Nurses On Strike Told Not To Come Back Til Tuesday
A nursing strike at Bay Area hospitals is over today, but participating nurses at Sutter hospitals and Children's Hospital in Oakland have been told they cannot report back to work before Tuesday, officials said today.
The California Nurses Association is calling the action by the hospitals a punitive lockout, but hospital officials denied the charge, saying they had to sign five-day contracts with nursing staffing companies that provided temporary nurses for the strike.
Thursday's one-day strike involved an estimated 23,000 nurses at Sutter Health hospitals, Children's Hospital in Oakland and Kaiser Permanente. Contract negotiations are in progress at many of the affected hospitals, including those in the Sutter chain, but Kaiser nurses went out on strike in sympathy.
Today, Kaiser nurses are back at work, but Sutter and Children's Hospital say they will continue to use temporary staff through Tuesday, when contracts with staffing companies expire. Erin Goldsmith, a spokeswoman at Children's Hospital, said the union knew in advance that this would be the case.
"It's not a lockout, a lockout means that no members of a union are allowed into the hospital," Goldsmith said. "Nurses that chose to cross the picket lines are allowed into the hospital."
"We had to contract with our nurse replacement agency for a total of five days," Goldsmith added. "We had to give them five days for the replacement nurses to provide a good incentive for them to come."
Of the approximately 700 nurses at Children's Hospital, around 125 crossed the picket line to work during the strike, Goldsmith said. The remaining 575 nurses will not be able to work until Tuesday, although many may not have been scheduled to work before then anyway. The hospital has hired around 120 contract nurses.
Union spokesman Charles Idelson called the claim that the hospitals had to contract for five days "ludicrous," and pointed to the fact that Kaiser was able to return the nurses to work after just one day.
Idelson said the willingness of the hospitals to spend large amounts of money on contract nurses belied their claims in contract negotiations that they needed to save money.
"It's obviously an unwarranted and unnecessary lockout," he said. "It certainly reflects the mentality of Sutter and Children's. It's indicative of the way Sutter has treated their communities and their employees and patients for years."
At Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, nearly 40 percent of the hospital's 1800 nurses chose to cross the picket lines, hospital spokeswoman Carolyn Kemp said. The hospital has contracted with 500 temporary nurses through Tuesday.
"We didn't choose for [nurses] to not come in to care for their patients, so we had to do whatever we can to care for our patients," Kemp said. "We have excellent nurses on a regular basis here and we compensate them with excellent compensation and benefits, so I think the whole thing is unfortunate. We'll welcome them back on Tuesday."
Unions have said the hospitals are seeking to roll back RN rights and limit nurses' input regarding patient care, in addition to cutting benefits.
Sutter hospitals have countered by noting that nurses in the chain are "among the highest compensated in the country," with the average nurse there earning a $136,000 salary.
Two Arrested During Protests On UC Berkeley Campus
Two people were arrested on the University of California at Berkeley campus Thursday night during protests of the UC system's proposed plan to hike tuition by as much as $10,000 per year.
Students and other demonstrators gathered at noon in Sproul Plaza to express their frustration over the university's plan to require more money from students because of wavering funding support from Sacramento.
Some 60 sixty protestors later occupied Tolman Hall, which is located on the northern edge of campus near the UC Chancellor's House.
Both people who were arrested were not students, campus police Lt. Marc DeCoulode said this morning.
One person was arrested after a confrontation between demonstrators and campus police in which an officer became penned in by students blocking the building's doors.
DeCoulode said that the protestors allegedly grabbed the officer's gun belt and removed the magazine from her service weapon. At that point, officers used pepper spray on the demonstrators in self-defense, according to DeCoulode.
The second arrest occurred as demonstrators exited the campus building at about 9:30 p.m. DeCoulode said the person arrested had attacked an officer from behind.
Callie Maidhof, a UC Berkeley doctoral student speaking for "Resistance Social," the group that organized Thursday's protest, recounted the events differently.
The protestors inside Tolman Hall were in the building's lobby at about 9 p.m. and Maidhof said that she and others noticed police lining up outside the glass doors.
"People started panicking and were trying to leave, but police officers were pushing the doors shut and wouldn't let us leave," she said.
About half of the 60 people were able to leave, but she said in the confusion that one person ended up in a chokehold and was screaming "please stop hurting me" before he was arrested on suspicion of obstruction and battery against a police officer.
"They were shouting 'Leave, the building is closed,' but they were standing in front of the building with their sticks," Maidhof said. "I was terrified. If I moved toward them, they would hold up their stick menacingly."
According to DeCoulode, police never told students that they needed to exit the building.
"There may have been some confusion during the scuffle," DeCoulode said.
