Local News - San Mateo

Former Fremont teacher sentenced for downloading child pornography

KTVU's Top Stories - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 19:38

A 44-year-old former Fremont high school teacher was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Oakland to 97 months in prison for downloading scores of child pornography videos.

Russell Patrick Pfiester, formerly of Fremont, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers in February to charges of receiving and possessing videos depicting children engaging in sexual relations, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said.

In addition to the 97 months in prison, Hamilton also sentenced Pfiester to 10 years of supervised release during which he would be prohibited from being near where children gather, Haag said.

Pfiester, a former teacher with no criminal history, showed by his past behavior that he lacked impulse control and could reoffend, according to prosecutors.

Pfiester was fired from his teaching position at John F. Kennedy High School in Fremont in 2012 after he allegedly photographed female students and used school computers to download and view pornography, prosecutors said.

Even though he was allowed to resign from his teaching job and the school did not report his misconduct to authorities, he failed to take advantage of the opportunity and instead, amassed a collection of child sex videos, according to Haag. 

Prosecutors alleged that Pfiester downloaded child pornography videos, some involving bondage and sexual abuse of children by adults, using a peer-to-peer, file-sharing network on the Internet.

On June 15, 2012, investigators from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security executed a search warrant at the defendant's home in Fremont and seized 128 videos from his laptop computer that showed children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, according to Haag.

Pfiester allegedly had personal experience with child sexual abuse and his sister also suffered sexual abuse as a child, federal prosecutors said.

His Oakland-based attorney Anne Beles argued that Pfiester actually used child pornography for a limited period of time "at a low point in his life" while unemployed and lacking medication for depression and post-traumatic stress. 

Male kayaker drowns in Russian River

KTVU's Top Stories - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 19:22

A male kayaker drowned in Sonoma County's Russian River Saturday afternoon, sheriff's deputies said.

At about 4 p.m., emergency crews responded to a report of a male in distress on a section of the Russian River located just west of the Casini

Ranch Family Campground at 22855 Moscow Road in Sonoma County's unincorporated community of Duncan Mills, deputies said.

Witnesses called 911 after seeing a two-person kayak capsize on the river. One of the two people onboard the kayak appeared to be in distress and had trouble staying afloat, deputies said.

According to witnesses, the male was under water for about 7 to 10 minutes before being located and rescued, sheriff's deputies said.

Emergency crews arrived at the river and performed CPR on the male, but were unable to resuscitate him.

He was pronounced dead at the scene, deputies said.

The identity of the deceased male is not being released until his family has been notified.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office is investigating this fatal incident.

Arturo the sad polar bear will stay in Argentina

KTVU's Top Stories - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 17:04

Despite protesters, internet campaigns and petitions, Argentina's Mendoza Zoo says its lone polar bear, Arturo, won't be moving to Canada any time soon. 

29-year-old Arturo has been nicknamed the "world's saddest animal" for looking sad in his small, toasty quarters at the Argentinean zoo. Reports say Arturo often exhibits concerning behavior like baring his teeth and rocking from side to side . (Via YouTube / The Last Atom)

Winnipeg Humane Society: "He methodically does the same thing over and over and it's really an indication he's slowly going insane." (Via CBC)

According to The Daily Beast, "Experts say the depression stems from his unnaturally hot environment, lack of adequate water to cool off in, and the absence of other polar bears at the zoo."

However, Arturo wasn't always alone. He lived with another poplar bear until 2012, when it died during a heat wave. 

A Winnipeg zoo has offered to house Arturo, and animal lovers all over the world called for his transfer to the cooler climate. Including at least one American politician...(Via Change.org)(ViaCare2 Petition Site)

NEWT GINGRICH: "This is very sad and he should be saved, so sign the petition." (ViaFacebook / Newt Gingrich)

But, this week the director of the Argentina zoo told the world Arturo isn't going anywhere, saying the bear is too old to travel safely. 

Polar bears generally don't live past 30, so Arturo is likely nearing the end of his life. (Vid YouTube / Vid Hab)

One Green Planet called this reasoning "suspicious," pointing out no medical records have been provided proving Arturo is not healthy enough to be transferred. 

And Examiner says experts are saying Arturo would fare much better being transported to Canada, then living out the rest of his life in Argentina. 

Arturo is currently the only polar bear living in Argentina.

