<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2014 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 Wed, 23 Apr 2014 09:09:22 -0700 Wed, 23 Apr 2014 09:09:22 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Photo May Show Stowaway's Footprints on Airplane Wheels]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 08:54:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*155/wheel4.JPG

New images obtained by an NBC affiliate in Hawaii show what appear to possibly be the Santa Clara stowaway's footprints on the wheel of a plane he hid in for 5 1/2 hours from San Jose to Maui.

Hawaii News Now, which goes by the call letters KHNL, obtained photos from a source showing what looks like footprints on the wheel of the Hawaiian Airlines aircraft. Another photo (below) appears to  show footprints and handprints on the door of the craft.

The prints are believed to belong to the 15-year-old Santa Clara teen who hid in the wheel well on Sunday, traveling from San Jose Mineta International Airport to Hawaii.

NBC Bay Area and NBC News have been unable to independently verify the photos.

Hawaii News Now also first reported that the 15-year-old boy - a student at Santa Clara High - may have been headed to Africa to reunite with his biological mother, according to an anonymous source with the Maui police department.

The station reported that the boy, who lives in Santa Clara, wanted to reunite with his mother in Somalia. Hawaii News Now reporter Lynn Kawano said that the boy lives with his biological father and a stepmother, but was not happy living with so many siblings and step-siblings.

The teen's family told NBC Bay Area in a brief interview Monday that the reports of an argument were untrue.

Both FBI Special Agent Tom Simon and Maui Police Lt. William Juan declined to confirm or deny to NBC Bay Area the report that the boy was trying to head to Africa.

NBC News also reported that the boy first hopped a fence at San Jose's airport at 1 a.m. on Sunday near a fuel farm . A video apparently shows him climbing into the wheel well of Flight 45 between gates two and three, NBC News reported. The plane landed at Kahlului Airport at 4:30 p.m.

The teen's former English teacher at Oak Grove High, Keith Chung, told NBC Bay Area he did not know much about the teen, other than that he had moved to the U.S. from Africa three years ago and that his father was a cab driver.

Chung said the boy had some recent run-ins in his English-learning class. Those issues, on which Chung did not elaborate, had culminated in a transfer to Santa Clara High.

"I'm totally shocked," Chung said. "I had this random thought that when I heard the news, that wouldn't it be funny if he went to Oak Grove? No, I wouldn't think he would do anything that this. He's very quiet."

Student Emanuael Golla, 18, told NBC Bay Area that the teen had just transferred to Santa Clara High about five weeks ago. Golla described him as very quiet, someone who kept to himself.

And Santa Clara High Principal Greg Shelby said that when the teen returns to school, he will be able to receive psychological services if he wants.



Photo Credit: Anonymous source via Hawaii News Now]]>
<![CDATA[Residents Voice Concerns Over Santa Clara "Mini Dorms"]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 03:55:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/0402-SantaClara-MiniDorm.jpg

Santa Clara residents packed a city council meeting Tuesday frustrated over what is being called "mini dorm" projects moving into their neighborhood.

Many residents have urged city leaders to stop a home remodel on Park Avenue they fear will turn into housing for students at nearby Santa Clara University. About a hundred residents attended Tuesday's meeting to voice their concerns.

"I love Santa Clara, but on the other hand when you get 12 or 15 students together and the party is going on in the middle of the night, it can be a problem in a neighborhood," resident Mark Kelsey said.

Neighbors said the Park Avenue home remodel is just one of many across the city being converted into mini dorms.

Other concerns over the mini dorms include parking, traffic and noise.

"It seems like developers have more say with the process than residents do and that's really what we are asking for," Kelsey said. "That the residents have a voice in changes in development in the neighborhood."

City planners, however, said the buyer in the Park Avenue remodel is within zoning laws. Officials also said the city can't limit the number of bedrooms -- only the size of the home.

Neighbors are notified of remodeling plans if a second story is added.

The council in response to residents' concerns adopted two motions -- forming a committee to create new rules regulating multi-tenant rentals and planning commission approval will be needed for any future home remodels that increases the number of bedrooms to four or more.

NBC Bay Area's Jean Elle contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[FedEx Sued Over Deadly California Bus Crash]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 04:26:32 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/198*120/AP437289118866.jpg

The mother of a 17-year-old honors student who was among 10 people killed in a fiery Northern California bus crash sued FedEx on Tuesday, alleging that its trucks have a history of catching fire.

The negligence suit that seeks $100 million in damages is the first filed in connection with the April 10 freeway crash in Orland, said A. King Aminpour, the attorney for the plaintiffs.

The suit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on behalf of Rosa Rivera, mother of Jennifer Bonilla of Los Angeles.

The Dorsey High School student had earned a college scholarship. She and other teens were heading north for a free tour of Humboldt State University when the bus was struck head-on by a FedEx truck.

Dozens escaped through windows before the bus exploded into towering flames, but five students, three adult chaperones and both drivers died.

"She had her whole future before her," Aminpour said of Bonilla. "She was the first in her family to ever go to college."

The California Highway Patrol has not determined the cause of the crash 100 miles north of Sacramento.

Some witnesses reported that the FedEx truck was on fire before the crash, and the lawsuit alleges that FedEx trucks have a history of catching fire from mechanical problems, driver error or improper cargo loading.

"Our heartfelt condolences remain with everyone affected by this tragic accident," Memphis, Tenn.-based FedEx Corp. said in a statement. "We remain focused on providing support to those affected and cooperating with the authorities as they conduct their investigation. This is not the time for us to discuss potential litigation."

The suit also names the estate of the FedEx driver and the bus owner, Silverado Stages, as defendants. The bus lacked adequate exit doors that would have allowed passengers to escape after the crash, the lawsuit contends.

A message seeking comment from a Silverado Stages executive after hours Tuesday was not immediately returned.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Palo Alto Man Recovering After Yosemite Fall]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 06:04:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0422-BlakeParkinson.jpg

A 26-year-old Palo Alto man is recovering after falling while rock climbing in Yosemite.

Blake Parkinson was climbing the Cathedral Spire, a popular near-vertical pinnacle, with a partner Sunday when he fell about 30 feet.

A California Highway Patrol helicopter assisted with the rescue. Parkinson's fall was broken by a ledge, which officials said made the rescue tricky.

The CHP helicopter had to hover in place and avoid a rock wall as park rangers lowered to rescue Parkinson, who was then transported to Memorial North Hospital in Modesto.

Parkinson, who describes himself as an avid climber, is a Stanford University grad and also supervises the school's climbing wall. He suffered injuries to his back in the Yosemite fall.

"I hit a ledge, a large rock. I had my back on a boulder. It was protruding off the ledge," Parkinson said Tuesday from his hospital bed. "So that's what caused the injuries to my back."

The rock climber said he was carrying a water bladder that exploded from the fall.

"When I went to feel my back, I thought it was my blood," he said.

The CHP and Yosemite park rangers train extensively for situations like Sunday's rescue.

"The people were just really, really competent and very caring," Parkinson said. "I'm grateful they were there to help me."

Parkinson expects to return to the Bay Area for rehab this week.

Photo Credit: KCRA]]>
<![CDATA[PG&E Tree Removal Project on Hold]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 06:24:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/04-22-2014-pge-trees.jpg

A PG&E project to remove trees that obstruct access to gas pipelines is on hold while the utility negotiates with California cities.

The utility company wants to remove obstacles, including trees, from Eureka to Bakersfield to make way for thousands of miles of gas pipeline.

