<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Sun, 05 Jul 2015 01:07:48 -0700 Sun, 05 Jul 2015 01:07:48 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Illegal Fireworks Spark Fires Across Bay Area]]> Sat, 04 Jul 2015 23:43:28 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/217*120/fireout1.JPG

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Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Crews Battle 2-Alarm Fire in San Jose]]> Sat, 04 Jul 2015 22:33:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/san_jose_fire_department_truck_generic.jpg

A two-alarm blaze was reported Saturday night  in San Jose, authorities said.

The fire began at about 9:40 p.m. on the 800 block of Yerba Buena Road.

This story is developing. 

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Man Fatally Stabbed in San Jose]]> Sat, 04 Jul 2015 10:28:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police-stock-breaking-119818994.jpg

A man was fatally stabbed in San Jose early Saturday morning, according to police.

Officer Albert Morales said that police responded to a report of the stabbing at 60 N. King Road at about 5:09 a.m. They found a man, who remains unidentified, with a stab wound at the scene.

Police alsos aid that the victim was transported to a local hospital where he was prounced dead shortly thereafter.

“The circumstances or motive surrounding the stabbing are unknown at this time,” Morales said in a statement.

The ongoing investigation will be handled by the San Jose Police Homicide Unit.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[10 Hurt in Md. Boat Explosion]]> Sat, 04 Jul 2015 20:51:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_ambulance_generic_ambulance_stock.jpg

Ten people were injured — three of them children — in a flash fire on a boat that was refueling at a marina on Solomons Island in Maryland.

The 38-foot cabin cruiser was fueling at Spring Cove Marina at around 6 p.m. Saturday when something ignited the vessel, according to a statement from Solomons Volunteer Fire and Rescue.

Five victims were taken to Calvert Memorial Hospital in Prince Frederick, Maryland, including one of the young victims. The other five were taken to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, including two other young people.

Police for Maryland's Department of Natural Resources tweeted that the victims sent to MedStar were being treated for burns.

None of the injuries was life-threatening, the fire department said.

The Maryland fire marshal and the Department of Natural Resources are investigating. 

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<![CDATA[Banner-Towing Plane Crashes]]> Sat, 04 Jul 2015 19:19:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/179*120/KAZ+CANNING+5.jpg

A single-engine Piper PA18 banner-towing plane has crashed into the beach in Carlsbad, officials said. 

The incident happened around 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon on the 4600 block of Carlsbad Boulevard near Cannon Road when the plane experienced a loss of engine power, FAA Pacific Division Public Affairs Manager Ian Gregor and CHP officials said. 

The plane flipped over and was partially submerged, Gregor said. The 23-year-old pilot, the only person on board, was not injured. A 12-year-old boy was clipped by the plane or nearby debris, officials said, and was taken to Rady Children's Hospital. 

The plane crashed near the warm water jetty, close to a power plant. 

The plane is registered to Air Ads Inc., based out of Gillespie Field in El Cajon. The owner of the plane told NBC7 the pilot had 700 hours of training and the plane had just been serviced and checked out okay.

Eyewitness accounts from scene say a person was struck by the plane but officials cannot confirm any injuries or if anyone has been transported yet. 

Witness Cory Vaughn said she first saw the plane’s banner drop about 50 feet from the air before it made a 180 degree turn and crash-landed on the beach.

There is no word yet on injuries. There is no further information on the crash.

Check back for updates on this breaking news story. 

Photo Credit: Kaz Canning]]>
<![CDATA[Fireworks Explode, Injure Six Teenagers ]]> Sat, 04 Jul 2015 22:06:32 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mantecamap_USE.jpg

Six teenagers in northern California were hurt Friday night when an explosive device was tossed into a backyard party, according to Manteca police.

Officers arrived on the 300 block of Santiago Way at roughly 11:15 p.m. in response to reports of “numerous” injuries due to an explosion.

"Preliminarily, we're thinking that it's a modified firework that was thrown into the backyard," Manteca police Chief Nick Obligacion told NBC News.

A department statement said that roughly 60 “high-school aged kids” were at the house party when “an unknown subject intentionally threw an explosive device over a fence," which blasted close to the party-goers. 

Police said that two victims were seriously injured while one was airlifted to a Bay Area hospital for a "more severe facial injury that doesn't require surgery," Obligacion added. 

The victims were all juveniles, according to police. 

People with information about the incident can call the Manteca Police Department at (209) 456-8101.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[2 of Oldest Pearl Harbor Survivors Reunite]]> Sat, 04 Jul 2015 16:31:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Pearl-Harbor-Reunion-KNSD-3.JPG

Two of Pearl Harbor's oldest known survivors, veterans Ray Chavez, 103, and Jim Downing, 102, share an unbreakable bond.

