest conducted on the Vacaville police Facebook page. Leisure gets his name from Leisure Town Road, where he was found.

It's unclear how the sea lion got into the canal. The closest body of water is the Sacramento River, about 50 miles north. Experts at the center believe the animal likely traveled up the river, took a wrong turn and followed a series of agricultural ditches and waterways to get to the canal.

"Although this is a rare location for a rescue call, this animal is in very good body condition and active, so we are hoping it just made a wrong turn," said Dr. Cara Field, staff veterinarian at The Marine Mammal Center. "Our hope is that the animal makes his way back out of the pipe on his own so we can attempt another rescue."

Officials want to rescue the animal and take it to the center in Sausalito to be evaluated.

The mammal, believed to be a young male, is fat and looks healthy and seems to be enjoying his adventure, Rulli said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Vacaville Crime & Community Info]]>
<![CDATA[Vacaville Sued Over Contaminant in Water Supply]]>Wed, 15 Mar 2017 08:36:13 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/courtroom+generic+722.jpg

An environmental group has sued the city of Vacaville over the amount of a naturally occurring carcinogen in groundwater.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports the federal lawsuit was filed Monday at the U.S. District Court in Sacramento.

California River Watch is demanding that the Solano County city purge its water of chromium-6, the naturally occurring carcinogen that famously sickened Southern California residents as depicted in the movie "Erin Brockovich."

The newspaper reported that the environmental advocacy group also wants Vacaville leaders to give residents more notice of potential health problems associated with the contaminant and provide bottled water or another clean source to seniors and children.

The suit comes as Vacaville is already taking steps to bring its drinking water into compliance with California health regulations by 2020.

City spokesman Mark Mazzaferro declined to comment on pending litigation.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File]]>
<![CDATA[Napa High Football Player Testifies at Expulsion Hearing]]>Wed, 15 Mar 2017 23:45:31 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/napa-hazing-0314-2017.jpg

A North Bay high school student is trying to clear his name and save himself from expulsion in a highly publicized football hazing case.

On Tuesday, the school district held a second student discipline hearing for 16-year-old Johnny Torres, a quarterback for the Napa High School football team, who is among several players suspended after an alleged hazing on Nov. 19.

The hearing was public at the request of Torres' parents, who wanted the media and public to hear their son's side of the story.

"I need to be in school," Torres said. "I don't need to retake 10th grade and possibly throw my college education down the drain."

Torres said he wasn't involved with what the Napa Valley Unified School District described as ritual hazing, an annual right of passage on Napa High's football team, where upperclassmen allegedly physically abused at least one freshman player. Those allegations included innapropriate touching.

Torres' lawyer said the whole case is a sham, and the district violated students' rights.

"Poor investigation process, trying to gather up as much evidence as they can," attorney Mandy Leigh said.

Torres was accused of abusing the alleged victim, but in his and other witnesses' testimony, it was revealed he was involved in nothing more than rough-housing with a different student altogether.

"The most I did was horseplay and nothing serious, in my mind," he said, adding that he's innocent and simply wants a chance to prove himself. "I'm a hardworking kid. Nothing was ever given to me."

The school district told NBC Bay Area in a recent statement that it would not comment further on the incident to protect student privacy and the integrity of an ongoing investigation.

The alleged victim in the case also took the stand Tuesday, but that part of the hearing was closed to the public to protect the student's identity.

Leigh said she expected the hearing to wrap up Thursday evening, and a decision could come as soon as later this week.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Rosa Man Accused of Murdering Wife, Father Delays Plea]]>Tue, 14 Mar 2017 14:52:35 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/court-gavel-generic-san-die1.jpg

A Santa Rosa man delayed entering pleas Tuesday morning to charges that he murdered his estranged wife and his father at their Santa Rosa homes last month.

Dalton James Carlson, 32, allegedly killed Dale Robert Carlson, 57, and Jessica Noel Carlson, 37, on or around Feb. 24. Their bodies were found by friends or relatives less than two hours apart in east and west Santa Rosa on Feb. 25.

Dale Carson was found dead in his home in the 2600 block of Valley Center Drive at 10:53 a.m. and Jessica Carlson's body was found in the 1500 block of Glenbrook Avenue at 12:37 p.m., according to Santa Rosa police.

Carlson is charged with two counts each of murder and burglary and one count of violating a peaceful contact order regarding his wife Jessica, Deputy District Attorney Robert Maddock said.

At the time, Dalton Carlson was facing a misdemeanor charge of battery on his wife on Dec. 25 and damaging a communications device. He posted $30,000 bond on Jan. 9, according to Sonoma County Superior Court records.

The misdemeanor battery complaint was filed against him on Feb. 15 when he pleaded not guilty and the peaceful contact restraining order was filed and served against him. A settlement conference was scheduled for March 7.

Carlson was arrested Feb. 24 on suspicion of being under the influence of a drug outside his wife's house that morning and violating the peaceful contact restraining order.

The victims' bodies were found the next day. Carlson is scheduled to enter a plea April 18.

]]>
<![CDATA[Crews Suspend Sea Lion Rescue Operation in Vacaville]]>Tue, 14 Mar 2017 21:29:13 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/3-15-17_Sea_Lion_Vacaville.jpg

The Marine Mammal Center late Tuesday suspended its efforts to rescue a sea lion trapped in a canal.

The marine mammal was found in the afternoon stuck in a Vacaville canal, prompting rescue crews to respond to the scene located along Leisure Town Road.

Rescue operations were suspended due to fading light. Veterinarians noted the sea lion is in good condition and active, according to the Marine Mammal Center.

Crews are expected to return to the scene early Wednesday.



Photo Credit: Vacaville Crime & Community Info]]>
<![CDATA[Knife-Wielding Man Fatally Shot by Police in Napa]]>Tue, 14 Mar 2017 05:49:03 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/napa+ois-0313-2017.jpg

A knife-wielding man was fatally shot by Napa police near a Home Depot store on Monday, according to the Napa Police Department.

Police said Napa officers responded to multiple calls about a man with a knife outside the store at Kansas Avenue, west of Soscol Avenue, about 6:20 p.m. When the officers arrived, they found the man a short distance north of the store, and a short time later, two officers fired at the man, killing him, police said.

People were reporting "someone walking around with a knife in his hand acting 'crazy' or 'high,'" Napa police Chief Steve Potter said. "They contacted him in the lot, and multiple shots were fired after that."

Police said the man may have been entangled in an argument inside of the Home Depot before moving outside. Potter did not say how many shots were fired. Witnesses said they heard several shots fired.

Police and Napa County sheriff's officials were investigating the shooting, police said. 

Sheriff’s investigators learned later that the man was attacking people on foot and motorists with a knife. Witnesses also told investigators that the man was acting crazy and confrontational with "everyone."

Both Napa officers will be placed on paid administrative leave while the Sheriff's Department conducts its investigation. The names of the officers will be released within a few days, police said.

Anyone who witnessed the events leading up to or the event itself is asked to call the Napa County Sheriff’s Department Investigations Division at 707-253-4591.

NBC Bay Area's Cheryl Hurd contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Excessive Force Questioned in Vallejo Officer's Arrest]]>Mon, 13 Mar 2017 18:34:48 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/3-12-17_Vallejo_Police.jpg

A Vallejo police officer is still on the job after a violent arrest Friday was caught on cellphone video, and the community is now wondering how the department will handle what some believe was an excessive use of force.

Footage of the incident outside a gas station shows the officer confront a man who reportedly was acting erratically. The video shows the officer wrestling the suspect to the ground, repeatedly punching him and using what appears to be a flashlight to strike the man. The department said the video doesn’t show the whole story.

The gas station clerk described what happened leading up to the confrontation, saying the suspect was blinking his eyes and talking erratically.

"I was scared," the clerk said. "Like, what if (the man) really has a gun on him?"

The cellphone video shows the man sitting on the median on Fairground Drive when an officer approaches on foot. He shouts instructions at the man then immediately punches him as the man tries to shield his face.

When back-up arrives, the officer hits him again then appears to reach for his firearm, all while bystanders are yelling at the officer to stop.

"He is still probably working today right now," witness Ray Martin said.

Three days after the incident, Vallejo police confirmed the officer is "not on administrative leave." They added that what is not shown in the video is the suspect running from police for several minutes before the officer made a decision to use force.

Vallejo resident Sean Hudson said the officer is well known in the community, and he can’t believe the cop is still on the job.

"I haven’t had dealings with that particular officer, but I know people that have, and it wasn’t good," Hudson said. "If you have an officer doing these types of things to people but he’s not on paid anminstrative leave, it seems like you wouldn’t even want him on the force anymore."

Vallejo police Chief Andrew Bidou released a statement, saying in part, "I have complete confidence in our internal affairs division and our use of force experts who will conduct this investigation. Upon completion, I will thoroughly review the entire investigation and personally make a final determination."

NBC Bay Area has confirmed the name of the officer but is not reporting it pending an investigation. He is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and served in Afghanistan, earning a number of military honors. He graduated from the Napa Valley Police Academy, ranking second in his class.

The suspect was booked on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance, resisting arrest, resisting or threatening an officer with force and a probation violation, police said.

]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Well-Represented on 'Happiest Places to Live' List]]>Mon, 13 Mar 2017 06:27:57 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf-san-francisco-145371452.jpg

The Bay Area may be one of the most expensive places in the country to settle in, but your investment could be paying off.

Five cities in the Bay Area made WalletHub's "Happiest Places to Live" list.

Fremont topped the charts as the happiest place to live, followed by San Jose, according to the report. San Francisco settled in at the No. 4 spot while Oakland and Santa Rosa finished in the eighth and ninth spot, respectively.

