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Man arrested for DUI, hit-and-run after fleeing crash Sunday

A 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, hit-and-run and other offenses after fleeing from a crash in Salinas late Sunday night and then becoming violent when police officers tried to arrest him.

The crash was reported at about 11:50 p.m. Sunday at Independence and Nantucket Boulevards, according to police.

Omar Munoz allegedly ran a stop sign in his 1987 Chevrolet truck traveling north on Independence and clipped a 2014 Chevy Silverado that was about to enter the intersection from Nantucket, police said.

The collision caused Munoz's truck to overturn and strike two trees. Witnesses reported seeing Munoz run from the truck and flee in a creek bed nearby, according to police.

Officers eventually located Munoz at a relative's home in the 700 block of Danbury Street. He had superficial injuries from the crash and was covered in mud from running in the creek, police said.

Munoz allegedly became violent when officers tried to arrest him, throwing one officer into a weightlifting set, causing minor abrasions. He was eventually taken into custody on suspicion of DUI, misdemeanor hit-and-run and threatening a police officer, according to police.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 13:19:04 -0700

More than arrests, citations in weekend DUI checkpoint

More than a dozen people were arrested or cited in a DUI checkpoint held over the weekend in Burlingame, police said.

The checkpoint was held between 6 p.m. Saturday and 2 a.m. Sunday in the 400 block of California Drive, where officers screened 744 vehicles.

The operation netted three arrests for people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs -- Gary Vangiersbergen, 67, of Pacifica, Jesus

Barajas, 20, of Millbrae, and Christopher Bucks, 29, of Millbrae, according to police.

Alejandro Diaz, 38, of Oakland, was arrested on suspicion of felony possession of narcotics and drug paraphernalia, police said.

Officers also cited or arrested 12 drivers for operating a vehicle while unlicensed or with a suspended or revoked license.

The checkpoint was funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 13:09:29 -0700

Melting ice shelves drive rapid Antarctic sea level rise

A study more than 20 years in the making reports a rapid rise in Antarctic sea levels. The cause? Melting ice shelves. 

That's an especially big deal for a continent covered in ice, and the scientists say the fact the glacial melt produces fresh water is significant. (Video via Discovery)

The study was published in the journal Nature and reports, "​On the basis of the model simulations, we conclude that this sea-level rise is almost entirely related to steric adjustment," or chemical changes, "rather than changes in local ocean mass."

Basically, because fresh water is less dense than salt water, when it pours into the ocean surrounding Antarctica, it produces a dramatic rise in the sea levels around the continent. The melting freshwater ice shelves are raising sea levels.

The study also discounted other possible explanations for the rising sea levels like wind pushing water against the ice shelves, as lead scientist Dr. Craig Rye told the BBC

"We can estimate the amount of water that wind is pushing on to the continental shelf, and show with some certainty that it is very unlikely that this wind forcing is causing the sea level rise."

As Deutsche Welle reports, another unrelated study on Antarctic ice published in mid-August forecasted Antarctic ice melt will soon become a big threat. A researcher told the outlet, "Ice loss in the Antarctic could become the biggest contributor much earlier than expected, raising global sea level further by up to [about 15 inches] by the end of this century."

And just a few months before that researchers found a separate cause of the increasing melt — wind currents pushing warm water underneath the ice.

ABC AUSTRALIA: "Warm water melts ice much faster than warm air, and the research reveals subsurface warming at twice the rate previously thought."

It didn't take long for at least one outlet to see the consequences, as Bloomberg highlighted the risk the rising water poses to megacities such as New York and Shanghai. 

The lead scientist on this latest study also told the BBC the next target for research is why, throughout all of this, sea ice around the Antarctic appears to be increasing. 

This video includes an image from Getty Images.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 11:49:57 -0700

Why is Gov. Pat Quinn living off minimum wage for a week?

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is taking on a challenge of sorts just two months ahead of the midterm elections.

"He's challenging himself to spend no more than $79 on food and other recreational expenses this week."

He's living on Illinois' minimum wage, which is $8.25 an hour, and $79 is the amount he says someone living on minimum wage has left over after expenses such as taxes and housing. This is ahead of a November referendum that would increase the state's minimum wage to $10 per hour.

​The governor, who WFLD reports made $177,000 last year, has been supporting an increase in the minimum wage. Other Democrats who also support this cause include Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Vice President Joe Biden and President Obama.

BARACK OBAMA: "In America today, no one who works full time should have to raise a family in poverty."

