<![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 Tue, 06 Oct 2015 23:38:27 -0700 Tue, 06 Oct 2015 23:38:27 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Man Dies in SJ Construction Accident]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 17:34:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/221*120/constructionworker.PNG

A man died in a construction accident involving an excavator just south of San Jose on Tuesday, according to the San Jose Fire Department.

Fire officials said they received a call about the incident Tuesday morning. Medics were called out to the intersection of Bruce Way and Almaden Road at 11:20 a.m. The victim was pronounced dead on arrival.

According to a Santa Clara County sheriff's spokesman, the bucket of an excavator struck and killed
the man. The spokesperson said the victim was in his mid 20s who had been working in the site. The man's name is not yet being released.

Cal-OSHA has launched an investigation into the accident. A Cal-OSHA spokesperson said the agency received a call about the incident at 11:55 a.m. from the Santa Clara Sheriff's Office and the victim's employer.

"Cal-OSHA is actively investigating this incident — we have an investigator on scene right now," the spokesperson said.

The NBC Bay Area chopper flew over the construction zone, which showed trailers belonging to Ciarra Construction in San Jose. The company told NBC Bay Area they have no information about the incident.

The body, covered in a tarp, was still at the construction site as of Tuesday afternoon.

This is a developing story, stay tuned for updates.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[New Report Grades BART, Muni Rail Stations]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 16:25:36 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/181*120/Munitrain.jpg

San Francisco-area public transit rail stations are the best in California for overall use and access to jobs, housing and amenities, according to a new report released Tuesday. (Access the full report here).

The report gave both the BART and San Francisco Municipal Railway systems high marks but found the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority's rail system to be the worst in the state, according to the criteria.

The best station in the entire state was Muni's Church Street station at Church and Market streets, which earned an A+ grade for its easy access to housing and retail, convenient transit access and land use policies.

The study was compiled through a collaboration between the University of California at Berkeley School of Law's Center for Law, Energy and the Environment and the non-profit research group Next 10.

To assign the grades, the researchers examined walkability scores, the number of employees and residents in the area who use public transit, the affordability of the surrounding neighborhood, and area crime rates, among other indicators.

Muni overall scored highest in California with a B. Its Church Street station scored highest and its Third and Marin station -- a low-density industrial area between the Dogpatch and Bayview neighborhoods -- scored the agency's lowest mark.

BART was close behind with a B-, its best station being Civic Center/UN Plaza and worst being San Francisco International Airport, according to the criteria.

Civic Center's easy access to other transit options, nearby amenities and destinations set it above other well-performing BART stations like the nearby Montgomery and Powell stations, the 24th Street Mission station, and the Ashby station in Berkeley.

The researchers acknowledged that the airport station served a different function than was being measured in the report and housing options and walkability there were necessarily going to be sparse. Other poorly performing BART stations included the South San Francisco, Orinda, and North Concord stations.

While BART and Muni scored high marks, the worst rail system in the state was not far away. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority earned a C- with the Japantown/Ayer station in San Jose scoring best for that system and the Middlefield station in Mountain View scoring worst.

The Japantown/Ayer station scored high for access to amenities and walkability but earned a low mark for use as most people in the area chose to drive rather than take public transit.

Middlefield, a low-density area on the edge of the VTA service area, scored poorly all around, according to the report.

The report's authors hope the information can encourage more transit-centric development near the poorly scored stations as the state's population grows.

Housing construction has not kept pace with the growing population, making more housing construction a necessity. Expanding transit can be extremely expensive -- heavy rail can cost between $230 million and $430 million per mile -- so stations should be used as effectively as possible, according to the report.

More compact development in rail-connected neighborhoods can allow the population to grow while keeping housing more affordable and pollution down.

While such improvements might not be possible for some stations, such as those serving airports or near major freeways, measuring transit stations according to this criteria can provide an indication as to where development can be focused or where more use of transit should be encouraged, organizers of the study said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[6,000 Federal Prisoners to Be Granted Early Release: Report]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 12:48:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ObamaPrison1.jpg

The Justice Department will grant early releases to about 6,000 federal inmates within weeks, according to a report published Tuesday, NBC News reported. 

The inmates will be freed between October 30 and November 2, according to the Washington Post, which said the move was an attempt to reduce overcrowding and support drug offenders who had received stiff sentences.

It is the largest ever one-time release of federal prisoners, the newspaper said.

Photo Credit: File--AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Persons of Interest Sought in Fatal Shooting of Hiker]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 23:23:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1006-2015-Fairfax.jpg

The Marin County Sheriff's Office are searching for three persons of interest in the shooting death of a 67-year-old hiker.

The hiker has been identified by family and friends as Steve Carter, who authorities said was killed by "multiple gunshot wounds" while walking his Doberman Pinscher on a popular hiking trail in Fairfax.

Officials late Tuesday released surveillance video showing two of three people who are considered persons of interest. Video shows a man wearing a distinctive white hat with what is believed to be a California bear on it and a woman with dreadlocks.

The sheriff's office have no released video or a description of third person of interest.

"We have a great desire to talk to these people," Lt. Doug Pittman said. "If nothing else they were present in and around the time when this assault took place."

Pittman said the sheriff's office received a 911 call Monday just after 6 p.m. reporting a body off Sir Francis Drake Boulevard on Old Railroad Grade trail in the Loma Alta Open Space Preserve. The man had been staying with friends in Marin County, Pittman said, and had simply been out walking his dog, which was shot, too. The dog survived.

While Pittman said detectives "know a lot" about the dead hiker, they did not want to immediately share that information. He said he has no idea if the act was random or not.

