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Source: MedleyStory

Boy with brain tumor receives thousands of birthday cards

A Massachusetts boy with an inoperable brain tumor has had a wish granted thanks to national attention generated on social media

Danny Nickerson, of Foxboro, simply wanted cards for his sixth birthday Friday. And well-wishers came through in a big way.

According to the Sun-Chronicle newspaper, the support so far has been overwhelming. He has already received more than 30,000 cards, 1,000 packages and more than 24,000 'likes' ...  and he can expect many more as well-wishers have taken to social media to share his story and wish.

Danny's birthday is July 25, and all cards can be sent to the Nickerson's home addressed to Danny himself: Danny Nickerson, P.O. Box 212, Foxboro, MA 02035. More information is available on the Danny's Warriors Facebook page.

Here is a look at just some of the  social media posts around Danny's wish, compiled by the Sun-Chronicle:

Published: Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:09:30 -0700

Too few teens receiving HPV vaccinations, CDC says

Unacceptably low numbers of teens are getting vaccinated for the human papillomavirus, or HPV, which protects against cervical, throat and mouth cancers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC recommends boys and girls get three doses of the vaccines starting at age 11 or 12, but a study found only 57 percent of girls and 35 percent of boys, between the ages of 13 to 17, received at least one dose. (Via Getty Images)

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Health officials are blaming pediatricians for the low numbers of vaccinations, saying not enough doctors are recommending the vaccination, so people aren't getting the shots. (Via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Doctors are missing an easy opportunity to vaccinate teens at the same time they get shots for things like pertussis, which sees a much higher rate in vaccinations—86 percent. (Via Getty Images)

"If we could raise HPV vaccine coverage to the same level as the pertussis vaccinations, we could prevent thousands of HPV-associated cancers every year," says the CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat. (Via CBS)

Early studies of the vaccine led some to believe it contributed to an increased chance of blood clots, but LiveScience reports that was later debunked and the vaccine was deemed safe by researchers.

In fact, NBC points out cases of HPV-related cancers decreased by more than half since the vaccine was introduced in 2006.

The CDC says seventy-nine million Americans are currently infected with HPV and 14 million people become newly infected each year.

Published: Fri, 25 Jul 2014 02:03:03 -0700

Michelin star chef loses battle with cancer

In a culinary world where many chefs become household names, Chef Chris L'Hommedieu was not a television superstar, but his leadership in some of the nation's most famous restaurants earned him respect from the best in the business and a devoted group of followers who are all mourning his passing.

L'Hommedieu, 44, lost his battle with a rare form of appendix cancer on Wednesday.

He had achieved what many aspiring young chefs dream of doing. He worked at Aqua, Michael Mina, and Thomas Keller's Per Se before he was tapped by renowned chef Nancy Oakes of Boulevard to head her new restaurant Prospect.

"He had a big personality. He was really well-liked in the chef community. Lot of fun. Great attitude and very creative guy," Oakes told KTVU Thursday.

L'Hommedieu worked with the best in the business. His photo appeared in articles, such as a 2009 Haute Living piece on top San Francisco chefs, where he was profiled along with culinary superstars Thomas Keller, Gary Danko and Alice Waters.

"He was a rock star," said Joshua Thomas, the Prospect wine director who worked with L'Hommedieu during the chef's final months in the kitchen before leaving last year to receive treatment for cancer.

"Extremely driven, extremely talented...a huge presence in the kitchen. Myself when I heard he was coming to our kitchen I was overjoyed and excited," Thomas told KTVU.

"It's very devastating. I mean, it's definitely a loss for the culinary industry," said Francis Blum, a Prospect sous chef.

"He was very passionate about what he does. He took it very, very personally, He translated it so well through the kitchen, he brought everybody up and everybody wants to work for him everybody wants to be better," Blum said.

KTVU interviewed L'Hommedieu in 2007. He was the head of Michael Mina restaurant at the Westin St. Frances at the time when they won two coveted Michelin stars.

He told KTVU, "It was a goal for us to get any stars, let alone two. So knowing we have them, it's more of a motivator at this point."

Friends say Chef L'Hommedieu was a great motivator and mentor to an entire generation of younger chefs.

French Laundry owner and chef Thomas Keller tapped L'Hommedieu to work at Keller's New York restaurant Per Se.

A tweet from Chef Keller Thursday stated, "Chris was a quiet observer and fine teacher to the next gen of chefs. We thank him for his years of dedicated service."

