SF News

Animal Shelter, At Capacity, Asks People To Wait To Give Up Unwanted Dogs

With no kennel space available for incoming dogs at its shelter, San Francisco Animal Care & Control is asking anyone considering giving up their dogs to hold off until there is room to accommodate the animals.

The taxpayer-funded shelter, which said it is experiencing an "unprecedented and severe dog overcrowding situation," has reached its capacity.

On average, the shelter has been accepting 25 more dogs per month than in previous years.

Until the shelter has room to accept new animals, members of the public who find stray dogs are being asked to temporarily house them and to register that they have found a dog.

Animal Care & Control hopes to free space for dogs by reducing adoption fees by 50 percent through Sept. 12.

Regular adoption fees for dogs at the shelter range from $135 to $175, including spay or neuter surgery, a microchip, shots, a city dog license, and a veterinarian exam.

Animal Care & Control provides housing, care and medical treatment to wild, exotic and domestic stray, lost, abandoned, sick, injured or surrendered animals.

Those wishing to donate to the shelter can send financial gifts to the Friends of Animal Care & Control. More information can be found at www.helpacc.org.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Thursday News Roundup

Federal Prosecutors Announced They Will Drop Three Perjury Counts Against Home-Run Champion Barry Bonds

Federal prosecutors announced in San Francisco Wednesday that they are dropping three perjury counts against home-run champion Barry Bonds, at least for the time being.

A jury in the court of U.S. District Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco deadlocked on those three counts in April after a three-week trial.    

Prosecutors could have retried the former San Francisco Giants slugger on those charges, but U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag filed a one-sentence notice of dismissal of the three counts with Illston Wednesday.

Bonds, 47, was convicted of a fourth count of obstructing justice by giving evasive testimony in 2003 to a federal grand jury that was investigating the distribution of steroids to professional athletes.

He is due to be sentenced by Illston on that charge on Dec. 16.

The three perjury counts were charges that Bonds lied to the grand jury when he testified he never received any kind of injection from his trainer, Greg Anderson, and had never knowingly taken steroids or human growth hormone.

Haag said in Wednesday's filing that prosecutors were dismissing the three charges "without prejudice."  That phrase normally means that a case could be refiled, but it was not clear what it would mean in the context of Bonds' prosecution, in which Speedy Trial Act requirements might apply.    

Defense attorneys Allen Ruby and Dennis Riordan declined to comment on the filing.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office was not available for comment.

Earlier Wednesday, Illston scheduled a status conference on Bonds' case for Friday, and prosecutors' intentions for three dismissed counts may be made clearer at that session.

 

Vandals Slashed 50 Cars' Tires On California Street In Berkeley

Vandals slashed the tires on about 50 vehicles on a 17-block stretch of California Street, and several other nearby streets, in Berkeley early Wednesday morning, police said.

Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said police responded after a community member called police at about 7 a.m. to report that one of her car's tires had been slashed or punctured.

She said police later received additional reports of flattened tires in a number of South Berkeley neighborhoods.

Tires were slashed on cars, vans and trucks on California Street from 62nd Street to Blake Street, Kusmiss said.

Additional tires were damaged on vehicles in the 1600 block of Julia Street, the 1500 block of Russell Street, and the 2800, 2900, 3000 and 3400 blocks of King Streets, she said.

Kusmiss said it appears that sometime overnight a suspect or suspects used an unknown tool or weapon to flatten the tires.

She said the investigation "is very active and ongoing" and officers are pursuing leads.

Berkeley police have not made any arrests and do not know the motive for slashing the tires, Kusmiss said.

 

Attorney For Man Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Three Women Says Video Exonerates Him Of Charges

The attorney for a man accused of sexually assaulting three women at his apartment in San Francisco said in court Wednesday that a video of one of the encounters appears to exonerate him of some of the charges in the case.

Robert Hoffman, who also goes by the first name Michael, faces nine felony charges including rape, forced oral copulation and sexual battery in connection with three incidents between March and August.

Hoffman, 50, who works as an employment lawyer in the city, allegedly sexually assaulted a 36-year-old East Bay woman in March, a 19-year-old San Francisco woman in June and a 25-year-old East Bay woman on Aug. 5, prosecutors said.

He arranged meetings with all three alleged victims at his apartment in the 1000 block of North Point Street near Ghirardelli Square after placing ads in the "Men Seeking Women" and "Casual Encounters" sections of the classified ads website Craigslist.

According to testimony in the preliminary hearing, which started Wednesday and will continue Friday, each victim tried to leave but was prevented from doing so and forced into sexual acts.

The first victim to testify was the 19-year-old, who said she responded to a Craigslist ad that said, "I would love to dominate and humiliate and degrade you, privately of course."

The woman testified that she had rough but consensual sex with Hoffman twice prior to the June 25 incident, in which she came over to his apartment but said she didn't want to have sex.

The woman said Hoffman then pushed her onto his bed and raped her. She said he told her afterward that "he deserved what happened because it was his birthday that day."

She said she reported the incident to police later that night.   

But following the woman's testimony, Hoffman's defense attorney Stuart Hanlon told Judge Bruce Chan that he had a videotape of that June 25 encounter that contradicts the victim's testimony and exonerates his client.

Chan said he will review the video and rule Friday on whether it is admissible in court.

 

San Jose Police Officer Arrested In Gilroy For Unlawful Sexual Contact

A San Jose police officer was arrested in Gilroy Wednesday on suspicion of having unlawful sexual contact with two underage teens, Gilroy police said.

Patrick D'Arrigo, 44, of Gilroy, was taken into custody by Gilroy police on a $100,000 arrest warrant.    

He was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail.    

The alleged victims are 15 and 17 years old, Gilroy police said.    

Investigators believe there may be additional victims, and are asking anyone with information on the case to call the Gilroy Police Department at (408) 846-0350.

Owner Of Residential Hotel In Downtown Oakland Sentence To 27 Months In Federal Prison

The owner of a residential hotel in downtown Oakland was sentenced Wednesday to 27 months in federal prison and ordered to pay a $60,000 fine for conspiring to hire someone to burn down the hotel for insurance purposes.

Richard Earl Singer, 45, of Tiburon pleaded guilty on June 22 to soliciting a crime of violence. He was arrested on Jan. 14 and initially was charged with soliciting arson.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Singer admitted to soliciting and inducing others to burn the Hotel Menlo, the hotel he owned at 344 13th St. in Oakland.

Prosecutors said that at the time of the offense in January, a restaurant and a nail salon operated out of the building's first floor. 

They said Singer wrote a $1,500 check to pay for the materials that were to be used to carry out the arson.    

Singer admitted that he had agreed to pay a total of $65,000 after the Hotel Menlo was successfully burned down, according to prosecutors.

In addition to imposing the prison term and the fine, U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken ordered that Singer be on supervised release for three years after he finishes serving his time.

 

Man Shot In Mission District After Leaving Work

A man who was shot after leaving work at a restaurant in San Francisco's Mission District early Tuesday morning has died.

The victim, identified by the medical examiner's office as Gaspar Puch-Tzek, 22, had just gotten off of work at Hog and Rocks restaurant at the intersection of 19th and San Carlos streets when he was shot at about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Puch-Tzek worked as a cook at the restaurant, according to David Esler, one of the restaurant's owners.

Esler said Puch-Tzek and two acquaintances were standing outside the restaurant having a cigarette when two suspects approached and one shot him in the head.

He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital in critical condition and succumbed to his injuries later that afternoon.

The suspects were described as Hispanic men between 25 and 30 years old wearing dark clothing and hoodies. They were last seen running west on 19th Street away from San Carlos Street, police said.

Investigators believe the victim may have been mistaken for a gang member, which he is not, police said. The Police Department's gang task force, and now the homicide unit, is investigating the shooting, police spokesman Sgt. Mike Andraychak said Wednesday.