"What led to the circumstances of his death, that's what we're trying to determine right now," Pittman said, adding that authorities are unclear about any type of motive.

Pittman said that the victim's 2003 silver Volkswagen Jetta was most likely possibly stolen, and deputies are looking for the car, which has a California license plate 6PPG662.

The trail and the surrounding area were closed Tuesday during the investigation, which included members of a search-and-rescue team combing the area.

NBC Bay Area's Stephanie Chuang and Lisa Fernandez contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Marin County Sheriff's Office
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<![CDATA[Debris Piles Spark Health Concerns in San Carlos]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 23:19:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1007-2015-SanCarlosDebris.jpg

Some San Carlos residents are complaining of health problems after dust from an illegal dump site sent a cloud of debris over a neighborhood.

"I saw a brown plume of dust coming into our neighborhood, the sun blotted out and the air smelled terrible," said Ben Fuller, president of the greater East San Carlos Neighborhood Association.

Fuller said the incident occurred on Saturday, when winds kicked up dust from a pile of construction debris, blew across the Caltrain tracks and into his neighborhood. The debris consisted of old pipes dug up at a nearby sewer and water project.

A spokesperson for SamTrans, which owns the land where the debris was left, said the materials found at the site is an illegal dumping by one of two sewer project contractors. SamTrans never agreed to use the area as a dump site and has no idea what type of materials are in the pile.

Another neighbor who did not want to be identified reported experiencing coughing and shortness of breath after breathing in the dust that traveled to her house.

The City of San Carlos, which hired the contractors, did not return calls seeking comment on this story late Tuesday. But Fuller said city officials talked to him and was told the dust was tested by an independent agency, but has not been informed what is in the land.

NBC Bay Area was unable to reach contractors late Tuesday for comment. SamTrans said it has not discussed legal action.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Marin County Sees Decline of Breast Cancer Cases]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 23:31:28 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/1006-2015-BreastCancer.jpg

Breast cancer cases are on the decline in Marin County and have hit a new low.

The trend is a significant change of direction for a county once known for having the highest breast cancer rates in California.

Alarming breast cancer rates in Marin County got Judi Shils' attention more than a decade ago. Shils and scores of volunteers set out to find what was making so many women sick.

"I started the Marin Cancer Project based on a board of supervisors meeting in 2002 and hearing our breast cancer rates had risen 60 percent in eight years," Shils said. "But we didn't have the money to figure out why."

In 2012, the county reported 130 cases of breast cancer per 100,000 women. The 2012 figures are 31 percent lower than the highest rate of 188 cases reported in 2001.

Researchers point to a women's health initiative publishing results that hormone therapy was dangerous, which prompted women to quit taking the treatment.

Once women stopped taking hormone therapy, researchers saw cancer rates drop rapidly in Marin County and in other parts of the country.

Shils is now advocating for a healthier environment and is still fighting to get the number of breast cancer cases in Marin County to zero.

With Marin County's number of breast cancer cases declining, researchers said San Mateo County now has the most cases of breast cancer in the Bay Area.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Pope Calls for Tolerance, Loving Gestures, in Final Mass]]> Sun, 27 Sep 2015 16:05:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-490326864.jpg

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims gathered in the heart of Philadelphia to watch as Pope Francis culminates his historic visit to the United States by celebrating Mass and talking once again about the importance of the family — the theme of the World Meeting of Families event that brought him to the country for the first time.

Francis used the Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in downtown Philadelphia to stress tolerance, patience and the acceptance of others.

"To raise doubts about the working of the Spirit, to give the impression that it cannot take place in those who are not 'part of our group,' who are not 'like us,' is a dangerous temptation," he said in a homily. "Not only does it block conversion to the faith; it is a perversion of faith."

According to an "unofficial estimate" by people working the event, a crowd of 860,000 started making its way to security lines early in the day for a chance to get to see His Holiness up close. Even more watched on about 40 large TV screens that were set up in the city. Most of those screens were located about 25 blocks away from the Mass location.

Francis told the pilgrims that "our common house can no longer tolerate sterile divisions."

On family, he said love is shown by small daily signs which make people feel at home, and that faith grows when it is lived and shaped by love.

"That is why our families, our homes, are true domestic churches," he said. "They are the right place for faith to become life, and life to become faith."

He added: "Anyone who wants to bring into this world a family which teaches children to be excited by every gesture aimed at overcoming evil -- a family which shows that the Spirit is alive and at work -- will encounter our gratitude and our appreciation. Whatever the family, people, region, or religion to which they belong."

Toward the end of his homily, he asked the audience a simple question.

"In my own home, do we shout? Or do we speak to each other in love and tenderness? That is a good way of measuring our love."

At the end of the Mass, Francis had one final message to those in attendance.

"Thank you very much for your participation and your love for the family," he said in English. "And I ask you to pray for me. Don't forget."

The Mass ends Francis' whirlwind six-day U.S. trip in which he has visited the White House, addressed a joint session of Congress, participated in a multi-religious service at Ground Zero, addressed world leaders at the United Nation's General Assembly and met privately with victims of clergy sex abuse at a seminary just outside of Philadelphia. The pontiff, who is known as the people's pope for his outward display of humility, also met with the homeless at a shelter and inmates at a jail.

The City of Brotherly Love opened its doors this weekend not only for Francis (Archbishop Charles Chaput even joked about renaming the city "Francisville"), but to the thousands of people who arrived in the city to catch a glimpse of him at one of his many city-wide events.

Among those in attendance at the final Mass was 61-year-old Junior Isaac, who arrived in Philadelphia without tickets.