The mayor of Walnut Creek says more 700 trees in his municipality could be removed. And the city of Martinez says nearly 300 of its treasured trees are on the chopping block.

But residents of both cities are saying “not so fast.”

“Martinez is a tree city,” resident Gay Gerlack said. “We’re very proud of our hills, our trees. This is the home of John Muir. No one saved more trees throughout the United States than John Muir.”

PG&E has earmarked hundreds of trees across the Bay Area for removal as part of its Pipeline Pathway Project, a program aimed at clearing pathways along the utility district's 6,750-mile natural gas line.

“They are on top of the natural gas transmission line. They are blocking us from seeing where the line is,” PG&E spokesperson Debbie Felix said. “And if there's an event or emergency we want to make sure we can get to that line.”

But several East Bay cities aren't buying it.

Martinez City Manager Anna Gwyn Simpson says they are determined to fight the tree removal.

“We're very concerned about it,” Simpson said. “We are a Tree City, USA, so trees are an important part of our community and we hope they don’t move forward without discussing this with us.”

“What we don’t want them to do is come into our town overnight, disregard our city ordinances, disregard state environmental law and cut down all these trees.” Walnut Creek Mayor Kristina Lawson said.

Lawson says more than 700 trees have been earmarked to for removal in her city. She says the city is prepared to sue to stop it.

“We did at last Tuesday's council meeting authorize our attorneys to sue PG&E, if and when they believe that becomes necessary,” Lawson said.

But as communities talk of taking legal action and teaming up, PG&E says they are listening.

“We realize we could have done a better job communicating,” Felix said. “We are sitting down with every city. For the time being, we have paused this program. Until we have an agreement in place with each city, we are not removing any trees under this program.”

<![CDATA[Child Captures Hot Air Balloon Landing in Street]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 07:07:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Balloon-Mishap-0423-Rancho2.jpg

A hot air balloon making an unscheduled landing in the middle of the street Tuesday was caught on video by a giggling little boy in the back of his mom's car.

NBC 7 obtained the video shot by a 6-year-old Dylan, who repeatedly said "Oh my gosh" while recording the landing in the Rancho Bernardo area of San Diego.

Nine people were on board the balloon when it landed in front of cars at Bernardo Center Drive at West Bernardo Drive just after 7 p.m.

Firefighters helped to move the balloon off the road.

The pilot says they were blown off course.

No one was injured.

A photographer in the area also provided images of the unscheduled landing.

It was the second unscheduled landing in the North County in two weeks. On April 10, a hot air balloon landed near a firehouse in the Rancho Penasquitos area. No one was injured in that landing.

If you capture breaking news, upload the images through the free NBC 7 app, email them to isee@nbcsandiego.com or share them on our Facebook page or via Instagram with the hashtag #NBC7breaking.

Photo Credit: Ellrod Images]]>
<![CDATA[Reality Check: Impact of Ending Affirmative Action in CA]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 03:55:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0422-affirmative_action.jpg

The Supreme Court issued decision Tuesday on the controversial issue of affirmative action.

The justices said in a 6-2 ruling that Michigan voters had the right to change their state constitution to prohibit public colleges and universities from taking account of race in admissions decisions.

While the decision itself wasn’t entirely surprising – it falls in line with rulings in 2003 and 2012 – it sparked demonstrations in the Bay Area and around the country with a number of advocacy groups accusing the High Court of “racism” and claiming that without affirmative action, minority students suffer.

Is the Supreme Court’s decision racist? And, what has the effect of ending affirmative action actually been on college enrollment?

The first question isn’t an easy one to objectively answer, but for many affirmative action supporters, today’s decision amounted to nothing short of the Supreme Court endorsing racism.

At a demonstration on UC Berkeley’s campus, Yvette Felarca of the group BAMN (“By Any Means Necessary”) explained to NBC Bay Area that the decision was racist “because it’s saying that any state could… let a majority white electorate vote away the equal opportunity and rights of an oppressed minority population.”

We spoke with UC Berkeley professor John Douglass, who is a supporter of affirmative action and has studied the issue for years, and he framed the decision in a different way: “I wouldn’t call it racism. I think this is an ongoing debate about the Constitution, the ability of individual institutions to make choices.”

As mentioned, there’s not really an impartial way to qualify or quantify whether the decision is racist or not. The reality is that affirmative action is stirs up strong emotions in both supporters and opponents of the policy.

But when it comes to evaluating the effect of affirmative action programs, well, that’s a much easier question to answer. We need not look any further than the evidence provided by the state of California, which put an end to affirmative action in 1996 when voters approved Proposition 209.

The numbers show the profound effect that affirmative action programs have had on minorities, especially Hispanics and African Americans, when applying to schools in the UC system.

Take UC Berkeley for example.

In 1990, Hispanics made up about 35 percent of California's college-aged students and 23 percent of Berkeley's incoming freshman class. Then, the affirmative action ban went into effect in 1998, and today Hispanics make up 49 percent of college-eligible students and just 11 percent of freshmen at Berkeley.

As for African American students at UC Berkeley, there’s been a similar trend. While the group's representation has remained consistent at 9 percent, black freshman have dropped from 8 percent in 1990 to just about 2 percent today.

At the University of California’s other major campuses, it’s largely the same story.

The reality of a colorblind admission process – i.e. banning affirmative action – is that minority enrollment plummets and student populations are not representative of a state’s overall population.

This reality might explain why California lawmakers have been recently tossing around the idea of reinstating affirmative action in the college admission process.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Strong Winds Hit Bay Area]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 06:53:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/0422-tree_down.jpg

Strong winds hit across the Bay Area Tuesday, prompting warnings on bridges and making it tough for firefighters at a three-alarm blaze in San Francisco.

A three-story Victorian went up in flames in the afternoon in San Francisco's Duboce Triangle neighborhood. The wind fueled flames to spread quickly, officials said.

A firefighter was injured in the blaze, which destroyed a home and damaged two others.

Officials said wind gusts reached up to 40 mph in San Francisco and generated plenty of eco-friendly energy at the Crissy Field Center.

The wind also caused branches to fall, even breaking the windshield of a car parked at Sansome and Chestnut streets.

While the wind presented a challenge, some Bay Area residents welcomed the strong gusts.

"Super exhilarating, and a fight," said Greg McKenney, a San Francisco kite surfer. "Cause you're fighting the current the whole time."

View more in Monte Francis' video report above.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[9 Facts About YouTube on Its 9th Anniversary]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 08:41:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/youtube-463842675.jpg

YouTube, with its bottomless supply of videos, is turning nine.

The first video ever uploaded to YouTube went up on April 23, 2005, nine years ago Wednesday. To commemorate YouTube's ninth anniversary, we've put together nine fun facts about the video sharing site we all know and love.

1. Paypal brought founders together

YouTube was founded in 2005 by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim. The trio met at PayPal, where they were all former employees. YouTube's first headquarters sat above a pizzeria and Japanese restaurant in San Mateo, Calif. 

2. It was originally a dating site

An earlier version of YouTube was a dating site called "Tune In Hook Up," influenced by the site "Hot or Not," which let users rate the attractiveness of potential partners. But the idea of a video version of Hot or Not failed to catch on after a couple of months.

3. What inspired YouTube as we know it

YouTube's founders say two key experiences inspired them to turn what had been a dating site into the video sharing site we all know. Karim had had trouble finding footage online of Janet Jackson's Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction and, later, of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. And Hurley and Chen had difficulty sharing a video shot at a dinner party in San Francisco in 2005.

