SF News

Prosecutors Decline To File Charges In Alleged Gaelic Football Attack

San Francisco prosecutors are declining to file charges against a Half Moon Bay man arrested last week in connection with an on-field incident in June that put a fellow Gaelic football player into a coma, a spokesman for the district attorney's office said today.

Patrick Power, 26, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of felony assault.

He was taken into custody during a search of his home for evidence related to the June 25 incident, in which Gaelic football player Mark McGovern, an Irish player visiting the U.S., was seriously injured during a game on Treasure Island.

Prosecutors have discharged the case against Power pending further investigation, district attorney's spokesman Seth Steward said.

Power was released from county jail on Friday evening, sheriff's spokeswoman Eileen Hirst said.

Gaelic football is a mix between soccer and rugby in which players kick or throw a ball through goalposts to score points.

According to www.support4markmcgovern.com, a website maintained by McGovern's family and supporters, McGovern was injured in a hit that occurred away from the ball during the game.

McGovern, who came to the Bay Area to play for the San Francisco Gaelic Athletic Association over the summer, suffered a severe brain injury and was in critical condition after also contracting pneumonia and infection from the MRSA bug, according to the website.

His condition has since improved and he is undergoing rehabilitation, but his family is seeking help with medical bills, which have already totaled more than $1 million, according to the website.

Donations can be made on the www.support4markmcgovern.com website, or by mail to Mark McGovern Fund at 117 Dalewood Way, San Francisco, 94127.

 

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'Anonymous' Planning Protest On Bart Station Platforms Tonight

Another Monday means another protest at downtown San Francisco BART stations.

According to the Twitter page of the hacker group "Anonymous," today's protest is set to begin at 5 p.m. at the Civic Center station.

The page contains instructions for protesters.

"Stand on the platforms, don't move," the Twitter page reads.

"Hold a banner saying why you are there."

Last Thursday, a protest outside the fare gates at the Powell Street station led by the group "No Justice, No BART" resulted in the closure of the station and the arrests of approximately 25 protesters by BART and San Francisco police.

Anonymous, which has organized protests both inside and outside BART stations, said their move back to the train platforms for today's protest is a response to Thursday's arrests.

"They are arresting us for speaking in free speech zones," the group's Twitter page reads. "So why not speak freely in areas they don't want us?"

BART spokesman Jim Allison said the protesters were arrested Thursday for blocking access to the fare gates. He said BART police will have a similar presence today to that of the past few weeks.

Anonymous began its weekly protests after BART shut down cellphone service in multiple downtown BART stations to thwart a planned BART protest on Aug. 11.

"No Justice, No BART," which was formed in response to the BART police shooting of Oscar Grant III on New Year's Day 2009, organized the Aug. 11 protest following the killing of Charles Hill.

Hill, 45, was fatally shot on the platform of the Civic Center BART station by BART police on July 3 after he allegedly wielded knives and a broken bottle as weapons during a confrontation with two officers.

The Department of Homeland Security, which has been involved in investigating recent cyber attacks on BART-related websites, has had officers on BART trains throughout the weekend but that was due to heightened 9/11 security, Allison said.

Today marks the fifth consecutive Monday in which there have been protests at downtown BART stations.

 

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Series Of Robberies Targeting Taxi Drivers

Another taxi driver was robbed in San Francisco's Western Addition neighborhood early this morning -- the fourth robbery of a cabbie at the same intersection since mid-August, police said.

The most recent robbery was reported at about 2 a.m. today.

The 56-year-old victim picked up the suspect at 18th and Castro streets and was asked to drive him to Divisadero Street and Geary Boulevard, said police Capt. Denis O'Leary from the department's Park Station.

But during the drive, the suspect asked the cabbie to take him instead to O'Farrell and Beideman streets, where the suspect then pulled out a knife, put it to the driver's throat and demanded cash, O'Leary said.

The cabbie handed over the money and the suspect fled, police said. The victim was not injured in the robbery.

The suspect is described as a black man in his late 40s or early 50s who is about 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 210 pounds. He was wearing a black hoodie, black pants and black shoes, O'Leary said.

The robbery is the fourth at the intersection of O'Farrell and Beideman streets since last month and at least the eighth since July, police said.

O'Leary said he does not know whether any of the robberies are connected, but said investigators are keeping an eye on that intersection.

"We try to run surveillance on the block when staffing allows," he said.

Police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said the cab has been towed for evidence, and that investigators are trying to recover surveillance video footage taken from a camera inside the taxi.

Anyone with information about the robberies is encouraged to call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411.

 

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Teen Found At Bus Stop After Escaping From Juvenile Hall

A teen briefly escaped from San Francisco's juvenile detention facility before being found at a nearby Muni station on Sunday evening, police said today.

The 17-year-old boy escaped from the Youth Guidance Center at 375 Woodside Ave. at about 5:10 p.m. Sunday.

Officers responded and found the teen nearby boarding a bus at Muni's Forest Hill station on Laguna Honda Boulevard, according to police.

He was taken into custody and returned to his probation officer at the center, police said.

No information was immediately available about how the teen escaped.

 

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Woman Stabbed During Argument In Tenderloin

A woman was stabbed in the chest after getting into an argument with another woman in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood early this morning, police said.

The stabbing was reported at 1:44 a.m. near the intersection of Eddy and Hyde streets.

The 29-year-old victim was arguing with a woman in her 30s, who took out a knife and stabbed the victim in the left side of her chest, according to police.

The victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital and is expected to survive, police said.

The suspect ran away and had not been found as of this morning. Anyone with information about the stabbing is encouraged to call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411.

 

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Man Suffers Life-Threatening Injuries When Struck By Car On 19th Avenue

A man suffered life-threatening injuries when he was struck by a car while jaywalking in San Francisco's Sunset District late Friday night, police said today.

The accident was reported at 11:02 p.m. Friday near the intersection of 19th Avenue and Lawton Street.

