The European Union on Saturday warned that the apparent incursion of Russian troops on Ukrainian soil pushes the conflict closer to a point of no return, with new economic sanctions being drawn up to make Moscow reconsider its position.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who briefed a summit of the 28-nation EU's leaders in Brussels, said a strong response was needed to the "military aggression and terror" facing his country.
"Thousands of the foreign troops and hundreds of the foreign tanks are now on the territory of Ukraine," Poroshenko told reporters in English. "There is a very high risk not only for peace and stability for Ukraine, but for the whole ... of Europe."
French President Francois Hollande and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said at the summit in Brussels the leaders will make a political decision and then ask the EU's executive arm to finalize the fine print of new sanctions.
However, because several EU nations fear the fallout of sanctions on their own economies, it wasn't immediately clear whether the required unanimity would be reached for immediate punitive measures, or whether the leaders would set Russia another ultimatum.
But Lithuanian leader Dalia Grybauskaite insisted Russia's meddling in Ukraine, which seeks closer ties with the EU, amounts to a direct confrontation that requires stronger sanctions.
"Russia is practically in the war against Europe," she said in English.
NATO estimates that at least 1,000 Russian soldiers are in Ukraine even though Russia denies any military involvement in the fighting that has so far claimed 2,600 lives, according to U.N. figures.
British Prime Minister David Cameron also warned that Europe can't be complacent about Russian troops on Ukrainian soil.
"Countries in Europe shouldn't have to think long before realizing just how unacceptable that is," he said. "We know that from our history. So consequences must follow."
Poroshenko told reporters that he believed efforts to halt the violence were "very close to a point of no return," warning that failure could lead to a "full-scale war."
Conceding ground in the face of a reinvigorated rebel offensive, Ukraine said Saturday that it was abandoning a city where its forces have been surrounded by rebels for days. Government forces were also pulling back from another it had claimed to have taken control of two weeks earlier.
The statements by Col. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the national security council, indicate that Ukrainian forces face increasingly strong resistance from Russian-backed separatist rebels just weeks after racking up significant gains and forcing rebels out of much of the territory they had held.
Poroshenko, meanwhile, said Ukraine would welcome an EU decision to help with military equipment and further intelligence-sharing.
The office of the Donetsk mayor reported in a statement that at least two people died in an artillery attack on one of Donetsk's neighborhoods. Shelling was reported elsewhere in the city, but there was no immediate word on casualties.
In Brussels, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said "sanctions are not an end in themselves," but a means to dissuade Russia from further destabilizing Ukraine.
"We may see a situation where we reach the point of no return," Barroso warned. "If the escalation of the conflict continues, this point of no return can come."
He provided no specifics about which sanctions the heads of state and government might adopt to inflict more economic pain to nudge Russia toward a political solution.
The U.S. and the EU have so far imposed sanctions against dozens of Russian officials, several companies and the country's financial industry. Moscow has retaliated by banning food imports.
Grybauskaite said the EU should impose a full arms embargo, including the canceling of already agreed contracts. France has so far staunchly opposed that proposal because it has a $1.6 billion contract to build Mistral helicopter carriers for Russia.
The EU's requirement for a unanimous agreement among the 28 nation has in the past blocked or softened decisions since some nations fear the economic fallout.
Russia is the EU's No. 3 trading partner and one of its biggest oil and gas suppliers. The EU, in turn, is Russia's biggest commercial partner, making any sanctions more biting than similar measures adopted by the U.S.
Moscow, meanwhile, is preparing to send a second convoy of humanitarian aid to eastern Ukraine.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that Moscow has already received Kiev's preliminary approval and insisted that it would send aid in coordination with the Red Cross. Lavrov wouldn't say when the aid is likely to be sent, but said it could happen next week.
Russian state Rossiya 24 on Saturday showed trucks from the previous convoy at the border being loaded with humanitarian aid that was brought to the area by train. It was unclear when the new convoy could start moving.
Barroso said that the EU — a bloc encompassing 500 million people and stretching from Lisbon to the border with Ukraine — stands ready to grant Kiev further humanitarian aid and financial assistance if needed. The bloc will also organize a donors' conference to help rebuild the country's east at the end of the year, he added.
Ukrainian forces had been surrounded by rebels in the town of Ilovaysk, about 20 kilometers (15 miles) east of the largest rebel-held city of Donetsk for days.
"We are surrendering this city," Ukraine's Lysenko told reporters. "Our task now is to evacuate our military with the least possible losses in order to regroup."
Lysenko said that regular units of the military had been ordered to retreat from Novosvitlivka and Khryashchuvate, two towns on the main road between the Russian border and Luhansk, the second-largest rebel-held city. Ukraine had claimed control of Novosvitlivka earlier in August.