The two met for the first time Friday, sharing the same eyewitness moments and deep memories of the horrific, surprise attack on Pearl Harbor 74 years ago. Still, for Downing, “most of what happened is just as clear as if it were last week.”

Downing, who lives in Colorado Springs, believed he was the oldest survivor of the attack until he read a news article about Chavez, who lives in Poway and is 103 years old.

“Well, I’m not going to check your birth certificate, so I’ll take your word for it”, Downing joked after meeting with Chavez.

Downing was asked to speak during a Fourth of July celebration in San Diego and decided to take the opportunity to meet with Chavez. Each of the men have an incredible story of service and bravery.

In the early morning hours of Dec. 7, 1941, when the waters and skies surrounding Pearl Harbor were still quiet, Quartermaster First Class Chavez and his crew were out on the water.

“We were sweeping restricted water. Nobody was supposed to be there except us” Chavez remembers.

Somewhere near the harbor they spotted a Japanese submarine and immediately notified others. A short time later, another ship bombed and sank the sub and Chavez went back to his Navy housing nearby to sleep.

But it was just a couple of hours later that Chavez’s wife shook him out of a deep sleep. She told him the Japanese were invading and that the “whole harbor was on fire."

“The first thing was surprise. Then I was scared. I thought the next plane would get the right angle, then I was angry,” Downing says of the experience.

Downing was 28 years old at the time and served on the USS West Virginia, though the morning of the attack he wasn’t on board the ship. If he had been he says he wouldn’t be here today.

“The saddest thing I saw that morning was sailors being blown off the ship, come up out of the water, feel the oil on their bodies...and they just became human torches.”

He and the other survivors did their best to defend the harbor but he says the power quickly went out and “they couldn’t even get off one shot.”

“Once the Japanese had sunk our ship they didn't care so all we had to do was fight the fires and take care of the wounded,” Downing says.

But it's what Downing did after the initial attack that’s had more of a lasting impact.

He began memorizing the name tags of the dead and wrote letters to as many of their families as he could to let them know what had happened to their son.

He says it was so “gratifying” that he decided to go to where many of the wounded were being treated and offered to write their families letters also.

Downing and Chavez shared many memories from decades ago. But all of the stories make celebrating the birth of their country so much more meaningful.

The lesson Downing learned from Pearl Harbor is: “Weakness invites aggression...keep America strong.”

Photo Credit: Matt Rascon]]>
<![CDATA[Campers Injured by Falling Tree in Mount Diablo State Park ]]> Sat, 04 Jul 2015 19:09:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/mtdiablo2.JPG

A tree fell on campers Friday night at the Live Oak Campground in Mount Diablo State Park.

The incident occurred at roughly 10:40 p.m., injuring two male campers.

Mount Diablo State Park ranger John Hardcastle said that the tree was over 2 feet in diameter. It is unknown why it fell, he added.

One man, who is believed to be in his late 30s to early 40s, was treated for scrapes and bruises, authorities said. The other man, who is 47 years old, sustained a serious head injury and was airlifted to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.

Neither man was identified as of Saturday evening. 

The camp site was closed but the rest of the Live Oak Campground is open as are the other two grounds in the state park. 

NBC Bay Area's Chuck Coppola and Stephen Wheelock contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Stephen Wheelock ]]>
<![CDATA[9 Hurt as Fireworks Hit Crowd in Colo.]]> Sat, 04 Jul 2015 07:50:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Fireworks-Show-Avon-Colorado-3-July-2015.jpg

A set of fireworks malfunctioned at a Colorado fireworks show Friday night, sending fireworks into a crowd of people and injuring nine spectators, fire officials said.

About 17 minutes into the "Salute to the USA Fireworks Show" in Avon, a shell in the middle of a rack of fireworks exploded in its tube instead of shooting into the air, the town confirmed to NBC News.

The explosion then caused the rest of the shells to tip over, sending "two or three" fireworks over Nottingham Lake and toward the tightly-packed spectators.

"There was not a lot of room in between groups of people, so when it happened no one could really get up and run," a spectator, Jane Imber, told NBC News. "It was so scary."

The nine injured people suffered "minor abrasion burns" at the scene, and were quickly helped by police and medical teams who were at the event, the town said in a statement.

"This is Avon's 29th year of presenting one of the most spectacular fireworks displays in Colorado, and we have never had any failure in the production," said Deputy Chief Greg Daly, who oversaw the response. "It is wonderful news that the injuries were very minor."

The town also said the "safety distance" between the crowds and the fireworks, as well as the firework crew's rapid shutdown of the show, likely prevented any further harm.

