<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Weird News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/weird http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.comen-usThu, 30 Jun 2016 08:57:25 -0700Thu, 30 Jun 2016 08:57:25 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Mayflies Swarm Ill. Bridge]]> Mon, 27 Jun 2016 16:25:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Mayfliest.png

Thousands of mayflies have taken over a bridge in central Illinois, creating a traffic nightmare for commuters trying to make their way across the city.

The Havana Police Department warned drivers of a massive mayfly swarm on its Facebook page Monday morning, posting two photos that showed the bridge over the Illinois River and a local squad car blanketed by the bugs.

At one point the mound of insects piled 6 inches high, according to the post, making for slick and dangerous roadways for vehicles trying to make their way through the mess.

“There were already motorcycle accidents due to this and cars stuck in the center of the bridge,” police said.

Newly winged mayflies will emerge from the waters where they live until adulthood in droves when triggered by the right temperature, according to The Wall Street Journal. The insects then die within a few days.

The City of Havana Street Department and IDOT are working to get the mayflies under control, authorities said.

Photo Credit: Havana Police Department
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<![CDATA[Marred by Violence, Pink Saturday Transforms]]> Sat, 25 Jun 2016 23:38:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N5P+PINK+SATURDAY+VO+-+00001315.jpg

For years, Pink Saturday was one of the most popular places to be during San Francisco's annual Pride Week. But now, after being marred by violence in recent years, the once-raucous street party is hardly recognizable.

The transformation has been a long time coming: Pink Saturday, which at one time turned the Castro neighborhood into a spot flooded with hundreds of thousands of people, grappled with cancellation two years ago following a string of violent altercations, including a fatal shooting.

As a result, its longtime organizers, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, ended its sponsorship. The San Francisco LGBT Community Center swooped in and saved it last year, but staffers couldn’t said they weren’t equipped to do it again. 

So, it was a surprise to many when it was announced that the sisters would return as host. It was also a surprise when it was announced that the event would be held in an enclosed parking lot with a 21-and-up age requirement. 

“The event is going to be much more straightforward to manage, because it’s a closed off space with a gate…” explained city supervisor Scott Weiner at this year’s event. 

Organizers said they expected about 3,000 people to turn out to the party – a far cry from the 250,000 that showed up in the early aughts. 

The venue isn’t the only drastic change that ruffled some attendees the wrong way: Police presence was amplified, and private security was hired to keep an eye on the shindig. Anyone who wanted to enter had to consent to a metal detector scan, a physical pat down and a search of their belongings.

Several activist organizations said the heightened police presence alienated people of color, many of whom have had a contentious relationship with the city's police department, and have opted to sit out the celebration. 

"As an African-American, I'm disappointed that (Black Lives Matter) won't be here, but that's not going to stop me from representing my community," said Kippy Marks, a resident of San Francisco.

Weiner acknowledged that police and security presence at pride festivities was a complicated issue. 

"Pride is in a tough spot," Weiner said. "We want to strike a balance between providing freedom but also protection. We've had problems recently and to prvent something worse from happening, we need to have that security.

Some attendees were pleased to see the increased police presence.

"When I walked up, I saw two cops outside the Eagle and I said, “Thank you.” They’re hear to protect the people," Jeanette Coreris of San Francisco said.

The once-free event also charged an admittance fee of $10 this year, in hopes that money raised can benefit the victims of the Orlando massacre and for gun control advocacy.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area ]]>
<![CDATA[World's Oldest Cat May Be 29-Year-Old Feline From Tennessee]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 13:59:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/062416-worlds-oldest-cat.jpg A couple from Tennessee believes they own the oldest living cat in the world and have asked Guinness World Records to verify their claim.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[BART Takes Seat Hogging Rule a Step Further]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 12:03:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N6P+NEW+BART+TRAIN+VO+-+00001819.jpg

Remember when it was announced that BART would be fining passengers for taking up too many seats? Well, that plan is officially rolling out -- and it's more detailed than many might have assumed.

It was announced Thursday during a board meeting that BART passengers who take up more than one seat during peak traffic times will face warnings, questioning and even fines from BART police if they continue to be cited.

According to SF Gate, violators of the seat rule will "have their names recorded and criminal records checked." 

The punishment extends from actions as small as placing a bag or briefcase on an empty seat, to fully lying down on more than one seat. BART police will start by taking down names of offenders, and after three warnings, violators will face a fine. Passengers who can’t meet the requirements because of health or medical conditions will not be cited.

This policy was adopted by BART in April, with plans to enforce the plan later in the year. BART police are making posters to plaster inside the train cars to alert riders of the new ordinance.

The ordinance defines commute hours, and the times where the train cars will be monitored, as weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m.

These rules will start with a soft roll out on Sept. 1, and only verbal warnings will be issued during the first month. Enforcement will officially start on Oct. 1, where fines starting at $100 could be issued for the first violation.

After the second violation within one year, the fine will increase to $200, and then $500 for each additional violation within five years.

Alicia Trost, Communications Department Manager of BART, said that prior to any citation, a warning must be given. This might help protect tourists and first-time riders from facing a penalty, she said. 

