<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Local News - North Bay]]>Copyright 2019http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/localen-usMon, 23 Sep 2019 09:52:52 -0700Mon, 23 Sep 2019 09:52:52 -0700NBC Local Integrated Media<![CDATA[High Fire Danger May Trigger PG&E Power Shutoff in North Bay]]>561097031Sun, 22 Sep 2019 23:39:17 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/PGECampFire.JPG

PG&E said Sunday because of the incoming hot, dry and windy conditions across Northern California this week, it anticipates deploying its Public Safety Power Shutoff program in nine counties.

The shutoff could affect about 124,000 customers in the nine counties starting Monday afternoon or early evening, the utility said.

Those areas include portions of Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties in the North Bay, as well as Butte, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sutter and Yuba counties in the Sierra foothills, PG&E said.

The number of customers who may potentially be impacted by county include:

Lake, 12,840; Napa, 10,500; Sonoma, 33,500; Butte, 22,920; El Dorado, 3,640; Nevada, 12,950; Placer, 22,180; Sutter, 230; an Yuba, 5,240.

PG&E said it will make a final decision on whether to proceed with the power shutoff by late Monday morning.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Interactive Satellite Map Shows Aftermath of Santa Rosa Fire]]>450808983Mon, 16 Oct 2017 13:41:17 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/188*120/2017-10-13-satellite-image.jpg

This interactive map, created by Robin Kraft with information from Digital Globe and help from Mapbox, shows satellite images taken on Oct. 14, 2017 of Santa Rosa neighborhoods and surrounding areas destroyed by the North Bay fires. 

Use the search box in the upper right corner to go to a specific street address.

You can view the map below, or click here for a wider view

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Decision 2018: Bay Area Election Results Tracker]]>499899851Wed, 07 Nov 2018 02:00:22 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_181566006960731.jpg

Track California election results for federal, state and local elections — live.

Photo Credit: Richard Vogel/AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Weather Service Issues Fire Weather Watch Starting Monday]]>561048261Sun, 22 Sep 2019 23:51:14 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Heat-Generic-Photo.jpg

Warmer temperatures in the forecast have prompted the National Weather Service to issue a fire weather watch starting Monday night for the North and East Bay hills and higher elevations in the Diablo Range.

Hotter temperatures around the region are expected on Tuesday and Wednesday, to be followed by widespread cooling on Thursday, according to the weather service. The fire weather watch will be in effect from 9 p.m. Monday to 5 a.m. Wednesday.

Temperatures will range from the upper 80s to low 100s on Tuesday and Wednesday in interior locations, along with the North/East Bay hills and the Diablo Range.

Areas along the coast are expected to see highs on Tuesday ranging from the upper 70s to mid 80s. Temperatures along the San Francisco Bay shoreline and around the Northern Monterey Bay are expected to be in the upper 80s to low 90s.

<![CDATA[PG&E May Shut Off Power to Some North Bay Cities Next Week]]>561007461Sat, 21 Sep 2019 18:23:47 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Power+Shutoff.jpg

PG&E has confirmed that there is a possibility that power will be shut off for parts of the North Bay early next week to decrease fire risk during hot, dry weather. The utility company has said that it will notify customers if a shutoff becomes imminent.

“To be clear, a public safety power shutoff has not been called,” said PG&E spokesperson Deanna Contreras. “We’re just monitoring some adverse conditions that we see for Monday and Tuesday.”

PG&E has a new weather website that shows that the potential for public safety power shutoffs is elevated for zones three through five Monday and Tuesday. Before a shutoff the level would have to move to watch and warning, triggering more notifications. A public safety power shutoff happens under certain conditions.

“That could be gusty winds, dry conditions combined with a heightened fire risk threatening a portion of the electric system,” Contreras said. “There is no single factor.”

Santa Rosa resident Lisl Christie wants to be prepared for a potential shutoff, especially when it comes to notification.

“It’s helpful to me for a couple of reasons,” she said. “One is that I like to make sure that I’m ready at home so I always keep a half tank of gas in my car. A power shutdown would mean no access to gas.”

The Santa Rosa Fire Department is monitoring the situation and Tweeted out proactively to let neighbors know that though it’s not imminent, they should be aware.

“The reality is we have been working hard with PG&E as well as our partners with the county of Sonoma to make sure we get as much early notification as possible so that we can continue to educate,” said Paul Lowenthal of the Santa Rosa Fire Department.

<![CDATA[Man Gets Life in Prison for Molesting Young Family Members]]>560981671Sat, 21 Sep 2019 09:25:09 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-141810855+%281%29+resized+handcuffs+closeup.jpg

A Napa County man was sentenced Friday to 90 years to life in prison for sexual molestations against two family members under age 14 between 2010 and 2014 in Napa and Santa Clara counties, the Napa County District Attorney's Office said.

Alvin Villete Caparaz, 46, was convicted by a jury on July 25 of forcible lewd and lascivious conduct with a child under 14, aggravated sexual assault of a child, forcible sexual penetration of a child under 14 and lewd and lascivious conduct with a child under 14.

The two victims were between 7 and 13 years old at the time of the offenses, District Attorney Allison Haley said.

One of the victims disclosed the molestations that led to criminal charges filed against Caparaz in May 2015. One of the victims and the victims' mothers made victim impact statements in court, the District Attorney's Office said.

Napa County Superior Court Judge Elia Ortiz awarded $495,000 restitution to the victims and their families. Deputy District Attorney Agnes Dziadur said the assaults caused extreme psychological damage.

"While it is true that money is a poor substitute for the loss of child innocence and trust, it's the Legislature's best attempt at making the survivors whole and symbolizes the court and society's recognition of the severity of the acts the defendant committed," Dziadur said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Steph Curry to Play in Pro-Am at Safeway Golf Tournament]]>560863151Fri, 20 Sep 2019 03:43:17 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/stephgolfap.jpg

Organizers of the Safeway Open pro golf tournament taking place next week in Napa County announced Thursday that there will be a special guest at the pro-am -- Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry.

Curry will pair up with golfer Phil Mickelson at the event Wednesday at the Silverado Resort and Spa prior to the four-day PGA Tour tournament that runs Thursday through Sunday.

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and Michelin star chef Thomas Keller are among the other celebrity amateur golfers participating in the pro-am, which starts at 7:20 a.m. Wednesday. Curry's pairing with Mickelson tees off at 11:40 a.m.

Daily tickets to the Safeway Open start at $35 and include admission to a concert series and six hospitality venues at the course, including a food and wine pavilion.

More information about the tournament can be found online at www.safewayopen.com.

Photo Credit: Monte Poole]]>
<![CDATA[Students Prep Demonstrations for Climate Change Awareness]]>560852111Thu, 19 Sep 2019 23:41:30 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/climate+strike+vo.jpg

Bay Area students on Friday will be joining thousands of students across the country in a global climate strike aimed at getting politicians to treat climate change as a moral obligation.

The inspiration comes from Swedish 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, who single-handedly protested outside of parliament, demanding that lawmakers in her country treat climate change as a top priority.

Students are preparing walkouts and protests, both on and off campus, as a kickoff to a weeklong event aimed at bringing awareness to the challenges the planet faces.

"Climate change is an urgent issue and there is a time limit," said Aiden Mo, a student at Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon.

School administrators at Dougherty Valley High support a campus strike but not a walkout.

"So much of the trash and things that can be recycled end up in the ocean killing animals," said Noor Nibber, another San Ramon student.

"We want to make some noise about climate action and what we as students are willing to fight for," another student said.

Student groups on UC Berkeley’s campus will be protesting at Sproul Plaza, eventually taking their message to the streets.

"It’s going to change the environment on Earth. Once those glaciers are melted you can’t put them back together," said UC Berkeley student Trisan Wells.

UC Berkeley students plan to get together with high schoolers from Berkeley and head to San Francisco for a larger protest.

More information about the coming week's climate events can be found here.

Here’s where the climate change demonstrations will be around the Bay Area on Friday:

• Marin County Student Climate Strike

   9 a.m.

   San Rafael City Center Plaza, 1002 Fourth St., San Rafael

• Los Altos High School Student Walkout

   Meeting at 10 a.m., marching out at 10:15 a.m.

   Los Altos High School, 201 Almond Ave., Los Altos

• Bay Area Youth Climate Strike

   10 a.m.

   San Francisco Federal Building, 90 Seventh St., San Francisco

• Oakland-Laney Climate Strike Rally/Merging With Youth-Led March in San Francisco

   10 a.m.

   Main Quad, Campus Center, 900 Fallon St., Oakland

• Richmond California Climate Strike

   11 a.m.

   Richmond Civic Center Plaza, 450 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond

• Mill Valley Climate Strike

   11 a.m.

   Depot Plaza in Downtown, 87 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley

• Petaluma Strike

   11 a.m.

   Meet at Petaluma City Library, March to Walnut Park Gazebo, 100                     Fairgrounds Dr., Petaluma

• Students for Climate Action

   9 a.m.

   UC Berkeley, Sproul Plaza, Berkeley

• Mountain View Climate Strike

   11:30 a.m.

   Mountain View Caltrain Station, 600 West Evelyn Ave., Mountain View

• Sebastopol Youth Strike

   12 p.m.

   Sebastopol Plaza, Weeks Way, Sebastopol

• Sonoma County Strike

   12 p.m.

   Courthouse Square, 70 Old Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa

• #YouthClimateStrike at DVHS

   12:20 p.m.

   Dougherty Valley High School Quad, 10550 Albion Rd., San Ramon

• Los Gatos Climate Strike Event

   2 p.m.

   Summit House on Highway 17, 23123 Santa Cruz Hwy., Los Gatos

• Napa Youth Climate Strike

   2 p.m.

   Veterans Park, 800 Main St., Napa

• Silicon Valley Youth Climate Strike

   2:45 p.m.

   Diridon Station, 65 Cahill St., San Jose

• Mill Valley Seniors for Peace Climate Strike

   3 p.m.

   40 Camino Alto, Mill Valley

• Berkeley Climate Action Coalition/Ecology Center Strike

   3 p.m.

   Ecology Center Store, 2530 San Pablo Ave., Suite H, Berkeley

• Morgan Hill Students Rally for Action on Climate Change

   4 p.m.

   Morgan Hill City Hall, 1757 Peak Ave., Morgan Hill

<![CDATA[Santa Rosa: Inmate Tries to Grab Deputy's Gun in Court]]>560758121Thu, 19 Sep 2019 02:28:03 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/court-gavel-generic-san-die1.jpg

A Sonoma County jail inmate allegedly tried to grab a sheriff's deputy's gun in a Sonoma County courtroom Tuesday morning.

Sean Seeman, 27, was in court for the beginning of a trial for multiple felony offenses including attempted murder of a correctional deputy, gassing sheriff's deputies and attempted sexual assault, sheriff's Sgt. Juan Valencia said.

Seeman's wrists were handcuffed at his sides and he was wearing waist restraints as the deputy walked him back to his seat when he allegedly reached for the deputy's gun with his left hand, Valencia said.

The deputy took Seeman to the ground to control his movements and other deputies helped control and escort Seeman out of the courtroom. The deputy suffered moderate injuries, Valencia said.

Seeman was arrested and booked on suspicion of attempting to remove a peace officer's service weapon, battery against a peace officer, obstructing a peace officer and resisting using force or fear.

Seeman was arrested in July 2018 for allegedly attacking a Forestville coffee barista. He's also accused of throwing feces or other bodily fluids at jail deputies and staff.

<![CDATA[Presidential Candidate Beto O'Rourke Visits San Quentin]]>560731752Wed, 18 Sep 2019 18:37:44 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Presidential_Candidate_Beto_O_Rourke_Visits_San_Quentin.jpg

As the president toured a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, one of the persons trying to replace him went to prison. It wasn't a typical campaign stop for Beto O'Rourke. His visit at San Quentin was about sitting down with inmates for a heartfelt discussion about life behind bars and the candidate’s position on criminal justice reform. Melissa Colorado reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Marin Co. Dairy Farmer Leading Charge to Reduce Methane Gas]]>560696151Wed, 18 Sep 2019 19:57:02 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/200*120/albert+and+tarp.jpg

When it comes to the less-glamorous side of dairy farming, West Marin County dairyman Albert Straus has embraced everything his cows care to contribute — from their milk to their poop to their belches.

As the world looks for ways of reducing polluting greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change, Straus has taken aim at his own dairy in the fight.

"I was always looking at how could I address the methane concerns from dairies," Straus said, standing on his farm in Marshall, facing the sweeping expanse of the Tomales Bay.

In 1994, Straus’ Dairy become the first certified organic dairy and creamery west of the Mississippi. In 2004, he became the first to install a methane digester to capture harmful methane gas from his cows’ poop while turning it into energy. Now he’s targeting the cow’s belches, launching an experiment to see if feeding red seaweed to his cows will reduce their burping — another major source of polluting methane gas.

"I think it’s about 40% of the methane coming from cows is from belches,” Straus said.

Methane is a greenhouse gas 30 times more harmful than carbon dioxide in heating the earth’s atmosphere and contributing to climate change. In his effort to harness the methane coming from his cow’s manure, Straus installed the digester, which uses bacteria to extract the gas from the poop beneath a large tarp and turn it into electricity.

The process created so much electricity that Straus could power his entire farm from it and even have excess to sell back to PG&E. The solids extracted from the manure are used to fertilize the farm’s fields. Heat from the motor heats the water used to clean his milking machines. Straus uses the electricity to charge his new electric feed truck.

"I’d like to claim the first electric feed truck in the world to feed our cows powered by our cows," Straus boasted.

California recently passed an ambitious goal ordering the state’s dairies to cut methane emissions 40% by the year 2030. On Straus’ farm, he’s trying to go a step further. He’s set a goal to make his farm carbon neutral by the year 2020.

"We have the first dairy in the United States to have a carbon farm plan, a 20-year plan to sequester 2,000 metric tons per year," Straus said.

Scientists said it’s urgent more farms follow the same path as Straus in working to reduce methane emissions, which in addition to livestock, are contributed by oil refineries, food scraps and rice fields.

"Just a little bit of methane has a very big impact on the amount of heat that’s trapped by the earth’s atmosphere, thereby causing the climate to warm," said William Collins, a professor of climate science at UC Berkeley. "We’re virtually certain that we have a limited window in which to act to forestall the worst effects of climate change."

Straus said he’s looking forward to launching his experiment to reduce cow belching in conjunction with UC Davis. He said certain varieties of red seaweed can stifle cow belching by 80 to 90%.

Straus looked out across the farm his father founded in 1941, looking past the digester and the lagoon of liquified cow poop, across grassy fields pressed against the Tomales Bay.

"I feel essential that we work together to look at a common vision for the future," Straus said.

Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr./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[Inmate from Mendocino Co. Camp Captured in Vallejo]]>560654551Wed, 18 Sep 2019 01:28:03 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/090219+police+lights+dc+police+lights+generic.jpg

An inmate who walked away from a minimum security conservation camp in Mendocino County on Friday was captured in Vallejo Monday, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said.

Special agents from the Office of Correctional Safety and Special Services Unit found the inmate, Jonathan Washington, and took him into custody, correctional officials said.

Washington was committed to state prison on Dec. 28 from Kings County. He was serving a three-year, eight-month term for vandalism and inflicting corporal injury on people resulting in a traumatic condition.

Washington will be taken to a California Correctional Center and will no longer be housed in a conservation camp. He was housed in the Chamberlain Creek Conservation Camp in Mendocino County when he went missing.

Details on how he arrived in Vallejo were not disclosed.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Vallejo PD Arrests SF Man on Child Porn, Molestation Charges]]>560639251Tue, 17 Sep 2019 20:42:24 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/vallejo-molest-0917.jpg

Vallejo police have arrested a San Francisco man on suspicion of fondling a minor in a restaurant in August and possessing child pornography, a police lieutenant said.

Officers responded on Aug. 31 to an IHOP restaurant at 114 Plaza Drive after a citizen reported a man fondling a child, Lt. Fabio Rodriguez said.

Alexander Bantov, 58, was with two minors he was looking after when police arrived at the restaurant. Bantov was arrested after a second restaurant patron reported seeing him touching a minor, Rodriguez said.

Bantov was booked in the county jail for lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 and later released.

On Thursday, police detectives allegedly found images of child pornography when they reviewed Bantov's cellphone. Rodriguez alleged one of the images was of Bantov performing a lascivious act with one of the minors he was with at the restaurant. Police then issued an arrest warrant for Bantov for alleged child molestation and possession of child pornography.

On Thursday evening, police searched Bantov's home on 30th Avenue in San Francisco. He was arrested and booked again in the Solano County Jail, Rodriguez said. Bantov was not in custody Tuesday, according to the jail booking log.

Police searched electronic devices seized from Bantov's home and allegedly found additional images of child pornography, Rodriguez said.

Anyone with information about other victims of abuse are asked to contact Detective Craig Long at (707) 648-4514.

Photo Credit: Vallejo PD]]>
<![CDATA[Judge Sets Trial for Tubbs Fire Victims' Claims Against PG&E]]>560584631Tue, 17 Sep 2019 09:13:09 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Study_to_Detail_Health_Impact_of_Tubbs_Fire_on_Firefigh.jpg

A San Francisco Superior Court judge on Monday set a Jan. 7 date for a trial on claims against PG&E by a small group of elderly and ill Sonoma County residents who were harmed in the 2017 Tubbs Fire.

Judge Teri Jackson also ruled that the civil jury trial will be held in San Francisco Superior Court, as requested by the plaintiffs, and not in Sonoma County Superior Court, as sought by PG&E.

The 37,000-acre Tubbs Fire in Napa and Sonoma counties, in which 22 people died, is the second deadliest California wildfire on record. The deadliest is the 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County, which killed 85 people.

Although Cal Fire announced in January that the Tubbs Fire was caused by a private electrical system in Calistoga, the 18 plaintiffs claim that PG&E should be held liable.

Most wildfire lawsuits against PG&E have been put on hold as a result of PG&E's Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, in which the utility is seeking financial reorganization to handle claims from the devastating North Bay wildfires in 2017 and 2018.

But U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali cleared the way for the Tubbs Fire trial in the state court system when he lifted a stay on that case in August. Although the 18 plaintiffs are only a few of the alleged Tubbs Fire victims, Montali said the trial will serve as a test case to aid his court in determining PG&E's total wildfire liability.

In most of the other North Bay fires, Cal Fire has concluded that PG&E equipment was at fault.

PG&E said in a statement, "We remain committed to supporting wildfire victims and resolving their claims. PG&E will fully participate in this legal process."

The 18 plaintiffs in the upcoming trial were given preference for the trial under a state rule that gives people who are elderly or ill priority in having their cases resolved.

<![CDATA[Father of 13-Month-Old Who Died in Santa Rosa Home, Dies]]>560365631Tue, 17 Sep 2019 10:00:15 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Santa_Rosa_Police_Investigate_Suspicious_Death_of_Child.jpg

The father of the 13-month-old boy who died in a home in Santa Rosa Saturday afternoon, died from his injuries.

29-year-old Patrick Oneill, the man who was found in the same house lying next to the child, died Monday. Oneill was supposed to be booked into jail after being cleared from the hospital, police said.

The 13-month-old boy and Oneill were found in the same house Saturday. They were rushed to a hospital Saturday afternoon after an acquaintance came to check on them at a western Santa Rosa house, police said.

Police had been called to the house in the 200 block of Darek Drive about 12:50 p.m. Saturday. Officers found the man and the baby lying next to each other on the floor of a back bedroom. Despite lifesaving efforts by medical personnel, the baby was pronounced dead at the scene.

Oneill was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of what police described as "life-threatening injuries." 

Oneill, a Santa Rosa resident, was arrested for murder and was supposed to be booked into jail after being cleared from the hospital, police said.

In addition to the baby and Oneil, police found items "consistent with narcotic use." It wasn't immediately clear, however, what role, if any, drugs played in the baby's death, or how the two were injured.

"We still have some more investigating to do," said Santa Rosa pole Lt. Dan Marincik in an email. "We saw no signs of physical injury, and their was narcotic paraphernalia in the room. We believe that the 29-year-old put the child in a situation that ultimately caused his death.

Police encourage anyone with information about what happened at the Daren Drive house to call the Santa Rosa Police Department's Violent Crimes Investigation Team at (707) 543-3590.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[San Rafael Man Found Dead in Submerged Vehicle]]>560497251Mon, 16 Sep 2019 11:49:13 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police+line+yellow+%5Bgenericsla%5D.jpg

The Marin County Sheriff's Office has identified a driver who was found dead in a submerged vehicle in China Camp State Park Saturday afternoon as Gerard William Jasper Haynes, 67, of San Rafael.

Passersby called 911 around 12:10 p.m. to report an overturned vehicle in a waterway 30 feet off the roadway near Buckeye Point, according to the sheriff's office.

Responders extricated a male who appeared unconscious in the vehicle and pronounced him dead at the scene, Chief Deputy Coroner Roger Fielding said.

The time and cause of the crash is under investigation, Fielding said.

Photo Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Teen's Lawyers Drop Bid for His Release in Italy]]>560492681Mon, 16 Sep 2019 10:45:57 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Teens2.jpg

The lawyers of one of two Bay Area teenagers being held in the slaying of an Italian police officer have dropped a request for their client to be released.

Lawyers for Gabriel Natale-Hjorth, who’s in custody for his alleged role in the fatal stabbing of Italian police officer Mario Cerciello Rega, said Monday they need time to study new evidence that emerged recently.

Lawyer Francesco Petrelli says “it was the only possible decision, as prosecutors told us there are new investigative activities ongoing.”

Natale-Hjorth and his friend, Finnegan Lee Elder, were jailed in Rome in July as investigators probe their alleged roles in Cerciello Rega’s death.

Prosecutors say Elder stabbed Cerciello Rega while Natale-Hjorth scuffled with the officer’s partner during a meeting organized by the teens to get money and cocaine in exchange for a backpack they had snatched.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Italian Carabinieri via AP]]>
<![CDATA[Mexican Tycoon Arrested When Boat Kills Son in SF Bay]]>560489371Mon, 16 Sep 2019 23:29:53 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/09162019SFBelvedere_8787456.JPG

A member of one of Mexico’s wealthiest families was arrested on manslaughter charges after his 11-year-old son died on a family boating trip in the San Francisco Bay, police said Monday.

Javier A. Burillo, 57, was arrested Sunday at his multimillion-dollar home in the bay front community of Belvedere on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with a vessel, willful harm or injury to a child and operating a boat while under the influence, Tiburon Police Chief Michael Cronin said.

Burillo was driving the boat with his two sons, aged 11 and 27, aboard on Sunday. Both boys fell off the boat in open waters near Angel Island, north of San Francisco, Cronin said. Investigators believe the boys were thrown overboard when the boat hit a wave, said Cronin, who declined to discuss any other details at a news conference Monday.

He said Burillo helped bring the two back aboard and transported them to the Corinthian Yacht Club in Tiburon, where the 11-year-old boy was pronounced dead.

Cronin said Burillo was also the one who called authorities around 7 p.m. Sunday.

Property records show Burillo’s full name is Javier Burillo Azcarraga, a wealthy property developer known for lavish hotels and restaurants throughout Mexico.

Cronin declined to discuss Burillo’s links to the Azcarraga family, which founded Grupo Televisa SA, a media empire that produces Spanish-language television programming seen across Latin America and dominates news coverage in Mexico.

“I know him as Javier Burillo,” Cronin said, adding that the developer is a well-known and liked member of the Tiburon-Belvedere community. Cronin wouldn’t confirm his full name.

Burillo’s older son had cuts to his leg and was transported to a hospital. He spoke to investigators but Cronin wouldn’t say what he told them.

“It’s a tragedy. We’re all heartsick about it. The community is shocked,” he said.

Online jail records indicate he was released on $1 million bail Monday afternoon.

U.S. property records show Burillo’s Marin County home was purchased in 2004 for $10.2 million. U.S. records show he and his wife, Rose, also own properties in San Diego and Sausalito.

A New York Times story about his February 1989 wedding to Alejandra Aleman, the daughter of late Mexican President Miguel Aleman, said he owned Casa de Campo, a resort and restaurant in Cuernavaca, the Hotel Ritz in Acapulco, and other real-estate holdings.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Man Suspected of Assaulting Uber Driver, Stabbing Teen]]>560487081Mon, 16 Sep 2019 09:33:27 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-07032.jpg

An 18-year-old Mill Valley man was booked into the Marin County Jail Sunday afternoon in connection with an assault on an Uber driver and a stabbing minutes later of a 15-year-old boy, Mill Valley police said.

John Santiago Rosales turned himself in to Mill Valley police about 19 hours after a man driving an Uber vehicle was punched in the face by his passenger in the area of East Blithedale Avenue and Elm Avenue. That was called in to police at about 6 p.m. Saturday.

Almost simultaneously, Mill Valley police got a call about a 15-year-old boy being stabbed near Park Elementary School, at East Blithedale Avenue and Elm Avenue, near where the Uber attack was reported. The juvenile victim, whose cell phone was taken by his assailant, was treated at a local hospital for stab wounds and later released.

Both victims gave police similar descriptions of their attacker, and police reached out to the suspect's family Saturday night, officers said.

Rosales was arrested on suspicion of battery with injury, robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.

Anyone with information about either of these attacks is asked to call Mill Valley police Detective Sgt. Ryan Smith at (415) 389-4100.

Photo Credit: Rich Legg/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect in Petaluma Landscaping Supply Theft Arrested]]>560485551Mon, 16 Sep 2019 09:14:59 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-141810855+%286%29+resized+handcuffs.jpg

A transient was arrested Sunday night as a suspect in a Saturday burglary of a Petaluma landscaping business, police said.

Police were called at about 11:30 a.m. Sunday by employees of a landscaping firm based in the 800 block of North McDowell Boulevard about a burglary there.

Surveillance video showed a man came on the property about 6 p.m. Saturday and forced his way into one storage shed, entered the beds and trailers of work trucks, and removed landscaping-related equipment. The

suspect returned at about 11 a.m. Sunday and removed equipment from a storage shed. Altogether, the lost items were valued at about $3,000, police said.

Officers saw a man looking like the one in the surveillance video at about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, and apprehended him after a short foot chase.

Wayne Allen Roberts, a 58-year-old transient, was booked into Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of burglary and grand theft.

The items reported stolen over the weekend have not yet been retrieved, police said.

Petaluma has experienced an increase in power equipment thefts, both from secured buildings and vehicles. Police will investigate whether Roberts may be connected to other recent thefts.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Killed, 2 Injured in Solo Car Crash in Novato]]>560441441Sun, 15 Sep 2019 20:16:43 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/195*120/novato-crash-0915.jpg

One 16-year-old boy was killed and two others were injured Sunday afternoon in a solo-vehicle crash that Novato police investigators say was caused partly by high speed.

Police were dispatched shortly after noon Sunday to a house in the 1100 block of Simmons Lane, at Marion Avenue, where a white four-door sedan had slammed into a brick retaining wall.

Officers arrived to find an engine fire, which they quickly put out, Novato police said.

Firefighter paramedics arrived to find the 16-year-old male driver unresponsive, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim's name is not being released at this time.

Two 16-year-old male passengers were taken to area hospitals for treatment of injuries. The two injured passengers had been assisted out of the wrecked car by passers-by who stopped to help, police said.

Police said it appears the white sedan was headed north on Simmons Lane "at a high rate of speed," and passed another car before veering off the road and slamming into the retaining wall.

Simmons Lane was closed in both directions for six hours while police investigated the crash.

Police said Sunday they have already started working with the Novato Unified School District to support students, teachers and staff affected by the boy's death.

Photo Credit: Novato PD]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Rosa Man Arrested After 3 Hours for Gun, Drugs]]>560415911Sun, 15 Sep 2019 12:25:03 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/handcuffs+generic+getty.jpg

A Santa Rosa man found unresponsive in a Mercedes Benz in Mill Valley on Sunday morning was arrested for firearm and drug possession after more than three hours of attempts by authorities to coax him from the vehicle.

The incident started about 6 a.m. when a Marin County Sheriff's Department located the man at 789 Redwood Highway, where his vehicle had struck another car. A handgun was partially visible within reach of the

driver on the front passenger seat and backup units were summoned from Mill Valley police responded to the scene with additional Marin County deputies, Central Marin police officers, and the California Highway Patrol

The driver would periodically wake up, but seemed oblivious to officers' attempts to make contact, moving around inside the vehicle but not responding to any commands over the course of three hours, police said.

A sheriff's department drone was used to monitor the man safely while the Central Marin Police Special Response Team prepared to deploy.

By 9 a.m. the man "slowly began to follow officers' commands and was taken into custody without further incident," Mill Valley police said.

Garrett McGriff, 35, of Santa Rosa. McGriff was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm, a felon in possession of ammunition, possession of suspected heroin, and possession of suspected MDMA (ecstasy).

Photo Credit: Valery Sharifulin/TASS/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Charged With DUI After Pursuit, Standoff on Hwy. 101]]>560403001Sun, 15 Sep 2019 23:43:12 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/186*120/US-101-Stand-Off.JPG

Highway 101 in Santa Rosa reopened several hours after a pursuit turned into a police standoff early Sunday morning. 

At 6:22 a.m., Santa Rosa California Highway Patrol was along southbound US-101 in Geyserville when a white Honda Civic refused to stop and drove around a closure. The vehicle then struck a motorcycle officer, and a pursuit ensued, CHP Santa Rosa said.

The vehicle sped and drove away going more than 100 mph on the highway, and it finally came to a stop after a Sonoma sheriff used a spike strip at Shiloh Road to stop the vehicle.

For safety reasons, the CHP decided to shut down both directions of the freeway.

The pursuit was followed by a police standoff after the driver, identified as Eric Van Gelder, refused to exit his vehicle. 

After a failed attempt at negotiations, SWAT teams arrived to the scene to assist, CHP said. 

SWAT officers used non-lethal options to remove Van Gelder from his vehicle. 

According to Santa Rosa CHP, US-101 northbound reopened at 9:18 a.m. and US-101 southbound was reopened at 9:31 a.m.

Van Gelder was charged with evading police, DUI, and delaying and resisting arrest. 

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[CHP Responding to Reports of Shots Fired EB I-80 in Vallejo]]>560375411Sat, 14 Sep 2019 23:31:47 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/traffic+generic+12202018.jpg

California Highway Patrol investigators are working Saturday night on what appears to be a shooting of the occupant of a car on Interstate Highway 80 in Vallejo, and all eastbound I-80 traffic was still being diverted off the freeway at Magazine Street as of 10:40 p.m. as investigators work.

CHP Sgt. Raul Gonzalez said a person in a car headed east on I-80 just west of the I-780 interchange in Vallejo at about 8:30 p.m. Saturday was struck by at least one bullet. He had no other information on the victim, including the extent of that person's injuries.

"There appears to be a victim of a gunshot wound in a dark-colored vehicle," said Gonzalez, noting that witnesses may have seen that vehicle drift off onto the right shoulder of the freeway, and that it may have looked more like an accident than a shooting.

It wasn't known what prompted the shooting, and the CHP is looking for the public's help in learning what happened and why. Anyone with information that could help is asked to call the CHP tip line at (707) 917-4491.

Eastbound traffic on I-80 was being routed off the freeway at Magazine Street and detoured around the investigation area, but traffic backups extended west into Crockett.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBC10
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<![CDATA[1 Critically Injured, 1 Arrested After Crash in Santa Rosa]]>560363271Sat, 14 Sep 2019 17:58:30 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/snip+santa+rosa.PNG

A 36-year-old man was listed in critical condition Saturday afternoon after a two-vehicle accident, and a 25-year-old Santa Rosa man arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after the early morning accident, Santa Rosa police said.

Police were called about 2:45 a.m. Saturday to North Dutton Avenue near the westbound state Highway 12 off-ramp, where a silver Honda sedan and collided with a white security vehicle, police said.

The driver of the white security vehicle, identified as Jared Williamsen, was still in the driver's seat, and was "completely non-responsive," police said. Santa Rosa Fire Department personnel had to extricate Williamsen from that vehicle, and he was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the Honda, Anthony Graves, remained on scene. Officers noticed Graves may have been impaired by alcohol, and witnesses said the Honda involved in this crash had earlier been rolling erratically, reaching speeds of possibly 80 mph on North Dutton Avenue. Police said it appears may have run a red light at North Dutton and the freeway off-ramp, striking Williamsen's white vehicle as it turned onto southbound Dutton, police said.

Graves was arrested and booked at the Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of felony DUI causing injury, of felony DUI being over a .08% blood-alcohol level and of driving under the influence of drugs. He was being held Saturday in the Sonoma County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond.

Anyone with information regarding this collision is urged to contact Santa Rosa police Officer Jeff Adams at (707) 543-3636.

Photo Credit: Bay City News ]]>
<![CDATA[Shelter-in-Place Ordered in Marin County's Strawberry]]>560181331Thu, 12 Sep 2019 16:27:09 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/453510783-Police-Lights-Generic1.jpg

Marin County Sheriff's Office ordered a shelter-in-place late Thursday afternoon for residents in Strawberry while deputies responded to a person who barricaded themselves inside a home.

The shelter-in-place order was in place for residents on N. Knoll Road. Deputies swarmed the area and worked to get the individual to come out of the residence.

The Sheriff's Office lifted the shelter-in-place order shortly after 6 p.m.

Strawberry is an unincorporated community in Marin County.

No other information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto, File]]>
<![CDATA[Sizzling Temps Spark Heat Advisory in Bay Area]]>560156361Thu, 12 Sep 2019 22:53:37 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Sun_Heat_Generic_Hot_car.jpg

A heat advisory is in effect for the Bay Area from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, according to weather officials.

Temperatures along the coast and around the bay are expected to range from the low 80s to low 90s, NBC Bay Area Meteorologist Kari Hall said. Some inland spots, such as Concord, Danville and Livermore, will likely soar into the low 100s.

View the heat advisory for your county here.

A summer Spare the Air alert on Thursday was extended into Friday and Saturday as well, weather officials said.

Temperatures will start dropping on Saturday and continue to fall into early next week.

Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[1 Dead in Calistoga Crash Despite Good Samaritan's Efforts]]>560131241Thu, 12 Sep 2019 07:13:53 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CalistogaCrash.jpg

A retired firefighter-paramedic tried to rescue a driver from a burning van in Calistoga Wednesday night, but he was unable to save the driver in the end.

Bill Fairfield hopped through the van's front passenger door and started cutting the driver's seat belt, but the car blew up, injuring Fairfield's arm and forcing him to stop his rescue attempt. 

The van caught fire after the driver crashed into a truck at the intersection of Tubbs Lane and Highway 128, the California Highway Patrol said. The driver of the van died, and another person was transported to a hospital with undisclosed injuries.

Fairfield said he was following the van over a hill, watching the driver swerve across the roadway. The driver sped away from Fairfield and later slammed into the truck. The van instantly burst into flames before blowing up, Fairfield said.

The CHP said it is too early in the investigation to know if drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Environmentalists Remove Ghost Town to Save Salmon]]>560066731Wed, 11 Sep 2019 19:27:22 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0911SalmonGhostTown_8723543.JPG

The bulldozers came for the ghost town of Jewell in West Marin County, ripping out a dozen or so abandoned homes as part of an environmental effort to improve the survival chances for endangered coho salmon on the Lagunitas Watershed.

The houses sat empty since the National Park Service bought the tiny community hugging the creek and slowly moved out the residents. Last year, the environmental group Turtle Island Restoration Network secured a grant to finally tear down the cluster of homes and began the work of turning the clock back decades for the creek.

“We’ve come in with the park service, taken down the houses,” said Todd Steiner, executive director of Turtle Island Restoration Network, “and what we’re doing is recreating a flood plain.”

To return the area to its pre-development state, crews dug a separate channel parallel to the creek. The idea is to give the tiny coho salmon and endangered steelhead trout a place to hang out when winter rains turn the gentle creek into a raging river, pummeling the tiny fish.

“Historically they moved into the flood plains, the quiet slower water on the edges,” said Steiner, “but because we built roads and retaining walls it’s just like a bowling alley.”

Steiner blames development along the creeks in Marin County for the demise of the coho, which once numbered in the thousands in the watershed, but have dropped to just a few hundred returning fish in the past couple decades.

Along with reshaping the creek’s topography, the workers are planting redwood trees along the creek banks, and placing curious looking tree trunks bolted to boulders in the water to create woody debris which will serve as habitat for the fish. The boulders weigh the trees down helping to direct water into the side channels.

“We’re undoing the wrongs of the past which is important,” said Turtle Island’s Preston Brown, “trying to re-wild this creek and let it behave the way it normally wants to do.”

A year ago, the group similarly removed remnants of the ghost town of Tocaloma from behind its own offices a mile away from the current work site. Steiner said the work removed nearly a dozen more homes along with 20 million pounds of soil from the embankment, along with foundations and an outhouse that had emptied directly into the creek.

The handful of buildings made way for a larger creek bed, new plantings and wooded structures aimed at providing habitat for a species of freshwater shrimp that only exist two other places in the world.

“The problem is so much of the habitat has been lost to development,” Steiner said, “so we are trying to give back.”

The work on the site of Jewell has proved popular with scientists, researchers and other environmental groups who have turned-up to study and take notes of the efforts. The winding creeks that make up the Lagunitas Watershed have become one of the last places in California where the coho spawn.

“People can take what we’ve been learning here and apply it to other watersheds in California,” Brown said.

Steiner said the ultimate goal of the project is not to draw attention to itself but rather to erase any signs that humans had a hand in the creek’s history. Eventually the trees and brush will grow and reclaim the site as nature imposes its will.

“One thing humans do know how to do is destroy nature,” Steiner said above the din of heavy machinery. “Trying to recreate nature is an experiment.”

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Summer Heat Making a Comeback in the Bay Area]]>560043771Wed, 11 Sep 2019 09:40:11 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/205*120/heat+wave+generic+sd.JPG

Summer isn't over just yet.

A brief heat wave is slated to bring 80s and 90s back to the bay and triple digits to the inland valleys for the end of the workweek, according to the National Weather Service.

The warming spell is expected to kick in starting Wednesday before hitting its peak on Friday, the weather service said. The usual hot spots — Concord, Livermore and other inland areas — are expected to reach 100 degrees Friday afternoon.

Temperatures will start dropping on Saturday and continue to fall into early next week.

For a look at just how hot it will be in your area over the next few days, check out Meteorologist Kari Hall's forecast in the video player above. You can also see the weather service's high temperature breakdown below.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[18 Years Later: Bay Area Remembers 9/11]]>560027331Wed, 11 Sep 2019 05:41:15 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_19254480650256.jpg

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, people across the United States watched in horror as the 9/11 terror attacks unfolded.

Eighteen years later, the Bay Area and the rest of the nation continue to stand by the "Never Forget" mantra, pausing to remember the thousands of people who lost their lives.

In San Francisco, scores of firefighters gathered at sunrise to honor the victims during a bell-ringing ceremony. Later in the day, volunteers will pack 275,000 meals for people in need as part of the 9/11 day service event.

At Las Positas College in Livermore, a 9/11 remembrance event is slated for 10 a.m.

In nearby Danville, another remembrance ceremony is planned for 5:30 p.m. at Oak Hill Park.

Photo Credit: J. David Ake/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Brush Fire Near Hwy. 37 Prompts Evacuations Near Novato]]>559962761Tue, 10 Sep 2019 14:42:20 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/201*120/Novato-Fire.JPG

A brush fire near Highway 37 prompted evacuations near Novato Tuesday afternoon, according to Marin County officials.

The Marin County Sheriff's Office issued evacuations for areas surrounding Crest Road, Hampton Lane, Greenpoint Lane and Woodview Lane in the Novato and Black Point area. The evacuation orders have since been liftend.

The blaze burned about 5 acres, firefighters said.

No other information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Sky Ranger
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<![CDATA[Marin County Health Officials Advise Public to Stop Vaping]]>559834301Mon, 09 Sep 2019 08:43:08 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/vapingAP_19146604167528.jpg

Health officials in Marin County are advising residents to stop vaping until more is known about the cases of lung injury being reported across the United States.

A public health alert has been issued by Marin County Health and Human Services asking local health care providers to be watchful for unexplained respiratory illnesses.

There have been 57 severe respiratory illness cases related to vaping recently reported in California, with the first death in California reported Friday in Los Angeles, though no cases have been reported in Marin County.

"Until we know what's causing this, the only way to be sure we're protected is to avoid using e-cigarettes. It's just not safe to vape," Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis said in a statement.

Nationally, there have been 450 illness cases reported in 33 states since July, most involving products containing cannabis and many striking teenagers or young people.

Figures show nearly one-in-three 11th graders in Marin County reported using e-cigarettes on a regular basis, more than double the number two years ago.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Whale, Sailboat Almost Collide Near Golden Gate Bridge]]>559765431Sun, 08 Sep 2019 18:34:25 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WhaleBoatNearCollision.jpg

Whale watchers soaking in the sights near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco Saturday afternoon witnessed a whale and sailboat nearly collide.

Video of the close call showed the whale surface for air right in front of a sailboat, forcing the crew on the boat to make a hard turn and steer clear of the animal's path.

The crew on a nearby San Francisco Whale Tours boat said the whale was OK.

The encounter happened around 5 p.m. about 500 yards west of the bridge.

Earlier this month, whale watchers said a whale was struck and killed by a ship near Alcatraz.

Photo Credit: San Francisco Whale Tours]]>
<![CDATA[Shoplifting Suspects Caught With Other Stolen Items, Drugs]]>559721941Sat, 07 Sep 2019 21:28:04 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/blurred-police-stop-generic.jpg

Two Richmond residents were arrested Saturday afternoon by Petaluma police, who found a generator officers believe had been stolen a short time earlier from a San Rafael home improvement store.

Petaluma police were called about 1:35 p.m. Saturday to the Kmart on North McDowell Boulevard, where security employees had followed the shoplifting suspects outside. Police pulled over the suspects' car near the Kmart parking lot, and found the generator and also methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

Police said the men showed "random receipts" to pass through checkout lanes without paying.

Jesocimo Rilles, 54, was arrested on suspicion of burglary, and Pao Chiam Saechao, 44, was arrested on suspicion of possession of controlled substance, drug paraphernalia, and a switchblade knife. Both men were booked into the Sonoma County Jail.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Search for Armed Suspect Prompts Evacuations in Vallejo]]>559711341Sat, 07 Sep 2019 19:16:04 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/082019+Seattle+Police+Officer+Generic+FL.jpg

Evacuations and shelter-in-place orders were ordered Saturday in Vallejo while police and SWAT searched for an armed felony suspect.

Police said the search affected neighborhoods between Almond Avenue and Peach Street, and Holly Street and Willow Street.

The search began around 3 p.m.

No other information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bank Robbery Suspect Flees on Bike After Marin County Heist ]]>559695711Sat, 07 Sep 2019 14:26:13 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bank+robber+2.jpg

Police have released a surveillance photo of a man suspected of robbing a Mill Valley bank and then fleeing on a bicycle Saturday morning.

About 10 a.m., the suspect presented a note to a teller at the Wells Fargo bank branch at 525 Miller Ave., demanding money and saying that no one would be hurt, police said.

Witnesses told police that no weapons were seen.

Officers were alerted while the robbery was still in progress and arrived within two minutes, but the suspect had already fled, reportedly on a mountain bike, police said.

Mill Valley officers, along with Marin County Sheriff's Office, and Sausalito and Tiburon police searched for the suspect, but didn't find him.

Officials didn't release the amount of cash stolen in the robbery.

The suspect was described as an Asian male in his 30s to 40s, 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing about 130 pounds. He was wearing a black SF Giants hat, a black windbreaker-style jacket and black sunglasses.

He was seen riding east away from the bank on a red mountain bicycle lacking markings.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call (415) 389-4100.

Photo Credit: Bay City News]]>
<![CDATA[UC Berkeley Students React to CDC Warnings About Vaping ]]>559648141Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:31 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/vape.png

As the death toll rises from a mysterious lung illness linked to vaping, with the first related California death reported in Los Angeles Friday, the Center for Disease Control is warning people to stop vaping while it investigates − but not all Bay Area residents are taking the warnings seriously. 

The CDC has reported 450 cases of serious lung illness in 33 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The cause remains unknown, but officials think the illness stems from chemical exposure, although it’s not linked to a specific product or substance.

Most cases have been associated with e-cigarette products containing cannabis.

After vaping for a year and a half, one 18-year-old landed in the hospital with a severe lung injury that caused him to need a supplemental breathing mask.

The use of electronic cigarettes is especially popular among young people, and students at UC Berkeley had mixed reactions to the warnings from the CDC.

Cassidy Bold, 19, started vaping at 14 but she said she’s not worried about how it may be affecting her health.

“Think about all the cases of bad health from cigarettes,” she said. “Give me that many cases about a vape and then I’ll be concerned.”

In California 57 cases of severe respiratory illness have been reported following e-cigarette use, up 24 cases from two weeks ago. The Marin County Health Department issued a warning advising people not to vape, and some UC Berkeley students are taking the warnings from Marin County and the CDC seriously.

Student Max Ulrich is one of them. “Especially after hearing about the first person who died, now people are dropping like flies. It’s scary,” he said.

<![CDATA[SR Doctor Charged With Overdose Deaths Held Over for Trial]]>559644231Fri, 06 Sep 2019 22:00:55 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-724243309.jpg

A Santa Rosa doctor was held over for trial in Sonoma County Superior Court Friday afternoon for the second-degree murders of four patients by allegedly prescribing dangerously high levels of addictive opioids to them in 2016 and 2017.

Dr. Thomas Keller, 72, also was held over for trial for elder abuse of a fifth patient who later died, and for issuing prescriptions without legitimate medical purpose to four other patients between 2013 and 2018. One of those four patients was an undercover agent with the California Department of Justice. The remaining eight patients are or were Sonoma County residents.

The holding order by Judge Chris Honigsberg came after a four-day preliminary hearing. Keller remains in the Sonoma County Jail under $12 million bail. He faces 60 years to life in prison on the second-degree murder charges alone.

Deputy Attorney General Thomas Brennan submitted as evidence nine binders containing thousands of pages of documents that included the medical files of the alleged victims.

In his closing statement to the court Friday, Brennan said evil was Keller's motive for prescribing lethal doses of opioids to the patients. Brennan said Keller "blatantly ignored warning letters from pharmacies and insurance companies that told him to gradually decrease the doses of his prescriptions.

"Evil permeates its way into every count of second-degree murder," Brennan said.

Brennan's evidence included a personal journal Keller kept in which he made profane and disparaging comments about his patients, calling some of them "high-level addicts."

The evidence also included nine binders, one for each patient, containing thousands of pages of medical records on the potency and frequency of dosages, prescriptions and autopsy and toxicology reports.

The final prosecution witness, Dr. Timothy Munzing, a pain management specialist and family medicine physician with Kaiser Permanente in Southern California in Southern California, testified Keller's prescriptions were often a dangerous combination of Soma, a muscle relaxant, benzodiazepines and increasing doses of opioids. Instead of reducing the amount of the drugs, Keller escalated them, Munzing said.

There was no medical justification or medical purpose for the elevated levels of the drugs, Munzing said.

The complaint alleges Keller over-prescribed and consistently and drastically increased opioid prescriptions of pain medications including Vicodin, oxycodone, OxyContin, Percoset and morphine at levels well outside accepted medical practice.

Keller's attorney John Cox said Keller's actions may have been outside standard practices, but the prosecution did not prove Keller intended to kill the patients or acted with implied malice.

Honigsberg ruled Keller acted with malice and intentionally committed each of the second-degree murders, and that Munzing was a credible and compelling witness.

Keller is scheduled to re-enter pleas to the nine charges on Sept. 20.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Science Photo Libra, File]]>
<![CDATA[SF Zoo Free Entry for Locals on Select September Thursdays]]>559449511Thu, 05 Sep 2019 02:52:36 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tigerGettyImages-74187710.jpg

Officials with the San Francisco Zoo are launching "Good Neighbor Free Days" on Thursdays in September for residents from nine Bay Area counties in celebration of the zoo's 90th anniversary.

Each week, visitors from a certain county will get free admission.

This Thursday, Sept. 5, residents of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties can visit for free. On Sept. 12, residents of San Francisco can visit for free. On Sept. 19, admission is free for residents of Alameda and Contra Costa counties and on Sept. 26, there is no cost for admission for residents of Marin, Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties.

Visitors must bring valid identification and each adult must bring proof of where they live.

The zoo will be open one hour later each Thursday in September and a special Happy Hour for children and adults will be held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on each free day.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dry Thunderstorms Possible Across Bay Area]]>559376701Wed, 04 Sep 2019 10:25:16 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/LightningFile.jpg

Dry thunderstorms and lightning are possible in the Bay Area on Wednesday, National Weather Service officials said.

Storms may start late Wednesday morning and are anticipated anywhere north of Santa Cruz. Moderate chances exist in the North Bay and East Bay and lower chances exist elsewhere.

Weather service officials said dry lightning could start fires, but strong winds to spread fires are not expected.

Photo Credit: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Rosa Junior College Offering Hemp Agriculture in 2020]]>559005101Sun, 01 Sep 2019 00:46:32 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SRJC.jpg

Santa Rosa Junior College will become the first community college in the state next year to develop a certificate and degree program in the cultivation of hemp.

In spring 2020, students may take hemp-focused courses within SRJC's Sustainable Agriculture and Horticulture programs.

"One of our top priorities is ensuring our career education programs align with current industry trends," SRJC's Dean of Agriculture Benjamin Goldstein said.

"Hemp is a versatile plant at the center of a multi-billion dollar legal industry for medicine, fiber, oil, seeds, textiles and more. We are preparing our students with the knowledge and skills to be competitive in the workplace," Goldstein said.

SRJC's Shone Farm is growing a 0.8-acre test plot of hemp plants as part of the curriculum. The grow site is registered with the Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner's Office and follows all federal, state and county legal and regulatory requirements.

Hemp, a genetically distinct biotype of cannabis sativa, is grown for fiber, seed and oil. It is used to produce food, beverages, cosmetics, nutritional supplements, fabrics, textiles and construction materials.

Hemp is legal at the state and federal levels because it does not contain significant levels of THC, the compound in marijuana that has psychoactive effects. It is increasingly used as a pain-relieving cannabidiol (CBD) that has enormous promise in medical applications, hemp proponents say.

George Sellu, who teaches plant science and horticultural classes at SRJC, said he is thrilled to utilize hemp as an educational tool.

"Hemp is a dynamic crop with myriad uses," Sellu said. "It is ideal for teaching plant science and plant propagation techniques in indoor and outdoor environments while addressing the tenets of agro-ecological sustainability."

Students who want to enroll in the hemp program next spring can register for specific classes in the Environmental Horticulture or Sustainable Agricultural programs.

SRJC has an existing certificate and degree program in Environmental Horticulture such as Nursery Management, and faculty are revising that program to focus on hemp agriculture. The classes taken in spring 2020 will count for the revised certificate and degree in Hemp Agriculture in the fall of 2020.

Students in the Hemp Agriculture program are free to focus their knowledge and skills in the hemp or marijuana industries. SRJC officials said they do not take a stance on the industry students choose to apply their knowledge.

<![CDATA[Wine, Food Festival to be Held at Sonoma State University]]>558947501Sat, 31 Aug 2019 09:58:05 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Wine38.jpg

A Sonoma County wine and food festival gets underway Saturday afternoon in Santa Rosa.

The Taste of Sonoma starts at noon at the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University. The university is located at 1801 E. Cotati Ave. in Rohnert Park.

The festival highlights Sonoma County's vintners, growers and chefs. Visitors can experience a walk-around wine tasting, music and wine seminars among other opportunities for enjoyment.

Photo Credit: David Paul Morris/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Rosa Suspect Arrested in Rape, Kidnapping at Park]]>558918111Sat, 31 Aug 2019 02:36:15 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Rusiate+Waqa.jpg

Santa Rosa police have arrested a man suspected of sexually assaulting a woman at Howarth Park two weeks ago.

The 55-year-old victim was leaving the bathroom in the gazebo area at the lower level of Howarth Park around 8:35 a.m. on Aug. 16 when the suspect appeared, pushed her back and allegedly assaulted her in the bathroom, according to police. The victim was treated at a hospital and released.

Police said Rusiate Waqa, 23, of Santa Rosa, came to the attention of officers the same day of the assault when a citizen said Waqa was loitering in the park around the time of the assault. The citizen provided police with a license plate number and vehicle description, and a record's check linked Waqa to the vehicle, police said.

Waqa was interviewed but was not positively identified as the suspect. He voluntarily provided a DNA sample taken from inside his cheek but was not arrested, according to police. Officers continued to investigate.

Detectives learned Thursday that Waqa's DNA matched evidence collected from the assault, police said.

Waqa was located Thursday as he walked toward his home and was booked in the county jail on suspicion of rape and kidnapping with the intent to commit rape. He is being held on no bail and is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Bay City News]]>
<![CDATA[Gov. Newsom Announces Deal to Cap Rent Prices]]>558908322Sat, 31 Aug 2019 00:33:55 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Governor_Newsom_Announces_Deal_to_Cap_Rent_Prices.jpg

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday a deal that would cap annual rent increases at 5% plus inflation, with a 10% maximum increase. The announcement comes at a time when U.S. Census Bureau data shows more people moving out of the Bay Area than moving in. Many are leaving the state due to high housing costs. Lili Tan reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Rosa Man Arrested for Rape, Kidnapping: Police]]>558839201Fri, 30 Aug 2019 13:53:04 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Santa-Rosa-Rape.jpg

A 23-year-old man was arrested Thursday under suspicion of kidnapping and raping a woman at Howarth Park, police said.

Santa Rosa Police Department detectives said a witness saw the man, identified as Rusiate K. Waqa, at the park around the same time the sexual assault occurred the morning of August 16th.

The witness gave police a description and license plate of Waqa’s vehicle and he was interviewed shortly after.

During the interview with police, Waqa voluntarily gave proof of DNA obtained by a buccal swab process. At that time, detectives didn’t have enough evidence to arrest him.

Authorities continued the search for witnesses and received several tips from members of the public on their Santa Rosa Police Department tip line.

Finally, on Thursday August 29th, it was confirmed that Waqa’s DNA from the buccal swab process matched that of the suspect in the rape and kidnapping case at Howarth Park. Detectives then located and arrested the man on his way to his Santa Rosa home.

Waqa was booked at the Main Adult Detention Facility for rape and kidnapping with the intent to commit rape.

Photo Credit: Santa Rosa Police Department
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<![CDATA[Bay Area Home Sales See Steady Decline: Report ]]>558787921Sun, 01 Sep 2019 18:38:18 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/home+sales+build.jpg

According to new information from data analyst CoreLogic, Bay Area home sales have seen a steady decline over the last year.

CoreLogic reported that sales fell 2.2% from July of last year while the median home price dropped by 4.1% to $815,500 in the nine-county region. The report also noted that total home sales in the Bay Area for July of 2019 were the lowest since the same month in 2011.

The most affordable counties as of July of this year were Solano, Sonoma and Contra Costa counties with median sale prices of $450,000, $585,000 and $617,000.

Solano, however, was one of only two counties that saw an increase in median sale price, up 4.3% from last year’s $431,250. San Francisco’s median sale price was also up, increasing 3.8% from $1.3 million to $1.35 million.

The counties that experienced the largest decreases in median sale price were Napa, Marin, Contra Costa and San Mateo counties. Napa’s median home sale price was down 4.6%, from $669,600 to $638,500. Marin’s sale price was down 3.6%, from $1.1 million to $1.06 million.

Contra Costa County saw a decrease in median home sale price of 2.8% from last year, from $635,000 to $617,500. San Mateo dropped 2.8% as well, from $1.369 million to $1.33 million.

Despite the downward trend, Bay Area home prices remain among the highest in the nation.

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<![CDATA[Santa Rosa CHP Officer Charged With Vandalism]]>558836581Fri, 30 Aug 2019 11:30:53 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CHP+Generics.png

A California Highway Patrol officer on medical leave was charged Friday in Sonoma County Superior Court with felony resisting arrest, brandishing a firearm and vandalism during a neighborhood disturbance two weeks ago.

Jeremy Finnerty, 47, of Santa Rosa, was under the influence of alcohol when he brandished a firearm at a neighbor and made death threats in the 4700 block of Parktrail Drive on Aug. 16, according to Santa Rosa police.

Finnerty also forced entry to the victims' residence through a back door and resisted arrest when police officers arrived, police said.

Finnerty is out of custody, and he delayed entering a plea until Sept. 19. CHP Officer David deRutte said Finnerty has been a CHP officer for more than 15 years and is on leave because of a work-related injury.

Police responded around 9:50 p.m. Aug. 16 to a call about a residential burglary. The caller said a male broke into the residence and was possibly armed with a gun.

Finnerty was arrested on suspicion of residential burglary, vandalism, brandishing a firearm, criminal threats, public intoxication and resisting arrest.

The complaint charges Finnerty with resisting arrest by force and violence when Sgt. Michael Clark, Officer Jeffrey Badger and Officer Andrew Castro responded.

The complaint also alleges Finnerty brandished a weapon at a person in a motor vehicle on a public street and vandalism over $400 when he allegedly destroyed a glass door at his neighbors' residence.

The victim in the alleged brandishing a weapon count was one of Finnerty's married neighbors who fled in a vehicle that night, Deputy District Attorney Thomas Gotshall said.

Judge Mark Urioste signed an emergency protective order Friday prohibiting Finnerty from contacting the couple.

<![CDATA[Vallejo Police Seek Suspects in Car Burglary]]>558771911Thu, 29 Aug 2019 23:30:55 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/vallejo-break-in-0829.jpg

Vallejo police are looking for the suspects in a car burglary on Friday.

The burglary happened around 5:37 p.m. in a shopping center parking lot in the 1100 block of Admiral Callaghan Lane.

The burglary was among more than 1,000 others in 2019, police said. Burglars are using technology to locate electronic devices that are emitting Wi-Fi or Bluetooth signals. In many cases, the vehicle owners have even taken the precaution of hiding or removing their electronic devices from view, police said.

Burglars who determine the vehicle contains an electronic device that is emitting a signal quickly break the vehicle's windows and rummage through the vehicle until they find valuable items, police said.

Police Detective Matthew Mustard said thefts from vehicles are a statewide epidemic, and Vallejo police are using different investigative techniques and patrols to identify and deter the thieves.

Anyone with information about the Aug. 23 burglary is asked to call (707) 648-5427.

Police posted a video of the burglary and suspects at
https://youtu.be/n2lQh-9NMYg and https://youtu.be/bZBCpQv5ICE.

Photo Credit: Vallejo PD]]>
<![CDATA[As Reconstruction Drags On, Wildfire Victims Face Deadline]]>558721361Thu, 29 Aug 2019 23:42:13 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NB-fires-insurance-0829.jpg

Weeks ahead of the North Bay wildfires' two-year anniversary, families are bracing for a financial shock.

Several homeowners told NBC Bay Area their property insurance providers will stop paying for temporary living expenses, even if their new homes aren't ready for move-in.

The Sonoma and Napa County fires first ignited on Oct. 8, 2017. By the time the flames were under control, 44 people were dead and more than 8,000 homes and businesses were lost.

Among those burned homes was the Santa Rosa house owned by Brad Silvestro. After 22 months, it's almost rebuilt.

"It's been a challenging process from the very beginning," Silvestro said. "Nothing has been easy."

Like thousands of others, Silvestro has been building on his property while renting elsewhere, and only making ends meet thanks to insurance payments for temporary housing. Insurance agents call those payments "additional living expenses", or ALE.

"ALE saved us," Silvestro said. "ALE has allowed us to live comfortably, safely; keep our dogs and cats; and have that stability that you have to have, to recover from something like this."

Silvestro expected ALE payments to continue until his home was complete. It turns out insurance contracts aren't written that way. Silvestro says his insurance provider, Allstate, will stop paying temporary living expenses at the two-year anniversary of the fires. Other insurance companies operate the same way; ALE payments will halt in October, regardless of whether homes are ready for move-in.

Silvestro says that decision ignores the delays in debris removal, obtaining permits, and construction faced by so many families.

"It was pretty well stated in the first few months after these fires that this was not going to be just a regular rebuild," Silvestro said.

Silvestro expects he might miss one or two months of ALE and lose out on a couple thousand dollars. Still, he considers himself lucky.

"My next door neighbors, they're just getting started" with rebuilding, Silvestro said.

The North Bay is a long way from fully recovering after the fires. Sonoma County officials estimate just 50 percent of homes that burned in October 2017 will be rebuilt by the end of this year.

In Knights Valley, construction is only just now starting on Madonna Day's house, with move-in pushed back to next year.

"I just keep thinking, 'I want to go home,'" Day said. "If I'm fortunate, perhaps next spring."

But Day says her insurance provider, State Farm, will cut off her temporary living expenses much sooner: at the two-year anniversary of the fires.

With soaring demand for housing as so many families were displaced, the price of rent on houses in the North Bay has soared since late 2017. Zillow shows many homes for rent in the $10,000 per month range and higher.

Day, who we first met on the fires' one-year anniversary, fears she'll be paying out that five-figure rent herself unless State Farm extends her benefits.

"They should take care of me until I am home," Day said.

Currently, California law entitles homeowners to ALE for three years after a disaster. But at the time of the 2017 fires, the law granted just two years.

Janet Ruiz, a spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute, says that two-year requirement in 2017 informed the amount of risk insurance companies used to determine rates and premiums.

"The Legislature did give the 24 months, so that's what the contracts say," Ruiz said. "We do have to adhere to contracts."

But California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara sent insurance companies a letter in May of this year, saying insurance providers can and should go beyond their contracts and extend ALE to three years for North Bay wildfire victims.

"In the aftermath of the 2017 wildfires, the CDI and the California State Legislature recognized that, in these large scale natural disasters, 24 months does not provide sufficient time to remove debris, obtain all necessary building permits, locate and hire a contractor and multiple subcontractors, and completely rebuild these destroyed homes," Lara wrote.

Some insurance companies have adhered to the commissioner's request, but not all. We asked Ruiz why insurance providers don't just extend ALE for as long as it takes to rebuild customers' homes.

"That's a great question," Ruiz said. "Each claim is unique and evaluated on its own merits."

NBC Bay Area asked State Farm and Allstate to re-evaluate Day and Silvestro's cases on their own merits. Neither company responded to our request for comment.

"They need to take care of their clients," Day said. "We relied on them when we bought their insurance package."

Silvestro has an invitation for the insurance companies that are cutting customers off. He wants them to pay a visit to the many half-built homes and empty lots in the North Bay.

"Come take a walk through here," Silvestro said. "See what it's really like."

Editor’s note: After this story first aired, we received the following statement from State Farm.

“Due to our customer privacy policy, we can’t address the specific details of any individual claim.”

“State Farm responded to the California Department of Insurance regarding the Commissioner’s ALE concerns. State Farm understands that there are customers facing unique circumstances and situations that are not within their full control. If our customer has questions about their claim and policy coverage, we would encourage them to reach out to their claim representative. We will work closely with our customers to address their concerns and see if there is anything more we can do to support them in their recovery process.”

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Man Arrested After Using Frying Pan in Assault: Police]]>558714741Thu, 29 Aug 2019 11:51:48 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/arrest+generic.png

Sausalito police arrested a man early Thursday morning on suspicion of assaulting a man with a frying pan on a vessel in Richardson Bay.

Police responded around 1:15 a.m. to a phone call about a man possibly using a metal baseball bat to assault a woman on a vessel anchored around 100 yards from the Turney Street boat ramp, Capt. Bill Fraass said.

During the call, officers heard a male on another anchored vessel in the area talking about being struck with a frying pan, Fraass said.

While responding in a police patrol boat to the anchored vessels, officers saw a vessel sailing away from the scene and stopped it in the area of Schoonmaker Point. They contacted Halsey Dunman, 65, an anchored out resident of Sausalito, and a 60-year-old woman Dunman was dating, according to Fraass.

Dunman and the woman had been on the woman's brother's vessel where an argument occurred. Dunman allegedly struck the woman's 56-year-old brother in the head with a frying pan multiple times and took away the woman's phone when she tried to call 911, Fraass said.

The woman's brother came ashore while police were interviewing Dunman and he was taken to a hospital by the Southern Marin Fire Protection District.

Dunman was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, domestic battery and preventing someone from calling 911 and was booked into Marin County Jail.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sonoma County Officials Seek Help Locating Missing Man]]>558666901Thu, 29 Aug 2019 03:12:10 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/missing63.jpg

The California Highway Patrol and the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office are asking for the public's help in locating a missing, at-risk elderly man early Thursday morning.

John Thompson, 71, was last seen in Forestville around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, the CHP said. He suffers from a medical condition that may make him disoriented.

According to the CHP, Thompson is described as being 5 feet, 7 inches tall, weighing around 185 pounds with gray hair and blue eyes. He is driving a gray, 2006 Dodge Ram with California license plate JTZO6 and wears glasses.

Anyone who sees him is asked to call 911.

Photo Credit: California Highway Patrol]]>
<![CDATA[Future of Point Reyes National Seashore Up For Discussion]]>558646791Wed, 28 Aug 2019 23:37:16 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/pt-reyes-0828.jpg

The future of Point Reyes National Seashore was up for debate Wednesday night, with one popular plan calling for the killing of some of the park’s beloved tule elk.

It’s not a popular plan with a lot of people.

During a crowded gathering in Sausalito, six plans were presented for the public to consider as park officials grapple with how to manage 28,000-plus acres of parkland.

Among the six plans, some would phase out ranching operations and some would phase out many of the elk. The park service's plan is a compromise.

"What we’re trying to do is walk that middle road, where ranching is a very important part of the national seashore and tule elk, which are native to California, are also really important," said Melanie Gunn of the National Park Service Outreach.

The park service plan, known as Alternative B, limits the tule elk herd at Drake’s Beach to 120, meaning about a dozen would be removed each year, dead or alive. There would be 20-year leases for ranchers who could raise more than just beef and dairy.

And more manure management.

"Now we are going to have pig farms, chicken farms, more pollution, more smells," Marin resident Roberto Reichard said.

Lis Collins of San Francisco added: "It just seems like the bottom line is more income. It’s not about necessarily protecting the space or protecting the tule elk."

Spiraleena Mason favors Alternative F, which phases out ranching over five years and leaves the elk alone.

"It’s really the choice that John Muir would have picked," Mason said. "It’s the choice that protects the water, the land, the wild nature, protects the tule elk." Public comments are being accepted until Sept. 23 on the park service website. A decision is expected early next year.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Security Incident a False Alarm at Travis Air Force Base]]>558583091Wed, 28 Aug 2019 10:57:38 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/05142018TravisAFB_2756853.JPG

Officials with Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield said reports of "potential" gunshots near a supply warehouse Wednesday were a false alarm.

A media advisory earlier Wednesday stated that "emergency officials are responding to a possible real world security incident that occurred during a scheduled exercise" at the base.

Travis Air Force Base Deputy Chief of Public Affairs Tonya Racasner said someone on the base thought they heard gunshots and the base was locked down around 10:25 a.m. for everyone's safety. There was no explanation of the report of the gunshots, Racasner said.

The false alarm occurred during a two-day readiness exercise that ends Thursday, she said. The exercise tests and trains airmen on their ability to respond to emergency incidents, according to the media advisory.

"These exercises mean everyone on base is in heightened awareness," Col. Jeffrey Nelson said in the media advisory.

"Though it was a false alarm, our first responders reacted quickly and appropriately. We take every security incident very seriously. I am confident in our ability to respond to any emergency situation," Nelson said.

Another false alarm at Travis Air Force Base occurred on June 14, 2017, when the base was locked down after officials responded to reports of gunshots at the Base Exchange. The lockdown was lifted when officials did not locate a shooter and the incident was called a false alarm.

That false alarm also occurred while a simulated security drill was scheduled to take place at the base.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Standoff Prompts Evacuations in Fairfield Neighborhood]]>558579831Wed, 28 Aug 2019 20:45:14 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0828FairfieldStandoff_8540662.JPG

Multiple people are in custody of the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Marshals Service following an eight-hour standoff in Fairfield.