Photo Credit: YouTube / Jesus Ramirez
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<![CDATA[Donald Trump Blames Unsafe Border for Pier 14 Shooting]]> Sat, 04 Jul 2015 01:14:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/DonaldTrump_Getty_07032015.jpg

Donald Trump on Friday blamed the United States' vulnerable southern border for this week's fatal shooting of Kathryn Steinle at Pier 14 in San Francisco.

“This senseless and totally preventable act of violence committed by an illegal immigrant is yet another example of why we must secure our border immediately," the Republican presidential hopeful said in a statement.

Steinle, 32, of Pleasanton, was gunned down Wednesday evening near the Embarcadero and Mission Street in the city's South Beach neighborhood. Police arrested Francisco Sanchez following what they believe is a random incident.

New details emerged about the suspect Friday when the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency reported that Sanchez is an undocumented immigrant with nearly a dozen aliases and a long criminal history. He has previously been deported to Mexico five times, according to authorities.


San Francisco County Sheriff's Legal Counsel Freya Horne told NBC Bay Area Friday that the city and county of San Francisco are sanctuaries for immigrants, and they do not turn over undocumented people – if they don't have active warrants out for them – simply because immigration officials want them to.

For his part, Trump deemed the situation “absolutely disgraceful” and blasted his fellow candidates for lacking the “guts to even talk about it.”

“The American people deserve a wall to protect our jobs, economy and our safety,” he added. “I am the only candidate who would build it. I will make America great again!”

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Trump’s candidacy announcement June 16 had a similar flavor.

"The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems," he said. "And these aren't the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best...they're sending people that have lots of problems...they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

But several business organizations — including NBC, Univision, Macy’s and NASCAR — have disassociated themselves from Trump after his incendiary comments came to light.

Hispanic leaders have also pressed the rest of the GOP presidential candidates to condemn Trump. So far, most of the candidates have either stayed mum or quietly sidestepped his statements. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has even defended him, saying that "I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration."

Only Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who is Hispanic, denounced Trump's statements as "not just offensive and inaccurate, but also divisive."

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Serial Stowaway Arrested Again]]> Sat, 04 Jul 2015 17:37:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/hartman-polizon-ohare.jpg

The "serial stowaway" was arrested twice at two different airports within 48 hours after being released from jail on Thursday, where she spent nearly two months behind bars for trying to board planes without a ticket.

Marilyn Hartman, 63, was first arrested at Midway International Airport on Friday and then again at O'Hare International Airport on Saturday.

Hartman was charged with one count of misdemeanor reckless conduct for causing a "disturbance" inside the cabin of a Southwest Airlines plane leaving Midway around 5 p.m., according to Chicago Police News Affairs. Authorities did not say what kind of disturbance Hartman caused, but they say she did have a ticket to board the plane.

The Southwest Airlines plane was headed for LaGuardia Airport, officials said. 

She was caught again at O'Hare Saturday afternoon in Terminal One. Hartman was charged with criminal trespassing to state land and violation of bail bond, which she was given Friday after the disturbance at Midway, according to Chicago Police News Affairs. 

Hartman was nicknamed the "serial stowaway" after she made five attempts to get past security at O'Hare and Midway Airports in late April and early May. She was arrested twice at O'Hare, and a third time at Midway May 3. As she left the jail, she insisted her stowaway days are over.

During hearings Wednesday and Thursday, two different Cook County judges accepted Hartman's guilty pleas on separate charges, sentencing her to the two months she had already served.

It was not known if Hartman had an attorney.

<![CDATA[Pier Shooting Suspect Should Have Been Deported: ICE]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 00:44:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Francisco-Sanchez.jpg

The man accused of gunning down a 32-year-old Pleasanton woman while she was out strolling San Francisco's Embarcadero with her father was in a Bay Area jail less than four months ago and should have been turned over to federal immigration officials upon his release, instead of being set free, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

But that's not the way the San Francisco County Sheriff's Legal Counsel Freya Horne sees it. In an interview Friday with NBC Bay Area, she said the city and county of San Francisco are sanctuaries for immigrants, and they do not turn over undocumented people – if they don't have active warrants out for them – simply because immigration officials want them to.

Meanwhile, San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said Francisco Sanchez, who was arrested following the Wednesday evening shooting of Kathryn "Kate" Steidle along Pier 14, has "made an admission" with regards to the seemingly random death in the middle of a populated part of town.

The slain woman's parents had mixed feelings about Sanchez's legal status.

"It would have been so much better if he were gone. Absolutely," said Steinle's mother, Liz Sullivan.

"But we're not dwelling on that,", Jim Steinle said, adding that nothing will bring his daughter back. "It's a non-issue."

And for her part, Horne said she realized that letting Sanchez out of jail on April 15 after not being charged with marijuana sales is a shame. But the jail acted according to city, and state, law. 

