Rain was expected to hit the Bay Area late Sunday night, which could impact Monday morning’s commute, according to KTVU meteorologist Mark Tamayo.
As of 9 p.m. Sunday, most of the rain was focused up in the northern parts of the state, especially north of Mendocino County. But the rain will slowly increase in coverage overnight.
Tamayo said that Sonoma County will pick up rain late Sunday night and that the system would weaken over the Bay Area by early Monday morning.
Rain projections ranged from a half-inch in the South Bay to nearly one inch in the North Bay coastal hills, Tamayo said Sunday evening.
Wet roadways were expected for the Monday morning commute, as the rain showers should be moving through the Bay Area from 4 to 7 a.m. Most of the showers will be focused in the southern half of the Bay Area.
Monday afternoon will be dry under mostly sunny skies, according to Tamayo.
As for the Sierra, there were no warnings or watches in effect as of Sunday night. A mix of rain and snow was expected up in the mountains Monday morning.
Snow levels were looking like they would start out high – at around 8,000 feet. Snow levels should then eventually drop to 6,500 feet, with 2 to 3 inches expected at the higher elevations.
The Bay Area was heading back into a period of dry, warm weather after the recent rain system moves through Monday morning.
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 00:19:27 -0700
When Steve Blake checked in at the scorer's table with 5:25 remaining in the third quarter, Stephen Curry shook his head and shouted across the court, asking Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson not to take him out.
Jackson, a self-described "feel coach," changed his plan. He had Blake enter instead for Andre Iguodala, who looked over at Curry and laughed on the way to the bench.
Curry keyed the deciding run later in the third quarter. He finished with 18 points and nine assists on a strained right quad, helping the Warriors hold off the Phoenix Suns 113-107 on Sunday night for their fourth straight win.
"I always tell coach I'm fine," Curry said. "He always asks me if something's going on, whether it was my ankle back in the day or something small like this. I'm surprised he still asked me because he already knows the answer."
David Lee added 26 points and nine rebounds and Klay Thompson scored 22 points for the Warriors, who built an 18-point lead early in the fourth quarter before the Suns surged back.
Golden State is 9-2 since the All-Star break and a season-high 16 games over .500. The Warriors are two games ahead of Dallas for sixth place in the crowded Western Conference standings.
The Mavericks visit Golden State on Tuesday night.
"The guys had a sense of urgency," Jackson said. "They understood how big this game was. They realized we had an opportunity to really take control."
Gerald Green had 25 points and six rebounds, and Goran Dragic added 24 points and six assists for the Suns, who dropped into a tie with Memphis for eighth in the West.
The Suns also missed a chance to take the four-game season series over the Warriors — and the potential head-to-head tiebreaker for playoff seeding that comes with it. Each team won both meetings on its home floor.
"That's just the whole point about learning how to be a playoff team," Green said. "Certain things you can get away with on certain nights, but when you're playing a team like this — a team that's been in the playoffs — you have to be solid for 48 minutes."
Neither team showed much playoff poise in the final minute.
Green's layup cut Golden State's lead to 111-107 with 38.1 seconds remaining. After Thompson missed a 3-pointer, Andre Iguodala came down with a rebound and the Suns were forced to foul.
Phoenix caught a break when Iguodala missed both free throws. But then Green stepped out of bounds receiving a pass from Dragic on the sideline.
Steve Blake missed two free throws to give the Suns yet another chance. Phoenix followed that up with Marcus Morris air-balling a 3-pointer, and Iguodala made two free throws to seal Golden State's victory.
The Warriors outshot Phoenix 52.9 percent to 48 percent. The Suns outrebounded Golden State 41 to 35 but committed 20 turnovers, while the Warriors only had 12.
"I thought in that third quarter we really got outhustled," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. "They were active. They were aggressive for the ball. They wanted it more than we did."
With a nagging quad limiting his playing time, Curry shook off the pain and made sure Jackson kept him on the court longer than expected. Curry made a 3-pointer and handed out six assists during a 23-4 run in the third quarter, and the Warriors went ahead 96-78 early in the fourth.
Curry shot 7 for 16 from the floor in 30 minutes.
"He really took over," Jackson said.
Before the game, Curry said that he injured his quad during Golden State's win at Boston on Wednesday and began to feel pain again during Friday's victory over Atlanta. Both Jackson and Curry said they will communicate with each other during games to determine when — and how much — the All-Star point guard plays.
While he looked a step slow in the first half defending Dragic, Curry came through when his team needed him most.
After the Suns went ahead by 12 in the second quarter, Curry converted a reverse layup while getting fouled by Morris to start a three-point play that brought the Warriors within one. But back-to-back 3-pointers by Dragic helped Phoenix carry a 61-56 lead into intermission.
The Warriors disrupted Phoenix's offense in the third quarter by trapping Dragic at half court. The swarming defense led to several fast-break opportunities, and Curry controlled the offense with near perfection to put the Warriors ahead for good.
