<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Weird News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/weird http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.comen-usTue, 30 Aug 2016 19:40:18 -0700Tue, 30 Aug 2016 19:40:18 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Cops Stumble Upon Gator in Tub ]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 03:57:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/gator+in+tub.jpg

Police responding to a call about a burglary at a Staten Island home encountered an unusual suspect — a three-foot-long alligator, and it was in the bathtub. 

The reptile was hanging out in the empty tub when police responding to the anonymous call arrived at the abandoned Mariners Harbor home.

Animal care workers took the gator for evaluation. They're also looking into how the gator got into the tub.

The NYPD tweeted responding officers were "surprised" by the reptile, but no one was injured. The department tweeted photos of cops smiling next to the crate.

No arrests have been made.

Photo Credit: @NYPDPaws
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<![CDATA[6-Ton Potato Spotted on NY's Hudson River]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 10:10:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/potato+hudson.jpg

If you happened to see a giant potato being hauled on a barge on the Hudson River Wednesday, your eyes were not deceiving you. 

The 6-ton spud, resting atop a tractor-trailer on a barge pulled by a tugboat, has been making cross-country trips since 2012, when the Idaho Potato Commission strutted it out nationwide to celebrate its 75th anniversary. 

The tater's national tour was such a hit the commission opted to make it an annual event. The potato is the equivalent of 32,346 medium-sized Idaho potatoes and is 1,102 times heavier than the largest potato ever grown. 

It travels the country promoting the certified heart-healthy Idaho Potato, and its mission is to help small charities in town and cities with its Big Helping Program, according to the Idaho Potato Commission's website. 

Other fun facts: the massive tater would make 30,325 servings of mashed potatoes and more than 1.5 million average-sized french fries. 

Idaho couple Chris Schofield and Sharolyn Spruce, who have toiled on hundreds of big custom projects and designs, built the enormous tater with help from several contractors, according to the Idaho Press-Tribune. The duo said the monstrous spud, made of steel, plywood, foams and concrete, was the first "vegetable" they'd ever built. 

The next stop on its grand tour is Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, New Jersey, Aug. 26 before a trip to West Point and then to Plymouth, Indiana, for the 50th annual Blueberry Fest.

Photo Credit: @innycsite/Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Koko the Gorilla Jams With Flea From Red Hot Chili Peppers]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 10:49:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/210*120/2016-08-23_8-46-00.jpg

Most people know by now that 45-year-old Koko the gorilla, born at the San Francisco Zoo, knows sign language.

But who knew she could play bass guitar?

Red Hot Chili Peppers' bassist Flea did. The Australian-born rocker, who apparently is one of the gorilla’s favorites, got to hear Koko strum - or rather, try to strum - at the Gorilla Foundation in Woodside, California. The foundation posted a short video of their jam session, adding: "Koko rocks a flea bass like it ain't nuthin."

The Aug. 19 post, also on the Chili Peppers Facebook page, has had more than 11 million views so far.

Flea appeared to be starstruck by Koko’s rudimentary bass playing.

“This is the greatest thing that ever happened,” Flea said. “I will never forget.”

The Gorilla Foundation's development director Jane Narich told NBC Bay Area on Tuesday that it was really great having Flea come to the foundation — the rocker emailed that he wanted to play with Koko about six months ago, and his wish was granted.

Narich added that Koko has had a long line of famous visitors meet with her over the years including Mister Rogers, Betty White and Robin Williams.

Koko is probably the world's most famous gorilla, all because she learned American Sign Language in the 1970s with Dr. Penny Patterson.

Narich is quite enjoying all the buzz. She's hoping the jam session will bring awareness to her foundation, which she would like to upgrade for the other gorillas living there.

Donations to support the Gorilla Foundation can be made at Koko.org.

Photo Credit: The Gorilla Foundation
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<![CDATA[The 'Poopening': Roomba Spreads Feces All Over Home]]> Tue, 16 Aug 2016 08:56:05 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Jesse+Newton+Roomba+Poop.jpg

Oh the horror. That’s how one man described the events that unfolded when his Roomba ran over dog poop, spreading a 25-foot trail of feces throughout his house.

In a Facebook post, Jesse Newton said his dog, Evie, defecated in the living room at some point between midnight and when his vacuum cleaning robot was set to run at 1:30 a.m. When Newton‘s 4-year-old son awoke at 3 a.m. to crawl into bed with his parents, Newton smelled a strong odor. He got out of bed and walked into a “war zone of poop” in his living room.