Police said the 22-year-old victim was jaywalking west across 19th Avenue when a vehicle traveling south struck him.

The victim suffered serious head injuries and was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, police said.

The driver of the car stopped and cooperated with police.

 

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Noe Valley Fire Causes More Than $1 Million In Damage

A two-alarm fire caused more than $1 million in damage to two buildings in San Francisco's Noe Valley neighborhood on Saturday afternoon, a fire department spokeswoman said today.

The blaze was reported at 3:49 p.m. at 4049 24th St., fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.

The fire was extinguished at 4:27 p.m. after also damaging an adjacent building at 4045 24th St., Talmadge said.

The building where the fire started sustained $700,000 in damage to its structure and $250,000 to its contents, while the adjacent building had about $200,000 worth of damage, she said.

Seven residents were displaced by the fire but no one was injured. The cause remains under investigation, Talmadge said.

An employee at a Wells Fargo Bank branch at 4045 24th St. said the fire burned mostly in a residential building. He said the bank had minor water damage from the sprinkler system but was open for business today.

 

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One-Of-A-Kind Windmill Receives Crowning Achievement At 'Capping' Ceremony

San Francisco officials and international representatives will celebrate a crowning achievement this morning when a refurbished dome is placed on top of the Golden Gate Park windmill that is considered the largest of its kind in the world.

The 106-year-old Samuel Murphy Windmill, also known as the South Windmill, will receive its restored 64-ton copper dome at a "capping" ceremony at 11 a.m., a San Francisco Recreation and Park Department spokeswoman said.

The windmill, which is one of two traditional Dutch-style windmills in Golden Gate Park, has been waiting more than 10 years for its cap to return after it was shipped to The Netherlands for restoration, according to the park department.

The Murphy Windmill, named after a local banker and benefactor, was constructed in 1905 after the successful creation of the Dutch Windmill.

The Dutch Windmill, which now sits next to the Beach Chalet restaurant, was built in 1902. At one time, both windmills were responsible for pumping as many as 1.5 million gallons of water everyday, according to the park department.

But through natural corrosion and man-made neglect, the Murphy Windmill sustained significant damage. Its powerful sails, considered the longest in the world, were detached and abandoned and its wooden wraparound deck was also destroyed.

Now considered to be treasured landmarks, a campaign to save the windmills was organized more than 10 years ago and a major milestone for the restoration efforts will be celebrated today.

San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg, Supervisor Carmen Chu and Dutch Consul-General Bart van Bolhuis will attend the dome placement ceremony, which will take place at the Murphy Windmill near Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and Great Highway.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Monday News Roundup

Investigation Conducted After Oakland Firefighters Find Two Bodies In Blaze

Homicide detectives are conducting an investigation after Oakland firefighters discovered two bodies burning in a blaze at a two-story building early Sunday morning, Oakland police and fire officials said.

Oakland firefighters responded to a report of a fire in the 3100 block of Coolidge  venue at a residential unit in the building around 1:05 a.m. and found two bodies burning in the home, Oakland police Officer J. Moore said.

One of the bodies was badly burned and the coroner is still collecting evidence to identify the victim, Oakland fire Battalion Chief Darin White said. The other victim is believed to be a woman, he said.

The building houses an acupuncture and acupressure business on its lower level, along with a residential unit in the rear, White said. The bodies were found in the building's upper level in a separate residential unit where the fire originated, he said.

Six people were displaced as a result of the one-alarm fire, which was extinguished within about 15 minutes, White said. There were no other reported injuries. The blaze caused an estimated $50,000 to $70,000 in damage, he said.

White said the fire has not been deemed suspicious because the fire investigator is still on the scene gathering information. Although an arson investigation is not underway, a witness reported seeing several suspects running away from the building after the blaze, he said.

Wrong-Way Driver Suffers Major Injuries In Palo Alto Crash

A wrong-way driver suffered major injuries in a fiery crash in Palo Alto early Sunday morning, police said.

An officer spotted a vehicle driving north in the southbound lane on Alma Street at about 2:55 a.m., according to Palo Alto police.

The vehicle apparently crossed multiple lanes and aimed for the police vehicle, which avoided a collision. The officer attempted to pursue the suspect, but the vehicle drove out of sight near Churchill Avenue, police said.

Responding officers said the suspect vehicle traveled at a high speed toward a curve in the roadway near Hamilton Avenue, where the vehicle crashed through a guardrail and landed on University Avenue, bursting into flames.

The driver, a 30-year-old Mountain View man, was pulled from the burning vehicle and firefighters extinguished the blaze.

The driver was taken to Stanford Medical Center to be treated for serious injuries.

A portion of University Avenue was closed to traffic until 9:45 a.m.

Six Residents Displaced And Two Injured By San Jose Fire

Six residents were displaced, including two who suffered minor burns, after a small fire started in the bedroom of their San Jose home early Sunday morning, a fire captain said.

Firefighters responded to a blaze reported at a triplex unit at South Third and Martha streets around 4:45 a.m., San Jose fire Capt. Rob Brown said.

Crews arrived quickly and found light smoke coming from the side of the building, Brown said. Firefighters found the fire coming from one of the bedrooms, where they were able to contain the blaze before it spread to neighboring units, he said. The fire was under control by about 5:30 a.m.

All six residents, four adults and two children, were able to escape the home without serious injury. Brown said two adults suffered minor burns when they tried to extinguish the fire using blankets. Both were treated on scene and released.

The American Red Cross is assisting the displaced residents with temporary housing.

The damage to the home was confined to the windows and doors and is estimated to be about $10,000, Brown said. The fire investigator is still on the scene gathering information to determine the cause of the fire.

Concord Carjacking Suspect Identified

The suspect in a wild vehicle pursuit and carjacking that took place Sunday afternoon in Concord has been identified as Dustin Edward Cooper, a parolee who is considered armed and dangerous.

