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Teen injured in Fremont crash

Paseo Padre Parkway in Fremont is closed while police investigate a major-injury collision in the area.

Northbound Paseo Pkwy at Grimmer and Southbound Paseo Padre Pkwy at Mission View are closed.

Officials say around 4:50 p.m. Monday a vehicle collided with a 15-year-old male. The teen was transported to a trauma center with major injuries.

The roadway is expected to remain closed until at least 8 p.m. Monday.

Published: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:06:33 -0700

Cage-fighting gas station clerk stuns would-be robbers

Surveillance video shows a gas station clerk with mixed martial arts training overcoming three would-be robbers who tried to swipe a bank bag from his co-worker outside the shop.

Mayura Dissanayake was behind the counter, inside the shop, when he saw two men jump out of an SUV and attack his co-worker, who had just gotten out of his car with a  bank bag. Dissanayake said instinct kicked in and he ran out of the shop to help. (Click2Houston.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnShVAF4uU8

The video shows Dissanayake running outside and kicking one of the suspects in the face. The other suspects started to engage but decided to take off instead.
"The first guy I saw, I just kicked him in the face," he said. "Then I punched the other guy."

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The guy he punched dropped to the ground and got left behind as the other two suspects took off in their getaway car. The man he knocked down was charged with robbery with bodily injury.

Dissanayake said he has been training in mixed martial arts for more than a decade and was a champion cage fighter in his native Sri Lanka.

The incident happened July 10, 2014. Click2Houston.com said the report was posted on July 25 and was viewed by more than 4.5 million people over the first weekend. Dissanayake said he woke up to around 500 Facebook friend requests  the morning after the story was posted.

Watch the original video report here.  

Published: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:58:37 -0700

2 Investigates: Sensitive documents, personal information uncovered at Bay Area salvage yards

Auto salvage yards can be a great resource for the do-it-yourselfer in search of spare parts.

2 Investigates found the same yards can also be a gold mine for identity thieves.

At three Pick n Pull locations in the Bay Area, KTVU found sensitive documents containing people's personal information inside vehicles, from bank account numbers to social security numbers.

The Cars

Salvage yards, also known as dismantlers, such as Pick n Pull buy vehicles directly from individuals, tow companies, auctions, charities and insurance companies.  Some of the cars were totaled in accidents, seized by police or handed over by their former owners.  For a $2 admission fee, Pick n Pull customers can search the vehicles and remove parts.

Pick n Pull told KTVU it is company policy to clean out the cars, including the removal of potentially sensitive documents, before putting the vehicles out on the lot.

Despite that policy, 2 Investigates found utility bills and traffic court documents inside a Chevy van at Pick n Pull in Oakland.

A Jeep Cherokee on the same lot had a Medi-Cal Choice form, bank statements and ID cards.

Lesson Learned

2 Investigates continued to find people's personal information inside salvaged vehicles at two Pick n Pull lots in San Jose.

A stack of documents inside a 1995 Honda Accord included an unemployment benefits statement for Jairo Duran of San Jose.  Each page of the statement from the California Employment Development Department contained Duran's full social security number.

KTVU contacted Duran and returned the documents to him.

"Someone else could've taken it and they wouldn't do this," said Duran.  "They would've just run away... and try to (open) an account with this."

Duran says driving on a suspended license cost him a couple of days in jail and his car which, he says, was impounded.

"They wanted to charge me almost $1500," said Duran.  "That's almost the car's worth, so I wasn't going to pay again."

Duran says he never had a chance to get his personal documents out of the car.

Protecting Yourself

Identity theft experts say individuals and salvage yard operators bear some responsibility for not securing the personal information discovered by 2 Investigates.

"The idea that thieves are trolling and searching the most unusual places doesn't surprise me.  What kind of does surprise me is that people are leaving so much of that information in their car in the first place," said Neal O'Farrell, Executive Director of the Identity Theft Council based in Walnut Creek.

O'Farrell says his group is currently working with an identity theft victim who was involved in an accident when he had a heart attack behind the wheel.  The car was eventually sold at auction.

"He was like a typical victim," said O'Farrell.  "[he said] 'I had a lot of information in that car, but I can't remember how much.'"

O'Farrell says the simplest solution is to remove any personal information from your car that doesn't need to be there.

"You don't need to have your birth certificate in the car, you don't need to have your driver’s license in the car.  That's what your wallet or purse is for.  You don't need to have your bank statements or credit card statements for the last year in your trunk," said O'Farrell.