Fairfield police received a call at 7 a.m. Wednesday from the federal agencies requesting assistance for a barricaded person in a home they were doing an operation on. The home is located at 3312 Shenandoah Ct., in the Woodcreek neighborhood and near Oliver Road.

Authorities were looking for a homicide fugitive suspect they thought was inside the home.

When officers arrived on scene they determined there was a suspect in the house. The Fairfield Police Department's SWAT team, along with a crisis negotiator, also responded. The neighborhood was evacuated during the response and investigation.

Police said officers attempted to get the suspects to come out of the home. When the occupants of the home refused to come out, the SWAT team then fired tear gas into the home, forcing the occupants to surrender.

Four of the six occupants were taken into custody on warrants and two were taken into custody on probable cause for arrest, U.S. Marshals spokesman Mike McCloud said. The fugitive was not located, McCloud said.

A spokeswoman for the Secret Service did not release any information about the search because she said the agency does not release information about pending investigations.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Santa Clara Joins Other Communities, Declares Climate Crisis]]>558525731Tue, 27 Aug 2019 22:42:44 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/climatechange2.jpg

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors declared a climate crisis Tuesday, joining dozens of Bay Area cities and counties that have pledged resources toward mitigating global warming.

Supervisor Dave Cortese introduced the resolution in tandem with the county's ongoing environmental efforts to end greenhouse gas emissions and move to 100 percent renewable electric power. The supervisors approved the resolution unanimously with one absence.

"Our planet, our livelihoods and the livelihoods of generations to come are at stake," Cortese said. "We are at an important junction in our history where folks from all walks of life are uniting behind a global mission to restore the climate for future generations."

San Francisco, Petaluma, Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley, Alameda, Hayward, Cupertino, and Santa Cruz are among 500 cities internationally that have declared climate crises. Their goal is to combat sea-level rise, protect coastal areas-including the Bay Area-and promote sustainable local economies that do not rely on fossil fuels.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Arrest Made in Marin County Brush Fire Near Woodacre]]>558497771Tue, 27 Aug 2019 23:27:43 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0827MarinCountyFire_8531610.JPG

Firefighters late Tuesday battled a brush fire above Spirit Rock near Woodacre in Marin County, and sheriff's deputies later arrested a Petaluma man suspected of lighting the blaze.

Henry Walker, 73, was arrested on felony suspicion of reckless burning after he admitted setting the fire, the Marin County Sheriff's Office said. 

Walker told a Marin County deputy he set some personal effects on fire while on the ridge, but the fire grew out of control and he was unable to put the fire out, sheriff's officials said.

Walker suffered minor injuries when he tried to stomp out the flames.

Fire officials said out of an abundance of caution, an evacuation warning was issued for the area of Rancho Santa Margarita East.

The blaze burned at least 10 acres and is 60% contained. Forward progress of the fire has also been stopped, firefighters said.

No other informaiton was immediately available.

<![CDATA[Man Exonerated in Stabbing Death After 28 Years in Prison]]>558488911Tue, 27 Aug 2019 17:12:24 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Bayphoto.jpg

A California man convicted in the stabbing death of a man suspected of sexually molesting a child has been exonerated after 28 years in prison thanks to newly discovered evidence, including the confession of the true killer, a lawyer said.

The conviction of Bob Fenenbock was reversed Friday by a judge in Solano County Superior Court in the case handled by the Santa Clara-based Northern California Innocence Project.

Fenenbock, who owned a mining claim and operated a wood-cutting business, was the first of several people to be tried in the 1991 killing of Gary Summar, who was beaten and stabbed to death at a campground in Trinity County.

Fenenbock was convicted on the testimony of a 9-year-old boy who defense lawyers said had been coached by a therapist and detectives convinced that Fenenbock was part of a mob that conspired to kill Summar.

Shortly after the conviction, Bernard MacCarlie acknowledged killing Summar alone to avenge the molestation of his girlfriend's daughter, lawyers for the innocence project said.

MacCarlie explained that he had been molested as a child and snapped when he heard that Summar had molested the young child living with them, the lawyers said.

MacCarlie was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Fenenbock, however, remained in prison because MacCarlie's confession was considered "post-conviction evidence," which, at the time, had to point "unerringly" to innocence to be considered.

The California Supreme Court found MacCarlie's confession insufficient by that standard.

In 2017, Fenenbock learned about a California law supported by the innocence project that allows newly discovered evidence to be presented if it "more likely than not" would have changed the outcome of a trial.

Fenenbock reached out to the innocence project, which accepted his case last year.

"It took nearly three decades, a team of lawyers, an amazing investigator, a new law, and a great judge to set Bob free, even though all they had against him was a kid who had been asked to make up a story that was completely contradicted by the physical evidence," said Paige Kaneb, lead attorney on the case.

"This case shows how easily a wrongful conviction can happen, and how hard it is to fix one," she added.

Prosecutors have 60 days to decide to retry Fenenbock or appeal the court's decision.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: The Northern California Innocence Project via AP]]>
<![CDATA[Sonoma Sheriff Issues Shelter in Place For Police Activity]]>558246851Sun, 25 Aug 2019 20:11:04 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/breaking.png

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office issued a shelter in place for police activity in the El Verano area Sunday afternoon, according to the sheriff's office.

Deputies are involved in an incident in the 400 block of West Agua Caliente Road in the El Verano area.

Residents in the area were asked to shelter in place until further notice, the sheriff's office said.

<![CDATA[Delivery Driver Caught on Camera Burglarizing Home]]>558094741Sat, 24 Aug 2019 02:58:10 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/amazon+driver.jpg

A delivery driver was arrested and stolen belongings worth about $10,000 were recovered Friday by Novato police, who were tipped off by a resident with a home surveillance system.

The resident notified police at 12:45 p.m. after the system detected motion in the home and showed an unknown man inside. The resident provided a description of the subject and a vehicle in the driveway.

Officers searching the area found a suspect identified as Maurice Kimball, 27, of Brentwood, who told them he was a delivery driver.

After what police said was a thorough investigation, Kimball was arrested for felony residential burglary. The items taken in the burglary have since been recovered, police said.

Police credit the resident's quick response in notifying them for the outcome of the case and encourage residents with similar surveillance systems to register them with the Novato Police Department at https://novato.org/government/police-department/community-programs/surveillance-camera-registry-and-monitoring.

Photo Credit: Bay City News]]>
<![CDATA[Emergency Evacuation Drill in East Sonoma County Saturday]]>558014201Fri, 23 Aug 2019 10:59:42 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/219*120/firefighter_generic_hose.jpg

Residents in the Cavedale-Trinity roads area of east Sonoma County north of Sonoma will participate in the county's first-ever full-scale evacuation drill Saturday morning.

The 8-10 a.m. drill is part of the county's effort to prepare for wildfires and other potential disasters.

Participating residents will receive an alert when the drill begins, then practice evacuating their homes and driving on evacuation routes to the Hanna Boys Center at 17000 Arnold Drive in Sonoma.

"From the challenges we faced during the catastrophic fires of 2017, we have learned how to better prepare for a disaster and are asking Sonoma County residents to get involved," said Chris Godley, director of the county's Department of Emergency Management.

"Residents can do their part by being in contact with each other, signing up for SoCoAlert and practicing evacuation routes," Godley said.

The SoCoAlert emergency messages can go to residents' home and work phones, cellphones, an email address, text and via a free app on Apple and Android devices.

The Department of Emergency Management is identifying other high-priority communities with thick vegetation and limited access for coordinating evacuation exercises.

<![CDATA[Suspect Arrested for Alleged Sexual Abuse of Child at Church]]>557973261Fri, 23 Aug 2019 03:02:53 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Jacob+Tyler+Hilton+%28169%29.jpg

Vallejo police have arrested a 26-year-old man on suspicion of sexually abusing a child, police said Thursday.

Jacob Tyler Hilton, 26, of Vallejo, was arrested Aug. 16 after the Solano County District Attorney's Office filed a complaint against him in Solano County Superior Court the day before. Hilton's next court date is Friday in Fairfield.

Police said they have identified other victims of continuous sexual abuse, all of who attended the First Baptist Church at 2025 Sonoma Blvd. Some of the alleged sexual abuse happened at the church, police said.

Anyone with information about other victims is asked to call detective Rob Greenberg at (707) 648-4280.

A call to the First Baptist Church was not returned Thursday afternoon, and police did not release any other details about the alleged sexual abuse.

Photo Credit: Vallejo Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[New Report Shows Cities With Limited Evacuation Routes]]>557962821Fri, 23 Aug 2019 00:16:18 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Emergency+Evacuation+Gridlock.jpg

A recent review by StreetLight Data revealed that several Bay Area cities have limited escape routes in case of an emergency evacuation. Should an evacuation become necessary the routes would likely become gridlocked, the study showed.

Sausalito is one of the cities on the list. Southern Marin Fire Protection District held a fire evacuation drill there in July and Mayor Joe Burns said that depending on the scenario there will be options, including ferries that he said the Golden Gate Bridge District would provide. In the case of gridlock, he said there is a system of stairs to Highway 101 or to the water. Burns recommended that residents have two escape routes in mind.

“We do have two to three exits off the highway, we have boats, we have an artery here,” he said.

Some residents already have the water in mind as an escape route. “Since we’re right up against the wild land we could easily get horseshoed in here, we’d need ferries to get out,” one resident said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[You Lose 103 Hours a Year Sitting in Bay Area Traffic: Study]]>557928061Thu, 22 Aug 2019 17:11:02 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/216*120/03-22-2017-traffic-la-generic-1.JPG

A new study says the Bay Area has the second-worst traffic in the country, and it's costing the region billions of dollars.

The Texas A&M study ranks the Bay Area behind only Los Angeles for worst traffic in the nation. According to the data, local residents lose 103 hours a year sitting in traffic.

The Bay Area's economy loses almost $2.5 billion while motorists sit in traffic. In addition, the study says commuters burn more than 3 billion gallons of fuel while sitting in slowdowns.

Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino says all of this is affecting the Bay Area's position as a technology and business leader. Companies are also at risk of losing talented employees to other regions with less traffic and cheaper housing.

The solution? More public transportation funded by voter-approved taxes. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group said it hopes to put a measure on the 2020 ballot for even more public transportation options.

Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Rare Beaked Whale Washes Ashore at Drakes Beach ]]>557909981Thu, 22 Aug 2019 14:42:55 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/189*120/dakes+beach+whale+dead.JPG

A rare beaked whale washed up on Drakes Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County recently, according to the National Park Service.

Beach watch volunteers found the whale, which biologists think may be a Hubbs' beaked whale, although more genetic testing is necessary to determine the particular species, park service officials said.

Staff from the park service and the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco responded to remove the carcass for further testing.

Photo Credit: Gordon Bennett]]>
<![CDATA[Brush Fire Prompts Evacuations in Healdsburg]]>557132761Tue, 20 Aug 2019 14:43:32 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/cal+fire+wildfire+generic+1.jpg

A small brush fire prompted mandatory evacuations Tuesday afternoon in Healdsburg.

Officials said the areas that were under evacuation include Sunset, Valley View, and Benjamin Way.

The blaze charred 1-2 acres.

<![CDATA[One-Cent Sales Tax for Transit May Be on 2020 Ballot]]>557901761Thu, 22 Aug 2019 13:30:15 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/2015-generic-bart.jpg

Bay Area voters may be asked to approve a one-cent sales tax in 2020 that would fund a wide array of transportation projects and improvements across the region.

The sales tax has been proposed by a coalition of policy advocacy groups, including the Bay Area Council, the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association, and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

The coalition has dubbed themselves FASTER Bay Area and presented their plan to the BART Board of Directors at a meeting in Oakland on Thursday. According to their presentation, they project the tax could raise up to $100 billion over 40 years.

The funds would be dispersed to regional transit districts, including BART, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and others. The policy groups are primarily interested in "big, transformational projects that better connect jobs to housing through a more integrated transit system," according to a memo by BART general manager Robert Powers.

That could include regional rail improvements, including more exclusive right of way for BART and Caltrain, and more express freeway lanes.

It would also emphasize closing gaps between transit systems, more fare integration and improvements to transit hubs and stations.

For BART, it could include funding for a new transbay rail crossing to complement the existing Transbay Tube, which is often overcrowded during peak hours. It could also include more mundane upgrades to BART's existing infrastructure and earthquake safety improvements in the Caldecott Tunnel.

The FASTER advocates cited a 21 percent increase in commute times in Silicon Valley from 2010 to 2017 and said that was contributing to nearly half of residents responding to a recent Bay Area Council poll saying they were considering leaving the Bay Area.

FASTER has conducted polls that indicate voters are open to raising taxes for regional transportation improvements and that differences in support between funding measures are slight.

But some BART directors had concerns about the use of a sales tax, which tends to impact low-income residents more and can fluctuate widely in the event of an economic downturn.

"I am really concerned about the one-cent sales tax," said Director Janice Li, who represents portions of San Francisco, adding that she was disappointed the advocates didn't present any alternatives.

"I think it would have been more appropriate if you said, 'here is a list of things that can get us to 100 billion, we think a sales tax is the best way,' but you didn't come with that list," Li said.

Director Rebecca Saltzman, who represents portions of Alameda and Contra Costa counties, agreed, and pointed out that the sales tax may require passage of statewide legislation first. California caps sales tax at 10.25 percent and Saltzman said some cities have already reached that maximum.

Furthermore, Saltzman argued that a mix of revenue streams would be better than a sales tax, which can be volatile in the event of a recession. Big projects could be forced to be put on hold when revenue plummets.

"Whatever mix you do, it's going to be more resilient than just having one type of tax," Saltzman said.

The sales tax could be on the ballot for all nine Bay Area counties in November 2020.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Doctor Pleads Not Guilty to Opioid Deaths of Patients]]>557046071Tue, 20 Aug 2019 13:40:35 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/gavel+-+generic.png

A Santa Rosa doctor pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Sonoma County Superior Court to the second-degree murder of four patients by allegedly prescribing dangerously high levels of addictive opioids and narcotics to them in 2016 and 2017.

Dr. Thomas Keller, 72, also pleaded not guilty to elder abuse of a fifth patient between 2014 and 2015 who also died, issuing prescriptions without a legitimate medical purpose to four patients between 2013 and 2018, and nine enhancements alleging he engaged in suspicious opioid prescribing practices.

Keller entered the not guilty pleas after a lengthy bail hearing that disclosed some of Keller's entries about his patients in a private journal.

The case stems from an investigation by the California Department of Justice's Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse. The bureau prosecutes cases of abuse, neglect and fraud against elderly and dependent adults in care facilities.

Deputy Attorney General Tommy Brennan asked Judge Mark Urioste to continue Keller's no bail status, arguing Keller is a flight risk and a danger to the public's safety. Brennan said Keller faces 70 years to life in prison and the journal entries showed Keller has "complete and utter contempt" for his patients and humanity.

Defense attorney John Cox said requiring Keller to post cash bail violates his client's due process because Keller cannot afford to pay it. Cox asked Urioste to release Keller under his own recognizance.

Urioste ruled that Keller is entitled to bail despite the four murder charges and he set bail at $12 million, $3 million for each of the murder counts.

Urioste then transferred the case to a trial court where Judge Chris Honigsberg set Sept. 3-4 for a preliminary hearing.

The complaint alleges Keller over-prescribed and consistently and drastically increased opioid prescriptions of pain medications including Vicodin, oxycodone, OxyContin, Percoset and morphine at levels well outside accepted medical practice.

Keller allegedly also prescribed Soma, a muscle relaxant, and benzodiazepines that cause a dangerous drug interaction with opioids.

The maximum doses of the drugs were in quantities upwards of 180-300 pills per prescription, and Keller allegedly ignored warnings from pharmacies and insurance companies, his own observations of his patients and knowledge about his patients' overdose deaths, the Attorney General's Office said.

During the bail hearing, Cox said the four alleged murders were actually three suicides and one accidental death. He said some of Keller's patients were very ill or dying and Keller did the best he could for them.

After the hearing, Cox said Keller was very experienced and knowledgeable and the cause of at least one of the deaths is unknown.

"We shouldn't be second guessing doctors. You can't have a murder charge when you can't determine the cause of death," Cox said.

<![CDATA[Multi-Vehicle Fire Burning South of Santa Rosa]]>554974741Mon, 19 Aug 2019 18:59:56 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/242*120/0819-SonomaFire.jpg

The Santa Rosa Fire Department at the Sonoma County Fire District were fighting a multi-vehicle fire south of Santa Rosa on Monday afternoon.

The fire in the Scenic Avenue area, reported around 3:35 p.m., prompted a shelter in place order that remained in effect for about three hours because of the smoke. 

Matt Stevens, a spokesman for Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit, said the fire in a junkyard near railroad tracks in the Scenic Avenue area delayed the 3:49 p.m. train.

The shelter-in-place order for the following areas was lifted at about 6:45 p.m.:


  • South of Todd Rd
  • North of Golf Course Dr
  • East of Stony Point Rd
  • West of Snyder/Petaluma Hill Rd 


Photo Credit: Santa Rosa Fire
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<![CDATA[Family, Friends Gather in Search of Missing Alameda Father]]>552356261Sun, 18 Aug 2019 14:17:42 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Eric+Batzdorff-0818.jpg

Family and friends of a missing Alameda father were gathering Sunday to pass out fliers and help search for their loved one, according to a family friend's Facebook post.

Eric Batzdorff, 42, was last seen by his wife on Aug. 11. The father of two girls has been having a difficult time, but he has never disappeared before, the post said.

Family and friends were set to gather Sunday afternoon at the Rock Wall Winery parking lot, 2301 Monarch St., Alameda. They were planning on passing out fliers and searching the area for someone who might have seen something, the post said.

Batzdorff's car, a 2013 silver Honda Accord, also is missing. It has a large dent in the right rear panel, and the license plate is 7AZC963, the family told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

A report has been filed with the Alameda Police Department.

Batzdorff is originally from Sonoma County, and his parents still live there. His father, Jon Batzdorff, told the Press Democrat Eric has been despondent over challenges in his life, and the family is concerned for him.

Eric Batzdorff and his wife have been living a few miles apart in Alameda, the family said.

Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA['High Risk' Sex Offender In Custody in San Rafael Incidents]]>550779681Sun, 18 Aug 2019 11:51:01 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police+car+generic+1.jpg

San Rafael police have arrested a 39-year-old registered "high risk" sex offender after that man allegedly chased after several women - including at least two after police had first encountered him early Saturday morning - before the man's eventual capture and arrest, police said.

Police initially were called to an apartment complex on Laurel Place north of downtown at about 6:45 a.m. Saturday, on a report of a man seemingly "casing" the complex. Ten minutes later, a woman called police saying a man, whose description matched that of the casing suspect, chased after her for several blocks from Boyd Park, not far from Laurel Place. That woman eventually evaded the suspect, police said.

Police soon found the suspect, later identified as 39-year-old Willie Jones, a transient from San Rafael. The man then led police on a foot chase, and eventually evaded officers.

While searching for the suspect, officers were flagged down by another female victim who reported the same suspect had been following her as well. Twenty minutes after that, yet another woman called police dispatchers saying a man matching Jones' description had chased her before she ran into her place of work. She locked the door and barricaded herself inside while the suspect pounded on the door.

Police arrived at the business and found the suspect outside. He ran from police again, but officers soon contained him in a parking lot on Fourth Street under U.S. Highway 101, police said. The suspect then climbed a ladder to the roof of a nearby business; crisis negotiators from the Marin County Sheriff's Department were called to the scene to assist in getting the suspect down. After almost two hours of negotiating, the suspect was convinced to climb down and surrender, and he was arrested without further incident, police said.

Police discovered Jones had been released from jail on Aug. 9, and was considered a "high risk" registered sex offender who was out of compliance with his registration requirements. Jones was booked into the Marin County Jail on suspicion of several crimes, including stalking, resisting arrest/fleeing from a peace officer, false identification to a peace officer, trespassing, violation of probation and being out of compliance with sex offender registration terms.

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call San Rafael Police at (415) 485-3000. Tips can also be made online at http://www.srpd.org/tips.

<![CDATA[Vallejo Water Main Break Floods Cars, Second Break Reported]]>549999661Sun, 18 Aug 2019 00:12:25 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Clean_Up_Underway_After_Water_Main_Break_in_Vallejo.jpg

A water main break in Vallejo early Saturday morning flooded cars and impacted water service for a hotel and several residences, city officials said.

Just as crews were finishing a massive cleanup from the initial water main break Saturday night, a second break was reported nearby.

In the first break, the 14-inch cast iron pipe on Ifland Way, east of Sonoma Boulevard and west of Broadway Street, ruptured just before 3 a.m. on Saturday.

The burst pipe flooded cars on the street. When repair crews shut off water flow to the pipe and began work, the nearby Regency Hotel as well as two apartment buildings and some houses were impacted by the water shutoff.

City officials said repair crews were continuing work on Saturday afternoon and estimated water service would be restored by 9 p.m.

The city distributed bottled water to impacted residents. But over the next day, some residents may find their water is discolored, cloudy or milky. City officials said they should run their water until it runs clear, ideally with an outdoor garden hose.

Late Saturday night, a second water main break was reported nearby, but officials say it is not as big as the initial break. Further information on the second break was not immediately available.

<![CDATA[PG&E Bankruptcy Judge Gives Tubbs Victims Relief ]]>548088831Fri, 16 Aug 2019 19:21:26 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/pacific-gas-electric-corp-declara-quiebra.jpg

The PG&E bankruptcy judge gave Tubbs fire victims relief from legal limbo on Friday, allowing them to go to state court to try to make the case that the company sparked the most destructive of the North Bay wildfires.

Judge Dennis Montali's ruling lifts a legal log jam that is typically imposed in bankruptcy cases. While other fire victims still have to wait, his ruling gives attorneys for victims of the Tubbs fire permission to bring their case to San Francisco court now. The Tubbs fire destroyed entire neighborhoods in Santa Rosa and left 22 dead.

Tubbs stands as the only one of the major October 2017 fires that Cal Fire has determined PG&E’s equipment did not spark. Instead, the final report blames an unpermitted, substandard private hillside electrical system.

PG&E attorney Kevin Orsini, in arguing against a separate Tubbs fire trial, reminded the judge just this week that "Cal Fire has already concluded we did not start that fire."

But video evidence recently obtained by NBC Bay Area shows a flash that occurred near a PG&E power pole several minutes before the fire erupted. That flash coincided with a power outage that left the private electrical system that Cal Fire has blamed in the fire without power. Whle Cal Fire could not pinpoint where on that property the fire started, its report suggested the fire started before that flash cut off the power.

In light of the video, experts have called Cal Fire findings into question, and state Sen. Jerry Hill has called for Cal Fire to reopen its case. In a statement in advance of the hearing on the matter this week, however, Cal Fire said it is standing by its findings.

Tubbs plaintiff attorneys, meanwhile, told the court that a separate trial will be the best and fastest way to resolve the question. They assured the court they could have the case over by early next year, but PG&E's Orsini called that timetable unrealistic, given the complexity of the case.

In the end, Montali said a trial "will definitively bring a resolution" of the question and provide "an important data point that most likely will facilitate resolution of the wildfire" cases.

Another benefit, he said, is that it could help guide the court with what he acknowledged would be an "imperfect method" of estimating the total value of all wildfire claims against the company – likely in the tens of billions of dollars.

Montali appeared to side with wildfire victims’ attorneys who told the court that trial could start in as little as four months, especially since the law requires that the courts give priority to several elderly victims who have an urgent need to have their case heard.

He said such a trial "is likely to commence in an expeditious fashion" and granting the Tubbs victims’ motion would help meet the goal of a "just resolution" of their claims given the need to act promptly due to "bankruptcy considerations, moral duties, and even legislative deadlines." He cited the recent state law requiring a resolution of the case by the end of June to allow the company to put money in a pool for future wildfire compensation.

PG&E released a statement after Judge Montali’s ruling that says, "Regardless of the next legal steps, Cal Fire has already determined that the cause of the 2017 Tubbs Fire was not related to PG&E equipment. We intend to cooperate with the state court in order to help achieve the June 30, 2020 deadline to participate in the new state Wildfire Fund established by Assembly Bill 1054."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Jumps From Overpass Onto Hwy 29 in Napa]]>547668531Fri, 16 Aug 2019 15:10:04 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Generic+Police+Light+Generic+Cory+Booker+Office+Camden.jpg

Napa Police closed northbound state Highway 29 Friday afternoon after a woman jumped from the First Street overpass onto the highway.

The woman got out of a BMW and jumped around 2:10 p.m., landing on the shoulder of the highway, Lt. Chase Haag said.

She suffered critical injuries and was taken to Queen of the Valley Medical Center, Haag said.

The northbound lanes of the highway have reopened, Chase said around 2:35 p.m.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Vallejo Police Release Photo of Suspect Contacting Minors]]>547380551Fri, 16 Aug 2019 12:03:36 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/VALLEJO+MUG.jpg

Vallejo police have posted a photo on the department's Facebook page of a man suspected of having three improper contacts with girls between 8 and 14 years old.

The suspect is a Hispanic man, 5 feet 10 inches, 170 pounds with dark hair and brown eyes. The man has a distinct mole to the right of his nose and a tattoo on his right shoulder and he was wearing a baseball hat in each incident. Police believe there are additional unreported incidents involving the suspect.

In two improper contact incidents the girls' guardians' chased after the suspect. In the latest incident the man was seen driving a white or silver Dodge or Chrysler minivan with a black rack top.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call Detective Rob Greenberg at (707) 648-4280 or (800) 488-9383.

Photo Credit: Vallejo Police Department ]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighters Contain Brush Fire in Vacaville]]>547333511Fri, 16 Aug 2019 13:08:16 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/vacaville+still+fire.png

Firefighters contained a brush fire that burned near homes in Vacaville.

The fire on Friday afternoon was reported in the area at 7026 Grace Feather Court.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Forestville Teachers End Strike After Agreement is Reached]]>547302841Fri, 16 Aug 2019 11:22:58 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SCHOOL+GENERIC5.jpg

Teachers in the Forestville Union School District are back in school Friday after they reached an agreement Thursday night with the school district on a three-year contract.

The 16 teachers went on strike Monday afternoon after a bargaining session ended without an agreement.

District Superintendent Renee Semik announced the end of the strike Thursday night on the Forestville Elementary School and Academy's Facebook page.

"I am very happy to let you know that the teacher strike is over," Semik said.

"Tomorrow our teachers will be back in their classrooms and school will resume with our regular Friday schedule beginning at 8:30 a.m. and ending at 2:55 p.m.," Semik said.

Ryan Strauss, Forestville Teachers Association bargaining co-chair, said the teachers asked for a three-year contract with a 5-percent raise in the first and second years of the contract that is retroactive to 2018-2019, and a 3-percent cost of living wage in the third year. The District offered 2.5-percent raise in the third year, Strauss said.

"The difference (in the third year) is less than $6,000 a year and one-tenth of one percent of the school's budget," Strauss said.

<![CDATA[Repairs to Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Complete]]>546457661Fri, 16 Aug 2019 02:58:17 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Repairs_Expected_to_the_Richmond-San_Rafael_Bridge.jpg

Caltrans announced Thursday that joint replacement work on the Richmond-San Raphael Bridge is complete.

The agency began repairs to the bridge after a large concrete chunk hit a car on the bridge's lower deck the morning of Feb. 7 and more concrete fell in the afternoon. No one was injured, but the bridge was closed for much of the day.

Caltrans crews replaced the upper deck expansion joint responsible for the falling concrete, then started work on replacing the remaining joints on the upper deck.

"Safety is Caltrans' top priority. Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to replace the remaining sliding plate joints on the bridge, starting with those on the upper deck," said Caltrans District 4 Director Tony Tavares.

Each of the 31 joints that date back to the 1950s has been replaced by a new concrete joint with a rubberized seal designed to shrink and expand with changing temperatures, according to Caltrans officials.

The new joints should prevent cracking of the surrounding concrete road deck.

Next year, Caltrans will replace 30 joints on the lower deck of the bridge in conjunction with a bridge painting contract.

In the coming weeks, the agency will be straightening a portion of the bridge's steel truss, which was impacted by a large truck.

Truss repair will require nightly lane closures in both directions, according to the agency.

The bridge has served Bay Area residents for the past 63 years.

<![CDATA[Marin County Power Outages Leave Tens of Thousands in Dark]]>546131351Thu, 15 Aug 2019 23:34:08 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/PGECone.JPG

Thousands of PG&E customers in Marin County remained without power Friday morning due to power outages in communities throughout the county.

Approximately 16,000 customers were still without power in the North Bay as of Friday at about 1:15 a.m., according to according to PG&E spokesman JD Guidi

PG&E initially reported approximately 54,000 customers lost power Thursday evening.

Information on the cause of the outages was not immediately available.

Guidi said crews were working to restore power to customers impacted by the outages.

On Thursday at 11:34 p.m., the Marin County Sheriff's Office reported Marin County was experiencing multiple power outages.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Heatwave, Spare the Air Continue Friday Before Cool-Off]]>545715041Thu, 15 Aug 2019 23:39:59 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/heat-friday-0815.jpg

Bay Area communities are in store for another hot day Friday before a weekend cool-down.

While inland areas will still be hot with highs in the 90s to around 100 degrees, a redeveloping marine layer will help to cool coastal areas Friday night, according to the National Weather Service.

The cooling trend will peak into the weekend, with below normal temperatures forecast across the region through Sunday, the NWS said. A deeper marine layer should return Saturday night into Sunday helping to cool a broader area.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued another Spare the Air alert for Friday. Spare the Air alerts are issued when ozone pollution is forecast to reach unhealthy levels.

"One more day of heat and smog just underscores how urgent it is that Bay Area residents get out of their cars, use public transit, try a carpool and find other way to get to work," said Jack Broadbent of the Air District.

"Tailpipe exhaust is the largest source of air pollution during warmer months and reducing our daily driving will make the air healthier for us all," Broadbent said.

San Francisco Recreation and Park Department is offering free admission at each of their seven pools. The full swim schedule can be found at sfrecpark.org.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Northern California Fire Victims Can File Claims With PG&E]]>544297351Thu, 15 Aug 2019 09:01:37 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/TubbsFireFile.jpg

People affected by wildfires in Northern California in 2017 and 2018 can soon file claims for housing assistance and other immediate needs with Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

They can file their claims online through the website for the utility’s wildfire assistance program as early as this week.

A federal judge overseeing PG&E’s bankruptcy case in May approved a $105 million fund to provide relief for people who lost property during the huge fires.

The fund will cover victims of a series of fires including the Atlas, Camp, Nuns and Tubbs fires. 

The deadline to apply for the funds is November 15.

Attorneys are also reminding victims who want to join the bankruptcy lawsuit against the utility that the deadline to file a claim is October 21.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: George Rose/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Heat Advisory, Spare the Air Alert Both in Effect]]>544270721Thu, 15 Aug 2019 05:03:39 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/07-29-2015-heat-sun-weather-generic-1.JPG

A heat advisory that the National Weather Service issued remains in effect until 8 p.m. Thursday as temperatures climb to the 90s and 100s in parts of the Bay Area.

Temperatures across the interior of the region will range from 95 to 107 degrees, according to weather officials.

The heat advisory applies to North Bay and East Bay mountains and valleys, interior Monterey County, Southern Salinas Valley, Santa Clara Valley, and inland cities.

Air quality will be poor as a result of the high temperatures, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which has issued a 'Spare the Air' alert for Thursday.

Spare the Air alerts are issued when ozone pollution is forecast to reach unhealthy levels.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[School Year Could Begin With Teacher Strikes in Forestville]]>543850391Thu, 15 Aug 2019 00:51:24 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-5400083411.jpg

Teachers in the Wilmar Union School District in Petaluma have voted to strike after mediation efforts failed on July 25, the Wilmar Teachers Association said.

Officials with the association said both the union and the district are heading into fact-finding, which involves the review of both parties' proposals by a panel, which recommends a settlement.

If that fails, the teachers have a right to strike.

The WTA said its teachers make almost 25 percent below the state average and the school district offers one of the lowest average teacher salaries in Sonoma County's 39 school districts.

"Our students' teachers are financially overwhelmed and struggle to afford basic necessities like rent and healthcare," WTA President Janice Garrigan said in a statement.

"Wilmar will never be able to retain and recruit the best educators for our students without a long-term written commitment to fix this situation," Garrigan said.

There are 250 students in the TK-sixth grade school district.

Separately, 16 teachers in the K-8 Forestville Unified School District went on strike Monday. The teachers are asking for either a 10 percent raise over two years or a 13 percent raise over three years.

"It's time for this district to invest public money in students and teachers," the union's bargaining co-chair Ryan Strauss said in a statement. "This is about a better future for our schools and our community, and about a district that seems to be indifferent to both."

Strauss added, "Many teachers are leaving for better-paying districts, which has to stop. Our students deserve better."

Schools in the Forestville school district are scheduled to open Thursday for the new school year and it appears the strike will not be over.

Superintendent/Principal Renee Semik posted a letter online Wednesday to parents and guardians about the first day of school.

It said "classrooms will be adequately staffed with credentialed professionals," and district officials are encouraging parents and guardians to send their children to school.

Teachers disputed Semik's assertion that classrooms will be staffed adequately.

Semik said that classrooms will be staffed with qualified administrators and substitute teachers.

<![CDATA[Missing: 73-year-old Santa Rosa Woman With Dementia ]]>543572821Wed, 14 Aug 2019 22:05:23 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Koo+Park.jpg

The Santa Rosa Police Department is seeking the public’s help in locating a 73-year-old woman with dementia.

Koo Park was reported to have walked away from her residence in the 1300 block of Gordon Lane in Santa Rosa on Wednesday at 3 p.m. She has not returned, and it is not known where she may have gone.

Park is described as an Asian adult female, five feet five inches tall and weighing 90 pounds. She has black and grey hair, brown eyes and a birthmark under her left eye.

Park was last seen wearing a light blue jacket, floral pants and a floral scarf.

Police are asking that anyone with information about Park’s location immediately contact the Santa Rosa Police Department at 707-528-5222.