"I wanted to be part of history," said Isaac, who was wearing a U.S. Army hat. "I came all the way from Rhode Island without tickets. Within two hours I had four. I think God is a miracle and a feast.”

Latonya Williams, a childcare provider from Philadelphia, attended the event with her three children.

“I think he’s the best," Williams said of Francis. "I love his humble spirit. I wasn’t that interested in the other popes, and I’m not Catholic."

A Grand Arrival

The "Popemobile," a white Jeep Wrangler, began carrying Francis toward the alter at about 3:15 p.m. to the roars of scores of people lining the streets of Philly. His motorcade stopped briefly to view the "Knotted Grotto," a public art installation at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul.

The Grotto is a place anyone can go, write their intentions down, and tie them onto one side of the courtyard fence to be "undone" by another person. People leaving intentions tie their own and then untie someone else's to move it to the other side in homage to Francis' favorite image of the Blessed Mother as Mary Undoer of Knots.

Some 500 students from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, boarded buses Saturday night for their pilgrimage to the World Meeting of Families event.

The students, part of the university's campus ministry group, arrived in Philadelphia around 7 a.m.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Nicole Steiner, 19, a sophomore originally from Massachusetts. "It's cool we're able to see him in our own country. He's an inspiring figure."

The students will board buses back to Notre Dame Sunday night.

Courtney Morin, 19, also a sophomore, said she's excited to be part of something so big.

"He's such a huge figure in the world," said Morin, who is from Indiana. "For me, it's being part of a moment when so many things can happen."

The two young woman and several other students from Notre Dame stopped to pose for a photo at Philly's iconic LOVE sculpture before heading to the Parkway to find a spot to watch the Mass. They have tickets to get into the closer areas, they said.

Students from Notre Dame have been following the pope's movement throughout his historic visit to the United States.

"We had papal pancakes Thursday to watch his address to Congress," Morin said.

A flock of Father Thien Nguyen's pilgrims donned bright yellow shirts and waited eagerly in front of a Jumbotron outside Philadelphia's City Hall on Sunday morning.

Nguyen said the group of about 150 people from the Vietnamese Catholic community in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Canada traveled to Philly for Francis' public Mass. Nguyen heard confession from a woman as many of his older pilgrims hunked down by the bigscreen to watch the Mass.

"This group decided to stay here near the screen, food and bathrooms because they're older," Nguyen explained. "One group had tickets and went all the way up (the Parkway)."

Nguyen said the Vietnamese faithful love the pope because of his care for the poor and the way he "represents Christ in the world."

The group celebrated a Vietnamese Mass Sunday morning before the papal service later, he said.

"We pray the pope will continue to be a great leader," Nguyen said. "We love the pope."

Up Next

After the Mass the Pope will travel back to Rome. His exit also means the World Meeting of Families ends. It was announced at the Mass that the next chapter in the religious event will take place in Dublin, Ireland, in 2018.

Photo Credit: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Person Fatally Struck By Caltrain in Burlingame]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 20:28:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/223*120/caltrain.jpg

A person was fatally struck by Caltrain in Burlingame late Tuesday, officials said.

At 7:02 p.m., Southbound Train No. 284 fatally struck a person who was illegally on the tracks near the Broadway Caltrain Station, San Mateo County Transit District spokesperson Tasha Bartholomew said.

Train were temporarily stopped in both directions near the incident. Authorities said nearly 500 passengers were onboard the train. No injuries onboard the train were reported.

<![CDATA[John Kerry Stops in Haiti to Discuss Election Preparations]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 18:37:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KerryHaitiElections.jpg

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stopped in Haiti's capital on Tuesday to discuss preparations for the country's upcoming elections and encourage people to refrain from disrupting balloting after a messy parliamentary first round in August.

In some districts, legislative elections held Aug. 9 were so plagued with disorder and voter intimidation that makeup elections will have to be held in more than two dozen constituencies. Monitors with the Organization of American States said the irregularities were not enough to invalidate overall results.

"Haiti needs governing institutions that are legitimate and representative, and those cannot come into being without free and fair elections that take part without intimidation, without violence," Kerry said on the grounds of Haiti's National Palace in Port-au-Prince.

Haiti will hold its first round of presidential elections on Oct. 25 at the same time as runoffs for legislative seats. With none of the 54 presidential candidates likely to dominate voting, this month's election is expected to force the two highest vote-getters into a Dec. 27 runoff to become Haiti's next leader.

With outgoing President Michel Martelly at his side, Kerry encouraged Haitians to listen to those candidates who offer "real plans" to advance the country, noting there needs to be confidence in the political system to help attract investment and jobs.

He said the U.S. and the rest of the international community hope that the Oct. 25 elections will be a "smoother process" than what took place in August.

In a Caribbean country that has undergone more than 30 coups in 200 years. Kerry stressed that it was only through holding elections that a "legitimate transfer of power can take place."

Martelly thanked Kerry for Washington's support with helping to finance elections, strengthen the roughly 12,000-member national police force and boost the chronically struggling economy. The U.S. is Haiti's largest international donor, providing more than $30 million to support this year's electoral process alone.

Acknowledging that the Aug. 9 elections were "far from perfect," Martelly said that the upcoming vote on Oct. 25 "should be better" organized by election authorities.

"I laud the help the United States gave us for the electoral process, which must end before the end of the year," said Martelly, who repeated that he would leave office in February to honor the Constitution and not in May when he was previously expected to depart. He is barred from running for a consecutive term.