NOTES: Hornacek said G Eric Bledsoe, who has been out since Dec. 30 recovering from knee surgery, will likely return for Wednesday's home game against Cleveland. ... The Warriors recalled G Nemanja Nedovic from Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League. ... Suns C Miles Plumlee had two points and four rebounds in 11 minutes after missing the two previous games because of a sprained shoulder.
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 00:05:52 -0700
There’s a new doll that's making a lot of headlines and getting praise for… well... not being Barbie.
Pittsburgh artist Nickolay Lamm created Lammily, a more lifelike doll, which is shorter, broader and has a thicker neck than the traditional Barbie. Lammily also struts in sporty clothes to promote fitness. (Via KTVK)
“I used this model. It represents the average 19-year-old American woman.”
“Using data from the Centers for Disease Control website, Nickolay made a 3D image of his own doll.” (Via KMBC)
Lamm raised more than $300,000 to get the project off the ground. He’s been pretty warmly received by media outlets, with many praising the doll for its “Average is beautiful” mantra. (Via Lammily, Elle, The Guardian)
“She looks fit and healthy, and normal.”
“And still cute, beautiful, but realistic.” (Via WTHR)
The comparisons are unavoidable, and the reviews are in: Lammily is nothing like Barbie, and that’s a good thing.
“Some people feel like her beauty is unattainable because, well, it is.”
“It’s not real. It’s a plastic doll.” (Via KIFI)
Barbie has long been criticized for affecting the way girls view themselves. A study published last week found after playing with Barbie for just five minutes, girls rated themselves less capable than boys of pursuing certain careers. (Via Springer / Sex Roles)
And those fears have been spurred on by stories of women literally transforming themselves into dolls. (Via YouTube / Ismail Karaman)
“She is passionate about looking like a doll, and she’s getting plenty of coverage for it. What message is that sending to young girls?” (Via ABC)
But in a recent interview, Barbie’s lead designer Kim Culmone defended the dolls measurements, saying body image issues aren’t coming from dolls.
“Clearly, the influences for girls on those types of issues, whether it’s body image or anything else, it’s proven, it’s peers, moms, parents, it’s their social circles.” (Via Fast Company Design)
And a columnist for The Kansas City Star says, even though Lammily’s figure is more realistic, labelling her “normal” is still a problem.
“When we start using words like ‘normal’ and ‘real,’ we are teaching girls to compare by saying this is what normal looks like in the form of a plastic mold. What if we don’t have an athletic build or wear preppy clothes? What if we don’t fit that mold?” (Via The Kansas City Star)
Lamm says Lammily should hit the shelves in November of this year, just in time for the holiday season.
Published: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 23:34:26 -0700
San Francisco police have arrested a suspect they say was behind the wheel during Saturday's officer involved shooting.
Officers arrested 50-year-old Jeffery Ruano from San Francisco after a wild chase through the East Bay.
San Francisco Police say Ruano was the driver when 28-year-old police officer Adam Shaw and his partner approached Saturday afternoon in the Mission District. Investigators say the vehicle began backing up toward the officers, and Officer Shaw's partner opened fire. The vehicle sped away from the scene, and that was when that officer discovered Shaw had been hit in the shoulder.
At this time police say they believe the round that struck Shaw came from inside that vehicle. Officer Gordon Shyy says a witness at the scene says they heard at least one round fired from the car.
“At this point we believe the officer was struck by gunfire from the suspect vehicle,” said Shyy.
The vehicle involved in that incident later turned up in Daly City. There were no signs of the driver.
Shyy says investigators were able to develop information that led them to Ruano, and a white Mercedes Benz. Officers say they began trailing that Mercedes. When it headed to the East Bay, San Francisco police called for help from the California Highway Patrol. The CHP tried to pull that Mercedes over in Richmond, but instead of stopping, the Mercedes sped off. CHP says the vehicle headed through four counties in a wild chase that at times exceeded 120 miles per hour.
CHP says they finally managed to puncture the tires of the Mercedes in Milpitas. The car managed to continue on for several miles until it stopped at a gas station at 33rd Street and McKee Road in San Jose.
Officers approached the vehicle with weapons drawn, but say Ruano was arrested without further incident.
San Francisco Police say Ruano was facing charges of assault with a deadly weapon, the deadly weapon being the car involved in Saturday's incident. He's also facing charges of being a convicted felon in possession of ammunition, driving in excess of 100 mph, evading police officers, and a misdemeanor warrant.
Though Ruano was considered a shooting suspect, there were no weapons charges -- or attempted murder charges – being brought against him as of his arrest.
Two women who were in the Mercedes were also detained but later released.
San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said Saturday that Shaw was in good spirits and was expected to survive his injuries.
Suhr also acknowledged the circumstances of the shooting were still unclear Sunday night.
“We don't know exactly what happened and won't know until we find the suspect and or talk to the victim officer,” said Suhr.