Concord police said they were notified around noon that a vehicle being pursued by the California Highway Patrol was entering the city. Police did not join the pursuit at that time, and the chase ended when the suspect abandoned his vehicle on southbound state Highway 242 just north of Willow Pass Road and fled on foot.

A short time later, however, a carjacking was reported in the 1500 block of Pine Street. Police believed the suspect in the carjacking was the same suspect in the pursuit, given the location, timing and matching descriptions.

The carjacked vehicle was driven erratically through Concord, causing multiple reports of reckless driving and hit and run accidents. It was ultimately found unoccupied in the 4800 block of Myrtle Drive. The suspect remains at large.

Livermore Man Arreseted For Three Explosive Devices

A Livermore man was arrested after officers found three explosive devices during a probation search Saturday morning, police said.    

Officers arrived at apartment No. 209 at 5810 East Avenue to serve an arrest warrant to Gabriel Douglas, 31, and to execute a probation search warrant around 8 a.m., Livermore police said.

During the search, officers found three explosive devices -- two wrapped sticks of gunpowder with fuses and a water bottle containing gunpowder and a fuse.

The immediate area was evacuated and the Alameda County Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit responded to secure the explosives, police said.

After the devices were secured, residents were permitted to reenter their homes.

Douglas allegedly admitted to possessing the explosives, police said. He was arrested on suspicion of possession of a destructive device, a probation violation and an arrest warrant. Douglas was booked into Santa Rita Jail.

San Jose Mosquitoes Test Positive For West Nile Virus

Mosquitoes collected from south San Jose have tested positive for West Nile virus, according to the Santa Clara Count Vector Control District.    

The positive detection has prompted the vector control district to plan a mosquito fogging treatment in the south San Jose area on Wednesday at 11 p.m. The fogging is scheduled to last for several hours.

The general area of the fogging is bordered by Hillsdale Avenue on the north, Kenton Lane and Glenmont Drive on the west, Monterey and Dunn avenues on the east, and Foothill Drive on the south.    

A map of the planned fogging area can be viewed at www.sccvector.org.

Information regarding the fogging will be distributed to area residents this week, according to the district.

San Francisco Medical Examiner's Office Identified Bayview Train Accident Suspect

The San Francisco medical examiner's office has identified a man killed Saturday by a train in the city's Bayview District as 30-year-old Brandon Swain.

Swain, a San Francisco resident, was struck on the tracks by southbound Caltrain No. 440 near Jerrold Avenue in the at about 5:30 p.m., Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said.

Trains in both directions were delayed for about an hour.    

The incident remains under investigation.

Volunteer Clean Up 9/11 Restoration Held In Presidio

More than 40 people came out to volunteer in the Presidio Sunday morning as part of a nationwide effort to inspire volunteer service in observance of the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, park officials said.

The Presidio Trust partnered with HandsOn Bay Area (HOBA) to organize volunteers to help clean up non-native shrubbery in an area known as Park Scrub near Mountain Lake.

The area getting the makeover will become the habitat for the endangered San Francisco Lessingia, which is a rare flowering plant in the daisy family, National Park Service biological science technician Coty Sifuentes-Winter said.

To go along with the 12 regular volunteers, HOBA brought in 32 extra people to help with the restoration project, Presidio Trust volunteer coordinator Jenny McIlvaine said.

The Presidio hosts a number of different volunteer programs on a weekly basis, including a weekly Sunday project, McIlvaine said.

The National Day of Service and Remembrance is part of HOBA's month-long "Season of Service," a campaign to engage 3,000 Bay Area volunteers in performing 9,011 hours of service.    

HOBA is an affiliate of HandsOn Network, an alliance of innovative volunteer management organizations around the world, and hosts a number of monthly events including managing more than 80 direct-service projects per month.

HOBA was started by the families of the 9/11 victims and is used to "create positive volunteer experiences" and for people who "want to be part of something bigger," HOBA project manager Julie Walsh said.    

Sunday was the second of three "Season of Service" events.

Mountain View And The Rest Of The United States Come Together To Observe Moment Of Silence For 9/11

The city of Mountain View and much of the population of the United States came together Sunday to observe a coordinated moment of silence to remember the lives lost ten years ago in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

The federal government called for the nation to observe one minute of silence at exactly 1 p.m. EST, or 10 a.m. PST, and to cease all other work or activity wherever possible and honor those whose lives were lost during the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The Mountain View City Council resolved to participate in the moment of silence in a proclamation signed by Mayor Jac Siegel on Aug. 15.    

Mountain View also had a processional of public safety, military and service personnel through the city streets beginning at 11 a.m.  They eventually gathered at Civic Center Plaza on the corner of Mercy and Castro streets for a solemn remembrance ceremony.

At the ceremony, the U.S. flag was lowered to half-staff -- a powerful signal of mourning and respect -- and Siegel addressed those gathered on the significance of the tragic events of Sept. 11. An additional moment of silence was held at the ceremony.

Violent Crimes And Property Offences Decreased In 2010 According To Report

Violent crimes and property offenses decreased across the state in 2010, according to the annual Crime in California report released by the state Department of Justice on Friday.

The report considered violent offenses -- homicides, forcible rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults -- and property crimes, including burglaries, motor vehicle thefts, and larceny-theft exceeding $400. Changes in arson were also evaluated.

This is the fourth consecutive year that violent crime has dropped across the state, and violent crimes are at their lowest level since 1968, according to the state Office of the Attorney General.

The trend was shared across the Bay Area, with more counties seeing decreases in both overall categories, according to the report.

In San Francisco, arsons decreased by 20.7 percent, with 157 arson fires in 2010 versus 198 the year before. Crimes overall decreased, and the largest change was in motor vehicle theft, which was down by 20.5 percent.    

In Alameda County, the largest change involved motor vehicle thefts, which decreased from 12,768 in 2009 to 9,448 in 2010, a decline of 26 percent. The homicide rate decreased slightly, with 8.3 homicides per 100,000 people in 2010, compared to a rate of 8.8 the year prior, a change of 5.7 percent.