Ukraine launches offensive to retake Donetsk

KTVU's Top Stories - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 14:58

Ukrainian officials said their forces advanced to the outskirts of a key town north of Donetsk on Saturday as they try to retake the stronghold held for months by pro-Russia rebels.

The move comes as Ukrainian forces appear to have gained some momentum recently by retaking control of territory from the rebels. But Russia also appears to becoming more involved in the fighting, with the U.S. and Ukraine accusing Moscow of moving heavily artillery across the border to the rebels.

Ukrainian national security spokesman Andriy Lysenko said Ukrainian forces were outside Horlikva, just north of the regional center of Donetsk.

Once they can take Horlivka, "the direct route is open for the forces of the anti-terrorist operation to the capital of the Donbass region — the city of Donetsk," Lysenko said. "The approaches to Donetsk are being blocked so that the terrorists do not get the chance to receive ammunition, reinforcements or equipment."

Donetsk, a city of about 1 million people, is a major center of the separatist uprising that has battled Ukrainian government forces for five months.

An Associated Press reporter found the highway north of Donetsk blocked by rebels and heard the sound of artillery to the north. Explosions were heard in the direction of the town's airport, on the northwest edge of the city, an area frequently contested by Ukrainian forces and rebels. Black smoke rose from the direction of Yakovlikva, a northern suburb of Donetsk.

About 35 miles (60 kilometers) to the east, the site where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down was still eerily empty except for the parents of one of the 298 people killed in the July 17 disaster. A full-fledged investigation still hasn't started because of the security risks posed by the nearby fighting.

But Jerzy Dyczynski and Angela Rudhart-Dyczynski, parents of 25-year-old Fatima, travelled from their home in Perth, Australia to honor their daughter. They crossed territory held by pro-Russian rebels to reach the wreckage-strewn fields outside the village of Hrabove, where they sat together on part of the debris, his arm around her shoulder.

Fatima "was for peace. She will be forever for peace," her father said.

U.S. and Ukrainian officials say the plane was shot down by a missile from rebel territory, most likely by mistake.

Two military cargo planes, one Dutch and the other Australian, also flew 38 more coffins carrying victims to the Netherlands for identification and investigation.

Later, the Dutch government said the first formal identification of a victim had taken place. The name and sex of the victim, a Dutch national, were not released.

The planes took off Saturday from Kharkiv, a government-controlled city where the bodies have been brought from the wreckage site in territory held by pro-Russian separatists fighting the Ukrainian government. They landed later in the afternoon in Eindhoven, where the coffins were transferred to a fleet of hearses in a solemn ceremony.

Officials said the flights took the last of the 227 coffins containing victims that had been brought to Kharkiv by refrigerated train. Officials say the exact number of people held in the coffins is still to be determined by forensic experts in the Netherlands, where Ukraine agreed to send the bodies. International observers have said there are still remains at the wreckage site. Access has been limited due to rebel interference and security concerns.

The disaster sparked hopes in the West that Russia would scale back its involvement in the uprising in Ukraine's east, but nine days later the opposite seems to be the case.

Russia launched artillery attacks from its soil into Ukraine on Friday, while the United States said it has seen powerful rocket systems moving closer to the Ukraine border.

Those accusations sparked a strong denial from Moscow, which accuses the U.S. of a smear campaign.

The Russian Foreign Ministry accused the United States on Saturday of conducting "an unrelenting campaign of slander against Russia, ever more relying on open lies."

The ministry took particular issue with comments Friday by White House spokesman Josh Earnest, who said Washington regards Moscow as involved in the shooting down of the airliner because it allegedly has supplied missile systems to the rebels and trained them on how to use them.

The ministry complained that these allegations have not been backed up with public evidence and it sneered at Earnest for saying they are supported by claims on social media.

"In other words, the Washington regime is basing its contentions on anti-Russian speculation gathered from the Internet that does not correspond to reality," it said.

Russia also lashed out at the latest round of Ukraine-related sanctions imposed by the European Union, saying they endanger the fight against international terrorism.

The EU sanctions, announced on Friday, impose travel bans and asset freezes on 15 people, including the head of Russia's Federal Security Service and the head of the agency's department overseeing international operations and intelligence. Four members of Russia's national security council are also on the list.

The Foreign Ministry said the sanctions show the EU is taking "a complete turn away from joint work with Russia on international and regional security, including the fight against the spread of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism (and) organized crime."

