<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Local News - San Francisco]]>Copyright 2019http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/localen-usSat, 19 Jan 2019 16:00:08 -0800Sat, 19 Jan 2019 16:00:08 -0800NBC Local Integrated Media<![CDATA[Public Transportation to Women's March Bay Area]]>Sat, 19 Jan 2019 09:46:49 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-908570094.jpg

Millions are expected to participate across the country Saturday in the annual Women's March, with some of the bigger events taking place in the Bay Area.

Public transportation agencies are urging those who plan to participate in the march to plan ahead and take note of service changes. Here's a look at how services will either change or be impacted on Saturday:

Bay Area Rapid Transit

BART will have longer trains available for riders all day and additional event trains will be on standby, and ready to deploy if needed. The transit agency expects its busiest station to be Civic Center and Embarcadero in San Francisco, as well as 12th Street and Lake Merritt in downtown Oakland.

For more information, visit BART.gov's Women's March page.

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority

Anyone who plans to attend the march in downtown San Jose should take note of these tips from VTA:

  • streets will be closed to cars between 9 a.m. to 12 noon
  • VTA will be running a regular Saturday schedule and extra light rails trains will be on standby if needed to serve crowds
  • March participants can exit at the Paseo de San Antonio Light Rail station

VTA also said the following bus reroutes will be in effect for lines 22, 23, 66, 68, 72, 73, 82, 181, 323, 522, and Monterey-Salinas Transit.

For more information, visit VTA's Women's March page.

Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District

AC Transit said the Women's March and a following rally at the Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland has prompted buses to be detoured from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

From 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. during the march, lines 1, 6,12, 14, 18, 19, 20, 29, 33, 40, 51A, 72, 72M, 72R, 88, and 96 will be detoured and downtown Oakland will have minimal service.

From 12 to 3 p.m. during the rally, Line 14 will be detoured.

For more information, visit AC Transit's Women's March page.

Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Bay Area Theaters to Turn Out Lights to Honor Carol Channing]]>Fri, 18 Jan 2019 07:24:43 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Bay_Area_Theaters_to_Turn_Out_Lights_to_Honor_Carol_Channing.jpg

Late Broadway legend Carol Channing will be honored Friday by Bay Area theaters. Channing went to Lowell High School in San Francisco and once sang at a Giants game. Her publicist said she died Tuesday. She was 97.]]>
<![CDATA[Decision 2018: Bay Area Election Results Tracker]]>Wed, 07 Nov 2018 01:00:22 -0800https://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
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<![CDATA[SF Storm: Large Tree Topples Onto Bus Stop]]>Thu, 17 Jan 2019 17:59:13 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SF_Storm__Large_Tree_Topples_Onto_Bus_Stop.jpg

The Bay Area storm caused problems in San Francisco, with flooding and downed trees. One tree toppled down on a bus stop and took more than 5 hours to clear, and another 50-foot tree fell across a street. Christie Smith reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Heavy Storm Impacts Bay Area Traffic]]>Thu, 17 Jan 2019 14:54:06 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/01172019BerkMudslide_5725140.JPG

One of the strongest storms of the season slammed the Bay Area this week, prompting flooding and impacting traffic throughout the region through Thursday.

Here's a running list of traffic alerts issued in the Bay Area during Wednesday and Thursday's storms:

East Bay

  • A small mudslide Thursday afternoon is blocking the Park Boulevard exit on southbound Highway 13 in Oakland, according to the CHP. The off-ramp is closed and motorists are advised to expect delays and to use alternative routes. At 1:30 p.m., CHP did not have an estimated time the offramp would reopen.
  • The 7th Street on-ramp to southbound Interstate 880 was closed Thursday for several hours due to 3-feet of flooding, CHP Oakland said. It was reopened just before 3 p.m.
  • A big-rig hauling a trailer overturned late Wednesday due to high winds on the San Rafael-Richmond Bridge at midspan, according to the California Highway Patrol. The driver is OK and no injuries have been reported. Two eastbound lanes are blocked and no estimated time lanes would be reopening.

South Bay/Santa Cruz

  • Both lanes of northbound Highway 17 in Santa Cruz were closed late Wednesday at Laurel Road due to a fallen tree, CHP says. The tree was removed shortly after 9 p.m.
  • A mudslide shut down southbound lanes of Highway 17 in Santa Cruz, south of the Glenwood Cutoff. Lanes started to reopen around 4:40 p.m.
  • A mudslide and downed trees are blocking both lanes of Hwy. 35 near Bear Creek Road in Los Gatos. There is no estimated time of reopening.

San Francisco/Peninsula

  • San Francisco Public Works officials said the Great Highway from Lincoln to Sloat in the southbound direction is closed due to the storm. There was no estimated time lanes would reopen.
  • San Bruno police said Sharp Park Road was closed in both directions Wednesday from Skyline Boulevard to College Drive due to trees and wires down. The road opened up around 8 p.m.

North Bay

  • A fatal crash blocked eastbound lanes of Highway 121 at Napa Road in Napa, just south of Sonoma, the California Highway Patrol said. There was no estimated time lanes would reopen.
  • Lucas Valley Road under Highway 101 in San Rafael was closed due to extreme flooding, according to the San Rafael Police Department. Lanes reopened after a few hours but police advised to avoid the area and use alternate routes.
  • Northbound Highway 1 exit from Highway 101 is closed because of flooding, Marin County Sheriff said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[SF Sees Drop in Drop in Homicides, Shootings in 2018]]>Thu, 17 Jan 2019 12:41:14 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/SFPDCar1.JPG

San Francisco saw a marked decrease in homicides, shootings and property crime in 2018 compared to the previous year, Mayor London Breed and the city's Police Department announced Thursday.

Compared to 2017, homicides in San Francisco decreased by 18 percent, while non-fatal shootings decreased by 30 percent.

Property crime was down, including a 17 percent drop in auto burglaries, a 13 percent decrease in auto thefts and a 10 percent drop in larceny theft, according to police.

The mayor's office said the decrease in crime was a result of new initiatives by the Police Department to increase foot patrols and hire more officers.

"We have a lot of work still to do, but I am encouraged by the progress we have made," Breed said in a news release.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Storm Triggers Coastal Flood Advisory, High Surf Warning]]>Thu, 17 Jan 2019 07:00:55 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/PacificaWaves3.JPG

A significant storm that brought heavy rain and gusty winds to the Bay Area also prompted officials to declare a high surf warning and coastal flood advisory. Pete Suratos reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Businesses Offer Help for Furloughed Gov. Workers]]>Fri, 18 Jan 2019 08:50:38 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/zoo14.jpg

Bay Area businesses are coming together to help those affected by the longest government shutdown in United States history.

San Jose-based PayPal announced Friday that it will offer $25 million in interest-free cash advances to help U.S. federal employees impacted by the shutdown.

The one-time cash advance will be available for a maximum of $500 and with a minimum amount of $250, according to PayPal. Furloughed workers can visit paypal.com/paypalhelps for more details.

A well-known San Francisco restaurant is feeding furloughed government workers and their families free all-you-can-eat lunch and dinner buffets until the shutdown ends starting Wednesday.

Lefty O’Doul’s New Fisherman’s Wharf Baseball Ballpark & Café said all workers have to do is show up with their federal ID’s to the 145 Jefferson Street spot.

"President Trump has stopped the paychecks from 800,000 innocent workers who are struggling to make ends meet," said Lefty’s owner Nick Bovis. "Thousands of these fine public servants are our neighbors and friends working the US Park Police, TSA, and other vital government jobs."

Bovis said he can’t "stop the madness" but he can help feed friends and neighbors who are going without pay.

"We are on the honor system here at Lefty’s," said Bovis in a statement.

Pier 39's Aquarium of the Bay is offering free admission to the aquarium through Jan. 22 with a valid government ID.

Employees can bring up to four family members.

Furloughed federal workers with a Common Access Card or federal ID can visit the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens, zoo officials said Thursday.

"We are sympathetic to the federal workers during this challenging time," Tanya Peterson, CEO and executive director of the San Francisco Zoological Society, said in a news release. "We hope a zoo visit can provide a respite for them and a chance to spend some time with their families in a fun environment."

Also, as the world famous Harlem Globetrotters make their way to the South Bay this weekend, the basketball team is offering free tickets to furloughed government workers.

Workers are invited to the Globetrotters’ 2019 Fan Powered North American tour at the Oracle Arena and SAP Center.

"As the Ambassadors of Goodwill, we want to show our support to all those government workers whose paychecks, and by extension their families, are directly impacted," said Globetrotter President Howard Smith.

All furloughed government workers can receive two tickets to the game by showing a valid government ID at a local box office while supplies last.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[California Storms Kill at Least 5 as Flooding Fears Rise]]>Thu, 17 Jan 2019 19:20:53 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SFMissionTreeDown.JPG

Heavy rain, snow and wind pummeled much of California Thursday, causing at least five deaths, leaving thousands without power and forcing wildfire victims threatened by floods to flee their homes.

In harder hit Northern California, authorities warned of imminent floods and debris flows in the wildfire-ravished city of Paradise and the surrounding region denuded of protective trees and vegetation, telling residents to prepare to flee their homes on a moment's notice.

"Flash flooding is a dangerous and life threating situation," the Butte County sheriff's department said. "Due to the dynamic nature of debris flow and flash flood events, residents should not wait for an evacuation order to take action."

The California Highway Patrol reported that four people were killed in two separate Northern California auto accidents caused by rain-slickened roads this week, including a family of three killed Tuesday in the Sierra Nevada foothill town of Placerville.

The CHP says high winds knocked over a large tree that fell into a homeless encampment Wednesday afternoon, killing a 42-year-old man. The CHP said the victim may have been trying to shelter under some trees near an Oakland freeway when he was crushed by a 30-foot-long branch.

The man may have been "just trying to stay dry," CHP officer Herman Baza said. "Unfortunately, that protection was deadly."

More than 140 flights were canceled at San Francisco International Airport and the CHP warned of treacherous road conditions throughout the state.

Meanwhile, blizzard conditions blanketed the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada and the region's ski resorts with as much as four feet of snow just in time for the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.

So much snow accumulated on the tail of an executive jet parked at the Tahoe Truckee Airport that it propped its nose in the air Wednesday morning.

Tens of thousands of people were without electricity in Pacific Gas & Electric utility areas, including more than 15,000 in San Jose late Wednesday night.

The weather service issued a high surf warning for San Francisco County through Friday, with 30-foot breakers along the coast of the North Bay, Monterey Bay and Big Sur.

Weather concerns also kept a stretch of scenic Highway 1 in Big Sur closed.

San Francisco saw only an inch of rain but Venado in Sonoma County got 5 inches over 24 hours.

Rain and winds forced the cancellation of more than 140 flights at San Francisco International Airport.

Southern California authorities concerned with rising streams and excessive runoff ordered evacuations in parts of Malibu and other areas scarred by wildfires. Malibu schools canceled classes.

In areas recently scarred by wildfires, authorities feared small rivers and creeks would flood their banks and cause massive mudslides, further damaging communities struggling to recover from a historically bad fire season.

The blazes stripped hillsides of trees and other vegetation that stabilize soil and prevent mudslides, putting at risk thousands of people living in foothill and canyon areas devastated by wildfires.

The hillsides were holding but people in burn areas were urged to remain alert.

Also in Southern California, fog on a mountain highway triggered a 19-vehicle crash. Thirty-five people were evaluated for injuries after the pileup on Interstate 15 in Cajon Pass, but most declined to be taken to hospitals, the San Bernardino County Fire Department said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Model Shows What San Francisco Looked Like Decades Ago]]>Thu, 17 Jan 2019 06:33:26 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Model_Shows_What_San_Francisco_Looked_Like_Decades_Ago.jpg

A thousand-square-foot scale model of the city of San Francisco built in the late 1930s is on display at the city's library.]]>
<![CDATA[San Francisco Pier Shooter Seeks Dismissal of Gun Charge]]>Wed, 16 Jan 2019 10:36:24 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/kate-steinle-images1.jpg

A Mexican man who touched off a fierce immigration debate over his role in the shooting death of a woman walking on a San Francisco pier is seeking to overturn his felony gun possession conviction. It was the only charge he was found guilty of after a jury acquitted him of murder.

Jose Inez Garcia-Zarate had been deported five times at the time of the shooting and was wanted for a sixth deportation proceeding.

Lawyers for Garcia-Zarate filed the expected appeal last week in state court. He contends he didn't know a gun was in his hands because it was wrapped in a T-shirt when it fired and he dropped it almost immediately after picking it up. He argues in court papers that he can't be convicted of illegal gun possession.

Garcia-Zarate was charged with murder and illegal gun possession for the fatal shooting of Kate Steinle in July 2015. Steinle was shot in the back was she walked with her father on a city pier crowded with tourists taking in the sights.

Garcia-Zarate had been recently released from jail after prosecutors dropped a 20-year-old marijuana possession charge. He had been transferred to San Francisco's jail after serving nearly four years in federal prison for illegal re-entry into the United States.

The San Francisco sheriff released Garcia-Zarate from jail despite a request from federal immigration officials to detain him until they could pick him up for deportation proceedings. San Francisco's so-called sanctuary city policy bars local law enforcement officials from cooperating with most federal immigration investigations.

The shooting and the city's sanctuary policy turned into a major campaign issue in multiple national and local races across the country. President Donald Trump repeatedly referred to the shooting during his 2016 campaign to bolster his argument for tougher immigration policies and his opposition to sanctuary cities.

The gun used in the shooting belonged to a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger who reported it stolen from his car parked in San Francisco. A San Francisco jury in 2017 acquitted Garcia-Zarate of murder but found him guilty of illegal gun possession and he was sentenced to the time he spent in jail awaiting trial.

Trump called the verdict in a Tweet "disgraceful" and former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions blamed San Francisco's sanctuary city policy for Steinle's death. The U.S. Attorney in San Francisco then filed federal charges of illegal gun possession and he was transferred to federal custody.

That case has been on hold pending the outcome of a closely watched U.S. Supreme Court case challenging federal prosecutors' authority to duplicate state court charges in federal court. If the Supreme Court finds the practice unconstitutional double jeopardy, a federal judge said he would dismiss Garcia-Zarate's federal gun case.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Steinle Family
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<![CDATA[Storm Causes Flooding, Topples Trees and Sparks Outages]]>Wed, 16 Jan 2019 23:34:54 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/0116-2019-SnappedTree.jpg

One of the strongest storms of the season continued to slam the Bay Area late Wednesday, prompting flooding and other problems around the region.

The latest winter storm triggered multiple weather alerts, including a flash flood watch for the Bay Area and a high wind warning for locations higher in elevation.

Widespread rain started around noon before heavy rain picked up and continued nonstop into the evening. Winds were reported to be as strong as 50-60 mph in some higher elevations in the region, the National Weather Service said.

The stormy weather caused problems including the closure of BART's underground Civic Center station in San Francisco after a leak from the San Francisco Municipal Railway station above it.

The closure was reported at 2:49 p.m. and trains were traveling through the station without stopping until it reopened around 3:25 p.m., according to BART.

Great Highway on the west end of San Francisco was also closed between Lincoln and Sloat boulevards because of the storm, according to the city's Department of Public Works.

A fatal three-car collision was reported shortly before 3 p.m. on state Highway 121 near the Sonoma-Napa county line, according to the California Highway Patrol.

CHP Officer Hannah Walcott said there have been reports of flooding on various highways around the region.

Walcott encouraged people to slow down on the roads, not follow the motorist in front of them too closely, and to make sure to have headlights on in rainy weather.

"The headlights have to be on," she said. "With the rain and reflection, you can't see those cars at all."

Rainfall totals through Thursday afternoon could check in anywhere from 3 to 6 inches in the coastal hills, the weather service stated. Most urban areas are expected to pick up 1 to 2 inches. Spots in the North Bay and inland hills could receive up to 3.5 inches of rainfall.

Bay City News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Ian Cull/NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[SF Library Commission to Consider Eliminating Overdue Fines]]>Wed, 16 Jan 2019 04:24:18 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/194*120/LIBRARY-GENERIC-00009.jpg

After library systems in Contra Costa and San Mateo counties eliminated fines for overdue returns, San Francisco is proposing to be the latest local jurisdiction to get rid of the fines in an effort to increase access to libraries.

Mayor London Breed announced Monday that the San Francisco Public Library will propose at the Library Commission meeting on Thursday to eliminate fines for overdue returns.

The library partnered with the San Francisco Financial Justice Project within the city treasurer's office to study the elimination of fines and interview libraries around the country that have done away with them.

None of the libraries in the survey saw a decrease in circulation or increase in late returns after eliminating fines.

City officials said library patrons across San Francisco miss return deadlines at similar rates, but people in low-income areas have difficulty in paying the fines.

Roughly 11 percent of the Bayview Library's cardholders are blocked from accessing library materials because of existing fines, more than three times as many as in most high-income locations, according to the city.

"As a city, we need to make sure that we are not placing unnecessary burdens on people to access our public resources," Breed said in a news release. "In this case, the fines and fees are overwhelmingly affecting people in our community from disadvantaged backgrounds."

According to the proposal being considered Thursday, patrons will still be responsible for returning books on time and will need to replace or pay for the value of any materials not returned.

Library fines create about $330,000 in revenue annually, only 0.2 percent of the library's budget and a number that is expected to decrease as digital materials like e-books become more common.

Contra Costa County last month decided to eliminate the fines starting Jan. 1, while San Mateo County made the same move effective Jan. 7.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighter Suffers Minor Injuries in 2-Alarm Fire in SF]]>Wed, 16 Jan 2019 03:00:16 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf+fire+apartment.jpg

A firefighter was among the injured in Wednesday's early-morning, two-alarm blaze at two homes in San Francisco, according to fire officials.

The firefighter suffered an injury to their face battling the blaze at 70 and 72 Liebig St., and was transported to the hospital with minor injuries and for observation, according to San Francisco Fire Department Lt. Jonathan Baxter.

Five others were transported to hospitals. Two adults are currently in critical condition and two others suffered serious-to-moderate injuries, Baxter said. Also, a child suffered minor injuries. 

The firefighter wasn't identified.

The blaze was first reported around 12:18 a.m. at 70 Liebig St., and then spread to the home next door at 72 Liebig St., Baxter said. The homes are detached, 2-story, single-family homes.

Firefighters arrived on scene and found fire extending from the building and people requesting rescues from the second-floor and other locations of the homes, Baxter said. A total of 23 fire apparatuses and 72 firefighters battled the blaze.

The fire was placed under control around 1:45 a.m. The American Red Cross is on the scene to assist 17 people who were displaced.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. No further information is immediately available.

Photo Credit: San Francisco Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[SF Looking Into Expanding Public Power Program]]>Wed, 16 Jan 2019 01:18:17 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/power-line-generic-electricity-utility-pole.jpg

With PG&E's plans to file for bankruptcy later this month, San Francisco city officials are eyeing it as an opportunity to purchase the utility company's infrastructure and expand the city's public power program.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed asked the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission on Monday to study the impacts of PG&E's anticipated bankruptcy. In a letter to SFPUC General Manager Harlan Kelly, the mayor requested the analysis include steps the city can take to ensure electric power services aren't interrupted, "including the possibility of acquiring and building electrical infrastructure assets."

PG&E's plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection come as a result of its liabilities from devastating wildfires in Northern California

in 2017 and 2018. The liabilities could be more than $30 billion, according to a statement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Some San Francisco city officials see the PG&E's bankruptcy as an opportunity to wean the city off of its dependence on the private utility as its primary power provider.

"I think it's urgent that San Francisco has a complete divorce from PG&E as soon as possible and takes over operation of this utility," said District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen at a hearing today at City Hall.

Ronen, along with District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin, called for the city to end its tumultuous relationship with PG&E and expand its municipal power program, CleanPowerSF - an effort that they say the company has impeded.

"The list of grievances [with PG&E] is growing exponentially," said Peskin.

Under CleanPowerSF, the SFPUC uses PG&E-owned infrastructure to deliver solar and hydro electricity to power municipal buildings and public transit services. City efforts to expand the program and make it available to residents citywide have been hindered by a lack of cooperation from PG&E, according to proponents of the expansion.

PG&E "is holding this and many other municipalities hostage," said Peskin. "This is an unparalleled opportunity to move towards energy independence."

The SFPUC's study on the impacts of PG&E's bankruptcy, as well as options to obtain its assets, is due to be published in April.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Con Hailed a Hero After Saving Life at BART Station]]>Tue, 15 Jan 2019 23:16:27 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Ex-Con_Hailed_a_Hero_After_Saving_Life_at_BART_Station.jpg

An ex-con who spent more than 30 years in prison for murder is now being hailed a hero after saving a life.

Frank Altamirano, who works as an elevator attendant for BART, responded to a report of someone suffering from a drug overdose at San Francisco's Civic Center Station.

“He was already foaming at the mouth and his nose was running,” Altamirano said.

Altamirano gave the man Narcan, a nasal spray that reverses the effects of opioids. His job is part of a program created by BART and Muni to keep bathrooms and elevator stations drug free and safe for commuters.

It comes after Altamirano spent three decades behind bars after he was convicted of second-degree murder in 1986 for stabbing a man in the heart.

“I can never change that, but the thing I can change is myself,” Altamirano said.

Now, Altamirano is a supervisor for Hunters Point Family, a non-profit group hired by BART and Muni.

“I am happy to report that since the elevator program started, we have zero incidents where we have people using drugs, using it as a bathroom or doing other things.” said Jim Allison, a spokesman for BART.

Altamirano said that he has not spoken to the man he saved, but hopes to see him again.

<![CDATA[SF Police Release Suspect Sketch in Attack of Elderly Woman]]>Tue, 15 Jan 2019 17:01:06 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf-beating-0115.jpg

San Francisco police on Tuesday released a sketch of a suspect who brutally attacked an 88-year-old woman in the city's Visitacion Valley neighborhood last week.

The case started as a call at about 6:45 a.m. on Jan. 8 about a suspect who was seen exiting a residence in the 1000 block of Visitacion Avenue and then walking away eastbound. Shortly afterward, the elderly victim was found in a park across the street, police said.

The woman had multiple traumatic injuries that are considered life-threatening and she is still being treated for them this week, according to police.

Investigators believe the suspect attacked the victim in the park and then entered her home across the street. He is described as a black man in his 30s who is about 5 feet 6 inches tall with a skinny build, police said.

Investigators from the Police Department's Special Victims Unit have been dedicated to the case and released a forensic sketch of the suspect Tuesday.

Anyone with information about the attack is asked to call the department's 24-hour tip line at (415) 575-4444 or to send a tip by test message to TIP411 and start the message with "SFPD."

Photo Credit: SFPD]]>
<![CDATA[Tetra Tech Made False Claims in Radiation Cleanup: DOJ Suit]]>Tue, 15 Jan 2019 06:12:39 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/hunters_point_0913_4213762.JPG

The U.S. Justice Department sued Tetra Tech EC Inc. Monday, accusing the engineering company of submitting false billing claims to the U.S. Navy that were based on falsified soil and building test data in its cleanup of radiation at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco.

Federal lawyers on behalf of the Navy filed three new lawsuits in federal court in San Francisco to replace three so-called "whistleblower" lawsuits filed under seal in 2013 and 2016 by several former radiation technicians hired by Tetra Tech subcontractors.

The Justice Department announced in October that it planned to take over the lawsuits this month.

Under the U.S. False Claims Act, private citizens can file fraud lawsuits on behalf of the U.S. If the government decides to take over a case, the original whistleblowers can get a share of the money recovered. The law allows the total recovery to amount to three times the loss caused by false claims.

The government lawsuits allege that those responsible for the fraud are not only two field supervisors, Stephen Rolfe and Justin Hubbard, who were criminally convicted in 2017, but also other higher-level managers, including Tetra Tech President Andrew Bolt.

Other managers named within the lawsuit are former onsite project manager William Dougherty, construction manager Dennis McWade and assistant project manager Rick Weingarz.

"Tetra Tech's fraud was initiated and directed by Tetra Tech's corporate managers, including but not limited to, Bolt, Dougherty, Weingarz, McWade, Rolfe and Hubbard," the lawsuits allege.

While the individual managers are named in the lawsuits, they are not listed as defendants. The defendant in the case is Tetra Tech.

Rolfe and Hubbard pleaded guilty under seal in federal court in San Francisco in 2017 to falsifying records by exchanging, or directing subordinates to exchange, soil samples from potentially contaminated areas for samples from clean areas to submit for laboratory testing.

They were each sentenced last year to eight months in prison.

The company is also alleged to have falsified data on the testing of buildings by submitting the same or virtually the same data on radiological scans for 15 out of 28 buildings.

"The probability that the duplicated strings of data that the Navy discovered could occur by chance or innocent error is extraordinarily low," federal lawyers wrote.

Company spokesman Sam Singer said Tetra Tech "stands by its work at Hunters Point."

"The work performed was thorough, appropriate, and overseen by the Navy and federal, state, and local environmental and health regulatory agencies to ensure compliance and public safety," he said in a statement.

"The misleading claims made by alleged 'whistleblowers' stem from isolated acts by two rogue employees during the 2011-2012 timeframe. Tetra Tech EC immediately conducted an extensive investigation and took a number of corrective actions," Singer said.

U.S. District Judge James Donato will hold a case management conference on the lawsuits on Feb. 28.

The Hunters Point base was operated as a naval shipyard in southeast San Francisco from 1940 to 1974 and is slated to be transferred to the city for redevelopment on a parcel-by-parcel basis as the environmental cleanup is completed.

Possible sources of radiation contamination include the decontamination of ships used in atomic weapons testing, the maintenance of nuclear-powered ships and the former Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory, which did research on animals on the effects of fallout and radiation.

The lawsuits don't give a specific number for alleged financial loss caused to the government, but say the alleged fraud has caused "substantial disruption, uncertainty and delay" in plans to clean up and redevelop Hunters Point.

The costs will include paying another contractor to retest much of the soil and buildings where Tetra Tech worked and recouping "substantial resources" spent to investigate the alleged fraud and "address the health and safety concerns of San Francisco residents," the lawsuits say.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Leads Authorities on Chase Across SF, Peninsula]]>Mon, 14 Jan 2019 05:47:57 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/SFPeninsulaChase.JPG

Authorities on Sunday chased a driver across parts of San Francisco and the Peninsula before the pursuit came to an end near Ocean Beach.

The chase, which allegedly involved a suspect believed to be driving under the influence, began around 10:30 p.m. near the Stonestown Galleria mall near San Francisco State University.

As officers hopped out of their vehicles, the suspect reportedly drove off, striking at least one officer's patrol car. The suspect then raced along Interstate 280 through Daly City, traveled toward Pacifica and then made their way back to San Francisco.

After the pursuit came to an end near Sloat Boulevard and Great Highway, the suspect was taken to a hospital for unknown injuries.

Further information was not immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Facing Massive Liability, PG&E Seeks Bankruptcy Protection]]>Mon, 14 Jan 2019 23:57:10 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/PGE13.JPG

Pacific Gas and Electric said it plans to file for bankruptcy protection amid potentially massive liabilities resulting from the deadly California wildfires.

The announcement Monday follows the resignation of the power company's chief executive Geisha Williams a day earlier. John Simon, the company' general counsel since 2017, will serve as interim chief executive.

Officials are investigating whether the utility's equipment sparked a wildfire in Northern California in November that killed at least 86 people and destroyed 15,000 homes. Damages from that fire have been estimated in the billions. In addition, state investigators blamed PG&E power lines for some fires in October 2017.

Chapter 11 reorganization represents "the only viable option to address the company's responsibilities to its stakeholders," said Richard Kelly, chairman of the board of directors of PG&E, in a statement.

"The Chapter 11 process allows us to work with these many constituents in one court-supervised forum to comprehensively address our potential liabilities and to implement appropriate changes," Kelly added.

PG&E said Monday that it has given the required 15-day advance notice that it plans to file for bankruptcy protection.

"In my time, this is the biggest utility failure I've seen," said Jacob Kilstein, a securities analyst at Argus Research.

Kilstein said he was surprised to see PG&E announce its plans to declare bankruptcy.

"I thought keeping the company in business would be better for customers and even creditors," he said. "I thought the state would serve as a buffer to this and make sure to work something out as they did with 2017 fires."

PG&E said it does not expect any impact to its delivery of electricity or natural gas to customers, and the company remains committed to helping communities affected by wildfires in Northern California. Restoration and rebuilding efforts will continue, the company said.

"PG&E provides gas and electric service to 16 million Californians," said California Gov. Gavin Newsom, in a statement. "From the moment I was elected, I have been closely monitoring the impact of PG&E's existing and potential future liability for the deadly wildfires on the victims of the fires and the consumers who rely on PG&E for their electric and gas service."

The company said it will be able to gain access to capital and resources it needs to continue providing service to customers as it restructures.

Shares plunged by 50 percent before the opening bell.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SF Mayor Wants to Hire 300 Laid Off Chariot Drivers For Muni]]>Mon, 14 Jan 2019 10:23:28 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/chariot_sf_0113_5673966.JPG

San Francisco Mayor London Breed hatched a creative plan Sunday to solve two problems in one fell swoop.

The mayor is looking into hiring all 300 drivers laid off by private bus company Chariot. It would keep those drivers out of the unemployment ranks and would help solve Muni’s operator shortage, which has caused long wait times across the city.

Breed announced her plan to the public with a tweet: "With Chariot shutting down, we're exploring offering all 300 of their drivers a job with @sfmta_muni, which will help address Muni's operator shortages. This makes sense for the drivers, Muni, and the City."

The transition couldn’t happen right away. Even though Chariot drivers have Class B licenses, they would need extensive Muni training before becoming Muni operators.

San Francisco-based Chariot, an app-based shuttle service owned by Ford, announced Thursday it was going out of business by the end of the month.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[PG&E CEO Geisha Williams Steps Down]]>Sun, 13 Jan 2019 23:20:33 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/geisha+williams.jpg

The chief executive for PG&E has stepped down, and the utility said its board of directors is searching for a new CEO, according to a company announcement Sunday.

Geisha Williams resigned from her position as CEO and was replaced on an interim basis by Executive Vice President and General Counsel John Simon, PG&E said.

"On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Geisha for her service and her tireless commitment to our employees and the 16 million Californians we serve," Richard C. Kelly, chair of the Board of PG&E Corp., said in a statement. "While we are making progress as a company in safety and other areas, the Board recognizes the tremendous challenges PG&E continues to face. We believe John is the right interim leader for the company while we work to identify a new CEO. Our search is focused on extensive operational and safety expertise, and the Board is committed to further change at PG&E."

PG&E is being investigated for its role in multiple deadly wildfires across California. The company's stock has plummeted in recent months, and there have been reports it is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Cal Fire inspectors blamed PG&E equipment for sparking a dozen fires across Northern California in 2017. Investigators are now looking into whether the utility's equipment may have sparked the Camp Fire in Butte County, which killed at least 88 people.

The state attorney general recently concluded that PG&E could be held liable for damages and criminal charges if faulty equipment is found to have started the deadliest fire in California history.

Also on Sunday night, CNBC reported that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. may be preparing to declare bankruptcy and could tell employees as soon as Monday.

Simon, who has been with PG&E since 2007, having held several senior positions, will act as CEO until the company finds a permanent replacement for Williams.

"While the Board conducts its CEO search, our priority will be keeping the company focused on further improving safety while continuing to provide reliable service to our customers," Simon said in a statement.

Williams resigned from the boards of both the holding company and the utility, PG&E said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images for Fortune]]>
<![CDATA[CHP Motorcycle Officer Injured in Crash on Bay Bridge]]>Sun, 13 Jan 2019 18:18:10 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/chp-generic.jpg

A California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer was injured in a traffic collision early Sunday on the Bay Bridge, according to the San Francisco CHP office.

The CHP officer was traveling westbound on the Bay Bridge, west of Treasure Island, a little before 7:30 a.m. with his lights activated behind a slow moving disabled vehicle in the far right lane, the CHP said. A big rig was traveling in the lane to his left.

The big rig veered into the officer's lane for unknown reasons, throwing the officer off the bike and onto the roadway, the CHP said. The officer was able to move off the roadway fast enough to avoid oncoming vehicles.