No New Tricks

Experts say KTVU's investigation likely isn't giving identity thieves any new ideas.  The Identity Theft Council estimates there are about 10,000 identity theft rings operating in the United States.

"A lot of them have nothing to do all day but think up new schemes and new places they can find information, so you're not giving anything away to the thieves by focusing on this issue," said O'Farrell.  "Hopefully, you're giving an awful lot of information to consumers so that they'll wake up and maybe, if one in ten, one in twenty go out to their cars and empty it of all the junk that's not supposed to be there, that's the best revenge against identity thieves."

Pick-n-Pull Response

When contacted by KTVU, Pick-n-Pull provided the following response:

"We are an industry leading self-service auto parts store that recycles original manufacturer parts and provides access to customers seeking those parts.  End of life vehicles come to our facility in a number of ways including our community donation program.  Vehicles are expected to be emptied of any personal items when they come into our facilities.  As safety is our first priority we do remove, recycle, and dispose of items to the best of our team's ability prior to the staging process.  We take pride in our customer service and the proper recycling of these vehicles at all our Pick-n-Pull facilities."

A manager with Pick-n-Pull reiterated that employees are instructed to take personal items out of vehicles before they're put out on the lot.  When asked about the material 2 Investigates found, the manager told KTVU some employees, "do their job well, some don't."

The Department of Motor Vehicles reports there were 1,150 licensed salvage yard operators, also known as dismantlers, in California as of January 1, 2014.

Published: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:47:46 -0700

Officials look to make Sunset Blvd. in San Francisco safer for pedestrians

San Francisco police and transit officials say drivers have for too long treated Sunset Boulevard as a freeway, endangering pedestrians trying to make it across the six lane road.

On February 4th, a 78-year-old man was killed in a yellow beacon crosswalk at Yorba Street- one of nine pedestrians killed so far this year. On February 19th, a 15-year-old boy was struck in the same intersection and suffered head trauma injuries. A 21-year-old woman was injured in that same location in May.

"It's one of the six percent of city streets that are responsible for 60 percent of the serious and fatal collisions," said Ed Reiskin, Director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. "People shouldn't die just trying to get to school, get to work, just trying to cross a street."

Pedestrians blamed the push-button activated yellow beacon system that was supposed to warn drivers to stop for pedestrians.

"I think it's dangerous, people just don't stop at all," said Deren Hung. "I've stood here for 10 minutes trying to cross and I just gave up."

On Monday, Mayor Ed Lee turned on a new stoplight traffic signal at the intersection and signed off on a new half billion dollar transportation bond that will be on the November ballot. $300 million is allocated for street safety, including infrastructure upgrades.

With 34 pedestrian deaths last year in the city, Walk SF Executive Director Nicole Schneider hopes hope voters will view the bond proposal as a bargain.

"It's over half a billion dollars that we spend every year treating pedestrian injuries or the economic costs associated with just pedestrian injuries alone," said Schneider. "

The stoplight at Sunset and Yorba cost about $266,000 and was completed in five months instead of the typical three years. The speed limit was also reduced from 35 to 30 miles per hour.

"It is not a freeway. It is a major pedestrian and traffic thoroughfare that must be respected for all the modes of transportation," said Mayor Lee.

While pedestrians applauded the changes, some drivers said they were struggling to adjust.

"I've been here a long time and I've been coming this way forever," one driver told KTVU. "I don't think it makes it easier to merge. It was fine before."

Published: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:29:26 -0700

3 shot in 2 separate Oakland shootings

Three people were shot in two incidents in Oakland Monday, according to police.

A male and female victim were both shot near the corner of 67th and Bancroft avenues just before 3 p.m., police spokeswoman Officer Johnna Watson said.

Watson did not disclose their condition or any information about possible suspects.

It was the day's second shooting incident.

Earlier Saturday a victim was shot in a West Oakland neighborhood, according to police.

The shooting was reported in the 3100 block of Union Street at about 11:20 a.m., police said.

The victim self-transported to a hospital with a gunshot wound while the suspect fled and remains at large, police said.

Published: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:19:14 -0700

1 injured in shooting east of Hwy 680

San Jose police are investigating the city's 21st homicide in an area east of Interstate Highway 680 Monday afternoon.

Officers responded to a report of a shooting in the 200 block of Gramercy Place around 3:40 p.m., police said.

Upon arrival, officers found a Hispanic man injured and transported him to a hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later, according to police.

The suspects in the shooting remain at large, according to police.