Homicides were down significantly in neighboring Contra Costa County, which had 65 homicides in 2010 compared to 89 the previous year, a decrease of 27 percent. In terms of homicide rate, there were 6 homicides per 100,000 people in 2010.

Overall, violent crimes in Marin County showed a slight decrease -- 0.8 percent -- although robberies increased by 5.5 percent to 153 incidents in 2010. Aggravated assaults decreased from 337 to 316, down 6.2 percent. The number of homicides, 4, was unchanged from 2009.

Although property crimes in Napa County were down by 14.6 percent overall, violent crimes spiked, increasing by 12.2 percent overall. The change was attributed to a spate of aggravated assaults, with 549 assaults in 2010 versus 452 the year before.

Crimes were down overall in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Sonoma counties, with slight increases. In Solano County, crimes in both overall categories decreased, although the number of forcible rapes increased by 25 percent.

Vallejo Man Sentenced To More Than 8 Years In Jail For Gun Trafficking And Felony Possession

A Vallejo man was sentenced Thursday to more than eight years in prison for gun trafficking and for being a felon in possession of a firearm, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag announced Friday.

Glenn Alex Miller, 40, pleaded guilty on June 2, 2011, to trafficking in firearms and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

Co-defendant Eric Lynch, 54, of American Canyon, also pleaded guilty in June to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.    

Miller had previously been convicted of assault with a firearm in 1994 and two other firearm-related felonies in 2000 and 2001, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

When Miller was arrested on Feb. 24, 2010, he possessed a Bushmaster .223 caliber rifle and four pistols.

As part of the plea agreement, he admitted to selling three firearms and ammunition over a five-month period in 2010. Lynch transported one of the three firearms to an undercover agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Lynch was also sentenced Thursday to 27 months in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The men were sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey S. White, and the sentences include three-year periods of supervised release.

The prosecution of Miller and Lynch -- the result of a six-month investigation by the bureau -- represents an ongoing cooperation between the U.S. Attorney's Office and the bureau to reduce gun trafficking and gun violence.

San Jose Residents, Leaders and Officials Held 9/11 Memorial March

More than 800 residents, community leaders, elected officials and civil servants gathered and marched in downtown San Jose Sunday to mark the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The commemorative mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph at 80 S. Market St. was so crowded that many had to stand outside the cathedral doorways and strain to catch a glimpse inside.

After Bishop Patrick McGrath exited the church doors, a procession of police, firefighters and emergency responders dressed in formal attire led the crowd down Market Street to San Jose Fire Station 1.

The march was accompanied by bagpipe and percussion players wearing police uniforms with kilts. Firefighters flanked a vintage fire engine while cadets and trainees handed out plastic firefighter hats to children. The group marched under a large U.S. flag strung between two fire engine ladders.

"All over America today we gather to remember one of the darkest days in our nation's history," keynote speaker U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, said at the fire station Sunday.

Lofgren expressed remorse that much of that unity in Congress seen at that time has been lost. She related the story of the night of Sept. 11, 2001, when all of Congress gathered on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., and spontaneously sang "God Bless America."

But, she said, "What has not been lost is a spirit of resilience and strength." She said the American spirit was "unbowed and unbroken" by the events of Sept. 11.

The fire station bell rang in four groups of five to end the ceremony, a traditional signal that all firefighters could go home for the day. 

Union City Covered In American Flags In Honor Of 9/11

American flags flew from the backs from trucks, motorcycles and hats as friends, family and community members honored those who died on United Flight 93 at the flight's memorial in Union City Sunday afternoon.

"Through tragedy we have witnessed such tremendous bravery, great heroism and tremendous sacrifice," Reverend Albert Valencia said Sunday. "We honor this day those whose lives were so unselfishly given so that others would live."

"We do remember all that perished on this day 10 years ago."    

Union City Mayor Mark Green spoke about the "duty of citizenship" and how it applied to these unselfish people.

"They didn't sign up that day on that flight to be self-sacrificing people to prevent a bigger tragedy at the Capitol Building," Green said. "Yet, spontaneously, they did the right thing."

"We need to be looking to each other and inside of ourselves for more examples of this."   

More than 300 people came to pay their respects, some arriving as early as 7 a.m.

The National Flight 93 Memorial also had its dedication ceremony Sunday but, for some, the real home of the memorial is in the Bay Area.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

The San Francisco Bay Area is expected to be mostly cloudy today, with patches of fog this morning. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are anticipated, with southwest winds 5 to 10 mph.

Partly cloudy skies are likely this evening, before becoming mostly cloudy tonight. Lows in the mid 50s are expected, with west winds 5 to 15 mph.

Tuesday is expected to be mostly cloudy and foggy in the morning before becoming partly cloudy later in the day. West winds 10 to 15 mph are anticipated. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are likely.

 

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Presidio Hosts 9/11 Restoration Project

More than 40 people came out to volunteer in the Presidio this morning as part of a nationwide effort to inspire volunteer service in observance of the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, park officials said.

The Presidio Trust partnered with HandsOn Bay Area (HOBA) to organize volunteers to help clean up non-native shrubbery in an area known as Park Scrub near Mountain Lake.

"The Presidio has long been a place of service," Presidio Trust executive director Craig Middleton said in a statement. "We are honored to take part in the National Day of Service and Remembrance as a way of paying tribute to those lost on 9/11."

The area getting the makeover will become the habitat for the endangered San Francisco Lessingia, which is a rare flowering plant in the daisy family, National Park Service biological science technician Coty Sifuentes-Winter said.

To go along with the 12 regular volunteers, HOBA brought in 32 extra bodies to help with the restoration project, Presidio Trust volunteer coordinator Jenny McIlvaine said.

"It's really an honor to have this many people come out to our park," Sifuentes-Winter said.

The Presidio hosts a number of different volunteer programs on a weekly basis, including a weekly Sunday project, McIlvaine said.    

Frank Miller, who has been a regular volunteer at the Presidio for about a year, was excited to see the number of people volunteering today.