Esler said Tuesday that the victim worked two jobs, often leaving the restaurant late at night to start work at a nearby bakery at 4 a.m.

Puch-Tzek, who had worked there for about six months, was "really a well-liked kid," he said. "The kitchen staff is a tight-knit group, it's just really unfortunate."

 

Two-Alarm Fire In Hercules

A two-alarm fire that broke out in a townhome complex in Hercules Wednesday morning displaced four families and caused an estimated $600,000 damage, a battalion chief said.

The fire was reported at 7:09 a.m. in a multi-family townhome complex at 101 Portofino Court, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Lon Goetsch said.

Initial reports indicated that residents might have been trapped in the building and firefighters quickly called for additional units to respond. When firefighters arrived, they saw heavy fire coming from both floors of the two-story building.

They were told that all the residents had escaped the building safely and fire crews began attacking the blaze.

A short time later, a large area of the second floor collapsed and firefighters changed their tactics to an exterior defensive attack.

Crews had the fire knocked down by 7:50 a.m. and under control by 8:45 a.m., Goetsch said.

Firefighters were able to save the living space and contents of one of the units, but the other three units, the attic and the roof sustained major damage.

No injuries were reported. The American Red Cross is helping the four displaced families with emergency housing.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation Wednesday afternoon, Goetsch said.

 

Law Professor Goodwin Liu Unanimously Confirmed To Serve On California Supreme Court

Law professor Goodwin Liu was unanimously confirmed by a state commission in San Francisco Wednesday to serve on the California Supreme Court.

Liu, 40, a constitutional law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, will be sworn in to the post by Gov. Jerry Brown in Sacramento at noon today.

Brown nominated him to the court on July 26.    

Liu was approved by the California Commission on Judicial Appointments, made up of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Attorney General Kamala Harris and Court of Appeal Justice Joan Dempsey Klein.

Liu told the commission, "I am honored but also deeply humbled to serve on the California Supreme Court."

The son of Taiwanese immigrant doctors, Liu grew up in Sacramento, attended Stanford University, Oxford University and Yale Law School, and worked for the U.S. Department of Education and in private practice before joining the Berkeley faculty in 2003.

Liu was previously nominated twice by President Obama, in 2010 and 2011, to a federal judgeship on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

But that nomination was blocked by U.S. Senate Republicans who considered him too liberal, and Liu eventually withdrew his name during a Republican filibuster in May.

Brown said last month that he learned of Liu's qualifications during the Senate battle and concluded that he had "the background, the intellect and the vision" to serve on the California high court.    

All of the 10 witnesses who testified at Wednesday's hearing at the State Building spoke in favor of Liu's nomination.

 

Contra Costa County Sex Crimes Prosecutor Accused Of Rape

Defense attorneys for a former Contra Costa County sex crimes prosecutor accused of raping a junior colleague three years ago called the alleged victim to testify Wednesday in a hearing on a motion to dismiss the charges.

Michael Gressett, 54, is facing a 13-count criminal indictment alleging that he raped and sodomized the 32-year-old victim, referred to in court as Jane Doe, during a lunch break at his house in Martinez on May 8, 2008.

The indictment also charges Gressett with numerous enhancements, including allegations that he handcuffed the victim and used an ice pick and a gun during the assault.

Gressett's attorneys, Daniel Russo and Michael Kotin, have said from the beginning that the sex was consensual and the charges against Gressett were politically motivated.

They have argued in a lengthy motion that the indictment should be dismissed on a number of grounds, including an allegation that the state attorney general's office, which is prosecuting the case, failed to present exculpatory evidence to the grand jury.

Questions Russo put to Doe Wednesday centered around a $450,000 civil settlement with the county that was not disclosed to the grand jury, which the defense has argued shows that Doe had a financial motivation for reporting the alleged assault.

According to Russo, Doe testified before the grand jury on Oct. 6, 2009, the same day that the county board of supervisors approved the settlement in a closed session hearing.

Doe, however, said she had been unaware that the settlement had been ratified that day. She signed the agreement a week later, according to court documents.

According to the defense motion, the grand jury was still in session when the settlement reached its final approval, but the attorney general's office failed to disclose it.

In their opposition to the defense motion, the attorney general's office argued that they didn't disclose the civil settlement to the grand jury because they didn't know it had been settled.

 

Golden Gate Bridge's Western Sidewalk Will Reopen On Sept. 10

Bicyclists were greeted with the good news Wednesday that the Golden Gate Bridge's western sidewalk will reopen on Sept. 10 -- two weeks ahead of schedule.

However, a few days after that, part of the eastern sidewalk will close, meaning pedestrians won't be able to cross the bridge in its entirety for several months.    

The western sidewalk was closed May 31 to make way for seismic retrofitting work, and was scheduled to reopen at the end of September, but the work was finished early, Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District officials said.

During the closure, bicyclists and pedestrians shared the eastern sidewalk, which created congestion and some confusion among bridge travelers.    

Starting Sept. 10, bicyclists will be allowed to use the western sidewalk 24/7 while the retrofit construction shifts to the eastern side, district spokeswoman Mary Currie said.

Bicyclists using the western sidewalk will be asked to be especially cautious on weekdays between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. when workers are painting the bridge's cables and performing other activities, Currie said.

That includes walking their bikes through a 400-foot section at mid-span where scaffolding reduces the sidewalk width to six feet and slowing down around maintenance equipment and crews, Currie said.   

The eastern sidewalk will partially close on Sept. 13 through mid-January while seismic retrofit construction occurs along a 300-foot section on that side of the bridge.

During that four-month period, pedestrians, joggers, people with disabilities and others using the eastern sidewalk will be able to access only parts of the bridge, Currie said.

Because the western sidewalk will only be available to maintenance crews and bicyclists, pedestrians won't be able to completely cross the bridge from one side to the other during that time, Currie said.

 

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

The Bay Area is expected to be mostly cloudy with patchy fog this morning before becoming mostly sunny. Highs in the 60s are anticipated.    

Skies are expected to be mostly clear this evening. Lows in the upper 50s are anticipated.

Mostly sunny skies are likely on Friday. Highs in the 60s to lower 70s are anticipated.

 

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29-Year-Old Man Fatally Shot In Mission Late Tuesday Night

A man was fatally shot in San Francisco's Mission District late Tuesday night, police said today.

The shooting was reported at 11:29 p.m. in the 800 block of Hampshire Street.

The victim, identified by the medical examiner's office as 29-year-old Edson Lacayo, was found suffering from three gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

Two suspects were seen running away from the scene of the shooting, but no information about them was immediately available, police said.

Anyone with information about the shooting 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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Former Giants Payroll Manager Accused Of Embezzling $1.5 Million

A former San Francisco Giants payroll manager is due in federal court at the end of next month to face accusations that she embezzled more than $1.5 million from the team.

Robin O'Connor, 41, of American Canyon, is charged in a federal criminal complaint with wire fraud and fraud in connection with a computer.

She was dismissed from her job on July 6 after Giants officials discovered the alleged embezzlement, according to an FBI affidavit filed with he complaint in federal court in San Francisco on July 7.

FBI special agent Jason Richards said in the affidavit that O'Connor admitted to the Giants officials on July 6 that she had diverted $608,562 from the accounts of two Giants employees.

She accompanied a Giants executive to her bank and repaid that amount, the affidavit said.

But further review by the Giants immediately afterward indicated that the total amount O'Connor allegedly embezzled from the accounts of several Giants employees in the past year was more than $1.5 million, Richards said.

The team issued a statement saying, "Last month, the San Francisco Giants discovered evidence of possible embezzlement by our former payroll manager, Robin O'Connor, which resulted in her dismissal."

The team said executives immediately notified federal prosecutors and said they have has been asked to make no further comment during the investigation.

