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August 5 is National Night Out
Jul 31, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend
August 5 is National Night Out, “America’s Night Out Against Crime”. It began in 1984 as an effort to promote involvement in crime prevention activities, police-community partnerships, neighborhood...

Fundraiser for a Friend at Mr. Lucky's
Liz Sandoval, a household name for years among restaurant goers, shop owners and locals, has been a popular waitress in various restaurants in Martinez and Pleasant Hill. In keeping with her go-get...
Jul 31, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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Shakespeare in the Park
On August 2 and 3, head to the John Muir Amphitheater in Martinez for the Fifth Annual Vallejo Shakespeare in the Park, presenting A Midsummer Night's Dream . Bring a picnic lunch or purchase one f...
Jul 28, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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Contra Costa County Mayors' Healthy Cookoff
The 6th Annual Contra Costa County Mayors’ Healthy Cookoff competition will be held at Todos Santos Plaza in Concord on Thursday, July 31st . Nineteen Contra Costa County cities were invited to bri...
Jul 24, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
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Anthony Wisner, 25, is facing ten felony counts, including six counts of hit-and-run, for a Monday night crash in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood.

Police say Wisner fled a traffic violation stop in a stolen minivan and collided with a taxicab at Post and Jones Streets. The impact injured the taxi's two occupants, a pedestrian and bicyclist Zachary Watson.

Watson is a San Francisco coder and digital designer working at the city's Exploratorium Museum. Prosecutors said he suffered life-threatening injuries and that Wisner tried to leave the scene afterwards on a Muni bus.

"You have a situation where one of the victims was very seriously injured," San Francisco District Attorney's Office spokesman Alex Bastian told KTVU Thursday. "The defendant fled the scene, and by fleeing the scene, is showing no regard for human life."

Watson's coworkers were too upset to speak on camera Thursday but released a short statement that said, "The Exploratorium community is extremely concerned for Zach, and his family. This accident is a terrible tragedy and many of our employees are donating time to the Exploratorium's Catastrophic Illness Fund in support of Zach. Our staff is working together to cope with grief surrounding this incident."

In all, six people were injured Monday night, including Anthony Wisner. His bail is set at $350,000 and his arraignment is scheduled for Monday morning.

2014-07-31 18:02:56 -0700

A Contra Costa County prosecutor in a Martinez courtroom Thursday portrayed a popular Concord elementary school teacher as a pedophile who became obsessed with certain male students, developed inappropriate relationships with them and tried to conceal his lascivious conduct.

Joseph Martin, 46, took the stand for the second day in Contra Costa County Superior Court Thursday as the trial against him winds down. The longtime fourth and fifth-grade teacher at Concord's Woodside Elementary School is charged with 150 counts of lewd and lascivious acts against 14 of his former students.

After a 22-year teaching career, Martin was placed on administrative leave, investigated and arrested in the spring of 2013 following a parent's report he had inappropriately touched her son.

Thursday Deputy District Attorney Derek Butts again asked the defendant about his close relationships with some of his male students.Two of the purported victims with whom he was especially close had similar backgrounds, including a lack of a strong male role model and major tragedies in their families, according to Martin's testimony.

As with many of the accusers in the case, Martin spent extra time with the two boys outside of school - often having them over to his house and taking them on outings. He gave both of the boys gifts, including a bicycle, and was physically affectionate with them, Martin testified.

In one incident, one of the boys was in a bathroom in the defendant's home when he began crying about a death in the family and Martin kissed him on the cheek, he testified.

Dressed in a suit and tie and speaking calmly from the witness stand Thursday, Martin again insisted there was no sexual intent behind the kiss or any of the frequent hugs, pats and backrubs he gave the boy as well as the 13 other purported victims.

The boys, most of whom are now teens, have testified at the trial that the teacher would slip his hand underneath their shirts and rub their chests and stomachs, and that they sometimes sat on his lap.

"Despite all of the attention you gave those boys, you ended up alienating them," Butts told Martin.

Martin testified that he checked in with his students to make sure the hugs and other touches were ok with them.

It wasn't uncommon for the teacher to gauge his students' feelings about him and any issues they might have with him via class meetings and surveys, he testified.

In one letter to his fourth-grade class, Martin wrote, "This is a personal letter just between you and me."

"Did I ever hurt your feelings, upset you, or make you feel uncomfortable and we have not worked it out?" he wrote. "If I did that, please let me know what happened so that I can discuss it in private with you."

Butts said the letters showed Martin's concern "that they're going to go home and tell their parents something," which the defendant denied.

The jury also saw a survey Martin gave his class in 2011 in which he asked them to share any positive or negative comments they had heard about him from classmates, teachers or parents.

Martin testified that he distributed the survey because he thought a colleague was spreading rumors about him and wanted to know whether the students had heard them.