Not to be outdone, large Golden State cities such as San Diego (No. 7), Los Angeles (No. 36) and Sacramento (No. 78) also made the cut.

WalletHub examined a number of factors when putting together its list, including depression rates, suicide rates, separation and divorce rates, income values, and amount of time spent working.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Well-Dressed Bank Robbery Suspect Arrested in San Rafael]]>Sun, 12 Mar 2017 13:39:18 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/3-10-17_San_Rafael_Bank_Robbery.jpg

San Rafael police arrested a bank robbery suspect who was well-dressed and eluded them Friday following a robbery at a WestAmerica Bank, police said Sunday.

The robbery was reported at 9:39 a.m. at the WestAmerica Bank at 1 Mitchell Blvd. where the suspect Cedric Ray Vincent allegedly walked in, handed a note to the teller and fled with cash.

At about 11:30 a.m. Saturday, police were checking businesses to see if any were selling alcohol to minors when they were tipped off to a possible drug deal, police said.

Officers stopped and talked to three suspects in a parking lot and one of them looked like the person who robbed the bank, based on a video surveillance photo.

That person was Vincent, 21 of San Rafael, who was apparently on parole for robbery, according to police.

Vincent agreed to go to the Police Department for questioning and was arrested for bank robbery. He allegedly was carrying money used as bait in the alcohol sting operation.

Officers released the two other people with Vincent.

In the robbery, Vincent allegedly wore a white shirt, dark brown dress pants, black shoes and a dark tie.

He also allegedly had on black-framed glasses and a dark, possibly, blue double-breasted peacoat, police said.

No weapons were used to threaten the teller or anyone else in the bank and no weapons were mentioned by the suspect.



Photo Credit: Marin County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[Vallejo Officer's Use of Force Decried by Outraged Witnesses]]>Sun, 12 Mar 2017 17:37:33 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/3-12-17_Vallejo_Police.jpg

A Vallejo police officer's decision to use force against a man allegedly acting erratically has generated an investigation and sparked public outcry.

The violent episode, which was caught on camera outside a gas station in the Country Club Crest neighborhood, began Friday afternoon when a clerk called the police to complain about a man who was threatening people and transforming his fingers into the shape of a gun, according to employees at the gas station.

Footage of the confrontation showed the officer pin the man to the ground before punching him and hitting him with what appears to be a flashlight.

Another officer then arrived to help subdue the man. The first officer hit the man three more times with the flashlight before the video ended.

Frustrated witnesses could be heard voicing their concerns with the officer's actions, and one person could be heard yelling "police brutality."

Some Vallejo residents echoed that sentiment.

"Absolutely disgusting that someone would do that to a human being," Jonathan Seixas said.

Others suggest the officer's actions may have been justified.

"I was scared, like, what if (the man) really has a gun on him?" one of the gas station clerks said. "And what if he pulls out a gun and starts shooting people?"

The clerk added that the officer regularly helped her and customers in the past.

"I would never expect (the officer) to react like that," the clerk said. "I would have never expected him to be that kind of cop."

The identities of the officer and the man, who was taken into custody for evading police and for being under the influence, have yet to be released, police said.

The officer will remain on leave until a thorough investigation is completed, according to police.

"It's important that no one make any assumptions without having all the available facts," the Vallejo Police Department said in a statement. "Just like anyone else, officers are innocent until proven guilty."



Photo Credit: Laura Maldonaldo]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Rosa Chimney Fire Causes $10,000 in Damage]]>Sat, 11 Mar 2017 21:33:15 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/3-11-2017_Santa_Rosa_Chimney_Fire.JPG

A chimney fire caused $10,000 worth of damage to a home Saturday morning in Santa Rosa, according to fire officials.

Firefighters responded to 5799 Trailwood Drive at 9:19 a.m. on reports of flames coming from the top of a chimney box in a three-story private home, fire officials said.

Upon arrival, firefighters, using a thermal imaging camera, were able to determine that the fire was isolated to that area within the home.

According to fire officials, firefighters used the aerial ladder to reach the roof and open the area, knocking down the fire within 20 minutes.

Fire officials said the cause of the fire appeared to be accidental, however it is still currently under investigation.

The Santa Rosa Fire Department encourages residents with chimneys to have routine inspections by a licensed chimney contractor.



Photo Credit: Santa Rosa Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[3 Rescued in San Rafael Fire]]>Fri, 10 Mar 2017 14:23:18 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/3-10-17-san-rafael-apartment+fire.jpg

A person was seriously burned and she and two others were rescued from an apartment fire Friday morning in San Rafael, the city's fire chief said.

The fire was first reported at 9:15 a.m. at 215 Bayview St., fire Chief Chris Gray said.

Firefighters arrived and found heavy smoke coming from a first-floor unit in a three-story building. The fire had engulfed the unit. A woman and child were rescued from a second-floor balcony because they felt threatened by smoke, which rose outside their front door from the unit on fire, Gray said.

The occupant of the apartment on fire suffered serious burns and collapsed in the parking lot near the door to her apartment, according to Gray.

She was treated at the scene and taken to a hospital where she is in critical condition. Another person was treated for smoke inhalation and also taken to a hospital, according to fire officials.

Neither the woman nor child needed to go to a hospital. The fire was extinguished and confined to the one apartment, according to Gray. Six to eight other units were impacted by smoke.

Multiple residents and pets were displaced. The cause is under investigation.

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call the San Rafael Fire Department at 415-485-3000. Callers can remain anonymous and translation services are available. Anonymous tips can also be made at www.srpd.org/tips.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[BART Officials Mull Fare Increase, Service Cuts]]>Thu, 09 Mar 2017 09:08:51 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/bart38.jpg

Faced with a dwindling ridership and multi-million dollar budget deficit, BART officials are considering service cuts and a fare increase.

The board on Thursday will consider raising the minimum fare to $2.25. That's a 25 cent jump from the already approved nickel increase. Officials will even explore reducing discounted prices for seniors, children and people with disabilities from 62.5 percent to 50 percent.

Also on the table is the option to enact a surcharge on magstripe tickets, in the hope of encouraging commuters to purchase clipper cards, which generate more revenue.

When asked what he thought of BART’s proposal, Joe Syracuse said, “I’m still going to ride [it] because it’s better than driving … I can’t stand the traffic.”

Joe Frisz was also in favor.

“If it’s going help with keeping the trains on time,” he said, the ideas “make sense.”

The transportation agency had been enjoying six years of consecutive growth, but during the first half of the 2016-2017 fiscal year, BART reported a roughly 4 percent drop in the number of weekday riders. Weekend ridership slumped by approximately 9 percent.

That drop in ridership could mean that BART will finish this year $15 to $25 million below budget. The agency could face a $25 to $35 million shortcoming as it prepares its future budget.

In order to make up for that loss, BART officials may also start service at 5 a.m. instead of 4 a.m., cut positions — amid a hiring freeze, and offer paid advertising opportunities on the train cars as well as kiosks and video screens at stations.

To prevent the agency from hemorrhaging money, BART has also asked every department to cut back on spending and officials have eliminated overtime costs. 

NBC Bay Area's Kris Sanchez contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sir Francis Drake Boulevard Reopens a Day After Mudslide]]>Thu, 09 Mar 2017 09:08:14 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N5P+SIR+FRANCIS+DRAKE+CLOSURE+VO+-+00000620.jpg

A busy Marin County road was reopened Thursday morning after a mudslide shut it down for an entire day.

Around 1 a.m., drivers were allowed back on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard near the White Hill Open Space Preserve.

This road has been a repeated source of frustration for drivers during a wet winter. It’s been closed at least three times since February due to mudslides.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Man Fatally Strikes Daughter-in-Law in Head With Hammer]]>Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:25:22 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Amarjit+Singh.jpg

A Suisun City man is behind bars on Wednesday after he confessed to bludgeoning his daughter-in-law to death with a hammer during a family fight.

Police say they received multiple reports around 9:46 a.m. Tuesday of a possible dead body in the garage of a home on the 800 block of Bluebill Way.

Amarjit Singh, 63, was involved in a dispute over a bicycle with Shameena Bibi, 29, who he accused of "being disrespectful," police said.  First-responders found that the victim had suffered major head wounds, and she was declared dead at the scene.

“The suspect became angry, got a hammer and caused massive head trauma,” said Suisun City police Chief Tim Mattos said. Singh is accused of accosting Bibi in their home's garage.

Officers spent all of Tuesday investigating the murder scene and Singh admitted his crime around midnight, according to police. He is charged with murder — Suisun City's first murder since August 2015 — and in custody at the Solano County Jail.

Residents of the North Bay city on Wednesday struggled to understand the staggering crime.

“That's a little extreme to me,” said Meggan Draper. "It's pretty gruesome."

Neighbors say the family moved into the quiet neighborhood around six months ago. The father-in-law, mother-in-law, son, daughter-in-law and a 2-year-old grandson all lived together.

Until Tuesday, people say they didn’t see any signs of trouble.

"I've never seen anything ... two grandparents would walk the kid," Draper said.

Relatives came to visit on Wednesday and attempted to console the grieving family members, and support the 2-year-old child who they say is too young to understand the loss of his mother. 

“You always look back and say, ‘Should I have knocked on the door and said, ‘[Keep] it down?’” neighbor Lucio Ramirez said.

Because of a language barrier, police had an FBI linguist help translate between Punjabi and English and the Mattos said he's grateful the partnership led to a confession.

The Solano County District Attorney's office will prosecute the case, police said.

NBC Bay Area's Rhea Mahbubani contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Suisun City Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Mudslide Closes Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Marin County]]>Wed, 08 Mar 2017 12:34:47 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/3-8-17-sir+francis+drake+mudslide.jpg

Sir Francis Drake Boulevard near Fairfax will remain closed overnight and into the Thursday morning commute because of a mudslide, California Highway Patrol officials said Wednesday morning.