Photo Credit: Santa Rosa Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Midweek Heat Wave Bakes Bay Area With Widespread 90s, 100s]]>542383311Wed, 14 Aug 2019 23:51:19 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/HotWeatherGeneric.jpg

The latest summer heat wave to hit the Bay Area has triggered a heat advisory for interior parts of the region through Thursday night, according to weather officials.

The heat advisory — in effect until 8 p.m. Thursday — applies to much of the North Bay, the East Bay valleys, most of the South Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains, the National Weather Service said. Areas under the advisory could face temperatures between 95 and 106 degrees.

Temperatures across the interior of the region will range from 95 to 107 degrees, according to weather officials.

The heat advisory applies to North Bay and East Bay mountains and valleys, interior Monterey County, Southern Salinas Valley, Santa Clara Valley, and inland cities.

Air quality will be poor as a result of the high temperatures, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which has issued a 'Spare the Air' alert for Thursday.

Spare the Air alerts are issued when ozone pollution is forecast to reach unhealthy levels.

On Wednesday, Concord sizzled at 106 degrees, the weather service said. Livermore and Gilroy was right behind at 104 degrees. Other spots such as San Jose, Santa Rosa and Napa reached the upper 90s.

The hot weather is expected to linger through the end of the workweek, Hall said. Inland temps are slated to dip back into the upper 80s by the weekend.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Crews Extinguish Boat Fire Near San Rafael; No Injuries]]>540953181Tue, 13 Aug 2019 23:33:59 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sr-boat-fire-0813.jpg

Fire crews in San Rafael responded to a boat fire on the water late Tuesday, according to the San Rafael Fire Department.

The boat was burning off McNears Beach, fire officials said.

Firefighters received a 911 call shortly after 7:15 p.m. reporting a boat in distress and on fire with five occupants aboard who were taken off the boat by another vessel, fire officials said.

The boaters were transported onshore, where they were met by San Rafael fire crews.

Fire boats from Tiburon and Confidence responded the scene, knocking down the fire on the motor yacht about 200 yards offshore, fire officials said.

No injuries were reported.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Four-Alarm Fire in Vallejo Burns Homes, Prompts Evacuations]]>540860461Tue, 13 Aug 2019 23:24:36 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/vallejo-fire-0813.jpg

Fire crews on Tuesday were battling a four-alarm brush fire that spread to homes and prompted evacuations in Vallejo, according to fire officials.

The blaze ignited near Hanns Park at about 5:55 p.m. and was burning near Creekview Drive, Vallejo Fire Department officials said. Twenty homes on Creekview were evacuated, and 10 homes were damaged.

"I just went over and cut the brush back 20 feet," resident John Lee said. "My house is going to be the first one to burn, and thank God I did because my house would have burned."

The fire had scorched about 10 acres as of Tuesday evening, fire officials said.

Cal Fire was providing aerial support, and the Napa County Fire Department also responded to the scene.

No further details were immediately available.

Photo Credit: Vallejo Firefighters]]>
<![CDATA[Ghost Ship Trial: Jury Wants More Testimony]]>540806672Tue, 13 Aug 2019 18:51:46 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/07082019Almena_7893525.JPG

After days of radio silence from the jury in the Ghost Ship trial we got a sense on Tuesday where their minds are at. The jury said they wanted to hear the testimony from three men who took the stand, including defendant Derick Almena. Melissa Colorado reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Forecast: Widespread 90s and 100s Prompt Heat Advisory]]>539538211Tue, 13 Aug 2019 22:26:25 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Sun_Heat_Generic_Hot_car.jpg

The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for Wednesday and Thursday for the interior regions of the Bay Area.

The heat advisory applies to the North Bay valleys, North Bay mountains, East Bay valleys, and East Bay mountains as well as the Santa Clara Valley from 11 a.m. Wednesday to 8 p.m. Thursday.

Temperatures will continue to rise in inland areas as pressure from the east continues to build over Southern California, weather officials said.

Areas in the North Bay and East Bay mountains and valleys should prepare for temperatures into the 100s, while Santa Clara County can expect highs in the 90s.

Onshore flow and a shallow marine layer will moderate temperatures near the coast, with some low clouds in the morning and night, according to weather officials.

Temperatures will peak on Wednesday and then cool slightly on Friday as low atmospheric pressure sinks down the Pacific coast.

Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Forestville Teachers on Strike 3 Days Before School Opens]]>538450331Mon, 12 Aug 2019 23:54:40 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SCHOOL+GENERIC4.jpg

Sixteen teachers in the Forestville Union School District are on strike after an agreement was not reached during six hours of negotiations Monday.

It is the first teachers strike in Sonoma County since 1980.

Ryan Strauss, Forestville Teachers Association bargaining co-chair, said negotiations with the school district started at 6:30 a.m. and ended around 12:30 p.m. without an agreement.

Strauss said the teachers asked for a three-year contract with a 5 percent raise in the first and second years of the contract that is retroactive to 2018-2019, and a 3 percent cost of living wage in the third year. The district offered a 2.5 percent raise in the third year, Strauss said.

The difference in the third year is less than $6,000 a year and one-tenth of one percent of the school's budget, Strauss said.

"We are officially on strike for an indefinite period of time," Strauss said.

School in the pre-kindergarten to eighth grade Forestville School and Academy starts Thursday. No negotiations are scheduled, Strauss said.

The teachers' contract expired in June.

District Superintendent Renee Semik was not available for comment late Monday afternoon.

<![CDATA[Forestville Teachers On Verge of Strike Over Pay, Benefits]]>536035611Sun, 11 Aug 2019 22:16:16 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Classroom-Generic-Getty.jpg

The Forestville Teachers Association will sit down with the school district for a final round of contract negotiations at 6:30 a.m. Monday before their planned strike begins, the California Teachers Association announced Sunday.

If the parties do not reach an agreement by 7:30 a.m., the strike will mark the first in Sonoma County since 1980.

The association and the school district have been negotiating since November 2017, with the FTA seeking a two-year contract that includes 5 percent annual salary increase and enhanced health benefits for the families of teachers.

"This is [the school district's] opportunity to do right by teachers and students and this community," FTA President Gina Graziano said in a news release.

She said that the picket line would be ready in the event that the district bargaining team's proposal does not match FTA's needs.

Forestville Unified School District has 16 teachers and serves 300 students.

The last strike in Sonoma County was by Santa Rosa elementary and high school teachers, lasting 36 days in November and December of 1980.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Officials Confirm Golf Fire Sparked by Discarded Cigarette]]>533744081Sat, 10 Aug 2019 19:37:17 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Golf+Fire+%281%29.jpg

A discarded cigarette ignited the Golf Fire in Lake County, Cal Fire said Saturday following "a meticulous and thorough investigation."

The fire, which started about 1 p.m. Thursday on Soda Bay Road and Golf Drive in the Lake County community of Kelseyville, has burned about 20 acres and was about 80 percent contained as of Saturday morning.

A spokesman late Saturday afternoon said containment should be higher, but that "they still have a lot of work to do due to the topography and the type of vegetation there."

Crews will thoroughly check the area for spots that could flare up again, he said.

No property damage has been reported in the blaze, but 40 structures were threatened. One firefighter suffered minor injuries in the blaze.

Cal Fire said cigarettes should be discarded in a deep sturdy ashtray away from anything that can burn.

"Do not discard cigarettes in vegetation such as mulch, potted plants or landscaping, peat moss, dried grasses, leaves or other things that could ignite easily," the agency said, advising that dousing cigarette butts and ashes in water or sand is the best extinguishing method.

Cigarettes should never be thrown out of vehicles, Cal Fire said.

<![CDATA[Golf Fire Expected to be Fully Contained Friday ]]>531028021Fri, 09 Aug 2019 15:52:37 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/San-Ysidro-Fire-Photo-080119-6.jpg

The 33-acre vegetation Golf Fire burning in south Lake County was 30 percent contained Friday morning, Cal Fire said.

The fire started around 1 p.m. Thursday on Soda Bay Road and Golf Drive. Forty structures were threatened but none were damaged, Cal Fire said.

Full containment is expected on Friday, according to Cal Fire.

Evacuations were ordered in the Riviera West residential area bordering Clear Lake and an evacuation center was established at the Kelseyville High School on Main Street in Kelseyville.

Repopulation of the Riviera West area is expected late Friday afternoon, and an advisory evacuation of the Riviera Heights area also is expected this afternoon.

Soda Bay Road was closed from Golf Drive to Crystal Drive, but the closure will be evaluated this afternoon, Cal Fire said.

PG&E, which de-energized electric power in the area, is anticipating restore power after it inspects power lines, according to Cal Fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Man Arrested for Allegedly Punching, Kidnapping Woman]]>530009531Fri, 09 Aug 2019 05:40:01 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/453510783-Police-Lights-Generic1.jpg

Santa Rosa police arrested a man on suspicion of kidnapping and punching a woman at her home in northwest Santa Rosa early Thursday morning.

Police responded to a domestic disturbance around 4:45 a.m. at a home near Lamberson Court and Cynthia Lane, Sgt. Jeneane Kucker said.

The victim's family members said Roberto Perez-Hildebrand, 21, allegedly refused to leave the residence and punched the victim in the face. Before officers arrived, Perez-Hildebrand allegedly picked up the victim, who was kicking and screaming to escape, and carried her away from the house, family members told police.

The victim was able to break free and ran back to family members who were chasing Perez-Hildebrand.

Perez-Hildebrand allegedly fled as officers arrived and surrounded the area. After an extensive search with a K-9 team, the use of a Police Department drone and announcements for Perez-Hildebrand to surrender, he was found hiding 20 feet up in a tree on Cynthia Lane and surrendered, Kucker said.

Perez-Hildebrand was arrested and booked in the Sonoma County jail on suspicion of domestic violence with injury, kidnapping, false imprisonment, resisting or delaying arrest and violating probation. He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday afternoon in Sonoma County Superior Court.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto, File]]>
<![CDATA[Officials Propose Killing Elk for Cattle in California Park]]>529236211Thu, 08 Aug 2019 21:42:43 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Elk-AP_19220848056672.jpg

The National Park Service has proposed to shoot a few elk each year as a way to reduce conflict with livestock that graze a park north of San Francisco.

The draft proposal for managing the Point Reyes National Seashore would restrict the herd of tule elk to 120 adult animals in an area known as Drakes Beach, The Sacramento Bee reported Thursday .

The tule elk are North America’s smallest elk species and found only in California. On Point Reyes in western Marin County, they have been eating too much of the grass that farmers and ranchers rely on to feed their cattle.

The Park Service estimated it could shoot between 10 to 15 elk annually, based on the rapid growth of the herd over the past few years. In 2018, an estimated 124 elk roamed Drakes Beach, up from 76 in 2014. More than 600 elk live on the seashore. 

About two dozen dairy and ranching families have leases on the national seashore and on the adjacent Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Agriculture takes up about a third of the park’s 44 square miles (114 square kilometers).

Some environmental groups prefer that the park prohibits livestock operations.

The Park Service drafted the plan and several alternatives to manage the land as part of a 2017 settlement after conservation groups sued the Park Service in 2016. The lawsuit alleged that the federal agency was violating the law by renewing ranching leases without considering the park’s preservation.

Park employees would likely kill a few elk at various times throughout the year, ensuring a proper ratio of male and female elk, said park spokeswoman Melanie Gunn. The venison would be donated to charity.

The Park Service expects to have a final plan by early 2020, after a 45-day public comment period, Gunn said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Eric Risberg/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[National Night Out Events Take Place Around the Bay Area]]>524224101Tue, 06 Aug 2019 23:33:35 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/night-out-sj-0806.jpg

In an effort to strengthen relations between citizens and law enforcement agencies, communities across the Bay Area and the rest of the country are taking part in National Night Out events Tuesday evening.

Celebrated on the first Tuesday of August, the annual campaign brings law enforcement and residents together at neighborhood gatherings.

The program was established over 30 years ago with the goal of enhancing neighborhood camaraderie, according to the National Night Out website.

In Oakland, the Awesome Orchestra performed outside the Main Library, under the stars.

The San Francisco Police Department hosted 10 events around the city, held in each of its districts. 

Kimberli Buckley was one of the organizers at the Concord event.

"So what we’re doing is promoting safety and neighborhood and inviting everybody in the community to come out. And that means everybody," Buckley said.

The Vallejo Unified School District provided free vaccinations for school-age children at a resource fair at Emmanuel Temple Apostolic Church. Blood Centers of the Pacific ran a blood drive, and there were free health checks and diabetes screenings.

People ate, won prizes, and participated in activities at an event at Reentry Resource Courtyard in San Jose put on by the Santa Clara County Office of Reentry Services, the Probation Department and the Sheriff's Office.

"What we know is the most effective tool for the safety of community is when people get to know their neighbors and patrol officers on the beat," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said.

Santa Cruz police held an open house at their headquarters, where they provided station tours, free cotton candy and demonstrations of police dogs and police motorcycle skills.

Local law enforcement agencies and neighbors in Martinez organized the fourth annual Alhambra Valley National Night Out celebration. Attendees listened to live country rock music, savored barbecue and enjoyed ice cream courtesy of a local Boy Scouts troop.

In Gilroy, the National Night Out event was postponed until October as the community continued to grieve from the deadly shooting at the Garlic Festival on July 28.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Teen's Lawyer Seeks Footage After Italian Officer's Slaying]]>523136981Tue, 06 Aug 2019 07:49:53 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Teens2.jpg

The lawyer for one of two Bay Area teens jailed in Rome on suspicion of the slaying of a Carabinieri officer said Tuesday he has asked investigators to obtain all possible video footage of the area of the attack.

Roberto Capra — his 19-year-old client, Finnegan Lee Elder, detained for allegedly stabbing to death officer Mario Cerciello Rega — is aiming to shed greater light on what happened.

"We made an official request to capture all the footage from the area," Capra said, speaking outside the hotel where forensic experts have again inspected the hotel room where Elder was staying with his friend, Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, on the night of the attack.

The two teens have been jailed while prosecutors probe the July 26 slaying of Cerciello Rega, who was investigating an alleged drug deal gone wrong involving the teens.

Prosecutors contend that Elder stabbed Cerciello Rega to death while Natale-Hjorth scuffled with the officer's partner during a rendezvous organized by the teens to obtain money and cocaine in exchange for a backpack they had snatched. The backpack belonged to an Italian man suspected of being an intermediary in the drug deal, who called the Carabinieri asking them to intervene.

Capra said Tuesday that the teens' room inspection was not as relevant as footage of what actually happened at the time of the officer's slaying, "because that is the moment that needs to be clarified."

Investigators have said that both teens admitted their roles in Cerciello Rega's death. Under Italian law, anyone who participated in a slaying can face murder charges even if they did not themselves kill the victim.

In an exclusive interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera published Tuesday, Natale-Hjorth's Italian-born father said his son didn't know that Cerciello Rega was dead as he ran away following the scuffle with the Carabinieri officers.

Fabrizio Natale added that his son told him that he doesn't use drugs and was just accompanying his high school friend Elder to the meeting.

"He was there, he made a mistake, but he's not an assassin," he said in the interview.

Both teens have told investigators that they didn't know that the two officers were Carabinieri as they were in plain clothes and didn't identify themselves. But their version contradicts that of Cerciello Rega's partner, who said they both showed their badges when they confronted the teens.

The lawyers for both men have petitioned a court for their release.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Italian Carabinieri via AP]]>
<![CDATA[Italy Court Asked to Free Bay Area Teen Held in Officer's Killing]]>521116621Mon, 05 Aug 2019 11:16:37 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Teens2.jpg

A lawyer for a Bay Area teenager jailed in Rome in connection with the fatal stabbing of an Italian police officer has petitioned a court for his client's release.

Attorney Renato Borzone on Monday confirmed he filed a request to get 19-year-old Finnegan Lee Elder out of Regina Coeli prison.

Another lawyer made a similar request last week on behalf of Elder's friend, 18-year-old Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth.

The two Californians are being held while prosecutors probe the July 26 slaying of 35-year-old plainclothes officer Mario Cerciello Rega.

Prosecutors contend Elder stabbed Cerciello Rega during a scuffle while Natale-Hjorth allegedly punched and kicked the officer's partner.

The Carabinieri officers were investigating an alleged extortion attempt involving the teens and a stolen knapsack.

It's unclear when a court might hear the petitions to free the Americans.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Italian Carabinieri via AP]]>
<![CDATA[Message in Bottle From Hawaii Found in Northern California]]>518857051Sun, 04 Aug 2019 17:50:20 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/PlasticBottleOcean.jpg

A message in a bottle from Hawaii was discovered floating in a Northern California river after traveling for more than a decade across the Pacific, a newspaper reported.

Eric McDermott, 30, said he found the message, dated 2006, in April with the names of three siblings, ages 4, 7 and 10, and an Oklahoma street address, The Press Democrat reported Friday.

McDermott was volunteering his time cleaning up the Russian River about 77 miles north of San Francisco when he spotted the bottle in the water, he said.

He spent months searching for the family in the note and finally tracked them down a few miles from where he discovered the note, he said.

"The world works in mysterious ways," McDermott said. "What are the odds?"

The family was originally from Santa Rosa, California, and returned after living in Oklahoma for a few years.

Brian Bricker and his ex-wife Alicia Bricker were shocked to learn of the discovery. Their children — now 17, 20 and 23 — have grown a lot over the years.

One just finished college and one is married, Alicia Bricker said.

The bottled message was inspired by a late family friend, Michele Coutin, who enjoyed traveling the world, Brian Bricker said.

"She traveled a lot, and she always said, 'Hey, when I went here, I threw a bottle in the ocean for you guys,'" Brian Bricker said.

The family threw the bottle into the ocean during a Hawaii vacation, McDermott said.

It likely floated south from Hawaii toward the Philippines and Asia before possibly taking a counterclockwise swing through the Gulf of Alaska before heading down the California coast, said John Largier, professor of oceanography at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab in Bodega Bay.

"If only it could talk," Largier said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Citizen of the Planet/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Dies in Solo Motorcycle Accident in Napa County]]>517002241Sat, 03 Aug 2019 17:14:02 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Police-Tape-Generic.png

One man was killed Saturday afternoon in a solo motorcycle accident on state Highway 128 south of Lake Berryessa in unincorporated Napa County, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The accident was reported at 2:04 p.m., on Highway 128 near the intersection with Wragg Canyon Road about two miles south of the Markley Cove resort at Lake Berryessa, said CHP Officer Marc Renspurger.

The man lost control of the motorcycle and ran into a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after 3 p.m. Saturday, he said.

The Napa County Sheriff's Office said one-way traffic was being allowed through the crash site as of 4 p.m., and ask drivers to avoid the area if possible.

<![CDATA[Suspect Identified in Santa Rosa Officer-Involved Shooting]]>515645921Sat, 03 Aug 2019 03:24:28 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/453510783-Police-Lights-Generic1.jpg

Santa Rosa police identified a suspect and provided more details of an officer-involved shooting Thursday evening.

According to police, the suspect is Brad Baymon, 42, whose last known address was Minnesota.

A Sonoma County sheriff's deputy shot at Baymon six times and hit him at least three times as Baymon appeared to be trying to drive away in the deputy's SUV. Inside the SUV was the deputy's rifle.

Following the shooting, Baymon was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive.

The shooting unfolded at 5:38 p.m. when police received a call about an armed robbery at Macy's in Santa Rosa Plaza, a shopping mall just off U.S. Highway 101.

Baymon allegedly stole a pair of shoes. When loss prevention officers confronted him he apparently brandished a knife and tried to stab one of the officers in the face.

Baymon allegedly left the mall and went north toward Morgan street.

A Sonoma County sheriff's deputy in the area heard the call and saw Baymon walking on Ninth Street near Morgan Street, not far from the mall.

Police said the deputy pulled over and told Baymon to stop and Baymon allegedly kept walking.

The deputy, whose name has not been released, told Baymon he would use a Taser on him if he kept walking.

Police allege Baymon indeed kept walking and the deputy shot him with a Taser, which had no effect. The deputy ran in front of Baymon and shot him again.

Police said the second shot had some effect and Baymon allegedly turned and ran toward the deputy's SUV.

The driver's side door was open and the engine was running, according to police.

Baymon allegedly got in the SUV and closed the driver's side door.

The deputy opened the door and ordered Baymon out and tried to pull him out.

Police said Baymon allegedly refused to come out, waved a knife at the deputy and closed the door to the SUV. Baymon allegedly tried to put the SUV in gear and the deputy fired six shots through the closed driver's side window.

Baymon was hit in the torso.

Police said a knife was recovered from the floorboard on the driver's side of the SUV.

The shoes allegedly stolen from Macy's were also recovered. Police said Baymon will be booked into the county jail once he is well enough.

Neither the deputy nor the loss prevention officers were injured.

The deputy was wearing a camera, which captured the shooting. Neither police nor sheriff's officials have released the recording.

Police said they don't know where Baymon was staying in Santa Rosa or how long he has been in town.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto, File]]>
<![CDATA[Fairfield Shooting Caught on Camera]]>515509542Sat, 03 Aug 2019 02:11:31 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/265*120/Fairfield+shooting1.jpg

A shooting between a suspect and victim was caught on camera in a Fairfield parking lot at a strip mall. The victim is expected to survive.]]>
<![CDATA[Daytime Burglaries in San Rafael Lead to Extra Police Patrol]]>515277621Sat, 03 Aug 2019 00:34:00 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Daytime+thefts.jpg

Fourteen break-ins have been reported in San Rafael in the past four weeks in an apparent new trend in which thieves are burglarizing homes during the day, police said.

Authorities confirm the burglaries have happened after people leave for work. Eight of the break-ins have occurred in San Rafael’s Terra Linda neighborhood, where a pillowcase full of jewelry was left in the street in one case.

Barry Forrest, a Terra Linda resident, found his home burglarized a few weeks ago.

“I got into the bedroom and noticed things had been taken out of the dresser and closet,” he said. “It was a shock.”

Investigators don’t know if all the burglaries are related but said thieves are taking jewelry and electronics.

Police said they are stepping up patrols and are asking anyone with security cameras to review video for possible clues.

<![CDATA[Two Medical Marijuana Delivery Businesses Receive Licenses]]>514995381Fri, 02 Aug 2019 20:42:34 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd-marijuana-leaf.jpg

There will soon be two legal, delivery-only, medicinal marijuana retail operations in unincorporated Marin County.

Express2You at 76 San Pablo Ave. near the Marin County Civic Center and Buttercup & Spring at 7 Mt. Lassen Drive in Lucas Valley-Marinwood both received licenses.

The county's medicinal cannabis delivery-only retailer ordinance was adopted in November 2017. It established regulations for four licenses, which require retailers to be closed to the public and dispense medicinal marijuana exclusively by delivery.

The businesses must not be closer than 600 feet to a school, daycare center, youth center or playground. The dispensary site must be in an area zoned for commercial, office or industrial use and signage outside the business must be strictly limited.

Both businesses must pay $7,000 for an operating license before opening. The fee covers the cost of inspections and for checks to be sure the businesses are complying with state and county regulations.

The county received 15 license applications in the summer of 2018. Six advanced to the next phase and four businesses were selected by lottery in January.

Three of the four applicants were on the same site at 7 Mt. Lassen Drive in Lucas Valley-Marinwood, and the Community Development Agency determined that would cause complications and increase security concerns. A second lottery was held to select one of the three applicants, and on July 24 Buttercup & Spring won.

The two applicants that were not selected in the lottery can submit new site review applications for different locations within six months. Their proposals must comply with the procedures in the delivery-only retailer ordinance.

Marin County will not assess a tax for medicinal cannabis retailers now, but retailers are required to collect state sales tax and excise taxes for medicinal marijuana sales in unincorporated Marin County.

All other medicinal cannabis commercial activities in unincorporated Marin County are prohibited, but the county's cities and towns can create their own regulations.

The delivery-only retailer ordinance complies with state legislation that allows residents to obtain and use cannabis for medical purposes with a recommendation from a physician.

<![CDATA[Police Investigate Officer-Involved Shooting in Santa Rosa]]>513527641Thu, 01 Aug 2019 23:12:14 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sonoma+ois-0801.jpg

A shoplifting suspect was shot at least three times by a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy Thursday evening, sheriff's officials said.

Santa Rosa police received a call at 5:38 p.m. from the security office at Santa Rosa Plaza, a shopping mall just off U.S. Highway 101.

Security personnel told police that a man shoplifted and when a security guard tried to stop the man he tried to stab the guard in the face with a knife.

The suspect left the mall and went north on Morgan Street, sheriff's officials said.

A deputy contacted a man who looked like the suspect at Ninth and Morgan streets, not far from the mall. Sheriff's officials said the deputy stopped his patrol car and the suspect walked by, disobeying the deputy's commands to stop.

The deputy shot the suspect with a Taser, which apparently had no effect him. The deputy tried to get in front of the man to stop him and the man went backwards and ran to the deputy's vehicle.

According to the sheriff's office, the suspect got in the driver's seat and an altercation began. Sheriff's officials said the suspect shut the door as he brandished a knife toward the deputy and the deputy tried to open the door.

The deputy then shot the suspect. The man was treated at the scene and then taken to a hospital with significant wounds. Sheriff's officials said the wounds are reportedly not life-threatening.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Homeless Count Shows Drop in Marin County]]>513511341Thu, 01 Aug 2019 14:31:04 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Generic+Homeless+Generic+Shoe+Sleeping+Street.jpg

The number of homeless people in Marin County declined slightly since 2017, but the number of chronically homeless people fell sharply, according to the point-in-time homeless count and survey in January.

The final results of the Jan. 28 count were released Wednesday by the county's Department of Health and Human Services.

There were 1,117 homeless people in the January 2017 count and 1,034 in January 2019 -- a 7 percent decrease. There were 359 chronically homeless people in 2017 and 257 in 2019 - a 28 percent reduction, according to the report.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines a chronically homeless person as someone who has been homeless for at least a year, has experienced four episodes of homelessness totaling 12 months in the last three years, and a person who has a disability that prevents them from maintaining housing.

Marin County officials said the decreases reflect the county's Housing First approach that addresses a person's housing needs first before accessing social services. The nationwide Housing First approach is recognized as the best practice for addressing homelessness.

Marin County Health and Human Services has permanently housed 162 chronically homeless residents since October 2017, according to the report.

The 2019 report also found family homelessness decreased 28 percent and youth homelessness fell 11 percent. San Rafael and Novato saw reductions in unsheltered homelessness equal to 30 and 13 percent respectively, but Richardson Bay and West Marin saw increases in homelessness, according to the report.

Marin County residents who are identified as black or African American comprise 2.8 percent of the population but they are 17 percent of the homeless population, county officials said.

Other data in the report show eight unaccompanied children under 18 and 99 unaccompanied youth 18-24 comprised 10 percent of Marin County's homeless.

Sixty-seven percent of the 99 homeless veterans counted in January were unsheltered, and 66 percent of 320 homeless people age 50 and up were unsheltered.

The 2019 homeless report also found three-quarters of the homeless in Marin are locals.

"By and large, people who become homeless stay where they have connections," said Carrie Ellen Sager, HHS's Homelessness Program Coordinator.

"Those statistics are consistent with similar reports nationwide.

This is a local problem, and these are our neighbors," Sager said.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Fairfield Man Arrested for Heroin, Xanax, Cocaine, Firearms]]>513477961Wed, 31 Jul 2019 21:42:31 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Perry+Hughes+Narcotics+Weapons+%282%29.jpg

The Fairfield Police Department’s Special Operations Team has arrested a suspect on narcotics and weapons charges after discovering illegal substances intended for sale and firearms at his residence, police said.

Perry Hughes was booked into Solano County Jail Tuesday after investigators served a search warrant at his Fairfield home and located heroin, Xanax tablets, cocaine, an assault rifle, three semiautomatic handguns, extended handgun and rifle magazines and a silencer, authorities confirmed. Investigators were able to initially obtain the warrant after receiving information that Hughes was selling narcotics.

Fairfield Police want the public to know that violent crimes in neighborhoods such as robberies, assaults and shootings are often the result of illegal narcotics sales. Officials ask that anyone with knowledge of this type of activity contact the Fairfield Police Department.

Photo Credit: Fairfield Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Jailed Bay Area Teens Now Have Lawyers, Family in Italy]]>513444061Wed, 31 Jul 2019 23:45:57 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Teens2.jpg

Both Bay Area teens jailed in Rome in the fatal stabbing of an Italian police officer now have private lawyers and family members in Italy.

Ethan Elder, father of Finnegan Lee Elder, arrived at Rome's airport Wednesday on a flight from California. He didn't respond to questions shouted by reporters.

Investigators contend that his 19-year-old son stabbed Carabinieri Deputy Brigadier Mario Cerciello Rega 11 times with a military-style attack knife early Friday near the hotel where he was staying with his friend. According to court documents, Elder told prosecutors during his interrogation that he thought he was being strangled in a scuffle with the officer.

But prosecutors say there were no signs of physical injury on either teen.

Under investigation along with Elder is his travel mate, Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, 18. Natale-Hjorth's lawyer, Fabio Alonzi, said the teen's family visited him on Wednesday.

Under Italian law, both the defendant who materially carries out a killing and others involved in the crime can each be charged with murder.

A day earlier, Elder's mother, in San Francisco, told private Italian TGCom24 that the family was "heartbroken" over the officer's death. She added that the teens' travel plans "came together at the last minute."

Prosecutors said police found the knife used in the slaying hidden in the dropped ceiling of the Americans' hotel room. Investigators said Elder told them he had brought the knife with him from the United States.

According to prosecutors, the police officer and his partner, both in plainclothes, had gone to the site of a rendezvous that had been arranged by the teens who were trying to get 100 euros ($112) and a gram of cocaine in exchange for returning a knapsack they had stolen from an intermediary in a drug deal gone bad.

Investigators contend that Elder thrust the knife repeatedly into Cerciello Rega and that Natale-Hjorth punched and kicked the other officer.

Investigators allege the two police were attacked immediately after they identified themselves as Carabinieri officers. The teens have contended that didn't realize the men were police.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Italian Carabinieri via AP]]>
<![CDATA[Officials Release Video of July 4 Rampage in Bodega Bay]]>513424781Wed, 31 Jul 2019 07:36:06 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/July+4+Rampage.jpg

Sonoma County sheriff's officials Tuesday released a video compilation of an officer-involved shooting of a man who allegedly injured eight people July 4.

Sheriff Mark Essick warns viewers that the video of the shooting in Bodega Bay is graphic and disturbing. One part shows a woman being hit by a security guard's pickup truck driven by the suspect, 32-year-old Betai Koffi of San Francisco, as the victim walks on the side of Pelican Loop.

Koffi allegedly took LSD before he went on the rampage.

A video from Deputy Jason Pasero's body-worn camera shows Koffi driving the pickup toward a sheriff's vehicle and a California Highway Patrol car. Pasero shoots through the windshield, striking Koffi three times and ending the rampage. Pasero and a CHP officer handcuff Koffi and give him aid as they wait for paramedics as Koffi lies on the ground bleeding.

Koffi suffered critical head injuries and remains in a hospital.

The injuries to the woman and two other pedestrians struck by the stolen pickup were not life threatening. A security guard who was stabbed with a metal stake was released from a hospital.

Koffi also allegedly injured four friends he was staying with in a rented house in Bodega Bay on July 4. Their injuries were not serious.

Koffi was charged and arraigned in a hospital for attempted murder, assaults with a deadly weapon and a carjacking, all felonies.

The sheriff's office posted the video on its Facebook page Tuesday afternoon.

Photo Credit: Sonoma County Sheriff's Office
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<![CDATA[Twin Infants Found by Dumpster in Fairfield, One Dead: PD]]>513414161Wed, 31 Jul 2019 19:56:00 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/fairfield-dumpster-0730.jpg

Twin infants were found by a dumpster Tuesday in Fairfield, and one did not survive, according to police. Now the mother may face criminal charges.

Police said the babies were found in the 300 block of Pittman Road in Fairfield, a city about halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento. 

Around 4:11 p.m., Fairfield officers responded to a call regarding a woman behind a business in the 300 block of Pittman Road. An employee who called also told dispatchers two infants were with her and appeared to have been recently birthed on the sidewalk behind the businesses, police said.

Arriving officers searched the area and located the two newborns, but no mother.

The first officer who arrived immediately started life-saving efforts on one of the newborns and turned care over to the fire department, police said. That infant was taken to a hospital and was in stable condition.

The other infant was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Officers searched the area and found the mother nearby on Central Place, and based on their observations, it appeared she had recently given birth, police said. The mother was detained and taken to a hospital for treatment.

Fairfield police say they are still trying to understand what led the woman to give birth in the back lot of a business center.

The mother and surviving baby were recovering at a hospital. Those who live in the area were shaken by the incident.

"When you see her, we’ve seen her here, it just breaks my heart. I wish there was something I could have done," said Cindy Pace, who added that she has seen the pregnant woman panhandling in the area for weeks and believes the woman is mentally ill. "I hope they don’t bring charges against her, I really hope they don’t. I hope there’s some compassion for her."

Police said they have located some of the woman’s relatives. It’s unclear who will get custody of the child.

NBC Bay Area's Jodi Hernandez contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: KCRA]]>
<![CDATA[Slain Police Officer in Italy Didn't Have Gun When Stabbed]]>513397311Tue, 30 Jul 2019 12:42:11 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_19211391446180.jpg

A plainclothes police officer had forgotten his gun the night he was fatally stabbed during a confrontation with two San Francisco Bay Area teenagers in Rome, an Italian police commander said Tuesday.

Gen. Francesco Gargaro of Italy’s paramilitary Carabinieri police force said that even if the officer had been armed, he would not have had time to draw his weapon before he was mortally wounded with a military-style knife.

During a news conference, the commander provided some of the first details about the encounter early Friday in which Deputy Brigadier Mario Cerciello Rega, 35, was knifed 11 times.

Cerciello Riga and a partner, Andrea Varriale, were assigned to respond to an extortion attempt involving a failed drug deal, Gargaro said. Thieves had demanded money and cocaine in exchange for returning a stolen backpack, he said.

