More than 36,000 PG&E customers were without power in San Francisco early Wednesday morning, according to PG&E officials. The outage, impacting 36,895 PG&E customers began late Tuesday night, according to PG&E officials.
"I cannot begin to express the shock and sadness we feel this evening," Santa Cruz Mayor Hillary Bryant said. "Two of our most beloved officers were killed in the line of duty and this has rocked the community to our absolute foundation."
The two slain officers are identified as Detective Sergeant Loran "Butch" Baker, a 28-year veteran of the department and 10-year veteran Detective Elizabeth Butler. Police Chief Kevin Vogel describes Baker as a longtime friend and mentor. Detective Baker leaves behind a wife, two daughters, and a son who works as a Community Services Officer for Santa Cruz police. Detective Butler is survived by her partner and two young sons, Vogel says.
"It was with deep, deep sadness that I stand before you this evening to talk about the death of my two officers today," Chief Vogel said. "We at the Santa Cruz police department are like family. I've known both of these officers for a long, long time and there just aren't words to describe how I feel personally about this and about how my department is reacting to this horrific, horrific tragedy."
Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak's department will lead the investigation. He says it appears the two plain clothes detectives went to Goulet's home on Banciforte as part of an ongoing criminal investigation. Based on physical evidence and witness accounts, Wowak says Goulet opened fire on the detectives. The two officers and witnesses called for help.
When authorities arrived on the scene they say they found the two detectives dead outside the home and Goulet missing. A multi-agency team then locked down the neighborhood which includes three schools and a busy Whole Foods supermarket.
Within minutes of setting up the search, Sheriff Wowak says officers encountered Goulet. A short chase ensued and then gunfire was exchanged, he says. Goulet was shot and killed at the scene.
Even after Goulet's death, officers continued a house by house, "closet-by-closet" search of the neighborhood to determine if there were additional suspects. Sheriff Wowak says it is his belief the public is now out of harm's way.
Students at the three schools were taken by bus to the nearby Government Center where they were re-united with their families.
Authorities are praising nearby law agencies including deputies from San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Benito, and Monterey County sheriffs departments and police officers from Scott's Valley, Capitola, and Watsonville who just showed up on the scene to offer their help.
Wowak says the California Department of Justice, the FBI, and the regional law agencies will all assist in the investigation. He says it could be weeks before we know all of the details of what happened and why.
Stay tuned to KRON 4 and KRON4.com for comprehensive coverage of the investigation into the shootings and the community's mourning of the two slain officers.
(Copyright 2013, KRON 4, All rights reserved.)
President Barack Obama's new military strategy in Iraq amounts to trying to contain — not destroy — the Islamic militant group that now controls much of the country's northern region. That leaves open the questions of how deeply the U.S. will be drawn into the sectarian conflict, and whether airstrikes alone can stop the militants' momentum.
Obama insists he will not send American ground troops back to Iraq after having withdrawn them in 2011, fulfilling a campaign promise. Still, even the limited airstrikes against the vicious insurgency show the president's conviction that the U.S. military cannot remain dormant after having fought an eight-year war that temporarily neutralized Sunni extremists but failed to produce lasting peace.
U.S. military jets launched several airstrikes Friday on isolated targets, including two mortar positions and a vehicle convoy in northeastern Iraq, near the country's Kurdish capital of Irbil. U.S. officials announced Friday night the second airdrop of food and water in as many days for imperiled refugees in northwestern Iraq.
The next move may be up to the Islamic State group, the al-Qaida inspired extremists who have chewed up Iraqi opposition so far.
About three dozen U.S. military trainers and a U.S. consulate are in Irbil, where Kurdish forces are fighting off a militant advance. That's no easy defense.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said of the Islamic State group, "They are well organized and they're armed and they are a significant threat to the stability of Iraq."
Will there be further airstrikes? State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said the Islamic State group must at least halt its advance on Irbil to prevent further strikes.
Iraq has been pleading for months, if not years, for additional U.S. military help to combat the extremists, but the U.S. pulled out of Iraq in part because it couldn't reach an agreement with the government on legal immunity for U.S. troops. Harf said the Obama administration acted now out of concern that "there was a crisis that had the potential to get much worse."
U.S. officials said the Islamic State extremists in recent days have shown military skill, including using artillery in sophisticated synchronization with other heavy weapons. Their force had overwhelmed not only Iraqi government troops but also the outgunned Kurdish militia.