The road closure at Baywood Canyon Road in the area of the White Hill Open Space Preserve was announced at 1:06 a.m. today.

A mudslide closed the same area on Monday and on Feb. 21 and 23, according to the Marin County Department of Public Works.

Standard-sized vehicles should use Lucas Valley Road and trucks and oversized vehicles should use Point Reyes Petaluma Road to Novato Boulevard, public works officials said.

The Department of Public Works will post updates of the closure on Facebook and Twitter.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Gov. Brown Requests Federal Aid, Declares Emergency ]]>Wed, 08 Mar 2017 18:10:09 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/186*120/AP_17019018687288.jpg

Gov. Jerry Brown is asking for federal assistance with the infrastructure damage from late January storms that caused flooding, mudslides and power outages.

Tuesday's request follows two other petitions for federal help that President Donald Trump's administration granted last month to assist with earlier storm damages and the emergency at Oroville Dam.

Brown's office said Tuesday the governor also declared a state of emergency for 53 of the state's 58 counties due to late January storms. All nine Bay Area counties were among the 58 counties listed.

The request says February storms' damage, including the crippling of Oroville Dam's two spillways, is being assessed.

After five years of drought, California saw record-breaking precipitation this year that led rivers and creeks to break their banks.

The governor's office says six people died in the state during the January and February storms.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[ Round Up: International Women’s Day Marches and Movements]]>Tue, 07 Mar 2017 13:58:05 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WomenProtesting.jpg

Bay Area advocates on Wednesday are joining forces with women across the country to flex their economic muscle as part of International Women's Day.

"On March 8, we propose a feminist strike which will not be content to pinkwash the bombs on Bagdad, or to knit crowns honoring biology as our destiny," the Gender Strike! Bay Area states. "Instead, we propose a different strike, a strike against all forms of gender domination."

Whether it's a call for a moment of silence at 12 p.m., or a #GrabYourWallet strike and mass walk out at workplaces, a variety of strategies have been proposed for International Women’s Day, a day chalk-full of strikes held annually in countries around the world.

"Every day throughout [Santa Clara County] and the world, women play a vital social, economic and political role in society," Cindy Chavez, a Santa Clara County Supervisor, said at a joint press conference with other local female officials Tuesday. "Yet, we continue to face the wage gap, vulnerability to discrimination and other gender and economic injustices."

From San Francisco to San Jose, here is a quick look at some of the 'Day Without A Woman' Rallies and 'International Women’s Day Strikes' planned for tomorrow:

San Francisco, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. -- In the morning, a ‘Day Without a Woman’ rally will take place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. outside of San Francisco City Hall, while an ‘International Women’s Day’ strike will immediately proceed through the afternoon from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Justin Herman Plaza located at 1 Market St. Organizers state that the organizers of both actions 'are in solidarity' with each other and will be present at both.

Berkeley, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. -- On the University of California, Berkeley campus, another 'International Women’s Day’ strike will occur around the lunch hour from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lower Sproul Plaza.

San Jose, Noon to 2 p.m. -- Outside of the San Jose City Hall located at 200 East Santa Clara St., there will be a ‘Day Without A Woman’ rally from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Santa Cruz, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. -- In the early afternoon, there will be a ‘Day Without A Woman’ rally in the Louden Nelson Community Center located at 301 Center St. in Santa Cruz from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Oakland, 5 to 9 p.m. -- Later that evening outside of the Oakland City Hall, an 'International Women’s Day’ strike will occur from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Pacifica 6 to 7 p.m. -- Over on the coast side, organizers are hosting a candlelight walk at sunset from Linda Mar Beach to Rockaway Beach and back starting from 5000 Pacific Coast Highway in Pacifica. 



Photo Credit: Rebecca Greenway
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<![CDATA[Napa School District Holds Hearing on Alleged Hazing]]>Wed, 08 Mar 2017 01:10:37 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/napa-hazing-0307-2017.jpg

At a hearing Tuesday night, a North Bay couple questioned their son being suspended and facing expulsion for taking part in what is being investigated as a hazing ritual at Napa High School.

The alledged hazing occurred at the end of football season last year, but a hearing to determine one student’s fate took place Tuesday.

The parents of 16-year-old Johnny Torres and their attorney wanted it to be public because they said they have nothing to hide.

Torres is one of about 11 football players suspended by the Napa Valley Unified School District.

With his parents by his side, the junior varsity quarterback gave his version of what happened on the night of the big game last year.

"It took place in the locker room," Torres said, adding that a friend yelled for him to come inside and said, 'Hey we’re messing with the freshman.' I go in, see what’s going on. There’s typical running, messing around, something we see every day, something we do every day."

A complaint filed in November with the Napa Police Department told a different story. Police received reports of football players holding down one or more freshmen players and hitting and grabbing the teammates inappropriately.

At the explulsion hearing, family attorney Mandy Leigh questioned the panel about the accuracy of the information gathered in the investigation.

"The primary reason I was retained is to get this AP, straight-A student, captain of the football team with no history back in school," Leigh said.

Police said they’ve turned the case over to the district attorney.

Torres' mother just wants her son back in school.

"Obviously something happened," she said. "We have to get to the bottom of what did or didn’t happen as far as our son goes."

"I just miss my friends, teachers," Torres said. "I miss being at school. All I want to do is go to school and play football."

A school district spokesperson said the district is striving to maintain respect for student privacy and the investigation, and for that reason, the district had no further comment.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA['Pokemon' Chihuahuas Up for Adoption at Solano County SPCA]]>Tue, 07 Mar 2017 23:21:23 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0307-2017-PokemonChihuahua.jpg

The SPCA of Solano County has 30 so-called "Pokemon" Chihuahuas looking for forever homes.

Shelter officials say the dogs are part of 80 Chihuahuas recently rescued from a bad situation. Officials also say 50 of the Chihuahuas have since been able to find forever homes. 

The Chihuahuas are named after many of the popular Pokemon characters.

Shelter officials say each dog has been spayed/neutered, dewormed, treated for fleas, vaccinated and microchipped.

The shelter is also seeking donations or supplies to help cover ongoing care for the pets.

For more information, visit SolanoSPCA.com.



Photo Credit: SPCA of Solano County
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Winter Wonderland! Snow Covers Bay Area Peaks, Roads]]>Mon, 06 Mar 2017 13:58:09 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/194*120/PicMonkey+Collage50.jpg

It's usually a rare surprise in the Bay Area, but snow on Monday once again returned to higher-elevation regions.

Resting slightly lower than the Bay Area's already snow-capped peaks, Highway 9 and Skyline Boulevard near Saratoga received a heavy dusting Monday morning. That location sits at about 2,000 feet in elevation.

Monday's snow comes on the heels of cold weather system on Sunday that covered several Bay Area peaks, including Mount Diablo in Contra Costa County, Mount Hamilton just east of San Jose and Mount Tamalpais in Marin County with the wintry mix. Those chilly temperatures combined with scattered showers also caused hail in several areas too.

Mount Diablo, which is about 3,800 feet, saw a good amount of snow, and Mount Tam, which is just above 2,500 feet, received a significant dusting.

Mount Hamilton, the tallest peak in the Bay Area at nearly 4,400 feet, was blanketed with snow.

Despite temperatures dipping into the low 30s Sunday night, most people welcomed the change of scenery.

"I think that's wonderful; I love to see snow," said Michael Pliner, of Saratoga.

The combination of near-freezing temeratures and scattered showers offered the potential for more snow and possible sleet at lower elevations around the region on Monday morning, according to forecasters.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Grants Available for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations]]>Mon, 06 Mar 2017 10:05:36 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/173*120/ev-charge.jpg

The 2017 funding cycle for a grant program aimed at helping to create a Bay Area-wide electric vehicle charging station network for the public was announced by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

The Charge! Program is open to eligible businesses, nonprofits, and public agencies. Five million dollars is available, according to air district officials.

The Charge! Program helps offset the cost of purchasing, installing and operating new public charging stations. The money comes through the Air District's Transportation Fund for Clean Air.

All applicants must attend one online webinar before submitting a proposal. Applicants can register for the webinar at www.baaqmd.gov and can attend on either March 15 from 2 to 3 p.m. or on March 28 from 11 a.m. to noon.

The application deadline is 4 p.m. May 22. Grant money will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, air district officials said.

Larger amounts of money are available for projects that incorporate solar power generation, are located in transportation corridors and for multi-port Level 2 stations.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Golden Gate Ferry Ushers in Service from Tiburon to SF]]>Mon, 06 Mar 2017 06:41:20 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/3-6-17_GG_Ferry.jpg

Golden Gate Ferry on Monday officially kicked off its service from Tiburon to San Francisco, marking the first time in 40 years that the transportation service expanded its territory into Marin County, according to the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.

Discussions to implement the new service ignited back in 2015 when Golden Gate Ferry considered acquiring the Blue and Gold Fleet's transportation route between Tiburon and the city by the bay, according to the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.

Those discussions, which also included AC Ventures and Angel Island Tiburon Ferry, ended with the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District Board of Directors on Feb. 24 approving a sublease agreement with the Blue and Gold Fleet, allowing Golden Gate Ferry to operate along the route.

Melissa Ong welcomes the number of the changes that the new service presents.

"Just a quick look around, it looks like an upgrade in terms of the inside and outside of the ferry," she said. "It feels like a lot quicker ferry than the prior one, which was a bit older vessel."

Starting at 5:30 a.m. each weekday, a ferry will ship out of Tiburon for San Francisco, according to the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District. Several back-and-forth trips will then take place during the morning and evening commute hours.