But what's Quinn's true motivation? He announced his minimum wage experiment at a campaign event, and the politically skeptical might argue there's something more here than raising awareness. Just two months from now, Quinn is up for re-election in what's expected to be a tough fight.

The Chicago Sun-Times cited a recent poll that found about 38 percent of voters in Illinois support Quinn for re-election while nearly 51 percent of voters say they support his Republican challenger. Eleven percent of voters remain undecided.

And the headlines have been less than flattering for Quinn. Last year, The New York Times called Quinn one of the most unpopular governors in the country and said he was vulnerable for his re-election bid, while WMAQ described him as the state's "embattled" governor earlier this year.

Raising the minimum wage is a battle Democrats nationwide are waging against their GOP opponents.  

The federal minimum wage hasn't budged since 2009, so it's an issue that resonates with at least some voters.

Gallup's poll late last year found 76 percent would vote for a hike.

Quinn's Republican opponent, Bruce Rauner, says he also supports an increase in the state's minimum wage, but Rauner says it can only be done with "pro-business reforms." (Via WBBM)

The Chicago Tribune was there as Rauner said those reforms would include tort reform, worker's compensation reform and a cut in taxes for businesses. He hasn't specifically said how he'll vote on this November's referendum.

But critics say an increase in the minimum wage could force layoffs from employers that can't support a higher cost of doing business. If Quinn loses this November, it will mark the first time a Democrat has not lived at the governor's mansion in Springfield since 2003.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 11:49:24 -0700

2 bicyclists hospitalized after colliding near Hwy 84

Two bicyclists were hospitalized after colliding with each other near state Highway 84 in Woodside Monday morning, shutting down the highway for more than two hours, according to San Mateo County sheriff's officials.

The crash was reported at 10:48 a.m. near Highway 84 at Friars Lane, sheriff's spokeswoman Deputy Rebecca Rosenblatt said.

The bicyclists, a man and woman in their 50s, were taken to a hospital and "are going to be OK" Rosenblatt said.

The investigation into the crash shut down Highway 84 in both directions in the area until about 1:20 p.m., when sheriff's officials said the roadway reopened.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 11:28:15 -0700

Southern Calif. school retires offensive mascot

A Southern California high school has retired a controversial Arab mascot.

The bearded, snarling mascot with a large hooked nose who wears a head scarf did not appear at Coachella Valley High School's season opening football game on Friday. A belly-dancing genie that often appears with the mascot during halftime was also retired.

The Desert Sun reports ( ) the change was among the steps the Coachella Valley Unified School District is taking to give the mascot a makeover.

The Arab mascot has existed since the 1920s to recognize the desert region's reliance on date farming, a traditionally Middle Eastern crop. Over the years, the mascot evolved from a turban-wearing horseman carrying a lance to a standing figure with a scowl and a traditional head covering.

It came under fire last November when the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee sent a letter to the school district complaining that the mascot was stereotypical.

The district refused to change the school's "Arabs" nickname, but it agreed to redesign the Arab face on the school logo.

The district submitted five designs to the civil rights group last spring, and the group has favored a design depicting a stoic man with a neatly trimmed beard. His face is partially covered in shadow and he's wearing a white headscarf emblazoned with the high school's initial, "CV."

"We passed it around to experts and community members," committee spokesman Abed Ayoub said. "We took our time to get the opinion of that logo, and it was overwhelmingly positive."

The school's current logo of the snarling mascot is still on the school's welcome sign, the school website and a large mural on the campus gym.

The school district said in a statement that it soon will make a joint announcement with anti-discrimination group to discuss a final resolution to the mascot controversy.

"We hope that those witnessing our collaboration will follow our lead and keep their eyes, ears and hearts open to the feelings of others," the statement said.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 09:55:19 -0700

50 year-old woman identified as victim in fatal hit and run

A 50-year-old woman fatally struck in a hit-and-run in Pittsburg on Sunday evening has been identified by the Contra Costa County coroner's office as Bay Point resident Michelle Braz.

Pittsburg police responded shortly before 7 p.m. Sunday to reports of a collision involving a truck and a pedestrian on Willow Pass Road near Mountain View Avenue.

The truck was heading west on Willow Pass when it allegedly veered off the roadway, hit a light pole and then struck the pedestrian, who was pushing a shopping cart on the sidewalk, police said.

Officers arrived to find the pedestrian, Braz, who was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

The truck and its driver fled and had not been found as of Monday morning, police Capt. Ron Raman said.

