As the Bay Area gears up for the Labor Day holiday weekend, Caltrans is trying to get the message out that a stretch of northbound Interstate 280 will be shut down for the entire weekend.
Starting at 2 p.m. Thursday, northbound Interstate 280 will be shut down from the U. S. 101 - Interstate 280 interchange all the way to King Street in downtown San Francisco. The closure will allow workers to replace two bridge hinges located near Cesar Chavez Street. Southbound 280 will remain open.
The closure was planned for the holiday weekend when traffic is lighter, but Giants fans will have to find alternate routes or take public transportation if they plan to attend the games at AT&T Park this weekend.
"I feel like I'll be forced to take Caltrain. That's the route I'm going to go ahead and take rather than try to go all the way around," said Francisco Henriquez, of San Mateo. "It's just too much of a hassle."
"We're just not going to be going anywhere," said Liz Rhines, of Walnut Creek. "We're just going to stay home and avoid the traffic."
The last time Caltrans shut down this stretch of Interstate 280 was over the July 4th weekend.
This weekend's work is scheduled to be complete by 5am Tuesday in time for the morning commute.
Published: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 23:25:20 -0700
Many people are trying to figure out how to pay for the damage to their homes in the wake of Sunday’s earthquake.
Melinda Adams of Napa says she remembers the sound of shattering glass and china.
"Just the noise of the crashing was unbelievable," Adams told KTVU Wednesday.
Her house still has closets and hallways filled with broken items. Cell phone video, taken by her husband in the dark Sunday morning, shows the damage.
The shaking left her house intact, but her life in pieces.
The family's 11-year-old orange cat disappeared and hasn't been found. Family possessions are still in piles, and exhaustive cleanup remains because of Adams' other work that is demanding her time and energy.
Adams is a local insurance agent.
"The phone literally rang, rang, rang. As soon as you'd hang up one, then it rang again," Adams told KTVU.
The Napa native reported to her office at 7 a.m. Monday and has been putting in 12 hour days. Hundreds of calls have come in from clients, one whose mobile home was destroyed by fire.
"It gets your heart, it really does, but you just have to stay focused and get it taken care of," Adams said.
For Adams, this disaster is personal. It's a blow to her hometown community.
While she had earthquake insurance, most people don't.
About a half dozen Insurance companies have tents up at the Red Cross shelter at 2590 First Street to help answer questions. And there are many questions.
"A typical homeowner’s policy unfortunately does not handle earthquake damage," said Brad Hilliard, a State Farm Insurance spokesman.
Still, people should talk with their insurance agent.
Some damage might be covered under other policies such as auto insurance. Some renter's insurance policies cover earthquake damage.
While those with earthquake insurance likely face high deductibles, agents say people should save receipts from meals, cleanup tools, hotel rooms and other expenses that might be covered for reimbursement.
Experts also have advice for everyone throughout the quake-prone Bay Area.
"Go through each room of your home and take photos. Document what's hanging on the walls, what's in your closet," Hilliard told KTVU.
Documenting your possessions and making a list is important if another earthquake or disaster hits. It will help provide critical information to file a claim.
Published: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 23:10:17 -0700
In the wake of Sunday’s 6.0 magnitude earthquake, many residents say they’re still struggling to get back on their feet.
"I'm very overwhelmed, stressed because I don't know what I’m going to do," said Rochelle Ellis whose Ford Explorer was damaged and trapped beneath a carport at Charter Oaks Apartments when it collapsed during the earthquake.
"I'm a college student. I have to go to school during the week," said Ellis.
She says she has been borrowing her father's car to get her husband to work and her children to school.
"We really depend on this vehicle. We're pretty much left to deal with it on our own," she said.
Ellis said she feels frustrated and helpless. To make matters worse, she says her insurance will not cover the damage done to her car and neither will her apartment complex because the damage was caused by a natural disaster.
“We live in a low income apartment. We can't afford to buy another vehicle,” she said.
The American Red Cross has set up a shelter at Crosswalk Church for families at a crossroads.
