Bay Area News Briefs

Written by FCJ Editor. Posted in News

Published on May 09, 2008 with No Comments

Ananda Shorey

May 9, 2008

Santa Clara wants to work with Great America owners toward 49ers stadium compromise

A city of Santa Clara spokeswoman said today that city officials value Great America highly as a tenant and never intended an April letter to the amusement park’s owners to be seen as an ultimatum.

The city, the park’s owner, Ohio-based Cedar Fair Entertainment, and the San Francisco 49ers are engaged in negotiations over a proposed $900 million, 68,000-seat stadium for the 49ers to be located on the site of the park’s overflow parking lot. Cedar Fair has publicly raised several objections to the proposed stadium, saying it would negatively impact the park’s operations and revenue.

The April 13 letter from Santa Clara City Manager Jennifer Sparacino to Cedar Fair Chief Executive Officer Richard Kinzel, included a passage where Sparacino reminded Kinzel that the terms of the Great America lease with Santa Clara allows the city to use the Great America parking lot land for other purposes as long as the amusement park is provided with sufficient parking.

” … the city would certainly prefer that the issues are resolved by agreement of all concerned. Nevertheless, if agreement cannot be reached in the relatively near future on the other options so as to allow the term sheet and election to go forward, the city will have to seriously consider this last option as the means of resolving the theme park-stadium relationship,” Sparacino wrote.

Today, city spokeswoman Carol McCarthy said the public should not read too much into the letter. Great America has always been, and continues to be, a valued tenant of the city, she said.

“It’s much ado about nothing,” McCarthy said. “Our goal has always been to work cooperatively with our tenant.”

City denies claims of brothers wounded in Dec. 25 tiger attack at zoo

The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office has denied a claim for physical and emotional injuries made against the city by two San Jose brothers wounded on Christmas Day by an escaped tiger at the San Francisco Zoo.

Letters sent Thursday from the city attorney’s office to attorneys for Amritpal and Kulbir Dhaliwal say an investigation by the city “has revealed no indication of liability on the part of the city and county.”

The claim denials prepare the way for a possible lawsuit against either the city, which owns the zoo property, or the nonprofit San Francisco Zoological Society, which jointly operates the zoo with the city.

Attorneys Mark Geragos and Shepard Kopp filed the claims, seeking unspecified financial compensation, on behalf of the Dhaliwal brothers.

On Dec. 25, a Siberian tiger named Tatiana escaped her grotto at the zoo and fatally mauled 17-year-old Carlos Sousa Jr., also of San Jose, and seriously injured Amritpal, then 19, and Kulbir, then 23. Tatiana was then shot to death by police.

The claims contended the brothers suffered physical and emotional injuries from the tiger attack, and were subsequently defamed by a public relations firm hired by the zoo after the attack.

After the incident, San Francisco police conducted an investigation into whether Sousa or the Dhaliwals may have taunted the tiger before it escaped or whether alcohol was involved, and during the investigation took custody of Kulbir’s car and both brothers’ cell phones.

Police suspended the investigation without filing any charges Jan. 29.

School closed due to whooping cough outbreak

A private school in El Sobrante is closed today due to an outbreak of pertussis, or whooping cough that has affected at least 16 children, according to Contra Costa Health Services.

East Bay Waldorf School students and staff who are undergoing treatment for the highly contagious lung disease and have no symptoms will be allowed back to school Monday. Children must bring a doctor’s note confirming they are taking antibiotics and have no symptoms to return to school, health officials said.

All other students will not be allowed to return to school until May 30, according to the county’s health services.

The school, which is in an unincorporated part of the county, has about 300 students between in kindergarten through 12th grades and at least half of the infected children are in kindergarten, according to health officials.

The East Bay Waldorf School reportedly has an unusually high number of children who are not vaccinated against the preventable infection, health officials said. The vaccine, which is not mandatory under state law, would have prevented most children at the school from contracting the disease, Dr. Wendel Brunner, the county’s health services public health director, said.

Whooping cough is spread through the air when someone coughs or sneezes, or by other close contact. The disease can be fatal to infants and can last for months in children and adults.

Couple pleads not guilty to murder, accessory charges in roommate slaying

A San Francisco couple arrested in early April in Mexico in connection with the December murder of their San Francisco housemate pleaded not guilty to murder and accessory to murder charges today in San Francisco Superior Court.

Richard Carelli and Michelle Pinkerton, both 38, have remained in custody since their April 7 arrest in Baja Mexico, after allegedly fleeing San Francisco in late January as police investigated the murder of Leonard Milo Hoskins, 49. They reportedly had their two young children with them at the time of their arrest.

Hoskins’ body was later found in a van impounded by police during the investigation, but not before Carelli and Pinkerton had already left San Francisco.

“Not guilty,” Carelli told Judge Garrett Wong this morning after he was formally arraigned on murder charges, with the special allegation that he used a deadly weapon to commit the murder.

Prosecutors allege Carelli fatally struck Hoskins with a wooden stick and a metal pipe on Dec. 22.

The couple had been living in an in-law unit at Hoskins’ Lamartine Street home at the time. A neighbor reportedly told police Carelli and Hoskins had been fighting in the garage of the home the night of the murder.

Pinkerton today pleaded not guilty to an accessory to murder charge, for allegedly harboring Carelli after Hoskins’ death.

Carelli remains in custody on $5 million bail; Pinkerton on $1 million bail. They are both due back in court June 11 for a status hearing and to set a date for a preliminary hearing on the case.