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Llama Enjoys Leaf Blower's Breeze at Houston Zoo]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 09:52:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/llama-breeze.jpg Fiesta the llama enjoys the breeze when zookeepers at the Houston Children's Zoo use a leaf blower to clean to clean stalls.]]> <![CDATA[Arrest After Distressed Emu Spotted]]> Tue, 21 Jun 2016 17:32:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/burned+emu.jpg

A man was arrested on Monday evening in Campo, California, after discharging a shotgun when an animal control officer responded to an emu in distress outside his home, sheriff’s officials said.

Sean Michael Shepherd, 31, was taken into custody on suspicion of negligent discharge of a firearm and felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

He was being held on $30,000 bail on Tuesday evening. It wasn't immediately clear if he has an attorney.

Sheriff’s deputies said the bizarre situation surfaced about 6 p.m. Monday in the 28000 block of State Route 94. An animal control officer on patrol spotted an injured emu. As he approached the animal, a man came out of his home and exchanged heated words with the officer, deputies said.

The emu doesn't belong to the suspect, but is his neighbor's animal, officials said.

That’s when the man went inside and returned with a shotgun, firing it into the air, deputies said.

No one was hurt. The emu ran away and disappeared, according to authorities.

The animal’s feathers were apparently burnt. While it wasn't clear what caused the emu's injuries, the incident happened in the area of the Border Fire, which has spanned 7,500 acres near Potrero and caused some injuries to animals.

Photo Credit: San Diego County Animal Services]]>
<![CDATA[U-Haul Used in Massive Motorcycle Robbery Found in SF ]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 06:13:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1741710.jpg

A U-Haul truck that was used to steal five off-road style motorcycles from a Petaluma sports shop Sunday was found in San Francisco Tuesday, a Petaluma police lieutenant said.

The vehicles valued at $38,000 were taken during a burglary at K&B Motorsports in the 300 block of Petaluma Boulevard North around 10 p.m., Lt. Dan Fish said.

The suspects loaded them into the U-Haul and fled with a ramp to the cargo area still dragging on the roadway, Fish said. The windows of the business also were smashed, Fish said.

Officer Brandon Hansen located the U-Haul on Washington Street and attempted to stop it but the vehicle fled.

Police pursued it on southbound U.S. Highway 101 to the Samuel T. Freitas Parkway in Marin County and the California Highway Patrol took over the chase, Fish said.

The U-Haul drove into San Francisco and San Francisco police were requested. A CHP helicopter lost sight of the vehicle in the area of 13th and Howard streets when it drove under an overpass, Fish said.

The Sonoma County Auto Theft Task Force took over the investigation and San Francisco police found the abandoned and empty U-Haul in the area of Candlestick Park on Tuesday, Fish said.

Task Force detective Adam Wirtz said there is no description of the suspects because the un-witnessed theft happened at night.

The damage to the motorsports shop was significant but no estimate is available, Fish said.

The stolen motorcycles are a Kawasaki KX 100 and KX 450, Yamaha KX 450, KTM 350 XC-F and KTM 350 SX-F.

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call the Sonoma County Auto Theft Task Force at (707) 565-1377.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Google Reacts to Grandma's Super Polite Searches ]]> Fri, 17 Jun 2016 21:01:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/731664041.jpg

A U.K man's tweet about his grandmother's oddly polite internet use has gone viral, and its even garnering the attention of Google. 

It all started last week when Twitter user (and apparent nosy grandson) Ben John found his "nan's" laptop open and was immediately amused by her search queries. It became clear to him that she types "please" and "thank you" when using Google's search engine. Naturally, he tweeted a photo of his find and the whole thing went viral: 

John told BBC News he was curious about the odd habit and asked her why she did that. 

"I asked my nan why she used 'please' and 'thank you' and it seemed she thinks that there is someone, a physical person, at Google's headquarters who looks after the searches," he told the news organization. "She thought that by being polite and using her manners, the search would be quicker." 

His original tweet quickly went viral, for many different reasons. Some thought his grandma was sweet, some thought her etiquette was a throwback to generations past and others just got a good chuckle out of it. Eventually, the tweet made its way back to Google, whose company headquarters are in the Bay Area's Mountain View.

Apparently, employees there found the whole thing just as amusing as the 45,000 other people who favorited the tweet. The UK team even personally answered her question Wednesday — meaning that, this time, there really was a real person answering her query:

Ben's nan, whose real name is May Ashworth, hasn't let her newfound viral fame change her. Ben told CBC News they celebrated the "weird" experience with a cup of tea — and, in a toast to the internet age, a selfie: 

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[Salinas Gas Station Briefly Becomes Airbnb]]> Thu, 16 Jun 2016 18:09:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/235*120/salinas.PNG

Sanborn and Market Gas in Salinas was briefly advertised as an Airbnb rental for anyone who ever dreamed of spending the night inside a convenience store of a gas station, KSBW reported.

But as of Thursday, that listing is no longer on the Airbnb site. It's not clear whether Airbnb or the gas station's owners took down the listing.

For just $50 a night, Sanborn and Market Gas offered all you can drink – hot water, other beverages, coffee, and ice cream – a toilet and basic needs. All guests needed to bring along with them was an air mattress.