One woman has packed her pickup truck with necessities, in case of another earthquake.
She says she no longer feels safe in her home and has difficulty sleeping.
"When I go to sleep, I close my eyes. I listen to the sound of something and I'm scared," said Angeles Juarez.
She is now weighing a move to another state, but concerned that it will disrupt the lives of her children.
Inside the shelter, other families are trying to regain a sense of normalcy.
At the Napa Valley mobile home park serving seniors, the earthquake shifted Howard Hornsby's home, which is now uninhabitable.
Still, Hornsby said in his 70 y ears he’s learned something about patience.
"We're staying with a neighbor down here temporarily until we find out tomorrow what happens next . You have to wait for things to happen," said Hornsby.
His home is among the dozens damaged or destroyed at the trailer home park.
Back at the collapsed carport, people are salvaging what they can.
"It's hard," said Ellis who was comforted by her father who reassured her by saying, "We'll get through it."
As of Wednesday city officials say there were still about 400 customers without water. Crews are working round the clock to restore all service by Friday.
Published: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 22:54:01 -0700
A group of florists and their supporters gathered amongst freshly cut bouquets at the San Francisco Flower Mart in the city's South of Market neighborhood Wednesday to protest a new building developer who has not guaranteed their lease extensions.
Protesters held signs reading slogans such as "Support Local Growers and Farmers" and "Flower Power" Wednesday and expressed their fears that their leases at the Flower Mart would not be renewed once they expire in December.
Patrick McCann, the owner of Greenworks, located in the Flower Mart at 575 Sixth St. was among the florists, small business owners and public officials who spoke out against Kilroy Realty Corporation's alleged plans to decommission the wholesale Flower Mart.
McCann said over 100 flower vendors operate out of the market, many since the market opened in 1956.
The properties that make up the Flower Mart are in the process of switching owners and vendors at the Flower Mart are concerned they will be moved out to make room for tech companies.
According to 92-year-old florist Albert Nalbandian, his father started shopping at the Flower Mart in 1915, when it was just a group of growers selling their flowers to florists downtown at Lotta's Fountain, at the intersection of Geary and Market streets.
Nalbandian said every morning he would go with his father to Lotta's market to buy flowers for the day.
A larger market was created in 1924 at Fifth and Howard streets and then the need for more space led to the construction of the Flower Mart at its current location, according to the Flower Mart's website.
Wednesday, Nalbandian owns the I. Magnin Flower Stand, which is run from the corner of Stockton and Geary streets.
"We've spent as much time in the market here as we have in our own homes," Nalbandian said Wednesday.
Among the public officials who attended Wednesday's meeting and expressed their desires to see the Flower Mart saved, were former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos, San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim and former
California State Senator Quentin Kopp.
Agnos said high-tech development has residents worried that they will be shut out of residential neighborhoods and that is now spreading to commercial areas.
"The whole city cannot be just for programmers," Agnos said, followed by cheers from the protesters.
Agnos said the Flower Mart is a historic place in the city that developers are building up for tech jobs and trying to kick out "jobs that diversify our economy and don't make us a one industry city, dependent only on high-tech."
"This place is profitable," Agnos said.Kim, who represents the South of Market neighborhood, said the
Flower Mart is an "institution" that represents so many jobs and small businesses in the city. She said she will work to "ensure the long-term vibrancy of the flower market."
The Kilroy Realty Corporation did not respond to calls Wednesday afternoon regarding their plans for the property that currently holds the Flower Mart.
Published: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 21:51:27 -0700
San Ramon police are searching Wednesday evening for a missing woman who suffers from dementia and speaks little English.
Luba Lusherobich, 77, was last seen wearing a dark shirt and dark pants walking on Bollinger Canyon Road near Marsh Drive, according to police.
She is described as a white female, 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing around 150 pounds. She has white hair and brown eyes.
Anyone who sees Luba or has information on her whereabouts should call San Ramon police at (925) 973-2779.
Published: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 21:39:07 -0700
A Veterans Affairs office in Philadelphia is apologizing after likening veterans to Sesame Street's Oscar the Grouch.