"It's really nice to see so many people," Miller said. Miller volunteers with the nursery, park stewards and forestry departments.

The National Day of Service and Remembrance is part of HOBA's month-long "Season of Service," a campaign to engage 3,000 Bay Area volunteers in performing 9,011 hours of service.

HOBA is an affiliate of HandsOn Network, an alliance of innovative volunteer management organizations around the world, and hosts a number of monthly events including managing more than 80 direct-service projects per month.

HOBA was started by the families of the 9/11 victims and is used to "create positive volunteer experiences" and for people who "want to be part of something bigger," HOBA project manager Julie Walsh said.    

Sunday was the second of three "Season of Service" events.    

The film Speaking in Tongues was aired last Thursday at the Presidio's Herbst Theatre and the Presidio Trust will be hosting a community disaster preparedness training this Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Presidio Log Cabin, officials said.

 

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Firefighters Respond To Stabbing Near Alamo Square

San Francisco firefighters are responding to a stabbing reported near Alamo Square, a fire official said.

The stabbing was reported at Fulton and Fillmore streets at about 6:55 a.m., according to the San Francisco Fire Department.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Sunday News Roundup

Suspect Who Held Hostages in Emeryville Arrested

A suspect who held hostages overnight at an Emeryville office supply store in a botched attempt to rob the store was taken into custody Saturday morning, an Oakland police officer said.

After police reviewed surveillance video from the store, an employee was also arrested for allegedly assisting the suspect with entering the store to commit the robbery, police spokeswoman Holly Joshi said.

The 45-year-old suspect from Oakland held an unknown number of people hostage at an Office Depot at 3535 Hollis St. starting at 9:36 p.m. Police were in a standoff with the suspect for six and a half hours, Oakland police Officer Kevin McDonald said.

Police entered the building around 4 a.m., shortly after which the suspect was taken into custody. When police entered the store it appeared the hostages had been released, McDonald said.

Joshi said that all of the employees were able to escape from the store unharmed.

The suspect was transported to a hospital for treatment of injuries he received while attempted to hide in the store, Joshi said.

The nearby Home Depot hardware store had been evacuated Friday night, and most of the Office Depot employees were out of the building late Friday night, according to police.

Roads around the area had been closed, but were expected to be reopened Saturday morning, police said.

The Office Depot is located at the Oakland-Emeryville border, and Emeryville police also responded to the scene.

San Rafael Man Arrested for Murder

A San Rafael man has been arrested in the murder of a woman found dead in the Canal Neighborhood, police said Saturday.

Police were called to a home at 49 Harbor St. around 6:45 a.m. Friday on the report of a woman who was not breathing, Sgt. Jim Correa said.

Officers found the woman, a 46-year-old San Rafael resident, dead when they arrived, and showing signs of blunt force trauma injuries to her face.

There were several men in the home, and one of them, Robert Lee Stanley, 51, was dating the woman or had been dating her recently, Correa said. Police had been called to the victim's home shortly before 4:30 a.m. regarding a verbal argument and at that time had asked Stanley to leave the area, after determining no crime had been committed at that time.

Following an investigation, Stanley was arrested and charged with the homicide. He was also charged with making criminal threats and robbery in connection with an incident around 5:15 a.m., in which he allegedly threatened to kill both store clerks and stole an item from them using fear.

An autopsy is scheduled for Monday to determine the exact cause of death.

Man Killed by Southbound Train in San Francisco

A man was struck and killed by a southbound train in San Francisco Saturday evening, Caltrain officials said.

Southbound train #440 struck the adult male on the tracks near the Jerrold Avenue bridge just after 5:30 p.m., Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said.

The northbound tracks were reopened at 6:52 p.m. and trains are running in both directions on those tracks. Passengers should expect delays of up to an hour.

All passengers boarding at the Bayshore station should wait on the northbound platform.

Two-Alarm Fire in San Francisco Under Control

A two-alarm structure fire in San Francisco was brought under control at 4:27 p.m. Saturday, according to a fire dispatcher.

The fire at 4049 24th St. between Castro and Noe streets was reported at 3:49 p.m. No injuries were reported, according to the dispatcher.

Boy Abducted by His Mother Found in Southern California

A 14-year-old boy who police initially believed was abducted by his mother from a St. Helena high school Friday was found in Southern California, St. Helena police said.

The mother, 47-year-old Chantal Coghlan, allegedly arrived at St. Helena High School at 1 p.m. and took her son out of school without the knowledge of the boy's custodial father, according to Sgt. Matt Talbott.

Coghlan and the boy were believed to be en route to Southern California.

Police did not issue an Amber alert, but the California Highway Patrol issued a "be on the lookout" alert for the suspect and suspect vehicle to all CHP offices along U.S. Highway 101 and state Highway 1 corridors.

Santa Barbara County sheriff's officials contacted the woman and son and found that the boy was safe and not being held against his will, according to police.

Coghlan told authorities that a court in Santa Barbara had given her custody of the boy.

The father, meanwhile, claims that he was given custody, police said.

Both parents claim that they can provide proof of custody in court on Monday and until then police said the boy will remain with his mother in Southern California.

Motorcyclist Dies in Crash on Highway 101

A motorcyclist died from injuries sustained in a crash on U.S. Highway 101 Friday night in East Palo Alto after he lost control of the bike and hit the roadway, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The 59-year-old rider from Los Altos had been traveling on southbound Highway 101 north of University Avenue at about 7:45 p.m. when, for reasons unknown, he lost control of the motorcycle, the CHP said.

A green 2000 Toyota Corolla, which was driven by a 32-year-old Hayward man and was traveling in the same direction, struck the bike after it went down, the CHP said.

Menlo Park Fire personnel and American Medical Response paramedics responded to the scene and transported the rider to Stanford University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 8:30 p.m.

No arrests were made.

The collision remains under investigation.