4. YouTube? Or Utube

The domain name YouTube.com was activated on Valentine's Day in 2005 and the site was developed months after. But the domain name didn't sit well with an Ohio-based industrial equipment supplier called Universal Tube and Rollform Equipment, with the domain "utube.com." Utube.com was flooded with traffic from people trying to spell the video site, and its owners sued YouTube saying its business was hurt. Claims were dismissed, though, and Utube has changed its site to utubeonline.com.

5. And the first-ever YouTube video upload was...

The first video uploaded to YouTube, titled "Me at the zoo," made its online debut on April 23, 2005. The 19-second video was shot by Yakov Lapitsky and shows YouTube co-founder Karim at the San Diego Zoo. It has racked up 14 million views in its nine years online.

6. April Fools!

Since 2008, YouTube has featured an April Fools' Day prank on April 1 of every year. The first prank, known as "rickrolling," remains a classic: The featured videos on YouTube's main page linked to the music video for Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up." From turning the site upside-down in 2009 to allowing users to submit ideas for memes in 2014, YouTube knows how to pull a great prank.

7. Surprising stats

YouTube says users worldwide upload 100 hours of video each minute, and more than 6 billion hours of video are watched each month. More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month, and 80 percent of traffic comes from outside the U.S.

8. Most Viewed Music Video of All Time

According to Videotrine, the nod for the most viewed video of all time goes to the music video for PSY's "Gangnam Style," with 1.9 billion views:

9. Most Viewed Viral Video of All Time

Not counting music videos, the most viewed viral video is the classic "Charlie Bit My Finger," which clocks in at 6.9 million views, according to Videotrine:

Photo Credit: Getty Images for YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[Stowaway Teen May Have Been Headed to Africa: Report]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 04:51:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/219*120/plane36.jpg

A teen stowaway from California who flew to Hawaii tucked into a plane's wheel well may have been trying to reach family in Africa, where his biological mother lives, an NBC affiliate in Hawaii reported.

A teacher and classmate described the 15-year-old to NBC Bay Area on Tuesday as a quiet boy who, despite some troubles in his English class, mostly keeps to himself.

The boy, who attends high school in the Santa Clara Unified School District, lives with his biological father and a stepmother in Santa Clara, police told Hawaii News Now. But the station reported that the teen was not happy living with so many siblings and step-siblings, and wanted to reunite with his mother in Somalia.

The teen's former English teacher at Oak Grove High, Keith Chung, told NBC Bay Area he did not know much about the teen, other than that he had moved to the U.S. from Africa three years ago and that his father was a cab driver.

Chung said the boy had some recent run-ins in his English-learning class. Those issues, on which Chung did not elaborate, had culminated in a transfer to Santa Clara High.

"I'm totally shocked," Chung said. "I had this random thought that when I heard the news, that wouldn't it be funny if he went to Oak Grove? No, I wouldn't think he would do anything that this. He's very quiet."

Student Emanuael Golla, 18, told NBC Bay Area that the teen had just transferred to Santa Clara High about five weeks ago. Golla described him as very quiet, someone who kept to himself.

And Santa Clara High Principal Greg Shelby said that when the teen returns to school, he will be able to receive psychological services if he wants.

What prompted the teen to hitch a hazardous ride inside the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines plane Sunday at San Jose International Airport remains unclear.

Hawaii News Now reporter Lynn Kawano spoke to a source in the Maui police department who told her that the teen had run away after getting into an argument with his father. The teen then either misunderstood or couldn't read the information on the plane he jumped into, before making the 5 1/2-hour journey to Hawaii. He told the FBI when he landed and was found walking around on the tarmac that he had had a fight with his family, according to Kawano.

But the teen's family told NBC Bay Area in a brief interview Monday that the reports of an argument were untrue.

Both FBI Special Agent Tom Simon and Maui Police Lt. William Juan declined to confirm or deny to NBC Bay Area the report that the boy was trying to head to Africa.

The Department of Human Services in Hawaii said the teen was in the care of Child Welfare Services, and the agency is doing what needs to be done to "ensure the child's safe return to his home in California." While the teen was said to have miraculously survived, Hawaii News Now said he was taken from a hospital in Maui to a hospital in Oahu.

The teen's journey has raised questions about airport security, with many wondering how anyone — especially a high schooler — could scale the barbed wire fence at the airport and escape scrutiny before hiding in the wheel well of a Boeing 767.

Many have also questioned how a person could actually survive a flight in 80-below temperatures with little oxygen flying at 38,000 feet.

The FBI said the teen was was unconscious for most of the flight, and that it was "clearly amazing" that the boy exited the wheel well unscathed.

According to the FAA, the last known survivor of a stowaway incident was in August 2013 on a domestic flight within Nigeria. Since 1947, the FAA has recorded 94 stowaway incidents involving 105 people. Of those, only 25 survived.

The Hawaiian Airlines plane the Santa Clara stowaway hid on returned to San Jose International Airport, April 21, 2014.


 NBC Bay Area's Chase Cain and Dan Pyryt contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[City to Pay for Razing Wrong House]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 17:53:10 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/demolish-wrong-071613.jpg

The Fort Worth City Council has agreed to pay more than $62,000 to a homeowner whose house was mistakenly demolished last summer.

A city crew marked the wrong house for demolition last July. A contractor destroyed 9716 Watercress Drive -- when the crew should have demolished the house next door, 9708 Watercress Drive.

That vacant home was owned by David Underwood. Underwood and his attorney met with city attorneys last month in mediation and agreed to a $102,500 settlement.

On Tuesday, Fort Worth agreed to pay $62,500 to Underwood for the mistake. The remaining $40,000 will be paid by the contractor and the insurance company.

Underwood was not at Tuesday's council meeting.

Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Dome Recommended for Placement on Historic Places List]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 19:51:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/33+THE+DOME+MEDIUM.jpg

Some encouraging news for the fans working to “save the dome,” San Jose's half-century old Century 21 theater on Winchester Boulevard: The State Historical Resources Commission recommended the theater for placement on the National Register of Historic Places.

The owner of the property wants to bulldoze the theater to make way for high-density housing.

That news launched a groundswell of online petitions and lobbying to save the 1964 building.

Tuesday’s recommendation now goes to the National Park Service, which has the final say on whether the preservation process moves forward.

The theater, which would have notched 50 years in operation later this year, closed its doors March 30 with a farewell screening of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

Former employees said they hope at least one dome can stay standing.

"Hopefully, they can save one instead of replacing it with another store," former Century 21 employee Ron Szaely said. "I like stores, but this is better, huh?"

<![CDATA[WATCH: Penguin Chicks Take 1st Swim]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 03:25:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/MysrticPenguinsSwim1.jpg

Penguin chicks are cute — and penguin chicks swimming are even cuter.

Three African penguin chicks that hatched in January took their first swim at Connecticut's Mystic Aquarium on Tuesday.

They spent the first 13 weeks of life huddled under their parents to stay warm. 

Now that the penguins are almost fully grown, trainers have worked to introduce each chick to a small spray of water to prepare them for their first swim.

Mystic Aquarium is part of the African penguin Species Survival Plan, a breeding program that ensures the long term survival of African penguins in zoos and aquariums. 

Since 1997, the aquarium has reared 19 penguin chicks as part of the program. 

Later this month, a blood sample will be taken to determine the gender of the chicks, which will each receive wing identification beads to show the order in which they joined the Mystic Aquarium’s African penguin colony. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[3 Crashes Into SoCal Home in 6 Mos.]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 08:30:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/car+into+highland+home.JPG

After a car smashed through a Southern California home in the third such incident in six months, city officials are doing a traffic study to determine what improvements can be made.