Chef Oakes says she'll always remember his food and sense of humor.

"I loved his mushroom hollandaise," Oakes said, "But I think I'll remember him singing Hall and Oates songs. I think that's what I'll remember him for."

A tribute dinner and fundraiser is reportedly being organized for him in September.

Published: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 23:17:47 -0700

Neighbors concerned over activity at vacant Bernal Heights home

A nearly million dollar home in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood is getting some attention for all the wrong reasons. Neighbors say the vacant boarded up home on Mullen Avenue gets lots of uninvited visitors.

Ian Williams walks his dog, Zoe, by the house each day. "We've seen, maybe in the last month, an ongoing cat and mouse game between people getting into the property, and people coming and boarding it up, and it getting torn down again," Williams said, as he observed what looked like new boards up on the home's windows.

A neighbor said a developer bought the house with million dollars views of San Francisco for just under $1 million in April, but no one lives there.

"A year ago I think it was a pretty well-furnished place, but now it's a shell." A shell with graffiti, empty liquor bottles, and broken beer bottles littering the property and next-door park. "I guess it has potential to be a nuisance," Williams shrugged.

Soon after Williams and his dog walked down the hill, a squatter peeked his head out from behind the home's retaining wall.

When asked if he lived there, the man replied, "No." He had the same answer when asked if the homeowner gave him permission to be on the property, but acknowledged that didn't seem to matter to the people who gather there. "All the time," he told  KTVU. "24/7 people come. ‘Why?’ Just to see the city, drink beer, and smoke weed," he explained. "That's it."

As if on cue, minutes later nine people were sitting on benches in the hilltop park next door, rolling joints and drinking beer.

Williams doesn't mind so much the drinking, it's the trash they leave behind that makes him angry. "It's disrespectful to neighbors. That's where we kind of get fed up."

Williams said picking an empty 1/2 pint of Smirnoff Vodka out of the brush, "I don't know what else to do… I think you need to inhabit, frankly."

Another neighbor who didn't want his identity used said he's been in contact with the homeowner, who has taken steps to board up the home.

Still, the neighbor told KTVU he recently installed security cameras to keep an eye on the unwanted visitors. Last week those cameras recorded several men trying to break into the vacant home's attic, until they noticed the new cameras staring back at them.

Published: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:16:13 -0700

Drive-by shooting at Oakland park sends victim to hospital

A drive-by shooting Thursday evening at a busy park in Oakland has sent a 17-year-old boy to a hospital.

The shooting happened shortly after 7 p.m. at Brookdale Park off High Street. Police say about 20 shots were fired.

The park was filled with people playing softball, soccer and basketball.

Police tell KTVU the teen was not the intended target.

One mother told KTVU she’s had enough with violence in the area. “I was already planning to leave, but this is even more reason why I’m going to leave. These kids should be able to play in the park freely. They shouldn’t be scared of being shot, in broad daylight, in a park.”

Police have not yet released details about the victim, other than saying he is male. Neighbors told KTVU he’s a teenager.

Police say someone from the park fired back at the car.

It’s not clear if that person was the victim or somewhere else.

Published: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:56:43 -0700

$50,000 reward offered in Stockton bank heist

Authorities in Northern California are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a fourth suspect in connection with a bank robbery that spun into a police chase and deadly shootout.

The FBI said Thursday it will be contributing $20,000 to a reward fund that also includes $20,000 from the Bank of the West and $10,000 from Stockton Crime Stoppers.

Officials say they want to find the driver who dropped off three armed robbers outside the bank last Wednesday before driving away in a black Buick.

The car was found two days later.

Two of the robbers and one hostage were killed during the shootout. The third robber who police said used the hostage as a human shield faces murder and attempted murder charges.

Published: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:03:11 -0700

Former professor accused of taping students in his apartment's bathroom

A man taught accounting at San Francisco State University from 2006 up until last Friday. Now former College of Business Associate Professor Mark Landis is facing 15 counts of misdemeanor invasion of privacy for allegedly taping former and current students in the bathroom of his San Francisco apartment.

The investigation began last November. Prosecutors said Landis would frequently host students at his home and that at one gathering, a male student discovered a surveillance camera in the bathroom, disguised as a tissue box.

"The camera was pointed in a way that when people were using the facilities, it would be pointed directly at their genitals," said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon. "Very egregious contact, very disturbing because of the relationship. You have someone that obviously has the trust of the students."