The officers were in plainclothes and identified themselves as Carabinieri as they approached two suspects, but were immediately attacked, Gargaro said. Asked why Cerciello Rega didn’t pull his gun, Gargaro said the officer had "forgotten" his weapon after being called into work on a scheduled day off.

"In any case, there was no time to use it," Gargaro said.

The police said other officers didn’t know Cerciello Rega didn’t have his gun with him when he set out on what would be a fatal assignment.

"He is the only one who knows why he didn’t have it with him," Gargaro said.

Two suspects from the Bay Area, Finnegan Lee Elder, 19, and Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, 18, were detained in the officer’s slaying. Police have said Elder is suspected of stabbing Cerciello Rega and Natale-Hjorth is suspected of assaulting the other officer.

Varriale did have his gun, but after Natale-Hjorth stopped punching and scratching and ran off, the officer turned his attention to his wounded partner, Gargaro said.

The general also stressed that under Italian law it is illegal to fire at a fleeing suspect. If he had done so, Varriale “would have been under investigation for a grave crime.”

The teens were classmates at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley before graduating. Elder was transferred in from Sacred Heart Cathedral Prepatory in San Francisco after a 2016 fight in Stern Grove with another member of the football team, law enforcement sources tell NBC Bay Area.

A judge who approved the jailing of the two suspects Saturday said there were "grave" indications the Americans were responsible for the officer’s death.

Natale-Hjorth, whose father is Italian, also has Italian citizenship, the Italian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

According to the judge’s written ruling, Elder and Natale-Hjorth allegedly paid for cocaine from a drug dealer in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood but the deal wasn’t completed because police officers had approached.

Investigators said the two then snatched and ran off with the knapsack of the Italian man who had put them in contact with the dealer.

Police said when the intermediary called his own cellphone, which was in the stolen backpack, the teens told Sergio Brugiatelli they’d return the bag in exchange for 100 euros ($112) and a gram of cocaine.

After Brugiatelli reported the demand to police, an appointment with the teens was set up and Cerciello Rega and Varriale were sent to the rendezvous point.

Varriale recounted later that they identified themselves as Carabinieri and showed their badges, but were immediately attacked, the judge wrote in her ruling upholding the detention. The teen suspects told investigators they did not know the two men who showed up to meet them were police officers, Judge Chiara Gallo wrote.

During his interrogation, Elder told authorities he stabbed Cerciello Rega because he feared he was being strangled, the judge wrote, noting the teen didn’t have any marks on his neck.

After Cerciello Rega’s death at a hospital, officers tracked the Americans to their hotel room and reported finding the alleged weapon, an 18-centimeter (7-inch) military-style attack knife, hidden in the room’s drop ceiling.

Elder told police he had brought the knife with him from the United States a few days earlier, investigators said on Tuesday.

Judge Gallo cited contradictions in the teens’ statements to investigators: Elder told investigators that Natale-Hjorth hid the knife, while Natale-Hjorth said he didn’t even know about a stabbing until his friend woke him hours later and reported he had "used a knife" and then washed it.

Prosecutor Nunzia D’Elia, who interrogated the pair Friday, said both exhibited apparent difficulty in grasping the gravity of the situation.

"One of them said, 'Is he really dead? Dead, dead?" D’Elia told journalists, going on to identify the speaker as Natale-Hjorth.

Amanda Knox, an American who was convicted but ultimately acquitted in Italy of the 2007 slaying of her British housemate in Italy, tweeted that she was getting a lot of questions about the current case.

"All I can say is: I’m withholding judgment," said Knox, whose closely watched case received sensational and exhaustive news coverage. "It should be tried in the court of law, not the court of public opinion."

Nicole Winfield contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Andrew Medichini/AP
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<![CDATA[Italy Judge: Teen Claims He Knifed Officer in Self-Defense]]>513338181Mon, 29 Jul 2019 23:59:11 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Teens2.jpg

One of two American teenagers jailed in Rome for allegedly slaying a police officer said he stabbed the plainclothes officer because he feared he was being strangled, according to a judge's ruling obtained by The Associated Press on Monday.

Carabinieri paramilitary police Vice Brigadier Mario Cerciello Rega was stabbed 11 times and collapsed, bleeding profusely, on a street near the Bay Area teens' hotel on Friday, after he and a fellow plainclothes officer confronted the Americans as part of an investigation into a cocaine deal the two were allegedly involved in. He died shortly afterward at a hospital.

Judge Chiara Gallo wrote in her ruling upholding the jailing of the two teens that 19-year-old Finnegan Lee Elder told authorities he stabbed Cerciello Rega after he felt pressure on his neck.

But, the judge noted, Elder didn't have any marks on his neck indicating an attempted strangulation.

Gallo said the young man's friend and travel companion, 18-year-old Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, told investigators he wasn't aware of the stabbing until Elder woke him up at their hotel hours later and told them he had "used a knife" and then washed it.

Investigators said Saturday both teens had admitted their roles in Cerciello Rega's death. Under Italian law, anyone who participated in a slaying can face murder charges.

In her ruling, issued Saturday, the judge wrote that Elder admitted during interrogation by prosecutors that he stabbed the officer "several times" with a knife described as a military-style attack model with a 7-inch-long (18-centimeter) blade. She said Elder told investigators he didn't realize the two men were police officers and believed they were men sent by an Italian man whose knapsack they had stolen a few hours earlier.

That man, identified as Sergio Brugiatelli, told investigators that two youths with American accents approached him in Rome's Trastevere nightlife district asking if he had 80 euros ($90) worth of cocaine to sell, according to the judge's order. Brugiatelli said he didn't, but accompanied one of the teens, a blond he later identified as Natale-Hjorth, to a dealer in the neighborhood. Brugiatelli said the other teen, whom he later identified as Elder, sat waiting on a bench where Brugiatelli had left his bag with a cellphone

According to Brugiatelli, the "blond youth" gave the dealer money for the drugs, but at the sight of approaching police officers, everyone scattered. He later told investigators that when he returned to the bench a friend told him that Elder had run off with his bag.

Brugiatelli said he dialed his cellphone number and one of the teens answered and demanded he bring 80 or 100 euros plus a gram of cocaine to a street near their hotel if he wanted the bag back. After police were informed of the extortion attempt, Cerciello Rega and his partner, Andrea Varriale, were sent to the rendezvous point, the judge's order said.

The judge noted that the teens claimed the officers didn't show identification. But, she said, Varriale told investigators both officers showed their badges and identified themselves as police. "But the pair, even before we could carry out any kind of check attacked us physically," she quoted Varriale as telling investigators.

Varriale told investigators that Cerciello Rega yelled as he was struggling with Elder, "Stop, we're Carabinieri. Enough." He said Natale-Hjorth kicked, scratched and punched him to break away, then both teens fled. As he watched them run Varriale said he saw his partner was bleeding profusely from his left side, near the chest."Before falling to the ground, he told me, 'They stabbed me,'" the judge quoted Varriale as saying.

Cerciello Rega's was eulogized Monday as a hero at a funeral held in his hometown, Somma Vesuviana, in the same church where the 35-year-old officer had been married six weeks earlier.

Italy's military chaplain, Archbishop Santo Marciano, said in his eulogy that Cerciello Rega lived and died to safeguard others' lives, adding that the officer was known for warmly greeting residents of the neighborhood in historic Rome. He spent his off-duty hours as a volunteer dishing out hot meals to the homeless in Rome's main station and accompanied ailing faithful to religious shrines, including in Lourdes, France, the archbishop said.

Meanwhile, at the San Francisco home of Elder's father, a sign reading "Please respect family's privacy do not disturb" hung on a gate Monday in front of the house. When a reporter rang the doorbell, a man wearing a Giants baseball cap appeared behind the gate and asked, "Do I know you?" and then pointed to the sign and went back into the house.

In a statement, the Elder family said they had been informed Monday that a U.S. government official in Rome had visited with Elder. "We continue to gather facts about his case through his legal representatives," the family said.

Police in Mill Valley, California, where the suspects went to high school and had lived for a time, said neither teen had an arrest record or turned up in reports of family domestic violence.

Meanwhile, police and prosecutors were investigating what was described as the illegal blindfolding of Natale-Hjorth after Italian newspapers published a photo Sunday of the teen with what appeared to be a scarf covering his eyes and his hands handcuffed behind his back as he sat in a chair at a police station.

Rome Provincial Cmdr. Francesco Gargaro told AP the blindfold was illegal and lasted only a few minutes, before the young man was brought to another room for interrogation. The officer who put the blindfold on was being transferred to other duties, while police investigated who took and distributed the photo, authorities said.

Rome's prosecutor general, Giovanni Salvi, said in a statement that a lawyer was present during the teens' interrogation by prosecutors, which was recorded and transcribed and that neither suspect was blindfolded or handcuffed while they were questioned.

On Monday, Natale-Hjorth's lawyer, Emiliano Sisinni, said his client hadn't said anything about being blindfolded to a fellow attorney assisting with his defense who was present during the interrogation. Sisinni said he became aware of the blindfold only after seeing the photo in the Italian media.

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte said that while "there is no doubt that the victim of this tragedy is our Mario," he praised the Italian police for transferring the officer who put the blindfold on Natale-Hjorth.

Treating a suspect that way "doesn't reflect our principles and juridical values," said Conte, who is a lawyer. He also decried that the photo was circulated on social media.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Italian Carabinieri via AP]]>
<![CDATA[Italy Officer, Allegedly Slain by Bay Area Teens, Mourned]]>513331001Mon, 29 Jul 2019 04:50:01 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ItalyOfficerFuneral.jpg

An Italian paramilitary police officer, allegedly slain by two American teens in Rome, has been hailed as a hero at his funeral in his hometown near Naples.

Mario Cerciello Rega was fatally stabbed 11 times near the hotel where the San Francisco Bay Area teenagers were staying while he was investigating a drug deal gone wrong. Monday’s funeral was held in the same church in Somma Vesuviana where he was married six weeks ago.

Italy’s military chaplain, Archbishop Santo Marciano, in his eulogy, said Cerciello Rega, 35, lived and died to safeguard others’ lives.

Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, 18, and Finnegan Lee Elder, 19, are jailed for investigation of the officer’s murder.

Police are investigating both Natale-Hjorth’s illegal blindfolding before his interrogation after Friday’s slaying and who leaked the photo of him blindfolded.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Overturned Tanker Triggers Closure of Marin County Road]]>513313541Sun, 28 Jul 2019 13:26:27 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/TankerCrashMarinCounty.jpg

Officials said Lucas Valley Road in Marin County will likely remain closed for the rest of the day and that the public should be aware that prevailing winds may carry the odor of fuel as cleanup continues after a tanker truck overturned Sunday morning.

About 6,700 gallons remains in the tanker and 200 gallons has been contained by fire personnel, the Marin County Sheriff's Office said Sunday afternoon.

Lucas Valley Road is closed to all traffic between Big Rock and Bridgegate Drive, including pedestrians and bicycles.

Photo Credit: Marin County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Forecast: Sizzling Sunday Inland, But Much Cooler Monday]]>513310021Mon, 29 Jul 2019 00:18:59 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/thumbnail_image001.png

Relief from the heat is on the way.

While a heat advisory remains in effect through 11 p.m. Sunday for the inland East Bay as well as parts of the South Bay and North Bay, temperatures are expected to drop considerably starting Monday, according to weather officials.

NBC Bay Area Meteorologist Rob Mayeda said that a stronger sea breeze will soon kick into high gear, dropping inland temperatures into the low 80s to start the workweek.

In the meantime, people in the eastern half of the Bay Area will still have to contend with mid to upper 90s and possibly some 100s to end the weekend.

Livermore is expected to lead the Bay Area at 100 degrees Sunday afternoon, Mayeda said. Antioch and Morgan Hill are slated to reach 98 degrees. San Jose and Napa are expected to peak at 90 degrees. 

Spots along the San Francisco Bay and the coast will be significantly cooler. San Francisco is slated to check in at 70 degrees. Santa Cruz could top out at 76 degrees. Traditionally cool Half Moon Bay is only expecting a high of 67 degrees.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Italy: Bay Area Teen Held in Officer's Death 'Illegally Blindfolded']]>513308541Mon, 29 Jul 2019 00:17:10 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/TEEN+ARRES+ITALY+SNIP.JPG

An American teenager was illegally blindfolded before he was interrogated as a suspect in the slaying of a newlywed police officer in Rome, an Italian police commander said Sunday after the emergence of a photo showing the young tourist restrained with handcuffs and with his head bowed.

Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, 18, from the San Francisco Bay Area, was blindfolded "for a very few minutes, four or five'' on Friday just before he was taken to interrogation in a police station about the fatal stabbing, Rome Provincial Cmdr. Francesco Gargaro told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

Natale-Hjorth and another suspect from the Bay Area, 19-year-old Finnegan Lee Elder, remained jailed while Italians lined up outside a chapel to pay respects to Deputy Brigadier Mario Cerciello Rega. The 35-year-old officer had recently returned to duty on the Carabinieri paramilitary police force after a honeymoon.

The officer was attacked with a knife on a street close to the teens' upscale hotel in Rome. An autopsy showed he had been stabbed 11 times.

"Whoever killed him is an animal," said the mayor of the officer's hometown, Somma Vesuviana. Mayor Salvatore Di Sarno spoke after leaving a wake for the officer in a chapel close to the police station in Rome where he had worked for years.

The coroner concluded that the policeman bled to death, according to Italian news reports.

Hundreds of Romans lined up in silence to file past the officer's coffin. Among the mourners were his widowed bride, Rosa Maria Esilio, and Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte.

Cerciello was popular for warmly greeting residents of the neighborhood in historic Rome. He spent off-duty hours as a volunteer dishing out hot meals to the homeless in Rome's main station and accompanied ailing faithful to religious shrines, including in Lourdes, France.

Investigators allege Elder knifed the policeman during a struggle after Cerciello Rega and his partner, both plainclothes officers, identified themselves as police. The officers were following up on a report of a drug deal that allegedly involved the teens.

Authorities contend Natale-Hjorth repeatedly punched the other officer, who was not seriously hurt.

Police said Saturday that both Americans confessed to their roles in Cerciello Rega's death. Under Italian law, anyone who participated in a slaying can face murder charges.

Italian newspapers on Sunday published a photo of Natale-Hjorth with what appears to be a scarf covering his eyes and with his arms handcuffed behind his back as he sat in a chair at a police station. Police and prosecutors are conducting separate investigations of the blindfolding.

Blindfolding of a suspect "is illegal. It's not allowed," Gargaro said. The officer who put the blindfold on committed a "mistake" but did so to prevent Natale-Hjorth from seeing documents related to the investigation, the commander said.

Natale-Hjorth had been brought in handcuffs to the stationhouse from his hotel, Gargaro said. He was interrogated by police and prosecutors without a lawyer there since he had not been formally detained as a suspect and Italian law does not allow an attorney's presence at that stage, the commander said.

But Rome's prosecutor general, Giovanni Salvi, said in a statement that there was indeed a lawyer present during the actual interrogation. It was not immediately clear if Gargaro might have been referring to the time spent while waiting for the interrogation.

Salvi, as Gargaro did, also stressed that the two suspects "were brought to the interrogation physically free, without blindfolds or handcuffs." Salvi said the interrogation, by two magistrates, "was recorded and entirely transcribed. The defendants were advised of their rights."

The officer who placed the blindfold on was being transferred to a different unit, Gargaro said. The Carabinieri were also investigating who took the photo and how it was leaked.

Elder's lawyer, Francesco Codini, did not reply to request by the AP for comment. Natale-Hjorth's lawyer could not be reached.

Italian media reported that Natale-Hjorth had recently been visiting, with his father and a grandfather, a town near Rome where they have relatives, then met up with his school alumnus Elder in Rome, staying in the hotel.

The teen had just completed his first year at Santa Barbara City College, according to the institution in Southern California.

With the slain officer being widely mourned as a hero, some Italians, such as center-right lawmaker Mariastella Gelmini, worried that the publication of the photo might aid the defense or thwart justice.

Another prominent politician, Pier Ferdinando Casini, said those who respect the sacrifice of officers such as Cerciello Rega "cannot justify the treatment of the young American which goes contrary to every rule."

For others, the photo evoked the beating death of a young Roman who was jailed in a drug investigation a few years ago. Stefano Cucchi was severely beaten after his arrest and died several days later. After his family fought to find out the truth, several police officers were investigated for the beating and for attempting to cover it up.

His sister, Ilaria Cucchi, called the photo of the blindfolded Natale-Hjorth "terrible."

"Certain things must not happen whatever the accusation is," she said.

CORRECTION (July 28, 2019, 2:45 p.m.): A video in a previous version of this story misidentified the suspects.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Polizia di Stato
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<![CDATA[Suspect Arrested in Cotati's First Homicide in 24 Years]]>513303911Sat, 27 Jul 2019 21:30:46 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/453510783-Police-Lights-Generic1.jpg

A 67-year-old man was shot and killed Friday night, and a 68-year-old neighbor was arrested after what Cotati police said appears to be the culmination of an ongoing quarrel between the two men.

Police said the shooting death of Patrick Leonard is the first homicide in this small Sonoma County city since 1995.

Police were called about 6:35 p.m. Friday to Robin Avenue, where officers found a man on the floor of a garage. The victim, Leonard, was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Police said Leonard had been involved in an ongoing dispute with neighbor Joseph Rossi. Police said the two men were involved in a heated argument outside their homes before the shooting occurred.

Rossi was arrested at the scene on suspicion of homicide.

Police from Healdsburg and Sonoma State University helped Cotati police with the investigation, and Rohnert Park Public Safety officers processed the crime scene.

A handgun recovered at Rossi's home is believed to be the murder weapon, but police said that won't be certain until lab tests are complete.

The shooting remains under investigation; anyone with information about anything leading up to the shooting is asked to call Cotati police Cpl. Brian Deaton at (707) 792-4611.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto, File]]>
<![CDATA[Solano County Firefighters Respond to Blaze Near Cordelia]]>513260121Fri, 26 Jul 2019 13:51:28 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0726-SolanoFire.png

Solano County firefighters Friday afternoon appeared to have contained a fire near Interstate 680 and North Marshview Road.

The blaze is in the same area a wildfire charred more than 180 acres Wednesday south of Cordelia.

No other information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Sonoma County Sheriff Affirms Non-Cooperation With ICE ]]>513256641Fri, 26 Jul 2019 12:41:10 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Denuncian_presencia_de_ICE_en_linea_naranja_de_MBTA.jpg

Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick is scheduled to attend a Latin musical performance and dance Friday night at the Graton Resort and Casino to assure the Latino community his office will protect undocumented immigrants' rights.

The Graton Resort and Casino expects as many as 2,000 people, most of them Latino, to attend the event that features a musical performance by Ramon Ayala followed by a dance.

Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria Tribal Chairman Greg Sarris will introduce Essick on The Ballroom stage around 10 p.m.

In a news release Friday, the Graton Resort and Casino said Essick will tell the Latino community his office will not turn over undocumented immigrants to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for traffic violations, driving without insurance or a license, or for minor misdemeanors such as petty theft and public intoxication.

The sheriff's office also will not turn over the undocumented immigrants to ICE for reporting they have been the victim or a crime or to assist ICE in conducting raids.

The sheriff will say his office cannot ask people about their immigration status and will not arrest someone on a civil immigration warrant.

The Graton Resort and Casino is located at 288 Golf Course Drive W. just outside Rohnert Park city limits.

<![CDATA[Video Raises Questions About Cause of 2017 Tubbs Fire]]>513228971Thu, 25 Jul 2019 20:31:28 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tubbs-flash-0725.jpg

NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit has obtained video evidence that experts say should prompt Cal Fire to reconsider the cause of the deadly 2017 Tubbs fire, which leveled Santa Rosa neighborhoods and killed 22 people.

It was the only major Wine Country wildfire that was not blamed on PG&E equipment.

In its final report, Cal Fire investigators identified the area around a hilltop home, owned by 91-year-old Ann Zink, as the origin of the Oct. 8 fire.

Cal Fire found the fire was caused by a substandard private electrical system spanning much of the 10.5 acre property.

But a surveillance video is raising new questions. It was taken from the Bennett Lane Winery and shows a flash at 9:20 p.m. That’s more than 20 minutes before the fire was first reported to authorities.

“It’s identical to lightning -- it’s a small piece of lightning,” said Bernard Cuzzillo, a mechanical engineer and fire science expert who reviewed the winery video.

It was likely an arc flash, he said, typically triggered when high voltage lines touch each other, or come into contact with a tree branch. The flash can also be caused when fuses blow at a power pole, and the location of the flash is what is raising new questions.

The spot where the flash can be seen corresponds to PG&E pole 773, near the entrance to the Zink property. The left side of that pole is still charred.

While Cal Fire ultimately determined that two of the PG&E pole’s 25 amp fuses blew, it does not cite that as a cause for the fire. Instead, Cal Fire determined the nearby unpermitted and substandard private power system was to blame, even though the agency could not determine exactly how that system triggered the fire.

Cal Fire’s report also mentions the winery video, but it only describes how the video records the advancing fire. It does not mention the flash on the pole. It also says when the fuses on the PG&E pole blew, 20 homes lost power, including the Zink property, directly across from the winery, and that’s what is raising new questions about the cause.

“With the 25 amp fuses blown, there’s no electricity going to the residence,” Cuzzillo explained. “So the substandard wiring doesn’t matter after the fuses blow.”

Dan Mulkey, a former PG&E electrical engineer turned consultant, says the flash on that surveillance video raises questions about Cal Fire’s report.

Mulkey notes, “With everything going on in a storm, you’re not going to find everything out that you’d like to.” He added that one area that should be further investigated is what triggered the flash and blown fuses on PG&E pole 773. Cal Fire’s expert analysis does not offer an explanation.

“I think I’d like to be the lawyer asking the investigator some pointed questions,” Mulkey said.

Bernard Cuzzillo adds it would have been “an amazing coincidence” if the arc flash was somehow totally unrelated to the fire. Although the Cal Fire report does not mention the flash, it does speculate that the fire may have already started at 9:20 p.m., the time the power went out. The report then concludes that any evidence of the specific cause on the private system was destroyed by the fire itself.

In light of the video evidence, both experts said they believe Cal Fire should reopen its Tubbs Fire probe to make sure they didn’t miss anything involving PG&E equipment or misjudge the origin of the fire.

While Cuzzillo says he believes Cal Fire reached an “incorrect conclusion” in ruling out PG&E equipment, Mulkey was more measured.

“If that’s all they have,” the ex-PG&E electrical engineer said, “it sounds like there’s more work to be done on it.”

Although sources close to the case said the agency is considering reopening its probe in light of the video, Cal Fire declined to comment about the investigation or its finding, citing “pending litigation.”

<![CDATA[Carbon Monoxide Leak Causes Evacuation at Vallejo PD]]>513201491Thu, 25 Jul 2019 11:10:54 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/VallejoPDEvac.jpg

The Vallejo Police Department lobby reopened Thursday afternoon following a carbon monoxide leak earlier in the day.

Police personnel noticed a rotten egg smell in the building around 5:30 a.m. and called the Vallejo Fire Department around 6:30 a.m., fire department spokesman Kevin Brown said.

Crews determined the smell came from hydrogen and sulfur released by a bank of backup batteries used to maintain electric power until generators kick in. A by-product of the release was a low level of carbon monoxide, Brown said.

Five people in the building had low levels of carbon monoxide in their systems but quickly recovered, he said.

The building at 111 Amador St. is not served through a single ventilation system and only some rooms were affected by the smell, Brown said.

Police dispatch services were relocated to the Solano County Sheriff's Office communications center to handle 911 calls, police said.

A county hazardous materials team was released from the scene at 11:45 a.m. and police reopened the lobby around 1:30 p.m.

Photo Credit: Vallejo Firefighters Association]]>
<![CDATA[Brush Fire Burns in Rural Area of Solano County]]>513151131Wed, 24 Jul 2019 12:08:09 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SolanoCoFire.jpg

Firefighters on Wednesday are battling a brush fire burning in a rural area of Solano County.

The blaze is burning off of Interstate 680 near Lopes and Marshview roads, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Lopes Road is closed between Marshview and Parish roads, the CHP said.

The blaze is not impacting the interstate.

Further information was not immediately available.

Photo Credit: CHP Solano]]>
<![CDATA[California Governor Announces Changes at Troubled DMV]]>513098121Tue, 23 Jul 2019 22:48:02 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CaliforniaDMV.jpg

California's DMV is trying to improve customer service by accepting credit cards, upgrading its website and offering clearer instructions on how to obtain a new federally mandated ID, but Gov. Gavin Newsom cautioned Tuesday the agency's long wait times and other troubles aren't over.

"This is going to take a few years. Next year will be tough," Newsom said, referencing an expected surge in people using the Department of Motor Vehicles next year to acquire new IDs that will be required for air travel.

Newsom spoke as he released a report detailing efforts the DMV is making to improve services after wait times averaged two hours last summer, prompting outrage from lawmakers and customers. The state hired the high-powered firm McKinsey & Company to recommend improvements, with the funding coming out of roughly $240 million in new money the DMV got in this year's state budget.

Newsom also announced he's appointed Steve Gordon as the agency's director. Gordon is a longtime employee of the private sector, working for Cisco Systems and most recently for zTransforms, a consulting company focused on business-wide process improvement. He is not registered in a political party and will make $186,000. The state Senate must approve his appointment.

The DMV has been plagued by slow-downs related to the state's "motor voter" registration program and an uptick in people applying for REAL IDs, the new federal IDs that will be required for airplane travel starting in October 2020. More than 28 million Californians may seek a REAL ID.

Beyond hiring McKinsey, the state has brought in a public relations firm to create a statewide awareness campaign about the new IDs and a consulting firm to think about what DMV offices should look like. The report did not say how much each is being paid.

Other changes include the planned acceptance of credit cards, which will start at a Davis office in September before expanding to Fresno, Victorville and Roseville. The state hopes to eventually accept credit cards statewide. The DMV has also started launching REAL ID "pop ups" at businesses and plans to open 100 kiosks in August, where people can do routine transactions such as renewing vehicle registration without going to a customer service window.

The goal, Newsom said, is to improve through small changes. "We're not going big at first — we want to go small and build on successes," he said.

The department plans to hire between 1,800 and 1,900 new workers, most of them temporary, through next year. Newsom's announcement comes a day before the DMV plans to close offices statewide for half a day for a day of training for its more than 5,000 employees.

Republican lawmakers were divided on the Democratic governor's actions. Republican Assemblyman Jim Patterson of Fresno faulted Newsom for "making excuses" for the DMV rather than re-imagining it and criticized him for saying wait times could be long again next summer. But GOP Sen. Pat Bates from Laguna Niguel said Newsom was taking "steps in the right direction to help fix the DMV."

The report did not address problems with the state's "motor voter" registration programming, and Newsom said an audit on the program will be coming out soon.

To learn more about what’s needed to get the new type of driver’s license before the October 2020 deadline, go to the DMV's Real ID website.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Brush Fire in Napa County Prompts Evacuations]]>513054321Mon, 22 Jul 2019 23:32:38 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/napa-fire-0722.jpg

Firefighters were battling a brush fire near Lake Berryessa in Napa County that prompted evacuations Monday afternoon, officials said.

The so-called Canyon Fire had burned about 55 acres about 16 miles east of St. Helena, Cal Fire said. It was 60 percent contained as of 6:45 p.m.

The blaze prompted evacuations on the south side of Highway 128 in the 6500-7000 block of Wragg Canyon Road, the Napa County Sheriff's Office said. 

Highway 128 is closed from Markley Cove to Wragg Canyon Road, the California Highway Patrol said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[North Bay Priest Had 'Prolonged History of Theft': Bishop]]>513048481Mon, 22 Jul 2019 18:39:06 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CHURCH-cross-generic.jpg

A car crash revealed that a North Bay priest had a "prolonged history of theft," according to the Diocese of Santa Rosa.

Father Oscar Diaz, most recently a pastor at Resurrection Parish in Santa Rosa, had bags of money used for parish collections in his car when he was involved in a crash last month, Bishop Robert F. Vasa wrote in a letter released Monday. The money found — $18,305.86 in total — was linked to Resurrection Parish.

Further investigation revealed that Diaz had an additional $77,000 in cash that had apparently been swiped "in a variety of ways" from the parishes where he served, according to Vasa.

"I am deeply grieved that this has happened and am deeply saddened that the parishes he was sent to serve have been harmed," Vasa wrote. "The full extent of the theft is not known and may never be fully known but the Diocese is committed to determining as fully as possible the extent of the theft from each of these parishes."

Diaz has been suspended from priestly ministry, according to Vasa.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Watermelons to Replace Piglets in Sonoma County Fair Event]]>513014511Sun, 21 Jul 2019 15:52:54 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/PigScramble.jpg

Watermelons are set to replace piglets in an annual event celebrating agriculture at a California fair.

The Press Democrat reported Saturday that the Sonoma County Fair has eliminated the pig scramble from Farmers Day due to rising public concern and protests over animal welfare.

In the long-running event at the fair in Santa Rosa, youngsters chased and tried to capture piglets weighing 40 to 60 pounds.

Officials say this year's event Aug. 4 will instead include elementary school children carrying watermelons slicked with vegetable oil around an obstacle course in a timed race.

The board president says the decision reflects a "heightened awareness" toward calls for humane treatment of farm animals at the fair 55 miles north of San Francisco.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Dies, Passenger Hurt in Crash on 101 in San Rafael]]>513009561Sun, 21 Jul 2019 11:31:58 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SanRafaelFatal_8044137.JPEG

A driver was killed and a passenger suffered life-threatening injuries when a Ford Expedition overturned Sunday morning on state Highway 101 at Smith Ranch Road in San Rafael.

Around 3:40 a.m. the Expedition veered up an embankment "for unkown reasons," causing it to roll over and ejecting both occupants, who were not wearing seatbelts, said California Highway Patrol Officer Andrew Barclay. A light pole was toppled onto the freeway.

The male driver was pronounced dead at the scene and his identification is pending notification of next of kin. The female passenger was taken to a hospital with major injuries.

The crash closed three lanes of the highway for a time, but two lanes remained open.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Man Swipes Chick-fil-A iPad From Chain's Vacaville Location]]>513009241Mon, 22 Jul 2019 11:58:37 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEBGIFCHICKFILATHEFT_8044004.gif

Police are searching for a man who swiped a Chick-fil-A iPad from the company's Vacaville location while workers brewed him some iced tea just before closing.

The theft occurred on the night of July 13 at the Vacaville Chick-fil-A located on Harbison Drive, according to police.

The man — the restaurant's last customer of the night — entered the store and placed his order, which included some iced tea. Despite being out of the drink, Chick-fil-A staff whipped up a fresh batch for the man "to ensure every last one of their customers was a happy customer," police wrote in a Facebook post.

While workers were busy brewing the drink, the man grabbed the company's iPad, which had been mistakenly left out on the counter by the cash registers, and tucked it into the back of his shorts.

Anyone who can identify the man or has information about the case is encouraged to call 707-449-5200 or email amber.williams@cityofvacaville.com.

Photo Credit: Vacaville Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Paradise Public Pool Reopens for the First Time Since Fire]]>512992061Sat, 20 Jul 2019 14:03:41 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/paradise+portraits+2.jpg

The public swimming pool in Paradise is reopening for the first time since a catastrophic wildfire destroyed much of the Northern California town.

CBS13 in Sacramento reports state firefighters used their hoses last week to refill the pool with clean water after the Camp Fire left the pool filled with charred debris.

The pool is set to reopen Sunday. It is another sign of the town slowly rebuilding after the fire killed 85 people and destroyed much of Paradise last November.

New figures released by the governor's office show the town's population dropped by 90%, from an estimated 27,000 to just 2,034.

Jeff Dailey, the town's parks and recreation district supervisor, said reopening the pool lets people know Paradise is making a comeback.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

<![CDATA[Inmate Dies at Sonoma County Jail Facility]]>512880051Thu, 18 Jul 2019 04:20:38 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Jail-Generic-Photo1.jpg

A male inmate has died while in custody at a Sonoma County Jail facility on Wednesday night, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office.

The inmate was found unconscious and alone in his cell around 10 p.m., sheriff's officials said. Deputies attempted to resuscitate him, but he was pronounced dead.

Sheriff's office detectives are investigating the inmate's death.

His name hasn't been released. No further information was immediately available.

<![CDATA[Santa Rosa Woman Arrested on Theft and Fraud Charges--Again]]>512873981Wed, 17 Jul 2019 21:28:02 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Kathryn+Roman+%281%29.jpg

A 37-year-old Santa Rosa woman who was awaiting sentencing on theft charges has been arrested on new charges, according to police.

Kathryn Roman, who was arrested by Santa Rosa Property Crimes Detectives in March of this year, was arrested on new charges July 11. Police said that in the new case the suspect reportedly stole purses containing credit cards from women’s locker rooms at health clubs. It is reported that she then used the stolen credit cards to buy gift cards.

Roman’s theft-related charges date back to 2010. She has been known by police to wear a wig in an attempt to avoid being identified, authorities said.

Similar activity was reported within other police jurisdictions in Sonoma County in which the suspect displayed the same patterns of criminal activity, authorities confirmed.

Because of her previous arrest, detectives were able to immediately identify Roman when they spotted her on a surveillance recording while investigating the new set of incidents. Roman was arrested on multiple theft and fraud charges, including identity theft and burglary. She was found to be in possession of multiple stolen items belonging to several victims, according to police.

Photo Credit: Santa Rosa Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[SMART Leaders to Talk Recent String of Deaths Along Tracks]]>512841431Wed, 17 Jul 2019 10:41:41 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SMART+Train1.JPG

North Bay transit officials on Wednesday will discuss ways to deal with transit-related fatalities following a recent string of deaths along Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit tracks.

Since the end of June, there have been five deaths along the SMART system's tracks. Three of them are believed to be suicides.

Officials are proposing a number of solutions, from adding extra security measures at train crossings to installing emergency phones similar to freeway call boxes along the tracks.

Officials are also expected to address issues related to mental health.

SMART's Board of Directors is slated to meet at 1:30 p.m.