The study of the sweeping downgrade on Tuolumne Lane in Highland will take a couple of weeks and could result in the posting of new signs or cutting the speed limit.

The study is usually done once a year, but officials are making an exception.

Highland is nestled near the San Bernardino Mountains in the Inland Empire.

The news comes after a crash into a home and the arrest of a suspected drunken driver of a Lincoln Towncar who tried to run away.

The car slammed into the family's garage -- with their infant daughter sleeping in a crib 5 feet above. The family moved out of their house and into a hotel temorarily while their home is repaired.

The family whose house was hit said they have been looking for a solution after three vehicles smashed onto their property in six months.

"My first thought is, it’s a huge earthquake," Kristina Sauerwein said.

The impact sheared a gas line and a water line that flooded the home's first floor. The crash also damaged the family's new car that was parked in the garage.

"I opened up the door, and there's just a cloud of debris," Jeff Sauerwein said.

"I actually thought the whole entire car was going to explode," said the couple's son Tristan.

The family rushed to get out of the house.

As they did, the driver of the car ran, too. At one point the family and the driver exchanged words. While running after the driver, the husband dialed 911 from his cellphone, summoning deputies.

The driver was booked into jail on charges of driving under the influence and hit and run, deputies said.

A truck crashed into the family’s front yard in January. Last fall, another car crashed into their gate. The family said they have made calls and written letters to the city asking for help, but said those pleas have gone unanswered.

"Put some speed bumps, some kind of signage up there, to help with this problem, because someone's going to die," Jeff Sauerwein said.

Neighbors told NBC4 that more than a dozen cars had gone into that property in a decade.

<![CDATA[NYC Mom Gives Autistic Son Friends]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 04:52:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/joshua+birthday.jpg

A Queens woman who says her autistic son doesn't have any friends started a Facebook page for him so he could receive happy birthday wishes.

Brenda Figueroa said her son, Joshua, turned 12 years old Tuesday.

She said on Facebook that her son, who loves comic books, science-fiction stories and drawing, didn't have any friends, and she was sad about that.

Joshua told NBC 4 New York that he gets nervous when trying to talk to new people.

"When I'm trying to make friends, sometimes the kids ignore me," he said.

His father said other kids often just don't understand how to connect with Joshua.

"They see him one way, but they don't understand his behavior or attitude sometimes in certain situations," he said.

His mother said on Facebook that her role is to see that he is loved "by precious people." So she started the page on Monday.

By Tuesday afternoon, he had dozens of friends and many birthday greetings.

"Happy birthday Joshua and many more," said one.

"Hope you have a wonderful birthday!!!!" said another.


<![CDATA[Students Upset Over Michigan Affirmative Action Ruling]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 18:38:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0422-affirmative_action.jpg

Several Bay Area students are disappointed over a ruling to maintain affirmative action.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday morning upheld Michigan's ban on using race as a factor in college admissions.

In a 6-2 ruling, the justices said the state did not violate the U.S. Constitution when its voters banned affirmative action. The justices said that a lower federal court was wrong to set aside the change as discriminatory.

California has a similar ban when it comes to admitting students to public universities. Proposition 209 amended California's State Constitution banning public universities from using open affirmative action policies to increase the number of students of color.

A group of Bay Area students said on Tuesday they would fight to restore affirmative action.

"The Supreme Court decision is a racist decision," said Yvette Felarca, an organizer with the group By Any Means Necessary, or BAMN.

The student group on Tuesday held a rally at the UC Berkeley campus to denounce the Supreme Court decision.

"It gives a green light to states to discriminate against and impose a cap on the admissions on Latino, black, Native American and other under-represented minority students," said Ronald Cruz, an attorney with BAMN.

UC Berkeley student Gabby Edwards said she feels the effect of the affirmative action ban on campus.

"It's really an isolating feeling being here, being the only black student in our class," Edwards said. "It's isolating and detrimental to your college experience."

Harmeet Dhillon, a spokesperson for the California Republican, supports Tuesday's Supreme Court decision.

Dhillon said that admission quotas based on race creates an advantage for one group and a disadvantage for another group.

"Those other groups are not just white people," Dhillon said. "They are minorities as well."

NBC News contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[10 Years Later, Pat Tillman Death Still Inspires Students]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 19:40:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/04-22-2014-pat-tillman.jpg

Tuesday marks the 10th anniversary of the death of Pat Tillman, the NFL star who passed up a lucrative football contract to serve his country in Afghanistan.

Tillman was killed by friendly fire in 2004 while serving as an Army ranger. He grew up in San Jose, played football at Arizona State, and went on to a celebrated NFL career.

But, following the Sept. 11 attacks, Tillman passed up the big bucks of the NFL to join the military.

Mike Carrozzo, a former football coach at Leland High School, where Tillman played, said that sacrifice still resonates with students.

“As a coach or as a teacher, it’s something you’d never want to forget,” Carrozzo said. “And you constantly want to teach these kids, because there is no greater selfless sacrifice that I could ever think of.”

A foundation created in Tillman’s name has provided scholarships to some 300 military veterans.

This Saturday, there will be Pat Tillman tribute runs in Arizona, San Francisco and San Jose.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[San Jose's First Female Mayor Dies at 87]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 13:42:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/04-22-2014-mayor-hayes.jpg

San Jose is remembering its first female mayor.

Janet Gray Hayes died Monday at a retirement home in Saratoga. Her family says she suffered a stroke over the weekend.

Hayes was elected mayor of San Jose in 1974, becoming the first woman in the United States to lead a city of more than 500,000 people.

“She was a trailblazer who helped open the door for women to serve their communities in public office,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren said in a statement. “She was the one who declared San Jose to be the 'feminist Capitol of the world' when she led San Jose as its Mayor, with a female majority city council and a new female majority on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors."

All flags at San Jose city facilities were lowered to half-mast on Tuesday in memory of the former mayor.

Hayes was 87 years old.

<![CDATA[Buffalo Bills Cheerleaders Follow Raiderettes in Wage Suit]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 06:45:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/BuffaloBillcheerA.jpg

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Three months after the first Oakland Raiderette sued the Raiders football team, five former "Buffalo Jills" are suing the Bills saying they weren't paid for their time at games or mandatory public appearances that left them open to groping and sexual comments.

One of the claims in the suit alleges that the Jills were subjected to a weekly "Jiggle Test," where their butts, stomachs, arms and hips bodies were scrutinized while they did jumping jacks, Deadspin reported.
The lawsuit is the third filed this year against a National Football League team by its cheerleaders.

The Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals also have pending wage battles. The Raiders attorneys in March argued that the cheerleaders should not be able to sue, but rather plead their case to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, rather than a judge.

Two members of the Buffalo Jills cheerealding squad held a news conference Tuesday with their attorney, Frank Dolce (DOHL'-chay). They say they were wrongly classified as independent contractors by Stejon Productions, which manages the Jills and failed to pay them for hundreds of hours of work.

The Jill's lawsuit seeks back pay and "other damages as allowed by law."

A Bills spokesman says the team doesn't comment on pending litigation. Stejon Productions hasn't responded to a request for comment.


Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[SJPD Investigating City's 12th Homicide of 2014]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 17:23:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/04-22-2014-sj-homicide.jpg

San Jose police began investigating the city's 12th homicide of the year on Tuesday when officers found an unconscious, injured man at a warehouse near The Plant shopping center.

Officer Albert Morales said the man was found about 8 a.m. in the 1900 block of Monterey Road. He was pronounced dead on the scene. A driver discovered his body and called for help.