Newton documented the dramatic saga that unfolded as a cautionary tail to others. The post, complete with a hand drawn map of the poop trail, has since gone viral with more than 140,000 reactions and more than 200,000 shares.

“Do not, under any circumstances, let your Roomba run over dog poop,” Newton said. “If the unthinkable does happen, and your Roomba runs over dog poop, stop it immediately and do not let it continue the cleaning cycle.”

Newton was not so lucky. He recounts his attempts to clean the copious amounts of dried poop from his living room and a failed effort at using a rug shampooer to remove poop from the rug where it all started.

“Some folks would shrug their shoulders and get back in bed to deal with it in the morning. But you're not one of those people,” Newton writes of himself.

Instead, in the early hours of the morning, he attempted to clean the Roomba but forgot to take the batteries out before soaking it. As the waterlogged Roomba sputtered to its death, Newton had some harsh words.

“You're not just using profanity - you're inventing new types of profanity,” Newton said of his reaction. “You're saying things that would make Satan shudder in revulsion. You hope your kid stayed in bed, because if he hears you talking like this, there's no way he's not ending up in prison.”

But the tale has a happy ending. After a week of trying to fix the costly device, he called the store where he purchased the Roomba and told them the story. The purchase came with a lifetime warranty.

"They are replacing the Roomba that ran over dog poop and then died a poopy, watery death in the bathtub - by no fault of their own, of course," Newton wrote on Facebook.

This is one experience that won't soon be flushed away.

See the full Facebook post below.


Photo Credit: Jesse Newton
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<![CDATA[Police Go on the Road With 'UFO']]> Fri, 05 Aug 2016 07:06:34 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/belfast.jpg

A '"UFO" got a police escort last week when it roamed the streets of Ireland, but the rolling saucer wasn't from outer space. It was made right here on Earth.

Ali Kemal Ali, 53, told the Belfast Telegraph he initially completed the craft as part of a visual arts course he was taking. The saucer later became the centerpiece of an Irish art exhibition called Third Space Pop Art Show.

Ali said he wanted more people to see his creation.

"I thought, 'How can I attract a bit more interest?'" he recalled. "I thought, 'I'll go and ask the guards,'" Ali said, referring to the Garda, the Irish civilian police force. "I asked, 'Can they give me a police escort with my UFO?' They loved it." [[389208952, C]]

The fiberglass flying saucer reportedly runs on two electric scooters and is complete with a strobe light, laser, smoke machine and a loudspeaker designed to reproduce low bass frequencies that sound out of this world.

Video of the craft's journey taken by onlookers shows the saucer even made its way through a neighborhood park.

"How often do you go into a police station and ask for something like this? It's always doom and gloom," Ali added. "They saw the funny side of it."

Ali posted a video of the saucer’s police escort, which now has almost a million views on Facebook.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Puppy Swallows Rubber Duckies]]> Tue, 02 Aug 2016 06:49:59 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NC_duckdog0729_1920x1080.jpg An Oklahoma puppy undergoes emergency surgery after swallowing several rubber duckies. [warning: graphic footage]

Photo Credit: KFOR]]>
<![CDATA[Video Shows Officer Trying to Pull Over 2 Cows]]> Thu, 04 Aug 2016 06:40:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/218*120/vlcsnap-2016-07-29-15h43m31s162.jpg

A police officer in Windham, Maine, attempted to "pull over" two cows after they were reportedly menacing cars on Thursday afternoon.

In a video the police department posted on its Facebook page, Officer Ernest MacVane attempts to deal with the cows by asking them to "pull over."

The cows, however, continue walking down the road, leading the officer to call out to the cows and ask them to "stop resisting arrest."

Photo Credit: Windham Police]]>
<![CDATA[Police Find Package of Marijuana ]]> Fri, 22 Jul 2016 12:33:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Cheltenham+Police+Marijuana.PNG

Police in Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania, are looking for the owner of a package of marijuana mistakenly left at the wrong resident’s home.

Earlier this week, a resident called the police department when they received a package they were not expecting, police said.

With no name on the box, officers checked the package for any indication of ownership.

"What we found was surprising to say the least. Two-kilos of high (get it?) quality marijuana,” a Facebook post by the department reads.