He said that people outside Tolman Hall had been throwing rocks, pieces of concrete and chairs at officers and at the doors so officers blocked the building's exit "in part for (the safety of the people inside) and for the officers' safety."
One officer was hit in the head with a large piece of hard rubber -- a traffic cone base -- and sought medical treatment at a hospital, DeCoulode said.
Campus police requested aid from the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, which coordinated the resources for the request, he said. Officers from nearby UC campuses in San Francisco and Davis also responded, as well as Oakland police officers.
DeCoulode said campus police monitored the area for several hours after the protestors vacated the building and that they would remain vigilant today.
Last week, the UC Board of Regents met in San Francisco to weigh a proposal on how to close a budget deficit projected to grow to $2.5 billion over the next four years.
The university is seeking renewed assurance from the state that it will provide long-term funding to address $1.5 billion of that deficit. The remaining $1 billion in solutions would be provided through expansion of funding streams -- such as corporate sponsorships -- and through implementing academic efficiencies.
If the state does not increase funding it provides to the UC system, the $1.5 billion would come from a 16 percent annual tuition hike for the next four years, according to the proposal.
Otherwise, the gap would be patched from a combination of tuition hikes and state funding, depending on how much the Legislature pledges to provide.
UPDATE: 25-Year-Old Man Fatally Shot In Visitacion Valley Identified
A man fatally shot in San Francisco's Visitacion Valley neighborhood on Thursday night has been identified by the medical examiner's office as 25-year-old Deshaun Randle.
The shooting was reported at about 8 p.m. in the first block of Brookdale Avenue. Officers responded to find Randle lying on the grass near the sidewalk suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to his chest, police spokesman Officer Carlos Manfredi said.
He was pronounced dead shortly afterward, Manfredi said. No arrests had been made in connection with the shooting and no suspect information was available as of this morning, he said.
The homicide is San Francisco's 41st of 2011. There were 37 at the same date last year.
Anyone with information about the shooting is encouraged to call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a ttip by text message to TIP411.
Brief Standoff At Denny's Restaurant Ends Peacefully
A brief standoff with a man armed with a knife at a Denny's restaurant in San Jose ended peacefully this morning, a police spokesman said.
The man went into the restaurant at 1015 Blossom Hill Road at 4:39 a.m. and ordered everyone to leave, police spokesman Sgt. Jason Dwyer said.
Employees and customers left the Denny's, and officers responded and surrounded the restaurant, Dwyer said.
After contacting the man inside the restaurant, police were eventually able to convince him to surrender peacefully around 6 a.m., according to Dwyer.
The man, whose name is not being released, was taken into custody and will undergo a psychiatric evaluation, Dwyer said.
No one was injured during the standoff, he said.
Man Injured When Shots Fired Into Home Near Alamo Square
A man was injured when someone opened fire into a home near San Francisco's Alamo Square on Thursday night, a police spokesman said.
The shooting was reported at 8:17 p.m. in the 800 block of Webster Street.
The victim, a 32-year-old man, was struck in the right side of his lower back when the gunfire came into the home, police spokesman Officer Carlos Manfredi said.
He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for his injuries, which are not considered life-threatening, Manfredi said.
A green coupe was seen leaving the area following the shooting, but no other suspect information was immediately available today, Manfredi said.
Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411.
Murder Sentence In 1995 Disapperance Of Teen Girl
Nearly 16 years after a 17-year-old girl disappeared from Campbell, her killer pleaded guilty Thursday to the murder and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office announced.
Sylvia Ann Lee was last seen on the afternoon of Oct. 31, 1995, by her boyfriend as she boarded a transit bus blocks from the Campbell Police Department. She had planned to transfer to a light-rail train to reach her grandmother's house in San Jose.
She never arrived.
Wilbur Wade Atcherley, a recent resident of Campbell at the time, had been at the Police Department that day to complete his registration as a convicted sex offender. Atcherley had been convicted of a number of forcible sexual assaults, including kidnapping and rape.
Atcherley, now 50, was not a suspect at the time Sylvia vanished, but on the fifth anniversary of her disappearance he contacted investigators and offered to assist in solving the case, although he did not claim responsibility, according to the district attorney's office.
In the time in between, Atcherley was convicted of the attempted murder and sexual assault of a woman in Gilroy whom he took to a remote area and beat before he cut her throat and left her to die. He was sentenced in 1999 to 36 years to life in prison. During an interview conducted by Campbell police investigators, Atcherley confessed to murdering Sylvia and provided details that only the killer would have known, according to the district attorney's office.
He allegedly said he met the girl at the Curtner light-rail station and took her by taxi to a remote location in New Almaden, where he murdered her and left her body on the bank of a creek bed.