The man, according to police, was an Asian man in his 40s.

"Right now we have nothing," Morales said, in terms of suspects or witnesses. He also wouldn't confirm a report that the man had been bound before he had been killed. “We’re trying to piece this all together.”

Morales said the case is unusual.

“Right now we have nothing, nothing on the camera at least, not anything we can put out now,” he said.

Tien Le, who owns one of the businesses near where the body was found, recognized the bright red rig labeled Big D & Son of Antioch on the side. She said it belongs to a friend who used to drive for her but who now works for himself.

Le said she fears the worst.

“He was supposed to pick up a load [Tuesday],” Le said.

The coroner has not released the man’s identity, nor how he died. Friends and family members arrived at the scene, looking for answers as police looked for the same.

“We’re hoping that someone will come forward,” Morales said.

The San Jose Police Department’s Homicide Unit has taken over the investigation.

Photo Credit: Kris Sanchez]]>
<![CDATA[Health Insurance Complaints Skyrocket in CA]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 06:41:20 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Woman+on+Phone+Generic+Telephone+Customer+Service.jpg

Even if you aren’t one of the 1.2 million people signing up for Covered California, chances are you’re feeling the pinch when calling your insurance company. The Investigative Unit has learned complaints to state regulators have skyrocketed as people find themselves unable to reach anyone at several major health insurance companies.

For some health insurance companies, the influx of calls is so bad, they’re hanging up on customers after a pre-recorded message, while others put callers on hold indefinitely.

“I’ve been put on hold anywhere from 15-40 minutes,” said Don Tran, a full-time grad student at San Jose State.

Tran said he wanted to cancel his individual health plan with Blue Shield of California because he was eligible for less expensive coverage through his employer. But getting in touch with Blue Shield turned out to be much more difficult than he anticipated. “It’s been over a month and a half and I still haven’t been able to reach anybody,” Tran said.

Tran's story is a familiar one to Marta Green, spokeswoman for the California Department of Managed Health Care. The agency regulates health care plans and protects consumers.

“We have seen our call volume go up quite a bit,” Green said. She attributes much of the increase to the sudden spike in health insurance enrollment due to Covered California.

The rise in complaint volume was so extreme, the department began tracking the number of complaints from people who said they couldn't even reach their insurance providers.

“It was never an issue before this year,” Green said. But the department is only tracking “can’t reach plan” complaints for customers enrolled in Covered California. Of the roughly 1,000 complaints received between January and March of 2014, 1 in 10 people said they were trying to cancel or couldn’t reach their plan.

Green said there’s little consequence at this point for health plans that aren’t responsive to consumers. “If a health care plan is found to have violated the law, they can face enforcement action…[but] there is no specific law in relation to wait times.” Green said consumers can call, email or even send postal mail to the department regarding any issues with their health insurance. She said the department is committed to helping consumers resolve their problems, a process that can take anywhere from a day to a month.

“Every complaint we receive is investigated,” Green said. She encouraged consumers to call the department’s hotline, 1-888-466-2219, where they are guaranteed to reach a human being during business hours.

Don Tran took his complaint online, joining dozens of others NBC Bay Area found on social media, who are posting pictures of their wait times and airing their complaints on Facebook and Twitter. A check of the Facebook pages for the two largest providers in California—Anthem and Blue Shield – revealed new complaints daily.

Kaiser, the state’s third largest provider, doesn’t allow users to post directly to its Facebook page. It’s also where some callers complained they were receiving a pre-recorded message that ended with a dial tone when they called customer service.

“It’s a real hassle,” Tran said, adding that Blue Shield only responded after he posted several comments on social media. Now, more than 2 months later, he finally has his cancellation notice, but didn't get a reimbursement check until a few days ago. 

Blue Shield of California spokesman Sean Barry said via email the company has expanded its customer service staff, adding, “We’re committed to delivering a high-quality customer experience. We have put several measures in place to reduce the delays in resolving issues by phone, receiving new ID cards and making payments.”

He directed customers to this customer service home page with a list of contacts to help resolve issues.

Darrel Ng echoed a similar sentiment. In an emailed statement, the Anthem Blue Cross spokesman said, “At the beginning of the year, hundreds of thousands of Californians were added to the insurance rolls on Jan. 1 as our nation’s health care delivery system went through a complete transformation. Because of that, in the first two business days of January, our company received a million calls nationally. Since then, we hired and trained hundreds of additional customer service agents and reassigned hundreds of other internal assets to assist on our phone lines. Through those efforts, the average hold time for customer service was under 3 minutes in March and is down to less than 90 seconds thus far in April.”

Kaiser Permanente spokesperson Karl Sonkin emailed this statement. "Prior to the deadline for Affordable Care Act Kaiser Permanente experienced a higher volume of calls to our Member Services Call Center during peak hours than we typically receive in the first part of the year, and that had resulted in longer than normal hold times. However, now that the enrollment deadline has passed our call volumes have returned to more typical levels and we are no longer experiencing delays."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[YouTube's 9-Year Rise to Dominance ]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 15:59:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/04-22-2014-1st-youtube.jpg

"Alright, so here we are, in front of the elephants..."

And that's how the revolution began.

Jawed Karim, one of the co-founders of YouTube, hanging out in front of some elephants at the zoo, being filmed, and uploading the video -- all 18 seconds of it -- to a fledgling service that would go on to become a huge part of our digital lives.

As YouTube cruises towards its ninth birthday, the statistics are almost mind-numbing: 4 billion videos posted each day, and 6 billion hours of video watched each month.

But statistics don't really tell the story. YouTube (bought by search giant Google for $1.65 billion on Oct. 9, 2006) has become our de facto search engine for video, music, and just about anything we think we might have seen once on television, in the movies, etc.

Want directions to cook that complex meal? There are dozens of channels with names like "Epic Meal Time." Music? Forget about it. It's everywhere on YouTube, including all the music videos you miss from the early MTV days.

Add all the new channels sprouting up, and the original HBO/Netflix-like programming said to be in the works, and you have a powerhouse that travels with you everywhere your laptop, tablet, or phone goes.

While it's never been easy to figure out what YouTube contributes to Google's bottom line, the parent company doesn't seem to be struggling, with a stock price that's stayed hot pretty much since it went public.

What is interesting is that YouTube has managed to stay largely independent. Even though the company is part of a giant conglomerate, YouTube users’ experience has remained largely unchanged since the 2006 Google purchase.

Clearly here for the long haul, YouTube has changed the way we consume media of all kinds. It's not even a tween, but is maturing as we speak. 


Scott can be found on Twitter: @scottbudman

<![CDATA[Tour Bus, Multiple Vehicle Accident on Peninsula]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 08:41:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ambulancegeneric.jpg

A tour bus and at least three other cars were involved in an accident on the Peninsula Tuesday morning, prompting a Sig-Alert near Menlo Park.

According to the California Highway Patrol log, the accident was reported at 7:37 a.m. on southbound Interstate Highway 280 at Sand Hill Road, and the Sig-Alert was issued about 20 minutes later.

All lanes were re-opened by 8:40 a.m.

A tour bus, Honda, BMW and sedan were mentioned in the log. The sedan was on its roof, and the log noted there was a "person laying in the slow lane." There was no immediate word on the injured.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego May Change "Edible" Marijuana Guidelines]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 07:56:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Edible-Marijuana-Pot-0422.jpg

San Diego city officials are looking into improved regulations on marijuana products, many known as “edibles,” after two deaths in Denver, Colorado were linked to marijuana-use.