Published: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 23:24:05 -0700
A massive 6.9-magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of Northern California Sunday evening, 50 miles west of Eureka, Calif., according to the USGS.
The earthquake was recorded at around 10:18 p.m. Pacific and KTVU viewers say they felt it as far away as Redwood City.
"Felt the Eureka earthquake all the way down here in Redwood City. Friends up there say shaking lasted 30-60 seconds," wrote viewer Kristopher Rowberry on KTVU's Facebook page.
USGS seismologist Susan Hoover says more than 300 people have reported feeling the temblor on their website as of 10:49 p.m., according to the Associated Press.
By 11:15 p.m., that number had increased to 1300 people.
Mike Meltzer, a bartender at the Hotel Ivanhoe in Ferndale (in Humboldt County, the county nearest to the quake's epicenter), told KTVU that the quake rolled for around 10 seconds.
"I've been through a number of these," said Meltzer. "It wasn't a jolter; it was a wave."
He said the extent of the damage from the quake was a football and a bottle falling over.
As of 10:48 p.m. there were no reports of injuries and a tsunami warning had not been issued.
As of 11 p.m., five aftershocks were recorded by the USGS, which had magnitudes of 3.4, 3.5, 3.4, 4.6 and 2.9 accordingly.
This story will be updated when more details become available.
Published: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 22:26:13 -0700
Vietnamese searchers on ships worked throughout the night but could not find a rectangle object spotted Sunday afternoon that was thought to be one of the doors of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet that went missing more than two days ago.
Doan Huu Gia, the chief of Vietnam's search and rescue coordination center, said Monday that four planes and seven ships from Vietnam were searching for the object but nothing had been found.
The Boeing 777 went missing early Saturday morning on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.
The plane lost contact with ground controllers somewhere between Malaysia and Vietnam, and searchers in a low-flying plane spotted an object that appeared to be one of the plane's doors, the state-run Thanh Nien newspaper said, citing the deputy chief of staff of Vietnam's army, Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan.
The jetliner apparently fell from the sky at cruising altitude in fine weather, and the pilots were either unable or had no time to send a distress signal, adding to the mystery over the final minutes of the flight.
There are also questions over how two passengers managed to board the ill-fated aircraft using stolen passports.
Interpol confirmed it knew about the stolen passports but said no authorities checked its vast databases on stolen documents before the Boeing jetliner departed Saturday.
Warning "only a handful of countries" routinely make such checks, Interpol secretary general Ronald Noble chided authorities for "waiting for a tragedy to put prudent security measures in place at borders and boarding gates."
On Saturday, the foreign ministries in Italy and Austria said the names of two citizens listed on the flight's manifest matched the names on two passports reported stolen in Thailand.
"I can confirm that we have the visuals of these two people on CCTV," Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said at a news conference late Sunday, adding that the footage was being examined. "We have intelligence agencies, both local and international, on board."
The thefts of the two passports — one belonging to Austrian Christian Kozel and the other to Luigi Maraldi of Italy — were entered into Interpol's database after they were stolen in Thailand in 2012 and last year, the police body said.
Electronic booking records show that one-way tickets with those names were issued Thursday from a travel agency in the beach resort of Pattaya in eastern Thailand. A person who answered the phone at the agency said she could not comment.
But no authorities in Malaysia or elsewhere checked the passports against the database of 40 million stolen or lost travel documents before the Malaysian Airlines plane took off.
Possible causes of the crash included some sort of explosion, a catastrophic failure of the plane's engines, extreme turbulence, or pilot error or even suicide. Establishing what happened with any certainty will need data from flight recorders and a detailed examination of any debris, something that will take months if not years.
Malaysia's air force chief, Rodzali Daud, said radar indicated that before it disappeared, the plane may have turned back, but there were no further details on which direction it went or how far it veered off course.
"We are trying to make sense of this," Daud said at a news conference. "The military radar indicated that the aircraft may have made a turn back, and in some parts this was corroborated by civilian radar."
Malaysia Airlines Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said pilots are supposed to inform the airline and traffic control authorities if the plane does a U-turn. "From what we have, there was no such distress signal or distress call per se, so we are equally puzzled," he said.
A total of 34 aircraft and 40 ships from Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, China and the United States were deployed to the area where ground controllers lost contact with the plane on the maritime border between Malaysia and Vietnam.
Of the 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board, two-thirds were Chinese, while the rest were from elsewhere in Asia, Europe and North America, including three Americans.
Family members of Philip Wood, a 50-year-old IBM executive who was on board the plane, said they saw him a week ago when he visited them in Texas after relocating to Kuala Lumpur from Beijing, where he had worked for two years.
The other two Americans were identified on the passenger manifest as 4-year-old Nicole Meng and 2-year-old Yan Zhang. It was not known with whom they were traveling.
After more than 30 hours without contact with the aircraft, Malaysia Airlines told family members they should "prepare themselves for the worst," Hugh Dunleavy, the commercial director for the airline, told reporters.
