July 2, 2007
Palo Alto building catches fire
After over five hours, a four-alarm blaze that began in a commercial
building in Palo Alto Sunday night is 99 percent extinguished,
said Palo Alto fire spokesman Dan Ryan.
The fire began at 310 University Ave. at around 9:30 p.m. on
the second floor of an office building that has a Walgreens Drugstore
and Subway Sandwich shop on the first floor.
Ryan said the area where the fire ignited was used as office
space and once housed the San Jose Mercury News.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. Ryan said
he is not sure exactly how much damage has been done to the businesses,
but damage does appear to be extensive.
Several nearby buildings were evacuated as result of the fire.
Ryan said adjacent buildings that house a jewelry store, restaurants,
a bakery and a sports memorabilia store may have suffered water
or smoke damage.
Lake Tahoe fire 85 percent contained
The South Lake Tahoe fire that has been burning for a week is
now 85 percent contained, a fire watchwoman said Sunday.
Since fire officials believe growth potential for the blaze is
very low, those battling the fire Sunday were said to be only
"(The fire) as of (Sunday) afternoon is going to be turned
over to the local folks," Penny Bertram, a watchwoman at
the Command Post for the Angora fire, said.
The mandatory evacuation put into effect last week has been lifted,
and those not displaced by the fire are welcome to return to their
homes now, Bertram said.
In addition to local residents being allowed to return home,
Bertram stressed that Tahoe visitors should not be worried about
the fire either.
"A lot of people probably think they shouldn't venture into
the area, but less than one percent of the basin area was even
affected," Bertram said. "Everybody's welcome back (now)."
Firefighters are taking extra precaution to prevent the blaze
from igniting again by "mopping up 500 feet past the containment
line," according to Bertram.
One of the only worries left for firefighters is the warm weather,
coupled with low humidity and dry conditions, expected this week,
The temperature is expected to reach the low 80s with dry winds
of about 30 to 35 mph, and a red flag warning has been issued
for the Tahoe basin Sunday from noon to 9 p.m., according to the
National Weather Service.
Saturday morning violence claims three lives
Violence in San Francisco early Saturday morning claimed the
lives of two local teens and a 32-year-old man from Stockton,
according to the San Francisco medical examiner's office.
The first incident was reported to police at 12:18 a.m., a San
Francisco police dispatcher said. Alfonsol Roberson, 32, of Stockton,
was found shot near the intersection of 16th and 7th streets,
according to David LeNoue, a supervising investigator with the
medical examiner's office.
Roberson was pronounced dead at the scene.
Around 4:20 a.m., police were called to Fitch Street and Innes
Avenue in the Bayview neighborhood, where two male victims were
found dead, according to police.
The medical examiner's office has identified them as Gregory
Jones, 15, of San Francisco, and Chris Garcia, 16, of Daly City,
Their cause of death has not yet been determined, but the incident
is being investigated as a double homicide, according to police.
Oakland police searching for shooting suspects
Oakland police were looking for suspects Sunday in connection
with a shooting that claimed the life of one victim on Saturday
night, according to an Oakland police officer.
The shooting, which took place in the 4800 block of Fairfax Avenue
at around 10:49 p.m., is the fourth fatal shooting in Oakland
since Friday night.
This most recent fatal shooting took place a short distance from
a Saturday afternoon shooting that claimed the life of one man
in the 4600 block of Fairfax Avenue, according to police.
Schwarzenegger signs SB 376
A bill signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday
will allow San Francisco to continue prosecuting business fraud
cases under California's Unfair Competition Law, according to
state Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco.
SB 376, authored by Migden, removes minimum population limitations
for cities and counties filing Unfair Competition lawsuits, often
called Section 17200 cases.
Because San Francisco's population fluctuates around the current
minimum requirement of 750,000, some defendants have challenged,
though unsuccessfully, Section 17200 lawsuits by the San Francisco
city attorney, Migden reported.
"This is a victory for the residents and consumers of San
Francisco who would have become far more vulnerable to unfair
and fraudulent business practices," Migden said in a statement.
Under the Unfair Competition Law, the San Francisco city attorney
has previously sued the tobacco industry, resulting in a settlement
that brings between $15 and $20 million to San Francisco each
year, Migden said. Another lawsuit alleging overcharging by City
Tow was settled for $5.7 million, according to Migden.
The new law will go into effect in January.
Man stabbed in Washington Square Park
One man received life-threatening injuries when he was stabbed
in the back in San Francisco's Washington Square Park on Columbus
Avenue Saturday at around 11:30 p.m., according to a San Francisco
The officer said the man, who was in his 20s, walked several
blocks to Powell and Lombard streets where he collapsed after
telling bystanders that he had been stabbed.
The injured man was taken to the hospital, and no suspects have
yet been identified, the officer said.
Car accident victim identified
A man who drove his vehicle into a tree Sunday morning and died
at the scene of the accident was identified as Joseph Carl Powell,
19, of Guerneville, according to the California Highway Patrol.
There were two other passengers in the car with Powell when the
vehicle crashed north of Guerneville in an unincorporated part
of Sonoma County.