"We are sure the decisions will be greeted enthusiastically by international terrorists," the ministry said.

Meanwhile, CNN reported that a Ukrainian freelancer who had been detained by separatists was freed on Saturday. The journalist, Anton Skiba, was seized Tuesday in the rebel-controlled city of Donetsk when he and other members of a TV crew returned to a hotel after working at the site of the downed Malaysian airliner.

A day earlier, the anti-Kremlin newspaper Novaya Gazeta ran a full front-page photo of a cortege of hearses with the headline in Dutch and Russian saying: "Forgive us, Holland."

Feds delay closure of Point Reyes oyster farm

KTVU's Top Stories - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 14:34

The National Park Service is delaying the closure of a popular oyster farm in the Point Reyes National Seashore.

Drakes Bay Oyster Co. in Marin County was scheduled to shut down at the end of July after former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in 2012 refused to renew the farm's 40-year lease.

But owner Kevin Lunny says the National Park Service said Friday the company can continue harvesting oysters beyond July 31, and the agency will give 30 days notice before it has to close.

Lunny says Drakes Bay will shut down its retail and packing operation on Thursday, but will continue supplying its customers with raw oysters.

The agreement to delay closure comes as a federal judge considers an injunction request by businesses that rely on Drakes Bay oysters.

Israel says it's extending Gaza truce for 24 hours

KTVU's Top Stories - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 14:23

A government official says Israel's Cabinet has decided to extend a humanitarian cease-fire for 24 hours, but that troops will respond to any fire from Gaza.

The official wrote in a text message that the truce would be extended until midnight (2100 GMT) Sunday. He requested anonymity because he was not authorized to brief journalists.

He says Israel also will continue to demolish Hamas military tunnels during the period of lull.

Earlier, Hamas had rejected a four-hour extension of Saturday's initial 12-hour truce, and Gaza militants said they fired several dozen rockets at Israel.

There was no immediate Israeli retaliation for the rocket fire.

Man killed walking on San Jose freeway

KTVU's Top Stories - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 14:05

A 74-year-old man was killed late Friday when a car struck him as he walked in a traffic lane of Interstate Highway 680 near Capitol Expressway in San Jose, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The CHP received a report at 11:05 p.m. Friday of a vehicle that had crashed into a pedestrian on northbound I-680 near the expressway and upon arrival, found the victim lying in the number four lane of the highway, Officer Ross Lee said.

The driver of a 2001 Chevrolet Malibu who was traveling in the lane was not able to avoid hitting the pedestrian, Lee said.

An emergency medical team administered CPR and basic life support but could not revive the man and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Malibu immediately pulled over to the right shoulder, remained until the CHP got there and cooperated fully with officers, Lee said.

From a preliminary investigation, the CHP determined that the pedestrian had walked onto I-680 northbound from Capitol, continued traversing south on the off-ramp against traffic and then ended up inside the number four lane where the car struck him.

The CHP issued a Sig-alert at 11:36 p.m. Friday for northbound I-680 and then opened all lanes shortly after 1 a.m.

No arrest was made and the accident still being investigated.

The Santa Clara County medical examiner's office arrived at the scene to transport the man's body. His name was not released.

Mother killed, 5-year-old injured in vicious Vallejo attack

KTVU's Top Stories - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 13:36

A 43-year-old parolee was booked on suspicion of murdering a woman in a violent attack Saturday morning in Vallejo that also seriously injured the victim's 5-year-old boy, a police spokesman said.

At 1:52 a.m. the Vallejo Police Department received a call about an assault inside a residence in the 2000 block of Marin Street west of Sonoma Boulevard, according to police Capt. James O'Connell.

When officers arrived, they found a 5-year-old boy and his 40-year-old mother injured from an apparent violent attack.

The boy was taken to the trauma center of a Bay Area hospital where he is expected to survive, O'Connell said.

His mother was transported from the scene for emergency treatment but she died on the way to a hospital, he said.

Police officers and detectives obtained information about a suspect in the assault and broadcast the information to officers in the field.

At 8:41 a.m., a Vallejo police officer saw the suspect on a street in East Vallejo and took him into custody.

Daryl Wakefield, of Vallejo, was arrested on suspicion of murder and attempted murder, O'Connell said.

Officers confirmed that Wakefield knew the female victim.