O'Connor is currently free on $500,000 bail. A hearing before a federal magistrate in San Francisco on Sept. 30 will be either a preliminary hearing on the complaint or an arraignment if the complaint is replaced by an indictment.

O'Connor's federal public defender, Rita Bosworth, was not immediately available for comment.

Richards said in the affidavit that the alleged embezzlement came to light after executives discovered a letter allegedly forged by O'Connor on July 5.

The letter was sent to Bank of America as part of an application for a loan for a residential property in San Diego.

It allegedly said that O'Connor had received bonuses of $300,0000 for her "outstanding contributions to our Major League Baseball team and Front Office during the 2010 season that assisted us accomplishing our goal of winning the 2010 World Series."

The letter appeared to have been signed by the team's human relations manager, but after being contacted by the bank, Giants executives determined that the signature was forged, the affidavit said.    

Richards said in the affidavit that O'Connor confessed to team officials on July 6 that she forged the letter.

The affidavit said a review of bank records showed that money from O'Connor's bank accounts had been used to pay for automobile loans, including payment for a BMW.

 

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BART Appoints Former Seattle Transportation Chief As New General Manager

BART directors voted 8-1 today to appoint former Seattle transportation chief Grace Crunican as BART's new general manager.

Crunican has also served as the second-ranking person in the Federal Transit Administration under President Bill Clinton and as head of Oregon's Department of Transportation.

The lone director to vote against appointing Crunican was director James Fang, of San Francisco.

Crunican will succeed Dorothy Dugger, who resigned under pressure earlier this year. Crunican will be paid a base salary of $300,000 per year plus $20,000 in management incentive pay.

 

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Construction Accident Reported In Dogpatch This Morning

An accident involving construction workers was reported this morning in San Francisco's Dogpatch neighborhood, a fire dispatcher said.

The accident was reported at about 8 a.m. near the intersection of Third and 19th streets, the dispatcher said.

No information about possible injuries to the workers was immediately available, she said.

 

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Update: Missing 13-Year-Old Girl Found Safe This Morning

A missing 13-year-old Hollister girl has been found safe and sound as of 5:15 a.m., a Hollister police dispatcher said.

There are reports that she was found in San Bernardino County.    

An Amber Alert has been canceled after it had been issued when Cristina Ramirez was reported missing around 4 p.m. Tuesday, according to law enforcement officials.

Authorities were searching for her father, Marcelino Ramirez, as the suspect in her abduction. He is described as a 34-year-old Hispanic man, 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing 150 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair and a tattoo on his inner left calf.

Cristina was last seen wearing her white polo shirt and blue skirt school uniform.

Ramirez was believed to have taken Cristina in his vehicle, described as a white 1997 Honda Odyssey with California license plate No. 3WAN638. The Odyssey has tinted rear windows and a Coast Auto Insurance sticker on the rear window.

Anyone with information about the abduction is asked to call (831) 636-4101.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area News Roundup

Mission District Restaurant Closed On Tuesday After Employee Is Shot

A restaurant in San Francisco's Mission District was closed for business Tuesday after one of its employees was shot in the head after leaving work early Tuesday morning in what police believe was a case of mistaken identity.

The shooting was reported around 12:30 a.m. at 19th Street near San Carlos Street.

The 22-year-old victim, whose name is not yet being released, had just gotten off of work at the nearby Hog and Rocks restaurant where he worked as a cook, according to David Esler, one of the restaurant's owners.

The victim and two other acquaintances were standing outside the restaurant and having a cigarette when two suspects approached, and one shot the victim in the head, according to Esler.

The victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with injuries that are considered life-threatening.

The suspects, described as Hispanic men between 25 and 30 years old who were wearing dark clothing and hoodies, have not been found. They were last seen running west on 19th Street away from San Carlos Street, police said.

Investigators believe the victim may have been mistaken for a gang member, which he is not. The Police Department's gang task force is investigating the shooting.

Esler said the victim worked two jobs, often leaving the restaurant late at night to start work at a nearby bakery at 4 a.m.

He said the restaurant's staff is distraught about the shooting.    

The victim, who had worked there for about six months, was "really a well-liked kid," he said. "The kitchen staff is a tight-knit group, it's just really unfortunate."

Because of the shooting, the decision was made to not open the restaurant for business Tuesday, according to Esler, who said regular business will resume there today.

Home Robbery Arrests End In A Standoff In East Oakland

The last remaining suspect in a series of home invasion robberies has been arrested, ending a standoff at a residence in East Oakland, police said Tuesday.

Oakland police spokeswoman Cynthia Perkins said police searched homes, closed streets and evacuated residents in the vicinity of the 5000 block of Melrose Avenue, near 49th Avenue, at about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Perkins said police had learned at around 7 a.m. that there had been a number of armed home invasion and other robberies in East Oakland.

She said that as officers were investigating the crimes, they spotted a car that had been used in one of the incidents and traced it to a home in the 5000 block of Melrose Avenue.

They saw one suspect exiting the home and arrested him, then determined there were other suspects inside, police said.

Three other suspects were then arrested without incident, but police said another suspect remained inside the home. That suspect was finally arrested about mid-afternoon, according to Perkins.

Police are not releasing the names of the suspects at this time, she said.

Oakland Unified School District spokesman Troy Flint said Horace Mann Elementary School at 5222 Ygnacio Ave. was locked down at about 10:15 a.m. because it is near the area where the standoff was going on.

But the school began allowing parents to pick up their children one by one starting around 2 p.m., he said

A man who was shot by a Santa Clara County sheriff's deputy Monday night had apparently brandished a replica firearm, causing the deputy to fire on the suspect, according to the sheriff's office.

Sheriff's Deputy John Gonzalez, a 9-year veteran of the force, was patrolling the Cupertino area when he observed the suspect in a stolen vehicle near the intersection of Stevens Creek Boulevard and Tantau Avenue at about 9:10 p.m.

A 300-yard chase on foot ensued when Gonzalez attempted to make contact with the suspect, Kevin Anthony Quinnette, 32.

According to the sheriff's office, Quinnette produced what appeared to be a black handgun -- later determined to be a BB gun -- and pointed it directly at Gonzalez. Gonzalez then removed his service firearm and shot at Quinnette, striking him near his thigh.

Quinnette was transported to a hospital for treatment and was later booked into Santa Clara County Main Jail South on suspicion of felony resisting arrest, brandishing a replica firearm, possessing a stolen vehicle, and a parole violation.

According to the sheriff's office, Quinnette was on active parole for burglary charges. He is being held without bail and is scheduled to appear in Santa Clara County Superior Court on Thursday, according to booking records.

While the investigation continued Tuesday morning, Stevens Creek Boulevard between Tantau Avenue and Interstate Highway 280 remained closed for several hours. The roadway reopened at about 11:30 a.m., according to the sheriff's office.

Santa Rosa Police Are Looking For A Man Who Assaulted Two Police Officers

Santa Rosa police are looking for a man who allegedly assaulted two police officers along a creek Monday night.

Police went to Steel Creek between Marlow Road and Ridley Avenue in west Santa Rosa around 10 p.m. after receiving a report about someone screaming, yelling and moaning, Sgt. Dave Linscomb said.

A man with a small baseball bat who was walking along the creek attacked the first officer who arrived, knocking him to the ground, Linscomb said.

The man also struck the officer with his fist and reached for the officer's gun. The man then ran toward the second officer who arrived and struck the officer with his fist and knee, Linscomb said.

The officers called for assistance, chased the man and shot him with a Taser but it was ineffective, Linscomb said. The man then ran into an apartment complex.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office and the California Highway Patrol's helicopter joined the search for the man but did not locate him, Linscomb said.

The alleged assailant is a Hispanic man in his 20s, approximately 5 feet 8 inches and 180 pounds, Linscomb said. He was wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans.

The first officer who was attacked was treated for minor injuries at a hospital and released, Linscomb said.