The officer was treated at a hospital for minor to moderate injuries, the CHP said.

The big rig driver cooperated at the scene, and drugs and alcohol did not appear to be a factor in the crash, the CHP said.

The crash is under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Police Respond to Possible Explosion in San Francisco]]>Sun, 13 Jan 2019 18:36:07 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SFPDPoliceCar.PNG

Police responded to a possible explosion in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood Sunday morning.

No one was injured in the possible blast, but officers did find "several windows shattered" in the area of 2nd Street and Taber Place, according to police.

At least one person was detained, according to police.

The cause of the possible explosion is still being investigated, police said.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Increased Risk of Sneaker Waves at Bay Area Beaches]]>Sun, 13 Jan 2019 11:07:23 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/WaveGoldenGate.PNG

The National Weather Service is warning of an increased risk of sneaker waves at Bay Area beaches from 9 a.m. Sunday through 3 a.m. Monday.

The beach hazards warning applies to west to northwest facing beaches along the Central Coast from Sonoma County through Monterey County, including Ocean Beach in San Francisco, Montara State Beach in San Mateo County and Marina State Beach in Monterey County.

People are advised to stay off coastal jetties, keep their eyes on kids and pets, and never turn their back on the ocean.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Storms Expected to Douse Bay Area During Rainy, Windy Week]]>Sun, 13 Jan 2019 23:49:47 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/BayAreaRain.PNG

It's time again for Bay Area residents to break out those umbrellas and rain boots and keep them handy all week.

Three storm systems are slated to roll across the Bay Area between late Sunday and late Thursday, dumping anywhere from 2 to 4 inches of rainfall across most locations and as much as 8 inches for some isolated spots, according to the National Weather Service.

The waves of wet weather could trigger a host of potential problems, including minor flooding in low-lying areas, strong and gusty winds, and mudslides and debris flows, the weather service warned.

The weather service on Saturday provided the following day-by-day weather outlook for the region:

  • Sunday: Clouds are expected to increase before showers arrive — primarily near the coast — late in the day.
  • Monday: Widespread showers are expected along with gusty winds, primarily in higher elevation areas.
  • Tuesday: Rain is expected and could be heavy at times. Winds could also be strong and gusty.
  • Wednesday: Showers are expected, followed by widespread rain that could become heavy. It's expected to be windy later in the day.
  • Thursday: Possibly heavy rain early in the day is expected to make way for showers later on. Winds are expected to be gusty early before calming down later.

By the time Thursday night rolls around, a host of cities in and around the Bay Area — Santa Rosa, Napa, San Rafael, Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz — could collect as much as 4 inches of rain, the weather service reported. Other cities — San Francisco, Concord, Livermore, Fairfield, and San Jose — could pick up as much as 3 inches of rainfall.

Cloverdale in northern Sonoma County and Big Sur in Montery County could catch as much as 6 inches of rain, according to the weather service.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Dog Owners Raise Funds to Reopen Fort Funston Parking Lot]]>Sat, 12 Jan 2019 11:36:11 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/fortfunston_615691.JPEG

A local dog group has raised money to reopen the parking lot and restrooms at Fort Funston, a popular dog beach closed since the partial federal government shutdown began last month.

The San Francisco Dog Owners Group and the Golden Gate Recreation Area have agreed that a donation from the group will allow for regular trash collection and maintenance of portable toilets, the group announced on Friday.

"This is a moment when we all want to pitch in to help the Park Service keep our recreation area safe and clean -- it benefits everyone in the Bay Area who loves Fort Funston, not to mention our furry friends," said Sally Stephens, chair of SFDOG.

The group approached the park service when it was apparent that park users were undeterred by the closed Fort Funston parking lot and were instead parking and walking along the narrow shoulder of Skyline Boulevard.

"We felt the traffic situation was too dangerous to have people and their dogs parking and walking along the busy highway," Stephens said.

The services are being paid on a weekly basis, and SFDOG has agreed to cover one month.

A crowdfunding page had raised more than $3,000 of a $5,000 goal by Saturday morning.

San Francisco Dog Owners Group is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible dog guardianship, offers educational programs for both dog owners and the general public, and works for increased off-leash recreation opportunities for responsible humans and their canine companions.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Pantsless Passengers to Take Over BART for 'No Pants Subway']]>Sat, 12 Jan 2019 09:16:06 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/no+pants+subway2.jpg

A crowd of underwear-clad individuals are set to takeover BART this weekend for San Francisco's 11th annual No Pants Subway Ride happening on Sunday.

Anyone riding BART that day may see pantless passengers, scheduled to meet up at either the Berkeley BART station or the Daly City BART station at 1:50 p.m.

From there, participants are set to congregate at San Francisco City Hall around 2:40 p.m., where they can find out about a pantless after party happening from 3 to 6 p.m. at an unannounced location.

Organizers are asking participants to bring enough money to board BART and, although it's an underwear party, they're urging no nudity.

Additionally, organizers said participants should act as they normally would on BART, and if asked why they're pantless to simply respond, "I forgot to wear pants."

For real time updates, participants can follow @nopantssf on Twitter and use the hashtag #NPSF19.

While Sunday's no pants ride is the eleventh in the Bay Area, no pants rides have been going on in other cities for up to 18 years.

According to the New York City-based comedy group Improv Everywhere, the first No Pants Subway Ride occurred in 2002 in New York City, with only a mere seven men participating.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Probe Into Transbay Transit Center's Cracked Beams Nears End]]>Thu, 10 Jan 2019 20:11:53 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0110TransbayTransit_5642081.JPG

Transbay terminal officials said Thursday that the weld access holes suspected of triggering cracks in giant steel beams on the $2.2 billion project had passed muster during what they called “extraordinary” and elaborate inspections covering every aspect of the design and execution.

At a briefing before the project governing board, Transbay officials detailed those quality control and assurance efforts. They included more than 20,000 inspections that identified and rectified more than 2,000 problems.

The holes, which were cut with welding torches, were approved during those inspections, Transbay project manager Ron Alameida told the board, assuring officials the investigation into what caused the cracks is nearing completion.

“We will leave no stone unturned before we place a definitive statement as to what was the definitive issue,” he said.

NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit was the first to pinpoint the rectangular weld access holes as a likely source of the cracks. Tests on steel samples taken from the base of the beam around the holes showed micro-cracks along the rough edges of the openings.

Those small cracks can lead to bigger fissures, experts say, and welding code calls for rough surfaces to be ground smooth.

The independent engineer who reviewed the design on the project says the holes were not part of the original design that was subjected to extensive structural and seismic evaluation.

“You never like sharp edges and notches and things like that,’’ said Loring Wyllie, a San Francisco based structural engineer. “When you are dealing with welds, you like everything nice and smooth and rounded.”

Transbay board member Michael Hursh, the director of AC Transit, had trouble understanding how the holes could pass muster during the quality control process.

“What I heard today was that it looks like (quality control and quality assurance) was done on the hole, and that it met code,” he said to project manager Alameda.

“You don’t have to answer now, but something broke down,” in the project, he said, adding: “Before the matter is closed for me, I would like to see, in black and white, what failed, and if it is the hole and how many other places on the structures are there similar holes.”

Wyllie, who oversaw the review of the design, says those holes could have been eliminated entirely with better design.

“I think it could have been done better, probably,” he said.

After the meeting, Transbay executive director Mark Zabaneh still could not account for how the problem was missed during all the inspections and “robust” oversight.

“We found it to be robust, but….we do have two cracked beams,” he said. “Something went wrong. And it is something we are going to be further investigating to see exactly what happened.”

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Officer in San Francisco Suffers Minor Injuries in Crash]]>Thu, 10 Jan 2019 13:04:35 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/SFPDOfficerDownThumb.JPG

A police officer in San Francisco suffered minor injuries in a crash Thursday, according to police.

The crash happened in the area of 5th and Bryant streets, police said.

The officer declined to be escorted to the hospital, according to police.

Further information was not immediately available.

Photo Credit: Stephanie Chuang
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<![CDATA[Daily Commuter Ferry Service From Richmond to SF Begins]]>Thu, 10 Jan 2019 04:25:18 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/bay4.jpg

Commuters headed from Richmond into San Francisco will have one additional option for crossing San Francisco Bay this week with six ferries running each way, five days a week.

Starting Thursday, four boats will go to the city each weekday morning, starting at 6:10 a.m. Two boats will be headed in that direction in the evening at 5:15 p.m. and 6:05 p.m.

A full schedule is available online here

The trip takes an estimated 35 minutes each way. The fare for adults is $9 each way, but Clipper Card users will be charged a discounted fair of $6.75. Adults over 65, disabled adults and youth ages 5 to 18 will only be charged $4.50.

The Richmond Ferry Terminal is listed at 1453 Harbour Way South. It's accessible by mass transit, bicycle and car by Interstate Highway 580. Free parking is available in an adjacent lot.

To celebrate the launch of this new commuter service, city and transit officials will be on hand Thursday for a ribbon cutting ceremony and short rides around the harbor on a ferry vessel.

There will also be a ribbon cutting ceremony and a panel of speakers from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. at The Craneway Pavilion, 1414 Harbour Way South.

CORRECTION (Jan. 10, 2019, 8:24 a.m. PST): An earlier version of this story provided incorrect information regarding the ferry schedule.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[89-Year-Old SF Woman Critically Injured in Elder Abuse Case]]>Fri, 11 Jan 2019 19:38:01 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Elderly+attack.JPG

An 89-year-old woman suffered life-threatening injuries Tuesday morning in San Francisco's Visitacion Valley neighborhood, police said Wednesday.

Officers responded at 6:50 a.m. to the 1000 block of Visitacion Avenue on a burglary call.

Witnesses had located the victim, Yik Oi Huang, suffering from multiple traumatic injuries that are life-threatening, Officer Grace Gatpandan said.

No arrest has been made in what Gatpandan said is an elder abuse case and the San Francisco Police Officers Association is offering a $10,000 reward for the arrest of the perpetrator.

"This abhorrent crime strikes a nerve with every law abiding resident of our city, respect and reverence for our elderly is an essential component to a civilized society and we wish Ms. Huang a speedy recovery. We urge anyone with information about this cowardly act to call (415) 575-4444 or 911 immediately," said Tony Montoya, President of the SFPOA.

A motive is under investigation.

The violence prompted newly-elected Supervisor Shamann Walton to hold a news conference Wednesday to condemn the act and to apparently demand a new police substation.

"We will not tolerate acts of violence," Walton said.

The victim's granddaughter Sasanna Yee, who attended the news conference, said, "We are hanging in there and praying beside my grandmother."

Yee said the perpetrators are also being held up in prayer because they too are suffering.

"In crisis we have an opportunity to heal," she said. "So, this is why I am here."

She said her grandmother is just one of so many cases and she called the act "heinous."

Also at the news conference Wednesday in room 278 at City Hall was Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee and Supervisor Hillary Ronen.

When asked about what the cost of a new substation might be, Ronen didn't have a dollar figure. Rather, she said a storefront has served as a substation in another section of the city.

<![CDATA[Nurse Files Retaliation Claim vs. SF General Hospital]]>Wed, 09 Jan 2019 19:00:32 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/zuck-general-1128.jpg

A veteran nurse at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital who voiced strong opposition to the name change several years ago after Mark Zuckerberg and his wife donated $75 million claims the hospital retaliated by stripping away powerful roles and support for research.

The hospital denies the claims.

Sasha Cuttler, who has worked for decades at the hospital, said one of the physicians he respects asked him if he's prepared to lose his job over the criticism. He replied by saying he didn't think he would lose his job.

But the hospital has retaliated in other ways, Cuttler says.

Sam Brock has the full story in the above video.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Video of Man With Dead Raccoon in McDonald's Sparks Concerns]]>Wed, 09 Jan 2019 23:30:06 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0119-Raccoon.jpg

Chris Brooks went live on Facebook on Sunday morning after he saw a man put a bloody, dead raccoon on a table of a McDonald's in San Francisco.

Brooks says he was heading to work and about to get breakfast at the McDonald's on Potrero Avenue and 16th Street when he recorded a now-viral video of a man sitting in front of the raccoon and another man grabbing the carcass from the table, leaving behind a trail of blood, before throwing the animal into a garbage can outside.

The video has accumulated over 4,000 shares and 127,000 views on Facebook as of Wednesday afternoon.

The footage shows a man with grey hair, dressed in all black, sitting with his hands on the table by the dead raccoon and a woman, who appears to be a McDonald's employee, saying something to him while pointing outside.

The man in black got up from his seat, walked around the fast-food chain and appeared to speak to a few people inside before another man in a tie-dye sweater and gloves got up from his seat, picked up the raccoon and threw it out in the garbage. 

It wasn't immediately known what transpired before the incident or whether the two men knew each other but they appeared to have left the restaurant after the animal was discarded.

A spokesperson with the San Francisco Department of Public Health told NBC Bay Area that health officials gave the all clear after inspectors came, said the company followed procedure by closing down and sanitizing everything.

The McDonald's Owner Operator Scott Rodrick said the restaurant was closed immediately after the incident.

"Staff cleaned and sanitized the entire dining room and reopened the restaurant two hours later. The health department visited the restaurant this afternoon and cleared the restaurant for full operations. We are thankful that SFPD and animal control were so responsive to the incident," Rodrick said in a statement.

<![CDATA['Disgusting' Photos From Pacifica Pizza Place Go Viral]]>Wed, 09 Jan 2019 14:43:02 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/PapaMurphysThumb.jpg

Pizza isn't the only thing getting cooked at Papa Murphy's in Pacifica. The entire restaurant is getting roasted by the internet.

Photos of a person sleeping on the floor of a bathroom next to the toilet and dirty work station at the pizza chain's store on Palmetto Avenue in Pacifica have sparked online outrage and disgust from the Bay Area Reddit.

The images were first posted on the Bay Area Mommies Facebook group and reposted by Reddit user Ryan Wright and the moderator of the Pacifica Reddit. The images' caption read:

"In case anyone ever gets pizza from Papa Murphy's in Pacifica... Heads up! We ordered a pizza online from them a little while ago and my husband went to pick it up. He just texted me these photos. The guy working there is sleeping on the bathroom floor and this is what the work station looks like. Totally disgusting. Glad we didn't get our pizza there!"

It's not the first time someone has spotted the grubby condition at the restaurant, according to numerous one-star Yelp reviews. The reviews echoed that Papa Murphy's used to be a good place to get pizzas before the new owners took over.

Individuals are able to purchase the franchise and Papa Murphy's says that the company is "aware of this photo and are reaching out to the owner to ensure that everyone is safe at this location."

It wasn't immediately clear who owns the Papa Murphy's in Pacifica but one woman who says she was a former employee, Hannah Finger, wrote on Yelp on March 27, 2018, that the new owners "blatantly disregard health codes" and sanitation.

Finger, 20, says she worked at the store for two years. She posted photos of a man wearing an apron, who she identified as one of the owners Jay Singh, being taken into custody by police after she said he hit her in the face when she confronted him about tax paperworks in March.

Finger updated her Yelp review on Sunday, saying that the owner was recently "caught sleeping on the floor of the bathroom by a customer, and the disgusting work station also taken by a customer."

She told NBC Bay Area that Singh owns another Papa Murphy's location in Sunnyvale. When the food inspector threw away expired food in the garbage, she said Singh directed her to put the food back.

The owner could not be immediately reached for comment.

Online records from the San Mateo County Environmental Health Office show that the restaurant had four inspections in 2017 and one inspection in 2018, all of which passed with a few conditions marked as "out of compliance."

See the records below:

  • Aug. 13, 2018
    • 36. Equipment, utensils and linens: storage and use (CO2 tanks) - OUT OF COMPLIANCE
    • 35. Equipment/utensils-approved; installed; clean; good repair; capacity (prep sinks, refrigerators) - OUT OF COMPLIANCE
    • 06. Adequate hand washing facilities: supplied and accessible - OUT OF COMPLIANCE - Major
    • 01b. Food safety certification and food handler cards: valid, available for review - OUT OF COMPLIANCE - Minor
  • Nov. 30, 2017
    • 01b. Food safety certification and food handler cards: valid, available for review - OUT OF COMPLIANCE - Minor
  • May 26, 2017 - Followup Inspection May 25, 2017
    • 01b. Food safety certification and food handler cards: valid, available for review - OUT OF COMPLIANCE - Minor
    • 41. Plumbing; fixtures, back flow devices, drainage - OUT OF COMPLIANCE
    • 06. Adequate hand washing facilities: supplied and accessible - OUT OF COMPLIANCE - Major
  • April, 27, 2017 - Routine Inspection

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    <![CDATA[Pedestrian Struck, Killed on I-80 Incline on Bay Bridge]]>Tue, 08 Jan 2019 08:53:22 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/BayBridgeFile.JPG

    A pedestrian who was walking on eastbound Interstate Highway 80 on the incline of the Bay Bridge was struck and killed by a vehicle late Monday night, according to the California Highway Patrol.

    The CHP said the collision was first reported around 11:44 p.m. near the Bryant Street on-ramp to the freeway. All lanes of the freeway were blocked at one point, but the collision was cleared around 1 a.m. Tuesday.

    According to the CHP, the driver of the vehicle was cooperative with investigators. No arrests have been made.

    No further information is immediately available.

    Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Widespread Rain, Gusty Winds and High Waves Lash Bay Area]]>Wed, 09 Jan 2019 09:35:24 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GGBRain3.JPG

    Another storm system walloped the Bay Area Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing widespread rain, gusty winds and large waves to the region.

    The latest storm of the new year has prompted a wind advisory for coastal areas and higher elevations across the Bay Area as well as a high surf advisory for Bay Area beaches, the National Weather Service reported.

    The wind advisory took effect at 1 p.m. Tuesday and expires at 10 a.m. Wednesday, according to the weather service. Southerly winds are expected to range between 20 and 30 mph with gusts reaching 40 to 50 mph at some spots along the coast and in the hills. Some gusts could peak at roughly 60 mph at some of the region's higher peaks.

    The National Weather Service also issued a High Surf Advisory on Wednesday for Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Sonoma Counties. The warning is in effect until 9 p.m.

    "Water temperatures remain in the 50s. Use caution when at the beaches and Never turn your back to the ocean," NWS Bay Area tweeted.

    Swells could range between 13 and 17 feet with breaking waves topping out anywhere between 18 and 24 feet. "Favored locations" could see waves soaring above 27 feet.

    Winds ramped up Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, the weather service reported. Strong winds could topple tree limbs and trees, leading to possible power outages.

    When it comes to the rain, the coastal hills and locations in the North Bay are expected to lead the way with 1 to 3 inches of accumulated rainfall on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the weather service. Other spots around the Bay Area are predicted to receive anywhere from one-quarter to three-quarters of an inch of rain during the two-day span. 

    The weather service cautioned that roadway flooding, creek and stream flooding, and minor landslides and rockslides could be possible in some areas.

    Chances of thunderstorms were in the forecast on Tuesday and Wednesday for much of the region, the weather service reported.

    Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
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    <![CDATA[Trial Begins on Challenge by CA, San Jose to Census Question]]>Mon, 07 Jan 2019 18:38:45 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/217*120/census_hearing_0107_5598866.JPG

    A seven-day trial began Monday before a federal judge in San Francisco on a challenge to the U.S. Commerce Department's plan to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census.

    U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg will decide the case without a jury. He is presiding over two lawsuits: one filed by the state of California, later joined by Oakland, Fremont and four other cities and counties; and a second suit filed by San Jose and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration.

    The cases are among several filed against Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in federal courts around the nation.

    A lawsuit filed by more than 30 states, cities and counties led by the state of New York went to trial before a federal judge in New York City in November and is now awaiting a decision from that judge. San Francisco and Monterey County joined that lawsuit.

    Another lawsuit filed by individual residents of Maryland, Arizona and California will go to trial before a U.S. judge in Baltimore on Jan. 22.

    The census question would ask people whether they or members of their household are citizens.

    The states and cities that sued claim the use of the question violates the U.S. Constitution's requirement of an "actual enumeration" of the population every 10 years because non-citizen immigrants will be deterred from participating in the census.

    They say the reduced participation will unfairly result in decreased federal funding and congressional representation, which are based on the census information.

    The Justice Department, defending Ross and the Commerce Department, contends the question is reasonable and answers will be subject to strict confidentiality requirements.

    The first witness before Seeborg Monday was University of Chicago public policy professor Colm O'Muircheartaigh, an expert on survey methodology. He cited a number of studies that he said show that non-citizens asked to answer a citizenship question feel that "this is a threatening activity" and may refuse to participate in the census.

    One study showed that people responding to the census on behalf of a household may decide not to mention other household members who are non-citizens, he told the judge.

    "This is very disturbing, because the census depends on getting a full response from the household," the professor said.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[PG&E Shares Hammered as Potential Liabilities Mount]]>Mon, 07 Jan 2019 09:01:10 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/PGE13.JPG

    California's largest power company is getting battered in midday trading on reports that it's considering bankruptcy protection in the face of potentially crippling liability damages from a spate of wildfires.

    No cause has been determined for the source of California's Camp Fire, but PG&E reported an outage around the time and place the fire was ignited. Another transmission line malfunctioned a short time later, possibly sparking a second fire.

    Reuters, citing anonymous sources, reports that the company has considered seeking financial shelter in bankruptcy court with potential liabilities reaching into the tens of billions.

    Shares tumbled 22 percent Monday, the latest severe sell-off for the company since November and the outbreak of the state's deadliest recorded wildfires.

    PG&E Corp. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

    Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Delays, Cancellations and Baggage Issues at SFO]]>Mon, 07 Jan 2019 06:26:14 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SFOLines.JPG

    Passengers leaving and flying into San Francisco International Airport on Sunday and early Monday faced a host of frustrations, including delays, cancellations and baggage troubles. Roz Plater reports.]]>
    <![CDATA[Round 2: Another Storm Brings Widespread Rain, Gusty Winds]]>Mon, 07 Jan 2019 00:11:47 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/RainBayBridge.PNG

    A second storm system for the weekend will continue to lash the Bay Area with widespread rain and gusty winds for most spots throughout the day Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

    The storm triggered a flood advisory in southeastern Marin County until 4:45 p.m., according to the weather service. It also prompted a wind advisory between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. for all Bay Area neighborhoods except those in the Santa Clara Valley and southern Salinas Valley.

    In the South Bay, flooding was reported on both sides of Highway 85 in West San Jose late Sunday, according to the CHP. The standing water was reported on the highway near De Anza Boulevard, where there also was a multi-vehicle crash.

    Farther south in Gilroy, downed power lines caused the closure of Hecked Pass in both directions late Sunday night, according to police. The roadway was closed between Santa Teresa Boulevard and Burchell Road.  

    Southerly winds are expected to range anywhere from 25 to 35 mph, according to the weather service. Some gusts could top out around 50 mph.

    The weather service warned that high winds could cause trees and tree limbs to fall, leading to possible power outages.

    Gusty winds may have been responsible for downed electrical wires in San Francisco. 

    Firefighters responded to the downed wires in the city's Inner Sunset neighborhood. The lines came down on multiple parked cars at 1541 Eighth Avenue and on Muni train tracks in the same area, fire officials said.

    The fire department was asking the public to avoid the area.

    When it comes to the rain, rainfall totals for Sunday into early Monday are expected to check in between 0.5 and 1.5 inches for urban areas and spots in the valleys, according to the weather service. Locations in the coastal mountains could pick up anywhere from 2 to 4 inches of precipitation.

    Do you have footage of the storm? Share your photos and videos with us by emailing isee@nbcbayarea.com.

    Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[San Francisco DMV Technical Problems Resolved]]>Sat, 05 Jan 2019 14:54:13 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Oficinas_del_DMV_abriran_los_sabados.jpg

    The San Francisco DMV field office experienced technical problems Saturday afternoon, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

    "The office is unable to process vehicle registration and driver license/ID transactions," CA DMV said on social media. The issues were resolved an hour later, officials said.

    Daly City field office was honoring appointments while the San Francisco office was down, CA DMV said.

    DMV offices around the Bay Area and the state started to open on Saturdays last year in June to compensate for longer wait time.

    Click here to find the list of other DMV locations.

    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Volunteers Cleaned Up Trash at Ocean Beach, Lands End]]>Sat, 05 Jan 2019 18:59:33 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/BEACH+WATER+GENERIC+PEXELS.jpg

    Dog owners, Recology staff and two congressional representatives volunteered Saturday afternoon to clean up trash at Ocean Beach and Lands End because park service workers are furloughed, organizers said.

    Volunteers met at 2:30 p.m. at stairwells 20 and 21 along the promenade and on the beach at Ocean Beach.

    Two of the volunteers were Reps. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, and Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael.

    "This is expensive. It’s damaging to businesses, to employees," said Huffman. "It’s deeply shameful if you care about governing"

    National Park Service workers are furloughed because of a partial federal government shutdown as President Donald Trump seeks money for a wall on the country's southern border.

    Congresswoman Speier said many of the workers live paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford a prolonged shutdown.

    She said Republicans and Democrats alike have to do the right thing and pass a continuing resolution to protect the workers. Their families and the citizens who depend on the services the furloughed workers normally provide.

    "The stunt the President has undertaken here has cost, money and anguish and lives and probably some health conditions as well," Speier said. 

    Other volunteers included members of the San Francisco Dog Owners Group. Recology provided a truck to recycle and haul away trash.

    <![CDATA[Man Arrested for Fatally Stabbing Woman in San Francisco]]>Fri, 04 Jan 2019 01:48:23 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/foto+generica+de+police+line+tape+224.jpg

    A 49-year-old man is accused of fatally stabbing a woman and injuring a man who tried to intervene in his alleged domestic violence assault in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood on Wednesday.

    Arthur Finch was arrested at about noon, 20 minutes after allegedly stabbing the 61-year-old woman and 50-year-old man who had attempted to come to the aid of the domestic violence victim at the intersection of Ellis and Leavenworth streets.

    Officers had responded to a report of a person down and they arrived to find the woman, Veronica Soliz, suffering from a stab wound to the head, police said. Soliz was taken to a hospital and was pronounced dead.

    Police soon learned that a second stabbing victim, the 50-year-old man, had arrived at a hospital with injuries that are not life-threatening.

    Witnesses provided descriptions of the suspect and vehicle, which officers found and contacted in the first block of Brookdale Avenue in the city's Visitacion Valley neighborhood.

    They detained the 43-year-old woman driving the car, and while she was being questioned, Finch came out of a nearby home and matched the description of the stabbing suspect, according to police.

    Finch was arrested and booked into county jail on suspicion of murder, attempted murder, felony domestic assault, elder abuse, possession and use of a dangerous weapon, mayhem, and assault with a deadly weapon, police said.

    <![CDATA[San Francisco Security Guard Attacked by Skateboarders]]>Fri, 04 Jan 2019 18:55:37 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/skateboard5.JPG

    A skateboarded accused of beating a San Francisco security guard is expected in court Friday morning.

    Jesse Vieira, 24, is in custody for assault with a deadly weapon after video shows him attacking security guard Dan Jansen on Nov. 25 in the financial district.

    Security footage shows Jansen putting up barricades in place to block the boarders and they were removing them. As the guard worked, the group attacked, knocking the 57-year-old to the ground and leaving him unconscious.

    Jansen’s family said the blow to the head with a skateboard changed the avid fisherman’s life forever.

    "He's conscious now able to have conversations with us," said Jensen’s niece Amanda Jensen.

    He needed emergency brain surgery and is now in a rehab facility where he is learning how to talk and walk again. More than a month since the attack, he still doesn’t recognize loved ones.

    "He can’t walk yet, he can feed himself and is starting to brush his teeth, huge accomplishment," said Amanda.

    Though the family said eight people attacked Jensen, only Vieira is in custody.

    His attorney said he has the video that will prove he was not the aggressor.

    <![CDATA[When Will San Francisco Get an Earthquake Alert App?]]>Thu, 03 Jan 2019 18:47:05 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/01032018SanFrancisco_5554516.JPG

    Los Angeles officials on Thursday unveiled the first app anywhere in California that taps into the state's shake alert system, sending users a message straight to their smartphones ahead of large earthquakes.

    But some key questions remain, like how well the app works and how much warning time does it provide?

    The app, Shake Alert LA, is free and will give users 5 to 10 seconds warning if they live in Los Angeles. 

    San Francisco, meanwhile, is taking a wait-and-see approach.

    For Bay Area seismologists, who have been developing an earthquake detection system for more than a decade, Thursday's unveiling in LA marks a huge step.

    "It will save lives by giving precious seconds to you and to your family, to take action and protect yourself when the next 5.0 magnitude or greater earthquake hits," LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

    Dr. Robert Allen with the University of California, Berkeley seismology lab said BART linked into the alert system back in October when it opened for business. Some hospital and utilities, like PG&E, also linked into the alert system, but not the City of San Francisco.

    "We're certainly interested in the pilot program that they have in Los Angeles," said Francis Zemora, SF Department of Emergency Services. "And we look forward to evaluating the results."

    Zemora said San Francisco studied mobile alerts a few years ago and was not overwhelmed by the results.

    "One of the things we found was there simply wasn't going to be enough time -- to send out an alert through the mobile systems, to make it useful for people," Zemora said. "So what we focused on instead was a more direct connection -- automated alerts to critical facilities."

    For now, San Franciscans are left to wonder if they want, or need, an LA-like app.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Celebrates Completion of $551M Moscone Center Expansion]]>Thu, 03 Jan 2019 18:44:12 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/moscone_0103_5553922.JPG

    After four years of construction, the expansion to San Francisco's Moscone Center is open for business.

    During a lavish ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday morning at the center's South building on Howard Street, which included over 1,000 guests, Mayor London Breed and other city officials helped celebrate the completed project.

    "This expansion is something that is overdue. It is going to help generate the kind of tourism that San Francisco is so very proud of," Breed said. "This convention center will host and bring visitors from around the world who are going to not only visit here but also work here and as a result will generate millions of dollars in revenue here at this convention center and for our hotels and small businesses in our surrounding communities," she said.

    The $551 million project added 157,000 square feet to the center, bringing the total amount of usable space at the center's three buildings, Moscone North, South and West, to 1,139,775 square feet.

    Combined, all three buildings now boast a total of 114 flexible meeting rooms, in addition to expansive lobbies and outdoor terraces offering iconic San Francisco views.

    The expanded center was designed to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, Platinum Status, with innovative features such as its own water treatment system, converting an estimated 15 million gallons of recovered rainwater annually for landscaping and street cleaning.

    Additionally, the building features its own solar panel array, the largest in the city and one of the largest publicly-owned solar power systems in the U.S. Solar energy generated from the center's panels will provide the center with about 20 percent of its power.

    During Thursday morning's ribbon cutting ceremony, Mayor Breed rededicated the center in honor of its namesake, former San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, who served as Mayor up until his assassination inside City Hall in 1978. Breed described him as being "committed to our core values of inclusion, bringing people together, and pushing forward transformative projects."

    Additionally, Breed also announced that the lobby in the center's South building will be named in honor of former Mayor Ed Lee, who passed away unexpectedly in 2017.

    "Because of the leadership of our late Mayor Ed Lee, this was possible," Breed said. "As a result of his hard work, here we are, at an incredible facility."

    Some of the well-known larger events held at the Moscone Center include Salesforce's annual Dreamforce conference, Oracle's annual Oracle Openworld convention and the Game Developers Conference.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Woman Fatally Stabbed in Tenderloin, Man Arrested]]>Thu, 03 Jan 2019 10:10:57 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/SFPDPoliceCar.JPG

    A 61-year-old woman was fatally stabbed in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood on Wednesday and a 49-year-old man has been arrested in the case, police said Thursday.

    Police said an "edged weapon" was used in the attack on the woman reported at 11:39 a.m. in the area of Ellis and Leavenworth streets.

    The names of the victim and suspect were not immediately released and more information about the killing was not yet available.

    Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Violent Crime Up in San Jose, Down in Oakland and SF: Report]]>Thu, 03 Jan 2019 20:25:52 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Police-Crime-Scene-Generic1.jpg

    San Jose once called itself the safest big-city in America. Now, a new report shows it’s struggling to keep the local title.

    According to the latest figures, violent crime in San Jose increased by 6 percent in 2018. That number is coupled with a projected 17 percent increase in burglaries.

