<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Local News - East Bay]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/localen-usWed, 13 Dec 2017 05:27:19 -0800Wed, 13 Dec 2017 05:27:19 -0800NBC Local Integrated Media<![CDATA[Prosecution Rests, Defense Begins Case in Coast Guard Trial]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 21:08:26 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/uscg_trial_1206.jpg

Defense attorneys for 31-year-old Jimmy Barlow, a petty officer with the U.S. Coast Guard, opened their case Monday by asking the judge to dismiss the four counts of child endangerment against Barlow on the grounds there wasn’t sufficient evidence to charge him in connection to the homicide death of his 3-year-old daughter Eden.

But the judge ruled against the motion and allowed the case to continue.

Coast Guard prosecutors rested their case Saturday, calling Rhonda Lynch, Eden’s maternal grandmother, as their final witness.

“We all played a large role in raising her,” Lynch said, “She was a happy, joyful, bossy, sassy, fun child. She made us laugh every day.”

Lynch said she co-raised Eden for the first two-and-a-half years of her life with her husband Eric and her daughter Erica at their Southern California home.

“Eden’s behavior was extremely normal,” Lynch said. “My husband used to say she was smarter than both our kids put together.”

Lynch also told the court that Eden had been potty trained between January and February of 2011 and that during a camping trip in July of that year, Eden never wore a diaper.

The day before Eden’s collapse, evidence shows she urinated on herself on four separate occasions. She also defecated on herself and smeared the feces on her face. Coast Guard prosecutors argued the unusual behavior should have been cause for concern for Jimmy and Holli Barlow, and they should have sought medical attention.

However, Barlow says that Eden was having routine issues with potty training and sometimes had to be put in a diaper, so the incidents were not particularly alarming to him.

Testimony the day before from Matthew Murillo, Holli’s ex-boyfriend and the father of their daughter, shed light on Holli as a mother. Murillo, an attorney, said he and Holli lived together from 2007 to 2009, but Holli went back to live with her mother when the couple split.

Murillo testified he met Jimmy Barlow sometime around 2010 or 2011 and that he thought he was nice, quiet and reserved. He said Barlow’s daughter Eden, and his daughter got along well and liked each other. He called Eden “a good kid, really sweet” and recalled she didn’t have any behavioral issues.

Murillo said Tuesday, Aug. 30, he went to pick up his daughter from BART and that’s when he noticed Eden had feces on her face. He said he told Holli about it and later followed up with her to check on Eden.

Murillo testified Holli texted him earlier that month to say she enjoyed life with their daughter as an only child. But Murillo said the text message did not concern him because he figured she was just adjusting to becoming a caregiver for Jimmy’s daughter Eden.

When cross-examined by Barlow’s defense team, Murillo said he never saw Holli lose her temper with either of the kids and that she was an overprotective mom.

Holli’s mom, Dianna de Alba, also testified Friday that Holli was a great mom. She said they had a birthday party for Eden at her house in Vallejo and that Eden was well cared for.

But when questioned by the prosecution, de Alba said, “I don’t know” and “I don’t remember” in response to several questions about whether the couple ever sought professional health care for Eden or if they explored what was “scaring” the toddler after she began screaming when people left, refused to eat anything except soft food and expressed fear.

De Alba also did not recall whether she saw any bruises on Saturday, Aug. 28, 2011, when Eden went with her and Holli to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. Eden collapsed three days later on Aug. 31 while in Holli’s care, never regaining consciousness. Her death was ruled a homicide, caused by blunt force trauma to the head.

Following Dianna de Alba’s testimony, the court heard from two key witnesses for the prosecution: Social worker Alma Hernandez and Alameda police Detective Sean Lynch (who is not related to Eden Lynch.)

Hernandez testified about the day Eden was rushed to Children’s Hospital Oakland, where Jimmy Barlow repeated his account of how Eden had fallen down the stairs. She testified, “In the subsequent days they saw abnormal behavior: banging her head on the wall, that she had choked herself with a necklace and rubbed feces on herself. They did not seek care after those events because she had exhibited that kind of behavior when she had first moved in, and that had subsided,” and said, “As a social worker, it was concerning to me that prior medical attention had not been sought.”

Detective Lynch, who testified he has handled at least 100 homicides in his career before retiring in 2012, said Jimmy and Holli Barlow voluntarily agreed to an interview with Lynch in November 2011.

From the witness stand, Lynch said he wanted to notify Barlow that the coroner had ruled Eden’s death a homicide.

Lynch said Barlow’s response was extremely impassive and that he showed no emotion. Lynch testified, “Every single time I tell a parent their child has been murdered, they ask me who did it. Barlow did not.”

The prosecution played an audio recording of the interview in the court-martial, as Lynch pressed Barlow for details about Eden’s death. In the recording, Lynch can be heard telling Barlow that it was either Jimmy or Holli that killed Eden, and he didn’t believe it was Jimmy.

Lynch said he asked Jimmy to explain what happened. “Help us out, Jimmy. We don’t want to arrest two people.”

But Barlow did not offer any further details beyond what he had previously told investigators: That he believed Eden’s death was the result of injuries related to slow brain bleed triggered by a fall down the stairs outside his apartment more than a week before she collapsed.

On Monday, defense attorney Colby Vokey wasted no time before trying to cast doubt on the Alameda County Coroner’s finding that Eden’s death was a homicide and the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

His first witness was Dr. Gregory Shoukimas, a board certified neuroradiologist and national expert who has testified in numerous cases on behalf of defendants accused of child abuse. He said he reviewed roughly 10,000 pages of documentation related to the case, including medical records, CT scans, and interviews of Barlow and his girlfriend, now wife, Holli, who is also facing a felony child abuse charge in Alameda County.

Dr. Shoukimas testified Eden’s CT scan showed two things: a brain bleed, or subdural hematoma, and brain swelling.

But the doctor said it was unclear when the subdural hematoma occurred or how long Eden’s brain had been bleeding. He testified that based on his review of the records, he believes “respiratory arrest can cause this type of brain trauma,” establishing the defense’s theory that Eden suffered some type of seizure due to the brain bleeding and that brain bleed could have been the result of Eden’s reported fall down several concrete steps about a week prior to her collapse.

“My understanding is Holli had gone to the car, and Eden had followed her. She tripped and fell onto her head. She fell approximately 4 feet. A fall from 8 feet onto a hard surface is significant enough to cause a subdural injury,” Dr. Shoukimas said.

“A subdural hematoma of this size can be completely asymptomatic,” the doctor said, indicating Eden may not have exhibited any signs that anything was wrong before she eventually collapsed and lost consciousness on Aug. 31. Eden never recovered and was declared dead Sept. 3, 2011.

The doctor testified that Eden could have suffered seizures that led to her tongue going back into her throat and restricting her ability to breathe. “There’s a high correlation between the presence of edema and seizure activity,” Dr Shoukimas said.

He disagreed with Eden’s treating physician at Children’s Hospital Oakland, Dr. James Crawford-Jacubiak, and the coroner’s ruling, who both said there was blunt force trauma to Eden’s head.

When asked by defense attorney Vokey, to confirm, “No blunt force trauma, this was respiratory arrest that brought on edema?” Dr. Shoukimas replied, “Yes.”

Prosecutors cross examined Dr. Shoukimas and asked if he could definitively say when the bleeding of the brain occurred, to which he responded he could not. They pointed out he has given presentations for the National Child Abuse Defense and Resource Center, which is an organization that fights on behalf of falsely accused child abusers.

Dr. Shoukimas affirmed he believes Jimmy Barlow has been falsely accused and said if his own grandchild fell down stairs he would be afraid to take that child to the hospital, for fear of being accused of abuse.

He said he has declined to testify in the majority of cases brought to him and added, “The only cases I get involved with are ones where there’s a reasonable way to exclude abuse.”

The defense also called Dr. Kris Sperry to the stand as a board certified expert in forensic, clinical and anatomical pathology. He told military judge Matthew Fay this was the 743rd time he has testified live in a court trial.

Dr. Sperry echoed the opinion of Dr. Shoukimas, that he saw “extremely severe swelling of the entire brain edema … but no evidence of other impact,” and that he also believed Eden had a seizure that caused her tongue to block her airway and deprive her brain of oxygen, which led it to swell.

He viewed photos of bruises and scratches on Eden’s body and said the scratches “could be caused by her fingernails” and that his impression of her injuries was that they were “very superficial” and he suspected many of them were caused by first responders.

“Paramedics were aggressively trying to save her life. Those marks are nothing to worry about,” he said.

Dr. Sperry testified that he saw no evidence in Eden’s medical records that she had been abused.

Under cross examination, prosecutors pointed out inconsistencies in Dr. Sperry’s testimony and asked if he had considered all of the information provided in Holli Barlow’s statements about Eden’s behavior prior to her collapse.

Prosecutor: "If Eden had been zombie-like for two hours that would be a concern?"

Dr. Sperry: "Yes."

Prosecutor: "You did or did not watch the interview of Holli?"

Dr. Sperry: "I don’t remember."

The prosecutor read a quote from Holli’s statement to investigators that on the morning of her collapse, Eden “was just sitting there depressed like staring at the wall for like two hours,” asking if it would be concerning to Dr. Sperry if he knew that. “I, as a professional, would want to know a lot more,” Sperry answered.

The defense is expected to call six to eight more witnesses to the stand Tuesday.

If you have a tip for the Investigative Unit, email Vicky at Vicky@nbcbayarea.com. You can follow Vicky on Twitter @VickyNguyenTV or www.facebook.com/VickyNguyenTV



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Captain Says Almena Told Him No One Lived at Ghost Ship]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 18:32:11 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/warehouse-fire-split.jpg

An Oakland fire captain testified Tuesday that Ghost Ship warehouse master tenant Derick Almena told him in September 2014 that no one was living at the structure in Oakland's Fruitvale district where 36 people perished in a fire last year.

On the fourth day of a preliminary hearing for Almena, 47, and Ghost Ship creative director Max Harris, 27, who face 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter, Oakland Fire Capt. George Freelen said he and several colleagues visited the building at 1309 31st Ave. in late September 2014, a few days after there'd been a couch fire outside the warehouse.

Freelen said the visit wasn't a formal inspection but said he wanted to see what was inside the warehouse because "I like to see what's in all the buildings in my district" and he said Almena gave him permission to enter the building.

Freelen said, "I noticed a lot of things inside there," including artwork, pianos, a recreational vehicle and a trailer.

Freelen said, "Initially I was concerned about the fire load," which he explained is the potential for fire from various materials inside a structure.

Freelen said he noted his concerns in a one-page report to Oakland fire inspectors but he said he doesn't know if they ever followed up on his report.

Freelen said he asked Almena if anyone was living at the warehouse and Almena said no one was.

"I took him at his word," Freelen said.

A fire that broke out at the warehouse during a music party on the night of Dec. 2, 2016, claimed the lives of 36 people.

The purpose of the preliminary hearing, which is expected to conclude on Wednesday, is to determine if there's enough evidence for the pair to stand trial.

Tony Serra, Almena's lead attorney, indicated after testimony concluded for the day late this afternoon that defense attorneys expect Almena and Harris to be ordered to stand trial.

Asked if defense lawyers will present any witnesses at the preliminary hearing, Serra said they won't, adding, "We have defenses but we're saving them strategically for the trial."

Prosecutors allege that the warehouse violated several rules under the California Fire Code, such as not having adequate, fire-suppression systems, smoke alarms, exit signs and sprinklers.

Prosecutors also allege that Almena fostered an environment in which highly flammable materials were allowed and that Almena and Harris remodeled the warehouse without going through proper inspection and permitting procedures.

In addition, prosecutors say the industrial building wasn't zoned for residential use.

Earlier Tuesday, former Ghost Ship resident Michael Russell testified that after the fire broke out on the night of Dec. 2, 2016, a woman who was wearing a red beanie and a green dress repeatedly screamed, "This is the will of the spirits of the forests" and urged people who were on the building's second floor to stay there for their own safety, since the fire was downstairs.

Russell said, "It was like a horror movie."

Russell, who said about 25 people lived at the building, said he didn't recognize the woman and he doesn't think she lived at the warehouse.

Asked by Serra if the woman appeared to be disturbed, Russell said, "I think she was reacting to a horrible situation in a real poor way."

Russell said, "I pretty much fled for my life" after he saw the woman and said he never saw her again once he was outside the warehouse.

"I'm assuming she died that night," Russell said.



Photo Credit: Alameda County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Top Picks for Fun Holiday Activities in the East Bay]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 16:07:48 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/gazimallights9389e2.jpg

Still looking for fun and affordable holiday-themed activities? There's plenty to choose from in the East Bay.

Here's a list of NBC Bay Area's top picks:

EAST BAY: 

Walnut Creek Ice Skating Rink: From 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. until Jan. 15. Check website for details.

Martinez Ice Skating Rink: Hours vary; Running until Jan.7. Check website for details

Live Drive-Thru Nativity: From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the Bethel Baptist Church. Check the website for details. 

Chanukah Celebration: From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m on Dec. 17 at Blackhawk Plaza. Check the website for more information.

Menorah-lighting Ceremony: From 5:45 p.m. on Tuesday at Lafayette Plaza Park. Food will be provided. Check the website for more details.

Annual Zoolights at Oakland Zoo: From 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. until Jan. 1 at the Oakland Zoo. Check the website for details. 

Great Dickens Christmas Fair: From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Cow Palace Exhibition Halls. Check the website for details.

Bay Area Discovery Museum: Visit and learn about reindeer or take a picture with Santa Claus; open throughout December. Check the website for more information.

2017 Bay Area Winter Solstice: From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Anna Head Alumnae Hall in Berkeley. Check the event’s GoFundMe page for more information. 

Fairy Winterland Celebration: From 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. from Dec. 15- Dec. 23 at Children’s Fairyland

Holiday Festival and Holiday Lights Illumination Ceremony: From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 13  at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts. Check the website for more information.

Grand Menorah Lighting and Chanukah Celebration: Starting at 4 p.m.on Wednesday at Broadway Plaza Street in Walnut Creek. Check the website for more information. 

This list will be updated throughout the month of December. If you have an event you'd like to add, email Gillian.Edevane@nbcuni.com



Photo Credit: Gazimal]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect in Custody After Hours-Long Standoff With Police]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 16:38:36 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police-lights-day-shutterstock_1430470311.jpg

A suspect was in custody Tuesday afternoon after engaging in a standiff with officers and a SWAT team at a home in Oakland, according to Oakland police.

The initial call came in at 10:03 a.m., and the suspect was taken into custody about 3:40 p.m., police said.

Patrol officers initially said the standoff was in the 3900 block of Foothill Boulevard, but spokeswoman Officer Johnna Watson has since clarified that there's a suspect with a warrant barricaded in the 1800 block of 41st Avenue, several blocks away.

The 4000-4200 blocks of Foothill Boulevard were reopened to traffic, police said.

No injuries were reported.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Fire Burns Homes, Prompts Evacuations in Oakland Hills]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 18:09:01 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/oakland+hills+fire-1211.jpg

Five structures burned and 50 homes were evacuated late Monday after a blaze ignited in the Oakland Hills, according to fire officials.

The blaze sparked around 11:30 p.m. at a two-story house that is under construction in the 6800 block of Snake Road in the Montclair neighborhood, officials said. Flames then spread to one more home on Snake Road and three others on Asilomar Circle. 

Seventy-one firefighters and 23 units responded to the blaze and appeared to have the main fire under control around 1 a.m. 

Resident Norman Miller described the scene he woke up to at his Oakland hills house Monday night. The UC Berkeley hydro meteorologist immediately grabbed a garden hose.

"I heard an explosive sound, and I saw flames roughly 10-20 feet," he said. "I saw flaming embers falling on my deck, on my roof. I got up on the roof and started hosing my roof."

Residents were evacuated to Montclair Elementary School before being allowed to return to their homes, according to fire officials. 

Several accounts of the blaze were posted on social media, including one from Vassil Mladjov, who said an evacuation was in progress. He captured video of firefighters preparing to launch a drone.

Another tweet from Nikhil said he was evacuated from the 1800 block of Gouldin Road. 

Yet another tweet from @tracey_pooh said the flames were about six blocks from her house, and she saw an orange glow up the hill from her home.

Following October's North Bay fires and the current blazes burning in Southern California, Oakland Fire Department Chief Darin White said Golden State residents need to be on heightened alert.

"I think as we can see what's taken place here in Oakland and what's happened in Southern California and other areas of the state and in this region, fire safety is truly important and is starting to become something that people need to be more concerned about on a year-round basis, not just seasonal," he said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Bay City News contributed to this report.




Photo Credit: @oaklandfirelive/Twitter
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<![CDATA[Suspect in Bay Bridge Crash Faces DUI, Manslaughter Charges]]>Wed, 13 Dec 2017 00:13:51 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/TollBoothLaneClosed.JPG

A Foster City man has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and six counts of felony DUI causing injury in the death of a toll worker on the Oakland side of the Bay Bridge earlier this month, according to Alameda County prosecutors.

Daniel Berk, 32, was charged on Monday in connection with the death of Caltrans toll collector Si Si Han, 46, of San Lorenzo, on Dec. 2.

California Highway Patrol Officer Andrey Gavrilchik wrote in a probable cause statement that he and his partner responded to the Bay Bridge toll plaza at 5:11 a.m. that day and found Berk, who admitted that he was driving the white box truck that struck toll booth No. 14.

The officers "detected a faint odor of an alcoholic beverage and marijuana emanating from Berk's person at the scene," he wrote.

According to Gavrilchik, his partner contacted Berk in the back of an ambulance at the scene a short time later and he said he smelled the same odors on Berk and heard him tell paramedics he had been driving the truck and that he had been drinking an alcoholic beverage and smoking marijuana beforehand.

In addition, paramedics noticed that Berk had constricted pupils and didn't react to direct light, Gavrilchik wrote.

Surveillance camera footage at the toll plaza showed that the truck was being driven in a reckless manner that caused the crash and the subsequent death of Han, he wrote.

CHP officials said after the collision that Berk and a passenger were hurled from the truck onto the road and that Berk suffered major injuries and was hospitalized.

A CHP spokesman said today that he doesn't know if Berk is still hospitalized. A spokeswoman for the Alameda County District Attorney's Office also said she doesn't know if Berk is still hospitalized or if he has been arraigned yet.

Berk isn't listed in the Alameda County sheriff's inmate locator system, which indicates that he currently isn't in a county jail.

CHP officials said a passenger in the truck that Berk was driving suffered minor injuries and was also hospitalized.

Five other motorists from the vehicles involved in the collision were also hospitalized with injuries ranging from minor to moderate, according to the CHP.

Han, who was born in Burma, now called Myanmar, was a Caltrans employee for more than 10 years and is survived by her husband, Ryan, and their 10-year-old daughter, Ashly, according to a statement from the office of Gov. Jerry Brown.

Han's family has set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for her funeral expenses, for supporting her family and for Ashly's future.

As of this morning, $27,372 of the fund's $35,000 goal have been raised.

Han's family members said in a message on the website that "the saddening part" about her death is that the early morning shift on Dec. 2 wasn't even her normal shift time.

They said a co-worker had called out sick "so Si Si stepped up to fill the shift" and even came to work at 5 a.m., even though the shift wasn't scheduled to begin until 5:30 a.m.

Han's family said her husband, Ryan Saw, had dropped her off at work and just as he arrived home "he received the life-changing phone call that his wife had just died."

Han's family members described her as "a nurturing mother, loving wife, and a caring individual to all."

"Her family, friends, and colleagues will forever remember her sweet smile, generosity, and kindness," they said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Sports Community Pays Tribute to Late SF Mayor Lee]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 13:12:52 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ed_lee_warriors_parade_ap.jpg

The Bay Area community — its sports teams included — is reeling from San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee's untimely death early Tuesday.

The San Francisco Giants, San Francisco 49ers and Golden State Warriors joined a slew of state politicians and city leaders in expressing their grief.

Jed York, the chief executive officer of the 49ers, took to Twitter, saying, "So saddened by the loss of Mayor Ed Lee. My thoughts and prayers are with his family."

The 49ers also released a statement.

"The citizens of San Francisco and the greater Bay Area have lost a wonderful man and a tremendous leader with the passing of Mayor Lee. Our hearts go out to Anita, Tania, Brianna and his entire family. Ed was a friend that we came to admire deeply for his compassion for others and his tireless work to effect positive change in both his city and throughout society," it said.

Lee, 65, was San Francisco's first Asian-American mayor who was elected into office in 2011. Board of Supervisors President London Breed has succeeded him as acting mayor.

The Warriors issued a statement that said in part that the NBA champions are “stunned” by Lee’s death and will miss him.

“The lasting impact he leaves on the City of San Francisco is a timeless tribute to his incredible leadership and vision,” the Warriors wrote. “His love and passion for sports, including the Warriors, defined him as much as his witty humor and engaging personality. We will be eternally grateful for his commitment to the building of Chase Center — once termed his ‘legacy project’ as Mayor — and his dedication to making San Francisco one of the greatest cities in the world.”

The Giants echoed the same sentiment about Lee, with whom, they said, team players have “shared so many wonderful memories.”

“He was a true San Franciscan who devoted his life to serving our great city and to supporting those most in need. He was the Giants' number one fan,” their statement said.

The team's CEO Larry Baer commended Lee for being a "cheerleader" and "supporter" of San Francisco. He was an "amazingly decent and caring man who loved our city," Baer concluded.



Photo Credit: NBC Sports Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[Antioch Police Arrest Man in 1980 Murder of Teenage Girl]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 05:52:36 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bacom-suzanne-1211.jpg

A convicted rapist was arrested Monday in the 1980 abduction, rape and killing of a teenage girl, Antioch police said. 

The killing had been the oldest open cold case homicide on record in the East Bay city. 

At about 5 p.m., Mitchell Lynn Bacom, 63, was taken into custody in the June 1980 murder of 14-year-old Suzanne Bombardier, who had been taken in the middle of the night from her sister's home in Antioch, police said. She had been missing for five days before her body was found in the San Joaquin River, near the Antioch Bridge.

The cause of death was determined to be one stab wound to the chest that penetrated her heart, police said. Evidence at the time indicated she had been sexually assaulted.

Bacom was identified as the suspect through DNA testing, police said. He is being held on charges of murder, kidnapping, rape and oral copulation.

Since Suzanne's death, Bacom has been convicted twice on sex-related crimes and other felonies: in Iselton in 1981 and in Contra Costa County in 2002. Before Suzanne's death, he had been convicted of rape and other felonies in Mountain View in 1974.



Photo Credit: Antioch PD]]>
<![CDATA[Witnesses Describe Ghost Ship Warehouse as a 'Death Trap']]>Mon, 11 Dec 2017 19:02:15 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/warehouse-fire-split.jpg

Two witnesses at the preliminary hearing for Ghost Ship warehouse master tenant Derick Almena and creative director Max Harris described the structure where 36 people died in a fire last year as a death trap.

Construction worker Rodney Griffin testified that when he told Almena, 47, that the building at 1309 31st Ave. was a death trap Almena responded by joking that the warehouse, which also was called the Satya Yuga

Collective, should be called the "Satya Yuga death trap."

Electrician Robert Jacobitz, 56, also described the building as "a death trap" because of all the electrical problems it had.

Jacobitz said he warned Almena that he needed to do more electrical work to make the building safer, but he said, "I don't think he (Almena) took it seriously."

Jacobitz said he made some minor electrical repairs to the building but said Almena indicated that he didn't have the kind of money needed to make the necessary repairs.

Jacobitz said that at one point he warned Almena, "It (the warehouse) is going to go at any time" so Almena finally bought a fire door, but he said it wasn't completely installed, and Almena didn't get a permit for it.

In another bad sign for the defense, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Horner, who's presiding over the hearing for Almena and Harris, strongly admonished one of Harris' three defense lawyers, Samuel Geller, when he asked witness Carmen Brita if she had been quoted in news articles as saying that Harris is "an innocent man."

The two prosecutors in the case immediately objected to Geller's question, and Horner told Geller, "Don't do that again. Don't ask that kind of question in this courtroom."

The fire that broke out at the warehouse during a music party on the night of Dec. 2, 2016, killed 36 people.

Almena and Harris, 27, who are in custody in lieu of $750,000 bail, are charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the fire, one count for each person who died.

The purpose of their preliminary hearing, which has lasted three days so far and will resume Tuesday, is to determine if there's enough evidence for them to stand trial.

Prosecutors allege that the warehouse violated several rules under the California Fire Code, such as not having adequate, fire-suppression systems, smoke alarms, exit signs and sprinklers.

Prosecutors also allege that Almena fostered an environment in which highly flammable materials were allowed and that Almena and Harris remodeled the warehouse without going through proper inspection and permitting procedures.

Brita, a schoolteacher, said she moved into the warehouse on New Year's Day in 2016 and described it as "the most beautiful place I've ever lived. Everything together has a sort of magic to it."

Brita, who was on the verge of tears as she talked about the building, said, "Everybody who came into that place knew it was beautiful. It was just fun, and it was vibrant, and I just felt safe there."

She said she paid $565 a month to live there but said she didn't consider that sum to be rent and instead thought of it "more like a contribution for a collective."

Brita said the warehouse was filled with artwork, tapestries, rugs, statues, pianos and RVs that were used as living spaces, but in response to a question from one of Almena's lawyers, Tony Serra, she didn't consider it to be a fire trap.

Brita said, "Nobody ever thinks their house is the one that will burn down."

Under questioning by one of the prosecutors, David Lim, Brita admitted the building didn't have a fire alarm handle that someone could have pulled to set off an alarm that would have alerted the people who were at a noisy music party on the building's second floor when the blaze erupted.

She said, "That wasn't part of the original construction."

Brita said, "I just want everyone to know how fast it (the fire) happened. The entire window of opportunity (to get out safely) was less than five minutes."

She said she and others who had been on the first floor when the fire started and were able to get out quickly "didn't realize that nobody on the second floor heard us (warning them to get out) because of the music."



Photo Credit: Alameda County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Body of Missing Hiker Found Near Stinson Beach]]>Mon, 11 Dec 2017 15:56:20 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Hiking-generic-pic-san-diego.jpg

The body of a hiker who went missing last week was found near Stinson Beach Monday morning, officials said.

Tyler Silva, 21, of Antioch, was hiking with his girlfriend near Pirate's Cove Trail at Muir Beach when the two separated on Dec. 3, according to Golden Gate National Recreation Area spokeswoman Dana Polk.

A search for Silva ended last Tuesday.

Polk on Monday said Silva's body was found about two miles off Stinson Beach. There were no signs of foul play, Polk said.

Bay City News contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Police Name Suspect Who Struck, Killed Pedestrian in Fremont]]>Mon, 11 Dec 2017 08:31:05 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/207*120/car18.PNG

Police have released the name of the DUI suspect who allegedly struck and killed a pedestrian Friday morning in Fremont.

According to police, 57-year-old Robert Greer of Fremont was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of prescription medication and gross vehicular manslaughter.

Just before 10 a.m. Friday, Greer was driving a 2013 Nissan Rogue compact SUV south on Argonaut Way near Mowry Avenue when he lost control of the vehicle and struck a pedestrian, a parked utility trailer and a fire hydrant, police said.

Officers responded to the scene and found Greer unconscious in the driver's seat. He was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, police said. He also allegedly displayed signs of drug impairment, police said.

The 44-year-old male pedestrian from Huntington Beach was pronounced dead at the scene. His name has not yet been released.

Investigators believe that at the time of the crash, the pedestrian was trying to move a piano from the trailer to a residence on Argonaut Way, police said.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call Fremont police at (510) 790-6760.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[More Salvation Army Bell Ringers Needed]]>Mon, 11 Dec 2017 11:08:16 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/More_Salvation_Army_Bell_Ringers_Needed.jpg

One East Bay city desperately needs Salvation Army bell ringers. Officials say they are only averaging about 10 bell ringers per day in Hayward, but there are over 30 sites that need staff in that community. The Red Kettle campaign continues through December 23. Donations go to Salvation Army programs.]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Transit Agencies Monitor Explosion in New York City]]>Mon, 11 Dec 2017 12:32:11 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/FDNY2.JPG

An explosion rocked an underground passageway in New York City Monday morning, prompting mass evacuations but appearing to only seriously injure the man who detonated the apparent improvised explosive device.

Bay Area transit agencies are monitoring the situation, but most are not making any significant security changes.

BART has instructed its officers to "maintain a high level of visibility and awareness," according to the transit agency.

There is no threat to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, but the agency indicated it has beefed up patrols, which it notes is a "standard protocol in these circumstances." The move is "purely precautionary," according to a spokesperson. 

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority, which operates MUNI, is coordinating with the city's police department to "determine appropriate deployment strategies," according to a spokesperson. 

The San Francisco Police Department later indicated that there are no known threats to the city, but increased patrols will take place at tourist destinations across the city and across transit systems.

The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District indicated it will not be implementing any elevated security measures.

"Our security level is always high and is not being changed this morning," according to a spokesperson's statement.

Caltrain, which does not typically share security plans with the public, does not appear to be implementing any changes, according to a spokesperson.

AC Transit in the East Bay will also keep its same level of security, according to the agency.



Photo Credit: FDNY]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland Woman Crossing Street is Killed in Hit and Run]]>Mon, 11 Dec 2017 00:05:19 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/oakland_hitrun_1210_1045196.JPG

A woman was killed in a hit-and-run collision early Sunday morning in downtown Oakland, a police lieutenant said.

The collision was reported at 2:24 a.m. after a woman in her 60s was struck while crossing the road in the 400 block of 14th Street, Lt. Alan Yu said.

The victim suffered severe head injuries and she was taken to a hospital where she died.

"Very sad," Yu said.

Speed appears to have played a role in the collision. The suspect may have been driving a 4-door dark sedan.

Police were not releasing the victim's name because her family had not been told yet.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Shooting Leaves Man Dead at Shopping Center in Oakland]]>Mon, 11 Dec 2017 01:24:30 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/oakland_shooting_1210_1045019.JPG

Police in Oakland were investigating a fatal shooting that occurred Sunday afternoon near the Foothill Square Shopping Center, a police lieutenant said.

The Alameda County Coroner identified the victim as 41-year-old George Vargas of Oakland. No arrests were made, and no suspects were identified.

The shooting was reported to police at 2:44 p.m. at 107th Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard, Lt. Alan Yu said.

Officers were still investigating the shooting late Sunday.

No further details were available.

Bay City News contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Shooting Leaves Bullet Holes in Car, Shuts Down I-80]]>Sun, 10 Dec 2017 17:37:32 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/chp-generic-pursuit-1.jpg

A shooting on Interstate 80 in San Pablo shut down the freeway for about 40 minutes Sunday afternoon, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Just after 1 p.m., a woman driving a white Volkswagen sedan heard gunshots and a loud boom as her rear window shattered, the CHP said.

All eastbound lanes of I-80 at El Portal were closed while officers investigated. Bullet holes were found on the car's trunk and rear, driver-side door, the CHP said.

No suspect vehicle or suspect description was available.

]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland City Services Suffering as Strike Enters 2nd Week]]>Mon, 11 Dec 2017 06:05:46 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/oak_strike_trash_1210_1043697.JPG

A strike by thousands of Oakland city workers will enter its second week, and on Monday, a state mediator is going to try to help the two sides come to an agreement.

Still, without that agreement, some city services remain closed.

The trash dumped near 27th Street has resident Joe Saldana shaking his head. He said the mess has expanded since the strike.

"Of course because the city does clean up around here, if they're not working, doing their job, it gets worse and worse," Saldana said.

He’s also worried about cleanup efforts being scaled back at homeless encampments.

Rob Szykowny, chief negotiator with the Service Employees International Union Local 1021, said there are concerns about health and safety for cleanup workers. About 3,000 employees have picketed since Tuesday.

"While there is an economic component, I would say other issues are main sticking points right now," he said.

Janine Demanda works in the main library, which would typically be open Sunday.

"I am very hopeful the city, particularly the mayor, will be responsive," she said.

The city is proposing a wage increase, but the union says the city's proposal does not keep pace with cost of living. Mayor Libby Schaaf says the city has addressed concerns about working conditions around homeless encampments, offering a premium wages and increases for other positions.

"What we have on the table right now is a 5 percent raise, and it could be as much as 6 percent if revenues reach certain marks," Schaaf said.

The mayor said the city also is facing sharp increases in pension costs over the next five years and can’t give what they don’t have. Union leaders say there are other revenue streams not being considered.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Fourth Consecutive Spare the Air Day Called for Monday]]>Sun, 10 Dec 2017 23:59:20 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/184*120/GettyImages-81708079.jpg

A Spare the Air alert is in effect for Monday, the fourth day in a row when wood-burning activities are banned, Bay Area Air Quality Management District officials said.

Air quality is expected to be unhealthy in the Bay Area Monday because of a high-pressure ridge clamping down on the area, trapping wood smoke pollution close to the ground, air district officials said.

"One burning fireplace can impact an entire neighborhood as well as pollute air inside the home," said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the air district, in a statement.

Broadbent added, "During the recent Northern California wildfires, Bay Area residents experienced firsthand how quickly smoke can saturate the region."

However, air quality officials said in a news release that smoke from the wildfires raging in Southern California will remain aloft and will not impact air quality in the region Monday.

The Winter Spare the Air season's first three alerts were announced on Thursday. At that time, the air district issued alerts for Friday through Sunday.

During Spare the Air alerts, it is illegal for residents to use their fireplaces, wood stoves, outdoor fire pits or other wood-burning devices.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Booked After Shooting Death of Woman Near Martinez]]>Sun, 10 Dec 2017 11:32:26 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CocoSheriff.PNG

A 57-year-old man has been taken into custody on suspicion of being connected to a shooting in unincorporated Martinez that ended with the death of a 58-year-old woman, according to the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department.

Anthony Shepard of Concord was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility for murder and felon in possession of a firearm, sheriff's department officials said.

The shooting occurred sometime before 8:30 p.m. on Saturday when sheriff's deputies were altered to a "medical call" along the 1200 block of Santa Fe Avenue, according to the sheriff's department.

The person who reported the incident said another person had been accidentally shot, the sheriff's department said.

Arriving personnel found the woman suffering from a gunshot wound, according to the sheriff's department. Emergency responders tried to save her, but she was later pronounced dead at the scene.

An investigation is still ongoing, and officials are still trying to unearth additional details regarding the shooting.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 925-313-2600 or leave an anonymous message at 866-846-3592. People can also email tips@so.cccounty.us.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Whole Foods' Affordable 365 Market Opens 1st Bay Area Store]]>Sun, 10 Dec 2017 23:42:01 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/208*120/Screen+Shot+2017-12-08+at+7.59.05+PM.png

On Wednesday, Whole Foods unveiled the first Bay Area location of 365 by Whole Foods, a more affordable alternative for customers who want organic goods without paying the grocery chain’s notoriously high prices.

The store is located in Concord’s recently-constructed Veranda Shopping Center, next to several restaurants, retail shops, and an IMAX movie theater. The project had been in the works since 2015 and is one of only seven 365 shops around the country.

The store gets its 365 moniker from Whole Foods in-house brand, 365 Everyday. About a quarter of all products at the new store carry that label, a strategy that ultimately swaps variety for lower prices. 

“In a Whole Foods market, you might have 100 different olive oils to choose from,” explained Chris Tiger, the store’s team leader. “At 365, we’re a little more curated. You might have 10 to 20 different options and a greater focus on the 365 line.” 

Tiger said foot traffic at the store has “surpassed expectations.” He estimates that at least 10,000 people have shopped there since its opening Wednesday morning.

To streamline shopping and make for quicker check-outs, there are multiple pay stations throughout the store. Produce shoppers also have the option of weighing and printing out price tags within the fruit and vegetable departments. 

Whole Foods aficionados will enjoy the chain’s popular hot food and salad bar. Noticeably absent, however, are fish and meat counters. Instead, a butcher is on-site to help with recommendations and selections. 

The store also incorporates outside brands into the mix. Next Level, a vegan burger joint, and Urban Remedy, an organic cafe, also occupy space in the 30,000-foot megalith. 

For the most part, customers seemed pleased with the shop on Friday afternoon. Some said this was their second or third time shopping on Wednesday.

“It was really crowded the first day,” said Brenda Seybold, who was on her second trip. “No one knew where they were going. It was pretty funny.”

Others came for a quick bite to eat.

“I thought it was really good for lunchtime — lots of grab-and-go,” said shopper Fran Westwater. “My children are strict vegans, so I’m always looking out for food for them, and the prices do seem to be lower.” 