Elderly Merchant From San Francisco's Chinatown Found Guilty Of Exchanging Counterfeit Bills For Gold

An elderly merchant from San Francisco's Chinatown was found guilty Tuesday of passing thousands of dollars in counterfeit bills to customers who were trading him gold coins in 2007.

After a three-week trial, a San Francisco Superior Court jury Tuesday afternoon convicted 81-year-old Peter Cheng of four counts of passing fictitious bills or notes, four counts of grand theft via false pretenses and two counts of second-degree burglary.

He was also found not guilty of one count of attempting to pass the fictitious bills.

Prosecutors said during the last two weeks of May 2007, Cheng passed out about $36,000 in fake U.S. currency in four transactions to two victims from the jewelry store he ran at 1010 Stockton St. in Chinatown.

In exchange, the victims gave him valuable gold coins, according to prosecutors.

Robert Amparan, Cheng's defense attorney, said outside of court that he believes the jury wrongfully convicted his client, who he said was unaware of the fake cash.

Amparan said the bills passed through various bank security measures before being discovered.

The U.S. Secret Service was the investigating agency in the case, district attorney's office spokesman Seth Steward said.

Cheng, who was out of custody during the trial, remains free on $300,000 bail pending the sentencing, which is scheduled for Oct. 6, Steward said.

Suspected Driver In Drive-By Shooting Death Of 3-Year-Old Arraigned

The suspected driver in the drive-by shooting death of 3-year-old Carlos Nava in East Oakland on Aug. 8 was arraigned Tuesday on one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder.

Willie Torrence, a 22-year-old Oakland man, was arrested in Las Vegas on Aug. 12 and was finally extradited to Alameda County this week after a lengthy delay.

Torrence was on parole for violating his probation for a previous conviction on illegal gun charges.

Torrence was scheduled to be arraigned at 2 p.m. Tuesday, but Alameda County sheriff's officials moved up his arraignment to Tuesday morning without notifying Torrence's family.

About 15 of his family members and friends who came to the Wiley Manuel Courthouse at 2 p.m. were upset when a bailiff told them that Torrence had already been arraigned Tuesday morning.

They declined to talk to reporters about the case.    

Oakland police believe Torrence was the driver in the shooting, which occurred in the 6400 block of International Boulevard at about 1:10p.m. Carlos was killed in the shooting and two men were wounded.

Police said they believe the shooting was gang-related and that the two men were the intended targets in the shooting, as Carlos and his family had no connection to them.

The suspected shooter, 26-year-old Oakland resident Lawrence Denard, was arrested in Pittsburg on Aug. 9. Denard has prior convictions for grand theft and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Denard was arraigned on Aug. 11 on one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon. He was back in court on Monday to enter a plea but his plea entry was delayed until Sept. 12 at the request of his attorney.

It's expected that Torrence also will return to court at that time.

Man Killed By Bulldozer Accident Outside of Livermore Identified

A man killed in a bulldozer accident on a wind farm outside of Livermore on Monday afternoon was identified by the Contra Costa County coroner's office Tuesday as 52-year-old Fred Perle Telford of Hilmar, Calif.    

Telford, a longtime bulldozer operator working for Minnesota-based Blattner Energy, Inc., was crushed when the bulldozer he was driving slipped down a steep embankment and ejected him from the cab, said Erika Monterroza, spokeswoman for the California Division of Occupational Health and Safety.    

The accident happened at about 1:05 p.m. in the area of North Vasco Road, near the border of Alameda and Contra Costa counties, Alameda County fire Battalion Chief Rob Eaton said.    

Telford was cutting a new road on the wind farm when the fatal incident occurred, Monterroza said.    

Cal/OSHA opened an investigation into the death on Monday afternoon.

Oakland Police Released Name Of Man Killed Outside Market In East Oakland

Oakland police Tuesday released the name of a man who was killed outside a market in East Oakland in front of his 6-year-old son on Sunday afternoon.

Police said they believe a robbery attempt led to the shooting death of 39-year-old Jose Esparza outside the El Pueblo Market at 103rd Avenue and International Boulevard.

The shooting occurred at 12:55 p.m. on Sunday. Esparza was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead about 35 minutes later.

Police said no suspects have been identified in the case.

Zendesk Becomes First Tech Company To Move Into Mid-Market After Tax Exclusion Enacted

Four months after the city enacted a tax exclusion to encourage revitalization of the struggling Mid-Market neighborhood, the first tech company to benefit from the ordinance has moved into its new digs.

Mayor Ed Lee announced Tuesday that Zendesk, which specializes in web-based help desk services, has settled into 989 Market St., near Sixth Street.

In April, the Board of Supervisors approved the Central Market and Tenderloin Area Payroll Tax Exclusion, which exempts companies operating in certain parts of the city's Mid-Market and Tenderloin neighborhoods from paying payroll taxes on new employees.

The tax exemption was an effort by the city to staunch the attrition of tech companies and the talented workers they attract from migrating down the Peninsula to tax-free locations.

Zendesk spokesman Jeff Wiss said that when the company realized it was growing too big for its office that it never considered leaving San Francisco.

Originally founded in Denmark by CEO Mikkel Svane, Zendesk moved to San Francisco in late 2009 and until recently operated with approximately 80 employees out of 410 Townsend St.

Zendesk, which has added about 20 employees since it signed its current lease, plans to add an additional 50 employees by year's end, Wiss said.

The Mid-Market neighborhood stretches roughly between Fifth Street and Van Ness Avenue along Market Street. The area has struggled with blight, and the tax exemption aims to fill commercial vacancies.

The exclusion area defined by the exemption includes 3.3 million square feet contained within 73 office buildings, 1.3 million square feet of which was vacant as of April 2011.

The current payroll tax assesses a 1.5 percent tax on total payroll for work and services performed in San Francisco by businesses with a total payroll greater than $250,000.

Thanks to the exemption, other growing companies are expected to migrate to the area soon, including tech giant Twitter.

Napa County Sheriff's Office Identified Driver Killed In Highway 12 Four-Vehicle Crash

The Napa County Sheriff's Office has identified a driver who was killed in a four-vehicle crash on state Highway 12 on Monday morning as 53-year-old Thomas Robinson, of Napa.

Robinson was driving a 1997 Ford Escort that collided head-on with a big-rig on Highway 12 just west of the Solano County line. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The 10:35 a.m. crash closed the highway for eight hours and sent eight people to hospitals, CHP officials said.

The accident happened when the Ford, which was traveling west at the 55 mph speed limit, crossed over the double-yellow line and drove into the path of an eastbound Cal Fire 2000 Mack tractor-trailer that was hauling a bulldozer, CHP Officer Jaret Paulson said.

The driver of the big-rig, Vincent Zediker, 41, of Montague, Calif., was not injured.

The head-on crash pushed the Ford back into a westbound 2000 Toyota Sienna driven by Charlie Cha, 49, of Sacramento, that was traveling behind the Ford, Paulson said.

Cha and his six passengers suffered minor to moderate injuries.    

The big-rig then struck the guardrail on the opposite side of the road before hitting a westbound 2005 Toyota Prius, Paulson said.

The driver of the Prius, Muriel Rollins, 58, of Pinole, suffered moderate injuries.

The accident happened in a no-passing area of the two-lane highway, Paulson said.

Paulson said it is unknown if alcohol was a factor in the crash.   

An autopsy is scheduled for today, Napa County sheriff's Capt. Tracey Stuart said.

Judge Ordered New Psychiatric Evaluation For Man Suspected Of Fatal Shooting At Fisherman's Wharf

A judge Tuesday ordered a new psychiatric evaluation for a man suspected of fatally shooting two people at San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf in January.

Hong Ri Wu, 56, is a Fisherman's Wharf souvenir shop worker suspected of the Jan. 30 killing of a man and woman who worked at a neighboring business at 269 Jefferson St.

