Nearly a quarter century after a South Bay woman was found fatally strangled in her car, authorities on Friday announced the arrest of the victim's husband and his brother in the cold case that featured a mysterious quilt as one of its central clues.
Cathy Zimmer was found strangled to death in her car parked at the San Jose airport on March 10, 1989. Her case was profiled nationwide, largely based on a mysterious and colorful quilt that was found covering her body at the scene.
On Friday, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office announced that investigators arrested the victim's husband, David Zimmer, and his brother, Robert Zimmer, in connection with the homicide. Both men have been charged with her murder.
The arrests happened last week, according to authorities.
66-year-old Half Moon Bay resident David Zimmer is expected to be arraigned early next week. 69-year-old Santa Clara resident Robert Zimmer has been arraigned and is being held without bail. His next court date is scheduled for April 18.
The investigation showed that the Zimmers were in the midst of a separation when she was killed. Evidence eventually led investigators to her husband and his brother.
According to a press release issued by authorities, David Zimmer profited financially from his wife’s death. Within a month of her slaying, he sold their home for more than $225,000 and cashed in two separate life insurance policies that netted him a total of $183,000.
At the time of her death, Cathy Zimmer was the 38 years old. She was survived by two teenage children.
On March 8, 1989, after driving her children to school, Zimmer had lunch with a friend and attended two college classes at San Jose State University.
That afternoon, Zimmmer had a 2:45 p.m. eye doctor appointment scheduled in Los Gatos to check her recently-fitted contact lenses. She missed that appointment and a second appointment with a motivational group.
Zimmer did not come home that night. Two days later, police found her car parked in the short-term lot at the San Jose airport. Her dead body was in the backseat, covered by the now infamous quilt.
Last month, authorities revived interest in the case with a press conference highlighting the unusual quilt in the hopes that someone would recognize it.
"Cathy Zimmer was slain two and a half decades ago, but her family has never forgotten her," prosecutor Ted Kajani said in a prepared statement at that February 6th press conference. "We, too, have never forgotten her. We are asking the public to take a look at this quilt and call us if you know anything about it. We are hoping that it will lead us to Cathy's killer."
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 15:32:42 -0800
Russia was swept up in patriotic fervor Friday for bringing Crimea back into its territory, with tens of thousands of people thronging Red Square waving flags and chanting "Crimea is Russia!" as a parliamentary leader declared that the peninsula would be welcomed as an "equal subject" of Russia.
The semi-autonomous region belongs to Ukraine, but the local parliament has called a March 16 referendum on whether Crimea should join Russia, a move President Barack Obama has called a violation of international law.
Tensions in Crimea were heightened late in the evening when pro-Russian forces tried to seize a Ukrainian military base in the port city of Sevastopol, according to the Ukrainian branch of the Interfax news agency. No shots were fired, but stun grenades were thrown, according to the report, citing Ukrainian officials.
About 100 Ukrainian troops are stationed at the base and they barricaded themselves inside one of their barracks, and their commander began negotiations, the report said. Crimea's pro-Moscow leader denied any incident at the base.
In the week since Russia seized control of Crimea, Russian troops have been neutralizing and disarming Ukrainian military bases on the Black Sea peninsula. Some Ukrainian units, however, have refused to surrender.
Crimea's new leader has said pro-Russian forces numbering more than 11,000 now control all access to region and have blockaded all military bases that haven't yet surrendered.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that sanctions over Russian actions in Crimea could backfire, the ministry said in a statement. In a telephone conversation, Lavrov urged the U.S. not to take "hasty, poorly thought-out steps that could harm Russian-U.S. relations, especially concerning sanctions, which would unavoidably boomerang on the U.S. itself," the statement said.
The strategic peninsula has become the flashpoint in the battle for Ukraine, where three months of protests sent President Viktor Yanukovych fleeing to Russia. Moscow calls the new Ukrainian government illegitimate, and has seized control of Crimea, where it has a major naval base on the Black Sea.
Although President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Russia has no intention of annexing Crimea, he insisted that its residents have the right to determine the region's status in the referendum.
Valentina Matvienko, the speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament, made clear Friday the country would welcome Crimea if it votes in the referendum to join its giant neighbor. About 60 percent of Crimea's population identifies itself as Russian.