Those scheduled trips on a new ferry make Carl Jameson's commute a bit less stressful.

"This is a very nice boat so we're very happy," he said. "We're getting to work on time now so we're happy about that.

The added ferry service, in addition to buses that transport commuters from the North Bay to San Francisco, can help reduce congestion on the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway 101 by as much as 25 percent, according to Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District Manager Denis Mulligan.

"It's a wonderful way to get to work," commuter James Taylor said. "Definitely helps the commute for other people who have to drive in. We don't. It's wonderful that we get to do this on the water everyday. Thankfully Golden Gate (Ferry) saw the opportunity to service this way. We're thankful for it."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Man Leads Law Enforcement Officials on High Speech Car Chase]]>Sun, 05 Mar 2017 10:13:05 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_185887181_police_lights_generic1.jpg

Multiple law enforcement agencies pursued a man in a vehicle who tried to evade arrest Saturday afternoon in Sonoma County, according to officials in the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety.

At 3:18 p.m., the Rohnert Park Public Safety Dispatch Center received a 911 call from a resident on Carlita Circle in Rohnert Park reporting a family disturbance.

According to public safety officials, the caller's adult son, identified as 24-year-old Zachary Delew, forced his way into his mother's home, destroyed property, stole her gold Honda Pilot, then drove it away on Country Club Boulevard.

Officers arrived at the scene within three minutes and located Delew in the Honda. Officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but Delew refused to yield, and instead drove away on Rohnert Park Expressway toward Petaluma Hill Road, reaching speeds of 70 mph. Delew then allegedly led officers on a vehicle pursuit on East Cotati Boulevard, past Sonoma State University, public safety officials said.

Officers from the California Highway Patrol, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office and the Cotati Police Department were then called in to assist in the pursuit.

Delew allegedly drove into downtown Cotati, where his vehicle appeared to slow down. A Rohnert Park officer pulled her patrol car in front of Delew, who then accelerated and collided with the rear of her vehicle, public safety officials said.

Delew then merged onto U.S. Highway 101, reaching speeds up to 90 mph. He led officers onto Petaluma Boulevard North in Petaluma, at which point Petaluma police joined the pursuit, and a helicopter was dispatched to assist.

The pursuit returned to Highway 101 and headed south in heavy traffic where Delew allegedly began passing traffic in the center divider. He then pulled off the highway and drove toward the Petaluma Factory Outlets.

As Delew tried to pull into the rear parking lot of the shopping center, his vehicle sunk in mud and grass and was unable to travel any further. He was taken into custody without further incident.

The Honda and the patrol car it hit were the only vehicles that sustained damage. The officer driving the patrol car suffered minor injuries, was treated at a hospital and then released that evening.

Zachary Delew was booked into the Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of evading police, vehicle theft, assault with a deadly weapon, vandalism and a probation violation, public safety officials said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Wild Weather Brings Rainbows, Hail, Snow to the Bay Area]]>Sun, 05 Mar 2017 20:06:31 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/HailSJ.png

Photo Credit: Yolette Nunez]]>
<![CDATA[One Arrested in Stabbing Death of Vallejo Man]]>Sat, 04 Mar 2017 11:01:56 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Robert+Welton+Mug.jpg

Police in Vallejo have arrested a suspect in the stabbing death of a man last month.

On Friday, police arrested Robert Welton, 37, of Vallejo, in connection with the murder of Michael Knight, 44, also of Vallejo.

On Feb. 25 at 10:15 a.m., the Vallejo Police Department responded to a report of a stabbing that occurred at a residence in the 1000 block of Western Avenue.

The victim was transported to the hospital by a private vehicle before officers arrived at the scene.

Knight, who was suffering from a stab wound, was then transported to a different hospital due to his injuries, but died the next day.

Investigators were able to determine Welton was responsible for the stabbing, and he was taken into custody without incident Friday, police said. He was located while driving a vehicle in the 100 block of Kristina Court.



Photo Credit: Vallejo Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Little House to Jim Morrison: Actress Writes Tell-All Book]]>Fri, 03 Mar 2017 20:08:49 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/charlotte+making+bag.jpg

The woman hunched over the sewing machine in her Napa bungalow couldn’t seem farther from her back story — the in-demand Hollywood actress who took road trips with rock stars, battled booze and drugs, survived cancer and somehow came out the other side.

Charlotte Stewart’s story at times might just seem too far fetched to believe — if there wasn’t a piece of celluloid to corroborate just about every instance of it.

There she is in episodes of Gunsmoke, Mannix, the Waltons, Twin Peaks. That’s her playing Mary X in David Lynch’s bizarre classic Eraserhead. She shot that film at the same time as her most famous role — Miss Beadle, the wholesome school teacher on the seventies TV series Little House on the Prairie.

“I would be all night long doing Eraserhead,” Stewart said sitting in her sewing room, “and then come skidding in to Paramount with the wig on and the Miss Beadle outfit.”

Stewart recently wrote a book chronicling her life story — fittingly titled "Little House in the Hollywood Hills, A Bad Girls’ Guide to becoming Miss Beadle, Mary X and Me." She’ll be signing copies of her new book at the Book Passage in Corte Madera at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Stewart’s acting resume winds back to 1961, with appearances in dozens of classic TV shows — or as Stewart describes it — “anytime they needed a young victim.” She worked with Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda and even Elvis. Always the supporting role — never the star.

“I would go on so many interviews to get just one job,” Stewart said. “That’s just the way Hollywood is unless you’re a star. And I certainly wasn’t a star.”

Even before the Little House gig came along, Stewart ran a hippy clothing store in Hollywood called the Liquid Butterfly, where she sewed funky patches on torn jeans and other hippy stylings. The store became a hangout for musicians like Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Jim Morrison of The Doors who became Stewart’s drinking buddy.

One day Morrison summoned her to take a spontaneous road trip up the coast. The first day they made it all of ten miles to Santa Monica. The next day they drove to San Simeon and Hearst Castle. Stewart brought along her new film camera, capturing every step of the journey.

The home movie which she recently discovered, shows a relaxed Morrison driving along the Pacific Ocean, eating a hotdog at a road stop, climbing the steps of Hearst Castle and moodily gazing out a window. Stewart described their relationship during the brief journey as “friends with benefits.” After the trip, the two parted ways.

“I never saw him again,” Stewart said, “and he was dead in six months.”

Not long after, Stewart’s own life began to hit the skids. Her book tells of her personal struggles once her part on Little House ended.

“I went through financial hardship, I went through drugs,” Stewart ticked, “I went through rehab. I got married four times.”

Even after getting sober, her challenges included a successful battle with breast cancer.

In 1996, Stewart and her third husband David Banks traded in Los Angeles for Napa to be closer to her family — and to find a better environment for her husband’s growing health problems. Banks died five years ago.

At the urging of her writer friend Andy Demsky, Stewart finally decided to spill her life into the pages of a book. It had to be an unflinching reflection of the woman who played the wholesome Miss Beadle, all the while her own story spinning toward a far more complicated trajectory.

“There was all this great Hollywood stuff,” said Demsky, who co-wrote the book with Stewart. “But the real heart of the story was things like surviving alcoholism, and the death of a spouse and total financial ruin, and just bouncing back time after time.”

These days, Stewart spends much of her time in the sewing room, fashioning strips of colorful fabric and printed images of Miss Beadle into what she calls “Beadle Bags,” to sell to her legions of Little House fans. She travels the country representing the TV show at Little House events.

But she still takes the acting gigs that come her way and soon will reprise her role in an upcoming new season of Twin Peaks.

But perhaps her favorite role of late — is that of a newlywed — having recently married a man she was introduced to in Napa.

“You know what?” Stewart said, flanked by bolts of brightly colored cloth. “Today in 2017 I’ve got a great life. I’m healthy, I’m happy. I’m in love.”



Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr./NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Gamers Flock to Bay Area Stores for Nintendo Switch Release]]>Fri, 03 Mar 2017 08:05:05 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NintendoSwitchRelease.jpg

Passionate gamers lined up outside Bay Area retailers early Friday all in the effort to get their hands on the new Nintendo Switch, a gaming system that allows folks to play at home and on-the-go.

The latest console from Nintendo, which hits the market at $299.99, features a docking station that houses a screen similar to that of a tablet. When a gamer is in the confines of their own home, they can hook up the docking station to their television and use the system's controller to play their favorite games in traditional fashion. When the user feels like taking the adventure outdoors, they can detach the screen from the docking station and attach the controller to it.

Jonathan Flores, protected from the cold by his "Super Mario Bros." blanket, posted up outside of a Fremont Target at 11 p.m. on Thursday in hopes of purchasing the coveted toy.

"I just really want one," he said. "I’ve just been a fan all my life. The whole culture has been a big part of my life ever since I was four years old."

Wes Ong from Fremont also unfurled his camping chair and braved the elements in anticipation of the gaming system's release.

The pediatric respiratory therapist for Stanford Medicine won't be the only one to enjoy the new source of entertainment.

"You can buy it, bring it over to the hospital, then you can play it with (the children) and bring it home," he said. "This is one of the only systems you can do that on. It’s pretty cool.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images, NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[SF City Attorney Sues Hertz Over Golden Gate Bridge Fees]]>Thu, 02 Mar 2017 18:51:17 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-543949864.jpg

Hertz rental car customers are being charged steep fees when they cross the Golden Gate Bridge that can add up to more than four times the cost of bridge tolls, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday by the San Francisco City Attorney's Office.

The lawsuit alleges that Hertz is misleading customers and engaging in unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices by charging "toll service" fees without giving customers sufficient notice or a chance to opt out.

The toll service, called PlatePass, is an optional service that allows customers to use the electronic Fastrak lanes on most Bay Area bridges and bypass cash toll lanes.