Investigators believe Feng Ping Ou, a 30-year-old woman, and Qiong Han Chu, a 30-year-old man, were fatally shot because of a rivalry between the two stores, which sold similar items.

Wu, a San Francisco resident, pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder, but in June, Judge Garrett Wong suspended criminal proceedings in the case after Wu's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Kleigh Hathaway, said she had doubts about his ability to participate in his own defense.

Dr. Amy Watt, a forensic psychiatrist, was appointed to determine whether Wu was mentally competent, and her report in July concluded that he was not competent to stand trial.

But earlier this month, prosecutors said they were seeking to overturn the competency report on the grounds that Hathaway was present for part of the doctor's examination.

Watt observed a 20-minute interaction between Wu and Hathaway as part of her evaluation.

Sonoma Woman Killed When Pickup Truck Drove Off Rural Road Monday

A Sonoma woman was killed when her pickup truck drove off of a rural Sonoma County road and overturned on Monday, a California Highway Patrol officer said Tuesday morning.

The woman, 52-year-old Barbara Bradley, was driving a 1999 Chevrolet pickup on Cavedale Road east of state Highway 12 near Agua Caliente when the crash happened, CHP Officer Jaret Paulson said.

Bradley apparently made an unsafe turning movement that caused the truck to go off the south side of the road and overturn several times as it tumbled 50 feet down a cliff, Paulson said.

Bradley was partially ejected from the pickup and was killed, Paulson said.

A passing motorist noticed debris from the crash and called the CHP, Paulson said. CHP officers met the passerby at the scene around 6 p.m.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

The Bay Area is expected to be mostly cloudy with patchy fog this morning before becoming partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are anticipated.

Skies are expected to be mostly clear this evening, before becoming mostly cloudy tonight with patchy fog after midnight. Lows in the mid 50s are anticipated.

Mostly sunny skies are likely on Thursday as mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog clear from the morning. Highs in the upper 60s to lower 70s are anticipated.

 

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Tuesday News Roundup

Two Suspects In Custody For West Oakland Carjacking

Two suspects are in custody and two others remain at large following an armed carjacking Monday in a West Oakland neighborhood known for gang activity and then an officer-involved shooting in East Oakland, police said.
Police blocked off Bancroft Avenue from 81st Avenue to 88th Avenue, as well as several adjacent streets, while they continued to search for the suspects who were still on the loose as of about 7 p.m.    
Capt. Ersie Joyner said about 40 to 50 officers, including SWAT team members, were in that area and planned to remain there until the suspects are caught or police are assured they have escaped from that area.    
One suspect was arrested near Bancroft Avenue and 81st Avenue but another suspect was arrested in Tracy, Joyner said.    
Sources told police the suspect called his mother to pick him up and they planned to drive to Stockton, according to Joyner.
Oakland police notified the California Highway Patrol, and CHP officers spotted their car in Tracy and arrested the suspect and his mother, Joyner said. A gun that police believe was used in the incident was found in the car, he said.
The incident began about 11:30 a.m. when a man flagged down police near 27th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way in West Oakland and said his late-model Jaguar had been carjacked by four young men who were armed with guns, Joyner said.
That area is known to be Ghost Town Gang territory, he said.    
The Jaguar and the suspects were spotted by police on Bancroft Avenue in East Oakland about 10 minutes later but the driver refused to pull over and led police on a chase that ended with the Jaguar crashing near Bancroft and 81st Avenue, according to Joyner.
The four suspects, who are between the ages of 18 and 25, broke into two groups and fled in opposite directions down Bancroft Avenue, he said.
During the foot chase, one of the suspects brandished a gun and pointed it at the officers, so one of the officers fired at him, Joyner said. However, the suspect wasn't hit.
One of the four suspects was arrested at the scene but the other three got away initially, according to Joyner. The suspect who was arrested in Tracy was one of those three suspects.

BART Protesters Outside San Francisco Stations On Monday

Police kept protesters in San Francisco corralled to sidewalks and outside of BART station fare gates Monday night, preventing any major traffic disruptions or station closures.
Two protesters were arrested at the Embarcadero station after the men crossed a fare gate.
One of the protesters who was arrested spoke to the crowd with a megaphone before crossing into the paid area of the station, announcing that BART administration, and not protesters, were responsible for the previous weeks' station shut downs.
The protesters had gathered surrounding the fare gates, which BART has said is a free-speech zone. The demonstrator addressing the crowd used a ticket to pass through the gates, and told the crowd he was about to "test" that principle.
After briefly leading the crowd in a chant of, "No justice, no peace, disband the BART police," he left the paid area and returned to the crowd.
After several minutes, BART police moved into the crowd to arrest him and one other man. BART released a statement saying the two were arrested for "interfering with BART operations."
BART closed no stations, and all trains ran on time.     The protest started outside the Civic Center station at around 5 p.m., heeding calls by organizers not to gather on the Civic Center station platform, where BART police made swift arrests last week.
Protesters gathered in the plaza were wearing bandanas and masks and were waving signs against police brutality like, "Stop Killing The Poor."
They attempted to march down Market Street, as they had last week, but San Francisco police blocked any attempt the crowd of about 50 made to move into the streets, keeping them on the sidewalk.
The crowd yelled, "pigs go home" at the officers keeping them confined to the sidewalk.
They marched east on the sidewalk on Market Street, and made stops at the Powell and Montgomery stations, protesting briefly inside the stations but outside of the fare gates. They did not attempt to enter the paid areas.    
After the arrests at Embarcadero, there was a brief confrontation with BART police, who kept protesters from entering the station. They then left the station, and attempted to move onto Market Street, but were again blocked by San Francisco police.
Protesters then walked quietly back to Civic Center Plaza, where a few entered the Civic Center station, but they did not make any attempts to disrupt service.
For the third consecutive Monday, BART officials had warned commuters that stations may be closed due to this planned protest by the hacker group "Anonymous."
The group had instructed protesters Monday night to hand out fliers stating their demands instead of entering the stations.    
Anonymous began its protests after BART shut down cellphone service at several stations during a separate protest over the shooting of 45-year-old Charles Hill.
Protesters were chanting, "Charles didn't have to die. We all know the reasons why, the whole system is guilty."
Hill was fatally shot July 3 by BART police after he allegedly threatened officers with a knife and a broken bottle, police said.
BART spokesman Jim Allison said, "We support peaceful protests so long as they're outside the fare gates."

Mother And Daughter Sentenced To State Prison Terms For Murder Of Dublin Woman

A mother and daughter were sentenced Monday to lengthy state prison terms for their roles in the murder of a 91-year-old Dublin woman and an attack that almost claimed the life of the elderly woman's grandson.
Rosa Hill, 36, and her mother, 58-year-old Mei Li of Antioch, were convicted June 28 of first-degree murder for the death of Selma Hill at her home in the 7700 block of Peppertree Lane in Dublin in 2009.
They also were convicted of premeditated attempted murder for an attack on Rosa Hill's husband, Eric Hill, at that same location that day.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Burr sentenced Rosa Hill to 36 years to life in prison and Li to 25 years to life.
Li and Rosa Hill didn't speak at their sentencing hearing.