Kerry stopped in Haiti on his return to Washington from Chile, where he attended the second "Our Ocean" conference. He said the U.S. was working to finalize an agreement with Cuba on a protected marine area, among other announcements.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Human Ancestor Naledi Was Handy With Tools: Scientists]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 18:24:59 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_146703177011.jpg

Homo naledi, the ancient human ancestor whose fossils have been retrieved from a South African cave, may have been handy with tools and walked much like a person, according to scientists who examined its well-preserved foot and hand bones, NBC News reported.

Its foot and hand anatomy shared many characteristics with our species but possessed some primitive traits useful for tree climbing, the researchers said on Tuesday. Scientists last month announced the discovery of this previously unknown species in the human linage in a cave northwest of Johannesburg. The new research offers fresh insight into a creature that is providing valuable clues about human evolution. Paleoanthropologist Tracy Kivell of Britain's University of Kent said it boasted a hand "specialized for fine, powerful manipulation."

Photo Credit: File--AP]]>
<![CDATA[New Construction Company Selected for South Bay Medical Center]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 18:46:51 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/santa-clara-medical-project.jpg

After a series of construction mishaps, delays and public fighting, Santa Clara County leaders have picked a new construction company to take over the embattled job of building a new medical center.

The move comes after the county fired Turner Construction Company over the delayed new facility at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. The $300 million project was supposed to be completed two weeks ago.

The county has hired the Boldt Company to take over the project. Crew members from the company spent Tuesday visiting the Valley Medical Center site and trying to figure out the best way to get the 168 hospital bed facility built.

Turner Construction had been working on the project for about five years before being fired over the delays. The county said it has been losing about $100,000 a day in lost revenue.

"It's very important for the people who need that care," Santa Clara County Board of Supervisor President Dave Cortese said. "And we're really constrained as long as this problem drags on."

County Executive Jeff Smith said he expects Boldt to come up with a plan in about two months. In addition, Smith points out the fight with Turner is just starting.

"We do have a new contractor and now we have Turner suing us," Smith said. "So we have lots of new costs."

County officials said it could still be a year before the new medical facility is ready.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Norwegian Airline CEO Hints to $69 Flights From U.S to Europe]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 18:03:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NorwegianCEO.jpg

Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA hopes to sell one-way tickets to Europe for $69 as early as 2017 by flying from U.S. airports that have low fees, Chief Executive Officer Bjørn Kjos said in an interview Tuesday, NBC News reported.

Europe's third-largest budget airline is considering flights to Edinburgh and Bergen, Norway from U.S. airports that have little to no international service today, such as New York's Westchester County Airport and Connecticut's Bradley International Airport, just north of Hartford, Kjos said.

Average prices on such routes are likely to be closer to $300 round trip, Kjos said, compared with many of Norwegian's fares that run more than $500 today because of higher fees levied by busier airports.

Photo Credit: File--Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fremont Man Shot Mom, Cut Out Her Heart: Police]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 18:59:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/PETTIGEN.jpg

Grisly details have emerged in the case of Omar Malik Pettigen, the 31-year-old Fremont resident suspected of killing his mother in her apartment.

According to a court affidavit by Fremont police Detective Craig Gaches, Pettigen told detectives he assaulted his mother with a tomahawk axe, shot her, stabbed her chest and used a serrated blade knife to cut it open.

Once her chest was cut open, he grabbed her heart with his hand and picked it up and then put it back on her.

He then walked out of the apartment and rented a room at the Fremont Hotel where he stayed for a short time. Pettigen then took BART to San Francisco and rented a room at the Omni Hotel. He even stopped by a friend’s workplace to say hello.

Pettigen told officers he killed his mother because she was killing herself with the oxycodone she had become addicted to due to problems with her hip and knees. He told officers his mother had become crazy and had pointed a gun at him while sitting on her bed, according to court documents.

“I asked how he felt about his actions and he said ‘good,’” Gaches said in the affidavit. “During the interview, Omar did not show any signs of remorse by crying or being upset in any way.”

The Fremont Unified School District has identified Pettigen’s mother as 64-year-old Nailah Pettigen, a retired teacher who taught special education at American High School in Fremont. Pettigen retired in 2013.

Officers who were conducting a welfare check on Nailah Pettigen found her disemboweled in her apartment in the 3900 block of Monroe Avenue around 11 a.m. on Sept 29.

Deputies investigating the scene of the crime believe Nailah Pettigen suffered a gunshot wound to her head and upper torso.

Pettigen was arrested in Kensington in unincorporated Contra Costa County at about 6 a.m. Sunday after police received a call about a suspicious person with a duffel bag on the porch of a home on Lake Drive. Officers found him walking along the road and detained him, police said.

He is being held without bail at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin and was arraigned in court Tuesday.

Pettigen told officers that he has traveled to Morocco before settling somewhere between the Lake Tahoe and Sacramento area. He said he was living in a tent and working on a marijuana farm.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Fremont Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Reddit Premieres Upvoted]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 17:13:51 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/upvotedscreen.jpg

Reddit has launched Upvoted, a website for original editorial content.

The popular San Francisco-based online community of more than 200 million monthly users worldwide announced the debut on the company blog Tuesday.

Product manager Heath Black wrote that Upvoted will be a home for original written stories, videos and art, plus a podcast. There will be between 10 and 40 new stories to peruse each day.

Despite the name, user voting and comments — the lifeblood of Reddit — are not part of the site.

Photo Credit: Upvoted]]>
<![CDATA[Tech Expansion Fuels More Silicon Valley Traffic]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 18:50:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/210*120/New+Jwersey+GSP+Garden+State+Parkway+Traffic+Generic+Traffic.JPG

The South Bay tech economy is hotter than ever with Samsung just moving in, Paypal growing and Apple about to build.