Gascon said it took time to try to identify the 15 people seen in the footage. "Simply because the technology's available, readily available, doesn't mean that you get to use it in a way that you're invading other people's privacy," said Gascon. "We're charging him so far with 15 counts of invasion of privacy, but we believe that there may be other victims out there."

Landis was booked Wednesday and released on a $100,000 bond. KTVU was unable to reach him at his home or his attorney Thursday.

Landis' SF State webpage was taken down Thursday afternoon after KTVU contacted SFSU spokeswoman Ellen Griffen about the charges.

Griffen said Landis resigned last Friday and that counseling is available for students who believe they may have been victimized as well.

The allegations surprised and angered SF State students. "It's just intense that a teacher would violate all those students' privacy and to build up a sort of trust with their students is, like, a big deal," said Caitlyn Celi.

"He should be punished to the fullest extent of the law for violating students, because he's in a position of power," said SFSU student Samantha Sandoval."

A University of San Francisco spokeswoman said Landis taught as an adjunct for under two years up until the allegations surfaced late last year.

He is set to be arraigned in San Francisco Superior Court on July 29th.

Published: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 19:06:51 -0700

Authorities investigate cases connected to man killed in officer involved shooting

Authorities believe Sunnyvale resident Glen Griggs killed his girlfriend sometime last year. But as authorities search for her body, they're also revisiting the deaths of three of his other girlfriends hoping to shed some light on the case.

Authorities say when they were forced to shoot Griggs during a standoff in June, their best hope of finding his most recent girlfriend, died with him.

"We don't have Molly's body. We do believe it's a homicide," said Captain Jeff Hunter of the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety.

Molly Franquemont has been missing, presumed dead, since March of 2013. And according to court documents, she is the fourth of Grigg's girlfriends to die while dating him.

A warrant states, "Griggs has a repeated pattern of being present or associated with dead white females who have problems with alcohol."

In 2003, it was a woman named Evalene Jordan, who had alcohol in her system but appeared to have died from natural causes.

In 2005, Beverly Donaldson died of acute ethanol intoxication.

Then in 2006, Kelley Daniel's body was found at a garbage center, also with a high blood alcohol level.

And lastly the case of Molly Franquemont.

"Any reasonable person is going to look at four connected missing persons or deaths as suspicious and we do the same," said Captain Hunter.

Griggs told police Franquemont had gotten a job and moved to Lawndale, California. Although officers don't believe him, Grigg's friends do.

One friend, who asked not to be identified, said he believes Franquemont is alive. He believes Glen dated troubled women, but says he wouldn't have hurt them.

"Glen was a good person," he said, adding "He wouldn't hurt anybody."

Investigators say they haven't given up hope of finding Franquemont's body and getting closure for her family.

And they're asking for the public's help. Anyone with information in the case is asked to call the Sunnyvale Dept. of Public Safety.

Published: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:51:39 -0700

Kids find loaded shotgun under building at elementary school

Children at a summer camp discovered a loaded shotgun underneath a portable building at the host school earlier this week. Police said the weapon is linked to gang activity.

Sgt. Eric Goldschlag with the Santa Rosa Police Department said a group of three children playing marbles were trying to collect pieces that rolled under the building where they discovered the fully loaded pistol grip shotgun that was hidden. Police were notified the following day when the children reported the weapon to a staff member with the Recreation Sensation summer camp.

Goldschlag said the weapon is likely a “community gun” left behind by a gang member for anyone to use. Last year, Santa Rosa police discovered a community gun hiding in bushes across the street from the school.

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“It’s easy access for the gang members, that way if they need it they have easy access to it and if they’re confronted by law enforcement they don’t have the actual gun on them,” he said.

The shotgun is in the process of being traced by police in an effort to find its original owner. The gun was modified to hold six bullets instead of five.

A mother who wished to remain anonymous said gang activity and shootouts run rampant in the neighborhood. A teacher who works in the district said she is not surprised a gun was found on campus because it unfortunately is just a part of the culture of the area.

The mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force will be out in the area where the gun was found as part of the annual Gang Prevention Awareness Week from Aug. 2-9.

The investigation continues into which gang the gun may be linked to, but police said the children did the right thing by reporting the weapon to an adult.

Published: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:44:07 -0700

Portion of Pleasanton beach closed due to E. coli

A portion of Shadow Cliff's Beach in Pleasanton has been closed since Wednesday afternoon.