Separately, Ukrainian forces said one of their Su-25 fighter jets was shot down Friday over eastern Ukraine by a missile from a Russian missile launcher. The pilot ejected and was uninjured, the military said in a brief statement.
Published: Sat, 30 Aug 2014 14:15:05 -0700
An experimental Ebola drug healed all 18 monkeys infected with the deadly virus in a study, boosting hopes that the treatment might help fight the outbreak raging through West Africa — once more of it can be made.
The monkeys were given the drug, ZMapp, three to five days after they were infected with the virus and when most were showing symptoms. That is several days later than any other experimental Ebola treatment tested so far.
The drug also completely protected six other monkeys given a slightly different version of it three days after infection in a pilot test. These two studies are the first monkey tests ever done on ZMapp.
"The level of improvement was utterly beyond my honest expectation," said one study leader, Gary Kobinger of the Public Health Agency of Canada in Winnipeg.
"For animal data, it's extremely impressive," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which had a role in the work.
It's not known how well the drug would work in people, who can take up to 21 days to show symptoms and are not infected the way these monkeys were in a lab.
Several experts said it's not possible to estimate a window of opportunity for treating people, but that it was encouraging that the animals recovered when treated even after advanced disease developed.
The study was published online Friday by the journal Nature.
ZMapp had never been tested in humans before two Americans aid workers who got Ebola while working in Africa were allowed to try it. The rest of the limited supply was given to five others.
There is no more ZMapp now, and once a new batch is ready, it still needs some basic tests before it can be tried again during the African outbreak, Fauci said. "We do need to know what the proper dose is" in people and that it's safe, he said.
Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people this year and the World Health Organization says there could be as many as 20,000 cases before the outbreak is brought under control. On Friday, it spread to a fifth African country — Senegal, where a university student who traveled there from Guinea was being treated.
There is no approved vaccine or specific treatment, just supportive care to keep them hydrated and nourished. Efforts have focused on finding cases and tracking their contacts to limit the disease, which spreads through contact with blood and other fluids.
ZMapp is three antibodies that attach to cells infected with Ebola, helping the immune system kill them.
Of the seven people known to have been treated with ZMapp, two have died — a Liberian doctor and a Spanish priest. The priest received only one of three planned doses. The two Americans recovered, as have two Africans who received ZMapp in Liberia — a Congolese doctor and a Liberian physician's assistant who were expected to be released from a treatment center on Saturday. A British nurse also got the drug, reportedly the two unused doses left over from treating the Spanish priest.
Doctors have said there is no way to know whether ZMapp made a difference or the survivors recovered on their own, as about 45 percent of people infected in this outbreak have.
ZMapp's maker, Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., of San Diego, has said the small supply of the drug is now exhausted and that it will take several months to make more. The drug is grown in tobacco plants and was developed with U.S. government support.
Kobinger said it takes about a month to make 20 to 40 doses at a Kentucky plant where the drug is being produced. Officials have said they are looking at other facilities and other ways to ramp up production, and Kobinger said there were plans for a clinical trial to test ZMapp in people early next year.
The monkey study involved scientists from the Canada health agency, Mapp Biopharmaceutical, the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease.
Eighteen monkeys were given lethal amounts of Ebola in a shot, then received three intravenous doses of ZMapp, given three days apart starting three to five days after they were infected. Some were showing severe symptoms such as excessive bleeding, rashes and effects on their liver.
All treated with ZMapp survived; three other infected monkeys who did not get the drug died within eight days.
Primates have been good stand-ins for people for many viral diseases, but how well they predict human responses to Ebola, "we just don't know," said Dr. Cameron Wolfe, a Duke University infectious disease specialist. The study also "tells us nothing about side effects" people might have, he added.
Still, it was encouraging that even monkeys with severe symptoms got better, said Wolfe and Erica Ollmann Saphire, a Scripps Research Institute professor who has worked with some of the study leaders on antibodies to Ebola.
"The treatment window in humans needs to be established in a well-controlled trial" that also would explore the correct dose of ZMapp in people, Saphire wrote in an email. "Given its tremendous efficacy in the nonhuman primates, I don't see how it couldn't be helpful in people."
Published: Sat, 30 Aug 2014 14:08:59 -0700
The St. Louis Rams have cut Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team.
The 7th-round draft pick has been outspoken and confident as his progress was watched as closely as any rookie in the league. He has been cheered by athletes and celebrities. In the end, the defensive end couldn't make a team stocked with pass-rushers.
The news was first reported by ESPN.
Sam still has a chance to get picked up by another team or to make the Rams' practice squad.
"There will be no challenge, no challenges whatsoever," for whatever team picks up Sam, Rams coach Jeff Fisher said at a news conference.