The department hopes to return the package to its rightful owner ... and maybe chat with them a little about it.

"If you are that person, please feel free to stop by the station to claim it. We'll be waiting."

Photo Credit: Cheltenham Police Department
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<![CDATA['Pokemon Go' Player Stuck in Tree]]> Thu, 21 Jul 2016 06:46:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Pokemon+go+tree+cemetery+east+greenwich+firefighter.jpg

First responders came to the rescue of a young woman who got stuck up a tree playing "Pokemon Go" inside a Gloucester County, New Jersey, cemetery Tuesday night.

East Greenwich Township Fire and Rescue posted a safety message about the woman's plight on their Facebook page as their "Public Safety Message of the Day."

The woman, who police described as a young adult, climbed a tree inside Eglington Cemetery to catch a Pokemon. When she couldn't get down, she called 911 and reluctantly admitted when rescuers talked to her that she'd been playing the game. "She was a bit embarrassed at that point," said Rob Gould III, the township's fire chief.

Rescuers used a ladder to get the woman down and didn't embarrass her any further by releasing her name.

They did ask people to think more about their safety when playing "Pokemon Go."

"We have noticed there has been an increase in foot traffic around town. Some of the sites in town such as the churches and the cemetery are game stops," Gould said.

"We were just trying to get the word out that people need to be cognizant about watching where they are going and what they are doing so no one gets hurt. This game phenomenon is happening everywhere, not just the urban areas and we don't want to see anyone get hurt. Luckily this person escaped injury."

Photo Credit: East Greenwich Twp. Fire and Police]]>
<![CDATA[Ducks Dumped, Rescued From New Jersey Mall]]> Mon, 18 Jul 2016 08:04:05 -0700 New Jersey state wildlife officials said they were looking to find homes for 92 ducks who were dumped at a mall in Secaucus. ]]> <![CDATA[Deputies Free Bear Inexplicably Stuck in Car]]> Thu, 14 Jul 2016 04:29:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bear-ezgif-2217839850.gif

A black bear found stuck inside a car near Denver left sheriff's deputies scratching their heads this week — it's not clear how the wild animal managed to get inside.

None of the car's windows were broken and the door handles could not be easily lifted, the Jefferson County, Colorado, Sheriff's Department said in a Facebook post Tuesday. 

"Somehow this medium-sized bear managed to open a door, crawl inside and close the door behind him," the post said. "Deputies could tell by all the moisture on the windows that he'd clearly been inside for a while."

Annie Bruecker told NBC affiliate KUSA that her mom woke her up Tuesday morning after discovering the black bear trapped inside Annie’s 2005 Subaru Outback. Bruecker said the SUV was parked in her driveway overnight with the doors unlocked, something she typically doesn't do.

"[My mom] screamed from downstairs," Bruecker told the station. "She said, 'Annie, there's a bear in your car.' And I thought that she meant that it broke a window, and I was like, 'okay, that's life.' But, no she actually meant that it was in my car."

The two sheriff's deputies at the scene decided to open the hatch of the Subaru to get the bear out, deputies said in the Facebook post. Unable to open it with the key fob, one of the deputies opened the door manually and the bear jumped out, quickly making his way back into the woods.

Photo Credit: Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
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<![CDATA[Missing Google Street View, Faroe Islands Get 'Sheep View']]> Tue, 12 Jul 2016 19:32:23 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/faroe-islands-sheep-view.jpg

If you were to take a tour of Europe's tiny, rocky Faroe Islands in Google Street View, you might see a lot of sheep. 

But you can't take a tour of the Faroe Islands in Google Street View, unlike much of the rest of Europe. A resident of the North Atlantic islands has turned to her sheep to try and fix that. 

Durita Dahl Andreassen, of the tourist organization Visit Faroe Islands, has fastened a 360-degree camera, powered by a solar panel, to the back of her sheep. The camera takes photographs as the animal grazes along the hillsides that she can then upload to Street View. 

She's using this "Sheep View 360" program to get Google's attention, starting a petition to entice the Internet giant to turn its eye on the archipelago located roughly midway between Scotland, Iceland and Norway.

“The Faroe Islands may be rugged and remote but this collection of 18 islands in the North Atlantic also provide some of the world’s most magical landscapes and it is time that this hidden Nordic nation is revealed to the world,” Andreassen said in a post on the Visit Faroe Islands website Monday.