Police arrest two suspects in restaurant and store robberies

San Leandro police have arrested two people suspected of robbing multiple restaurants and convenience stores in Alameda County in April and this month, the Police Department announced today.

The armed robberies occurred in San Leandro, Fremont, Union City, Hayward and in unincorporated Castro Valley all between 8 p.m. and midnight, according to police.

The suspects’ names have not been released.

On Thursday, Oakland police released surveillance video of a male suspect dubbed “Chicken Hawk” who officials believe is responsible for a series of commercial robberies as well.

Man killed in Thursday motorcycle crash identified

A man killed crash on southbound Interstate Highway 680 in Fremont Thursday morning has been identified as Antioch resident Thomas Clark, according to the Alameda County coroner’s bureau.

The accident was reported just after 4:45 a.m. in the No. 1 lane of the highway near Washington Boulevard, said California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Creel.

Clark, 59, was reportedly speeding at about 75 mph on his 2007 Harley-Davidson motorcycle when he hit the brakes, skidded about 50 feet upright and then fell to the asphalt with the bike for another 100 feet.

The CHP closed all southbound lanes until about 6:50 a.m., and no other injuries were reported.

Perata drops recall effort against Denham

State Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, has dropped his heavily criticized effort to recall a Republican state senator for voting against California’s budget last year.

Speaking on the steps of the state Capitol in Sacramento late Wednesday, Perata said, “In the spirit of putting politics aside to solve problems I’m ending the recall campaign” against Sen. Jeff Denham, of Modesto.

Perata said he made the decision after meeting with Republican Dave Codgill, who told him that ending the recall campaign would be one way legislators in Sacramento could end their stalemate and begin making progress on ending the state’s projected $20 billion budget deficit.

Perata said, “There was no deal, no quid pro quo. This is my call and my best judgment about how to stop the long, slow slide into another long stalemate.”

16-year-old arrested on suspicion of robbery

Gilroy police Thursday arrested a 16-year-old boy in connection with a strong-arm robbery committed outside a Bank of America, according to the Police Department.

Officers responded at about 11:25 a.m. to reports of a robbery outside the bank at 7825 Monterey St., police said. A 16-year-old boy apparently pushed a female victim and took the deposit bags she was carrying before fleeing on foot.

More than an hour later, an officer stopped a vehicle for a separate violation and allegedly located the deposit bags. The boy and Gilroy resident Robert Arellano were allegedly identified as suspects in the earlier robbery and arrested, police said.

Ingleside neighborhood fire cause undetermined but not suspicious

A fire that burned two homes in San Francisco’s Ingleside neighborhood Tuesday morning is not considered suspicious although officials have not determined an official cause, a fire lieutenant said today.

The blaze was reported shortly after 4 a.m. at 270 Bright St. The flames ignited in the rear of the residence and spread through the attic to the house next door at 274 Bright St., San Francisco fire Lt. Mindy Talmadge said.

Firefighters controlled the fire by about 4:50 a.m.

The house where the fire started sustained an estimated $480,000 in damage and the exposure house suffered about $300,000 in damage, according to Talmadge.

No injuries were reported but a woman was displaced from the house where the fire originated, and two residents were displaced from the second home. The American Red Cross rendered aid, Talmadge said.

Indian tribe donates $1.8 million to hospital

The Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians that operates the River Rock Casino in Geyserville has donated $1.8 million for a women’s health center at Healdsburg District Hospital.

The hospital’s new Dry Creek Rancheria Women’s Health Center, which was dedicated Thursday, includes the Rosa Bill Lozinto Radiology Room, the Laura Fish Somersall Mammography Room and the Maggie Lucus Waha Ultrasound Room.

To commemorate Women’s Health Week May 12-17, the center will offer preventive screenings focusing on diseases prevalent among women, such as breast cancer, stroke and heart disease.

The donation from the tribe and the River Rock Entertainment Authority was made to the Healthcare Foundation Northern Sonoma County’s capital campaign to support Healdsburg District Hospital.

The tribe and the River Rock Entertainment Authority that oversees the casino will donate $30,000 monthly for five years to the health care foundation.

The foundation has raised $13.6 million toward its goal of $14.5 million to support the hospital.

Nob Hill neighborhood fire cause unknown

A two-alarm fire at a 63-unit apartment complex in San Francisco’s Nob Hill neighborhood May 1 was not intentionally set, but the official cause remains unknown, a fire spokeswoman said today.

Firefighters responded to 1111 Pine St. between Jones and Leavenworth streets shortly after 5 p.m., according to San Francisco fire Lt. Mindy Talmadge.

The flames appeared to have started in the lightwell, an area of the building spanning from the roof to the ground floor that lets in light through a skylight, according to Talmadge.

Lightwells are usually lined with metal sheeting, Talmadge said. The fire was behind the metal sheeting and then ran the length of the building before fire crews pulled off the sheeting and attacked the flames, according to Talmadge.

The fire was controlled just after 5:30 p.m.

Four units were damaged in the blaze and no injuries were reported, Talmadge said.

CHP car involved in three-vehicle collision

A California Highway Patrol car was involved in a three-vehicle crash on northbound Interstate Highway 880 in Oakland this morning, according to the CHP.

The vehicles were involved in a collision at about 2:15 a.m. near High Street, CHP Officer Tom Stewart said. The crash blocked the Nos. 1 and 2 lanes of the highway until about 3:05 a.m., Stewart said.

Minor injuries were reported as a result of the collision, but it was unknown if a CHP employee sustained injuries, Stewart said.

No Comments

Comments for Bay Area News Briefs are now closed.