But with the tech expansion comes new jobs, which means traffic issues that have plagued the Silicon Valley will not get any better anytime soon.

San Jose just welcomed QCT, a data storage company that plans to hire 300 people -- all of whom will have to drive to and from work. City officials said they are looking to expand transit option like BART.

In addition, city officials said they are working to get higher-density housing built along transit corridors where people can get to work and back.

Solutions for the expected increase in traffic will take some time. BART is not due in the area until 2016 and officials are still talking about bringing high-speed rail to the Bay Area.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Pot Startup Housed Inside Twitter Building]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 16:56:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/marijuana-GettyImages_698723.jpg

Marijuana-related startups have the opportunity to score funding or business incubation opportunities thanks to a company called WeedClub.

7X7 reported that WeedClub, which is located in San Francisco's Twitter building, has hosted two "@420Pitch" sessions where marijuana-related startups have had the opportunity to meet top venture capitalists, raise millions and join Silicon Valley incubators.

The publication reported that the first-place winner in the most recent session was Annabís, a New Jersey manufacturer of women's luxury leather purses that double as weed carriers.

The WeedClub website also features local businesses like San Francisco's Marvina, which bills itself as a curated monthly wine club for medical marijuana, and Oakland's PureCure, which sells products such as edible cannabis strips that dissolve under the tongue.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fort Bragg to Restaurants: Use Paper Plates in Drought]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 15:53:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/166*120/plastics2.jpg

A California city has ordered restaurants to cut back on dishwashing by using disposable plates, cutlery and cups as a way to save water during the fourth year of drought in the state.

Officials in the lumber town of Fort Bragg, Mendocino County declared a water emergency after a river that provides the coastal town's drinking water got so low that ocean water seeped into city pipes, The San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday.

The City Council ordered residents and businesses to cut water use by 30 percent compared to last year's consumption rate.

<![CDATA[Fantasy Sports Sites FanDuel, Draft Kings Under Fire]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 19:17:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/FanDuel.jpg

The multi-billion dollar Fantasy Sports industry is taking a hit.

Two of the most popular sites, FanDuel and Draft Kinds, are under fire after an employee tweeted data that could be used to gain an advantage in drafting fantasy teams. That same employee, who works for Draft Kings, won $350,000 on FanDuel last week.

More than 50 million people play fantasy sports by visiting an online site like FanDuel and add money to a weekly pot. Participants are given a budget, select professional players for their personal team and have an opportunity to win money based on how well their team does.

San Jose-resident Mike Bingham plays on Draft Kings and was considering participating on FanDuel, but not anymore after the recent news.

"I'm definitely not going to invest more money into either site until there more transparency going on for an employee of a competitor to win $350,000," Bingham said. "That's a red flag to me."

FanDuel and Draft Kings on Tuesday defended the employee saying he did nothing wrong. The Fantasy Sports sites also released a joint statement saying their employees are barred from participating in any online Fantasy Sports contests until the industry develops a more detailed policy concerning the use of competitive data.

But the scandal has already prompted lawmakers to question whether Congress needs to look into the industry.

"The answer is yes," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada. "And it also should be a warning shot to everybody that online gaming is a really scary thing and we better look at all of it."

Photo Credit: File--AP]]>
<![CDATA[20-Foot Python Attacks Pet Shop Owner]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 16:20:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/snakestore.jpg

 A 20-foot python turned on a north Kentucky pet store owner "like lightning" on Monday, biting him in the arm and wrapping itself around his body while a customer screamed in terror, NBC News reported.

Then the 125-pound snake began to squeeze.

"A horror movie in real life is what that was," the customer, Melissa McElfresh, later told local NBC affiliate WLWT. "Probably the most scariest thing I've ever seen in my life. And I'm still in shock over it."

Pythons kill their prey by coiling themselves around their target's bodies and slowly crushing them. So when Terry Wilkins, owner of Captive Born Reptiles, had to clean out the snake's cage, he had McElfresh tap on its glass to distract it.

But McElfresh saw the snake's head turn toward Wilkins.

<![CDATA[Chicago's Top Cop Addresses Critics, Says He'll Stay on the Job]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 16:36:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/190*120/168171599%281%29.jpg

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy faced tough questions at a City Council budget hearing Tuesday afternoon, one day after several city aldermen publicly called for his firing following another violent summer in the city.

"I can't worry about what people say," he said. "I understand their frustration and I am frustrated too. I can only control what I can control, which is working hard and keeping my nose to the grindstone."

The comments come in response to a press conference Monday, where 15 members of the Black Caucus called for Chicago's top cop to be fired. McCarthy has held the top spot for five years.

"Supt. McCarthy has had five years, he has failed," said Ald. Roderick Sawyer, chairman of the Black Caucus.

Many of the aldermen in Tuesday's budget committee meeting were openly hostile, saying the department is not meeting the needs of their communities.

"Not once have you come and walked and marched in my community since you have been superintendent," Ald. Anthony Beale said. "Not once have you called to say, 'How can I partner with you to make the community better?'"

At Tuesday's meeting, members of the Black Caucus continued citing data to back their calls for McCarthy's removal. Ald. Howard Brookins (21st Ward) compared the number of shooting incidents in Chicago this year to last. According to Brookins, there were 1,581 incidents in 2014 and 1,870 incidents already in 2015.

The comments come on the heels of a particularly violent September, which saw two consecutive weekends with more than 50 people shot.

"My constituents get sick and tired of hearing about statistics and no action," Ald. Carrie Austin said.

Despite the violent end to summerfewer people were reportedly shot last weekend than any since February.