"If the decision is made, then (Crimea) will become an absolutely equal subject of the Russian Federation," Matvienko said during a visit from the chairman of the Crimean parliament, Vladimir Konstantinov. She spoke of mistreatment of Russian-speaking residents in Ukraine's east and south, which has been Moscow's primary argument for possible intervention in Ukraine.
The Russian parliament is scrambling to make it easier for Crimea to join Russia. Russia's constitution allows the country to annex territory only by an agreement "initiated... by the given foreign government." That would entail signing an agreement with the new authorities in Kiev, whom Moscow doesn't recognize.
New legislation would sidestep that requirement, according to members of parliament, who initially said a new bill could be passed as soon as next week, but have since indicated that they will wait until after the referendum.
On the other side of Red Square from the parliament building, 65,000 people gathered at a Kremlin-organized rally in support of Crimea.
"We always knew that Russia would not abandon us," Konstantinov shouted from the stage. He also called on Moscow not to forget other Russia-leaning regions in Ukraine.
"We must not leave the Ukrainian people at the mercy of those Nazi bandits," he said, referring to the new government in Kiev.
Russian state gas company Gazprom also increased the pressure on Ukraine's new government, which now owes $1.89 billion for Russian natural gas. Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller said if Ukraine doesn't pay off its debt, "there is a risk of returning to the situation of the beginning of 2009" when Russia cut off supplies to Europe because of a pricing dispute with Ukraine.
The new government, which is struggling to stabilize Ukraine's finances and failing economy, got encouraging news Friday from the International Monetary Fund, which said that economic assistance was on the way.
"I am positively impressed with the authorities' determination, sense of responsibility and commitment to an agenda of economic reform and transparency, Reza Moghadam, the IMF's European Department director, said in a statement after a two-day visit. "The IMF stands ready to help the people of Ukraine."
Russia has denied that its forces are active in Crimea, describing the troops who wear green uniforms without insignia as local "self-defense forces." But many of the troops, who are armed with advanced heavy weaponry, are being transported by vehicles with Russian license plates.
Hoping to pressure Russia to roll back its military presence, the U.S. imposed financial sanctions and travel bans on Russians and other opponents of the new Kiev government on Thursday. The European Union suspended talks with Russia on a wide-ranging economic agreement and on granting Russian citizens visa-free travel to the 28-nation bloc, a long-standing Russian objective.
With a solitary Ukrainian athlete taking part in the opening ceremony, Putin opened the Winter Paralympics in Sochi on Friday against the backdrop of his country's military action in Crimea.
Ukraine delivered a pointed message by sending out only a single flag-bearer to represent the 23-strong team in the athletes' parade. The appearance of biathlete Mykhaylo Tkachenko drew a roar from the capacity crowd at the Fisht Olympic Stadium. Entering in a wheelchair with the Ukrainian flag, he wore a serious expression.
The Ukrainian team had announced only a few hours earlier that it would not boycott the games, but said it could pull out of the 10-day event if the Crimea situation escalates.
Crimea would be the first territory to join Russia since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which broke away from Georgia after a brief 2008 war with Russia, have been recognized as independent by Moscow, but there have been few serious moves to enable them to join Russia.
For Putin, Crimea would be a dazzling acquisition, and would help cement his authority with a Russian citizenry that has in recent years shown signs of restiveness and still resents the loss of the sprawling empire Moscow ruled in Soviet times.
In the Crimean capital, Simferopol, 75 people turned out Friday for a rally at the local monument to 19th-century Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko. They spoke both Ukrainian and Russian, but waved Ukrainian flags and released white doves into the rainy sky.
One of those at the protest was native Russian speaker Anton Romanov, who said he opposes the occupation of Crimea by Russian troops.
"I'm against being forced to live in a different country," he said.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 15:20:08 -0800
A suspect was shot in the leg by Fairfield police after allegedly shooting at officers following a disturbance at a motel early Friday morning that led to two arrests, a police sergeant said.
The officers responded around 4:10 a.m. to a report of broken windows and a disturbance at America's Best Value Inn at 3331 North Texas St., Fairfield police Sgt. Matt Bloesch said.
Multiple shots had been fired at the motel before the officers arrived, Bloesch said.
The officers saw a suspect running from the scene and gave chase. During the pursuit, the suspect allegedly fired a handgun at the officers, who returned fire and struck the suspect in the leg, Bloesch said.
The officers were not hit by the gunfire and the suspect, identified as Jerry Andrews, 30, of Fairfield, was taken to a hospital for treatment of his injuries, which were not life-threatening, according to Bloesch.