The truck was described as a silver 2005 or newer Chevrolet truck that was last seen fleeing west on Willow Pass Road, police said.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Pittsburg police at (925) 427-7369.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 09:48:49 -0700

3.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Gilroy

A 3.5-magnitude earthquake struck Monday morning near Gilroy, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The quake struck at 9:10 a.m. about 6 miles east-southeast of Gilroy and had a depth of 3.4 miles, USGS officials said.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 09:23:16 -0700

Motorcyclist killed on Hwy 101 identified

A motorcyclist who died in a crash on northbound U.S. Highway 101 in San Jose early Saturday morning has been identified by the Santa Clara County medical examiner's office as 32-year-old Larry Cotten.

The crash was reported shortly after 12:20 a.m. Saturday on northbound Highway 101 near East Brokaw Road, according to the California Highway Patrol.

CHP officers saw the motorcyclist, later identified as Cotten, speeding past them and then shortly afterward came upon the crash.

Investigators believe the motorcycle struck the back of a car and the rider and a passenger were ejected from the bike, CHP officials said.

As the officers parked their patrol car in the center divider, a Ford Mustang then struck the motorcyclist, who was taken to a hospital but was pronounced dead, according to the CHP.

The motorcycle passenger, a 23-year-old San Jose woman, was seen by officers walking toward the center divider and was taken to a hospital with moderate injuries, CHP officials said.

The drivers of the two vehicles involved in the crash along with the motorcycle stopped at the scene and cooperated with investigators.

The crash blocked lanes of northbound Highway 101 until shortly after 2 a.m., when the scene was cleared and the highway was fully reopened.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 08:09:07 -0700

Santa Rosa police investigate fatal motel shooting

A 21-year-old man was shot and killed Sunday inside a Santa Rosa motel, police said.

Santa Rosa police responded at about 7:40 p.m. to a report of gunshots at the Vagabond Inn at 2362 Cleveland Ave.

Police said responding officers found a 21-year-old Marin County man inside a room who had been shot.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

The victim's name has not yet been released by police.

Witnesses told investigators two men were seen quickly leaving the area in a red car.

The Santa Rosa Police Department Violent Crimes Team is asking anyone with information on the shooting to call (707) 543-3590.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 07:49:19 -0700

WATCH: Fisherman shocked after snagging gator in NC lake

A North Carolina fisherman was in for the surprise of his life after he thought he was reeling in a large mouth bass at a lake this weekend, only to find that what was on the end of his line was a 5-foot long alligator.

He captured video of his catch as he reeled the gator to shore at Falls Lake, near Raleigh.

>> Read more trending stories  

LOOK: Viewer send in pictures of alligator on Lake Wylie

He kept the gator on the line as he called wildlife officers, but it broke loose before they arrived.

WATCH: Fisherman reels in gator at N.C. lake

“When I realized I had something different is the weight of it and the way it grabbed it. I caught whatever it was, and that's when I come to realize, reeling it in, it was an alligator,” said Stephen Rhodes.

Experts say it’s unusual to find alligators that far north and inland. Last month, Channel 9 reported on sightings of an alligator spotted at Lake Wylie. A man and his son saw the 2-foot-long reptile near Copperhead Island while kayaking.

A wildlife biologist told Channel 9 it was likely captured illegally as a baby and dropped into the lake when it became too big.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 03:09:03 -0700

Firefighters’ thoughtful act goes viral

What could have been a routine emergency call turned into something special.

Baytown, Texas, resident John McCormick had a heart attack while mowing his lawn. McCormick had a history of cardiac issues, according to a local news report.

EMT units and a fire truck arrived at the scene after McCormick’s family called 911. McCormick was rushed to the hospital.

Unfortunately, McCormick died two days later.

However, the family is taking comfort in a kind gesture that the firefighters made after escorting McCormick to the hospital.

The firefighters returned to the McCormick residence and finished mowing the lawn.

After they were finished, the firefighters secured the lawn equipment in the garage and left the family a handwritten letter.

A neighbor spotted the firefighters in action and took photos. The images were posted on Facebook and have gone viral.

The family expressed gratitude for the firefighters’ act of kindness and the positive response the act has received from around the world.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 02:13:28 -0700

Swanky apartment building bans dogs from walking on lobby floor

The “no paws” rule at one New York City luxury apartment building has dog owners howling.

The New York Post reports that management at Hawthorn Park has ordered residents to carry their dogs across the lobby floor of the building, which is made of marble.