However, on the Golden Gate Bridge, which switched to a cashless service four years ago, Hertz customers are not given the option of choosing or declining the service.

Instead, they are automatically charged the full, undiscounted toll of $7.50 without the Fastrak discount, and are then automatically charged "toll service" fees on top of that of up to $24.75.

The charges are not disclosed to customers up front by Hertz, but instead are charged to the customers' credit card bills at a later date through a third party service provider, American Traffic Solutions, Inc., the lawsuit alleges.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera said the practice is illegal under state laws prohibiting abusive practices in the rental car industry.

"These practices are not only unfair; they're unlawful," Herrera said. "Rather than Hertz putting you in the driver's seat, they're taking their customers to the cleaners."

Hertz has not yet responded to a request for comment.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Family Searches for Answers to Mysterious Death]]>Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:55:33 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0228-2017-AarynGoldberg.jpg

A year and a half after her body was found at the base of a cliff on the Marin Headlands, Aaryn Goldberg’s parents are still pressing for answers in the 24-year-old’s mysterious death.

They now want the U.S. Park Service to turn over more than 800 pages of documents to learn more about what happened the blustery full moon night she died in June 2015.

Linda Kuckuk of Eureka remembers her daughter as a soft-spoken but determined animation student at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

She says her daughter was never without her green beanie. She had a playful side, even as she was studious and intent on building her career.

“That’s what she wanted to do with her animation -- make people smile. She made people smile her whole life.”

That windy and cold evening of June 2, 2015, Goldberg called a cab to her student dorm in San Francisco, the investigation report showed.

She did not seem agitated, the driver told investigators, and even let him stop to take pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge.

She had her own camera, he said, and he figured she was on some class project. Her mother later checked and found her daughter had gone online to research the park service’s monthly guided full moon walk to the Point Bonita lighthouse, with its panoramic views of the Golden Gate.

“Aaryn loved the full moon,” Kuckuk said. “She loved the Golden Gate Bridge. What a great opportunity to take photos, and be in a safe environment because it’s a national park event."

Still, the cab driver told authorities in a taped interview that he was concerned about leaving her there.

“It didn’t seem right to me, but I didn’t ask any question or anything like that,” the driver said. “But to be out there in that - once it got dark - it didn’t seem right.”

The family phone bills show she checked her voicemail at 8 pm., 20 minutes after the walk began. At 9:18 p.m., she texted “Good night, mama lama” to her mother.

No one heard from her after that.

When the worried driver came back at 9:30, she was gone.

A day and a half later, a jogger spotted her body on a remote beach, nearly 300 feet below the lighthouse.

Investigators searched late but never found her purse, glasses or camera.

Park investigators told the cab driver early on that they were “in the dark.”

“We’re desperately searching for an answer as to why,” investigator Ben Zahn told the driver, according to the tape of the interview we obtained from the family.

“Why would a young girl alone who appears to be speaking very quietly and is rather meek in appearance, what would she be doing going all the way up there by herself um, so…I dunno…”

Goldberg’s mother told us the investigators suggested her daughter had taken her own life.

They also urged her not to go to the media. Park officials say that’s standard procedure when there’s no apparent evidence of foul play.

But Kuckuk now wishes she had not kept silent.

“I thought they were going to handle the case at that time,” she said, adding that she considers that was a “grievous error on my part…but I had no idea.”

The investigation turned up little as to what happened, based on documents the family provided us.

It remains unclear whether Goldberg even went on the walk. Investigators went through a list of 17 people who signed up for the 90-minute walk and ended up talking to three people out of the 50 there that night.

Only one remembered seeing Goldberg before the tour started. The walk’s coordinator told investigator she saw the cab, and a lone man “wandering around” the parking area near the gathering point of the walk.

Records show that most of the interviews were done within eight days and by phone.

The investigation hit one roadblock when an apparent records glitch left investigators without phone data, which may have included the data needed to show when her phone shut down.

By November, the park service closed out the probe without finding what led to her death.

“At this point in the investigation, no suspects have been identified,” the case suspension report of November 2015 concludes. “There were no witnesses to the incident.”

The report says no one knew of her plans that night, but:

“No evidence has been found to indicate a crime was committed or attempted. No motive has been identified to kill or otherwise injure her.”

The autopsy concluded she suffered blunt force trauma from an apparent fall, but the circumstances were undetermined.

Still, the report discounted suicide given there were no prior signs and no drugs or alcohol were involved.

Goldberg’s mother said the investigation left many questions unanswered.

“The whole thing was a joke,” she said, adding that the family wants some 800 more pages now being withheld to delve further into the mystery.

Park officials cite privacy concerns in withholding them. “And they are fighting us tooth and nail over releasing information that shouldn’t be difficult to release,” Kuckuk said. “Why?"

In a statement, the park service told us the agency had already turned over everything possible under the law and privacy protections.

They say their “thorough and comprehensive” investigation suggests Goldberg’s death was an accident.

“No evidence of foul play ever surfaced and it is considered to be the least likely scenario,” they said in the statement.

Her roommate of two years, Maggie Bassler says the case should never have been closed in the first place, as that leaves friends in the family without closure.

“It just doesn’t make sense.”

Linda Kuckuk says she wants to learn more to make sure no one else is at risk. “It’s important that we get answers…answers that we should have had…a year and a half ago.”



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Police Search for Suspects in San Rafael ATM Heist]]>Mon, 27 Feb 2017 16:06:07 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0227-2017-ATMSuspect.jpg

San Rafael police are searching for two suspects wanted in an ATM heist.

The crime was reported early Monday at the Marin Airporter, located at 1081 Anderson Drive.

Police reponded at 2:22 a.m. to a burglary alarm at the business and discovered major damage to the main entry of the building. Further investigation revealed an idepentdently owned and operated ATM was missing from the lobby area, police said.

Surveilance video released by police shows a newew model white SUV enter the parking lot and back up to the front of the building.

A suspect is seen in the video exiting the SUV and forcing entry into building. The suspect was wearing a tan hoodie sweatshirt and blue latext-type gloves, police said.

The suspect is also seen in video attaching a rope or cable to the ATM and connecting it to the SUV waiting outside. The suspect vehicle then drove forward, dragging the ATM outside and causing damage to the building.

Video then shows at least one of the suspects loading the ATM into the SUV.

The ATM was recovered at 11:30 a.m. in Richmond. Police said the ATM loss and value of the building damage were not immediately known Monday afternoon.

Anyone with information about the suspects and incident are asked to call San Rafael police at 415-485-3000. Tips can also be made online by using the SRPD Silent Witness tip form available at www.srpd.org/tips.



Photo Credit: San Rafael Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Three Youths Escape After Car Plunges Into Napa River]]>Mon, 27 Feb 2017 06:52:10 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/napa-river-crash.jpg

Three youths escaped with minor injuries when they climbed through a shattered window in a car that one of them drove into the Napa River early Sunday morning in Napa, police said.

The car went into the river at the end of River Park Boulevard. Police said one of the youths took their parents' car and drove through a roadblock and into the river because the youth didn't know the road ended, according to police.

At low tide, officers narrowed down where the car was and located parts of it. A tow truck driver pulled the car from the river, and police and firefighters checked to see whether anyone else was inside, police said.

The car was found about 40 feet from shore in about 20 feet of water. Fishermen helped locate the vehicle by using their fishing poles to snag it.



Photo Credit: Napa PD]]>
<![CDATA[Two Bodies Found in Separate Santa Rosa Homes Identified]]>Sun, 26 Feb 2017 14:26:11 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/2-26-17_Santa_Rosa_Deaths.jpg

Police in Santa Rosa on Sunday identified the two people who were found dead inside of two separate homes as part of what police say are related homicides.

Officers responding to a call about an injured person in the 2600 block of Valley Center Drive just before 11 a.m. found a deceased man, who was later identified as 57-year-old Dale Robert Carlson, in a home, police said. After examining the scene, homicide detectives were called in to investigate.

Less than two hours later, a vehicle related to the death was found in the area of Glenbrook Avenue and Heather Drive, police said. A person at about the same time called police after finding a deceased woman, who was later identified as 37-year-old Jessica Noel Carlson, in a home located along the 1500 block of Glenbrook Avenue.

Police said there appears to be a connection between the two discoveries.

"The detectives have been able to establish that the two homicides are linked together," Lt. Mike Lazzarini from the Santa Rosa Police Department said Saturday night. "It appears there is a relationship, an extended relationship from a family standpoint linking both of those people together."

Neighbors told NBC Bay Area that investigators on Friday were called out to one of the houses after a man with a hammer broke a car window and climbed on a roof. He was taken into custody on a drug-related charge and restraining order violation.

Police believe the man may be a person of interest in the deaths.

While police continue to put the pieces together, neighbor Bill Turner was still stunned hours after hearing about the two deaths.

"It's heavy," he said Saturday. "It's very shocking, especially in this neighborhood."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Vallejo Bar Shooting Leaves One Dead, Two Injured]]>Sun, 26 Feb 2017 11:18:55 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/2-26_17_VallejoBarShooting.jpg

One man was killed and two others were injured after gunshots erupted inside of a bar in Vallejo Sunday morning, according to police.

Police were notified of a shooting at Gentleman Jim's Bar, located at 1324 Lincoln Road East, just after 1 a.m., police said.

One man found to be suffering from gunshot wounds was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The second victim was transported to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. A third victim, who was inside of the bar at the time of the shooting, later showed up at a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries related to gunshot wounds.