Wakefield is on parole for a burglary conviction and has a violent criminal history, according to O'Connell said.

The identify of the woman is being withheld until family members are notified.

Family pet overwhelmed at owner’s homecoming

KTVU's Top Stories - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 13:24

Rebecca Ehalt had missed her pet schnauzer during the two years she was away in Slovenia, but she had no idea how much her dog had missed her.

Ehalt came back home to Pennsylvania this week and the greeting Casey gave her at their reunion was one to warm the heart of any pet owner.

Casey ran into her arms, squealed with delight and then a few moments later fainted over all the excitement.

A couple pats on the stomach brought Casey back to his feet. He soon was back in Rebecca’s arms and warmly cuddling with her.

The reunion on Youtube -- http://bit.ly/1t9wPL6 -- has generated more than 1.5 million downloads.

Fires near vineyards, Yosemite park threaten homes

KTVU's Top Stories - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 12:13

A Northern California wildfire more than tripled in size Saturday, threatening vineyards and hundreds of homes, while a new blaze prompted evacuation of a community in Yosemite National Park.

Pushed by 20 mph wind gusts, the so-called Sand Fire that began Friday in the Sierra Nevada foothills raced through more than 6 square miles of drought-stricken grasslands east of Sacramento.

The blaze, which has burned five homes and seven outbuildings, led to evacuation orders covering about 515 homes in and around the River Pines Estates community in Amador County.

"The fire's moving in and around homes in the area," said Lynn Tolmachoff, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. "The leading edge is bumping up against residences as we speak."

Firefighters battled the flames through the day in triple-digit temperatures. At first, the fire moved away from vineyards in the Shenandoah Valley, but a mid-afternoon wind change caused the flames to split and some crossed fire lines and headed down into a section of the wine country, Tolmachoff said.

The wildfire burned within 200 yards of the Story Winery in Plymouth on Friday, and the business was closed Saturday.

"We've got CalFire guys using our tasting room as a lookout point," owner Rob Campbell told the Sacramento Bee (http://bit.ly/1rIoXjk ).

Sunset brought some relief, with slightly cooler and calmer weather.

"The wind has died down. It's definitely helping the firefighters out," Tolmachoff said. "We're not seeing the large flames. But now it's extremely smoky."

The fire was only 20 percent contained by nightfall despite efforts by 1,464 firefighters and aircraft that included a DC-10 air tanker.

CalFire says a vehicle that drove over dry vegetation started the fire, which has sent up huge plumes of smoke and worsened air quality in the Sacramento area.

Meanwhile, a 500-acre fire that began Saturday afternoon threatened homes and cabins in Yosemite. Evacuations were ordered in Foresta, a community of about 45 homes inside the park where many park employees live, spokeswoman Kari Cobb said.

An additional six homes outside the park also were evacuated, she said.

The area is well away from the heavily touristed Yosemite Valley, but road closures could add a half-hour to the drive in for park visitors, Cobb said.

About 300 firefighters were battling the blaze in an area scorched in a 2009 fire, Cobb said.

Wildfires also burned in other Western states. The nation's largest wildfire, the 618-square-mile Buzzard Complex in eastern Oregon, was 95 percent contained Saturday as crews also battled other fires in the state.

There was also progress on Washington's largest wildfire, the 390-square-mile Carlton Complex in north-central part of the state, which was almost 60 percent contained. Cooler weather and rain helped firefighters get a handle on the lightning-caused fire, but heat and wind picked up Saturday. Officials increased their estimate of burned homes from 150 to 300 Friday.

In Utah, evacuation orders for 200 homes in Summit County and 10 homes in Utah County were lifted. No homes burned and there were no injuries. One of the fires started early Saturday when two teenagers playing with fireworks ignited dry grass and brush, police said.

Other wildfires burned in Utah, Colorado and other states in the West.

Plea deal reached in drunken brawl near AT&T Park

KTVU's Top Stories - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 11:46

Two Sacramento men accused of knocking a woman unconscious in a drunken brawl outside of AT&T Park earlier this month have reached a plea deal, according to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.

Anthony Rucker, 42, and Francisco Lopez, 32, pleaded guilty and no contest, respectively, to assault and battery charges connected with a fight that occurred around 5:50 p.m. on July 10 at Second and King streets.

The fight broke out near the stadium where, earlier that day, the San Francisco Giants had played the Oakland Athletics.