"There's no challenge with respect to Mike Sam," Fisher said. "He's not about drawing attention to himself. He kept his head down and worked and you can't ask anything more out of any player for that matter."
On Saturday, he attended Missouri's opener in Columbia, a 1 1/2-hour drive west on I-70 from Rams Park. He was introduced to the crowd at the cut down deadline in the end zone alongside defensive E.J. Gaines, a sixth-round pick who made the team.
Sam blew a kiss and waved to the crowd, then walked back to the sideline. He posed for a few pictures then started looking at his phone and headed for the locker room.
The Rams selected Sam, the SEC co-defensive player of the year at Missouri, with the 249th overall pick out of 256 overall during May's draft. Sam came out following his final season at Missouri.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher was proud to have made the landmark pick, but he made clear from the start that he chose Sam because he thought he had the talent to make it.
The Rams selected Sam, the SEC co-defensive player of the year at Missouri, with the 249th overall pick out of 256 overall. He kissed his boyfriend as a national television audience looked on, and arrived brimming with confidence and with a quick retort for anyone who contended he was in the NFL only because he came out.
The cameras followed, but the extra attention did not seem to faze Sam or his teammates. Veteran defensive end Chris Long noted rosters are always made up of players from different backgrounds. One by one, players said Sam was now part of their family.
Coach Jeff Fisher called the draft pick a "second historic moment" for a franchise that signed running back Kenny Washington in 1946 as the league's first black player in the modern era, but he was most interested in describing Sam as a way to upgrade the Rams' defense. So was general manager Les Snead, who referred to Sam after the draft as a "designated pass rusher." Sam recognized the challenge, so he shed weight to be faster for special teams duty, reporting at 257 pounds.
After the Rams' first preseason game, a 26-24 loss to New Orleans, Fisher said Sam played "pretty well" but also made his share of mistakes. Sam, who was credited with one tackle and one quarterback hit in the game, emerged with confidence.
"You know, I can play in this league," Sam said. "I can play in this league."
Sam told his teammates at Missouri that he was gay before his senior year, and judging by the results it was no distraction at all. The Tigers made a seven-win improvement and tied the school record with 12 wins. Sam had 11 1/2 sacks and the lightly-regarded Tigers won the SEC Eastern Division, a huge step forward after going 5-7 during the first season in their new conference.
More than 100 coaches and players kept the revelation to themselves. Sam came out in February.
"If you look at our season, it didn't hurt us at all," recalled cornerback E.J. Gaines, a fellow rookie and former Missouri teammate. "If anything, it brought us closer."
Sam was lightly regarded out of Hitchcock, Texas, a town of about 7,000 along the Gulf Coast about 40 miles southeast of Houston. His first two years at Missouri, Sam backed up Aldon Smith and Jacquies Smith, both of whom are in the NFL.
The Rams drafted Sam even though they didn't need help at defensive end, where they have a pair of first-round picks as starters. The Rams were so well-stocked with picks, taking 11 players overall, they had leeway to take a shot. Fisher said Sam's value as a player "was off the charts."
"I'm determined to be great," Sam said at his introductory news conference, packed with reporters. "I understand that right now you guys want to make a big deal of it."
From the start, teammates seemed to like having Sam around. His energy was infectious and, if there were problems, they stayed behind closed doors. Publicly, Sam was just another late-round pick trying to make the Rams, which, like other NFL teams, held sensitivity training early in camp. The Oprah Winfrey Network put off a planned documentary on Sam, saying it would allow him to focus on his dream of making the team.
At one point, Sam's Rams jersey was the No. 2 seller among rookies at NFLShop.com, trailing only Cleveland's Johnny Manziel, and Sam was among just 10 draftees selected by the NFL to be featured on commemorative coins. Sam headed to the ESPY Awards to pick up the Arthur Ashe Courage award. He got a hug from Hall of Famer Jim Brown on his way to the stage and fought back tears throughout his speech.
"Great things can happen when you have the courage to be yourself," he told the audience.
Published: Sat, 30 Aug 2014 14:02:15 -0700
A 51-year-old Napa man was killed in a hit-and-run collision Saturday morning on a rural Sonoma County road near Petaluma, the California Highway Patrol said.
At 4:09 a.m., CHP officers were dispatched to a report of a head-on collision on Bodega Avenue near King Road.
CHP officers arrived at the scene to find two vehicles blocking the roadway and one of the drivers trapped inside his vehicle.
The other driver had left the scene prior to the officers' arrival, the CHP said.
Emergency personnel performed life-saving measures on the trapped victim, but he was declared deceased at the scene, according to the CHP.