Pleasanton Couple Pleads Guilty to Violations Related to El Balazo Restaurant

A Pleasanton couple pleaded guilty in federal court in Oakland on Wednesday to immigration, social security and tax violations related to the operation of their restaurant chain El Balazo, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Marino Sandoval, 58, and his wife Nicole Sandoval, 50, were charged in November 2010 with harboring and employing illegal immigrants, knowingly misusing employee's social security numbers and tax fraud.

In May 2008, federal immigration agents raided several El Balazo taquerias and determined that the couple was employing 63 illegal immigrants.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Marino Salazar later re-hired at least 10 of the illegal employees after receiving written notification from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security investigators informing him of the employees' identities.

The couple owned and operated the restaurants with Marino Sandoval's brother, Francisco Sandoval, who pleaded guilty to tax charges in August 2010.

Francisco Sandoval, 55, of Alameda, was sentenced in December to three years' probation and ordered to pay $50,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

Marino and Nicole Sandoval are scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 14.   

Man Robbed in Cow Hollow

A man was robbed at gunpoint in San Francisco's Cow Hollow neighborhood Thursday afternoon, police said.

The robbery was reported at 4:50 p.m. near the intersection of Divisadero and Green streets.

The 47-year-old victim was walking when he was approached by two men in their mid 20s, one of whom pulled out a gun, according to police.

The suspects took cash and keys from the victim, then ran to a red vehicle and drove away, police said.

The victim was not injured in the robbery.
 

Two People Assaulted in Santa Rosa

Two people were assaulted in Santa Rosa early Saturday morning in what police said appears to be a gang-related attack.

A 22-year-old female was walking with a 24-year-old male near Mendocino Avenue and Steele Lane at about 4 a.m. when they were confronted by two suspects, police said.

The suspects assaulted the victims, knocking them to the ground, and shouted gang-related threats as they continued to assault the victims, police said.

The suspects then fled on foot south on Mendocino Avenue.

When police arrived, they found the two victims with facial and head injuries, which were not life-threatening. The victims were transported to a hospital for treatment.

Man Shot in Oakland, Dies

A man was found shot in Oakland Friday night and later died at the hospital, Oakland police said.

Police responded to a shooting in the 2900 block of Octavia St. just before 9 p.m. A man was found who had been shot and was taken to the hospital, police said.

He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Bay Area Weather

The Bay Area is expected to be mostly cloudy today with patchy fog in the morning and a slight chance of thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are anticipated. Southwest winds 5 to 10 mph are also expected.

Tonight is expected to be cloudy with a slight chance of thunderstorms and patches of fog after midnight. Lows in the mid 50s are anticipated, with southwest winds 5 to 10 mph.

Monday is expected to be partly cloudy with patches of fog in the morning. Southwest winds around 5 mph are expected, increasing to 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are likely.

Half Moon Bay Man Arrested For Felony Assault In Gaelic Football Attack

A Half Moon Bay man has been arrested in connection with an incident that put a fellow Gaelic football player into a coma in June, San Francisco police said Friday.

Patrick Power, 26, was arrested Thursday morning during a search of his home for evidence, according to San Francisco police Lt. Troy Dangerfield. He was taken into custody on suspicion of felony assault and remained in custody as of Friday morning.

Power was arrested in connection with a June 25 incident in which fellow Gaelic football player Mark McGovern, an Irish player visiting the United States, suffered injuries during a game that put him into a coma.

McGovern has emerged from the coma but continues to work through a course of rehabilitation, according to a website maintained by his family and supporters. Donations to help with his medical bills, which have already exceeded $1 million, can be made at www.support4markmcgovern.com.

 

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Update: Lanes Open After I-280 3-Car Accident This Morning

A Sig-alert for a three-car accident on southbound Interstate Highway 280 has been canceled in San Francisco early this morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The crash was first reported at 12:14 a.m. just south of Alemany Boulevard. The alert was issued at 12:38 a.m. when two lanes were blocked. The alert was canceled and all lanes were open by 1:21 a.m., CHP Officer Ralph Caggiano said.

One person involved in the accident was taken to St. Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco for cuts and bruises on their right eyebrow and forehead. Two others suffered minor injuries and complained of pain, Caggiano said.

 

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San Francsico Bay Area Saturday News Roundup

Three Vegetation Fires Contained In Contra Costa County

Cal Fire and local fire crews had three vegetation fires contained in eastern Contra Costa County Friday night, a fire spokeswoman said.

All three fires were ignited by lightening strikes at around 8p.m., according to San Jose fire Capt. Mary Gutierrez.

The first fire was located near Old Borges Ranch at 1035 Castle Rock in Walnut Creek and covers about 20 acres.

A fire at Morgan Territory Regional Preserve spread over about seven acres.

Another fire on Morgan Territory Road covered about six acres and had much thicker fuel, according to Gutierrez.

Cal Fire and regional fire departments were using bulldozers and hand crews to create a perimeter and battle the fires, according to Gutierrez.

National Weather Service Issued Red Flag Warnings For Bay Area Thunderstorms

The National Weather Service issued red flag warnings for parts of the Bay Area in response to thunderstorms.

A warning was issued for the North Bay hills Friday afternoon and at around 7 p.m. authorities extended the warning to include the East Bay Hills, the Diablo Range, and parts of Monterey, Santa Clara and San Benito counties.

A red flag warning indicates that critical fire weather conditions are happening or are imminent in the area. The warning is in effect until 5 p.m. today.

The warnings were issued in response to thunderstorms that were moving into the Bay Area from the northeast, National Weather Service spokeswoman Diana Henderson said.

As of about 8 p.m., the thunderstorms were passing through Antioch, Pleasanton and Livermore, and heading toward Fremont, Henderson said.    

Henderson said dry lightening could ignite wildfires and residents are urged to be watchful and are reminded not to set campfires and be cautious when discarding cigarette butts.

"It's volatile out there," she said.

Giselle Esteban Arraigned On Michelle Le Murder Charge

Giselle Esteban was arraigned Friday on a charge that she murdered her former high school classmate Michelle Le, a 26-year-old nursing student who disappeared in Hayward in May.