Andrews will be booked in Solano County Jail on suspicion of attempted murder of a police officer, possession of narcotics for sale, being a felon in possession of a firearm and criminal conspiracy, police said.
Police also arrested Aaron Minor, 23, of Fairfield, who was with Andrews at the motel. Minor was arrested on suspicion of possession of narcotics for sale and criminal conspiracy. Bloesch said.
The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave, Bloesch said.
Fairfield police and the Solano County District Attorney's Office are investigating the shooting.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 14:55:38 -0800
A young man at a bus stop hisses at a passer-by: "What you looking for ... marijuana?" It's a scene of street peddling that the Netherlands hoped to stamp out in the 1970s when it launched a policy of tolerating "coffee shops" where people could buy and smoke pot freely.
But Maastricht's street dealers are back, local residents complain. And the reason is a crackdown on coffee-shops triggered by another problem: Pot tourists who crossed the border to visit the cafes and made a nuisance of themselves by snarling traffic, dumping litter and even urinating in the streets.
This exchange of one drug problem for another has become a headache for Maastricht — and may give reason for pause in the U.S. states of Washington and Colorado that recently allowed the sale of marijuana for the first time. The Netherlands, the world pioneer in pot liberalization, has recently taken a harder line toward marijuana, with mixed results seen particularly in border towns such as Maastricht.
The central government clampdown has involved banning people who live outside the Netherlands from coffee shops, and shuttering shops that are deemed to be too close to schools. There was even a short-lived policy that said smokers had to apply for a "Weed Pass" to get into a coffee shop. The new rules were rolled out across the country between the middle of 2012 and the beginning of last year.
But while the central government made the rules, it's up to local municipalities to enforce them — and most are embracing only part of the policy.
Amsterdam — with some 200 licensed coffee shops, one-third of the nationwide total — still lets foreigners visit them, although it is closing coffee shops that are near schools.
One city that has embraced the crackdown whole-heartedly is Maastricht, in the southern province of Limburg close to the Dutch borders with Belgium and Germany.
Its mayor, Onno Hoes, says he enforced the legislation to halt a daily influx of thousands of foreigners who crossed the borders to stock up on pot at its 14 coffee shops. That effort to end so-called "drug tourism" has been successful, local residents say, but the flip side has been a rise in street dealers like the man who recently tried to sell pot to an AP reporter in Maastricht.
Carol Berghmans lives close to the River Maas, whose muddy waters bisect the city, and whose banks are frequented by dealers he sees as he walks his dog each day.
He says there were certainly problems before the crackdown as cars filled with pot tourists poured into the cobbled streets of central Maastricht — but he described the atmosphere as "gezellig," a Dutch word that loosely translates as cozy or convivial.
Since coffee shops were banned from selling to non-residents, the numbers of foreigners has dried up. But the atmosphere in town has turned darker as street dealers now aggressively badger any potential clients and fight among themselves, Berghmans says.
"Now the drug runners are trying to sell on the street to anyone," he says. "They are bothering everybody."
Maastricht city spokesman Gertjan Bos said the problem of street dealing is not new, but concedes it has become more visible since the city's crackdown reduced the number of drug tourists.
"We have a feeling our approach is working," Bos said, "but we do still have to work on the street dealers."
Easy Going coffee shop, in a street linking Maastricht's historic market square with the Maas, has been shut for months as its owner, Marc Josemans, refuses to adhere to the rule about selling only to Dutch residents.
"I won't discriminate," he explains. He is fighting a legal battle against the new rules and expects the Dutch Supreme Court to issue a ruling soon on whether turning away non-Dutch residents is constitutional.
Experts also question the Dutch policy change.
August de Loor has for years run a bureau in Amsterdam that gives drug advice aimed at minimizing health risks for users as well as testing party drugs such as ecstasy for purity.
He says coffee shops once played an important role not only in keeping cannabis users away from hard drugs like heroin, but also educating them about safely using pot and providing a meeting place for people who would rather smoke a joint than drink a beer.
"That special element of the Dutch model makes coffee shops unique in the world," he said, "and that is gradually fading away."
One part of the Dutch drug experience that has remained illegal is commercial cultivation of weed. Meaning that while coffee shops are tolerated — and taxed — the people who supply them are not.
In January, a group of 35 municipalities, including both Amsterdam and Maastricht, called on the central government to allow regulated growing, saying it would take the harvest out of the hands of organized crime.