Ald. Brookins and Ald. Anthony Beale (9th Ward) also pointed to the number of African-American officers in the police department as one of McCarthy's failures, saying 23 percent of the department and 32 percent of the command is African-American.

On Monday, McCarthy announced the retirement of his trusted second-in-command, Alfonza Wysinger. Wysinger is the highest-ranking African American in the Chicago Police Department. 

Ald. Beale also accused McCarthy of "systematically denying" the ability of African-American officers in the department to be promoted.

Despite the complaints, McCarthy has supporters both in the council chamber and on the fifth floor of City Hall. Mayor Rahm Emanuel was among those defending him Tuesday.

"My focus, and everyone's focus should be on gangs and guns, not on Garry," Emanuel said. "The problems related to gun violence are about too easy access to guns, too few penalties and not enough access to job opportunities." 

McCarthy said he did not take the criticism from the aldermen personally, adding that he has the resources he needs to get the job done and he has no plans of going anywhere. 

Photo Credit: File - Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Manny Pacquiao Announces 2016 Senate Run in Philippines]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 13:25:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/MannySenate.jpg

Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao announced Monday he will run for Senate in the Philippines in 2016, NBC News reported.

Pacquiao, who is currently a member of the Philippine House of Representatives, confirmed his plans to GMA News Online, saying he would formally announce his senatorial bid within the week.

According to GMA News Online, Pacquiao made the announcement during his state of the district address.

The 36-year-old athlete and politician has served in Congress since 2010, after a landslide victory in the district of Sarangani. Pacquiao has also been active in U.S. politics, making endorsements for Nevada Senator Harry Reid and California Governor Jerry Brown in 2010.

Photo Credit: File--AP]]>
<![CDATA[Toddler Contracts E. Coli and Dies]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 18:59:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/guay.jpg

The parents of a toddler say their son passed away after contracting E. coli at the Oxford County Fair in Maine.

Beth and Jon Guay of Poland, Maine, say that their 20-month-old son Colton may have contracted Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome after being exposed to E. coli bacteria while visiting a petting zoo at the Oxford Fair.

"It is believed that he contracted it through simple interaction with farm animals at a local fair," Guay said in a Facebook post Tuesday. "It began with severe diarrhea and ended with massive brain seizures that ultimately took his life."

“He was just a happy, happy baby,” said Beth Guay. “We’re just figuring out how we’re going to go forward without him.”

Public health officials in Maine confirmed that two children who recently attended the fair contracted E. coli and said they are working to determine whether there are any other common links to the two cases. Authorities are not releasing any further information, citing confidentiality laws. 

On Tuesday night, Victor Herschaft said his son, Myles, has also contracted HUS from E. coli exposure. The Guay’s said they met the Herschaft family at the hospital, and realized their children had attended the same petting zoo at the same fair.

“Myles is still battling with HUS,” said Herschaft. “We need more people aware as more and more cases are appearing in recent months in Maine. And to the Guay family I’m so sorry for your loss.”

The traveling fair was held from Sept. 16 through Sept. 19. A fair spokesperson says this is a tragedy and they're not aware of any other cases. 

Dr. David Meguerdichian of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston says E.coli is a common bacteria that's found in both people and animal's intestinal tracks, but that some E. coli can make you sick. 

When necn asked Dr. Meguerdichian about animal transmission, he said that's a less common occurrence and something you don't see as often.

"You can get this from animals when there's contact with animal feces as well...Usually the cases we hear about in the news have been from food exposures or under-cooked food such as hamburger meat," he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, animals that can spread E. coli to humans are cows, especially calves, goats, sheep, and deer.

The CDC says the animals appear to be healthy and clean, but the germs can "quickly contaminate the animals skin, fur, feathers and the areas where they live."

Dr. Meguerdichian says hand sanitizer, if used properly, is a pretty good agent for decreasing the chances of being exposed to the bacteria, but he says washing hands with soap and water is the best approach to getting rid of the E.coli bacteria.

Symptoms of E.coli can include very severe diarrhea, sometimes bloody, a fever, and vomiting.

Most people can recover, but Dr. Meguerdichian says it can be more serious for people with compromised immune systems and for the young and really old.

E. coli is rare but has been connected to a number of fairs across the country in recent years, including cases in North Carolina, Oregon and Washington.

To prevent becoming ill, the CDC recommends the following:

  • Wash your hands often: In fact, wash your hands when leaving an animal area, even if you didn't touch an animal.
  • Eat and drink safely: Keep food and drinks out of animal areas, and do not share your food with animals.
  • Keep children safe around animals: Never allow a child to put their thumbs, fingers or objects in their mouth while interacting with animals.

The CDC also suggests leaving strollers, bottles and pacifiers outside of animal areas.

[CLICK HERE for more information on how to protect your family from E. coli exposure.]

Photo Credit: Jon Guay/Facebook
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<![CDATA[Missing Cargo Ship: Who Are the Americans Aboard?]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 10:19:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/missing-cargo-ship-splitscreen.jpg

Family members of the 28 Americans aboard a container ship believed to have sunk when Hurricane Joaquin swept the Bahamas are sharing the stories of their missing loved ones.

El Faro's American crew members range in age from 23 to 53 and include the ship's captain, second mate, several engineers and merchant marines and a cook, among others, NBC News reported. Many live in Florida but have ties to other areas of the eastern seaboard, including Maine, Massachusetts and New York.

Authorities have only recovered one body so far, and family members are holding out hope that the others are still alive.

Click through below for more on their stories.

Photo Credit: Family Photos Provided to NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Student Charged Over Mac and Cheese]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 12:25:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Luke+Gatti+mug+shot.jpg

A University of Connecticut student was arrested Sunday night after allegedly drinking at an on-campus dining area and scuffling with management over mac and cheese in an encounter that was captured on camera.