The likeness was used in a training session, aimed at improving customer relations. One panel reads, "don't get in the swamp with the alligator."
The office has apologized, saying the training material was intended to remind workers to conduct themselves courteously and professionally when dealing with veterans.
Veterans in the Bay Area, like Roberto Burdios tell KTVU they resent the comparison.
"It's an insult," said Burdios.
He served 22 years in the Army, and has since served 19 years in the VA, working at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System.
"I work here in the pharmacy and we do everything we could to serve them the best way we can," said Burdios.
The 6,000 workers on the Palo Alto campus are undergoing training aimed at improving customer service for veterans. Dr. Steve Roey is heading up that education effort, and says he'd never seen the training material in Philadelphia.
"It's certainly not representative of what we're trying to do here, and I would even hasten to say it's not representative of what we're trying to do across the nation," said Roey.
He says the material may have been a misguided attempt to improve service for veterans.
"I think there were probably well intentions, it just fell short on the execution," said Roey.
For the last five years the Palo Alto campus has undertaken an effort to be more responsive to veterans, and has implemented training programs for managers and workers to change the culture and become more customer oriented, and serve veterans better.
"We feel that our veterans deserve the best care, so that's the why. And how are we going to do that? Well, we're going to do that through demonstrating our respect for people and continuous improvement," said Roey.
Published: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 20:54:56 -0700
The City of Napa is trying to get tourists to visit during Labor Day weekend, traditionally one of the biggest tourist weekends for the wine country destination.
"You can still come to Napa and absolutely have a Napa Valley experience," said Craig Smith, Executive Director of the Downtown Napa Association. "Enjoy it as much as you would have otherwise, with a few changes here and there."
Howard Jones was visiting from Arizona, looking for a place to eat lunch.
"We haven't been in town 20 min and frankly we're a little stunned at the amount of damage that was done," he said wide-eyed. Jones used to live in Napa and has been through earthquakes in the past. "We thought that the media was probably just over blowing things and we'd get up here and wouldn't find any evidence of anything."
Jones admitted he thought wrong.
Those changes might include accommodations; three hotels are closed, including the Andaz and the Marriott.
"That's the issue, is having a place to stay," said Anna Padilla from her home in Arizona.
Padilla is heading to wine country on Thursday for a girls' weekend. She was booked to stay at the Marriott.
"Being that its Labor Day weekend, and it's so difficult to find a hotel room, we might have to go to Plan B," Padilla said.
The Downtown Napa Association says 90 percent of the hotels, restaurants and tasting rooms are open. Many of those businesses are struggling to get people through the door.
"Today has been pretty slow. Everything has been kind of a maze, trying to get through everywhere," explained Giuliano Particelli, owner of Napa Valley Olive Oil. "A lot of places are trying to continue business as usual, like nothing happened, even though it's kind of hard to act that way!"
"So we are helping our clients and helping their wedding guests find other accommodations," wedding planner, Nicol Turner said calmly. "One of the reasons they hired a wedding planner is we're supposed to stress for them.”
Turner's Little Blue Box Weddings has three weddings planned over the next week, quake or no quake. "We are still open for business," she pleaded. "Please don't shy away! Come and visit. There's still plenty of wine to be had!"
Published: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 20:41:33 -0700
A heartbroken San Jose man spoke to KTVU Wednesday about the shock of coming home to find his home burglarized and a beloved family pet nearly beaten to death with a golf club wielded by one of two young teens who were arrested for a string of crimes.
The two teen suspects, a 13-year-old boy and 14-year-old boy, were behind bars at Santa Clara Juvenile Hall after being taken into custody by police Tuesday afternoon.
At approximately 2:33 p.m., San Jose police responded to a report of a burglary in progress in the 7000 block of Burnside Drive.
Upon arrival, officers located the two suspects and arrested them. Subsequent investigation revealed the juveniles had committed several other residential burglaries in the area.
Police said the boys went on a crime spree, stealing small electronics from one home, a box of Altoids from another and spilling guacamole at a third.