Most shoppers cited the low-prices as a factor in their decision to check out the new store. The traditional Whole Foods has often been criticized for pricey ingredients, earning it the moniker “whole paycheck” on social media. In 2015, the chain was bought by Amazon after failing to meet revenue goals.

Gloria Vega and her husband came to the 365 store just to take a look. They typically shop at the organic sections at other grocery stores in the area due to price concerns. 

“My cousin told me that it’s more affordable, so we’re excited to check it out,” Gloria Vega said before entering the store. “We don’t shop at Whole Foods a lot, because it’s not the most affordable option, but we’re always looking to see if there’s something we can find here that works for us. “



Photo Credit: Gillian Edevane]]>
<![CDATA[CA Health Officials Investigate Psychiatric Hospital Escape]]>Sat, 09 Dec 2017 12:53:53 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1282017-dorian-mulder-mugshot.jpg

The California Department of Public Health has opened an investigation into an escape Thursday evening by a patient at John George Psychiatric Pavilion in San Leandro, state health officials confirmed.

Dorian Mulder, 24, escaped at about 6:20 p.m. from the hospital at 2060 Fairmont Drive. Before he was stopped, Mulder allegedly carjacked one car and tried to carjack another before leading deputies on a foot-chase across Interstate 580, Alameda County sheriff's Sgt. Ray Kelly said.

Officials with Alameda Health System, which manages the psychiatric hospital, issued a statement saying, "We regret an incident that occurred on Thursday night, which led to a JGPH patient making an unauthorized departure through a secure gate in a locked patient patio, and subsequently attempting to highjack a car and assaulting a member of the Fairmont Hospital staff."

Alameda Health System officials said once hospital staff was made aware of the escape they notified law enforcement.

"Alameda Health System is taking this incident extremely seriously and is working with local and state authorities while launching a full internal investigation into the circumstances that enabled the patient to leave the premises," according to the statement.

Officials are investigating whether a mechanical malfunction allowed Mulder to escape or whether something else allowed Mulder to get out of the gated and secure area. Hospital staff members are now making sure all doors are monitored and securely locked.

An investigation by the state department of public health usually involves on-site interviews, observation and a review of medical records and policies at the hospital. The hospital could be fined if the investigation finds that the hospital was in non-compliance and that led to serious injury, harm, impairment or death.

When Mulder initially left the hospital, he went to the parking lot of nearby Fairmont Hospital and allegedly got inside a car as a teen boy was in a passenger seat. Mulder allegedly struck the boy and tried to flee in the car but crashed into a garbage truck several hundred feet away, according to Kelly.

Mulder got out of the car and allegedly tried to carjack another car with an elderly man inside. Mulder allegedly bit the man to try to get the keys to the car but when he failed he instead ran toward Interstate 580.

On I-580 a car struck Mulder, however, he got up and kept running all the way across the highway.

Deputies eventually found him hiding in bushes along the highway and arrested him on suspicion of carjacking, kidnapping and felony assault.

The victims of the carjacking and attempted carjacking were treated for their injuries. The driver of the car that struck Mulder on Highway 580 was not injured and stopped at the scene.

According to Kelly, Mulder had been at the hospital for a psychiatric hold and was not in custody prior to his escape.



Photo Credit: Alameda County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Statewide Minimum Wage to Rise New Year's Day]]>Sun, 10 Dec 2017 08:50:30 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/172*120/10DollarGeneric.jpg

The minimum wage for workers in California is going up on New Year's Day, though wages in at least some cities in the San Francisco Bay Area are already above the new mandate, state officials said.

The minimum wage statewide will rise Jan. 1 to $11 per hour for businesses with 26 employees or more and $10.50 for businesses with 25 employees or less.

Workers that are not paid the minimum wage are urged to get in touch with the Labor Commissioner's Office in their area to file a claim.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation in 2016 making California the first state in the country to commit to a $15 per hour minimum wage.

As long as the economy is good and the budget allows, the minimum wage will be $15 an hour in 2022 at large businesses and in 2023 at small businesses.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Steinle Vigil Vandalism Upsets Berkeley College Republicans]]>Sat, 09 Dec 2017 14:37:16 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1282017-torn--steinle-poster.jpg

Anger is simmering within a UC Berkeley student group after a vigil for Kate Steinle was destroyed.

The 32-year-old woman was shot dead in July 2015 as she strolled with her father on Pier 14. The shooter, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, an undocumented Mexican immigrant who had been deported five times prior his arrest, was acquitted of murder and involuntary manslaughter in a hotly debated trial. He was found guilty of one count of felony possession of a firearm.

Last week’s verdict is stirring up emotions and an immigration debate across the United States.

Closer to home, the Berkeley College Republicans are upset that someone ripped up a poster that was part of a vigil for Steinle.

“We set up some posters with her picture on them and we had candles that spelled out her name,” said Matt Roannau, a vice president of the student group.

Ronnau said he was shocked when a fellow member found the destroyed poster stuffed in the trash.

He called the incident “very disrespectful … to the memory of this woman. Regardless of what your political views are, I don’t think that’s appropriate.”

Steinle’s family has implored people not to politicize her death, but it has become a regular subject at President Donald Trump’s rallies.

“He didn’t know it was a gun, that’s his new line,” Trump said at a Florida rally on Friday. “Did you notice the federal government came in and brought another suit against him? We’ll come in. That was a total miscarriage of justice.”

A federal grand jury has issued two criminal indictments against Garcia Zarate, both for possession of a gun and ammunition.



Photo Credit: Berkeley College Republicans]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland, Unions Will try to End Strike Through Mediation]]>Sat, 09 Dec 2017 23:29:14 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-886421232.jpg

Negotiators for the city of Oakland and the larger of two striking unions have agreed to try to settle the strike in mediation starting Monday, the two sides said Saturday night.

The strike is in its fifth day. City leaders said they expect the strike to continue Sunday, Monday and "until further notice."

"This continued strike is harming our most vulnerable residents," Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement.

Schaaf said, "We will continue to work with SEIU in good faith, and remain responsible and fair to 'both' our workers as well as our residents. We cannot spend money we do not have, particularly as we know our pension costs are escalating at least 49 percent over the next five years."

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said Friday that if members of city workers' two unions didn't accept the city's final contract offer, she hoped they would agree to enter mediation.

Hours later, Rob Szykowny, chief negotiator for the Service Employees International Union Local 1021, announced that City of Oakland workers had contacted the city to identify a mediator to assist the union and the city in reaching an agreement.

City employees are also represented by the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 21.

"We reached out to city negotiators to select a mutually agreeable mediator, despite the Mayor's decision to prematurely declare impasse in negotiations," Szykowny said in a statement.

He was referring to the fact that City of Oakland leaders declared an impasse earlier Friday in their talks with the unions.

"City workers are committed to pursuing every avenue to ensure that Mayor Schaaf addresses the challenges facing Oakland workers and families," Szykowny said.

On Friday, Schaaf said that if the unions don't accept the city's offer to work with a state mediator it's possible that they might request fact-finding, a non-binding process where an impartial third party listens to both sides and recommends a solution.

But Schaaf said that process would be lengthy and could take a year.

Schaaf also said Friday that it's unclear whether union employees would remain on strike during mediation or fact-finding.

The mayor said the unions rejected the city's final offer early Friday morning and made a counter-offer that she claimed is "too financially risky" for the city to accept.

Schaaf said the unions already have had an 8 percent raise over the previous two years and the city is offering a 4 percent wage increase retroactive to July 1 and a possible second 2 percent wage increase in June 2019, depending on growth in city revenue.

Union leaders say they called the strike to protest unfair labor practices by the city, workplace conditions, understaffing levels and cost of living concerns.

SEIU Local 1021 represents more than 2,000 public works employees, parking enforcement officers, Head Start instructors and early education teachers.

IFPTE Local 21 represents about 1,000 professional and technical employees, including engineers, building inspectors and planners.

Union employees held a large rally in front of City Hall during the lunch hour Friday at which several local and state elected officials said they support the employees and urged the city to meet their demands.

The city's contract talks with the unions are now in their seventh month and Schaaf said the city has been meeting with them an average of four times a week in an effort to reach an agreement.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Arrested in Connection With 5 Burglaries at BART Station]]>Sat, 09 Dec 2017 12:02:40 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/181*120/BART-Generic-Image-3.jpg

A 27-year-old Oakland man has been arrested on suspicion of five separate break-ins at the BART McArthur station parking lot, transit agency officials said Friday.

A BART patron noticed a man smashing car windows and pulling car door handles in the parking lot around 1:50 p.m. Thursday, the transit agency said. The customer flagged down a BART police officer, who quickly responded and detained Andrew Friedman of Oakland, according to the transit agency.

Friedman was booked into Alameda County Jail on suspicion of burglary, transit agency officials said. It was allegedly determined that he had broken into five vehicles Thursday.

The stolen property was returned to victims, according to transit officials.




Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[CSU East Bay Professor Responds to Campus Vandalism with Art]]>Fri, 08 Dec 2017 19:01:34 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEBVandalismREsponse_1029227.JPEG

A Cal State East Bay professor is addressing vandalism with a creative response after finding that his office door posters were defaced.

According to Dr. G. T. Reyes, an assistant professor in the social justice program, posters on his office door were crossed out, turned around and one even had a nametag. Among the vandalized posters was a Black Lives Matter movement sign.

“The signs are actively crossed out,” said Dr. Reyes. “I think that in itself is a sign of racism.”

Cal State East Bay campus officials have been investigating six vandalism incidents over the past month.

In response, Dr. Reyes created what he calls a “Cross Out Quilt” made of paper that has certain words crossed out to represent structural oppression. The “Cross Out Quilt” is posted outside of his office in a colorful print.

“I wanted to challenge whoever did this to rethink their actions,” said Dr. Reyes.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Three-Alarm Fire Sparks at Livermore Warehouse]]>Fri, 08 Dec 2017 11:49:40 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/12-8-17-LIVERMORE-WAREHOUSE-FIRE.jpg

A three-alarm fire erupted Friday at a warehouse in Livermore.

Fire officials said the blaze reached three alarms because responding fire crews had a hard time accessing the scene because the building entrance was blocked by mattresses. The warehouse is located at 6645 Las Positas Road.

A bedding company called Zinus works out of the warehouse, which also has headboards and footboards. Employees said they didn't know what had caused it to spark.

Crews from Dublin, Livermore-Pleasanton and Alameda County fire departments responded to the scene around 10 a.m. Smoke billowing from the fire could be seen for miles in the East Bay.

No one was injured and the fire is under investigation.

Further details were not immediately available.

Check back for updates.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Student With 'Realistic' Replica Gun Prompts School Lockdown]]>Fri, 08 Dec 2017 13:10:30 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Classroom-School-GettyImages-470622795.jpg

A potential tragedy was averted at a Richmond high school Friday morning when a student believed to have a firearm was quickly identified an peacefully taken into custody, a police spokesman said.

Police got word early this morning that a student on campus at Richmond High School might have a gun, according to Richmond police Lt. Felix Tan.

The school was locked down immediately and two of the police department's school resource officers worked with school administrators to figure out which student it might be, Tan said.

The school resource officers found the student, who had a replica gun in his backpack, and took him into custody, Tan said. The lockdown was then lifted.

"The department is relieved that this incident ended swiftly and peacefully, and no one was hurt," Tan said. "This is yet another great example of the importance of having the SROs in schools for everyone's safety, along with their ability to mentor and coach the students."

The Richmond Police Department's School Resource Unit is made up of eight dedicated officers who work the city's high schools and middle Schools.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Blend Images RM]]>
<![CDATA[Hundreds of Oakland City Workers Protest on Day 4 of Strike]]>Fri, 08 Dec 2017 19:33:31 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/oaklandunionprotestrally_1026629.JPEG

A strike in which both sides have accused the other of unfair labor practices, bringing municipal services to a grinding halt in Oakland, entered its fourth consecutive day on Friday and brought with it a protest.

Thousands of non-emergency workers were off the job once again, pushing for higher wages and improved working conditions.

Hundreds of people took to the streets, circling the 14th Street and Broadway intersection and blocking traffic. Of the plethora of signs bobbing in the crowd, some read "Stop the abuse of part-time Oakland workers," "High rent low pay is not OK!" and "Unfair labor practice on strike."

A former city could member told protesters that civil disobedience is necessary to get the attention of Oakland's leaders and its residents. 

Others marched, chanting, "Oakland is a union town! Rise up! Shut it down!"

Mayor Libby Schaaf said minutes before the 11:30 a.m. protest that city officials are nearing an impasse, echoing her earlier message that the city doesn't have the money to raise salaries. Workers argue that the city lacks the necessary funding because developers are getting tax breaks.

"We cannot spend money that we do not have," Schaaf said in a statement on Wednesday. "We need to consider not just the revenues we know about over the next two years, but what our financial outlook will be over the long run."

Oakland leaders say they've already made their "last, best final offer, while labor leaders from unions representing 3,000 striking city workers say officials made "no significant movement to advance contract talks."

The labor leaders with Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 21 said they're still waiting on city officials to make a "real offer to bring the parties back to the table."

During Thursday's protest, union representatives declared that they are not at an impasse, despite what the city says. Union leaders continued to say they are willing to bargain, especially on wages, and are accusing the city of unfair practices. 

"We're looking to try and stay above these rising costs," said Lina Hernandez, a part-time employee. "And we could just barely do that with this contract." 

So far, they've declined to move forward with a 4 percent wage increase being offered by the city, retroactively applied to July 1. That offer could also include a second 2 percent wage increase in June 2019, depending on growth in city revenue.

"The offer we have made to (the unions) is both fair and responsible to both our workers and to the public," said Mayor Libby Schaaf. 

That offer would cost Oakland an extra $21.87 million over two years, or $22.11 million if revenue growth triggers the 2 percent wage increase in 2019, according to Oakland's Finance Department.

Oakland officials say they're risking the creation of a $6.96 million deficit with that offer, and that measures taken to offset that deficit could adversely affect the city's credit rating.

Meanwhile, labor leaders say that understaffing, high turnover and positions being left open are leading to health and safety issues for the Oakland community associated with illegal dumping as well as mandatory overtime for emergency dispatchers.

Union workers also take issue with what they describe as the overuse of part-time workers, particularly in the libraries and the Parks and Recreation Department, where they say staffers go without benefits or common worker protections against problems like sexual harassment in the workplace.

According to the city, the union can enter into what is called a "fact-finding" phase, which can drag the strike out for another five to eight months. The city is looking into making plans to start restoring services if workers continue to stay out on strike next week.

Check back for updates.




Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Fire Destroys Garage of Livermore House]]>Fri, 08 Dec 2017 06:14:39 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/LIVERMOREGARAGEFIREN_1024624.JPEG

Flames erupted inside the garage of a Livermore home early Friday, sending firefighters rushing to the scene. 

Aaron Lacey, the battalion chief of the the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department, said that an explosion sparked the fire on Orion Way around 1 a.m. It's possible some sort of tanks caused the fire.

The fire department believes the homeowner welds and works on air conditioning equipment in his garage, but it's not clear if that was somehow related.

The homeowner was able to get himself and his family out to safety. No one was injured.

Roughly 25 firefighters responded and kept the blaze contained mostly to the garage, which was severely damaged.

A house next door suffered some damage from the radiant heat.

The fire is under investigation. 



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Escaped Psychiatric Patient Recaptured in San Leandro]]>Thu, 07 Dec 2017 23:52:50 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1282017-dorian-mulder-mugshot.jpg

A patient who escaped from a psychiatric facility in San Leandro was back in custody late Thursday after being struck by a vehicle going 65 mph on an East Bay freeway, according to the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.

The patient, identified Friday as Dorian Mulder, 24, was on a 72-hour hold at John George Psychiatric Pavilion in San Leandro when he fled at about 6:20 p.m., sheriff's officials said. The 24-year-old headed to Fairmont Hospital, where he tried to carjack a vehicle with a teen inside waiting for his parents, a sheriff's spokesman said.

Mulder crashed the car into a garbage truck in the hospital parking lot and fled on foot. He then tried unsuccessfully to carjack another vehicle, biting the driver in the process, sheriff's officials said.

Mulder ran into a homeless encampment then onto Interstate 580, where he got hit by a vehicle traveling about 65 mph, sheriff's officials said.

He survived the crash and continued to run before authorities caught up to him and took him into custody.



Photo Credit: Alameda County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Car Crashes Jump 43% From 2010 to 2016: Report]]>Fri, 08 Dec 2017 06:39:43 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-77356472.jpg

The number of car accidents in the Bay Area is on the rise.

The uptick began in 2010 and data shows that the 43 percent growth seen in 2016 is because there are more drivers on the road as the region is in the throes of economic prosperity, according to a Vital Signs report.

The North Bay counties of Napa, Sonoma and Solano have the highest fatality rates, Vital Signs found.

By contrast, San Francisco has the lowest fatality rate in the Bay Area, but, per mile driven, is also one of the most dangerous regions in the area. That explains why bicyclists and motorists account for a majority of the deaths in the city by the bay.

The six-year period investigated in this report marks the first sustained surge in road fatalities since the 1970s, which experienced similar conditions due to economic growth.




Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Police Interview of Coast Guardsman Played on Day 4 of Trial]]>Thu, 07 Dec 2017 23:58:49 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/179*120/0830-2017-BarlowCoastGuard.jpg

The fourth day of the military court-martial of Coast Guard member Jimmy Barlow was primarily dedicated to a video recording of Barlow being interviewed by Alameda police detectives just hours after his daughter was rushed to the hospital in an unresponsive state.

One of the police detectives in the video, Lt. Wayland Gee, a 27-year veteran of the Alameda Police Department, was also called as a witness by Coast Guard prosecutors.

Barlow, 31, faces four counts of child endangerment and is accused of neglecting his three-year-old daughter Eden Lynch after she sustained injuries that ultimately led to her death in September 2011.

The video recording played in court showed Barlow, subdued and sometimes crying, answering questions about his family’s home life and the days leading up to Eden’s hospitalization. Gee, who testified Thursday that the Alameda Police Department was contacted by medical professionals who were suspicious of the nature of Eden’s injuries, was one of two detectives depicted in the video questioning Barlow.

“In this case, it was reported that she fell off her play table, her little princess table, and that she hit her head on the floor, which was reported to me to be a height of 24 inches or so,” Gee said from the witness stand. “But the brain swelling was so severe that it could not have been from that.”

In the video, Gee asks Barlow about the days leading up to Eden’s death. He also asked Barlow about his discipline practices, Eden’s medical history, and her recent behavior.

Gee’s interview laid out a timeline of events going back to the previous week, when Jimmy and Holli Barlow claim Eden fell down a flight of concrete stairs outside the couple’s apartment. The video also revealed previously undisclosed information in the case, such as the fact that doctors found trauma on the inside of Eden’s throat.

The timeline of events given by Barlow began the week prior to Eden’s hospitalization. In the video, Barlow told Gee about an argument with Holli. As a result of that argument, Barlow said Holli took her own daughter to Holli’s mother’s house in Vallejo on Thursday, Aug. 25. Jimmy says that’s the day Holli informed him that Eden had fallen down the concrete stairs at the apartment the day before, on Wednesday, Aug. 24.

When Gee asked Barlow if he thought it was “odd” that Holli didn’t tell Jimmy about Eden’s fall until the following day, Barlow said, “Not really, kids fall.”

“Yeah, kids fall,” Gee responded. “But did you think it’s odd she didn’t tell you earlier?”

“Not really, not at the time,” Barlow said. He told Gee that neither he nor Holli took Eden to the hospital after the fall because she seemed to be doing fine.

Because Holli normally took care of Eden when Jimmy was at work, Jimmy had to take Eden to a Coast Guard day care center on Thursday, Aug. 25 and Friday, Aug. 26, when Holli was in Vallejo with her mom.

Workers from the day care center testified Thursday that they did not see any bruises or signs of injury on Eden during the two days she attended. Otherwise, they would have reported it.

During the interview, Barlow said he took Eden to Vallejo with him that Saturday in an effort to reconcile with Holli. According to Barlow, Eden stayed at Holli’s mom’s house while Jimmy and Holli stayed in a nearby hotel that night. The following day, Sunday, Aug. 28, Jimmy told Gee they took Eden to Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo. Barlow said she acted perfectly normal and happy over the course of that weekend.

But on Monday, Aug. 29, Barlow told Gee that Eden’s behavior began to change. Barlow told Gee his daughter was scratching her face and trying to choke herself with a beaded necklace that belonged to her, although he later told Gee he did not witness this personally.

Barlow said the following day, Tuesday Aug. 30, Eden’s unusual behavior continued. She urinated on herself four separate times, Barlow told Gee, and defecated on herself once. Barlow said Eden even tried to eat her own feces.

“I told her, ‘Don’t play with your poop, that’s gross,’” Barlow said. “Don’t eat your poop.”

When Gee asked if that was unusual for Eden, Barlow said that it was.

“It’s not really that often that she pees on herself or poops on herself,” Barlow said. “And to happen four times in one day, that’s really excessive. I would say that’s the most occasions she’s ever done that.”

Gee asked Barlow if he thought Eden had control of what she was doing. Barlow said he didn’t think so because she had been doing well with potty training recently.

Despite Eden’s odd behavior over those two days, Barlow said he and Holli never took Eden to any medical professionals for an evaluation.

On Wednesday, Aug. 31, the day Eden would be rushed to the hospital in a coma; Barlow received a call from Holli around lunchtime, telling him that Eden was acting strange, according to the police interview. According to Barlow, Holli said Eden was sitting in her room with a blank stare on her face, acting lifeless and emotionless. When Holli passed the phone to Eden, Barlow said Eden told him Holli was trying to make her play with Play-Doh.

Soon after that conversation, according to the video, Barlow learned Eden had collapsed at home. Holli would later tell medical staff and police investigators that she heard a “thump” from the other room and found Eden convulsing and unconscious on the ground next to the table where she was playing with the Play-Doh.

Towards the end of the interview, Gee told Barlow why he’s being interviewed by police: Because medical staff don’t believe the story that Holli and Jimmy recounted about Eden’s injuries.

“[The doctor] stated to me tonight that the trauma in her head, the brain trauma, is not consistent with the fall,” Gee told Barlow. “What are your thoughts on that?”

“I don’t have any,” Barlow responded. “I mean I’d trust Holli with my life and my daughter’s life.”

Barlow told Gee that Eden may have a genetic blood disorder that he believes runs in Eden’s family. Although he says she’s never been tested for it, Barlow said it may have contributed to her death. Barlow said he believed Eden’s death was the result of the fall down the stairs eight days prior.

“I think something from that fall started a blood clot and it just leaked and leaked until her brain swelled enough that it shut down,” Barlow said. “Either that or she stood on her chair, fell down, and hit her head.”

When confronted with the fact that doctors believed the blunt force trauma that led to Eden’s death could only have been two to three days old, Barlow told Gee he couldn’t recall any incident during that time period that could have contributed to his daughter’s death.

But Gee also confronted Barlow about the fact that doctors told police Eden had trauma inside her throat, substantial enough that a 3-year-old could not have caused the damage.

“Nor does he think the throat trauma could be caused by a 3-year-old,” Gee said. “So again, I ask you, what do you think? How did this happen? Explain this to me.”

Barlow responds by saying he’s seen Eden grab her own throat before, and he thinks she’d be strong enough to bruise her own throat by pinching it.

“I don’t see Holli in no way ever grabbing her throat or doing any kind of harm to her in any way, ever,” Barlow said. “And I myself would never do that.”

During Thursday’s testimony, Gee told the court he interviewed Holli Barlow the same night. However, because she is facing charges in a separate civilian court, the details of that interview were not disclosed.

Following the video of Barlow’s interview with police, Coast Guard prosecutors played an audio recording of a “pretext” phone call that Erica Lynch, Eden’s mother, made to Barlow in October while police taped the conversation.

Barlow gave a similar accounting of events to Lynch over the phone, and Gee confirmed to Barlow’s defense attorneys on cross examination that the call had little investigative value because Barlow never admitted any wrongdoing and his story was similar to the one he originally outlined for police.

On cross examination, Barlow’s defense attorneys confirmed with Gee that both Holli and Jimmy willingly answered police questions and willingly turned over their electronic devices, including cell phones and computers.

The prosecution plans to call more witnesses Friday, and possibly Saturday. Barlow’s defense team will likely begin calling witnesses early next week.

Holli Barlow, currently facing a felony child abuse charge in Alameda County in connection with Eden’s death, observed the trial in the audience. She took the witness stand Wednesday and exercised her 5th Amendment rights protecting her from self-incrimination.

NBC Bay Area will continue to bring updates as the trial progresses.



Photo Credit: United States Coast Guard]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Tenants Describe Dangerous Conditions at Ghost Ship]]>Thu, 07 Dec 2017 23:02:10 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/warehouse-fire-split.jpg

A former tenant of an Oakland warehouse says police were called to the unlicensed residence several times to help with evictions before a fire last year that killed three dozen people.

Woodworker Jose Avalos moved into the warehouse dubbed the Ghost Ship two years before the Dec. 2, 2016, fire. He testified Thursday on the second day of a preliminary hearing for two men charged with involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of 36 people.

Prosecutors say Derick Almena and Max Harris were primarily responsible for the building.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Avalos testified one officer often stopped by the warehouse, asking, "Is my best friend Derick here?"

Avalos testified there were frequent power outages and residents would go to the auto body shop next door to reset the breaker.

Another witness, Nicholas Bouchard, testified his name was among those on the lease for the warehouse in 2013, but he wanted out after a meeting about bringing it up to code, where he says Almena didn’t listen.

"He’s claiming he tried to get out of that lease because he thought what was happening there was dangerous; there were various codes that were not being complied with, and that’s simply not true," said Curtis Briggs, defense attorney for Harris.

A former casual tenant cried during her testimony, as she recalled a man who did not survive. She described the warehouse as not intended for humans, ongoing electrical problems. But she also saw it as place for community and expression, with no one person in charge.

"She says no one is in control, it’s a group, it’s a collective," said Tony Serra, attorney for Almena. "She indicated that’s how decisions are made, so I was delighted in that answer. The saddest thing was to see her break up and start to cry."

NBC Bay Area's Christie Smith contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Alameda County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Car on Fire in Parking Lot of San Leandro Mall]]>Thu, 07 Dec 2017 14:37:01 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1272017sanleandrocarfire_1016433.JPEG

An SUV burst into flames in the parking lot of a San Leandro mall on Thursday.

NBC Bay Area's SkyRanger captured a thick plume of smoke billowing from the car, which was in the Bayfair Center on E. 14th Street. Firefighters used water hoses to douse flames that leaped from the front of the charred vehicle.

Additional details were not immediately available.





Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Man Credits Dog With Saving His Life During Shooting]]>Thu, 07 Dec 2017 22:56:17 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/jimmyandchata.JPG

A mechanic who was shot Monday over a dispute about an East Oakland parking space says his dog saved his life.

Jimmy Martinez, who lives in an RV with Chata, a 4-year-old pit bull mix, was attacked by a man ordering him to move his vehicle, according to a statement by the nonprofit People, Animals, Love and Support East Bay (PALS). 

An argument occurred on the 4700 block of E. 12th Street around 12 p.m., police said. The man pistol whipped Martinez in the head and then opened fire, striking Martinez in the hand, police said. 

Hearing the commotion, Chata bolted out of the RV, only to be shot twice in the face, PALS East Bay said. The man then fled.

Martinez was taken to a hospital and is in stable condition. 


PALS East Bay said two bullets entered the dog’s mouth and exited her body through her jaw and neck respectively. Although Chata is stable after having undergone emergency surgery, bullet fragments have been left behind. They need to be taken out so Chata’s jaw and wounds can be treated and she can eat and drink, according to the nonprofit.

To that end, PALS East Bay has created a GoFundMe campaign to support Martinez – who they said cannot work due to his wounds – and Chata.

With surgery, the dog can recover. Without it, doctors suggest she be euthanized.

“We cannot let that happen to such a hero,” PALS East Bay wrote on GoFundMe.

The nonprofit’s goal is to raise $10,000. So far, 11 people have contributed $560.

“Jimmy is convinced had Chata not come out when she did, the man would have kept firing at him. Chata saved Jimmy’s life, and now we want to help save Chata’s life,” PALS East Bay said.

Oakland police are investigating the crime. 



Photo Credit: PALS East Bay
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<![CDATA[First Three Spare the Air Alerts of Winter Issued]]>Fri, 08 Dec 2017 19:28:44 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/12-24-2013-spare-the-air.jpg

The first three Spare the Air alerts of the winter season were announced Thursday for Friday through Sunday, Bay Area Air Quality Management District officials said.

The alert means residents are prohibited by law from burning wood, manufactured fire logs or other solid fuel either indoors or outdoors through midnight Sunday.

Air district officials said air quality is expected to be unhealthy because of weather conditions, which are expected to trap pollution close to the ground.

The pollution is especially harmful to children, the elderly, and people with respiratory conditions. Exposure to wood smoke, like cigarette smoke, has been linked to a higher risk of heart attacks, according to the air district.

During the alert, residents and visitors are prohibited from using fireplaces, woodstoves, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits and any other wood-burning devices.

Exemptions exist for people whose only source of heat is a woodstove or fireplace, but people must use a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-certified or pellet-fueled device that is registered with the air district.

No longer does an open-hearth fireplace qualify for an exemption.

Violators have an option of taking a wood smoke awareness class or pay a $100 ticket the first time they violate the rule.

A second violation results in a $500 fine and fines are higher for subsequent violations.

Air district officials said Bay Area residents and visitors must check to see whether a Spare the Air alert has been issued during the Winter Spare the Air Season, which runs from Nov. 1 through Feb. 28.

Several ways are available to check including text alerts, websites, a toll-free phone number and phone alerts.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Victim Dies in Traffic Collision in Oakland's Chinatown]]>Thu, 07 Dec 2017 11:37:10 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/2017-12-07oakland-fatal.jpg

A victim died in a traffic collision late Wednesday night in Oakland's Chinatown neighborhood, according to police.

The collision occurred at 10:53 p.m. in the 700 block of Harrison Street. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

No arrests have been made, police said.

Further details were not immediately available.



Photo Credit: Bob Redell/NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Ignites Underneath BART Tracks in Oakland]]>Thu, 07 Dec 2017 12:00:45 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/BARTTracksFire.JPG

A fire broke out underneath BART tracks in Oakland Thursday morning.

The blaze ignited near 6th and Market streets next to Interstate 880.

Flames could be seen shooting up beneath the elevated tracks while trains rolled along before firefighters extinguished the blaze.

Further information was not available.

]]>
<![CDATA[911 Call Played in Trial of US Coast Guard Member]]>Wed, 06 Dec 2017 20:02:43 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/uscg_trial_1206.jpg

In a crowded military courtroom on Alameda’s Coast Guard Island, attorneys made their opening statements Wednesday in the trial of a US Coast Guard member accused of neglecting his three-year-old daughter after she suffered injuries that led to her death.

Jimmy Barlow, 31, faces four counts of child endangerment in a military court-martial at the same time his wife Holli Barlow faces similar charges in Alameda County. The charges stem from the 2011 death of Eden Lynch, which the Alameda County coroner’s office ruled a homicide caused by blunt force trauma to the head. Eden had been in the couple’s care for about four months when she died.

In a 45 minute opening statement, the defense team argued that Barlow cooperated with medical staff and answered their questions about what happened to his daughter, and that Barlow was betrayed by social workers and medical professionals who reported suspected child abuse to police after Barlow’s daughter was rushed to the hospital in an unresponsive state. Barlow’s attorney, Colby Vokey, called Eden’s death a tragic accident resulting from a fall down a flight of concrete steps outside of Barlow’s apartment about a week before she collapsed. Vokey, a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the United States Marine Corps, argued that Barlow could not have done anything that would have prevented Eden’s death. He told the court that Barlow was just learning to be a father and was making great progress with his daughter before her tragic death.

But Coast Guard prosecutors say Barlow failed to protect or seek medical care for Eden after she suffered the serious injuries that ultimately led to her death. Lt. Commander Karl Mueller argued Barlow saw bruises on Eden’s neck and witnessed strange behavior in the days leading up to her death, such as choking herself with a necklace and eating her own feces, but failed to take her to the hospital or have her evaluated by medical professionals. Prosecutors said they plan to show text messages in court from Barlow to his then girlfriend, now wife, Holli who provided daytime care for Eden, including one text from Barlow saying that Eden needed her dad to “whoop that ass.”

Barlow’s attorneys never disputed Eden’s odd behavior, but attributed her actions to major changes and disruptions in her life. They placed the blame on her recent move to Alameda after her mother Erica Lynch lost custody of Eden. Defense attorneys said Barlow was concerned about Eden’s care by her mother, who had been abusing drugs.

Following opening arguments, prosecutors began calling key witnesses and presenting evidence, such as the 9-1-1 call made by Holli Barlow when she found Eden unresponsive in their Alameda apartment.

Lt. Commander Geralyn Van de Krol played the recording, in which Holli Barlow frantically tells a dispatcher that Eden is convulsing and barely breathing and that she has recently been “acting weird, banging her head on the wall and scratching herself.”

Following the 9-1-1 call, prosecutors called two first responders to the witness stand to testify about what they saw when first arriving on scene at Barlow’s apartment.

Alameda Fire Department Captain Sam Yussim testified that when he arrived on scene, he saw Eden lying on the ground in a bedroom.

“I noticed she had some bruising under her eyes. Raccoon eyes. It looked like two black eyes,” Yussim said. “There were some scratches on her neck and chest area.”

Yussim further described for the court that Eden appeared wet, as though water had been splashed on her to revive her.

He recounted that when Jimmy Barlow arrived, he did not talk to paramedics or ask them any questions about Eden; instead he went to the kitchen and spoke with Holli. Yussim testified that neither of them rode in the ambulance to Children’s Hospital Oakland with Eden.

“It didn’t seem like he wanted to have much to do with what we were doing,” Yussim said. “I remember carrying this little girl out on a backboard and walking past the kitchen where he and the young lady [Holli] were talking.”

Yussim said of the thousands of calls he’s responded to in his career, this one was “burned into his memory.”

Alameda Fire Department captain, David Buckley, said the injuries he saw on Eden did not seem to match the Barlows’ account that Eden’s injuries were the result of a fall down a flight of stairs more than a week before.

“It was my gut feeling that what we found as far as injuries did not add up,” Buckley said, explaining why they decided to call Alameda police.

Prosecutors also called Holli Barlow as a witness. She was taking care of Eden while Jimmy was at work on the day Eden collapsed. With her attorney Randolph Daar standing beside her, Barlow took the stand and exercised her 5th Amendment rights protecting her from self-incrimination and then left the courtroom.

The day’s final witness, Dr. Robert Crawford-Jacubiak, the Director of the Center for Child Protection at Children’s Hospital Oakland, was called by hospital staff to examine Eden when she arrived because of the suspicious nature of her injuries.

Crawford-Jacubiak told the court that children rarely show up at the hospital with injuries like Eden’s.

“The child had a collection of injuries that are unusual for a three-year-old,” he said. “The ear, the eye, under the eye, the neck, the jaw are all very unusual places for a child to have a collection of bruises. This is not the pattern of bruising that you typically see. When they have bruising on their face, sides of their head, it would immediately cause me to ask the question, ‘Why did this child have these bruises?’”

On cross examination, when asked by defense attorney Vokey if the injuries on Eden’s neck could have been caused

by the toddler choking herself with her own necklace, he said he didn’t believe that was a likely explanation for the bruising he witnessed.

“I certainly think choking with a necklace could cause injuries like that to the neck,” Crawford-Jakubiak said. “I’ve never heard of a three-year-old child being responsible for causing those injuries to herself.”

Crawford-Jakubiak said if Eden’s injuries had been caused by a fall down a flight of concrete steps, she would likely have cuts and bruises on her shins or elbows. When examining Eden at the hospital, Crawford-Jackubiak said he found no such injuries.

Among those present in the courtroom were the prosecutors in charge of Holli Barlow’s case in Alameda County, Holli Barlow’s defense team, various members of the Coast Guard, and a large group of Erica Lynch’s family members.

Eric and Rhonda Lynch, Eden’s maternal grandparents, traveled from their home in Maine to watch the trial. Grandmother Rhonda Lynch was not allowed in the courtroom because she’s scheduled to testify as a witness in the trial, but Eden’s grandfather Eric wiped away tears during the prosecution’s opening statements and when photos of Eden in the hospital were shown.

“I want to see justice served,” Eric Lynch said. “And I believe it will be served.”

Erica, Eden’s mother, was also in the audience for most of the day.