Finding traces of an aircraft that disappears over sea can take days or longer, even with a sustained search effort. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, wreckage can be scattered over a large area. If the plane enters the water before breaking up, there can be relatively little debris.
A team of American experts was en route to Asia to be ready to assist in the investigation into the crash. The team includes accident investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, as well as technical experts from the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing, the safety board said in a statement.
Malaysia Airlines has a good safety record, as does the 777, which had not had a fatal crash in its 19-year history until an Asiana Airlines plane crashed last July in San Francisco, killing three passengers, all Chinese teenagers.
Details also emerged Sunday about the itineraries of the two passengers traveling on the stolen passports.
A telephone operator on a China-based KLM hotline confirmed Sunday that passengers named Maraldi and Kozel had been booked on one-way tickets on the same KLM flight, flying from Beijing to Amsterdam on Saturday. Maraldi was to fly on to Copenhagen, Denmark, and Kozel to Frankfurt, Germany.
She said the pair booked the tickets through China Southern Airlines, but she had no information on where they bought them.
As holders of EU passports with onward flights to Europe, the passengers would not have needed visas for China.
Interpol said it and national investigators were working to determine the true identities of those who used the stolen passports to board the flight. White House Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken said the U.S. was looking into the stolen passports, but that investigators had reached no conclusions.
Interpol has long sounded the alarm that growing international travel has underpinned a new market for identity theft: Bogus passports are mostly used by illegal immigrants, but also pretty much anyone looking to travel unnoticed such as drug runners or terrorists. More than 1 billion times last year, travelers boarded planes without their passports being checked against Interpol's database of 40 million stolen or lost travel documents, the police agency said.
Brummitt reported from Hanoi, Vietnam. Associated Press writers Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia; Didi Tang, Gillian Wong and Louise Watt in Beijing; Joan Lowy in Washington; and Scott Mayerowitz in New York contributed this report.
Published: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 22:21:44 -0700
Crews were faced with a tricky rescue operation in Marin County Saturday afternoon when they were called out to help a surfer trapped against some rocks near Rodeo Beach by the pounding surf.
The National Park Service received a call from the Marin County Sheriff's Office shortly after 4 p.m. reporting that a surfer was in distress among the rocks on the northern end of Rodeo Beach in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, NPS spokeswoman Alexandra Picavet said.
Soon after receiving the call, park rangers arrived on scene, about three miles northwest of the
Golden Gate Bridge, and found the surfer being smashed against the rocks by dangerous surf, according to Picavet.
Rescue swimmers and the U.S. Coast Guard both attempted to reach the surfer but were unable to do so because of the breaking waves, Picavet said.
Finally, at 5:15 pm., a California Highway Patrol helicopter was deployed to the scene and lowered a rope to the victim.
The surfer, identified as a 40-year-old man who resides in the Bay Area, was rescued from the water and was taken to Marin General Hospital for treatment of minor to moderate injuries, according to Picavet
Published: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 21:28:10 -0700
East Bay residents should be on the lookout for suspects posing as water department workers after an official truck was stolen from the East Bay Municipal Utility District last week, the district announced Sunday.
The maintenance truck -- identified as EBMUD vehicle No. 896 -- was a white 2008 F-350 with a California license plate No. 1285077, according to EBMUD.
The vehicle - which contained an official EBMUD work badge, hard hat, safety vest and tools -- was stolen on Thursday and was later spotted near Redwood Christian Church in Castro Valley on Saturday, according to EBMUD.
Utility district officials warned East Bay residents to be on the lookout for the stolen truck, and to be aware of suspects possibly posing as utility workers in residential neighborhoods.
EBMUD said that utility workers making repairs to water lines do not normally ask to enter homes, but might knock on doors to notify residents of temporary water outages.
Residents should ask to see workers' identification and ask the purpose of their visit.
Anyone who spots the missing truck should call EBMUD's 24-hour hotline at (866) 403-2683. Anyone who sees suspicious activity should call 911.
Published: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 20:58:41 -0700
If you own a home in the Bay Area and you're thinking of selling, this is your market.
Emeryville-based ZipRealty Inc. lists the San Francisco Bay Area #1 on its top ten-list of best places to sell a home in the country this year.
The Sunday open houses in Alameda were brisk Sunday because inventory is down; way down.
“We're down to 34 as of this morning,” said Realtor Catherine Bierwith, adding that it was a shockingly low number of homes for sale in Alameda. “Yes, because each of us probably has 34 buyers.”
Bierwith hosted an open house at a 3-bedroom, 2-bath, 1800-square foot bungalow on Sunday. It's listed at $799,000, but she expects to sell for at least $50,000 over asking price this week.
“So I would guess we'll have five or six offers on this property,” said Bierwith.
When asked if her sellers are happy, Bierwith replied, “All the sellers are happy right now!”
“It has been a very robust bump this year,” said David Gunderman of Alain Pinel Realtors while putting up an “Open House” sign.