Police said they have yet to locate a suspect or release the identities of the three victims.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Jason Martinez with the Vallejo Police Department at 707-648-4279.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Crashes into Creek, Survives Eight Hours Before Rescue]]>Sun, 26 Feb 2017 21:33:17 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/2-25-17_Car_Creek_Sonoma.jpg

A North Bay woman and her dog are living to tell another tale after enduring a nightmarish crash over the weekend.

Victoria Trautvetter was traveling along the windy two-lane Cazadero Highway in western Sonoma County around 11:45 p.m. on Friday when she rolled her car and plunged into Austin Creek, the Press Democrat reported. The 67-year-old's car crashed down the embankment and rolled roughly 10 feet into the creek, but it somehow managed to land on its wheels.

Trautvetter spent the next eight hours or so in the car with her small dog as rushing water and darkness surrounded the vehicle, according to the newspaper. Water crept high enough to touch the steering wheel, but Trautvetter found safety and dry conditions in the back of her car while she waited for help.

Fortunately for Trautvetter, someone spotted her car Saturday morning and immediately alerted authorities, the newspaper reported.

A swift water rescue team around 8 a.m. managed to pull Trautvetter from the car and bring her to safety, according to the newspaper.

John Yost, a tow truck driver who was called to the scene to fish out the submerged vehicle, was stunned by the ordeal, calling it a "double miracle," according to the newspaper. He said Trautvetter's first break was that her car landed upright. Her second break was that a large rock prevented her car from flowing downstream and steadied it enough to prevent water from flooding the cabin.

Trautvetter only complained about being cold and having a sore shoulder, according to the newspaper.



Photo Credit: Occidental Towing]]>
<![CDATA[Man Found Driving Stolen U-Haul Truck Arrested in Benicia]]>Sat, 25 Feb 2017 20:05:48 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/2-25-Benicia-Uhaul.png

Officers on patrol at a Benicia shopping center arrested a man Friday after officers found him driving a stolen U-Haul truck, police said.

While patrolling the Parkway Plaza shopping center located at 2000 Columbus Parkway, an officer spotted a stolen U-Haul truck, according to police.

The driver of the truck then exited the truck and tried to flee. The officer however was able to apprehend the driver.

He was identified as Antioch resident Michael Clancy, 27, police said.

Clancy was arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft, according to jail records.



Photo Credit: Benicia Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Two Santa Rosa Homicides Appear to Be Related: Police]]>Sat, 25 Feb 2017 19:41:29 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/2-25-17_Santa_Rosa_Homicides.jpg

Police in Santa Rosa on Saturday conducted two apparently related homicide investigations after two bodies were found in separate homes across town from each other.

Officers responding to a call about an injured person in the 2600 block of Valley Center Drive just before 11 a.m. found a man's body in a home, police said. After examining the scene, homicide detectives were called in to investigate.

Less than two hours later, a vehicle related to the death was found in the area of Glenbrook Avenue and Heather Drive, police said. A person at about the same time called police after finding a woman's body in a home located along the 1500 block of Glenbrook Avenue.

Police said there appears to be a connection between the two discoveries.

"The detectives have been able to establish that the two homicides are linked together," Lt. Mike Lazzarini from the Santa Rosa Police Department said. "It appears there is a relationship, an extended relationship from a family standpoint linking both of those people together."

Neighbors told NBC Bay Area that investigators on Friday were called out to one of the houses after a man with a hammer broke a car window and climbed on a roof. He was taken into custody on a drug-related charge and restraining order violation.

Police believe the man may be a person of interest in the deaths.

While police continue to put the pieces together, neighbor Bill Turner was still stunned hours after hearing about the two deaths.

"It's heavy," he said. "It's very shocking, especially in this neighborhood."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Number of Riders on BART Drops, Agency Examines Alternatives]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 18:59:57 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/bart38.jpg

It may be hard to believe for some commuters, but BART ridership is actually declining.

The transportation agency had been enjoying six years of consecutive growth, but during the first half of the 2016-2017 fiscal year, BART reported a roughly four percent drop in the number of weekday riders, as reported by the Mercury News. Weekend ridership slumped by approximately nine percent.

That drop in ridership could mean that BART will finish this year $15 to $25 million below budget, according to the Mercury News. Looking forward, BART could face a $25 to $35 million shortcoming as it prepares its future budget.

In order to make up for that loss, BART may consider chopping discounts for the elderly and young riders, starting service at 5 a.m. instead of 4 a.m. or scaling down service on some lines, the Mercury News reported. Base fare prices may also jump.

BART has also executed a hiring freeze and asked every department to cut back on spending as it works to prevent any further losses, according to the Mercury News.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Heavy Storm Triggers Mudslides, Flooded Streets in North Bay]]>Mon, 20 Feb 2017 19:37:21 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/02-20-217-north-bay-storm.jpg

In the North Bay, nearly three inches of rain triggered mudslides and flooded streets. Mark Matthews reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Police Locked in Standoff in Bodega]]>Sun, 19 Feb 2017 13:49:11 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police-tape-lights-generic.jpg

Sonoma County sheriff's officials are at the scene of a standoff situation Sunday afternoon in the unincorporated community of Bodega.

At 11:55 a.m., sheriff's officials said they were involved with a barricaded suspect in the area and had closed several roads.

According to sheriff's officials, Bodega Highway is closed between state Highway 1 and Joy Road. Salmon Creek Road is also closed between Bodega Highway and Tannery Creek Road.

Further information was not immediately available.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Flooding Concerns Ramp up as Powerful Storm Targets Bay Area]]>Sun, 19 Feb 2017 12:19:29 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/flood-generic-file.jpg

Another powerful storm expected to douse the Bay Area Sunday night and Monday morning could pack threats of flooding, mudslides, toppled trees and power outages.

Scattered showers on Sunday will transform into widespread rain around 11 p.m. Heavy downpours will continue into the Monday morning commute hours and consistent rain will continue to pound the region throughout the day.

A flood warning was already in effect for Solano County as of Sunday evening to go along with flood watches for the rest of the Bay Area's eight other counties.

Sunday night and Monday's storm is expected dump anywhere from one to three inches of rain across the Bay Area. Coastal mountains are expected to receive the brunt of that moisture with some spots receiving three to six inches of rainfall.

This latest storm presents flooding concerns for areas already saturated by a wet winter. The San Lorenzo River near Felton, Alameda Creek along Niles Canyon Road and Coyote Creek near the San Jose neighborhood of Edenvale are all expected to reach flood stage by Monday afternoon. High flooding potential will also likely exist along the Uvas/Llagas Creek and San Francisquito Creek. Officials are also keeping a close eye on the Guadalupe River and creeks in the North Bay.

High wind warnings were also in effect for all nine Bay Area counties as of Sunday evening. Gusts could reach 15 to 50 mph at times late Sunday and Monday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Braces for Two Incoming Storms]]>Sat, 18 Feb 2017 18:32:56 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/2-18-17_Cemetary_Flooded.jpg

Wet weather lingered on Saturday with parts of the Bay Area experiencing scattered rain, mild temperatures and strong winds.

The Anderson Reservoir reached over 101 percent of its maximum capacity and spilled over for the first time in 11 years. But in Oroville, a few days after a damaged spillway led to the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people, the dam dropped to 82 percent of its total capacity. 

A high surf advisory was also in place till 12 p.m. along the San Francisco and Peninsula coast. Waves of between 12 and 15 feet were expected, with breakers reaching 17 feet. Beachgoers were warned to pay attention to rip currents, beach erosion and large shore breaks.

Meanwhile, tombstones were half submerged under water at Valley Cemetery on East MacArthur Street in Sonoma. Firefighters said three large oak trees fell overnight, causing a water main break, which flooded the cemetery.

The surge of water also created a mess for homeowners nearby. Water rushed through their driveways and backyards, but many were able to keep the water out of their homes by using sandbags.

Further south in Pacifica, the California Highway Patrol reported that a portion of southbound state Highway 1 was closed due to a mudslide. 

Two more wet weather systems are expected over the next five days in the San Francisco Bay Area before the air gets cooler and drier late next week, National Weather Service officials said.

The first system will start on Sunday by dropping rain in the North Bay and impact the rest of the region on Sunday night and Monday. A second weaker system will move into the area Tuesday night and Wednesday.

The storms could cause the flooding of creeks, streams and rivers such as the Russian River at Guerneville and the Napa River in Napa, National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Garcia said.

The current forecast shows the Russian River topping out at 32.5 feet during the storms. The Napa River is expected to reach monitor stage, according to Garcia. The Salinas River is expected to stay below flood stage.

Both storms will bring higher winds and moderate to heavy rain along with the possibility of mudslides, rockslides, downed trees, hydroplaning and flight delays and cancellations.

Coastal erosion is possible in Pacifica where at least one apartment building was demolished because erosion threatened to cause the building to fall into the ocean.

Flash flood warnings are possible from late Sunday into Tuesday, weather officials said. A flash flood warning means flash flooding is occurring or imminent.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Human Remains Found Near Point Reyes Station]]>Sat, 18 Feb 2017 21:05:23 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/C496PBtUYAAgdFF.jpg

Motorists discovered human remains down an embankment near Point Reyes Station on Friday evening, according to a spokesman with the Marin County Sheriff's Office.

The discovery was made at about 6 p.m. near Platform Bridge Road in an unincorporated part of the county, Lt. Doug Pittman said.

The drivers noticed something suspicious and stopped to investigate. The remains they found had been wrapped in some sort of plastic material, but had been left out there for quite some time, Point Reyes National Seashore spokesman John Dell'Osso said.

Dell'Osso said that it remains unclear whether the remains were moved from another location. Also, the gender of the body is still unknown.

The road was closed between Sir Francis Drake Road and Point Reyes-Petaluma Road, during the lengthy investigation. It was reopened in the evening.

