Wednesday News Roundup
Large Fire Growing in Solano County
A rapidly spreading three-alarm vegetation fire reportedTuesday afternoon off of state Highway 113 in unincorporated Solano County has grown to roughly 100 acres, a fire captain said. The incident was reported at 4:48 p.m. in the vicinity ofHighway 113 and Hastings Road, roughly five miles from Travis Air Force Base, according to Dixon Fire Chief Aaron McAlister, the incident commander.
The fire is burning in a remote, difficult to access area and the glow from the flames is visible from Vacaville to Rio Vista. “Nothing’s immediately threatened because of the remoteness of this location, but it’s still a fire we need to address,” McAlister said.
Weather was a factor in the fire’s rapid rate of spread, with winds of 15 to 20 mph and a temperature of roughly 100 degrees, McAlistersaid. High temperatures are also expected Wednesday, and it’s too soon to anticipate whether crews will be able to bring the incident under control by Thursday.
No injuries have been reported and no structures have been damaged, but a number of structures were temporarily threatened. Fire activity has died down overnight, McAlister said, but the fire does still have the potential to reach them. There was a collision involving a fire vehicle during the first 30 minutes of the incident, but no injuries were reported.
Settlement Approved in Volkswagen Pollution Case
A federal judge in San Francisco gave preliminary approvalTuesday to $14.7 billion settlement with automaker Volkswagen in a pollution cheating scandal. The action by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer clears the way for notices of the settlement to go out to people who bought or leased 475,000 diesel-fueled Volkswagens or Audis with two-liter engines in the United States between 2009 and 2015.
The next step in the case is an Oct. 18 fairness hearing at which Breyer may give final approval, allowing buyback and repair provisions of the agreement to go into effect.
Volkswagen owners and lessees who don’t like the settlement can submit objections or opt out of the settlement.Breyer wrote in a 32-page ruling, “The settlement is sufficiently fair, adequate, and reasonable to the 2.0-liter diesel engine vehicle consumers to move forward with class notice.” The liter number refers to cylinder space.
A settlement has not been reached for about 80,000 larger vehicles with three-liter engines. Under the pact, Volkswagen will provide a $10 billion fund to compensate owners, who can either sell the cars back to Volkswagen or accept a not-yet-developed fix of the emissions cheating devices in their vehicles.
Owners will receive an additional $5,100 to $10,000 cash payment and those who leased Volkswagens will receive $3,500 and can terminate their leases, according to attorney Elizabeth Cabraser of San Francisco. Cabraser was appointed by Breyer as the lead lawyer in hundreds of cases filed by consumers nationwide and consolidated in Breyer’s court forjudicial efficiency. The settlement resolves those cases and two other lawsuits filed by the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission. Volkswagen began marketing the diesel vehicles in 2008 as “clean” cars with low emissions of pollutions.
In September, it admitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board that the cars were in fact equipped with defeat devices that registered low emissions when the cars were tested, but turned off the controls when the vehicles were driven normally.
The vehicles released up to 40 times the allowed limit of nitrogen oxides, Breyer noted in his ruling. The settlement also includes Volkswagen payments of $2 billion for investments in zero emissions technology and $2.7 million to states nationwide to mitigate pollution.
Cabraser said in a statement, “We have designed a settlement that places consumers, the owners and lessees in a central, decisive role.” Volkswagen stated, “The parties believe that the proposed settlement program will provide a fair, reasonable and adequate resolution for affected Volkswagen and Audi customers.”
Police Search for Missing At-Risk Dublin Man
Police are seeking the public’s assistance in locating an at risk man that has been missing out of Dublin since last week. Dublin Police Services received information Monday at 8:37 p.m. that Theodore Muniz, 55, had not been seen or heard from since Friday. According to police, Muniz has difficulty caring for himself and suffers from mental instability issues and had not been taking his prescribed medications.
Muniz does not own a cell phone and had no money when he was last seen, however he is known to utilize public transportation, police said. He is described as a white man, around 120 pounds, standing five feet nine inches, and was last seen wearing a black leather jacket, a white t-shirt, and grey sweatpants. Anyone with information on Miniz’s whereabouts is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Rafael Alvarez at (925) 833-6682.