Both men had attended the game with their families.

Rucker pleaded guilty to felony assault. He faces three years' probation and one year in county jail, according to the district attorney's office.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on September 17.

Lopez, who was with Rucker at the incident, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault. He was sentenced to three years' probation.

The two men were arrested in Sacramento for their alleged involvement in the fight, which left a 27-year-old Oakland woman unconscious and injured a 28-year-old San Jose man.

The pair's attorneys had argued that the fight started after the woman and man thought Rucker's 13-year-old daughter was filming the woman vomiting on the sidewalk.

The daughter was only playing a video game, but the altercation escalated and Lopez got involved. Rucker allegedly swung and hit the woman, who was knocked unconscious, according to the attorneys.

The woman was taken to the hospital and released the next day. The man also suffered minor injures in the fight.

Lopez' attorney argued that Lopez had been punched by the San Jose man and his nose was broken in the drunken brawl.

Prosecutors said both Rucker and Lopez were on probation out of Sacramento County before their arrests.

Rucker was convicted of illegal possession of marijuana, while Lopez was convicted of negligent discharge of a firearm.

Rucker remains in custody on $200,000 bail.

Man accused of bar hopping on lawnmower, charged with DUI

KTVU's Top Stories - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 11:42

Police in Colorado claim 53-year-old Kenneth Welton used a lawnmower as his mode of transportation for a recent night on the town gone awry.

Police were alerted by concerned citizens who reported Welton was aboard a lawnmower going the wrong direction down a busy road in Garden City, Colorado.

According to this CBS4 report, Weld County Sheriff’s Sgt. Sean Standridge says that when police confronted Welton, he was unable to stand on his own and showed other signs of impairment.

Welton, interviewed by a news reporter while in jail, disputed the charges. He claimed he was using the lawnmower to trim weeds, not for bar-hopping. Welton was shocked by the DUI charge.

KOAA reports that Welton is a repeat traffic offender and his driver’s license had already been revoked at the time of the alleged lawnmower DUI.

It is not know if Welton has obtained legal representation.

CHP helicopter rescues teens from Marin cliff

KTVU's Top Stories - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 11:24

Two male teens were rescued Friday evening from a 75-foot cliff in the Golden Gate Recreation Area in Marin County by a cinch collar line lowered from a helicopter operated by the California Highway Patrol, a CHP officer said.

At about 6:30 p.m. Friday, the Southern Marin Fire Department contacted the CHP to send a helicopter from the Napa County Airport to help rescue two juveniles trapped on the side of a cliff over Rodeo Beach in the recreation area, Officer Al Romero said.

The teenaged boys had apparently climbed the face of the cliff and then "felt if they moved anymore, they were going to fall," Romero said.

The CHP'S Napa office sent an H-30 helicopter to the area, north of the Point Bonita Lighthouse, and the crew found the boys about 75 feet above the beach, clinging to the face of the cliff, the CHP said.

The boys, wearing only beachwear and no shoes, were unable to get off the cliff and were at a location that was too steep and not close to a roadway for a high-angle rope rescue, the CHP reported.

With directions provided by the Fire Department, the crew of the helicopter dangled a line with a cinch rescue collar down to the boys and lowered each of them to the beach.

"They just put up their arms around it and it cinched to them," said Romero, who was a member of the flight crew. "We lowered them one at a time."

A deputy of the Marin County Sheriff's Office was on the beach to greet the boys and take their statements, Romero said.

Both of the teens were also reunited with their families. Neither was injured.

As helicopter rescues using a harness go, this operation "wasn't one of the tense ones," compared to having to lower the rescue collar through trees, Romero said. "It was a pretty open area."

Caught on radar: Beer-loving bugs swarm in Midwest

KTVU's Top Stories - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 11:11

Mayflies have begun emerging from the Mississippi River in swarms that show up on radar like thunderstorms, coat roads and leave behind slimy messes. They've already been blamed for at least one car crash this week in Wisconsin.

The flies hatch and then spend a year burrowed into the sediment on the bottom of the river that serves as a border between Wisconsin and Minnesota. They emerge the next summer to mate, lay eggs and die, all in less than 48 hours.