Area resident Eric McKenzie noticed a footprint on his side door where it had been kicked open when he got home Tuesday night.
"Then my daughter said 'Where's Sparky?'" said McKenzie.
They found the dog, an 11-year old Chihuahua mix, on the floor upstairs. He had been badly beaten and lay dying.
"He was limp and whimpering really, really badly. You could tell his head was soft and swollen. His eyes were flickering back and forth," remembered McKenzie. "He didn't respond to me being sweet to him. I just kept petting him."
The golf club used to beat him, apparently came from their own garage. The family had to have Sparky put to sleep later that night.
When the McKenzies called police, they found out the teenaged suspects had already been taken into custody. It was the 13 year old who was responsible for beating the dog.
The teens were booked for residential burglary with the 13-year-old suspect additionally booked for animal cruelty.
Neighbors now think they're responsible for at least seven burglaries.
"It's horrifying. It's absolutely horrifying," said neighbor Jenni Eisenberg. "I cannot believe that kids that age would have that level of brutality."
San Jose Police were horrified by the crime too. Some actually stopped by the McKenzie house to drop off a sympathy card.
"It's certainly concerning, not only to the officers, but also to the members of the community," said San Jose Police Sgt. Heather Randol. "At this point the juvenile justice system will be taking over and looking into any counseling services they can provide and what they do from here with these two juveniles."
They believe Sparky died trying to protect their home.
"For the life of me I don't know why you'd kill a little animal; 15 lbs. He couldn't have done any damage to either one of them. I'm sure he was barking trying to protect the house," said McKenzie.
The McKenzies, who also have two other dogs who weren’t hurt in the burglary, are still trying to make sense of what happened.
McKenzie said he was bewildered by the teen's brutal attack on the dog.
"He killed a family member. I know that some people may not understand and think 'Come on he's just a dog.' But he was a member of our family," said McKenzie. "Nothing can bring back Sparky at this point, so I do hope that at least the one that killed him gets punished."
Published: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:51:16 -0700
Drivers providing services for ride-sharing companies such as Lyft and Uber would have to carry a minimum amount of insurance under a compromise approved by the state Senate.
Democratic Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla of Concord says AB2293 will ensure that drivers buy insurance that will protect consumers and the public.
Both of the major ride-sharing companies supported her bill after she agreed to lower the required amount of excess insurance from $500,000 to $200,000 when drivers do not have passengers in their vehicles.
They previously had objected that lawmakers were stifling innovation by insisting on more expensive liability insurance. The industry lets drivers use their own vehicles to transport customers, who summon drivers using mobile applications.
The Senate approved the bill 30-4 on Wednesday, sending it to the Assembly.
Published: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:43:20 -0700
Santa Clara County sheriff's deputies are investigating a commercial burglary Wednesday at the PG&E Metcalf substation in Santa Clara County.
PG&E spokesman Brian Swanson said someone broke in and stole construction equipment from the station in the 100 block of Metcalf Road some point after midnight.
PG&E and the sheriff's office are asking the public for information about the theft.
PG&E officials said the cause of the security breach appears to be human error. Fence detection alarms went off but substation security personnel did not appropriately address them, utility officials said.
There was no impact to the electrical grid, no equipment damaged and no customers lost service, according to PG&E.
Officials said intruders were able to access the substation site, but they didn't try to disrupt the electrical grid.
Law enforcement officials said one or more shooters fired rifle shots at tanks containing oil used to power machines.
The shots caused 52,000 gallons of oil to spill out and put 17 of the 23 transformers at the station out of commission.
Following the 2013 incident, PG&E announced new security measures were being taken at the site, including additional fencing, intruder detection systems and improved lighting.
Anyone with information on the break-in is asked to call the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office at (408) 808-4431.
Published: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:02:21 -0700
Now four days since the magnitude 6.0 earthquake, many people are still without water as Napa water crews and mutual aid crews from many other water districts are working hard to restore service.
There is an undeniable lesson here for everyone living in earthquake country.