    This is all while the Police Chief Eddie Garcia has said staffing remains a big part of the problem.

    The San Jose Police Department is still 300 officers short of where it wants to be, and that’s still less than the national average per capita.

    The silver lining is that homicides in the city did drop, from 32 to 27 last year.

    On the other hand, Oakland is trending in the opposite direction as violent crimes are down: robberies by 1 percent, rapes by 12 percent, residential burglaries by 20 percent and car burglaries by 25 percent. Even homicides dropped from 71 to 68 last year. 

    Oakland city leaders will hold a news conference Thursday to unveil the numbers.

    San Francisco figures haven’t been revealed but preliminary figures show violent crime is also down in the city.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Nearly 100 Light Fixtures Installed in SF’s Tenderloin ]]>Wed, 02 Jan 2019 23:34:36 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Nearly_100_Light_Fixtures_Installed_in_Tenderloin_Distr.jpg

    The city of San Francisco installed nearly 100 new street lights in the Tenderloin to improve safety after eight years of planning and more than $4 million donated by the California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC).

    "It’s more comfortable to walk around," said resident Bora Alhaj, who said she now feels more secure walking home after work. "More light, people walking don't have to worry about someone being behind them."

    When CPMC started planning to build a hospital in the area, community groups in the Tenderloin said more people would be driving through their neighborhood to get there. They wanted more light for pedestrian safety and they finally have it, 97 of them.

    "I know people are thinking ‘lighting what's the big deal?’ it's a big deal every community wants pedestrian lighting tear drop lighting," said San Francisco mayor London Breed.

    Neighborhood groups who fought for the lights said pedestrians will be more visible and they expect to see less drug use and crime in new well-lit areas, but not everyone is buying it.

    "People are going to do what they’re going to do with or without lights," said resident Laeo Lopez.

    Some said the Tenderloin needs more than lighting to make it safe as the new hospital is scheduled to open in March.

    "Maybe more police around, not just driving, walking around," said Lopez.

    Mayor Breed said that as more police officers become available, they will be joining the Tenderloin station.

    <![CDATA[Iconic Stores in SF's Mission District Closing Down For Good]]>Thu, 03 Jan 2019 10:30:29 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf_closings_0102_5544156.JPG

    Another day, and another iconic San Francisco store shut its doors for good. Mission Thrift, on Mission and 19th streets is the latest casualty.

    In the past week, three stores on one block of Mission Street have closed or are about to close.

    Store owners say rising rents are certainly an issue, but they’re making money. They’re fed up with the street conditions and other problems and say they don’t need the headache anymore.

    On Wednesday along Mission, a man was seen kicking another man in the face, and bystanders had to intervene.

    For almost half a century, Michael Gardner has owned Siegel’s on Mission Street.

    Eyeing retirement, the father of three says he could continue running the store, but the stumbling blocks are starting to stack up, from bus zones eating up parking to safety and staffing problems.

    "The last couple of days have been very difficult for me, very depressing," Gardner said. "Forty-six years in business. Reality set in."

    Among the problems Gardner cited were crime and security.

    "An inordinate amount of shoplifting. You can’t control it in this neighborhood," he said. "The second thing is you can’t find help. It’s virtually impossible to find help."

    On a one-block stretch between 19th and 20th streets, the "Closing" signs almost outnumber the store fronts. Mission Thrift has one more blowout sale before ending a 20-year run, while the pawn shop next door is already shuttered, punctuating a transformation.

    "The gentrification is really sad to see," USF professor Reggie Daniels said. "And there are people here who don’t really know the rich history. I run around and they’re like, 'Oh yeah, I just got to San Francisco.' And they don’t know the struggles and the beauty of the city."

    Still, there is hope for saving the neighborhood’s fabric. Armando Ramirez rents an office space for less than the market rate of $8,000 thanks to the Mission Economic Development Agency, or MEDA, which backs local businesses.

    "There’s certain places in San Francisco where I feel comfortable as a Latino, where I feel that it really represents our culture," Ramirez said. "And I feel like those things should be protected."

    Claudia Alcantara, an outreach specialist at MEDA, has surveyed almost 400 businesses in the busy corridor.

    "We are trying to find where the problems are and how to attack them in a way where we can represent the businesses and also the community," Alcantara said.

    Some of the merchants cited unreasonable rents, others the loss of regular customers. MEDA, which has loaned out more than $2 million to 70 businesses since 2015, is working with the city to implement strategies to keep the original merchants in the district.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Two 'Critical Victims' Rescued From Building Fire in SF]]>Wed, 02 Jan 2019 11:25:37 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SFBuildingFirePotreroHillThumbnail.jpg

    Two "critical victims" were rescued from a building fire in San Francisco Wednesday morning.

    One victim was rescued by a construction worker and another was rescued by firefighters from the second floor of a building near 25th Street and Connecticut Street, according to San Francisco fire officials.

    The second floor of the building was vacant, officials said. It wasn't immediately clear what started the fire.

    The two victims suffered critical injuries and five people were displaced due to the blaze, the fire department's spokesperson told NBC Bay Area.

    No other information was immediately available.

    Photo Credit: Sam Brock / 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['It's the Coldest Night of the Season': Weather Service]]>Wed, 02 Jan 2019 05:37:04 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/ColdWeatherFile.JPG

    Bundle up, Bay Area residents. Tuesday night into Wednesday morning is being described as "the coldest night of the season," according to the National Weather Service.

    The weather service reported that Wednesday morning's chilly temperatures were lower than those recorded on Dec. 29, which was previously the coldest night of the season.

    Just after 5 a.m., the weather service stated that current temperatures ranged from 20s in some inland valley areas to 30s in other spots across the region.

    Check the list below to see how cold it was at about 5:15 a.m., as reported by the weather service:


    • Petaluma: 30 degrees
    • Napa: 30 degrees
    • Santa Rosa: 30 degees
    • Novato: 30 degrees
    • Livermore: 30 degrees
    • Hollister: 30 degrees
    • San Jose: 34 degrees
    • Oakland: 36 degrees
    • Concord: 36 degrees
    • San Carlos: 37 degrees
    • Hayward: 38 degrees
    • San Francisco Airport: 38 degrees
    • Hayward: 38 degrees

    Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[San Francisco Police Arrest Suspect in Alleged Sex Assault]]>Tue, 01 Jan 2019 20:57:27 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/163*120/sexassault0119.JPG

    San Francisco police arrested a man suspected of sexual assaulting an elderly victim on Monday afternoon, according to the department.

    Police responded to the report of a possible sexual assault at about 12:35 p.m. Monday in the 800 block of Pacifica Avenue in the city's Central District. They had only a suspect description at the time.

    On Tuesday, the suspect was taken into custody after he was seen by officers walking in the city's Tenderloin district, police said.

    Anyone with information related to the incident should contact the the SFPD Anonymous Tip Line at 415-575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 with SFPD at the beginning of the message.

    <![CDATA[120 People Take Annual Alcatraz New Year's Day Swim]]>Tue, 01 Jan 2019 16:30:04 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Swimmer21.JPG

    More than 100 swimmers jumped from Alcatraz Island into San Francisco Bay Tuesday morning for the annual New Year's Day Alcatraz swim, sponsored by the South End Rowing Club.

    The 120 swimmers made the leap at 7:30 a.m. to swim the approximately 1.25 miles to the San Francisco shoreline in about 53-degree water temperature.

    Organizers expected the fastest swimmers to complete the event in about 20 minutes.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area ]]>
    <![CDATA[Huge New Year's Eve Crowds Expected For Bay Fireworks Show]]>Mon, 31 Dec 2018 18:33:43 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Huge_New_Year_s_Eve_Crowds_Expected_For_Bay_Fireworks_Show.jpg

    Crews were busy Monday preparing for one of San Francisco’s most popular holiday traditions: the Embarcadero fireworks show. But frigid conditions bring a new wrinkle this year. Sam Brock reports.]]>
    <![CDATA[People in SF Encouraged to Sign Up for NYE Text Alerts]]>Mon, 31 Dec 2018 11:01:56 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NYESF.JPG

    San Francisco's Department of Emergency Management is encouraging residents and visitors to sign up for text alerts to stay informed in case of an emergency on New Year's Eve.

    "Signing up for emergency text alerts from AlertSF is one of the simplest things to stay informed and safe during an emergency on New Year's Eve," said Mary Ellen Carroll, the SFDEM executive director.

    People can text the phrase NYESF to 888-777 to receive emergency text message alerts related to New Year's Eve events in San Francisco. New Year's Eve celebrants can also visit www.sfdem.org/NYESF.

    AlertSF sends alerts and instructions following a natural disaster, police, fire or health emergencies, or during significant transportation problems.

    The system has more than 110,000 subscribers, or 30 percent of San Francisco households, according to the agency.

    For special events like New Year's Eve, a special registration code is established. In the past year, Bay to Breakers, Pride and Fleet Week have all received a special AlertSF registration code.

    The city will have additional resources available on New Year's Eve, including extra staffing by police, firefighters, ambulance crews, sheriff's deputies and dispatchers. San Francisco's Emergency Operations

    Center will be active to support first responders, coordinate city resources, and provide public information.

    Photo Credit: David Paul Morris/Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Ringing in 2019! Thousands Brave Cold to See SF Fireworks]]>Tue, 01 Jan 2019 00:17:02 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/ColdBreath1.JPG

    Thousands braved frigid temperatures and biting winds Monday night to celebrate the new year under the glow of San Francisco's spectacular fireworks show on the bay.

    The barges where the pyrotechnics are launched may have to relocate farther out on the bay due to the high winds, which may affect the view for some crowded along the Embarcadero. But the show is expected to go off without a hitch. 

    The National Weather Service reported that temperatures across the region were expected to be in the 30s and 40s when the clock struck midnight, with wind chills dipping into the 20s and 30s.

    The list below shows forecasted temperatures and wind chill temperatures at midnight for a host of Bay Area cities:

    • San Francisco: 46 degrees (38 degrees with wind chill)
    • San Jose: 38 degrees (31 degrees with wind chill)
    • Santa Rosa: 37 degrees (28 degrees with wind chill)
    • Napa: 39 degrees (27 degrees with wind chill)
    • Concord: 39 degrees (28 degrees with wind chill)
    • Livermore: 36 degrees (32 degrees with wind chill)
    • Santa Cruz: 37 degrees (30 degrees with wind chill)
    • San Rafael: 43 degrees (35 degrees with wind chill)
    • Fairfield: 38 degrees (26 degrees with wind chill)
    • Half Moon Bay: 40 degrees (32 degrees with wind chill)


    The weather service reminded people to pack on the layers if they plan to head outside to celebrate the start of 2019.

    "#Hypothermia is serious and can happen here," the weather service tweeted.

    In addition to the chilly temperatures, a wind advisory is in effect for parts of the Bay Area through Tuesday morning.

    Photo Credit: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Bay Area Public Transportation Guide for New Year's]]>Mon, 31 Dec 2018 07:22:17 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/BayAreaTransit.JPG

    As the Bay Area rings in the new year, people will have plenty of options to get around — in many cases for free — using public transportation.

    Check the list below to see what kind of service local transit agencies are offering during New Year's celebrations. You can also click on a transit agency's name for further information regarding holiday schedules.


    • BART: BART will provide special service in and out of San Francisco between 8 p.m. on New Year's Eve and 3 a.m. on New Year's Day. After midnight, trains will run every 20 minutes. Extra trains will be standing by in downtown San Francisco following the annual fireworks show along the city's waterfront. Some trains will skip stops in San Francisco to avoid platform overcrowding.
    • Muni: Muni service will be free between 8 p.m. on New Year's Eve and 5 a.m. on New Year's Day.
    • Caltrain: Caltrain will offer free service after 8 p.m. on New Year's Eve. The transit agency will also have additional trains running before and after festivities happening near its service area. Caltrain's last train will leave San Francisco at 2 a.m.
    • VTA: VTA will offer free service between 8 p.m. on New Year's Eve and 5 a.m. on New Year's Day.
    • SamTrans: SamTrans will offer free service between 8 p.m. on New Year's Eve and 5 a.m. on New Year's Day.
    • AC Transit: AC Transit will offer free rides between 8 p.m. on New Year's Eve and 5 a.m. on New Year's Day. 

    Photo Credit: Getty Images, Telemundo 48]]>
    <![CDATA[Man, Dog Rescued in Shallow Bay Waters Near SFO]]>Sun, 30 Dec 2018 16:55:21 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/man-dog-rescue-1230.jpg

    A man and a dog were rescued Sunday from shallow bay waters off the Peninsula, according to the San Francisco Fire Department.

    Crews from the fire department and San Francisco International Airport responded to a report of a man and a dog stranded in waist deep water and mud off North Access Road near the airport, fire officials said.

    Land units and a shallow draft response vessel assisted the person out of the mud and then tracked and rescued the dog, fire officials said.

    No injuries were reported.

    It was not clear how the man and dog became stuck.

    Photo Credit: San Francisco FD]]>
    <![CDATA[Stolen Vehicle Smashes Into Fire Hydrant in San Francisco]]>Sun, 30 Dec 2018 21:30:16 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/TenderloinHydrantCrash.PNG

    The driver of a stolen vehicle crashed into a fire hydrant in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood Sunday afternoon, causing water to shoot into the air, according to police.

    The crash occurred in the area of Turk and Jones streets, police tweeted.

    A suspect who ditched the vehicle was taken into custody, according to police.

    The crash has triggered "significant traffic congestion" in the area, according to police.

    The public is being asked to steer clear of the area.

    Further information was not immediately available. 

    Photo Credit: San Francisco Police Department Tenderloin Station]]>
    <![CDATA[Police Arrest Suspect in Brutal Tenderloin Beating, Robbery]]>Sun, 30 Dec 2018 22:53:42 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Melton+Earl+Kelly.jpg

    San Francisco police on Sunday arrested the suspect who was wanted in connection with the brutal beating and robbery of a man in the Tenderloin District.

    Melton Earl Kelly, 25, of Oakland was arrested along the 300 block of Ellis Street following the violent attack, which broke out around 5 p.m. Friday near Cyril Magnin and Eddy streets, according to police.

    Kelly was booked at San Francisco County Jail on multiple felony charges, according to police. Those charges included attempted murder, robbery, mayhem, assault with a deadly weapon, resisting/delaying/obstructing peace officer duties and narcotics-related charges.

    Friday's violent attack was captured on video. Footage showed the victim, who appeared to be unconscious, on the ground and the suspect punching and kicking him multiple times. The suspect also robbed the victim before taking off from the scene.

    The victim was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, police said. He is still recovering as of Sunday morning.

    The dispute between the two men may have developed over items the two men took in a theft, according to a police source.

    Kelly was employed as a temporary 90-day worker with Glide, according to the community church, which released a statement about the attack:

    "We at Glide abhor violence and make it clear to our staff, whether permanent or temporary, that violence is totally unacceptable.

    "We recognize that violence is a societal issue that we all have a role in helping to solve. There is, however, never an excuse for violence. At Glide we strive to build alternatives and solutions to the violence that unfortunately permeates our society.

    "Our thoughts and our loving prayers are with the victim and his family. We also sincerely wish that Melton finds the help, hope and inner strength to cultivate the better nature we all have within us."

    Photo Credit: San Francisco Police Department Tenderloin Station]]>
    <![CDATA[SFO Flight to Orlando Returns Due to Landing Gear Problem]]>Sat, 29 Dec 2018 10:19:56 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SFOflightReturn1230.jpg

    A United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Orlando made a return Friday night due to landing gear problems.

    Flight 2237 took off from the San Francisco International Airport around 10:46 p.m., according to United. The flight landed safely following the discovery of a mechanical problem.

    There were 179 passengers and eight crew members on board, officials said.

    The passengers were all put on another flight to Orlando leaving SFO.

    No other information was immediately available.

    Photo Credit: Courtesy: Flight Radar 24]]>
    <![CDATA[Bomb Threat Prompts Shelter-in-Place in SF's SoMa]]>Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:57:32 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police+car+generic+1.jpg

    A bomb threat prompted a shelter in place order Thursday afternoon in San Francisco's South of Market district, officials say.

    Officials say the threat was made to the Adult Probation Department, located at 880 Bryant Street. The Hall of Justice nearby was also placed on lockdown during the investigation.

    The Sheriff's Department later cleared the area and normal operations at the Hall of Justice resumed.

    No other information was immediately available.

    <![CDATA[Tree Falls on Unoccupied Car in San Francisco's Hayes Valley]]>Thu, 27 Dec 2018 10:09:57 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SFTreeDown2.jpg

    A tree fell onto an unoccupied car in San Francisco's Hayes Valley neighborhood this morning, blocking traffic and possibly impacting Municipal Railway lines, fire officials said.

    The fire department wrote on Twitter at 9:41 a.m. about the fallen tree in the 300 block of Hayes Street.

    Traffic is blocked in both directions of Hayes Street and fire crews are on the scene, according to the fire department.

    Photo Credit: SFFPIO]]>
    <![CDATA[San Francisco Holds Annual Tree Chipping Event]]>Thu, 27 Dec 2018 07:04:35 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/San_Francisco_Holds_Annual_Tree_Chipping_Event.jpg

    San Francisco Department of the Environment will host the 32nd Annual “Chipping of the Trees” event at Civic Center Plaza on Thursday.]]>
    <![CDATA[Busy, Spectacular Christmas Night in San Francisco]]>Tue, 25 Dec 2018 23:32:49 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/205*120/jean-11p.JPG

    Hundreds of families rocked the Christmas night away in San Francisco's Union Square, burning off big meals, enjoying the sights and enjoying each other. Jean Elle reports.]]>
    <![CDATA[Federal Government Shutdown Affects Bay Area on Christmas]]>Tue, 25 Dec 2018 19:01:16 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Federal_Government_Shutdown_Affects_Bay_Area_on_Christmas.jpg

    The road was closed Tuesday at Fort Point in San Francisco, and the offices were locked, victims of the federal government shutdown. For some other national landmarks run by the National Park Service, operations continue but not without hiccups or compensation for federal workers. Sam Brock reports.]]>
    <![CDATA[Man Arrested for Attempted Murder May be Linked to Stabbing]]>Tue, 25 Dec 2018 15:51:16 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-4753716831.jpg

    San Francisco police arrested a man suspected of stabbing a woman early Tuesday morning and said he may be connected to a fatal stabbing on Monday evening.

    The first stabbing happened Monday at 5:38 p.m. in the 400 block of Jessie Street between Sixth and Mint streets. A 70-year-old San Francisco woman was found with stab wounds and died at the scene, police said.

    At about 12:40 a.m. Tuesday, police responded to another stabbing in the first block of Third Street. A 46-year-old woman was found with stab wounds and hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

    Michael Jacobs, 27, was detained at the scene and later arrested after being identified as the suspect. Police said Jacobs is a transient and was booked into San Francisco County Jail on suspicion of attempted murder.

    Police said the two stabbings might be connected because they happened about two blocks apart. Anyone with information is asked to call the police tip line at (415) 575-4444.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Glide Memorial Church Offers Free Christmas Meal]]>Tue, 25 Dec 2018 10:42:49 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-459245634.jpg

    A free Christmas meal of ham, turkey and all the fixings will be served to all who show up at San Francisco's Glide Memorial Church Tuesday, Christmas Day.

    The meal will be served between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the church, located at 330 Ellis Street at Taylor Street. More than 500 volunteers will help with preparation, serving and cleanup, Glide officials said.

    A Christmas celebration will take place at 10 a.m. in the sanctuary. Guest pastor Marvin White will speak, as well as Glide co-founders

    Reverend Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani. The Glide Ensemble gospel choir and the Change Band will perform.

    Glide Memorial Church is affiliated with the Methodist Church and opened in the city decades ago. The church offers numerous social service programs.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Volunteers to Patrol GG Bridge to Help Prevent Suicides]]>Tue, 25 Dec 2018 07:28:29 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/emissionsAP_18264674993328.jpg

    More than 100 people will spend Tuesday, Christmas Day, saving lives on the Golden Gate Bridge, according to organizers of the Bridgewatch Angels.

    The volunteer organization was founded in 2011 by Mia Munayer, a Pleasanton police lieutenant. Its members patrol the span on major suicide-risk holidays, engaging with people who appear to be at risk.

    The bridge remains the No. 1 suicide destination in the world, according to the organization. The Bridgewatch Angels assist the California Highway Patrol and Bridge District police in their efforts to prevent suicides.

    The volunteers "greet everyone with smiles while bringing hope to those feeling depressed and suicidal," Bridgewatch organizers said in a statement.

    It's too late to sign up for Christmas Day, but the organization is looking for volunteers to serve on New Year's Day, another high-risk holiday. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old. To sign up, visit Eventbrite.

    SUICIDE PREVENTION HELP: The National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    Photo Credit: AP]]>
    <![CDATA[Police Investigate Fatal Stabbing Near Westfield Mall in SF]]>Tue, 25 Dec 2018 06:50:30 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Police_Investigate_Fatal_Stabbing_Near_Westfield_Mall_in_SF.jpg

    Officers responded to a report of a person lying on the ground near the intersection of Sixth and Jessie streets around 6:08 p.m. Monday, police said. Paramedics tried to render aid, but the victim was declared dead at the scene.]]>
    <![CDATA[Salvation Army Delivers 4,300 Meals to People on Christmas]]>Tue, 25 Dec 2018 11:38:45 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Salvation_Army_Serves_Christmas_Meals_to_Thousands.jpg

    The Salvation Army is delivering an estimated 4,300 meals on Christmas Day to thousands of seniors and shut-ins in San Francisco.

    More than 500 volunteers will deliver meals to San Francisco residents who cannot leave their homes due to age or illness.

    "It'd be impossible to do this without our volunteers. They love it and several volunteers and their family comes back year after year," Major Mark Nelson told NBC Bay Area.

    The effort takes hundreds of volunteers, Salvation Army officials said.

    "It keeps me going knowing that it makes a difference," said Victor Chin, who says he has been volunteering for 10 years straight. "Even though you may not see it, it's always going to make a difference."

    Lincoln High girls' basketball coach Jason Lee has been volunteering with his players for 20 years. "As a basketball coach, I have the good platform to really encourage them and I always think it's a good thing to give back to the community."

    If you'd like to help out, you can visit https://volunteer.usawest.org

    <![CDATA[Homes on Wheels: Living in RVs on San Francisco Streets]]>Mon, 24 Dec 2018 17:42:50 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/HomelessRV+THUMB.png

    Though the official count is in the hundreds, it's been estimated that well over a thousand people in San Francisco go to sleep in their vehicles every night, parked on city streets.

    The most visible of these people are the ones now at the center of a fiery debate: the residents of an estimated 313 RVs, many of them decades old and barely functioning, that bounce from block to block, dodging parking restrictions, and sometimes leaving a trail of garbage and angry neighbors in their wake.

    "Those are not proper homes. They do not belong in residential neighborhoods," District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen said at a tense community meeting.

    But much like the angry renters and homeowners in Ronen's district, the RV dwellers say they're just trying to live a drama-free life in what's become the most expensive city in the world. We visited three of them to learn what their daily existence is like.

    1. Joey Martinez

    It started out as a dream that Joey Martinez now admits was horribly misguided.

    "I came up with the bright idea to purchase an RV," Martinez said. "The rent was getting expensive, and … I was just planning on seeing the world, seeing the country and just driving around."

    Joey Martinez gutted this water-damaged RV and did much of the new woodwork himself. Though it's now a suitable shelter, it still lacks plumbing for water and propane.

    Martinez thought he was getting a bargain, but he got more than he bargained for: A tall, modern-looking motorhome that turned out to be riddled with water damage and mold. As he tore into it, trying to make it habitable, he discovered another problem: without a catalytic converter or oxygen sensor, the engine couldn't pass a California smog test, which is required to register a vehicle.

    "Literally, I'm stuck," he said. "I can't go anywhere because I have no plates and I have no registration."

    By agreement with city officials, Martinez now parks his half-working RV on a corner that was once a garbage dumping ground, and helps keep the area clean. He said he misses the simple things in life.

    "The luxury of the sound of a toilet flushing is just — if you don't have that, or power — you have to look for your own power and water source — it's so stressful," he said. "Every day is a survival situation."

    2. Rudolph Fisher

    Mayor London Breed often talks about growing up in San Francisco's housing projects, but she rarely talks about her downstairs neighbor, Rudolph Fisher, who says he lived below her at the corner of Turk and Laguna years ago.

    Fisher, now 65 years old, said he lost his housing after a conviction for receiving stolen property made him ineligible for housing assistance. Private landlords weren't eager to rent to him either, and he's been homeless in one form or another since 2002.

    Rudolph Fisher lives in this 1978 Chevy RV, where he occasionally gets visits from family and friends. The vehicle runs and has valid license plates, and Fisher says he'd happily sell it if he had someplace else to go.

    "I sleep at family's sometimes, I slept on the bus once or twice, I slept in cars, slept in trucks," he said.

    Now, Fisher lives in a 40-year-old Chevy Itasca RV parked on a mostly-industrial block in the Bayview District where street sweepers and parking enforcement won't bother him.

    "It's a daily ritual," he said. "I have to supply it with water, I have to supply it with gas, oil, and then I have to do the food."

    Fisher, who suffers from COPD and diabetes, said that like the RV itself, life on the streets is getting old.

    "I'm done with living like this," he said. "This is not a good way to live. There's no room. I'd like to come back to Earth and get a nice little apartment, a studio apartment."

    3. Couper Orona

    In early 2018, when San Francisco began cracking down on tent encampments, Couper Orona knew she had to find a different kind of shelter. Homelessness was a new and unexpected turn of events for her, after she became disabled and then went through a messy divorce.

    "I lived in Diamond Heights," she said. "Drove an Audi. Had a good life, you know. And just overnight, like that, everything's gone."

    Couper Orona bought this aging RV from a friend after city officials swept the tent encampment where she had been living. With shelter from the rain, a tiny kitchen and a private bathroom, she said it feels like a castle.

    Orona said she bought an RV from a friend who couldn't take care of it anymore, and now parks it with a group of other inhabited vehicles at the edge of a parking lot in the Mission District. Most days, she's just grateful to have a (sometimes leaky) roof over her head, and a place she can cook and use the bathroom, she said.

    "It's huge, this is like a castle to me," she said. "I appreciate every bit that I have, and I don't take it for granted anymore."

    As a single woman living on the street, Orona said she learned to make friends with those who would watch her back. Now, she said, crime is no longer her primary worry: she's far more concerned about new city enforcement efforts.

    "This almost got towed one day," she said. "I could care less if there's a guy down the street with a gun … I'm more scared of them breaking into my house and taking my RV and putting my cat at the pound."

    The Struggle for a Solution

    Though vehicle dwellers have quietly subsisted in San Francisco for many years, tightening parking restrictions have forced them into denser and more visible clusters on the few streets where they're still allowed to park. District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safaí said these clusters are what have aroused the ire of neighbors.

    When the Board of Supervisors adjourned for the winter holidays, there were two competing efforts to curb complaints over RV living in the city. The first, backed by Safaí, Mayor Breed and District 5 Supervisor Vallie Brown, would explore locations for an "RV triage center" where those living on wheels could come to store their vehicles while getting registered for housing assistance. In some cases, the city would offer to "buy back" RVs from their owners for cash.

    Brown said the likelihood of finding suitable housing will depend a lot on who's asking: Families with children, veterans and seniors would be among the first to get help, while young and healthy individuals might wind up on the city's lengthy shelter wait list.

    Safaí said as part of that plan, the supervisors would seek tighter citywide restrictions on the parking of oversized vehicles in residential neighborhoods. RV dwellers who register before a certain date will be eligible for a degree of leniency and assistance, while those who come into the city after that date would be subject to fines and towing, he said.

    The second proposal comes from District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who said she'd initially planned to get on board with Brown and Safaí, but became impatient under pressure from her constituents. The fiery meeting at which she spoke packed a gymnasium full of angry renters and homeowners in the hilly, mostly-residential Portola neighborhood, where RVs can roam free of street sweeping and permit parking restrictions.

    Ronen said she would start by banning tall vehicles from parking overnight in the Portola neighborhood, then introduce legislation setting a 6-month deadline for the city to open a triage or navigation center for RVs. Included in her plan would be the option for a "safe parking" program, allowing RV residents to continue living in their vehicles in a designated spot, away from neighborhoods, with garbage and bathroom facilities on site.

    Advocates from the Coalition on Homelessness say they studied a safe parking program in San Diego, and found it could be a good fit for San Francisco, if used as a temporary step on the way to stable housing.

    "A lot of what is needed is time," said Kelley Cutler, a human rights organizer for the Coalition. "Time to actually get into housing — because it's not going to be quick."

    Cutler said the Coalition found RV dwellers in San Diego were able to get into more permanent housing within 4 to 6 months of enrolling in the city's safe parking program. A program like it in San Francisco would also eliminate another threat: the worry of having RVs towed away and impounded by the city after they accumulate too many parking tickets.

    On December 18, the Coalition filed a lawsuit against the city aiming to stop authorities from impounding vehicles with unpaid tickets when those vehicles serve as the owner's only home or shelter.

    In a statement, the City Attorney's spokesperson, John Cote, responded, "We're sympathetic to those who are homeless, including those who have nowhere to sleep other than in their cars."

    Cote added that the SFMTA recently reduced towing fees for low-income people, and has long offered the option to perform community service in lieu of payment for those who can't afford their parking tickets.

    "The bottom line is there is a way to take care of a parking ticket even if you can't pay for it. Letting parking tickets just pile up is not an acceptable choice," Cote's statement said.

    In spite of the constant cat-and-mouse game with parking authorities, the San Francisco RV dwellers we spoke to said an offer of housing from the city wouldn't necessarily be a done deal.

    In many cases, the first permanent housing option offered to homeless individuals is an SRO: a Single Room Occupancy hotel. Orona and Fisher both said they'd rather continue living in their vehicles than accept the restrictions that come along with SRO living.

    "Why would I get rid of this to go into an SRO where I can't have visitors, I can't cook on the stove, I don't have my own bathroom?" Orona said. Looking around the cluttered living room of her RV, she added, "I mean, it's not much, but this is mine."

    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Christmas Eve Weather: Rain, Wind, Possible Thunderstorms]]>Mon, 24 Dec 2018 18:39:52 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GGBRain2.JPG

    Last-minute shoppers and holiday travelers across the Bay Area were met with wet weather at times Monday as showers doused the region.

    The latest round of rain is expected to ramp up in intensity between the mid-afternoon and early evening hours, according to the National Weather Service.

    In addition to rainfall, the storm system is expected to lash the region with gusty winds as high as about 35 mph in some spots and trigger possible isolated thunderstorms for some areas, the weather service reported.

    Forecasted rainfall totals will be minimal between Monday morning and Tuesday morning, according to the weather service. San Francisco, Napa, Concord, Livermore and San Jose are all predicted to receive about one-quarter inch of rain. Locations such as Big Sur in Monterey County and Cloverdale in northern Sonoma County are slated to lead the way with about one-half inch of accumulated rain.

    Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Man Shot, Killed in India Basin Neighborhood of SF]]>Mon, 24 Dec 2018 06:54:08 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SanFranciscoShooting.JPG

    A man was shot and killed in the India Basin neighborhood of San Francisco early Monday morning, according to police.

    The shooting was reported at 1:15 a.m. in the 1300 block of Evans Avenue after officers received a ShotSpotter notification, police said.

    After officers arrived on the scene, according to police, they found a vehicle which had been in a solo-vehicle crash with the victim injured from at least one gunshot wound. The man, who was also the driver, died at the scene.

    Police are investigating the shooting and no suspects are currently in custody.

    No further information is immediately available.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Elderly Man Dies, 2 Others Hurt in San Francisco House Fire]]>Mon, 24 Dec 2018 06:28:01 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/FatalSFFire.JPG

    An elderly man died and two others — an elderly woman and a firefighter —  suffered injuries when a blaze broke out at a residence in San Francisco early Monday morning, according to the fire department.

    The two-alarm fire, which was reported around 12:50 a.m., burned along the 3800 block of Clay Street, Mark Gonzales with the San Francisco Fire Department said.

