Walnut Creek: Woman Abandoned as Newborn Reunited with Former Concord Resident Who Found Her
A woman who was abandoned in a car in front of a Concord home as a day-old baby came face to face for the first time this week with the woman who found her.
Kira Derhgawen, now 62, was bundled in a blanket and left inside a parked car in front of a home on Coventry Road on April 29, 1951, just a day after she was born, according to the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office.
A woman who lived at the home, Jan Hungerford, and her friend, were startled to find the baby inside the backseat of the car and contacted the sheriff's office.
In the days and weeks that followed, investigators attempted to locate the child's parents.
After the story was featured in the local news, someone believed to be Derhgawen's teenage mother wrote to one of the women who found the baby.
"You know the baby you found in your car? Well, I just wanted you to know that the baby is not unwanted...I am the mother of the baby," the letter read.
"And by the way her name isn't 'Jane Doe' it is Neldajean."
The woman who received the letter took it to the sheriff's office, which attempted to find the writer by requesting writing samples from high school students throughout the Bay Area, according to sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee.
Derhgawen, who had always been aware she was adopted, said she first learned of the letter in 2009 after contacting the adoption agency that facilitated her adoption by a Bay Area couple at two years old.
A local foster family, whom she has been unable to identify, took her in for the first two years of her life but were not allowed to adopt her -- another traumatic event in her young life, she said.
She said that she is still searching for her birth mother, now estimated to be around 78 years old, and said she believes her mother was forced to give her up.
"I would love to get in contact with anyone from either side of my birth family or my foster family," she said.
Though Derhgawen continues to search for her biological mother, she is grateful for her reunion with Hungerford, whom she first contacted in 2009.
Derhgawen, a Washington resident, flew down to meet the 84-year-old in person for the first time this week.
"We reconnected in Oakland on Monday," she said.
"We feel like family -- there is this heart connection that's there."
In addition to exploring her own complicated past, Derhgawen, who previously worked as an adoption case worker, is dedicated to helping others who have been orphaned, abandoned or adopted make sense of their family history and overcome the loss of their birth parents.
"We have attachments to people who have been in our past and there should be some sort of humane way to support us in our search to have them in our life if we choose to...open those doors," she said.
"I'm total proof that a person can have a happy, wonderful life, but these puzzle pieces -- people have a drive to have those answers," she said.
The sheriff's case of the 1951 abandonment remains open.
Anyone with information about the case may contact Jimmy Lee at the sheriff's office at (925) 313-2643.
SF: Suspects Plead Not Guilty in Mission District Triple Shooting Case
Three men arrested for a triple shooting in San Francisco's Mission District earlier this week pleaded not guilty Thursday to attempted murder charges.
Larry Carr, 34, Jason Whittenburg, 30, and George Vickers, 33, each pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempted murder, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of attempted robbery for the shooting at about 3:50 a.m. Tuesday near Mission and 16th streets.
The trio drove up to the three victims, tried to rob them, then shot them, police said.
One of the victims, a 46-year-old man, was shot in the torso and suffered life-threatening injuries.
The other two victims, men ages 40 and 47, were both shot in the leg and are expected to survive, police said.
The suspects fled in a black Mercedes that officers later spotted in the city's Bayview District near Third Street and Gilman Avenue.
A short pursuit ended at Cameron and Nichols ways, where the suspect vehicle crashed into parked cars, then backed into a patrol car.
An officer was injured in the crash and was taken to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening, according to police.
Whittenburg, who was allegedly driving the car, was also charged with four counts of assault with a deadly weapon against a police officer and for felony evading arrest, while Carr was charged with various firearm offenses, district attorney's office spokesman Alex Bastian said.
Carr also has a previous arrest for a 2004 homicide in San Francisco, but that case was discharged pending further investigation, Bastian said.
Police believe that Carr shot and killed Richard Banks on Sept. 30, 2004, during an attempted robbery in the 100 block of Sixth Street, according to a crime bulletin issued by the department in the months after the death.
Carr also has convictions for a 1999 domestic violence case and a 2010 evading police case, while Vickers was convicted for an attempted robbery in 2000 and Whittenburg was convicted of residential burglary, Bastian said.