“I just miss her laughter,” she said. “I miss her calling me Mommy. I just miss her.”

Both Jimmy and Holli Barlow have declined to be interviewed by NBC Bay Area.

Jimmy Barlow elected to have a bench trial, which means a judge rather than a jury will decide the outcome of the case. The judge said he expects the trial to conclude by the end of next week.

NBC Bay Area will continue following the trial.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland School District's Banking Snafu Due to 'Human Error']]>Wed, 06 Dec 2017 20:42:53 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/MoneyGeneric_0817.jpg

Thousands of Oakland Unified School District employees had their most recent paychecks deducted from their checking accounts this week due to a "human error," according to a district spokesman.

In a tweet promising that the funds would be returned by end of Wednesday, district officials said, "The payroll issue was NOT caused by anything the District did or did not do."

About an hour later, spokesman John Sasaki retracted that statement, saying that the snafu was the result of a school district worker's error.

The SF Gate put the number of impacted employees at more than 2,800. 

The banking mistake was first reported around 9:30 a.m. 

"We have been informed by a number of staff members throughout our organization that there was some kind of problem with their most recent pay from the district. The bank OUSD uses to send out payroll, Union Bank, has apparently reversed the pay for these employees," according to a letter penned by Sasaki and posted on the school district's Twitter page.

Apologizing for the inconvenience and stressing that district leaders and Union Bank were investigating the incident, Sasaki said that not all employees had their paychecks withdrawn.

"It is important to note that this is not the result of District funds or any other issue with our finances," he said by way of reassurance.

That said, Sasaki told the SF Gate that it's unlikely that an employee was able to reverse thousands of payroll deposits simply with a click. District officials, however, don't believe this is an act of sabotage, he stressed.

The employee who made the mistake has not been identified and it remains unknown whether there is disciplinary action in the person's future. 

Check back for updates.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File image]]>
<![CDATA[Witness Recalls Cluttered Space Inside Oakland Warehouse]]>Wed, 06 Dec 2017 20:57:13 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/warehouse-fire-split.jpg

Aaron Marin was convinced his life was over as smoke engulfed an Oakland warehouse in what was the country's deadliest building fire in more than a decade.

However, Marin survived and testified Wednesday at a preliminary hearing for the two men charged in the blaze at the Ghost Ship warehouse.

Marin recalled that people who were unable to escape came up a flight of stairs shaking their heads and saying, "No."

"I sat there and accepted the fact that it was just over for me," he said about the fire on Dec. 2, 2016, that killed 36 people.

Marin was the first witness called by prosecutors as they try to persuade Alameda County Judge Jeffrey Horner that defendants Derick Almena and Max Harris should stand trial on involuntary manslaughter charges.

Almena rented the warehouse and lived there with his family. Harris also lived in the building and helped Almena book musical acts and sublet the space to artists.

Prosecutors say the men knowingly created a firetrap and deceived the building's owner, police and fire officials about people living there. The two have pleaded not guilty and say they are being scapegoated.

The warehouse had been illegally converted into living space for artists, was cluttered and had no fire alarms or sprinklers.

The fire occurred during an unpermitted electronic music concert.

Marin, a musician who was staying at the warehouse, described it as a "museum" filled with musical instruments, trailers and other items. Going inside was like entering Disneyland, he said.

He said he was alerted to the fire by the smell of smoke. Within seconds, he noticed flames coming from behind a turntable. People were screaming as the power went out.

Marin, who became emotional at times, testified that he remembered the location of a window and made his way to it with his eyes closed to protect them from smoke.

He tried to alert other people, but it was loud. At the window, he said, he screamed for help and a ladder.

"'There's people dying in here,"' Marin recalled shouting. He climbed out and dropped safely to the ground on soft mud. He said he was not injured.

The hearing is expected to last several days.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Alameda County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[A's Stadium Plan at Peralta Site Falls Through]]>Wed, 06 Dec 2017 19:42:53 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-692785518.jpg

The Oakland A’s expressed shock Wednesday morning after their plans to build a new ballpark near downtown Oakland were dashed.

The governing board of the Peralta Community College District, which owns the land near Laney College where the A’s wanted to build, voted in a closed-session meeting Tuesday to stop talks with the team.

“We are shocked by Peralta’s decision to not move forward,” a team statement said. “All we wanted to do was enter into a conversation about how to make this work for all of Oakland, Laney, and the Peralta Community College District. We are disappointed that we will not have that opportunity.”


A coalition made up of students, faculty and community members marched on the district office Wednesday and demanded a meeting with the district chancellor. Chancellor Jowel Laguerre responded, saying the district wanted to step back and evaluate options with the community. 

"Why don’t we bring everything together, all of our assets, and compile our assets and our needs and then reach out to potential partners," Laguerre said. "Whatever we do in the future, we are going to make with our internal communities." 

When asked if the district was planning to sell the land to a private corporation at any point in the next 10 years, Laguerre said no.

The new development leaves the long-term future of the franchise up in the air, with the A’s seemingly left to search out other locations to build in Oakland if they go that route at all. They are currently on a 10-year lease to play at the Coliseum that runs through the 2025 season.

On Sept. 12, the team announced the Peralta site as their choice on which to build their new ballpark, news that was more than a decade in the making as the A’s were forced to scrap plans for a stadium in both Fremont and San Jose over the years. Just two weeks ago, the A’s announced the hiring of a design team for the ballpark and the surrounding “ballpark village” they planned to build. Their plan was to begin building in 2021 with the idea of moving into the new stadium for the start of the 2023 season.

They chose the Peralta site — located across the street from Laney and just off of Interstate 880 — over two others in Oakland, Howard Terminal and the current Coliseum site. But from the get-go, their decision faced steep opposition.

Faculty and student groups at Laney raised concerns about how the ballpark, and the traffic it would bring to the area, would affect the student population. Community groups were worried about the possible displacement of local businesses and residents, including the nearby Chinatown district. Environmental groups raised concerns about how construction of a ballpark would impact wildlife in the nearby estuary.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf openly preferred the Howard Terminal location, a waterfront site at the Port of Oakland, though that site presented its own well-documented road blocks to completing a ballpark project.

What’s the A’s next step? That’s the big question. The logical speculation is whether they revisit as an option the Coliseum site, which they have called home since moving to Oakland in 1968. It always has represented the easiest, and some would argue, the best location on which to build anywhere in the city. Environmental impact reports already have been completed at the Coliseum, and there’s terrific BART and freeway access.

The downside, in the A’s point of view, is that the Coliseum doesn’t offer the vibrancy of an urban area that team president Dave Kaval craves for a location to build.

The San Francisco Chronicle was first to report news of the Peralta board halting talks with the A’s.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Search for Missing Antioch Hiker at Muir Beach Suspended]]>Wed, 06 Dec 2017 11:47:30 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Hiking-generic-pic-san-diego.jpg

A ground search and rescue operation for a missing hiker in the area of Muir Beach in Marin County ended Tuesday afternoon, a Golden Gate National Recreation Area spokeswoman said.

Tyler Silva, 21, of Antioch, was hiking with his girlfriend near Pirate's Cove Trail at Muir Beach when the two separated, according to GGNRA spokeswoman Dana Polk.

Silva was last seen on a cliff and he was reported missing Sunday, Polk said.

Crews with the Marin County Fire Department, Southern Marin Fire Protection District, Marin County Search and Rescue, National Park Service and Marin County Sheriff's Office searched trails in the area on the ground and by air Sunday and Monday and concentrated the search in the cliff area until 4 p.m. Tuesday, Polk said.

It's possible Silva fell from the cliff and was swept out to sea, she said.

The National Park Service is investigating Silva's disappearance, Polk said.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Oakland Fire Captain Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography]]>Wed, 06 Dec 2017 12:00:24 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/handcuffs-generic-on-black2.jpg

A former Oakland fire captain will have to register as a sex offender after pleading guilty Tuesday to possessing child pornography.

Richard Chew, 58, was arrested at his Lafayette home on Sept. 7, according to Contra Costa County's Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Graves.

This week, Chew admitted that he "possessed photographs and videos depicting minors engaged in sexual activity" on Aug. 31, Graves said in a statement. He has been sentenced to 150 days in jail and three years of probation.

The Contra Costa Internet Crimes Against Children task force began investigating Chew on Aug. 19, according to a statement. 

Investigators served a search warrant at Chew's house and workplace and discovered child pornography on his computer and storage devices, the statement said.

Chew was booked into the county jail in Martinez and charged with two counts of child pornography. Bail was set at $200,000. A booking document confirmed his position with the Oakland Fire Department. 

A judge was asked to lower Chew's bail, but he said the severity of the exploitation in the case was so disturbing, he couldn't release Chew, despite an otherwise spotless record.

Investigators said they also found images on Chew's computer at Oakland Fire Station 15.

According to Transparent California, the former fire captain earned $300,000 a year.

NBC Bay Area reported that Chew recommended in January that a building on San Pablo Avenue be shut down for safety reasons, records show. The Oakland Fire Department opted for less drastic measures and in March, it burned down and claimed four lives.

NBC Bay Area's Thom Jensen contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File image]]>
<![CDATA[Thousands of Oakland City Workers Strike for Third Day]]>Thu, 07 Dec 2017 15:18:57 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEBSTRIKEGIF_1005192.gif

Roughly 3,000 Oakland city workers plan to strike for a third straight day Thursday, a union spokeswoman said.

The strike that started Tuesday includes roughly 2,000 members of Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and roughly 1,000 members of

International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 21.

About 20 city employees who belong to Local 1245 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers are also respecting Local 1021's picket lines.

The Oakland City Council held a closed-session special meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss labor negotiations.

However, SEIU Local 1021 spokeswoman Gabriella Miroglio said by email shortly after 4 p.m. that the strike will continue into Thursday "as city leaders fail to authorize contract negotiations."

The city employees are protesting what they say are low staffing levels, problems retaining employees, as well as community health and safety issues associated with illegal dumping, and a shortage of crews to deal with it.

They're also objecting to mandatory overtime for emergency dispatchers — a group represented by the unions involved — and reliance on part-time employees.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf earlier this week said she considers the strike as an unfair labor practice since negotiations are not yet at an impasse.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Fundraiser Started for Family of Slain Bay Bridge Toll Taker]]>Tue, 05 Dec 2017 13:44:55 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sisi+han-1204.jpg

Si Si Han, the 46-year-old woman who was killed Saturday when a box truck rammed into a Bay Bridge toll booth where she was working, wasn't supposed to be at work that day.

“A co-worker had called out sick, so Si Si stepped up to fill the shift," according to her husband Ryan Saw. "While the shift time originally started at 5:30 a.m., she was asked to come in earlier, starting at 5 a.m."

Saw said that he dropped Han off to work and had just returned home when he received the “life-changing phone call that his wife had just died.”

Han, a 10-year Caltrans employee, died when a truck, driven by Daniel Berk, crashed into vehicles in line to pay toll – triggering a chain reaction – and then veered into toll booth No. 14 around 5:10 a.m. Han was declared dead at the scene.

Berk, 32, of Foster City, was ejected from the rented truck and landed on the ground after the collision on the Oakland side of the bridge. He was hospitalized with major injuries and arrested later in the day for allegedly driving under the influence and involuntary manslaughter.

A GoFundMe campaign was launched Tuesday to help Saw and the couple's 10-year-old daughter, Ashly. Saw, of San Lorenzo, created the fundraiser, which has a goal of $25,000.

Born in Myanmar, Han – who Saw said was always ready with a “sweet smile, generosity and kindness” – moved to the United States in 2002. It was here that the pair got married. They had their child in 2007 and also moved Han’s mother into their home in the same year.

“This tragic news has affected her huge family located in the Bay Area and across the United States,” Saw continued. “We are all still in utter shock, devastated, and at a complete loss of words.”

All donated funds during a time of “inexpressible loss,” Saw said, will be used for funeral expenses and to help him ensure that Ashly is able to pursue a higher education.

As of Tuesday, seven people have raised $450.

One lane at the Bay Bridge toll plaza remains closed.



Photo Credit: Family handout]]>
<![CDATA[2 Teens Charged With Murder in Shooting of Man Over Phone]]>Tue, 05 Dec 2017 12:17:38 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/fortune+and+patton.jpg

Two 18-year-old men have been charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a 32-year-old Redwood City man while he was trying to sell a cellphone to them at a gas station in unincorporated San Leandro last month, Alameda County sheriff's officials said.

Marcus Fortune, a San Leandro resident and the alleged shooter, was arrested in his hometown last Thursday and Jordan Patton, the alleged accomplice, was arrested outside his San Francisco home on Nov. 19, according to Deputy Kurtis Imperial.

Patton was charged shortly after he was arrested and Fortune was charged and arraigned on Monday. Both teens are scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court in Dublin on Tuesday to be assigned attorneys and possibly enter pleas.

Fortune and Patton are charged for the fatal shooting of Daniel Carlos at the 76 gas station at East 14th Street and 159th Avenue, near the Bay Fair BART station, at about 1:15 p.m. on Nov. 18. Carlos was pronounced dead at the scene.

Carlos was between jobs but used to work for Tesla and is survived by his wife and their 5-year-old daughter, sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly said.

Kelly said the deadly shooting was "shocking" because it was in broad daylight at one of the major intersections in Alameda County where there's a lot of vehicle and foot traffic.


Carlos met the suspects through an online app called "letgo" on which people list items that they want to sell, Kelly said.

Imperial wrote in a probable cause statement that the arrangement to sell a new iPhone to the suspects was made by a relative of Carlos who was with him during the transaction but wasn't injured.

The relative stayed inside his car while Carlos waited outside with the cellphone, according to Imperial.

When Carlos handed the cellphone to the two suspects, they both began to run out of the gas station's parking lot, the relative said, prompting Carlos to chase them, according to Imperial.

Carlos "was subsequently shot and killed by one of the suspects as they fled with the cellular phone," Imperial wrote.

Several witnesses provided similar descriptions of the suspects and one witness saw the suspects enter a white Nissan Maxima with no license plates, the deputy wrote.

In addition, footage from a nearby surveillance camera depicted distinctive features on the Nissan, according to Imperial.

Additional investigation helped deputies identify Fortune and Patton as the suspects. Patton was driving the Nissan when he was arrested on Nov. 19, Imperial said.

Patton told investigators that he was the only person who drove the Nissan on Nov. 18 and denied being in the area where Carlos was killed and denied any knowledge of or involvement in the homicide, Imperial wrote.

However, when deputies searched the Nissan they found a cellphone, which was still in its box, that was the same model and color of the phone that was stolen from Carlos, according to Imperial.

Deputies also found dark-colored clothing that was similar to what the suspects were believed to be wearing at the time of the shooting.

When deputies searched Fortune's residence in San Leandro after he was arrested, they found a black .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun and several unexpended .40-caliber bullets, Imperial wrote.

Some of the bullets contained the same manufactured head stamp brand that was located on the expended .40-caliber shell casing that was found at the murder scene, according to Imperial.

Fortune admitted to investigators that he was involved in the shooting and said the meeting with Carlos "was a planned take and go," Imperial wrote.

He refused to identify Patton as a co-participant, instead saying he was with another person and said "things were not supposed to go down that way," Imperial wrote.



Photo Credit: Alameda County Sheriff's Office
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<![CDATA[Oakland Workers Strike, Closing Offices, Stopping Services]]>Tue, 05 Dec 2017 23:45:42 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/199*120/seiu.PNG

Thousands of city workers in Oakland went on strike Tuesday, shutting down street cleaning, library and other public services after union leaders and city officials couldn't agree on a new labor contract.

Police and fire services were not affected, but city offices were closed, and parking regulations will not be enforced.

Like the rest of the Bay Area, the city of 400,000 people is seeing housing costs skyrocket, and employees say their salaries are not enough to keep up with rising costs.

The city and union have agreed to a 4 percent salary increase in the first year but are stuck on increases for the second year. The city has offered a 2 percent increase if certain revenue conditions are met, but the union wants the city to commit to another 4 percent increase.

Talks broke down Monday after the city refused a union proposal to bring in an informal mediator.

About 3,000 workers in senior centers, libraries, City Hall and other city-run departments began their strike at 7 a.m.

"The city continues to believe you are not deserving of health care benefits, retirement, and you're an at-will employee, so you can be fired at any moment," said Lina Hernandez, a bargaining team member representing one of three unions. 

Members of Service Employees International Union Local 1021 have worked without a contract since June 30. Members of an engineers union also joined the walkout.

Mayor Libby Schaaf said the city would file a labor complaint because the strike is unlawful. In earlier discussions, Schaaf guaranteed a four 4 percent pay increase for the first year, but it failed when they couldn't secure money for the second year.

Many union leaders say Oakland has the money, they just need to learn to prioritize. 

Schaaf said she wants a fair contract that is fiscally prudent. While she deeply values city workers, she said, "we cannot spend more than we can afford."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

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<![CDATA[Traffic Fatalities Sharply Up Across Bay Area Since 2010]]>Tue, 05 Dec 2017 10:00:16 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/CarCrashGeneric.JPG

Since 2010 the number of traffic fatalities each year has gone up in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to data from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Last year 455 people died on Bay Area roadways, up from 318 in 2010 and 422 in 2013.

Officials with the commission said the number of fatalities has grown faster than vehicle miles traveled and population growth.

The officials also said that pedestrians and bicyclists are a growing share of the traffic fatalities.

In 2016, 154 or 34 percent of all collisions ended in the death of a pedestrian or bicyclist, up from 95 or 30 percent in 2010.

According to commission officials, improved vehicle safety has reduced fatalities among occupants of vehicles while deaths among non-motorized travelers have gone up.

San Francisco is taking steps to reduce bicycle and pedestrian fatalities.

City officials have launched the Vision Zero project to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2024.

Injuries from crashes and collisions have also risen since 2010 in the Bay Area. Last year 2,089 injuries occurred on Bay Area roads, up 25 percent from 2010.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Prosecution Outlines Case Against Ghost Ship Defendants]]>Mon, 04 Dec 2017 23:43:30 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/warehouse-fire-split.jpg

Defense attorneys for the men charged in the deadly Ghost Ship warehouse fire got a detailed look at the prosecution's case Monday in a court filing.

The preliminary hearing for Derick Almena and Max Harris was postponed until Wednesday, but District Attorney Nancy O'Malley and prosecutors filed a memorandum outlining the case against the men who face 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter.



In the memorandum, O'Malley states that Almena became the leaseholder of the Ghost Ship warehouse in 2013. The terms of the lease did not permit the warehouse to be used as a residence, but Almena moved his wife and children into the building and began to sublet the space to others charging $350 to $1,400 per month.

O'Malley states that Almena allowed and even encouraged tenants to use nonconventional building materials such as recycled wood, tapestries, pianos and RV trailers to create their living spaces. According to the memorandum, Almena increased the risk to residents and visitors by storing "enormous" amounts of flammable material from the floor to the ceiling on the building's first floor.

The document says that Harris moved into the warehouse in 2014. Almena made him "creative director," allowing him to collect rent and mediate disputes. According to O'Malley, the pair allowed up to 25 people at one time to live and work in the warehouse. Almena also advertised the upstairs for music events and social gatherings, allowing as many as 100 people to gather in the unsafe and unpermitted warehouse.

O'Malley claims Almena and Harris altered the interior of the warehouse by building a makeshift bathroom, cutting a doorway into a wall and cutting a hole into the roof. Almena also built a "dangerous and narrow" wooden staircase that required people to walk up and down in a single file. All of this was done without going through the permit and inspection process, the memorandum says.

The document claims that once Almena changed the nature of the warehouse's use, it became his responsibility to install fire sprinklers, smoke alarms, exit signs and to create an evacuation plan.

"Witnesses state they warned Almena numerous times about the obvious fire hazard inside the warehouse," the memorandum says.

The filing also claims the pair deceived law enforcement officers who responded to the warehouse for calls for service.

"Almena and Harris lied to law enforcement officers by insisting that no one lived in the warehouse," states the document.

O'Malley says the defendants' actions were "reckless, creating a high risk of death," ultimately leading to the deaths of 36 people who became trapped inside when the fire started.

Almena's attorney, Tony Serra, acknowledges the deadly fire was a "terrible, terrible event" but insists Almena isn't responsible. Serra has suggested it was the property owner who should be facing charges, not Almena. Harris's defense attorney, Curtis Briggs, claims the prosecution has made several "false assumptions" about his client.

"Now that I've seen their memorandum and how they intend to prove their case, I'm confident we can demonstrate to the jury Max is innocent," he said.

The preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin on Wednesday.



Photo Credit: Alameda County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Two Injured in Shooting at Target Store in Emeryville]]>Mon, 04 Dec 2017 23:37:01 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/emery_target_shooting_1204_983712.JPG

Police on Monday evening were investigating a double shooting at a Target store parking lot in Emeryville that left two people critically injured.

Two people were taken to a hospital after being hit by gunfire, and one person was detained, according to the Oakland Police Department. The store is located at 1555 40th St., police said.

One of the victims was found at the scene, near a Dodge Durango, which was riddled with bullet holes in the driver side door and window.

Police said the second victim walked or ran a couple hundred yards to a Home Depot store, where someone called for help.

Witnesses reported seeing a man next to the SUV firing a gun and one man being hit by gunfire. Other witnesses said they hear about 10 gunshots.

"All of a sudden you hear pop pop pop pop and then another pop pop, another round," witness Michelle Hilario of San Francisco said.

Dozens of officers then swarmed the scene.

Three guns were recovered at the scene, police said.

Police reportedly closed the store and were clearing customers from the area for the investigation. 



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Bay Area Far From Top of Safest Cities List: Report]]>Mon, 04 Dec 2017 12:03:00 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Fremont26.JPG

When it comes to safe cities, the Bay Area does not have much to brag about, according to a new report.

A grand total of 47 U.S. cities beat out Fremont, the only Bay Area city to be named in the top 50 on WalletHub's "2017's Safest Cities in America" list.

WalletHub examined 182 U.S. cities, including the top 150 cities with the largest populations, during its study. Analysts primarily took a look at home and community safety factors, financial safety factors, and natural disaster risk factors.

Fremont came in at No. 48 on the list, according to the report. Santa Rosa followed at No. 79, San Francisco came in at No. 114, San Jose checked in at No. 120 and Oakland settled for No. 163.

The first California city to appear on the list was Irvine at No. 44, according to WalletHub.

For those eying the safest neighborhoods in the nation, Nashua, New Hamphshire appears to be the place to settle down, followed by South Burlington, Vermont, and Warwick, Rhode Island, respectively, according to the report.

When compiling its list, WalletHub specifically took a peak at factors such as the number of traffic fatalies, assaults, hate crimes and natural disaster risks in a given city.

Another factor analyzed was the number of law enforcement employees per capita. San Jose (No. 163) and Fremont (No. 165) were among five cities to have the fewest amount of law enforcement officials patrolling neighborhoods, according to WalletHub.



Photo Credit: Fremont Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Hearing Postponed for 2 Men Charged in Warehouse Blaze]]>Mon, 04 Dec 2017 10:36:25 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/warehouse-fire-split.jpg

A preliminary hearing for two men charged in the deaths of 36 people killed by a fire during an electronic music party at a warehouse in Oakland has been postponed.

An Alameda County Superior Court judge rescheduled for Wednesday a hearing to hear the prosecution's evidence against Derick Almena and Max Harris, before deciding whether they should stand trial.

Almena rented the warehouse in 2013 and lived there with his family. Harris also lived in the building and helped Almena book musical acts and sublet the space to artists looking for affordable housing.

Almena and Harris were each charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the Dec. 2, 2016, fire. In September, Almena and Harris pleaded not guilty. Each face 60 years in prison if convicted.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Alameda County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Police Investigate Fatal Hit-and-Run in East Oakland]]>Mon, 04 Dec 2017 08:24:22 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/OaklandFatalHitRun.JPG

Police are investigating a fatal hit-and-run Monday morning in East Oakland, police said.

At about 2 a.m., an Oakland police dispatcher said the hit-and-run occurred at 82nd Avenue and International Boulevard, near the Walgreens store at 8102 International Boulevard.

One person was confirmed dead. The suspect remains at large, police said.

The dispatcher did not provide any information about the suspect or the suspect vehicle involved.

Officers are on the scene investigating. Further details were not immediately available.



Photo Credit: Oakland Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Elderly Man Killed After Fire Breaks Out in Alameda: FD]]>Mon, 04 Dec 2017 06:44:24 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AlamedaFire2.JPG

An elderly man died after a fire broke out inside a house in Alameda Monday morning, according to fire officials. 

The blaze, which burned along the 2300 block of Eagle Avenue, was reported before 6 a.m. and knocked down in about 30 minutes, but firefighters found the man inside, according to fire officials. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Neighbors told NBC Bay Area that the victim was an elderly man in his 90s who was a war veteran and kind.

"He was old and we would all try to pitch in and help," neighbor Shirlene Ballard-Grossman said. "He would come out and sit on his porch every morning and everyone would give him food and stuff like that, help him out cause he lived all by himself."

An investigation into what sparked the blaze is ongoing.

Further information was not available.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[1 Lane Closed at Bay Bridge Toll Plaza After Fatal Crash]]>Mon, 04 Dec 2017 17:34:13 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/TollBoothLaneClosed.JPG

One lane at the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge toll plaza remains closed Monday following a grisly weekend crash that wiped out a toll booth, killing a toll taker working inside

Caltrans on Sunday had warned that four toll lanes would remain closed during the Monday morning commute two days after a rented box truck hit several vehicles and then slammed into toll both No. 14, but three of the impacted lanes and booths reopened around 4:30 a.m.

It is not clear when the destroyed toll booth will reopen, according to Caltrans spokesman Bob Haus.

"Toll booth No. 14, that will have to remain closed for awhile because that's going to require some substantial repair," he said.

Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement that the victim was 46-year-old California Department of Transportation employee Si Si Han. Han worked for Caltrans for more than a decade.

Haus indicated that toll workers are having a rough time dealing with the "nightmare" that unfolded.

"A lot of them witnessed it," Haus said. "They're not doing very well right now, and they're coping as best they can. This is just an awful experience for everyone involved."

The driver of a truck that crashed into the booth remains hospitalized with serious injuries.

California Highway Patrol Officer Matthew Hamer said 32-year-old Daniel Berk could face charges for driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter. 

Berk is expected to be in the hospital for several days, according to the CHP.

NBC Bay Area's Sergio Quintana and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Suspicious Device Found in Mailbox Under Investigation]]>Sun, 03 Dec 2017 23:26:46 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mailbox_device_1203_971568.JPG

U.S. postal inspectors on Sunday were trying to track down the person who put a suspicious device in an Oakland mail collection box.

The threat forced two major streets to shut down for hours Saturday night.

Investigators said it was not a piece of mail; it was a device dropped inside a blue collection box. Postal inspectors were still trying to figure out exactly what the device is.

The device was found by a postal carrier making a usual stop at a collection box on the corner of Stanford and San Pablo avenues.

"It looked very, very suspicious," USPS Inspector Jeff Fitch said.

Police and the Alameda County sheriff's bomb squad were called in to determine if it was an explosive device. The bomb squad ultimately destroyed the device.

The investigation and detonation forced sections of San Pablo and Stanford avenues to close for nearly nine hours.

"I don't know who would want to to put a bomb over in our neighborhood," resident D'Anthony Niblet said.

The incident is the second of its kind in less than two weeks. On Nov. 24, an explosive device was mailed to a home in Alameda's Bay Farm neighborhood. In that incident, a woman opened the package, and it exploded.

"At this time, we are not making a connection to both of those cases," Fitch said. "We are looking at this as an isolated incident."

On Oct. 19, an exlposive device went off after it was mailed to someone in East Palo Alto, and investigators believed that incident could have been connected to the Nov. 24 incident.

Investigators canvassed the Oakland neighborhood Sunday, looking for surveillance cameras that may have captured footage of a suspect or suspects.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Ghost Ship Fire Defendants Slated for Preliminary Hearing]]>Sun, 03 Dec 2017 23:35:37 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Almenas_Bid_For_Dismissal_Denied_in_Ghost_Ship_Fire_Case.jpg

The two men charged in the aftermath of the Ghost Ship warehouse fire that claimed 36 lives in Oakland a year ago are expected in court Monday for a preliminary hearing.

Prosecutors are expected to present evidence in Alameda County Superior Court showing why Derick Almena and Max Harris should stand trial on involuntary manslaughter charges. Almena was the master tenant at the warehouse, and Harris hosted the party where the deadly fire broke out Dec. 2, 2016.

Legal analyst Dean Johnson says while the prosecution tries to show there is enough evidence for a trial, the defense for Almena and Harris is likely to reveal very little Monday.

"In a preliminary hearing, the prosecution has a minimum burden of proof," Johnson said, adding that part of the defense's strategy is not giving the prosecution a preview of its defense.

Almena and Harris pleaded not guilty in September after being charged with 36 counts of involunary manslaughter for the deaths in the massive fire. They’re accused of creating unsafe conditions at the warehouse.

Prosecutors argue that party-goers had to use a set of makeshift stairs in order to escape the fire because Almena and Harris had blocked access to one of the building's exits, turning the space into a fire hazard.

Sources say up to 25 witnesses may be called to Monday's hearing. Johnson says if it moves to trial, the history and condition of the building may weigh heavily.

"Now the real question for prosecution and the defense is can they show that these individual defendants were responsible for those conditions, that they knew or should have known and possibly could have done something about the conditions to prevent the tragedy that happened," Johnson said.

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<![CDATA[Firefighter, Resident Injured in East Bay House Fire ]]>Mon, 04 Dec 2017 05:59:04 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CC-fire-1203.jpg

A firefighter and a resident were injured in a residential fire that started Sunday afternoon in the unincorporated Contra Costa County community of El Sobrante, fire officials said.

Contra Costa County firefighters reported the fire at 4:50 p.m. on Twitter. The fire was located on San Pablo Dam Road.

Paramedics were called to the scene to help the injured firefighter. The firefighter's injuries were serious but not life-threatening. He was taken to a hospital in stable condition, fire officials said.

A resident of the home was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, fire officials said.

As of 5:32 p.m., firefighters had the fire under control, according to fire officials. But crews would remain at the scene for a while. The cause of the blaze was unknown, but it doesn’t look suspicious, fire officials said.

Richmond and El Cerrito fire departments assisted in fighting the fire.



Photo Credit: Contra Costa County FD]]>
<![CDATA[Man Dies After Apparent Shooting in Antioch: Police]]>Sun, 03 Dec 2017 14:07:47 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/POLICE+LIGHTS+Connecticut.jpg

An investigation is underway Sunday after a man died from apparent gunshot wounds, according to Antioch police.

Antioch officers were alerted around 2:30 a.m. about a man who was down on Empire Mine Road near Deer Valley Road, according to police.

Arriving officers found the man suffering from "injuries consistent with being shot with a firearm," according to police. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

An investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call 925-779-6922.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[4 Lanes Closed at Bay Bridge Toll Plaza After Fatal Crash]]>Sun, 03 Dec 2017 23:22:17 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1222017sfbaybridgecrash_960165.JPEG

The driver of a truck that crashed into a toll booth on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, killing the attendant, remains hospitalized with serious injuries, and four lanes at the toll plaza remain closed indefinitely for toll booth repairs.

California Highway Patrol Officer Matthew Hamer said 32-year-old Daniel Berk could face charges for driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter. 

Berk is expected to be in the hospital for several days, according to the CHP.

The CHP says the rented box truck hit several vehicles and then the toll both. The attendant inside was killed.

Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement that the victim was 46-year-old California Department of Transportation employee Si Si Han. Han worked for Caltrans for more than a decade.

The toll booth that was struck will have to be completely rebuilt, according to Caltrans. Three other booths were damaged.

Four lanes at the toll plaza will remain closed for the Monday morning commute as a result of the damage, according to Caltrans. On a typical Monday, all lanes are open.

Caltrans did not have an estimated time of completion for those repairs nor an estimated time for reopening the lanes.

NBC Bay Area's Sergio Quintana contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Pair Arrested for Allegedly Shoplifting at Mall in Concord]]>Sun, 03 Dec 2017 11:06:50 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/ConcordPDShoplifting.PNG

Police Saturday arrested two Antioch residents who allegedly shoplifted items from a mall in Concord.

According to police, on Saturday officers were patrolling the Sun Valley Shopping Center on Concord Boulevard when some shoppers alerted them to a shoplifting incident at a store inside the mall.

Witnesses provided officers with a description of the thieves' vehicle, which was quickly located by an officer as it entered a freeway, police said.

Officers pulled over the vehicle and detained the two suspects inside, who were identified as Kadeem Hodge and Tiana Mayberry, both of Antioch. Inside the vehicle officers found stolen merchandise from several stores, police said.

Hodge and Mayberry were arrested on suspicion of shoplifting, conspiracy and possessing burglary tools, police said.



Photo Credit: Concord Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[1 Dead, 1 Hurt After Fiery Wreck on I-880: CHP]]>Sun, 03 Dec 2017 09:08:27 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SanLeandro880Crash.PNG

One person was killed and another was "gravely injured" when a car crashed and caught fire along Interstate 880 in San Leandro early Sunday, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The solo-vehicle crash happened just before 3 a.m. along southbound I-880 just north of the Davis Street exit, Ted Montez with the CHP said.

A witness told CHP officers that the car passed them "at a high rate of speed," later lost control, veered across lanes of traffic, slammed into a guard rail and then hit a pole before catching fire, Montez said.

"There was major intrusion damage, and the engine compartment — the engine itself — was actually separated from the vehicle," Montez said.

Two male victims were inside the car at the time of the crash, according to Montez. Their ages were not immediately known.

It is not clear if alcohol played a role in the wreck, Montez said.

An investigation is ongoing.

Further information was not available. 



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Bomb Threat in Oakland Leads to Evacuations]]>Sat, 02 Dec 2017 22:15:32 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NBCBAY+AREA-BREAKING-NEWS.png

A bomb threat in Oakland Saturday has led police officials to evacuate an area of San Pablo Avenue. 

According to the Mercury News, police were diverting traffic on San Pablo Avenue at 59th Street, and on Powell Street at Marshall Street. 

No further details were immediately available. Check back for updates. 

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<![CDATA[Gathering Marks One Year Since Deadly Oakland Warehouse Fire]]>Sat, 02 Dec 2017 23:34:52 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GhostShipFireWEB_965088.JPEG

The first anniversary of a fire that killed 36 people during an electronic music party in an Oakland, California warehouse has been marked with a gathering outside the gutted building known as the "Ghost Ship."

The East Bay Times reports that an Aztec group performed Saturday outside the ruins, and candles and mementos were placed at a nearby metal palm tree sculpture.

Names of the victims were read, and the Rev. Wortham Fears of Christian Academy told the gathering to remember the smiles and laughs shared with them.

"We miss Jonathan and it's sad to come to something like this," said Ed Bernbaum about his son. "But the memory is a celebration." 

Flowers and notes were carefully placed outside the warehouse. 

Councilmen Noel Gallo, a district representative fighting to improve warehouse safety, spoke during the memorial. 

"It's not only to express our gratitude and sorrow and prayers," said Gallo. "But to remind us that we still have a serious issue in the city." 

After the fire, a project was created to help provide safe and affordable housing work and performance spaces for artists. 

The city of Oakland is also working on a new system to share information on inspections and improvements that need to be made to living spaces. Oakland has hired more inspectors in both the fire department and planning and zoning to help speed up permitting. 

"I think it's important to reinforce our commitment to making the changes that are needed to allow for safe legalization of alternative housing," said Rebecca Kaplan from the Oakland City Council. 

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, issued a statement to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Ghost Ship Fire that took the lives of 36 people in Oakland last year.

"My thoughts and prayers remain with the survivors and the families of victims who are still healing from this horrific tragedy," Lee said. "The Ghost Ship Fire was an unimaginable disaster."

Citing a silver lining of the inferno, Lee continued, "Yet in the face of this horrendous disaster I have been awed by the compassion and perseverance displayed by our East Bay family."

The fire broke out around 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 2, 2016, at 1305 31st Ave., at a warehouse known as the "Ghost Ship" that was being used by an artist collective and was hosting a party with musical acts.

Events were to continue, including a procession to Lake Merritt, art installations, a sundown observance and nighttime vigil.

The East Bay Times says some dance clubs planned to pause between 11 p.m. and midnight for a moment of silence.