Published: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:06:52 -0700

Oakland, EBMUD reach deal with feds over bay pollution

The city of Oakland, the East Bay Municipal Utility District and six other East Bay cities have reached an agreement with federal environmental regulators to prevent sewage overflows and spills into the San Francisco Bay, officials said Monday.

The clean water agreement, which calls for updating aging sewer infrastructure, is in the form of a 22-year-long federal consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lodged in U.S. District Court.

It resolves a lawsuit the EPA and the California State Water Resources Control Board filed against eight East Bay agencies in 2009 to prevent spills into the Bay and local overflows throughout the East Bay.

Oakland officials said they and the other parties involved in the matter worked cooperatively to reach an agreement that will protect creeks, parks, shorelines and public health in the East Bay.

In addition to Oakland and EBMUD, the parties involved in the agreement are the cities of Albany, Alameda, Berkeley, Emeryville and Piedmont, as well as the Stege Sanitary District, which covers Kensington and parts of El Cerrito.

The parties involved in the suit said that during periods of heavy rainfall, flows have often exceeded the capacity of EBMUD's sewage treatment plant, discharging partially treated sewage into the Bay.

They said that even during normal operations, thousands of miles of aging sewage pipes in Oakland and other cities clog due to grease, roots, and other obstructions, resulting in local overflows of raw sewage. Some of these pipes are more than a century old.

Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker said in a statement, "Although the vehicle for these negotiations was a lawsuit, all parties worked cooperatively to reach our common goal of providing greater protections of the health and welfare of our environment and the citizens of the East Bay."

Parker said, "This agreement does not simply increase repairs to our sewer infrastructure. It also creates jobs, makes Oakland a greener community and helps to secure environmental justice for East Bay residents."

Oakland officials said that before the suit was filed in 2009, they had complied with all EPA regulatory enforcement actions and had begun the work to complete hundreds of millions of dollars in improvements the EPA and state water board ordered in the 1980s.

Since the suit was filed, Oakland officials said they, EBMUD, and the neighboring cities have worked together to fix leaky sewer pipes and build wet weather facilities to prevent heavy storms from causing raw sewage overflows into the Bay.

Oakland alone has spent about $300 million to improve its collections system and reduce flows, city officials said.

They said the joint efforts were successful in reducing discharges of sewage to the Bay, but EBMUD's three wet weather facilities were unable to meet current tougher standards for wastewater secondary treatment.

Under terms of the agreement, Oakland is expected to spend up to an additional $13 million each year on sewer infrastructure above the $52 million it is currently spending annually to repair and upgrade the city's sewer system.

Oakland officials said the agreement also includes payment of a one-time civil penalty of $850,000 to the EPA. All of the other defendants also are paying civil penalties, according to Oakland officials.

The work in Oakland will be funded by sewer service fee increases the City Council adopted in 2010, so the agreement's additional spending requirements will not cause budget deficits or service cuts in other areas, city officials said.

Under the terms of the consent decree, Oakland will be responsible for upgrading 13 miles of sewers per year and substantially increasing regular sewer inspection and maintenance.

The agreement also includes an investigation program to identify and disconnect potential direct storm water connections or other sources of major inflow during storms.

Published: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:31:01 -0700

Brown takes dig at Texas guard plan

Gov. Jerry Brown took a not-so-subtle dig at Texas' decision to deploy National Guard troops to the border, saying Monday he expects it to be a short-lived measure and that "wiser minds will prevail."

Brown is in Mexico for three days of meetings, focusing on migration, trade, investment and environmental cooperation.

At a news conference with Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Jose Antonio Meade, Brown said the immigration overload of thousands of Central American youths at the border should be seen as a humanitarian issue. The U.S. is coping with a dramatic increase in the number of unaccompanied children attempting to cross the border, coming mainly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Meade said he and Brown agree that the use of law-enforcement or military agencies "is never justified in cases where children are concerned" unless they are providing medical or logistical aid.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced a decision last week to deploy up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border over the next month to combat what he said were criminals exploiting a surge of children pouring into the U.S. illegally.

Asked about that, Brown said: "I hesitate to comment on the thinking that goes into the sending of the Texas National Guard to the border. I would suspect that it would be of relatively short duration and that wiser minds will prevail in the next several months."

Brown acknowledged the immigration surge has become politicized, and said "my goal is to try as much as I can to frame the issue of the children as a humanitarian challenge. That should appeal to people of all political persuasions." California Attorney General Kamala Harris said Thursday she is helping secure lawyers to represent minors during immigration hearings.