Routine water tests showed extremely high levels of E. coli bacteria. The East Bay Regional Park District and Alameda County Health Department are keeping swimmers out of that part of the water until further notice.

The tests for E. coli found 24,000 colonies per 100 milliliters. That's more than 100 times higher than state health standards of 236.

"We have an issue of concern, yes," said Hal Maclean, water management supervisor for the East Bay Regional Park Department. "People could get upset stomachs and gastro-intestinal problems." 

Bacteria levels in the swimming area right next to those waters were not high enough to keep people out of that section of the lake, but troubling enough to trigger a health advisory.

Swimmers KTVU spoke with said they had no idea about any of this. There are no signs on the beach about health warnings.

"I think there definitely should be more signs about it, to let you know when you come in the entrance," said Cassandra Marlow who came to the beach from Manteca.

The park district says it isn't sure exactly what is causing the spike in E. coli. But it suspects feces from birds may be at least partially responsible.

"We're not spending water on the lawns so the geese are not hanging out on the lawns. They're congregating on the beach," said Maclean.

The park district says it is now taking water quality samples every day and reporting them to the county health department.

The district says there have been no reports of anyone getting sick.

People who swim there are advised not to swallow any of the lake water, and to shower after swimming.

Some parents took their children out of the water when they heard about the contamination.

The park district is considering treating part of the lake, but hasn't yet decided on that.

The area will remain closed until bacteria levels go down.

Published: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:34:23 -0700

Engineers say tests show most Bay Bridge rods are safe

Metropolitan Transportation Commission Chairman Steve Heminger said Thursday that test results showing that most steel rods on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge are safe are "very good news."

However, Heminger said more testing needs to be completed before it can be concluded that most of the rods, which secure earthquake shock absorbers to the deck of the eastern span, don't need to be replaced.

In March 2013, about one-third of the initial batch of 96 bolts that secure the shock absorbers to the deck failed when they were tightened.

Caltrans figured out a temporary solution that allowed the new eastern span to open on schedule last Labor Day and completed a permanent fix in December.

Heminger's remarks about the rods on the new eastern span came after engineers briefed the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee, which oversees Bay Bridge construction, about tests of about 2,600 bolts on the new eastern span.

Brian Maroney, Caltrans' chief engineer, said there is no "clear evidence" from the tests that other rods could fail like the group that snapped last year, which he described as "inferior."

Engineer Marwan Nader of T.Y. Lin International, which designed the new eastern span, said, "We've determined that these rods are safe."

Heminger said he interprets the test results so far as meaning, "You don't do anything new, steady as she goes."

But Heminger said the situation still needs to be monitored closely and it's still too soon to rule out the possibility that some of the rods will have to be replaced in the future.

The panel, which consists of Heminger and the heads of Caltrans and the California Transportation Commission, also agreed today to pay $3 million to fix several mistakes with the new eastern span, including rust-stained paint, misaligned rods and malfunctioning scaffolds.

The work, which will be performed by the span's main contractor, the joint venture American Bridge/Fluor, is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

In addition, the oversight committee voted to spend $1.7 million to protect birds that nest at the new eastern span.

Published: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:17:48 -0700

Downed power line sparks fire in Woodside

A two acre grass fire was burning near Interstate 280 in Woodside.

The fire was burning on the side of the highway near Canada Road.

According to California Highway Patrol, the fire was sparked by a downed power line.

Chopper 2 shows a fallen tree that apparently brought the power lines down onto a car.

PG&E says 7,500 customers lost power as a result.

At this point, additional details have not been released.

Published: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 16:53:57 -0700

Police investigate after man electrocuted in Oakland warehouse

A 40-year-old man was electrocuted while apparently stripping copper wires out of an abandoned West Oakland warehouse, once operated by Pacific Pipe Company.

Police say it was just after 8:30 p.m. Wednesday when they received a call about a man who had been shocked. "Looks like another caller said her boyfriend was shot, or shocked inside of the warehouse," said a police dispatcher in audio obtained by KTVU.

"Yeah we came down Mandela Parkway and we saw all the cops lined all the way up and down," said Michael Giannico who builds bike frames right across the street from the old warehouse. "Doesn't surprise me one bit. I use to work in a utility and wires coming out of the ground, you always assume everything is hot."

Police say they're investigating reports that the victim was removing wires, possibly copper, at the time of his death.

A spokeswoman for PG&E said wires on private property are the responsibility of the owner. The owner of the old Pacific Pipe Company warehouse did not return KTVU’s call for comment.