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<![CDATA['We Want Justice': Family Remembers Ghost Ship Fire Victims]]>Sat, 02 Dec 2017 15:02:34 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Family_Remembers_Ghost_Ship_Fire_Victims.jpg

Everyday is a struggle for David and Kimberly Gregory. They have nightmares about the night of the deadly Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland. The fire claimed 36 lives, including their 20-year-old daughter. Cheryl Hurd reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Ghost Ship Fire: One Year Later]]>Fri, 01 Dec 2017 18:40:06 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Ghost_Ship_Warehouse_Tenants_Face_Judge.jpg

A year after a deadly fire broke out at a warehouse space in Oakland killing 36 people, city officials continue to grapple with ways to improve the safety of unpermitted warehouse spaces, while avoiding displacement of the artists that often live there.

A recent city report summarizes steps the city has taken since the deadly fire, including the formation of a fire safety task force to keep the city on track in the wake of last year’s tragedy. Under direction of the task force, the city hired six new inspectors to its Fire Prevention  Bureau and three inspectors to its Building Code Enforcement staff.

The city is also in the process of rolling out a new electronic system to track inspections across the various city departments that conduct them, including fire, police, building and code enforcement.

“The city has taken its responsibility to continually be improving upon its systems,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

Schaff says these steps are proof that the city is safer today than it was before the Ghost Ship warehouse fire, but a major challenge in taking these steps has been finding ways to ensure the city’s artists aren’t forced out in the process.

A month after the Ghost Ship fire, Mayor Schaaf issued an executive order aimed at avoiding evictions and preserving affordable housing for artists.

Local artists say they have felt the impact of the city’s new policies.

The city report identified 19 warehouse spaces where residents were living without the proper permits, and people were evicted from five of those properties. The city report does not indicate how many individuals were evicted.

Tanya Retherford is one of them. She and the 13 other people lived at 1190 28th Street, which they called Castle Von Trapp. Three days after the Ghost Ship fire, city officials got word people were living in the space, even though it wasn’t permitted for residential use. The property owner subsequently kicked them out.

Retherford and some of her former housemates joined forces with architect Thomas Dolan to convert an empty West Oakland warehouse into a code-compliant ‘live-work’ space. Dolan literally wrote the book on live-work spaces, undertaking a number of live-work renovations. He and the former Castel Von Trapp residents hope their new warehouse will serve as a model for other similar spaces across the city.

Dolan said he believes hundreds of artists have been displaced since the city has cracked down on unpermitted warehouse spaces following the Ghost Ship fire.

“Where do tenants go?,” he said. They’ve had an incredibly tough time.”

Mayor Schaaf says the onus lies with property owners.

“I’m disappointed that more property owners didn’t take us up on our offer to work collaboratively and to not displace residents, “ Schaaf said.

Local artists and activists NBC Bay Area spoke to said in many cases the city never made it clear that property owners could legalize their buildings. They say because of that, owners kicked tenants out in fear they’d get in trouble.

Immediately following the Ghost Ship fire, questions were raised about why the city failed to shut down the space, given evidence that city officials were aware it had been converted into an illegal residence by master tenant Derick Almena.

“The lack of enforcement at the Ghost Ship warehouse was primarily driven by the fact that the management at that building worked very hard to evade government notice,” Schaaf said.

When The Investigative Unit asked Mayor Schaaf if the city shared any responsibility for failing to inspect the building or follow up on complaints, Schaaf dodged the question and talked about improvements the city has undertaken since the deadly fire.

“That’s a big part of what we’ve focused on in the last year,” Schaaf said. Creating a better risk assessment model to try to uncover properties that are falling under the radar screen.”

Joe DeVries, assistant to the City Administrator and head of the city’s new task force, says the members are looking at how to change the city’s building code so unpermiited communal living spaces can establish legal occupany - what the city calls a path to compliance.

DeVries says the city is considering how to give public loans to owners who commit to making safety upgrades while keeping rents affordable.

When it comes to violations at commercial spaces, the city still has 21 active cases. Only one property has a compliance plan on file.

For Retherford and Dolan, building their vision of a safe communal live-work space is the best answer to Oakland’s housing crisis. They hope their efforts can be the first concrete step in the wake of the Ghost Ship tragedy to help artists remain in Oakland.

“Our job really is to preserve that,” Dolan said.

If you have a tip for the investigative unit, email theunit@nbcbayarea.com.

Follow Liz Wagner on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LizWags/ and Twitter https://twitter.com/lizwags

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<![CDATA[Shoreline Slide Causes Pier Collapse at Oakland Estuary]]>Fri, 01 Dec 2017 19:12:35 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/12012017EstuarySlide_957463.JPG

Crews late Friday were working to retrieve shipping containers that fell into the water at the Oakland Estuary after a pier collapsed.

Oakland Fire Department Capt. Sean Laffan said 300 feet of shoreline slid into the estuary, pushing the pier out and causing it to collapse. The incident occurred at about 4:30 p.m. and no injuries were reported.

Crews deployed a boom to contain the debris and spill.

Four shipping containers that were on the pier fell into the water. Laffan said the containers were filled with various construction material, including electrical cord. None of the items in the containers are believed to be hazardous materials.

The incident is at the construction site of the Brooklyn Basin, a 3,100-unit housing development along the Embarcadero. Mike Ghilmetti, one of the developers for the site, said the collapse occurred on an old portion of a platform that was scheduled to be demolished.

Ghilmetti added portions of the deck are being retrofitted, with other areas set to be demolished.

The Coast Guard also responded to the scene.



Photo Credit: @OaklandFireLive/Twitter
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<![CDATA[Group Runs Out of East Bay Salon Without Paying]]>Fri, 01 Dec 2017 16:10:34 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1201-2017-ConcordSalon.jpg

Nail salon employees were pepper sprayed in the face after they chased after customers who darted out of their business without paying, Concord police said.

The incident happened just after 8 p.m. Thursday at Ruby's Nail Spa. Owner Thao Phao said four people had elaborate manicures, with each nail having a design or diamond sparkles. A man with the group got a pedicure.

Phao said the group owed about $200, but ran off. When she and her co-workers chased after the group they were pepper sprayed, Phao said.

Police are now searching for the group.

No other information was immediately available.



Photo Credit: Concord Police Department
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<![CDATA[Anniversary of Deadly Oakland Fire Brings Heartache]]>Fri, 01 Dec 2017 17:44:23 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-627684326.jpg

David Gregory has faced a recurring nightmare that still wakes him up in tears nearly one year after a massive fire tore through an Oakland warehouse, killing 36 concert-goers in the city's deadliest blaze in history.

Gregory's 20-year-old daughter, Michela, was among the slain, and in the dream Gregory can hear her calling his name and screaming for help.

"And there's nothing I can do," he said during a recent telephone interview, his voice quivering with emotion. "I always wake up crying, and it happens a lot."

The first anniversary of the fire at the building known as the Ghost Ship, which arrives on Saturday, is bringing back painful memories for Gregory and other victims' families.

"You never recover from it," said Mary Alexander, an attorney who is representing Gregory and other victims' families in a lawsuit that names the city, the warehouse's owner and its operator. "All of them are anxious about the one-year. It's creating a lot of emotions."

The warehouse was a gathering place for artists and musicians, a number of whom were at 1305 31st Ave. for an electronic music event that was not permitted by law.

The structure, which was powered by a labyrinth of electrical cords, ignited, trapping dozens of people inside. The structure had no fire alarms or sprinklers. Most of the 36 people who died just couldn’t get out in time and succumbed to the smoke inhalation. 

The city of Oakland was criticized afterward for not having shut the place down in spite of previous visits by police and fire officials.

Mayor Libby Schaaf said city leaders have learned lessons from the tragedy and are improving residents’ safety. She also vowed never to forget the victims.

"We will learn all we can from this horrific tragedy to make Oakland a safer and more resilient community," she said in an executive order directing city officials to prioritize building inspections, audit the fire department's inspection bureau and create a database to share information about problem buildings across city departments.

A city report in November touted Oakland as safer since the blaze, but some officials have a more mixed assessment of the city's efforts, criticizing them as slow and incomplete.

Just months after the Ghost Ship blaze, a fire at a dilapidated building killed four people, reinforcing criticism that Oakland was inept after emails showed a fire captain recommended shutting the place down weeks earlier and another fire official warned it was dangerous.

The city is more than doubling its number of fire code inspectors, but the full contingent of 20 inspectors won't be in place until the end of 2018. The database to share information about problem buildings also won't be up and running until next year.

The system is considered vital after the Ghost Ship fire exposed communications breakdowns between officials. Records show in the months before the blaze, city officials received numerous complaints about the warehouse and police repeatedly visited the site. Inspectors had knocked on the Ghost Ship's doors a few times, but none had stepped inside the warehouse for at least 30 years.

Dan Robertson, head of the union that represents city firefighters, said the city is moving in the right direction.

"But we'd like to see change come a little bit faster and perhaps with more dedication of resources coming directly to the fire department, he said.

Rebecca Kaplan, an Oakland councilwoman, said she was "very concerned about the number of things that haven't been done yet."

City spokeswoman Karen Boyd did not comply with a request for interviews with city officials.

Since the Ghost Ship fire, the city has investigated 32 warehouses or commercial spaces that were suspected of serving illegally as housing, work or gathering spots and scores of other properties with multiple hazards identified by firefighters, according to its November report.

The city also got a new fire chief in October.

The Ghost Ship fire highlighted the precarious living situations of artists seeking affordable housing amid skyrocketing rents in the Bay Area.

In its wake, Los Angeles, Baltimore and other cities cracked down on commercial spaces that were used illegally as housing or performance venues. The Ghost Ship fire was the deadliest U.S. building fire in more than a decade.

Schaaf said in her January executive order that Oakland wanted to avoid displacing "vulnerable community members" while improving safety -- a balance that can be tricky to achieve.

The city is working with the owners of 16 of the 32 commercial properties to address residential violations, but acknowledged many owners have evicted tenants instead of trying to bring their properties up to code.

Prosecutors, separately, have charged two men, Derick Almena and Max Harris, with involuntary manslaughter in the blaze. Almena rented the warehouse and lived there with his family. Harris also lived in the building and helped Almena book musical acts and sublet the space to artists looking for affordable housing.

Prosecutors say the men knowingly created a firetrap and deceived the building's owner, police and fire officials about the fact that people were living there. The two have pleaded not guilty and say they are being scapegoated.

In their lawsuit, the victims' families say the city knew the Ghost Ship was a major fire risk but took no action to protect its occupants. Police body camera footage obtained by the East Bay Times shows officers visited the warehouse site multiple times in 2015, once talking to Almena and threatening to shut it down.

A judge in a Nov. 8 ruling indicated he was not inclined to allow the city to avoid the suit, saying there was "no question of the authority and obligation of the city to act when faced with an unsafe and substandard building."

Gregory, 49, said he hopes the city "will do what's right." He recalled going through denial in the hours after the fire, as he tried to contact his daughter but didn't want to believe she was at the party.

"I know it happened," he said. "It's been 12 months. She's not coming home. But it hasn't gotten any easier."

On Friday morning, the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland – where a plaque reading “Ghost Ship Fire: We Will Never Forget” is housed – will open its doors so people can commemorate the lives that were lost. It is located at 4499 Piedmont Ave. in Oakland.

“This is a chance to gather together in community, to remember the victims of the Ghost Ship fire, and to inspire thinking about our shared future,” a Facebook event page reads.

A pop-up memorial will be found at the Oakland warehouse at 4 p.m. and a community vigil is scheduled at 7 p.m.

Separately, the New Parish at 1743 San Pablo Ave. in Oakland will host a “Ships in the Night” benefit from 11 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday for survivors of the fire as well as the families of the victims.

San Francisco dance clubs are urged to hold a moment of silence between 11 p.m. Saturday and 12 a.m. Sunday in honor of the people who died.

--Bob Redell contributed to this story.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Targets Fremont Property For Expansion]]>Thu, 30 Nov 2017 23:09:10 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/facebook_fremont_1130_945431.JPG

Facebook is expanding again, this time to the East Bay.

Video from NBC Bay Area's Sky Ranger shows where the social media network wants to put hundreds of its workers.

The Menlo Park-based company is leasing two big office buildings in the Ardenwood district of Fremont, near the eastern end of the Dumbarton Bridge.

The buildings total nearly 200,000 square feet of space.

In July, Facebook also announced plans to expand its presence in Menlo Park.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Man Arrested in Crash That Killed 4 Charged With Murder]]>Thu, 30 Nov 2017 23:30:26 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4_Dead_Following_Multivehicle_Crash_on_I-80_in_San_Pablo.jpg

The man investigators say caused a fatal crash that shattered a North Bay family last weekend was charged with four counts of murder Thursday in Contra Costa County court.

Fred Lowe, 47, of Sacramento, made his first court appearance, and the prosecutor said he’s determined to get justice for the family of the four victims.

Lowe also was charged with driving under the influence causing injury, with two priors. Prosecutors said he caused a multivehicle crash on Interstate 80 in San Pablo last Saturday night that also injured six other people.

Prosecutor Derek Butts said Lowe should have known getting behind the wheel drunk could lead to tragedy. Lowe had two DUI convictions within the last six years and had his license suspended or revoked five times for DUI.


"This entire case is jarring and shocking," Butts said.

Daryl Horn, 50, of Napa, and his 14-year-old son Joe were killed in the crash, s were Horn's brother-in-law Troy Biddle and 13-year-old nephew Baden. Jared Horn, 19, a pitcher on the Cal baseball team, was the only one in the car to survive.

The victims' family did not attend the hearing but issued a statement saying, "The families have complete faith that the legal system will run its course, and justice will be served."

Natasha Thomas, with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said she’s glad Lowe has been charged with murder. She said more needs to be done to keep repeat offenders off the roads.


"Unfortunately, we see this too often," she said. "While we can do our best to stop this, we have to do better."

Meanwhile, the victims’ family said they’re focused on healing and on the wonderful memories of their loved ones.

Lowe did not enter a plea Thursday but is expected to be back in court next month. His bail has been set at $4.2 million.


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<![CDATA[Danville Police Recover Stolen Bike for Disabled]]>Thu, 30 Nov 2017 09:27:50 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DanvilleBike.jpg

Danville police on Wednesday recovered a specialized bike for disabled people that was stolen earlier this month from a high school.

On Wednesday afternoon, police announced on social media that the stolen bike was located and now in police custody.

It was stolen sometime between Nov. 17 and Sunday from Del Amigo High School at 189 Del Amigo Road, police said.

The bike was purchased this month and is a specialized tricycle that allows disabled students to ride with the assistance of an instructor, police said.

Police did not say whether they had apprehended the suspect or suspects responsible for the bike theft.



Photo Credit: Danville Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Colorful Hues Light Up Bay Area Sky Throughout November]]>Thu, 30 Nov 2017 10:32:08 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SunriseSunsetThumb.JPG

Photo Credit: Deborah Shapero]]>
<![CDATA[Push for Tougher DUI Laws Following Deadly East Bay Wrecks]]>Thu, 30 Nov 2017 06:17:40 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/171*120/DUITestGeneric.jpg

A group fighting against drunk driving is pushing for better enforcement of existing DUI laws in the wake of two deadly East Bay crashes suspected of being linked to alcohol.

A man driving on a suspended license due to a prior DUI conviction is suspected of causing a crash in San Pablo last weekend that killed four people, and another driver was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving following a crash in Livermore last week that has resulted in two deaths.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving, also known as MADD, says tougher laws need to be enacted because they say repeat offenders can be deadly on the roadways.

"For multiple or first time offenders there are crashes that do occur but mainly we really want to track and watch those multiple offenders because they’re 70 percent more times likely to injure or kill somebody on our roadways," Natasha Thomas from MADD Bay Area said.

During the Thanksgiving holiday, California Highway Patrol officers arrested 186 suspected drunk drivers across nine Bay Area counties.

When it comes to California's DUI laws, MADD gives the Golden State 3.5 out of five stars on its ratings system. California ranks first in insurance rate increases for DUI drivers, fifth in DUI jail time, sixth in driver's license suspensions and 31st in prevention measures.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland Builds Tuff Sheds to Temporarily House the Homeless]]>Wed, 29 Nov 2017 17:45:05 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/oakland_sheds_1129_933300.JPG

The city of Oakland began constructing Tuff sheds this week to provide temporary housing for the homeless.

A total of 20 prefabricated structures measuring 10 by 12 feet are being built in downtown Oakland to put a roof over the heads of those living in the streets. The shelters, designed for two people, will be used for up to six months, officials said.

The sheds will allow the city to clear out the surrounding encampments that have become not just an eyesore but downright dangerous.

"We’re saying bring your partners your pets and your possessions," said Joe Devries, assistant to city administrator. "If we can show by doing this we can eliminate that problem, give people a humane, safe place to live and reduce the impact on the surrounding community, then we need to continue to implement this model."

Andre Harris said he’s been out on the street for nearly three years after falling on hard times. He hopes he’ll get to move out of his makeshift tent and into one of the Tuff sheds before the rainy season kicks in.

"At least they made a first step so we’re not forgotten people," Harris said. "It’s getting cold out here, really cold. People are getting sick."

Those who live in or drive through the area say they’re glad something’s finally being done to tackle the city’s shelter crisis.

"I think it’s something we have to come to terms with, and this is a good start," resident Geza Gergo said. "It’s getting cold and raining, and people don’t have to be outside sleeping."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Father Seeks Help in Finding Missing 14-Year-Old Daughter]]>Wed, 29 Nov 2017 20:09:17 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Missing+Pacifica+Teen.jpg

A Pacifica father is asking for help in finding his 14-year-old daughter who didn't return home from school two months ago. 

Aaron Placencia last saw his daughter Tyla-Ann on the morning of Sept. 27. The teen attends Oceana High School, where she is the newly-elected class president.

“We were having a quick conversation about responsibilities and keeping grades maintained,” Placencia said, his voice breaking. “She was in a hurry because she was running late. I haven't heard from her since.” 

Placencia filed a missing persons report with the Pacifica Police Department, which is treating the case as a voluntary runaway. Police have classified the case as a high priority because of the girl’s age, Capt. Joe Spanheimer said.

Tyla-Ann has long brown hair. She is 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 127 pounds. Police believe she may be in San Francisco or San Mateo County, trying to raise money for a trip to Ohio.

“In this particular case, it seems that she doesn’t want to be found,” Spanheimer said. “She’s going to different friends or acquaintances’ houses, using social media accounts to contact people.” 

Police were unable to comment further since this is an ongoing investigation but said that people who Tyla-Ann has stayed with since September haven't been forthcoming about her whereabouts.

Meanwhile, Placencia worries that his daughter may be the victim of human trafficking. He said his mind has been racing with frightening possibilities since Tyla-Ann disappeared. He also said she left her phone at the house, which he described as "out of character" for the young girl.

“She’s only 14 years old,” Placencia said. “She’s still a baby. When she fixes herself up, she could pass as an 18- or 19-year-old girl. My daughter has an innocent heart, but someone could have gotten into her head and changed her thinking process.” 

To raise awareness about his daughter's case, Placencia has been working with East Bay foundation Love Never Fails, which fights against human trafficking. Vanessa Russell, the director and founder of the organization, told NBC Bay Area that it's dangerous to underestimate the seriousness of runaway youth cases, citing statistics from the Department of Justice.  

"Children don't plan on being exploited and abused when they run away but it's a harsh reality," Vanessa Russell said. "Within 48 hours, one-third of runaway youth will be recruited for human trafficking. That alone is reason enough to fervently search for a missing loved one." 

Placencia vowed to continue his search through the holiday season, though he hopes it won't be necessary. 

“It was so hard on Thanksgiving without her,” he said. “If anyone knows anything, I’m following all leads.”

Police are asking people with information about the case to call 650-738-7314.



Photo Credit: Aaron Placencia ]]>
<![CDATA[Winning Powerball Ticket Worth $374,000 Sold in Oakland]]>Wed, 29 Nov 2017 15:29:57 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/powerball_bucksco.jpg

The winner of a Powerball lottery ticket that was sold in Oakland and is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars has yet to come forward and claim their prize, according to California Lottery officials.

The ticket was purchased at the Da Huong sandwich and coffee shop at 605 E. 12th St., just a few blocks south of Lake Merritt.

The ticket matched Saturday's winning numbers, 53-8-54-27-13, but was missing the Powerball number, which was 4. The ticket is worth $374,181, lottery officials said.

The winner is strongly encouraged to immediately sign the back of their ticket in ink and keep it in a safe place.

The winner can visit any of the nine lottery district offices during normal business hours to claim their prize, lottery officials said.



Photo Credit: NBC10 Philadelphia]]>
<![CDATA[California Sues For-Profit School Over 'False Promises']]>Fri, 01 Dec 2017 04:49:22 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ashfordpic.jpg

California's attorney general sued an online, for-profit university Wednesday, alleging officials made false promises to entice students and illegally tried to collect their overdue debt.

The suit filed by Attorney General Xavier Becerra against San Diego-based Ashford University alleges the school and its publicly traded parent company, Bridgepoint Education Inc., used illegal business practices to deceive and defraud students.

The suit filed in Alameda County Superior Court says school representatives lied to prospective students over how much financial aid they could get, the costs of attending, how many academic credits from other schools would transfer to Ashford or from Ashford to other institutions, and about Ashford's ability to prepare students for careers including teaching, medical billing and social work.

It says many of the school's roughly 40,000 students had low incomes and were unable to pay their tuition and other debts, yet Ashford threatened students and imposed unlawful debt collection fees.

More than two-thirds received federal student aid, according to the lawsuit. Nearly three-quarters of its students never graduated. The suit asks a judge to reimburse students, impose civil penalties, and bar the school from similar practices in the future.

Anna Davison, the school's vice president of corporate communications and investor relations, said Bridgepoint institutions serve as a model for how online education can better the lives of people who did not, or who were unable to, pursue more traditional avenues to degrees.

She said Ashford has improved the lives of thousands of students "by providing a high-quality education that serves communities and gives families the opportunity to succeed."

The school will fight the lawsuit, Davison wrote.

Becerra said in a statement that Ashford had stolen the American Dream from its students.

"This for-profit college illegally misled students about their educational prospects and unfairly saddled them with debt," he wrote.

Students only later learned that their degrees would take months or years longer and cost much more than they had been promised, and might not advance their careers, the lawsuit says. Students owe billions of dollars in federal loans, and the school says it is owed hundreds of millions of dollars directly, the suit says.

A bachelor's degree at Ashford is currently expected to cost more than $60,000 including tuition and fees, books and supplies, the suit says, nearly double the cost at San Diego State University or California State University-East Bay, the suit says.

The lawsuit alleges the university used "admissions counselors" who were really salespeople working out of a call center under pressure to meet enrollment targets.

Ashford is also accused of misleading investors and the public in Securities and Exchange Commission filings by overstating the rate of graduates who said that their Ashford degree adequately prepared them for their current job.



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<![CDATA[Golden State Warriors Spied on Fans with App: Lawsuit ]]>Wed, 29 Nov 2017 20:08:53 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/182*120/GettyImages-694362162.jpg

The Golden State Warriors are under fire over allegations that the team’s Android app allegedly eavesdrops on users and records their conversations. A U.S. district court judge ordered on Monday that the Warrior’s, Signal360, a company partner of the team, and the app developer company, Yinzcam, face claims in trial.

The app was initially created to sell Warriors merchandise, keep track of scores, stats and get ticket upgrades, but New York resident LaTisha Satchell claims the app was doing more, the Daily Beast reported

According Satchell, the app turns on a user’s microphone and keeps it on, recording anything audible and relaying data back to the team and Signal360.

“[The Warriors] gained access to tens of thousands of microphones belonging to consumers who downloaded the Warriors App and turned their mobile devices into bugged listening devices,” the suit alleges.

The suit was originally filed back in September 2016 but in February, U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White sided with the Warriors and Signal 360, saying that Satchell failed to prove the app was recording conversations.

But in March, Satchell provided the judge with four private conversations of hers recorded without permission.

The Warriors and Signal360 have until Dec. 8 to answer claims of allegedly engaging in acts that could fall under the Wiretap Act. Both the Warriors and Signal360 asked to dismiss claims but White denied them.

The team and the tech company will need to show their case on Jan. 12 to figure out how to handle the matter.

“While we normally do not comment on pending litigation,” said a spokesperson for the Warriors. “The allegations in this lawsuit are purely fanciful and wholly without merit. Our app has never been used to listen to any conversations. Period.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gym Owner Arrested on Suspicion of Lewd Acts With a Minor]]>Wed, 29 Nov 2017 13:06:19 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/11292017-benjamin-gym-owner.jpg

The owner of a Martinez gym was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of lewd acts with a child under 14 years old, police said.

Benjamin Borsellino, 41, the owner of Martinez Athletic Club at 729 Castro St., was taken into custody and a search warrant was served at the club, according to police.

Borsellino was booked into county jail on suspicion of four counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 years old and his bail was set at $400,000, police said.

On the website of the Martinez Athletic Club, which opened in 2015, Borsellino is described as having more than 15 years of experience in the fitness industry as a certified personal trainer and former bodybuilder.

The site also says he co-owns the gym with his wife Pam, has two sons, and is involved in many local events and fundraisers for the Boys and Girls Club and Alhambra High School sports teams.

A message left at the Martinez Athletic Club was not immediately returned.

No other information about the case was immediately available from police. Anyone with information about it is asked to contact police Detective Sgt. Clarence Moore at 925-372-3450.



Photo Credit: Martinez Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Student Resorts to Living in School Bus to Avoid High Rents]]>Wed, 29 Nov 2017 11:55:30 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/bus+life+photo.jpg

When it came time to find housing this semester, UC Berkeley junior Hash Khan had three options: he could share a room with two other people for anywhere between $800 and $1,500 per month, sleep in his car, or get creative.

After sleeping in his car for a couple months, the cash-strapped English major knew he needed to resort to option three. It wasn’t long before daily searches on Craigslist led him to find a cost-effective — yet unconventional — solution to his housing woes: a 38-year-old dilapidated Chevy school bus with a sticker price of $800. 

The Sacramento native saw the listing on a Sunday. By the following Tuesday, the old bus was his. He named it "Appa" after one of his favorite characters in the "Avatar" franchise and painted it blue to match. 

“I didn't really hesitate when I saw it,” Khan said. “I was getting really frustrated with trying to find a place. With the bus, I have privacy; I don’t have to deal with a lot of roommates. It’s like my little home on wheels.” 

Khan is hardly the only student to find themselves elbowed out of traditional student housing, especially in the Bay Area, where rents are among the highest in the nation. Local community boards are awash with millennials looking for cheap housing or a couch to surf. GoFundMe is similarly rife with students attempting to crowdfund their way to graduation.

During the 2016 academic year, approximately 32,000 college applicants identified as “unaccompanied homeless youth” on federal student aid forms, a striking number that experts say is a low estimate. And teachers aren’t immune to the housing crunch, either. An adjunct professor at San Jose State University made local headlines for sleeping in her car earlier this year, while an in-depth story by The Guardian focused on a growing number of teachers turning to sex work to help pay bills. 

But Khan remains downright optimistic about his living situation, despite the seriousness of the housing crisis that pushed him into it. Ultimately, he said he could never rationalize spending the equivalent of his parent’s monthly mortgage on a cramped space shared with two roommates.

“I really, really, really like the bus,” he stressed. “It just didn’t make sense to me to spend that much money for a spot in a triple, and college is really the only time I’ll be able to do something like this.”

Still, there’s a lot more work to be done before Khan is fully comfortable in his new surroundings. Having already gutted the inside of the bus, he is now adding insulation to keep the cabin space warm during the chilly winter. 

“It gets really cold in Berkeley at night,” he said. “After the insulation, I’m going to add wood paneling on the walls ... the end result I’m going for is sort of like a cabin look.”

Due to cost and legal concerns, he won't be adding much else. There is no law against sleeping in cars in Berkeley, but the city’s municipal code states that it is illegal to live in so-called "house cars" that are outfitted with kitchens, bathrooms and other amenities. 

To make matters easier, Khan treks to the school gym to shower and relies on public restrooms. He also limits the amount of time spent in the bus by staying on campus during the day. With the money he saves on housing, he is able to eat out at cheap restaurants around the city. 

“Living here is definitely helping me save,” Khan said. “By graduation, I’d guess it would be in the thousands.” 

The people he roomed with last year have also resorted to less-than-ideal living situations. He said one of his former roommates commutes to school from Tracy, which is at least an hour drive without traffic, and another bought a van and plans to live in it. 

"There really aren't a lot of options for housing in Berkeley," he said. "We were all looking for a while, but it was like nothing was in our price range." 

According to UC Berkeley, students should estimate spending at least $12,874 per academic year on housing at an on-campus apartment. Financial aid can help offset about a quarter of the costs, but there are often disbursement delays — an outcome with which Khan has already had “frustrating” firsthand experience. 

Waitlists for co-op housing, which is considered one of the more cost-effective living arrangements for college students, fill up before the semester even begins. And apartments elsewhere in the city are typically far more expensive. Real-estate firm Zillow estimates that Berkeley’s median rent hovers around $3,700 per month. 

“This wouldn't work for everyone, but it does for me," Khan remarked. "I’m basically living in free housing right now." 

To celebrate his plan to stave off exorbitant payments, Khan hosted a party with friends shortly after purchasing his makeshift home. The support from peers allayed his fears about ostracization from wealthier classmates.

“Originally, I was worried about what people would say, because (living in a bus) is really out there,” he said. “But everyone’s been really supportive, and everyone thinks it’s really cool. ... I have the ultimate road trip bus.” 

Khan has already made up his mind about what he wants to do with the old van after graduation. 

“I think what the bus and the universe want me to do is sell it to another Cal student,” he said with a smile. “So that it can keep living here.” 

H/T The Daily Californian



Photo Credit: Gillian Edevane ]]>
<![CDATA[Hearing Slated to Discuss OPD Involvement in ICE Raid]]>Tue, 28 Nov 2017 08:33:20 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Hearing_Slated_to_Discuss_OPD_Involvement_in_ICE_Raid.jpg

A controversial immigration raid in August will be the focus of a hearing Tuesday night in Oakland. The raid happened on Aug. 16 in West Oakland. Oakland police assisted in the raid mostly by directing traffic. Critics say the raid goes against Oakland's “sanctuary city” policies about cooperating with ICE. Oakland police will deliver a report on the raid to the city council Tuesday at 5 p.m.]]>
<![CDATA[Officer Accused of Unlawful Sex With Teenage Police Explorer]]>Tue, 28 Nov 2017 23:16:13 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/11282017-san-leandro-police-officer.jpg

A San Leandro police officer resigned last month amid allegations of sexual misconduct with a teenage Police Explorer, the department said in a statement.

Marco Becerra, a three-year employee, quit on Oct. 25 over accusations that he performed unlawful sexual acts with a 17-year-old girl while he was off-duty, according to police. 

Becerra served as an adviser for the department’s Police Explorer program.

The Alameda County Social Services Agency brought the allegations to the police department's attention on Oct. 13, prompting a criminal and administrative investigation, police said.

The Alameda County District Attorney's Office on Nov. 8 charged Becerra with three felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.

"I am upset and disappointed by the unethical and criminal behavior of one of our officers," police Chief Jeff Tudor said in a statement. "These actions are absolutely inconsistent with the ethical standards of the San Leandro Police Department, and we will not tolerate this type of behavior.

"We are deeply concerned for the victim and her family, and we respect their concerns for maintaining privacy in this matter."

Becerra’s attorney, Michael Rains, said his client has taken responsibility for his actions. He cooperated with investigators and admitted to the relationship even though it was consensual.

Becerra was a superstar officer who simply didn’t use good judgement, Rains said.

"What he says is, 'I’m responsible for my crashing my career. I had the ability to say no ...'" Rains said.

Civil rights attorney John Burris said Becerra's behavior is unacceptable. Burris believes Becerra should serve time in jail.

"It’s not just losing your job," he said. "You should be locked up."

The Police Explorer program has been suspended pending an internal review, according to police. 



Photo Credit: San Leandro Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Livermore Priest Accused of Inappropriate Behavior]]>Mon, 27 Nov 2017 18:31:18 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Church-Generic.jpg

A Livermore priest is under investigation after being accused of inappropriate behavior, authorities said Monday.

Father Van Dinh, a pastor of St. Michael Parish in Livermore, has been placed on administrative leave until the police investigation is completed, according to the Diocese of Oakland.

In a statement provided Monday, the Diocese of Oakland said it considers all allegations of clergy misconduct serious. The allegation against Dinh does not involve a minor, but did fall within the protocol for clergy conduct, according to the Diocese of Oakland.

No other information was immediately available.

]]>
<![CDATA[Old Tax Forms Found in Open Dumpster in Fremont]]>Mon, 27 Nov 2017 23:36:02 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/dumpster_tax_forms_1127_907241.JPG

Hundreds of old tax returns, complete with personal information, including Social Security numbers, were found inside a Fremont dumpster over the weekend.

The paper tax returns were intact inside the open dumpster for several days, according to witnesses, and they all contained personal data for anyone to easily steal.

The dumpster is located in a parking lot off Grimmer Boulevard in Fremont, where a nearby certified public accountant practices.

"It's disturbing," said Robert Petesch, a Newark resident whose forms were inside the bin. "I assumed it would have been shredded. Our names, our Social Security number, my employer, financial information. This is a big breach of privacy."

The tax returns were prepared by Ed Robinson, a local CPA. When he was informed of the discovery, Robinson said he wasn't aware they needed to be shredded.

"I thought they were going to take it and burn it," he said. "I shouldn't have done it. I'm sorry."

A few hours later, Robinson, who is retiring, placed a lock on the recycling dumpster. At the same time, one of his clients was so concerned about the documents that he took matters into his own hands, calling out a company to pick up the documents and shred them.

Petesch was relieved to have his old documents in his hands. "I'm going to shred this," he said.

Robinson told his client he will pay for the shredding.

The California Society of CPAs urges all tax preparers to shred any returns they are not keeping.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Investigation Ongoing After Vehicle Plunges Into Estuary]]>Mon, 27 Nov 2017 08:33:56 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CarEstuaryOaklandAlameda.JPG

Police have not yet determined what caused the death of a male victim Sunday morning in Oakland.

The victim died at about 8 a.m. in the 2900 block of Glascock Street near the Park Street Bridge connecting Oakland to Alameda. The victim was taken to a hospital, police said.

Police have not made any arrests or identified any suspects in the case, which is being investigated as an unexplained death.



Photo Credit: Oakland Fire Live]]>
<![CDATA[Crash, Oil Spill Blocks Lanes of Highway 92 in Hayward]]>Mon, 27 Nov 2017 07:41:07 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/HaywardCrashOil.JPG

All lanes are blocked on eastbound state Highway 92 just west of Hesperian Boulevard in Hayward due to a crash Monday morning, according to California Highway Patrol officials.

The crash was reported at 2:50 a.m. and involved a truck that hit the center divide. The crash resulted in a large oil spill and debris in the roadway, CHP officials said.

A Sig-alert was issued at 3:05 a.m. because all eastbound lanes are blocked.

Lanes are expected to reopen sometime at or before 9 a.m., according to Caltrans.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Baseball Player Survives San Pablo Crash, Relatives Killed]]>Mon, 27 Nov 2017 22:20:16 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/JaredHornCrashSanPablo.png

A baseball player at UC Berkeley survived a deadly crash on Interstate 80 in San Pablo on Saturday, but four members of his family were killed, officials announced Monday.

Jared Horn of Napa was driving along I-80 at the San Pablo Dam Road exit when the multi-vehicle crash, which is being investigated as a hit-and-run, occurred. 

Daryl Horn, 50, and Joseph Horn, 14, both of Napa, and Troy Biddle, 52, and Baden Biddle, 12, both of Bainbridge Island in Washington, died in the crash, according to the Contra Costa County coroner's office.

In a statement the Horn and Biddle families said they are focusing on supporting each other and ask for privacy during this time. (Full statement attached at the bottom of this article)

Mike Neu, the head coach of the Golden Bears' baseball squad, wrote in a statement that the team "cannot image what Jared is going through right now" and offered thoughts and prayers to him and his family.

"Jared is a respected and beloved member of our team as well as an incredible student-athlete, teammate and friend," Neu wrote in the statement. "We will give him any and all support that we can as he goes through this unthinkably difficult time."

The suspected driver who caused the deadly wreck has been identified as Fred Lowe of Sacramento, officials said. Lowe has been taken into custody.

"A witness identified the driver, saw him hit the vehicle and leave," CHP Officer Matthew Hammer said. "He relayed the info the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department."