SUICIDE PREVENTION HELP: The National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr./NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Suisun City Man Charged With Sexual Abuse of Minor]]>512791891Tue, 16 Jul 2019 11:46:22 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Paul+Fielder.jpg

A former youth sports coach in Solano County was charged Monday with 32 counts of sexual abuse of a child under the age of 14, according to the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office.

Paul Fielder, 60, of Suisun City was arrested last week by Walnut Creek police detectives and federal agents when he showed up at an undisclosed location "to meet a minor to engage in sex acts," the district attorney's office said.

"The investigation revealed Fielder had been sexually abusing a minor for several years," according to the district attorney's office.

Fielder previously spent time coaching youth sports in Solano County, the district attorney's office said. He also worked as a campus supervisor at at least one high school.

Fielder has been booked into the Martinez Detention Facility. His bail was set at $3.2 million. He is scheduled to be arraigned on July 23.

Photo Credit: Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Blistering Heat Expected If Global Temps Keep Rising: Report]]>512783341Tue, 16 Jul 2019 08:39:33 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/HeatSign.jpg

The life and health of Bay Area residents is at risk if no action is taken globally on climate change this century, according to a report released Tuesday by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

"Killer Heat in the United States: The Future of Dangerously Hot Days" shows that if nothing is done to stop the rise of temperatures, it may be blistering for many days each year, especially in Solano County and parts of the East Bay and North Bay.

In Vacaville on 35 days of the year, the heat index could exceed 105 degrees. In Antioch and Fairfield, the heat index could exceed 105 degrees on 22 days of the year. The heat index could be above 105 degrees on 13 days of the year in Livermore, 10 days in Concord and 12 days in Napa.

"There are big changes on the horizon for many counties in the Bay Area," the study's lead author Kristina Dahl said.

The report accompanies a peer-reviewed article released Tuesday in the journal "Environmental Research Communications." The scientists assumed that if no action is taken on climate change, global temperatures will rise by about 8 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels.

The heat index is a combination of temperature and humidity. A heat index above 90 degrees can cause heat-related illnesses among outdoor workers. An index above 100 degrees typically prompts the National Weather Service to recommend issuing heat advisories. Above 105 degrees and weather officials will call for excessive heat warnings.

Dahl said the heat may have more serious affects on Bay Area residents who are not accustomed to it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, extreme heat events can be fatal by causing heat stroke.

Dahl also said heat "can coincide with wildfire season." Last year's deadly wildfires coincided with a heat wave, Dahl said. The report urges power companies to keep the power on during times of high heat, a controversial suggestion. In the last two years, live electrical equipment caused wildfires such as the 2018 Camp Fire, which killed 85 people.

PG&E officials have decided turning off power during high wildfire danger is appropriate so downed, live power lines don't spark fires. But shutting off power has consequences for residents and visitors who need electricity to operate life-saving medical equipment.

Limiting the effects of rising temperatures has legislators at the state and federal levels occupied. While state lawmakers have been working to move residents to 100 percent clean energy, federal legislators have been considering changing climate policies.

Economists have also weighed in by suggesting charging for carbon emissions to create incentives to protect the environment.

The report's authors suggest governments prepare for the heat by investing in infrastructure that can withstand it, creating response plans to adapt to hot conditions and expanding budgets to help low- and fixed-income households stay cool.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Defendant in Jenner Beach Murders Gets Life Without Parole]]>512755131Mon, 15 Jul 2019 17:35:13 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/jenner-suspect-0715.jpg

Shaun Gallon, the Forestville man who pleaded no contest to killing an engaged couple from the Midwest on a Sonoma County beach 15 years ago and his brother in 2017, was sentenced Monday in Sonoma County Superior Court to three consecutive life prison terms without parole.

Gallon, 40, listened to an audio tape of his confession to the gunshot slaying of Lindsay Cutshall, 22, of Ohio and Jason Allen, 26, of Michigan on Fish Head Beach on Aug. 18, 2004.

"I shot those two people. I'm the one who did it. I just made myself do it. I don't know what I was thinking," Gallon said.

The couple were in sleeping bags when Gallon saw them on the beach around 3 a.m. He said he walked back up a 200-foot cliff, got his rifle and returned to couple's overnight campsite. He said he shot Allen in the head,

Cutshall sat up and he shot her behind the ear. Then he picked up the casings, he said.

"I just stood there and watched the guy's blood pour out," Gallon told the investigators.

The slayings occurred less than two months after Gallon placed a motion-triggered homemade bomb on top of a car in Guerneville intending to kill John Robles on June 10, 2004. They were in a fight before the bombing but seemed to have made peace, Robles told the court.

Robles' girlfriend was injured instead. A note with the bomb said, "Dear Friend, I waited a long time for this."

Robles wore a T-shirt printed with those words to court Monday.

"Enjoy today Shaun because this is the most freedom you'll ever see again," Robles said.

On March 24, 2017, Gallon killed his brother Shamus Michael Gallon, 36, in their Forestville home. Chief Deputy District Attorney Spencer Brady said Gallon made the AR-15 gun he used to shoot his brother. The gun jammed after Gallon shot Shamus in the chest, he cleared it and shot his brother again to "finish him off," Brady said.

"These are some of the worst crimes in the history of this county," Brady said.

Gallon pleaded no contest to all three of them in a consolidated complaint.

Defense attorney Jeff Mitchell told Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Robert LaForge that Gallon's mental functioning changed around 2001 after he took a large dose of LSD.

"There was a profound change that drove him to commit these acts," Mitchell said.

Mitchell said Gallon voluntarily confessed his involvement in the beach murders and expressed remorse in 2017 when investigators asked Gallon if he was sorry.

"He said every day something makes him feel wretched as if he died and went to hell," Mitchell said. "He did step forward and provided closure and resolution of cases that would probably never be solved," Mitchell said.

Brady said Gallon told investigators he was likely drunk when he killed Cutshall and Allen.

"He premeditated these murders and weighed the pros and cons. It's not even possible he was drunk when he scaled a 200-foot cliff and went back down in the dark," Brady said.

Regarding Gallon's cooperation with law enforcement and his confession, Brady said Gallon lied to investigators for more than 12 years.

"The confession is 12 and a half years late," Brady said.

All victims were completely innocent and unarmed, and all were killed by weapons Gallon made, Brady said.

"He was fascinated with killing and death," Brady said.

Cutshall's parents Chris and Kathy read statements at the sentencing hearing statements by Allen's parents who did not attend. The devout Cutshall couple spoke of their grief but also in the belief they will be reunited with their daughter.

"Your evil deed did not ruin my life. I have faith in Jesus," Chris Cutshall said.

He also said he found a strand of his daughter's hair in her dresser and keeps it in a makeup case and one of her rings he now wears every day.

"I am a man with a broken heart but I'm okay with that. Lindsay is worth it," Cutshall said.

Kathy Cutshall held up her daughter's wedding dress and asked Gallon to look at it. She then asked Gallon if he has a Bible.

"Yes Ma'am," Gallon said.

"Please read it," Cutshall replied.

In addition to three consecutive life terms in prison without parole, LaForge sentenced Gallon to 94 years in prison for weapons and other enhancements.

"I see absolutely no remorse, none at all," LaForge said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Driver Allegedly High on Meth Crashes Into Rohnert Park Home]]>512735731Mon, 15 Jul 2019 09:56:00 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/RohnertParkMethCrash.jpg

A 61-year-old man was allegedly high on methamphetamine when he crashed an SUV into an occupied home with a newborn baby inside Sunday evening in Rohnert Park, according to public safety officials.

Just after 6 p.m., emergency crews responded to a home in the 4500 block of Heath Circle, where Percy Reed was allegedly trying to back a Chevy Tahoe out of a single-family residence he'd crashedinto, police said.

The vehicle was stuck inside the house, however.

Reed was removed from the vehicle through the rear hatch and taken to a hospital for evaluation.

Police said the victims were home at the time of the crash, but none of them were in the affected rooms and they were not injured. They were, unfortunately, displaced after a building inspector determined that the home was uninhabitable as a result of the damage.

Investigators said Reed admitted to using meth before driving, and drugs were found inside his vehicle after the tow truck driver removed it from the structure.

Photo Credit: Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety]]>
<![CDATA[Average US Price of Gas Up By 10 Cents Per Gallon to $2.83]]>512704791Sun, 14 Jul 2019 12:28:25 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GasPump5.jpg

The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline has risen by 10 cents per gallon over the past three weeks to $2.83.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey says Sunday that crude oil prices contributed to the increase at the pump. Additionally, gasoline tax hikes took effect in several states starting July 1.

The price is 11 cents lower than what it was a year ago.

The highest average price in the nation is $3.75 a gallon in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The lowest average is $2.30 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The average price of diesel is up by a penny since June 21, to $3.07 per gallon.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Arrested for Suspected DUI After Rohnert Park Crash]]>512702951Sun, 14 Jul 2019 10:35:08 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/RohnertParkRollover.jpg

Officers responding to reports of a rollover accident on Saturday night on Boris Court arrested a 46-year-old Rohnert Park woman for suspicion of driving under the influence.

Police and fire personnel arriving at the 7500 block of Boris Court at 11:40 p.m. found that driver Amy Davidson had climbed out the driver's door window of a Honda Civic that was on its side.

Davidson had suffered minor injuries but did not require hospitalization.

An investigation determined Davidson was traveling south rolled her vehicle after striking a parked Ford Fusion, pushing it into a power pole, but not damaging power lines.

Officers said Davidson showed signs of alcohol intoxication and she was arrested and taken to Sonoma County Jail after a test put her blood alcohol level at .16 percent.

A tow truck was called to right the Honda and remove it from the scene.

Photo Credit: Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety]]>
<![CDATA[Thousands Protest Planned ICE Raids in the Bay Area]]>512681581Sat, 13 Jul 2019 09:46:43 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/DSC_0059-01.jpegHundreds of thousands of people have gathered in several Bay Area cities protesting immigration detention centers and the upcoming planned ICE raids.

Photo Credit: Scott Morris/Bay City News]]>
<![CDATA[Hash-Oil Lab, 9K Cannabis Plants Discovered at Illegal Grow]]>512681201Sat, 13 Jul 2019 08:59:28 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-592213300-marijuana-generic.jpg

A large-scale marijuana grow and a hash oil lab were discovered Friday morning by inspectors following up at a Sonoma County site that had previous violations.

A hazardous materials team was called after the county officials, authorized by an inspection warrant, found the hash oil lab and more than 9,000 unpermitted marijuana plants at the property on Butler Avenue, Sonoma County officials said.

Permit Sonoma inspectors, assisted by the sheriff's office, arrived about 8:30 a.m. at the 5-acre site.

The inspectors were following up to a previous inspection in February 2018. There was no cannabis cultivation at that time, but the property had previously been cited for code violations for unpermitted greenhouses, cargo containers and cannabis cultivation, officials said.

After the hash oil lab and the marijuana plants were found Friday, the county's hazmat team arrived to evaluate the scene and the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office handled the removal of the cannabis plants.

The property is located in an unincorporated area of Sonoma County that is zoned as an agriculture and residential district. Commercial cannabis cultivation is prohibited in the zone.

Over the last two years, Permit Sonoma has shut down 863 cannabis sites. In the last two months the department has responded to 115 sites.

Anyone wishing to report a possible cannabis violation can call (707)565-1992.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pedestrian Killed by SMART Train in Santa Rosa]]>512659031Fri, 12 Jul 2019 17:03:54 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police-tape-shutterstock_5628043321.jpg

A male pedestrian died when he was struck by a Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit train in Santa Rosa Friday afternoon, police said.

The collision on the tracks near San Miguel Avenue in northwest Santa Rosa was reported around 2:55 p.m., police Sgt. Brandon Matthies said.

SMART said the 3:19 p.m. and 3:49 p.m. trains were canceled.

It's the fourth fatal train strike since June 28.

<![CDATA[Bay Activists, Politicians Speak Out Ahead of Rumored Raids]]>512625851Fri, 12 Jul 2019 17:54:57 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/LibbySchaaf2.JPG

After reports that President Donald Trump will order U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids Sunday to deport undocumented immigrants, Bay Area activists and politicians spoke out against the possibility.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf released a statement Thursday saying Oakland is a proud sanctuary city.

"We are clear about our Oakland values and our American values. I want to assure members of our community not to panic but to be prepared, know your rights and responsibilities," Schaaf said in a statement. "Know that you are in a community where you are supported, respected, and appreciated."

Schaaf also encouraged the community to use resources available in the area such as Centro Legal de la Raza, the Legal Observers Core and the Rapid Response Network.

Bay Resistance organized a rally to protest the possible raids.

About 350 people attended the rally that started at 5 p.m. Thursday outside of the ICE offices at 630 Sansome St. in San Francisco.

Those that gathered called for the end of the detention centers and denounced the separation of migrant children from their families.

"We're all human beings and should be treated as human beings," said Rose Arrieta of Causa Justa Just Cause, which advocates for immigrants.

Cynthia Bourjac, an immigrant rights organizer for Causa Justa Just Cause and the California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice said since Sunday ICE has already started increasing its activity in the Bay Area.

Hamid Yazdan Panah with the California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice said his organization has gotten confirmation of arrests in Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties.

He said detainees are having their rights violated, because immigration officers are making arrests on Sunday, ICE detention centers are closed on Sunday and therefore attorneys cannot see detainees.

That violates detainees access to counsel among other rights.

The Facebook page also says that if ICE does carry out raids in the Bay Area this weekend, an emergency rally will be called for the same day of the raids and at the same time and location as Thursday's rally.

"Trump is threatening our immigrant loved ones and neighbors with mass raids and deportations," the Facebook post says. "We're standing up against his racist and repressive attacks."

According to the "Power, Not Panic" Emergency Action Committee, immigration legal service providers from across Northern California dispatched two delegations of attorneys to ICE offices in San Francisco and the ICE processing center in Stockton. The attorneys are demanding access to detained community members in order to make sure detainees are able to talk to pro-bono attorneys, who can inform them of their rights and provide free legal consultations.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi spoke out Thursday morning in Washington DC against the rumored raids.

"Families belong together," she said. "Every person in America has rights."

Trump recently created panic about raids when he tweeted on June 17, "Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in."

On June 22, he tweeted the raids would be delayed at the request of Democrats to "see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border."

Bay Area Rapid Response Lines Below:

Santa Clara County: 408-290-1144

San Francisco: 415-200-1548

Alameda County: 510-241-4011

Contra Costa County: 925-900-5151

Marin County: 415-991-4545

San Mateo County: 203-666-4472

Napa and Sonoma Counties: 707-800-4544

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[DUI Arrest Made After Hit-and-Run of Toddler Pedestrian]]>512622141Fri, 12 Jul 2019 17:27:31 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/hit+and+run+mugshot.jpg

A 47-year-old Santa Rosa man has been arrested on felony hit-and-run and DUI charges after he allegedly struck a 2-year-old near the Coddingtown Mall and then fled the scene Thursday afternoon, police said.

Witnesses, many of whom called 911 to report the incident, told police that the vehicle was a white GMC van. Investigators located it just a few yards from the scene.

The suspect, Hector Cabrales Larios, was located in his nearby apartment in the 1500 block of Range Avenue. An accident investigator with the Santa Rosa Police Department recognized his van’s description from a previous hit-and-run which occurred in the same area about a week prior to Thursday’s incident, authorities said.

Larios, who has four prior DUI convictions, was believed to be under the influence of alcohol at the time of the collision with the child.

The female toddler, who was taken to the children’s hospital in Oakland, suffered serious injuries but is expected to recover. Witnesses said the girl, who was with her grandmother, ran into the street unexpectedly where she was struck near a crosswalk.

“We believe at this point that the child was with an adult,” said Josh Ludtke, a sergeant with the Santa Rosa Police Department. “The child ran towards the street, unbeknownst to the adult, and was struck by a vehicle and the vehicle continued on and didn’t stop.”

Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact Officer Jeff Adams at 707-543-3636.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Cocaine, Ecstasy, Opiates Seized in Santa Rosa Drug Bust]]>512572881Thu, 11 Jul 2019 02:14:27 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Som+Drug+Arrest+%281%29.jpg

A 28-year-old Santa Rosa resident has been arrested as a result of a narcotics trafficking investigation that began in early June, police said.

Jureath Som was booked into the Sonoma County Jail on Wednesday on drug and ammunition charges after being detained at his place of work, according to police.

The Santa Rosa Police Department’s Narcotics Team then served a search warrant at Som’s house in the 2600 block of Northcoast Street. At the residence police discovered approximately 11 ounces of cocaine, 152 Ecstasy tablets, prescription opiates and loaded firearm magazines and ammunition.

Additional items related to the sale of narcotics located at the residence included sales and packaging material. Police also located and seized $2,000 cash in Som’s possession.

This investigation is ongoing and anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact the Santa Rosa Police Department (707) 543-3600.

Photo Credit: Santa Rosa Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Warm Temperatures Make a Return This Weekend]]>512572231Thu, 11 Jul 2019 01:16:58 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/072617+heat+generic+hot+weather+generic.jpg

After a cool few weeks in the Bay Area, residents should anticipate a serious warm-up this weekend with some places expected to see highs in the 90s and even the low 100s.

According to the National Weather Service, a warming trend began Wednesday that will continue through the end of the week and will peak Saturday afternoon.

The North Bay, interior East Bay, South Bay and Santa Cruz mountains can expect temperatures in the low to mid-80s on Thursday and temperatures reaching as high as the mid-90s on Friday and Saturday.

Coastal areas, including San Francisco and the Sonoma and Marin coasts, can expect warmer temperatures although exact values aren't yet available.

Interior Monterey and San Benito counties are expected to see the hottest weekend with expected temperatures in the mid-90s on Friday and the low 100s on Saturday.

Moderate heat impacts are expected, particularly for those who are vulnerable to heat. Rapid swings from cool to hot temperatures are also expected.

High pressure building in the desert southwest is what is setting Central California up for the warm streak.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Berkeley, Oakland Among Worst Cities for Home Buyers]]>512515352Wed, 10 Jul 2019 18:40:37 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-520157840-blur.jpg

For people looking to buy a home for the first time, the Bay Area may be one of the worst places to do so.

According to a new study by the personal finance website WalletHub, when accounting for a combination of cost of living, property crime rates and 25 other metrics, Berkeley was the worst city for new homeowners among 300 cities ranging in size.

Oakland was far down the list too at No. 297. Among other big cities, Oakland came in at 63rd of 64, only ahead of Detroit.

Plenty of other Bay Area cities rounded out the bottom of the list. Santa Rosa came in at 218, Antioch at 222, San Jose at 258 and San Francisco at 284.

Other findings included that San Francisco, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara were among six cities tied for the highest cost of living in the country. The five cities with the lowest ratio of median home value to median annual rent can also be found in the Bay Area: Berkeley, Fremont, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale.

Besides cost of living and property crime rates, other factors included real estate tax rates, median home price appreciation, weather and job market.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Board Votes to Rename Dixie School District Miller Creek]]>512495751Tue, 09 Jul 2019 23:22:56 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Bay_Area_s_Dixie_School_District_Eyes_Name_Change.jpg

Trustees of the Dixie School District in San Rafael voted Tuesday night on a new name for the 150-year-old district, which critics linked to the Confederacy and slavery.

Dixie will be renamed the Miller Creek Elementary School District, trustees decided. The vote was 3-1 with one abstention.

Trustees rejected three other options: Laurel Creek, Creekside or Kenne school district.

Trustees also voted 4-1 to rename the district's only elementary school, from Dixie to Lucas Valley Elementary.

The name-change issue pitted parents against each other for months and generated heated debate in San Rafael, an overwhelmingly white city of 59,000 people. Some insisted the Dixie name was racially insensitive, while others complained the proposed change was political correctness run amok.

The board of trustees voted in April to change both the name of the San Francisco Bay Area district and the name of its elementary school by Aug. 22, when classes resume.

The cost of the name change, such as replacing signs, was estimated at nearly $40,000, but the Marin Community Foundation pledged to cover it.

Dixie is a nickname for the southern U.S. states that formed the pro-slavery Confederacy in 1860, sparking the Civil War. The legacy of the Confederacy prompts political, legal and cultural conflicts to this day.

Those who supported changing the name said the district was named Dixie by James Miller, the school founder, on a dare by Confederate sympathizers. Those who opposed the change said the school system was named for Mary Dixie, a Miwok Indian woman who Miller knew in the 1840s.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

<![CDATA[Study Details Health Impact of Tubbs Fire on Firefighters]]>512464502Tue, 09 Jul 2019 06:04:54 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/TubbsFireFirefighter.jpg

A new study released Tuesday details the health impacts on firefighters who battled one of California's most destructive wildfires.

The study focuses on firefighters who fought the Tubbs Fire, which scorched 36,807 acres, wiped out 5,636 structures and left 22 people dead in Napa and Sonoma counties back in the fall of 2017.

Nearly 150 firefighters volunteered to take part in the study, which was led by the San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation. The foundation decided to put together the study citing concerns about the level of toxic chemical exposure firefighters faced.

Firefighters who participated in the study provided information ranging from their length of service to the amount of times they washed their hands before eating. The study also sampled blood and urine from firefighters who fought the Tubbs Fire.

Some firefighters who battled the wildfires during the 2017 North Bay firestorm have called the blazes the West Coast version of 9/11. According to the Press Democrat, most of the firefighters used lighter, less restrictive wildland firefighting gear instead of heavy air tanks and face masks that could have eliminated exposure to toxic fumes from the hazardous fuels and chemicals that burned.

The most troubling chemicals found in the study are also found in firefighting foam and in the fire resistant clothing firefighters wear.

SFFD Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson said testing was also done after the Camp Fire. The results are expected back soon and will be shared with other fire departments.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[San Quentin Death Row Inmate Dies of Unknown Causes ]]>512444302Mon, 08 Jul 2019 16:48:50 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-589929458.jpg

The killer of a California police officer has died of unknown causes in his cell at San Quentin State Prison.

Corrections officials said Monday that 71-year-old John George Brown was found unresponsive Sunday evening.

Brown was sentenced to death in Orange County in 1982 for the murder two years earlier of 27-year-old Garden Grove Officer Donald Reed. Brown shot at Reed and two other officers as they tried to arrest him on a felony warrant.

He was convicted of first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder and assaulting a police officer.

Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this year imposed a moratorium on executions.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man With Replica Guns Arrested After Standoff Near Fairfield]]>512335951Sun, 07 Jul 2019 22:07:22 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/fairfield-standoff-guns-0707.jpg

A 32-year-old Rio Vista man has been booked into the Solano County Jail in Fairfield in connection with a two-plus-hour standoff with police Sunday afternoon at a Cordelia convenience store.

Police said Matthew Vickers was in a nearby fast-food restaurant just before noon Sunday when police were told a man there, later identified as Vickers, was "manipulating" what appeared to be two firearms. They later proved to be replica handguns.

Vickers left the restaurant before police arrived, and went to a nearby convenience store at the corner of Pittman Road and Central Way in Cordelia. Officers went to the store, where the clerk told them a man who had been acting suspiciously went into the bathroom. Police made sure no one else was in the store, and then worked for more than two hours to convince the man to come out.

Shortly before 3 p.m. Sunday, Vickers emerged peacefully and surrendered to Fairfield Police SWAT team members. There were no hostages, and no one was injured.

Vickers was arrested on suspicion of resisting, obstructing or delaying a police officer and booked into the Solano County Jail in Fairfield.

Police did not say what Vickers' motive might have been.

Photo Credit: Fairfield PD]]>
<![CDATA[Deputy Identified in July 4 Shooting in Bodega Bay]]>512305732Sat, 06 Jul 2019 14:31:49 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bodega-ois-0704.jpg

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office on Saturday released the name of a deputy who shot an assault suspect in Bodega Bay on the July 4 holiday.

Deputy Jason Pasero, an 18-year veteran of law enforcement, shot a San Francisco man suspected of going on a LSD-fueled rampage that injured several people Thursday evening in the Bodega Harbor subdivision.

The suspect, Betai Koffi, 32, suffered major injuries and was in critical condition earlier this week at a hospital, sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Crum said.

Koffi was with friends at a rented Bodega Bay home and they tried to calm him down when he became delusional after allegedly taking two doses of LSD around noon.

Later, he reportedly took two more doses of the hallucinogenic drug and when friends tried to stop him from leaving around 8 p.m., he attacked them, Crum said.

Koffi allegedly punched a woman in the chest, stabbed a man with a pencil, choked another man and punched another man in the face at the rented house before he got into his rental car. Koffi then hit a car parked behind him when he backed out of a driveway, drove forward towards one of the men then drove the car into the garage, lodging it into the home, Crum said.

After leaving the car, Koffi ran down the street where a security guard confronted him. The suspect then picked up a landscape light and allegedly stabbed the guard in the chest with the end of the light, which was like a metal stake.

Koffi then allegedly stole the security guard's truck and drove away at high speed toward a man and woman walking on the road. The truck hit the woman causing significant injuries, and the man was hit in the arm but was not seriously injured, Crum said.

The suspect then allegedly drove toward another man and woman who were walking on a bluff. The woman was struck and suffered significant injuries.

Koffi continued driving off road, hit a wall and entered a side yard of a home before turning onto Pelican Loop, Crum said.

Sheriff's deputy Pasero arrived in a patrol car and parked in the street, and a California Highway Patrol officer pulled up to the left of the deputy's car. Koffi turned the truck and accelerated it toward the officer and the deputy, Crum said.

Pasero fired several shots from outside his patrol car at Koffi who then allegedly collided with the CHP vehicle. Koffi apparently kept accelerating the truck and Pasero fired several more rounds, three of them striking Koffi. The deputy took Koffi into custody and gave him medical aid until paramedics arrived, Crum said.

Santa Rosa police and the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office are investigating the officer-involved shooting, and the sheriff's office is investigating the assaults and events before the shooting, Crum said.

Koffi is under arrest at the hospital for two counts of attempted murder, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of carjacking, Crum said.

Pasero served 14 years with the San Bruno Police Department before being hired by the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office four years ago. He is currently assigned as a resident deputy and canine handler in the Bodega Bay community, according to the sheriff's office.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect Leads Police on Pursuit in Stolen Oakland Fire Truck]]>512304122Sat, 06 Jul 2019 23:30:08 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/Stolen+Fire+Truck.JPG

An Oakland Fire Department truck stolen Saturday morning was pursued by law enforcement on various Bay Area freeways for about an hour until law enforcement stopped it near Vacaville and arrested the suspected car thief, police said.

A neighbor living near Fire Station 23 at 7100 Foothill Boulevard spotted a suspicious person and alerted police about 10:45 a.m., officials said.

After the truck left the station, Oakland police and the California Highway Patrol followed it on freeways through three counties, including interstate highways 80 and 680.

The vehicle is smaller truck used to fight wildland brush fires, said Oakland Fire Department Deputy Chief Nick Luby.

The only damage to the truck after the brazen theft was to its tires, which were punctured by spike strips that slowed it until it finally stopped near Vacaville, officials said.

Fire Station 23 was locked at the time of the theft and there were no staff present when truck was stolen, Luby said. Fire officials don't know how the suspect entered the building to take the truck.

Oakland police said the suspect was an adult male but didn't release any other information.

Photo Credit: CHP - Golden Gate Division Air Operations
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[World's Biggest Bounce House Returns to Bay Area]]>512265962Fri, 05 Jul 2019 12:55:41 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Big+Bounce+America+2019+Tour-4.jpg

The biggest bounce house in the world is back! The Guinness Book of World Records’ largest-ever bounce house will return to the Bay Area this summer.

With 10,000 square-feet of bouncy fun and a 900-foot-long inflatable obstacle course, The Big Bounce America tour offers an exciting event for adults and children alike. Tickets range from $16-$30, with all age groups welcome. There’s even an adults-only section!

The Big Bounce America tour will be in Morgan Hill July 12-14 and July 19-21. It will continue in San Francisco from Aug. 30-Sept. 1, and Sept. 6-8. It will be in Santa Rosa on Sept. 20-22. Tickets can be purchased here and are expected to sell out.

Photo Credit: Big Bounce America]]>
<![CDATA[Deputy Shoots Assault Suspect on Sonoma County Coast]]>512247271Fri, 05 Jul 2019 18:44:49 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bodega-ois-0704.jpg

A San Francisco man on LSD assaulted multiple people and stole a vehicle was shot and wounded by a deputy near Bodega Bay on Thursday night after assaulting a peace officer, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office.

At about 8:10 p.m., California Highway Patrol officers and deputies were dispatched to the Bodega Harbor subdivision in Bodega Bay on multiple reports of a man assaulting people near Swan and Heron drives, sheriff's officials said. A deputy responded with the CHP, and they found multiple victims needing urgent medical help.

The officers and deputies also learned the suspect, Betai Koffi, 32 had stolen a vehicle, the sheriff's office said. Witnesses directed the peace officers to the suspect in the 21000 block of Pelican Loop, where Koffi then assaulted the officers, and a deputy shot him.

The suspect and multiple victims were transported to local hospitals by air and ground ambulances, sheriff's officials said. Their conditions were not known as of late Thursday night.

The sheriff's office asked the public to avoid the area.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Police Investigate Fatal Stabbing in Vallejo]]>512228112Thu, 04 Jul 2019 12:50:56 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police-tape-shutterstock_5628043321.jpg

A man was stabbed to death in Vallejo in the early minutes of Independence Day and officers are investigating, police said Thursday.

Officers got a call around 12:30 a.m. Thursday reporting a stabbing near the intersection of Lewis Brown Drive and B.W. Williams Drive, according to police.

When the officers arrived, they found a vehicle that had crashed in the intersection. The driver had stab wounds, police said. Medics took him to the hospital, where he died of his injuries.

The officers found evidence indicating that the stabbing took place in the 300 block of Mini Drive, according to police.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Detective Kevin Rose at (707) 651-7146.

<![CDATA[Bay Area 4th of July Events Guide]]>512066601Mon, 01 Jul 2019 19:28:05 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/GettyImages-145374817.jpg

Looking for 4th of July parades, celebrations and fireworks displays? We've got you covered. Check out our Bay Area 4th of July events guide below!


4th of July Berkeley Marina
Where: Berkeley Marina
When: July 4, family activities beginning at noon, fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
>> Details

Fremont’s 4th of July Parade

Where: Fremont (Downtown)
When: July 4, parade begins at 10 a.m.
>> Details

Picnic in the Park and Fireworks
Where: Benicia (Benicia City Park at 150 Military W)
When: July 3, Torchlight Parade at 6:30 p.m.; July 4, activities begin at noon, fireworks at 9 p.m.
>> Details

Oakland A’s Fireworks Night
Where: Oakland Coliseum
When: July 3, after the A’s play the Twins
>> Details

Celebrate Concord 4th of July
Where: Downtown Concord (Mt. Diablo High School)
When: July 4, 5K/kids run at 8 a.m., parade at 10 a.m., festival at 4 p.m. and fireworks at 9 p.m.
>> Details

A Green, Red, White & Blue Celebration!
Where: Albany (Memorial Park at 1325 Portland Ave.)
When: July 4, festivities begin at noon
>> Details

City of Alameda Mayor's Fourth of July Parade
Where: Alameda (Lincoln Ave. & Park St.)
When: July 4, 5k race at 9:45 a.m., parade starts at 10 a.m. -- the 3.3-mile route is one of the longest in the country
>> Details

City of El Cerrito & worldOne July 4th Festival
Where: El Cerrito (Cerrito Vista Park at 7007 Moeser Ln.)
When: July 4, music and children’s activities from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
>> Details

Kiwanis Danville July 4th Parade
Where: Danville (Downtown)
When: July 4, parade begins at 9 a.m.
>> Details

San Ramon Fourth of July
Where: San Ramon (Central Park Amphitheater at 12501 Alcosta Blvd.)
When: July 4, 5-8 p.m. free concert featuring a Jimmy Buffet tribute band
>> Details

Orinda 4th of July Parade
Where: Orinda Community Park and Community Center (parade begins at 80 Moraga Way)
When: July 4, festivities 7:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.; parade begins at 10 a.m.
>> Details

Pleasant Hill July 4th Celebration
Where: Pleasant Hill (Parade at Cleveland Rd. & Gregory Ln.)
When: July 4, 5k at 8 a.m., parade at 9:30 a.m. and fireworks around 9:10 p.m. from College Park High School
>> Details

Martinez 4th of July Parade
Where: Martinez (Court St. between Ward and Main streets)
When: July 4, parade begins at 10 a.m.
>> Details

Suisun City 4th of July Celebration
Where: Suisun City (Waterfront District)
When: July 4, events start at 11 a.m.; fireworks at 9:15 p.m.
>> Details

4th of July Red, White & Boom Fireworks & Block Party

Where: Livermore (Downtown)
When: July 4, block party begins at 4 p.m., fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
>> Details


Marin County Fair Fireworks Show

Where: San Rafael (10 Avenue of the Flags)
When: July 3 - July 7 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.; fireworks every night at 9:30 p.m.
>> Details

Petaluma 4th of July Celebration and Fireworks

Where: Petaluma (Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds at 175 Fairgrounds Dr.)
When: July 4, 6 p.m. - 10 p.m., fireworks after dark
>> Details

Sausalito 4th of July Festivities

Where: Sausalito (Dunphy and Gabrielson parks)\
When: July 4, parade begins at 10 a.m., picnic at Dunphy Park at noon, music at 6:30 p.m., fireworks at 9 p.m. from Gabrielson Park
>> Details

Novato 4th of July Parade
Where: Novato (Grant Avenue between Reichert and 7th St.)
When: July 4, parade begins at 10 a.m.
>> Details

Red, White & BOOM! 2019

Where: Santa Rosa (Sonoma County Fairgrounds at 1350 Bennett Valley Rd.)
When: July 4, festivities from 4 p.m. - 10 p.m., fireworks after dark
>> Details

Corte Madera/Larkspur 4th of July Parade and Celebration
Where: Larkspur and Corte Madera (Parade begins at Redwood High School in Larkspur, Festivities take place at Corte Madera Town Center)
When: July 4, festvivites 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., parade starts at 10:30 a.m.
>> Details


Foster City Fourth of July Celebration
Where: Foster City (Leo Ryan Park at 650 Shell Blvd.)
When: July 4, festivities from 9 a.m. – 9:45 p.m., fireworks over the lagoon after dark
>> Details

Palo Alto’s Annual Chili Cook-off
Where: Palo Alto (Mitchell Park at 600 E. Meadow Dr.)
When: July 4, Noon – 5 p.m.
>> Details

Redwood City 4th of July Parade, Festival, and Fireworks
Where: Redwood City (Downtown and the Port of Redwood City)
When: July 4, 5k run at 8 a.m., parade at 10 a.m. through downtown, festival and activities from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., fireworks over Port of Redwood City at 9:30 p.m.
>> Details

Half Moon Bay’s 49th Annual Ol’ Fashioned 4th of July Parade

Where: Half Moon Bay (Main St.)
When: July 4, block party events begin in the morning, parade begins at noon
>> Details

Menlo Park's 4th of July Celebration
Where: Menlo Park (Parade starts at Santa Cruz Ave. & Chestnut St.)
When: July 4, parade starts at 11:45 a.m., festivities continue through 3 p.m. 
>> Details

Pacifica 4th of July Picnic
Where: Pacifica (Frontierland Park at 900 Yosemite Dr.)
When: July 4, activities and live music from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
>> Details


4th of July Celebration at The Pier
Where: San Francisco, Pier 39
When: July 4, Music from 3 - 6 p.m., fireworks over the bay at 9:30 p.m.
>> Details

Fourth of July Celebration at Fisherman's Wharf
Where: San Francisco (Fisherman's Wharf)
When: Live music starts at 6 p.m., fireworks (from Aquatic Park and Pier 39) over the bay at 9:30 p.m.
>> Details


Great America July 4th Celebration
Where: Santa Clara (Great America at 4701 Great America Parkway)
When: July 4 & 5,  fireworks at 9:45 p.m. from the Flight Deck roller coaster plaza
>> Details

San Jose Giants 4th of July
Where: San Jose (Municipal Stadium)
When: July 4, ballgame starts at 6:45 p.m. followed by fireworks show
>> Details

Rotary Club Fireworks
Where: San Jose (Discovery Meadow in downtown)
When: July 4, fireworks at approximately 10 p.m. 
>> Details

Rose, White & Blue Parade
Where: San Jose (Rose Garden neighborhood along The Alameda)
When: July 4, parade at 10 a.m.
>> Details

Morgan Hill Freedom Fest: Parade and Fireworks On The Green

Where: Morgan Hill (Morgan Hill Outdoor Sports Center at 16500 Condit Rd.)
When: July 4, Fest Cruise & Car show 9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m., parade begins at 10 a.m., live music starts at 5 p.m., fireworks at 9:45 p.m.
>> Details

Fourth of July at Shoreline
Where: Mountain View (Shoreline Amphitheatre at One Amphitheatre Parkway)
When: July 4, 8 p.m. featuring the San Francisco Symphony and a fireworks grand finale
>> Details

Old-Fashioned Independence Day Celebration
Where: Santa Cruz (Wilder Ranch State Park at 1401 Coast Rd.)
When: July 4, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
>> Details

Red, White & BOOM! Milpitas Fireworks & Concert
Where: Milpitas (Milpitas Sports Center at 1325 E. Calaveras Blvd.)
When: July 4, pool party from 1 – 4 p.m., concert at 7 p.m., fireworks at approximately 9:15 p.m.
>> Details

Scotts Valley 4th of July Parade, Flyover & Fireworks
Where: Scotts Valley (Skypark 361 Kings Village Rd.)
When: July 4, parade and flyover at 3 p.m., food, games and music at 4 p.m., fireworks at 9:20 p.m.
>> Details

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fireworks Forecast: Clear Inland, Some Fog by Bay and Coast]]>512220662Thu, 04 Jul 2019 22:22:06 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SanFranciscoFireworks.jpg

The parades are set. The barbecues are hot. The fireworks are ready. One thing that remains up in the air — literally — is the fog.