According to ZipRealty, the median sales price in the Bay Area went up 35 percent last year, versus an 11.5 percent increase nationwide. The number of days on the market is telling too. In the Bay Area, homes sell after an average of 19 days, compared to 35 days nationwide.
Finally, inventory is key -- the Bay Area has nearly a 1-to-1 ratio of residents per available homes, while the inventory nationwide is 6.6 homes per resident.
Why are Bay Area sellers in such a good position?
“Partially the obvious, which is low interest rates and low inventory.” said Gunderman. “I also think you're seeing tremendous job growth in the area, and then just wealth growth in the area.”
Gunderman was referring to the boom in the tech sector that has brought a lot of newer residents with high incomes to the Bay Area.
While it is a seller's market, realtors say it's still not a bad time to buy, with interest rates being relatively low.
While the Bay Area ranked #1 for home sellers, it had some company from other California cities in the top 10. Sacramento, San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles all made ZipRealty’s list
Published: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 20:29:57 -0700
For decades, Alzheimer's disease researchers have been looking for a way to predict the disease in advance that isn't incredibly invasive or expensive. Now a group of scientists at Georgetown University say they might have found it.
The study, published in Nature Medicine, looked at hundreds of elderly adults who were cognitively normal, trying to find a difference between those who went on to develop Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive impairment and those who didn't.
What they came up with was a blood test looking at 10 lipids, or fat molecules, that was able to predict who would develop the disease within two to three years with 90 percent accuracy.
Currently, the only tests available to predict Alzheimer's disease are either expensive, like brain scans in an MRI, or painful, like spinal taps, so few people get tested before symptoms appear. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Liz West, DocP)
Alzheimer’s disease is a growing problem in the U.S. More than 5 million people have the disease, and that number's expected to grow to more than 7 million by 2025.
And while the CDC currently lists Alzheimer’s disease as the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. with 83,000 deaths per year, a study from Rush University released last week show that number may be much higher, rivaling the half million deaths per year of cancer and heart disease.
And there's no cure. What's worse, the new study's lead author, Dr. Howard Federoff, says even the treatments we do have just aren't very effective.
"One of the reasons for this may be that the stage in which they were evaluated, which is in patients who already have the disease, may be the wrong stage." (Via Georgetown University)
The hope is that a simple blood test to diagnose Alzheimer's disease patients years before symptoms emerge could open the flood gates of research into new, early treatments. For that, Federoff tells CNN he considers this study the single most important finding he's ever made.
The new blood test still needs to be evaluated by the scientific and medical communities before it becomes widespread, which would likely take a minimum of two years.
Published: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 20:10:35 -0700
A car crash in San Leandro left one man dead and another facing manslaughter charges for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol.
San Leandro Police said the accident happened around 11:20 p.m. Saturday night at the intersection of Washington and Castro. Residents who live near the intersection reported hearing a loud crashing sound which prompted them to go outside.
KTVU obtained cell phone video and photos of the scene of the crash.
Investigators are trying to determine how an Acura Integra and a Chevy Camaro slammed into each other. The impact sent both cars swerving onto the sidewalk, which created a ripple effect of damage.
A traffic light was stripped from the street and knocked down onto Joseph Desrochers’s car.
“The pole was lying on the back of the car,” said Desrochers. “You could tell where it hit and rolled off.”
Authorities said the driver of the Chevy Camaro walked away unharmed. Two Latino men, believed to be in their 20’s or 30’s, were in the Acura Integra and had to be rescued by emergency responders.
“They had to get the Jaws of Life to pry the door open,” said Desrochers.
The passenger inside the Acura died at a hospital. Witnesses reportedly saw the driver of the Acura trying to walk away from the scene, but officers stopped him. He was arrested for allegedly driving drunk and faces a charge of gross vehicular manslaughter when he is released from the hospital.
“It is horrific that people still drink and drive like this in this day and age when there is so much prevention to stop doing that,” said resident Kurt Tademy.
As of Sunday evening, police had not released the identity of the victim or suspected drunk driver.
Published: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 18:49:59 -0700
A fatal traffic collision blocked two left lanes of northbound Interstate Highway 880 in East Oakland Sunday afternoon, the California Highway Patrol said.
The two-vehicle crash was reported at 3:12 p.m., north of Hegenberger Road and just south of the Oakland Coliseum, the CHP said.
One person died at the scene and another person was injured and has been transported to a hospital, according to the CHP.
The CHP is investigating reports that a person attempted to flee the scene on foot following the crash.
A Sig-alert was issued shortly after 3:30 p.m. and canceled at about 5:15 p.m., according to the CHP.
The identity of the person killed has not been released and the cause of the collision remained under investigation as of later Sunday afternoon.
Published: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 16:35:53 -0700
California's greenhouse gas reduction law already has shaken up the state's industrial sector, costing it more than $1.5 billion in pollution permit fees.
It's now poised to hit the pocketbooks of everyday Californians.