“Rather than stay at a real nice comfy luxury place, this has a real nice experience,” owner Pete Shen told KSBW.

The gas station promoted itself on Airbnb’s website as, “Gas station stay over,” where guests are offered a safe night’s sleep with security cameras, good lighting and a location on a busy street corner.

“I’m the guinea pig in the commercial business so far for Airbnb,” Shen told KSBW. “After our first stay over, see how it goes, maybe people might like it; maybe people may not like it. So we’ll see how it goes.”

Photo Credit: KSBW]]>
<![CDATA[Political Consultant Loses Bet, Runs Naked ]]> Fri, 10 Jun 2016 11:09:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/56531571-sacramento-state-capitol.jpg

This probably isn't the weirdest thing to happen in the California Capitol during election week, but it may be the funniest. 

Unlike most other states, California's rules for Senate races stipulate that the two candidates leaving the primary with the most votes will appear on the general election ballot, regardless of party affiliation. That means it's possible for two Democrats (or two Republicans) to face off in November. 

Skeptical of that outcome, political consultant Paul Mitchell bet that two Democrats wouldn't be the top two candidates vying for Barbara Boxer's open senate seat. He said, as the Sacramento Bee reports, that the odds on that happening were so unlikely that he would run naked around the Capitol if it did.

Well, as we know now, it happened. California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Rep. Loretta Sanchez, both Democrats, collected the most votes and will appear on the November ballot. 

Like virtually everyone in politics, Mitchell claims he stayed true to his word. He posted on Twitter a link to a map that tracked his supposedly naked run. The location stamp shows that he was indeed at the Capitol building on June 8, and the lap he did around it was titled "streaking." 

He told the Bee there were only a few skateboarders nearby, and that he tried to make the most of natural coverage, including tents around the Capitol. 

No word yet on if Mitchell is hedging bets for general election candidates.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[Caution: Alligator Crossing]]> Tue, 07 Jun 2016 08:59:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/060616+gator+in+crosswalk.jpg

An alligator was caught on camera using a crosswalk in Flagler County, in northern Florida, Monday morning.

According to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office, the gator was spotted in the bushes near the intersection at Cypress Point Parkway and Cypress Edge Drive in Palm Coast.

FCSO Cpl. Kenny Goncalves said the gator was more than 5 feet long. It was sitting by the crosswalk and suddenly scampered across the roadway in the crosswalk.

"He just walked in the crosswalk like it was normal," Cpl. Goncalves said.

Officers stopped traffic to allow the gator to cross, which they said took about 30 seconds.

A trapper from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was called, but before his arrival the gator went to a wooded lot and back to its natural habitat.

Photo Credit: Mark Olson / FCSO Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Prankster Trolls San Jose Wikipedia Page]]> Sat, 04 Jun 2016 21:45:59 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/trolling+San+Jose.jpg

A mysterious prankster has been altering the Wikipedia entry for the city of San Jose, and it appears the Stanley Cup Final taking place in the city may have something to do with it. 

The Wikipedia entry for San Jose has been altered in recent days. The page had listed Mike Sullivan, a former hockey player for the Pittsburgh Penguins and the team's current coach, as the city's mayor as of Saturday morning. It looks to be a jibe against the San Jose Sharks, who are facing off against the Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final. 

By Saturday evening, the troller's edits seem to have been fixed and the real mayor, Sam Liccardo, was listed in his correct position.  

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area ]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland Men Steal $4,700 in Red Bull: Police]]> Sat, 04 Jun 2016 12:39:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/222*120/redbull-stolen-060416.jpg

Red Bull may give you wings, but five Oakland men won't be flying anywhere after being arrested for allegedly stealing $4,700 worth of the energy drink. 

According to the Vacaville police department, five men were nabbed Friday evening after they were spotted wheeling out a cart full of allegedly stolen Red Bull and loading it into a U-Haul. 

The men have been identified as Ronnie Yarbrough, 30, Torn Saelee, 19, Jafar Neal, 29, and Jabari Neal, 29. The fifth suspect is a juvenile and his identity has not been released. All of the men are from Oakland, police said. 

Pictures taken by officers show the U-Haul van packed with the energy drink. Police say the Vacaville grocery store was not the only place the alleged thieves visited. 

"After searching the van, it was evident that our local grocery store was only one of many the crew had graced with their presence," Vacaville police wrote in a Facebook post. 

The four adults have been booked into Solano County Jail. The minor allegedly involved in the theft has been booked into juvenile hall. 

Photo Credit: Vacaville Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[SFAlert Sends Error Tsunami Warning]]> Fri, 03 Jun 2016 13:57:59 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/goldenGettyImages-180103576.jpg

Subscribers to SFAlert, a text-based alert system run by the city and county of San Francisco, got quite an alarm Friday morning when an erroneous Tsunami warning was sent to their phones.

The warning told San Francisco residents at 8:46 a.m. that the city was on "TSUNAMI WATCH" and advised evacuation preparations. An additional message followed, clarifying that the tsunami warning was sent in error.

According to Francis Zamora, who works as an external affairs manager for the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, the warning was sent during a system test.