The Faroe Islands, a part of Denmark whose name may in fact derive from the Old Norse word "faer," meaning sheep, according to the CIA Fact Book, has a population of just over 50,000 people. That compares to 80,000 sheep, The Guardian reported. 

The sheep rarely notice the camera and continue to graze as it captures a picture a minute, Andreassen said in a video promoting the project. 

Sheep View imitates Google Street View, which captures images in 360 degrees that give users a sense of what streets look like from their computers or phones; it's available on most of America's roads, and throughout much of Europe as well, including even a few spots in the even-more-remote Greenland. Parts of Germany, Austria, Belarus and a few other nations are not included in Google's current European coverage.

Of course, Sheep View doesn't have quite the same reach as Street View, and Andreassen's project aims to have Google bring Street View cameras to the Faroe Islands, where she argues they're much-needed.

“In order to cover the big sweeping Faroese roads and the whole of the breath-taking landscapes, we need Google to come and map them,” Andreassen said. 

Photo Credit: Courtesy Visit Faroe Islands
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<![CDATA[Solano County Officials Uncover 38,000 Marijuana Plants]]> Thu, 07 Jul 2016 18:10:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/175*120/marijuana-98529895.jpg

Solano County sheriff's officials said Thursday that a drug enforcement team has found and eradicated more than 38,000 marijuana plants on Ryer Island just west of the J-Mack Ferry since last month.

The street value of the plants found at five large grow sites is approximately $114 million, according to the sheriff's office.

More than 10,130 plants were found along a 3-mile stretch of an irrigation canal in June and 28,000 more plants were found over the past few days, sheriff's officials said.

The plants were growing without permission on private property and the landowner suffered multiple acres in lost or damaged crops. The growers have not been identified and there have been no arrests, according to the sheriff's office.

The large, illegal grows are a threat to public safety that can lead to violence, and the chemicals and pesticides used by the growers drain into irrigation ditches and spread to other nearby crops, sheriff's officials said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mystery Explosion Sounds in Calif.]]> Wed, 06 Jul 2016 17:42:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/218*120/7-6-16-Alhambra.jpg

Susan Saunders began hearing the explosions at random hours, day and night, in February at her Alhambra home. The first one came at 3 a.m.

"I thought, 'Somebody's blowing things up,'" said Saunders, 60. "It really lifted my windows."

But she heard it again and again. Her neighbors started hearing it. Police were called. They received 114 calls about the noises since mid-February, according to Chris Paulson, the city's administrative services director. He told the Pasadena Star-News local government agencies did not know what the cause of the sound was.

City officials are baffled; one blast interrupted a city council meeting.

"All of a sudden we hear this loud sharp explosion — very quick," Paulson said. "We all flinched and looked around and didn’t see smoke or flames or light."

They called Caltech seismologists. But they don't have an answer.

"There's nothing seismic that I can see," said Jennifer Andrews, a staff seismologist at Caltech in Pasadena, who was asked by Alhambra city officials to check earthquake data for Feb. 22. "What that phenomenon might be, I don't know. I haven't heard the noises."

The seismograph picks up pressure waves from things like thunder and helicopter sounds. But the Alhambra explosions are baffling.

"Whether it's a man-made or natural phenomenon, I don't know," Andrews said.

She hopes to learn more by the end of the week.

Saunders, a school teacher, said the last time she heard it was in early June.

She suggests that schools set up a science project to have students investigate the source of the booms as part of a class project.

Residents, meanwhile, are speculating online about the source of the sounds. Is it a job for Mulder and Scully?

"I believe that anything's possible, but I don't think these are aliens," Saunders said.

Angie Crouch contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News]]>
<![CDATA[Repairs on Giant Sinkhole in East Bay in Final Stretch]]> Sun, 03 Jul 2016 17:36:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N7A+PLEASANT+HILL+FLOOD+VO+-+000004091.jpg

Repairs on a ruptured water line in Pleasant Hill were nearing completion Sunday after the break caused a large sinkhole.

On Friday at 9:04 p.m., the Pleasant Hill Police Department responded to reports of flooding in the area of Contra Costa Boulevard between Woodsworth and Gregory lanes.

A water line failed beneath the roadway surface of the southbound lanes and caused water to escape through the cracks in the street, flooding the roadway and nearby business properties, police said.