All three were ordered held Thursday on $1 million bail each with parole holds that prevent their immediate release.
The trio will return to court on June 20 for a hearing on the status of evidence in the case.
Alameda: New Interim Police Chief Shares Goals, Excitement for New Post
When Capt. Paul Rolleri takes the helm of the Alameda Police Department Saturday after Chief Michael Noonan retires he'll be heading the department he's been with for more than two decades.
Rolleri, 49, will take on the role of interim police chief as a native to the island city.
He first joined the police force in 1992. In the 21 years since, he has moved through the ranks when he was promoted to sergeant in 2002, lieutenant in 2009 and captain in 2011.
He said his children, a 19-year-old son and a 17-year-old daughter, are both excited about his latest promotion.
"This one got their attention," he said. Rolleri, who grew up in Alameda and attended local schools, said he never expected to be chief of police, but he's up to the task.
"I grew up here, this is home for me," Rolleri said.
Noonan announced his retirement in March after serving in the force for 27 years.
The past three years he has been chief.
"The fortunate thing about taking over for (Noonan) is the department is in a good place right now," Rolleri said.
"There's nothing wrong, no turmoil, no scandal."
Rolleri will serve as interim chief for six months after which it will be determined if the position should be made permanent.
He characterized the period as a "test drive."
Noonan will serve as a consultant to the city as Rolleri heads the department.
As he transitions to his new role, Rolleri said he will focus on curbing spikes in property crimes, such as residential break-ins, burglaries and vandalism.
Otherwise he said the city with its 74,000 population does not have a lot of major crime.
"I'd like to think a lot of it has to do with us being proactive," he said.
The longtime police officer, who has a brother who is an officer at the Berkeley Police Department, got interested in law enforcement after studying criminal case law while earning his bachelor's degree in criminal justice administration from California State University East Bay in 1985.
That interest eventually translated into trying out uniformed law enforcement.
As he prepares for his new post, he said he is excited but it feels surreal.
"Filling the shoes of (Noonan) is not going to be an easy thing," he said.
SF: City Officials Tour Site of Central Subway Tunnel Boring Machine
A gigantic tunnel boring machine was bid farewell by San Francisco officials Thursday as it soon begins its underground voyage to excavate and construct the city's Central Subway project.
The subway project will create a new branch of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's T-Third line between the South of Market and Chinatown neighborhoods, with stops also at Yerba Buena/Moscone and Union Square/Market Street stations.
Mayor Ed Lee and other city officials Thursday morning signed their names on the tunnel boring machine named Mom Chung, which is set to begin excavating underneath Fourth and Harrison streets starting the week of June 10.
Lee said the Central Subway project is about "making sure that we connect up the north and south (ends of the city).
A modern San Francisco will have a transportation system that reflects that."
He said, "It's a reflection that our neighborhoods are here to stay and grow and prosper."
SFMTA took the mayor, other city officials and the media on a tour of the excavation site and the tunnel boring machine, Mom Chung, which is longer than a football field and weighs 750 tons, according to SFMTA officials.
Sparks were flying as welders continued work Thursday morning to assemble the large, cylindrical machine, which will use a rotating cutter wheel and 300-foot-long trailing gear to cut through the earth between 40 and 120 feet below ground.
The machine will move about 40 feet per day and take about 10 months to create the 1.5-mile tunnel, according to SFMTA officials, who say no vibration or noise will be felt above ground from the tunneling.
A second tunnel boring machine named Big Alma will also create a parallel tunnel starting this summer, with both machines ending up at the site of the former Pagoda Palace Theatre in Chinatown, SFMTA officials said.
Mom Chung is named after Dr. Margaret "Mom" Chung, the country's first female Chinese-American physician, while the second machine is named after 19th century San Francisco socialite "Big Alma" de Bretteville Spreckels, according to SFMTA officials.
The names were chosen via an online poll held earlier this year.
"It's important to honor the past while we build the future of San Francisco," SFMTA director of transportation Ed Reiskin said.
The Central Subway is expected to open in 2019.