"It was part of a regular test and training,” he said. “When we do these trainings they don't usually go out like they did today….how that occurred and why it occurred is something we’ll be reviewing."

The emergency management team apologized for any inconvenience the warning may have caused.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Great Dane Rescue]]> Fri, 03 Jun 2016 12:26:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Dog+rescue+in+Middletown+1200.jpg

Firefighters come to the rescue on a daily basis, but the rescue of a dog in Middletown was out of the ordinary.

Firefighters responded to Hendley Street around 7:30 a.m. Friday after a resident spotted a Great Dane on a neighbor’s roof.

Firefighters said the dog’s owners were at work, so firefighter Mike Souza climbed a ladder to rescue the dog.

At first, the pup growled, but it soon warmed up to Souza, who guided the dog back through the open window.

“He had to really scooch to get back in because he was really tall,” Souza said. “I think he was happy to be back inside!”

Souza, who has been on the job for 28 years, said this was a first for him.

“A really unique situation, a unique call,” he said.

A woman who identified herself as the dog's owner responded to the Facebook post said the dog was in the basement with her other Great Dane and he is a "Houdini" who apparently pushed his way through a locked door and opened windows to get outside and "say hello to all the new neighbors."

Photo Credit: Middletown Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[Ice Cream Truck as Prom Ride ]]> Wed, 01 Jun 2016 18:15:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/b87c89b5-f944-4ea3-89ac-23575cb10170.jpg

A Connecticut teen had a "chill" ride to his prom this year. 

The Bristol teen shocked classmates when he showed up to the senior prom in an ice cream truck. 

Zack Nichparenko said he wanted to take a "non-traditional" approach to prom. 

"I don't think anyone took me seriously at first," the teen said about his idea. 

The 17-year-old said he was outside his house about two weeks before Bristol Eastern High School's prom on May 27 when Daren's Ice Cream Truck stopped by. That's when he got the idea. 

Nichparenko said the ice cream man, Daren Carroll, has been a staple in his neighborhood since he was roughly 4 years old. 

Carroll said he's been asked to plenty of events in the past, like weddings or birthday parties, but never a prom.

"Never has anybody asked me to go the prom in the ice cream truck," Carroll told NBC Connecticut. "Never, ever."

The day of the prom, Carroll met with the high school senior at Slider's Grill and Bar parking lot to take some pictures with family before dropping Nichparenko off at the dance around the corner.

"At first I tried to talk him out of it," Carroll said, noting that at his own prom, no one was outside to see anyone arriving. "But he was right. When we showed up, about 200 people were there."

When Nichparenko and Carroll rolled up in the ice cream truck, they were stopped by security at the gate and asked what they were doing there. 

"I have a delivery!" Carroll told them. "I have a guest!"

No ice cream was sold to students outside the prom at Aqua Surf in Southington because the teens were about to go inside to eat, and Carroll said he didn't want to take away from that. 

"I wanted to do something that not only people will remember, but something that hasn’t been done before," Nichparenko said.

An ice cream truck ride to prom in Connecticut is apparently a first, which comes as no surprise from the aspiring entrepreneur. 

Nichparenko said his plans after high school is to start a dryer vent company in Bristol and has started drafting business ideas with his dad. 

Photo Credit: Zackery Nichparenko
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<![CDATA[South Bay Parents Brace for Possible Norovirus Outbreak ]]> Fri, 27 May 2016 18:15:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/STOMACH+VIRUS+PKG+KNTV+-+00005308.jpg

After a Norovirus scare, parents of students at Willow Glen Elementary School in San Jose have been warned: If your children are sick, keep them home.

Administrators say that between Monday and Thursday, at least 21 children reported symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever – all symptoms that are characteristic of Norovirus, which can cause temporary inflammation of the stomach and large intestine. It can take days to recover from the bug. A large group also reported feeling sick Friday.

Parents received emails and phone calls from the school’s administrator, advising them to keep any student who feels ill home and to take precautionary measures. Once at school, students were reminded to keep rough housing to a minimum and to frequently wash their hands.

The Santa Clara County Public Health Department is now monitoring similar situations at San Jose's Horace Mann and Walter L. Bachrodt elementary schools. 

"We noticed an increase here at Willow Glen Elementary of kids that had vomiting and diarrhea," said Melinda Landau, San Jose Unified School District's health support manager. "Since we've had situations over at Horace Mann and Bachrodt, we really jumped on it immediately."

Parents said they weren't too worried, citing similar outbreaks that happened when they were young.

“I think these sort of things happen once in a while,” said Kevin Smith, a parent. “When I was a kid we had lice scares and that sort of thing. I think it is something that will be around a few days and go away.”

The school has closed off access to the playground and sporting equipment. Upcoming field trips have also been axed from the calendar, as directed by school district officials.

Although the news has been disappointing to students, parents have been supportive of the school’s decision.

"The school has done a great job at communicating to all the parents to keep your kids home if they're sick and do extra hand washing, so we're feeling good about sending him today,” said Angela Ritcey, whose son attends the Willow Glen.

She continued: “In a public school, where they are all together, this is bound to happen…”

Officials say students are being taught preventative measures, including wearing gloves when needed. But whether it is norovirus or something else, the illness seems to be spreading.