    The elderly man was pulled out of the burning building, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the fire department. The "severely burned" elderly woman was transported to the hospital in critical condition.

    The firefighter who was injured was also transported to the hospital and later released, according to the fire department. He is expected to be OK, Gonzales said.

    "Once [the firefighters] got in, the fire rolled over them and actually knocked one of them over the little porch area there, so that's where the one firefighter got burned," Gonzales said.

    The cause of the fire is under investigation.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Alcatraz Night Tours Canceled by Federal Shutdown]]>Sun, 23 Dec 2018 22:13:34 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Alcatraz_Night_Tours_Canceled_by_Federal_Shutdown.jpg

    One of the local impacts from the federal government's partial shutdown are the night tours of "The Rock." They’ve been canceled until the federal budget showdown ends. Regularly scheduled daytime tours of Alcatraz will continue as usual, but behind the scenes tours and special night events are suspended until further notice. Sergio Quintana reports.]]>
    <![CDATA[BART Seeks Input on Proposed Discount for Low-Income Riders]]>Sun, 23 Dec 2018 22:50:29 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bart-generic.jpg

    BART is accepting the public's input on a proposal for a new discount for low-income adult riders that could begin as soon as fall of next year.

    Under the proposal being considered in partnership with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, eligible riders would receive a 20 percent discount on all BART rides. To qualify for the discount, a rider's household income would need to be at or below 200 percent of federal poverty level guidelines. For a family of four, that would be an annual income of $50,200 or less, according to BART.

    The program would be funded through the MTC using gas tax dollars.

    Members of the public can complete an online survey on the proposal through Dec. 31.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Officers Credited With Saving Woman's Life at SFO]]>Mon, 24 Dec 2018 00:00:31 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/OfficersSaveWomanSFO.PNG

    Multiple San Francisco police officers are being credited with saving the life of a woman who was found unresponsive in a stairwell at San Francisco International Airport Wednesday morning.

    Using the combination of CPR and an automated external defibrillator (AED), the officers were able to restore life to the 38-year-old woman, according to the police department.

    "I am very proud of our Airport Bureau officers," San Francisco Police Department Chief William Scott said in a statement. "I can say without hesitation that because of their training and swift response, a life was saved. These officers exemplify what it means to be one of San Francisco's Finest."

    The life-saving rescue began just after 7 a.m. Wednesday when an airport employee alerted Sgt. Bobby Cheung that a person was unresponsive in a nearby stairwell, according to police.

    Cheung found the woman, who didn't have a pulse, on the ground, according to police. He initiated CPR and called for an AED.

    Officers Ryan Mariano and Christopher Giles rushed to the scene with an AED, police said. The officers took turns performing CPR while the AED was utilized.

    Sgt. Mark Yesitis and Officer James Trail also responded to the scene and helped perform CPR, according to police.

    The woman eventually started to blink her eyes and squeeze one of the officer's hands, according to police. The officers stopped CPR and situated the woman in a position to recover while medical personnel made their way to the scene.

    Photo Credit: San Francisco Police Department]]>
    <![CDATA[Limited Services at Golden Gate National Recreation Area]]>Sun, 23 Dec 2018 09:52:49 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CrissyField.PNG

    During the partial shutdown of the federal government, for however long it lasts, most physical spaces that make up the Golden Gate National Recreation Area will remain open, though services will be substantially curtailed.

    The National Park Service says that areas to remain open will include the Presidio Visitor Center and the open areas of Ocean Beach, Crissy Field, Lands End and the Marin Headlands.

    The park service will not provide services — maintenance, janitorial, bathroom service, check-in or making reservations — at NPS-owned campgrounds. People with reservations will have no guarantees of a campsite during the shutdown. The shutdown is expected to last at least through Thursday, and possibly longer.

    The park service is also working with the Presidio Trust, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and park concession operators to determine the practicality of agreements to allow access to Alcatraz and to Muir Woods.

    For updates on what GGNRA areas that will remain open during the shutdown, go to www.doi.gov/shutdown.

    Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Fumes Sicken Workers at SFO, Prompt Big Response]]>Sat, 22 Dec 2018 23:26:09 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEBSTILLSFO_5416533.JPEG

    Fumes from a concrete-cutting machine temporarily overcame two plumbers working in an underground tunnel at San Francisco International Airport, and triggered a 2 1/2-hour search and a robust response by emergency workers for one of the men, an airport official said.

    The call came in about 3:30 p.m. Saturday of a possible explosion in a cramped tunnel underneath a space occupied by Gate Gourmet, which prepares an estimated 70 percent of meals served to passengers on outbound flights, said Russell Mackey, the airport's duty manager.

    Miguel Wilson and Javier Molina, Mackey said, were working on plumbing underneath the airport's "649 building."

    Though it appears the two men were overcome by fumes from the gasoline-powered concrete cutting machine they brought with them, the call initially came in as a tank rupture of some sort, prompting a sizeable response by emergency workers, Mackey said.

    "When I heard the machine shutting off, I ran and I saw he was laying down, unconscious," Wilson said.

    Molina apparently was overcome by the exhaust fumes, and passed out while Wilson dragged his co-worker to a seemingly safer space, and left the tunnel before he too passed out, Mackey said.

    When searchers descended into the cramped tunnel, Molina, who was still disoriented, Mackey said — had crawled away from where his Wilson had left him. The tunnel network, Mackey said, is fairly extensive.

    "It took about 2 1/2 hours before the fire department found Molina, crawling toward them," Mackey said. "He was moving, it is a tight space under there, you’re not able to stand up but he was able to move toward the fire fighters." He was taken to a nearby hospital for examination. 

    As for the fairly significant emergency response, Mackey said, "We didn't really know what kind of incident we were responding to. The teams all went in with full breathing apparatus just out of an abundance of caution, at that time we didn’t know what had ruptured under the building.”

    Photo Credit: Citizen App]]>
    <![CDATA[SFPD Officer Connected to Racist Texts Pleads Not Guilty]]>Sat, 22 Dec 2018 09:16:54 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1220-DaughertyRain.jpg

    A suspended San Francisco Police Department officer accused of robbing a bank last month in the city's Sunset District pleaded not guilty to a bank robbery charge Friday in federal court in San Francisco.

    Federal prosecutors allege that Rain Daugherty, 44, of San Francisco, approached a teller at an East West Bank branch on Nov. 29, with a note demanding $50 and $100 bills.

    After allegedly ordering the bank teller to "caltm down, just do it," he made off with $9,050 in cash. But with the help of surveillance images, officers arrested him Tuesday.

    Daugherty's attorney, California Public Defender Elizabeth Faulk, said in court that Daugherty's family was not willing to help him with bail money at this time, and U.S. Magistrate Sallie Kim remanded Daugherty back into custody until his next hearing on Jan 10.

    Daugherty is also one of nine San Francisco police officers who in 2015 were accused of sending racist text messages back in 2011 and 2012.

    The messages came to light during the federal prosecution of former Sgt. Ian Furminger on charges related to the theft of money and property from drug suspects.

    The disciplinary proceedings against Daugherty and the eight others were delayed when they claimed in a lawsuit that the charges were filed after a one-year deadline. The proceedings were put back on track this year after a state appeals court ruled in May that the deadline was not violated, and the California Supreme Court turned down the officers' appeal in September.

    At the time the disciplinary charges were filed, San Francisco police said Daugherty and the other officers were placed in positions in which they had no contact with the public. But, since an unrelated criminal investigation began in July in San Mateo County, he's been suspended without pay.

    In that case, Daugherty is accused of stealing $13,095 from a 76-year-old man with Alzheimer's disease between Sept. 1 and Dec. 1, 2017.

    Daugherty was charged July 24 in San Mateo County Superior Court with one felony count of elder abuse and four misdemeanor counts of drug possession.

    Daugherty had allegedly been hired to do errands such as grocery shopping and driving for the victim. But he was allegedly caught on surveillance video using the man's ATM card while alone on 30 occasions to withdraw a total of $13,095, according to prosecutors.

    A search of Daugherty's residence on Dec. 1 found small amounts of cocaine and three other drugs, prosecutors said.

    Daugherty will have a preliminary hearing on those charges in San Mateo County Superior Court on Feb. 1. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to five years in state prison.

    The federal bank robbery charge carries a possible maximum sentence of 20 years in prison if convicted.

    On Thursday, the San Francisco Police Officers Association issued a statement in response to the alleged robbery, saying that the group "is disgusted by the alleged criminal actions of one of our former members."

    "We are sworn to uphold the law and are dedicated to honorably serving all San Franciscans. This individual should be held accountable for this shameful act he is accused of, and if found guilty, through due process, he should face the appropriate consequences," the association said.

    "There is a human component to this, and it's really heartbreaking to see a police officer in that position," police Chief William Scott said Thursday.

    Scott added that the San Francisco Police Commission is moving forward with the disciplinary process in regard to the racist text messages.

    "There is still a process involved, and we can't just arbitrarily release people without a due process."

    Photo Credit: SFPD]]>
    <![CDATA[Coastal Flood Advisory Expires But High Tides Will Return Sunday]]>Sat, 22 Dec 2018 14:05:30 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/kingtide-manzanita-park.jpg

    The National Weather Service issued a coastal flood advisory that was in effect between 8 a.m. and noon Saturday, and while the advisory had expire, officials say another round of high tide will come Sunday.

    "Another round of high tides on Sunday may lead to more coastal flooding in low lying areas along the coast and bays," Bat Area weather service officials said.

    Flooding forced the lower half of the Manzanita Park and Ride Lot at U.S. Route 101 in Marin County to close until Dec. 25, according to Caltrans.

    "King Tides and heavy rainfall may necessitate further closures. In addition, the adjacent sections of State Route 1 may be subject to periodic flooding during that time, Caltrans said.

    The coastal flooding advisory was in effect for the San Francisco Bay Shoreline, the San Francisco Peninsula Coast and the North Bay Interior Valleys, as well as for other areas further south.

    Areas near the coast will likely see minor flooding, especially in low-lying areas, according to the weather service.

    <![CDATA[Meet Tinsel: San Francisco Zoo's Reindeer Calf]]>Sat, 22 Dec 2018 04:37:13 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/raindeer.jpg

    The verdict is in from a contest to name a 6-month-old, 175-pound male reindeer calf visiting the San Francisco Zoo during the holidays.

    After 700 suggestions were submitted by visitors from as far away as India, Sweden, Australia and Hong Kong, the top names submitted were Tinsel, Jingle and Mistletoe. A final poll on social media resulted in the winning name of Tinsel.

    Other names that did not make the cut included Candy Cane, Cinnamon and Egg Nog.

    Tinsel, along with adult reindeer Peppermint and Belle, can be visited at the zoo through Jan. 1. Santa Claus will make a special appearance at the reindeer exhibit from noon to 3 p.m. today and Sunday. Kids will be given paper antlers to wear, and special holiday presentations will take place at select animal areas.

    The zoo will be open for its annual ZooLights event from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. today and Sunday and ZooLights continues Wednesday through Dec. 30. The zoo also is open regular hours on Christmas Day.

    Photo Credit: San Francisco Zoo]]>
    <![CDATA[Examining SFPD's Joint Terror Cooperation]]>Fri, 21 Dec 2018 19:00:42 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/261*120/police-lights-generic-1.jpg

    As we approach Christmas, we're also nearing the one-year anniversary of a terror threat to San Francisco's Pier 39 that the FBI broke up. One of the scariest parts was that San Francisco police did not know anything about it because they had pulled out of a terrorism task force. And even after it happened again, months later, nothing has changed. NBC Bay Area's Sam Brock takes a look at whether the strained relationship is affecting law enforcement's ability to keep us safe.

    Photo Credit: NBC]]>
    <![CDATA[Retailers Scramble in Response to Crab Shortage]]>Fri, 21 Dec 2018 18:20:26 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Retailers_Scramble_in_Response_to_Crab_Shortage.jpg

    A local holiday tradition put on ice for many Bay Area families. There's a crab shortage this year. So if you didn't reserve your Dungeness crab weeks ago, you may be out of luck. Sam Brock reports.]]>
    <![CDATA[Police Activity Prompts Delays on BART]]>Fri, 21 Dec 2018 15:23:38 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police+car+generic+1.jpg

    BART trains were halted at the Daly City station due to police activity Friday afternoon, prompting delays in both the SFO and East Bay directions, the transit agency said.

    Alicia Trost, BART spokesperson, said there were initial reports of possible shots fired in the area.

    Trains have since resumed normal operation and an invetigation into the incident remains ongoing, officials said.

    No other information was immediately available.

    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Several Injured After Women Pepper Sprayed in Store: SFPD]]>Fri, 21 Dec 2018 12:18:37 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/urbanoutfittersf.JPG

    Several people were injured after three women walked into an Urban Outfitter in San Francisco Thursday and diffused pepper spray throughout the store.

    San Francisco Police responded to the call around 8:40 p.m. at the clothing store located on Powell Street in Union Square. 

    The three female suspects are in their 20's, according to police. Police dispatch said the women took some products before leaving the store.

    The extent of the victims' injuries are unclear. Exposure to pepper spray typically cause instantaneous irritation to the skin, eyes, and respiratory system, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

    No other information was immediately available.

    Photo Credit: Google Maps]]>
    <![CDATA[Presidio Will Remain Open Even If Government Shuts Down]]>Fri, 21 Dec 2018 07:46:48 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1058388978.jpg

    San Francisco's Presidio Trust is reminding residents that the Presidio will remain open this weekend, despite the looming possibility of a partial government shutdown Friday night.

    The Presidio is federal land, but the Presidio Trust, which manages 80 percent of the land, doesn't rely on federal funds in the same way as most agencies.

    That means the popular recreation area can stay open for what's expected to be a busy holiday weekend.

    National Park Service employees, who manage 300 acres of coastline in the area, will still be furloughed if lawmakers don't reach a deal by 9 p.m. Pacific time.

    Trust employees are prepared to step in where needed, according to a news release from the trust.

    Lawmakers in Washington D.C. will likely be working all day to negotiate over the funding bill. President Trump has said he won't sign a bill that doesn't include funds for a border wall, something many lawmakers oppose.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Holiday Parking Restrictions at Golden Gate Bridge Announced]]>Fri, 21 Dec 2018 03:57:18 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/GGBThumb.PNG

    Personal vehicle parking will be restricted at the Golden Gate Bridge on holidays and holiday weekends between Saturday and Jan. 1, the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District said.

    The closures intended to reduce traffic congestion begin at 11 a.m. and typically continue until 5 p.m. Visitors to the Bridge are urged to use bike, tour bus, public transit, corporate shuttle, taxi or rideshare transportation.

    Personal vehicles will not be allowed to park at the Welcome Center at the south end parking lot or the Caltrans Vista Point at the north end parking lot. Tour buses will be allowed to park at the lots on each end of the bridge.

    Taxis and rideshare vehicles will be allowed to pick up and drop off passengers at the Welcome Center only. They will not be allowed to enter Vista Point.

    Parking is available at the overflow lots along Merchant Avenue, Lincoln Boulevard and in the Presidio.

    The Welcome Center will be closed Christmas Day, Dec. 25, but will remain open daily through Jan. 1.

    Electronic signs will notify drivers of the parking lot closures in advance of the bridge itself leading up to the Vista Point exit.

    A list of alternative locations to view the bridge are available here.

    Photo Credit: Brendan Weber/NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Investigation into Retail Thefts Nets 12 Arrests in SF]]>Thu, 20 Dec 2018 21:56:55 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Articulos_robados_eran_vendidos_en_la_pulga_de_Oakland.jpg

    Police Thursday announced that an eight-month investigation into the large-scale theft and resale of retail items in San Francisco resulted in the arrest of 12 people earlier this month.

    On Dec. 5, officers served search warrants at seven locations in San Francisco and one in Daly City, identifying stolen property worth $750,000, including $16,000 in cash and 46 cellphones.

    Although police made a dozen arrests, 28 suspects connected to the theft ring remain outstanding, police said.

    "The reality is that the majority of our property crimes are being committed by a small number of people who are doing this for profit," District Attorney George Gascon said. "These are people who are actually making a great deal of money doing this.

    "It's not all one group, it's a series of groups coming together in a very organized fashion. You have the people who are doing the theft, people who are fencing the property then you have the people who are buying the fenced property," Gascon said.

    According to police Chief William Scott, the search warrants were served at homes, a storage facility and a business.

    "There's really not one way these items are stored and sold and the message that we want to send here is that it doesn't matter where you try to hide, we're going to do our due diligence and get to the bottom of it," he said.

    Karin Flood, executive director with the Union Square Business Improvement District said, "This is absolutely affecting our business downtown. Some of our larger department stores have stuff stolen three times a day. It's happening everyday, during the day, it's also happening at night where our windows are getting broken into."

    Flood said the Union Square area has about 350 surveillance cameras, which helps law enforcement identify retail thieves.

    According to Assistant District Attorney Frank Carrubba, the criminals often commit ambush style robberies, taking large quantities of items from retail stores. The stolen items often end up being sold on online marketplaces like eBay or at swap meets.

    "This is not a small group of very unsophisticated people just sitting at Seventh and Market; that's just the very beginning. What we're looking at is what's at the very end. The source's supply is what we're focused on," Carrubba said. "So we want to cut if off and eliminate it and that's the purpose behind this entire operation."

    The investigation, called "Operation Wrecking Ball" was conducted through a partnership with San Francisco police, the Sheriff's Department, the California Highway Patrol and the District Attorney's Office.

    Police did not release the names of the 12 people arrested.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Mayor Plans to Spend $181M Windfall on Affordable Housing]]>Thu, 20 Dec 2018 23:45:38 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf_housing_1220_5396121.JPG

    San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Thursday announced she's come up with a detailed proposal for the $181 million available from a recently announced windfall of excess property tax revenue.

    According to Breed's proposal, the money would fund programs for homelessness, affordable housing, behavioral health and street cleaning.

    "Opportunities like this are rare, which is why it is so important that we make responsible investments that will make an immediate impact in helping our homeless population into shelters, creating new affordable housing for our low-income residents, and keeping our streets clean," Breed said in a statement.

    "The voters have been very clear that this is their top priority," she said. "The majority of the total windfall money is already being distributed to important programs like transportation and schools. I think we should take advantage of this chance to address the housing and homelessness crisis we see everyday."

    Breed's legislation, which is co-sponsored by Supervisor Malia Cohen, would direct $90.5 million toward affordable housing programs with the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development, with $42 million of that going toward building more affordable housing.

    Another $90.5 million would fund homelessness, behavioral health and street cleaning programs over a four-year period.

    The Office of the Controller announced the $415 million tax windfall last month, generated from San Francisco's property tax roll, which is the total assessed value of all real property and personal property owned in the city. The tax roll grew by 22 percent over the past two years to $260 billion from $212 billion, resulting in the windfall.

    According to Breed's office, the remaining $235 million will go toward the San Francisco Municipal Transportation agency, the San Francisco Unified School District, the San Francisco Public Library, street and tree maintenance, as well as programs for families and children.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Golden Gate Bridge Board Committee Discusses Toll Hike]]>Fri, 21 Dec 2018 08:39:36 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/goldengateGettyImages-543435346.jpg

    A Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District Board of Directors committee on Thursday discussed a proposed five-year toll increase plan on the span effective July 1, 2019.

    The board's Finance and Auditing Committee approved sending the proposed toll hike plan to the full Board of Directors for discussion at a meeting at 10 a.m. Friday at the Toll Plaza, district spokeswoman Priya Clemens said Thursday morning.

    The plan includes public outreach and public hearings in Sonoma and Marin counties and in San Francisco in January and February. The full board would then consider adopting the toll hike in March.

    District staff have created five toll options for consideration, any of which can be altered or eliminated by the Board of Directors. The current bridge toll for FasTrak users with a two-axle vehicle is $7.

    The proposed FasTrak toll hikes would range from 25 to 35 cents a year for two-axle vehicles and 20 to 35 cents a year for Pay As You Go and invoice toll hikes for two-axle vehicles between July 2019 and July 2023. The toll hikes would raise between $75 million and $100 million over five years.

    FasTrak tolls for two-axle vehicles would reach $8.75 in 2023 under one of the five plans, Pay As You Go for two-axle vehicles would be $9.75 in 2023 under one plan and invoice tolls for two axle vehicles would be $9.80 in 2023 under one plan.

    District officials said bridge tolls have risen 25 cents a year for the past four years, most recently in July, and are necessary to increase revenue to meet expenses for goods and services.

    The average annual costs for operations and capital projects has increased 4.1 percent over the past five years, according to the district.

    The toll increase is among other initiatives in the current five-year 2014 strategic financial plan, now in its final year.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Woman Arrested for Allegedly Assaulting Motorcyclist in SF]]>Thu, 20 Dec 2018 14:39:59 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1220-2018-DashCam.jpg

    A 43-year-old woman was arrested after police say she swung a bag and knocked a motorcyclist to the ground in San Francisco.

    The incident was reported just after 8 p.m. in the area of 20th and Valencia streets, in the city's Mission District. Police say Susan J. Ferreira was arrested for aggravated assault.

    The victim, 30-year-old man, was traveling westbound on 20th Street when he was hit. He suffered non-life threatening injuries, police said.

    No other information was immediately available.

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    <![CDATA[Altria Strides Into Vape Market With $13B Stake in Juul]]>Thu, 20 Dec 2018 08:11:49 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/cms1363.jpg

    Altria, one of the world's biggest tobacco companies, is spending nearly $13 billion to buy a huge stake in the vape company Juul as cigarette use continues to decline.

    The Marlboro maker said Thursday that it will take a 35 percent stake in Juul putting the value of the company at $38 billion, larger than Ford Motor Co., Delta Air Lines or the retail giant Target.

    "We are taking significant action to prepare for a future where adult smokers overwhelmingly choose non-combustible products over cigarettes," Altria Chairman and CEO Howard Willard said in a prepared statement.

    E-cigarettes and other vaping devices have been sold in the U.S. since 2007 and have grown into a $6.6 billion business.

    Most devices heat a flavored nicotine solution into an inhalable vapor. They have been pitched to adult smokers as a less-harmful alternative to cigarettes, though there's been little research on the long-term health effects or on whether they help people quit.

    The growing popularity of e-cigarettes has alarmed a number of health officials.

    This week, Surgeon General Jerome Adams said parents, teachers, health professionals and government officials must take "aggressive steps" to keep children from using e-cigarettes. Federal law bars the sale of e-cigarettes to those under 18.

    Federal officials are scrambling to reverse a recent explosion in teen vaping that public health officials fear could undermine decades of declines in tobacco use.

    An estimated 3.6 million U.S. teens are now using e-cigarettes, representing 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 20 middle schoolers, according to the latest federal figures.

    Juul said Thursday that it recently began to take actions intended to prevent underage vaping. The company shut down its Facebook and Instagram accounts last month and halted in-store sales of flavored pods, which were viewed by many critics as a direct play for younger users.

    Juul also said that it's also enhancing age-verification for its online sales and developing further technology solutions.

    Juul Labs Inc., based in San Francisco, said it had initially hesitated to accept the investment.

    "But over the course of the last several months we were convinced by actions, not words, that in fact this partnership could help accelerate our success switching adult smokers," Juul said.

    Juul will remain an independent company, but it gains access to Altria's massive infrastructure and services. Namely, Altria will help Juul secure space on store shelves beside traditional cigarettes. It will also help Juul reach smokers via cigarette pack inserts and mailings.

    Under the agreement, Altria only entry into the e-cigarette market will be through Juul for at least six years.

    Altria's investment comes about two weeks after the company stepped into the cannabis market an investment of around $2 billion in Cronos Group, the Canadian medical and recreational marijuana provider.

    Shares of Altria Group Inc. fell 3 percent in early trading.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[San Francisco, 4 NorCal Counties Join Opioid Lawsuits]]>Thu, 20 Dec 2018 02:51:48 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/oxy5.jpg

    The city of San Francisco has joined more than 1,200 other cities, counties and other groups in suing prescription drug makers and distributors in federal court for their alleged role in the nation's opioid epidemic.

    San Francisco filed its lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco on Tuesday, accusing the companies of fraudulent practices, negligence, conspiracy, creation of a racketeering enterprise and public nuisance.

    The case is expected to be transferred to a federal court in Ohio, where U.S. District Judge Dan Polster of Cleveland is coordinating more than 1,200 similar lawsuits filed nationwide by cities, counties, states, Native American tribes, unions and other organizations.

    Other Northern California counties that previously filed cases that have been transferred to Polster's court include Marin, Monterey, Napa and San Mateo counties.

    San Francisco's 162-page lawsuit accuses drug makers such as Purdue Pharma L.P. of Stamford, Conn., of misleading doctors and patients about the dangers of pain-killing opioid drugs such as OxyContin, oxycodone and fentanyl.

    It accuses distribution companies of failing to effectively monitor and report suspicious sales of the drugs as required by state and federal laws.

    The distributors named as defendants include San Francisco-based McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. of Dublin, Ohio, and AmerisourceBergen Corp. of Chesterbrook, Pa. The three companies together account for most of the wholesale distribution of prescription drugs to pharmacies, hospitals and clinics.

    The Healthcare Distribution Alliance, a trade association for the companies, responded to the lawsuit today by saying the opioid epidemic would be better addressed by examination of the root causes rather than lawsuits.

    "The misuse and abuse of prescription opioids is a complex public health challenge that requires a collaborative and systemic response that engages all stakeholders," alliance Senior Vice President John Parker said in a statement.

    "Given our role, the idea that distributors are responsible for the number of opioid prescriptions written defies common sense and lacks understanding of how the pharmaceutical supply chain actually works and is regulated," Parker said.

    The alliance said the distributors don't prescribe the drugs or make medical decisions and do report opioid shipments to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

    San Francisco's lawsuit asks for financial compensation for the costs of treating opioid addiction and an injunction halting the alleged false marketing and failure to report suspicious sales.

    It says that prescription opioid overdoses caused 200,000 deaths in the United State between 1999 and 2016 and more than 2,190 deaths in California alone in 2017.

    In proceedings in the federal court in Ohio, Polster has scheduled an initial trial for September 2019 on lawsuits filed by Cleveland, Akron and two Ohio counties.

    In a ruling today, Polster rejected a bid by the drug makers and distributors for dismissal of racketeering, conspiracy and negligence claims in the lawsuits.

    The judge wrote, "It is accurate to describe the opioid epidemic as a man-made plague, 20 years in the making. The pain, death, and heartache it has wrought cannot be overstated."

    Polster said the plaintiffs "have made very serious accusations" in alleging that the defendant companies "have contributed to the addiction of millions of Americans to these prescription opioids."

    "Whether plaintiffs can prove any of these allegations remains to be seen, but this court holds that they will have that opportunity," Polster wrote.

    Photo Credit: Patrick Sison/AP (File)]]>
    <![CDATA[Suspended SF Officer Charged for Robbing Bank of Nearly $10K]]>Thu, 20 Dec 2018 10:01:12 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1220-DaughertyRain.jpg

    A suspended San Francisco police officer who faces administrative charges of sending racist text messages has now been criminally charged in federal court with robbing a bank in the city on Nov. 29, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

    Rain Daugherty, 44, was arrested on Tuesday, according to U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Abraham Simmons. Daugherty was charged in a criminal complaint in federal court in San Francisco today with one count of bank robbery.

    Daugherty made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Sallie Kim today and is due to return to Kim's court on Friday for a hearing on whether he should be granted bail while awaiting trial. He is currently being held in custody.

    In an affidavit filed with the complaint, FBI Agent Gary Grzymala alleges that a man matching Daugherty's description approached a teller at an East West Bank branch in the Sunset District on Nov. 29 with a note demanding $50 and $100 bills. The robber allegedly told the teller to "calm down, just do it," and was given $9,050.

    Daugherty was later identified as the suspect by another teller and by two San Francisco police officers who viewed a surveillance tape, the affidavit said.

    The bank robbery charge carries a possible maximum sentence of 20 years in prison if Daugherty is convicted.

    Daugherty is one of nine present and former officers who were accused in administrative disciplinary charges in 2015 of sending racist, sexist, homophobic and anti-Semitic text messages in 2011 and 2012.

    The messages came to light during the federal prosecution of former Sgt. Ian Furminger on charges related to the theft of money and property from drug suspects.

    The disciplinary proceedings against Daugherty and the eight others were delayed when they claimed in a lawsuit that the charges were filed after a one-year deadline.

    The proceedings were put back on track this year after a state appeals court ruled in May that the deadline wasn't violated and the California Supreme Court turned down the officers' appeal in September.

    At the time the disciplinary charges were filed, San Francisco police said Daugherty and the other officers were placed in positions in which they had no contact with the public.

    Grzymala said in the affidavit that Daugherty is currently suspended without pay because of an unrelated ongoing criminal investigation in San Mateo County.

    San Francisco police spokesman Officer Robert Rueca confirmed that Daugherty is on "unpaid status with the department."

    The San Francisco Police Officer Association released a statement saying that the union is "disgusted by the alleged criminal actions of one of our former members and a currently suspended member of the SFPD."

    "We are sworn to uphold the law and are dedicated to honorably serving all San Franciscans. This individual should be held accountable for this shameful act he is accused of and if found guilty, through due process, he should face the appropriate consequences. We appreciate those SFPD members who assisted the FBI in this investigation," SFPOA's statement read.

    Photo Credit: SFPD
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    <![CDATA[Violent Attack in SF's Tenderloin Worries Startup Workers]]>Thu, 20 Dec 2018 14:55:12 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Tenderloinbeatingsuspect.jpg

    A violent attack in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood has a business owner pleading for help from police.

    Employees at HVMN, which makes nutritional foods and supplements, said they aren't feeling safe after a co-worker saw a violent attack Tuesday outside the company's office on Mason Street.

    The startup's CEO Geoffrey Woo posted video of the attack on Twitter, asking police and city leaders for help.

    "I think it's boiled over to a point of frustration, of worrying about our safety," Woo said. "We are going out eating lunch, walking around in the neighborhood. It's scary."

    San Francisco police officers saw the tweet and stopped by the office Wednesday to take a report. Woo said the neighborhood needs more officers.

    "When police are on the street, it's cleaner, safer. But too few in between," he said.

    Some people who live in the Tenderloin agree.

    "If there are cops around, there's not nearly as much going on," resident Diane Tomasello said. "If no cops are around, all kinds of stuff is going on."

    SFPD said it has stepped up efforts in the neighborhood, adding a dozen police officers to foot patrols in November and often tweeting about the repeated arrests of drug dealers.

    The suspect was captured on surveillance video and the police department has released two images from the footage.

    Shaken by the violence outside his office door, Woo said the thought of moving the company's office has crossed his mind.

    "If it doesn't get better, I don't think we'll have a choice," he said. "We'll have to move out."

    Anyone who recognizes the suspect is asked to contact police at their 24-hour anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or to text TIP411 with "SFPD" in the beginning of the message.

    Photo Credit: SFPD
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    <![CDATA[Person Struck, Killed by Caltrain in San Francisco]]>Wed, 19 Dec 2018 21:15:38 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/TLMD-caltrain.jpg

    A person died when they were struck Wednesday evening by a train in San Francisco, according to Caltrain, which operates the train.

    The person was struck at 7:54 p.m. between the South San Francisco and Bayshore stations.

    All trains in the area were stopped and emergency personnel arrived. At around 8:40 p.m., police reopened the southbound track for single-tracking at speeds of 10 mph through the incident area. 

    About 200 people were on board the train and no one reported being injured, according to Caltrain.

    The death is the 12th on Caltrain tracks this year, Caltrain officials said.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File image]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Mayor Breed Defends Clemency Request For Brother]]>Wed, 19 Dec 2018 22:53:29 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1218LondonBreed_5375514.JPEG

    Mayor London Breed on Wednesday defended her letter to the governor urging that he free her imprisoned brother in the face of strong criticism from the victim’s family that her intervention smacks of abuse of power.

    “It’s sadly been twisted in an unfortunate way,” the mayor said in her first public remarks addressing NBC Bay Area’s story about her letter in October urging outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown to free her brother, Napoleon Brown, who is serving a four-decade sentence for killing Lenties White in 2000.

    In 2005, a San Francisco jury found that Brown pushed White, a 25-year-old mother of two, out of a car into Golden Gate Bridge traffic while they were fleeing a robbery.