Records from the Yellow Cab taxi company indicated a fare on that date near the light rail station with a drop-off in New Almaden, prosecutors said.
Atcherley was transported from prison earlier this year to the area where he murdered Sylvia to indicate to investigators where the crime happened. Investigators did not locate her remains.
Atcherley faces a total sentence of 76 years to life for the murder of Lee, the 1999 Gilroy case and a conviction in 2000 of possession a weapon in prison, prosecutors said.
Partially Built House Destroyed In Fire Determined Arson
A fire in Concord that caused about $385,000 of damage to a house under construction and two nearby homes earlier this month has been determined arson, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District officials said Thursday.
The fire at the two-story partially built house at 5217 Skyler Court was reported at 4:43 p.m. on Sept. 5. The fire burned the entire house to the ground and significantly damaged two nearby homes on Marvue Circle, fire officials said.
The destroyed home is owned by Discovery Builders and was about 3,500 square feet.
The fire spread to the surrounding area because of high temperatures and radiant heat produced by the wood-framed home. The fire was also exacerbated by the construction at the home, fire officials said.
After a fire investigation that included an accelerant detection K-9 unit, investigators determined the cause of the fire as arson. Evidence and witness statements indicate that the rapid spread of fire was inconsistent with an accidental, naturally progressing fire, officials said.
Fire officials said all reasonable accidental causes were ruled out.
Specifics about the arson will not yet be released, fire district officials said, due to the complex nature of the investigation.
Although the fire is part of an active investigation, fire officials said they still need help from the public to identify the arson suspects. Officials encourage anyone who knows what happened, saw something suspicious or noticed unfamiliar people in the area that day, or have heard anything about the cause of the fire to call the District Fire Investigation Unit at (925) 942-9140 or the arson tip line at (866) 502-7766.
Five Drug Arrests In Napa And Sonoma
Napa and Sonoma County narcotics investigators arrested five people on drug charges and recovered more than 80 pounds of processed marijuana during searches in both counties Wednesday.
The arrests capped a month-long undercover investigation by the Napa Special Investigations Bureau.
Victor Almonte, 32, of Santa Rosa, was arrested for allegedly selling methamphetamine to an undercover agent at an Arco gas station in Calistoga Wednesday evening.
He also was arrested for possession of cocaine for sales, selling cocaine, and conspiracy, Napa Special Investigations Bureau Sgt. Oscar Ortiz said.
Napa County narcotics agents then searched a residence in the 2400 block of Flagstone Drive in Napa where 296 marijuana plants were growing, Ortiz said.
The growers, two Windsor brothers, were using lamps and bypassed a PG&E meter to grow the pot, Ortiz said.
At a residence at 9500 Kristine Way in Windsor, narcotics agents arrested Jose Luis Valdovinos Paramo, 33, and Gonzalo Valdovinos Paramo, 25, for cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale and theft of utilities over $400 at the Napa house.
Jose also was arrested for sale of a controlled substance, sale of cocaine and conspiracy.
Narcotics investigators found more than 80 pounds of processed marijuana, a couple grams of methamphetamine and $56,000 in U.S. currency at the Windsor home, Ortiz said.
At a mobile home on Evergreen Avenue in Windsor, narcotics investigators found four pounds of marijuana and arrested a third brother, Victor Valdovinos Paramo, 35, for possession of marijuana for sale, Ortiz said.
The mobile home was associated with all three Valdovinos Paramo brothers, Ortiz said.
Leticia Cuevas, 25, of Windsor, was arrested during a vehicle stop for possession of marijuana for sale and possession of two grams of methamphetamine, Ortiz said. She was booked into Sonoma County Jail.
The three Valdovinos Paramo brothers were booked into Napa County Jail on suspicion of charges related to the Flagstone Drive grow, Ortiz said. The Napa County Sheriff's Office's detective bureau and SWAT team, the Napa Police Department's SWAT team, Sonoma County Sheriff's Office's narcotics investigators and the Calistoga Police Department also participated in the arrests.
Theft Suspect Also Charged With Posing As Marines, Sheriff's Deputy
A Santa Rosa man charged with stealing $100,000 from his wife's 97-year-old grandfather now also faces charges of representing himself as a U.S. Marine and a sheriff's deputy.
Paul Tart, 29, was arrested last Saturday after sheriff's investigators found forged documents and canceled checks in his home that indicated he took money from the elderly man's checking account, Sonoma County sheriff's Sgt. Mike Raasch said.
Tart obtained power of attorney of the elderly man without his wife's knowledge and withdrew the money from his bank account over a few months, Raasch said.