Sheriff's officials are working with park service officials, as well as the FBI, who are on scene since the body was found on federal park land, according to Pittman.

FBI investigators are expected to remove the remains sometime later this afternoon and will work with the Marin County Coroner to determine the victim's identity and cause of death, according to Dell'Osso.

Marin County sheriff's officials posted a message on Twitter that showed search and rescue teams combing the area for evidence related to the criminal investigation. There is no threat to the community, they stressed.



Photo Credit: Marin County Sheriff via Twitter
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<![CDATA[Missing Elderly Fairfield Man Found in San Francisco]]>Mon, 13 Feb 2017 08:01:16 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CoylavonHarris.jpg

A man who went missing Saturday in Fairfied was found in San Francisco, Fairfield police said Monday morning.

Coylavan Harris, 78, was located unharmed in San Francisco and is safe at home with his family, police said.

Harris went miss Saturday and was last seen on East Travis Boulevard in Fairfield. He'd been exhibiting signs of dementia and was considered at risk, police said.



Photo Credit: Fairfield Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Fairfield Police Search for Missing Elderly Man]]>Sun, 12 Feb 2017 11:25:30 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CoylavonHarris.jpg

Police in Fairfield on Sunday are asking the public to help locate a missing 78-year-old man.

Coylavon Harris, who is considered to be at risk because he has been showing signs of dementia, was last seen on Saturday near East Travis Boulevard.

Police said Harris is associated with a gray 2008 Toyota Corolla with a California license plate 7EVU273. Harris is believed to be in the Fairfield area, but may not remember how to get home.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Fairfield Police Department at 707-428-7300.



Photo Credit: Fairfield Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[70-Year-Old Woman in Petaluma Hit by Car, Launched 50 Feet]]>Sun, 12 Feb 2017 10:14:11 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police-lights-generic-080615.jpg

A 70-year-old woman suffered critical injuries when she was struck and thrown 50 feet during a hit-and-run in Petaluma Saturday evening, according to police.

At 7:29 p.m., officers responded to a report of a pedestrian who had been struck at the intersection of South McDowell Boulevard and Caulfield Lane, police said.

At the scene, officers found the woman lying on the roadway on South McDowell Boulevard.

The victim was taken to a hospital with what police said were possible life-threatening injuries.

Witnesses told investigators the victim was crossing South McDowell Boulevard and it appeared she was going against a red signal. A van heading north on the boulevard then hit her, causing her to be thrown, according to police.

The van stopped momentarily but then quickly fled, turning right onto a road off of South McDowell Boulevard, police said.

A description of the van was not immediately available.

Anyone with information about the hit-and-run is asked to call Sgt. Ron Klein at (707) 778-4596.



Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Fairfield Man Arrested on Suspicion of Fatally Stabbing Wife]]>Sat, 11 Feb 2017 17:12:22 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/handcuffs14.jpg

Police arrested a 50-year-old man Friday after officers found his wife fatally stabbed at their Fairfield home.

At 6:35 p.m., a person called and said that their family member may have committed a domestic violence related homicide at a home in the 2000 block of Burgundy Way, police said.

At the home, officers found that the door was locked. When no one answered, officers forced their way inside.

Inside the home, they found a woman who had been fatally stabbed, police said.

The woman's husband, identified as Fairfield resident Camden Lo, had apparently fled from the house before officers arrived.

Officers were able to track Lo to a restaurant in Napa in the 1600 block of Trancas Boulevard, according to police. With help from Napa police, officers were able to detain Lo.

Fairfield officers have arrested Lo on suspicion of homicide. He was booked into Solano County Jail, police said.

The name of the victim has not been released.

Anyone with information about the homicide is asked to contact Fairfield police's investigation unit at (707) 428-7600, or the tip line at (707) 428-7345 or Solano County CrimeStoppers at (707) 644-7867.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Rosa Mulls Annexing Roseland, Four County 'Islands']]>Thu, 16 Feb 2017 11:56:19 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEB+6P+PS+SANTA+ROSA+STABBING.jpg

Santa Rosa officials will on Thursday continue a series of meetings on the annexation of Roseland and four other county "islands" into the city.

The community meetings continue until March 4.  Thursday's meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the Greater Powerhouse Church at 777 Hearn Ave.

Residents of Roseland and the other pockets of unincorporated Sonoma County southwest of Santa Rosa will learn what the annexation means to the community. They also will have an opportunity to state what they want changed or not changed, Santa Rosa senior planner Jessica Jones said.

The city of Santa Rosa will provide police, fire, street and park services if the annexation is approved.

The Roseland, Brittain Lane, Victoria Drive, West Hearn Avenue and West Third Street islands comprise 715 acres and are home to 7,433 residents, Jones said. She said the city hopes to submit the annexation proposal to the Local Agency Formation Commission for approval or denial in March.

If approved, residents of the annexation area who are registered voters will have a chance to submit written opposition to the annexation, Jones said. If 25 percent of the residents oppose annexation, an election on the annexation will be held, she noted.

Food, child care and Spanish language translation will be provided at the meetings.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[1000's of Tickets, Despite Law to Help Get You Out of Them]]>Sat, 11 Feb 2017 01:16:34 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/fix+it+ticket.jpg

Car owners around the Bay Area are paying thousands of dollars in traffic fines when they could be paying nothing.

It all comes down to your smartphone and a consumer protection law that many people don’t know exists.

THE ROLLING STOP

Photographer Mark Lilly often spends his mornings in Santa Cruz, capturing the sunrise.

Last winter, an early morning excursion started off all wrong, when a police officer stopped him.

“I made a rolling stop and he pulled me over,” Lilly said.

Lilly wasn’t ticketed for the rolling stop. But he was cited for something else: not having his insurance card with him.

“He was nice about,” Lilly explained. “And said, ‘Hey, I’m going to give you a fix-it ticket.’”

A fix-it ticket allows you to pay a $25 fine later, if you can show proof of insurance to the court.

Lilly says he tried to do that, but ran into roadblocks.

His story gets messy here because his ticket had the wrong address and the court had computer problems. Lilly admits that after several weeks of trying to pay the ticket, he just gave up.

“It didn’t even cross my mind anymore. I thought well, it’s a fix-it ticket, it’s minor — $25," he said. 

But months later, that "minor" amount ballooned into a $1,200 fine. The court sent Lilly’s case to a debt collector. It demanded a $900 fine for not having insurance plus a $300 collections fee.

“I was sort of shocked and didn’t know what to say,” Lilly said.

Lilly asked us if we could help. We tried. But Lilly is still being told he has to pay.

AN APP THAT GETS OUT OF A TICKET

We learned that there was something Lilly could have done to prevent this fix-it ticket mess at the time he was pulled over. He could have pulled out his cellphone.

Since 2013, California law has allowed drivers to show proof of insurance electronically on their smart phones – using either the insurance company’s app or an image of the paper card on the screen.

Lilly says he had no idea that was an option and the police officer didn’t suggest it.

“He didn’t tell me that,” Lilly said.

Lilly’s case triggered our curiosity. We wondered: how many other drivers have been issued fix-it tickets when they could have just pulled out a phone and paid nothing at all?

That data proved difficult to get. Many courts can’t extract it from the records.

But we did get numbers from San Mateo and Marin counties.

THOUSANDS OF TICKETS

In the four years since this law has been in effect, Redwood City has issued 1,156; San Carlos issued 540; and San Rafael issued 1,098.

Drivers in San Mateo and Marin counties alone paid $320,000 in fines when they could have paid zero if they had a smartphone to show proof of insurance.

“California, in my opinion, is a little behind in the electronic communications,” said Armand Feliciano, of the Association of California Insurance Companies, which supported the law that now allows drivers to show proof of insurance electronically.

He’d like to see police officers encouraging drivers to pull out their phone and do away with fix it tickets.

“This is not even the way of the future. This is it,” he said. “This is what’s happening now. Everybody that has a smartphone understands this is how it works.”

DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL

State law does not require law enforcement officers to ask you about your smartphone or tell you that an insurance company app could get you out of a ticket for not having your insurance card.   

We asked 16 police departments what they do. Many said there’s no protocol within their departments requiring officers to tell drivers about the law. But some said they try to do it anyway. The California Highway Patrol said it does let drivers know.

As for your vehicle registration, electronic copies of that are not allowed. Only paper copies are accepted.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA['We've Had Enough': North Bay Braces for More Rain, Flooding]]>Fri, 10 Feb 2017 22:47:36 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NU+JODI+SETUP+VO+-+00000500.jpg

The latest bout of rain sent the Russian River over flood stage again on Friday. 

It crested in Guerneville at 34.4 feet at about 1 p.m., nearly five feet lower than previously predicted, according to the California Nevada River Forecast Center.

"It went up fast," said Todd Braget after large amounts of water were pushed onto the streets of the already waterlogged community. 

"The ground was saturated so it didn't take much for it to really rise up," he added.

The earlier prediction of 39 feet prompted the Sonoma County Office of Emergency Services to issue an advisory evacuation notice Thursday, and the Guerneville Veterans Memorial building was to serve as a shelter, Sonoma County spokeswoman Rebecca Wachsberg said.

Approximately 550 households are impacted when the Russian River reaches 35 feet, Wachsberg said. The river is expected to remain at or above flood level until 11 p.m. on Friday.

"It's almost not fun," said Bruce MacDonell of Guerneville. 

MacDonell on Friday used his boat to taxi folks in and out of his neighborhood, and gave NBC Bay Area a tour. Most houses are up on stilts, but sheds and basements are getting a soaking. And this is already the third time this year that the neighborhood's been flooded.

"We're not out of the forest yet," MacDonell said. "It's February. February is flood month."