Lowe, 47, was driving on a suspended license due to a prior DUI conviction, the CHP said. In addition, he was involved in a second hit-and-run shortly after the fatal crash when he smashed into a parked vehicle near San Pablo Dam Road, right off the El Portal onramp, not far from the original crash site.

Five cars were involved in the original wreck, according to the CHP. The car Horn was driving overturned. He was taken to the hospital and later released, but four passengers in the car he was in were pronounced dead at the scene.

Six others, including a child, were also injured in the crash involving five vehicles, according to the CHP.

The freeway was shut down for about seven hours overnight, the CHP said.

The CHP said it typically sees a spike in impaired drivers around the holidays. The department has been operating under what’s called a maximum enforcement period. That means more officers on the highways across the Bay Area, with a goal of keeping people safe.

"In our area, we have a lot of really bad collisions, a lot of fatalities, and so we are really stopping and slowing people down to prevent those collisions," CHP Officer Charlotte Brannon said.

Another issue is drivers and passengers not wearing seatbelts. The CHP said of 27 fatalities a year ago in its jurisdiction, 14 were not wearing seatbelts.

The Biddle and Horn families provided the following statement Monday:

"The Horn and Biddle families appreciate the tremendous outpouring of support from their communities. Troy Biddle and Daryl Horn were beloved fathers, husbands, sons, brothers, friends and coaches. Baden Biddle (13) and Joe Horn (14) were beautiful, caring and innocent boys whose loss will be felt by all those who knew them. The families are focusing on supporting each other and ask for privacy during this time. Amanda and Denise would appreciate if the message and memory of those lost were of their love of family and community. These men were dedicated to youth sports and mentoring children. Through the years they have had a tremendous impact on the lives of young boys and girls that their communities will benefit from for generations. The dads and their boys spent their last day doing what they loved, playing in an annual father son basketball tournament. It was an amazing day filled with pride and laughter. The surviving families consist of Amanda Horn (Biddle) and their daughter Devon Biddle (10), Denise Horn their daughter Greta and son Jared. The families have a deep love for each other and will use their strength to manage this difficult time."

NBC Bay Area's Anser Hassan, Jodi Hernandez and Bay City News contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, Ali Thanawalla/Cal Athletics
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<![CDATA[Man Arrested After Flying Drone Over Bay Area Stadiums]]>Mon, 27 Nov 2017 19:37:50 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/drone+flier+suspect-1127.jpg

A 55-year-old man was arrested Sunday after he flew a drone over both Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara and the Coliseum in Oakland and dropped fliers during NFL games, according to the Santa Clara Police Department.

The drone flew over the south end of Levi's Stadium during the second quarter of the San Francisco 49ers game against the Seattle Seahawks, police Lt. Dan Moreno said. The device dropped leaflets with some sort of message about free speech and "railing against television stations," he said.

Police on Monday identified the suspect as Tracy Mapes of Sacramento.

After the first reports came in, police launched an investigation, along with federal, state and local law enforcement, including the FBI, CHP and neighboring county and city agencies. They eventually caught up with Mapes in Oakland, where he was reported to have deployed the drone over the Raiders game against the Denver Broncos, also dropping leaflets.

Mapes illegally flew a drone near an airport with aircraft overhead and violated a Santa Clara city ordinance that prohibits flying a drone within 500 yards of Levi's Stadium, Moreno said.

Moreno said because of the wind, few fliers landed inside the stadium, and authorities did not provide copies of the fliers.

Oakland police may have recovered the drone, he said.



Photo Credit: Santa Clara PD]]>
<![CDATA[Second Escaped Inmate Arrested in San Leandro: Sheriff]]>Mon, 27 Nov 2017 18:16:29 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/escaped+inmates-1106.jpg

The second inmate who escaped from a courthouse in Palo Alto earlier this month was arrested in San Leandro on Sunday, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office. 

John Bivins, 47, was taken into custody by the United States Marshals nearly three weeks after he and Tramel McClough, who was captured last week, bolted from court in a brazen escape that included getaway vehicles. 

Bivins was taken into custody about 9:30 a.m. in the 16000 block of Foothill Boulevard. Investigators had determined that he was staying at the Fairmont Inn in San Leandro, U.S. Marshal officials said.

He was spotted walking out of the hotel when authorities approached him and demanded him to surrender. Bivins resisted arrest and was forced into custody, officials said.

McClough, 46, was arrested last Tuesday in Stockton following a chase and shootout involving California Highway Patrol officers, but Bivins managed to escape.

McClough was in a Stockton courtroom Monday sitting next to none other than Randall Saito, another escapee who fled a Hawaii psychiatric hospital Nov. 12, flew to San Jose and was captured three days later in Stockton.


McClough's bail was set at $50,000. 

Bivins managed to evade authorities a bit longer.

On Nov. 21, at about 5:15 p.m., CHP units attempted a traffic stop of a vehicle on northbound Interstate 5 south of Eight Mile Road. A short chase ensued onto southbound Trinity Parkway, where McClough exited, ran into a Walmart store and was later apprehended, the CHP said.

The passenger, Bivins, fled in the vehicle on southbound Trinity Parkway, where an officer fired shots just south of McAuliffe Road, the CHP said.

Bivins continued to flee in the vehicle on northbound Trinity Parkway.

On Nov. 6, Bivins and McClough, who were being held without bail after robbing a Verizon store, were leaving a courtroom when they made a beeline for the exit, hopped in a getaway car, drove a few blocks and jumped into a van before fleeing the area, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.

Additional charges could be filed against Bivins in both state and federal courts, including escape, felon in possession of a firearm, attempted murder of a federal agent and state peace officer.

Meanwhile, Saito is being held without bail and is fighting extradition back to Hawaii. He was undergoing an identity hearing Monday, and if a judge determines that he is the man Hawaiian authorities are looking for, extradition will be automatic, and he'll be shipped back to Hawaii, a court official said.

Both Saito and McClough are scheduled to return to court Dec. 5.

NBC Bay Area's Robert Handa and Henry Mulak contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office
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<![CDATA[Package Explodes at Home on Bay Farm Island in Alameda]]>Mon, 27 Nov 2017 23:54:20 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/usps-generic-truck.jpg

A package exploded Friday at a home on Bay Farm Island in Alameda, and it may not have been an isolated incident, according to police and a United States Postal Service inspector.

The package Friday was delivered by the Postal Service and opened by a woman at the residence near Lilac Street and Oleander Avenue. Inspector Jeff Fitch confirmed Saturday an explosive device detonated, but he provided no other information about the package.

Fitch said Monday a similar package may have been delivered to an address in East Palo Alto on Oct. 19. Investigators are looking into whether the two incidents are connected, he said.

Among the responding agencies Friday were a bomb squad and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Fitch said. He said what happened is a federal offense.

Neighbors told NBC Bay Area they believe a police officer lives at the home, but authorities did not confirm the residents' identities.

The extent of the woman's injuries were not known.

NBC Bay Area's Cheryl Hurd contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Cars Spotted Spinning 'Donuts' at Sideshow in Oakland]]>Sun, 26 Nov 2017 12:32:25 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEBSIDESHOWGIF_892719.gif

Oakland police were kept busy late Saturday and early Sunday dealing with dozens of people either participating in or watching sideshows across the East Bay city.

It is not yet clear how many sideshows occurred or if any arrests were made.

At one of the sideshows, multiple cars were seen simultaneously spinning "donuts" at an intersection while dozens of people looked on. Some of the onlookers planted themselves in the middle of the circling cars to film the stunts while others on the outside also recorded the scene on camera or flashed lights at the cars.

In recent months, a number of sideshows have cropped up in Oakland, Hayward, Fremont and San Jose. Those incidents have resulted in arrests, citations, towed cars and damage to police vehicles.

Further information regarding the most recent sideshows in Oakland was not immediately available. 



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Fatal Crashes Snarl Traffic Across the Bay Area]]>Sun, 26 Nov 2017 22:57:45 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/berkeleyfatal_895341.JPG

Three fatal crashes in the North Bay, East Bay and South Bay snarled traffic Sunday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.

All lanes of eastbound Interstate 80 at the Berkeley Curve were temporarily shut down around 9:40 a.m. following a multivehicle wreck that killed a girl, according to the CHP. 

A pickup truck was traveling along the stretch of roadway when the driver lost control, spun out and slammed into the center divider before ending up in the middle of traffic, according to the CHP.

A sedan traveling in the same direction also spun out of control moments later and crashed into the truck, the CHP said. 

One person in the sedan was killed in the collision and was identified later Sunday as a 10-year-old San Francisco girl,  according to the Alameda County Coroner's Office. Three other people inside the sedan were taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons, the CHP said. 

All eastbound lanes of Interstate 80 reopened hours after the crashes occurred.

Over in Marin County, another fatal crash blocked multiple lanes of southbound Highway 101 just north of Spencer Avenue, fire officials announced around 9:30 a.m.

All southbound lanes of the highway were reopened about two hours later, but the CHP warned about residual delays heading in the direction of San Francisco.

It is not clear what caused the crash.

In the South Bay, a Sunnyvale man died in a solo-vehicle crash about 8:05 a.m. on Highway 101 in Mountain View, CHP officials said.

The crash occurred just off the Ellis Street off-ramp from southbound 101.

A preliminary investigation indicates that a black 1995 Honda was traveling south on Highway 101 approaching the Ellis Street off-ramp when a white 2014 Honda cut in front of the other vehicle to exit at Ellis Street.

CHP officials said the driver of the black Honda tried to avoid hitting the white Honda and lost control of the vehicle.

The black Honda crashed into a perimeter fence and overturned. The Sunnyvale man, who was 29, was taken to Stanford Hospital where he died.

CHP officials said neither alcohol nor drugs appear to have played a role in the crash.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Man Dies After Vehicle Plunges Into Oakland-Alameda Estuary]]>Sun, 26 Nov 2017 22:08:08 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CarEstuaryOakland.PNG

A man died Sunday after the vehicle he was in plunged into an estuary between Oakland and Alameda, according to officials.

After finding the man roughly two hours after his vehicle crashed into the water, emergency responders tried to resuscitate him before transporting him to the hospital, according to Oakland Fire Department Battalion Chief Nick Luby. Oakland police later confirmed that the man had died.

The Alameda County Coroner on Sunday night identified the victim as 68-year-old Paul Sherer of Alameda.

Witnesses reported around 8:20 a.m. that a vehicle plunged into the water, according to Luby. The vehicle started floating in the estuary before hitting a boat at a nearby dock. The vehicle then overturned and started to sink.

Dive teams called to the scene eventually jumped into the water and found the vehicle at a depth of about 30 feet, Luby said.

The man was pulled from the water around 10:20 a.m., and crews tried to revive him before paramedics took him to the hospital, according to Luby.

It is not yet clear how or why the man's vehicle ended up in the water, according to Luby. An investigation is ongoing. 



Photo Credit: OaklandFireLive via Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[4 Dead Following Multi-Vehicle Crash on I-80 in San Pablo]]>Sun, 26 Nov 2017 23:50:02 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1125-2017-SanPabloAx.jpg

At least four people were killed and six were injured after a multivehicle collision late Saturday on westbound Interstate 80 in San Pablo, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The collision was reported at 8:11 p.m. on the freeway at the San Pablo Dam Road off-ramp, according to the CHP.

CHP officials are investigating the incident as a hit-and-run, and a suspect, identified as Fred Lowe of Sacramento, is in custody, police said.

“A witness identified the driver, saw him hit the vehicle and leave," CHP Officer Matthew Hammer said. "He relayed the info the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department."

Lowe, 47, was driving on a suspended license due to a prior DUI conviction, the CHP said. In addition, he was involved in a second hit-and-run shortly after the fatal crash when he smashed into a parked vehicle near San Pablo Dam Road, right off the El Portal onramp, not far from the original crash site.

One of the cars involved in the wreck overturned, according to the CHP. The driver of that car was taken to the hospital with unknown injuries, but four passengers in the car were pronounced dead at the scene.

Sources told NBC Bay Area the lone survivor in that vehicle is Jared Horn, of Napa, a star baseball player for Cal, and the victims may be members of Horn's family. But authorities did not release the names of any victims. 

Six others, including a child, were also injured in the crash involving five vehicles, according to the CHP.

The freeway was shut down for about seven hours overnight, the CHP said.

The CHP said it typically sees a spike in impaired drivers around the holidays. The department has been operating under what’s called a maximum enforcement period. That means more officers on the highways across the Bay Area, with a goal of keeping people safe.

"In our area, we have a lot of really bad collisions, a lot of fatalities, and so we are really stopping and slowing people down to prevent those collisions," CHP Officer Charlotte Brannon said.

Another issue is drivers and passengers not wearing seatbelts. The CHP said of 27 fatalities a year ago in its jurisdiction, 14 were not wearing seatbelts.

NBC Bay Area's Anser Hassan contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: CHP]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Storm: Rain and Gusty Winds Return]]>Mon, 27 Nov 2017 00:04:26 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/RainBayArea.PNG

Winter-like conditions returned to the Bay Area on Sunday as another storm system packing moderate downpours and gusty winds made its way across the region.

The latest storm brought rain primarily to the North Bay during the morning hours, scattered showers for the rest of the Bay Area by the afternoon, and widespread downpours late in the day and around midnight. The wet and blustery conditions are slated to clear by Monday morning.

By the time the storm passes, Oakland is forecasted to have picked up 0.77 of an inch of rain. San Francisco is expected to net 0.44 of an inch, and San Jose will receive only about 0.21 of an inch.

The sub-tropical nature of the storm will wring out higher rainfall totals over coastal and inland hills with some spots receiving anywhere from one to 2 inches of rain, forecasters said.

To the east, windy conditions could make traveling through the Sierra Nevada a challenge. Winds are forecasted to reach anywhere from 30 to 40 mph, with gusts in excess of 50 mph, forecasters said.

Snowplows and chain teams were also kept busy early Monday as snow fell across Interstate 80.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Free Tipsy Tow Service From AAA Available on Thanksgiving ]]>Thu, 23 Nov 2017 09:56:46 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-467650191%282%29.jpg

A free towing service is available Thursday evening through early Friday morning in the Bay Area to get people home safely if they have been drinking, AAA officials said.

AAA's Tipsy Tow service begins at 6 p.m. today and continues until 6 a.m. Friday and is available to anyone, regardless of membership, Michael Blasky, spokesman for AAA Northern California, said.

"If you are planning on getting tipsy this Thanksgiving, be sure you have a plan to get home safe," Blasky said in a statement. "If that plan falls through, give AAA a call and we'll get you home safely."

Drivers, passengers, bartenders, restaurant managers and party hosts interested in getting or helping someone get home safely should call (800) 222-4357 and say they need a Tipsy Tow to arrange for a tow.

They should also provide the driver's name, home address, phone number and vehicle or driver location.

AAA will provide a free tow of up to 10 miles for a vehicle and a driver and one passenger, according to AAA officials.

AAA does not take reservations for the service and the service does not include roadside assistance.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Driver of Crash Near Livermore Previously Arrested for DUI's]]>Sat, 25 Nov 2017 15:10:01 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/LivermoreCrash1.JPG

The driver involved in the fatal crash that killed a 16-year-old girl and critically injured a 26-year-old girl near Livermore on Wednesday night was previously arrested for driving intoxicated, according to Alameda County Court records.

The driving records of 26-year-old Lauren Davis confirm she had been arrested twice before for driving under the influence and her most recent DUI was in May. According to records both DUI charges were reduced to reckless driving.

CHP Officer Tyler Hans confirms Davis is now in custody after being released from Highland Hospital in Oakland. She was taken to Santa Rita jail and will be charged with felony DUI and second-degree murder. Davis will be arraigned on Monday. 

Alexis Garcia, one of the passengers in the SUV, is currently in critical condition after being fully ejected from the SUV. According to officials, Garcia suffered major head injuries and has been put into a medically induced coma at Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley.

Family and friends are also mourning the loss of a 16-year-old girl who was partially ejected from the SUV and died at the scene of the crash.

“My family is devastated,” said Garcia’s sister, Kim Brady. “One different choice could have changed where we all are today and where we spent Thanksgiving.”

The California Highway Patrol says they found alcohol inside the mangled SUV.

The solo-vehicle crash near Livermore occurred just before midnight along the westbound direction of Stanley Boulevard near Isabel Avenue, according to CHP Sgt. Brett Cochran.

The vehicle was believed to be speeding when it lost control, drove off the roadway and overturned, Cochran said.

Meanwhile, friends gathered late Thursday in shock of the news.

ATM, a senior student at Village High School in Pleasanton, said the 16-year-old girl who died in the crash was his friend. She was a junior at the school, according to ATM.

"She's a very great person, very loving, fun, energetic," he said.

A growing memorial can be seen at the crash site along the westbound lanes of Stanley Boulevard.

ATM said the deadly crash is a wake-up call for himself and other teens who too often feel bullet-proof to life's dangerous mistakes.

"If you drink, don't get behind the wheel," he said. "Call Uber. Call a taxi. Walk it off, if anything."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[16-Year-Old Girl Dead Following Crash Near Livermore: CHP]]>Fri, 24 Nov 2017 08:02:33 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/LivermoreCrash1.JPG

Family and friends are mourning the loss of a 16-year-old girl after the SUV she was riding in crashed late Wednesday near Livermore.

The California Highway Patrol suspects alcohol played a role in the crash after alcohol was found inside the mangled SUV. In addition, CHP officials said at least one other female passenger was not wearing a seat belt. That passenger is hospitalized with major injuries.

It is not clear if the three other people in the SUV were hurt.

The solo-vehicle crash near Livermore occurred just before midnight along the westbound direction of Stanley Boulevard near Isabel Avenue, according to CHP Sgt. Brett Cochran.

The vehicle was believed to be speeding when it lost control, drove off the roadway and overturned, Cochran said.

Meanwhile, friends gathered late Thursday in shock of the news.

ATM, a senior student at Village High School in Pleasanton, said the 16-year-old girl who died in the crash was his friend. She was a junior at the school, according to ATM.

"She's a very great person, very loving, fun, energetic," he said.

A growing memorial can be seen at the crash site along the westbound lanes of Stanley Boulevard.

ATM said the deadly crash is a wake up call for himself and other teens who too often feel bullet-proof to life's dangerous mistakes.

"If you drink, don't get behind the wheel," he said. "Call Uber. Call a taxi. Walk it off, if anything."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[16-Year-Old Girl Killed in Livermore Crash Identified]]>Sat, 25 Nov 2017 17:27:45 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Violet-crash-dui.JPG

A young woman who died in a crash in unincorporated Alameda County Wednesday night has been identified as 16-year-old Violet Agamau of Pleasanton, by the Alameda County coroner's bureau.

Agamau died in what California Highway Patrol officials described as a solo vehicle crash around 11:45 p.m. on westbound Stanley Boulevard just west of Isabel Avenue, also known as state Highway 84, near Livermore.

The crash involved a blue Kia SUV carrying five people, the CHP said.

The driver involved in the fatal crash that killed Agamau and critically injured 26-year-old Alexis Garica near Livermore on Wednesday night was previously arrested for driving intoxicated, according to Alameda County Court records.

The driving records of 26-year-old Lauren Davis confirm she had been arrested twice before for driving under the influence and her most recent DUI was in May. According to records, both DUI charges were reduced to reckless driving.

CHP Officer Tyler Hans confirms Davis is now in custody after being released from Highland Hospital in Oakland. She was taken to Santa Rita jail and will be charged with felony DUI and second-degree murder. Davis will be arraigned on Monday. 

Alexis Garcia is currently in critical condition after being fully ejected from the SUV. According to officials, Garcia suffered major head injuries and has been put into a medically induced coma at Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley.

“My family is devastated,” said Garcia’s sister, Kim Brady. “One different choice could have changed where we all are today and where we spent Thanksgiving.”

The California Highway Patrol says they found alcohol inside the mangled SUV.

The vehicle was believed to be speeding when it lost control, drove off the roadway and overturned, officials said.

Meanwhile, friends gathered late Thursday in shock of the news.

ATM, a senior student at Village High School in Pleasanton, said Agamau was his friend. She was a junior at the school, according to ATM.

"She's a very great person, very loving, fun, energetic," he said.

A growing memorial can be seen at the crash site along the westbound lanes of Stanley Boulevard.

ATM said the deadly crash is a wake-up call for himself and other teens who too often feel bullet-proof to life's dangerous mistakes.

"If you drink, don't get behind the wheel," he said. "Call Uber. Call a taxi. Walk it off, if anything."

]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Continues Giving Tradition, With Help From Friends]]>Thu, 23 Nov 2017 00:08:59 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/aliyah_1122_862792.JPG

Thanksgiving is the kickoff for the season of giving. It brings out the best in many of us, and it’s a special time of year for a special East Bay teenager who has dedicated her life to helping those in need.

Now, she needs a little help from others.

Five years ago, when Aliyah Washington was 11, she and her family were working on a project called Christmas in Richmond. Now, she is launching a new project called Thanksgiving in the Park. For a 16-year-old, it’s not an easy task.

"On Thanksgiving Day, instead of being a soup kitchen-type of thing, it’s going to be a family kind of thing," Aliyah said.

She and her friends are cooking food to feed 100 people they haven’t even met yet, people who would otherwise go hungry on Thanksgiving Day.

"Our society, when we see homeless people, they’re not human; we don’t like to touch them," Aliyah said. "That’s not fair. We can be in that situation very fast."

That’s why she has decided to be a change agent in her community.

"They probably haven’t had that experience, going to a five-star restaurant," Aliyah said. "We want them to at least have that experience, especially during the holiday, so they can feel loved, they can feel needed."

Aliyah has been giving back to her community for almost her entire life. In 2012, that Chistmas in Richmond project collected toys for children. In 2013, she turned her holiday of giving to collecting food and clothes for the needy all the way in Los Angeles. Such projects haven’t been easy; donations are hard to get.

"We have two turkeys," Aliyah said. "Wish we had two more. Little things that could make a difference."

Her friends are helping. Aliayh’s spirit of giving is catching on.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland Mayor Launches New Campaign to Help the Homeless]]>Wed, 22 Nov 2017 17:47:23 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-542220888.jpg

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is taking an out-of-the-box approach to help the homeless.

The mayor has launched a new campaign calling for others to open up their homes. She has rolled out a website aimed at partnering landlords with people transitioning form homeless programs to independent living. Schaaf's goal is to have 100 rooms in the next year.

"We need all hands on deck," Schaaf said. "My message is for landlords, please consider giving the gift of home."

Schaaf was inspired by Miriam Martin, a landlord who has opened her doors to three people either on the brink or making their way out of homelessness. Martin rents out a spare room and two in-law units at an affordable price.

"I feel wonderful," Martin said. "It makes me feel warm inside to be able to help three people because they need a second chance at life."

Ron Smith, 79, is one of the people who now have a roof over his head thanks to Martin's generosity. He rents out a room in her small home.

"I feel very lucky to have her in my life," Smith said of Martin. "She has helped me in so many ways."

For more information, visit GiftofHomeOakland.org.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[600 Marijuana Plants Seized at Discovery Bay Home]]>Wed, 22 Nov 2017 15:16:06 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1122-PotPlants.jpg

Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office detectives seized about 600 marijuana plants while serving a search warrant Wednesday in Discovery Bay.

Detectives searched a home on the 2000 block of Wayfarer Court. The search follows an investigation into a marijuana growing operation at the residence, officials said.

The marijuana plants seized are worth an estimated $450,000.

No one was home at the residence during the search and an investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with any information on the case is asked to contact the Investigation Division at 925-313-2600 or call the anonymous tip lines at 925-313-1166 or 866-846-3592. Tips can also be emailed to: tips@so.cccounty.us.



Photo Credit: Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Motorist OK After Slamming Into Train in San Leandro]]>Wed, 22 Nov 2017 13:21:38 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Railroad3.JPG

It's a "miracle" that the driver of a car who drove around lowered railroad crossing arms, slamming into an Amtrak train, flying into the air and hitting another car, walked away from the crash in San Leandro on Wednesday, police said.

The car was completely destroyed in the collision, which happened around 6:45 a.m., Lt. Ted Henderson said. The driver suffered only scrapes and cuts, Henderson said.

The lights were flashing and the crossing arms were down when the car ran into the train at a railroad crossing located between the Coliseum and Hayward stations this morning, according to Henderson.

"The car was driving westbound on Williams Street near San Leandro Boulevard," Henderson said. "It went around the crossing arms, hit the train and went flying. It came down on an occupied parked car."

The force of the collision blasted car parts into the air, injuring a passerby, Henderson said.

"The passerby has some scrapes and cuts" and the occupant of the parked car complained of back pain, Henderson said.

All three injured people were taken to the hospital as a precaution, but their injuries appeared minor, according to Henderson.

"It's a miracle" that the car's occupant was in such relatively unharmed condition, the lieutenant said.

He said the three injured people "have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving."

According to Amtrak spokeswoman Vernae Graham, no one on the train was injured.

However, train No. 521 was damaged and was taken out of service when it arrived at the Hayward station, she said. Its passengers transferred to the No. 523 train.

Service was delayed about an hour but the trains are now back on time, Graham said.

The police lieutenant noted, "The crossing arms are there for the safety of vehicles traversing the roadway. They go down for a reason."

"When the arms are down and the lights are up, it's paramount that drivers stop and remain stopped until those arms go back up," he said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[UC Berkeley Professor Warns of Killer Robots in Viral Video]]>Wed, 22 Nov 2017 20:44:14 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/killer+robots.jpg

A viral video that warns of killer robots — aka “slaughterbots” — taking control of the earth added fuel to an ongoing debate about the dangers of autonomous weapons. 

The sci-fi inspired video, produced with the help of a computer science professor at UC Berkeley, depicts a future in which so-called “slaughterbots” are equipped with facial recognition software and kill with little human oversight. At the end of the clip, experts warn that we’re closer to that future than we may think.

“This short film is more than just speculation,” warns computer science professor Stuart Russell in the 7:47-minute video. “It shows the results of integrating and miniaturizing technologies that we already have.” 

Viewer discretion is advised for the video, which shows the small, affordable drones killing a classroom full of students.

“Allowing machines to choose to kill humans will be devastating to our security and freedom,” Russell says in his call-to-action. “Thousands of my fellow researchers agree. But the window to act is closing fast.” 

Since its posting on Nov. 12, the video has racked up more than 1.5 million views on YouTube. Future of Life Institute, an organization with Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk on its board, created the video and presented it during the first United Nations conference focusing on the prevention of lethal autonomous weapons.

See the video below.




Photo Credit: Future of Life Institute
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[The Best Black Friday Deals in the Bay Area]]>Wed, 22 Nov 2017 17:55:28 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/191*120/GettyImages-625641492.jpgIt's that time of year: after a hearty Thanksgiving dinner, shoppers across the country are preparing to score great deals on Black Friday. If you're heading to the stores this weekend, here are some of the best sales that could save you hundreds on holiday gifts.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[East Bay Regional Parks to Celebrate ‘Green Friday’]]>Wed, 22 Nov 2017 10:50:04 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/East_Bay_Regional_Parks_to_Celebrate__Green_Friday_.jpg

If shopping isn't your thing, you can get in free to certain East Bay Parks on Black Friday. The East Bay Regional Park District does this each year to encourage people to spend time in nature. They're calling it “Green Friday.” Parking, entrance, animal, boat launching and fishing fees are being waived.]]>
<![CDATA[Bishop O'Dowd Boasts Arguably Best Backcourt in Bay Area History]]>Tue, 21 Nov 2017 20:23:49 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Bishop_ODowd_Boasts_Arguably_Best_Backcourt_in_Bay_Area_Hist.jpg

Best friends Naseem Gaskin and Elijah Hardy of Bishop O'Dowd recently signed their national letter of intents together. Gaskin is bound for Utah and Hardy for Washington. Colin Resch has more on what the dynamic duo hope to accomplish this season..

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Thanksgiving Travel Rush in Full Swing]]>Wed, 22 Nov 2017 06:35:16 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/186*120/GettyImages-134002823.jpg

A record number of Americans are expected to travel by plane and on the road this Thanksgiving. Pete Suratos reports.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pipe Bomb Incident Near Danville Resolved Safely: Sheriff]]>Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:28:26 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/danvillepipebombactivty_844252.JPEG

A pipe bomb incident in unincorporated Danville was resolved safely Tuesday afternoon, according to the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department.

A bomb squad team from the Walnut Creek Police Department determined that the object in question was safe, sheriff's officials said.

No one was injured, according to the sheriff's department. 

The incident prompted authorities to temporarily close Lusitano Street between Camino Tassajara and Cashmere Street. 

Further information was not available.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Transgender Advocates Memorialize Lost Lives in Concord]]>Tue, 21 Nov 2017 19:15:41 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Anti_Transgender_Policy_Protest_Takes_Place_in_the_Castro.jpg

In honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance, Bay Area LGBTQ advocates on Monday held an emotional vigil to honor the record number of transgender people who were killed in the last year. 

About 40 people gathered at Todos Santos Plaza in Concord at 6:30 p.m. Faith leaders and representatives from the Rainbow Community Center took turns reading the names of the 25 trans-identifying people known to have been killed so far in 2017, most whom were trans women of color. 

Some attendees who came to vigils in the past said the mood at this year’s memorial was especially somber. The trans community faced numerous setbacks since last year’s ceremony, from a federal administration that has attempted to bar trans folks from serving in the military to the elimination of some protections for trans youth in schools. 

“Unfortunately the violence against transgender people has risen in the past year, and unlike previous years where I thought we were making progress finally, this year we’ve had a number of blows to us," said attendee Michelle Paquette. "I hoped I would not see that in my lifetime, but it has come again.” 

The Human Rights Campaign said 25 is the highest number of such deaths ever recorded in a year. At least 23 transgender people were killed in 2016, the group says. Like previous years, the majority of victims were black transgender women. The youngest victim was just 17 years old; the oldest was 59. 

“We need to recognize that transgender people still face a lot of discrimination, harassment, and violence,” said Robyn Kuslits, Director of Programs at the Rainbow Community Center. 

Still, Kuslits credits the increasing visibility and acceptance the trans community received locally in 2017 with buoying her outlook for the future. The 2017 remembrance vigil is, so far, the most well-attended event the community center hosted, she said. 

There have also been significant gains as groups across the country mobilize and become more politically active in opposing the Trump administration’s agenda, said attendee Crystal Bellevue. She cited the Nov. 7 election that saw Danica Roem, a trans woman in Virginia, elected to the state legislature.

“I’m not going to downplay it,” Bellevue said. “ It’s been a bad, bad year. But there have been a few silver linings, with the community coming together and being more active. The election of Danica Roem, the donations being made to organizations that fight for our rights. Those are bright spots.” 

Local politicians also acknowledged the event, which started in 1999 in San Francisco after the murder of Rita Hester, a transgender woman. Since then memorials have spread to more than 200 cities. San Francisco City Hall was lit up in pink, white and blue colors in an homage to the Trans Pride flag on Monday evening. 

“We must shatter the unconscionable silence and unforgivable inaction that allow injustice against transgender people to endure,” Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. 

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also acknowledged the event in a statement, a move that some advocacy groups and commenters on social media said surprised them given the recent rollback of protections. 

“Transgender individuals and their advocates, along with lesbian, gay, bisexual and intersex persons, are facing increasing physical attacks and arbitrary arrests in many parts of the world,” Tillerson said in the statement. Often these attacks are perpetrated by government officials, undermining the rule of law.” 

As the event came to a close, the attendees spoke about continuing to live life as their “authentic selves” and continue to fight against transphobia.

“At the end of the day, if I believe who I am on the inside, if I love the person I am and I’m happy, then all of those negative comments and all of that negative energy instantly deflects,” said Carla Cassandra. “I know who I am.”



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Report Names Bay Area Traffic Hotspots During Thanksgiving]]>Tue, 21 Nov 2017 10:14:55 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/dc+traffic+thx.jpg

Hitting the road for Thanksgiving? Expect delays across the Bay Area.

At the height of the Thanksgiving travel period, drivers across the region could see delays of roughly 250 percent compared to ideal driving times, according to AAA and INRIX.

AAA and INRIX —an analytics company — pinpointed 10 spots across the Bay Area where traffic headaches are likely:

1. Eastbound Interstate 80 at Pinole Valley Road in Pinole

2. Eastbound Interstate 580 at Santa Rita Road/Tassajara Road in Pleasanton

3. Westbound Interstate 80 at the San Francisco Bay Bridge

4. Northbound Interstate 680 at Calaveras Road in Milpitas

5. Eastbound Highway 37 at Wilson Avenue in Vallejo

6. Northbound Interstate 880 at 23rd Avenue in Oakland

7. Eastbound Highway 24 at Interstate 680 in Walnut Creek

8. Northbound Highway 101 at Petaluma Boulevard in Petaluma

9. Northbound Highway 1 at Highway 101 in San Francisco

10. Eastbound Interstate 80 at Interstate 80/Interstate 580 in Oakland



Photo Credit: Linda Davidson/The Washington Post/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Side Swipes, Hurts Officer on Motorcycle on I-80]]>Tue, 21 Nov 2017 08:37:20 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/11212017chpax_839250.JPG

A Richmond police officer was injured early Tuesday when a car crashed into his motorcycle on westbound Interstate 80 in Richmond, according to a CHP log.

The driver was trying to merge into another lane and instead side swiped the officer just west of the Solano Avenue on-ramp. The officer sustained minor injuries and was lying in the No. 2 lane, the log indicated.

All lanes were blocked, but quickly reopened. Residual delays are expected in the area.

Editor's Note: An earlier edition of this story indicated that a California Highway Patrol officer was injured. Officials have since clarified that information.




Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Arrested After Bringing Loaded Gun to Richmond School]]>Tue, 21 Nov 2017 20:18:56 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/RichmondGunSchool1.JPG

A 14-year-old student was arrested after he brought a gun to his Richmond high school on Friday, an incident that provides a clear example of the importance of school resource officers, according to the Richmond Police Department.

On Thursday, a school resource officer at De Anza High School received information that a student there may have been in possession of a loaded gun. When the officer learned the information, school had already let out, but the officer notified school staff.

The next day, Friday, school staff detained the student and confirmed that he was in possession of a loaded gun, which was hidden in his backpack, according to police.

"The potential was there," said Officer Joe England, the resource officer at De Anza High. "It could have been easily loaded, and anything could have happened."

The student was arrested, and the gun, a .375 magnum revolver, was recovered.

Police credited the quick response to resource officers' relationships with students and staff at the six schools where the officers have been assigned.

On Tuesday, Richmond police school resource officers spent the day in active shooter training. They want to be ready if the unthinkable happens.

"That’s why we are on campus 90 percent of the time," Sgt. Lynette Parker said. "Because we want to make sure if a violent intruder or active shooter situation happens, there is an officer prepared mentally to protect the campus and protect the kids."

On Tuesday night, however, there’s growing concern school resource officers could be on the chopping block. Last week, the West Contra Costa Unified School Board approved a resolution aimed at changing the way discipline is handled. It includes a clause that states "funding for law enforcement should be redirected ... to support restorative justice practices."

"Is the district trying to do away with school resource officers? No," said district spokesman Marcus Walton. "The district is trying to gather data around school resource officers and the need and role on our campuses."

School board member and parent, Mister Phillips, thinks removing officers from schools would be a big mistake. He tried unsuccessfully to change the resolution.

"When a government body writes a resolution and says funds should be directed from one source to another source, that means something," Phillips said.

School resource officers say they know they’re making a difference.

"We are not trying to criminalize kids," Parker said. "We are a resource; we mentor kids."

Police recommend that residents report suspicious persons, vehicles, or anyone who may be in possession of a firearm illegally by calling 911 or (510) 233-1214.



Photo Credit: Richmond Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Man Killed During San Leandro Cellphone Transaction ID'd]]>Tue, 21 Nov 2017 00:49:54 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sl_homicide_1120_836023.JPG

A man who was fatally shot while trying to sell a cellphone to someone at a busy intersection in unincorporated San Leandro on Saturday afternoon was identified by an Alameda County sheriff's spokesman Monday as 32-year-old Daniel Carlos of Redwood City.

Carlos was between jobs but used to work for Tesla and is survived by his wife and their 5-year-old daughter, Sgt. Ray Kelly said.

Carlos was shot near the 76 gas station at East 14th Street and 159th Avenue, near the Bay Fair BART station, at about 1:15 p.m. Saturday and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Kelly.

"What's so shocking is that this was in broad daylight at one of the major intersections in Alameda County, where there's a lot of vehicle and foot traffic," Kelly said.

Carlos met the suspects in the case through an online app called Letgo, on which people list items they want to sell, Kelly said.