Wednesday afternoon on Cragie Court in Napa, repair crews were tamping and paving the broken main area down shortly after turning the water back on. For longtime resident Diane Meyers, it was a difficult stretch with no water.
"You don't feel clean and it's uncomfortable. Getting dirtier and dirtier," said Meyers. Over and over again, force of habit kicked in for her as she went to the faucet every time she had a need to use water.
"Only about 20 or 30 times a day," said Meters.
Her broken main provided water only to her small cul de sac.
"We understood that higher priority lines had to be fixed," she says.
Not far away, crews in Fairfield working double shifts and closed down the southbound Highway 29 exit at Trancas Street to replace a broken twelve-inch main used by thousands. Unlike the ancient cast-iron pipes generally being replaced after breaking in the quake, the new vinyl pipes are far more flexible and should serve well in earthquake country.
An East Bay Municipal Utilities District representative said aging pipes threaten every Bay Area resident, from bigger cities to rural areas.
"If a larger earthquake -- such as the one we prepare for, which is a 7.0 on the Hayward Fault -- if that were to happen today, we would have thousands of main breaks likely in our area," said spokeswoman Abby Figueroa.
That is duly noted by a much happier, reconnected Diane Meyers.
"Relief; I can get clean. I can fill the toilet tank," said Meyers.
As KTVU drove around Napa, many other examples of old and new leaks were still visible. Hopefully those issues will be repaired by the beginning of the Labor Day weekend so repair crews can have a holiday too.
Published: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 17:43:52 -0700
A grassland fire Wednesday just north of the interchange of Highways 29 and 37 in Vallejo threatened more than 25 homes Wednesday, according to the fire department.
Battalion Chief Cliff Campbell says the fire started in a homeless encampment and that when firefighters arrived four homeless people were walking out of the burning area.
“One of them came up to us and advised us that her daughter was still in the tent and she was trapped inside the fire,” said Campbell.
Firefighters went into rescue mode and made their way into the encampment but no victim was found.
The fire was small, between five and ten acres, but was burning in dry grass and marshland dangerously close to a neighborhood.
Neighbor Barbara McDermott returned home to find firefighters in her front yard and her husband out back with a garden hose trying to put of the fire.
“First of all I was still nervous from the earthquake on Sunday and I thought, oh my gosh now we got this,” she said.
The fire singed some fence lines but no homes were damaged.
McDermott says she had seen signs of homeless living in the wild land behind her home.
“I worry about the dangers. That fire could have taken all of these homes,” she said, “I’m concerned for them and I’m concerned for myself.”
The fire department says previous homeless encampments in the area had been cleared out but they returned.
Published: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 16:46:34 -0700
Southern California cornerback Josh Shaw confessed that he lied to school officials about how he sprained his ankles last weekend, retracting his story about jumping off a balcony to save his drowning nephew.
The school swiftly suspended him Wednesday from all team activities and acknowledged his heroic tale was "a complete fabrication."
The tale began to unravel soon after the team captain was lauded for his heroics in a story on the team's website Monday. In the account, Shaw described how he instinctively jumped from a balcony, with no one around, to rescue his 7-year-old nephew in a pool in his hometown of Palmdale, California. The school said a day later callers questioned the story, and began vetting it.
But the biggest question remains unanswered: What was he doing, and how did he injure his ankles?
"We are extremely disappointed in Josh," USC coach Steve Sarkisian said. "He let us all down. As I have said, nothing in his background led us to doubt him when he told us of his injuries, nor did anything after our initial vetting of his story."
The Los Angeles Police Department has confirmed that a man named Joshua Shaw was mentioned — but not as a suspect — in a report involving a break-in at a downtown apartment building Saturday night. The department has not made the report public.
Shaw is a fifth-year senior, a captain and a key starter in USC's defensive secondary. He is widely considered a solid teammate and an important leader for the 15th-ranked Trojans, who begin their first season under Sarkisian at the Coliseum on Saturday against Fresno State.
Shaw issued a short statement through criminal defense attorney Donald Etra on Wednesday after being suspended.