During another round of questioning, the defendant admitted to entering Google searches on his computer asking whether police could trace his Internet history and how he could erase past searches.

Some of the search queries included "If you watch a YouTube video is it downloaded to your computer?" and "Can the police look at my Internet history?"

Martin testified that he worried the searches would make him appear guilty.

His attorney, Patrick Clancy, has argued throughout the trial that Martin was always a well-liked teacher who became the victim of a school rumor mill that led to "mass hysteria" and a "witch hunt" that culminated in criminal charges.

Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday morning.

2014-07-31 17:43:07 -0700

Unaccompanied immigrant children who are being held in federal custody are not getting adequate food or emergency medical care, and are suffering from chicken pox, scabies, and lice, according to an investigative report released Thursday by the Department of Homeland Security.

The report from the Office of Inspector General outlines conditions found by inspectors who arrived unannounced at five temporary housing facilities between July 1 and July 16. The facilities are located in Tucson, Ariz., El Paso and Houston in Texas, and El Centro and San Diego in California.

According to the report, federal investigators “used the checklist, along with observations and interviews” to evaluate how unaccompanied children who have been taken into custody in the United States are being treated.

“When feasible, we ensured that immediate action was taken to correct deficiencies noted during site visits,” the report summary continues.

Among the problems discovered, children and their families often need treatment for diseases, “including respiratory illnesses, tuberculosis, chicken pox, and scabies.”

Bathroom facilities were found to be unsanitary, water is not potable, sinks and toilets are not “operable and sanitary.”

“In one location, we observed that contractors did not provide an adequate amount of food,” according to investigators. In some housing facilities, employees report that they’re buying food with their own money to supplement what is given to the children. They are also reportedly “donating clothing, toys and games.”

Additionally, the report states that “temperatures in DHS facilities were inconsistent. In some facilities, DHS employees cannot adjust the thermostats.”

All five of the facilities named in the report are located in Southwestern states that are experiencing extreme summer heat in July. On Thursday, the temperature in El Centro, Calif., where one of the inspected facilities is located, reached a high of 113 degrees.

Investigators outlined a list of recommendations for the facilities, but did not specify which exact location was non-compliant with which issues.

The report shines some light on the bureaucratic difficulties that federal agencies are dealing with in trying to accommodate the large influx of children into the U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security is keeping unaccompanied children in federal custody “longer than 72 hours because no permanent shelter is available,” according to the report.

Some facilities are also struggling to maintain an adequate ratio of staff-to-child, with certain locations only having one employee for every 25 children.

Tens of thousands of unaccompanied children have been flooding the U.S. border from Central America, without parents or documentation, causing the Department of Homeland Security to declare a crisis and open temporary shelters in multiple states.

A $3.5 billion bill to address the crisis failed to pass in the U.S. Senate on Thursday on a procedural vote, falling short of the 60 votes needed. The vote came just hours before the Senate adjourns for a five-week recess.

2014-07-31 17:17:36 -0700

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan helped an elderly couple outside a burning home Thursday.

Quan says she saw smoke and then two people. She said she had to stop the elderly couple from going back into their burning home.

"The husband was sort of hanging back and I said no let's get away from the house," said Mayor Quan.

Oakland Fire Department officials say they received a call at 9:18 a.m. Thursday, reporting a structure fire on Brentwood Road near Melvin Road.

"There were two people home at the time," said Oakland Battalion Chief James Bowron, "The homeowners say they could smell smoke and see flames come from their closet."

Passerby Debby Goldsberry says before firefighters arrived on scene she saw Mayor Quan approaching the house.

"I was pretty surprised to see Mayor Quan in the street directing the rescue," said Goldsberry telling the story of when she first spotted Mayor Quan, "I don't know a woman in her bright purple suit, is that the mayor? Sure enough it was."

Quan, who lives in the neighborhood, says she saw the smoke and the elderly couple as she was driving by the house.

"If there was an explosion they could have gotten hurt," said Quan. "I said why don't we get away. So they went and sat on the fence and I said no I think that is still too close, why don't we go down the block."

The couple declined to comment for KTVU.

Quan deflected any praise Thursday, and instead was giving thanks to the firefighters. She says they battled to keep the fire from spreading to homes, to vegetation and for that she says she is thankful.

2014-07-31 17:04:16 -0700

A female victim was shot in San Francisco's Potrero Hill neighborhood Thursday morning, according to police.

She was shot in the area of Missouri and 22nd streets at about 8:40 a.m., police spokesman Officer Gordon Shyy said.

The woman was wounded in the upper body and taken to San Francisco General Hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening.

A suspect ran away from the scene of the shooting and had not been found as of noon Thursday, Shyy said.

2014-07-31 15:13:01 -0700
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