"I've heard from other nurses and other districts that they are seeing it in their schools too," Landau said.

As of Friday evening, public health officials emphasized that there has not yet been a single confirmed case — mainly because the symptoms pass quickly and make it difficult to get lab samples, they said.

But the department is working closely with every district where symptoms appear, and apparently the phone keeps ringing.

Parent Julia Castro hopes that her kids are "just feeling under the weather, and a little rest and a three-day weekend should perk them up."

When asked how she reacted to news of the outbreak, Castro replied, "With caution, definitely. You hear about cruise ships with the norovirus and just how completely and quickly it spreads."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area ]]>
<![CDATA[Flintstones Car Parked Illegally]]> Thu, 26 May 2016 18:06:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/052616+key+west+flintstones+car.jpg

Authorities in Key West spent Thursday trying to meet the Flintstones, or at least the owner of an illegally parked car that looks like the modern Stone Age family's.

City officials said they found the vintage car in the right of way in the 800 block of Emma Street Thursday.

The city posted a photo of the car on its Facebook page, and the owner was found a short time later.

"Thanks to everyone who helped on this! And thanks for all the funny remarks. This island is awesome!" the city's post read.

Photo Credit: City of Key West
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<![CDATA[Ospreys Drop Fish, Kitten From Nest]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 06:52:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/osprey+nest+stratford.jpg

The Stratford Fire Department is plagued with an unusual problem: Two ospreys that built a nest above the station are dropping sticks, fish and even a kitten in the path of unsuspecting firefighters below.

The ospreys, which can grow up to 2 feet long with wingspans over 5 feet, have nested on a communication antenna at the fire station along the Connecticut shoreline.

They often drop large sticks, and in some cases entire fish — their main source of food — in front of the main entrance below.

"We have ospreys that have built a nest up there and basically it's causing a little bit of problems with dropping stuff down on the main entrance of the fire station," said Stratford Fire Chief Robert McGrath.

An air conditioning unit was damaged last week after a dropped bass landed inside. Firefighters said the birds dropped a kitten on Sunday.

The other concern is that the nest could prevent the communication antenna from operating properly, according to the chief.

"It could compromise the signal going back and forth from the two towers," said McGrath.

According to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, osprey are no longer endangered. The nest can be moved if there are no eggs inside, which firefighters say is the case with this one.

DEEP officials said April and May are egg-laying months for the birds, so firefighters are working on a plan to get the feathered visitors to leave.

"It's entertaining, I can tell you that, at best. But really, it's a nuisance," McGrath said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Venus: San Francisco's Tallest Sculpture]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 11:57:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/TRINITY+HEAD+STATUE.jpg

A statue of Venus was finally hoisted atop the Trinity Apartments in San Francisco Monday morning, making the 92-foot sculpture the tallest in the city.

The statue is the centerpiece of a public art-filled piazza in the heart of the apartment complex at Eighth Street between Market and Mission streets.

The massive, stainless-steel sculpture, which is slightly shorter than the Statue of Liberty, is part of a collection designed by renowned artist Lawrence Argent.

The statue means a lot to Yvonne Sangiacomo, whose late husband, Angelo, was the developer of the apartment complex that commissioned the Venus statue. Sangiacomo arrived in a construction hat and wheelchair to witness the feat. She wiped a tear as crews hoisted the stainless steel face on top of the roof.

"He used to always say it would be beyond his imagination how beautiful it was," said Mia Sangiacomo, co-owner of the Trinity Place.  "He'd be surprised that a little Italian guy who flunked kindergarten and lived in his living room until he  was 34 could create so much.  He was a very humble man.  And I think he would've surprised himself how much he did."

Her husband asked a Denver artist to work with a company in China to put the stainless steel statue together; it arrived in San Francisco in 70 pieces. Then it was welded and bolted into 11 stacks, placed on top of each other. Venus is now the centerpiece of what builders are calling 'Piazza Angelo' at the apartments, a plaza that is quite popular in Italy.

"Call it spiritual, call it whatever," co-owner Jim Sangiacomo said. "He trusted the artist to do something really outstanding."

Trinity Place consists of four residential high-rises with a combined 1,900 units. The current Phase 3 under construction is scheduled to be finished by March 2017. Phases 1 and 2 were completed in 2010 and 2013, respectively.

"I'm very proud of my dad," Mia Sangiacomo said. "Very proud.  I miss him.  He did a great job.  Great job dad."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA['School' Misspelled on Diploma ]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 14:24:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/211*120/Diploma+Cover+5.20.16.jpg

Graduates at a Southern California high school are getting one last laugh before saying goodbye after the school distributed diploma covers with a typo.

A graduating senior at Ontario High School posted a photo to Twitter that shows a diploma cover handed out Thursday with the letters "h" and "c" transposed in the word "school."

[[380296301, C]]

School officials said the misspelling was a printing error made by the graduation products company.

"The principal has informed all Ontario graduates that the company has been contacted and will mail a corrected diploma cover to each graduate along with an apology letter," Chaffey Joint Union High School District Superintendent Mathew Holton said in a statement.