Mayflies, sensitive to oxygen levels and pollutants in the river, serve as "sentinels" for scientists and others concerned about water quality, said Mark Steingraeber, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist. Mayflies disappeared from a 70-mile area south of the Twin Cities in the 1920s and didn't reappear in significant numbers again until 1978, when wastewater treatment and others actions taken under the Clean Water Act began to have an impact.

The National Weather Service captured a massive swarm on radar Sunday night as the flies came out of the river and drifted north on the wind. The radar system picks up energy reflected off the flies, with the image's intensity reflecting the density of the bugs.

A loop recorded Sunday shows yellow patches directly over the river that morph into a green band as the flies drift north. The bugs become blue dots as they disperse.

A second, smaller swarm recorded Thursday night starts as a green band before exploding like fireworks into blue dots.

"Almost every night in the summer, there's some sense on the radar that there's something coming off the river," said Dan Baumgardt, science and operations officer for the National Weather Service in La Crosse. "We don't know what kind of bug it is ... until we have people calling or saying, 'Oh my gosh, there's mayflies all in the La Crosse area.' "

The weather service typically records several swarms each year from June through August. Air and water temperatures have been usually cool this year, helping explain why Sunday's emergence was the first big one this summer, Steingraeber said.

Attracted by light, mayflies congregate on roads, bridges and other surfaces in piles that can be nearly 2 feet high. Cars crush the flies, releasing liquid in the females' eggs and making roads slick. Two people were injured Sunday in Trenton Township in western Wisconsin when a car slid on a road covered by flies, crashed into a second car and then struck a van.

Flies that aren't crushed spend 24 hours shedding exoskeletons in a final stage of development before taking to the air again to mate. The females then seek water to lay their eggs.

"If they happen to come across a cup of beer, they will deposit them in a cup of beer," said Steingraeber, who needs volunteers to help track the flies' appearance for his research.

Adult flies die after laying their eggs. Within hours, their offspring hatch in the river, and the cycle begins again.

Bryman College set to close Bay Area campuses

KTVU's Top Stories - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 10:46

It's the end of the line for all four Bay Area locations of Bryman College.

Employees say administrators told them on Friday afternoon that the college was closing its campuses in San Jose, San Francisco, Hayward and Los Angeles.

The announcement didn't come as too much of a surprise for one a long-time staff member who told KTVU off camera that the school has been having trouble paying its employees during the past year.

When KTVU arrived at the San Jose location on North First Street, people were locking up and leaving. But when approached, the employees declined to talk on camera.

Meanwhile, the last graduating class for the San Jose campus was holding its commencement ceremony at a nearby church.

One new graduate proudly showed us her diploma, declaring she was the first in her family to graduate from college.

"I'm feeling great...just graduated," said Ashley Soto of Redwood City.


But she and others in the class of 2014 are also expressing sadness. This joyful occasion was marred by the news of the school's bankruptcy and closure.

"My instructor who prepared me to go get a career doesn't have a job anymore It's heartbreaking," said Angelina Aguilar of San Jose.

The graduates told KTVU they had paid $16,000 for an accelerated education of less than one year to qualify for a career in the medical field. Now, they're relieved they've completed their education before Bryman closed.

"It's really sad over the news that we heard," said Iniobong Udoffia, a new graduate.

The mother of two asys her heart goes out to other students who haven't finished their courses.

"Some of the students only have one month to finish...there's nothing you can do about it," said Udoffia.

On the California Department of consumer affairs website, officials have announced they will have staff at each of the school's locations to assist students on Monday morning.

Woman calls police about her laced meth

KTVU's Top Stories - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 10:21

The Enid Police Department received a different kind of call earlier this week.

They tell EnidNews.com, a 54-year-old woman called them claiming her meth was laced. 

Lynette Sampson wasn't having medical issues due to the laced meth.  Police say people just do really stupid things when they're high on meth.

When officers arrived at her home, she was more than happy to show them where all of her meth was located.  In fact, she had multiple hidden locations. 

Sampson had no idea she was not only admitting to crimes, but was also giving officers a lot of evidence.

Once the tour of Sampson's home was over, officers took her into custody.  She faces multiple drug counts. 

Warehouse fire under control after injuring 1 person, damaging 5 buildings

KTVU's Top Stories - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 08:23

A five-alarm blaze that critically injured one person and damaged five commercial buildings near Spartan Stadium in San Jose was brought under control Saturday afternoon, a fire captain said.