The grandfather reported the missing money on Sept. 2.
Tart admitted he took the money to support a prescription drug habit, Raasch said.
During the search of Tart's home Saturday, sheriff's deputies also discovered Tart was representing himself as a Marine, Raasch said.
Tart had a Marine uniform with medals, including a Purple Heart, attached to it, Raasch said.
Tart also had photos of him in the Marine uniform posing with members of his family who actually thought he was in the Marine Corps, Raasch said.
Tart even got a U.S.M.C. tattoo on his lower left leg, Raasch said.
Tart also told friends he worked as a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy, dressed in public in a sheriff's office polo shirt and had a gun belt with a replica firearm, Raasch said.
Tart recently purchased a black 2006 Crown Victoria vehicle, attached a push bumper to the front of it and glued antennae on top to resemble a police car, Raasch said.
After being arrested Saturday for the forgery and fiduciary theft from an elder, Tart was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of false representation of military service and false representation of a police officer, Raasch said.
Tart is being held in Sonoma County Jail and is scheduled to be arraigned on the latest charges this afternoon.
5-Year-Old Boy Struck By SUV, Breaks Ankle
A young child ran into traffic in Livermore Wednesday afternoon and was hit by a passing SUV, police said.
A 5-year-old boy apparently ran into traffic around 1:35 p.m. Wednesday in the 5400 block of Kathy Way, near an elementary school.
Police said the boy suffered a broken ankle and minor face injuries and was taken to a hospital.
The preliminary investigation indicates that the vehicle involved in the accident was not speeding, police said.
Livermore police said they want to remind the community to be especially cautious driving in school areas. Parents are also encouraged to talk to their children about how they interact with traffic.
Wednesday's accident followed two similar incidents in August that also involved school-aged children, police said.
Woman Infected With West Nile Virus, First Human Case Of 2011
A 49-year-old woman has been infected with West Nile virus, Contra Costa County's first human case of the virus this year, county officials confirmed Thursday.
The woman, who lives in the eastern part of the county, was confirmed to have the virus by a state laboratory in Richmond on Thursday, according to the Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District.
She is expected to make a full recovery.
There were four confirmed human cases of West Nile virus in 2010. No one in the county has died as a result of the disease since 2006, officials said.
The primary symptoms of West Nile virus are fever, head and body aches, nausea and vomiting, swollen lymph nodes and skin rash, according to the district.
People can protect themselves from the virus by eliminating mosquito breeding grounds, getting rid of stagnant water, wearing insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus, and reporting neglected swimming pools.
People can call (925) 771-6195 to report neglected pools and (877) 968-2473 to report dead birds, which are a warning sign indicating the presence of the virus.
Woman Pleads No Contest To Embezzling From Engineering Company
A Hayward woman pleaded no contest Thursday to charges that she embezzled $93,000 from a Brisbane engineering company where she worked as a bookkeeper until she was fired this summer, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.
Claudia Prior, 46, worked for the company for two years, but it wasn't until after her termination that the company discovered she had used the company's credit card to pay for hundred of personal purchases and had forged the signature of one of the firm's partners on checks used to pay those credit card bills.
Prosecutors said Prior used the credit card to make personal purchases at Starbucks, drugstores and Safeway as well as to purchase gift cards.
She pleaded no contest Thursday to charges of felony embezzlement and felony identity theft.
Prior is expected to be sentenced to two years in state prison on Nov. 16.
She currently remains out of custody on the condition that she have no contact with the engineering company or its employees.
Three-Day Food Festival Gets 'Real' With Local Eats
Oakland is kicking off a three-day food festival this afternoon that hopes to encourage participants to engage with their food, event organizers said.
The third annual Eat Real Festival kicks off at 1 p.m. with the "Get Lit" event and continues until Sunday.
The festival, which organizers described as a mixture of a state fair, street food festival and block party, is set to celebrate and showcase good food at Oakland's Jack London Square.
This afternoon's festivities include the official lighting of wood-fire ovens, tapping of beer kegs and opening of the festival's bar to get the weekend food celebration started.
With nonstop food action, participants will be getting up close and personal with Bay Area food.
The festival will include do-it-yourself demos, butchery contests, backyard farming installations and opportunities to learn where food comes from, who produces it and how it can be cooked and made, organizers said.
The festival is free to attend. Food from carts and other food options will each cost about $5. All vendors will be using regionally sourced and sustainable ingredients, according to organizers.
Jack London Square is located at 55 Harrison St. in Oakland. Today the festival runs until 8 p.m. On Saturday, the festivities begin at 11 a.m. and end at 8 p.m. The last day of the festival is Sunday, running from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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