In addition to not allowing dogs to walk on the lobby floor, Hawthorn Park bans dogs over 15 pounds and also makes any resident with a dog take the service elevator.

While some dog owners were miffed at the draconian rules, most seemed resigned to accept them. Residential buildings in New York City are notorious for having strict dog policies.

The new apartment building, which is still partially under construction, offers leases starting at $5,000 per month for a one-bedroom unit.

Glenwood Management, owners and operators of Hawthorn Park, did not return the New York Post’s request for a comment.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 01:45:16 -0700

Wages still at heart of Labor Day protests 100+ years later

Labor Day is more than just a random day of the year to close shop, take a three-day weekend and head to the pool for one last trip of the summer. It's also a day to pat yourself on the back about all the hard work you've put in. 

That's what the national holiday was truly created for. It's now been more than 125 years since the first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5, 1882 in New York.

The USDL site says Labor Day, "constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."

But, as this TED presentation points out, the holiday didn't always have that warm, positive feeling about it: "The workers had gathered not just to rest and celebrate, but to demand fair wages, the end of child labor, and the right to organize into unions."

Workers' gatherings also resulted in violence across the nation in multiple incidents. 

HISTORY CHANNEL: "In 1894, railway workers in Pullman, Illinois went on strike to protest wage cuts. President Grover Cleveland faced pressure to end the demonstrations and sent 12,000 federal troops to break the strike."  

That clash resulted in the death of two strikers. Fast forward more than 120 years and, though less violent, the issue of fair wages is still a major talking point in regard to the holiday. 

President Obama posted a weekly message on YouTube titled "This Labor Day, Let's Talk About the Minimum Wage."

"In America, no one who works full-time should ever have to raise a family in poverty. A hard day's work deserves a fair day's pay," Obama said.

Obama's first attempt to raise the minimum wage nationwide by 2016 failed earlier this year. The Senate voted 54-42 to raise the minimum wage to $10.10, falling short of the 60 votes needed. The bill faced a tougher fight in the Republican House anyway.

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Many, especially fast food workers, say that's simply not enough to live on and are campaigning to raise the wage. 

"I make $8.30 an hour as a shift leader and it's hard to survive. I'm a single parent of a two-year-old. I have rent, lights, daycare fees and at the end of the month I have nothing," said one unidentified fast food worker interviewed on ABC Action News while at a protest. 

The Wall Street Journal reports voters are in favor of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 with 60 percent of respondents to their poll saying it would have a "positive" effect on the economy.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 01:36:52 -0700

San Francisco police investigate shooting that left victim critically injured

San Francisco police are investigating a shooting that critically injured a person this afternoon several blocks east of the University of San Francisco, according to a police spokesman.

At 2:15 p.m., police responded to a reported shooting in the area of Golden Gate Avenue and Broderick Street, police spokesman Officer Gordon Shyy reported.

The shooting victim, who is not being identified, was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with critical injuries, Shyy said.

The suspected shooter in the incident left the scene in a vehicle and remains at large, according to the officer.

Published: Sun, 31 Aug 2014 22:41:37 -0700

Lava eruption prompts Iceland aviation alert

Lava fountains danced along a lengthy volcanic fissure near Iceland's subglacial Bardarbunga volcano Sunday, prompting authorities to raise the aviation warning code to the highest level and close the surrounding airspace.

The red warning code — the highest in the country's alert system — was raised early Sunday after the eruption in the Holuhraun lava field, about five kilometers (three miles) north of the Dyngjujoekull glacier. The warning was lowered 12 hours later as visibility improved and it was clear that no volcanic ash was detected.

The country's meteorological agency said scientists were monitoring the ongoing eruption.

"Visual observation confirms it is calm, but continuous," the weather agency said on its website.

Sunday morning's eruption at about 0500 GMT (1 a.m. EDT) followed a smaller one in the same site on Friday that also prompted authorities to briefly raise the aviation warning code to restrict flights in the area. Thousands of small earthquakes have rocked the region in recent days, leading to concerns that the main volcano may erupt.

The aviation warning meant that no flights were allowed in the airspace north of the fissure eruption area, up to 6,000 feet (1.1 miles) from the ground. Aviation officials said the restrictions do not affect commercial flights, which fly much higher than that.

Authorities said lava fountains of about 50 meters (165 feet) high erupted Sunday from the fissure, estimated to be almost a mile (1.6 kms) long.