San Francisco Federal Judge Will Decide On Release Of Prop 8 Constitutionality Trial

A federal judge in San Francisco said he will decide "without much
delay" whether to release a videotape of last year's trial on the
constitutionality of Proposition 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage.
    At the end of a two-hour hearing, U.S. District Judge James Ware
did not reveal how he plans to rule, but said he felt a conflict between the
goal of public access to trials and the circumstances of the case.
    "I recognize that this is a matter of high public interest and the
release of the tape might heighten public knowledge," Ware said.
    "We live in a world where the media has found its way into the
courtroom and I generally think that's good," he said.
    But earlier in the hearing, Ware said he was concerned that
now-retired U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, who conducted the trial, had
announced he was having the videotape made solely for his use in reviewing
the evidence.
    "The integrity of the judicial process is affected" when one judge
says he will use a videotape for a limited purpose and another judge unseals
it for a different purpose, Ware commented.
    The unsealing of the videotape was requested by two same-sex
couples who filed a 2009 lawsuit challenging Proposition 8, enacted by state
voters in 2008. The city of San Francisco and a coalition of 13 media
organizations joined in the request.
    The tape's release is opposed by the sponsors of Proposition 8,
who are also seeking to appeal an August 2010 decision in which Walker
declared the measure unconstitutional.
    -0-
    The past several days have marked significant milestones in the
construction of the Bay Bridge's new eastern span, with Monday night's
lighting of catwalks leading to the bridge's tower following days after the
last sections of the deck arrived from China.
    The self-anchored suspension span connecting Yerba Buena Island to
Oakland appears set to open sometime in fall 2013, Caltrans spokesman Bart
Ney said at a news conference in Oakland on Monday afternoon.
    Caltrans officials took media members on a tour Monday of the new
span, including the base of one of the four 1,060-foot-long catwalks, where
construction lights were switched on for the first time.
    The lights were put in place to allow construction crews to work
at night to prepare for the placement of the span's main cable in early 2012,
Ney said.
    The night work is recommended for the installation and measurement
of the cables since heat from the sun can alter their length, he said.
    The lights will allow Bay Area residents to "start to see what
this bridge is actually going to look like" when it is completed, Ney said.
    The lights are the same ones used by crews on the construction of
the new Carquinez Bridge, which was completed in 2003.
    The switching on of the lights came after the final four deck
sections of the eastern span arrived Sunday on a ship from Shanghai, China,
where they were being made.
    The sections, which weigh a total of more than 5,000 tons, will be
put in place over the next couple of months, filling in a gap in the bridge
where the cables will connect in the structure, Ney said.
    There have been years of delays and cost overruns in the planning
and building of the new eastern span, which was commissioned following the
1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that collapsed a section of the upper deck of the
bridge.
    But since the first deck sections began arriving from China in
January 2010, the $6.3 billion project has been humming along toward an
opening date in the second half of 2013, possibly in time for the America's
Cup sailing race being held in San Francisco that September, Ney said.
    -0-
    Police have identified a woman who was fatally shot in her
Richmond home early Friday morning as 67-year-old Sushilawati Prasad, of
Fiji.
    Prasad was shot during a home invasion robbery in the 3200 block
of Moran Avenue in Richmond shortly before 4 a.m. Friday, police said.
    Prasad's son, identified by police as Dinesh Kumar, 46, was also
shot during the robbery and was in critical condition Friday after suffering
multiple gunshot wounds, Lt. Bisa French said.
    Five people were in the home at the time of the shooting,
including two children, French said.
    One suspect is in custody, and police continue to search for a
second suspect, she said.
    Investigators believe the crime was a random act and are working
to determine a potential motive for the shooting.
    "Although it is random, we believe the suspects selected the
family because they thought there was some kind of money in the house,"
French said.
    -0-
    A man building a road on a wind farm outside of Livermore was
killed Monday afternoon when the bulldozer he was driving tipped, rolled down
an embankment and possibly struck him, an Alameda County Fire Department
battalion chief said.
    The incident was reported at about 1:05 p.m. near the line of
Contra Costa and Alameda counties on North Vasco Road. Crews from both
counties responded, fire Battalion Chief Rob Eaton said.
    But the man was declared dead there, and Cal/OSHA took over the
investigation.
    The driver worked for Minnesota-based Blattner Energy, Eaton said.
    His name was not released Monday.
    -0-
    Utility officials have issued an ultimatum to residents of North
Fair Oaks who are trying to save a centuries-old oak tree from being cut down
to make way for a billion-dollar water system upgrade in San Mateo County.
    San Francisco Public Utilities Commission General Manager Ed
Harrington said in a letter to residents near 14th and 18th avenues that
negotiations to preserve the valley oak have reached an impasse, and that
installation of a new water supply pipeline through the area needs to move
forward.
    The oak tree, which neighbors nicknamed "Granny" and arborists
agree is at least 250 years old, stands in the path of a $4.6 billion project
to upgrade the Hetch Hetchy water delivery system so that more than a million
Bay Area residents will have a safe water supply in the event of a major
earthquake.
    The SFPUC has said they will preserve the tree by spending
additional public money to install the pipeline in a tunnel beneath the
tree's roots only if the neighbors agree to allow public access to the site
and assume maintenance and liability costs.
    "If we do not receive a formal written proposal from you by the
close of business on Tuesday, September 6, we will formally notice and
prepare to remove the tree," Harrington said in his letter.
    "Although we regret having to take this step, it is a necessary
one to avoid further cost impacts," he said.
    The SFPUC has been in discussions with neighborhood residents
since May.
    Neighborhood spokeswoman Mary Ann Mullen said residents are
preparing a proposal that will meet the utilities commission's requirements,
and that she believes the tree will be preserved.
    "We expect this proposal to be accepted by the SFPUC," Mullen
said. "I'm confident we can come to an agreement."
    -0-
    A man was shot twice in the chest and stomach in San Francisco's
Excelsior District late Friday night but is expected to survive, police said.
    The shooting was reported at 11:55 p.m. in the 4400 block of
Mission Street.
    The 23-year-old victim was approached by about six suspects who
circled around him, according to police.
    One stepped into the middle of the circle, pulled out a handgun
and shot the victim. The man fell to the ground, where he was shot again,
police said.
    The suspects, all described as men in their 20s, fled and had not
been found as of Monday morning.
    The victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be
treated for his gunshot wounds, which are not life threatening, police said.
    Anyone with information about the shooting is encouraged to call
the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by
text message to TIP411.
    -0-
    A taxi driver was arrested Friday night after he allegedly struck
a fellow cabbie with a tire iron in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood
when the victim honked his horn at him, a police spokesman said.
    The attack was reported at about 9:30 p.m. Friday near the
intersection of Columbus and Pacific avenues.
    The two men, drivers for different taxi companies, were each
heading east in their cabs on Pacific Avenue when they reached the stoplight
at Columbus Avenue, police Sgt. Mike Andraychak said.
    When the light turned green, the cab driver in front did not
immediately move, so the cabbie behind him, a 51-year-old Tracy resident,
honked his horn, Andraychak said.
    The driver of the other cab, a 46-year-old Berkeley man, then got
out of his vehicle and yelled profanities at the other cabbie. When the Tracy
man got out of the car, the pair began to struggle and the suspect
head-butted him, according to Andraychak.
    The Berkeley man then went to his car and pulled out a tire iron
from the trunk, which he used to strike the victim in the back of the head,
Andraychak said.
    The victim was able to fend off further blows, and the attacker
got in his cab and drove away. The victim drove to the nearby Central Police
Station and reported the attack, Andraychak said.
    He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for a
gash on his head and a swollen cheek, and is expected to survive.
    The victim remembered the suspect's cab company and cab number --
information police used to track down the driver in the 600 block of Broadway
and detain him, according to Andraychak.
    Officers took the suspect to the hospital, where the victim
identified him as the attacker. A tire iron was also seized from the cab,
Andraychak said.
    The suspect's name was not immediately available because he has
been released pending further investigation, Andraychak said.
    -0-
    The Bay Area is expected to be mostly cloudy with patchy fog this
morning before becoming mostly sunny. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are
anticipated.
    Skies are expected to be mostly clear this evening, before
becoming mostly cloudy tonight with patchy fog after midnight. Lows in the
mid 50s are anticipated.
    Mostly sunny skies are likely on Wednesday as mostly cloudy skies
and patchy fog clear from the morning. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are
anticipated.
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Suspects In SOMA Shooting Flee In Black Limo

Police are trying to locate a man who shot two other men in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood early Sunday then escaped in a limousine.