Starting next year, the law will force fuel distributors into the same cap-and-trade marketplace as utilities and major manufacturers. The oil industry says it will lead to price increases of at least 12 cents a gallon immediately, while state regulators say any price spikes could vary widely, from barely noticeable to double-digits.
Anticipating angst at the pump, a leading state lawmaker is raising concerns about the uncertainty of the law's impact on prices for consumer fuels, including gasoline, natural gas, propane and heating oil. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, says the state should scrap the plan to put fuel producers under the cap-and-trade provision of the law and instead institute a 15 cent-per-gallon "carbon tax."
Cap-and-trade sets a limit, or cap, on emissions of heat-trapping gases and requires companies to pay for each ton of pollution they emit, the price of which is determined in an allowance auction. Polluters that cut emissions below the cap can sell their leftover pollution permits, called allowances, to companies that need extra.
The program is a central part of AB32, the greenhouse gas reduction law that passed the Legislature and was signed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, in 2006. But it is just one of several provisions of the law — such as requiring lower-carbon fuels — meant to prompt Californians to change their transportation and energy consumption habits as the state seeks to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases to 1990 levels by 2020.
The California Air Resources Board, which designed and implemented cap-and-trade, differs with Steinberg's assessment and projects no noticeable increase in gas costs after Jan. 1. But the board's own economic analysis of AB32 from 2010 shows that diesel prices could rise from 3 percent to 23 percent, with gasoline prices rising 5 percent to 32 percent, depending on market factors associated with the global warming law's programs.
The industry and some economic forecasts have predicted a 10- to 12-cent increase in the price per gallon at the pump, and Steinberg says those prices could spike as high as 40 cents a gallon.
Still, Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the Air Resources Board, said oil companies have had since 2010 to prepare and are not required to pass on the costs to consumers.
"It would appear to be some deliberate measure on their part if there were to be a sudden rise in (fuel) prices on Jan. 1," Nichols said. "I would expect that they would incorporate the cost of the allowances into their pricing."
Steinberg's idea of charging a flat tax on carbon — rather than having the price change regularly because of cap and trade auctions — does not force polluters to reduce their emissions, Nichols said, which is key to the state's greenhouse gas law.
But it does allow for more stable pricing, said Steinberg, a Democrat from Sacramento.
"Under cap-and-trade, no one can tell us whether fuels will trade at 10 cents or 40 cents a gallon in 2015 or 2016, at any given timing and without a warning. On the other hand, a carbon tax is stable," he said.
He proposed a 15 cent-a-gallon carbon tax to offset what he said would be the indirect tax on consumer fuels once the companies that produce those fuels go into the cap-and-trade program next year.
Under his proposal for a flat carbon tax, introduced in the Legislature as SB1156, the tax would rise to 24 cents a gallon by 2020 and more than 40 cents a gallon by 2029.
About two-thirds of the estimated $3.6 billion raised by Steinberg's carbon tax would go back to households earning less than $75,000 a year in the form of a state-level Earned Income Tax Credit. The rest would go toward mass transit programs with the goal of getting more Californians out of their automobiles.
The legislative prospects for Steinberg's tax proposal, especially during an election year, are uncertain. But the oil industry has greeted his plan warmly.
Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western States Petroleum Association, said the cost of cap and trade allowances will add $2 billion to the costs of gasoline and diesel, or about 12 cents per gallon.
The group's oil company members are proposing to continue cap and trade on industrial facilities, but using a set carbon tax on fuels starting in 2015.
Jay McKeeman, spokesman for the California Independent Oil Marketers Association, disagreed with the assertion by Air Resources Board chairwoman Nichols that the industry could choose to shield consumers from price increases once it entered the cap-and-trade market.
"That is a bunch of hooey," McKeeman said. "When you're in a competitive market and people are getting assessed a significant amount for participating, (cost increases) get passed on to the customer."
He said the group preferred a flat carbon tax because it would be a stable amount.
The law's author, Democratic Sen. Fran Pavley of Agoura Hills, said projections of price spikes are "worst-case scenarios and scare tactics" developed by oil companies that found an unlikely ally in the Senate leader. She said she believes Steinberg wants to use the money raised by a carbon tax to fund tax breaks for low- and middle-income families.
"Their objective matches very well with Senator Steinberg's, and that is they don't want to be under the cap and they want to pass on the cost to the motorists," she said. "This is like their dream. You've got the Senate pro tem, because of his earned income tax credit, and the oil companies, who see, 'God, this is a win-win.'"
Eric Henry, who lives in the Sacramento suburb of Folsom, said he wasn't in favor of a big spike in gas prices but thought drivers would learn to adapt. He agreed that higher prices are probably needed to force people to be make changes in their consumption.
"No matter what you say to people, unless they see some kind of effect it's not going to prompt a change in behavior," said Henry, who works in sales.
Cap-and-trade is designed to moderate price changes, according to the Air Resources Board, but there is never 100 percent certainty that the cost of allowances or other factors could drive gasoline prices up or down.