Meade, meanwhile, said few of the Central American migrants apply for asylum in Mexico because they are trying to join relatives in the United States.

While many migrants, especially those from Honduras and El Salvador, say they are fleeing gang-related violence in their home countries, less than one in 60 of those caught in Mexico in 2013 asked for asylum in Mexico. The numbers for the first six months of 2014 show only a slight uptick, with about one of 50 requesting asylum. Of those applications, about 20 percent to 25 percent have been approved in recent years.

"The fundamental goal, in many cases, is (family) reunification. That means the migrant's desire is really not to stay in Mexico," Meade said. "That explains why there are so few (asylum) requests in Mexico."

Brown later met privately with President Enrique Pena Nieto to discuss immigration and other topics. In a statement, Pena Nieto's office noted that "California is home to the largest Mexican community abroad, and for that reason both sides agreed to increase cooperation to ensure the welfare of that population."

Brown's trade mission is aimed at increasing direct investments in California, promoting university exchanges and forming environmental partnerships to combat climate change.

The trip, organized by the California Chamber of Commerce, includes a delegation of more than 100 people representing sectors of state government, business, economic development, investment and policy. Delegates paid $5,000 each for the four-day trip, which is subsidizing the cost of Brown's travel.

"We want to increase trade. We want to deal with some issues on the refugees that are coming across the border. And I also want to collaborate with Mexico in pushing an intelligent climate change agenda," Brown said ahead of the journey.

On Tuesday, Brown is to sign an education agreement, then meet with officials including Mexico's energy secretary and the president of the senate. On Wednesday, the governor plans to wrap up his trip by signing a trade agreement with Mexico, which is California's largest export market.

Business participants include Sempra Energy, BP America and other representatives of the energy, tourism and agriculture industries. Representatives of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund also are attending.

Published: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:02:15 -0700

Car crash suspect runs home to watch cartoons

Police say a toddler crashed a Jeep into an Oregon home, then ran back to his home to watch cartoons.

Authorities say the 3-year-old boy who was wearing only a diaper climbed into the Jeep and knocked it out of gear. Witnesses say it rolled down the street, through an intersection and into the house, causing minor damage.

KPTV reports  an officer found the boy on a couch watching TV as if nothing had happened.

He said his parents weren't home and another relative was sleeping. Police cited 22-year-old Brennan Pennington for failing to supervise a child.

Published: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:43:35 -0700

FAA proposes to fine Southwest Airlines $12 million

The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it is proposing a $12 million civil fine against Southwest Airlines for failing to comply with safety regulations related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners.

It is the second-largest fine the agency has proposed against an airline. The largest proposed fine was against American Airlines for $24.2 million in August 2010. That one was ultimately settled for $24.9 million as part of American's bankruptcy proceedings, although the final settlement included other safety violations not part of the original proposal.

The FAA said that beginning in 2006 Southwest made "extreme makeover" alterations to eliminate potential cracking of the aluminum skin on 44 jetliners. An FAA investigation determined that Southwest's contractor, Aviation Technical Services Inc. of Everett, Washington, failed to follow proper procedures for replacing the fuselage as well as other work on the planes, the agency said. All of the work was done under the supervision of Southwest, which was responsible for seeing that it was done properly, the FAA said.

Southwest, which is based in Dallas, then returned the planes to service in 2009 and began flying them even after the FAA "put the airline on notice that these aircraft were not in compliance" with safety regulations, the agency said.

During its investigation, the FAA also found that Aviation Technical Services' workers applied sealant beneath the new skin panels but did not install fasteners in all of the rivet holes fast enough for the sealant to be effective.

"This could have resulted in gaps between the skin and the surface to which it was being mounted. Such gaps could allow moisture to penetrate the skin and lead to corrosion," FAA said.

The contractor also failed to follow requirements to properly place the planes on jacks and shore them up while the work was being performed, the FAA said. If a plane is shored improperly during skin replacement, the airframe could shift and lead to subsequent problems with the new skin.

The FAA also said that Southwest failed to properly install a ground wire on water drain masts on two of its Boeing 737s in response to a safety order aimed at preventing lightning strikes. The planes were each operated on more than 20 passenger flights after Southwest Airlines became aware of the discrepancies but before the airline corrected the problem, the agency said.

"The FAA views maintenance very seriously, and it will not hesitate to take action against companies that fail to follow regulations," said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

Southwest Airlines has 30 days to respond to the proposed fine. Usually FAA officials negotiate extensively with an airline in cases of large fines before settling upon an amount. However, regulators and airline officials sometimes are unable to reach an agreement and the airline contests the fine.