The city’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee recently reviewed current medical marijuana regulations and passed numerous amendments except one regarding edibles.

“I wanted some regulations so we could offer the public some reassurance, some regulatory entity to make sure it's safe for consumption,” said Councilmember Marti Emerald of District 9. “My colleagues on the committee said 'Well let's take a closer look at that.’"

Currently, San Diego Municipal Code spells out basic regulations on "Edible Products and Concentrates." They must be labeled with the patient's name, dispensing date, name and address of the co-op, a warning label and the source.

NBC 7 spoke to University Heights resident Erin Andrews who takes edibles to help with stomach pains.

“I saw lemon bars for sale that had weed in them, they had the ingredients, the percentage of THC in them and all that stuff and I think it should be required,” Andrews said.

Adding to the concern, two deaths out of Colorado were recently tied to edibles. The investigations are still on going, officials said one man jumped to his death after eating a cookie with marijuana and another man allegedly shot and killed his wife after eating marijuana candy. Studies are still mixed about any sort of connection between marijuana and violent behavior.

Still, Councilmember Emerald says it's imperative San Diego takes a proactive approach.

“This industry is here to stay, which means it's only going to get bigger. More consumers are going to make their decisions on their perception that somebody’s watching the store or well-being,” she said.

The committee is working with the City Attorney’s office to continue research on edibles. Their next meeting is in July.

<![CDATA[Going Green: 4 Questions on Sustainable Shopping]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 15:58:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/green-shopping-182865996.jpg

From toothpaste to wedding dresses, shoppers across the U.S. now have no trouble finding products that claim to be good for the environment.

But the popularity of buying with the environment in mind — and lack of clear marketing guidelines — has made it "much harder for a consumer to figure out which of these green products is really green," according to Northwestern University associate professor Brayden King, an expert on corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability.

As Earth Day kicks off, here's a look at the latest trends in the "green industry" and how consumers can make the most out of their environmentally-conscious purchases.

What kind of "green" products are available?

A better question might be what products aren't. It's rare to find a product or industry that doesn't offer a "green" option. Seventh Generation, an early leader in green cleaning products and baby items, reported more than $200 million in retail sales in 2012, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Household brands are embracing the trend, too. Nike recently unveiled a new facility featuring technology aimed at cutting back at water use in the textile dying process, while Proctor & Gamble Company began in recent years to incorporate plastic made from sugarcane into packaging for some beauty products.

"Environmental sustainability" ranked third among culinary trends for 2014 identified in a survey of chefs by the National Restaurant Association. And it's not just farm-to-table bistros greening menus. McDonald's recently vowed to source its Big Macs from "sustainable beef" by 2016, though it's not yet clear how the company will achieve that goal.

How "green" are green products?

It varies. Upwards of 400 separate "eco-label" systems or ratings now exist, according to King, the associate professor of management and organizations at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. But a rise in "sustainable" products doesn't necessarily mean more items that are good for the environment.

“Putting labels on things that say this is organic or this is environmental friendly has given consumers options," King said. "The downside of this is it has become very easy for companies to put those labels on and consumers are not always savvy enough to know if they’re buying something that is really good at the environment or buying something that just has the label." The Federal Trade Commission also urges caution, saying that many green marketing claims "sound great, but are too vague to be meaningful."

So what's a consumer to do? The FTC recommends looking for specific labels or certifications "that tell you what makes the product environmentally friendly," such as disclosures saying the product is "free of" a certain substance or chemical. The agency has posted a consumer guide to shopping green that includes definitions of commonly used promotions.

Who buys "green?"

Most of us, it seems. More than 80 percent of respondents to a 2011 Gallup survey said they make an effort to adopt environmentally friendly behaviors, with 60 percent saying they either bought a product because it was environmentally friendly or plan to do so in the next year.

The segment of consumers interested in stocking their shelves and pantries with "green" products extends beyond "the granola type," as one report commissioned by the Grocery Manufacturers' Association put it. The 2009 analysis by Deloitte found that people buying green "are diversely spread along all income ranges, age brackets, education levels and various household sizes."

What incentives do companies have to go green? 

Green ones — in more than one sense. Coming off as environmentally conscious can be a good sell with consumers. Research by Deloitte found that "green shoppers" represent a "high value segment who buy more products on each trip, visit the store more regularly, and demonstrate more brand and retailer loyalty in their purchasing behavior."

Major corporations like Wal-Mart have also instituted "green" measures such as recycling programs and energy conservation policies at corporate headquarters that shave operating costs while boosting the corporation's image with consumers, according to King. Being perceived as anti-environment has costs as well.

"If a company is continually being boycotted by activist groups or you see these protests outside company headquarters or you have shareholder activists who are submitting proposals every year to require the company to be more environmentally friendly, this kind of continual pressure can start to influence a company and damage its reputation," King said. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Not "Just an Average Firecracker" Yields SF Arrest]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 10:45:43 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/205*120/dynamite1.jpg

A explosive device led to a search of a home in Russian Hill in San Francisco and the arrest of a man on charges of illegally possessing illegal substances.

According to U.S. Park Police spokeswoman Andrea Picavet, police arrested 46-year-old Eric Smith of San Francisco.

Officers pulled over the driver of a red pickup truck about  9 p.m. on Monday near 900 Mason Street near Crissy Field. Officers thought that there was possibly marijuana in the vehicle. Instead, the driver volunteered that he had some fireworks in the car, Picavet said.

Police originally said it appeared as though it was a stick of dynamite, and then later said it wasn't "just an average firecracker," describing it as fives times larger than a firework and possibly could be dynamite. Tests showed only that it was an active explosive.

The San Francisco bomb squad was called to detonate the dynamite at 1:15 a.m.. Two businesses - House of Air and Planet Granite - were evacuated during the process.

That led to a search of a home on Vallejo Street in San Francisco, which ended about 4 a.m. It's unclear what was inside the bags the officers took.

Smith was arrested and released. Picavet said "other charges are pending results of the investigation."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Girl Killed in Highway 85 Crash in Cupertino]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 03:55:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/201*120/04-21-2014-85-crash.jpg

A girl was killed in a crash on state Highway 85 in Cupertino Monday afternoon, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The crash was reported at about 3:30 p.m. on northbound Highway 85 at De Anza Boulevard, CHP officials said.

CHP didn't immediately confirm the victim's age, only that the child was a girl and was strapped in a car seat inside the minivan during the collision.

Three vehicles were involved in the collision -- a Jeep, a minivan and another vehicle -- and two vehicles overturned, according to the CHP.

Officials said a boy in the minivan also was injured during the crash. He was transported a local hospital with major injuries, CHP said. The driver of the minivan, a 41-year-old woman from Cupertino, suffered minor injuries and was also taken to a hospital.

It was not clear how the woman is related to the children.

The CHP said the minivan was parked on the right shoulder of northbound Highway 85 prior to a Jeep driving up an embankment and then back down, crashing into the minivan.

The driver of the Jeep, a 56-year-old man from San Jose, was transported to a hospital with major injuries.

The third vehicle in the crash was occupied by only the driver, who was treated on scene for minor injuries.

All lanes of northbound Highway 85 between De Anza and Stevens Creek were closed while authorities investigated the crash. Lanes were reopened by 7:40 p.m., according to the CHP.

Officers said Monday's accident is a reminder for drivers to not pull off to the shoulder of the freeway.

"It's very dangerous to stop your vehicle on the freeway," CHP Sgt. Erika Elisa said. "If you have any situation where you have to use your cell phone or tend to your children. you need to exit the freeway."