The Obama administration steadfastly insists the airstrikes and humanitarian airdrops are not the start of an open-ended campaign to defeat the militants.
The president's critics say his approach is too narrow.
"A policy of containment will not work," Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham said in a joint statement. They are among the chief critics of Obama's foreign policy in general, beginning with his decision to stick to the 2011 timetable set by President George W. Bush for a full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
The Islamic militants are "inherently expansionist and must be stopped," the senators said. "The longer we wait to act, the worse this threat will become."
Beyond airstrikes, the administration has been asked to provide arms directly to the Kurdish forces defending Irbil. Until now, the U.S. has been willing to do that only through the central government in Baghdad, which has long feuded with the semi-autonomous Kurdish government in Iraq's north.
Michael Barbero, a retired Army general who ran the U.S. training mission in Iraq from 2009 to 2011, said Baghdad never delivered about $200 million worth of American weapons that were designated for the Kurds. Pentagon officials maintain they can provide arms only to the Iraqi government, although Harf said Friday the Kurdish forces play a critical role in the crisis.
"We understand their need for additional arms and equipment and are working to provide those as well so they are reinforced," she said.
The CIA could supply the Kurds under a covert operation. An agency spokesman declined comment when asked whether that was happening.
In announcing his decision to intervene militarily, Obama stated plainly that he would not allow the U.S. "to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq."
But Obama's limited use of air power leads some to ask whether that approach will make a lasting difference. It also raises questions about whether Obama underestimated the staying power of the extremists, who control an impressive stretch of territory from the outskirts of the Syrian city of Aleppo to most Sunni-dominated areas of northern and western Iraq, up to the edges of Baghdad.
The insurgents frequently launch bombings and other attacks in Baghdad, mostly targeting Shiites and government officials, often within sight and hearing of the U.S. Embassy, which is located in the capital's heavily fortified Green Zone. In another sign of the region's instability, the State Department on Friday warned U.S. citizens against all but essential travel to Iraq and said those in the country were at high risk for kidnapping and terrorist violence.
"I think the administration realizes that we're dealing with that rarest of things in President Obama's world, which is a military situation that has to be resolved militarily," said James F. Jeffrey, who was the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad when American troops withdrew from Iraq in 2011. The basic problem, Jeffrey said, is "these guys have to be stopped. And it's not a matter of whether the U.S. should stop them — it's a matter of when."
Across the Mideast, the U.S. has deployed considerable military power, including warplanes and an air operations center in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. Additionally, the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush currently is located in the Persian Gulf and was the launching site for Friday's airstrikes.
The crisis appears to be falling to Washington to deal with — despite Obama's consultations with other nations and the U.N. — as the U.S. struggles with the parallel challenge of Islamic extremists' gains in neighboring Syria. Vice President Joe Biden, in a call Friday to Iraqi President Fuad Masum, emphasized the threat the extremists present to all Iraqis and affirmed U.S. support, the White House said.
The Islamic State fighters have been surprisingly successful in pursing their stated goal of creating a caliphate, or Islamic religious state, straddling Iraq and Syria. The extremists are a mix of Iraqis and Syrians as well as foreign fighters.
U.S. intelligence officials say some of the Islamic State's fighters have military training, and the group's recent seizure of the Iraqi army's American-supplied armored vehicles, weapons and ammunition has left it better armed than its Kurdish opponents.
Containing the fighters "will require a sustained ground effort," said Cedric Leighton, a retired Air Force colonel and intelligence specialist. "It should be a coalition effort" in concert with local Iraqi forces, he said.
Others, however, say even a small taste of American air power may be enough to tip the balance.
The Islamic State "may be good at beheading bound captives and threatening helpless civilians, but they have not yet undergone the kind of physical and psychological trauma that American airpower can impose upon them," said Charles Dunlap Jr., a former Air Force lawyer and now a Duke University law professor.
A new internet fad is causing some serious cause for concern.
Teens have been setting themselves on fire and then, posting the videos to YouTube.
The number and extent of the injuries reported across the country are startling, but so far none have been reported in Northern California.
Still, Santa Clara’s medical community, county fire and EMS put out a public warning to parents Friday, informing them of what’s become known as the “Fire Challenge.”
The challenge is a dare game where a young person voluntarily applies flammable liquids on the body and then sets them self on fire. The event is filmed and uploaded to multiple social media sites.
Often, the kids attempt the stunt while standing in a shower or near a pool. But dousing burning skin in water isn't enough to protect from serious burns. The use of accelerants like rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer or nail polish on the body means fires can hit temperatures of 500 degrees and up almost instantly.