The shooting was reported at about 2:15 a.m. Sunday in the first block of Sixth Street.

A 42-year-old victim was approached by two suspects, one of whom took out a handgun and shot him five times, according to police. A stray bullet also struck a 25-year-old passerby in the chest, police said.   

After the shooting, the suspects jumped into a black limousine that had at least eight other occupants, according to police. The limo and suspects had not been found as of this morning.

Both victims were taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for their injuries, which are not considered life-threatening, police said.

Anyone with information about the shooting 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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San Francisco Bay Area Monday News Round Up

Three Injured When Plane Crashes Into Their Car

Three people were injured when a small plane crashed into the back of their car near Napa County Airport Sunday afternoon, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The Beechcraft A36 Bonanza lost engine power and crash landed on state Highway 29 near Airport Boulevard where it rear-ended a 2007 Infiniti around 12:35 p.m., CHP and Federal Aviation Administration officials said.    

The driver of the Infiniti and the two passengers suffered minor injuries and were taken to Queen of the Valley Medical Center for treatment, CHP Officer John Short said. The two people in the white four-seater plane were uninjured, FAA Operations Officer Bruce Nelson said.

The aircraft also knocked down a traffic signal pole, Short said. The CHP shut down that portion of Highway 29 for about 40 minutes after the crash.

The pilot, who flew from Lake Tahoe Airport in South Lake Tahoe, was planning to land at Napa County Airport before the power breakdown, Nelson said.

He said that engine power failures could be attributed to a number of factors, including something as simple as not having enough fuel in the tank. Nelson said the plane sustained significant damage in the crash.

The crash is under investigation by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board, which is standard procedure, Nelson said.

Suspicious Device Prompted Evacuation On Middlefield Road

The discovery of a suspicious device prompted an evacuation and shelter-in-place order Sunday morning for homes and businesses on Middlefield Road, according to Palo Alto police.

Police were called just before 9 a.m. after a suspicious item that looked like a pipe bomb was spotted in the roadway on the 1300 block of Middlefield Road, said Agent Marianna Villaescusa. The item had a cell phone strapped to a cylindrical bottle, with several wires sticking out.

The Santa Clara County Bomb Squad was called in, and residents and businesses in the area were contacted by police. People were either evacuated or told to shelter in place away from windows.

The bomb squad deemed the item suspicious, but determined that it was inert. They destroyed the item at 1 p.m.

The investigation shut down pedestrian and vehicle traffic on Middlefield Road in both directions between Kingsley Avenue and Embarcadero Road and caused Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority bus service to be rerouted.

41 Flights From SFO Canceled Due To Hurricane Irene

A total of 41 flights from San Francisco International Airport to the East Coast were canceled Sunday due to severe weather caused by Hurricane Irene, an airport duty manager said.

All airports in the northeast have been closed over the weekend in a massive infrastructure shutdown that has affected millions.

Airport officials said Sunday that no flights were leaving the northeast region, with the exception of Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C.

As of 10:30 a.m. Sunday, no flights were scheduled to be canceled today, and while there may still be announcements of cancellations, airport traffic may be back on schedule.

Police Investigating Fatal Stabbing In San Jose's Seventrees Neighborhood

Police are investigating a fatal stabbing in San Jose's Seventrees neighborhood Saturday night, according to San Jose police.

Officers arrived to the 400 block of Ezie Street and found a man suffering from stab wounds around 10:30 p.m., police said.    

He was taken to Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 11:30 p.m., police said. Investigators have not identified any suspects and are still working to determine a motive.

Police have not yet released the victim's identity.

Two Fires At One House On Same Block As Last Week's Murder In San Jose

Two fires occurred Sunday morning at a house in the same block where a murder took place last week, San Jose fire officials said.

The first fire was reported around 4:30 a.m. on the exterior of a house at 1220 Whitton Ave., San Jose fire Capt. Anthony Melendrez said. It was a small fire that was quickly extinguished.

A second fire was reported in the detached garage of the home at about 11:20 a.m. That fire briefly went to a second alarm because firefighters feared the main house was threatened, but the second alarm was quickly canceled.

One victim was transported to a hospital for treatment of minor smoke inhalation as a result of that fire, Melendrez said.

Melendrez could not say whether the fires were considered suspicious, but said that the cause of the second fire remained under investigation.

The fires occurred on the same block where San Jose resident Irma Campos, 52, was found dead on Friday. Police believe she was killed in a domestic violence-related incident and are searching for a suspect, 55-year-old Juan Osornio Martinez, in connection with her death.

Martinez is homeless and is known to frequent the downtown San Jose area.

Fairfield Vegetation Fire Burned 715 Acres

A vegetation fire that burned 715 acres on the northeastern edge of Fairfield was 90 percent contained as of 3 p.m. Sunday, according to Cal Fire.

The fire was expected to be 100 percent contained by 6 p.m., Cal Fire Division Chief David Shew said Sunday.

He said that firefighters were still working on containing the fire, and while no areas were actively burning, there were "still quite a few hotspots."

Firefighters were remaining diligent to make sure that no burning embers or wind would turn the remaining hotspots into new fires, Shew said.    

"We need to get through the heat of the day and the highest wind part of the day," he said.

As of Saturday night, the raging fire covered hundreds of acres, and at one point threatened 40 homes. Firefighters prevented any homes or other structures from being burned.

"They were successful in going ahead and stopping the forward flow of the fire last night, so that's all been mitigated," Shew said.

The fire was first reported in the area of Torrington Way and Mystic Drive shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday, and it spread to the northeast toward Vacaville.

Cal Fire received support from the Solano County Sheriff's Office, the Vacaville Fire Protection District and other area fire departments. As of 3 p.m. Sunday, all remaining firefighters were from Cal Fire.

The agencies deployed 250 firefighters, 25 fire engines, one helicopter and three bulldozers to tackle the fire.

Increased Enforcement At San Francisco 49ers Game Lowered Violence At Candlestick Park

Increased enforcement at Saturday's San Francisco 49ers game following several instances of violence at Candlestick Park last weekend helped keep the battle on the gridiron.

Only one person was arrested, two people were cited for public intoxication and 12 people were ejected from Saturday's game, which ended in 30-7 win for the visiting Houston Texans, San Francisco police Officer Albie Esparza said.

The increased police presence at Candlestick Park was a response to the Aug. 21 game versus the Oakland Raiders, where two men were shot in the parking lot and another man was beaten unconscious in the stadium's bathroom.

One of the shooting victims was released from the hospital and the other two men were listed in fair condition as of Tuesday.

Fights in the stands and in the parking lot were caught on amateur video and police Chief Greg Suhr said last week that this was not typical behavior.

"Last Saturday night was an aberration," he said.    

Attendance at the Aug. 21 game was a third less than a typical regular season game, and Suhr said that there were 40 percent more officers at that game than would be at a regular season game.

Despite that, he said, the amount of calls for unruly conduct rose dramatically.

Although only one person was booked Saturday, 12 people were arrested at the Aug. 21 game.    

There was also a significant drop in calls made for an ambulance, with only six medical calls Saturday, which falls below the average of seven to 10 calls per game. The Aug. 21 game saw 50 such calls and the number of public intoxications more than doubled, Suhr said.

"The degenerate behavior that happened on Saturday is not going to be tolerated," 49ers president Jed York said at a news conference last week. "We are not going to allow that type of behavior at our football games."

Windsor Man Arrested In Connection With Santa Rosa Drive-By Shooting

A Windsor man has been arrested in connection with a drive-by shooting that left one man with a gunshot wound to the leg, Santa Rosa police said Sunday.

The shooting occurred Saturday shortly before noon, when the victim, 20-year-old Maurice Walker, was walking to a 7-Eleven on Corby Avenue from his home on Peach Court, according to Sgt. Steve Fraga.