"On Saturday, August 23, 2014, I injured myself in a fall," Shaw said. "I made up a story about this fall that was untrue. I was wrong not to tell the truth. I apologize to USC for this action on my part. My USC coaches, the USC athletic department and especially Coach Sarkisian have all been supportive of me during my college career and for that, I am very grateful."
Etra didn't respond to a request for further details about the cause of Shaw's injuries.
Shaw didn't attend practice Wednesday, missing his second straight day of workouts. Although he is barred from team activities, his injuries also would keep him out of workouts for at least a few weeks.
Shortly after Shaw's yarn was made public, the football program received phone calls contradicting Shaw's version of his injuries. Sarkisian has not said who made the calls, but the school acknowledged the discrepancies Tuesday morning and began investigating Shaw, who initially stuck to his story.
"I appreciate that Josh has now admitted that he lied and has apologized," Sarkisian said. "Although this type of behavior is out of character for Josh, it is unacceptable. Honesty and integrity must be at the center of our program. I believe Josh will learn from this. I hope that he will not be defined by this incident, and that the Trojan Family will accept his apology and support him."
It's unclear whether Shaw could face additional discipline from USC for lying to school officials. A USC spokesperson didn't immediately return a request for clarification about the school's student conduct policies.
Shaw and the school still haven't acknowledged any connection to the LAPD report from officers who responded to a woman screaming in a downtown apartment complex Saturday. USC is on the south end of downtown.
Officers interviewed several people at the building, and a woman told the police that someone had pried open a window, entered the third-floor apartment and fled, but nothing was taken. The woman also acknowledged "a relationship" with Shaw, according to LAPD Lt. Andy Nieman.
Sarkisian insisted the situation won't be a distraction for the Trojans, but still allowed only two of Shaw's defensive teammates to speak with the media after practice Wednesday morning.
Linebacker Hayes Pullard and defensive lineman Leonard Williams both acknowledged surprise at the situation that developed after Shaw's account was challenged, but remained supportive of their fifth-year senior captain.
"We were pretty shocked," said Williams, who hasn't spoken to Shaw. "Josh Shaw is a pretty loyal guy. I would never expect him to make up a story. I would never expect that out of him as a team leader."
Shaw's leadership and character were widely praised throughout his first two seasons of play at the school. He transferred back to his native Los Angeles area from Florida, in part to help out his ailing grandfather with the family landscaping business.
"Josh has been a great guy," Pullard said. "He has great character. I've never known him to lie about anything ... so it's surprising. This is exactly when our leadership roles come in. We talk to guys and let them know what's expected, and we'll keep us focused on our team."
Published: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 16:33:49 -0700
A federal judge has rejected Apple's attempt to block the sale of several older Samsung smartphones that copied features in the iPhone.
Wednesday's rebuff comes nearly four months after a jury awarded Apple Inc. $119 million in damages for Samsung's infringements on technology used in the trend-setting iPhone. The amount was well below the $2.2 billion in damages that Apple had been seeking in the latest round of legal wrangling between the world's two leading smartphone makers since the tussle began four years ago.
Apple wanted U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, to issue an order that would have prevented future U.S. sales of nine Samsung phone models that infringed on the iPhone technology.
Koh refused, saying Apple hadn't adequately proven Samsung's intellectual theft had hurt its sales or diminished its reputation for innovation. She noted that Apple had previously licensed some of the features that Samsung infringed upon to the makers of other smartphones that competed against the iPhone, too.
Apple, which is based in Cupertino, California, declined to comment on Koh's decision.
Samsung welcomed the ruling in a statement. "We remain committed to providing American consumers with a wide choice of innovative products," Samsung said.
In its arguments, the South Korean electronics maker had argued the damages awarded to Apple amounted to a royalty payment for its past and future infringements on the patents at issue.
The patents covered the auto-correction feature in the iPhone's keyboard, the method to create links for email addresses and phone numbers appearing in text and the swiping gesture for unlocking the phone's display screen.
In a reminder of technology's relentless pace, Apple is expected to unveil the eighth generation of the iPhone early next month. The first model revolutionized the mobile computing market when it came out in 2007, prompting a frantic scramble among Samsung and other electronics makers to come up with competing products.