"We really want to warn kids to not try this at all," said Jill Sproul, the nursing manager at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center's Burn Trauma Unit.
Sproul is also suffered severe burns in an accident when she was a child and wants to spare other kids the agony she endured through years of surgery.
"To intentionally do this," Sproul told KTVU shaking her head, "it's mind-boggling."
College football and basketball players could be in line for paydays worth thousands of dollars once they leave school after a landmark ruling Friday that may change the way the NCAA does business.
A federal judge ruled that the NCAA can't stop players from selling the rights to their names, images and likenesses, striking down NCAA regulations that prohibit them from getting anything other than scholarships and the cost of attendance at schools.
U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland, California, ruled in favor of former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon and 19 others in a lawsuit that challenged the NCAA's regulation of college athletics on antitrust grounds. The injunction she issued allows players at big schools to have money generated by television contracts put into a trust fund to pay them when they leave.
In a partial victory for the NCAA, though, Wilken said the body that governs college athletics could set a cap on the money paid to athletes, as long as it allows at least $5,000 per athlete per year of competition. Individual schools could offer less money, she said, but only if they don't unlawfully conspire among themselves to set those amounts.
That means FBS football players and Division I basketball players who are on rosters for four years could potentially get around $20,000 when they leave school. Wilken said she set the $5,000 annual threshold to balance the NCAA's fears about huge payments to players.
"The NCAA's witnesses stated that their concerns about student-athlete compensation would be minimized or negated if compensation was capped at a few thousand dollars per year," Wilken wrote.
The NCAA said it disagreed with the decision, but was still reviewing it.
But Sonny Vaccaro, the former athletic shoe representative who recruited O'Bannon to launch the suit, said it was a huge win for college athletes yet to come.
"The kids who are going to benefit from this are kids who don't even know what we did today," Vaccaro said. "It may only be $5,000 but it's $5,000 more than they get now."
O'Bannon issued a statement calling the decision "a game changer" and precisely what he was after when he joined the suit.
"I just wanted to right a wrong," O'Bannon said. "It is only fair that your own name, image and likeness belong to you, regardless of your definition of amateurism. Judge Wilken's ruling ensures that basic principle shall apply to all participants in college athletics."
The ruling comes after a five-year battle by O'Bannon and others on behalf of college athletes to receive a share of the billions of dollars generated by college athletics by huge television contracts. O'Bannon, who was MVP of the 1995 UCLA national championship basketball team, said he signed on as lead plaintiff after seeing his image in a video game authorized by the NCAA that he was not paid for.
Any payments to athletes would not be immediate. The ruling said regulations on pay will not take effect until the start of the next FBS football and Division I basketball recruiting cycle. Wilken said they will not affect any prospective recruits before July 1, 2016. The NCAA could also appeal, and has said previously that it would take the issue all the way to the Supreme Court.
Former athletes will not be paid, because they gave up their right to damages in a pre-trial move so the case would be heard by a judge, not a jury.
As part of her ruling, Wilken rejected both the NCAA's definition of amateurism and its justification for not paying players. But she did not prohibit the NCAA from enforcing all of its other rules and regulations and said that some restrictions on paying players may still serve a limited purpose if they are necessary to maintain the popularity of major college football and basketball.
"The big picture is the NCAA lost the definition of amateurism it has been pushing for years," said Michael Carrier, a Rutgers law professor and antitrust expert.
Wilken was not asked to rule on the fairness of a system that pays almost everyone but the athletes themselves. Instead, the case was centered on federal antitrust law and whether the prohibition against paying players promotes the game of college football and does not restrain competition in the marketplace.
During a three-week trial in June, attorneys for the NCAA said moving away from the concept of amateurism where players participated for the love of the game would drive spectators away from college sports and would upset the competitive balance among schools and conferences.
Several players testified during the trial that they viewed playing sports as their main occupation in college, saying the many hours they had to devote to the sport made it difficult — if not impossible — to function like regular students.
"I was an athlete masquerading as a student," O'Bannon said at trial. "I was there strictly to play basketball. I did basically the minimum to make sure I kept my eligibility academically so I could continue to play."
Witnesses called by the NCAA spoke of the education provided to athletes as payment for their services and said the college model has functioned well for more than a century. They contended that paying players would make college sports less popular and could force schools to cut other programs funded by the hundreds of millions of dollars taken in by big-time athletics.