Sanctuary cities, which are dotted throughout the United States, don't inquire about immigrants' status for the federal government and actively don't pursue catching undocumented immigrants to deport them. San Francisco's particular ordinance is called the "Due Process Ordinance for All on Civil Immigration Detainers."

The issue is a divisive one. Liberals mostly argue in favor of not reporting immigrants to immigration for deportation, and conservatives, including Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump, argue that illegal immigrants, especially those that commit crimes, are the reason why the United States should better enforce its borders.

Sanchez, who law enforcement say is either 45 or 46 and has about a dozen aliases, was taken into custody after witnesses described him to police. According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he is an undocumented immigrant with a long criminal history who has previously been deported to Mexico five times, the last time in 2008. He was last in prison, serving time, for illegally re-entering the United States, ICE records show.

"It's a tragedy," Horne said. "We all recognize that. But we followed city policy."

But ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice told NBC Bay Area on Friday that Sanchez should have been returned to her agency's custody, because he had a "detainer" on his status in jail.

He was an "enforcement priority," Kice said. But Horne said that San Francisco treats these detainers as requests, not mandates.

Federal records show Sanchez has seven prior felony convictions, four of which were for drug charges. Records indicate his convictions took place in states including Texas, Oregon and Arizona. And a law enforcement source said the case that landed Sanchez in San Francisco jail most recently was for a marijuana case that was more than a decade old.

Police have described the shooting as random, as Steinle was not robbed and never even exchanged words with the man who killed her. 

Suhr also NBC Bay Area that prosecutors declined to charge Sanchez with any crime when he was brought to jail on March 26 for the marijuana sales. And he said the jail, which is run by the sheriff, never notified police, which is standard protocol.

San Francisco Police Officer Grace Gatpandan Gatpandan added that San Francisco is a "sanctuary city, so we do not hand over people to ICE."

Photo Credit: SFPD]]>
<![CDATA[Boy Stands on Corner for Days, Asks Drivers to "Honk for USA"]]> Sat, 04 Jul 2015 03:58:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/boy+flag+sign.jpg

A 14-year-old New Jersey boy eager to express his patriotism has been standing on a street corner in front of his house with an American flag and a sign reading "Honk if you love the USA," and he says he'll continue to stand there until the fireworks go off on the Fourth of July. 

Shpejtim Zenelej has been standing on the corner of Harold Avenue and Franklin Street in Rahway all day every day since Sunday, inspired to show his love for America after he saw reports of flag burning last week. 

"It's the best country in the world," he said.

Zenelej was born in the U.S. but his parents are from Kosovo. He said he's been to the republic and knows how fortunate his life has been in America. 

In recognition of Zenelej's efforts Thursday, Rahway put on an impromptu parade of police and other first responders. It only lasted a couple minutes, but "it was the best day of my life," the teen said. 

The parade was organized by the mayor and some city employees during break and lunch times, with a hidden motive, according to Rahway Mayor Samson Steinman.

"There's people that are deplorably trying to hang onto the Confederate flag," he said. "He's reminding them there's only one flag in the U.S.A. It has the colors red, white and blue." 

The boy's parents say they're very proud of their son, whom they characterized as "14 going on 40." 

<![CDATA[Authorities Crack Down on Illegal Fireworks]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 23:32:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0703-2015-FireworksFine.jpg

Authorities throughout the Bay Area are cracking down on illegal fireworks with $1,000 fines per incident.

"The reality is when you play with fire -- literally you could get burned," San Mateo County Sheriff's Deputy Rebecca Rosenblatt said.

California's severe drought is also prompting law enforcement agencies to crack down on illegal fireworks.

"I think it's scary," San Bruno-resident Lori De Leon said of fireworks being let off during the drought. "You know there's a lot at stake, especially with the dryness and the fires."

Roseblatt said illegal fireworks are easy to spot.

"Anything that shoots fire all over the place, or shoots into the air," she said. "Anything that explodes."

Rosenblatt said residents who spot illegal fireworks should call police.

With tinder dry grass everywhere, this is not the year to risk it, Rosenblatt said.

"Please leave it to the professionals," she said. "Celebrate safely. Celebrate legally. Make it a good and positive holiday for everybody."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect Allegedly Crashes Head-On Into Police Car]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 21:54:05 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0703-2015-RohnertParkAx.jpg

Rohnert Park police arrested a man Friday afternoon on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

Officers responded at 2:19 p.m. to a home in the 100 block of Madrigal Street, according to police. The first officer to arrive heard
breaking glass inside the home, police Cmdr. Jeff Taylor said.

Taylor said police were told that the suspect, 50-year-old Rohnert Park resident Brian Guillory, was looking for a gun and was going to kill someone.