Based on the preliminary investigation, the CHP said a 2007 Chevy pickup truck was traveling east on Bodega Avenue when it drifted onto the dirt shoulder of the road, striking two mailboxes.
The force of the impact spun the pickup truck 180 degrees and back onto the roadway.
The pickup struck a 1994 Mazda traveling west on Bodega Avenue head-on, the CHP said.
The driver of the Mazda was trapped inside the vehicle while the driver of the Chevy took off on foot, the CHP said.
The CHP conducted a thorough search of the area, including the use of a CHP airplane with a heat-sensing camera over the nearby fields, but the suspect was not located during the search.
The victim's name is being withheld pending notification of his next of kin, the CHP said.
Any witnesses or anyone with information about the driver of the Chevy pickup truck is urged to contact the CHP at (707) 588-1412.
Published: Sat, 30 Aug 2014 12:17:53 -0700
An infant in an improperly installed car seat was ejected from a car in Santa Rosa on Friday evening, the California Highway Patrol said Saturday.
At about 7 p.m. on Friday, 18-year-old Santa Rosa resident Jocelyn Gallardo, driving a 2001 Mazda, was pulling out of a driveway on Santa Rosa Avenue near Castro Court when the car's left rear door swung open and the child restraint seat containing Gallardo's infant fell onto the road, according to the CHP.
A Sonoma County sheriff's deputy driving south on Santa Rosa Avenue stopped when he saw the child in the car seat in the roadway.
Gallardo immediately stopped the car and ran to the child, the CHP said.
The infant suffered scrapes to her forehead and was transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital by ambulance for medical treatment, CHP officers said.
According to the CHP, Gallardo failed to properly install the child restraint and properly close the door.
The CHP said Gallardo claimed she used the seatbelt to attach the car seat. She also said the car did not belong to her and that she was under the impression that the car door was stuck shut.
The incident remains under investigation.
Published: Sat, 30 Aug 2014 11:45:36 -0700
Lyft says Uber’s aggressive recruitment practices are hitting its drivers where it counts — their checkbooks.
Earlier this week, The Verge detailed Operation SLOG, a semicovert campaign to recruit Lyft drivers — by ordering a Lyft appointment and then pitching the drivers on Uber mid-ride.
The recruiters are reportedly issued burner cellphones and a collection of valid credit card numbers, so they can arrange multiple rides without drawing suspicion.
The New York Times explains these rides are often shorter than actual fares, given the topic of discussion — and assuming the Uber recruiter doesn’t cancel the ride outright.
And Lyft says it now has hard data on the damage from Uber’s campaign. In San Francisco, Uber recruitment can drop a Lyft driver’s hourly income by 12 percent. Near the Los Angeles International Airport: 24 percent. In Orange County: 48 percent.
This is just the latest salvo in the on-demand ride war. Uber and Lyft both stand accused of playing the cancellation game — Uber of arranging and immediately cancelling more than 5,500 Lyft rides, and Lyft of doing the same for almost 13,000 Uber trips. Both companies deny the practice.
The goal appears to be disruption of the competitor’s service — but some industry watchers doubt it will have the desired effect. Take Uber’s alleged cancellation spree.
A writer for Vox points out Lyft, the target, has some 60,000 drivers.
“If Uber intended these cancellations as an act of deliberate sabotage, the campaign was way too small to be a major threat, or even a significant nuisance.”
And a Forbes contributor says escalating the practice doesn’t do anyone any good. “Does either company really want a ‘denial of service’ war? Of course not.”
Uber has yet to issue official comment on Lyft’s income findings. In the meantime, Lyft says it’s developed a system to weed Uber recruiters out of its reservations.
See more at newsy.com.
Published: Sat, 30 Aug 2014 11:37:19 -0700
A 19-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of killing a 25-year-old man during a fight outside a teen center in Sonoma Valley on Friday evening, sheriff's deputies said. At about 5:30 p.m. on Friday, sheriff's deputies, along with medical personnel, were dispatched to a report of a fight outside the Valley of the Moon Teen Center at 17440 Sonoma Highway in Fetters Hot Springs-Agua Caliente.
Upon arrival, medical personnel performed life-saving measures on the male victim.
The victim, later identified as Sonoma Valley resident Mario Zamudio Perez, was transported to the Sonoma Valley Hospital, where he later died of his injuries, according to deputies.
Detectives from the Sheriff's Violent Crime Investigations and Crime Scene Investigations units responded to assist in the investigation.
Deputies located the suspect, identified as Joshua Javier Gonzalez, also from Sonoma Valley, and took him into custody.
Gonzalez was booked into the Sonoma County Main Adult Detention Facility for involuntary manslaughter. He is being held on $25,000 bail, according to sheriff's deputies.