    In writing the governor, Breed asked that Brown be released 15 years before he is up for parole, saying his freedom is best for Brown and society, and he would be able to get better addiction treatment on the outside.

    But she acknowledged Wednesday that her now exposed plea to commute his sentence may have backfired.

    “Unfortunately, I am in a situation where I am mayor,” Breed said. “It will probably have the reverse impact of what I was hoping that it would possibly do, which is get my brother a reasonable sentence and get him into treatment -- and get him the support that he needs.”

    Breed contends her brother has been treated unfairly by the justice system, like many other African-American men. She stressed that because of the state’s Three Strikes law, Brown is serving twice the normal term for manslaughter and other lesser crimes. Last year, however, he was caught with heroin at Solano State Prison and recently had two years tacked on to his term.

    Her brother’s case, she said, reflects her overall view that the system needs to be reformed to allow for rehabilitation.

    “This is what I care about,” she said. “This is why I became a public servant.”

    Breed said she has written letters on her brother's behalf before, but now being mayor complicated her decision process.

    “When I was asked to write another letter, I was of course concerned -- that, you know, as mayor, this could backfire,” she said. “It could have the reverse impact. And I knew the letter would be public. So I wasn’t necessarily trying to hide anything, but I was concerned.”

    While she made no mention of the victim or her family in her letter to the governor, Breed went out of her way Wednesday to express her sympathies.

    “My thoughts go out to the family of Lenties White,” Breed said outside a gathering to rename a revamped public housing project. “I know the family, I’m very close with them. I know that, unfortunately, this situation has sadly opened up wounds. It’s a tragic situation.”

    But Sandra McNeil, White’s mother, said the mayor should have gone to her about the letter before now. She said the mayor left out key facts in her letter, including Brown’s arrest for heroin possession last year in prison, and that the mayor told a jury her brother was sleeping on the couch at the time of White’s death. In White’s dying words, however, she implicated Brown to officers at the scene.

    “I feel disrespected,” McNeil said about the mayor not reaching out to tell her in advance she planned to send a letter to the governor. “Just going behind my back and just writing a letter, something like that letter right there, that’s not justice for me."

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Do You Even Twitch? Go Inside the Hub of Game Live-Streaming]]>Wed, 19 Dec 2018 17:01:46 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/TWITCH-STILL-01.jpg

    Twitch’s new headquarters is a combination of gaming and popular culture, and it's everything streamers would expect it to be.

    The nine-story building in the heart of San Francisco took three years to design. It features fully stocked mini-kitchens, gender-neutral bathrooms, a smoothie and coffee bar and theme-designed conference rooms like Stranger Things, Harry Potter and Bob Ross.

    “We really wanted it to feel like you were leaving San Francisco and entering Twitch world,” Chief Marketing Officer Kate Jhaveri said. “Where you could feel the video games, the content and the art that our community creates every day.” 

    Twitch's new office space has two PC gaming rooms and two broadcast rooms for staff and the Twitch community to engage in competitive gaming and live streaming. 

    “We really wanted to bring it to life and so we have really focused on great spaces for people to do the types of things that they're interested in and to bring their whole selves to work,” Jhaveri said. “And we really feel like that makes for a better Twitch a better community and frankly a better place to work.”

    A highlight of the building is "Flynn's Arcade," a gaming room named after the movie "Tron" filled with pinball machines, board games, classic arcade games and large CRT monitors for fighting games.

    The company’s new headquarters also offers a full commercial kitchen that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner to their employees.

    But why design such a interactive office space?

    “We wanted to make sure that we thought about all of the different experiences from an employee point of view and really brought to life a really great working environment for our community and also highlight all of the great things that make Twitch unique,” Jhaveri said.

    Photo Credit: Jennifer Gonzalez / NBC Bay Area
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    <![CDATA[SF Judge Issues Injunction to Block Asylum Restrictions]]>Thu, 20 Dec 2018 08:01:02 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Possible_Changes_to_Asylum_Process_with_Mexico_Announced.jpg

    A federal judge in San Francisco on Wednesday issued a preliminary injunction blocking President Donald Trump's partial ban on asylum seekers who enter at the United States' southern border.

    The restriction, issued by Trump in a proclamation on Nov. 9, would allow asylum applications only from immigrants who enter the United States at official entry points along the Mexican border.

    U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar ruled in a lawsuit filed by four refugee assistance organizations led by the Berkeley-based East Bay Sanctuary Covenant.

    The judge wrote, "Plaintiffs have established an overwhelming likelihood that the new rule barring asylum is invalid."

    Tigar had issued a temporary restraining order on Nov. 19, which halted the ban, and that order expired Wednesday.

    Unless the government successfully appeals or obtains a stay, the preliminary injunction will remain in effect for at least several months until the case is resolved through either a full trial or a summary judgment ruling. Tigar scheduled a hearing on March 19 to discuss the next steps in the case.

    Tigar said Trump's rule violates "the will of Congress" in a four-decades-old federal law that allows asylum applications from people who have entered the United States at any point, "whether or not at a designated port of entry."

    The judge wrote that the arguments by both sides are nearly identical to those made last month, but said, "If anything, the inconsistency between the new regulation and the immigration laws has been stated more clearly.

    "The harms to those seeking asylum are also even clearer, and correspondingly the public interest more plainly supports injunctive relief," the judge said.

    On another track in the case, the U.S. Department of Justice last week asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the temporary restraining order while the case proceeds. The department filed that request after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco declined to grant a stay. The high court had not acted as of this evening.

    Spokespersons for the Justice Department were not immediately available for comment.

    <![CDATA[State Sen. Calls on FPPC to Hike BART Fine for Violating Law]]>Wed, 19 Dec 2018 08:12:17 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/BART+File.JPG

    State Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, will be hosting a news conference at the Orinda BART station Wednesday morning where he will demand that BART be levied a maximum fine for violating state laws to support its bond measure in 2016.

    The senator is demanding that the Fair Political Practices Commission levy a maximum fine after it found BART used public funds for political purposes in support of Measure RR, a $3.5 million bond measure passed in November 2016 to fund repairs and improvements on its transit system.

    The commission has proposed a fine of $7,500 to be approved at its meeting at 10 a.m. Thursday in Sacramento. According to the commission, BART can be fined as much as $33,374.98 for its violations.

    Glazer plans to be at the Orinda station at 9:30 a.m. and wants the maximum fine allowable in order to send a message to BART and other public agencies about misusing public funds.

    The senator has been a vocal critic of BART operations dating back to the strike that shut down train service in 2013 and questioned the agency's commitment to fiscal responsibility in the months leading up to the vote on Measure RR in 2016.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Missing Pup Reunites With His Owners in San Francisco]]>Tue, 18 Dec 2018 23:31:59 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/dog+sf.JPG

    A 1-year-old pup was reunited with his owners weeks after a furniture-delivery man took him from a San Francisco neighborhood.

    Otto, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel snuck out of the house on Dec. 7 and was picked up by a man who then hopped into a MAQ Transport van that was delivering furniture to a man three doors down.

    Chris Ham, Otto’s owners said he called the company, desperate to find Otto.

    "It was terror like a huge amount of fear," Ham said. "The helper said they let him out a block later which didn’t line up with the first guy’s story so just a really strange story."

    The MAQ workers took pictures to document their deliveries that day and in one of the photos was Otto.

    Ham called the police and was surprised to learn they were already investigating MAQ workers for a stolen Gucci purse a week earlier. A Sergeant’s call to the men in the truck lead to this confession.

    "He took the dog, brought it home to his girlfriend, she didn’t want it so he gave it to a good home. I asked him to get the dog back and he did," said Kristina Johnson from the San Francisco Police Department.

    On Tuesday, they reunited.

    "We are just immediately hysterical crying and Otto had his tail between his legs he’s like 'what’s wrong? Why are you guys so upset?'" Ham said.

    Police said there are no charges in either case. The purse owner was just glad to get her purse back and officers said the guy who grabbed Otto could say he thought Otto was a stray.

    For Ham, he is just happy to have Otto home.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[San Francisco Mayor Requests Brother's Early Release]]>Tue, 18 Dec 2018 21:08:57 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1218LondonBreed_5375514.JPEG

    San Francisco Mayor London Breed has written a letter asking for outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown’s help to free her brother, who is not eligible for parole for another 15 years in a notorious homicide case.

    Back in 2000, he pushed a young mother out of a car and into Golden Gate Bridge traffic. Napoleon Brown, 46, is now serving a 44-year term in Solano State Prison for manslaughter, robbery and other crimes tied to the death of Lenties White.

    Both White’s family and legal experts question Breed’s letter, which was obtained by NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit.

    Breed wrote to the governor as part of an official application in October that while she did not think the four-decade sentence against her brother was fair, “I make no excuses for him. His decisions, his actions led him to the place he finds himself now.”

    She says her brother has been through addiction, parenting and other programs in state prison. Outside, she assured, he would have “strong” family support.

    “I guarantee we can secure him access to a job, to a good home, to the counselling and services he and every other addict need for the rest of their lives.”

    His freedom, she says, is “what’s best for both Napoleon and society overall.”

    But Sandra McNeil, the mother of the 25-year-old victim, disagrees.

    “I don’t think it would be justice,” she said. “She’s the mayor, so she’s got a little power, so she thinks she can get her brother out.’’

    Veteran prosecutor turned defense attorney, Chuck Smith, said the mayor’s letter raises all sorts of ethical questions.

    “The timing of it is troublesome,” Smith said. “She could have written this letter six months ago, when she wasn’t mayor -- and she didn’t. The governor obviously is leaving office soon.”

    In writing the governor, Breed left out that just last year, according to court records, her brother was caught with heroin in prison. As a result, he had another two years tacked onto the sentence he was already serving for manslaughter, robbery and other crimes.

    Brown had a prior robbery on his record when he was originally convicted of murder and robbery and sentenced to 44 years in prison back in 2005. While the murder verdict was overturned by a judge for technical reasons, Brown ultimately agreed to plead to involuntary manslaughter. He was eventually resentenced to 42 years.

    The extra time for the drug offense brings his term back to 44 years. He is eligible for parole in 2032.

    McNeil says another thing Breed left out in that letter was that Breed herself tried to provide her brother with an alibi, testifying in the trial that Napoleon Brown was sleeping on their couch at midnight. That was when prosecutors said Brown robbed a Marina District restaurant and later pushed White from the getaway vehicle.

    The jury heard evidence that White’s dying words implicated Napoleon Brown as her killer.

    The governor’s office declined to comment, citing a policy of not discussing such pending requests.

    Breed issued a statement, stressing that she was joining in her family’s request to reduce her brother’s term, given that he has already served nearly 20 years.

    “I do believe that people need to face consequences when they have broken the law, but I also believe that we should allow for the rehabilitation and re-entry of people into society after they have served an amount of time that reflects the crimes committed,” she said in a statement issued Tuesday.

    “Too many people, particularly young black men like my brother was when he was convicted, are not given an opportunity to become contributing members of society after they have served time in prison. I believe my brother deserves that opportunity.”

    “I am not asking for my brother to be pardoned or for his conviction to be wiped away, but simply for the Governor to consider initiating the commutation of his sentence. This would only be the first step in a long process that involves a thorough investigation by the Parole Board and a decision by the California Supreme Court.”

    “My family and our community is ready and willing to help support my brother, and we will take this responsibility seriously if his sentence is commuted. I believe he will better serve society, the community, his family, and his children outside of prison. Ultimately this determination is up to the Governor and the courts, but I join my family in making this request.”

    But attorney Smith said he is troubled by the fact that the letter leaves out key information, like the heroin possession and Breed’s role as an alibi witness.

    “If there are negative facts,’’ he said, “it is the obligation of the office holder to bring forth those negative facts and address them. Rather than just try to sweep them under the rug…. It smacks of ethics which are not exactly up to par in my opinion.”

    McNeil said the clemency effort, and the mayor’s letter, is reopening old wounds.

    “I thought it was done and over,” she said, “Justice was served and that was the end of it -- I never knew there was going to be another beginning of it.”

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Voters to Decide on Extending Free City College]]>Tue, 18 Dec 2018 19:09:17 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1218CityCollege_5375501.JPG

    San Francisco supervisors voted six to one Tuesday on a charter amendment to let voters decide during next year's November election whether to extend City College of San Francisco's free tuition program through the next decade.

    In 2017, San Francisco became the nation's first city to make community college free, implementing a two-year pilot program in the fall of that year, set to expire after the 2019 spring semester.

    Most supervisors supported the charter amendment during Tuesday's special meeting, with the exception of Supervisor Catherine Stefani who voted against it. Supervisors Malia Cohen, Sandra Lee Fewer and Hillary Ronen were not present.

    Under the new measure, the city would put aside $15 million annually for the program and extend it through 2030.

    Funding for the current pilot program came from 2016's Proposition W, which raised the real estate transfer tax on properties of more than $5 million. Voters approved Prop W by 61.8 percent.

    During a rally ahead of today's meeting, outgoing Supervisor Jane Kim, who has been leading the free tuition effort, said that in addition to extending the program through the next decade, the charter amendment would allow for more generous stipends to help low-income students pay for textbooks and other costly supplies.

    "This is a program that takes in any of our residents whether you're a high school student trying to take on additional classes to prepare for college or whether you're a mid-career adult looking to re-up on skills or advance or to switch careers," Kim said. "This is an institution that is for everyone and that is why this is something so important for our city to invest in."

    Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who cosponsored the legislation and is a former City College board of trustees member, said, "City College needs certainty around this program and that's why it's so important to have this charter amendment on the ballot."

    The Free City College Program has been lauded by former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, who has called for the city's program to become a national model.

    "We promised the voters when they passed Proposition W, that the money would go primarily to City College and our students. We promised the students that they could get an education with free tuition. We keep our promises at City College," Thea Selby, City College board of trustees member, said.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[San Mateo Approves Committee to Investigate Taser Deaths]]>Tue, 18 Dec 2018 12:34:48 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/San_Mateo_Approves_Committee_to_Investigate_Taser_Deaths.jpg

    The board of supervisors of San Mateo county on Tuesday voted to approve a committee to investigate taser-related deaths at the hands of officers.]]>
    <![CDATA[Person of Interest Identified in Arsons at Golden Gate Park]]>Tue, 18 Dec 2018 09:50:10 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1109GGPFire_4894697.JPG

    Police have identified a person of interest in a string of arson fires at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park last month, which all occurred over the course of 15 hours.

    The six blazes began Nov. 9, with the initial fires being reported near the park's polo fields and near the park's casting pond around 6:15 p.m.

    The last blaze was reported the following morning around 9 a.m., police said.

    Although no injuries were reported and no buildings were damaged, fire investigators deemed the fires suspicious.

    Days later, on Nov. 14, rangers with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department responded to the Stow Lake Boathouse, where they encountered 26-year-old Anthony Jon Wengerd, police said.

    Wengerd had a warrant for his arrest in connection with an October incident, in which he's accused of assaulting a gardener at Golden Gate Park with a tree branch. In addition to the warrant for his arrest, Wengerd was also issued a stay-away order, mandating that he remain at least 150 yards from the boathouse, which he violated.

    Park rangers have since served Wengerd with a court order mandating him to stay at least 150 yards from the entire park.

    According to jail records, Wengerd was arrested again Dec. 2 on suspicion of robbery, and he remains in custody without bail.

    Although Wengerd has been identified as a person of interest in the arson fires, he has not been arrested because he is not being considered a suspect at this time.

    Police said the investigation remains ongoing, and anyone with information is asked to call the police's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or to text tips to TIP411 with "SFPD" in the beginning of the text.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[High Surf Advisory in Effect Until Thursday Morning]]>Tue, 18 Dec 2018 15:14:51 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEBGIFPACIFICAWAVESDAYLIGHT_5352141.gif

    Rough waves remain a risk to beachgoers and marine operators through late Tuesday afternoon across Bay Area coastlines, according to the National Weather Service.

    Despite a High Surf Warning ending on Monday night, meteorologists have set a High Surf Advisory from the north end of Sonoma County to the southern end of Monterey County until 3 a.m. Thursday.

    Swells are expected to come from the west-northwest at 16-to-20 feet every 17-to-19 seconds, according to meteorologists, and will produces break waves of up to 20-to-30 feet and possibly larger ones at break points.

    Meteorologists expect the wave energy to subside as the day progresses, but the waves may produce localized beach erosion or coastal flooding.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Bomb Threat Forces Evacuations at SF Schools]]>Mon, 17 Dec 2018 14:21:39 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police+car+generic+1.jpg

    A bomb threat at San Francisco's Lowell High School prompted evacuations Monday afternoon at the campus and nearby Lakeshore Elementary, officials said.

    Students at both campuses were released for the remainder of the day, according to the San Francisco Unified School District.

    Police later in the afternoon cleared the schools after no suspcious devices were located.

    <![CDATA[Massive Waves Batter Bay Area Coastline]]>Mon, 17 Dec 2018 23:28:49 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEBSOCIALGIFMAVERICKS2_5352293.gif

    Brave surfers and curious spectators flocked to the Bay Area coast Monday to take on or just take a peek at monster waves pummeling the shoreline.

    Towering waves up and down the coast prompted officials to issue a high surf warning through 9 p.m. Monday, according to the National Weather Service, which stated that the conditions made this current set of swells the "largest wave event this season."

    Weather officials said breaking waves could peak anywhere between 25 and 40 feet, while some massive waves could top out above 50 feet at "favored locations." The largest waves were slated to smack the coast between Sunday night and Monday morning.

    In Pacifica, waves soared above the seawall Monday, soaking onlookers and sending seawater rushing into nearby streets. South near Half Moon Bay, thrill-seeking surfers paddled out at the world-famous Mavericks surf spot to challenge the soaring swells.

    The weather service warned people to stay away from the ocean's edge and to never turn their back on the water.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Museum of Ice Cream Celebrates 'Pinkmas']]>Mon, 17 Dec 2018 16:24:41 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/IceCream+THUMB.png

    Pink Christmas trees, pink hot chocolate and Christmas carols rewritten to include the word "pink" as many times as possible: that's the essence of "Pinkmas" at the Museum of Ice Cream.

    "It is our version of the holidays," said general manager Danica Jacinto. "Everybody's welcome, no matter what you're celebrating, where you're celebrating from."

    During a brief closure after Thanksgiving, workers changed or updated nearly every room in the two-story interactive museum, Jacinto said, and whipped up some new holiday recipes that legend has it derive their pink color from unicorn milk.

    The museum gained popularity on social media for its Instagram-friendly art installations lit with perfect portrait lighting. Many of those famous photo spots, including a swimming pool filled with rainbow sprinkles, remain unchanged for holiday visitors.

    The Museum of Ice Cream, initially billed as a limited-time pop-up exhibit in 2017, sold out in minutes when it first opened its San Francisco location. After extending its run several times, the museum announced its intent to stay permanently in September, and subsequently announced the San Francisco location's first-ever "Pinkmas" celebration. There are other Museum of Ice Cream locations in Manhattan, Los Angeles and Miami.

    Pinkmas will remain in full effect until early January. Watch the video above to see the one-hour experience condensed down to five minutes!

    <![CDATA[Sunday Storm Slated to Soak Bay Area]]>Sun, 16 Dec 2018 09:16:19 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SFRainGenreic.PNG

    A storm system is set to saturate the Bay area with more rain Sunday into Monday, bringing as much as 3 inches of rainfall to some locations in the North Bay and mountains near Monterey, according to the National Weather Service.

    The heaviest rounds of rain are expected to douse the Bay Area Sunday afternoon into the evening, according to weather officials. Heavy bands of rain are slated to push across the North Bay during the early afternoon hours and spread across San Francisco and the East Bay by the mid-afternoon hours. Locations in and around the South Bay should expect heavy pockets of rain to saturate the area during the evening hours.

    By the time Monday rolls around, rainfall totals could sit anywhere from 2 to 3 inches in Cloverdale, which is located at the northern tip of Sonoma County. Rainfall totals in Santa Rosa are expected to check in anywhere from 1.5 to 2 inches.

    San Francisco, San Rafael, Napa, Fairfield, Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz are all forecasted to receive anywhere from 1 to 1.5 inches of rain as a result of the weekend storm system, according to the weather service. Concord, Livermore and San Jose are slated to welcome one-half to 1 inch of rainfall.

    Thunderstorms could be possible at times Sunday afternoon into early Monday, the weather service reported. Gusty winds are also forecasted for the region, especially along the coast and higher elevation areas.

    While rain and wind lash the Bay Area, massive waves are expected to pummel the coastline in what the National Weather Service is calling the "largest wave event this season." A high surf warning has been issued for the entire Bay Area coastline through Monday night.

    The largest waves are expected to batter Bay area beaches Sunday night into Monday morning, according to the weather sevice. Breaking waves could top out anywhere from 25 to 40 feet. At some "favored locations," waves could peak at 50 feet or higher.

    The weather service is warning people to stay away from the water and to never turn their back on the ocean.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images
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    <![CDATA[Man Who Demolished Landmark House Ordered to Build Replica]]>Sun, 16 Dec 2018 05:47:43 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/RichardNeutraArchitect.jpg

    A man who illegally demolished a San Francisco house designed by modernist architect Richard Neutra was ordered this week to rebuild it exactly as it was.

    The city Planning Commission also ordered Ross Johnston to add a sidewalk plaque telling the entire saga of the house's origins in the 1930s, its demolition and replication.

    It's not known whether he will follow through. A call and email message seeking comments from Johnston's lawyer has not been returned.

    Johnston had received permission only to remodel the two-story house he bought for $1.7 million in 2017 with a design that would have largely kept the first floor intact, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

    Instead, everything but the garage door and frame of the house was knocked down.

    Johnston later applied for a retroactive demolition permit and asked to build a new three-story house that would expand the size from 1,300 to nearly 4,000 square feet.

    Johnston said he wanted to move his family of six into the larger home.

    "I have been stuck in limbo for over a year," he told the seven-member commission.

    His attorney Justin Zucker argued that the house's historic value had been erased over time because of a 1968 fire and a series of remodels in the 1980s and 1990s.

    The house in Twin Peaks, known among architecture buffs as the Largent House, was the Austrian architect's first project in San Francisco.

    Planning Commissioner Kathrin Moore said she is confident that a replica could be "executed beautifully in a way that would be consistent with the home's original expression."

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

    Photo Credit: The Washington Post/Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Rescue Crews Respond to Man on Top of Train in Muni Tunnel]]>Thu, 13 Dec 2018 20:30:44 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/muni12.jpg

    Fire crews late Thursday responded to a call reporting a man on top of a train inside a Muni tunnel in San Francisco's Castro district, according to the fire department.

    The call came just before 8 p.m., and rescue crews were able to get the man off the train, fire officials said. He was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

    The incident caused delays in both directions on the line, and shuttles were deployed between West Portal and Embarcadero, according to SFMTA.

    No further details were immediately available.

    Photo Credit: NBC BAY AREA]]>
    <![CDATA[No Date Set on When Transbay Transit Terminal Will Reopen]]>Thu, 13 Dec 2018 20:27:38 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1212Transbay_5315019.JPG

    The cracks in critical beams that shut down the Salesforce Transbay transit terminal started at the rough edges of holes ordered cut in the four-inch thick steel during fabrication, a New York-based engineer told the project’s governing board Thursday.

    NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit first reported the problems with the so-called weld access holes that crews using welding torches cut into the now cracked beams that support the terminal across Fremont Street. Engineers pointed to the corners of those holes as under particular stress.

    The expert who is overseeing the testing and analysis of the cracks, Robert Vecchio of LPI Inc., said the cracks began with “a pre-existing defect that occurred during the fabrication.” He said the investigation showed tiny cracks in every sample they looked at. Cracks that “popped out” under stress. “We found these small cracks throughout all the sections that were removed from the girders.”

    When the holes were cut with torches, he said, workers left behind rough surfaces. Such rough areas should be ground smooth under building codes. Ed Reiskin, head of Muni and a member of the Transbay Board, wanted to know whether the girders were fabricated according to code. But project officials would not answer that question, saying more study needs to be completed.

    “I think there’re a lot of open questions,” Reiskin said after the meeting. “I have confidence that we’ll get to the answer.”

    Robert Hazleton, president of The Herrick Corporation, the firm that fabricated the beams, spoke after the meeting. He said the cuts were not called for in the original design plans and in some cases were cut into the structures after they were already built – so they didn’t actually serve as weld access holes as defined by code. Documents show confusion about their purpose, location and specification.

    Hazleton referred questions about their purpose to project designers, but acknowledged that whatever their role, the holes could have played some part in the cracks.

    “It’s ultimately going to be considered a contributing factor,” Hazleton said. “I think that is going to be a focus. I think there’s a lot of things on this job that we will look at, but that one in particular is unique, and because its unique, it’s going to draw attention.”

    Meanwhile, a fix is in the works to bolt additional steel to the top and bottom of the broken girders, to reinforce them.

    How long that will take and how much it will cost has yet to be determined, leaving the reopening date uncertain.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Transbay Transit Center Reopening Could Be Months Away]]>Thu, 13 Dec 2018 12:01:31 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Transbay_Transit_Center_Reopening_Time_Up_in_the_Air.jpg

    The new Salesforce Transbay Terminal in San Francisco is expected to remain closed for several more months due to cracks in a steel beam that will take months to fix. Pete Suratos reports.]]>
    <![CDATA[Bomb Threats Hoax Targets Organizations Across Bay Area]]>Thu, 13 Dec 2018 23:27:36 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DuUsFN2V4AAX4VP.jpg

    Police across the Bay Area were investigating bomb threats, including one at the San Francisco Fire Credit Union, as part of dozens of bomb threats reported at government buildings, banks, libraries, schools and other businesses across the United States.

    Employees at San Francisco Fire Credit Union at Presidio and California Streets were evacuated and employees at other branches received an email about a bomb treat, Mario Campos, told NBC Bay Area. His wife works at another branch of SFFCU.

    In some of the emails, the sender claimed to have had an associate plant a small bomb in the recipient's building and that the only way to stop him from setting it off was by making an online payment of $20,000 in Bitcoin.

    The Jewish Community Center confirmed in a tweet that the threat was not directed at the organization which is located across the street from the credit union.

    San Francisco Police Department said at a press conference later in the after that it received close to 20 calls about people receiving email bomb threats but no devices were found.

    San Jose, Oakland, Santa Rosa, Petaluma Police said they have also received reports of bomb threats similar to the ones reported in San Francisco and across the country, according to cities' police departments.

    If you receive a threatening email, do not click the link, Petaluma police warned.

    Palo Alto police said they received five calls from businesses who reported that they received the email about bitcoin payment. Mountain View police said they investigated four bomb threats.

    The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office said that they found "no credible evidence" related to the email threat.

    Law enforcement agencies across the country dismissed the threats, which they said were meant to cause disruption.

    In San Diego, police worked on a number of threats called in from San Marcos, Vista and Lakeside, all small communities north and east of downtown San Diego. All appear to be private businesses, deputies said.

    The FBI said in a statement that they are aware of the recent threats across the country, and encouraged the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities.

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    <![CDATA['Night Bloom' Dazzles at Conservatory of Flowers]]>Thu, 13 Dec 2018 17:41:05 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NightBloom+THUMB.png

    The sun may set early in the wintertime, but at San Francisco's Conservatory of Flowers, that just means more time to enjoy Night Bloom — the light and sound installation that will keep the historic indoor gardens open late into the evening on select nights through January 6.

    "We have this 139-year-old national landmark Victorian greenhouse, and it's a shame that people don't come here at night," said Conservatory director Matthew Stephens. "The crickets come out, the plants are still here, and so with Night Bloom, we figured we could activate the Conservatory for our local community in a way that has never really occurred before."

    Stephens said organizers of the display reached out to Lightswitch, a theatrical lighting design firm with experience lighting exotic gardens and other outdoor spaces. Designer Austin Shapley said the Conservatory's various indoor climates — ranging from chilly alpine to muggy rainforest — make for harsh conditions that test even the most rugged lighting equipment.

    Shapley and his team worked in the evenings during the week leading up to the show's opening, mounting lights and creating subtle animations of color and intensity, to give each room a distinct mood.

    "We are certain we will get people who have never been to the Conservatory," Stephens said. "We've been running ongoing evening events over the last year, year and a half, and what we hear at every single one of those is, 'I drove by or a biked by or I ran by literally every day, but I've never been inside.'"

    Adult general admission to Night Bloom is $27. Kids 8 and under can get in for free.

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    <![CDATA[SF Judge to Hear US Bid for Travel Ban Suit Dismissal]]>Thu, 13 Dec 2018 08:18:09 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_18177634873555-Travel-Ban-Demonstration-Supreme-Court.jpg

    A federal judge will hear arguments in San Francisco Thursday on a U.S. Justice Department request for dismissal of a lawsuit that alleges the government hasn't provided an orderly process for waivers from President Donald Trump's travel ban on five mostly Muslim countries.

    The ban issued in a proclamation by Trump in September 2017 restricts entry by most immigrants and visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. It was the third version of a travel ban by Trump and was upheld by a 5-4 vote of the U.S. Supreme Court in June.

    The ban allows the possibility of waivers for individual applicants on a case-by-case basis when an individual's entry would not pose a security threat and would be in the national interest and denial of entry would cause undue hardship.

    The lawsuit filed earlier this year by 36 people with origins in those five countries claims the administration has failed to provide publicly available guidance or procedures for applying for waivers.

    The plaintiffs are either citizens of those countries or U.S. citizens or legal residents seeking visas for family members in those nations. They say their waiver requests have been denied or delayed.

    The Justice Department contends in its motion for dismissal that no rights are being violated and that waiver requests are adjudicated within the standard visa application process.

    The motion will be heard by U.S. District Judge James Donato.

    The ban also applies to all visitors from North Korea and certain officials and their family members from Venezuela.

    Photo Credit: Carolyn Kaster/AP]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Firefighter Dies in Head-On Crash Near Santa Rosa]]>Wed, 12 Dec 2018 23:26:05 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sr-crash-1212.jpg

    A San Francisco firefighter died early Wednesday in a head-on collision near Santa Rosa, according to the SF Fire Department and Sonoma County Sheriff's Office.

    The Sheriff's Office identified the driver killed as Steven William Pacatte, 34, of Monte Rio, and San Francisco fire officials confirmed he was a firefighter with Station 14.

    Pacatte was driving a Chevrolet Silverado truck east on Occidental Road near Piezzi Road in heavy fog around 5:30 a.m. when he passed a garbage truck in front of him and collided with a westbound Chevrolet Suburban driven by a female, CHP Officer David deRutte said.

    The passing attempt was over broken yellow lines, which is legal, but it occurred in an unsafe area, deRutte said.

    Both Chevrolet drivers were taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, where Pacatte was pronounced dead. The female driver suffered critical injuries, deRutte said.

    SF fire officials said Pacatte was on his way to work when the crash occurred.

    Fire officials said Pacatte was hired in 2016 and worked at stations 3, 48 and 14. Pacatte had recently been deployed to wildfires including the Camp Fire. He previously worked for the Tiburon Fire Protection District.

    Pacatte is survived by his expecting fiancee, mother, father and sisters. 

    Pacatte's body was taken from the coroner’s office in Santa Rosa to Duggan's Serra Mortuary in Daly City Wednesday evening.

    Photo Credit: Santa Rosa Press-Democrat
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    <![CDATA[A Look at One of SF's Most Famous Holiday Displays]]>Wed, 12 Dec 2018 19:04:35 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1212-PicOfScene.jpg

    It’s almost hard to believe one of the Bay Area’s most outlandish holiday displays began with a meager potted tree — but alas some of the most enduring traditions sprout from humble beginnings.

    Yet as thousands of people turn out year — taking in the 60-foot Norfolk Island Pine buried beneath lights and ornaments in the front yard of Tom Taylor and Jerome Goldstein, they are looking at a tree that began its life in a pot from Cost Plus in 1974.

    “That little bucket, that was it,” said Taylor, the calm sprocket in a whirling dervish of holiday decorating which engulfed the entire yard of his and Goldstein’s home on a steep hill in San Francisco’s Dolores Heights.