The Alameda County Coroner had not released the cause of death or the name of the victim as of Thursday night.

Published: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 16:41:59 -0700

Eastbound Lanes of I-80 reopen after police activity

Eastbound lanes of Interstate Highway 80 near Vacaville were closed for an hour Thursday afternoon when Suisun City police pursued a vehicle seen at a residential burglary, police said.

The burglary at a residence in the 400 block of Marina Boulevard was reported around 1:35 p.m.

Neighbors reported strangers were "casing" different homes and some suspects were running from a residence, police said.

The suspects fled in a vehicle that was located on eastbound I-80 in the area of Pena Adobe Road in Vacaville, Suisun City police said.

The driver of the vehicle, Latasha Windham-Orebaugh, 43, of Sacramento, failed to yield to a traffic stop, police said. Officers pursued the car for a mile until it was stopped on eastbound I-80 west of Alamo Drive in Vacaville, police said.

Police found property stolen from the Marina Boulevard residence inside the vehicle, and Windham-Orebaugh was arrested for felony evading. Three Sacramento juveniles, ages 16, 17 and 17 were arrested for burglary, police said. 

The burglary is still under investigation

Published: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 16:18:25 -0700

2 Investigates: Fare cheats targeting back doors on Muni

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency says it has stepped up efforts to catch fare evaders on Muni buses ever since it legalized "all door" boarding to speed up service two years ago, but a two week investigation by KTVU found many people are still boarding without ever having to prove they paid their fare.

2 Investigates' Eric Rasmussen and photographer Chris Paxton rode several bus lines in the city, mornings and afternoons, equipped with a hidden camera and a smart phone.

At one stop on the 30 Stockton line, 18 people boarded through the back door, but only two swiped Clipper cards at the electronic scanner. While the others might have had paper transfers or other types of passes, they were not asked to prove it. In fact, 2 Investigates did not encounter any fare inspectors on the buses boarded by Rasmussen and Paxton during the two week period in July.

Customer Complaints

 Regular Muni customers first contacted KTVU in June with concerns about an increase in fare evasion, even though the transportation agency believes the total number of cheaters is actually down.

"I see half of them just get on really quickly.  The other half kind of make motions like they're using a Clipper card, but they don't actually have a Clipper card," said one Muni rider who didn't want to be identified.

He's among those who pay $66 a month to ride Muni.

"It's unfair for people like me," he said.

Fare Inspectors

 Since all door boarding began in July of 2013, SFMTA hired 10 additional fare inspectors in 2013 and added another 12 positions in 2014.

However, the actual number of fare inspectors on the job dropped slightly, from 63 in 2013 to 55 this year.

Rasmussen asked SFMTA's Interim Director of Security Investigations and Enforcement if Muni had enough fare inspectors.

"Well, we could always use more," replied Chris Grabarkiewctz.

Inspectors wrote nearly 80,000 citations in 2013 and another 38,000 in the first half of 2014, but Muni estimates it still loses more than $20 million a year to fare evasion.  (LINK to year-by-year stats)

"Our latest study indicates, possibly, as many as 50,000 people a day 'fare evade,'" said Grabarkiewctz.

The Trade-off: Travel time

Muni reports nearly 50 percent of riders are now boarding buses through the back door at its busiest stops.

The agency estimates that level of back door boarding could save up to one second per customer, reducing the so called "dwell time," or the amount of time a bus spends at stop. It's a number that adds up quickly. On average, more than 65 customers board Muni per hour. That number is among the highest of any transit agency nationwide.

"I think customer satisfaction is up," said Grabarkiewctz.  "People are happy to get to their destinations quicker because we're not having to stay at our stops for extended periods of time."

Fare Evader Comes Clean

When 2 Investigates finally encountered fare inspectors, they were just outside Muni headquarters on Van Ness Ave in San Francisco.

KTVU's Eric Rasmussen was there as Anthony Trainer walked off of a bus with a $109 citation.

"I had intentions to pay," said Trainer, who later changed his tune.

He said all door boarding has made it "easier not to pay" and when Rasmussen asked him if he really had planned to pay his fare when he was caught?

"No," replied Trainer.  "If I got to my stop, I wasn't going to pay. It's two dollars!"

Authorities aren't amused. SFMTA managers say they're in the process of looking at new technology to help them better deploy inspectors where they're needed the most.