An autopsy to determine the manner and cause of Perez' death is scheduled for next week, according to deputies.
Published: Sat, 30 Aug 2014 10:33:15 -0700
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith has apologized to the organization and its fans after receiving a nine-game suspension from the NFL for a series of off-field legal issues.
In a statement released through the NFL Players Association on Saturday, Smith said: "I apologize to my teammates, coaches, the entire 49ers organization and 49ers fans for not being able to contribute on the field for the next several weeks. Over the last year, I have learned a lot and I'm working hard to grow from my experiences.
"I want to thank my family and friends, my teammates, my union and the 49ers for supporting me during this process. I will be at work daily to participate in all permitted work activities, and to support my teammates, just as they have supported me."
The NFL announced Smith's suspension Friday. The league said in a statement Smith had violated its substance abuse and personal conduct policies.
Smith missed five games last season to undergo treatment at an in-patient facility following his DUI arrest Sept. 20. In November, he pleaded not guilty to three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon, stemming from a June 2012 party at his home.
Smith also was arrested April 13 at Los Angeles International Airport for allegedly making a bomb threat. No charges were filed.
Published: Sat, 30 Aug 2014 10:30:18 -0700
One person died and two others are seriously injured after falling from a cliff in Daly City early Saturday morning, fire officials said.
At about 4:35 a.m., emergency crews with the North County Fire Authority were dispatched to a report of a cliff rescue near Palisades Drive and Westridge Avenue, just below Palisade Park, according to fire officials.
The three victims apparently fell about 250 to 300 feet down the cliff after breaking through a fence along a ledge. They were located on the beach, just south of Thornton State Beach, law enforcement and fire officials said.
Firefighter paramedics found the victims and quickly implemented advanced life-saving protocols and measures.
The U.S. Coast Guard deployed a helicopter to remove the victims from the beach, fire officials said.
The injured victims were airlifted to a landing zone where paramedics continued to treat them.
One victim did not survive and was declared deceased at the scene.
"A tremendous collaborative effort with the local fire department, police department and other first responders was critically important to swiftly locate the men and safely evacuate two of them to receive medical treatment," said Lt. Cmdr. David Middleton, Air Station San Francisco helicopter pilot. "We are deeply saddened that one of the men was unresponsive and our thoughts and prayers are with the deceased friends and family."
The two injured men were flown to a location near Thomas Edison Elementary School where emergency medical technicians were standing by to provide immediate medical assistance and transportation to the nearest hospital.
The incident remains under investigation and the identity of the deceased person has not yet been released.
Published: Sat, 30 Aug 2014 10:12:18 -0700
A 33-year-old male motorcyclist from San Jose died after crashing his bike and being run over by a vehicle on northbound US Highway 101 in San Jose early Saturday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.
CHP officials said the motorcyclist was first spotted speeding past CHP officers on northbound Highway 101 near Old Oakland Road at about 12:20 a.m.
Officers then saw the motorcycle down in the road and the rider in the northbound lanes, along with some debris, near East Brokaw Road, the CHP said.
CHP officers saw a female, later identified as the passenger of the motorcycle, 23-year-old San Jose resident Nyisha Coleman, walking towards the center divider, the CHP said.
Officers parked their patrol vehicle in the center divider and activated their emergency lights to warn approaching traffic.
However, as the officers went to render medical aid to the man down in the roadway, the driver of a Ford Mustang struck the motorcyclist, according to the CHP.
Officers called for emergency crews and a Sig-alert was issued for all lanes at 12:28 a.m., the CHP said.
Emergency personnel arrived at the scene and transported the motorcyclist to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, where he was pronounced deceased, CHP officers said.
The passenger of the motorcycle was transported to Regional Medical Center of San Jose with moderate injuries.
The preliminary investigation suggests that the motorcyclist was speeding when he collided with the back of a vehicle. The impact caused the motorcycle to overturn and eject the driver and passenger onto the roadway, the CHP said.
The driver of that vehicle pulled off to the shoulder and cooperated with the investigation.
Moments later, the Ford Mustang collided with the rider. The driver of that vehicle also pulled over to the center median and cooperated with the investigation, the CHP said.
The identification of the deceased rider has not yet been released and it has not been determined whether alcohol or drugs were a factor in the collision.
The roadway reopened shortly after 2 a.m., according to the CHP.
Published: Sat, 30 Aug 2014 08:41:07 -0700
Revving engines signaled the sounds of history rolling into town Friday as more than 150 classic cars, some from as far away as Oregon, rolled into Novato for the Nostalgia Days Hot Rod Cruise this weekend.