Esteban, a 27-year-old Union City woman who was dressed in a red jail jumpsuit, told Alameda County Superior Court Judge Michael Gaffey at a brief hearing that she doesn't yet have an attorney.

Gaffey referred her to the Public Defender's Office and ordered her to return to court on Monday to be assigned an attorney and possibly enter a plea.

Esteban, who is pregnant, originally was scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday but her hearing was postponed because she had undisclosed medical problems that prompted jail officials to refer her to a doctor.

Although Le's body has not been found, Hayward police arrested Esteban on Wednesday and the Alameda County District Attorney's Office on Thursday charged her with murdering Le, citing DNA evidence and cellphone records.

California Judicial Council Approved Loan Of Emergency Funding

After a contentious meeting, the California Judicial Council Friday unanimously approved a loan of $2.5 million in emergency funding for San Francisco Superior Court.

Together with a previously approved grant of $646,000 for the San Francisco court's two complex litigation departments, the funding will enable the court to reduce drastic cuts announced in July and keep 11 more courtrooms open.

The funding was approved at a special meeting of the 21-member council, the governing body of the California court system, at the State Building in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Superior Court will now close 14 rather than 25 civil courtrooms, out of a total of 63 civil and criminal courtrooms, and lay off 75 rather than 177 of its 485 employees.

The approval came at the end of a session in which Michael Yuen, the San Francisco court's executive officer, accused the council and its staff agency, the Administrative Office of the Courts, of a "charade" and "shameful conduct." 

Yuen accused the agency of negotiating in bad faith because a committee report to the council added seven possible conditions to an agreement that Yuen and AOC Deputy Director Ron Overholt signed on Aug. 31.

St. Helena High School Boy Originally Believed Abducted Found

A 14-year-old boy who police initially believed was abducted by his mother from a St. Helena high school Friday was found in Southern California, St. Helena police said.

The mother, 47-year-old Chantal Coghlan, allegedly arrived at St. Helena High School at 1 p.m. and took her son out of school without the knowledge of the boy's custodial father, according to Sgt. Matt Talbott.    

Coghlan and the boy were believed to be en route to Southern California.

Police did not issue an Amber alert, but the California Highway Patrol issued a "be on the lookout" alert for the suspect and suspect vehicle to all CHP offices along U.S. Highway 101 and state Highway 1 corridors.

Santa Barbara County sheriff's officials contacted the woman and son and found that the boy was safe and not being held against his will, according to police.

Coghlan told authorities that a court in Santa Barbara had given her custody of the boy.

The father, meanwhile, claims that he was given custody, police said.

Both parents claim that they can provide proof of custody in court on Monday and until then police said the boy will remain with his mother in Southern California.

Police Searching For Missing Elderly Fairfield Woman

Police are searching for a missing elderly Fairfield woman who is considered at-risk, police said.

Ruth "Armstrong" Morris, 75, was last seen at her home in the 700 block of Cypress Circle Friday morning at around 10 a.m., according to Fairfield police.    

Morris suffers from dementia and police said she may have walked away from her home. Authorities do not believe she has cash but may have access to a bus.

She does not have local acquaintances but she has family in Richmond, police said.

Morris was described as a black woman with short gray hair, brown eyes and a dark complexion. She is 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 160 pounds.

She was last seen wearing a black jacket, white pajama bottoms, and an off-white colored shirt, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at (707) 428-7600 or Crime Stoppers at (707) 644-STOP.

Teen Convicted Of Second-Degree Murder Sentenced To 49 Years In Prison

A teen convicted in May of second-degree murder for the 2007 fatal shooting of another teen in San Francisco's Metreon complex was sentenced Friday to 49 years to life in prison, prosecutors said.

Christopher Canon was 15 when he shot 18-year-old Michael Price Jr., of Oakland, at the Metreon at Fourth and Mission streets on Nov. 11, 2007. He was arrested nearby after the shooting and was charged as an adult.

Canon, who is now 19, was upset that Price wasn't moving quickly enough down an escalator outside a video arcade at the complex, prosecutors said.

Canon's attorney, David Simerly, had argued Price was the attacker and that Canon shot him in self-defense.

A mistrial was declared in the case last November when a San Francisco Superior Court jury deadlocked on whether Canon should be convicted of first- or second-degree murder.

Prosecutors retried the case with a new jury, which declined to convict Canon of first-degree murder, but found him guilty on May 31 of second-degree murder with an enhancement for the use of a firearm.

San Francisco Man Arrested After Allegedly Sexually Assaulting Woman

A San Francisco man was arrested Thursday several hours after he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman at knifepoint in a vacant house in South San Francisco, police said today.

Sergio Cortez picked up the victim in San Francisco and the two agreed to have sex, police said.

Cortez then allegedly drove to a nearby location, where he forced the victim into his vehicle's back seat and allegedly physically and sexually assaulted her at knife point, according to police.

Against her will, the victim was driven by Cortez to a vacant house in the 600 block of Third Lane in South San Francisco, where he forced her inside the home and allegedly sexually assaulted her a second time, police said.

Cortez fled the vacant home but was later located near the area several hours later.

He was arrested and booked at San Mateo County Jail on suspicion of kidnapping, sexual assault, forced oral copulation, assault with a deadly weapon and making criminal threats.

Vacaville Homicide Victim Identified

The victim of a homicide in Vacaville on Thursday night has been identified as 33-year-old Victoria Corral, police said Friday afternoon.

Corral and her alleged killer, Sidney Wilson, 33, were in a long-term relationship and had two children together, police Sgt. Jeff King said.

Wilson was arrested Thursday night after officers responding to a report of shots fired found Corral's body lying on the floor of a home's garage, police said.

The shooting was reported at about 10:40 p.m. at the home in the 200 block of Cambridge Drive.

Officers responding to the report surrounded the home and attempted to contact a man inside the residence.