    These days the house and its ornaments, which have now claimed not only the tree but the roof, yard and driveway, are a holiday destination. The Tom and Jerry lights, as the long-time couple is known, even has its own Yelp page and was featured on the show Light Fights, which Goldstein said he was reluctant to participate in(they didn’t win).

    “This is an act of love,” Goldstein said. “It is not an act of money, power or winning.”

    If victory could be measured by utter devotion, the Tom and Jerry display would be hard to beat — swarms of its visitors grew up coming by the house over the last 31 years and the visitors include several generations.

    “Growing with this tree means a lot,” said neighbor Hunter Padilla who dresses up as Santa’s elf during the run of the display. Yes, the display even has its own nightly Santa.

    “That is what this tree is all about,” Goldstein said, “it’s about the people who love doing this, who do it year after year after year.”

    And unlike your average handy-person who will hang a few lights and call it a day — the homeowners employ a crew of ten who labor full-time for up to six weeks using a small crane to get the house Christmas-ready.

    “First time doing it was daunting,” said a worker named Benji who has labored on Goldstein and Taylor’s holiday display since 2002. “It’s doing like a Christmas tree at your house but times one thousand.”

    The decorations include the tree with its multi-colored bulbs, large packages on the roof, two train sets, a pair of toy car tracks and a pair of massive Christmas stockings hung over the garage with care, inscribed with Tom and Jerry. Exactly how many decorations are involved is anyone’s guess.

    “We might as well pick lottery numbers than try to count how many ornaments there are,” Benji said staring up at the tree.

    It’s only slightly easier to tally all the years Taylor and Goldstein have been together — forty-six — married since 2013. Their relationship has lasted not only the test of time but the responsibility of hosting a massive Christmas display for over three decades.

    “This is my 31st year,” Taylor said. “I’m not sure who’s the boss anymore, the tree or me.”

    The couple said it hopes to continue the decorating tradition a few more years — then possibly find someone to take it over.

    “You got a house?” Taylor half-joked to visitors showing up for the display’s inaugural evening this week — as Santa plunked down on a bench and began handing out candy canes.

    As children bounded between the train sets and the spinning barbie dolls — warily eyeing Santa sitting beneath a cacophony of holiday lighting — Taylor and Goldstein sat on a bench watching the scene in a sort of eye of the storm.

    The tree that started out in a bucket, stretched above the roof the house — an electric-looking star beaming above the neighborhood as if there to beckon three wise men and a few donkeys.

    Goldstein allowed a cheshire-like grin. “The Christmas tree,” he said, “you just can’t argue with mom and apple pie.”

    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[23 Years Ago: 5 Inches of SF Rain, 103 MPH Winds in the Bay]]>Wed, 12 Dec 2018 07:09:01 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/RainWindFile.JPG

    Twenty-three years ago Wednesday, "one of the strongest storms ever to strike the West Coast" walloped the Bay Area with several inches of rain and wind gusts in excess of 100 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

    More than 15 inches of rain soaked the Russian River area in Sonoma County during a 48-hour stretch, while more than 5 inches of rainfall saturated San Francisco, the weather service reported.

    Wind gusts peaked at 103 mph on Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay and 74 mph at San Francisco International Airport, according to the weather service.

    In Golden Gate Park, hundreds of trees fell over and 40 percent of the glass panels at the Conservatory of Flowers were shattered by the vicious winds.

    The storm system resulted in at least two deaths across the Bay Area, according to the weather service. The deaths were tied to trees toppling on houses.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[58-Year-Old Woman Dies Following San Francisco Hit-and-Run]]>Wed, 12 Dec 2018 18:41:18 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SFHitandrun.JPG

    A woman who was rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries has died after being struck by a vehicle that fled the scene of a hit-and-run collision in San Francisco Wednesday morning, according to police.

    The victim was Teresita Collins, a 58-year-old San Francisco resident, according to the medical examiner's office. The hit-and-run occurred around 3:25 a.m. at the intersection of Bush and Leavenworth streets, according to police.

    San Francisco Police Department's Traffic Collision Investigation Unit released a surveillance video which captured the incident. The footage showed the a small dark colored car stopping and a driver, who appeared to be female, getting out of the car to look back down the street.

    The suspect can be seen returning to the vehicle and driving off.

    Anyone with information about the hit-and-run is asked to call the San Francisco Police Department tip line at 415-575-4444. People can also text a tip to TIP411 and begin the message with SFPD.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Mayor Ed Lee Honored on 1-Year Anniversary of Death]]>Wed, 12 Dec 2018 09:50:01 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/edwin-lee-alcalde-san-francisco.jpg

    The life of the late San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was celebrated Wednesday morning, a year after his sudden passing, by former colleagues, family and even his favorite band.

    At the mayor's balcony inside San Francisco City Hall, former Mayor Willie Brown said Lee "would rather have been a lawyer suing the city [on behalf of those without a voice]...than leading it."

    Lee wasn’t seeking the limelight, but he led with fierce desire for justice. 

    "I remember Mayor Ed Lee as a friend and as a compassionate leader who cared deeply about the City and people of San Francisco. On the anniversary of his passing, our thoughts are with his family," San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said.

    Lee, 65, died unexpectedly of a heart attack on Dec. 12, 2017.

    Lee’s daughter Brianna Lee spoke about how strange it was that the personal pain of losing her father has become so public. But at the same time, she said the outpouring of support from the community has been "unforgettable."

    Mayor London Breed remembered Lee as a "caring father and husband."

    She said, "As the first Chinese-American mayor, the city will always hold a place of pride in our hearts, but especially in the hearts of our Chinese and Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Thank you to Mayor Lee for your service and we really miss you dearly."

    Musical group Pure Ecstasy, one of the former mayor's favorite band, performed a cappella renditions of “Unforgettable,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and “I’ll Be There” as a part of a moving medley.

    Lee was born in Seattle to Chinese immigrant parents. After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law, Lee became a notable figure in San Francisco's Chinatown, working at the Asian Law Caucus for 13 years before moving on to become a public servant.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Suspects Arrested in Santa Con Vandalism at SF Restaurant]]>Tue, 11 Dec 2018 23:48:01 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf_bad_santa_1210_5276821.JPG

    Two women in Santa Claus suits suspected of trashing a popular San Francisco restaurant Saturday night were arrested Tuesday evening after surrendering, SFPD said.

    Twenty-one year-old San Francisco resident Natalie Alcantar was booked at San Francisco County Jail for felony vandalism. Twenty-one year-old Pacifica resident Hannah Baughman was also booked at San Francisco County Jail for felony vandalism and battery, police said.

    The women were participating in the Santa Con event the day of the incident. Apparently, when they saw themselves on video broadcast on the news, they decided to turn themselves in.

    Workers at Shalimar, a Pakistani restaurant, were still cleaning up Monday but managed to capture video Saturday night of the Santa Con partiers demanding food they never ordered then one woman with a Santa hat in her hand shoving a cash register, a stereo and just about everything that was on the counter onto the floor.

    Alejo Cano Chang said the group came in around 7 p.m. During the woman's outburst, she also threw a sugar shaker at him. The vandalism didn't stop there.

    "I came in today, and I saw the door was broken, and I couldn't believe it," Cano Chang said.

    Taylor Savvy says he avoids Santa Con because of all the bad behavior. When he heard about the vandalism at lunch Monday, he posted pictures and video on Twitter, demanding the guilty parties come forward and help his favorite neighborhood restaurant fix the damage.

    "They owe them an apology," Savvy said. "They should offer to replace the door and undo the damage."

    Shalimar closed for about an hour Saturday night to clean up, and workers filed a police report.

    Photo Credit: Courtesy of Shalimar Restaurant]]>
    <![CDATA[Proposed Commute Toll For Treasure Island Tabled]]>Tue, 11 Dec 2018 23:51:34 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/treasure_island_toll_1211_5292876.JPG

    People who live on Treasure Island have spoken, and for a day at least, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors listened.

    A proposed toll that would have tacked about $3 onto every trip on and off the island during commute hours was tabled.

    If a toll is implemented, businesses said they’ll go under and residents said they’ll have to leave the island because they won’t be able to afford to live there.

    The objections bought them some time as the city tries to map a blueprint for the growing area.

    Treasure Island has about 600 households, 100 businesses and infinite possibilities. But that won't be the case, stakeholders say, if you stick them with a toll.

    "What are we doing next? Build a fence around North Beach? said Christoph Oppermann, a 19-year Treasure Island resident. "Ask people to get into North Beach to pay $3.50 in, $3.50 out?"

    Paris Hayes, who has lived on Treasure Island for 14 years, added: "Let me ask you, would you pay for a service that you don’t get right away? Hayes said, shaking a finger at supervisors. "Would you go to a restaurant and eat your meal five years later?"

    The toll, if approved would start in 2021. The money would largely pay for transportation down the road: AC Transit buses and a brand new ferry service for a population expected to boom in the coming decades.

    "We have about 1,800 people who live there now, and the population is expected to grow beyond 20,000," said Eric Young, spokesman for the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. "So, very significant growth."

    Supervisor Jane Kim, chair of the Treasure Island Mobility Management Agency, started to hedge on approval.

    "I think it’s inherently unfair that one specific neighborhood is being asked to pay a toll to improve their transportation services, when other neighborhoods aren’t," Kim said.

    Other members were equally hesitant after hearing a number of heartbreaking tales, including that of Jeanette Adejobi.

    "Treasure Island for us is not a luxury," she said. "It’s because we have to be here; we can’t afford anything else. And for that to be taken away from us, for people who can live anywhere they want? It's wrong."

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Critics Demand PG&E be Held Responsible for Wildfires]]>Tue, 11 Dec 2018 19:27:15 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/pge_protest_1211_5285605.JPG

    Bay Area activists and environmental groups gathered Tuesday in San Francisco to demand that PG&E be held responsible for its role in the deadly Camp Fire in Butte County last month.

    People from groups such as the Local Clean Energy Alliance and the Democratic Socialists of America marched from Embarcadero Plaza to PG&E headquarters. As they marched down Market Street, protesters chanted, carrying signs and held a red banner that read "No PG&E Bailout."

    Several lawyers are suing PG&E on behalf of Camp Fire victims. Mike Kelly is one of them. In Chico on Tuesday, he told NBC Bay Area PG&E hasn’t been following the maintenance rules that have existed for years.

    "It’s just a series of excuses," said Kelly of Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger. "Really what they should be saying is 'Look. We feel terrible. More than 80 people have died, thousands of people have lost their homes. We’re going to make this right.'"

    The utility has recently been under scrutiny for possible negligence that may have led to the deadly fire that started in Butte County on Nov. 8 and other recent wildfires in the state.

    On Nov. 26, U.S. District Judge William Alsup ordered PG&E and federal prosecutors to provide a statement on the role, if any, that PG&E played in the wildfires by Dec. 31.

    Most recently, Alsup asked California Attorney General Xavier Becerra last week to advise him on the possible connection between any reckless operation by PG&E and the wildfires.

    "We the people of California are going to take over PG&E," Claire Haas, a local activist, said to the crowd.

    After the group made its way into the lobby, Haas began to read the names of the 86 people who died in the Camp Fire as well as victims of last year's fires in Napa and Sonoma counties. After each name was called, the crowd yelled out "Presente," meaning "present" in Spanish.

    Jessica Tovar of the Local Clean Energy Alliance said the protesters and others are tired of PG&E's actions and monopoly of the area's energy systems.

    "We don't want to bail out PG&E," Tovar said. "We want to take over our energy system and make it accountable to the people."

    At Tuesday's rally, the crowd of about 25 protesters stood in the lobby of the PG&E building for about two hours before San Francisco police escorted them off the premises.

    PG&E officials said they are working on assessing infrastructure, safely restoring power where possible, helping in the recovery and rebuilding process, and helping protect all of their customers from "the ever-increasing threat of wildfires."

    "The families impacted by the Camp Fire are our customers, our neighbors, and our friends, and our hearts go out to those who have lost so much," the utility said in a statement.

    PG&E announced Monday several measures it was taking to prevent massive wildfires such as the Camp Fire and the North Bay firestorm of 2017.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Bay Area Wakes Up to Thick Fog Blanketing Region]]>Tue, 11 Dec 2018 05:22:59 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/FogAvaya.JPG

    Many Bay Area residents woke up Tuesday to thick fog blanketing their neighborhoods.

    The National Weather Service issued a dense fog advisory for much of the Bay Area as a result of conditions, but that advisory expired at 10 a.m.

    Visibility for many locations, including the region's three major airports, was reduced to a quarter-mile or less, the weather service reported around 5 a.m.

    The reduced visibility made for difficult and tricky driving conditions. Motorists were advised to slow down and use their low-beam lights.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Richmond Neighborhood Plans License Plate Readers]]>Mon, 10 Dec 2018 23:49:47 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Richmond_Neighborhood_Plans_License_Plate_Readers.jpg

    An East Bay community fed up with crime in its area has tried everything from home security cameras to private security guards. Now Richmond’s Country Club Vista neighborhood is turning to license plate readers to help fight crime.]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Community Meeting Debates Issue of Parked RV Homes]]>Mon, 10 Dec 2018 23:47:35 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf_rvs_1210_5276950.JPG

    There were some tense moments Monday night at a community meeting focused on people living in RVs parked in San Francisco neighborhoods.

    Supervisor Hillary Ronen held the meeting in the city's Portola neighborhood, where some are asking for a ban on parking big vehicles.

    Though it's technically illegal to live in an RV in San Francisco, the city says there are hundreds of people doing it, in some cases because they have nowhere else to go.

    Ronen wants a designated place in the city for people who are "stuck" living in RVs to get services.

    "I am so frustrated at this point by the absence of leadership coming from the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing that I am at a loss," Ronen said.

    The department responded by saying it is trying to prioritize its work to serve the sickest and the longest-term homeless in the city as well as the people who are desperately in need of help.

    Two other supervisors are working on legislation aiming to get people living in RVs to stop parking in residential neighborhoods.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Santa Con Revelers Trash San Francisco Pakistani Restaurant ]]>Tue, 11 Dec 2018 11:46:11 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf_bad_santa_1210_5276821.JPG

    Some Santa Claus revelers in San Francisco have made the jolly one's naughty list after trashing a popular Polk Street restaurant Saturday night.

    On Monday, in the aftermath of the Santa Con participants' bad behavior, there was growing outrage over videos showing just how bad these Santas were.

    Workers at Shalimar, a Pakistani restaurant, were still cleaning up Monday but managed to capture video Saturday night of Santa Con partiers demanding food they never ordered then one woman with a Santa hat in her hand shoving a cash register, a stereo and just about everything that was on the counter onto the floor.

    Alejo Cano Chang said the group came in around 7 p.m. During the woman's outburst, she also threw a sugar shaker at him. The vandalism didn't stop there.

    "I came into today, and I saw the door was broken, and I couldn't believe it," Cano Chang said.

    Taylor Savvy says he avoids Santa Con because of all the bad behavior. When he heard about the vandalism at lunch Monday, he posted pictures and video on Twitter, demanding the guilty parties come forward and help his favorite neighborhood restaurant fix the damage.

    "They owe them an apology," Savvy said. "They should offer to replace the door and undo the damage."

    Shalimar closed for about an hour Saturday night to clean up, and workers filed a police report.

    Anyone who recognizes the vandals in the images shown should contact San Francisco police.

    Photo Credit: Courtesy of Shalimar Restaurant]]>
    <![CDATA['Baby, It's Cold Outside' Back on KOIT Radio's Rotation]]>Mon, 10 Dec 2018 19:01:59 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/12102018KOIT_5264832.JPG

    The Christmas classic "Baby, It's Cold Outside" that some people have complained sends the wrong message to women was temporarily pulled from San Francisco Bay Area radio station KOIT and reinstated Monday.

    KOIT said it is a "feel good" station, especially over the holidays, and were trying to respond to the temperature in the room. But when the station received more backlash for not playing "Baby, It's Cold Outside" it made a correction.

    "We didn't really ban it, but we pulled it off the playlist," KOIT Host Teri King said. "And then, as soon as the (newspapers) went with it, they went crazy. Everybody was up in arms because we're not playing 'Baby, It's Cold Outside.'"

    So the station's program director put up a poll last Monday on the station's website asking listeners to vote "Yes" or "No" on if the song should be played on KOIT.

    The poll garnered a response from 22,000 people, with almost 80 percent in favor of bringing the song back.

    NBC Bay Area's Sam Brock has more in the video report above.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Suspicious Package Investigation Cleared in San Francisco]]>Mon, 10 Dec 2018 16:40:16 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police+car+generic+1.jpg

    Police have cleared a suspicious package investigation in San Francisco's Financial District, officials said.

    The investigation Monday afternoon prompted a shelter-in-place order for residents on the 300 block of Sansome Street. The package was reported at 3:36 p.m. in the area around the 300 block of Sansome Street.

    <![CDATA[Uber App Goes Down For Drivers, Other Users]]>Tue, 11 Dec 2018 00:01:43 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/914593316-Uber-App.jpg

    Uber's drivers app and Uber Eats experienced an extended outage and other problems Monday, according to users on social media and confirmed by the ride-hailing company.

    Users were reporting problems with the ride-hailing app as well as Uber Eats starting just after 3 p.m. Pacific time, and the outage lasted for nearly two hours.

    A spokesman for the company said the app was "back up and working as normal" just after 5 p.m. PT. 

    Some users were complaining about getting charged for rides they didn't take, and others were unhappy about not getting their food delivery.

    Uber Support said in a statement Monday: "We are aware of a technical issue that is preventing some customers from using our app. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and are working quickly to resolve the issue."

    Photo Credit: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images, File
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Spotify Set to Relocate Its San Francisco Offices]]>Sun, 09 Dec 2018 23:35:19 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Spotify_Set_to_Relocate_Its_San_Francisco_Offices.jpg

    Music streaming giant Spotify is moving its San Francisco offices because of safety concerns for its workers, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Spotify is leaving the city's mid-Market area for the Merchants Exchange Building, near California and Montgomery, in the city's Financial District.]]>
    <![CDATA[Emotional Vigil in SF Honors Victims of Gun Violence]]>Sun, 09 Dec 2018 22:01:52 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Emotional_Vigil_in_SF_Honors_Victims_of_Gun_Violence.jpg

    A vigil was held in San Francisco Sunday to honor victims of gun violence. It included families who have lost children in shootings and top Bay Area Democrats such as Jackie Speier, a shooting victim herself, and Nancy Pelosi. Christie Smith reports.]]>
    <![CDATA[Average US Price of Gas Drops 22 Cents Per Gallon to $2.51]]>Sun, 09 Dec 2018 13:56:02 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/PumpingGasFile.PNG

    The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline has plummeted 22 cents a gallon (3.8 liters) over the past three weeks, to $2.51.

    Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday that falling crude oil costs are the main reason for the decrease at the pump.

    The average gas price has dropped 40 cents in the past three months.

    The highest average price in the nation is $3.58 a gallon in the San Francisco Bay Area. The lowest average is $1.91 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

    The average price of diesel fell 9 cents over the past two weeks, to $3.18.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Uber Files Preliminary Papers for Wall Street Debut: Report]]>Sat, 08 Dec 2018 08:51:28 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/UberApp1.JPG

    Ride-hailing giant Uber has filed confidential preliminary paperwork for selling stock to the public.

    That's according to a report late Friday in the Wall Street Journal.

    Citing people familiar with the matter whom it did not identify, the Journal says San Francisco-based Uber Technologies Inc. filed the paperwork earlier this week. That would indicate it could go public within the first three months of next year.

    Uber declined to comment on the Journal report.

    The filing would come on the heels of a similar move by Uber's smaller rival Lyft. The two initial public offerings could raise billions for the two companies to fuel their expansions, while giving investors their first chance to buy stakes in the ride-hailing phenomenon.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Surfer Dies Despite Life-Saving Efforts in San Francisco]]>Fri, 07 Dec 2018 23:49:47 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/jersey+shore2.jpg

    A surfer has died after being pulled from the surf at San Francisco's Ocean Beach Friday afternoon, fire officials said.

    The officials put out an alert at about 12:30 p.m. saying authorities were performing CPR on a man, who had apparently been surfing Friday when things went awry.

    He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition a little after 1 p.m., according to the fire department.

    Friday evening, fire officials said the man died.

    A beach hazard statement went in effect at noon Wednesday but was lifted Friday morning at 8 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Sonoma County Man Accused of Fraud in Student Debt Services]]>Fri, 07 Dec 2018 03:42:25 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/207*120/college-tuition-generic.PNG

    The owner of a financial services enterprise has been arrested and charged in federal court in San Francisco with fraud in connection with an alleged scheme to steal millions of dollars from people trying to repay student loans.

    Brandon Frere, 41, of Sonoma County, was arrested at San Francisco International Airport Tuesday night as he attempted to board a flight to Cancun, Mexico, according to U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Abraham Simmons.

    Frere was charged with one count of wire fraud in a criminal complaint filed under seal Tuesday and unsealed after his initial appearance before a federal magistrate on Wednesday.

    FBI Agent Christopher Bognanno said in an affidavit accompanying the complaint that he believed Frere, who has allegedly stashed $7 million in bank accounts in Andorra and Luxembourg, may have been preparing to flee the country.

    Frere is in custody and will reappear before U.S. Magistrate Sallie Kim in San Francisco on Monday for a detention hearing and identification of his defense lawyer.

    The fraud charge would carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, if Frere is convicted.

    Between 2011 and 2015, Frere established three companies that purported to help borrowers, for a fee, to prepare documents seeking student loan forgiveness or reduction. The companies are American Financial Benefits Center, Ameritech Financial, and Financial Education Benefits Center. They took in more than $28 million between 2014 and early 2018, according to the complaint.

    The complaint alleges that Frere and the companies misrepresented the victims' legal ability to reduce their loans and misrepresented structure and purpose of fees they charged. It claims that company agents encouraged borrowers to pay enrollment and monthly membership fees to the education center and obscured the fact that those fees were not related to debt repayment.

    Bognanno wrote, "Frere targeted recipients of federal student loans who were often struggling to make payments and devised a scheme to steal millions of dollars from them for the benefit of himself and his family members."

    The criminal investigation came after the Federal Trade Commission filed a civil consumer fraud lawsuit against Frere and the companies in February.

    In the civil case, U.S District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong of Oakland issued a preliminary injunction on Nov. 29 barring Frere and the companies from offering debt relief services, collecting fees, or taking control of any assets.

    Armstrong said Frere and the companies had engaged in "deceptive and abusive acts." She also appointed a receiver for the companies.

    Bognanno said in the complaint that Frere was told on Nov. 29 that Armstrong was about to issue an injunction. He then allegedly transferred $400,000 out of three company bank accounts 45 minutes before the injunction was issued. The money went to accounts for himself, his family and his lawyers, Bognanno said.

    Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
    <![CDATA[SF to Celebrate New 'Friday Kahlo Way' Street Sign]]>Fri, 07 Dec 2018 02:11:02 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/189*120/frida+sign.JPG

    Community members will gather Friday morning to celebrate the unveiling of the Frida Kahlo Way street signs in San Francisco, according to the office of Supervisor Norman Yee.

    Frida Kahlo Way is not a new street, rather the new name for Phelan Way, the address of City College of San Francisco.

    The street is changing names because James Duval Phelan, who the street was named after, used anti-immigration rhetoric and was a leader in the anti-Japanese movement, according to the University of San Francisco.

    Phelan was mayor of San Francisco from 1897 to 1902 and a U.S. Senator from California from 1915-21, USF officials said.

    The university last year renamed a residence hall, which was also named for Phelan. The hall is now named Burl A. Toler Hall.

    Toler was the captain of the university's famous 1951 football team and first African-American official in the National Football League.

    The change to the street name appears to be part of a growing movement across the U.S. to rename public spaces, buildings and remove statues that have racist associations.

    The unveiling will take place at 10 a.m. at the Diego Rivera Theatre on the Ocean campus of City College of San Francisco at 50 Frida Kahlo Way.

    Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter who achieved international popularity and was married to Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, according to Frida Kahlo Foundation.

    Photo Credit: @imenoh/Instagram]]>
    <![CDATA[Muni's Operator Shortage Taking Its Toll on Commuters]]>Thu, 06 Dec 2018 19:01:54 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Muni_s_Operator_Shortage_Taking_Its_Toll_on_Commuters.jpg

    A report card for SF Muni shows there's plenty of room for improvement, and the agency says a deficit of 400 operators is a key factor. Sam Brock reports.]]>
    <![CDATA[Calf Included in SF Zoo's Visiting Trio of Reindeer]]>Thu, 06 Dec 2018 09:12:24 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SFZooReindeer2.JPG

    Guests of the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens have the chance now through New Year's Day to see reindeer during this holiday season, zoo officials said Wednesday.

    This season's visiting trio of reindeer includes a six-month old male calf. Zoo officials are holding a naming contest for the calf.

    "We were not expecting the young male, just the majestic adults that we host during the holidays. We are so excited that our guests can see what a juvenile looks like, as seeing reindeer is such a unique and magical experience for all," Tanya Peterson, CEO and executive director of the San Francisco Zoological Society, said in a statement.

    Through Dec. 19, guests can submit their ideas for the name of the calf as well as see the two others, Holly and Peppermint, at the reindeer exhibit on the Playfield Lawn near the Children's Zoo.

    The chosen name for the calf will be announced Dec. 21.

    The reindeer can also be seen every night of Zoolights, which is being held Dec. 14-16, 21-23 and 26-30.

    Photo Credit: Courtesy of the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens]]>
    <![CDATA[Family to File Suit Against SFPD After Barbershop Shooting]]>Thu, 06 Dec 2018 05:53:06 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEBStillBarbershopShooting_2134562.JPEG

    The family of a man who died in an officer-involved shooting at a barbershop in San Francisco back in March is expected to announce a lawsuit against the police department Thursday morning.

    Jehad Eid's family is expected to announced the lawsuit at 11 a.m. in front of San Francisco City Hall. Details of the lawsuit were not immediately known.

    Eid, a 21-year-old Suisun resident, was inside the Amazon Barber Shop on March 21 when he exchanged gunfire with officers, according to the shop's owner. Eid later died from his injuries, police said.

    Multiple people, including a San Francisco police officer, were injured in the shootout.

    Officers responded to reports of a man with a gun in the 200 block of Amazon Avenue, near the Outer Mission and Crocker-Amazon neighborhoods, at around 4:30 p.m. on the day of the shooting, San Francisco Police Department Chief William Scott said.

    The barbers told NBC Bay Area that they had never seen Eid before he entered the shop.

    Police said Eid's family called 911 and said he had a gun and tried to break into a garage. Police later spotted Eid at the barbershop and said he fired at authorities nine times. Officers fired roughly two dozen shots.

    The owner of the bullet-holes-ridden barbershop, Vladimir Shtynberg, told NBC Bay Area that two of his barbers were injured in the shooting, but they were expected to recover.

    A video of the shooting posted on Instagram shows an injured police officer crawling outside the barber shop, police surrounding the area and another injured man taking cover at a pharmacy next door.

    Naiel Nasrah, the manager of Daniels Pharmacy next door, said he heard several gunshots, ran up the stairs and saw the injured barbers running inside the store.

    Nasrah said he was worried about everybody in the neighborhood because his family works at the pharmacy.

    "Everybody in here’s tight knit," Nasrah told NBC Bay Area after the shooting. "Everybody here knows the pharmacy and the barbershop." 

    The Amazon Barber Shop has been around for over 100 years, according to Shtynberg, and Daniels Pharmacy opened its doors to the neighborhood in 1949, Nasrah said.

    Another video captured by J&J Hardware store's surveillance camera shows a group of police officers walking into the barber shop, and shortly after, the gunfire that followed. 

    One witness, Marvin Totah, said the suspect "wasn't looking at where he was shooting" and he could have "ended up hitting everybody else."

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Flooding Reported in Oakland, SF, and Other Areas of the Bay]]>Wed, 05 Dec 2018 04:25:08 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Flooding+Generic+Floodwater+Flood+Schuylkill+Expressway.JPG

    Flooding has been reported at several locations in Oakland and around the Bay Area as a result of Wednesday morning's wet weather, according to the California Highway Patrol.

    Around 12:40 a.m., roughly a foot of water was reported in the vicinity of westbound Interstate Highway 580 and eastbound state Highway 24.

    Roughly 15 minutes later, additional flooding was reported on eastbound Highway 580 just west of Harrison Street.

    Then around 1:45 a.m., three to six inches of standing water were reported in the vicinity of the northbound Interstate Highway 880 and Interstate Highway 980.

    Additional flooding has been reported at various locations in San Mateo and Marin counties, as well as in San Francisco.

    Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Man Guilty of Sexually Abusing Boy he Babysat: Jury]]>Tue, 04 Dec 2018 21:42:35 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/gavel+background-close-up-court-1415558+edited.jpg

    Jurors in San Francisco Tuesday found a 51-year-old man guilty of sexually abusing a 6-year-old boy whom he babysat, prosecutors said.

    Jose Francisco Gonzalez was found guilty of two counts of forced oral copulation, one count of forced lewd acts upon a child and one count of committing a lewd act upon a child.

    According to the district attorney's office, Gonzalez faces a maximum term of life in prison.

    "The facts of this case are extremely disturbing," District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement. "Ensuring such men never touch another child is one of the most important work we do."

    According to court documents, Gonzalez was a friend of the boy's family and rented a room out of their San Francisco home. The family also entrusted Gonzalez with babysitting the boy and his 3-year-old brother as the boys' mother worked a night shift.

    The sexual abuse came to light in March 2017 when the 3-year-old told his mother that he saw his older brother perform a sexual act on Gonzalez. The 6-year-old victim then confessed to his mother that over the course of several months, Gonzalez had been forcing him to perform sex acts.

    Gonzalez was taken into custody on March 15, 2017, according to jail records.

    During the trial, the victim described Gonzalez as his "big best friend" and said that Gonzalez had told him not to tell his mother because it would make Gonzalez cry.

    The 3-year-old also testified, saying, "We were keeping it a secret ... but it's not a secret anymore," prosecutors said.

    San Francisco Superior Court Judge Linda Colfax will sentence Gonzalez, although a sentencing date has not yet been determined.

    Photo Credit: Pexels/CC]]>
    <![CDATA[Bill Graham Menorah Project Celebrates 43rd Year]]>Tue, 04 Dec 2018 19:58:50 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Bill_Graham_Menorah_Project_Celebrates_43rd_Year.jpg

    Happy Hanukkah! The first giant public Menorah anywhere in the world went up in San Francisco’s Union Square back in 1975, and now four decades later, the tradition continues for the Bill Graham Menorah Project and Chabad of San Francisco.]]>
    <![CDATA[Leaning Millennium Tower Submits $100 Million Fix Plan]]>Tue, 04 Dec 2018 22:47:15 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Inspectors_Return_to_Millennium_Tower_After_Window_Crack.jpg

    A consultant working for the Millennium Tower developer on Tuesday formally submitted his proposed $100 million fix for the tilting and sinking Millennium Tower, a solution that involves floating one corner of the building off a new foundation that will be supported to bedrock.

    “We are quite positive it will work,” said San Francisco structural engineer Ron Hamburger about his plan to halt and then partly reverse over time the tilting 58-story Millennium high-rise.

    In his “perimeter pile upgrade” plan submitted to city officials on Tuesday, Hamburger seeks to drill 250 feet down into bedrock to install 52 piles to shore-up the building, now leaning 17 inches to the north and west.

    “The piles will take the load down to rock, where it needs to go,” Hamburger said in briefing about his proposal. It involves installing 22 piles on Mission Street and 30 on Fremont. The two-foot thick circular steel piles would be filled with steel reinforced concrete.

    The old 10-foot thick foundation mat would then be jacked up and bound to the new, slightly higher one installed under the sidewalk on the north and west sides. The work will take 18 months.

    Meanwhile, as the rest of the tower continues to sink, Hamburger says the underpinned foundation will start to even out over 10 years.

    “We expect that some of the tilt that has occurred to the building in the past,” Hamburger said, “will actually come out of the building and allow it to become plumb.”

    It is still not clear who will foot the $100 million tab for the fix, but the Millennium Tower developer has agreed to oversee and warranty the work.