They gathered in a parking lot in a colorful array of paint jobs and flashing lots of chrome. Members of the group Tribute Team American Graffiti brought their replicas of cars seen in the classic George Lucas film that captured the life of teenagers and the cruising culture of 1962.
Ken Crawford, one of the members said the first time he saw the film it hit home.
"That's what we did. We climbed in our cars, we shined them on Saturday and we went chasing girls. Heaven knows what would happen if we ever caught up with them," Crawford said.
More than 150 engines roared, lining up and then rolling into town past smiling spectators.
"The show itself brings in over 10,000 people through the streets all day long, this as you can tell brought quite a crowd out," said Marvin Giambastian, Chairman of the 18th Annual Nostalgia Days celebration.
The parade of horsepower is also a display of love, each car a work of art by owners of all ages.
Tony Rossi, 16 is just old enough to drive and his first car is a 1927 Model T Ford hot rod.
"My dad and I restored it. it took us 3 years. I paid my dad off so I could buy the car," Rossi told KTVU.
Bill Olivo of Novato has had his car for 55 years and it's been a lifetime love affair.
"This is a 54 Olds Super 88 and I got 88-thousand miles on it now," Olivo told KTVU.
He got it when he was 15 years old and put in the Mustang seats, a record player, and shiny chrome under the hood.
"Four horns. Depends on the kind of girl walking down the street," Olivo joked.
The classic cars this weekend aren't just about getting from A to B. They're about the journey, a life's history on wheels.
"As I'm getting older I thought I would lose a little bit of an interest. But as soon as I sit inside of it. I brings back you and your machine. it brings you back in time. It brings you back in time that only I could experience for myself," Olivo told KTVU. "Put every penny I ever made into it and I'm proud of it."
Nostalgia Days continues Saturday with American Graffiti actor Candy Clark making an appearance. The classic car parade begins at 4 p.m. More information on the event is available on the official website.
Published: Sat, 30 Aug 2014 08:19:10 -0700
Authorities issued a severe traffic alert Saturday morning after an injury accident involving an overturned cement truck shut down all westbound lanes of state Highway 4 in Antioch for several hours.
The cement truck overturned at about 7:15 a.m. on Highway 4 near the Contra Loma Boulevard overpass, the CHP said.
The alert was sent at 7:38 a.m. after the accident occurred on westbound CA-4 at L street. According to tweets by CHP in Contra Costa, an ambulance is responding to the accident.
All lanes are blocked due to the crash. Motorists are advised to avoid the area. CHP cleared the accident and reopened the roadway shortly after 11 a.m.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation.
Published: Sat, 30 Aug 2014 07:48:03 -0700
Sunday's 6.0 earthquake did more than rattle nerves, it disrupted lives.
But the disaster has also given the Napa community a chance to show its resilience.
During the final concert of the Napa City Nights series on Friday, hundreds of friends and neighbors gathered at Veteran's Memorial Park to listen to music and share stories.
The gathering held special meaning for many who lived through the quake just five days ago.
"I just want normal again, and Napa City Nights is normal," said Wendy Jacque, whose chimney crumbled to the ground during the earthquake. "It's what we do every Friday night and I just want it to feel like it’s back to normal."
The Jacque family brought lawn chairs out to the amphitheater in a concerted effort to move past the trauma of the past few days.
"I really think what people need is a fresh start emotionally, because when the ground moves underneath you it unsettles you," said Jacque.
Earthquake trauma is still fresh for many.
"It's sad. It's the first time I've come down to actually see it. It's pretty sad to see how our town's affected," said Virginia McLean, of Napa.
"When you go to bed at night, you're thinking of that night the earthquake came," said Linda Champagne, another Napa resident. "So I know a lot of us haven't been sleeping very well."
But there is also a commitment to help each other regroup and rebuild.
"We're not going down without a fight. We're Napa strong. That's our hashtag, Napa strong," said Jacque.
Published: Fri, 29 Aug 2014 22:46:33 -0700
Football fans spoke out to Friday on the news that 49er Aldon Smith would be suspended for nine games.
While the fans agreed something needed to be done, many questioned whether the punishment was too harsh.
At Santa Clara High School, parents attending a scrimmage say they are teaching their sons who are on the varsity team, to learn from the mistakes of professional athletes such as Smith.
"I show him. Look, you see what's happening. You can't play. There's no tolerance," said Donyell Johnson who was watching his son scrimmage. "That's what's going to happen to you if you follow in those footsteps."
A series of missteps off the field will now keep Smith on the sidelines for more than half the season.
The NFL announced Friday that it was suspending the defensive linebacker for violating the league's substance abuse and personal conduct policies
"Nine games is too much for anybody, but he's been in trouble so many times, they got to do something," said Johnson.