The first arriving officer called to Guillory who then allegedly hid in the home for a moment. Guillory then allegedly fled out the other side and left in a white Cadillac, Taylor said.

The backup officer arrived and allegedly saw Guillory leaving. He swerved to let Guillory go and then pursue, when Guillory allegedly drove head-on into his vehicle, Taylor said.

Police said witnesses told them the suspect was driving at about 50 mph when the crash occurred.

The officer suffered pain, lacerations and glass in a hand, according to police. The officer was treated and released from a hospital, according to Taylor.

Guillory allegedly had to be cut from the Cadillac and is still in the hospital with major injuries, police said. Guillory is also suspected of felony driving while intoxicated causing bodily injury, police said.

Photo Credit: Dave Cannon]]>
<![CDATA[Great America Preps for 4th of July Fireworks Show]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 18:42:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0703-2015-FIREWORKS.jpg California's Great America plans to resume its Fourth of July show with a big bang. Robert Handa reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Fireworks Can Trigger PTSD in Veterans]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 19:14:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/NC_ptsdfireworks0701001.jpg

They’re an American tradition on Independence Day, but fireworks are also a worry for many who fought for the liberties this country enjoys.

Omar Teutle served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He’s being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We’re all human beings,” Teutle said. “We all have our triggers.”

He said the spontaneous pop from a firework can be one of those triggers for him. “Sometimes it’s a little overwhelming.”

Veterans’ groups are posting lawn signs across the country, alerting the public to the potential impact of illegal fireworks.

Fran McVey is president of United Veterans Council of Santa Clara County.

“It really can trigger bad memories for someone with PTSD, to hear loud noises and remind them of gunfire,” McVey said.

The Vietnam vet asks families, if they’re going to light up those illegal fireworks, to know who their neighbors are first.

“If you have something planned, reach out and say, ‘Will this bother you?’” Teutle said. “Be courteous. Don’t judge because you might not know what that vet has experienced.”

<![CDATA[Vet24seven App Gives Pet Owners Anytime Access to Veterinarians]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 18:48:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0703-2015-vetapp.jpg

Pet owners now have anytime access to veterinarians thanks to a new mobile app.

The app, Vet24seven, features 240 veterinarians in the Bay Area.

Dr. Michael Sterns with the Alta View Animal Hospital in Mountain View is one of the veterans providing his services on the app. He said many of his patients have chronic issues, which in the past meant time consuming and sometimes expensive check ups for pet parents.

Now, pet owners can request a conference with Sterns and other vets through the app to ask questions or send information.

In some cases the conference may be a quick exam to schedule the next in-office visit.

Sterns said the tool is not meant to replace check up or emergency visits, but it may give pet owners some peace of mind.

"I think just the ability to do these minor follow ups and relieve anxiety is a huge portion of things," Sterns said.

The app is free to download and vets set their own pricing for consulations. The average cost of a consultation is $50.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Fireworks Nixed in California Because of Drought]]> Sat, 04 Jul 2015 09:08:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/fireworks+generic+1.jpg

Fireworks celebrating July 4 will splash across the sky in major California cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

But several cities in the drought-stricken state have put the kibosh on the pyrotechnics.

Most notably, the city of Cupertino canceled its annual fireworks show because the event took place on the high school lawn, which is actually made of plastic turf. It is believed to be the first city in California to have done so because of drought-related reasons.

Crews estimated it would take 100,000 gallons of water to drench the fake grass before and after the show to prevent the plastic from melting, according to city spokesman Rick Kitson. The school district decided not to waste all that water this year as California is in its fourth year of drought.

Some other areas decided to follow similar suit because of the drought.

Accuweather reports that Kern County and the city of Danville have banned fireworks and two lake areas —  Bass Lake, roughly 55 miles northeast of Fresno, and Don Pedro Lake — have nixed fireworks because of the drought.

Separate from the drought, Santa Clara County supervisors last month voted to hold homeowners accountable when fireworks are discharged from their property by being slapped with a $350 fine if the explosives are launched off their lawns.

That’s not to say there isn’t enough to do for the July 4 weekend. The Bay Area has at least 20 shows, events and parades to celebrate the nation’s birthday. And still, there are sanctioned fireworks displays in downtown San Jose's Discovery Meadow, Leo Ryan Park in Foster City, the Berkeley Marina and Pier 39 in San Francisco.

<![CDATA[Martins Beach Reopens After Five Years]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 14:51:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/02-10-2014-martins-beach-half-moon-bay.jpg

Access to a popular stretch of San Mateo County beach that's been off limits to the public since 2010 is open for the summer season.

Martins Beach in Half Moon Bay has been the subject of a lengthy lawsuit between the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation and property owner Vinod Khosla, a venture capitalist who is also a co-founder of Sun Microsystems.