Changing to a flat carbon tax now would be too large a task to ensure all of the details would be right by Jan. 1, said Severin Borenstein, a University of California, Berkeley economist who has advised the air board on its cap-and-trade program. Still, he said such a tax could prove useful in the future.
"I think that California has done a reasonably good job of designing a program that won't have wild fluctuations in allowance prices (which would lead to fluctuations in gas prices)," he said in an email.
For example, the system is designed with a floor and ceiling, or "price containment reserve," so that the cost of allowances cannot spin out of control.
But that doesn't mean there isn't still some risk of price spikes, according to a recent study by Borenstein. It found that spikes are possible if, for example, demand for emissions credits were to rise more than expected.
Thompson reported from Sacramento. Associated Press writer Tom Verdin in Sacramento also contributed to this report.
Published: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 16:08:52 -0700
An Oakland woman was killed when a tree fell onto Interstate Highway 80 in Vacaville Sunday afternoon, a California Highway Patrol officer said.
The crash was reported at about 1:45 p.m. on westbound Highway 80 near Cherry Glen Road, CHP Officer Ron Simmons said.
The woman was driving her silver Toyota in the far right lane of the freeway when a eucalyptus tree fell and landed directly on her car.
“The vehicle swerved across all lanes and collided into the center divider and then it swerved to the right across all lanes and that's when it came to a rest,” said CHP Ofc. Steve Bratcher.
The impact was so intense that the tree knocked the windshield out of the vehicle and onto the freeway.
KTVU later learned that the driver who died was a 23-year-old woman from Oakland. According to authorities, her body was taken to the Solano County Sheriff's Department.
Portions of Highway 80 were blocked for nearly two hours, but the roadway was cleared by 3:30 p.m., the CHP said.
CHP'S Daniel Hill told KTVU that there was nothing the driver could do to prevent or avoid the accident as it was an act of nature.
Hill said that the last time anything like this happened was in 2005 in Southern California
Published: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 15:30:01 -0700
A 16-year-old boy was killed trying to walk across state Highway 85 in San Jose early Sunday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Officers responded to reports of a crash involving a pedestrian on Highway 85 north of Snell Avenue at around 4:15 a.m., the CHP said.
The teenager had been trying to cross from the right shoulder to the center divide when he was fatally struck by a 2012 BMW, according to the CHP.
The 36-year-old driver was not injured and stopped at the scene, the CHP said.
It was not immediately known why the boy was trying to cross the roadway.
The incident remains under investigation by the CHP.
Published: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 14:53:36 -0700
Wine connoisseurs will be happy to know a new gadget will allow them to turn water into wine — literally.
It's called The Miracle Machine, and its creators claim with just a couple affordable ingredients and a few days, it can create wine just as good as any bottle found at the store.
Users can select recipes and even track the wine's maturing process from an accompanying iPhone or Android smartphone app via Bluetooth. (Via Vimeo / The Miracle Machine)
The science behind it is simple. Its creators say they can speed up the fermentation process of a yeast and grape concentrate mixture by using a little heat in a controlled environment.
According to the Los Angeles Times, "The refractometer measures the sugar content, a ceramic air-diffuser pumps filtered air to aerate the wine and soften the tannins, and the transducer is used to speed up the wine's flavor development."
And to get that aged taste, The Huffington Post reports adding some finishing powder will impart flavors that will make the wine taste like it has aged for some time.
There are similar countertop machines currently on the market, such as the PicoBrew Zymatic, an appliance that took the beer-brewing process to a smaller scale. (Via Kickstarter / PicoBrew)
And the Sodastream, which instantly turns water into soda by mixing in carbonation and flavored syrup. (Via YouTube / SodaStreamGuru)
According to Discovery, the gadget is currently in its funding stage and its inventors will soon launch a Kickstarter page to raise money. Along with the machine, the company is planning to offer all ingredients needed to create different types of wine through its website.
The Miracle Machine is set to retail for about $500, but with bundled ingredients at only $2 a pack, it might just be worth it.
Published: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 14:35:34 -0700
Embroiled in a corruption scandal that threatens his inner circle and decade-long rule, Turkey's prime minister is now looking to silence his political foes by banning social media sites like Facebook and YouTube.
In an attempt to stem leaked phone calls involving questionable dealings that have tarnished his reputation ahead of local elections, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told ATV he intends to block Facebook and YouTube in the country.
"We won't allow the people to be devoured by YouTube, Facebook or others," quotes The New York Times. When asked whether that included shutting down the sites, Erdogan replied: ”That included. Because these people or institutions are (using social media) for all kinds of immorality, all kinds of espionage and spying."
By spying, he's referring to the aforementioned leaked phone conversations, which implicate him in some rather unethical dealings.