In a span of less than three years since January 2012, Smith has been arrested for DUI, drugs and weapons charges, along with being belligerent and uncooperative with TSA at Los Angeles Airport.
The 49ers said in a statement, “Aldon has taken responsibility for his actions and has continued to show growth personally and professionally. We will continue to support him."
"NFL players are portrayed, because the women, the baby mama drama, their ex-wives, the domestic violence, I don't think it's always a positive spotlight," said Fawn Moore.
Her 16-year-old son Shawndre Smith plays wide receiver for Santa Clara High. She is also the sister of Baltimore Ravens defensive end, Kapron Lewis Moore.
The single mother says she's taught her son that being in the spotlight, means actions have repercussions.
"Everything that you do, that goes for Facebook, Instagram, anything that you do, never disappears. It's always going to come back and haunt you if you don't do what's right," said Moore.
As for Smith, he already missed five games last season to get treatment for substance abuse problems.
Some fans say because he took that step, they thought his punishment would not be so severe.
Published: Fri, 29 Aug 2014 22:39:34 -0700
California lawmakers worked through dozens of bills on Friday in the last minute rush that typically comes with the end of session.
Several notable bills are now headed to the Governor’s desk, including what some call a historic package of bills to regulate groundwater in California.
“Why are we doing that? Because we have a water crisis and a drought in California and groundwater, for far too long, has been both a major resource but a resource that’s been unaccounted for,” said Senate President Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento).
But, Republicans said the landmark legislation did not receive enough debate given its importance.
“It’s obviously rushed legislation,” said Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar),”We haven’t had policy hearings on this stuff and yet we could have far reaching policy that reverses 150 years of water policy.”
Lawmakers also tackled other bills that have peaked public interest including a ban on plastic shopping bags, banning the use of drones by law enforcement without a warrant, and an increase in the film tax credit aimed at keeping more productions in California.
Published: Fri, 29 Aug 2014 22:10:37 -0700
San Jose police arrested a high school track coach Friday on suspicion of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.
Francisco Vincente Lopez, a 33-year-old track coach and campus assistant at San Jose High School, was arrested at 11 a.m. today on suspicion of three felony sexual offenses with a minor and sending harmful matter to a minor, according to police.
He has been booked into Santa Clara County Jail.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to call police at (408) 537-1381.
Published: Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:19:25 -0700
A motorcyclist approaching the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza may have survived an initial crash Thursday night only to be run over by another vehicle according to California Highway Patrol investigators.
The fatal collision or multiple collisions happened just a couple hundred feet from the toll plaza, which is covered in cameras. Detectives are now reviewing the footage as they attempt to identify the vehicle involved. They also have a license plate number that they are pursuing as a lead.
Investigators say for some reason 34-year-old Suna Bayram crashed her motorcycle while approaching the toll plaza.
“It does appear that she either fell on her own or maybe collided with one of those dividers,” said Ofc. Sean Wilkenfield, CHP.
It happened around 10:45 last night when Bayram and another motorcyclist traveled from northbound Interestate-880 and merged onto westbound Interstate-80. The man riding with Bayram was ahead of her. He’s helping investigators, but didn’t witness the collision.
Ofc. Wilkenfield says Bayram may have survived laying her motorcycle over only to be struck and killed by an oncoming driver.
“This person hit in essence a pedestrian that was lying in the roadway and didn’t stop to render aide or even see if they were ok,” said Ofc. Wilkenfield.
The Alameda County Coroner’s bureau says Bayram died of multiple blunt traumatic injuries.
“We are taking the possibility that it could be more than one vehicle that struck her as well,” said Wilkenfield.
Bayram worked as a guest services representative at San Francisco’s Westin St. Francis where KTVU was told friends of hers had gone home upset after learning of her death.
The CHP says there’s a small possibility the driver didn't know he or she struck the fallen motorcyclist at the time, but that her helmet likely caused front end damage.
“If that was you, you need to call us because one way or the other we need to get to the bottom of this,” said Wilkenfield.
Published: Fri, 29 Aug 2014 20:43:46 -0700
A group of school resource officers returned to four high school campuses in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District this week as part of a partnership with the district and the cities of Concord and Walnut Creek.
A Walnut Creek police officer is assigned to Northgate High School and three Concord police officers are assigned to Concord High School, Ygnacio Valley High School and Mt. Diablo High School.
At Concord High, School Resource Officer Aron Draggoo will keep a watchful eye over students this school year. He is a 17-year law enforcement veteran who started his new job on Tuesday.
“I’ve had a great time so far,” Draggoo said. “The kids are starting to respond to me really well.”
Superintendent Nellie Meyer said the Mt. Diablo Unified School District did away with school resource officers in 2012 when their budget was cut, but a funding partnership with the cities allowed the officers to return.