Carlos planned to sell an iPhone, but when he arrived at the arranged meeting place in unincorporated San Leandro, multiple suspects robbed him and shot him and then drove away, according to Kelly.

Investigators did not release information about the suspects.

Kelly said Casey "was doing everything right" by trying to arrange the transaction at a busy location in the middle of the day and had a relative with him.

"Unfortunately, the suspects were willing to kill him over a phone," Kelly said.

The relative who was with Casey wasn't harmed.

Kelly said people who want to buy or sell merchandise from people they meet online should do so at "safe-exchange" zones such as the parking lots of law enforcement agencies. He said one such location is the parking lot of the sheriff's Eden Township substation in San Leandro.

Carlos' family launched a GoFundMe campaign that had surpassed $10,000, more than double its goal, in its first day.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Partial Settlement Reached in 2015 Berkeley Balcony Collapse]]>Tue, 21 Nov 2017 08:49:13 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/berkeley+balcony.jpg

A partial settlement has been reached with the owner and property manager of a Berkeley apartment complex for the deaths of six students and the injury of seven others when a balcony collapsed during a crowded party in 2015, lawyers for some of the plaintiffs said Monday.

The collapse of the balcony at apartment 405 on the fourth floor of the Library Gardens apartment complex at 2020 Kittredge St. at 12:41 a.m. on June 2015 killed five students visiting from Ireland, as well as a student from Rohnert Park.

The seven injured students were also from Ireland.

Attorney Eustace de Saint Phalle of the law firm Rains Lucia Stern St. Phalle & Silver said the partial settlement is with private equity group BlackRock of New York City, the property owner and Greystar, which is based in Charleston, S.C., and has offices in San Francisco.

The settlement amount is confidential, de Saint Phalle said.

In May, a partial settlement was reached with seven companies that were involved in building the apartment complex.

De Saint Phalle said settlement talks are continuing with one remaining company that was involved in the construction, Insul-Flow Inc., a concrete company that has offices in California and Nevada.

De Saint Phalle represents the family of Ashley Donohoe, 22, of Rohnert Park, who was one of the students who died in the balcony collapse.

The attorney said that although the settlement amount is confidential, the parties are otherwise free to speak about the circumstances of the deadly event.

"The Donohoe family was insistent that there could be no 'Secret Settlement' designed to prevent the parties from discussing the facts of the case and what they believe to be the cause of this tragedy," de Saint Phalle said.

"The most important factor of this settlement for the Donohoe family is that they will be allowed to continue their efforts in the Legislature to avoid a tragedy like this from happening again," de Saint Phalle said.

In a statement, Donohoe's family said, "Nothing will stop us from continuing our fight to have changes made to the California building codes and regulations to require regular inspections by qualified people, proper design and use of proper construction materials, and a ban on 'Secret Settlements' that allow contractors to hide defective construction work from the contractors licensing board and the public."

The family said, "Nothing will ever replace our daughter, our niece or the other four students who died that night. After this tragedy, we would hope all that were involved will join us in our efforts to ensure there are proper changes to the building codes and regulations in California related to annual inspections, balcony design and construction materials."

The Berkeley City Council passed stricter building codes for outdoor structures after the fatal balcony collapse.

Also in response to the deadly incident, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill last September that brings more oversight to the construction industry.

The Alameda County District Attorney's Office said last year that it won't pursue criminal charges for the six deaths because of insufficient evidence that criminal negligence was involved.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Steel at Base of New Bay Bridge Tower in Question]]>Mon, 20 Nov 2017 18:09:55 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/11202017BayBridgeRod_834966.JPG

The federal government’s chief bridge engineer voiced concern that “rogue plate” -- steel that does not meet Caltrans’ standards – is being used to seismically reinforce the tower of the new Bay Bridge, according to documents disclosed under the state’s Public Records Act.

“We think it’s prudent for Caltrans to look into this further,” Brian Kozy, the Federal Highway Adminstration official, told Caltrans officials in a June email, but added, there’s no “immediate safety concern.”

Kozy cited independent test results on a four-inch thick piece of steel taken from the system designed to bolster the 525-foot tower at its base.

Testing showed that three out of four samples taken from the steel stretched too readily when exposed to quake-level stress. The worry is not outright failure, but a permanent weakening as the result of a quake.

For Kozy, the worse-case scenario explanation for the bad test results is that Caltrans unknowingly accepted “rogue plate” that did not meet its specifications.

The issue is just the latest in a string of problems on the $6.4 billion eastern span project, which includes cracked bolts, flawed welds and a foundation flooded with corrosive saltwater.

Brian Maroney, the chief bridge engineer on the project, said Caltrans did a new review of the steel’s quality control documentation, created before it was installed.

The review concluded that all the sampled material met Caltrans’ standards, including its ability to handle 50,000 pounds-per-square-inch stress. But the test data suggests that the steel only meets a 36,000 pounds-per-square inch standard, a lower grade.

Maroney emphasized that the steel at issue is not intended to bear weight during normal conditions, only to channel and control the twisting and upheaval of a massive earthquake.

“The only reason this thing is there is for a seismic event,” said Maroney, who says the four-inch thick plates help bind the four-legged tower together to restrain unpredictable seismic forces.

At issue is the steel’s yield strength, which measures how easily it stretches permanently, or deforms. Lower grade steel yields more readily than higher grade material.

While experts fear that the foundation could be left weaker, Maroney is not concerned about that possibility, saying that the tests simply reflected the expected differences in quality of steel in a four-inch thick sample.

Still, he said, there could be some damage that might not otherwise occur.

“You might get some bending, early,” Maroney said, but contends there’s “plenty” of residual strength to guarantee the bridge will safely handle a major quake.

“I think the bridge is just fine and quite frankly this is not going to affect any kind of performance on this bridge.”

The chairman of Caltrans’ peer review panel on the project, John Fisher, has already endorsed that conclusion. But UC Berkeley professor emeritus Bob Bea does not share that confidence.

“We don’t know its effect on the entire bridge system’’ he said of the problem steel.

Bea told NBC Bay Area the issue needs to be looked at in context of all the other problems that have been identified involving brittle bolts, problem welds and saltwater intrusion.

Bea, who co-founded the university’s Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, says the only way to vouch for the integrity of the span is to do a full analysis of the entire bridge under high stress conditions.

“We have to confirm the anchorage is safe enough, and that has not been done,” he said. Maroney is expected to present his findings on the steel issue to a bridge oversight panel meeting next month.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Police Investigate Suspicious Death at Hotel in Concord]]>Mon, 20 Nov 2017 05:47:26 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bestwesternhoteldeathpic_821899.JPEG

Officers on Monday are investigating a suspicious death that occurred inside a room at a hotel in Concord, according to the police department.

The person was found at the Best Western Heritage Inn located at 4600 Clayton Rd. in the East Bay city, police said.

Further information was not available.

An investigation is ongoing.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Thanksgiving Day Restaurant Guide]]>Tue, 21 Nov 2017 11:36:48 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/205*120/2015-11-23_16-18-13.jpg

Not in the mood to cook up a Thanksgiving feast this year? Would you rather dine out and have the meal prepared and served to you? You're in luck. There are plenty of restaurants all around the Bay Area open on everyone's favorite gluttonous holiday.

We ran a search over at OpenTable.com and found over 100 open eateries on turkey day. We compiled that list into an interactive Google Map (above) so that you can easily find the restaurant nearest you. 

Restaurants on the map with a knife and fork symbol have advertised special Thanksgiving options. All others will be open on Nov. 23 and are taking reservations.


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<![CDATA[Man Throws Doorman Through Plate-Glass Window in Petaluma]]>Sun, 19 Nov 2017 20:52:07 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Jail-Generic-Photo1.jpg

Officers arrested a man who they said urinated on a wall and attacked another man and threw him through a plate-glass window in downtown Petaluma Saturday night, police said Sunday.

Hayden Gregonis, 23, of Santa Rosa, was arrested on suspicion of battery and felony vandalism and booked into Sonoma County Jail, according to police.

The case began around 11:52 p.m. when two police officers on foot patrol allegedly saw a man approach the doorman at McGuire's Pub on Kentucky Street. The suspect first tried to punch the doorman, then threw him through a plate-glass window, according to police.

Officers investigated and allegedly discovered that Gregonis had earlier been removed from McGuire's when he urinated on an exterior wall, police said. It appears that after being removed, Gregonis returned and confronted security, resulting in the altercation, according to police.

]]>
<![CDATA[Wild Turkeys Making a Mess of Yards in the East Bay]]>Sun, 19 Nov 2017 18:17:00 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Turkey1.PNG

Turkeys are traditional for Thanksgiving but some folks in the San Francisco Bay Area are praying they'll disappear.

The San Francisco Chronicle says wild turkeys — first introduced into the state for hunting decades ago — are thriving in local suburbs. And while some residents embrace them, others say they're a pest.

"They can get in and do some damage to the landscaping," Tony Blackburn of Martinez said. "They kick things around and they scratch and peck."

A dozen or more wild turkeys are often seen strutting around Martinez. The birds tear up landscaping, rip screen doors and poop everywhere. Sometimes, a 20-pound male will scratch up a car trying to fight its own reflection.

Blackburn noted that turkeys have also swiped grapes from his small vineyard. 

Preservationists worry that the turkey explosion will decimate native habitat.

Experts say landowners can try to dissuade the birds with loud noises and stop-motion sprinklers. If that fails, they can seek permission to kill nuisance birds.

NBC Bay Area's Cheryl Hurd contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Missing 72-Year-Old Woman Found in Fremont]]>Sun, 19 Nov 2017 09:41:00 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/MingLiuMissingFremont.jpg

A missing 72-year-old woman in the early stages of dementia who had been missing since Saturday afternoon was found Sunday morning, according to Fremont police.

Ming Liu was found around 10 a.m. sitting on a curb near Fremont and Stevenson boulevards, according to police.

She was "very cold but otherwise okay," police reported on Twitter.

Liu left her home on Sterne Place between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., according to police. She often walks around the Northgate area, police said.

Officers conducted an extensive search around her home and nearby areas Saturday night, but couldn't find her. Police were especially concerned because of the low temperatures that hit the Bay Area Saturday night.



Photo Credit: Fremont Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Unemployment Rates Below 4 Percent in Most Bay Area Counties]]>Sun, 19 Nov 2017 09:02:24 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/172*120/GettyImages-147883234.jpg

The unemployment rate was below 4 percent in October in eight of the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties, officials with the California Employment Development Department said.

San Mateo County had the lowest rate at 2.5 percent followed by Marin County at 2.6 percent and San Francisco County at 2.7 percent.

The rates were between 3 and 3.5 percent in Santa Clara, Sonoma, Napa, Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

Solano County had the highest unemployment rate in the Bay Area at 4.3 percent.

The unemployment rate was 4.9 percent statewide compared with 4.1 percent nationwide in October.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New BART Trains Unlikely to Be in Service by Thanksgving]]>Sat, 18 Nov 2017 13:31:55 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/01-10-2014-new-bart-train-cars.jpg

There's good news and bad news on BART's new 775-car fleet: The manufacturer has a fix for problems that surfaced during a test run, but it's highly unlikely any of the trains will be in service by Thanksgiving.

New BART train cars flunked a safety inspection by the California Public Utilities Commission, a state regulatory agency, earlier this month, delaying approval of the cars by the commission.

Paul Oversier, the system's assistant general manager, told the BART board yesterday during a board meeting that Bombardier, the manufacturer, has solutions to the issues that came up, according to BART Spokesman Jim Allison.

"BART is going through the CPUC's punch list and will be responding to their questions shortly. Then CPUC inspectors need to ride the train with us again," Allison said in an email.

He was referring to the fact that after the repairs are made, members of the utilities commission will once again take a test drive. The problems initially surfaced during a test run of a 10-car pilot train with a Utilities Commission team aboard.

"So we are aiming to put the 10 new cars into service later this month or possibly early December. Shouldn't be later than December 15th," Allison said.

BART had earlier set Thanksgiving as its goal for getting some of the trains into service.



Photo Credit: BART]]>
<![CDATA[Officials Investigate Homicide in San Leandro]]>Sat, 18 Nov 2017 23:46:22 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEBSanLeandroHomicide_811053.JPEG

Alameda County Sheriff's Deputies are investigating a homicide near the Bayfair Mall in San Leandro Saturday afternoon. 

Officials say the homicide occurred at around 1:15 p.m. near a 76 gas station on the corner of 159th Ave. and East 14th and could have been the result of a robbery gone wrong. 

The victim is an adult male and the according to officials the suspects are still outstanding. Investigators are still trying to determine the victim's identity. 

No other details were immediately available.  



Photo Credit: Thom Jensen/ NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Peak Fire Season to End in Parts of Bay Area]]>Sat, 18 Nov 2017 18:27:03 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-475770266.jpg

Peak fire season will end Monday in Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa and the western ends of Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties, Cal Fire said Friday.

Recent rains and cooler temperatures across the region have lowered the threat of wildfires, so Cal Fire's Santa Clara unit will transition out of peak fire season as of 8 a.m. on Monday, the agency announced.

Regardless of this news, residents still have a responsibility to continue to be fire safe, Cal Fire Santa Clara Unit Chief Derek Witmer said.

Residents should service home heating systems, test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and clean chimneys and stove pipes, according to Witmer.

Cal Fire will continue to maintain staffing to meet any potential threat, the agency said, as well as maintaining the ability to move resources to areas with a higher level of threat.

Also effective Monday, burn permit suspensions will be lifted in the abovementioned five areas, Cal Fire said.

This means that people with current, valid agriculture and residential burn permits can resume burning on permissible burn days, according to Cal Fire.

Until the end of peak fire season, which is Monday, Cal Fire must inspect agriculture burns before burning.

Burn permit suspensions have been lifted in Sonoma, Lake, Napa, Solano, Yolo and Colusa counties. Two of these counties, Sonoma and Napa, bore the brunt of the devastating North Bay wildfires in October.

However, many guidelines remain in effect for these six counties, according to Sonoma County's Fire and Emergency Services Department.

Those with current and valid agriculture and residential burn permits can resume burning on permissible burn days. However, Cal Fire must inspect any burns larger than 4-foot-by-4-foot piles, other than agricultural burns, before burning.

In light of the recent fires, residents are asked to use caution while conducting burns, follow all guidelines and maintain control of the fire at all times.

"Many area residents are faced with removing vegetation that was damaged during the fires," Sonoma County Fire Marshal James Williams said in a statement. "Please consult a professional before cutting trees, and make sure burning is done safely."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Wild Turkeys on the Loose in the East Bay]]>Fri, 17 Nov 2017 23:51:01 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Wild_Turkeys_on_the_Loose_in_the_East_Bay.jpg

Wild turkeys are showing up in gangs across the Bay Area, making a mess of yards and driveways causing some homeowners to go mad. Cheryl Hurd reports.]]>
<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area and Safeway's Feed the Need Holiday Food Drive]]>Sat, 18 Nov 2017 18:46:19 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DO8GU1BUQAAkto5.jpg

NBC Bay Area and Safeway are joining forces for the annual Feed the Need food drive on Saturday, November 18, kicking off a month-long effort to fight hunger in the Bay Area. This year's food drive will take place at 167 Safeway stores throughout the Bay Area to benefit local food banks through December 26.
It is easy to help families in need this holiday season, visit one of the 167 participating Safeway stores and look for the bag display, grab a flyer from the tear pads and take it to the register for just $10. Your donations to your local food bank will include sustainable food items like: pasta and sauce, canned vegetables, soup, and important proteins like peanut butter, beans and canned chicken breast.
Last year, the food drive collected more than 360,000 bags across the Bay Area, nearly tripling the amount from the previous year and amounting to more than 2,880,000 pounds of food for those in need.
NBC Bay Area news reporters will volunteer at their neighborhood Safeway stores on Saturday, November 18, please see the list below.  
NBC Bay Area volunteer locations: 
Laura Garcia and Marcus Washington - 840 E Dunne Ave, Morgan Hill at 7 to 9:30 a.m. 
Robert Handa and Ian Cull - 235 Tennant St, Morgan Hill at 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
Janelle Wang and Chris Chmura - 160 First St, Los Altos at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
Terry McSweeney, Sam Brock, and Mark Matthews - 110 Strawberry Village, Mill Valley at 2 to 4 p.m.  
Scott McGrew, Kari Hall, and Vianey Arana - 3970 Rivermark Plaza, Santa Clara at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  
Mike Inouye and  Bob Redell - 4495 First St, Livermore at 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. 
Damian Trujillo - 2980 East Capitol Expressway, San Jose at 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. 
Kris Sanchez and Garvin Thomas -  1530 Hamilton Ave, San Jose at 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Rob Mayeda - 3496 Camino Tassajara, Danville at 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.  
Jodi Hernandez and Cheryl Hurd - 5051 Business Center Dr, Fairfield at 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
A special thanks to our volunteers:
Junior League of San Jose
Girl Scouts of the Bay Area
Kiwanis Clubs
Alameda County 4-H
Second Harvest Food Banks
Contra Costa and Solano Food Banks

NBC Bay Area and Safeway are joining forces for the annual Feed the Need food drive on Saturday, November 18, kicking off a month-long effort to fight hunger in the Bay Area. This year's food drive will take place at 167 Safeway stores throughout the Bay Area to benefit local food banks through December 26.

It is easy to help families in need this holiday season, visit one of the 167 participating Safeway stores and look for the bag display, grab a flyer from the tear pads and take it to the register for just $10. Your donations to your local food bank will include sustainable food items like: pasta and sauce, canned vegetables, soup, and important proteins like peanut butter, beans and canned chicken breast.


Last year, the food drive collected more than 360,000 bags across the Bay Area, nearly tripling the amount from the previous year and amounting to more than 2,880,000 pounds of food for those in need.NBC Bay Area news reporters will volunteer at their neighborhood Safeway stores on Saturday, November 18, please see the list below.  

NBC Bay Area volunteer locations:

  • Laura Garcia and Marcus Washington - 840 E Dunne Ave, Morgan Hill at 7 to 9:30 a.m.
  • Robert Handa and Ian Cull - 235 Tennant St, Morgan Hill at 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Janelle Wang and Chris Chmura - 160 First St, Los Altos at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Terry McSweeney - 1 Camino Alto, Mill Valley at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
  • Sam Brock, and Mark Matthews - 110 Strawberry Village, Mill Valley at 2 to 4 p.m.
  • Scott McGrew, Kari Hall, and Vianey Arana - 3970 Rivermark Plaza, Santa Clara at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Mike Inouye and  Bob Redell - 4495 First St, Livermore at 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • Damian Trujillo - 2980 East Capitol Expressway, San Jose at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Kris Sanchez and Garvin Thomas -  1530 Hamilton Ave, San Jose at 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Rob Mayeda - 3496 Camino Tassajara, Danville at 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Jodi Hernandez and Cheryl Hurd - 5051 Business Center Dr, Fairfield at 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

A special thanks to our volunteers:

  • Junior League of San Jose
  • Girl Scouts of the Bay Area
  • Kiwanis Clubs
  • Alameda County 4-H
  • Second Harvest Food Banks
  • Contra Costa and Solano Food Banks



Photo Credit: Terry McSweeney/NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[BART to Ban Rider Caught on Video Yelling Racist Slurs]]>Fri, 17 Nov 2017 17:48:48 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/11142017BARTRANT_775435.JPG

Bay Area Rapid Transit officials on Friday said they have identified a man seen in a viral video yelling racial slurs and assaulting another train passenger.

The transit agency will be moving forward with seeking a prohibition order to ban him from the BART system. Officials said an investigation is ongoing.

The incident occurred on a train Monday night, which was filmed and has since been widely viewed on the internet. At about 10:10 p.m., at least three riders onboard a Warm Springs station-bound train called police dispatch regarding a disturbance.

In a video that was shared on YouTube, a suspect is seen standing and yelling racial slurs at a man sitting, who appears to be of Asian descent. At one point, the suspect slaps the victim's face.

During the ordeal, some riders came to the victim's defense. The video can be seen online.

According to BART officials, police responded and boarded the train at the Union City station, however, they were unable to locate the suspect.

BART officials called the incident "deplorable" and "unfortunate," but commended the riders who called police and voiced support for the victim without physically intervening.

Anyone with information about Monday night's incident is asked to contact BART police investigations at 510-464-7040. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call -510-464-7011.



Photo Credit: PACMANWU/YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[Man, Woman Bitten by Dog in Oakland]]>Fri, 17 Nov 2017 13:48:45 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ambulance+generic3.jpg

A man and a woman were hospitalized Friday after being attacked and bitten by two dogs in Oakland, police said.

The incident occurred around 10 a.m. on the 2600 block of 63rd Avenue. Responding officers located two victims with what looked like dog bites.

Medical aid was provided at the scene and the man and woman were taken to an area hospital. They are in stable condition, according to police. 

In addition, a pit bull that belongs to the female victim was attacked and killed by the two dogs, police said.

Officers with Oakland Animal Services also responded.

Rebecca Katz, that agency's director, said Animal Services is investigating the incident and has taken into custody the two dogs that were involved in the attack.

Animal Services also has taken into a custody another dog that's owned by the man who owns the two canines that were the attackers on Friday.

Anyone seeking additional information is asked to call 510-535-5670.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland Safer Now Than 1 Year Ago When Fire Killed 36: Mayor]]>Fri, 17 Nov 2017 20:56:09 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-627845510.jpg

Oakland leaders said on Friday that their hometown is safer now than one year ago when the Ghost Ship fire claimed 36 lives.

The massive blaze on Dec. 2, 2016 exposed a city-wide problem of people living in warehouses and other buildings not zoned or suited for housing.

Mayor Libby Schaaf on Friday said leaders have learned lessons from the tragedy and are improving residents’ safety.

Joined by officials from housing, fire, police and zoning departments, Schaaf touted a new software that ties all of the relevant departments together, helping them track and fix problem properties. The number of building inspectors will double and then triple, officials added.

Oakland officials said at least five properties have chosen to evict tenants.

Meanwhile, tenant advocates said the city has fallen short.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[UC Regents Chastise System President's ‘Poor Judgment’ ]]>Fri, 17 Nov 2017 06:50:37 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-850654810.jpg

The University of California's governing board chastised UC President Janet Napolitano in a rare public rebuke Thursday and asked her to apologize for her office's interference in a state audit last year.

Napolitano issued a prompt apology, which did little to quiet criticism that has erupted over her office's meddling in what was supposed to be a confidential state auditor's survey of UC campuses.

"I exhibited poor judgment," said Napolitano, who has previously apologized and vowed to prevent any future interference in the work of the state auditor. "As I have said previously, I deeply regret this mistake and sincerely apologize."

The regents' admonishment came after the board met for a five-hour, closed-door session to discuss an independent fact-finding report conducted by former state Supreme Court justice Carlos Moreno and a Southern California law firm, Hueston Hennigan.

The investigation found that Napolitano's top aides had sought to suppress campus criticism of her office in surveys that were supposed to be confidential and sent directly to the state auditor.

The investigators found that Napolitano approved of the plan to review the survey responses but said there is "insufficient evidence" to conclude that she knew the full range of what her staff was up to or that she directly approved of any interference, the board said in a statement. It added, however, that she is ultimately responsible for the conduct of her staff.

Napolitano's actions "reflected poor judgment and set in motion a course of conduct that the Board of Regents finds unacceptable," board chairman George Keiffer said in a statement.

Nonetheless, he said, the board "continues to have confidence in and fully supports her continuing leadership."

As part of a 2016 review of finances at Napolitano's office, State Auditor Elaine Howle sent confidential surveys to each campus. She discarded the survey results after learning of the interference from Napolitano's office. Her highly critical audit found that the UC headquarters failed to disclose $175 million in reserve funds, paid its staff generously and had relied on weak budget practices.

The fact-finding report cited evidence that the president's office chief of staff, Seth Grossman, and his deputy, Bernie Jones, directed the interference and oversaw changes to confidential survey responses from three campuses _ Santa Cruz, Irvine and San Diego. Their changes put Napolitano's office in a better light.

Grossman and Jones resigned last week. Through spokesman Nathan Ballard, Grossman said UC's internal audit staff had recommended that the president's office review the survey responses and that UC's attorneys had approved it.

Gov. Jerry Brown this year signed a bill prompted by the UC controversy that imposes a $5,000 fine if agencies interfere with a state audit. The measure takes effect Jan. 1.

"This report is deeply disappointing to me," said Democratic Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi of the Los Angeles area, who helped develop the law.

He said the actions of Napolitano's office "clearly undermine the Legislature's trust in the University of California leadership" and urged the Regents to hold her accountable. But he stopped short of calling for Napolitano to step down.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[String of Robberies Near UC Berkeley May Be Linked: Police]]>Thu, 16 Nov 2017 23:59:49 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/berkeleyrobberies1116_792879.JPG

Police on Thursday said they are investigating a series of robberies in the area of the UC Berkeley that detectives suspect may be related due to the timing, proximity of the crime scenes and other similarities.

The first robbery occurred around 9:15 p.m. Nov. 9 in the area of Spruce and Virginia streets, police said.

Two black men between the ages of 18 and 22 approached a lone victim, started a conversation and then attacked him in an attempt to take his backpack - but he fought back.

Then around 10:05 p.m. two suspects, described as a black man and a white or Hispanic man, both between the ages of 18 and 22, approached a second lone victim in the 2600 block of Regent Street - near People's Park.

They grabbed and took property from the victim after a short conversation, according to police.

Several days later, around 7:25 p.m. Sunday, two white men between the ages of 20 and 25 approached a lone victim in the 2500 block of Le Conte Avenue and tried to take his phone and backpack - but he fought back and the robbery was interrupted by an approaching vehicle.

Later that evening around 8:35 p.m., a Hispanic man and an Asian man, both thought to be between 25 and 30, approached a lone victim in the areas of Hearst and Scenic avenues and forcibly removed his backpack while claiming to have a gun, police said.

Finally, around 6:35 p.m. Tuesday, a Hispanic man and a Hispanic or black man, both between 18 and 25, approached a lone victim in the area of Spruce and Virginia streets.

The suspects claimed to have a gun and tried to take the victim's backpack, but the victim resisted and was battered by one of the suspects.

The crime was interrupted by interference from people passing by.

In each case, college-age victims were walking alone and targeted by two suspects, according to police.

Police are advising residents in the area to pay attention to their surroundings, travel in groups whenever possible, stick to well-lit and highly populated areas and consider leaving smartphones or other devices in their pockets. Anyone wearing headphones is advised to use just one earbud.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[A's Hire Design Firms For Proposed New Baseball Stadium]]>Fri, 17 Nov 2017 07:58:14 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-80474821.jpg

The Oakland A's announced Thursday that they have hired four design firms to lead the design process for their plan to build a new baseball stadium near Laney College.

The A's don't yet own the proposed site, which is located between Lake Merritt and Interstate Highway 880 and currently is home to the administrative offices for the Peralta Community College District and includes commercial warehouses, parking lots and office buildings.

Project opponents, including neighborhood groups, small business owners and Laney College students and faculty, have said they're concerned about traffic congestion, pedestrian safety, parking availability and the possible loss of affordable housing in the area.

In an apparent attempt to address those concerns, Oakland A's President Dave Kaval said, "Our goal is to create the best ballpark experience for our fans, players, and community. It is critical for our ballpark to truly integrate into the fabric of Oakland."

Kaval said in a statement, "All of the firms are industry leaders and have reputations for leading award-winning transformative and cutting-edge projects. We look forward to working with them to develop a project that works for our entire community."

The A's said Sasaki, a design firm based in Boston, Snøhetta, which is based on Norway but also has a San Francisco office, and Oakland-based Studio T-Square will lead master planning and urban design efforts and will assist the baseball team in the community engagement process.

The A's said HOK, a global architectural and planning firm that has an office in San Francisco, and Snøhetta will collaborate on design of the new ballpark and its interface with the master plan.

James Miner, Sasaki's principal in charge of the project, said, "A key component to making this project a success will be an active and meaningful engagement with A's fans as well as with the broad and incredibly diverse community of Oakland."

Miner said, "We want the ballpark to be a great place not only for baseball, but also for the community and the environment."

Snøhetta partner-in-charge Craig Dykers said, "With its new home closer to downtown Oakland, the project will re-invigorate the relationship between the A's and the city as a new kind of ballpark that acts as a center for sport, wellness and culture."

Dykers said, "We look forward to working with the team and the residents of Oakland to create a vision that will not only continue the rich legacy of the A's, but also strengthen communities, foster healthy habitat, and build a vibrant new cultural heart for the city."

Chek Tang, the president of Studio T-Square, said, "As part of this community, we are excited about the Oakland A's vision and commitment to create a world-class ballpark and development that will bring further revitalization to downtown Oakland."

He continued: "Our design mission is simply: to bring the A's motto 'Rooted in Oakland' to reality by featuring the history, legacy and winning tradition of our beloved A's and proudly celebrate and display the cultural diversity, community pride, true grit and natural beauty of Oakland."

For his part, Brad Schrock, the regional leader of sports, recreation and entertainment for HOK, noted, "The new ballpark is a transformational opportunity for the city of Oakland and the A's to create an architectural icon and completely re-imagine the fan experience.

"We're looking forward to collaborating with the A's and our design partners to create an imaginative, amenity-rich and enduring community asset."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Safeway Employee Stabbed at North Berkeley Store]]>Thu, 16 Nov 2017 20:28:26 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/safewaystab1116_790445.JPG

An employee at a Safeway grocery store in North Berkeley was hospitalized Thursday after being stabbed at the store shortly before 4 p.m., police said.

The stabbing at the Safeway at 1444 Shattuck Place, between Vine and Rose streets, was reported to police at 3:57 p.m. and had occurred 5 minutes earlier, at 3:52 p.m., Berkeley police spokesman Sgt. Andrew Frankel said.

The suspect fled the scene before officers responded to the

stabbing, according to Frankel.

The Safeway employee has been transported to Highland Hospital in Oakland for treatment, Frankel said.

No other details were immediately available.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Berkeley School Severs Ties With Slave-Owning Namesake]]>Thu, 16 Nov 2017 15:40:30 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/209*120/Google+Maps+LeConte.jpg

Amid a national push to rename campuses that pay tribute to controversial historical figures, the Berkeley school board on Wednesday voted unanimously to scrub LeConte Elementary of its namesake of 125 years.

The board pledged to solicit input on a new moniker from the Berkeley community. An advisory committee will be formed in the coming months, and a new name will likely be selected by the end of the 2017-18 school year, the board said. In the meantime, the school will still be referred to as LeConte Elementary.

“In the Berkeley Unified School District, we take pride in our diversity, we hold high expectations for ourselves and our students, and we treat each other with respect and act with integrity,” wrote Superintendent David Evans in support of the name change. “Joseph Le Conte’s racist, sexist beliefs are antithetical to these values.”

Joseph LeConte was one of UC Berkeley’s first professors and a vanguard of early conservation efforts in California. But the geologist also owned hundreds of slaves and manufactured munitions for the Confederacy during the Civil War. His writings also display unapologetic racist and sexist attitudes that were widely accepted in the late 19th century.

All told, more than 170 community members, including teachers and parents, signed a petition supporting the effort to find a more suitable name for LeConte Elementary.

“The children of LeConte deserve a school name they can take pride in," PTA President Leah Martens said during the meeting. 

The school has transformed over the past few years, becoming a dual-immersion campus that is home to an increasingly diverse student body. A new name would help signify the school’s evolution, said board member Karen Hemphill.

“The desire to change to a name that is more in line with what the school’s mission is and philosophy is makes a lot of sense to me,” Hemphill said, adding that she was typically more hesitant when it comes to renaming historic institutions. “Clearly, the name that is there today does not meet that standard.”

The fraught debate over place names and monuments dedicated to disgraced historical figures has only recently started to gain nationwide traction, but members of the Berkeley community have been pushing to scrap the LeConte name for several years. Back in 2005, members of the Berkeley community tried and failed to rebrand Jefferson Elementary School on Ada Street. 

LeConte is still honored with a namesake glacier in Alaska, a waterfall in the Sierra Nevada, and a building on UC Berkeley’s campus. A small group of university students protested outside of LeConte Hall in 2014, unsuccessfully pressuring the administration to replace the name.  

In contrast to UC Berkeley, a process for the renaming of buildings in the Berkeley Unified School District already exists, streamlining the issue for the board. The new moniker must meet certain qualifications before being accepted.

In approving the new name, the board will be required to “examine whether the individual, on the whole, has made outstanding contributions to the community or made contributions of state, national or worldwide significance in light of the Berkeley community's values and contemporary view on history.”

In the last few years, several buildings have been stripped of their problematic namesakes, including Jordan and Terman middle schools in Palo Alto, which were named after notable eugenicists. Committees have been exploring renaming pathways in San Francisco and at Stanford University. 



Photo Credit: Google Maps]]>
<![CDATA[Authorities Investigate Police Shooting Near Richmond BART]]>Thu, 16 Nov 2017 10:02:08 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/181*120/BART-Generic-Image-3.jpg

An investigation has been launched into an officer-involved shooting that occurred near the Richmond BART station early Thursday, according to the transportation agency.

The suspect was injured in the shooting and transported to a hospital to undergo surgery, according to Richmond police. No officers were hurt. 

BART officers were first alerted to reports indicating that a man with a firearm was leaving the station following a reported altercation, according to BART.

Following a search of the area, BART officers eventually found a person that matched the description of the suspect.

"Officers contacted the suspect, and the contact resulted in an officer-involved shooting," according to BART.

Authorities did recover a firearm from the suspect, according to BART.

The Richmond Police Department and Contra County District Attorney's Office are investigating the incident, according to BART.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[DOJ Warns 8 Bay Area Jurisdictions About Sanctuary Status]]>Thu, 16 Nov 2017 10:31:16 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/jeff+sessions+salvatrucha.jpg

The cities of San Francisco, Berkeley, Fremont and Watsonville and Contra Costa, Monterey, Santa Clara and Sonoma counties on Wednesday were among 29 jurisdictions nationwide to receive sanctuary warning letters from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The letters say the department is concerned that the cities' and counties' policies may violate a federal law that bars local governments from preventing their employees from communicating with federal immigration agents.

Compliance with the law, known as Section 1373, is a condition of Justice Department grants to local governments under a program known as the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Program.

The letters signed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan Hanson ask the cities and counties to submit a response by Dec. 8 explaining whether they have "laws, policies or practices" that violate the law.

The letters also ask the recipients to state whether they would comply with the law if they receive a Byrne grant in the current fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1.

"Jurisdictions that adopt so-called 'sanctuary policies' also adopt the view that the protection of criminal aliens is more important than the protection of law-abiding citizens and of the rule of law," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.

He continued: "I urge all jurisdictions found to be potentially out of compliance in this preliminary review to reconsider their policies that undermine the safety of their residents."

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera strongly disagreed with the Justice Department's analysis.

"San Francisco is in full compliance with federal immigration law," he said in a statement.

Herrera said the administration of President Donald Trump is making "novel and shifting interpretations" of the Section 1373 law, "going far beyond its text."

"The law means what it says, and we follow it," he said.

Herrera said San Francisco restricts other cooperation with immigration officials, but maintained that such local restrictions don't violate federal laws.

"This letter is the latest salvo in the barrage of Trump administration threats to sanctuary cities," he said. "The law is on our side, and we intend to beat back this threat, just like all the others before it."

In the South Bay, Santa Clara County said there is one problem with the threat.

"The big joke on them is we never took any money from them in 2016," Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese said.

NBC Bay Area's Damian Trujillo contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File image]]>
<![CDATA[Beloved Oakland Zoo Giraffe Euthanized Amid Health Issues]]>Thu, 16 Nov 2017 09:47:39 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/TikiOaklandZoo.JPG

One of the oldest living giraffes in captivity has been euthanized after dealing with a bout of health issues, Oakland Zoo officials announced Thursday.

Tiki — short for T'Keyah — was born at the East Bay Zoo back in 1989 and died at roughly the age of 95 in giraffe years, zoo officials said. Veterinarians made "the somber decision" to euthanize her because of her medical problems, which included ringbone arthritis that struck her feet, back and neck.

"T'Keyah was unique, everyone who met her fell in love with her instantly," Jessica Real, Senior Giraffe Keeper at the Oakland Zoo, said. "Through her patience and gentle presence, she was a great teacher to us all. She broke the barriers of what were standard practices in giraffe care. Articles were published in countries around the world, shedding new light on what was possible for giraffes in human care. She’ll be deeply missed."

Despite battling a number of health issues since the age of 14, Tiki, who is remembered for wearing a custom-made coat to keep her warm during the winter, "demonstrated that giraffes are smart, very much capable of learning, and practicing patience," according to the zoo.