A white vehicle drove past him and stopped, and a suspect stepped out of the passenger side door and shot Walker in the leg, Fraga said.

Walker was taken to the hospital, treated for his wound and released.

Early Sunday, detectives located a suspect, 21-year-old Paul Reyes in Windsor. He was taken into custody in a traffic stop on the 9800 block of Eastside Road in Windsor, and detectives obtained search warrants for both his home and vehicle.

Reyes was booked into Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of shooting at a person from a motor vehicle and assault with a deadly weapon.

One-Alarm Fire Damages Children's Center Computer Lab Near Mission High School

A one-alarm fire damaged a computer lab at a children's center in San Francisco early Sunday morning, fire officials said.    

Firefighters went to the Children's Council of San Francisco at 445 Church Street on a report of fire at 12:50 a.m., according to the fire department.

Initial reports were that the building was affiliated with nearby Mission High School, which was inaccurate, according to dispatch.

The fire, which broke out on the second floor, was under control by 1:05 a.m.

The cause remains under investigation.

3.0 Magnitude Earthquake 65 Miles South Of San Jose

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake struck Sunday morning about 65 miles south of San Jose near the Monterey-San Benito County border, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake struck an area about 6 miles northwest of Pinnacles at 10:04 a.m., according to the USGS.

The quake had a depth of 4.3 miles.    

A 4.6-magnitude quake struck the same area early Saturday, and a series of aftershocks have been recorded since then.

CHP Continues Search For Driver In Hit-And-Run That Killed SF Attorney

The California Highway Patrol continues to search for the driver of a Ford truck that hit and killed San Francisco attorney Donald Casper as he was jogging in Sonoma County earlier this month.

Investigators believe the truck was a 2004 to 2008 Ford F-150 XLT or Lariat with four doors. It was white with a gold stripe.

The truck might be hidden or parked in a garage. The CHP is asking the public to identify anyone who owns a similar truck and has suddenly stopped driving it. The truck might have right front-end damage.

Casper, 63, vice president of the San Francisco Civil Service Commission, was jogging along the south edge of eastbound River Road west of Wilshire Drive on Aug. 14 when he was struck by the truck around 7 p.m.

Witnesses said the truck slowed down, then fled east on River Road.

Emergency responders found him on the shoulder of the road. He was pronounced dead at the scene, the CHP said.

A $12,500 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the driver.

Anyone with information can contact the CHP Santa Rosa Area at (707) 588-1400 or the CHP tip line at (707) 588-5023 ext. 238.

SOMA Shooting Sends Two To Hospital

A shooting in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood sent two men to the hospital early Sunday morning, including a bystander who was unintentionally struck by the gunfire, police said.

Police responded to the 400 block of Minna Street at about 2:15 a.m. after receiving reports of a shooting, San Francisco police Officer Albie Esparza said.

It appears that one of the victims, a man in his 40s, was walking when he was approached by a gunman who shot him multiple times in the upper and lower body, Esparza said.

A passerby, a man in his 20s, was unintentionally struck in his chest during the gunfire, he said.

Both men were taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for injuries that are not believed to be life threatening. 

The shooter is described as a black man in his 20s, but Esparza said police have not released any further information.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather

The Bay Area is expected to be mostly cloudy and foggy this morning before becoming sunny. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are anticipated. Southwest winds around 10 mph are likely, increasing to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon.

Skies are expected to be mostly clear this evening, before becoming cloudy later tonight. Lows in the mid 50s are anticipated, with southwest winds 10 to 20 mph.

Sunshine is likely on Tuesday as clouds clear in the morning. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are anticipated. West winds 10 to 15 mph are also expected. 

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

The Bay Area is expected to be mostly cloudy and foggy this morning before becoming sunny. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are anticipated. Southwest winds around 10 mph are likely, increasing to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon.

Skies are expected to be mostly clear this evening, before becoming cloudy tonight. Lows in the mid 50s are anticipated, with southwest winds 10 to 20 mph.

Sunshine is likely on Tuesday as clouds clear in the morning. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are anticipated. West winds 10 to 15 mph are also expected.

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Check out some of our newest Blogs:

     Universal Internet Access for All San Franciscans

     Why is San Francisco So Dirty?

     SFPark – The iPhone App for Smart Parking in San Francisco

     Food Truck Rodeo Review – Off the Grid

CHP Continues Search For Truck Involved In Hit-And-Run Death Of SF Attorney

The California Highway Patrol continues to search for the driver of a Ford truck that hit and killed San Francisco attorney Donald Casper as he was jogging in Sonoma County earlier this month.

Investigators believe the truck was a 2004 to 2008 Ford F-150 XLT or Lariat with four doors. It was white with a gold stripe.

The truck might be hidden or parked in a garage. The CHP is asking the public to identify anyone who owns a similar truck and has suddenly stopped driving it. The truck might have right front-end damage.

Casper, 63, vice president of the San Francisco Civil Service Commission, was jogging along the south edge of eastbound River Road west of Wilshire Drive on Aug. 14 when he was struck by the truck around 7 p.m.

Witnesses said the truck slowed down, then fled east on River Road.

Emergency responders found him on the shoulder of the road. He was pronounced dead at the scene, the CHP said.

A $12,500 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the driver.

Anyone with information can contact the CHP Santa Rosa Area at (707) 588-1400 or the CHP tip line at (707) 588-5023 ext. 238.

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Check out some of our newest Blogs:

     Universal Internet Access for All San Franciscans

     Why is San Francisco So Dirty?

     SFPark – The iPhone App for Smart Parking in San Francisco

     Food Truck Rodeo Review – Off the Grid

Update: Fire Damages Children's Center Near Mission High School

A one-alarm fire damaged a computer lab at a children's center in San Francisco early this morning, fire officials said.

Firefighters went to the Children's Council of San Francisco at 455 Church Street on a report of fire at 12:05 a.m., according to the fire department.

Initial reports were that the building was affiliated with nearby Mission High School, which was inaccurate, according to dispatch.

The fire, which broke out on the second floor, was under control by 1:05 a.m.

The cause remains under investigation.

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Check out some of our newest Blogs:

     Universal Internet Access for All San Franciscans

     Why is San Francisco So Dirty?

     SFPark – The iPhone App for Smart Parking in San Francisco

     Food Truck Rodeo Review – Off the Grid

August 30, 2011

Los vagones de BART funcionaron puntualmente, las estaciones permanecieron abiertas y los pasajeros llegaron a sus hogares sin ningún problema el día lunes mientras se llevó acabo la protesta por tercera vez consecutiva durante la hora pico semanal en el transporte público. Los que se vieron afectados se sumaron a los dos hombres arrestados en...

Un cocinero de 22 años de edad de Hog & Rocks recibió un disparo y fue gravemente herido a las 12:30 de la madrugada del martes mientras fumaba un cigarrillo en la calle de San Carlos, justo a la vuelta de la esquina del restaurante, según testigos. La policía declaró que parece ser un caso...

San Francisco's biggest gang trial in many years ended today when a jury convicted six men of racketeering and conspiracy as members of MS-13, a crime organization that waged war against rivals and defectors in San...

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Esta semana hubo un temblor en la Costa Este, al que le siguió dos pequeños temblores en el Área de la Bahía. ¿Se preocupan los residentes de la Misión por los temblores? ¿Qué tan preparados creen que están?

A cook taking a break at a restaurant in San Francisco's Mission District was shot and critically wounded early today by a man who mistook him for a gang member, police said. The victim, a 22-year-old father of two who...

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(08-29) 13:28 PDT SAN FRANCISCO, (AP) -- Jonathan Kaplan made it easy for consumers to shoot cheesy home movies when he founded the company behind the Flip Video camcorder. Now, he's hoping to popularize something...

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