As of 8:42 p.m. Thursday, there were 34 road closures in the unincorporated area of Sonoma County, according to the Department of Transportation and Public Works. On Friday morning, Riverfront Regional Park, Spring Lake Regional Park, Sunset Beach and Steelhead Beach remained closed.

"We've had enough, we're done. That's it. Stop the rain dances," Braget said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Russian River Expected to Crest, Possibly Flood]]>Fri, 10 Feb 2017 13:08:18 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/02-08-2017-russian-river-flooding.jpg

The Russian River in Guerneville could crest and possibly flood, surpassing 35 feet and nine inches at 11 a.m. on Friday and possibly flood. Pete Suratos reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Russian River Expected to Crest, Possibly Flood]]>Fri, 10 Feb 2017 08:54:40 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/02-08-2017-russian-river-flooding1.jpg

The Russian River in Guerneville could crest and possibly flood, surpassing 35 feet and nine inches at 11 a.m. on Friday and possibly flood. Pete Suratos reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Storm Causes Mudslides, Downed Trees in Napa, Marin Counties]]>Fri, 10 Feb 2017 00:53:41 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/napa+mudslide-02-09-17.jpg

The latest storm to hit the Bay Area on Thursday brought more flooding, mudslides, downed trees and general mayhem across the North Bay region. But a break was on the way, and residents were relieved.

Heavy rain prompted flash flood warnings, caused mudslides and shut down roads in Napa County. The Napa River began receding quickly late Thursday night, but not before the damage was done in some places.

Resident Dylan Brusstar saw and heard a massive mudslide that barreled down on his street, Redwood Road.

"It was a big roar, a big rush," Brusstar said. "I thought it was a tree falling. Multiple crashes of trees coming down, and then just two huge explosions.

"Now with the rain kicking back up today, it's getting a lot stickier, a lot muddier," Brusstar added.

The road has been closed, and 200 households were without power for two days. PG&E is still working to restore the power even as new rain falls.

"Obviously, it's way more than we can handle in a small amount of time," resident Angela Douglass said.

Lodi Lane in St. Helena was flooded yet again, and a vehicle became stuck in the deep, standing water there. Peter Avina came across it a took a photograph.

"I didn’t see them driving in, but they had no common sense," he said. "It really annoys me when people are excited for this weekend saying, 'Oh it’s going to stop raining.' Well, in summer, we’re going to be needing it."

People were keeping a close watch on the Napa River water level and looked to be getting the break they were hoping for.

Some people were wondering about the next round of storms while others planned on taking advantage of any little break they could get.

"We’re happy to see there’s a break right now," resident Beverly O’Brien said. "That’s why I’m getting out, getting my steps in, getting some blood flowing and enjoying the break."

"Our hope is the rain will stop, and we can get back to things we usually do, which is enjoy Napa Valley," resident Frank Difede added.

In Marin County, the storm toppled trees and flooded streets. Schools canceled classes as a precaution.

Many San Anselmo residents spent the day watching the creek, which was rising quickly earlier Thursday. The Marin County Sheriff’s Office patrolled the streets of downtown, and businesses were closed in anticipation of flooding.

In Mill Valley, a 60 foot tree crashed into a garage, blocking access on South Morning Sun Avenue.

"I imagine until the storm blows through, it's going to be quite active," said Capt. Josh McHugh of the Southern Marin Fire Department. "The same type of mudslides, powerlines and trees."

In Kentfield, on Berens Avenue, sand bags lined driveways, and deputies checked on residents as the high tide brought flood waters.

"I was concerned because we have friends over there, and I was telling them to come to my house," resident Danielle Levi said. "That’s why we came, to see how bad it was."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Severe Weather Prompts School Closures in North Bay]]>Thu, 09 Feb 2017 09:45:33 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/north+bay+rain.jpg

A number of public and private schools in the North Bay have decided to close their campuses Thursday due to severe weather and related safety concerns, according to a statement from the county superintendent of schools.

School officials are expecting severe rain and winds as well as a high tide during commuting hours. They're also concerned about landslides, flash floods and the potential for traffic gridlock.

Schools in Sonoma County's Guerneville are closed, as is the Harmony Union School District in Occidental and the Redwood Consortium Special Education Preschool in Santa Rosa.

and the College of Marin is closing their Kentfield and Indian Valley campuses.

The Bolinas-Stinson Union, Kentfield Union, Lagunitas, Larkspur-Corte Madera, Mill Valley, Nicasio, Reed Union, Ross, Ross Valley, Sausalito Marin City, Shoreline Unified and Tamalpais Union school districts will also have campuses closed.

A number of private and independent schools are also closing their doors due to weather, including the Marin Catholic High School, Marin Academy, San Domenico School, St. Anselm School, Marin Primary and Middle School, the Branson School, Cascade Canyon School, Marin Country Day School and GATE Academy.

County education officials said schools will notify parents and guardians of students about the campus closures.

"The schools that are closing are in areas anticipated to be most severely impacted by the storm and have made the decision in order to keep their students, staff and families as safe as possible," Mary Jane Burke, Marin County Superintendent of Schools, said in a statement.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Enough is Enough: North Bay Residents Are Rain Weary ]]>Thu, 09 Feb 2017 00:45:31 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/highway1-02-08-17.jpg

For those living along the Russian River, flooded roads during rainy weather are pretty much a standard expectation, though it does make life more difficult. But when the water level starts creeping up further, residents get a little unnerved.

Annie Lovell is used to flooded out roads in her Guerneville neighborhood. She's just hoping the water stops there.

"This is expected,' she said, looking at a flood caused by the overflowing Russian River. "You should see our yard; it’s a lake. Everything is underwater. As long as it doesn’t get in our house."

It's not just rising water levels that are causing concern in the North Bay. After days of rain, there is simply nowhere for the water go.

On Wednesday, water made it underneath LoraAnn Thorp's mobile home at Mirabel Park and Campground in Forestville.

She measured the Russian's level 32 1/2 feet last night.

Everyone else in the park moved to higher ground when the river hit 31 feet. She's staying til it hits 36.

"It's taking a risk, yeah, but it is taking a greater risk by moving this big clunker here," she said, referring to her trailer.

Guerneville's Donna Langerman says there is something different about this season's storms that she attributes to years of drought.

"This year, it's been more landslides and the downed trees that have caused more trouble than the actual level of the river," Langerman said.

Along Highway 1 in Sonoma County, part of the road gave way Wednesday.

"There is too much water," said Sgt. Ryan Russell of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office. "The soil can’t stick together, so gravity is taking over."

Russell says the rain has caused mudslides and closed roads along the coast, making it tough for residents to get where they're going.

Resident Joe Riley, who caught a ride with a stanger, says people are helping each other get through it.

"I want it to stop," he said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Russian River Could Crest in Guerneville]]>Wed, 08 Feb 2017 07:40:44 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/guerneville-01-16-17.jpg

The Russian River is expected to crest, reaching the banks and possibly spilling over by 5 a.m. Wednesday. The water should only a foot or two over the banks, so damage is not expected to be as severe as last month’s flooding. Pete Suratos reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Novato Woman Fatally Shot; Boyfriend Sought: Police]]>Wed, 08 Feb 2017 00:16:53 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police-tape-shutterstock_5628043319.jpg

A 61-year-old woman was found shot to death at a home in Novato on Tuesday afternoon, and police want to question her boyfriend, who they say may have been involved.

Officers were called to an address on San Marcos Court around 4 p.m. to conduct a welfare check. At the scene they found the victim, who was suffering from multiple gunshot wounds and already dead.

Investigators say they believe Craig Anthony Digrazia, the victim's 58-year-old boyfriend, was involved. He's wanted for questioning, and should be considered armed and dangerous, police said.

Digrazia may be driving a silver 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe with California license plate 6EWP903.

Anyone with information about the shooting or Digrazia's whereabouts is asked to call police at (415) 897-4361.

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<![CDATA[San Rafael Neighborhood on Edge After House ‘Fell and Broke’]]>Wed, 08 Feb 2017 00:58:28 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/02-07-2017-san-rafael-house-in-two.jpg

A mudslide devastated a San Rafael family by tearing their home apart on Tuesday morning, officials said.

Firefighters responded to Mountain View Avenue around 8 a.m. when a resident called about a tree that appeared ready to fall, San Rafael Fire Battalion Chief Jeff Rowan said.

Four people, including two children, lived in the two-story home but only two were home at the time, Rowan said. No one was injured.

For homeowner John Futscher, Tuesday started as a normal day, but things took a turn for the worse when he returned from dropping his daughter off at school.

Fire officials instructed him to get his wife and son out of the house and then he "saw it coming through the kitchen window."

His son Marcos said that part of their home "fell and broke."

Futscher, grateful to have been able to evacuate his family in time, said he was surprised because there is a "good amount of vegetation" and pumps behind their house. So mudslides were never a real concern — until Tuesday.

The San Rafael neighborhood was on edge Tuesday as two other houses on Mountain View Avenue were red-tagged as uninhabitable. One also was damaged by the slide and the other had three feet of mud behind it, Rowan said.

Elsewhere in the North Bay, Devyn Wallace and other drivers had to navigate around a slide in Napa. Redwood Road at Browns Valley was closed. Crews weren't working to clear the mountain of mud Tuesday night because it was too wet.

"I've been keeping track, making sure I can come to work," Wallace said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Mercedes Driver Gets Stuck, Then Rescued ]]>Tue, 07 Feb 2017 13:03:42 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/2-7-17-man-stranded-sonoma-flood.jpg

The driver of a Mercedes sedan got stuck on Highway 121 in Sonoma County’s Schellville. He tried to back up but his car stalled. Firefighters helped rescue him. And our cameras caught him gingerly stepping onto the ground from the trunk of his car. Bob Redell reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>