Brandi King, a spokeswoman for Southwest, said the airline will "respond to the FAA allegations" in accordance with the agency's procedures.

"Having fully resolved the repair issues some time ago, none of the items raised in the FAA letter affect aircraft currently being operated by Southwest Airlines," she said. "As always, Southwest is committed to continuously making enhancements to our internal procedures, as well as improvements related to oversight of our repair vendors."

Published: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:13:49 -0700

Two drown during deadly weekend on Russian River

A boy drowned in the Russian River in Sonoma County on Sunday evening, the second drowning reported in the river over the weekend.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office was notified around 6 p.m. Sunday about a missing boy, Monte Rio Fire Protection District Chief Steve Baxman said.

The boy had not been seen for a few hours and was presumed to have wandered off, Baxman said.

The Russian River Fire Protection District began a boat search of the river around 6:30 p.m. and the Monte Rio Fire Protection District launched a boat with an underwater camera around 7:30 p.m., Baxman said.

The boy's body was found about a half-mile from Johnson's Beach in about 10 feet of water around 8:20 p.m., according to Baxman.

The teen was seen earlier swimming from the north side of the river to the south side, Baxman said.

"He was supposed to have been a good swimmer," Baxman said.

The Sonoma County coroner's office was not immediately identifying the teen, but Baxman said he was not from the Sonoma County area.

The death came a day after a kayaker drowned in the Russian River. The coroner's office identified the kayaker as 23-year-old Edgar Mejia of Santa Rosa.

Witnesses called 911 around 4 p.m. Saturday after the kayak capsized west of the Casini Ranch Family Campground at 22855 Moscow Road in Duncans Mills. The caller said one of the two kayakers was in distress and having difficulty staying afloat, Sonoma County sheriff's Lt. Al Vernon said.

The kayaker disappeared underwater for approximately 7 to 10 minutes before he was located and rescued, Vernon said.

Resuscitation efforts failed and Mejia was pronounced dead at the scene at 4:34 p.m. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

Baxman said Mejia was camping with his family, but couldn't swim and was not wearing a life jacket.

Published: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:41:20 -0700

Mom arrested for DUI with child in car

The California Highway Patrol arrested a Pacifica woman Sunday evening on suspicion of DUI and child endangerment after she fled officers at 90 mph on U.S. Highway 101 in Marin County, a CHP officer said.

Ana Soledad Lopez, 32, was driving on southbound Highway 101 near the Marinwood Avenue off-ramp around 5:30 p.m., CHP Officer Andrew Barclay said.

An officer tracking the speed of vehicles pursued Lopez's SUV as it reached 90 mph, made erratic lane changes, cut off vehicles and caused other vehicles to make evasive maneuvers to avoid collisions, Barclay said.

Lopez pulled to the side of the highway near the San Pedro Road exit in San Rafael, but sped away as a CHP officer approached her vehicle, Barclay said.

Other CHP officers joined the pursuit and Lopez pulled off the road near the Lincoln Avenue off-ramp, according to Barclay.

Officers found Lopez's 6-year-old daughter with a blanket pulled up to her eyes in the right rear seat of the SUV, Barclay said. The girl was taken to the CHP office in Corte Madera where her father took custody of her, Barclay said.

Lopez was arrested and booked in Marin County Jail on suspicion of felony child endangerment, failing to comply with a peace officer's order, DUI, DUI with blood-alcohol content above 0.08 percent and enhancements of DUI with a minor passenger under age 14 and DUI with a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 percent or greater, Barclay said.

Published: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:38:43 -0700

Suspect wounded in Antioch police officer-involved shooting

A police officer shot and injured a man who resisted being detained Monday morning, according to police.

The shooting was reported at 8:51 a.m. at a home in the 4100 block of Folsom Drive, said Fire Marshal Robert Marshall of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.

Officers were dispatched to the area regarding a rifle found in the street, according to police.

Police said in a statement that an officer arriving on the scene "eventually had an encounter" with a man and attempted to detain him.

The man fled from the officer and headed into an open garage, according to police.

Police said at some point while the officer tried to detain the suspect, he opened fire, striking the man several times. The man was taken to John Muir Medical Center with gunshot wounds. Police said he was responsive at the scene but that an update on his condition was not immediately available.

The officer who shot the man is a police veteran and was uninjured, according to police.