Apple had wanted to ban the U.S. sale of these Samsung models: the Admire, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S II, Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch, Galaxy S II Skyrocket, Galaxy S III, and Stratosphere. All of those devices are powered by Google's free Android operating system, a piece of software that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs had lambasted as a blatant rip-off of the iPhone before his death in October 2011.
After Jobs died, Apple escalated its attacks on Samsung and won $930 million in damages in a separate trial completed in 2012.
Samsung also has sued Apple, and prevailed in one of its patent claims in the most recent trial. The jury awarded Samsung just $158,400 for Apple's infringement.
The two companies recently settled all their patent disputes outside the U.S., but are still bickering here. The verdicts from May and 2012 are still under appeal.
Published: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 16:33:39 -0700
A Daly City dentist accused of participating in a conspiracy with indicted state Sen. Leland Yee to import illegal weapons from the Philippines died early Tuesday, his attorney said Wednesday.
Wilson Lim died at Kindred Hospital in San Leandro early Tuesday morning, according to San Francisco attorney Brian Getz. Getz said Wednesday he will file a motion to have Lim's indictment dismissed.
Lim had been in intensive care at Seton Medical Center in Daly City since June 18 suffering congestive heart failure, renal failure and liver failure, and was described by doctors as "gravely ill," according to court records.
He was wheelchair-bound in his initial appearance in federal court shortly after his arrest in March and was released on an unsecured $50,000 bond.
Lim operated a dental practice in Daly City.
"He should be remembered as a tireless community contributor who took care of people's dental needs whether or not they could pay," Getz said.
But Lim's name will undoubtedly come up again as the case against Yee progresses. Lim was named in a 228-count indictment as the principal contact for an alleged deal to sell weapons from the Philippines to an undercover FBI agent posing as a Mafioso.
The federal indictment was the result of a years-long investigation into alleged criminal activities by Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow and his Chee Kung Tong organization.
While Lim was not accused of having direct connections to the Tong, FBI agents who had infiltrated the organization eventually were introduced to Yee and former San Francisco school board president Keith Jackson, who in March allegedly devised a scheme with Lim to illegally import weapons from a revolutionary group in the Philippines.
Lim was Yee's contact for the weapons deal and was allegedly going to provide a revolutionary group seeking to overthrow the Philippine government with a list of weapons in exchange for cash, according to a federal affidavit unsealed shortly after his arrest.
The FBI agent was seeking weapons including machine guns and shoulder-mounted rocket launchers and told Yee and Jackson he wanted to ship the weapons through family connections he had in Newark, New Jersey. He was prepared to pay $2 million in cash for the purchase, according to the affidavit.
The deal never materialized as Yee, Jackson and Lim were all arrested later that month.
No one has yet gone to trial in the massive conspiracy and racketeering indictment as federal prosecutors continue to turn over voluminous evidence to dozens of defense attorneys in the case. The next hearing before U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, the trial judge assigned to the case, is scheduled for Nov. 12.
Published: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 16:18:44 -0700
There are several ways to help residents following Sunday's 6.0 earthquake:
Napa Valley Vintners
The Food Bank is in need of donations. According to the City of Napa, people who would like to donate should call 707-253-6128 or email Karen.firstname.lastname@example.org
American Red Cross
Published: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 16:11:47 -0700
A 32-year-old Napa man committed suicide after shooting and injuring his wife during an argument in their home Tuesday night, a Napa police captain said.
Police went to a residence in the 700 block of Central Avenue after they received a report about a man who threatened to kill his wife, two daughters and himself, Capt. Jeff Troendly said.
Soon after police arrived, they heard a gunshot inside the house and saw a female through a window in the home. The woman, who turned out to be the man's wife, was removed from the house through the window, Troendly said.
The woman, who had facial injuries, said she was shot in the hand during a struggle with her husband for a gun and said her husband was the only one in the house, Troendly said.
Police heard another gunshot a few minutes after the man's wife was taken from the house.