The Dutch Justice Minister, Ivo Opstelten, was blunt in his rejection: "I'm not doing it," he said. "The mayors have to live with it."
Prof. Dirk Korf, a criminologist at the University of Amsterdam, says the Dutch tolerance policy has worked well.
"The clear success is that there is regulated supply to users without having a strong effect on the prevalence on use itself," he said. "One could be afraid that more people would use cannabis; that has not been the case."
Jo Smeets, a former coffee shop worker in Maastricht, complains his neighborhood has been overrun by dealers since the city's crackdown. The dealers, he says, sell drugs on the streets to people who previously would have bought in tightly controlled coffee shops: "Now they can buy more and they can buy hard drugs from the same dealers."
Amsterdam's coffee shops, by contrast, continue to welcome foreigners with open arms.
The main difference between the two cities is the type of tourist they attract. In Maastricht, foreigners drive over the border, visit a coffee shop and drive back on the same day. In Amsterdam, tourists mostly arrive by plane or train, stay in a hotel and visit museums and restaurants — as well as dropping in on a coffee shop — plowing far more cash into the city.
On a recent Friday afternoon in the Dutch Flowers coffee shop on Amsterdam's historic Singel canal, German and American voices mingled with English and Dutch in a hazy cloud of pot smoke.
Shawn Stabley, a 49-year-old, musician and IT director from York, Pennsylvania, is typical of the type of tourist Amsterdam coffee shops attract.
He and his partner strolled into Dutch Flowers for a smoke after visiting another Amsterdam icon, the Anne Frank House museum, a short walk away on another of the city's canals. The cafe has a few tables, a bar with a set of electronic scales for weighing out drugs and a menu filled with names of marijuana and hashish like Neville's Haze and Parvati Creme.
The couple has been visiting the city for 20 years to celebrate Thanksgiving, Stabley says. He says they don't plan to stop the tradition now, even if he can buy pot closer to home in Denver or Seattle.
"Every window is picturesque," Stabley said, "and coming here to places that serve hash and marijuana just enhances that and prolongs it."
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 14:11:42 -0800
A car chase through San Francisco's Potrero Hill neighborhood Friday afternoon ended with a crash and an arrest, a police spokesman said.
Around 1 p.m., police spotted a male suspect in a stolen vehicle near Missouri and 20th streets, San Francisco police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.
When police tried to stop the car, the suspect attempted to ram it into the officers, Esparza said.
The attempt failed and the driver continued evading police until crashing near 16th and Vermont streets, Esparza said.
The male driver, the only person in the car, was taken into custody following the crash, Esparza said. The suspect's name was not immediately available.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 14:07:08 -0800
In the era of the selfie, a London Zoo lemur has made an attempt at viral immortality after snatching a camera away from a zoo worker and taking photos of himself.
"Well, you know selfies are all the rage now, so it was only a matter of time before the lemurs caught onto that as well,” said zookeeper Lucy Hawley.
Hawley said the incident began when one of her colleagues entered the pen to photo the lemur troop.
“We take pictures to check on their condition, coat condition, things like that,” she said.
But this time one of the lemur sprang into action.
“He just grabbed hold of the camera and just kind of took it away with him,” he said. “We just thought okay we'll see where this goes, and he just took some brilliant pictures. It was really funny."
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 13:45:36 -0800
The U.S. Geological Survey has reported Friday afternoon that an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 2.8 has occurred in Alameda County near Union City.
The USGS said the 1:38 p.m. temblor was centered one mile north-northeast of Union City and occurred at a depth of 3.7 miles.
The KTVU newsroom received numerous calls asking about the quake. Several callers said they thought the quake was much stronger.
Posts on social media indicated the quake was wide felt in parts of the East Bay, but there were no reports of damage.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 13:44:47 -0800
Friends and school officials on Friday were mourning a Danville teenager who was killed in a tragic accident on Highway 24 Thursday.
District officials and coroner's office confirmed that the teenager who lost control of his car and was killed on Highway 24 has been identified as 17-year-old Anthony Grosso
Grosso attended San Ramon Valley High School until last year, but officials said he still had many friends at the school and they have grief counselors on hand Friday.
The teen was killed on eastbound Highway 24 in Lafayette near the Pleasant Hill Road exit just after 11 a.m. Thursday morning.
Witnesses told investigators that Grosso was driving too fast in a newer model Subaru Impreza before he lost control and went down an embankment and was killed.