As the Bay Area celebrates the Fourth of July, folks along the coast and around the San Francisco Bay will be keeping their fingers crossed that the fog doesn't totally spoil fireworks shows.

According to the National Weather Service, 63% of the sky above San Francisco could be covered with a mix of fog and clouds between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Thursday night. The cloud forecast is even worse in Half Moon Bay where 75% of the sky could be covered.

"Per usual this time of year, the best chance of clear sky conditions this evening will be inland away from the ocean/bays," the weather service tweeted Thursday morning.

Cities such as Santa Rosa, Napa, Concord, Livermore and San Jose are expected to have almost completely clear skies when it's time to light off fireworks, according to the weather service. Those inland spots will also enjoy comfortable temperatures at sunset, with high 60s to low 70s expected.

Locations around the bay and along the coast will be cooler when the sun goes down. San Francisco is slated to check in at 58 degrees. Santa Cruz is predicted to be at 62 degrees. Half Moon Bay will be the coolest at 56 degrees.

Photo Credit: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Vallejo Celebrates 4th of July With Annual Mad Hatter Event]]>512215072Thu, 04 Jul 2019 04:20:36 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4th+of+july+dog.jpg

Vallejo's sixth annual Mad Hatter Fourth of July celebration begins at 11 a.m. at the Vallejo Waterfront Park at 295 Mare Island Way immediately after the Fourth of July parade.

The fifth annual Maritime Dog Parade early Thursday afternoon will be led by the furry, wide-eyed cat mobile.

Participants will launch kites near the Great American Flag Kite and other large kites before the fireworks.

There will be an area for a Mad Hatter Tea Party with the Mad Hatter and friends and croquet playing with the queen. Other children's activities include bungee jumping, train and bull rides and an interactive reptile compound.

The event features two large food courts serving barbeque and international cuisine and vegan options, artisan beer and wine, live entertainment, parade floats, Mexican and Filipino folk dancing, Taiko drumming and a fireworks show.

More details are available here.

Photo Credit: City of Vallejo's Mad Hatter]]>
<![CDATA[Sick Sea Lion Pups Rescued From Bay Area Beaches]]>512202342Thu, 04 Jul 2019 02:53:02 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Police+with+sick+sea+lion1.jpg

The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito has recently seen a spike in sick marine animals, a problem that was highlighted when a struggling sea lion pup crawled onto Ocean Beach in San Francisco on Wednesday.

According to Greg Frankfurter, wildlife veterinarian at the center, 50-70 young sea lions are stranded from April through June, on average. This year that number has increased by about 300%.

The cause of the illness is unknown, although it’s clear that the animals are lethargic and malnourished.

“Whenever you can see the pelvic bones or some of the ribs, that is generally an indication that there is some malnourishment happening,” said volunteer Ashley Gray.

Volunteers rescued the sea lion at Ocean Beach while another was picked up at Linda Mar beach in Pacifica. Both were taken to the Marine Mammal Center, where they were given food and fluids and treated for any other conditions. Once they reach a healthy weight, the goal is for them to be released back into the wild.

According to Frankfurter, the sea lions that are in their breeding grounds appear to be healthy. However, the ones appearing on beaches are largely unwell.

“Whether there is some underlying condition we haven’t been able to determine, it could be related to domoic acid, as I mentioned, that we’re seeing in adults,” Frankfurter said.

With the Fourth of July holiday approaching, beachgoers are reminded that if they spot a sea lion on the shore to give it space, keep dogs away, and call the Marine Mammal Center.

Photo Credit: SFPD]]>
<![CDATA[1 of 3 Suspects Still At Large in Sonoma County Assaults]]>512194202Wed, 03 Jul 2019 15:48:04 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/216*120/Eduardo+Giovay+Lopez-Cabrera+w+background1.jpg

Two of three suspects in a stabbing and shooting at a residence in the Valley Ford area of west Sonoma County Saturday night have been arrested but a third suspect remains at large, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.

The assaults happened at a residence in the 12000 block of Valley Ford Road, where an after-party was underway following a gender-reveal party at Finley Park in Santa Rosa, sheriff's spokeswoman Misti Wood said.

Sheriff's deputies who responded around 9:40 p.m. found a man with a serious knife wound in the head sitting in a vehicle and another man with a serious gunshot wound in the leg in the backyard of the residence.

The knife victim was flown by helicopter to a hospital and remains in critical condition, while the man with a leg wound has been released from the hospital, Wood said.

Anthony Racines, 19, of Rohnert Park, was arrested Monday on suspicion of battery with serious injury, conspiracy and a gang enhancement allegation. Calvin Garcia, 23, of Santa Rosa, also was arrested Monday on suspicion of attempted murder and battery with serious injury, according to Wood.

Deputies are still looking for Eduardo Giovay Lopez-Cabrera, 21, of Petaluma, who is believed to be the shooter.

Lopez-Cabrera, also known as Peque, Pequeno and Shorty, is 5 feet 1 inch tall and weighs 135 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He should be considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached, Wood said.

Anyone who sees Lopez-Cabrera is asked to call Sgt. Cutting (707) 565-2185.

The two victims showed up at the after-party and a fight, believed to be gang-related and involving only the suspects and victims, broke out shortly after their arrival, Wood said.

Photo Credit: Sonoma County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[8-Week-Old Lion Cub Joins Six Flags Animal Nursery]]>512154792Tue, 02 Jul 2019 21:35:29 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/six+flags+cub.JPG

An 8-week-old lion cub is the latest addition to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom's animal nursery, park officials announced Tuesday.

Guests to the park in Vallejo will be able to visit Cain, the new male cub, at the nursery until the lion gets assimilated and joins the other two lionesses at the Lion's Lair habitat.

Cain was born on May 6 at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey.

"Expert caregivers will be providing him with around the clock care for the next few months," Animal Care Director Dianne Cameron said in a news release.

Cain's mother, a first-time mom, did not properly care for him and the veterinary team made the decision to intervene, Cameron said.

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is an accredited and certified animal care facility regulated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and by the federal government.

Photo Credit: Six Flags Discovery Kingdom]]>
<![CDATA[Mussels Die in June Heatwave Along Northern California Coast]]>512149052Wed, 03 Jul 2019 08:30:28 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mussels+norcal.jpeg

A record-breaking June heatwave in California has had a devestating impact on the region's marine life, killing off scores of mussels at Bodega Head, a promontory that juts into the Pacific Ocean 40 miles north of San Francisco.

Jackie Sones, research coordinator for Bodega Marine Reserve, detailed the mass die-off in a series of blog posts. According to Sones, tens of thousands of dead mussels, their shells gaping and their meat fully cooked, were found strewn across 500 feet of rocky tidepools.

“We think this is the most significant mussel mortality we’ve seen on Bodega Head during the last 15 years,” Sones, who has worked at the reserve for 15 years, said in a June 19 blog post.

In a blog post dated one day earlier, Sones said the algae in the area was bleached out, and the seaweed was discolored.

On June 10, the high in Bodega Bay was 86 degrees, 24 degrees above the historical average for that time of year. On June 11, the high was 81 degrees in Bodega Bay, up 19 degrees from average.

“A large percentage of the mussels were open and gaping, some were empty and some still had tissue inside,” she said.

According to CNN, mussels, which are an integral part of the marine ecosystem, are usually pressed tightly together. They open and expose internal tissue or an empty shell when they die.

Mussels attach themselves to rocks with strong threads, so they were stranded in place as a series of midday low tides left them exposed to the unusually hot temperatures, according to a report by Bay Nature magazine. More mussel die-offs were reported in the Bodega Bay area at Dillon Beach and Pinnacle Gulch. Reports also came in from Sea Ranch in Sonoma County and Kibesilla Hill, north of Fort Bragg in Mendocino County.

Even though air temperatures in these coastal areas may not have broken 90 degrees, the tissue inside the shells of the marine creatures could have reached 105 degrees, Bay Nature reported. Although marine heatwaves have been linked to die-offs of marine life in the past, it’s still rare to discover these incidents occurring as a result of hot air.

Scientists expect to see more events of this nature as a result of climate change.

“We no longer think of climate change in the future when we do this kind of forecasting work,” Northeastern University marine ecologist Brian Helmuth told Bay Nature. “It’s how do you prepare for it now.”

Photo Credit: Jackie Sones, UC Davis]]>
<![CDATA[Migrant Camp Protests Planned Across the Bay Area]]>512119912Tue, 02 Jul 2019 16:16:41 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Border16.jpg

Protesters have planned rallies across the Bay Area Tuesday in an effort to persuade lawmakers to close migrant camps in the United States.

Poor living conditions and children being separated from their families are among the reasons protesters cite in calling for the closures.

Protests in the Bay Area will be held at the following locations:

  • San Francisco, 12 p.m., Office of Sen. Dian Feinstein, 1 Post St.
  • Santa Rosa, 12 p.m., Old Courthouse Square
  • Palo Alto, 12 p.m., 855 El Camino Real
  • Walnut Creek, 5:30 p.m., Ygnacio Valley Road and North Civic Drive
  • Oakland, 5:30 p.m., 580 freeway overpass at 23rd Ave. – 2725 26th Ave.

Photo Credit: Cedar Attanasio/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Caught on Camera: Suspects Ransack San Rafael Jewelry Store]]>512113402Tue, 02 Jul 2019 09:25:27 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEBSOCIALGIF_7807868.gif

San Rafael police are searching for a group of suspects who busted into a downtown jewelry store and stole several items from the business.

The break-in and robbery happened around 3:20 a.m. on June 23 at Villa Jewelers, which is located at 1307 4th St. in San Rafael, according to police.

A surveillance camera inside the jewelry store captured the masked suspects break the store's front glass door, smash multiple jewelry cases and flee with a number of items in hand. The heist was over in about one minute.

The suspects fled the scene in what was described as a gold Mercedes, according to police.

Police said the jewelry store heist could be connected to others in the Bay Area.

"Through our investigation, we have learned that the manner in which this crime was committed matches several other crimes from other jewelry stores in the Bay Area," police said in a statement.

Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to call the San Rafael Police Department at 415-485-3000.

Photo Credit: San Rafael Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[What to Know About California's New Laws Starting in July]]>512052082Tue, 02 Jul 2019 03:30:59 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/gas-pump-generic-GettyImages-979627351.jpg

New laws and a gas tax increase in the state with fuel prices well above the national average are starting Monday in California.

The new legislation includes new background checks for ammunition purchases, requirements for medical professionals on probation and a mandated timeline for law enforcement body camera recordings to be made public. 

Scroll down to read about some of the new laws going into effect in July. 

California Gas Tax

The California gas tax will increase 5.6 cents per gallon Monday. It is part of a Senate Bill passed by the Legislature and signed by then Gov. Jerry Brown in 2017. At the time, gas taxes went up 12 cents along with additional registration fees. 

California drivers were paying an average $3.75 per gallon as of late June, far above the national average of $2.71 calculated by AAA. The gas tax will increase to 47.3 cents a gallon July 1, according to the state Board of Equalization, and continue to increase indefinitely starting next year to keep up with the California Consumer Price Index.

The money from the increase is supposed to go to roads and bridges along with bicycle and pedestrian projects.

Gun Ammunition Rules

California will tighten its already strict firearms laws by requiring background checks for anyone buying ammunition and barring ammo sales except through licensed dealers. Gun owners already in the state's databases will have to pay a $1 fee each time they buy bullets or shotgun shells, while others can buy longer term licenses. Dealers have seen a spike in sales as the state prepares to implement the restrictions imposed by voters in 2016. Opponents are suing to block the restrictions, arguing that they will mainly harm law-abiding owners.

Law Enforcement Video Recordings

Law enforcement agencies will have 45 days to make public body camera footage recorded during an incident causing death or serious injury. The 2018 bill by Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco has exceptions if the agency demonstrates "by clear and convincing evidence" that release would substantially interfere with an ongoing investigation or violate the privacy of someone in the footage. The law is one response to lawmakers' concern over shootings of suspects by police. Proponents said the release will help rebuild trust with communities.

Resentencing for Cannabis Convictions

California's justice department must review all marijuana convictions eligible to be reduced or expunged after voters approved marijuana sales for recreaitonal use in 2016. The deadline is July 1.

Doctor Probation Disclosure

California becomes the first state to require physicians, surgeons, osteopaths, naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, podiatrists and acupuncturists to notify patients if they are put on probation for serious misconduct. The 2018 bill by Sen. Jerry Hill, a Democrat from San Mateo, requires the notices for sexual misconduct with a patient; drug abuse; a criminal conviction involving harm to patients; and inappropriate prescribing resulting in patient harm and five or more years of probation. The measure was backed by athletes victimized by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, who admitted sexually abusing women and girls under the guise of medical treatment.

Lead Ammunition

California will complete its statewide ban on all lead ammunition for hunting. The Center for Biological Diversity says the ban will reduce the risk that toxic fragments from lead bullets or shot will poison critically endangered California condors along with other raptors and scavengers. Lead ammunition can still be used for target shooting. The center says at least 15 other states have some restrictions, but California's statewide ban on lead ammunition for hunting is the most sweeping. The state began phasing out its use under a 2013 law.

Social Media Rules

It will be illegal for anyone to use a social media bot with a fake identity with the intent to spur a purchase or influence a vote. The 2018 bill by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, a Democrat from Van Nuys, requires the bots to be clearly identified in response to concerns that the automated bots can spread inflammatory or false information and were used to post messages about presidential candidates in 2016.

Homeless Patient Discharges

Hospitals must have a written homeless patient discharge planning policy and log which homeless patients are discharged and the destinations where they are released. The 2018 bill by former state Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, requires the plans to include coordinating services and referrals for homeless patients with the county behavioral health agency, health care and social service agencies in the region, health care providers, and nonprofit social service providers. It's aimed at stopping the practice of "patient dumping" of indigent patients.

Veteran Driver's Licenses

Homeless and lower income military veterans can have the word "veteran" printed on their drivers' licenses for free. The 2017 bill by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, a Democrat from Fullerton, waives what had been a $5 processing fee to allow that designation. She said it can make it easier for veterans to access services without carrying around discharge papers and veterans separation documents.

Butane Sales

It will be unlawful to sell larger quantities of non-odorized butane. The 2018 bill by Assemblyman Tim Grayson, D-Concord, is designed to stem the use of the highly flammable solvent to manufacture hash oil from cannabis. Illegal operations have resulted in numerous explosions and dozens of deaths in recent years. The law exempts lighters and small containers of non-odorized butane used to refill them.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[8 More Bay Area DMV Offices Open an Hour Earlier]]>512062411Mon, 01 Jul 2019 10:15:30 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CaliforniaDMV.jpg

Eight more California Department of Motor Vehicles offices in the Bay Area are now open one hour earlier four days during the week.

The new 7 a.m. opening time, which went into effect Monday, applies to the Corte Madera, Daly City, El Cerrito, Fremont, Petaluma, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara offices, according to the DMV. The Oakland Claremont and San Jose DLPC offices have been opening an hour early since last summer.

The 10 Bay Area DMV offices are open from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, according to the DMV. On Wednesdays, they are open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Across the state of California, 69 DMV offices have switched to the early opening time four days a week.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[California Gas Tax Rises Another 6 Cents a Gallon Monday]]>512030621Sun, 30 Jun 2019 22:01:42 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GasPump5.jpg

California's nation-leading gas prices are set to climb even higher Monday, when the state gas tax increases another 5.6 cents a gallon.

It's the latest increase from a 2017 law designed to raise about $5 billion a year for road and mass transit programs.

A 12 cents-per-gallon boost came that November, and voters last year rejected a Republican-led effort to repeal the law. But Southern California voters did recall one Democratic lawmaker who helped pass the measure.

California motorists were paying an average $3.75 per gallon as of late June, far above the national average of $2.71 calculated by AAA.

The gas tax will increase to 47.3 cents a gallon July 1, according to the state Board of Equalization, and continue to increase indefinitely starting next year to keep up with the California Consumer Price Index.

The money is split between state and local governments, with much of going to fix potholes and rebuild crumbling roads and bridges. Some is also going to public transportation, biking and walking trails, and other projects.

Republicans pointed out again that the tax is increasing even as Gov. Gavin Newsom and fellow Democrats complained about high gas prices.

Newsom in April blamed possible "inappropriate industry practices" rather than higher taxes and stricter environmental rules, and California Energy Commission investigators subsequently pointed the finger at "possible market manipulation" by retailers.

The impending 5.6 cents per gallon boost "will make California less affordable and take another $850 million out of our families' pocketbooks," said Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove of Bakersfield. Assembly Republicans floated an amendment to delay the increase, but majority Democrats blocked the attempt two weeks before the increase takes effect.

Here are several other laws taking effect at mid-year:

  • California becomes the first state to require physicians, surgeons, osteopaths, naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, podiatrists and acupuncturists to notify patients if they are put on probation for serious misconduct. The 2018 bill by Sen. Jerry Hill, a Democrat from San Mateo, requires the notices for sexual misconduct with a patient; drug abuse; a criminal conviction involving harm to patients; and inappropriate prescribing resulting in patient harm and five or more years of probation. The measure was backed by athletes victimized by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, who admitted sexually abusing women and girls under the guise of medical treatment.
  • Law enforcement agencies will have 45 days to make public body camera footage recorded during an incident causing death or serious injury. The 2018 bill by Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco has exceptions if the agency demonstrates "by clear and convincing evidence" that release would substantially interfere with an ongoing investigation or violate the privacy of someone in the footage. The law is one response to lawmakers' concern over shootings of suspects by police. Proponents said the release will help rebuild trust with communities.
  • California will tighten its already strict firearms laws by requiring background checks for anyone buying ammunition and barring ammo sales except through licensed dealers. Gun owners already in the state's databases will have to pay a $1 fee each time they buy bullets or shotgun shells, while others can buy longer term licenses. Dealers have seen a spike in sales as the state prepares to implement the restrictions imposed by voters in 2016. Opponents are suing to block the restrictions, arguing that they will mainly harm law-abiding owners.
  • California will complete its statewide ban on all lead ammunition for hunting. The Center for Biological Diversity says the ban will reduce the risk that toxic fragments from lead bullets or shot will poison critically endangered California condors along with other raptors and scavengers. Lead ammunition can still be used for target shooting. The center says at least 15 other states have some restrictions, but California's statewide ban on lead ammunition for hunting is the most sweeping. The state began phasing out its use under a 2013 law.
  • It will be illegal for anyone to use a social media bot with a fake identity with the intent to spur a purchase or influence a vote. The 2018 bill by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, a Democrat from Van Nuys, requires the bots to be clearly identified in response to concerns that the automated bots can spread inflammatory or false information and were used to post messages about presidential candidates in 2016.
  • Hospitals must have a written homeless patient discharge planning policy and log which homeless patients are discharged and the destinations where they are released. The 2018 bill by former state Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, requires the plans to include coordinating services and referrals for homeless patients with the county behavioral health agency, health care and social service agencies in the region, health care providers, and nonprofit social service providers. It's aimed at stopping the practice of "patient dumping" of indigent patients.
  • Homeless and lower income military veterans can have the word "veteran" printed on their drivers' licenses for free. The 2017 bill by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, a Democrat from Fullerton, waives what had been a $5 processing fee to allow that designation. She said it can make it easier for veterans to access services without carrying around discharge papers and veterans separation documents.
  • It will be unlawful to sell larger quantities of non-odorized butane. The 2018 bill by Assemblyman Tim Grayson, D-Concord, is designed to stem the use of the highly flammable solvent to manufacture hash oil from cannabis. Illegal operations have resulted in numerous explosions and dozens of deaths in recent years. The law exempts lighters and small containers of non-odorized butane used to refill them.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Healdsburg Man Reported Missing After Hike in Grand Canyon]]>512030381Sun, 30 Jun 2019 14:44:42 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GrandCanyonFile.jpg

Authorities at Grand Canyon National Park continue to search for a California man reported missing after a hike.

National Park Service officials say 66-year-old Peter Francis Schwab of Healdsburg was last seen Friday on a river trip on the Colorado River.

They say Schwab was on a small beach downriver from National Canyon.

Park officials say Schwab was reported missing after a day hike to the Narrows in National Canyon.

Grand Canyon rangers are searching the area and are asking anyone who may have seen Schwab to contact the Park Service.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Patrick Gorski/NurPhoto via Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[PG&E Accused of Disposing of North Bay Wildfire Evidence]]>511980882Fri, 28 Jun 2019 19:12:48 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/PGEWildfire.JPG

Nearly a decade after the San Bruno gas explosion triggered PG&E’s conviction for obstructing a federal investigation, state regulators have filed documents accusing the company of two dozen safety violations and the disposal of evidence in the North Bay wildfires.

In a summary of investigative findings related to 15 of the October 2017 fires, the safety arm of the California Public Utilities Commission found the company violated more than two dozen of its safety rules – and found evidence its practices jeopardize public safety.

The violations alleged against the utility range from failing to cut clearly hazardous trees near powerlines to record-keeping breakdowns to two cases of alleged "evidence disposal."

While regulators do not spell out the specifics, documents state they "found violations regarding work orders completed late, a work order not completed although the record indicated completion, missing inspection records, disposal of evidence, and conductor-to-conductor [wire to wire] contact."

They concluded "These violations may indicate poor record-keeping and other practices that present a risk to public safety."

In the massive Atlas fire in Napa county, the company stands accused of failing to identify two separate oak trees that posed a clear hazard before the fire that burned more than 50,000 acres and caused six deaths.

In the Nuns fire that hit Napa, the company stands accused of "improper prioritization and delay" in dealing with a limb conflicting with a power line in Glen Ellen that sparked a fire that left three dead.

In the 130 acre Point fire in Calaveras county and in the 2,200 acre Sulfur fire in Lake county, regulators alleged unspecified evidence disposal.

In all, 44 died in the collective firestorm that triggered the regulatory allegations lodged Thursday. State Sen. Jerry Hill, a strong critic of PG&E, says the latest findings are reminiscent of what regulators found in their probe of the 2010 San Bruno blast. Regulators alleged shoddy record-keeping, safety shortcuts and evidence destruction and eventually imposed a $1.6 billion penalty over the fire that left eight dead and destroyed the Crestmoor neighborhood. Separately, PG&E was convicted in federal court of obstructing the National Transportation Safety Board’s probe into the blast.

"I don’t know what we’re going to have to see for something to change," Hill said. "It looks like in almost ten years, they still didn’t learn anything – it’s the exact same problem that we saw before."

In a statement, PG&E said it is "carefully reviewing" the regulatory case as it prepares for fire season and deals with its bankruptcy.

"We understand and recognize the CPUC’s concerns and acknowledge that while we have implemented significant additional wildfire mitigation measures following the devastating 2017 and 2018 wildfires, there is still more work to do and we are committed to doing it the right way."

Hill says he’s still nervous about the current fire season.

"Unless there’s some major changes happening between last year and today, we’ll see more fires," he said, adding, "I’m hoping, and praying that they got the point and now they are doing the job appropriately. Not just talking about it, but actually doing it and providing a safer infrastructure."

Photo Credit: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Family Sues Vallejo Police Over Fatal Shooting]]>511924061Thu, 27 Jun 2019 23:22:48 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Willie+McCoy.jpg

Saying their loved one’s civil rights were violated the night six police officers shot him to death as he slept in his car, the family of a 20-year-old rap artist filed suit Thursday in U.S. District Court against the city and police leaders as well as the officers involved.

Willie McCoy, 20, was shot to death by six Vallejo police officers after he fell asleep behind the wheel of his car on Feb. 9 while parked in a Taco Bell drive-thru. 

The legal action follows an extensive investigation by NBC Bay Area that revealed the Vallejo Police Department has highest per capita rate of fatal shootings in Northern California, the third highest in the state, according to data from California’s Attorney General.

The 26-page civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit was filed by Willie McCoy’s family members. 

The lawsuit claims top Vallejo city officials ignored past problems and, along with police Chief Andrew Bidou, created a culture inside the police department that the lawsuit says gave police officers the impression that it’s OK to hurt and kill people.

“We have death cases, we have people with use of force cases, who now have criminal arrests in their history,” said Melissa Nold, the lead plaintiff’s lawyer in the case.

Though McCoy did have a gun in his lap, the lawsuit claims police officers surrounded McCoy’s car, did not take measures to ensure their own safety, did not take cover and did not plan to confront McCoy and wake him up properly.

The lawsuits says those officers did not try to wake him up in a manner to give McCoy time to react naturally when startled. Police body camera video shows when McCoy started waking up on his own, officers opened fire within seconds.

The suit also lists 20 other instances over the years where McCoy’s family’s legal team says Vallejo officers have used excessive force against other members of the public.

“In none of those cases do we have any evidence at all that any officers have been disciplined or demoted in any way,” said John Burris, another attorney for the McCoy family and a lawyer representing other people who have filed suit against Vallejo police and the city in the past.

NBC Bay Area’s investigation found the 16 people killed by Vallejo police in less than a decade adds up to a rate of 13.8 people killed per capita (per 100,000 residents). That’s a rate far higher than any other agency in Northern California, including Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose, as well as Vallejo’s neighbor, Richmond, which has a similar high violent crime rate.

A spokesman for Vallejo’s Police Department said he could not comment on pending lawsuits.

But in NBC Bay Area’s earlier reporting, Bidou defended his officers, saying they were in the process of coming up with a plan when McCoy woke up, and the officers reacted by firing because of fears McCoy might use the gun in his lap.

If you have a tip for Stephen Stock you can reach him via email Stephen.Stock@nbcuni.com or contact the Investigative Unit at 1-888-996-8477.

Photo Credit: David Harrison]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Home Prices Make Biggest Drop in Over 7 Years]]>511921721Fri, 28 Jun 2019 01:26:12 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Has_San_Jose_Real_Estate_Market_Peaked_.jpg

Bay Area home prices for the month of May have taken their biggest hit in over seven years. The median price of a home in the Bay Area is now $860,000—a 1.7% drop from May of last year, according to a report released by real estate data company CoreLogic.

Sales in the region are down 2.7% year-over-year.

"So far this year, the annual change in the Bay Area’s median sale price has been close to flat, whereas early last year the median experienced double-digit annual growth," CoreLogic analyst Andrew LePage said. "This change reflects the erosion of buyer affordability after years of rising home prices and last year’s run-up in mortgage rates. The combination caused would-be buyers’ mortgage payments to far outpace income growth, pricing out some and causing others to back out of the market."

The drop occurred specifically in Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Solano counties. The biggest drop occurred in Santa Clara county, with 11% fewer homes sold in May of this year than the same period in 2018.

The median home price in the nine-county region was still among the highest in the country.

Napa was the only county in the region to see significant growth with a 23.3% increase in homes sold in May of this year compared to May 2018.

<![CDATA[Woman Killed by SMART Train Tried to Run Across Tracks]]>511903851Thu, 27 Jun 2019 10:55:23 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SMART+Train1.JPG

A woman who was struck and killed by a Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit train in Rohnert Park Thursday morning ignored the crossing arms and tried to run across the tracks when she was hit, according to the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety.

The Department of Public Safety responded around 7:50 a.m. to the pedestrian fatality. People on the train did not see the collision, but the engineer said the crossing arms were down and the train was sounding its horn, Deputy Chief Aaron Johnson said.

The collision happened in the area of Golf Course Drive and Roberts Lake Road, Johnson said.

The woman's body was found against a fence about 50 yards from where she was hit, Johnson said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The woman, who appears to be in her 40s, had a conflict with SMART's code enforcement officers during the past week, Johnson said.

"They kept trying to get her to stay off the tracks. She was aggressive and defiant," he said.

SMART spokeswoman Jeanne Mariani-Belding said SMART ran bus shuttles for passengers between the downtown Santa Rosa and Cotati train stations after the collision.

Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr./NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[1 Dead, at Least 2 Injured in Sonoma County]]>511864711Wed, 26 Jun 2019 17:57:16 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/453510783-Police-Lights-Generic1.jpg

One person was killed and at least two others were injured in a collision on River Road west of Olivet Road in Sonoma County, a California Highway Patrol officer said.

The collision west of Santa Rosa involved at least three vehicles, CHP Officer David deRutte said. It was reported around 1:20 p.m. Wednesday at 3360 River Road near the Martinelli Winery Vineyard.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto, File]]>
<![CDATA[Top Restaurateur Cleared in Pregnancy Discrimination Trial]]>511861511Wed, 26 Jun 2019 21:27:45 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/thomas+keller-0602.jpg

A jury has found the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group not guilty of pregnancy discrimination.

Wednesday's verdict exonerates the famous chef Thomas Keller and his acclaimed restaurants--Per Se in New York and the French Laundry in California--of wrongdoing alleged by former employee Vanessa Scott-Allen.

Scott-Allen worked at Per Se for five years, rising to the highest server position of captain, before requesting a transfer to the Napa Valley restaurant. She claimed she was ultimately let go after telling her bosses she was pregnant. She was seeking more than $1 million in damages.

The French Laundry said in a statement it was pleased with the jury's decision and "disappointed to see lawyers seeking an exorbitant sum for erroneous claims."

Scott-Allen's lawyers say they plan to appeal.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Breaking Catholic Seal of Confession to Report Sex Crimes]]>511828282Wed, 26 Jun 2019 15:44:08 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Confessional1.jpg

One of the largest settlements has been reached for sexual abuse cases involving a diocese in the North Bay.

The news comes on the heels of Catholic Church officials calling on state lawmakers to reconsider a bill that would penalize priests for not reporting the sexual abuse of minors told to them during confessions.

A letter was sent by the president of the Catholic League calling the bill unjust and even threatening to sue.

The bill would penalize priests for not coming forward with sexual abuse claims involving minors told to them in the confessional by a coworker or another priest.

While the Catholic League believes priests should be held accountable for their actions, the bill — if passed — would violate a sacrament of the church.

The letter comes as lawyers for two brothers sexually abused by a clinical director for a Sonoma Valley boys home reached a $6.8 million settlement. The home is affiliated with the Santa Rosa Diocese of the Catholic Church. It’s the largest single settlement in more than a quarter-century for the area.

As of May, the diocese has paid out more than $30 million in settlements for clergy abuse.

Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Petaluma Man Drowns in Russian River in Geyserville]]>511754001Mon, 24 Jun 2019 16:18:00 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/100118+ambulance+generic+daytime.jpg

A Petaluma man became separated from his family and drowned in the Russian River in Geyserville Sunday evening, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies responded around 7:10 p.m. to a drowning in the Russian River in the 21000 block of River Road, where crews with the Geyserville Fire Protection District and Bell's Ambulance Service were trying to revive a man, later identified as Angel Cendon-Hernandez, 24, of Petaluma, according to the sheriff's office. Cendon-Hernandez was swimming in the river with his family but became separated and was found a short time later. He was not breathing and the family attempted CPR, called 911 and drove to find help, sheriff's officials said.

It appears to be an accidental drowning and the Sonoma County coroner's office will determine the cause and manner of his death.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Slain Sacramento Policewoman Was Ambushed]]>511678221Sat, 22 Jun 2019 12:53:10 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/officer+tara.jpg

A rookie Sacramento police officer who died during a domestic violence call was ambushed by a gunman and had no chance of surviving after she was shot, police said.

The disclosure came late Friday amid criticism that it took police 45 minutes to get to 26-year-old rookie Officer Tara O'Sullivan during the armed standoff.

O'Sullivan was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

O'Sullivan was hit several times and one of the wounds was "non-survivable," Sgt. Vance Chandler said at a news conference where the department released police body camera video of the Wednesday night attack.

Police Chief Daniel Hahn said the gunman had stashed two assault rifles, a shotgun and handgun in different rooms and opened fire as officers knocked on the door.

"The officers were essentially ambushed," Hahn said.

He said patrol car doors and protective vests couldn't stop the high-powered rifle rounds, and if officers had tried to rescue their fallen colleague before an armored vehicle arrived, "we would have additional officers murdered."

"Under the most dangerous and trying circumstances, our officers performed admirably," the chief said.

Earlier in the day, suspect Adel Sambrano Ramos, 45, was charged with murder, attempted murder and possessing two illegal assault rifles.

O'Sullivan was standing behind her training officer, Daniel Chip, when she was struck, police said.

Footage from Chip's body camera showed him approaching a detached garage with his gun drawn, knocking and calling out: "Hey, Adel, Police Department... You're not under arrest, you're not in trouble."

The officer then opens a screen door and begins to cautiously enter the open doorway, asking Adel if he is inside and repeating: "You're not in trouble, dude."

At that moment, more than 20 rapid shots are heard. The officer runs for cover and radios that a high-powered rifle is being fired.

"Officer down! Officer down!" he says.

Police said the gunman had opened fire from a house behind the officers and barricaded the front door.

The charges against Ramos carry special circumstances, including that he killed O'Sullivan while lying in wait, an allegation that would allow authorities to seek the death penalty. However, that decision is months away and Gov. Gavin Newsom has imposed a moratorium on executions.

Ramos is set to appear Monday for his first court appearance. Public defender Norm Dawson said he couldn't comment until he receives more details in the case.

Police said the gunman strategically shot at officers for hours, using all the weapons kept in different rooms. He surrendered after an eight-hour standoff.

Nine days before the officer's killing, a judge issued a warrant for the arrest of Ramos for failing to appear on a charge of battering a young woman.

Police said the gunman opened fire as O'Sullivan and other officers helped an unidentified woman clear out her belongings from the garage of a North Sacramento home.

Police earlier found two guns in a neighboring home associated with Ramos and learned about the warrant in the battery case. Five officers went to find him before the ambush occurred, police said.

Authorities said lower-level warrants like the one Ramos faced rarely lead police to actively seek an arrest.

"I cannot tell you even in my (30-year) career where we had a misdemeanor bench warrant and we went out looking for somebody. That's just not practical," California Police Chiefs Association President Ronald Lawrence said. "Clearly you had a person who had a propensity for violence and wasn't held accountable for earlier crimes."

Ramos has a history of domestic violence restraining orders, but most recently was charged in November with simple battery against a minor woman in September.

Defense attorney and former prosecutor William Portanova, who is not associated with the case, said simple battery "means a slap or a push or a shove, but there's no bruises or stitches or bleeding and nothing is broken."

Ramos failed to appear in February and a bench warrant was issued then withdrawn when he resurfaced. Another was issued June 10 and was active when O'Sullivan was shot.

Sacramento County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Sgt. Tess Deterding said many times deputies won't arrest lower-level fugitives even if they discover an outstanding warrant, because the offender would simply be released again with a new order to appear in court.

"I think it largely depends on the scenario at the time. Is this a person that needs to go to jail right now? Is this a solution to the problem that I have?" she said.

Portanova said it's a reality of understaffed police agencies that so many warrants remain outstanding.

"Citizens are paying the price," he said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Scamp the Tramp Wins World's Ugliest Dog Contest]]>511666692Fri, 21 Jun 2019 22:27:46 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0621-ScamptheTramp.jpg

Scamp the Tramp won the World's Ugliest Dog Contest Friday evening at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, fair officials said.

"Scamp defines ugly with cute, winning all of our hearts," long-time returning judge Kerry Sanders, an NBC News correspondent, said in a statement.

Scamp was rescued in 2014 from the streets of Compton by Yvonne Morones, who fair organizers said saved him when he was near his last hour of life.

Morones knew she made the right choice when on her way home with him in the car, he bobbed his head to Bob Marley's "One Love."

Morones and Scamp will appear on NBC's Today Show in New York on Monday at 8 a.m. Pacific time.

Morones won a trophy, $1,500 and a matching contribution of the same amount that will be split among the Humane Society of Sonoma County, Compassion Without Borders and one other group.

Scamp competed against 18 others dogs. Most were adopted and/or rescued. Wild Thang took second place, followed by Tostito, who also won the Spirit Award.

While the contest crowns the ugliest dog, it really advocates for the admiration of all animals and the benefits of adopting.

Photo Credit: Will Bucquoy Photography and the Sonoma-Marin Fair]]>
<![CDATA[Sonoma-Marin Fair Will Hold World Ugliest Dog Contest ]]>511640572Fri, 21 Jun 2019 13:17:06 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Sonoma-Marin_Will_Hold_World_Ugliest_Dog_Contest.jpg

The five-day Sonoma-Marin Fair started celebrating Eight Decades of Fun on Wednesday, but the fair's highlight gets underway at the fairgrounds in Petaluma Friday evening with the endearing World's Ugliest Dog Contest.

The contest actually advocates the admiration of all animals and the benefits of adopting, and many of the contestants over the years were rescued from shelters and puppy mills.

A Pet Fest is from 2-5 p.m., the Pet Show starts at 5:15 p.m. and the contest is at 6 p.m.

Lifehouse performs high-energy rock 8 p.m. Friday, country music artist David Lee Murphy performs 8 p.m. Saturday and four bands -Los Dinnos, Nuevos Adventureros, Tamborazo Santo Domingo and Los de la 9-perform during Fiesta Latina on Sunday.

New attractions included a beer garden, tambourine vaulters, Dinosaur Kingdoms, Moo-seum and a Clo the Cow turns 50 celebration.

The Sonoma-Marin Fair wouldn't be a fair without carnival rides, contests, fair food, livestock shows, sprint car racing, sheep dog trials and pony rides.

The Sonoma-Marin Fair is open noon to midnight Friday and Saturday and noon to 11 p.m. Sunday. Friday is Heroes Day. Saturday is Farm Day and Sunday is Family Day.

Tickets at the gate are $18 for visitors 13 years old and up, $12 for kids 12 years old and under and $12 for seniors. Tickets include admission to the carnival and concerts.

The fair is located at 175 Fairgrounds Drive. Details can be found on it's website

<![CDATA[Rohnert Park PD Liable for $4M in Death of Handcuffed Man]]>511604652Thu, 20 Jun 2019 19:08:56 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0620BranchWroth_7654457.JPG

A federal jury on Thursday found Rohnert Park police liable for the heart attack death of a man officers had held down on the floor of a motel room two years ago, even after he was handcuffed.

Branch Wroth died back in May 2017 at the Budget Inn on Redwood Drive, soon after police were called there because he had failed to check out on time.

The 41-year-old back hoe driver, disoriented and high on methamphetamine, scuffled with officers who eventually held him down on the floor of his room. The autopsy found he suffered a heart attack and ruled his death a homicide.

Wroth’s family told NBC Bay Area they hope the jury’s $4 million judgment will compel the department to change after it has maintained its officers did nothing wrong that day.

“My expectation of the police is always protect and serve. In this case it was essentially beat and suffocate,” said Wroth’s father, Christopher.

“It’s cruel,” was how Marni Wroth summed up what happened to her son that day.

The video showed Wroth was not wearing pants and told the officers summoned to the motel that he thought his clothes were contaminated by poisonous detergent.

He resisted when officers tried to arrest him on a DUI warrant. The officers struck him with a flashlight and used a stun gun on Wroth six times while he was standing. After handcuffing him on the floor, the officers held him down with a knee against his back. The body cameras the officers wore recorded Wroth repeatedly asking for help, and at one point saying: “I can’t breathe.”

His mother said her son did not have a history of violence and did not pose any threat. She said he was in distress and deserved compassion.

“It was undeniable, he needed help -- and was ignored.”

“He needed a hero,” Christopher Wroth added. “There were no heroes in that room.”

Izaak Schwaiger, attorney for the family, said officers testified they didn’t believe Wroth when he told them he wasn’t able to breathe.

“If a person says they can’t breathe, you do something about it, you check them,” he said. “They didn’t check Branch Wroth, so he died….It was totally avoidable.”

Schwaiger argued that Wroth suffocated as the result of a phenomenon known as positional asphyxia, but the city disputed that claim to the jury.

Schwaiger said after the verdict he talked to the jury about the outcome.

“I think the jury wanted to tell this particular police department that they need to change the way they do business,” he said, “and I think that message is going to get through.”

Attorneys for the city maintained in the two-week trial that the responding officers heeded department’s policies after Wroth resisted being arrested for a misdemeanor warrant, related to a DUI case.

In a statement issued late Thursday, the city called Wroth’s death “unfortunate,” but added the case is not over, given that the judge has yet to rule on a legal challenge related to allegations involving training that could invalidate the verdict.

The county district attorney, the city concluded, found the officers acted lawfully and use of force was warranted.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Phone Scammers Using Sausalito Police Department's Number]]>511599881Thu, 20 Jun 2019 17:00:09 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NBC10_Responds_Delaware_Phone_Scam_Targets_Senior_Citizens.jpg

Sausalito police said Thursday that its phone number is being used in an attempted phone scam.

The scammers claim they are law enforcement officers and IRS agents, police said. They use aggressive tactics and threaten some form of judicial punishment if the person they called does not comply with their requests.

The threats include issuing an arrest warrant against the caller and coming to the caller's home to arrest then immediately, police said.

Residents should be suspicious of a caller using the (415) 289-4170 police number. Police said they will not ask for any form of payment over the phone.

Callers who receive a suspicious call from the Police Department's number should hang up and call police to make sure they are speaking to a Police Department employee.

<![CDATA[PETA Asks Solano County Sheriff to Investigate Horse Death]]>511594131Thu, 20 Jun 2019 15:55:27 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/235*120/PETA.PNG

The advocacy group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals urged the Solano County sheriff on Thursday to investigate a man suspected of starving a three-year-old horse to death, according to the Virginia-based organization.

The California Horse Racing Board is also investigating the death of Tiz Willow, a female thoroughbred in the care of Gustavo Medina, but PETA believes Medina should face criminal charges.

When questioned in a June 2 meeting of the CHRB about Tiz Willow's death, Medina said the other horses at the ranch it resided at would not let it eat. However, he had nearly two months to address the problem, according to the CHRB.

When given the opportunity to defend himself, he "had little to say and no witnesses," CHRB documents indicate.

Medina had no closing argument, but when he was prompted by CHRB stewards for a response, mumbled "I'm sorry."

The CHRB determined in prior meetings that Tiz Willow died in a stall at Golden Gate Fields in Albany in January, according to PETA.

The horse had been moved from the track on Dec. 3, 2018, to a ranch near Vallejo, and then returned to the track on Jan. 23. It died two days later, PETA said.

A necropsy revealed the horse's cause of death was malnutrition, according to PETA.

"While Medina should certainly be found ineligible to participate in horse racing, administrative penalties imposed by the CHRB shouldn't supplant a criminal investigation," PETA attorney Elisabeth Custalow said.

"If Medina failed so egregiously to provide Tiz Willow with enough basic nutrition to keep her alive, there's a concern that other horses in his custody could also be at risk, so their condition needs to be investigated," Custalow said.

Tiz Willow raced four times in 2018 as a 2-year-old -- at Del Mar, The Big Fresno Fair, and Golden Gate Fields. It was trained by Gary Stute and owned by him, Al Navarro, and Steve Sanora, according to PETA.

Investigators with Solano County were not immediately available to discuss the case.

<![CDATA[Police Identify Man in 7-Hour Standoff in San Anselmo]]>511590581Thu, 20 Jun 2019 14:54:43 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_police_tape_lights_generic24.jpg

A man who barricaded himself in a San Anselmo residence for seven hours Wednesday night and Thursday morning has been identified as 33-year-old Brian Anthony Gallegos, the Central Marin Police Authority said.

Gallegos used furniture to block the door of his room in the home around 11:15 p.m. after his roommate called police and accused him of vandalizing his vehicle, Lt. Mike Legan said.

Gallegos retreated to his bedroom and locked the door before police responded around 12:05 a.m. to the residence in the 200 block of Butterfield Road, Legan said.

Gallegos would not leave his room and police thought they heard him loading a shotgun. Other roommates were evacuated and police tried to convince Gallegos to leave his room, Legan said.

Police then discovered one roommate was still asleep in an upstairs bedroom, and they tried to contact the roommate by phone to no avail.

The standoff continued and Gallegos at one point allegedly brandished a large knife at police from his window and threatened to kill himself, Legan said.

The Central Marin Police Authority Special Response Team arrived and evacuated the last roommate through an upstairs bedroom window. The roommate said Gallegos threatened him with a knife on Wednesday, but he did not report it to police, Legan said.

Gallegos finally surrendered to police around 7:10 a.m. Thursday. He was booked into Marin County Jail on suspicion of making threats with a knife, brandishing a weapon, obstructing police officers and vandalism, Legan said.

<![CDATA[Heavy Traffic Expected for NASCAR Race at Sonoma Raceway]]>511577762Thu, 20 Jun 2019 10:57:07 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SonomaRaceway1.jpg

Motorists should expect heavy traffic this weekend in the Sonoma Raceway area during the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.

The annual race on Sunday is one of the Bay Area's largest single-day sporting events as racing fans and wine country visitors alike jam the two-lane stretches of state Highways 37 and 121.

The festivities begin Friday, but the heaviest traffic is expected Sunday. Race fans are encouraged to arrive early at Sonoma Raceway located at the intersection of the two highways. Gates open Sunday at 7 a.m.

This year's NASCAR event is also a celebration of Sonoma Raceway's 50th anniversary. The raceway has hosted a NASCAR Cup event since 1989.

Sunday's 90-lap race is a return to Sonoma Raceway's full 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course that hasn't been used for NASCAR since 1997.

Traffic on roads around the racing venue is expected to be heavy between 3 and 7 p.m. Friday and moderate with lane controls all day Saturday.

Non-race fans should avoid the area all day Sunday, and campers exiting the raceway's campground will likely impact traffic Monday morning.

Race day parking is available in the 50-acre campground located across the road on Highway 121. Sonoma Raceway officials say the campground parking may provide the quickest ingress and egress for drivers coming from Napa or Sonoma.

In past years, as many as 85 percent of the drivers passing the raceway on Highways 121 and 37 during the peak entry and exit times are not attending the race, raceway officials said. Combined with the actual race traffic, motorists might face hours of congestion.

The raceway provides bus service from 17 locations in Northern California.

Sonoma Raceway and the California Highway Patrol again will enforce stringent checks of vehicles bearing handicap placards. Sheriff's deputies will check to make sure the paperwork matches the placard and driver's license numbers. Guests with disabilities who have handicap placards should enter the raceway at Gate 1, the main entrance on Highway 121.

More information about the race and best routes to and from Sonoma Raceway is available at www.sonomaraceway.com or by calling (800) 870-7223.

Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[PG&E Inspections Reveal 250K Problems, Trigger Line Shutdown]]>511545501Thu, 20 Jun 2019 04:59:43 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/marin_powerlines_0619_7640622.JPG

Pacific Gas and Electric officials announced Wednesday that crews found 1,200 critical threats and took more than 250,000 corrective actions in response to post-Camp Fire safety inspections, leading to the permanent shutdown of the line tied to the fire and the replacement of another transmission line in Marin County to ease the wildfire danger.

The company announced Wednesday it has nearly completed the ramped-up inspections it began in December, a month after the November conflagration that destroyed the town of Paradise. The entire inspection and vegetation clearance effort is now expected to cost more than $2.4 billion, officials say.

PG&E says one of every five of the 100 most dangerous transmission problems were uncovered on the 56-mile-long, 115,000-volt Caribou-Palermo line in Butte County, where a worn hook snapped on a transmission tower at the origin of the Camp Fire.

Sumeet Singh, who oversees the wildfire safety program for the utility, said the decision to permanently shut down that line came after the discovery of a “significant number” of “unacceptable” dangers on the line, which serves about 1,000 customers. The company has hired Exponent, an outside firm, to study the problems found on the line.

“We did find wear in some of the mechanical hardware and other structures and that led to our decision to deenergize that line,” Singh said.

According to PG&E, the inspections of its transmission towers triggered 53,000 “corrective actions,” including 100 so serious it had to act immediately, and another 4,000 that its rules require be fixed in three months. The company has previously reported such findings to the state as potential regulatory violations.

On its vast, lower-voltage distribution network, the company found far more issues -- 207,000 problems on poles and other structures that required action in high fire risk areas, with 1,000 that posed critical and immediate threats. The company acknowledged that, as of Wednesday, work is not finished on 30 of those immediate hazards.

Inspectors separately uncovered 3,000 safety problems in the 222 substations in high fire zones, with 100 immediate safety threats already repaired, the company says.

It is not clear how many of the more than 263,000 corrective actions constitute regulatory violations, but at least 5,000 fall into a class of findings significant enough to merit potential regulatory penalties.

PG&E critics have questioned why previous inspections failed to find the kinds of problems it has now uncovered.

NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit reported earlier that PG&E had not conducted climbing inspections on the Caribou Palermo lines for more than a decade, and the company discounted the wildfire risk posed by wooden poles that had been installed in place of five aging steel structures collapsed on the line in the winter of 2012.

PG&E has said its earlier efforts had not been focused on wildfire safety but on general regulatory compliance.

While he did not go into detail, Singh said the transmission inspections found other worn hooks, like the one blamed for the Camp Fire, as well as corroded steel on its towers and unspecified foundation vulnerabilities in other parts of its transmission system in its inspections of high fire threat areas.

Singh said based on inspection findings, PG&E is replacing the Alto-Ignacio-Sausalito transmission line that runs across trails in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in Marin, after crews uncovered high priority problems with 10 of its 11 towers. Trail closures there started this month.

“We have a lot more work to do,” Singh said of efforts to harden PG&E’s system against wildfires and climate change. “The threat is real and is growing. We are going to continue to adapt. We are going to take action. We are not going to wait.”

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Police See Link in 2 Fairfield Shootings]]>511503662Wed, 19 Jun 2019 03:14:00 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/generic+police+tape+sd.jpg

Fairfield police believe a pair of shootings that occurred early Tuesday morning might be connected.

Officers responded to the sound of gunshots and calls to dispatch just after midnight Tuesday and found two boys, ages 15 and 16, in the 1000 block of First Street who had suffered non-life threatening gunshot wounds.

The teenagers were sent to the hospital and four other males at the scene, ages 15 to 18, were located and detained. All of the youths are from either Fairfield or Suisun City, police said.

Shortly after, police responded to reports of a vehicle collision around Kansas and Tyler streets and found an 18-year-old male suffering from gunshot wounds in a vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene. His name hasn't been released pending notification of his family.

Police say the two incidents appear to be related and not random acts. No arrests have been made.

Police ask anyone with information on either shooting to call the Fairfield Police Investigations Bureau at (707) 428-7600 or Solano Crime Stoppers at (707) 644-7867. Those with information can also text "TIPFAIRFIELDPD" followed by your information to 888777.

<![CDATA[Marin Residents, Merchants Brace for PG&E Forced Outages]]>511444371Mon, 17 Jun 2019 23:25:42 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/marin_outages_0617_7620518.JPG

Many residents and business owners in Marin County were on edge Monday after PG&E issued a warning about preparing for lengthy power outages.

PG&E says it will shut down power anytime it sees its lines posing an unacceptable fire threat this summer. The outages can last for days, and that can threaten the health of a business and those vulnerable without electricity.

In San Rafael, residents and merchants were putting together a plan.

"There is concern from the business community about how long, how can they be prepared, loss of jobs, loss of inventory," said Joanne Webster, president and CEO of the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce. "A lot of things I see on Nextdoor, which is really resonating, like what about our seniors that are housebound being taken care of; do they have the supplies that they need? Kids need refrigerated medication; will they be getting what they need?"

At San Rafael’s Le Comptoir restaurant on Fourth Street, owner Stephen Bouilled says he’d love to hear the plan on how to deal with an extended blackout

"Without power, technically speaking, we cannot open the restaurant," he said.

Bouilled says he has 14 French cheeses at his restaurant that no one else in the United States has. But they must be kept cool in his cheese cave.

"We are doing a finage, which is aging cheeses, and we need a certain temperature and a certain humidity," he said.

Fradelizio’s Ristorante in Fairfax already has a lights-out menu and a generator that kept them open for days when flooding knocked out everyone else’s power years ago.

"Most of the time people, come in for fun," said owner Paul Fradelizio. "But those are the times people need something to eat, so it’s kind of more of a service."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Coast Guard Pulls Canoers to Safety Near Bodega Bay ]]>511386872Sun, 16 Jun 2019 20:29:45 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/US-Coast-Guard-Generic.jpg

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a man and three children from Sebastopol from a cove in Bodega Harbor north of San Francisco Friday night after strong winds and ocean swells prevented the man from paddling his canoe out to safety, a Coast Guard lieutenant said Sunday night.

The four in the canoe found themselves stranded at Campbell Cove, about two miles south of Bodega Bay in Sonoma County, about 6:35 p.m. Friday, said Coast Guard Lt. Athena Stricker. Winds of 15 to 20 knots, and resulting high waves, trapped the four on the shore, Stricker said.

"The wind and the swells picked up significantly pretty fast, and that prevented them from paddling back out," Stricker said Sunday.

The Coast Coast deployed rescue swimmers to the scene. While these crews usually deploy from a helicopter, Stricker said, in this case they worked from a boat. A swimmer went to meet the canoe and tied a rope to it for the boat to pull it out of the cove. No one was injured.

<![CDATA[Vacaville Police Seek Help With Brazen Clothing Theft]]>511367831Sun, 16 Jun 2019 19:43:40 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/theft1.jpg

Police are searching for a group of four people who went into a clothing store in the Vacaville Premium Outlets center on June 9 and casually walked out each holding armfuls of clothes, Vacaville police said.

A video, released Saturday, reportedly shot by an employee of the Tommy Hilfiger store, shows each of the four people gathering up all the clothes they could carry and calmly walking out of the store.

Store workers offered police descriptions of the suspects and of the vehicle they got into - a newer-model Chevy SUV, its license plate covered with a garbage bag, police said.

The stolen clothes are valued at about $8,000, police said.

No one was injured.

Police ask that anyone near the Tommy Hilfiger store at around 10 a.m. June 9 who may be able to provide information call Officer Richard Jimenez at (707) 449-5200.

Photo Credit: Vacaville Police Department
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<![CDATA[Man Shot, Killed on I-80 Freeway in Vacaville: CHP]]>511366251Sat, 15 Jun 2019 23:25:39 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Deadly_I-80_Freeway_Shooting.jpg

A man was shot and killed along Interstate Highway 80 Saturday night in Vacaville, and the California Highway Patrol was looking Saturday night for the suspected shooter.

The CHP got a report at 6:06 p.m. of a traffic collision on I-80 near Orange Drive and the old Nut Tree complex, the CHP said. Arriving investigators saw a man who had been shot; officers soon found a pickup truck nearby with several bullet holes in the side.

The wounded man was pronounced dead at the scene, the CHP said.

The CHP is looking for help from the public with finding the suspected shooter. Anyone with information is asked to call the CHP's Investigation tip line at (707) 917-4491.

<![CDATA[Great White Shark Spotted Off Bodega Bay]]>511171802Tue, 11 Jun 2019 23:42:15 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Great_White_Sharks_Spotted_in_Bodega_Bay.jpg

A Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office helicopter crew on Tuesday spotted a great white shark while patrolling the coast near Bodega Bay, the same water the crew trained in the day before. The shark was estimated to be between 13 and 15 feet in length.]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Rosa Fire to Hold Wildfire Prevention Inspections]]>511175751Wed, 12 Jun 2019 04:08:18 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/176*120/06-12-2015-wildfire-fire-controlled-burn-brush-%285%29.jpg

Fire officials will inspect North Bay properties Wednesday to make sure there's enough defensible space as they try to mitigate the potential damage done by wildfires.

The Santa Rosa Fire Department will make sure to clear any debris 30 to 100 feet around any homes. That debris includes tall grass, pine needles, dry leaves and in some cases, trees.

If the weeds are taller than four inches, owners will get a notice of violation.

"Not only are we protecting community, we are protecting rebuild areas, lots of open fuels," said Paul Lowenthal from the Santa Rosa Fire Department.

The burned Fountaingrove neighborhood where homes are being rebuilt will be the first to be inspected.

Owners in violation will be notified via Nextdoor or by mail. If nothing is done, the city will clear the area and bill the owners with any costs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Crews Rescue Woman Who Drove Off Sonoma County Cliff]]>511133802Tue, 11 Jun 2019 10:35:15 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/BodegaBayCliffRescue.jpg

A 54-year-old Santa Rosa woman who escaped her burning Volkswagen Beetle on the Sonoma Coast and swam into the ocean Tuesday morning may have intended to kill herself, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office.

The Bodega Bay Fire Protection District responded to a call around 6 a.m. about someone who needed extrication from a vehicle that went over a cliff north of Coleman Beach, Fire Capt. Lou Stoerzinger said.

Responders found a burning vehicle on a rock outcropping below a cliff and saw a woman, who escaped the vehicle through a window, treading water 50 to 75 yards off shore, Stoerzinger said.

Heath Lesik, a career firefighter who is trained in ocean rescue and volunteers for the Bodega Bay Fire Protection District, swam out to the woman and helped her ashore, Stoerzinger said.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office's helicopter Henry 1 flew the woman to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital after she was treated by paramedics at the scene, Stoerzinger said. Firefighters doused the woman's burning vehicle.

The rescue took about 40 minutes. The Bodega Bay Volunteer Fire Department, Gold Ridge Fire Protection District, Monte Rio Fire Protection District, California Highway Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard and State Parks also responded to the rescue.

Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Crum said sheriff's deputies and the California Highway Patrol believe the woman intentionally drove over the cliff near Coleman Valley Road and ran into the ocean in a suicide attempt.

The woman was placed on a mandatory mental health hold at the hospital, Crum said.

Photo Credit: Bodega Bay Fire Protection District]]>
<![CDATA[Star Athlete at North Bay's Branson School Dies in Crash]]>511132582Tue, 11 Jun 2019 10:13:01 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEBSTILLBranson_6707862.JPEG

Kwentyn Wiggins, 17, of Marin City, a student at The Branson School in Ross, has been identified as the driver who died in a solo vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 101 in Corte Madera early Monday morning.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Wiggins' Honda sedan drifted off southbound Highway 101 at the Tamalpais Drive overpass around 2:20 a.m. and struck a tree on the right shoulder of the road. The car caught fire and Wiggins was found dead at the scene.

Wiggins was a star athlete in football and basketball at the school and had just finished his junior year.

"Our tight Branson family is reeling from this tragic news," Chris Mazzola, Branson's Head of School, said in a written statement.

"Kwentyn was a bright light: his warm smile, wide grin and radiance enveloped all who crossed his path, His skills in the classroom, on the court and on the stage captivated our hearts and minds, and his spirit and character inspired everyone around him. He was truly beloved, and it is hard to imagine day-to-day life at Branson without him," Mazzola said.

The school organized a candlelight vigil Monday night on the football field, and grief counselors will be available at the school library Tuesday and Wednesday.

The CHP said it does not appear another vehicle was involved in the crash, and anyone who witnessed it is asked to call the CHP at (415) 924-1100.

<![CDATA[Sweltering Temperatures Trigger Excessive Heat Warning]]>511066211Mon, 10 Jun 2019 16:49:07 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/HotWeatherFile.jpg

The heat is on — again.

After sweating through sizzling temperates on Sunday, the Bay Area will once again roast Monday afternoon, with several spots expected to soar into the triple digits, weather officials say.

Monday's high heat prompted the National Weather Service to issue an excessive heat warning for the East Bay valleys, Santa Clara Valley and spots hugging the San Francisco Bay through the evening. All other Bay Area locations are under a heat advisory through the same time.

A number of spots across the Bay Area are expected to come close to or surpass daily high temperature records, according to the weather service.

Livermore and Concord are expected to bake at 105 degrees, the weather service said. Santa Rosa is slated to peak at 103 degrees. San Jose is forecast to sizzle at 101 degrees. San Francisco, which is typically covered by fog this time of year, is expecting a high of 92 degrees.

Weather officials are reminding people to stay hydrated, limit the amount of time they spend outside during the hottest time of the day, and keep a close eye on children and pets, making sure not to leave them in parked vehicles.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Crews Contain Brush Fire in Mount Tamalpais]]>511059311Sun, 09 Jun 2019 22:04:03 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Record_Breaking_Heat_Has_Fire_Crews_on_High_Alert.jpg

High temperatures throughout the Bay Area have fire crews on alert and residents looking for ways to escape the heat.

Fire crews rushed to battled a brush fire Sunday in Mount Tamalpais where they were able to contain the flames to less than an acre.

"The hotter and dryer the weather is, the higher the chance you can have a catastrophic fire," Scott Pedersen from the Marin County Fire said. "We’re lucky right now it’s early in the season, our fuel moistures are lower than they could be, so we were able to catch this fire at a small size."

Witnesses said the smoke could be seen for miles from the top of the mountain.

"We were up at the mountain play, and we could see down from the road, we could see a bunch of smoke rising from quite a distance, it looks like probably a couple miles," witness Leon Bloomfield said.

Some residents here were without power for a couple hours as PG&E cut it off power as a safety precaution.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

<![CDATA['Ink Fire' Near Calistoga 100 Percent Contained at 50 Acres]]>511055081Sun, 09 Jun 2019 19:59:07 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Cal-Fire-generic-logo-side-of-vehicle-2018.jpg

The "Ink Fire," first reported about 2:35 p.m. Saturday off of Pope Valley Road six miles northeast of Calistoga in unincorporated Napa County, was declared 100 percent contained Sunday night, having burned about 50 acres of vegetation, Cal Fire said.

There were no reports of injuries or of structures being damaged, Cal Fire said. Crews remained on the scene Sunday night.

Photo Credit: NBC 7
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<![CDATA[Average US Price of Gas Drops 9 Cents Per Gallon to $2.84]]>511045841Sun, 09 Jun 2019 13:36:57 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/gas-prices5.jpg

The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline dropped 9 cents per gallon over the past three weeks, to $2.84.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey says Sunday that lower crude oil prices contributed to the drop at the pump.

The price is 17 cents lower than what it was a year ago.

The highest average price in the nation is $3.94 a gallon in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The lowest average is $2.27 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The average price of diesel fell by 4 cents since May 17, to $3.12.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Sunday Scorcher: High Heat Across the Bay Area]]>511042141Sun, 09 Jun 2019 10:07:58 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/BayAreaHotWeather.jpg

Much of the Bay Area faced 80s or 90s Sunday as hot weather gripped the region.

The high heat prompted the National Weather Service to issue a heat advisory for much of the Bay Area through 9 p.m. Sunday. The sizzling temperatures, coupled with gusty winds, also triggered a red flag warning for the North Bay mountains through Sunday afternoon.

Cities in the East Bay such as Concord and Livermore were slated to reach 99 degrees Sunday, according to the weather service. Santa Rosa and Napa were expected to soar to 96 degrees. In the South Bay, San Jose was expected to bake at 98 degrees while Gilroy was predicted to roast at 100 degrees. San Francisco, which is typically socked in by fog this time of year, was expected to check in at 88 degrees.

Weather officials reminded people to stay hydrated, limit the amount of time they spend outside during the hottest time of the day, and keep an eye on children and pets, making sure not to leave them in vehicles.

While people sought relief from the heat, fire officials were keeping a close eye on mountains across the North Bay as a red flag warning remained in place through Sunday afternoon. Any wildfires that ignite could spread rapidly, the weather service warned.

Spare the Air alerts have been issued for the Bay Area on Sunday and Monday.

"Hot inland temperatures, light winds and motor vehicle exhaust from millions of motor vehicles on Bay Area roads will continue to cause unhealthy ozone accumulation in the region," advised the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which encouraged the public to avoid driving if possible.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Smoke From Yolo County Fire Blows Into North Bay]]>511029132Sun, 09 Jun 2019 00:26:05 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/217*120/FIRE+YOLO.JPG

Smoke from the Sand Fire, centered near the towns of Guinda and Rumsey in Yolo County, has been reported Saturday night over Marin, Solano and Sonoma Counties, and even helped make sunset over San Francisco more dramatic than usual.

Smoke from the Sand Fire, which by 9 p.m. Saturday had spread to about 1,700 acres with zero containment, comes after a combination of expected sizzling temperatures, light winds and vehicle exhaust prompted the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to declare the first Spare the Air smog alert of 2019 for Sunday.

More than 500 firefighters had been sent by Saturday night to fight the Sand Fire, which was first reported at 2:50 p.m., Cal Fire said. Saturday. No structures had burned as of 9 p.m. Saturday, but residents of Yolo County Road 41 north of Rumsey have been ordered to evacuate, Cal Fire said.

The entire Bay Area will be under a "red flag warning" throughout the weekend, brought on by a combination of hot temperatures, strong winds and an abundance of dry vegetation.

No additional information was immeditaly available.

Photo Credit: Craig Philpott
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