She volunteered for hoof trimming and welcomed regular acupenture, chicopractic procedures, massages and other forms of medical practices during treatment.

Procedures performed on Tiki and her overall behavior would go on to be shared with the greater zoo community across the globe, which would, in turn, help in improving the quality of care for the species, according to the zoo.

Tiki gave birth to five calves during her time at the zoo, according to officials. Three still live at the zoo while two have been moved to other locations.

She also helped raise seven more calves that were part of her herd in Oakland.



Photo Credit: Oakland Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[Slow-Moving Storm Pelts Bay Area With Rain]]>Thu, 16 Nov 2017 22:36:20 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/bus43.jpg

Heavy rain soaked the North Bay late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning and pushed south into the greater Bay Area in time for the morning commute, weather forecasters said.

After pelting Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties overnight, prompting a flash flood warning for those areas until 3 a.m. and a flood advisory in Solano County until 2:45 p.m., the storm slowly began making its way toward the Peninsula, East Bay and South Bay early Thursday. 


Temperatures will be in the 50s to start the morning, and by the afternoon, there's a chance the rain could linger over the South Bay, forecasters said.

Rain totals on average for lower elevations will be 0.50 to 1.25 inches and 1-3 inches above 1,000 feet. The heaviest rain will spread across the Santa Cruz Mountains and into the South Bay around sunrise, the National Weather Service said.

The South Bay, which usually misses out on the heavy rain, got hit hard with this storm as many places saw up to an inch of rain. In the Rock Springs neighborhood of San Jose, which was flooded earlier this year when Coyote Creek overflowed its banks during storms, residents were not ready for more rain. 

Flood victim Hao Nguyen and her visiting granddaughter, Trang Lieng, were back home, just in time.

"The owner fixed the house, and she's very glad we can move back in before the rain," Lieng said.

The storm also made life even more miserable for the homeless in San Jose, where CHAM Ministries handed out blankets, tents and water at a Felipe Road encampment.

"There are a lot of people, right here, struggling," pastor Scott Wagers said. "You know, the guys are desperate for tarps right now because they're trying to keep their stuff dry."

In the North Bay, rainfall rates over coastal Sonoma and Marin counties were up to half an inch per hour Wednesday evening, posing the possibility of mudslides, downed trees and flooding in the areas burned out by wildfires last month.

Twenty-four rainfall totals as of 4 a.m. Thursday had already exceeded two inches in Petaluma and Guerneville. Lafayette recorded 1.79 inches during that time frame, Santa Rosa registered 1.39 inches of rain, Pacifica recorded 1.31 inches and Oakland logged 1.26 inches. Those numbers will increase as the storm makes its way out of the region.

Deluges of rain also prompted the closures of some roadways in San Francisco.

The connector ramp to northbound Highway 101 was shut down due to flooding, according to the California Highway Patrol. Southbound lanes of the Great Highway were also forced to close as a result of flooding. 

On the road to the Sierra Nevada, about 1-2 feet of snow was expected above 7,000 feet, the weather service said. Chains were required on Interstate 80 over Donner Summit on the way to the Reno-Tahoe region. 


Drying weather returns Friday and Saturday, forecasters said.

NBC Bay Area's Robert Handa contributed to this report.


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<![CDATA[Car Crashes Snarl Traffic as Rain Pounds Bay Area]]>Fri, 17 Nov 2017 00:33:38 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/111617HWY85CARS_786055.JPEG

A number of car crashes snarled traffic across the Bay Area during the Thursday morning commute as another round of rain soaked the region.

A big-rig around 5 a.m. slammed into a power pole in Fremont, knocking out power for roughly 3,000 customers in the area near Auto Mall Parkway and Boscell Road, according to police. The crash temporarily shut down both directions of Auto Mall Parkway.

The power pole was thrown across several lanes of traffic, but no one was hurt.

Full power in the area immediately surrounding the crash scene is expected to be restored by 5 p.m., according to PG&E.

In the South Bay, overturned vehicles briefly blocked all northbound lanes of Highway 85 near Winchester Boulevard in Los Gatos around 5 a.m., but only minor injuries were reported, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Despite the proximity, the crashes happened independently of each other. CHP officials said speed played a role in the wrecks.

Around the same time along the Peninsula, a collision blocked four lanes of southbound Highway 101 at Shoreline Boulevard in Mountain View, according to the CHP.

Drivers are encouraged to slow down and keep a safe distance between the cars in front of them when rain is falling. 

Track the latest road conditions using NBC Bay Area's traffic map



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Stolen Dog Named Biscuit Returned to Oakland Owners]]>Wed, 15 Nov 2017 23:45:39 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/dogreturned1115_782453.JPG

A small Yorkshire Terrier named Biscuit was happy to be back home in Oakland on Wednesday, especially after all he’s been through.

“They took him November 5th,” said Biscuit’s owner Melissa Smith. “We got him back today."

Smith says she left Biscuit in her car with the windows cracked as she went to lunch at Guadalajara Restaurant that day. When she came out, he was gone. Surveillance video appears to show someone reach into the car and run off.

In the 10 days Biscuit was missing, the family conducted their own investigation. They talked to people in homeless encampments, nearby businesses and even people online. It led them to the Laney Flea Market, where they spotted a truck that matched one seen in the surveillance video from the restaurant.

“We asked questions, showed pictures and got answers,” Smith said.

Police followed up, but no one was there, and neither was the dog. An hour later, officers called.

“They said, 'We're 99 percent sure we have Biscuit here.' A woman who was there said she purchased Biscuit at the Laney Flea Market last Sunday for $700," Smith said.

That woman, Irene Sala, told NBC Bay Area by phone she saw the story on the news and couldn’t keep the dog knowing the owner’s story.

Meanwhile, Oakland Animal Services told NBC Bay Area it’s seen an increase in animals stolen out of cars.

East Bay SPCA CEO Allison Lindquist says buying a pet on the street is risky. It could be stolen, sick or legally too young to purchase in the state of California. Dogs must be at least eight weeks old before they can be sold, unless the dog is approved for sale by a licensed veterinarian.

“People need to be very cautious and very skeptical when buying in these situations where there's some level of anonymity,” Lindquist said.

This family is just happy Biscuit is back.

“We're at peace with Biscuit home,” Smith said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[2 Killed in Richmond Shooting: Police]]>Wed, 15 Nov 2017 07:45:09 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/generic+police+lights1.jpg

Two people died in a shooting Tuesday evening in Richmond, police said Wednesday morning.

According to Richmond police Lt. Felix Tan, the shooting occurred at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 900 block of View Drive.

Four people were victims of the shooting. Two of the victims died of their injuries, Tan said.

Police have not yet identified a motive for the shooting, Tan said.

Further details were not immediately available. The case remains under investigation.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Flash Flood Watch in Effect for North Bay Counties]]>Wed, 15 Nov 2017 23:56:01 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/srrain21115_782593.JPG

As another storm system walloped the Bay Area with rain on Wednesday, crews were keeping a close eye on the areas recently scorched by the devastating wildfires in the North Bay.


Teams spent the overnight hours trying to haul off as much of the charred debris as possible and block storm drains with straw waddles to prevent potentially toxic materials from flowing into creeks and streams.

"Can you imagine having to go into the entire city of San Francisco times three-and-a-half and make sure it was secure for a rainfall event?" Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt said. "That's what we're dealing with."

Even as rain arrived Wednesday, workers continued storm preparations, including ongoing drain pipe assessments using remote control video cameras. 

The latest round of rain, which will be heaviest in the North Bay, has prompted flash flood watches in Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties, according to the National Weather Service. Those watches went into effect 4 p.m. Wednesday and were set to expire at 3 a.m. Thursday.

Roughly 1 to 3 inches of rain in the region could cause debris flows and mudslides, especially in the burned out areas. About 300 Cal Fire firefighters on Wednesday were in the burn areas working on erosion control.

Rain returned by the evening, with the heaviest downpours pelting the North Bay. The slow-moving storm eventually made its way south and was expected to bring deluges to the South Bay overnight. 

In San Francisco, workers installed flood barriers along Folsom Street, near 17th Street, for a third straight year. But officials with the Public Utilities Commission said this year will be different, with a $2 million grant program allowing homes and businesses to retrofit.

In the East Bay, crews cleared storm drains and stocked up on sandbags as the rain approached. 

The rain is expected to clear out of the Bay Area by late Thursday morning.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA['Heavy Police Activity' Prompts Shelter in Place in Alameda]]>Tue, 14 Nov 2017 23:06:04 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police+lights22.jpg

Police on Tuesday night asked residents in an Alameda neighborhood to shelter in place due to "heavy police activity in the area."

The police activity is occurring near Northwood and Cambridge drives, Alameda police said at about 9:40 p.m.

Drivers and nonresidents are being asked to avoid the area altogether.

Further information was not immediately available.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Richmond Mayor Faces Criticism for 'Doxing' in Newsletter]]>Tue, 14 Nov 2017 15:19:28 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1114-217-TomButt.jpg

Richmond Mayor Tom Butt is facing criticism for calling out political opponents and doxing them in his regular email blasts to supporters. 

As first reported by the Richmond Confidential, the mayor accused Eli Moore and his wife, Claudia Jimenez, of violating Richmond's rent control law that went into effect last November. He included the couple's home address and aerial photographs of the property in the newsletter.

"[Jimenez and Moore are] scofflaw landlords who are violating a slew of laws in Richmond designed to protect renters as well as the safety of the community," Butt wrote, calling the couple "hypocritical" for allegedly renting out an in-law unit that violated city's new law. 

Jimenez is an ardent supporter of rent control and frequently campaigned for its passage during the 2016 election, while Butt did his best to squash it and spoke out against it dozens of times.

Butt defended his move on grounds that Moore, who works for the Haas Institute, and Jimenez, who is on the steering committee of the Richmond Progressive Alliance, are community activists and therefore public figures. The ACLU-NorCal is reportedly looking into the issue but did not return a request for comment. 

In an email, Jimenez denied that the in-law unit violated the city's rent control law and accused Butt of using his public position to attack the couple for opposing him on policy issues. She also said Butt has contacted her husband's employer about the issue.

"With the mayor's attacks, the message is that citizens who step up and take this kind of leadership will pay," Jimenez wrote. 

Butt often uses his newsletters to address grievances he has with fellow council members and the community at large. He recently chastised Councilmember Jovanka Beckles for her handling of a homophobic public speaker and previously used the platform to campaign against council member candidates. 

Read in-depth coverage of the dispute over at the Richmond Confidential.



Photo Credit: City of Richmond]]>
<![CDATA[Dublin High Senior Advances in 'The Voice' Playoffs]]>Mon, 13 Nov 2017 23:39:03 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/noahvoice1113_754757.JPG

A buzz was emanating from the Dublin High School theater Monday night as students and teachers watched senior Noah Mac take the TV stage in front of millions worldwide on NBC's "The Voice."

The 17-year-old's supporters not only included classmates and teachers, but also his first musical director.

"He wowed me, and now I see him wow the world," music director Brian Olkowski said. "So it's really cool to see this."

Classmate Becky Polcyn remembered Noah in early grade school.

"In elementary school, you always saw him singing in the talent show and everything, but who would think it's gonna go to this," she said. "It's insane."

Noah's singing stemmed from tragedy, as he performed at his older sister's funeral when he was just 7 years old.

"We were all crying because it was sad, but we were all crying because it was also something really beautiful," Noah's mother Gina Gabriell said. "We weren't expecting that."

Today, Noah is living his dream, trying to make the top 12 in "The Voice." But it was a dream that almost never happened. When the casting director called, his mother thought it was a relative pranking them.

"I went, 'Yeah right,' and then I said a few naughty words and basically hung up on her," Gabriell recalled. "She called back and said 'Go to the website, there's my name; call, I will pick up.'"

With his proud mother watching Monday night, Noah performed Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" and received high praise from the judges.

"You just took the lead," judge Adam Levine said.

Noah advanced to the live shows next week.

"I came undone," Gabriell said. "I was there in the audience. I came absolutely undone."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Two Fremont Police Cars Damaged in Response to Sideshows]]>Mon, 13 Nov 2017 21:44:00 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/fremont+sideshow-1113.jpg

Two Fremont police patrol cars were damaged late Sunday night after responding to illegal sideshow activity, according to the police department.

At 11:04 p.m., Fremont Fire Department personnel called police to report several cars doing donuts and sideshow activities on Lakeview Boulevard, police said.

Officers arrived and found several cars in the area and many people on foot running from the scene. One car was towed for having false registration tags, police said.

At one point, a suspect threw a large rock at one of the patrol cars, damaging the vehicle, police said.

The group of cars moved to Osgood Road, near Automall Parkway, and then to the 900 block of Page Road and Milmont Drive to continue illegal sideshows, police said. At the latter scene, an officer’s occupied patrol car was surrounded by masked persons, and the vehicle sustained damage including a broken mirror and dents, police said. The California Highway Patrol responded to assist, and the large group dispersed.

Police did not indicate that any arrests were made.

Fremont police said patrol and traffic officers will be proactively monitoring the city for sideshow activity during the upcoming weeks.



Photo Credit: Fremont PD]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland Issues Update on Actions Taken Since Ghost Ship Fire]]>Mon, 13 Nov 2017 23:36:18 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Raw_Vid_9_Killed_in_Deadly_Fire_at_Oakland_Warehouse_1200x675_823948867777.jpg

The City of Oakland issued a report summarizing changes it has made since the Ghost Ship Warehouse Fire last December, which killed 36 people.

The report comes three weeks before the fire’s one-year anniversary and highlights the City’s actions during the past 11 months. Officials focused on six primary areas including: bringing buildings into compliance, increasing fire and building inspection capacity, improving inter-departmental communications, referrals and data sharing; streamlining event permitting, and identifying housing resources.

“One year ago we made a promise to make Oaklanders safer,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a press release. “We delivered on that promise. We approached the complex work with our shared Oakland values. Safety is the priority; preserving cultural community and fighting housing insecurity is the context. Our city has developed long-term, sustainable, changes to make Oakland safer today than it was one year ago, and it’s work we will continue to do.”

Since Mayor Schaaf’s Executive Order issued in January, the City says it has investigated 32 warehouses or commercial properties where unpermitted residential occupancies were suspected. Of the 32 spaces identified, inspectors confirmed unpermitted residential occupancy at 19 properties. The City has closed or resolved 11 of those cases and is working with owners at 20 properties to achieve compliance.

It is unknown how many tenants may have lived in the properties where unpermitted residential occupancy was verified, with the exception of 1218 Miller Avenue, where a fire occurred and displaced 13 residents in January. The City has confirmed that owners evicted tenants at five of the locations.

The report also included an update about staffing at the City’s Fire Prevention Bureau, the agency in charge of conducting fire inspections. The City promised to hire six new inspectors by the end of this year. It’s unknown how many have been hired so far, but the city says it has secured the funding. Leaders say they’ll hire another six by the end of 2018, bringing the total number of inspectors to 20.

Additional actions taken include: implementing new processes to address construction site fires, updating “yellow tag/fire watch” policy, establishing an interdepartmental case management team and more. The report also identifies next steps to achieving the work ahead.

You can read the entire report here.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Parents of Boy Hurt on Dublin Waterslide Suing the City]]>Tue, 14 Nov 2017 19:36:53 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/water+slide+suit-1113.jpg

The parents of a 10-year-old boy injured in May after he was ejected from a Dublin waterslide are suing, according to the family's attorney.

The boy was attending opening day of the Wave Water Park in Dublin on May 27, when he hydroplaned at the bottom of the Emerald Plunge, flew over the edge of the U-shaped slide and landed on a concrete barrier, the attorney said.

The boy suffered scrapes on his back, shoulder, arms and legs.


The lawsuit, which was announced Tuesday, names the city of Dublin and the manufacturer of the slide, WhiteWater Industries.

The Emerald Plunge has remained closed since the incident because the manufacturer has yet to complete testing to Cal/OSHA’s satisfaction, a Cal/OSHA spokesperson said. The slide will not be opened to the public until the manufacturer and the Dublin water park can demonstrate that it can be operated safely, the agency said.

The city of Dublin released the following statement about the impending lawsuit:

"The City of Dublin continues to express its sympathy and concern for the 10-year-old boy that was injured on May 27, the opening day of The Emerald Plunge waterslide and The Wave Waterpark.

"Immediately after the accident, the City took the appropriate action and closed the waterslide, and one other nearby, to review, check, and ensure safe operation. These slides have remained closed while the manufacturer performs additional safety testing. They will remain closed until state safety officials give their approval for the City to re-open and operate them again.

"Prior to the opening of the park, the slides were tested and approved by the manufacturer and State of California safety regulators.

"As to the legal action threatened, the City and its legal representatives have attempted to reach an amicable settlement with the family. However, the family lawyer has refused to provide any information about the family’s injuries that would be necessary to resolve the claim."



Photo Credit: Jodi Hernandez/NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Break Ground on 65,000-Seat Stadium in Las Vegas]]>Tue, 14 Nov 2017 00:04:39 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/11132017RaidersGround_751844.JPEG

LAS VEGAS - After years of planning, dealing and getting millions in public financing approved, the Oakland Raiders broke ground Monday on a 65,000-seat domed stadium in Las Vegas, across the freeway from the city's world-famous casinos.

Contractors will be working under an ambitious timeline as the team wants to kick off the 2020 season at the new stadium. But the Raiders have yet to reach crucial agreements for the $1.9 billion project and now stand to lose millions under the tax reform bill House Republicans unveiled earlier this month.

The Raiders' relocation to Las Vegas was a plan years in the making that began when NFL owners shot down their plans to move to Los Angeles. Shortly after, casino mogul Sheldon Adelson announced his interest in helping build a domed stadium on the UNLV campus that could be shared by a professional team and the school.

Lobbying began, and the Nevada Legislature approved a tax increase to contribute $750 million to the project. Adelson later withdrew his multimillion-dollar pledge from the project, and the Raiders chose a different site for the stadium.

UNLV and the Raiders will still share the stadium, but the joint-use agreement is pending.

So is an agreement that is meant to ensure the greatest possible participation by the local community in the design, construction and operation of the stadium. The agreement, known as the ``community benefits plan,'' has been the subject of public debate during meetings of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority board, the public entity responsible for overseeing the stadium. A draft the team presented during a board meeting last week requires that minority and female workers carry out at least 38 percent of construction work hours and 55 percent of operation hours on event days.

While Raiders Executive Vice President Dan Ventrelle described the proposed agreement as the most aggressive ever for a stadium project, board members expressed concerns over the hiring targets.

The financing plan for the Raiders stadium includes $750 million in publicly issued tax-exempt bonds. The Raiders and the NFL are expected to contribute $500 million to the project, while the team has also secured a $600 million loan from Bank of America for construction.

But the tax-exempt bonds are now at risk. The GOP tax reform bill released last week would bar state and local governments from issuing tax-exempt bonds for stadium construction, a common feature of stadium deals over the past two decades.

A study on stadium subsidies released last year by the Brookings Institution found that the federal government has subsidized stadium construction to the tune of $3.2 billion since 2000. The staff contracted by the stadium authority has estimated that the bill could cost the public board $3 million a year.


Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Guns, Marijuana Discovered in CoCo County Gang Investigation]]>Mon, 13 Nov 2017 13:49:30 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CoCoCountyGunsWeed.JPG

Nine people were arrested, a number of firearms were seized and drugs were confiscated following a months-long investigation into gang activity in Contra Costa County, according to officials.

The investigation was focused on a gang in East Contra Costa County believed to be involved in illegal firearms dealing, according to officials.

Following the investigation, eight search warrants were performed last week in the East Bay cities of Pittsburg, Antioch and Bay Point.

Officers found an AK-47 assault rifle, three handguns, high-capacity magazines, cocaine and other pills, officials said.

The nine arrestees were booked into the Martinez Detention Facility, according to officials. The charges for those arrested include conspiracy, gang and narcotics violations, and a slew of weapons charges.

The Contra Costa County Anti-Violence Support Effort spearheaded the investigation and was assisted by a number of federal, state and local agencies.



Photo Credit: Contra Costa County Anti-Violence Support Effort]]>
<![CDATA[Dead Body Found on Tanker Docked in Richmond: Coast Guard]]>Sun, 12 Nov 2017 23:00:24 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police+tape+3.jpg

U.S. Coast Guard officials were investigating a report of a dead body found on a tanker moored at the Conoco Phillips facility in Richmond late Sunday night.

The original call was relayed to the Coast Guard from Richmond police at about 7:25 p.m., reporting a crew member aboard the Argent Sunrise tanker ship was dead, the Coast Guard said.

Investigators were at the scene along Canal Boulevard, and no further details were available.

The Argent Sunrise is a commercial chemical tanker built in 2008 and currently sailing under the flag of Panama.

]]>
<![CDATA[Police Seek Help to ID Suspected Package Thief in Fremont]]>Sun, 12 Nov 2017 16:04:54 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/fremont+thief.jpg

Police are seeking the public's help in identifying a person who stole a package from a home in Fremont last month.

According to police, on Oct. 21, someone stole a package from a home in the area of Cougar Circle. The theft was captured on a home security camera, and police have released images of the suspect.

The suspect was wearing a red hooded sweatshirt with a yellow horizontal line across the chest and possibly a circular emblem on the left chest area. The sweater also had another emblem resembling the Nike "swoosh" logo on the left sleeve, police said.

The suspect was also wearing black pants and a gray backpack.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to contact police investigators at (510) 790-6900.



Photo Credit: Fremont PD]]>
<![CDATA[Multiple Cars Towed Following Sideshow in Oakland: Police]]>Sun, 12 Nov 2017 12:28:40 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/11-12-17_Oakland_Sideshow.PNG

Multiple vehicles were towed in Oakland late Saturday for being involved in sideshow activity, according to police.

It is not yet clear how many cars were towed or if any arrests were made, but extra officers were patrolling the East Bay city in hopes of preventing sideshows being advertised on social media.

A number of sideshows across the Bay Area in recent weeks have resulted in multiple arrests, citations and injuries.

At least two people in Oakland were hurt in a shooting on Halloween night following sideshow activity, according to police. The night before, an officer was hurt, four people were arrested and five cars were impounded after racers gathered for a sideshow in the South Bay.

Earlier that weekend, droves of motorcyclists could se been doing "donuts" and popping "wheelies" across the East bay. Multiple people were arrested, according to the California Highway Patrol.

"The sideshows are a problem throughout the Bay Area," Lt. Brian Anderson with the San Jose Police Department said following a recent instance of sideshow activity. "With the advent of how well people can communicate with each other, these sideshows pop up all over the Bay Area."



Photo Credit: Oakland Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Big-Rig Collision Blocks Lanes of EB I-80 in Berkeley]]>Sun, 12 Nov 2017 08:55:14 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/chp-generic.jpg

Two lanes are blocked on eastbound Interstate Highway 80 just west of University Avenue in Berkeley due to a collision Sunday morning, according to California Highway Patrol officials.

The collision was reported at 5:17 a.m. and involved a big-rig and a Honda, CHP officials said.

A Sig-alert was issued at 5:49 a.m. because two lanes are blocked.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Steph Curry Pens Heartfelt Plea on Veterans Day]]>Sat, 11 Nov 2017 23:28:35 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/steph-us.jpg

Stephen Curry has about as big of a platform as one can have. And he's ready to use it. 

The Warriors' star point guard took to The Players' Tribune Saturday on Veterans Day to open up on the perception of himself and many others "disrespecting the military." The 29-year-old takes these allegations very seriously and wants people to understand the truth of the matter.

But when someone tells me that my stances, or athlete stances in general, are "disrespecting the military" - which has become a popular thing to accuse peaceful protestors of - it's something that I'm going to take very, very seriously. One of the beliefs that I hold most dear is how proud I am to be an American - and how incredibly thankful I am for our troops. I know how fortunate I am to live in this country, and to do what I do for a living, and to raise my daughters in peace and prosperity. But I also hear from plenty of people who don't have it nearly as good as I do. Plenty of people who are genuinely struggling in this country. Especially our veterans.

Curry has even spoken to veterans about silent protests such as Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem. He's even explained his reasoning for peacefully saying he did not desire to visit the White House with Donald Trump as President.

Every single veteran I've spoken to, they've all said pretty much the exact same thing: That this conversation we've started to have in the world of sports … whether it's been Colin kneeling, or entire NFL teams finding their own ways to show unity, or me saying that I didn't want to go to the White House - it's the opposite of disrespectful to them.

A lot of them have said, that even if they don't totally agree with every position of every person, this is exactly the thing that they fought to preserve: the freedom of every American to express our struggles, our fears, our frustrations, and our dreams for a more equal society.

In the article, Curry reveals he recently met a man named Michael at his wife Ayesha's restaurant opening. Michael served in Afghanistan and the two spoke on all the issues the veterans face. Curry wants more than just thanking troops, he wants real action and is calling for all of us to do better. 

We hear all the time on TV and social media about "supporting our troops." But it's not just about saluting them or thanking them for their service at the airport - and it's definitely not just about how we observe the national anthem. Michael told me that our veterans need real action. They need real help with medical services, and access to jobs, and readjusting to society.

At almost every turn our conversation took, Michael found some common ground: from talking about how he's a Warriors fan (good, good, I like it), to - way more importantly - pointing out how most of the issues that military vets face at home are actually the same as the issues faced by a lot of America. Homelessness, unemployment, mental health and, yes, racial inequality - those are the issues that our vets are facing. These are mostly universal issues, which are being felt in every town in America.

Wrapping up his article, Curry looked to make his message clear by writing, "Let's use our platforms, and take this day, to talk about how we can be louder than all of this silence - and quieter than all of this noise."



Photo Credit: NBC Sports Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[CoCo County Sheriff to Probe Detainees' Claims of Abuse]]>Sat, 11 Nov 2017 20:35:16 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/coco-sheriff-livingston.jpg

The Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office calls reports of abuse involving federal immigration detainees misleading but it's promising a full investigation.

In a Facebook posting, the office of Sheriff David Livingston said it's investigating reports by detainees at the West County Detention Center in Richmond. The federal government pays the Sheriff's Office to house immigration detainees there.

Reports in the San Francisco Chronicle said detainees complained of being confined to cells for up to 23 hours per day and being unable to visit the restroom for hours. Activists have released a letter by 40 detainees alleging misconduct.

The Sheriff's office denies the lockup claims. It says detainees have cell keys and can leave for restroom breaks and medical appointments.

However, a California senator has called for a state investigation.


Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Honors Veterans]]>Sat, 11 Nov 2017 19:00:47 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-132335266.jpg

People across the Bay Area offered thanks to all who have served, honoring their service and sacrifice in a number of ways.

SOUTH BAY:

San Jose Veterans Day Parade

10 a.m. Saturday: A ceremony will be held at Plaza de Cesar Chavez

11 a.m. Parade will start at West Santa Clara Street and Highway 87. Attendees will travel east to Market Street, where they will turn south toward the reviewing stand in front of the park. 

Honor on the Row in San Jose

2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday: Santana Row will celebrate veterans with a gold star memorial to honor the fallen, a display of military vehicles and classic cars, and a collection booth for care packages.


SAN FRANCISCO:

We Are All Americans! Tribute to Nikkei Veterans

10 a.m. Saturday: A free public ceremony hosted by the National Japanese American Historical Society at 640 Old Mason Street.

11 a.m. Saturday: GO FOR BROKE! Anthony Brown's Asian American Orchestra

12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday: Luncheon reception

Veterans Day Service + Art at the Presidio

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday: Veterans and civilians can view service members' artwork on display at the Presidio Officers' Club and participate in community service for victims of the North Bay wildfires.

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday: Family-friendly arts and crafts

Commemoration of 75th Anniversary of the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal

10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday: The Naval History and Heritage Command, in partnership with the USS San Francisco Memorial Foundation and San Francisco Fleet Week Association, will commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal at the USS San Francisco Memorial at 2400 El Camino Del Mar. The ceremony will honor the sailors and marines who were killed in action during the battle on Nov. 12 and 13.

Veterans Day Parade

11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Sunday: An estimated 20,000 people are expected to attend the annual Veterans Day parade that traditionally starts with motorcycle riders leading the way. It starts on the Embarcadero at North Point Street and heads to Fisherman's Wharf along Jefferson Street.


EAST BAY:

Veterans Day Celebration in Alameda

10 a.m. Saturday: The USS Hornet Sea, Air and Space Museum at 707 West Hornet Avenue will offer a station for people who want to make thank-you cards for veterans.

11 a.m. Saturday: The USS Hornet Sea, Air and Space Museum will hosts its annual ceremony on the ship’s hanger deck. Afterward, a wreath will be cast into San Francisco Bay in honor of U.S. veterans of all wars and branches of service.

Veterans Memorial Dedication in Union City

10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday: Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle will dedicate a new monument at Veterans Memorial Park at 4525 Dyer Street. The memorial will feature a hexahedra granite monument — with each of the six sides representing a different branch of the military — and memorial bricks that can be individually dedicated to service members. The event will include the presentation and retiring of colors by the United States Army’s 91st Division, two ceremonial firings from a Howitzer cannon, a flyover and landing of Vietnam helicopters, and a BBQ Lunch served by local firefighters.

Sixth Annual Veterans Day Services in Castro Valley

11 a.m. Saturday: Sue Alverson of the Veterans of Foreign Wars' National Home for Children will address the crowd at Castro Valley Community Park at 3683 Quail Avenue, followed by a raffle of a Henry Salute to the Military Rifle with all the proceeds going to the VFW.


NORTH BAY:

Veterans Day Parade in Petaluma

12 p.m. Saturday: Music will begin at Walnut Park

1 p.m. Saturday: The parade will begin and end at Walnut Park

2:45 p.m. Saturday: A prayer, pledge of allegiance and follow-up program will follow the parade in the gazebo.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[‘Patriot Prayer’ Rallies in Berkeley on Veteran’s Day]]>Sat, 11 Nov 2017 17:50:48 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/_Patriot_Prayer__Rallies_in_Berkeley_on_Veteran_s_Day.jpg

The right-wing conservative group ‘Patriot Prayer’ rallied in the streets of Berkeley Saturday afternoon to discuss intolerance, issues on President Trump, racism and fascism. Christie Smith reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland Police Boost Presence to Prevent Sideshows]]>Sat, 11 Nov 2017 23:25:19 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Sideshow-gif.gif

A spokeswoman for the Oakland Police Department said Friday that extra officers from Oakland and other Bay Area law enforcement agencies will be on duty this weekend to try to prevent sideshow activity that's being promoted on social media platforms.

Officer Johnna Watson said officers from Oakland's traffic division and other specialized units will be posted in various locations "to deter sideshow participants and anyone who's thinking of observing illegal and dangerous sideshow activity."

"We're going to be out here, we're gonna site you, we'll make arrests, we'll tow your vehicles, so don't come," said Lieutenant Rachel Van Slooten from the Oakland Police department. 

Extra officers from the California Highway Patrol and other local police agencies will join Oakland in having extra officers on duty and the agencies will all share information.

Watson said, "We want to discourage people from participating in or observing" sideshows.

She said sideshows, in which car drivers and motorcyclists speed, perform stunts and engage in reckless driving, "are inherently dangerous and can lead to serious injuries and even to deaths."

Watson said sideshow participants could face arrest, citations, and the possibility that their vehicles could be towed and impounded for up to 30 days.

Residents say they've been seeing these street spectacles more often lately and fear the dangerous consequences. 




Photo Credit: Krystina Ludovico
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<![CDATA[Suspects at Large After Shooting Man on EB I-80 in Fairfield]]>Sat, 11 Nov 2017 17:00:51 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/chp-generic-pursuit-1.jpg

A man traveling eastbound on Interstate 80 in Fairfield was shot and wounded Saturday, in what the California Highway Patrol believes may have been a road rage incident.

The shooting occurred around 8:45 a.m. west of Air Base Parkway, Officer David Harvey said. 

A man in a gray SUV fired into a white Toyota Camry, striking its driver, who has major injuries, Harvey said. He was taken to a hospital, but is expected to survive.

There were two people in the Camry, which was entering the freeway at the time of the shooting, but the passenger — also a man — was not hurt.

Officers are still looking for the suspect and the driver of the SUV — both men. 

People are investigating the shooting and believe it may have stemmed from a road rage incident, officers with the CHP Golden Gate division wrote on Facebook.

People with information about the crime are asked to call 1-800-835-5247.

]]>
<![CDATA[Final 2 Piers of Bay Bridge's Old Eastern Span Demolished]]>Sat, 11 Nov 2017 12:49:05 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/11112017bbimplosion_731400.JPEG

Demolition of the marine foundations of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge's old eastern span finished Saturday morning with just one small blip caused by an errant seal, a Caltrans spokesman said.

Piers E17 and E18, the final two piers, were successfully demolished this morning at 7:30 a.m., a spokesman said.

"It went well, it went according to plan," said Alejandro Lopez of Caltrans.

However, there was one minor hitch caused by a seal.

"We had a slight delay because the seal was spotted in the exclusion zone," Lopez said. "We had marine mammal watchers on scene. We followed protocol, and after the animal left the area, we were able to successfully complete the implosion at 7:30 a.m."

The series of implosions to demolish the 1936 concrete structures took place over six weekends this fall, starting in September.

Caltrans combined multiple piers on certain demolition dates, allowing the demolition work to be completed a year ahead of schedule, saving taxpayers nearly $10 million, the agency said.

There was a traffic break on the bridge this morning to accommodate the implosion, but traffic quickly returned to normal after the implosion, Lopez said.



Photo Credit: Caltrans]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland Police Launch Task Force to Prevent Sideshows]]>Sat, 11 Nov 2017 23:24:53 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Oakland_Police_Launch_Task_Force_to_Prevent_Sideshows.jpg

Oakland Police have been out on the streets to deter drivers and spectators from closing down any streets or freeways for illegal sideshows. Sergio Quintana reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland Woman Believes Her Yorkie Was Kidnapped From Her Car]]>Fri, 10 Nov 2017 23:41:12 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/WEB-YORKIE-001.PNG

A beloved seven-year-old Yorkshire terrier went missing from an Oakland resident’s vehicle Sunday afternoon and the owner is convinced the dog was kidnapped.

The dog named Biscuit, was in Melissa Smith’s parked car while she and her mother grabbed lunch at the Guadalajara Restaurant on Fruitvale Avenue when the Yorkie was taken.

According to Smith she had left her dog Biscuit and Buttercup in the car for about 45 minutes and when she returned she saw one dog and assumed both were in the backseat.

When she got to her next location she quickly realized Biscuit was gone and returned to the restaurant to look at surveillance video.

Grainy surveillance videos show the driver of what seems to be a moving truck stand beside the car where Smith left Biscuit.

Smith and Dominic Georges, a co-owner of the dog, have been putting up flyers in the neighborhood and are asking the community for help in getting their dog back.

“The environment is not the same, he makes everything better,” said Smith.

]]>
<![CDATA[Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Lee Speak Out About #GOPTaxScam in SF]]>Fri, 10 Nov 2017 19:00:52 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/pelosileesplitscreen.jpg

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Congresswoman Barbara Lee, both of California, are in San Francisco on Friday, discussing the proposed GOP tax plan.

Both have been blunt about their disapproval of the Tax Cuts and Jobs act. Specifically, they are opposed to eliminating medical, student loans and state and local tax deductions.

“We’re fighting a historic fight and it’s more than just Democrats and Republicans,” said Democratic leader in the House, Nancy Pelosi said. “It’s about who we are, as a country and how we support opportunity and fairness.”

The Mission Bay fire station served as Pelosi’s stage on Friday as she discussed how the new GOP plan affects everybody across the country and benefits only the rich.

“This whole tax bill is a gift to corporate America. $1.5 trillion,” said Pelosi.

Pelosi on Twitter even went so far as to call the proposal a #GOPTaxScam.

Not everyone agrees with Pelosi, like California Republican Vice-Chair, Harmeet Dhillon, who says the drastic dip in the corporate tax rate will lead to new jobs, investments and wage growth.

But there are people who might pay for the corporate cuts in other ways.

“This plan could seriously disincentivize me and many of my colleagues from pursuing graduate degrees and using our disciplines to contribute to the common good,” said recent USF grad, Shara Caya who is worried about the vanishing tax deduction on student loan interest.

President Donald Trump has made a self-imposed deadline for the tax plan to be passed: Thanksgiving.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New A's Ballpark Would Put Bird Mecca at Risk: Expert]]>Thu, 09 Nov 2017 22:22:24 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/birdsballpark1109_714804.JPG

Concerns continue to pile up regarding the Oakland A's projected site for a new ballpark, and the latest involves birds.