The district said that Grosso was a student in the district starting in elementary school. He attended Stone Valley Middle School and then San Ramon Valley High School until his sophomore year in 2013.
That was when he transferred to Fusion Academy, a private school in Walnut Creek. Though he left the district, his death has left a mark with those that knew him.
"This is the second tragedy this year to stike San Ramon Valley High School," said district spokesperson Terry Koehne.
The other tragedy Koehne referred to was an accident in the beginning of the school year that killed 17-year-old Robert Orlando. A car Orlando was a passenger in skidded off El Capitan Drive back in August.
KTVU also stopped by Grosso's Danville home where he lived with his father. Nobody was there at the time, but neighbors KTVU spoke with off-camera said Anthony was a good kid and that he traded in his SUV to get the faster Subaru.
They also said his father was away on a business trip in the east coast before he was notified of his son's death. He apparently cut his trip short to return to Danville.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 13:16:33 -0800
Expanding their focus beyond their own neighborhood, a group of San Francisco students are making plans for a fundraiser to raise money to bring clean water to a Kenyan village.
Nichole Reinboldt’s Hillwood Academic Day School class has chosen for its “We Day” project helping their counterparts across the globe by sending money to that will be used on a clean water and sanitation project.
“It would help with their health so they wouldn't have to go to the doctor so much,” said 11-year-old Oliver of the class project.
To raise the money, the students will be staging a fundraiser that will feature carnival games and arts and crafts for sale.
“It’s going to be really exciting,” said 14-year-old Natalie.
The class will be attending “We Day” on March 26th at the Oracle Arena in Oakland as a reward for their efforts.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 13:12:03 -0800
A Saratoga teenage girl’s suicide after she was sexually assaulted and photos of the attack were passed around on cell phones has led to a new bill that would make it easier to charge juveniles as adults for such crimes.
Audrie Potts committed suicide days after she was sexually assaulted by three schoolmates at a house party.
The boys wrote messages on her body while she was unconscious at a Sept. 2, 2012 party and took photos of her that they showed to students at Saratoga High School.
She died in a hospital on Sept. 12, two days after hanging herself at her mother's Saratoga home.
The boys were charged as juveniles and reportedly received 30-45 days in juvenile hall – two serving their sentences on the weekend.
“Their crimes were veiled in secrecy,” Audrie’s mother, Sheila Potts told reporters on Friday. “There was no public conviction, no acknowledgement or deterrent to re-offense and certainly no remorse or apology.”
Potts said the current laws for juveniles involved sexual assaults need to be changed. She has joined with State Senator Jim Bell and Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen to back ‘Audrie’s Law’ that would make it easier to charge juveniles as adults.
“The laws need to be changed,” she said. We believe that the identity of sexual offenders and their sentences need to be exposed,” she said. “It would deter future incidents and put the community on alert.“
“The families are no less devastated because the offenders were juveniles," Rosen said. “Under the current law if a group of young men pull down a woman and rape her, they will go to court and face adult charges. But if the same young men ply her with alcohol and then rape they must be tried in juvenile court."
The new law would also make cyber bullying a crime.
To become a new law, the bill must make it through two committees and pass the legislature by a 2/3 majority vote.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 12:42:26 -0800
A transgender woman has filed a lawsuit against fitness company CrossFit after it barred her from competing as a female in an annual strength competition.
CNN reports 34-year-old personal trainer Chloie Johnson is suing for discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress and unfair competition after the company stated entrants must compete as the gender they were born.
Johnson says she was born a male, but underwent sex reassignment surgery in 2006 and is now legally recognized a female in California. But the athletic company refuses to recognize the transition. (ViaYouTube / NorthernSpiritX)
CrossFit, which hosts separate competitions for males and females, says it is just trying to be fair to the other competitors and Johnson is still allowed to compete as a male.
But according to TMZ, CrossFit sent Johnson a snarky letter explaining its decision to not allow her to compete is based on an "understanding of the human genome, of fundamental biology, that [Johnson is] either intentionally ignoring or missed in high school."
CrossFit adds transgender athletes are "welcomed with open arms" but its decision to not allow Johnson to compete is based on its "commitment to ensure the fairness of the competition." (ViaYouTube / CrossFit)
Transgender athletes have faced similar hurdles before and many athletic organizations have implemented policies addressing them, such as the International Olympic Committee, which requires an athlete to have undergone reassignment surgery and hormone treatment for a period of time before being allowed to compete as the gender with which they identify. (Via Trans Athlete)
A date for the trial has not been set, but Johnson is seeking $2.5 million for alleged emotional distress she suffered.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 11:59:39 -0800
An Arkansas circuit judge announced his withdrawal from the Arkansas Court of Appeals race after several publications called him out for alledgedly leaving some shocking anonymous comments online.
