Bay Area News Briefs
By Mike Aldax
February 5, 2008
BarackStars discovered in YouthVote 2008
San Francisco high school students appear to favor U.S. Sen.
Barack Obama slightly more than U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton in the
race for president, according to results from a recent mock election
About 7,000 students participated in the election, dubbed YouthVote
According to the San Francisco Youth Commission, more than 43
percent of students voted for Obama, D-Ill., while Clinton, D-N.Y.,
received just over 37 percent of the students' votes.
Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. John McCain, of Arizona,
was endorsed by only about 5 percent of the students, according
to the Youth Commission.
The California primary takes place today.
The students also voice their opinions about local Proposition
A, a bond measure that would authorize the city to borrow $185
million for construction, rebuilding and improvements to park
and recreation facilities.
The Youth Commission reported nearly 78 percent of students favored
YouthVote is organized by a coalition of education and voter
advocacy groups including the Youth Commission, the San Francisco
Education and the school district's Student Advisory Council.
Newsom and Clinton appear in Hallmark Channel town hall
Former President Bill Clinton appeared in San Francisco with
Mayor Gavin Newsom at one of several locations for presidential
hopeful Hillary Clinton's national "town hall" event
The "Voices Across America" event was broadcast online
at 6 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, airing from 22 locations throughout
the country, including New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco's
Clinton, the U.S. senator from New York, spoke in San Francisco
and San Jose on Friday, part of her campaign to shore up support
for today's hotly contested primary against rival U.S. Sen. Barack
Obama, who trailed Clinton by double digits in California in
several polls over the past several weeks, appears to have made
gains among some California voters. Multiple polls taken in just
the past few days show the race nearly even.
Earlier Monday, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris
and Supervisor Bevan Dufty were scheduled to attend a Get Out
the Vote phone bank and outreach event in San Francisco in support
In addition to a live online stream at http://www.hillaryclinton.com,
the national town hall was broadcast live on the Hallmark Channel,
according to the Clinton campaign.
Bayview teenager killed
A 17-year-old boy was shot dead in San Francisco's Bayview District
on Monday morning, police said.
Gunfire was reported at around 11 a.m. in the area of Kirkwood
Avenue and Newhall Street, according to San Francisco police.
The victim, a Hispanic teen, was brought to San Francisco General
Hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said.
The suspect remains at large and an investigation is ongoing,
CHP reports 20 DUIs over Super Bowl Weekend
The California Highway Patrol in the Santa Rosa area made 20
alcohol-related DUI arrests over Super Bowl weekend, including
six after the game itself.
CHP Officer Barbara Upham said one of the six arrests came during
a non-injury traffic collision. The rest were during traffic stops,
The CHP said the American Automobile Association has estimated
a first time DUI arrest costs offenders between $8,000 and $10,000.
The CHP advised motorists to avoid the costly offense by designating
a sober driver.
Missing Lake Tahoe skiers found
Two Bay Area skiers who went missing Saturday in the Lake Tahoe
area survived on Power Bars and melted snow, huddling for warmth
at night in snow caves before their rescue Monday morning, authorities
Patrick Frost, 34, and Christopher Gerwig, 32, both of San Francisco,
who were last seen at the Alpine Meadows Ski Area lodge at about
11:30 a.m. Saturday, were found by a Placer County Sheriff's Department
helicopter at 10:29 a.m. near Hell Hole Reservoir, according to
sheriff's department Communications Supervisor Kelly Hernandez.
They were then flown to a hospital in Auburn, where they were
treated for minor frostbite on their toes, and then released and
reunited with family, the sheriff's department reported.
"I cannot tell you how thrilled I am for those two skiers
and their families," said Alpine Meadows Ski Resort spokeswoman
The men were spotted from the air Monday morning walking near
the entrance to the upper Hell Hole Reservoir, about seven miles
from the Alpine Meadows resort's boundary.
Sheriff's department investigators had believed that the men,
reportedly expert skiers, had on Saturday inquired with other
ski lodge patrons about backcountry skiing in the area. They were
reported missing later in the day.