The head of the Golden Gate Audubon Society, Cindy Margulis, worries the bird mecca at Lake Merritt would be at serious risk if there's a ballpark nearby.

Margulis says during nesting season, herons, egrets, cormorants, ducks and other species make hundreds of trips a day to the estuary to get food for their their babies, and flying by a loud and lit up ballpark could be disastrous.

"If the crowd erupts when there’s a homer, the birds will get spooked and will potentially fly into the highway and cause traffic accidents," Margulis said. "It could be a disaster for all the wildlife that depends on Lake Merritt for refuge."

She fears birds that have nested here for generations will abandon the area, and that would be a shame.

"I think what’s in the center of Oakland is pretty magical and special," she said.

The A’s have said they’re committed to building the 30,000-plus-seat stadium near Laney College responsibly. In a statement, the team said, "We look forward to engaging in a community process where all voices are incorporated into our plan, including Golden Gate Audubon."

The ballpark plan world require an Environmental Impact Review. Margulis hopes the birds aren’t sent running from home.

"I definitely want the birds to stay, and I want the A’s to stay too," she said. "Wildlife and people and sports and commerce; all of those things can live together in the city, but we have to be respectful of who belongs there."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[G Eazy Calls Out Trump at Benefit Concert for Fire Relief]]>Fri, 10 Nov 2017 10:39:02 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/179*120/GettyImages-827459824.jpg

Oakland rapper G Eazy had some choice words about President Donald Trump during his performance Thursday night at a benefit concert for North Bay fire relief.

The concert, which was headlined by Metallica and the Dave Matthews Band, was held at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

G Eazy took a moment in between songs to call out the president.

"I just have to say one thing while I'm on stage that's really important to me. These fires were completely devastating. A lot of people lost everything and the President of the United States never said anything about it," G Eazy said in between songs before playing a song aimed at the president.



This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Union City Police Find Man Dead in Middle of Street]]>Thu, 09 Nov 2017 14:04:30 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/unioncitypd+-+Copy.JPG

Police officers responding to a medical call in Union City on Thursday stumbled across a man lying dead in the middle of a street. 

The report originated just before 11 a.m. on the 400 block of Lisa Drive, police said. Responding officers found a man on the ground, with paramedics performing life-saving measures. The man was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

The victim, believed to be about 50 years old, may have been involved in some kind of altercation with family members before the medical call, police said. A cause of death is unknown. 

The man will not be identified until his next of kin have been notified of his death. Police are looking into whether a crime occurred.

People with information about the incident are asked to contact Det. Ryan Seto at 510-675-5266 or ryans@unioncity.org.



Photo Credit: Union City Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[EBMUD Begins Testing Water for Lead at Oakland Schools]]>Thu, 09 Nov 2017 11:25:03 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-73080873.jpg

East Bay Municipal Utility District officials on Thursday will begin lead testing of tap water at all schools within the Oakland Unified School District, school district officials said.

Water testing teams will visit schools Thursday morning and test high-use water sources such as faucets and fountainheads. Testing will take place at all OUSD-run K-12 schools and some charter schools, OUSD officials said.

In August, OUSD officials acknowledged finding lead in the water at McClymonds High School. School officials there reported problems with the water supply, particularly from one water fountain at the football field and the cafeteria's kitchen faucets.

In August 2016, lead was also discovered in the high school's showers, which are out of commission.

Oakland Unified School District officials started conducting their own testing at all of its 86 other schools in August this year. They found lead contamination at some sinks and drinking fountains in seven other schools: Glenview Elementary School, Burckhalter Elementary School, Joaquin

Miller Elementary, Brookfield Elementary School, American Indian Charter High School, Fruitvale Elementary School and Thornhill Elementary School.

OUSD spokesman John Sasaki said that water sources were shut down when lead was found inside, and that all faucets with elevated lead levels have been or will be replaced.

Sasaki said that no school in the district has had lead throughout its water system, indicating that it's not the pipes that are causing the lead contamination, but rather the faucets and fountains.

OUSD officials said they expect EBMUD's tests to reinforce the results from their own testing.

In a statement, OUSD Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell expressed enthusiasm about the district's new partnership with EBMUD.

"It is already leading us to new collaboration between our two agencies around water meters, drought-resistant plants, and other water saving measures," Johnson-Trammel said.

More information about the water testing effort is available on the school district website.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[DACA Rallies Slated Across the Bay Area]]>Thu, 09 Nov 2017 12:09:53 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DACA_Rallies_Slated_Across_the_Bay_Area.jpg

Thousands on Thursday are expected to rally in the Bay Area and across America for DACA recipients. Those participating are calling on Congress to pass new legislation and pressing for permanent protections for DACA recipients. Local rallies are being planned at San Francisco State University, San Jose City Hall and Richmond City Hall.]]>
<![CDATA[Car Crashes Into San Leandro Home, Nearly Strikes 2 Children]]>Thu, 09 Nov 2017 06:19:27 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SanLeandroHouseCrash.JPG

A car slammed into a home in San Leandro early Thursday, nearly hitting two sleeping children, according to police.

The driver and four people inside the home were not injured in the crash, which occurred around 2 a.m. along the 14900 block of Patton Avenue, police said.

It is not exactly clear what led up to the crash, but the road was slick due to rain and that, combined with either speed or a mechanical issue, could have played a role, according to police. 

Police do not believe alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash.

The structural integrity of the house was determined to be sound, and the family is able to stay in it, according to police.

An investigation into the crash is ongoing.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Suspects Charged in Shooting Death of Concord Student]]>Wed, 08 Nov 2017 18:44:17 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1108-2017-ConcordSuspects.jpg

Police have released the names and mugshots of two young men accused in the shooting death of a high school student in Concord.

The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office filed charges Wednesday in the murder case against Kristhiam Uceda, 20, and Bryan Sermeno-Chachagua, 18, both of Concord. Uceda was charged with murder and Sermeno-Chachagua was charged with hiding the gun after the shooting, police said.

Three other suspects arrested are not being named because they are minors. One of the unnamed suspects, a 17-year-old male, was charged with murder for driving the involved vehicle in the shooting. Another 17-year-old male was also charged with hiding the gun after the shooting. Police said no charges have been filed at this time against the fifth suspect.

The victim has been identified as 17-year-old Lawrence Janson, who was shot and killed near Olympic Continuation High.

Police said Janson was likely targeted in the shooting. A motive is still under investigation.



Photo Credit: Concord Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[CHP Makes Dramatic Air Rescue of Woman Who Fell Off Horse]]>Wed, 08 Nov 2017 19:04:59 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/chprescue1108_705387.JPG

A woman who fell off a horse on a trail northeast of Green Valley Road in the Alamo area of unincorporated Contra Costa County was saved Wednesday in a dramatic air rescue around noon, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The woman, who is in her 50s, is expected to survive mild to moderate injuries she suffered in the fall, according to Flight Officer Paramedic Shaun Bouyea.

Fire district officials got a call about the accident at 12:04 p.m. and requested an air rescue. As the helicopter hovered at 75 feet, a paramedic was lowered to the woman. He secured her in a rescue apparatus, and the two were lifted up to the helicopter, according to Bouyea.

The woman was flown to a landing zone roughly a mile away, fire officials said.



Photo Credit: CHP]]>
<![CDATA[Man Who Killed Richmond Cop Found Sane, Faces Prison Term]]>Wed, 08 Nov 2017 20:41:24 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/richmondofficer1030_604935.JPG

A jury on Wednesday found a 32-year-old man to be sane when he fatally shot an off-duty Richmond police officer last year.

Last week, Robert Vega was found guilty of manslaughter instead of murder in the February 2016 killing of Officer Gus Vegas inside Vegas's home in Vallejo. Wednesday's decision means Vega faces up to 21 years in prison.

Vega, a former boyfriend of Vegas' daughter, shot Vegas eight times inside the officer's home. Defense attorneys had said Vega suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and feared for his life when Vegas confronted him after hearing screams from his daughter's bedroom.

The off-duty officer was unarmed, prosecutors said.

"My dad dedicated his life to justice and serving his community, and to me, a little bit of justice was sent back my dad's way," Vegas's son, Enrico Maldonado, said about the decision.




Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[New BART Train Cars Fail Safety Inspection]]>Thu, 09 Nov 2017 00:12:37 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/222*120/7-24-17_BART_Fleet_of_Future.JPG

New BART train cars flunked a safety inspection by a state regulatory agency Friday, casting doubt on whether the new 775-car fleet will be providing passenger service by Thanksgiving.

The cars in the agency's 669-car fleet are 30 to 40 years old on average, "the oldest of any heavy rail commuter system in the U.S.," according to spokesman Jim Allison, and the agency is replacing them.

However, BART must first correct a problem that surfaced during a test run of a 10-car pilot train with a California Public Utilities Commission team aboard Friday, according to Elizaveta Malashenko, director of the CPUC's Safety and Enforcement Division.

"The Operator was unable to open the doors at platform stops," Malashenko noted in a Monday letter to BART's general manager.

"... BART is denied permission to operate the new cars in revenue service until the aforementioned issue and all issues have been corrected and an additional ride check is performed by CPUC staff," Malashenko said in her letter.

Allison explained the problem in an interview.

The ten cars "are all connected, and they communicate with the control car in the front like a big caterpillar with a brain," Allison said.

"When the test run arrived at Bayfair Station, instead of recognizing all ten cars, it went into safe mode in which it recognized only three and locked out control of the seven cars in the back," the spokesman said.

"Safe mode" means that only the first three cars are under the operator's control. The rationale is that these cars are closest to the operator and the operator can closely monitor them, he said.

"What we don't know is what triggered it," Allison said.

BART engineers and technical staff from Bombardier Inc., the manufacturer, are working to find out what went wrong, the spokesman said.

The problem must be identified and fixed "before we can assess the impact, if any, on the planned operation of the cars in passenger service around Thanksgiving," Allison said in an email.

The agency had set Nov. 23 as the deadline to roll out passenger service on some of the new trains.

Realistically speaking, the best-case scenario would probably be fixing the problem, passing another test and getting final approval from the utilities commission the week of Nov. 20, Allison said.

That would mean the agency would just squeak in to get passenger service started by Nov. 23, Allison said.

Allison acknowledged that the process could stretch into December.

The timing is at the discretion of the utilities commission, he said.



Photo Credit: Scott Budman/NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland PD Chief Accused of Making False ICE Raid Statements]]>Wed, 08 Nov 2017 09:12:42 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/2-27-16_Oakland_Police_Chief_Sworn_In.jpg

The chair of Oakland's privacy advisory commission and seven other people have filed a complaint alleging that Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick made false statements about an immigration raid in August.

The complaint, which privacy commission chair Brian Hofer and the others filed with Oakland's Citizens Police Review Board on Monday, alleges that Kirkpatrick made at least three false statements about an operation by Homeland Security Investigations, which is part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in West Oakland on the morning of Aug. 16.

Hoyer said at least two Oakland police officers assisted ICE during the raid by blocking off the street to through traffic.

Kirkpatrick said the officers helped ICE because the agency told her that it was carrying out a criminal search and federal search warrant related to a human trafficking case.

The operation began at about 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 16 in the 700 block of 27th Street near West Street and law enforcement officers were at the scene for hours.

Oakland is a Sanctuary City but Kirkpatrick said ICE asked for assistance from the Oakland Police Department.

According to the complaint, Kirkpatrick defended her department's actions at a town hall meeting on Sept. 6, saying that one person had been charged in connection with the Aug. 16 raid.

But the complaint says that no one had been charged with a crime as of Sept. 6 and that is still the case now.

According to the complaint, Kirkpatrick also said at the Sept. 6 meeting that the Aug. 16 didn't involve a deportation matter.

However, the complaint says that a person who was arrested in the operation in August is now facing a civil deportation case.

The complaint also alleges that Kirkpatrick made false statements about the timing of Oakland's termination of its agreement with ICE.

The Oakland City Council voted unanimously on July 18 to terminate an agreement that had allowed Oakland police officers to work on task forces headed by ICE.

Kirkpatrick said the agreement with ICE was ended before the Aug. 16 raid.

But the complaint says Kirkpatrick and ICE officials didn't actually terminate the agreement until Sept. 25.

Hofer said the complaint against Kirkpatrick will be investigated both by the Citizens Police Review Board and by the Oakland Police Department's internal affairs division. He said there's no deadline for the investigations to be completed.

Hofer also said the Oakland City Council's Public Safety Committee will hold a hearing on Nov. 14 on the Police Department's assistance to ICE during the Aug. 16 raid.

Among the other people who filed the complaint against Kirkpatrick are the Rev. J. Alfred Smith Jr. the senior pastor of the Allen Temple Baptist Church in East Oakland, and Tracy Rosenberg, the executive director of Media Alliance.

Kirkpatrick wasn't immediately available for comment and police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said, "The department is unable to discuss internal affairs allegations/complaints."

Watson referred to a statement the Police Department released back on Aug. 16 which said, "Chief Kirkpatrick gave strict instructions to the commander and officers that they may not assist HSI (Homeland Security Investigations) with any enforcement efforts. The officers' only role was that of traffic control and neighborhood safety."

The department's statement in August said, "HSI is conducting a criminal investigation, not a civil immigration or deportation action" and said the unit that was conducting the raid "focuses on transnational gangs, human trafficking, human smuggling, child exploitation and narcotics enforcement."

Watson also released an Oct. 6 statement by Ryan Spradlin, the special agent in charge for HSI's San Francisco office in which he said, "Chief Kirkpatrick has been truthful in her statements about the nature of the ongoing HSI investigation and OPD's involvement."

Spradlin said, "The operation in question involved the execution of a search warrant as part of an ongoing criminal investigation - not a civil immigration investigation. Furthermore, as the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, HSI does not conduct 'raids.'"

Spradlin said, "Because safety is HSI's chief concern during operations, our special agents regularly request assistance from local law enforcement personnel to provide support for officer and public safety. Local law enforcement is best suited for this, as they have an established relationship with the community and knowledge regarding local traffic patterns and other logistical considerations."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Dog Park in Fremont Closed Amid Possible Bacteria Concern]]>Wed, 08 Nov 2017 07:59:24 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CentralParkDogPark.JPG

Crews in Fremont are taking extra precautions Wednesday in response to a dog park being possibly contaminated with a form of bacteria, according to police.

Officials on Monday were notified that a dog that routinely visits the Central Park Dog Park, which is located at 1740 Stevenson Blvd., may have contracted Leptospirosis, police said.

Leptospirosis, which typically lives in water and soil, can be spread through the urine of infected animals as well as through stagnant water, police said. Humans can also be infected with the bacteria.

Signs of symptoms of Leptospirosis include fever, shivering, muscle tenderness, vomiting and diarrhea. A vaccine is available for Leptospirosis. 

Police have not been able to confirm if the dog was sickened at the park or if the dog was sickened at all, but they said teams will be taking extra precautions with additional cleaning. The park, which was already scheduled to be closed this week for routine cleaning and maintenance, will remain closed until the extra cleaning is complete.

Concerned pet owners are encouraged to contact their veterinarian if they have any questions about possible contact with the bacteria. 



Photo Credit: Fremont Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors' Brown 'Hoops for Troops' with Coast Guard]]>Tue, 07 Nov 2017 19:47:42 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Warriors_Brown_Hoops_for_Troops_with_Coast_Guard.jpg

Golden State Warriors Assistant Coach Mike Brown joined team volunteers, as well as Coast Guard Service members Tuesday at the Coast Guard Island gymnasium in Alameda. He was there to assist in "Hoops for Troops" week, something that is near and dear to his heart. Colin Resch reports.]]>
<![CDATA[High-Speed Chase in Oakland Ends in Crash, Arrests: Police]]>Tue, 07 Nov 2017 20:15:51 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/OPDpursuit1107_694118.JPG

A high-speed chase of armed suspects in Oakland ended in a crash Tuesday, leaving one suspect critically injured, according to Oakland police.

At the crash scene at Lakeshore and Lake Park avenues, three people were arrested, and guns were recovered in connection with a crime, police said. 

The pursuit started about 4:25 p.m., when police officers attempted to stop a vehicle in connection with firearms in the area of 98th and Edes avenues, police said.

After the suspect vehicle crashed, one of the suspects fled the vehicle on foot and was struck by a passing vehicle as he crossed the roadway, police said. He was taken to a hospital and was listed in critical condition.

The crash resulted in the closure of the Lakeshore offramp from westbound Interstate 580, according to the California Highway Patrol, which was assiting in the investigation.

Oakland police said the investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Oakland Police Department Felony Assault Section at (510) 238-3426.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[5 Arrested in Shooting Death of Concord Student: Police]]>Tue, 07 Nov 2017 23:47:54 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ConcordOlympicShootingVictim.JPG

Police on Tuesday said five people have been arrested in connection to the shooting death of a Concord high school student.

The student, who was shot and killed near Olympic Continuation High, has been identified as Lawrence Janson, 17. Police said some of the five arrested are minors. The suspected shooter is an adult. Authorities are not releasing the names of the suspects citing an ongoing investigation.

At a press briefing late Tuesday, police said the weapon used in the shooting and getaway vehicle have been found. Police have said Janson likely was targeted, but a motive is still under investigation.

A memorial overflowing with candles and flowers continued to grow Tuesday for Janson.

"My son was gone," Raul Bravo, Janson's stepfather, remembers thinking as he rushed to the hospital and saw hospital staff trying to save his stepson. "Some punk took his life."

The shooting was reported just after 1:30 p.m. at the corner of Salvio Street and Beach Street. Jansen was transported to a local hospital with several gunshot wounds, where he was later pronounced deceased, police said.

A preliminary investigation shows when school was dismissed, a passenger in an unknown dark sedan exited the car and approached a group of individuals off campus. The suspect, who witnesses say was wearing a clown suit, then shot at Janson in what appears to be a targeted shooting, according to police.

Janson ran back onto campus, where he was treated by staff, paramedics and police.

In addition to a noticeable police presence near the campus on Tuesday, counselors were at the school to assist any members of the school community.

If anyone has any information about the shooting, they are asked to contact the Concord Police Department.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Blackhawk Residents Offer $25K for Arrest of Burglars]]>Tue, 07 Nov 2017 08:08:48 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/110717BlackhawkBurglary1.jpg

Residents of the unincorporated Contra Costa County community of Blackhawk near Danville are offering a reward of $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of suspects connected to a string of burglaries in the community, sheriff's officials said Monday.

On Friday at 7:30 p.m., someone called Blackhawk police services to report a burglary in the 5400 block of Blackhawk Drive. A surveillance camera captured images of three people entering a home and stealing valuables and other property, sheriff's officials said.

According to sheriff's officials, the suspects match the description of suspects in previous burglaries in the community.

Anyone with information about the suspects is asked to call Blackhawk Police Services at (925) 736-1018 or the investigative division of the sheriff's office at (925) 313-2600.

Tips can also be sent by email to tips@so.cccounty.us or left anonymously at (866) 846-3592.



Photo Credit: Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department
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<![CDATA[SF-to-Vallejo Ferry Boat Stranded for Hours on San Pablo Bay]]>Mon, 06 Nov 2017 23:47:23 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ferryvallejo1106_683580.JPG

A ferry boat carrying hundreds of passengers from San Francisco to Vallejo became stranded in San Pablo Bay on Monday evening, turning a normally 45-minute commute into a nearly 5-hour debacle.

Passengers reported that the vessel lost both its engines and dropped its anchors off the coast of Hercules and had to wait for assistance from a tug boat. There were an estimated 330 people on the boat.

"It was long, very long," passenger Kristina Gutierrez, of Vallejo, said. "But you’re laughing now. Five delightful hours, yes."

The ferry was towed to Mare Island, where passengers deboarded and boarded another ferry to take them to Vallejo. The tug boat was unable to go directly to Vallejo because its hull was too deep.

"It was fine. It was just a long day's journey into night," passenger Michael Beseda, of Vallejo, said. "Crew was great, very accommodating. It’s good to be on land."

The ferry, which left San Francisco at 5:30 p.m., originally was scheduled to land at Vallejo at 6:15 p.m. The delay was in its third hour by the time the tug boat arrived at the stranded ferry, and because of the side trip to Mare Island, it lasted about another two hours.

"At the end there, we couldn’t use the bathroom, so that kind of sucks. But other than that, it was OK," said Deana Curran, of Vacaville.

The delay will carry over to Tuesday morning, with the 7:15 a.m. service out of Vallejo and the 8:15 a.m. service out of San Francisco operating with buses.

The cause of the engine failures was not known. 



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Berkeley Police Release Photos of Suspect in Fights at Rally]]>Mon, 06 Nov 2017 19:18:36 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/berkeley+suspect-1106.jpg

Berkeley police on Monday released photographs of a woman who they believe was involved in fights at a No to Marxism rally at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park on Aug. 27.

Berkeley police said the photographs they released Monday are a follow-up to photos they released last Thursday. Those photographs, they said, depicted "suspects who were wanted in connection with felonious assaults" that allegedly occurred at the rally, which was organized by conservative activist Amber Cummings, who's known as "Based Tranny."

Police said several people who attended the rally were punched, kicked, and struck with improvised weapons.

Berkeley police said the photographs show the female suspect without her mask so they are again asking people with information about the suspects' identities or crimes to call their homicide unit at (510) 981-4794.

Police arrested 13 people on Aug. 27 at the No to Marxism rally at Civic Center Park and at a separate demonstration called the Rally Against Hate that took place a few blocks away at Oxford and Addison streets on the West Crescent lawn at the University of California at Berkeley. Large crowds were present at both rallies.

Berkeley police said, "We remain focused on taking enforcement action when practical and appropriate before, during and after events."



Photo Credit: Berkeley PD]]>
<![CDATA[Student Fatally Shot Near Olympic High School in Concord]]>Tue, 07 Nov 2017 05:25:15 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/11062017ConcordPolice_6794161.JPG

A student was fatally shot near Olympic High School in Concord Monday afternoon, officials said.

The shooting was reported just after 1:30 p.m. at the corner of Salvio Street and Beach Street, a few blocks from the campus. Mt. Diablo Unified School District officials said the 17-year-old male is a senior student. He was transported to a local hospital with several gunshot wounds, where he was later pronounced deceased, police said.

A preliminary investigation shows when school was dismissed, a passenger in an unknown dark sedan exited the car and approached a group of individuals off campus. The suspect then shot at one of the individuals with the others running way, police said.

The victim ran back onto campus, where he was treated by staff, paramedics and police.

It appears the student was targeted in the shooting, police said.

No other information was immediately available.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Nooses Made Out of Paper Towels Found at School in Hayward]]>Mon, 06 Nov 2017 21:11:35 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NooseGeneric.JPG

The person responsible for crafting nooses out of paper towels and hanging them in a bathroom at Mt. Eden High School in Hayward has been identified, according to the school's principal.

The "disturbing display of hate" was found sometime last week, Principal Greg Fobbs said in a letter addressed to the school community.

"We recognize that hateful displays can make members of our community feel targeted and unsafe," Fobbs wrote. "Mt. Eden takes this incident very seriously and denounces such acts of symbolic violence on our campus."

The bathroom was immediately closed and the nooses were pulled down, according to Fobbs.

Campus safety staff on Friday identified the person responsible, Fobbs said. It is not yet clear if or what type of disciplinary action was taken.

"While this incident was deeply concerning and disappointing, it is also an opportunity to use as a teachable moment to educate our students," Fobbs wrote. "As a community, let’s work together to foster a safe environment for all at Mt. Eden.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Juvenile Arrested for Alleged Carjacking at BART Station]]>Mon, 06 Nov 2017 07:29:23 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police+lights+generic2.jpg

Pittsburg police Saturday night arrested a juvenile suspected of carjacking a vehicle from the Rockridge BART station parking lot the night before.

Just before 9 p.m. Saturday, the suspect was allegedly driving the stolen vehicle, a gray 2017 Honda Accord, and crashed. The suspect tried to flee the scene but was arrested by Pittsburg police officers, BART police said.

According to BART police, just after 9 p.m. Friday, a woman was in the vehicle in the west parking lot of the Rockridge BART station in Oakland when the suspect approached and allegedly pointed a semi-automatic handgun at her.

The woman got out of her vehicle and the suspect and a male accomplice then drove away with it, police said. The woman was not injured during the carjacking.

The carjacking remains under investigation, police said.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[East Bay Teacher Arrested for Possible Improper Contact]]>Tue, 07 Nov 2017 00:06:58 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/WalnutCreekIntermediateSchool.JPG

A science teacher in Walnut Creek has been accused of possible improper contact with a minor, according to an East Bay school district.

Michael Bartel, who has been teaching at Walnut Creek Intermediate School and previously worked in the Martinez School District, was arrested on Friday on charges of child pornography and other related offenses, according to the Martinez Unified School District.

Bartel, 33, was a substitute teacher in Martinez during the 2013-2014 school year, according to the district. He has been teaching in Walnut Creek for the past three school years.

The allegations do not involve any current or former students in the two East Bay school districts, according to officials.

Bartel was hired to work at the Walnut Creek school after a thorough, standard background check that included fingerprinting and a criminal history review, district officials said.

Bartel is a graduate of California State University, East Bay and has been teaching since 2011.

A fully credentialed and retired teacher is currently substituting for Bartel's classroom. The case remains under investigation.

Further information was not available.

Bay City News contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Two-Alarm Fire Rips Through Apartment in San Leandro]]>Mon, 06 Nov 2017 11:58:04 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/slfire1105_670822.JPG

Firefighters battled a two-alarm apartment fire in San Leandro late Sunday night, according to the Alameda County Fire Department.

Crews responded about 10:20 p.m. to reports of a fire that broke out at 1746 Carpentier St., fire officials said.

Firefighters knocked down the flames in about 20 minutes, but the residents of six apartment units were displaced, according to fire officials.

No one was injured, but a snake and some cats were killed, fire officials said.

It is not yet clear what sparked the fire.

No further details were available.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Rally Protests Proposed Closure of Alta Bates Medical Center]]>Sun, 05 Nov 2017 12:14:02 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/altabates.jpg

Nurses and community members are rallying Sunday in Berkeley to protest Sutter Health's proposed closure of Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, a Sutter Health affiliate.

The event, dubbed a "stroller brigade," will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Alta Bates Medical Center on Ashby Avenue. Pizza will be served, and there will be arts and crafts, stroller decorating and other children's activities, organizers said.

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin, Ethel Long-Scott, Executive Director of the Women's Economic Agenda Project and Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto, an El Cerrito City Councilmember and RN, are among the speakers, according to the California Nurses Association, which organized the event.

"The medical center is the city's only acute care medical facility. Shutting it down would not be good for patients," said Martha Wallner of National Nurses United.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Who Went Missing in Lafayette Found Safe]]>Sat, 04 Nov 2017 19:09:52 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/KristineKent-Missing-Woman.jpg

Police have located a woman who went missing Saturday morning in Lafayette, police said.

Shortly before midnight on Saturday, police announced that 64-year-old Kristine Kent was safe. She had been located by the Contra Costa County sheriff's Search and Rescue Team, police said.

On Saturday evening, officers were sent to the 3000 block of North Lucille Lane to search for Kent, who was last seen before 7:30 a.m. that day.

Kent had left her purse and phone at home and was considered at risk because of a mental health issue, police said.

This was not the first time Kent had gone missing. Police said that last year she had left her home, but was later found in the neighborhood.



Photo Credit: Lafayette Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Berkeley Police Seek Help to ID 'Felonious Assault Suspects']]>Sat, 04 Nov 2017 14:36:13 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/berkeleysuspects1.jpg

Berkeley police on Thursday asked for the public's help to identify suspects who allegedly were involved in fights at a "No to Marxism" rally at Civic Center Park on Aug. 27.

Police said several attendees were punched, kicked, and struck with improvised weapons during the rally, which was organized by conservative activist Amber Cummings, who's known as "Based Tranny."

Police arrested 13 people on Aug. 27 at the "No to Marxism" rally at Civic Center Park and at a separate demonstration called the "Rally Against Hate" that took place a few blocks away at Oxford and Addison streets on the West Crescent lawn at the University of California at Berkeley.

Large crowds were present at both rallies.

Berkeley police said the people in pictures they released are believed to be the persons responsible for several of the attacks at the Civic Center Park rally. They described the people as "felonious assault suspects."


Berkeley police said in a statement, "We remain committed to pursuing all investigative leads in an effort to secure justice for our victims. We are grateful to those members of the community who provided us with the video footage which was used to capture these images but we still need your help."

Police said tips and leads from the public have helped them identify and pursue warrants on other suspects.

"Through engaged community partnerships we will continue to facilitate the free expression of the First Amendment in an environment safe for all, police said.

The department, they added, "remains focused on protecting the peaceful expression of free speech, to include identifying and locating criminal behavior directed at those exercising their rights."

Officers are "committed to taking enforcement action when practical and appropriate before, during and after events," police said.

People with information about the suspects' identities or crimes are asked to call 510-981-4794.



Photo Credit: Berkeley Police Department
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<![CDATA[One Person Severely Injured in Two-Car Crash in Antioch]]>Sat, 04 Nov 2017 13:32:12 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_police_tape_lights_generic24.jpg

One person sustained major injuries in a two-car collision early Saturday in Antioch, fire officials said.

The crash at 8:50 a.m. left a person trapped in one of the cars at Kennedy Way and Delta Fair Boulevard, according to Bob Atlas, a battalion chief with the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.

The victim was removed with the Jaws of Life and transported to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.

As rain poured down on the Bay Area, Atlas urged people to drive safely.

"Based on the rain that we have had the last couple of hours, the conditions on the roadway are wet and that bring the oils of the roadway to the surface and makes for an extra dangerous surface to drive on," he said.

Further details were not immediately known.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File image]]>
<![CDATA[Coffee With Principal Invitation Sparks Controversy]]>Sat, 04 Nov 2017 08:08:42 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Coffee_with_Principal_Invitation_Sparks_Controversy.jpg

An invite to have coffee with an elementary school principal is raising some eyebrows. It's all because of how it was planned -- segregated by race.

The invite went out to parents in the Pleasanton Unified School District. One parent said the move was divisive and offensive.

A Pleasanton mother who did not want to be identified said she is outraged over an invitation to coffee with the principal. Last week, the principal at Vintage Hills Elementary invited parents to coffee, but the meetings were scheduled by race.

The principal said the purpose to address the needs of English learners and marginalized populations.

A district spokesperson said the principal didn't mean to offend anybody, but the district is looking at ways to improve their approach in the future. An education professor at UC Berkeley says while holding race specific parent meetings is unusual, it cold be helpful, especially in a time some people feel targeted.

But this parent says she and other would like an apology. She believes the school should be focused on uniting, not dividing.

]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland City Workers Walk Out Ahead of Mayor's Address]]>Thu, 02 Nov 2017 16:39:21 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/oaklland+strike-1102.jpg

Hundreds of Oakland city workers walked off the job Thursday, staging a strike as Mayor Libby Schaaf prepared to deliver her State of the City address.

Libraries, senior centers and recreation facilities closed early as disgruntled workers walked picket lines.

Union leaders say workers have been without a contact for nearly five months. They say staffing levels haven’t changed since 2008, making response times to issues such as Oakland’s growing homelessness problem difficult and dangerous.

The mayor said the city values its workers and added that a resolution is close. In the meantime libraries, senior centers and other city facilities were shut down for the day.

"They’re not offering us enough to cover the cost of living," said Sarina Baldwin, Oakland's revenue collector.

Folks who work at the Oakland city library say they’ve been overworked and underpaid for years.

"The library is a great place. We are a public institution, always been open to any and every person who walks through our doors," library aide Lina Hernandez said. "We work the jobs of two, three people sometimes."

Felipe Cuevas, SEIU chapter president, agreed, saying there are fewer workers doing as much work as they can but having trouble keeping up with it.

Schaaf responded to the protest ahead of her speech.

"The City shares many of the same concerns the workers do," she said in a statement. "We all want a clean beautiful safe city. We all believe in the dignity of work."

Striking workers outside the building where the mayor was set to deliver her address said they were there to let the city of Oakland know what’s really going on and what the actual state of the city is.



Photo Credit: Jodi Hernandez/NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Early Winter Storm to Dump Rain, Snow on Northern California]]>Fri, 03 Nov 2017 17:35:05 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-467299859.jpg

A storm moving in from the Gulf of Alaska arrived Friday in Northern California, soaking the state's Redwood Coast for several hours.

Rain increased from a light drizzle overnight to steady rain on Friday in the state's far north, forecasters with the National Weather Service said.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, overnight light rain made for slick roads ahead of the morning commute.

A mountain pass across the Sierra Nevada that runs through Yosemite National Park closed to traffic Thursday ahead of the storms expected to dump up to 2 feet of snow on the highest peaks, park officials said.

Officials are asking drivers to be safe and prepared for this Winter-like storm by having chains on their vehicles. Despite the dangers, the early snow is a welcome sign for several ski resorts who hope to get several hundred inches of snow for the season. 

Resorts like Boreal Ski will be the first to open their ski area in the California for the 2017-2018 season. 

"It's incredible when we're able to open early," said Tucker Norred. "There's some seasons when we only 73 inches and there's others that we've had 750 inches." 

In fire-scarred regions of Northern California's wine country, meanwhile, crews were working to stem the flow of ash, soil or hazardous substances into waterways in case the storms bring heavy rains there.

Tioga Road, the soaring eastern entry to Yosemite, was closed to traffic shortly before nightfall Thursday. Officials were also closing Glacier Point Road, which offers sweeping views of Yosemite Valley.

Both roads are to be shut through Monday, when the storms are expected to dissipate and road conditions can be assessed.

Two storm systems will be moving through Northern California over the weekend, bringing rain and snow to the region.

Most of the rain is expected overnight Friday into Saturday morning.

In Sonoma County north of San Francisco, crews have been working long days to prevent feared mudslides and water pollution in areas hit by last month's devastating wildfires, which killed at least 43 people and destroyed more than 8,900 homes and other structures.

The work includes placing sandbags and bundles of straw to block runoff into streams, and moving to capture some of the runoff in urban areas that burned. California has declared a public-health emergency in fire areas in part out of concern that household chemicals from burned areas could contaminate soil and water.

This weekend, up to 2 feet of snow are forecast to fall in elevations above 8,000 feet, and at least a foot of snow is expected in Donner and Tioga passes and other areas above 6,000 feet and up, forecasters said. The storms coming in from the Gulf of Alaska will also bring rain to the San Francisco Bay Area, including North Bay counties still recovering from last month's fires.

The first storm will clear by Sunday afternoon. But a second storm system is expected to hit the area Sunday night.

So far, the only Lake Tahoe-area ski resort open is Mt. Rose area on the Nevada side. But operators were pleased with the forecast.

"We are so excited for the coming storms," said Marcie Bradley, a spokeswoman with Northstar Ski Resort in Truckee, which is scheduled to open Nov. 17.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bomb Threat Investigation at Dublin High School]]>Thu, 02 Nov 2017 13:57:54 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/dublin+hs+attack-1101.jpg

Students at Dublin High School were dismissed early from class Thursday afternoon due to a bomb threat investigation.

Dublin police said no explosives were located at the campus.

School officials said all afternoon events, scheduled practices and games were canceled due to the investigation.

No other information was immediately available.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Former Dublin High Student Arrested for Alleged Bomb Threat ]]>Fri, 03 Nov 2017 17:37:51 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Taylor-Pearson-Bomb-Threat-Dublin-High.JPG

A 20-year-old former Dublin High School student has been arrested for allegedly threatening to blow up the school on Thursday because she was upset about how the school investigated a recent assault on a current female student, police said Friday.

Taylor Mychelle Pearson is being held at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin in lieu of $65,000 bail on suspicion of making a false bomb report, making a false emergency report and making a criminal threat, according to jail records.


Dublin police Capt. Nate Schmidt said Pearson is accused of using her cellphone to call the Dublin Unified School District shortly before 1:45 p.m. on Thursday and threaten to blow up the high school, which is located at 8151 Village Parkway in Dublin.

School was dismissed early and police used bomb dogs and a drone to search the campus but no explosive devices were found and at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday it was deemed that the school was safe and that normal operations could resume, Schmidt said.

When police interviewed Pearson she allegedly said she had seen a social media article about an assault on a female Dublin High School student and was upset about how the investigation into that incident was handled, Schmidt said.

He didn't disclose the details of that previous incident.

Pearson tentatively is scheduled to be arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court in Dublin on Monday in connection with the alleged bomb threat, according to jail records.



Photo Credit: Dublin Police
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