Police said the shooting is being jointly investigated by Antioch police, the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office and the county Crime Lab, following standard protocol in an officer-involved shooting.

Published: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:29:04 -0700

Man pleads no contest to killing puppy in front of young daughter

A man accused of torturing a puppy to death in front of his 4-year-old daughter pleaded no contest to child endangerment charges in exchange for no more than three years in prison, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.

Alan Velete, 32, also pleaded no contest to violating his probation for felony assault and a restraining order when he moved into the Redwood City apartment belonging to his girlfriend's mother.

Redwood City police arrested Velete in January after he killed their puppy Lucky, which he tortured for weeks in front of his daughter after becoming enraged that the 4-month-old terrier defecated on the floor, prosecutors said.

He punched and kicked the puppy, sprayed it in the eyes with household cleaners, kept it in a crate in the bathroom, put it in a duffel bag and hung the bag in the shower and listened to it whimper for hours, taped its mouth shut and force fed it his psychiatric drugs, prosecutors said.

Velete's girlfriend and her mother were afraid to call police but her mother finally did after he suffocated the dog on Jan. 6, put it in a duffel bag and threw it in the garbage, prosecutors said.

She made an anonymous call to police and Velete was arrested three days later.

He entered the plea Friday in the courtroom of Judge Elizabeth Lee in exchange for no more than three years in prison. He remains in custody under $50,000 bail and is next scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 28, prosecutors said.

Published: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:24:04 -0700

Post-San Bruno explosion e-mails show cozy ties between PG&E, regulator

San Bruno officials Monday unleashed a barrage of criticisms and demands for firings, fines and punishment after it released thousands of pages of communications by and between the CPUC and PG&E in the wake of the San Bruno pipeline blast.

The newly released emails show top California regulators communicated often and enthusiastically with executives at PG&E, as they simultaneously presided over a case to decide how much the utility should pay for a deadly San Bruno explosion.

The City of San Bruno released emails between California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey and PG&E after suing for their release earlier this year.

The PUC is charged with punishing PG&E in the wake of the 2010 pipeline blast in San Bruno that claimed eight lives.

San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane called the emails shocking.

“PG&E has made illegal efforts to influence the CPUC decision makers to protect the utility’s financial interests,” he said. “Sadly and shockingly, the CPUC has participated in the illegal conduct.”

Among the actions San Bruno officials are seeking were:

  • Removal of CPUC President Michael Peevey from his position.
  • Removal of key PG&E executives implicated in illegal relations.
  • PG&E to be penalized for illegal influence peddling.
  • An Attorney General investigation into the relationship.

“The PUC leadership, during the past three-and-a-half years has made no effort to respect the arm's length relationship they're supposed to have with PG&E,” Democratic state Sen. Jerry Hill said.

In a statement sent to the San Bruno, the CPUC and the media, PG&E CEO Chris Jones said: “I want to assure you that we will review the e-mails involved in the matter to ensure that that this high standard was upheld. If it was not, we will take appropriate action.”

Meanwhile in a statement, the CPUC said: “The CPUC takes seriously all allegations of bias and rule violations and will evaluate the Motions filed by the City of San Bruno including providing an opportunity for parties to comment.”

Published: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:14:50 -0700

Teen's phone ignites under her pillow; how real is the risk?

Plenty of people tend to fall asleep with their phones in their beds at night, but one 13-year-old's tale is cautionary, to say the least. KDFW has the story of the Texas teen.

"The plastic, the glass, you can't even really tell it was a phone."

"This is what's left of Ariel's phone. She says it slipped under her pillow as she fell asleep. The smell of something burning woke her in the night."

Definitely a scary situation that could have been much worse. Ariel Tolfree had a Samsung Galaxy S4. Her dad told KDFW he thinks the phone overheated and the battery swelled while she slept. 

Now, the battery was not original to the phone; it was a replacement. And Samsung's manual does contain a warning:

"Use of a non-Samsung-approved battery or charger may present a risk of fire, explosion, leakage, or other hazard." 

A piece on phone safety from Digital Trends emphasizes that third-party batteries are dangerous — they aren't necessarily compatible with your phone.

But even with the approved company battery, phones can be dangerous.

A quick Internet search reveals several stories of Samsung phones catching fire this year alone. (Via The Huffington PostEmirates 24/7Business Insider)

Samsung's not the only one — there are headlines about iPhones igniting, too. (Via Apple Insider)

Now sometimes, there's user — well, we'll call it error. According to International Business Times, one man who said his Samsung Galaxy exploded later revealed he'd previously microwaved the phone.