Officials have ruled out drugs and alcohol as a possible cause of the crash. The driver of the Jeep could face charges related to the girl's death, according to the CHP. 

NBC Bay Area's Nannette Miranda and Bay City News contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Stowaway "OK" After Flight from San Jose to Hawaii]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 11:53:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP737537110995.jpg

A woman who said she is the older sister of the 15-year-old boy who hid in the wheel well of a plane and flew from San Jose to Hawaii unharmed denied reports that he had an argument with his family before he decided to become an overseas stowaway.

In a short interview from her Santa Clara home on Monday, the woman spoke off camera with NBC Bay Area in halting English, and in a calm tone that didn't reveal her brother's harrowing tale: That the teenager scaled a fence at San Jose International Airport on Sunday morning, hid in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines flight, and survived the flight across the Pacific Ocean, despite being unconscious for the 5 1/2-hour trip. All the while, authorities said the temperature sank to below minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Department of Human Services in Hawaii said on Monday that the teen was in the care of Child Welfare Services, and the agency is doing what needs to be done to "ensure the child's safe return to his home in California."

The sister also denied reports that her brother got in a fight with family at home before he took off on his journey, which has raised questions about airport security. She spoke only briefly, and answered with a simple "no," when asked whether her brother ran away because of an argument. The sister also said her brother was "OK" physically after the trip. She declined to say any more.

Outside the family's home, family members arrived - without the teen - in a taxi, which pulled into the garage. Relatives did not want to speak and they closed the door. A neighbor called them "perfectly nice."

The sister's response seems to be in stark opposition to the story that emerged on Sunday, which was  investigated by the FBI.

In a phone interview on Monday from Hawaii, FBI Special Agent Tom Simon said that agents interviewed the boy, corroborated his story, and turned the teen over to child services in Hawaii until he could be reunited with his family.

"We're done," he told NBC Bay Area. "There's no case here."

Simon added that the boy did not commit any crimes in Hawaii and will not be charged by the FBI there. Simon said it is not his agency's jurisdiction to determine whether the teen committed any other crimes by allegedly hopping the fence in San Jose.

Back in California, San Jose Police Sgt. Heather Randol said the "event was documented" and was "will be reviewed" by the District Attorney for any pending charges.

As for the teen's journey -  flying at an altitude of 38,000 feet with no oxygen and coming out unscathed - Simon said: "Clearly, it's amazing."

The Associated Press reported that security footage from the San Jose airport verified that the Santa Clara teen hopped a fence to get to Hawaiian Airlines Flight 45 on Sunday at 7:55 a.m.

Simon said when the flight landed in Maui at 10:25 a.m. Hawaii time, the boy hopped down from the wheel well and started wandering around the airport grounds.

"He was unconscious for the lion's share of the flight," Simon said. 

According to the FAA, the last known survivor of a stowaway incident was in August 2013 on a domestic flight within Nigeria, Africa. Since 1947, the FAA has recorded 94 stowaway incidents involving 105 people. Of those, only 25 survived.

The Hawaiian Airlines plane the Santa Clara stowaway hid on returned to San Jose International Airport, April 21, 2014.

The teen's misadventure -- including scaling a six-foot high barbed wire fence at the airport -- immediately raised security questions. A Congressman who serves on the Homeland Security committee wondered how the teen could have snuck onto the airfield at San Jose unnoticed.

"I have long been concerned about security at our airport perimeters. #Stowaway teen demonstrates vulnerabilities that need to be addressed," tweeted Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat who represents the San Francisco Bay Area's eastern cities and suburbs.

Rosemary Barnes, a spokeswoman for Mineta San Jose International Airport, said airport police were working with the FBI, San Jose police, and the Transportation Security Agency to review security at the facility as part of an investigation. A TSA spokeswoman on Monday, however, said the breach is not a TSA matter.

San Jose's airport issued a statement saying "SJC's security program meets and exceeds all federal requirements and we have an excellent track record...Despite this, no system is 100 percent and it is possible to scale an airport fenceline, especially under cover of darkness and remain undetected."


 NBC Bay Area's Chase Cain and Oskar Garcia from the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[South Bay Construction Fuels Recycling Industry]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 03:55:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0421-recycle.jpg

A rise in South Bay construction is fueling a new growth industry in the Silicon Valley.

Recycling coupled with a need to repair local roads are creating many jobs in the Bay Area.

Crews at Granite Construction are turning recycled material -- life roof shingles -- into asphalt. And at San Jose-based Zanker Recycling, workers are recycling building materials.

"What really drives our business is new construction," said Michael Gross of Zanker Recycling. "Because if you're going to tear down a building, what's going to happen to that building? It's going to come to a facility like us, we're going to recycle that and then you got to build something new there. Well, all the residual from that comes to our facility here too."

Several Bay Area roads will soon be re-paved with recycled asphalt, much of it starting out as rooftop shingles collected in Oakland.

View more in Scott Budman's video report above.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors 2014 Playoffs Highlights]]> Mon, 21 Apr 2014 22:10:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/190*120/485679131_8.jpg Photo highlights of the Golden State Warriors in the 2014 NBA Playoffs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Convicted Killer's Son Conflicted]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 06:50:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Mohammed-AlHimidi.jpg

The son of an Iraqi immigrant convicted of killing his wife said he remains conflicted on the high-profile case that ended in San Diego earlier this week with a guilty verdict, adding that he still loves his father.

“It’s not that I disagree with what the decision was, it’s just I hate what the decision was itself. I hate the verdict,” Mohammed Al-Himidi told NBC 7 San Diego Friday in an exclusive interview.

Mohammed is the oldest son of Kassim Al-Himidi, 49. On Thursday, Al-Himidi was found guilty of the 2012 murder of his wife, Shaima Alawadi, 32.

The verdict sparked several outbursts in the courtroom, including Mohammed screaming, “This is bulls---! This is f---ing bulls---! My dad is innocent. He was tried unfairly.”

Mohammed said his post-verdict outburst was a mix of every emotion he’s ever had about the case involving his parents, finally reaching a boiling point.

“I had an emotional breakdown, really,” he told NBC 7. “A million thoughts were going through my head. Basically, the judge [had] just said, ‘Your dad is going to be locked up for life.’ My dad has been there throughout my whole life.”

On Mar. 21, 2012, Mohammed’s mother was brutally beaten in a bloody attack at their family’s home in El Cajon. She suffered critical brain injuries and died three days later. At the time, Mohammed was only 15 years old.

At first, the case was investigated as a hate crime due to a handwritten note found at the crime scene, which read: “This is my country, go back to yours, terrorist.”

Ultimately, El Cajon police determined it wasn’t a hate crime but rather a crime of domestic violence. Investigators arrested Al-Himidi in connection with the killing in November 2012.

Mohammed said he’s been conflicted with the case from the beginning. Now, with the guilty verdict, it’s even harder. He said he still feels like he’s stuck in the middle when it comes to what he believes.

“My dad, I personally thought, was innocent coming into the trial. I didn’t know what to believe, honestly. It’s the law versus your loyalty for your dad,” he explained. “It’s kind of like [being] in the middle. When I say I love my dad still, I’m just thinking, ‘Damn, I don’t know if my mom is going to be cool with that.’ It’s hard. It’s in the middle. I love my mom, but I also love my dad.”

While Mohammed said he loved his mother deeply, he worries that he’s now lost his father, too.

The teen said he still doesn’t know if he believes his dad is really guilty.

“I wasn’t actually there to see what happened. That’s between God and my mom. My mom was there – she knows who did it. Maybe my dad did it, maybe he didn’t,” he said. “Even [if] my dad did that, I still have love for him. It’s still my dad.”