The diploma covers were distributed to about 550 seniors at a Thursday evening commencement ceremony, school officials said.

Holton added that the Ontario Class of 2016 was the first to graduate in a new stadium on campus with over 5,000 family members and friends in attendance.

Photo Credit: @jacedoooo_ via Twitter
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<![CDATA[Surf and Turf Arrest]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 17:00:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-482996433+%281%29.jpg

A Vermont man accused of stealing beer, lobster and Angus steak from a supermarket faces retail theft charges, authorities say.

State police said they were notified of a retail theft/trespassing incident at Hannaford Supermarket in Rutland on Wednesday.

An investigation found that Anthony Sargent, 53, of Rutland City, had gone into the store in violation of a notice against trespass and stole $105.63 worth of items, police said.

Police say Sargent concealed the products under his shirt.

The beer, lobster and steak were recovered by the store when Sargent was stopped in the parking lot. He fled the scene before authorities arrived, but was later located by probation and parole officers, officials said.

Sargent has a court date set for June 13. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Principal Loses Bet with Students, Kisses Pig]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 16:02:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KissthePig1.jpg

An elementary school principal in Pittsburg puckered up and kissed a pig Tuesday after losing a bet with her students. 

Foothill Elementary students outpaced their fundraising goal and collected $3,000 for "Pennies for Patients," a program that benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. So Principal Nina Crossland kept her promise and started looking for a pig.

Crossland also recruited Vice Principal Yvonne Nelson and lunch monitor and parent group President Inise Evans, who was on vacation when the students gathered in the cafeteria to nominate her.

Crossland asked around and found a friend who has a friendly 4-year-old Vietnamese pot-bellied pig as a pet. Nelson began to plan − would a quick peck on the pig forehead fulfill her committment, yet still meet the children's expectations? 

The children − about 600 of them − were excited but restrained as they watched the stunt from under a shade structure behind the school. Since Lilly doesn't like loud noises, the teachers taught them to wave their hands instead of clapping. A buzz of appreciation, but no squeals, except from the pig.

Lilly cooperated at first, but then the hot blacktop started to hurt her hooves and she oinked in protest. Crossland and Nelson managed to plant quick pecks on her, but the pig avoided Evans' lips. 

So everyone moved quickly to the grass, where Lilly seemed more relaxed. Evans finally laid a big one on the pig, feeling the full pressure of the crowd. She knew she couldn't disappoint.

Photo Credit: Raquel Maria Dillon]]>
<![CDATA[Baby Opossum Found in Toilet]]> Mon, 16 May 2016 11:05:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/opossum+in+toilet.jpg

A woman made a startling discovery earlier this month when she found a baby opossum in her toilet in San Diego.

The Pacific Beach resident had no idea how the little critter got there but alerted San Diego County Animal Services, and an animal control officer responded to “rescue” the animal, authorities said.

Animal control officers said in a Facebook post that they don’t believe the opossum came into the toilet through the plumbing before being found May 1.

After the homeowner found a second opossum in her home, she discovered a broken window, which is likely how the furry creature got inside.

The opossum is doing well after his toilet swim and recovering at Project Wildlife, officers said. The baby opossum will be released back into the wild once he’s old enough to survive on his own.

Finding rodents in the toilet isn't quite as rare in Southern California as you might think — a boa constrictor was found slithering in a toilet last year at a downtown San Diego PR firm.

And just last week, a python was found in a shower in South Park.

Photo Credit: San Diego County Animal Services
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<![CDATA[Turtle OK After Windshield Crash]]> Fri, 13 May 2016 15:15:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/051316+turtle+into+windshield+i-4.jpg

Turtle power!

Nicole Marie Bjanes was driving on I-4 in Deltona on Monday when a turtle came crashing through her windshield.

Florida Highway Patrol officials said another car hit the turtle while it was crossing the highway and propelled it into the air. Bjanes posted photos on Facebook showing her shattered windshield with the turtle upside-down on her dashboard.

"I really can't even believe it!!! Thanks for all your concern. I am a lucky girl," Bjanes wrote on her post. "All the people who stopped and the EMT and trooper were taking pics....unbelievable, and the guy at the hospital was laughing at how he should word the incident!!! Life is good and sometimes a little crazy....someone is keeping my on my toes and entertained."

Bjanes said she was shaken up but otherwise alright. The turtle was checked out and also found to be in good shape and returned to some nearby water.

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Photo Credit: Nicole Marie Bjanes
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<![CDATA[Robot Dino Roasted at Exhibit Fire]]> Fri, 13 May 2016 08:35:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CiSGLNbVEAA1zoH.jpg

A spark from a welding iron ignited a fire Thursday that caused the extinction of a 90-foot-long robotic dinosaur that was set to be part of an exhibit at a New Jersey theme park.

The animatronic Argentinosaurus was reduced to a charred skeleton at Overpeck County Park in Leonia, police said.

The exhibit, called "Field Station: Dinosaurs," is moving to the park this month after operating in Secaucus since 2012.

Exhibit creator Guy Gsell told The Record newspaper that a welder was putting finishing touches on the Argentinosaurus when a spark started the blaze.