In one call he is heard meddling in a court case against a media patron, and in another he demands a media executive drop news coverage of his political rival. Both of those conversations, he has acknowledged, are genuine. (Via Euronews)
Perhaps the most damning leak, however, came from a call between Erdogan and his son, which Erdogan has called a "fabrication."
In that conversation, Erdogan allegedly instructs his son to dispose of large sums of money on the same day police carried out raids on the homes of former prime ministers' sons as part of a bribery investigation. (Via BBC)
As you may have guessed, those conversations and the ensuing outrage having been playing out heavily on Facebook, YouTube and other social media sites.
Turkey ranks in the top 15 in the world for Facebook usage, with more than 80 percent of Turkey's Internet users and nearly half of the country's total population actively using the site. (Via CNN)
The Wall Street Journal notes YouTube was banned sporadically in Turkey between 2007 and 2010, but that banning such sites now "would leapfrog Turkey into a small club of nations that blocks access to [certain] social-networking site[s], including Syria, China, Iran and Turkmenistan."
Erdogan has already taken steps to limit the damage of the leaked phone calls, expanding government control over the Internet, and removing hundreds of police officers and prosecutors to stall his corruption investigation.
Despite earlier approval from Turkey's President Abdullah Gul for Erdogan's expanded Internet control, he has now come out against Erdogan, claiming that a ban on Faceook and YouTube is "out of the question." (Via PBS)
As president, Gul has the ability to veto laws should Erdogan pass legislation banning social media sites. The proposal could also be sent the country's constitutional court, where it would likely be struck down for violating the right to freedom of expression.
Published: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 14:23:56 -0700
Surprisingly, a California woman stung more than 1,000 times by a swarm of bees is expected to be OK.
Firefighters say the unidentified 71-year-old woman was covered in a "suit of bees" when they arrived on scene. (Via KABC)
"The bees, about 75,000 of them, made a hive inside a fiber optic phone line utility box. You can see the honeycomb on the lid. Had to be rescued by having a blanket thrown over her head and taken inside by her neighbor." (Via KCBS)
At least five firefighters, one Verizon employee, and neighbors were also stung by the bees. The Desert Sun reports the five firefighters were taken to the hospital for their injuries, but are expected to be OK.
Authorities made a reverse 911 call to the area, telling everyone within 2 miles of the incident to stay indoors and away from the bees.
But, a Cal Fire Battalion Chief told ABC, this problem with bees seems to be growing. "In 20 years I've never been on a case like this ... In Southern California, we're starting to hear bees are becoming more prevalent in the area."
The bees are reportedly Africanized bees, or known more commonly as killer bees. As their name suggests, their stings can be fatal. (Via National Geographic)
One insect removal expert told ABC the phone box where the bees were found was supposed to be bee-proof and whoever serviced the box last may have improperly secured it.
Published: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 14:13:09 -0700
San Francisco police announced Sunday afternoon that an arrest has been made in connection with the Saturday shooting in the Mission District that left an officer injured.
Authorities issued a statement shortly before 2 p.m. announcing that 50-year-old San Francisco resident Jeffery Ruano, one of three people detained at the termination of a multi-county pursuit that ended in San Jose early Sunday morning, has been arrested in connection with the Saturday shooting.
At about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, officers detained three people at McKee Road and North 33rd Street in San Jose, San Francisco police Officer Gordon Shyy said.
The three occupants in the vehicle, Ruano and two females were detained and interviewed. The two females were interviewed and released pending further investigation.
The incident began on Saturday when officers responded to a report of malicious activity in the 1300 block of Florida Street in San Francisco around 2:45 p.m., San Francisco police Officer Albie Esparza.
The driver of a suspicious vehicle started to back up as two officers approached, Esparza said.
An officer who approached the driver's side of the vehicle was hit by gunfire and a second officer shot multiple rounds at the car causing glass to shatter, he said.
The vehicle fled the scene and officers could not tell if the suspect was struck by gunfire, Esparza said.
The injured officer was transported to San Francisco General Hospital and underwent surgery. He was in serious but stable condition as of Saturday evening, according to Esparza.
Police officer that was injured was identified Sunday as Adam Shaw, who works out of the Mission Station. Officer Shaw is out of surgery and recovering.
Ruano will face multiple charges including assault with a deadly weapon (the vehicle being the weapon), being a convicted felon in possession of ammunition, driving in excess of 100 m.p.h., evading police officers and a misdemeanor warrant.
Published: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 14:08:24 -0700
Oakland A's owner Lew Wolff is considering moving the team to a temporary location if he can't extend a two-year lease with the Oakland Coliseum.
The San Jose Mercury News reported Sunday that Wolff is considering an existing venue or constructing a temporary stadium somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area to house the A's if he can't extend the lease. The lease expires after the 2015 season.
The A's have been searching for a new home for five years and Major League Baseball has turned down their proposal to build a new stadium in San Jose. A judge tossed out the city of San Jose's lawsuit claiming MLB violated antitrust laws in blocking the A's move south. The city is appealing.
Published: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 13:02:51 -0700