The lawsuit was part of a tide of pressure on the NCAA to change the amateur model. Football players at Northwestern University have pushed to be allowed to unionize, and other lawsuits have claimed that athletes have a right to better compensation. This week, the NCAA's board voted to allow the five wealthiest conferences in the country to set their own rules, paving the way for the 65 schools in those conferences to potentially offer richer scholarships and health benefits to players.
Carrier said the outcome might not be scary at all because the money may not be huge and will be paid only after a player's career is over.
"We'll soon see that this isn't the end of the world as we know it," Carrier said.
"The irony of this is that a lot of the other changes in college sports going on were made because of this impending ruling."
A man who was dubbed the "Chrome Revolver Bandit" after a series of 14 armed robberies in San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties was sentenced Friday to more than 800 years in prison, according to District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
Ricky Renee Sanders, 36, was sentenced to 834 years to life in prison Friday following his conviction in February on 44 felony charges including armed robbery, attempted robbery, assault with a firearm, and mayhem in connection with the robberies, Wagstaffe said.
He will be eligible for parole in approximately 780 years.The severe sentence, one of the highest of its kind recorded in the county, reflects the fact that Sanders had prior convictions, Wagstaffe said
"He is a poster boy for the three strikes law and a danger to the community," Wagstaffe said, referring to a state law that imposes stiffer penalties for criminals with prior felony convictions.
Sanders robbed stores including PetSmart, Beverages & More, PetCo and Gamestop in 2011 armed with a large shiny silver handgun that earned his nickname, according to prosecutors.
In one of the robberies at a San Mateo PetSmart on Oct. 8, 2011, Sanders shot a manager in the leg, according to prosecutors.
He was arrested after robbing a store in San Jose on Nov. 1, 2011.
Sander's defense attorney argued during the trial that the armed bandit was covered up during the robberies and witnesses may have incorrectly identified Sanders.
The defense also argued that the robberies were committed by Sanders' friend, Charlie Hustle, whom Sanders claimed to have often loaned his car, ATM PIN and both his cellphones.
CHP says a portable pizza oven came loose as it was being towed by a van causing a deadly accident southwest of Petaluma Friday.
The oven struck a sedan carrying a family of four on Lakeville Highway around 7:23 p.m. Friday. The force knocked the car on its inside, killing one adult in the car and seriously injuring the other three.
One of the injured children was airlifted to Oakland Children’s Hospital. The other adult and child were taken by ambulance to Memorial Hospital in Santa Rosa.
A bus load of firefighters happened to come upon the crash scene and stopped to help.
CHP says it’s not yet clear how the pizza oven came loose.
About 600 Bay Area women each year are diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Sadly, most woman die from it, as did
Most die from it, as did Mill Valley's Karen Orofino. She passed away on May 24th, after 19 months of chemotherapy and surgery.
On Friday, her family took action.
"To be in 2014 and not have a test for ovarian cancer is crazy,” said her husband John Orofino.
He and their two children announced a research fund in Karen's honor. Walking for Karen is dedicated to finding a diagnostic test, hopefully a cure.
"To be able to spread awareness and let people know what ovarian cancer is all about," said 29-year-old daughter Elizabeth Pino.
"In that way my wife continues to live," said John Orofino.
Karen was 64 and worked in Bay Area TV. Her family said she exercised, ate right and saw her doctor regularly.
But after a routine pelvic exam two years ago, she was referred to oncologist John Chan, at the time with UCSF, now with Sutter Health.
"Despite this good care of herself she still was diagnosed in its advanced stages," said Dr. Chan.
Doctors say the sobering truth is, after diagnosis only about 40-percent of women will survive five years. The reason? Ovarian cancer is almost always discovered late.
Dr. Chan showed KTVU a CT scan and noted where tumors show up,
"Deep in the pelvis here on both sides," he said.
And that's key to the problem: ovarian tumors are rarely obvious. Symptoms are vague, usually bloating and soreness.
But, Doctor Chan says, new research is encouraging and closing in on the goal of identifying markers biomakers in the blood, and discovering a routine screening test.
Karen's son John, nicknamed 'Woody,' began hiking more than 200 miles of the John Muir Trail in the Sierra on July 31. He's raising the first $50,000 for "Walking for Karen."
Her family hopes to make a Marin County fundraising hike next month an annual event.
"We don't want any other family to go through this hell and it is hell," said John Orofino.
The family's encouraging public donations to the Walking for Karen fund, 100 percent goes to UCSF ovarian cancer research.