"Circuit Judge Mike Maggio posted the comments on Tiger Droppings; that's an LSU fan message board. He used the pseudonym of 'geauxjudge.'" (Via WVUE)
Those posts were apparently racist, sexist or just plain offensive. (Via Tiger Droppings)
According to The Week Magazine, Maggio made dozens of comments about how a person's name can affect their chances of success and how women need to take care of men's two basic needs — food and sex.
KATV reports the circuit judge also equated gay and transgender sex to bestiality.
And that's not all. According to the Blue Hog Report, which first made the accusations, Maggio allegedly posted details about actress Charlize Theron's adoption of a child months before she announced it back in 2012.
The New York Daily News reports Maggio confessed and apologized Wednesday for leaking the confidential details of Theron's adoption on the site and announced he has quit his campaign.
He said in a statement obtained by the Arkansas Times: "I take full responsibility for the comments that have been attributed to me. I apologize deeply for my lapse in personal judgment and for that, I have no excuse. The comments posted were not acceptable. These comments are not a reflection of who I am."
The day before Maggio's withdrawal, the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission confirmed it will be conducting an investigation into the incident. It's unclear what punishment the judge will face if the allegations against him are found to be true.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 11:49:51 -0800
Sheriff's officials in Mendocino say they raided a pot dispensary with help from federal officials after discovering a cash shipment from Colorado and marijuana products headed out of state.
Nine people were arrested during the raid on four sites associated with the Mendocino-based Love In It Cooperative on Tuesday. Sheriff's officials say they also seized packaged marijuana, pot-laced food products, 800 marijuana plants, five firearms and about $65,000 in cash. They were assisted by the District Attorney's Office and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Mendocino County Sheriff's Capt. Greg Van Patten tells The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa that the cash and marijuana product shipments raised suspicions that the cooperative was running a for-profit business. It is illegal to profit from marijuana in California.
Most of those arrested face charges of marijuana possession for sale, among other counts.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 11:42:21 -0800
A broken sprinkler system at the top of an office building in San Francisco's Financial District sent water cascading down to the street below and drenching passersby Friday morning, according to fire officials.
A broken valve was reported at 9:27 a.m. at a building at Kearny and Market streets.
Crews responded and found the malfunctioning sprinkler system on the top level of the 12-story building, fire officials said.
No injuries were reported.
The manager at Hakkasan restaurant on the building's second floor said staff had seen the water falling, but said the flooding had not affected restaurant operations.
Tyrone Jue, spokesman for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, said the leak did not appear to be connected to a city-owned water line.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 10:59:59 -0800
Two people suffered serious burns Friday morning in a suspicious San Jose house fire, authorities said.
San Jose fire Capt. Reggie Williams said neighbors called in the fire at a home in the 2900 block of Aetna Way at about 3:45 a.m.
“When we got here the fire was heavily involved in the rear of the home,” he told reporters. “It appears to have started in an overhang or patio enclosure and spread to the home.”
Two residents -- a male and female -- were inside the home at the time of the blaze and had a difficult time escaping, according to Williams.
There were bars on all the windows and exterior doors, and the residents escaped the home through the rear where the fire was burning, Williams said.
Williams said the two residents suffered "critical burns" and were transported to a hospital for treatment.
He added that an arson investigator was at the residence, which is now considered a crime scene.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 10:38:03 -0800
A California boy who was treated for leukemia and became famous as "Batkid" got to spend time with another superhero after his planned appearance at the Academy Awards was cut.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences says Andrew Garfield, who plays Spider-Man on the big screen, spent time on Monday with 5-year-old Miles Scott and his family at Disneyland.
The two had been set to be on the Oscars the previous day, but the academy said segments sometimes have to be cut when producing a live show.
Miles battled the Riddler and Joker as Batkid last November in San Francisco. His wish was made possible by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
His family said Miles was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 18 months old and ended treatments in June.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 10:19:03 -0800
The owner of a San Francisco-based Web hosting service that operated servers for a Japanese website that advertised the sale of child pornography was sentenced to 20 years in prison Thursday, according to the US Attorney's Office.