Published: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:54:35 -0700

Friday Weather Forecast: Temperatures soar

Forecast high temperatures for Friday will be significantly warmer. Temperatures in the inland areas will jump into the low 100’s.  It will be toasty bayside as well with temperatures there in the upper 80s and low 90s.  Fire Danger will increase dramatically.

Projected highs for FRIDAY:

  • San Francisco: 84
  • San Mateo: 90
  • Menlo Park: 92
  • San Jose: 94
  • Morgan Hill: 99
  • Gilroy: 100

Published: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:20:28 -0700

Creepy porcelain lookalike dolls left in front of little girls' homes

UPDATE: The mystery of the porcelain dolls has been solved. Authorities say a woman from a local church found a collection of dolls in her closet. She wanted to share them with her neighbors and matched the hair color of the doll with the hair color of the child who lived in the home. According to investigators, the entire incident was merely an attempt at goodwill. Read the original story below.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department is investigating after porcelain dolls resembling little girls were left at the girls’ homes in San Clemente, California. 

As many as 11 dolls were left in front of the girls’ homes, all of which are in the same gated residential development, Lt. Jeff Hallock said. (KTLA

All the girls are about 10 years old and attend the same elementary school. 

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Hallock said the dolls were taken as evidence as investigators work to determine who left the dolls and why.

“Is it a prank? Is there some specific motivation?” Hallock said. “Obviously, there’s an indication by some the parents that the dolls resemble their daughters.”

Hallock said there is no obvious criminal act behind the dolls, but investigators are concerned.

“Anything that has the potential to involve children causes us some concern.”

Published: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:29:50 -0700

Triple digit temperatures expected on Friday

Temperatures will soar into the triple digits east of the Caldecott Tunnel Friday with the warming trend expected to continue through the weekend, forecasters predicted.

KTVU meteorologist Mark Tamayo said temperatures would likely reach triple digits in Antioch, Livermore and other East Bay inland areas over the next 24 hours and then dip slightly over the weekend.

Meanwhile, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued a Spare the Air alert for Friday as winds were also forecasted to be light.

Forecaster Bob Benjamin said San Francisco was expected to reach at least 80 degrees, while coastal areas will be in the mid- to upper-70s.

The hot days are not record-breaking, but getting close, Benjamin said.

Livermore would have to get to 111 degrees to set a new record for the date. San Jose, which is expected to reach a high of 96 Friday, will come close to its 99-degree record.

So-called monsoonal humidity in San Francisco and other parts of the region will diminish as the heat moves in, Benjamin said. .

Published: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:15:31 -0700

Child’s deathbed thoughts focused on helping others

The parents of 11-year-old Liang Yaoyi were stunned by his request.

As cancer ravaged his body, the fifth grader from the Chinese city of Shenzhen focused on how he could save others if he could not survive his own battle.

"There are many people doing great things in the world," he said from his sickbed according to the ChinaDaily.com. "They are great, and I want to be a great kid too."

He told his parents he wanted to donate his organs so others could live.

On Friday, the brave young boy who dreamed of becoming a doctor lost his battle with brain cancer. Immediately, doctors went to work removing his organs for transplant.

Hospital officials said his kidney and liver were transplanted into other patients who were suffering from life-threatening ailments.

As his body was wheeled for the surgery room, the medical team stopped and formed an honor guard, bowing to the gurney carrying Yoayi’s remains in honor of the brave boy.

The photo triggered social media responses from around the world.  In his final hours, Liang Yaoyi's choice and life had touched the lives of millions. 

Published: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:46:46 -0700

City officials consider $15 million settlement in San Francisco park death

San Francisco city officials are considering a $15.1 million payout to the family of a woman who was struck and killed by a city gardener while with her dog and baby at a park.

The city's Recreation and Parks Commission voted last week in favor of the payment to Christine Svanemyr's widower and child as part of a legal settlement recommended by the city attorney. The settlement will now go before the Board of Supervisors.

"This is an agreement that avoids the added risks and costs of litigation and it avoids heartache that that kind of case would entail," said Matt Dorsey, spokesperson for the San Francisco City Attorney. "And hopefully it enables the victim's family to have some measure of justice and closure, at least to the extent San Francisco is able to provide that."

Authorities say the 35-year-old Svanemyr was run over while she relaxed in the grass on Sept. 5 by a maintenance vehicle driven by Thomas Burnoski.

Burnoski has been charged with vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run.

His lawyer, Robert Waggener, has said Burnoski didn't realize he had hit a person.

Published: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:25:25 -0700