Napa County SWAT units and the Napa police crisis negotiating team tried to contact the husband for several hours before a robot with a video camera searched inside the residence, Troendly said.
The robot searched all of the rooms except for the bathroom, where authorities eventually came in and found the man dead from a self-inflicted gunshot, Troendly said. Police found a rifle beside the man's body.
The man's wife was treated at Queen of the Valley Medical Center. Residents who had been evacuated during the incident returned home around 1:30 a.m. today, Troendly said.
Published: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 15:51:27 -0700
The nonprofit Napa Valley Vintners trade association announced Wedneday it is donating $10 million to an earthquake disaster relief fund following Sunday's 6.0-magnitude quake.
The goal of the Community Disaster Relief Fund is to provide immediate financial support to the community, get resources to local businesses and families most in need, provide a repository for earthquake donations and augment government relief efforts that are still uncertain, NVV spokesperson Cate Conniff said.
Funding will be available to Napa County residents for one-time immediate needs and short-term assistance for temporary housing, basic needs such as food and water, medical care and counseling, and repairs for immediate concerns including replacement windows, debris removal and fallen chimneys.
The fund also will help get businesses back up and running, allow employees to return to work and continue local commerce.
Area nonprofits can use the funds to restore operations and apply for general support grants to help earthquake victims.
Money for the relief effort is from the NVV's annual Auction Napa Valley charity event.
"Hundreds of homes and businesses in the local community were damaged by this disaster," said Russ Wels, chairman of the NVV Board of Directors and general manager of Silverado Vineyards. "The Fund will provide resources and assistance to support the community as it rebuilds."
Napa Valley Vintners encourages other organizations and individuals to contribute to the fund.
Published: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 15:43:28 -0700
Napa officials said Wednesday the initial estimate of damage from Sunday's 6.0-magnitude earthquake to privately owned homes and commercial properties in the city is $300 million.
The figure does not include damage to public buildings, infrastructure, loss of business inventories or general economic losses and city officials said they do not know how much of the damage will be eligible for reimbursement from government or other sources.
PG&E has restored gas and electric service to all Napa customers, but the city has experienced an overflow problem from residents depositing debris at schools in the city.
The drop boxes at schools have been removed and the city has established primary debris drop-off sites at Fire Station 5's future location at the southwest corner of First and Laurel streets, the Las Flores Community Center at 4300 Linda Vista Ave., and the vacant lot on the north side of Third Street at the intersection of Burnell Street east of the railroad tracks.
Secondary drop-off sites are at Klamath, Century Oaks and Fairview parks and at Parking Lot G on the southwest corner of Pearl and Main streets.
There are 113 red-tagged and about 500 yellow-tagged structures in the city and the new Coombs Street pedestrian bridge has a damaged anchorage and has been closed as a precaution.
The damaged Tallgrass Bridge also is closed and foot and vehicle traffic to the Hidden Hills neighborhood should use the Sandybrook Bridge at Meadowbrook Drive.
The number of people staying at the American Red Cross evacuation center at the Crosswalk Community Church has grown since the earthquake from eight on Sunday night to 18 on Monday and 23 on Tuesday nights. The Salvation Army served 1,800 meals to residents on Tuesday.
The Napa Senior Center remains closed but the nutrition program is resuming Wednesday outside on the bocce courts.
The Second Street parking garage is still inaccessible, but other parking garages have been inspected and are open.
The Community Services Building is closed and counter service will not be available Wednesday. All other city offices and facilities are open.
The city's public information hotline is 258-7817 and regular status reports about earthquake impacts are being posted at www.cityofnapa.org.
Published: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 14:36:46 -0700
BART riders heading from Daly City toward San Francisco and the East Bay are experiencing delays Wednesday afternoon because of a mechanical problem, a BART dispatcher said.
A routing issue at the Daly City station was causing delays of about 15 to 20 minutes as of 2:20 p.m., the dispatcher said.
However, trains are moving again and should be back on schedule later Wednesday, she said.
Published: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 14:30:34 -0700