Powell was driving his 1997 Chevrolet Blazer K5 northbound on
Armstrong Woods Road just north of Rio Nido Road when he apparently
lost control of the vehicle, skidded off the road and collided
with a tree at approximately 1:30 a.m., according to the CHP.
A 17-year-old Guerneville boy was hospitalized for injuries sustained
in the accident, and a 15-year-old girl, also from Guerneville,
was uninjured, according to the CHP.
Investigators consider alcohol to be a factor in the accident.
EEOC utilize MySpace and YouTube
A federal agency's quest to help teenage workers learn about
their rights has reached into cyberspace to MySpace and YouTube.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's first step
toward using the two popular Web sites took place last week, when
it posted an educational video about workers' rights on both sites.
The video, geared towards young workers, was created by East
Bay teens Danielle Shoshani, 18, of Oakland, and Kendra Cook,
18, of Berkeley. It was made while the pair participated in a
month-long internship with the EEOC's Youth@Work Initiative in
Both students, who graduated in June from Bentley School in Lafayette,
have part-time jobs. They interviewed fellow teens at work, on
the street, at their school and at Galileo Academy in San Francisco
about their attitudes toward harassment and discrimination at
work. The video also explains how to contact the EEOC for help.
"We both hold part-time jobs and we felt we knew our rights
as workers, but before we interned at the EEOC, we had never heard
of the agency at all," Shoshani said.
State Building showcases art by foster children
A small art exhibit currently at the State Building in San Francisco
is a testament to the talent of some of California's 80,000 foster
children and the value of volunteers who act as their advocates.
The exhibit, entitled "Who Am I? Not What You See,"
is on view in the main lobby of the Hiram W. Johnson State Building
at 350 McAllister St. through Friday.
It shows the work of eight Bay Area foster youths, between 12
and 19 years old, who were chosen to work with children's book
author and illustrator Yuyi Morales in a workshop at the Museum
of Children's Art in Oakland in April.
Each young artist painted a picture of himself or herself on
a large wooden board with two smaller wooden doors attached. The
doors open to reveal additional pictures -- a face, a sun, an
Egyptian scarab -- that reveal more about the artist.
Morales said, "On each artist's piece you will see how layer
upon layer of paint tells their stories, depicts their dreams
and reflects their creative process."
The workshop was sponsored by the National Court-Appointed Special
Advocate (CASA) Association, based in Seattle. The Oakland event
was the third annual workshop held by the association; the first
two took place in Los Angeles and Atlanta.
Special advocates are adult volunteers who are appointed and
trained by juvenile court judges to befriend children in the foster
care system, write reports and make recommendations to the court
and help make sure children receive needed services.
The state affiliate, California CASA Association, is based in
The group says that 8,000 of the state's 80,000 foster children
are served by 4,500 special advocates in 43 counties, but there
are 72,000 other California foster children who still need an
All Bay Area counties have a CASA program; to contact a program
and find out how to become a volunteer advocate, go to the group's
Web site at http://www.CaliforniaCASA.org and click on "Find
A brochure accompanying the exhibit has comments by the young
artists about their art and their appreciation of their advocates.
Anna, 18, of Daly City, who was in a series of foster homes starting
at age 6, said, "I've had a CASA volunteer for two years
and it's changed my life."
"She helped me out with everything, like finding an apartment
when I emancipated from foster care," Anna said.
Anna said the art workshop was fun and said, "I learned
from this experience that I don't have to be afraid to express
myself through art -- and that there are people out there who
are there for me."
San Francisco State recognized for awarding minority degrees
A new survey reports that San Francisco State University ranks
among the top 20 U.S. colleges and universities when it comes
to attracting minority students.
The university 16th among all colleges and universities in awarding
undergraduate degrees to minority students, according to results
published in the May 31 issue of Diverse Issues in Higher Learning,
the university reported.
Results from the survey were taken from U.S. Department of Education
statistics compiled from graduation data for the 2005-2006 academic
year, officials reported.
SFSU also ranked 10th as a destination for Asian American undergraduates,
with the university awards more baccalaureate degrees than any
other U.S. university other than the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
SFSU reportedly awarded 2,334 degrees to minority students during
the 2005-2006 school year, representing 47 percent of the graduating
Annually, SFSU enrolls around 29,000 students and graduates around
7,000, the university reported.
Livermore fire under control
The brush fire that burned over 70 acres near Collier Canyon
Road in Livermore is under control, a San Ramon Valley Fire Protection
District spokeswoman said Sunday.
There has been no word yet on the cause of the fire or whether
there were any related injuries or structural damages, the spokeswoman
SamTrans introduces new Montara route
SamTrans added bus service to the Coastside community of Montara
beginning Sunday, a SamTrans spokeswoman announced.
The agency's Route 17 bus, which currently serves state Highway
1 between Half Moon Bay and Moss Beach, will extend into the city
of Montara, according to SamTrans spokeswoman Christine Dunn.
The new schedule will include longer service hours, added Sunday
service, and more morning and afternoon buses during the school
year, Dunn said.
The expanded service was made possible through a grant from the
Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
For SamTrans schedule information, call (800) 660-4287 or visit
For information about transit incentive programs or commute alternatives,
call the Peninsula Traffic Congestion Alliance at (650) 588-8170
or visit http://www.commute.org.
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