Khosla purchased the 53-acre property for $37.5 million in 2008. Two years later, he closed the gate on the only access road to the beach, which had previously been open to the public in exchange for a parking fee.

In the lawsuit, the Surfrider Foundation argued that the closure constituted a form of coastal development, or change, as defined by the California Coastal Act of 1976.

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Barbara Mallach agreed in September and upheld her decision upon appeal in December, ordering the gate to be reopened.

San Jose Mercury News noted that public access to the beach via the parking gate has been erratic since it opened, but the person collecting the $10 fee for parking told the publication that it should be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. "most days" this summer.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Off-Duty Firefighter Helps Family Escape Fire]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 13:49:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1020-2014-SJFD.jpg

An off-duty San Jose firefighter alerted residents to a fire burning in their home and safely evacuated them Friday morning, a fire official said.

Nine people, including three children, were displaced by the blaze, San Jose fire Capt. Mike Van Elgort said. Without the swift actions of firefighter Stan Wong, Van Elgort said, the situation could have been much worse.

Fire crews responded around 9:20 a.m. to a report of a house fire near the intersection of Stemple Court and Jessica Way, Van Elgort said.

The fire, which Van Elgort said appears electrical in nature, started in the attic of the home.

Fire crews were able to extinguish the blaze by around 10 a.m., confining it to the attic space with only moderate damage, he said.

The American Red Cross assisted the family with translation, but Van Elgort said they were able to find a place to stay while repairs on the home are being completed.

There were no working smoke detectors in the house, Van Elgort said.

"It's important to remember that especially with hot weather like this, all electrical systems are at risk," Van Elgort said. "Residents should be cognizant and remember to keep your house under surveillance and have working smoke detectors."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[2016 Hopefuls Flood NH for July 4 Weekend]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 13:33:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP136093298170.jpg

Presidential hopefuls are going on parade throughout the Granite State this July 4. 

At least seven 2016 candidates will spend Independence Day courting residents who will vote in the nation's first presidential primary contest next year, according to scheduled logged in necn's 2016 New Hampshire Primary Candidate Tracker, making a combined 14 stops.

While parades are by far the most popular stops during the holiday tour — at least 11 such appearances are expected — candidates' Saturday calendars also include breakfasts, cookouts and grassroots events. Revelers along the routes in Amherst and Merrimack will watch no fewer than three candidates strut by. The resort town of Wolfeboro, where 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney owns a home, will be greeted by at least two GOP hopefuls.

For some candidates, one parade just isn't enough. Republicans Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, and Rick Perry, as well as Democrat Lincoln Chafee, are marching in two apiece. Perry, the former Texas governor, appears to have the busiest public schedule on Saturday so far, stopping by parades in Amherst and Merrimack before greeting crowds at the Windham GOP July Fourth Cookout later in the day.

The holiday hand-shaking isn't limited to July 4 itself. Christie, New Jersey's Republican governor, has been barnstorming the state since making his official entry into the race on Tuesday, including several events on Friday. Perry and Democrat Hillary Clinton are also getting their patriotic partying started early with Friday events, while former New York Gov. George Pataki and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, both candidates for the GOP nomination, will join New Hampshire residents wishing America a belated birthday with Sunday celebrations.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[San Francisco Prepares for 4th of July Fireworks Show ]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 12:32:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N11A+SF+FIREWORKS+SET+UP+VO+-+14213710.jpg

Fireworks company Pyro Spectaculars by Souza is getting ready at Pier 50 in San Francisco for Saturday night's show. Four barges with the launch tubes will be positioned off Pier 39 and Aquatic Park.

Show producer Jeff Thomas told NBC Bay Area that he has come up with a fresh sequence with new music this year. He said there will be about 10,000 fireworks blasting off over a 25-minute span in San Francisco.  

Thomas is dedicating this year's show to his mentor Al Souza, who passed away earlier this year.

Fireworks start at 9:30pm Saturday night in San Francisco, and can be viewed from anywhere along the waterfront.

Can't make it to the show? Find out other ways you can celebrate in the Bay Area with our Fourth of July Events Guide.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Double-Decker Bus Strikes, Pins Man Walking in NYC]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 18:09:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bus+sightsee.jpg

A double-decker sightseeing bus struck a man walking in Greenwich Village Friday afternoon, dragging him several feet and pinning him beneath the vehicle, fire officials and witnesses said.

A witness told NBC 4 New York the bus was turning left onto West Fourth Street when it struck the man in the crosswalk near Sixth Avenue and dragged him several feet. The witness said the man was screaming as he was being dragged; photos showed blood streaking the pavement near the bus.