While officers attempted to establish communication with the man, a 911 dispatcher communicating with a 17-year-old girl inside the home was able to direct her and three other children to the home's rear, where a patrol officer evacuated them to a safe location, police said.

Officers were eventually able to successfully contact Wilson, the man inside the home, and take him into custody.

Corral was found on the floor of the home's attached garage, where paramedics pronounced her dead.

Wilson was booked into Solano County Jail on suspicion of homicide, police said.

The children who had been inside the home were taken into protective custody at the scene and were later released to family members, police said.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

Partly cloudy skies are expected in the Bay Area today after mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog in the morning. There is a slight chance of thunderstorms. Highs in the 50s to upper 60s are likely.    

Tonight is anticipated to be partly cloudy before becoming mostly cloudy with patchy fog after midnight. There is a slight chance of thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 50s are expected.

Partly cloudy skies are expected Sunday after mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog in the morning. There is a slight chance of thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 50s to lower 60s are expected.

 

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Man Convicted Of Child Molestation Charges Dating Back To 1989

A San Francisco man was convicted Thursday of multiple charges of
molesting children, some of them dating back to 1989, according to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.

Julius Lewis, 50, came under suspicion in August 2007 when a 6-year-old girl told a nurse that he was sexually assaulting her. The girl visited Lewis' home because she was a friend of his daughter, and her foster mother was acquainted with Lewis, prosecutors said.

During the investigation, a San Francisco police inspector made contact with Lewis' stepdaughter, and learned that Lewis had also sexually abused her in the late 1980s, according to the district attorney's office.

While most of the stepdaughter's abuse occurred in Texas, the family had lived for a brief period in San Francisco in 1989. The victim, now an adult, told police that Lewis had sexual intercourse with her at least once a week while they lived in San Francisco, including on Oct. 17, 1989, the day of the Loma Prieta earthquake. She was 11 years old at the time.

Police also uncovered several other victims in Texas, including Lewis' stepsister and two friends of his stepdaughter, and discovered a prior conviction from Texas for indecency with a child. The court allowed three of the prior victims to testify and prosecutors introduced the former conviction as evidence of Lewis' alleged propensity to commit similar crimes.

The defense argued that there was reasonable doubt because there was no DNA or medical evidence, and that the statute of limitations had expired for the 1989 offenses in San Francisco, according to the district attorney's office. In addition, defense attorneys said there was insufficient evidence for the 2007 charge.

However, a jury on Thursday afternoon found Lewis guilty of five counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14 after five hours of deliberation, prosecutors said.

The jury also found that he had committed those crimes against more than one victim, and that the statute of limitations was extended for four of the acts, which were committed in 1989.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 18. Lewis faces a maximum sentence of 23 years to life in state prison.

 

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Bart Increasing Security For Sept. 11 Weekend

With the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks days away, BART stations are working with local law enforcement throughout the weekend to increase transit safety, BART officials said.

Although there is no specific threat, BART riders will see a surge in local law enforcement patrolling stations and parking lots along with regular BART patrols on platforms through Monday, according to the agency.

The federal Transportation Security Administration has asked for increased security around BART stations as part of Operation Railsafe, a national security operation including more than 140 agencies from 32 states and several Canadian cities.

 

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Head Of SF Redevelopment Agency Leaving For Job In Oakland

Fred Blackwell, the executive director of San Francisco's Redevelopment Agency, was named Oakland's assistant city administrator on Thursday.

Blackwell, an Oakland native, will take over the position effective Oct. 17, according to the office of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan.

State legislation is threatening to eliminate or reshape local redevelopment agencies, a move Blackwell criticized at an unrelated news conference in San Francisco Thursday prior to the announcement of his new job.

As the head of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, Blackwell has overseen the adoption of the Candlestick Point-Hunters Point Naval Shipyard redevelopment plan and recently helped the city win a $30.5 million federal grant for its redevelopment of the Alice Griffith public housing complex.

"Fred's accomplishments mesh with my commitment to growth with equity, and engaging all sectors of the community in building our future," Quan said in a statement.

Blackwell will report to new Oakland City Administrator Deanna Santana and will oversee community and economic development, among other responsibilities.

 

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Man Seriously Injured In Shooting Near Balboa Park Bart Station

A man was seriously injured in a shooting near the Balboa Park BART station in San Francisco on Thursday morning, police said today.

The shooting was reported at 11:17 a.m. near the intersection of San Jose and Geneva avenues.

The 18-year-old victim in a car with a 19-year-old passenger when they were fired upon by people in another vehicle, according to San Francisco police.

The 18-year-old was struck in the hip and back by the gunfire. He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for his injuries, which are considered life-threatening, police said.

The other passenger in the car was not injured.

The suspects, males in their late teens or early 20s, fled and have not been found as of this morning, according to police.

The shooting came five hours after a man was stabbed in the neck in the Balboa Park BART station.

A transient, 35-year-old Wilfred Brown, was arrested following the apparently unprovoked attack.

The victim, a man in his 60s, is expected to survive, BART police said.

San Francisco police spokesman Lt. Troy Dangerfield said he did not know if the shooting had any connection to the earlier stabbing.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411.

 

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Update: 3 Flights Cancelled From SD Due To Power Outage; Power Now Restored

Three flights from San Diego to San Francisco International Airport were canceled this morning due to a power outage in Southern California, but regular service is resuming now that power has been restored, an airport duty manager said. 

One San Francisco-bound flight each from United, Southwest and Virgin America airlines were canceled after power was knocked out to millions of people in San Diego and Orange counties and parts of Arizona and Baja, California, airport duty manager Nancie Parker said. 

San Diego Gas & Electric was able to restore power by 3:25 a.m. and San Diego International Airport reopened at about 4:30 a.m. 

All flights out of San Francisco are operating normally this morning, Parker said.

The power outage was apparently caused by a major electric transmission system failure in western Arizona and the loss of a key connection with the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, according to SDG&E.

 

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