And sleeping with phones poses a very real potential danger —  Apple's manual even says, "Don’t sleep or place a device or power adapter under a blanket, pillow, or your body when it's plugged into a power source."

Of course, just like we often sleep with our phones, we often don't read users manuals. Be safe with your phones, but Digital Trends also reminds us:

"You're far more likely to be struck by lightning, give birth to quadruplets, or be an Olympic medal winner than get hurt from your phone."

Published: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:59:18 -0700

Santa Clara County DA: No charges in infant’s hot car death

The father of an infant boy who died in the back seat of the man's SUV in April "made a terrible mistake" but will not face criminal charges, Santa Clara County prosecutors said Monday.

The boy's father, identified only as "Mr. Hernandez," was by witness accounts an attentive father, had no history of child abuse or neglect and the April 16 incident did not rise to the level of recklessness to justify criminal charges, District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement.

Deputy District Attorney Sumerle Davis said that there had been a change in the family routine on the morning of the child's death and Hernandez truly believed he had dropped the baby off before mistakenly leaving the sleeping child in his vehicle.

"It was a terrible, perfect storm that happened," Davis said.

The boy, 9-month-old Giovanni Hernandez, of Los Gatos, died as a result of hyperthermia, or elevated body temperature, according to the medical examiner's office.

San Jose police said that Hernandez was supposed to drop the child off at a babysitter's residence before going to work on the morning of April 16 but left him in the vehicle the entire day in the 3700 block of Payne Avenue in San Jose.

In a summary of the district attorney's decision in the case, Assistant James Gibbons-Shapiro stated that Hernandez woke up that Wednesday morning at 6 a.m., got his two other school-age children ready for school and the baby for in-home day care.

The father went to bed at about 2 a.m. after staying with the baby while his wife was working at a new job delivering pizza. She arrived home at 3 a.m., according to Gibbons-Shapiro.

Hernandez's routine was to take the two older children to school and drop the infant off with a babysitter on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, but due to his wife's job, he planned to drop the baby off with the sitter himself that Wednesday before going to work, prosecutors said.

Shortly after 8 a.m., he got the three children in the SUV, placing his eldest daughter in the front seat and his middle son in the back seat with the infant who was secured in a car seat.

He dropped off the older son to middle school and then his daughter to high school, then drove toward the babysitter's home and his place of work while feeling tired at the time, prosecutors said.

Hernandez was a truck driver for a vending machine firm and would park his car at his employer's home, drive the truck to make deliveries and return at the end of the workday. He drove to the employer's residence that morning but forgot about the baby, who was asleep, prosecutors said.

He remained tired that day and took a nap while at work. At 6:30 p.m., believing he had left the infant with the sitter, he asked a co-worker if they could swing by to pick up the boy at the sitter's house.

But he soon learned the child had died of hyperthermia after being inside the hot car all day. Hernandez was "distraught and remorseful" and cooperated with police in the investigation, Gibbons-Shapiro said.

Prosecutors had considered filing involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment charges against Hernandez, but to do so they would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he "committed an aggravated, flagrantly negligent or reckless act rather than one from inattention or mistaken judgment," Gibbons-Shapiro stated.

"He didn't commit a crime; he made a terrible mistake," Gibbons-Shapiro said.

Davis said that the district attorney's office made its decision not to prosecute after a lot of research and discussion.

More than three dozen children die inside vehicles each year in the U.S. after their caring parents inadvertently left them behind, Davis said.

"Police officers, pediatricians have left their babies in cars," Davis said. "Even good parents can forget."

Published: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:25:37 -0700

Kayakers breach JFK Airport in latest NYC security lapse

Two kayakers say they nearly died, but now they've been cited for trespassing. (Via Getty Images)

The pair of 21-year-old kayakers are telling New York City media their vessel flipped in Jamaica Bay early Saturday morning. They were able to grab onto a pier and get to safety -- problem is the pier is property of JFK International Airport. 

In 2012, a different waterway breach made headlines. (Via Getty Images)

>> Read more trending stories

As ABC reported, a man who had problems with his jet ski swam to shore, scaled a fence, crossed runways and walked into a terminal to get help.

That man went undetected by a security system valued at at least $100 million.

Now again, two years later, the same headlines. (Via USA Today)

It's a system that even those using it don't believe in. A spokesperson for the Port Authority's police union told the New York Post:  “Once again a perimeter security breach at JFK Airport raises serious concerns about the Port Authority’s Perimeter Intrusion Detection System, a system the PAPBA believes is a failure." 