A woman who works nearby and ran to help said the man was conscious. She said she repeatedly asked his name, but he kept screaming "at the top of his lungs."

"He really couldn't say his name because it was so, so much excruciating pain," said Shante Service. "When I looked under the bus, his leg was dislocated. I could see flesh and bone." 

Another witness said emergency responders had to use blocks to lift the bus off the victim. Police said he was taken to Bellevue Hospital in critical condition with severe injuries to his leg.

Images on social media showed a crowd of bystanders around the scene as police cars and emergency vehicles swarmed the area.

The bus driver remained at the scene. He has not been charged, according to police. 

In a statement, a spokesman for the Twin America bus company said, "We are aware of this the accident this afternoon and deeply regret this very unfortunate incident. We are fully cooperating with the authorities while this accident is being investigated."

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Pier 14 Shooting Victim ID'd, Suspect Arrested]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 23:33:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/pier-14-shooting-victim2.jpg

The man suspected of fatally shooting a 32-year-old woman on Pier 14 next to the San Francisco Ferry Building in broad daylight on Wednesday has been arrested, police announced Thursday.

Police said Francisco Sanchez, of Texas, apparently shot the woman at random, with no apparent motive.

Sanchez was out on probation, authorities said.

The victim, identified by the medical examiner's office as Kathryn Steinle, was found suffering from at least one gunshot wound to her upper torso at about 6:30 p.m. near the Embarcadero and Mission Street in the city's South Beach neighborhood, police said.

On Thursday, divers scoured the bay near the pier to look for evidence.

Police announced at a press conference Thursday afternoon the 45-year-old male suspect was arrested. Officers said Steinle was the victim of a random attack.

Steinle was transported to San Francisco General Hospital where she was later pronounced dead, according to police.

Steinle’s family said Thursday they felt numb as they tried to cope with the shooting death of their daughter. According to family in Pleasanton, her father spent Wednesday with Kathryn in the city. They ate near the Embarcadero and then walked on Pier 14. Suddenly she was hit by gunfire.

Witnesses and her own father jumped in to try and save her but she died at the hospital.

“She was starting to be in her prime and had so much to live for and died so senselessly,” said Kathryn’s father, Jim Steinle. “It’s terrible.”

As soon as she was shot, Jim Steinle immediately started performing CPR on his daughter. Two crews of doctors tried to save his daughter. Her parents say their daughter fought to stay alive but she didn’t make it.

“We have deep faith,” Jim Steinle said. The family met with their minister Thursday and said their faith is getting them through.

“They’ve gotten the guy, but at least he won’t kill somebody else,” Kathryn’s mother Liz Sullivan said. “Unimaginable, unimaginable.”

In a statement from her employer, Medtronic, where she was reportedly a sales rep, senior director Fernando Vivanco said, "We are saddened and shocked by this senseless act. Our thoughts and condolences are with Kate’s family and friends.”

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area / Steinle Family
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<![CDATA[JetBlue's First Flight to Cuba]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 18:55:43 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/flight+to+cuba.jpg

JetBlue officially began direct flights to Cuba out of New York's Kennedy Airport Friday, becoming the first major carrier to make the trip after travel restrictions were eased by the White House earlier this year and making passengers who got to be on the virgin flight feel like part of history.

The Queens-based airline announced its plan to offer the weekly direct flights in May, but the first flight, on an Airbus 150-seat A320, was made Friday. It left JFK at noon en route to Havana's Jose Marti International Airport. 

Carlos Infante, a Cuba native who lives in Brooklyn and was aboard that first flight to Havana, said before he boarded the plane that he felt like he was a part of history.

"This is something we're gonna talk about for years and years and years; this is an opportunity for American people to go to Cuba," said a smiling Infante, holding his boarding pass in front of him.

Infante said he treasured the freedom to travel to his country of birth, direct from New York, for the first time in at least 50 years.

"I can't explain, it's something that's in your heart," Infante said. "I don't have words to say how I feel -- this is a beautiful day."

The weekly charter flights will leave JFK at noon each Friday, with a scheduled landing time in Havana at 3:30 p.m. Return flights leave Cuba at 4:30 p.m. and land in New York around 8 p.m.

While operated by JetBlue, the flight is being offered by Cuba Travel Services, and travelers should make arrangements directly with the carrier service provider at cubatravelservices.com.

A smaller airline, Sun Country, has been offering direct flights between JFK and Havana for several months. JetBlue is the first major carrier to do so. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[SF Public Library Gets Nation's Fastest Internet]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 12:06:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/209*120/sfplwikimedia.jpg

Patrons and staff at the San Francisco Public Library now enjoy the fastest WiFi Internet access of any library in the country.

The Main Library has become the first 10 gigabit library in the country, meaning visitors and librarians can use the Internet at a rate of 10 gigs per second.