The sheriff's department reported Monday that the men told their
rescuers they had unintentionally skied outside the boundaries
of the Alpine Meadows resort when they became lost in whiteout
Treatment plant manager prepares report for sewage release
The treatment plant manager of the Sewerage Agency of Southern
Marin said Monday afternoon he is preparing a report about the
circumstances that led to the release of 2.7 million gallons of
partially treated sewage and storm water into Richardson Bay Thursday
Steven Danehy reiterated the sequence of events that led to the
spill he attributed to "operational judgment" by a staff
Danehy said four pumps at the plant at 450 Sycamore Ave. should
have been operating instead of two Thursday, causing partially
treated sewage and storm water to backup and overflow into a storm
drain in the parking lot and spill into Corte Madera Creek leading
to Richardson Bay around 4:30 p.m.
A private alarm service company that was to call an on-call plant
operator left a message instead when the operator didn't answer,
Danehy said. An operator checking on the plant on his home computer
spotted the problem at 8 p.m. and corrected it at the plant by
8:30 p.m., Danehy said.
"We started notification to Fish and Game and OES at 9:45
or 10 p.m.," Danehy said.
He said the problem at the plant was posted on his agency's Web
site and emergency notification also was made to the state and
"We were back to normal Thursday evening," Danehy said.
The plant was cleaned and drained Friday, he said.
"It is an embarrassment. We're going to take another hard
look at all out procedures," Danehy said.
Lila Tang, manager of wastewater permits with the San Francisco
Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, said the sewerage agency
has five business days to complete its report of the incident.
"We'll do an investigation to verify the cause and get the
results from the discharge samples. Our process is long,"
Tang said Monday afternoon.
Testing of water samples taken from the bay Saturday indicated
reduced levels from Friday of bacterial contamination at all testing
The Marin County Public Health Department said Sunday. All the
samples are within the state fecal coliform standard for water
contact recreation but several locations exceeded the standard
for enterococcus bacteria, the department said.
The highest levels of total coliform and E coli were found Friday
and Saturday at Bay Front Office Park.
Investigators searching for evidence in East Napa fire
Fire investigators Monday morning are still searching for evidence
of a functioning smoke alarm in a burned out single-family home
in East Napa where four people died in a morning fire.
Napa fire dispatch received reports of the fire in the 1400 block
of Vale Avenue at 4:51 a.m. and arrived on scene at 4:57 a.m.,
according to Napa fire Capt. Jim Pope.
About 25 firefighters knocked down the two-alarm blaze within
minutes, and after a simultaneous search, found the four victims
in a bedroom. The fire appears to have ignited in the small home's
living room, Pope said.
"Four victims is very unusual," Pope said. A fire killed
three people in Napa in 2002, but Pope said, "We don't see
a lot of multiple fatal fire victim fires."
Three of Monday's fire victims were pronounced dead at the scene
and the fourth was taken to Queen of the Valley Hospital, where
the victim was pronounced dead. Pope said officials believe the
four victims were family members, but that information has not
Oakland police investigating weekend shootings
Oakland police Monday are continuing to investigate four separate
shootings that were reported between Friday afternoon and Sunday
evening and left five people dead and four others injured.
The latest shooting occurred Sunday night at about 11:15 p.m.,
claiming the lives of two women and injuring two men. Officers
were initially dispatched to the 6500 block of Outlook Avenue
on reports of a traffic collision, Officer Roland Holmgren said.
Arriving officers found a van that had collided with parked vehicles.
Inside the van, police located two females and a male, all of
whom were suffering from gunshot wounds, according to Holmgren.
One female victim was pronounced dead at the scene and the second
female victim died later at Highland Hospital, Holmgren said.
The male victim was also taken to Highland Hospital where he remains
in critical condition.
Holmgren said police located a second male shooting victim in
the 1400 block of Havenscourt Boulevard, where police believe
the incident began. The victim was transported to Highland Hospital
and is stable condition.
At 8:53 p.m. Saturday, officers were called to a residence in
the 9800 block of A Street. Officers located three shooting victims
at the residence, Holmgren said.
Isabel Flores, 22, of Oakland, was pronounced dead at the scene,
according to Holmgren. Two other unidentified victims were taken
to an area hospital and are in stable condition.