According to a report from UConn police, Luke Gatti, 19, of Bayville, New York, refused to leave the Union Street Market on the Storrs campus around 10 p.m. Sunday when he was denied service because he had been drinking there.

A nine-minute expletive-laden video posted on YouTube Monday appears to show Gatti confronting the market manager because he wanted bacon-jalapeno mac and cheese, then shoving the man several times until market staff detained him and police arrived.


Police responded after receiving a 911 call from someone who said the student refused to leave and the disturbance had turned physical.

Gatti was charged with second-degree breach of peace and first-degree criminal trespass. He is due in court on Oct. 13.

NBC Connecticut has reached out to Gatti, who had not responded as of Tuesday afternoon. It’s not clear if he has an attorney.

UConn issued a brief statement saying federal student privacy provisions prevent the university from discussing potential discipline cases involving students.

"Generally speaking, any UConn student found to have violated the provisions of the Student Code may face penalties imposed by the Division of Student Affairs that range from probation to expulsion," the e-mailed statement says.

According to court records from Massachusetts, Gatti was arrested twice in 2014, when he was a student at the University of Massachusetts. He was charged with disorderly conduct in one case and disorderly conduct and assault and battery on a police officer in the other.

No information was immediately available on either case.

Photo Credit: Amherst Police Department
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<![CDATA[New FDA Anti-Smoking Ads Target Black and Latino Youth]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 11:52:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/FDAKids.jpg

The Food and Drug Administration, never known for its cachet with the youth of America, is reaching out with a new hip-hop themed anti-smoking campaign, NBC News reported.  

Featuring YouTube videos of up-and-coming artists, it's seeking to discourage black and Hispanic youths from using tobacco.

"I reject anything including tobacco that tries to control me," one teenager after another says in one of the videos.

"We are working with DJs and musicians and artists that we hope will really help us to get the message out locally," said Kathy Crosby of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Guards Played Solitaire as 'El Chapo' Fled: Report]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 16:28:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_4877262150541.jpg

The men guarding Sinaloa cartel chief Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman were playing solitaire when he escaped from a high-security prison earlier this year, according to a Mexican newspaper. 

A pair of security guards had claimed that at 8:48 p.m., four minutes before it is believed the drug lord escaped on July 11, their computer monitors froze, according to Mexican newspaper El Universal.

The guards originally claimed they then made more than two dozen calls to alert Almoloya prison's monitoring center — and that when they finally rebooted their equipment, the kingpin had vanished, according to journalist Carlos Loret de Mola.

Now a judge says, citing security video, the screens never froze but were probably turned off — and that guards Carlos Sanches Garcia and Jose Daniel Aureoles Tabares lied in their initial account of that night, according to the paper.

Photo Credit: Mexico's Attorney General's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Gunman Threat Locks Down College]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 19:19:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/200*120/CCP+Community+College+of+Philadelphia+Arrest.JPG

Students at Philadelphia's community college sheltered in place Tuesday morning after police said a man threatened a student with a gun and then ran into a campus building. 

The main campus of the Community College of Philadelphia was put on lockdown around 9:30 a.m. as SWAT officers swept the Winnet Student Life Building along 17th Street near Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia Police said.

About two hours later, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said that police apprehended a 17-year-old suspect in a classroom inside the business school. He didn't, however, have a gun on him. Video from inside the school showed police leading a zip-tied young man from the building. Officers, one carrying a backpack, later led the hoodie-wearing suspect into Central Detectives.

Witnesses told officers that two males who knew each other got into an argument on the street outside the Winnet Building. At some point the suspect pulled a gun on the other man, who is a student, said Ramsey.

“He was seen going into that building,” said Ramsey.

Officers searched the building and found no gunman, said Ramsey. They expanded the search to include other classroom buildings and a parking garage.

The incident happened a day after the ATF and FBI told Philadelphia area colleges and universities to be on alert after a nondescript online threat of violence. That threat came to light following a shooting at a Oregon community college where a gunman killed nine people and injured nine others.

Ramsey said he didn't believe the man's motive had anything to do with the threat. There were no reports of shots fired or of any injuries.

It's not immediately clear if the suspect discarded a weapon or never had one. Police continued to search the campus Tuesday afternoon.

Initially, the college only announced that the Winnet Building was put on lockdown. By 11 a.m., the lockdown spread to the entire main campus as officials asked students to shelter in place.

As SkyForce10 hovered overhead multiple law enforcement vehicles could be seen blocking roads outside the college. You could also see students with backpacks leaving buildings on campus ahead of police locking down the rest of campus.

After noon, students and staff were released at 18th and Spring Garden as police said the campus would slowly reopen. The lockdown was officially lifted around 12:30 p.m.

Police tweeted out directions on how students could pick up their belongings.

Julia R. Masterman School and the Colonnade Condos, both directly across the street of the campus, were locked down as well. Nearby, St. Joseph's Prep was put on lock in — meaning no one could enter the building.

Students told NBC10 that while they were told to remain in nearby campus buildings, they were able to move around on the floor.

More than 34,000 students attend CCP. The college canceled main campus classes for the rest of the day and night.

This isn't the first gun scare at CCP. Back in May 2014 a student brandished a gun in the West Building of the college's main campus because he was allegedly upset over another student ratting on him. The gunman in that case Ryan Fitch is serving four years of probation on weapons charges.

