Newark Unified School District interim Superintendent Timothy Erwin said Thursday that the district has taken "appropriate disciplinary steps" against a teacher who reportedly made threatening comments about her students on her Twitter feed.
Media reports identified the teacher as Krista Hodges. The reports said Hodges has received a written reprimand but continues to teach at Newark Memorial High School.
Erwin said in a statement, "We are aware of the comments posted online and attributed to a teacher."
He said, "A thorough investigation was conducted but because this situation involves a personnel matter the district can only provide limited information."
But he said, "The district did, in fact, take action" against the teacher.
Erwin said the school district consulted California education law, district board policies and the teacher's union's contract in its investigation and determining what steps to take.
School board president Nancy Thomas and vice president Charlie Mensinger declined to comment on the matter, referring inquiries to Erwin.
Mensinger said in an email, "It is not appropriate for board members to comment on personnel issues."
Nine people accused of hauling more than 5,000 pounds of marijuana off of a boat from Mexico that landed at a San Mateo County beach earlier this month are now facing federal drug smuggling charges, according to court records.
Charges by the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office were dismissed Wednesday after a federal criminal complaint filed in San Francisco on Tuesday charged them with possession of and conspiracy to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.
Five of the defendants had already pleaded no contest to the state charges and were sentenced to one year in jail, but the federal charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.
If convicted of the federal charges, whether their jail sentence for the state charges would be served concurrently with the federal sentence will be up to the federal sentencing judge, San Mateo County Deputy District Attorney Al Serrato said Thursday.
The defendants were arrested Aug. 1 after an investigation by federal authorities indicated that a boat smuggling marijuana from Mexico would be landing on the San Mateo County coast to unload.
The 40-foot panga boat was one of three tracked by the U.S. Coast Guard since July 28, according to a federal affidavit by Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Patrick Jones.
The Coast Guard stopped two of them the next day and seized fuel from one and 12,000 pounds of pot from the other. They continued tracking the third, suspecting it might land in Ano Nuevo State Park in Pescadero.
Homeland Security agents kept the area around the beach under surveillance and on the night of Aug. 1, they saw a crew arrive in a U-Haul and light off three bottle rockets near the shoreline, apparently signaling the boat at sea.
They then drove the U-Haul back to the beach at about 10:15 p.m. but when they returned, they found the way out blocked by an unmarked law enforcement vehicle, according to Jones.
The driver crashed the U-Haul through a fence to get out and sped away with numerous law enforcement vehicles pursuing him. He accelerated the U-Haul to 100 mph trying to get away, but was stopped by a blockade in the Scott Creek area of Santa Cruz County.
Luis Espinoza Mendoza, 28, was identified as the driver of the van and was arrested. Authorities found the van loaded with bales of marijuana.
The agents searched the beach area and arrested Luis Farid Gonzalez, 20, Mario Gonzalez, 36, Estaban Flores Salazar, 39, Joan Sicairos, 19, and Mark Richard Teixeira, 38.
Mendoza told investigators that he had agreed to help smuggle drugs in exchange for help emigrating illegally to the U.S. from Mexico, Jones said. Salazar said that he worked for the smugglers as a deckhand on the boat in exchange for assistance moving to the U.S.
Teixeira is a San Jose resident who told investigators that he took the job of unloading the boat in exchange for $3,000, according to Jones.
The next morning, a park ranger spotted three men walking on an isolated stretch of state Highway 1. The ranger stopped them and determined that two of them, Juan Valdez Lopez, 50, and Juan Hernandez, 39, were from Mexico and had no valid U.S. identification, according to Jones.
Lopez had been arrested last December for possession for sale of marijuana in San Luis Obispo and investigators believe that Lopez and Hernandez piloted the panga boat from Mexico, Jones said.
They were arrested along with the third man walking along the road, identified as Phin Yo Vorn, 33, who is believed to be one of the men hired to unload the boat.
The Coast Guard discovered the panga boat abandoned about 7 miles off the coast later that day. The speedy open boats are often used by drug smugglers and abandoned or sunk after a delivery has been made, according to Jones.
All nine defendants were charged in state court days later. Gonzalez, Mendoza, Salazar, Sicairos and Teixeira pleaded no contest to the charges on Aug. 13. The remaining defendants pleaded not guilty and their charges were dismissed Wednesday.