Updates on the project can be found online at www.centralsubwaysf.com.
Vacavilled: Woman Killed When Her Car Hits Caltrans Truck
A woman was killed when her Toyota Scion crashed into a Caltrans truck and overturned on eastbound Interstate Highway 80 in Vacaville late Thursday morning, a California Highway Patrol officer said.
The Caltrans weed abatement truck was stopped in the center divide at Lagoon Valley Road with its yellow lights flashing while a worker sprayed vegetation at about 11:45 a.m., CHP Officer Chris Parker said.
Witnesses who were driving in the area told investigators the Scion was weaving as it passed by them, and was in the fast lane before it struck the right rear of the truck, Parker said.
The Scion overturned onto its roof and was struck in the No. 2 lane by a green Volkswagen Jetta driven by a woman in her 40s, Parker said.
That woman was not injured.
The Scion's driver, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was between 70 and 75 years old and lived in Vacaville, according to Parker.
Her name has not yet been released.
SF: Pair Convicted of Attempted Murder for 2009 Shootings in Hunters Point
Two gang members were convicted Wednesday of attempted murder and other charges for two separate shootings that injured a man and nearly injured his two younger brothers in San Francisco's Hunters Point neighborhood in 2009, prosecutors said Thursday.
Rashad Brown, 25, and Anthony Taylor, 23, were convicted of two counts each of attempted murder as well as various gang and gun allegations for the shootings in the first block of West Point Road on April 28 and May 16, 2009, according to the district attorney's office.
In the earlier shooting, Brown shot at the victim as he stood in front of his home.
The bullets missed him, but grazed a baby stroller, nearly hitting his 5-year-old brother, prosecutors said.
In the latter shooting, the victim was cutting his 12-year-old brother's hair outside their home when Taylor approached and shot him nine times.
The victim survived the shooting, prosecutors said.
Investigators said the shootings occurred because the suspects believed that the victim was a "snitch" and that Brown and Taylor were both members of the Westmob criminal street gang.
After a trial that lasted more than two months, a San Francisco Superior Court jury found both defendants guilty of all counts following about three hours of deliberation, prosecutors said. Brown and Taylor are each facing multiple life terms in prison when they are sentenced on July 22.
"These defendants have terrorized a community and kept people in fear. They have forfeited their right to live in our community," District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement.
Richmond: Potential Victims of Coach Charged with Child Molestation Asked to Come Forward
Contra Costa County sheriff's investigators believe there may be more victims in the case of a high school football coach in Richmond accused of molesting multiple youths in the 1980s and 1990s.
Barron Edwards, 51, is being held in the Martinez Detention Facility on $2.57 million bail and was charged this week with 16 felony counts stemming from alleged sex crimes against minors, authorities said.
Edwards, a former football coach at Richmond's Kennedy High School, was charged with 12 counts of lewd acts against a child under 14 years of age, three counts of forcible rape and one count of lewd acts against a child between 14 and 15, according to the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office.
He was arrested at his San Lorenzo home last Thursday afternoon, sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee said.
Lee said detectives also served a search warrant at a Pittsburg home "affiliated with Edwards" on Wednesday morning.
He is set to be arraigned in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Richmond on Tuesday.
Anyone who may have been victimized by Edwards or who had inappropriate contact with him is asked to leave their contact information on the sheriff's office tip line at (866) 846-3592 or at email@example.com
San Leandro: Officials Celebrate Opening of Zero Net Energy Center
Elected officials and union leaders celebrated the grand opening Thursday of the Zero Net Energy Center in San Leandro, which they said is the nation's first commercial building retrofit to achieve zero net energy.
The 46,000-square-foot former industrial facility on Catalina Street west of Interstate Highway 880 has been transformed into a training center for apprentice and journey-level electricians in Alameda County.
The center is sponsored by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 595 and the Northern California Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association.
Byron Benton, a union training director, said while there are 20 zero net centers in the U.S., the San Leandro center is the only one that's a retrofit of an existing building.
Benton said that's significant because new buildings make up only about one percent of the country's building stock, so existing buildings need to be retrofitted in order for there to be a major impact on energy use.