    In a statement, Howard Dickstein, president of the Millennium Tower homeowners association governing board, said the board has “high confidence in the engineers who designed this retrofit, and we look forward to working with the city and county of San Francisco to get the project underway.”

    The association recently rejected the $400 million solution that relied on piles sunk through the existing foundation.

    Dickstein said that although city and other experts have consistently maintained the tilting building is safe, “this solution will eliminate any lingering questions about its stability and ensure future settlement is within the normal range."

    Structural engineer Joe Maffei said he likes Hamburger’s approach over the earlier plan to sink new piles through the existing 10-foot thick foundation.

    “This is an effective solution to stop the settlement in the corner where they are putting the piles,” he said, but warned it could also mean headaches for residents.

    “There’s a lot of drilling," he said. “When they do that drilling, how much of that drilling sound transmits up into the occupied spaces, you know, is something they’ll have to determine.”

    But before any drilling begins, the city-appointed independent peer review panel must sign off on the plan. The city administrator’s office issued a statement promising an expeditious review of the submission.

    Meanwhile, as he waits, Hamburger says he understands what is at stake.

    “I have been working on the project for four years and have done more extensive analyses on this building than any building I have ever designed or retrofitted before,” he said on Tuesday. “I want to get it right, and I believe that I will get it right.”

    <![CDATA[Millennium Tower Residents Suggest Sinking Fix: Report]]>Tue, 04 Dec 2018 06:44:31 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0904MillenniumTower_4104897.JPG

    Amid the Millennium Tower sinking saga, homeowners are calling for a solution that could cost nearly $100 million and take about 18 months to complete, according to a report. Pete Suratos reports.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[George Bush's Former Press Aide, in SF, Remembers 41]]>Mon, 03 Dec 2018 19:42:07 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/199*120/bush-aide-1203.JPG

    President George H.W. Bush makes up one of the most influential political families in modern U.S. history. And yet despite the advantages, he may have enjoyed growing up, Bush volunteered to serve in World War II at age 17, facing enemy fire instead of classes at Yale. That was the man Sean Walsh got to know. Sam Brock reports.]]>
    <![CDATA[Man Dead, Woman Hurt During Shooting in San Francisco]]>Mon, 03 Dec 2018 12:04:34 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SFPDGeneric2.JPG

    A man died and a woman suffered life-threatening injuries during a shooting in San Francisco's Mission District early Monday morning, according to police.

    The shooting occurred around 1 a.m. in the area of 16th and Valencia streets, police said.

    The shooting is under investigation.

    Further information was not immediately available.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Marriott Hotel Workers Ratify New Contract, Strike is Over]]>Mon, 03 Dec 2018 22:53:10 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Dp904R1VsAAK1nS.jpg

    Marriott hotel workers in San Francisco will return to work on Wednesday following a strike that lasted more than two months, according to the workers' union Unite Here Local 2.

    Union officials announced Monday evening that an overwhelming 99.6 percent of union workers ratified a new contract for the nearly 2,500 Marriott workers who went on strike in early October to demand better pay, more job security and lighter workloads.

    Union workers main demand was a wage high enough so they don't have to work two or three jobs to make ends meet.

    "Now we turn to the remaining 5,500 Unite Here Local 2 hotel workers who are still working with expired contracts. To the Hilton, the Hyatt, the Fairmont, we say--we've got a deal. This is the deal," union president Anand Singh said in a statement.

    Marriott officials confirmed Monday morning it had reached a tentative agreement with the union. Marriott officials didn't immediate respond to a request for a comment.

    Photo Credit: UnitedHereLocal2]]>
    <![CDATA[Small Fires Intentionally Set in SF's Marina District: FD]]>Mon, 03 Dec 2018 07:34:07 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N5P+SF+FIRE+AMBULANCE+SEX+VO+-+00001715.jpg

    Three small fires that ignited in San Francisco's Marina District early Monday morning were intentionally set, according to the city's fire department.

    The blazes broke out between roughly 1 a.m. and 2:30 a.m., according to the fire department.

    The fires are under investigation.

    Further information was not immediately available.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Nine People Displaced, Cat Dies in SF Residential Fire]]>Sun, 02 Dec 2018 17:36:17 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/sf-fire-1202.JPG

    A residential fire in San Francisco displaced nine people Sunday afternoon, according to the fire department.

    Fire crews responded to the blaze at 1427 Larkin St. in the city's Nob Hill neighborhood about 4:15 p.m. and had the flames contained by about 4:35 p.m., fire officials said.

    Red Cross Bay Area was at the scene to assist the displaced. A pet cat died in the fire, officials said.

    The blaze is under investigation.

    Photo Credit: Citizen App]]>
    <![CDATA[Former President Bush Remembered on World AIDS Day]]>Sat, 01 Dec 2018 23:50:58 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Former_President_George_H.W._Bush_Remembered_on_World_A.jpg

    Cities across the country and the world continue their tributes for former President George H.W. Bush following his death Friday.

    Many are remembering his service to the country which began in World War II as a naval pilot and ended as the 41st President of the United States.

    In the Bay Area, some residents remembered Bush with mixed feelings as World AIDS Day brought up memories about his lack of participation in Washington D.C.’s AIDS Quilt event in 1989.

    At Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, a concert was held Saturday to commemorate those who passed away of AIDS.

    Pastor Michael Cronin with the Metropolitan Community Church said he vividly remembers the AIDS Quilt event in 1989 where then-President Bush was invited to attend, but instead left the White House.

    “Immediately Cleve Jones was up at the podium and started saying ‘shame, shame, shame’ and the whole people on the ellipse were going ‘shame, shame, shame’ as he flew over,” Cornin said. “All sorts of good things by him and in his lifetime, at the same time, I remember his inaction.”

    In 1989 Bush left a different kind of impression on former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos when Bush visited San Francisco after the Loma Prieta earthquake.

    “We flew all over San Francisco while I pointed out the various parts of the city that were badly damaged,” Agnos said.

    Parts of San Francisco had been badly damaged and was still burning at the time of his visit.

    Agnos said the president wanted to spend time with first responders and wanted to know more about the damage the city sustained.

    “He wanted to know the specifics, the details, and was genuinely interested. He just didn’t want highlights,” Agnos said.

    <![CDATA[San Francisco’s Angler Named Best New Restaurant in America]]>Sat, 01 Dec 2018 20:21:04 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/211*120/the_anglr.jpg

    Seafood restaurant Angler in San Francisco has topped off Esquire’s list of Best New Restaurants in America 2018.

    Located in the Embarcadero, Angler is the first San Francisco restaurant to break the top three sports in the magazine since 2015.

    Holding 100 seats, Angler first opened its doors less than two months ago offering affordable options ranging from $12 to $28 appetizers as well as $34 fried rabbit and $60 whole chicken dishes.

    Esquire’s drinks editor Jeff Gordinier who awarded Angler the top spot described the restaurant as "an Avalon of pleasure and ease."

    "Go while you’re still alive," Gordinier wrote.

    Two other San Francisco restaurants made the top 20, Bar Crenn at No. 12 and Che Fico at No. 17.

    Photo Credit: @anglersanfrancisco/Instagram]]>
    <![CDATA[New Upgrades to Balboa BART Station in SF Unveiled]]>Sat, 01 Dec 2018 02:05:46 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/new+bart.jpg

    San Francisco's Balboa Park BART station has gotten an $18.7 million makeover featuring new and improved safety features, BART officials announced Friday.

    This morning, transit officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the Eastside Connection Project at the station, located at 401 Geneva Ave., after a year and a half of construction.

    In addition to BART riders, the stations also serve as a light rail terminal, streetcar depot and bus terminal for several San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency lines.

    According to BART officials, the station serves about 25,000 people daily, making it one of the Bay Area's heaviest used transit hubs.

    Improvements include the construction of a new Muni boarding platform on the east side of the station. Before the platform's construction, Muni riders had to wait on a narrow strip of pavement just inches away from moving light rail cars.

    Additionally, a new pedestrian bridge over the BART tracks connects the east and west sides of the station.

    Other new features include a covered head house, new lights, news signs, real-time displays of wait times and a mid-station entrance.

    "This project provides convenient connections between BART and Muni for riders traveling to San Francisco City College, to the high school (Lick Wilmerding), Balboa Park or continuing down the peninsula or to destinations to the north," Siew-Chin Yeong, SFMTA director of capital programs & construction, said in a statement.

    In a statement, BART Board of Director Bevan Dufty said, "None of this would have happened without the true partnership between BART and the SFMTA. We are literally on top of each other at this location bordered by busy, steep city streets and a freeway. Our agencies were able to work through a number of scheduling, planning and engineering challenges to bring so much more than a facelift to the station, but a transformation that has made it more accessible, safe and convenient."

    In addition to the safety features, a new Tony Sacco Memorial Wall was unveiled at today's event, honoring the late San Francisco firefighter and community advocate.

    Photo Credit: BART
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    <![CDATA[Skater Brian Boitano Opens Inaugural Civic Center Ice Rink]]>Fri, 30 Nov 2018 22:14:43 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/Ice+rink1.jpg

    The holiday spirit has arrived in San Francisco's Civic Center with the inaugural opening of the center's first ice rink.

    Friday morning, San Francisco Mayor London Breed helped open the Winter Park at Civic Center ice rink along with help from Olympic figure skater Brian Boitano.

    Located just across from San Francisco City Hall, the rink is just one of several features recently added to Civic Center Plaza, including a new playground and the Bi-Rite Cafe.

    "We have so many people who visit this area from all over the Bay Area and all over the country. And Winter Park at Civic Center is just really, I think, a jewel to add to what we already know is going to be an incredible holiday season," Breed said.

    Bay Area resident and Olympic skating champion Brian Boitano said, "It's not only beautiful, but it's also one of the best ice surfaces in the world by far."

    After opening the rink, some 200 kids from elementary schools in the nearby Tenderloin neighborhood as well as children from Boitano's youth skate program took to the rink, which is open through Jan. 6.

    The rink is being operated by Willy Bietak Productions and is modeled after the Wiener Eistraum in Vienna, Austria, the famed outdoor rink overlooking Vienna's City Hall.

    "There's a feeling about this that it's bigger and better than anything we've ever done before... This one is very special," Robert Keith of Willy Bietak Productions said. "Because of the location, we're expecting to see people who maybe never had the opportunity to go skating."

    Willy Bietak Productions is named after its president, a former skating champ from Austria. The company is also responsible for the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square, now in its 11th year.

    The Winter Park at Civic Center rink will be open daily from noon to 10 p.m. with tickets at $20 for adults. Children under 8 years old can skate for $5 during the first two sessions, which start at noon and 2 p.m. After 4 p.m., tickets for children under 8 are $15.

    Tickets can be purchased at the ice rink ticket window or online at www.winterparkicerinksf.com.

    The Winter Park at Civic Center rink is also being put on with help from the San Francisco Recreation and Parks department, which runs Civic Center Plaza.

    In a statement, parks department manager Phil Ginsburg said, "San Franciscans deserve to experience holiday magic, especially those right here in the neighborhood. The Civic Center is coming alive and we want everyone to reap the benefits."

    Photo Credit: Daniel Montes/Bay City News Service]]>
    <![CDATA[Too Short Headlines Events Aimed at Helping Fire Victims]]>Fri, 30 Nov 2018 14:28:07 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/IMGP0420.jpg

    Rapper Too Short, singer Matt Nathanson and indie-folk band the T Sisters are some of the artists participating in Bay Area events aimed at raising money to help victims of the Butte County wildfire.

    Here's a look at some of the events and fundraisers:

    Amoeba Music California T-Shirts

    A shirt designed by Luciano Talpini is featured on the California based music company’s website, all proceeds for the sale of the shirt will go back to California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund.

    A Bronx Tale Clothing Drive

    SHN and the Salvation Army of Butte County partnered to host a clothing drive and are collecting donations. New winter clothing can be collected at any performance of “A Bronx Tale” at the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco through Dec. 23.

    A Night Together

    DJs Jimmy B and Papa Lu will both perform. All proceeds will go to those affected by the wildfires.

    Dec. 1, 9:30 p.m.

    Monarch, 101 Sixth St, San Francisco

    Camp Fire Relief Benefit Concert

    Alejandro Escovedo, Dan Bern, Megan Slankard and others will be featured in a full day concert. Proceeds will go to the North Valley Community Foundation.

    Dec. 2, 1 p.m.

    HipMonk Tavern Novato

    224 Vintage Way

    Be Unbroken – Bluegrass Fire Relief Benefit Concert and Auction

    Oakland based band the T Sisters will perform at a concert. The proceeds from this will go to the California Community Foundations Wildfire Relief Fund, North Valley Community Foundation, United Way of Northern California, California Fire Foundation and California Bluegrass Association.

    Dec. 9, 8 p.m.

    777 Valencia Street

    San Francisco, CA

    Too Short (LIVE): Benefit Supporting California Fire Relief at 1015 FOLSOM

    A benefit concert will be held by the Oakland rapper and other artists, all proceeds will go to the North Valley Community Foundation.

    Dec. 21, 10 p.m.

    1015 Folsom, San Francisco CA

    Photo Credit: Tim Fears]]>
    <![CDATA[San Francisco Chef First Woman in US to Get 3 Michelin Stars]]>Fri, 30 Nov 2018 05:49:05 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/chef69.jpg

    A San Francisco chef is the first woman in the United States to be awarded three stars from the Michelin Guide.

    Dominique Crenn celebrated the honor on Instagram Thursday with her staff at Atelier Crenn, posting a video captioned, "congratulations to my amazing team." The video shows her jumping up and down with glee and hugging her team as she learned the news.

    It was not the only honor for Crenn in Michelin's Bay Area guide. Michelin also awarded one star to her new wine bar, Bar Crenn.

    One star means "a very good restaurant," while three stars signify "exceptional cuisine that is worth a special journey."

    Michelin's international director Gwendal Poullennec tells The Mercury News it sends a "very positive message." Poullennec says Michelin hopes "it will lead to more women operating their own restaurants."

    The Bay Area has the most restaurants with three Michelin stars in the country.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

    Photo Credit: Chance Yeh/Getty Images for NYCWFF, File
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[BART Introduces New Toy on Twitter, Gets Snarky Responses]]>Fri, 30 Nov 2018 08:00:01 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/BART46.JPG

    BART took to Twitter Wednesday to introduce a new plush toy they’re selling just in time for the holidays.

    "Looking for a Christmas stocking stuffer? Perhaps a gift for a White Elephant exchange or Secret Santa? Get them while they're hot, folks," SF BART tweeted Wednesday.

    Though meant to be the perfect Christmas stocking stuffer, Twitter users did not waste any time mocking the public transit service and just a couple of days later, BART took to Twitter again to remind people to buy them for $10 in Lake Merritt and to ask those responding to the Tweet for a favor.

    "Please ... stop asking us if the train comes with peepee, poopoo, needles and other gross things. The answer is always no," the tweet read.

    Why? Well, Twitter users were going in on BART, using it as an opportunity to send snarky remarks about their service.

    Read some of the responses below:

    Photo Credit: BART
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Lyft Driver Accused of Sexually Assaulting Passenger]]>Fri, 30 Nov 2018 02:33:31 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/lyft3.jpg

    A South San Francisco Lyft driver is facing time in prison after allegedly sexually assaulting a Palo Alto woman while on the drive home from a night out in San Francisco Saturday.

    The 29-year-old passenger and her 31-year-old friend got picked up by 32-year-old Eddy Palacios and fell asleep in the backseat of the vehicle, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.

    The accuser said she woke up around 3 a.m. to find Palacios assaulting her while still driving on Hwy. 101 in Redwood City, officials said. The passenger screamed, waking up her friend and they both began recording and yelling at the driver.

    According to the passengers, Palacios apologized for what he did before the women got out of the vehicle and called 911.

    Police were able to identify Palacios with the help of Lyft and was arrested on $100,000 bail.

    He is set to appear in court Dec. 5 for Superior Court review conference and Dec. 11 for preliminary hearing, according to prosecutors.

    <![CDATA[Salesforce CEO Donates $6.1M to House Formerly Homeless]]>Thu, 29 Nov 2018 23:26:44 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf_hotel_1129_5139834.JPG

    A former hotel in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood will be turned into housing for formerly homeless individuals thanks to a partnership between the city and Salesforce Chairman and co-CEO Marc Benioff.

    Mayor London Breed made the announcement Thursday morning alongside Benioff at the Bristol Hotel at 56 Mason St., where 58 units have been renovated into Single Room Occupancy housing.

    According to Breed, while seeking money to renovate the hotel as the site for new permanent SRO housing for formerly homeless, she was able to persuade Benioff and his wife, Lynne Benioff, to donate $6.1 million to the project. Their donation will be used to pay for the first five years of the building's 20-year lease.

    "This doesn't come along every single day. I started making the phone calls and not everyone said yes, but Marc Benioff said yes as soon as I asked him," Breed said.

    "My top priority as mayor has been addressing this and we know that not one size fits all," Breed said. "Many people who are struggling with homelessness are struggling with mental illness and substance abuse disorders and those are challenges that we have to address in addition to providing safe and affordable places for people to call home."

    The units will be rented as Step-Up Housing--housing for formerly homeless people who no longer need services and are able to live independently. Those residents' exit from supportive housing would then free-up space at Navigation Centers and shelters, making room for people who are just getting off the streets, according to Breed.

    The building will be managed by the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, which will rent out the units monthly for $500 to $650, depending on their size. Each unit has a private bathroom.

    Benioff said, "When it comes to ending homelessness, it doesn't take miracles, it takes money--and it takes a lot of money... That's why with the passage of Proposition C, the city will start collecting that money on Jan. 1.

    "Bristol Hotel is a preview of what will come because the city will have the money to do it. Not just to do this but to do so many other things that are on our lists. It's the beginning of a parade of new investments to end homelessness in our city," he said.

    Proposition C--a business tax for homeless funding--was approved by 61 percent of the city's voters earlier this month. Although Breed endorsed the No on Prop. C campaign while Benioff supported the measure, Breed has since committed to putting the funds to good use.

    According to Breed, in addition to the Bristol Hotel project, she's also planning on opening 1,000 shelter beds by 2020, as well as opening a new Navigation Center by the end of this year. The new Navigation Center would be the third center opened since Breed took office.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Protesters Disrupt CPUC Meeting in San Francisco]]>Thu, 29 Nov 2018 19:26:42 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/cpuc_protest_1129_5139592.JPG

    Protesters on Thursday temporarily shut down a California Public Utilities Commission meeting in San Francisco, demanding the commission hold PG&E accountable for the wildfire in Butte County.

    The Camp Fire, which killed at least 88 people, is the most destructive and deadliest wildfire in state history.

    Thursday's meeting was the CPUC’s first since the fire that a downed PG&E transmission line is suspected of sparking three weeks ago.

    The commission ordered PG&E to follow new safety recommendations from a consulting group investigating the fire. Protesters want more.

    "This is the mask that I wore for a week," protester J. Redwoods aid. "It’s really hard to breathe through because its full of toxic air. I think it’s important to show the impact; not just the 88 dead and counting in Paradise, but the thousands, the millions that had to breathe in toxic air."

    PG&E issued a statement Thursday, saying in part it has already implemented a majority of the safety recommendations and is on track to add the rest within the next year.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Small Explosion Prompts Evacuation at SF Hall of Justice]]>Thu, 29 Nov 2018 15:56:13 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf_hoj_fire_1129_5137927.JPG

    A person is in custody and evacuations have been lifted at San Francisco's Hall of Justice after an incendiary device went off in the lobby of the building Thursday morning, a police spokeswoman said.

    The small explosion was reported at about 11:10 a.m. on the ground floor of the building at 850 Bryant St.

    No injuries were reported but the building was evacuated, San Francisco police Officer Grace Gatpandan said.

    A person is in custody in connection with the case but Gatpandan did not have any other information about their identity.

    The all-clear was given at 1:38 p.m. and people were allowed back inside, she said.

    San Francisco sheriff's spokeswoman Nancy Crowley said criminal court hearings at the building have been canceled for the rest of the day.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Storm Batters Bay Area With Heavy Downpours, Gusty Winds]]>Thu, 29 Nov 2018 23:34:40 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/GGBRain11.JPG

    Another fall storm lashed the Bay Area with heavy downpours, scattered thunderstorms and gusty winds Thursday, flooding some roadways and toppling trees across the region.

    Waves of rain coupled with pockets of heavy and intense downpours are expected to saturate the Bay Area throughout the morning and early afternoon hours Thursday, according to weather officials. Off-and-on showers, including isolated thunderstorms, will continue through the rest of the day before tapering off by early Friday.

    Accumulating rain flooded several Bay Area roadways early Thursday, including one spot on The Alameda near Stockton Avenue in San Jose. A driver trying to make their way under a railroad crossing near the SAP Center became stuck in standing water before being rescued by first responders.

    In the North Bay, a tree came crashing down on a truck on East Blithedale Avenue in Mill Valley. Luckily no one was inside the truck when the tree toppled.

    A wind advisory is in effect for much of the Bay Area through Thursday afternoon. The National Weather Service warned that gusty winds could top out anywhere from 35 to 45 mph, causing some trees or tree limbs to fall, potentially knocking over power lines in the process.

    As of 12 p.m. Thursday, at least 2,359 PG&E customers across the Bay Area were without power, according to the utility company.

    There is also a high surf advisory in effect for the entire Bay Area coastline until Friday. Breaking waves could peak as high as 25 feet in some locations, according to the weather service.

    This week's series of storms could deliver anywhere from 3 to 6 inches of rainfall to the coastal mountains across the Bay Area, according to the weather service. Most other locations are forecasted to pick up 1 to 2 inches by the time Friday rolls around.

    Motorists should watch out for ponding and flooding as well as rocks and other debris on the slick roadways.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Supervisor Jane Kim to Speak Along Bernie Sanders in Vermont]]>Wed, 28 Nov 2018 23:54:37 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/jane+kim.jpg

    San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim will be a featured speaker at The Sanders Institute Gathering, organized by the think tank founded by the wife of former presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.

    The gathering, which will include an array of progressive leaders, starts Thursday in Burlington, Vermont, and goes through Saturday.

    It will be the inaugural conference for the Sanders Institute, founded in 2017 by Jane Sanders and Dave Driscoll, focusing on solutions to economic, environmental, racial and social justice issues.

    In addition to Kim, Sen. Sanders will also attend along with several other prominent leaders including, actor, activist and San Francisco native Danny Glover, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

    "I'm honored to be speaking at The Sanders Institute inaugural conference with so many other progressive policy leaders. Just as Senator Sanders had made a progressive policy mainstream, we must continue to set the nation's agenda by sharing local organizing and policy work happening on the ground and developing actionable steps to achieve health care, education and housing for all," Kim said in a statement.

    "Addressing income inequality, achieving universal Medicare For All, or making college tuition-free doesn't happen in a vacuum," she said. "We can win big, bold ideas when we organize, collaborate and share across cities and states."

    Sen. Sanders campaigned for Kim when she ran for state Senate in 2016 and he has also showed his support for City College of San Francisco's free tuition, a result of an initiative spearheaded by Kim.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Supervisor Pushes to Remove Zuckerberg Name From Hospital]]>Thu, 29 Nov 2018 04:37:36 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/zuck-general-1128.jpg

    San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin is trying to get Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's name removed from a local hospital in response to the recent scandals connected to the social media giant, according to a report in Business Insider.

    Peskin on Tuesday asked the city attorney how to go about removing Zuckerberg's name from San Francisco General Hospital, a facility to which Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan donated $75 million, Business Insider reported.

    Peskin also asked that the city revisit its policy on offering naming rights in exchange for gifts, according to remarks provided to the business site.

    Earlier this year, nurses working at the hospital protested over the attachment of the Facebook CEO's name to the facility in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

    Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan donated $75 million to the institution in 2015 in exchange for naming rights. But Peskin believes the name now reflects poorly on the city.

    "We'll see what my colleagues in the public think about this, but I think it's a wakeup call to Facebook that it's time to reform their corporate culture," he said.

    If the city ultimately approves removing the name, it may have to return some or all of the money donated by Zuckerberg should he request it.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[San Francisco State University Gets $26.8M Donation]]>Wed, 28 Nov 2018 04:49:51 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sfsu-tuition-0130.jpg

    An alumni couple are giving San Francisco State University a $26.8 million donation — the largest gift in the university’s history.

    The San Francisco Chronicle reports the bulk of the donation from real estate mogul George Marcus and his wife, Judy Marcus, $25 million, will support the liberal arts. The remaining $1.8 million will establish an athletics scholarship fund.

    SFSU President Leslie Wong says the money will establish the George and Judy Marcus Funds for Excellence in the Liberal Arts. The university will also use the gift for improvements in the department of Creative Writing and the School of Cinema.

    Judy Otten Marcus graduated from San Francisco State in 1962 with a degree in recreation, and is a former physical education teacher.

    George Marcus graduated in 1965 with a degree in economics.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area file]]>
    <![CDATA[SF to Hold Hearing for Public Testimony on Toll Increases]]>Tue, 27 Nov 2018 23:48:04 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/BayBridgeTollPlaza2.JPG

    The Bay Area Toll Authority will hold a hearing Wednesday to receive public testimony on three voter-improved $1 toll increases in the seven state-owned toll bridges in the region.

    The hearing will take place at 9:30 a.m. during BATA's meeting at the Bay Area Metro Center at 375 Beale St. in San Francisco.

    Voters approved the toll increases in June as Regional Measure 3. The first increase is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2019, with subsequent $1 hikes scheduled for Jan. 1, 2022 and Jan. 1, 2025.

    Tolls for two-axle vehicles at the Antioch, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Dumbarton, Richmond-San Rafael and San Mateo-Hayward bridges are scheduled to increase to $6.

    At the Bay Bridge, tolls are scheduled to rise to $5 on weekdays from midnight to 5 a.m., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and from 7 p.m. to midnight, to $7 on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., and to $6 on Saturdays and Sundays.

    Tolls for multi-axle vehicles will increase to $16 for three axles, $21 for four-axles, $26 for five axles, $31 for six axles, and $36 for seven or more axles.

    The discounted toll for motorcycles, carpools and qualifying clean air vehicles is scheduled to increase to $3.

    After the public hearing, the BATA Oversight Committee will meet on Dec. 12 to discuss the toll hike. BATA will then take official action to approve the toll hikes on Dec. 19.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[How A Man Fought His Insurance Co. and Got $100K]]>Tue, 27 Nov 2018 23:46:37 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/cigna_smiths_1127_5115275.JPG

    Peter and Nora Smith, father and daughter, are still grieving, but they’re finally smiling again. Most notably, they can smile because they fought their insurance company and won.

    “Cigna caved,” Peter Smith said.

    Cigna had insured his wife, Debbi Goodman-Smith against accidental death. Peter says the policy advertised $200,000 in coverage. But, when Debbi died suddenly after a fall, Cigna sent him only $100,000. He and his daughter, Nora, challenged the company.

    “Basically, all we ever heard from Cigna was, ‘No,’” he explained.

    So, they called NBC Bay Area Responds, which contacted Cigna. It said it is common that life insurance benefits are cut in half after age 70.

    Here’s the thing: Debbi was already 70 when she bought the policy. The enrollment page said $200,000. But, four pages inside the policy is a line that indicates a 50 percent cut.

    We asked Peter how misled he felt.

    “Totally,” he said.

    SEE OUR ORIGINAL STORY: $100K Insurance Battle

    For months, we worked with Nora behind the scenes. We went back and forth with Cigna, the state’s Department of Insurance, and two other insurance middlemen.

    Then, in September, two checks suddenly arrived in Peter’s mailbox. He did not wait to cash them.

    “No,” he chuckled. “I wasn’t going to give them a chance to take them back.”

    One check was for the remainder of the policy, plus another that covered interest. Together, the checks totaled more than $100,000.

    “It’s wonderful,” Peter said. “It’s been weighing on me so much.”

    When we first met Peter, he told us he feared without a full insurance payment he would no longer be able to afford his San Francisco home of 30 years. He feared he would have to move out.

    “I don’t have to worry about that anymore,” he said.

    We wondered: what changed at Cigna? All it said in response to our inquiry was, “We are pleased that we have been able to resolve Mr. Smith’s benefits matter to his satisfaction.”

    Peter and Nora have a hunch.

    “They didn’t like the publicity,” Peter said.

    “It was easier for them to pay out the policy than to deal with the two of us,” Nora guessed.

    We were happy to fight for the Smiths.

    “Thank you for doing the fighting,” Peter said.

    “We appreciate it so much,” Nora said.

    The Smiths have a word of caution for your family, especially if anyone’s around age 70: Read your insurance policies now. Look past the first page. See if your benefits are fifty percent less than you expect.

    “It seems like it is generally standard practice to have that reduction. But they are not good at advertising it,” Nora said.

    Here’s a quick side note: sometimes, people who die leave behind life insurance policies that their families don’t even know about. That money is not necessarily all lost.

    You can search for forgotten life insurance policies online, at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ website: https://eapps.naic.org/life-policy-locator/#/welcome

    <![CDATA[Milk, Moscone Remembered 40 Years After Assassinations]]>Tue, 27 Nov 2018 22:33:55 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_060621030869.jpg

    Politicians marked the 40th anniversary of Harvey Milk and George Moscone's assassinations Tuesday with ceremonies in San Francisco and Oakland.

    Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977 and served until his assassination in 1978. He was known as a leader in the LGBT movement and the first openly gay American to be elected into public office.

    Moscone was a state senator before being elected as mayor in 1975. He and Milk were killed by Dan White, who had recently resigned from the Board of Supervisors.

    Mayor London Breed issued a statement Tuesday honoring the two slain politicians.

    "Supervisor Harvey Milk's impact was transformative not just for San Francisco, but the nation. His very presence on the Board of Supervisors as the first openly gay elected official in California opened the doors of opportunity for future leaders in our LGBT community," Breed said.

    "Mayor George Moscone made many contributions leading the city where he was born and raised, including his work to make our government reflect the diversity and backgrounds of the people of San Francisco," she said. "As a black woman who served as a commissioner before becoming supervisor, I know these opportunities opened up paths for people like me to serve our city in ways that were not possible before."

    State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, who is gay and a former San Francisco supervisor, also issued a statement marking the anniversary.

    "I had the honor of representing Harvey's old district on the Board of Supervisors. For those of us who are LGBT and serving in elected office, Harvey continues to be an inspiration and role model for what it means to be out, proud, and making change in our communities," he said.

    Breed and Supervisor Rafael Mandelman will host a commemorative event at San Francisco City Hall at 12:30 p.m. along with former Mayor Willie Brown, Cleve Jones and members of the Moscone family.

    At Tuesday night's Oakland City Council meeting, Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland's first openly lesbian councilmember, will offer an "in memoriam" to honor Milk's legacy.

    "Harvey Milk was an inspiration and role model for me," Kaplan said in a statement. "His outspoken leadership, commitment to justice and hope, and proud fight for LGBT rights while also actively working with broad coalitions for workers' rights and racial and social justice, have helped inform my own work and been a beacon of hope to many."

    Photo Credit: AP]]>
    <![CDATA[Man Punched in SF, Suffers Life-Threatening Injuries]]>Tue, 27 Nov 2018 10:13:43 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SFPDFile.JPG

    A man in his 30s suffered life-threatening injuries after being punched on San Francisco's Market Street on Monday evening, according to police.

    The assault was reported at 7:19 p.m. in the area of Market and Jones streets.

    The victim fell to the ground after being punched. He was taken to a hospital and an update on his condition was not immediately available this morning.

    The suspect, also believed to be a man in his 30s, has not been arrested, police said.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Online Petition Seeks to Save SF Music Venue Mezzanine]]>Tue, 27 Nov 2018 11:14:55 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-508683832.jpg

    A new petition is hoping to save longtime San Francisco music venue Mezzanine — which announced last week that it would be closing next year and be replaced with office space.

    Officials with Mezzanine, located at 444 Jessie St., said that after 15 years it's being forced to close in October 2019 because the building's owners decided not to renew its lease.

    Molly Bacon, who started the online petition said on the page, "It is the largest independent female-owned music venue in San Francisco and a staple of the SF music scene. Now, the Mezzanine is being forced to shut down due to the building owners' desire for a 600 percent rent increase."