“Now that the budget is looking up, in many it was something we wanted to look at right away and bring back,” Meyer said.
Draggoo and the other officers will act as an added layer of protection and safety for students. It’s a proactive approach in light of the recent violence seen at other campuses across the nation.
“I’ve been to classes in the past on school violence,” Draggoo said. “It’s always in the back of my mind. I think about it every day when I’m here.”
The school resource officers will also act as counselors and get to know students on a personal level in an attempt to resolve issues before they become a growing problem.
“He told me he wasn’t here to get us in trouble, but to support us,” Kimberly Snow, a student, said.
Other students are already asking questions, like why Draggoo carries a gun. Despite controversy over officers being armed on campus, many students said it did not bother them.
“They do have that weapon, but they’re trained and skilled on when to use that weapon only when necessary,” Meyer added.
The school resource officers will be employed on a year to year basis.
Published: Fri, 29 Aug 2014 20:18:52 -0700
Hundreds of Bay Area special education students were left stranded their first week of school.
The Oakland Unified School District says they take responsibility for the "colossal crisis." The school district hired a new bus vendor this year but says it put the vendor behind, by not hiring them until May. OUSD says it chose First Student because it is sensitive to the needs of special educations students.
“If we were to do it all over again I think we would finalize the vendor selection process earlier,” said OUSD spokesperson Troy Flint.
On Monday approximately 200 special educations students never got picked up, buses were either late or no shows. Flint says there was also confusion about bus routes.
Ten-year-old Julian Gonzalez-Gutierrez was one of the students affected.
“He did not get picked up on Monday we had to take him to school he did not get picked up on Tuesday,” said his mom Paulina Gonzalez.
When he was picked up, his mom says the 10 minute ride to school took two hours and 30 minutes. “We're frustrated that this happened at all,” said Gonzalez.
“We're extremely disappointed in our own performance and we're working to improve it,” said Flint.
The district apologized to parents via letters and automated phone messages. Flint says they will also reimburse parents for driving costs.
First Student has enlisted additional help to make sure the problem does not occur next week. The bus vendor released the following statement to KTVU:
First Student entered into a contract with Oakland USD May 2014. We quickly expedited getting our operation running and secured a location in July. 147 new school buses were delivered mid-July and with the great cooperation of the local CHP, were inspected and certified prior to the start of school this past Monday. We aggressively recruited and trained drivers and met with the district every week on our status . We set up routes based on a student data provided by OUSD. We are short a few drivers but are quickly closing the gap and have enlisted American Logistics to assist us in servicing the OUSD this Monday. As of today every student will be provided transportation next week with back up support by American Logistics. We clearly are working in partnership with OUSD and will strive to better serve the community. We have only been in operation 1 week and know that our service levels will greatly improve as routes are refined and more drivers are hired We leveraging our scale and bringing First Student drivers in from all over the state to operate route sin Oakland. We have also brought our First Planning solutions routing team here to work with OUSD to improve the data and create routing efficiencies.
Published: Fri, 29 Aug 2014 18:25:28 -0700
A long-time department store in downtown Oakland is closing up shop.
Sears on 20th and Broadway is clearing out, everything must go, including the clothing racks.
With its closures, after Sunday, there will be no major department stores in downtown Oakland. The area was once home to major retailers such as Capwells and I. Magnin.
"We really don't have very much to shop at in Oakland. Whenever anything leaves, we miss it," said Harriett Goodwin of Oakland.
Meanwhile at City Hall, there were few if any tears shed over Sears’ departure.
"We see this as an opportunity to bring in new kinds of retail that we've seen be successful in our city," said Oakland planning director Rachel Flynn.
Many city leaders view the department store as being from a different era.
There are now plans for the five-story building with smaller, hipper retail stores and restaurants on the ground level and technology companies filling out the remaining floors.
Oakland has been courting the tech industry with some success, pointing to its more affordable real estate.
"This isn't one of those white elephants where everyone says woe is me. This is wow, what a great opportunity," said Flynn.
Nearby, the Men’s Warehouse also closed this month, there has been no word on what will take its place.
City planners point to newer trends for downtown shopping in medium-size cities that have an increased number of smaller stores.
"It's time for something smaller and room for more businesses in Oakland," said Rachel Konte who owns Owlnwood, a small clothing store a few blocks from Sears.
But some residents still see few shopping options.
"This community really needs stores and businesses to come in. I like downtown and I want it to stay really vibrant. So it’s a little sad," said Zola Bowie of Oakland.
The 85-year-old Sears building is set to undergo a restoration project soon. The building is expected to reopen in 12-18 months.
Published: Fri, 29 Aug 2014 17:53:22 -0700