Mohammed said the verdict is especially difficult to swallow because his father never had a history of violence in the family.

“My dad was never like that, never ever like that. My dad was never aggressive, never physical, never any of that stuff. I mean, it’s so confusing,” he said.

The teenager said he and his younger brother, Ali, have differing opinions when it comes to whether or not their father committed the crime. Still, those opinions won’t pit the brothers against one another.

“My brother and I are best friends. We’re really close. We don’t agree with each other, but that’s not going to ruin our brotherhood,” said Mohammed, adding that he respects the opinions of all of his siblings on this case, but stands by his own as well.

“I lost my parents, but I still have my siblings. I’ve trying to hold it together. There’s a lot going on,” he added.

Despite a verdict in place and Al-Himidi awaiting his sentencing on May 15, Mohammed said closure for the family still seems elusive at this point.

“Right now, to be honest with you, I don’t really feel a sense of closure. I just feel a sense of the family being even more separated,” he said.

Mohammed currently lives with relatives in Texas. He’s graduating from high school in May and said he plans to pursue a career in counseling, focusing on children and teens who have experienced this same type of trauma.

<![CDATA[Stowaway Teen Stirs Airport Security Concern ]]> Mon, 21 Apr 2014 15:50:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP737537110995.jpg

A 15-year-old boy scrambled over an airport fence, crossed a tarmac and climbed into a jetliner's wheel well, then flew for five freezing hours to Hawaii -- a misadventure that stirred concern about possible weak spots in the security system that protects the nation's airline fleet.

The boy, who lives in Santa Clara, Calif., and attends a local high school, hopped out of the wheel well of a Boeing 767 on the Maui airport tarmac Sunday. Authorities found him wandering around the airport grounds with no identification. He was questioned by the FBI and taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he was found to be unharmed.

FBI spokesman Tom Simon in Honolulu said the teen did not remember the flight from San Jose.

It was not immediately clear how the boy stayed alive in the unpressurized space, where temperatures at cruising altitude can fall well below zero and the air is too thin for humans to stay conscious. An FAA study of stowaways found that some went into a hibernation-like state.

On Monday, authorities tried to determine how the boy slipped through multiple layers of security, including wide-ranging video surveillance, German shepherds and Segway-riding police officers.

Security footage from the San Jose airport verified that the boy climbed a fence and crossed a runway to get to Hawaiian Airlines Flight 45 on Sunday morning, Simon said.

That airport, in the heart of Silicon Valley, is surrounded by fences, although many sections do not have barbed wire and could easily be scaled.

The boy climbed over during the night, ``under the cover of darkness,'' San Jose airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes said Monday.

Hours later, surveillance video at Kahului Airport showed the boy getting out of the wheel well after landing, according to a statement from Hawaii's Department of Transportation. The video was not released due to the ongoing investigation.

Hawaiian Airlines spokeswoman Alison Croyle said airline personnel noticed the boy on the ramp after the flight arrived and immediately notified airport security.

``Our primary concern now is for the well-being of the boy, who is exceptionally lucky to have survived,'' Croyle said.

Isaac Yeffet, a former head of security for the Israeli airline El Al who now runs his own firm, Yeffet Security Consultants, said the breech shows that U.S. airport security still has weaknesses, despite billions of dollars invested.

``Shame on us for doing such a terrible job,'' he said. ``Perimeters are not well protected. We see it again and again.''

A congressman who serves on the Homeland Security committee wondered how the teen could have sneaked onto the airfield unnoticed.

``I have long been concerned about security at our airport perimeters. (hash)Stowaway teen demonstrates vulnerabilities that need to be addressed,'' tweeted Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat who represents the San Francisco Bay Area's eastern cities and suburbs.

Unlike checkpoint security inside the airport, which is the responsibility of the Transportation Security Administration, airport perimeters are policed by local authorities as well as federal law enforcement.

Airport police were working with the FBI and the Transportation Security Administration to review security.

The boy was released to child protective services in Hawaii and not charged with a crime, Simon said.

San Jose police say they will forward the findings of their investigation to the district attorney, who can decide whether to file criminal charges in California.

The FAA says 105 stowaways have sneaked aboard 94 flights worldwide since 1947, and about 1 out of 4 survived. But agency studies say the actual numbers are probably higher, as some survivors may have escaped unnoticed, and bodies could fall into the ocean undetected.

In August, a 13- or 14-year-old boy in Nigeria survived a 35-minute trip in the wheel well of a domestic flight after stowing away. Authorities credited the flight's short duration and its altitude of about 25,000 feet. Others who hid in wheel wells have died, including a 16-year-old killed aboard a flight from Charlotte, N.C., to Boston in 2010 and a man who fell onto a suburban London street as a flight from Angola began its descent in 2012.

An FAA review of high-altitude wheel well survivors said they typically clamber past the main landing gear into a wing recess area next to where the gear retracts. On some aircraft, that space is large enough for two small adults.

The FAA found that all wheel-well stowaways will lose consciousness at high altitude from lack of oxygen, and that their freezing bodies go into a state somewhat similar to hibernation. At 38,000 feet -- the cruising altitude of the Hawaiian Airlines flight -- the outside air temperature is about -85 degrees. That would usually be deadly, but some people survive because their breathing, heart rate and brain activity slow down.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Food Banks Brace for Higher Food Costs]]> Mon, 21 Apr 2014 18:55:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/0421-FoodBank.jpg

The rising cost of produce due to California's severe drought is now impacting local food banks.

Bay Area food banks are bracing for the higher food costs and are hoping for more donations to help needy families.

"When people are talking about a one-cent rise in food item it doesn't seem like much, but when you're talking about millions of pounds you're talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars that we might potentially have to make up to keep the same inventory out there," said Michael Altfest of the Alameda County Community Food Bank.

The food bank serves one in every six people in Alameda County, which means they will buy nearly 9 million pounds of fresh produce for people who can't afford it or are unable to purchase it in their neighborhoods.

Altfest said as California farmers charge more or plant fewer crops due to the drought, food banks may have to buy more food out of state, which would mean higher transportation costs.

Food bank leaders around the Bay Area are looking to increase fundraising efforts.

"Giving people less is not an option for us or any food bank," Altfest said.

Barbara Gonzalez and her husband use Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose to help with groceries.

"It's going to hurt me a lot," she said of any drop in food bank services. "It's going to hurt the pocket, but we'll do what we have to do to keep surviving."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Texas Dad Shot Son, 10: Police]]> Mon, 21 Apr 2014 17:47:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Forest-Hill-Nesbitt.jpg

A 10-year-old boy remains hospitalized at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth after police in Forest Hill say he was shot by his own father.

Byron Nesbitt, 32, was arrested and charged with shooting his son in the course of an argument with his wife.

Investigators said Nesbitt's wife called 911 shortly after midnight early Sunday morning, when he arrived home intoxicated.

There was an argument and according to police, Nesbitt's wife piled their kids and others into a van, about six of them in all, and tried to drive away.

"As she was fleeing, the husband attacked, beating on the windshield with a handgun, and as she was leaving, he fired several shots at the van," said Forest Hill Police Capt. Jerry Cosby. "At least one of the bullets had penetrated the van and came through and struck the 10-year-old in the hip."

Nesbitt already faces some serious charges and possibly more after the case is filed with the district attorney's office.

Forest Hill police said the boy is expected to make a full recovery. Nesbitt posted $75,000 bond and was released from jail at 6 p.m. Monday.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News/Forest Hill Police]]>