Holmgren said there was a party going on in the residence at
the time of the shooting and that at least one gunman fired into
Earlier Saturday, at 12:52 a.m., officers were dispatched to
the 3300 block of 64th Avenue Place on reports of a shooting.
Oakland resident Terrance Brown, 40, was found suffering from
several gunshot wounds, according to Holmgren.
Emergency personnel responded to the scene and transported Brown
to Highland Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Reports of a shooting Friday afternoon brought police to the
800 block of 41st Street at about 2:30 p.m., according to Holmgren.
A female shooting victim was located in a vehicle and pronounced
dead at the scene.
"This weekend's senseless act of violence are a direct reflection
of a social epidemic, where some people view the value of life
as being worthless,'' Holmgren said.
Alameda County votes on Children's Hospital bond measures
Alameda County voters today will decide the fate of two bond
measures aimed at raising $300 million to help pay for a new Children's
Hospital near the facility's current site.
In addition, Oakland voters will decide whether to extend and
make permanent a parcel tax that provides $20 million in supplemental
funding for the city's schools every year and Albany voters will
decide the fate of a $10 million bond measure to rebuild the school
district's community pool and make other improvements.
Mary Dean, Children's senior vice president and chief strategic
development officer, said Monday that the private, non-profit
organization needs to raise a total of more than $700 million
so it can build a new facility so it meets state seismic safety
standards by the year 2013.
Measure A, which needs two-thirds approval, would raise $300
million of that sum by imposing a parcel tax for the next 35 years.
Homeowners would pay $24 a year, big businesses would pay $250
and small businesses would pay $100. Low-income families and senior
citizens would be exempt.
Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson said he supports Measure
A even though he thinks Children's officials have done a poor
job of communicating with local officials and the community about
Carson said he and other members of the Board of Supervisors
"were completely blindsided" when Children's officials
announced campaign to gather signatures for the measure last year
even though they did "absolutely no outreach" with the
But Carson said board members "held our nose" and put
Measure A on the ballot because Children's "has performed
an incredible health care delivery service in the community"
for children and it's important to keep the hospital in Oakland,
as there have been rumors that it might move away from Oakland.
Richmond man arrested on suspicion of murder
Police arrested a 50-year-old Richmond man Friday on suspicion
of murdering his estranged wife last week and leaving her body
on the front porch of her Richmond home, Detective Eric Haupt
Antonia Vargas, 48, was found dead on her front porch in the
2400 block of Andrade Avenue at about 6:25 a.m. Wednesday when
a coworker arrived to pick her up to carpool to work in Berkeley,
Richmond police Lt. Mark Gagan said.
Police have said she was killed with an unknown edged weapon.
Investigators have not pinpointed an exact time of death, but
evidence at the scene suggested that she was killed several hours
before her body was found, Gagan said.
Exactly where she was killed was also not immediately clear.
When detectives arrived, they found the house securely locked
and the body on the porch, but after further investigation, Haupt
said, "There's a possibility she was killed inside and brought
The victim's estranged husband Valentin Vargas was arrested Friday
at a wholesale auto business in San Leandro where he worked as
a mechanic and security guard, Haupt said.
The couple had been separated for about eight years, but were
not legally divorced. They had three children, two adult daughters
and a son who was killed about two years ago, Haupt said.
Valentin Vargas became a suspect after family members told detectives
that the couple had had a violent relationship.
Solano County stabbing victim identified
The Solano County coroner's office has identified 47-year-old
Roger Wayne Graham, of Vacaville, as the man who was fatally stabbed
outside an apartment complex Sunday night.
Police arrested 34-year-old Jason Edward Greenwald in connection
with the murder. He will be arraigned this afternoon in Solano
County Superior Court in Fairfield.
Police responded to a 911 call at about 7:30 p.m. reporting a
stabbing outside of an apartment in the 200 block of Bennett Hill
Arriving officers found Graham, reportedly a transient, suffering
from a stab wound to the torso, police reported. He was transported
to VacaValley Hospital, where he died at about 8:30 p.m., police
said. His autopsy is scheduled for today.
Greenwald reportedly lived in the apartment complex and Graham
was a frequent visitor there.
Police said Greenwald was leaving his apartment when he allegedly
encountered Graham at the bottom of the stairs and stabbed him.
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