Though the Port Authority itself has a different story, telling CBS: "The kayakers did not breach the secure airfield. They were seeking help in a restricted water area and at a light pier."

But all this comes not long after other seemingly scary security breaches in New York City. Just days ago, American flags atop the Brooklyn Bridge were replaced with white ones. The incident is under investigation. (Via CNN)

And in September a group of men base-jumped off the Freedom Tower. (Via New York Daily News)

The kayakers were not actually arrested, but were cited. They were also treated for hypothermia.

See more at newsy.com.

Published: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:58:22 -0700

Women robbed during SF Chinatown home invasion

Two women were robbed at knifepoint inside their home in San Francisco's Chinatown neighborhood early Monday morning, police said.

The home invasion robbery was reported at 1:05 a.m. in the first block of Waverly Place.

The suspect, a man believed to be between 30 and 40 years old, entered the home, grabbed two kitchen knives and threatened the victims, two women ages 65 and 86, according to police.

The suspect then took the victim's property, including a debit card and cellphone, then fled. He had not been found as of this morning, police said.

The women were not injured in the robbery.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or to send a tip by text message to TIP411 with "SFPD" in the message.

Published: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:05:05 -0700

Firefighters gaining ground on Sierra wildfires

Fire crews increased containment Monday on a wildfire burning near vineyards in Northern California, and officials discussed the possibility of lifting evacuation orders for at least some of the roughly 1,200 people affected.

The fire in the Sierra Nevada foothills east of Sacramento was held to a little under 6 square miles overnight while containment increased by 15 percent, to 65 percent, State fire Battalion Chief Scott McLean said.

"We're still very cautions. We're not going to get complacent, but it's looking very good," he said.

It's one of two wildfires in the state that has forced people from their homes. The other has burned about 4 square miles near Yosemite National Park and forced the evacuation of an estimated 100 homes in Foresta and the small community of Old El Portal.

The park itself, home to such sites as Half Dome mountain, Yosemite Meadows, a grove of Giant Sequoia trees and other wonders, remained open, and authorities said none of its treasures was threatened.

The two blazes underscore the state's heightened fire danger this year after three years of drought created tinder-dry conditions.

Both the Sierra foothills fire and the blaze near Yosemite National Park took off quickly after they began.

The Sand Fire has destroyed 13 homes and 38 other structures near wine-growing regions in Amador and El Dorado counties, as it burns in rugged grassland and timber near wine-growing regions in Amador and El Dorado counties. About 450 homes were under mandatory evacuation orders.

"We feel for individuals that have been evacuated," McLean said. "We're actively pursuing getting some of these folks back to their homes."

McLean, however, said he did not know when residents might be allowed back even as officials were optimistic about getting the upper hand on the blaze. Full containment was now expected Friday, earlier than initially estimated.

Crews have been challenged by triple digit temperatures and steep terrain that sends heat upward and further dries out the land.

But McLean said in a good sign, he saw blue skies above the fire Sunday afternoon instead of smoke.

The fire started Friday when a vehicle drove over vegetation. In addition to the homes and cabins, it has destroyed a collection of 13 antique cars that a man was restoring in the town of Plymouth, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Neighbors have stepped in to help those forced from their homes and ranches.

The Amador County fairgrounds made room for displaced animals and as of noon Sunday had taken in 12 horses, seven rabbits, 15 chickens, two dogs, three cats and seven goats, said Karen Spencer, the marketing director for the Amador County Fair.

"We're right in the middle of our fair, but our livestock people are just moving over and making room," she told the Bee (http://bit.ly/1puo7An).

While the Red Cross has been able to provide clothes and food for the evacuees, the neighboring communities have joined the organization to help.

"We've got like 10 bags of new and slightly new clothes," Rodney Stanhope of Placerville said.

Stanhope said his Facebook call has led to people offering to buy underwear and socks and others offering their homes to evacuees.

"Everybody wants to help," Stanhope said.

In Central California, the fire near Yosemite National Park has destroyed one home and sent plumes of smoke over the park.

Two shelters opened for people and animals.

Wildfires also burned in other Western states, including Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Utah.

The nation's largest wildfire — the 618-square-mile Buzzard Complex in eastern Oregon, 45 miles northeast of Burns — was almost fully contained Sunday.

In north-central Washington, the Carlton Complex fire, the biggest in the state's history, burned as temperatures rose Sunday, but no major flare-ups have been reported.

Published: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 08:59:54 -0700