To achieve zero net energy, in which it will use only as much energy as it creates, the building utilizes state-of-the-art technologies such as solar panels and wind turbines and an energy efficient building design.
State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, said the center "sets the standard for the world" in terms of training people for the careers of the future.
Corbett said the building also is a model for energy efficiency, as reductions in its carbon footprint will save an estimated 175 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year.
Corbett said the center "offers the East Bay something to boast about to the state and the nation." San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy said, "The future is being created here today in San Leandro."
Cassidy said the center is "a model of sustainable economic development for the world to follow."
Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, said the center will "support working families and build a more promising future."
Lee said the center will create "environmentally sound jobs" and help create energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Gov. Jerry Brown also spoke at the event, which was attended by more than 500 people.
Mountain View: Driver Arrested on Suspicion of Fatally Striking Elderly Woman Last Month
A man turned himself in to police last week in connection with the death of an elderly woman who was struck by a car in Mountain View in April and later died from her injuries, police said Thursday.
Conan Cheung, 37, of Mountain View, was arrested at the Mountain View Police Department last Friday on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter after he turned himself in to authorities, police said.
The Santa Clara County district attorney's office had posted a warrant for Cheung's arrest for the April 3 accident involving an 81-year-old Mountain View woman.
The woman was walking on the sidewalk near Rengstorff Avenue and Central Expressway when she was struck by a minivan that day around 4:25 p.m., police said.
The gray 2012 Honda Odyssey was traveling west on Central Expressway when it drove off the roadway and hit her.
The woman was taken to Stanford Hospital with major injuries. She died that following Saturday, police said.
Cheung had remained at the scene and initially had cooperated with investigators but authorities later issued a warrant for his arrest, police said.
After his arrest, Cheung was released on $10,000 bail. Drugs and alcohol were determined to not be factors in the fatal crash.
Instead the incident appears to have been cause by Cheung being unable to keep the car on the road, police said.
Initially investigators suspected the driver may have been distracted.
Moffett Field: U.S. Government Seeking Developers for Historic Former Dirigible Hangar
An enormous, historic steel skeleton of a hangar, in plain of view of motorists passing by Moffett Field on U.S. Highway 101, is being offered for private development, according to federal officials.
The U.S. General Services Administration and NASA, overseer of the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, is seeking proposals to lease Hangar One at the airfield, officials said Wednesday.
The proposed long-term lease of Hangar One "offers a unique opportunity for the private sector to collaborate with the government to reposition and manage federal-owned property for private and public sector reuse," officials said in a release requesting proposals.
Any use of the cavernous building would have to include preserving it as a historic structure, officials said.
Hangar One was built in the early 1930s to house "lighter than air" dirigibles until two of the air-filled aircraft crashed in California and the United States abandoned the program in the mid-1930s, officials said.
The hangar, with a footprint of eight acres, is 1,140 feet long, 308 feet wide with 350,000 gross square feet inside the steel-framed building.
The exposed steel frame remains because after its original metal siding deteriorated, the U.S. Navy removed but did not replace the siding and instead coated the frame with epoxy, officials said.
NASA was not able to provide the funds necessary to install new siding to protect it from the open air, officials said.
The hangar and former dirigible structures Hangar Two and Hangar Three at Moffett are part of the U.S. Naval Air Station Sunnyvale, California Historic District, listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 permits federal agencies such as NASA to lease out historic property, the officials said.
Hangar One's primary occupant in the 1930s was the U.S.S. Macon, a 6.5-million-cubic-foot dirigible that collapsed off the coast of California in a storm in 1935.
After the dirigible program ended, the Army Air Corps and Navy used the hangar for various missions until Moffett Field was decommissioned as a military base in 1991 and transferred to NASA.
Weather Forecast for the San Francisco Bay Area
Sunny skies are likely in the Bay Area this morning.
Highs are expected to be in the lower 60s to mid 70s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.
Clear skies are likely this evening.
Lows are likely to be in the mid 50s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.
Sunny skies are expected Saturday morning.
Highs are expected to be in the mid 60s to upper 70s, with winds up to 20 mph.
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