The fire was reported at about 3:30 a.m. in a warehouse at South Seventh Street and East Alma Avenue, San Jose fire Capt. Cleo Doss said.

An employee inside one of the buildings was able to escape the blaze before firefighters arrived, but was transported to a hospital in critical condition, Doss said.

After battling the blaze for more than 12 hours, firefighters were able to bring the fire under control at 3:56 p.m., Doss said.

The fire captain said five buildings were damaged, three of which have been determined to be a complete loss. Two of the buildings were partially damaged and are likely to be reoccupied, according to Doss.

Among the businesses inside the one-story warehouse spaces that were impacted by the fire are various companies that deal with products such as computers, electronics and wooden pallets, Doss said.

Firefighters will remain at the scene completing overhaul operations.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation

Vallejo animal rescue effort in a race with time

KTVU's Top Stories - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 07:51

Everyday Lynn Carvahlo opens the doors of her Wags and Whiskers thrift shop and hopes today will be the day they find a way to help the thousands of animals on the streets of Vallejo.

She founded the non-profit group S.N.I.P, the Spay Neuter Imperative Project.

Carvahlo says “the problem is horrendous” -- feral cat populations are in almost every neighborhood and shelters are at capacity. But she says the solution is just within reach and it comes in the form of a mobile spay and neuter van.

Part of the battle to make the mobile van a reality has already been won.

The City of Vallejo has already allocated $165,000 that would go specifically towards procedures. Petsmart Charities has also awarded $95,000 to the group.

There is only one problem the group still needs a mobile van to make it all happen. The van can cost $85,000-$100,000 and they are running out of time to get one.

Carvahlo told KTVU “we have until the end of August and then the money reverts back to the city.”

If that happens then the Petsmart money will be lost as well.

She is now working with Michelle Morris-Adams who founded the magazine Pet Lovers Guide and who spent 5 years working for rescue groups.

“I've personally trapped and neutered over 400 animals over the last five years I’ve rehomed almost two hundred,” Morris-Adams told KTVU.

Morris-Adams says the shelters do what they can but they are almost always full.

The Vallejo Humane Shelter is at capacity and so is the Fairfield Animal Shelter. Of the 10,000 animals the shelter takes in annually, 20 percent come from Vallejo.

When KTVU went by the shelter it was tough to find any empty space.

“We are extremely overcrowded today with a population of 356 animals,” Lt. Cathy Ramos told KTVU.

They normally house about 160 so staffers were asking other shelters to help shoulder the load. But not all the animals taken in will find homes.

“We actually have a live release rate of 60 percent so 40 percent of those animals do not make it out of here,” Ramos said.

Carvahlo says she’s not sure if they’ll raise the money in time.

She has started a Go Fund Me account and all the proceeds from the thrift store will go towards the effort.

But at this point they are not even close to their goal.

Still Morris-Adams says she doesn’t believe it’s a question of support but rather getting the word out. They are hoping the more people know, the more the money they will raise and insists they are not giving up.

Locals in the Pros: Ex-Lancer Blandino shifts back to shortstop

Mercury New - Peninsula - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 07:44
Alex Blandino is doing well with his transition to shortstop with the Class A Billings (Mont.) Mustangs.

Pedestrian struck by CHP patrol car in San Jose

KTVU's Top Stories - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 07:41

A man was in critical condition early Saturday after he dashed in front of a California Highway Patrol car on southbound Highway 101 in San Jose and was struck, authorities said.

CHP officer Ross Lee said the incident took place at around 1:50 a.m. as the patrol car with two officers inside was traveling south near Alum Rock Ave.

“A pedestrian ran across the freeway,” Lee told KTVU. “The officer applied the brakes and swerved to the left in an attempt to avoid the pedestrian…But the pedestrian was struck by the left side of the patrol vehicle. “

Ross said the officers did not have much time to react. The man – a Spanish-speaking male in his 20s – came into view when the patrol car was 10 feet away from him.

The officers regained control of the car, rolling to a stop on the shoulder and then raced back up the freeway to assist the man.

“He appeared to have suffered major injuries, but responded to treatment,” Lee said. “He was talking to the officers. “

The man was rushed to the hospital and underwent emergency surgery. Lee said the man was in critical condition.

All but one lane of the busy freeway was shut down for several hours while investigators were on the scene. The freeway was expected to be completely reopened by 9 a.m.