Kimihiko Makino, 40, a Japanese national, pleaded guilty on June 24, 2013, to advertising child pornography, admitting to operating servers in San Francisco for the Japanese site "Daio," according to federal officials.
The website contains thousands of visual depictions of children, most of them under the age of eight, being sexually abused.
Makino was arrested and indicted in July of 2012 while he was visiting the United States for the purpose of maintaining Daio's servers, federal officials said.
Japanese officials have indicted and convicted 10 others associated with Daio in a related investigation.
In addition to the prison sentence, Makino was also ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and to serve five years of supervised release.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 10:13:15 -0800
Rangers at California's Redwood National and State Park are now taking desperate measures to stop poachers from dismembering coastal redwoods to support, among other things, their drug addictions.
The rangers say they've had to close areas of the park from sunset to sunrise and increase their patrols to prevent criminals, mostly drug users, from poaching the legendary trees. (Via KTVU)
With increased frequency, poachers have been sneaking into the park at night on ATVs and hacking off redwood burls — large, knotted pieces of wood that protrude from the trees' trunks. (Via Fox News)
Rangers say many of those they've caught committing the crime, which could amount to a felony, were selling desirable redwood pieces as a way to support their drug habits.
One park ranger told Digital Journal: "When I interview suspects, that is the (reason) they say: their addiction to drugs and they can't find jobs."
Ninety-five percent of the redwood tree population has been cut down over the last 150 years, the remaining 5 percent is now protected in state parks.
The Huffington Post explains redwood burls are valuable because they're large enough to build tables and other pieces of furniture. California's coastal redwoods in particular are "prized for their beauty, age and size."
The trees can live to be thousands of years old, grow more than 350 feet tall and are also fire resistant. Recent studies also suggest they're the best trees at capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. (ViaYouTube / Steven Poe)
That makes them invaluable in the battle against climate change. Redwood burls are desired for their marbled appearance, and can sell for as much as $3 a pound.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 08:23:47 -0800
For the first time ever, an asteroid has been photographed breaking apart in space.
NASA's Hubble telescope was able to capture images between October and January showing the asteroid gradually crumbling into 10 smaller pieces.
The biggest chunk is 650 ft. in diameter. And the leftover bits weigh a total of 200,000 tons. (Via European Space Agency / Hubble)
In a news release from HubbleSite, lead study author David Jewitt says this kind of breakup hasn't been observed before. "Seeing it fall apart before our eyes is pretty amazing."
The asteroid, called P/2013 R3, was first spotted in the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars in September. The Keck Observatory took photos of it when it appeared to be only three objects in a cloud of dust. It was so odd that the Hubble telescope was called to the task.
Jewitt blames what he calls "quite pathetic radiation" for the disintegration. According to the Los Angeles Times, small numbers of photons have been bouncing off the asteroid for billions of years, and that was enough to break it apart.
Discovery helps explain the process: The sun warms one side of the asteroid, creating infrared radiation that makes the object spin more quickly over time. "Should the spinning become faster than the structure of the asteroid can hold itself together, centrifugal forces can literally rip it apart."
In other words, it was a gradual build up over millennia that caused the asteroid to spin itself to death. NASA created a graphic showing what the whole asteroid might have looked like just last year. The chunks are drifting away from one another at the leisurely pace of about one mile an hour. Most of the pieces from the space rock will end up colliding with the sun, but a few of them could fall into Earth's orbit as meteors.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 08:23:37 -0800
A woman in Texas is taking the high road when it comes to her cheating husband — and taking out an ad.
Check this out — "I would lie to say congratulations to Shara Cormier and Patrick Brown...They are expecting a baby. Hope you both are really in love and I hope it works out." Signed by Patrick's wife, Timeshia Brown. (Via Daily Mail)
And we're calling it hilarious. It's unclear exactly when the ad was published, but the pic was posted earlier this week. If it wasn't a prank, we say well done, Timeshia.
We saw a similar move last March, when a woman named Jennifer bought a billboard to advertise the GPS tracker that helped catching her cheating husband. (Via New York Daily News)
While this ad might be smaller in size, it's classier in wording, which we sort of love. And as the Metro points out, it gets the job done.
No one seems to have tracked down Timeshia yet, but according to the Dallas Morning News, the ad was posted in a Texas newspaper.
Bottom line — maybe next time he'll think before he cheats.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 08:23:28 -0800