The continuous water flow also caused a large sinkhole to develop. Repairs on the water line initially were estimated to be completed late in the day Saturday, however because of the damage to the road surface, major repairs to Contra Costa Boulevard would likely not be complete until Sunday, according to Pleasant Hill city officials.

City officials said they did not anticipate the repairs to impact the Fourth of July Parade, scheduled for Monday morning.

<![CDATA[Man Pleads Involuntary Manslaughter for Killing His Friend]]> Fri, 01 Jul 2016 14:08:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-611475849.jpg

A 20-year-old man pleaded no contest today to involuntary manslaughter today for accidentally fatally shooting an 18-year-old friend with a shotgun at an East Oakland apartment last year.

By entering his plea, Isaiah Powell admitted that he shot Frank Franz in the back of the head with a shotgun in the 2700 block of E.C. Reems Court at about 12:40 a.m. on July 21, 2015. Powell was 19 at the time.

Powell's father called police and said his son had accidentally shot another man, according to a probable cause statement by Oakland police Officer Kris McClain.

Responding officers found Franz suffering a gunshot wound to the back of his head. He died at the scene, McClain said.

Powell admitted to police investigators that he shot Franz while playing with the shotgun, according to McClain.

Powell, who also pleaded no contest to grand theft in an unrelated case, faces 7 to 10 years in state prison when he's sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kevin Murphy on Aug. 18.

Powell's attorney, Timothy Murphy, who's unrelated to the judge, said the shooting was "a complete accident" and was "a tragedy" for both Franz and Powell.

Murphy, who has been practicing since 1988, said, "This is the saddest case of my career."

A group of Franz's family members and friends were in court today for Powell's plea but didn't comment on the case.

Powell entered his plea just before Judge Murphy was to rule on whether prosecutors had presented enough evidence at his preliminary hearing,which was held several months ago, to have him ordered to stand trial.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/EyeEm]]>
<![CDATA[South Bay Raid Nets 600 Pounds of Illegal Fireworks]]> Fri, 01 Jul 2016 08:48:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/010216+fireworks+accident+opa-locka.jpg

Law enforcement officers seized 600 pounds of fireworks Thursday morning from an East Palo Alto man suspected of dealing them ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, police said.

East Palo Alto police served a search warrant at 3 Gardenia Court while investigating the sale of illegal fireworks, police said. The San Mateo County sheriff's bomb squad and narcotics task force helped them with the warrant.

The fireworks and explosive devices seized had a street value of over $12,000, police said. The resident had a small marijuana garden in the home's backyard as well.

Police arrested Michael Burt Fields, 54, for possession of the fireworks. He was booked into jail.

"The use of fireworks in our community causes a variety of public safety issues," police Chief Albert Pardini said in a statement. "If there was a fire in this residence, the explosion and fire would have destroyed the house and likely spread to the adjacent houses causing a significant damage and jeopardizing the lives of many people," Pardini said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Renegade Biker Tackles SF with Traffic Cones ]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 20:37:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Stafford_Springs_Bike_Hit_062116.jpg

Following the preventable deaths of two San Francisco cyclists earlier this month, one man is taking a stand to protect future bike riders from dangerous drivers – and he seemingly doesn’t care if he has to break the law to do it.

The man, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Adam, has been raising money and buying orange traffic cones to act as a barricade along more treacherous stretches of road. He’s been placing them on Golden Gate Avenue in the Tenderloin, disregarding the law in the process.

He says the countless times he’s been hit by car doors and run off the road while riding his bike in San Francisco inspired his renegade crusade.

He also says his horn and helmet camera aren’t enough to protect him, making his action a necessary one. The cones that he put up in the Tenderloin come with a note attached that says, simply, “Bikes to the right” and “Cars to the left.”

Adam, who created a Twitter page for his undercover advocacy efforts, has been calling on other riders to share trouble spots, so he can add cones there as well. He said he’s tired of waiting for public policy to make locations a safer place for cyclists.

“This is a top down leadership failure,” he told NBC Bay Area. “We want to put pressure on those individuals to make rapid improvement.”

Perhaps surprisingly, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency didn’t seem too upset about the new street additions.

“It’s not legal but it is something we can appreciate,” said spokesperson Paul Rose of the SFMTA. He added that the city has been trying to improve safety measures, and noted that the city recently painted bike lanes along Golden Gate Avenue. Rose also said some permanent barriers will be installed.

But the cones? They're gonna have to go.

<![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]]>