The dinosaur was roasted to its skeleton. None of the exhibit's 33 other dinosaurs was damaged. Leonia police tweeted a picture of two of the surviving dinosaurs, saying "they refused to give a witness statement."

The exhibit is still on track to open Memorial Day weekend, Gsell told The Record, and he plans to rebuild the Argentinosaurus robot.

Argentinosaurus fossils were discovered in Argentina in the 1980s.

Photo Credit: Leonia Police Department
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<![CDATA[Officers Finds Gator Foot in Truck]]> Tue, 10 May 2016 01:25:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/050916+alligator+foot+dashboard+fwc.jpg

A Florida man was slapped with a citation after Florida Fish and Wildlife officers made an unusual find in his dashboard: an alligator foot.

FWC officers stopped the truck to check for a day-use pass in a wildlife management area near Lake Okeechobee when they found alligator parts scattered inside the cab, the agency wrote in a Facebook post Monday.

Among the parts was a gator foot hanging out of the truck's dashboard.

The driver claimed the parts were from an alligator he had hunted a few years ago, but the smell told officers otherwise, the FWC said.

The man then confessed to killing the gator a few days before without a permit and was cited for the violation, authorities said.

Photo Credit: FWC]]>
<![CDATA[Maine Bus Joyride]]> Mon, 09 May 2016 13:20:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bus34.jpg

Talk about a joyride - a 12-year-old boy stole a school bus and took it for a drive, according to police in Bangor, Maine.

John St. Germain was in the passenger seat when he and his friend, Amanda, saw a bus driving dangerously in front of them. In cell phone video, it can be seen swerving, hitting the sidewalk and signs.

"At first it was comical, because we both thought it was a new driver - like someone being taught how to drive a bus," said St. Germain.

And it was a new driver - a very young one.

"I kind of saw his body structure [when the bus turned] and I was like, 'Oh my gosh - I think that's a kid," said St. Germain. "That's when it got scary."

Police say the child got access to the keys of a bus at the Bangor Cyr bus lines terminal and took it for spin.

As his friend called police, St. Germain decided he had to intervene.

"I was like, 'Alright, I'm going to take over,'" he said.

St. Germain stopped recording the video, jumped out of his car, and run up to the bus. The doors were slightly ajar, so he managed to get inside the slowly-moving vehicle. Then, he came face-to-face with the child driver.

"He didn't realize I was there for about 10 seconds or so, and then he looked at me and said 'I know what I'm doing,'" said St. Germain.

And then the kid kept driving.

"Then I kind of took the wheel, and put my foot on the brake, and then stopped the bus," St. Germain said. "I looked at him and said 'Alright, you need to get in the back now.'"

But the boy hopped off the bus and walked away. Police eventually caught him and charged him with operating without a license and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Authorities called St. Germain to the police station.

"I thought 'I'm going to get in trouble for this. I'm going to go to jail or something, because I just high-jacked a bus,'" he said.

St. Germain was relieved, and honored, to learn the Bangor Police Department wanted to give him a challenge coin as an award.

"The term 'hero' is thrown around a lot, but this guy is a hero," said Bangor Police Sgt. Tim Cotton. "He stopped something from happening, he stopped injuries to the 12-year-old boy, he may have stopped other damage."

On the Bangor Police Department's Facebook page, Cotton writes that St. Germain very likely saved lives by taking action. The post has gone viral, and St. Germain isn't sure what to make of all the attention.

"I just did what anyone would have done," St. Germain said.

The boy was taken into custody.

Photo Credit: Bangor Police
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<![CDATA[Man Steals About 20 Stephen Curry Jerseys from Adidas ]]> Sat, 07 May 2016 13:04:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Steph+Curry+Suspect.jpg

An unknown suspect pinched about 20 Stephen Curry jerseys from an Adidas Outlet Store in Petaluma, and police are now asking the public for help identifying the alleged thief. 

Surveillance footage shows the suspect entering the Adidas store at about 8:30 p.m. on April 27. He then browsed a display rack piled with jerseys featuring the Warriors MVP, nabbed a large stack, and ran off, police said. 

Police believe he hopped in a dark colored Nissan Altima. It's unknown if he had a getaway driver. 

Police are asking anyone who recognizes the suspect to call Officer Hutchinson of the Petaluma police at (707) 781-1290. 

<![CDATA[Stray Cats Using Zoo Facilities as Litter Box]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 12:36:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/stray-cats.jpg Stray cats are sneaking into the Miami Zoo at night and relieving themselves, using sand in exhibits as litter boxes. But their feces can contain a deadly parasite, which causes a disease called toxoplasmosis. It's blamed for the deaths of three squirrel monkeys and a red kangaroo at the zoo. The crafty cats are sneaking in from an adjacent park. Now the zoo is trapping them, putting the healthy ones up for adoption. That doesn't sit well with the people of Cat Network, who say the best solution is for the zoo to keep all other land species "out."]]> <![CDATA[Lost Alligator Tries to Ring Doorbell at SC Home]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 08:50:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Alligator-Doorbell.jpg A large alligator crawled to the front door of a home in South Carolina and appeared to ring the doorbell on May 2. "I was out walking the dog and we kind of went around the corner from my daughter's house [when we saw the alligator]," said Gary Rogers, who began to record video of the startling scene.