The upgrade was made possible thanks to a collaboration with the city and county of San Francisco and the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC). The library's new high speed connection comes via the California Research and Education Network (CalREN), which is operated by CENIC.

According to an announcement from CENIC, seven other branches in the city currently connect to the Main Library's fiber at 1 gigabit and the remaining 20 branches will soon be able to connect at this speed.

“In keeping with our mission of equality and being a 21st century library, this broadband increase allows our patrons to have the very best in access and opportunity,” said City Librarian, Luis Herrera, in the statement.

The most immediate educational and creative benefits of this faster access should manifest at The Mix at SFPL, the Main Library's recently debuted teen center that offers the use of technology including audio/video editing software and 3D printers.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons]]>
<![CDATA[Coach Arrested On Charges of Sex With Teen]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 17:39:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N6A+PS+NOVATO+TEACHER+VO+-+00000000.jpg

A high school track coach was arrested Thursday for multiple charges related to inappropriate sexual relations with a 17-year-old girl at Novato High School, according to the Marin County Sheriff.

Steven Deschler taken into custody at the Oakland International Airport on his way home from a trip to Hawaii, and is currently in custody at the Marin County Jail. His bail was set at $100,000 for four counts of sexual relations with a minor, including lewd and lascivious conduct.

Pittman said that the relationship between the 64-year old high school track coach and a 17-year old recent high school graduate was revealed when the the teen's mother contacted authorities after finding evidence of sexual relations on her daughter's cell phone.

The girl has known Deschler since she was a freshman track athlete at Novato High School. The Marin County Sheriff's Office said their alleged sexual relationship did not begin until April.

A judge also issued an emergency protective order preventing Deschler from coming into contact with the girl.

Courts were closed on Friday and it was not immediately possible to determine who is representing Deschler.

Photo Credit: Novato High School website]]>
<![CDATA[Video Shows Man Punched by Cop]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 07:49:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/man+resists+arrest+harlem.jpg

The NYPD says it's investigating a video showing a man getting arrested after a knockout fight with a plainclothes officer Wednesday night.

The video circulating on Facebook, which had more than 1 million views by the next day, shows the arrest near 131st Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem. The man's friend, who shot the video on his phone, told NBC 4 New York they were leaving a pizza place down the street to go to the man's apartment when he was stopped by plainclothes officers. 

One of the officers asks the man, Saykour George, for his ID, the video shows. The NYPD said later police saw that George had a knife, prompting the stop.

Jun Iceaa, the friend who shot the video, said George had small pocketknife in his pocket, but "the way [the officer] really approached us, was like he really had a grudge against my man, like he know him from somewhere," he said. 

The video shows police attempting to take George into custody, and he refuses. 

"I'm just trying to do my job," the officer says, taking out his handcuffs and telling George they can talk further in the police car. 

"I'm letting you do your job," George says. When the officer says, "No, you're not," George says, "Y'all not arresting me for nothing. No, no, no," and he begins walking away. 

The officer tries to stop George from walking away, and both move to travel a few steps and then the officer pushes George back. George then pushes the officer, and that's when the officer starts swinging. The two square off, and more police arrive and get George on the ground. 

"The officer did not say, 'You are under arrest,'" said Iceaa. 

"The officer swung at him how many times before my man swung?" said Iceaa. "You have to defend yourself if you know you're not under arrest." 

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton told NBC 4 New York Thursday he'd seen the video. He reminded New Yorkers that "you have no right under the law of New York to resist arrest," and that's what it appears George was doing. 

He said, "The initial encounter -- the individual, all he had to do was surrender, and then we would not have had an encounter. So he didn't surrender, he now has additional charges against him. We'll process it through the courts." 

Bratton said that in a preliminary review of the video, he "saw nothing inappropriate" with the officers' behavior, but that internal affairs is investigating. 

In a statement, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said the officers did what they needed to do to take the man into custody.

"Given the current atmosphere on the streets today, people mistakenly think that they have the right to resist arrest and that inevitably leads to confrontation and potential injury," Lynch said. " The use of force in making an arrest is always ugly but is absolutely necessary and appropriate when the suspect resists. These two officers did their job, they did it appropriately and they are to be commended for a job well done."

Private security consultant Manny Gomez agreed. 

"I don't see anything wrong with this video," he told NBC 4 New York. "He was belligerent, resisted arrest and he was in the wrong, period." 

Watching the video, Gomez said it appears officers used minimum force to avoid close contact and to stop George from leaving. 

"He used the bladed stance to keep his weapon away from the subject, and that's for his safety," he said. 

George is facing several charges, including assault on an officer, possession of a weapon and disorderly conduct. Attorney information wasn't immediately clear.