    "The Mezzanine joins a growing and depressing list of San Francisco music venues that have shuttered or ceded to corporate control this year," Bacon said. "Hemlock Tavern and Elbo Room both recently announced their closure due to greedy developers," referencing two other San Francisco music venues also set to close soon.

    The petition, which can be found at www.care2.com/go/z/mezzanine, has reportedly garnered more than 6,000 signatures since this afternoon.

    Last week, Mezzanine's owner Deborah Jackman said that she was disappointed the building's owners didn't grant her a new lease and denied her a three-month extension so that the venue could close at the end of 2019.

    "What I find most disturbing is that Mezzanine, like so many other cultural institutions, has fallen victim to corporate greed and commercial development," she said.

    As the venue prepares to close, Mezzanine said it's planning a Sweet Sixteen celebration in April 2019 with numerous high-profile shows scheduled for that month.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[NAACP, Civil Rights Leaders Call for Boycott of SF Giants]]>Mon, 26 Nov 2018 19:31:49 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1126SFGiants_5099706.JPG

    The NAACP and civil rights leaders are calling for a boycott of the San Francisco Giants.

    It comes after the team's principal owner contributed to the campaign of Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith. She's the senator who is accused of racially insensitive remarks.

    Charles Johnson, the man who owns more of the Giants team than anyone else, is a Florida billionaire with a long history of supporting Republican candidates and causes. But when he and his wife sent $5,400 to Hyde-Smith, it was nine days after she made controversial comment that she later described as a joke.

    Hyde-Smith said her comments were taken out of context. But the uproar caused some big companies like Wal-mart, Pfizer and AT&T to ask that their contributions be returned.

    But Johnson, who owns 26 percent of the Giants, has not.

    "It was more than I could take and I decided on my own one person that never again would I support the Giants," Civil Rights Attorney John Burris said. "I would not buy a ticket. I would not encourage any of my friends to buy tickets."

    On Monday, Burris joined with the Bay Area chapter of the NAACP in calling for a boycott of the team, while Johnson's attorney told reporters it was just a misunderstanding.

    "He's never met her. He doesn't know her," said Joe Cotchett, Johnson's attorney. "He was asked to write a check as a republican.

    Cotchett said his client likely didn't know about the controversy before he wrote the check. Cotchett said he will call Johnson at his home in Palm Beach and ask him to demand that his check be returned.

    Giants President and CEO Larry Baer issued the following statement on Monday:

    In no way does the Giants organization condone any racist and hateful language and behavior by anyone. It is abhorrent and in direct conflict with the core values of the San Francisco Giants.

    We take seriously the platform we have to make an impact on our community, and for decades we have used it to advocate for social justice and equality, inclusiveness and tolerance in our communities. We were the first team in professional sports to raise money and awareness for a cure for AIDS (Until There’s A Cure Day), the first team to devote a day to preventing domestic and family violence (Strike Out Violence Day), and the first team to speak out against bullying, in particular of LGBTQ youth (It Gets Better). We were proud to support the renovation of the Willie Mays Boys & Girls Club at Hunter's Point and each year our Junior Giants program provides free baseball instruction and life skills coaching to more than 25,000 low-income children throughout Northern California. We in the sports world have an ongoing responsibility to step beyond the comfort zone of our ballparks, stadiums and arenas to address injustice and suffering in our communities and the Giants will continue to make that a priority.

    The Giants have more than 30 owners. Just like our fans, they come from different backgrounds and have their own political views. Many give to Democratic causes, many to Republican causes and some refrain from politics altogether. Neither I nor anyone else at the Giants can control who any of our owners support politically, just as we cannot and should not control whom any of our employees support politically. While our 30-plus owners span the political spectrum, they share one core belief: that sports has the power to inspire and galvanize a community. In 1992, when the Giants were about to be sold to a group in Tampa, these individuals recognized the importance of the Giants to the community, and they saved the team for the Bay Area. They helped turn the Giants into one of the most socially-minded and successful organizations both on and off the field. That vision has never faltered. We remain steadfast in our mission to serve our fans and the community.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Retired Firefighter Helps Save Woman's Life While on Flight]]>Mon, 26 Nov 2018 22:21:27 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Alaska+Airlines+generic.jpg

    A retired firefighter helped save an elderly woman's life after she went into cardiac arrest on board an Alaska Airlines flight.

    Alaska Airlines flight 843 from Seattle to Kona, Hawaii, on Monday was diverted to San Francisco International Airport, where emergency crews waited for the plane to land and transport the woman to a hospital. Officials said the woman is in good condition.

    Authorities said the firefighter from Bellingham, Washington, was on the flight and helped Alaska Airlines crew members use the AED device on the plane.

    No other information was immediately available.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[2 Injured, Rescued After Crash Into SF Building: SFFD]]>Mon, 26 Nov 2018 16:32:04 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf+crash-1126.jpg

    Emergency crews responded to the scene of a vehicle that crashed into a building in San Francisco's Parkside neighborhood Monday afternoon, according to fire officials.

    Two people have been extricated from the vehicle, which hit a building at 1404 Taraval St. shortly after 3 p.m., fire officials said. One person suffered serious injuries and the other minor injuries. Neither was life-threatening.

    No injuries were reported to anyone inside the building, the San Francisco Fire Department posted on Twitter.

    The cause of the crash was not released. Motorists were advised to avoid the area.

    Photo Credit: SFFD]]>
    <![CDATA[Bill Proposed to Close Loophole in Auto Burglary Law]]>Mon, 26 Nov 2018 22:29:48 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/200*120/smash+and+grab+ventura+blvd.jpg

    A loophole that law enforcement officials say hinders prosecution of auto burglars would close under legislation being proposed by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco.

    Wiener plans to introduce a law that would eliminate a requirement that prosecutors must show a car's door was locked during an auto burglary, even if the window was bashed in.

    The new legislation would make forcible entry sufficient to prove the crime.

    "The explosion in auto break-ins we're experiencing is unacceptable, and we need to ensure our police and district attorneys have all the tools they need to address it," Wiener said.

    Wiener introduced similar legislation earlier this year under Senate Bill 916, but it didn't make it out of the state Senate appropriations committee.

    San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon supports the legislation, saying the loophole has allowed some suspects to elude prosecution.

    Under current law, prosecutors have a difficult time making a case if an offender broke a window and entered a car, leaving it unlocked or the door open. A case against a suspect could also falter if a victim returned and unlocked the car's door before police took a report.

    San Francisco police Chief William Scott said the legislation would provide "a very useful tool to help us reduce vehicle burglaries by making it easier to successfully prosecute these crimes."

    Vehicle break-ins are down 16 percent this year and police have made 31 percent more arrests compared to 2017, Scott said.

    <![CDATA[Giants Respond to Political Donations Controversy]]>Mon, 26 Nov 2018 13:36:31 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ATTParkFile.JPG

    If you're keeping score this offseason, here's the update from AT&T Park: One press release to announce a significant baseball move ... two press releases to explain political donations from a member of ownership.

    For the second time in five weeks, the Giants put out a release regarding political donations by Charles Johnson, who is believed to own the largest stake of the franchise.

    While Johnson is not mentioned by name, the release followed the revelation that he donated to the campaign of Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Republic U.S. Senator facing a runoff election in Mississippi. Hyde-Smith was caught on video earlier this month talking about a local rancher, saying, "If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row." In October, Johnson and the Giants released statements after it was revealed that Johnson donated to a super PAC that made a racist radio ad in Arkansas.

    While the Giants faced increased pressure on social media over the past week, Monday's statement made it clear that Johnson has no plans to sell his stake, and the rest of the organization can do nothing to force him into a decision.

    Here is the full statement from team president and CEO Larry Baer:

    "In no way does the Giants organization condone any racist and hateful language and behavior by anyone. It is abhorrent and in direct conflict with the core values of the San Francisco Giants.

    We take seriously the platform we have to make an impact on our community, and for decades we have used it to advocate for social justice and equality, inclusiveness and tolerance in our communities. We were the first team in professional sports to raise money and awareness for a cure for AIDS (Until There’s A Cure Day), the first team to devote a day to preventing domestic and family violence (Strike Out Violence Day), and the first team to speak out against bullying, in particular of LGBTQ youth (It Gets Better). We were proud to support the renovation of the Willie Mays Boys & Girls Club at Hunter's Point and each year our Junior Giants program provides free baseball instruction and life skills coaching to more than 25,000 low-income children throughout Northern California. We in the sports world have an ongoing responsibility to step beyond the comfort zone of our ballparks, stadiums and arenas to address injustice and suffering in our communities and the Giants will continue to make that a priority.

    The Giants have more than 30 owners. Just like our fans, they come from different backgrounds and have their own political views. Many give to Democratic causes, many to Republican causes and some refrain from politics altogether. Neither I nor anyone else at the Giants can control who any of our owners support politically, just as we cannot and should not control whom any of our employees support politically. While our 30-plus owners span the political spectrum, they share one core belief: that sports has the power to inspire and galvanize a community. In 1992, when the Giants were about to be sold to a group in Tampa, these individuals recognized the importance of the Giants to the community, and they saved the team for the Bay Area. They helped turn the Giants into one of the most socially-minded and successful organizations both on and off the field. That vision has never faltered. We remain steadfast in our mission to serve our fans and the community."

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Rain Returns: Strong Storm Arrives in Bay Area]]>Wed, 28 Nov 2018 23:54:43 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GGBRain1.JPG

    Umbrellas, rain boots and heavy-duty windbreakers were being put to work late Wednesday and Thursday morning as a strong storm entered the Bay Area with gusty winds and plenty of rain.

    Widespread rain was expected to continue throughout Thursday, forecasters said. A cold front moving in will provide at least a slight chance of thunderstorms across the entire area through Thursday morning and into the afternoon, the National Weather Service said. Thunderstorms will have the potential to create lightning, heavy downpours, small hail, and gusty winds.

    As of Wednesday morning, high wind watches were in effect for all Bay Area counties except Solano County, which was under a wind advisory. The weather service warned that gusty winds could blow between 25 and 40 mph.

    There is also a high surf advisory in effect for Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Sonoma counties, according to the weather service. Westerly swells could top out anywhere from 13 to 16 feet while breaking waves could soar to about 24 feet.

    Waves of rain this week could deliver anywhere from 3 to 6 inches of rainfall to the coastal mountains across the Bay Area, according to the weather service. Most other locations are forecasted to pick up 1 to 2 inches by the time Friday rolls around.

    Crews in San Francisco have been busy clearing out storm drains and installing flood barriers in low-lying areas of the Mission District. Meanwhile, sandbag stations in the South Bay are stocked for people who need to divert rain water.

    Motorists are advised to keep an eye out for ponding and flooding as well as rocks and other debris on the slick roadways. 

    A break in the rain is expected on Friday, but showers will likely return on Saturday.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Funding OK'd to Study Carpool Lanes in SF: Report]]>Mon, 26 Nov 2018 06:36:26 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Officials_Approve_Funding_to_Study_Possible_Carpool_Lan.jpg

    Transportation officials in San Francisco are looking into the possibility of creating carpool lanes on Interstate 280 and Highway 101, according to a report. Thom Jensen reports.]]>
    <![CDATA[SJ Man Uses Old Pictures to Create New Views of Early SF]]>Fri, 23 Nov 2018 19:02:56 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1123-NickWright.jpg

    For a guy surrounded by technology, Nick Wright lives in the past.

    His address is in Silicon Valley — but he spends much of his time in 1850s San Francisco — diving into the city’s past through the pictures of photographers like Eadweard Muybridge and William Henry Jackson. Yet Wright has figured out how to bridge his technological vantage point with the history he loves so much.

    Using Photoshop, the amateur historian discovered he could virtually assemble together vintage pictures of streets or views taken at different times but from the same vantage point during San Francisco’s infancy. Stitched together, the results create stunning panoramas showing city vistas that haven’t been seen with the human eye for 150 years.

    “That’s why I tell people I’ve got pictures you’ve never seen before,” Wright said. “Because they never existed before.”

    Perched between two large computer monitors in his San Jose home, Wright, a technology worker by day, pulled up a large panorama showing San Francisco in the late 1850s. As he zoomed in, you could faintly make out the ghostly outline of someone standing in a doorway. Wright scrolled through the picture pointing out horse-drawn wagons, church steeples and a large sand dune that once occupied Van Ness Avenue even after the city had developed around it.

    The early photographers shot their pictures using large format cameras that created equally large glass negatives known as “mammoth glass plate negatives”. Wright said the glass plates contained incredible detail revealing the minutiae of life in the growing city.

    “When you zoom in you can see people’s laundry on the line,” Wright said. “You can see people delivering goods down the streets.”

    Wright said early photographers like Muybridge sometimes captured multiple side-by-side pictures of a single view with the intention of putting them together to create a panoramic image. But often photographers lacked the tools to seamlessly connect the pictures into a single perspective. Using technology, Wright has been able to take those pictures and weave them together, erasing seams and connecting them to look as if they were captured in a single frame.

    “It’s a great sense of accomplishment,” Wright said, “to be able to finish the work that the photographer started that he didn’t have the tools to finish.”

    Wright pulled up an 1878 photo by Muybridge taken from the Hopkins Hotel, originally shot across seven glass plate negatives. Wright not only combined the photos into a single picture, but identified every building in the picture. He clicked on the photo and blue labels appeared for each structure; the hill that would eventually become the crooked portion of Lombard Street — the observation tower that originally sat atop Telegraph Hill.

    As San Francisco bloomed from a gold rush town into a major metropolis, it drew large numbers of photographers to capture its unique topography and boisterous life, resulting in a trove of photography.

    “There’s just a wealth of pictures that had never really been explored or assembled,” Wright said, “even from the great masters.”

    Though he was born in England, Wright is immersed in San Francisco history, founding two popular Facebook groups San Francisco Remembered and SF History. His brother Jason Wright recently made news by purchasing and restoring a film by the Miles Brothers, shot from a streetcar rolling down Market Street weeks after the 1906 earthquake and fire.

    Nick Wright shares his brother’s affinity for images of the great disaster. He pulled up a photo of several bank guards sitting amidst a pile of rubble in post-earthquake San Francisco. In researching the picture Wright came across several other images of roughly the same area. He assembled them together in Photoshop, erasing lines, smoothing transitions and creating a vast panorama of the disastrous scene.

    “It’s a photographic jigsaw puzzle,” Wright said. “It’s putting together pieces through time.”

    Wright has created hundreds of panoramas between 1850 and 1920 which for now live on his computer. He’d like to eventually have an exhibition or put them in a museum. The pictures open a window of time, revealing vast views of the old city — a birds eye glimpse of San Francisco in a time of hope and promise — before the 1906 disaster.

    “You get involved in people’s lives, and actually get quite emotional,” Wright said. “You see the struggle and the success and the loss. You actually start to feel — you can see how things transition over time.”

    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[Thanksgiving Cheer: Program Delivers to Those in Need]]>Thu, 22 Nov 2018 21:35:26 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/11222018MealsonWheels_5053492.JPG

    On this Thanksgiving, not just friends and family. Many people spent the day with strangers, delivering meals or just good cheer to those in need. LiLi Tan reports.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Rain Round Two: Another Storm Soaks the Bay Area]]>Thu, 22 Nov 2018 09:43:18 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/11222018BayAreaRain_5053922.JPG

    After receiving its first significant soaking of the season Wednesday, the Bay Area after a brief break on Thursday welcomed another storm system.

    The latest wave of rain arrived in the North Bay around 5 p.m. and spread south. Widespread rain and showers for the region are likely to continue through Friday before transitioning to scattered showers early Saturday morning.

    The storm system triggered a wind advisory for the North Bay until 4 p.m. Friday, according to the National Weather Service. The weather service warned that gusty crosswinds could create some headaches for people crossing the Golden Gate, Richmond-San Rafael and Carquinez bridges.

    Cities and towns in the North Bay valleys could see winds blowing anywhere from 15 to 25 mph with gusts topping out at 35 mph, according to the weather service. Locations along the North Bay coastline and those above 1,000 feet could have winds blowing at 20 to 30 mph with gusts peaking as high as 50 mph.

    In addition to bringing much-needed rain to the region, the latest rounds of wet weather have drastically improved air quality for a region that was clogged with wildfire smoke for roughly two weeks.

    Air quality for much of the Bay Area was rated as "good" Thursday morning, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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    <![CDATA[CHP to Step Up Patrols During Thanksgiving Holiday]]>Thu, 22 Nov 2018 15:38:07 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CHP-Generic-0115.jpg

    The California Highway Patrol will be ramping up patrols throughout the Thanksgiving holiday weekend to ensure that drivers travel safely.

    All available officers will be observing drivers for speeding, distracted driving, signs of driving impairment and seat belt violations during the agency's maximum enforcement period, according to CHP.

    Of the 46 people killed in collisions within the agency's jurisdiction during last year's maximum enforcement period, 27 people were not wearing a seat belt, CHP said.

    "Whatever your destination this Thanksgiving, remember to buckle up and avoid distractions while driving and give yourself plenty of time for your trip so you and your passengers can arrive safely," CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said in a statement.

    The extended holiday weekend is known as one of the busiest travel times throughout the country. In 2017, the Automobile Club of Southern California reported that an estimated 5.37 million Californians were planning to travel by car during this Thanksgiving holiday.

    Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
    <![CDATA[Air District Asks Residents Not to Burn Wood on Thanksgiving]]>Thu, 22 Nov 2018 07:21:35 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/FireplaceGeneric1.JPG

    The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has not issued a "Spare the Air" ban this week but is asking residents to avoid burning wood on Thanksgiving Day.

    Smoke from the Camp Fire in Butte County has resulted in dangerous air quality levels the past few weeks, but rain and weather patterns this week are returning Bay Area skies to normal.

    To preserve this recovery, the air district is asking residents not to burn wood, even though there is no legal restriction in place.

    "For nearly two weeks, smoke from the Camp Fire has blanketed the region and caused health impacts for many Bay Area residents," Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the air district said in a statement. "With the public's help, we can all have clean air to breathe over the holiday."

    Wood burning from 1.4 million fireplaces during the holiday season is the main cause of poor air quality during the winter, according to the air district.

    Winter Spare the Air season is in effect from Nov. 1 to Feb. 28 and residents can check online for alerts and restrictions.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Police to Increase Foot Patrols in Mid-Market, Tenderloin]]>Wed, 21 Nov 2018 22:12:19 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SFPD_Officer_Alleges_Racial_Discrimination_From_Fellow_Cops.jpg

    San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced Wednesday the city's Police Department will increase the number of beat officers walking around Tenderloin and Mid-Market neighborhoods within the next two weeks.

    According to Breed, the move is part of an expansion within the Police Department that will see a total of 43 police personnel assigned to walk the area, focusing mostly on Market Street between Fourth and Eighth streets.

    "Community policing and service outreach are key to making our streets safer and cleaner for all of our residents and visitors," Breed said in a statement. "Not only can these officers focus on deterring criminal behavior, but they can strengthen ties and build trust with community members to ensure that we are all working together to make our streets safe for all."

    In a statement Police Chief William Scott said, "The presence of our foot beat officers sends a strong signal that we prioritize community safety and engagement with the public. Residents, workers and merchants have let us know that our foot beats and mobile command center on UN Plaza have made the area safer and more family friendly. By stepping up our foot beat presence, we can continue to work with community members to ensure our public spaces are clean, safe and more welcoming for everyone."

    The foot patrol officers will be working with the city's Healthy Streets Operation Center, which coordinates with different city departments to see that homeless individuals are connected with services and programs.

    The dense area where the foot patrols will be concentrated includes a mix of housing and commercial buildings and is one of the city's most traveled areas, with the Civic Center and Powell transit stations serving about 73,000 people daily during the weekdays.

    <![CDATA[Owners of Airbnb Shootout Site in San Francisco to Pay Fine]]>Wed, 21 Nov 2018 13:39:18 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-585834450.jpg

    The owners of an illegal vacation rental where a gunbattle erupted last year have agreed to pay $185,000 in civil penalties and stop short-term rentals for five years.

    The San Francisco Chronicle reports City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced the settlement Tuesday.

    Herrera sued Erik M. Rogers and his wife, Anshu Singh, for unlawfully renting their home through short-term rental websites for at least 319 nights while they lived in Bali, Indonesia.

    San Francisco requires people renting their homes through online sites like Airbnb and HomeAway/VRBO to live in the unit at least 275 nights a year and that they rent it no more than 90 days during that time.

    A shootout at the house on October 2017 left a person wounded and more than a dozen homes and cars pierced by bullets in the quiet, residential neighborhood.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

    Photo Credit: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Bay Area Thanksgiving Day Restaurant Guide]]>Wed, 21 Nov 2018 18:43:21 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1002032730.jpg

    Not in the mood to cook up a Thanksgiving feast this year? Would you rather dine out and have the meal prepared and served to you? You're in luck. There are plenty of restaurants all around the Bay Area open on everyone's favorite gluttonous holiday.

    We ran a search over at OpenTable.com and found over 100 open eateries on turkey day.

    In addition, here's a list of restaurants that still have openings on Thursday.

    • International Smoke, San Francisco
    • One Market Restauran, San Francisco
    • Julia’s Restaurant, Berkeley
    • The Girl & the Fig, Sonoma
    • FARM at Carneros, Napa (limited spacing)
    • The Boon Fly Café, Napa (limited spacing)
    • II Fornaio, Corte Madera
    • Massimo’s, Fremont (limited spacing)
    • Viognier, San Mateo (closing at 8 p.m.)

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[California Approves Merger of Church-Affiliated Hospitals]]>Wed, 21 Nov 2018 13:07:18 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DH_image_pressreleases.jpg

    California has approved the merger of two nonprofit hospitals affiliated with the Catholic church.

    The state Department of Justice announced Wednesday that Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives will become a new company called CommonSpirit Health.

    It will operate nearly 140 hospitals in 16 states — including 30 in California.

    The Justice Department, which supervises charitable organizations, says operating conditions include programs to help homeless people and other vulnerable populations.

    The new firm will allocate $20 million over six years to establish coordination with local charities and city and county social services.

    San Francisco-based Dignity announced its intention to merge with Colorado's CHI nearly a year ago. The Vatican, through its archbishops in Denver and San Francisco, approved the merger.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

    <![CDATA[Thousands Without Power Across Bay Area: PG&E]]>Wed, 21 Nov 2018 20:23:04 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/234*120/outagemapSF.JPG

    Thousands of PG&E customers were without power Wednesday in San Francisco and across the Bay Area as the region feels the cold drops of significant rain for the first time in months.

    A power outage affecting over 5,000 customers was reported after noon in Oakland, according to PG&E, following other outages reported in San Francisco.

    PG&E previously reported outage affecting over 3,000 customers in the Mission District just before 10 a.m. The utilities company reported another outage that affected more than 6,000 other customers in Noe Valley and Dolores Heights.

    A power pole reportedly detached on 23rd Street between Florida and Bryant. The owner of "The Spice Jar" restaurant nearby tells NBC Bay Area that employees saw a "pop of fire," at the scene.

    By the afternoon, most of the power in San Francisco were restored.

    The official cause of all the outages are under investigation, according to PG&E's website. 

    Earlier in the day, PG&E also reported 19,000 customers were without power in Pleasant Hill, but the power were restored to most customers before noon.

    Photo Credit: PG&E]]>
    <![CDATA[Much-Needed Rain Douses Bay Area, Helps Clear Air of Smoke]]>Wed, 21 Nov 2018 22:22:24 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GGB+Rain.JPG

    The wait is finally over for the smoke-choked and rain-deprived Bay Area.

    The first of two storm systems this week arrived Wednesday, dousing the region with much-needed rain and clearing out the wildfire smoke that has been choking the area for nearly two weeks. While the rain is a welcome sight for a parched California, it comes during the busy Thanksgiving travel period.

    Waves of rain will move across the Bay Area throughout the day Wednesday, according to weather officials. After a break during the day Thursday, a stronger system is expected to arrive Thursday night and saturate the region through Friday.

    Some cities could receive up to an inch of rainfall on Wednesday alone, the National Weather Service reported. San Francisco hasn't seen an inch of rain or more fall in one day since April 7. San Jose hasn't been drenched with an inch or more of rain since Jan. 8.

    By the time the second storm system rolls through by the end of the week, some locations in the North Bay could pick up anywhere from 1 to 3 inches of rainfall, according to the weather service. Most locations immediately surrounding the San Francisco Bay could accumulate 1 to 1.5 inches of rain. Spots in the South Bay are expected to collect one-half inch to 1 inch of rain.

    Over in the Sierra, snow is expected to fall on elevations above 6,000 feet, according to the weather service. Between Wednesday and Friday morning, as much as 18 inches of snow could fall at Ebbetts, Sonora and Tioga passes, which are all located south of Lake Tahoe. Donner Pass near Truckee could pick up as much as one foot of fresh powder.

    Officials are advising motorists to prepare for delays if they're traveling through the mountains during the Thanksgiving holiday. 

    As of Wednesday morning, at least 42 arrival and departure flights have been canceled at San Francisco International Airport, according to officials, and over 200 flights were delayed.

    One flight was canceled at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport and eight were delayed, airport officials said.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images
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    <![CDATA[SF Police Arrest 5 for Child Pornography-Related Offenses]]>Wed, 21 Nov 2018 03:38:50 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ACLU_Sues_SFPD_Claiming_Unchecked_Racism_in_Department.jpg

    San Francisco police have arrested five people on suspicion of child pornography-related offenses, police said on Tuesday.

    The arrests were made either this month or in October following investigations beginning earlier this fall.

    Police said that last week, investigators arrested a pastor of a San Francisco Lutheran church on suspicion of possessing child pornography, possessing more than 600 files of child pornography and distribution of child pornography.

    According to police, the pastor, Steven Sabin, 59, was allegedly distributing child pornography through a social media application. Investigators executed a search warrant on Nov. 15 at Sabin's home in the 1300 block of Market Street and allegedly found a cellphone of Sabin's containing images and videos of children being sexually abused. Police said investigators also found that Sabin had allegedly stored child pornography in a cloud storage application.

    Late last month, investigators arrested 37-year-old San Francisco resident Trevor Schlesinger, who was allegedly uploading child pornography to a file-sharing network. Schlesinger was arrested Oct. 25 at his home in the 200 block of Mallorca Way where police allegedly found a laptop belonging the Schlesinger that had videos and images of children being sexually abused.

    San Francisco resident Elihu Hernandez was arrested on Oct. 16 on suspicion of possessing and distributing child pornography. Hernandez allegedly had a cellphone containing images and videos showing children being sexually abused. Investigators discovered the phone during a search of Hernandez's home in the 200 block of Eddy Street. Hernandez also was allegedly storing child pornography on a number of cellphone applications.

    Two other residents were arrested in October. Nicholas Fong, 24, was arrested on suspicion of possessing child pornography and possessing more than 600 files of child pornography. Donald Wright, 58, was arrested for the same alleged offenses.

    <![CDATA[Map of Clogged Storm Drains in SF Released Ahead of Rain]]>Wed, 21 Nov 2018 03:02:03 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Adopr+a+Drain+SF.JPG

    As the rainy season approaches, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission announced it's launched a new program to help identify some of the city's storm drains most in need of maintenance.

    The new Drains In Need program is part of the utilities commission's Adopt a Drain program, which started in 2016 and allows residents to pledge to clean and maintain storm drains to prevent flooding on city streets.

    The new program uses data and feedback collected from 311, the Department of Public Works, Data SF, Code for SF and agency engineers to identify about 2,000 out of 25,000 drains in the city as the most clogged with leaves, litter and debris. The data has been entered into a digital map.

    "Thanks to the dedicated and selfless commitment of our residents, the Adopt a Drain program has been a huge success," Harlan Kelly Jr., the public utilities commission's general manager, said in a statement. "We are taking this great initiative to its next logical step with the Drain in Need feature. We can now efficiently identify and clean our drains most in need of maintenance."

    According to SFPUC officials, about 1,600 "drain heroes," have enrolled in the Adopt a Drain program, helping out SFPUC crews who routinely inspect, clean, repair and replace the more than 1,000 miles of sewer pipes throughout the city.

    Residents, however, don't have to adopt a drain in order to report clogged drains and street flooding. Residents and "drain heroes" are encouraged to call 311 to report any storm drain issues or by visiting www.sf311.org.

    A map of the city's most frequently clogged drains and more information about the Adopt a Drain program can be found here.

    Photo Credit: San Francisco Public Utilities Commission]]>
    <![CDATA[Golden Gate National Recreation Area Attractions to Reopen]]>Tue, 20 Nov 2018 20:03:33 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/GGBThumb.PNG

    Attractions in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area will reopen Wednesday because the air quality in the Bay Area is forecasted to improve, National Park Service officials said Tuesday.

    Attractions including Alcatraz Island, the Fort Point National Historic Site and Muir Woods National Monument will re-open with visitor services during regular hours. The attractions have been closed since Friday due to unhealthy air conditions.

    With heavy rain forecast this week, park service officials also encouraged visitors to use caution when visiting park areas due to potential slick roads and mudslides.

    National Park Service officials also issued a reminder that the following attractions will be closed for Thanksgiving on Thursday: Alcatraz Island, Fort Point National Historic Site (closed Thursday and Friday), Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center, Lands End Lookout Marin Headlands Visitor Center, and the Presidio San Francisco Visitor Center.

    Photo Credit: Brendan Weber/NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Popular San Francisco Music Venue The Mezzanine to Close]]>Tue, 20 Nov 2018 18:07:49 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-508683832.jpg

    A popular music and entertainment venue in downtown San Francisco is set to close next year after the building's owners decided not to renew its lease.

    Officials with Mezzanine, located at 444 Jessie St., announced Tuesday that after 15 years it will be forced to close its doors in October 2019.

    The venue has played an important role in San Francisco's nightlife scene since it opened in 2003, hosting artists such as Lady Gaga, Snoop Dogg, Florence and the Machine and LCD Soundsystem, among others.

    In a statement, Mezzanine's owner Deborah Jackman said she was saddened by the news.

    "I was disappointed that the owners of the building didn't give me an opportunity to renegotiate a new lease. I was further disappointed that my request for a three month extension so that we could close out 2019 was rejected. What I find most disturbing is that Mezzanine, like so many other cultural institutions, has fallen victim to corporate greed and commercial development," Jackman said.

    According to officials with Mezzanine, the building's owners are seeking to replace the venue with commercial office space, with rent set to increase by as much as 600 percent.

    As the venue prepares for its final year, Mezzanine said it's planning a Sweet Sixteen celebration in April 2019 with numerous high-profile shows scheduled for that month.

    <![CDATA[Winter Spare the Air Alert Issued for Wednesday in Bay Area]]>Tue, 20 Nov 2018 23:00:57 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/12-24-2013-spare-the-air.jpg

    The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued a Winter Spare the Air Alert for Wednesday because the air quality is expected to remain unhealthy in parts of the East Bay, even though shifting winds and rain are expected to improve conditions elsewhere in the region.

    Burning wood or other solid fuel is banned on Winter Spare the Air days, according to the air district. The alerts have been issued every day since Nov. 9, a day after the Camp Fire started in Butte County and sent large amounts of smoke into the Bay Area.

    Air district officials said moderate air quality is expected to prevail in the Bay Area on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day.

    People violating the wood burning ban will be given the option of taking a wood smoke awareness class, online or by mail, if they are first-time violators. Subsequent violations will result in tickets with fines starting at $500, according to the air district.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Cable Cars Back in Service After Bad Air Prompted Hiatus]]>Tue, 20 Nov 2018 12:50:38 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/CableCar5.JPG

    San Francisco's iconic cable cars are back in service following a five-day hiatus caused by poor air quality, a San Francisco Municipal Railway spokesman said Tuesday.

    The decision to halt service was made by Muni officials around 3 p.m. Thursday after the air quality index measured the city's air as very unhealthy due to smoke from the deadly Camp Fire in Butte County, Muni spokesman Paul Rose said.

    Although the cable car service was suspended, bus shuttles were put in place to provide service on the Powell, Powell-Hyde, Powell-Mason and California cable car lines over the past five days.

    Rose said the decision to return service was made as the city's air conditions have improved and become more stable.

    Muni, however, is still taking precautions and offering masks to its drivers for protection from the smoky air, according to Rose.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>