Photo Credit: WCBD]]>
<![CDATA[Black Cat Crosses Sharks' Rink, Brings Team Good Luck]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 09:02:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/IMG_9617.jpg

The San Jose Sharks got an unexpected visit Friday.

Before the NHL team beat the Nashville Predators 5-2 at the SAP Center, a black cat crept out of the player bench area and scurried onto the ice.

As the Sharks warmed up for the first game of their best-of-seven playoff series, fans watched the small feline making a beeline for an oversized, fiberglass shark head, only to escape under the seats at "the Shark Tank," as the arena is known.

The venue’s staff was able to safely rescue the cat and dubbed it Joe Paw-velski, after Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, the team announced Sunday.

"The amount of interest generated by Joe's appearance and those wishing to adopt him has been overwhelming," said Sharks Chief Operating Officer John Tortora in a statement.

Joe has been taken to a local animal shelter to undergo a health examination, the team said. Staff will also investigate whether the cat has a microchip, in the hopes of reuniting it with its owner.

"If he is indeed a stray, our goal is to find the best home for him with the support of our local animal shelters," Tortora said. "If families are interested in adopting Joe but unsuccessful, we strongly encourage you to consider adopting another animal in need of a good home from one of our terrific local animal shelters."

Photo Credit: San Jose Sharks
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<![CDATA[Woman Lured by Singles Ad Dies After Weeks in Captivity]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 10:05:43 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/German_Ambulance-550668973.jpg

A 41-year-old woman who responded to a singles ad was held captive for several weeks by a man and his ex-wife — and later died at a hospital of injuries she suffered while in captivity, NBC News reported.

The woman, from Lower Saxony, Germany, contacted a man "who was looking for a steady partnership" and later moved in to her assailant's house.

Once there, she was physically abused by the man and his live-in ex-wife, authorities said. The suspects allegedly tried to take their "severely battered" victim back to her apartment, but when their car broke down, they called an ambulance. The woman died about two hours later of "blunt force trauma to the head," German officials said.

German paper Bild reported that the victim had been kept in a cellar and labeled the incident "The Horror House of Hoexter."

Photo Credit: ullstein bild via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Prickly Situation For Dogs Who Ran Into Porcupine in New Mexico]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 15:39:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N6A+DOG+VERSUS+PORCUPINE+VO+-+000017091.jpg

A "prickly" situation turned into a lesson learned for two dogs in New Mexico.

Two dogs roaming the streets of Albuquerque learned the hard way: Don't mess with porcupines.

But we can tell you - no animals were permanently harmed in the making of this video.

All the quills were safely removed.

The dogs, one of which was nicknamed "Needles," now seem pretty happy. Workers at the Petroglyph Animal Hospital say their owners have yet to come forward.

Photo Credit: Petroglyph Animal Hospital
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<![CDATA[Oakland Firefighters Free Pigeon from BART Wires]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 16:44:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/pigeon1.jpg

Firefighters are known for rescuing humans from burning buildings and cats from trees.

But this weekend, Oakland rescued a pigeon that was trapped in wires at the Fruitvale BART station.

The Oakland fire union tweeted and Facebooked the daring feat, showing video of a firefighter on engine 18 climbing up a ladder, untangling the bird from the wires, and saying “there you go buddy,” as the pigeon flew off into the sky.

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Photo Credit: Oakland Fire Live via Twitter
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<![CDATA[10 People in San Jose Owe the Library at Least $5,000]]> Sun, 24 Apr 2016 18:45:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/localmusicbooks.jpg

Ten people managed to rack up thousands of dollars of debt due to overdue San Jose Public Library books, while at least 130 people are eligible to face fines of at least $1,000, according to a report from the San Jose Mercury News. 

The newspapers investigation revealed that at least three people owe more than $10,000 for overdue or lost books, while seven face fines totaling more than $10,000. 

City Council member Pierluigi Oliverio, who acts as a liaison between the city and library, recommended amnesty programs that would forgive fines. The councilman also suggested to the newspaper that the problem was allowing residents to check out 100 items at a time, far more than other cities allow. 

San Jose Library Director Jill Bourne said the 100-item limit has been in place before she started working at the library, but conceded that she is willing to consider changes. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SF Zoo to Auction off Nearly 50 Paintings Created by Animals]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 10:38:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*128/art13.JPG

Animal lovers can now own works of art created by animals from the San Francisco Zoo, zoo officials said Friday.

Nearly 50 paintings by dozens of animals and insects, from cockroaches to chimpanzees, will be up for auction at the Zoo's upcoming fundraising event, ZooFest, which will take place April 30 at 6 p.m.

The project, titled Animal Artists in Residence, consists of paintings created with a brush or by having animals step or roll through water-based paint before transferring the paint onto a canvas, according to zoo officials.

A select number of paintings are already available for auction on eBay. Those paintings will be on the site through Friday, zoo officials said. All proceeds from the fundraiser will go to the zoo. For more information about the auction, visit the zoo's website.

Photo Credit: San Francisco Zoo]]>