Photo Credit: SkyForce10
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<![CDATA[Mother, 1-Year-Old Found Dead in Hollywood; 2-Year-Old Survives]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 19:12:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/197*120/hollywiood-100515.PNG

A mother and her toddler were found dead in Hollywood Monday night, leaving a 2-year-old to fend for himself by rummaging through lower cabinets for days, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

The surviving child, who had been recently adopted with his brother, is now an orphan again, investigators said.  

The LAPD said the mother likely died of a pre-existing medical condition while feeding the 1-year-old boy. The toddler choked on the food and also died, police said. 

The 2-year-old was found alive, but very dehydrated. 

"Very tough situation for LAPD and LAFD responding units," said Lt. John Jenal of the LAPD. "This mother had just opened her heart and home and adopted these two children."

Police initially responded to the call of a possible screaming child at an apartment in the 1600 block of N. Fuller Avenue at 4:30 p.m. 

"The bottom cupboards had been ransacked by this 2-year-old trying to survive," Jenal said. "They found water running in the house."

The boy survived oppressive heat in the apartment for days while foraging for food in the lower cabinets, investigators said.  

A friend said the 43-year-old single mom had suffered respiratory issues.

"They were wonderful people," Estella Avendano said.

<![CDATA[Guards Beat, Humiliated Inmates in 'Sadistic' Attack: Suit]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 18:43:20 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/D+TZ+SONOMA+COUNTY+JAIL+LAWSUIT+VO+-+00000414.jpg

Two former inmates filed a federal suit on Monday alleging that a group of Northern California jail guards orchestrated a five-hour "sadistic" attack on nearly two dozen men, some of whom they allegedly beat, forced to wear tiny underwear and left in feces for more than two days, among other claims.

The suit claims between 20 to 25 inmates were “sadistically attacked" on a single day – May 28 – in the male special module of the Sonoma County Main Adult Detention facility in Santa Rosa, California.

Marqus Martinez and Daniel Banks say their Fourth and Eighth amendments were violated and jail supervisors are liable for the "deliberate indifference" of policy, according to the suit, filed by attorney Izaak Schwaiger in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on their behalf. Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas, a sergeant and lieutenant are named as defendants. 

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Department "categorically" denied the "outrageous and inflammatory accusations delineated in the complaint" and hinted there might have been some sort of riot situation in process that day, Sgt. Cecile Focha wrote on the department's Facebook page.

The North Bay facility is not the only Bay Area jail accused of deputy abuse. The Santa Clara County Jail and its sheriff have been in the spotlight since the August beating death of Michael Tyree, a mentally ill Santa Clara County inmate, allegedly at the hands of three guards who have been charged with his murder. Two more guards have since been arrested during ongoing investigations, but not necessarily related to Tyree’s death.

As the Sonoma County jail lawsuit claims, the five hours of inmate abuse began at 10:30 a.m. on May 28 with "soap call," where inmate get shower supplies. One of the inmates, Giovanni Montes, was "heavily medicated" and sleeping and didn’t wake up when the guards told him to, the suit alleges.

That escalated into a verbal exchange and Montes getting thrown to the ground, stunned with a Taser, slammed to the floor, and being called a "bitch," the suit claims. Then, deputies allegedly dressed Montes in underwear many sizes too small to humiliate him, slammed his face into an elevator, strapped him into chair and placed a mask over his head, even though he screamed he couldn’t breathe, the suit alleges.

Another inmate, Jesus Lopez, is said to have witnessed what was happening and and screamed that what deputies were doing was wrong, the suit alleges. Six more deputies arrived, handcuffed Lopez and threw him down and grinded his face into the floor, the suit alleges. Deputies took him to yard, and jumped on is back, left him with injured right food and serious abdominal pain.

In its response on Facebook, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department said the allegations of "torture, sadistic actions, and patterns of egregious constitutional violations or human suffering" are unfounded, based on what was in the lawsuit.

"The correctional deputies were responding to the actions of a seemingly coordinated mass disturbance by inmates housed in administrative segregation. The inmates' collective actions interfered with the safe operation of the facility and the security of staff and inmates," Focha wrote in part.

The department couldn't say much more, Focha wrote, because of the pending litigation, but she added: "The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office takes very seriously our obligation to treat all inmates with dignity and respect, and is confident that we will prevail in this lawsuit."

The allegations take up 15 pages, documenting more inmates’ allegations of being punched, stripped naked and in the case of one inmate, covered in his own feces for two days.

In the case of the first plaintiff, Marqus Martinez, whom the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported was in jail on a domestic violence charge, is said in the suit to have a history of anxiety and grew panic-stricken as he heard the violence, alleged screaming from his cell and calling to deputies for help.

Instead, deputies burst into Martinez’ cell and beat him, allegedly forcing him to repeat, "This is our house!" while kicking, punching and kneeing him, the suit said. He was left with an injured and abdominal pain, the suit claims.

The last to be beaten was Banks, the second plaintiff, who lay face down on his mattress with his hands behind his back in a show of submission, the suit said. Still, four deputies kneed and punched him, the suit said.

When Banks, whom the Press Democrat reported was serving time for probation violation, turned to look at the guards, one is accused of spitting in his face and yelling, "That’s right. Get a good look at me you punk bitch. This is our house!" according to the suit.

Schwaiger said Martinez and Banks have since been released from jail and other inmates may be added to the suit as they finish serving their sentences or are freed.

He said federal law prohibits inmates from suing while they are in custody until they have gone through an internal complaint process. 

These allegations come after a jail staff video was released in 2015, showing the arrest and subsequent Tasing of inmate Esra Wroth.

In that case, Schwaiger's firm is seeking $3 million in damages, alleging excessive force.

NBC Bay Area's Mark Matthew contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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