If convicted of the federal charges, they each face a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.
The CEO of a multi-billion-dollar company that provides catering services at several Bay Area sports venues has drawn harsh criticism after a hotel surveillance video surfaced showing him kicking a friend’s dog.
The elevator video from a Vancouver hotel shows Centerplate CEO Des Hague kicking a friend’s one-year-old Doberman Pinscher several times.
Hague has offered a public apology saying he was ashamed and embarrassed by his actions. He said he let his frustrations with the dog get the best of him.
Both the San Francisco Giants and the 49ders have issued statements critical of Hague. Centerplate have contracts with the teams at AT&T Park and Levi’s Stadium.
“The San Francisco Giants do not condone any abuse of animals and we were deeply disturbed by the recent news regarding Centerplate CEO Des Hague. Centerplate management continues to investigate the incident and has taken some immediate steps in response to his actions -- including contributing a portion of its sales to a foundation dedicated to the protection and safety of animals in the city of Vancouver, where the incident occurred. “
“While we deplore Mr. Hague’s personal actions,” the statement continued. “It should in no way reflect upon the hundreds of dedicated Centerplate employees who admirably serve our fans at AT&T Park each and every day. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and any further actions taken by Centerplate and the authorities in Vancouver. “
The 49ers also condemned Hague but defended the company’s rank-and-file.
“The organization condemns the abuse of animals and was disturbed to learn of the recent news regarding Des Hague," the team said in a prepared statement. "We believe his actions are not reflective of the efforts and service provided by the hundreds of Centerplate employees working to present our fans with a tremendous experience at Levi’s Stadium.”
Centerplate’s Board of Directors has voted to put Hague on probation and ordered him to pay $100,000 to help protect animals in Vancouver. He will also spend 1,000 hours of community service in support of an organization that protects animals.
A portion of northbound Interstate Highway 280 in San Francisco closed Thursday afternoon and will remain closed through the Labor Day weekend as large sections of the highway are removed and new hinges are installed to seismically strengthen an overpass, a Caltrans spokesman said.
Drivers will not be able to access a stretch of northbound Highway 280, from the U.S. Highway 101/Highway 280 interchange to San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood.
Two large sections of the roadway are being removed and then replaced with reinforced sections, according to Caltrans spokesman Steven Williams.
The closure of northbound Highway 280 is scheduled to continue until 5 a.m. Tuesday. All northbound Highway 280 traffic will be detoured onto Highway 101, Williams said.
The two pieces of roadway that will be removed are each about 24 feet wide, 48 feet long and 5 feet thick, he said.
The highway hinges were designed in the 1960s and an inspection seven years ago determined they were in need of replacement in order to withstand a large earthquake.
Starting Thursday, Caltrans crews will replace the hinge on the first section, running above the Dogpatch neighborhood, then will move south toward Highway 101, where the second section will be removed and the hinge replaced, according to Caltrans.
Williams said the closure of northbound Highway 280 has been a long time coming and was not spurred by the 6.0-magnitude earthquake that damaged roads and buildings in Napa and Solano counties early Sunday morning.
The planned closure is the third this year. The highway was also closed in the area for similar seismic strengthening during the Memorial Day and Fourth of July holiday weekends.
Over the Labor Day weekend, motorists can call 511 or visit 511.org for more information about the closure and any changes in the reopening time.
Motorists are advised to use public transportation such as BART, Caltrain, San Francisco Municipal Railway and SamTrans to avoid heavy traffic in the area caused by the detour.
Deputies were investigating a call about a prowler when they found Chris Buckner and her Brother Tim Savoy walking along a road.
Savoy said he was only walking Buckner home but deputies sensed something was out of place, so they began investigating.
Sheriff’s office spokesman David Ehsanipoor told Bluffton Today, deputies were convinced the two had sex in a Kenworth diesel as it was parked in a church lot.
Cops in Guyton, Georgia said the couple admitted to their amorous activities but laid the blame on having just watched the James Garner/Ryan Gosling movie, “The Notebook.”
SavannahNow.com reports Buckner and Savoy were arrested and charged with aggravated sodomy, incest, and prowling.