The fissure eruption appeared about 40 kilometers (28 miles) from the main Bardarbunga volcano, which lies under the vast Vatnajokull glacier that dominates the eastern corner of Iceland.

Though remote and sparsely populated, the area is popular with hikers in the summer. Officials earlier evacuated all tourists in the region after intense seismic activity there.

Although Sunday's fissure eruption was more powerful than the one on Friday, experts say the situation is contained and is unlikely to result in the same level of aviation chaos as 2010. In April that year, an eruption at the Eyjafjallajokull volcano wreaked havoc on millions of travelers. More than 100,000 flights were canceled after officials closed Europe's air space for five days out of fear that volcanic ash could damage jet engines.

Dave McGarvie, a volcanologist at Britain's Open University, said the fissure eruptions produce only very small amounts of ash — they produce mostly lava — and are highly unlikely to cause any aviation disruption.

"It's good news in the sense that it appears to be very small, very contained. It's not spreading under the glacier — if it did you'll get a lot of flooding," he said.

He said Icelandic authorities are mostly concerned that the main volcano under the ice cap will erupt, but there are no signs so far that this is imminent.

Published: Sun, 31 Aug 2014 22:05:30 -0700

Pittsburg police search for driver in deadly hit-and-run

The search is on for a hit-and-run driver who struck and killed a woman in Pittsburg on Sunday evening.

The deadly crash happened around 7 p.m. at the intersection of Willow Pass and Loftus Road.

Witnesses at the scene said it appears whoever hit and killed the woman, smashed into a light pole and then drove for two blocks, dragging the pole behind their vehicle. The vehicle then took off.

Police said the woman is 50 years old, but have not released additional details on her identity.

Neighbors say she lives in the area and had a daily routine where she would collect bottles and cans in the neighborhood.

At this point, details on a suspect's vehicle have not been released.

Police are asking anyone with information on this case to call them.

Published: Sun, 31 Aug 2014 21:23:14 -0700

Coin toss blamed for breaking statue at State Capitol

A tradition by lawmakers going back years may be to blame for breaking a statue in the State Capitol that's been around more than a century.

The million dollar marble sculpture is called Columbus' Last Appeal to Queen Isabella. It's occupied the first floor of the California State Capitol Rotunda since 1883.

When the capitol opened on Sunday visitors saw one of the statue's fingers had broken off.

A capitol volunteer said a celebratory coin toss may be behind the accident. "At the end of the session folks who work at the Capitol go onto the second floor and they throw coins onto the statue... If they can get a coin into the queen's crown, it guarantees that the governor will sign their bill."

It's believed that one of those coins hit the finger and it broke off at some point overnight.

Published: Sun, 31 Aug 2014 19:52:36 -0700

CHP searches for suspect in deadly Sonoma County crash

The California Highway Patrol is searching for the driver of a Chevy pickup truck who ran from the scene of a fatal crash early Saturday in rural Sonoma County.

The head-on collision happened around 4 a.m. Saturday on Bodega Avenue near King Road in a rural area west of Petaluma, the CHP said.

CHP investigators report that the 2007 pickup was headed eastbound on Bodega Avenue when it drifted off the south edge of the roadway, hitting two mailboxes.

The force of the impact caused the pickup to spin 180 degrees, cross back onto Bodega Avenue and hit a 1994 Mazda 323 that was headed west.

According to the CHP, the Mazda driver got trapped in his vehicle and died there, while the driver of the pickup truck fled on foot.

A search of the area did not locate the suspect and the CHP is asking anyone with information to call (707) 588-1412.

The victim was a 51-year-old Napa man. His identity is not being released until his next of kin have been notified, the CHP reported.

Published: Sun, 31 Aug 2014 19:37:12 -0700

Deputies close portion of Stevens Creek Blvd. due to water main break

A water main break in Cupertino prompted the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office to close part of a major street and off-ramp from state Highway 85 and urge motorists to avoid the area for the next 24 hours, deputies reported.

The sheriff's office reported on Twitter at about 4:45 p.m. that water from a broken main spread over a westbound lane of Stevens Creek Boulevard in Cupertino, according to deputies.

Deputies have closed one westbound lane of Stevens Creek and the southbound state Highway 85 off ramp to Stevens Creek for the next 24 hours.

The sheriff's office placed traffic cones on the affected part of Stevens Creek and deputies were directing motorists away from the water-soaked lane so that westbound traffic could continue on dry lanes.

Published: Sun, 31 Aug 2014 18:24:33 -0700