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John King





 



5 heroin deaths reported in Santa Rosa over the past 10 days

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 05:12:11 UT

The surge in drug-related fatalities was being publicized “to warn the public of this disturbing trend,” according to a statement released Tuesday by the county Sheriff’s Office. The victims were not identified, and the final causes of the deaths has not been officially determined. John King is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.



Homeless center planned for Mission district spurs debate

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 20:12:02 UT

An often raucous neighborhood meeting Monday evening in the Mission district drove one point loudly home — homelessness continues to be San Francisco’s most emotionally charged civic issue. Most people who got seats seemed to support the plan being discussed, a temporary “navigation center” intended to move people out of the ramshackle tent colonies that line many neighborhood sidewalks. “We resent that our desire to have safe streets is maligned ... we’ve got to do something about the crime,” said Kausar Wildman, a 22-year resident, referring to bike thefts and drug use associated with some people in tents. “People are getting incredibly frustrated and worried about stepping over human waste in front of their doors, and discarded needles” and being accosted by people with mental problems, Ronen said in her opening remarks. [...] she and other city officials made the case that the navigation center would help to reduce the number of tents in view and, ultimately, people on the streets. The advantage of such a center over a typical shelter, said one staffer with the city’s department of homelessness, is that residents have a month where they’re within safe and supervised conditions. In addition to beds, the centers have case workers on hand to assess people’s needs and to try to find them housing or social services, from mental help to job training. “People inside the navigation centers are away from the trauma of the streets,” said Jason Albertson, a clinical social worker with the Department of Homelessness. After an hour of public comments — alternating between supporters and opponents, each having their own separate line — Ronen thanked the crowd but voiced frustration of her own. There were other shouts, and then supporters started clapping and chanting “build the navigation center!”



Defendant in Oakland college massacre ruled fit to stand trial

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 03:24:06 UT

Defendant in Oakland college massacre ruled fit to stand trial The man accused of shooting and killing seven people at a small vocational college in Oakland in 2012 has been ruled competent to stand trial. A hearing was set for Wednesday to determine a schedule for proceeding toward trial in the shooting rampage.



‘Borderwall as Architecture,’ by Ronald Rael

Thu, 6 Apr 2017 20:38:04 UT

Whether you view it as provocative or pragmatic, a satirical act of defiance or a spineless shrug, Ronald Rael’s “Borderwall as Architecture” confronts us with this undeniable fact: The question posed by Rael, an associate professor in the departments of Architecture and Art Practice at UC Berkeley who subtitles his book “A Manifesto for the U.S.-Mexico Boundary,” is whether walls along the border could be used to bring people together, rather than keep us apart. If this sounds like amoral opportunism, Rael makes plain his disgust for what exists: “The U.S.-Mexico wall has created a territory of paradox, horror, transformation, and flux, like the Berlin Wall did, but on a much larger scale.” “Borderwall as Architecture” would benefit from a livelier writer than Rael, whose prose is the sort that makes academics nod with self-satisfied smiles. [...] his imagination is audacious, and he smartly frames his “grand tour” of the border as a procession of vignettes that shift easily between history, architectural what-ifs and what you might call postcards from the front. Homemade cannons in the back of pickup trucks have fired 30-pound canisters of weed through the arid desert near Yuma, Ariz. [...] what has sprung up now, on the Mexican side? A stretch known as Tortilla Wall, where vendors sometimes sell food to border agents through openings in the chain-link fence. The catapults and ramps are the inspirations for Teeter-Totter Wall, with that playground mainstay inserted through existing barriers, one rider in each nation, so “people on both sides could directly experience the interdependency between the two countries.” Other proposals take the wall as a necessary evil and imagine it as beneficial in at least some way — having portions of the wall double as wastewater treatment facilities, perhaps, to improve environmental and sanitary conditions along the border. The subtleties at work here, the efforts to leapfrog our poisonous politics and imagine “design as a reparative measure,” won’t sway the debate in Washington.



Almost time for SF’s Salesforce Tower to hit the top

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 15:18:06 UT

The last steel beam will be maneuvered into place atop the 1,070-foot high-rise on April 6, developers Boston Properties and Hines revealed Friday. The high point will come four years after the ceremonial groundbreaking in March 2013, but barely a year since the first steel appeared above ground last March. Salesforce has leased more than half the space in the 1.4 million-square-foot building; most of it is on the lower floors, but the 60th and 61st stories will serve as a sort of sky-high company lounge for the software giant’s employees, customers and guests. The schedule calls for the tower to be completed in July, according to marketing director Helen Han of Boston Properties.



John Field, architect of Bay Area shopping centers, dies at 87

Thu, 2 Mar 2017 00:46:59 UT

John Field, an architect and self-described “urban choreographer” who strove to humanize shopping centers in the Bay Area and elsewhere, died of cancer at his home in San Francisco on Feb. 21. Rather than reshape the skyline, Mr. Field won notice in his profession by focusing on mostly suburban shopping centers — trying to turn staid lines of functional shops into community hubs. In the mid-’90s, his firm brought new life to 1000 Van Ness, a former Cadillac dealership converted into a mix of movie theaters, restaurant space and housing. Whatever the setting, Mr. Field’s gift was that he understood that individual works of architecture are part of a larger civic fabric. Born in Minnesota, Mr. Field earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture at Yale University, then “got in the car and drove as far as I could drive,” he told an interviewer in 2005. Increasingly, he sought to conjure up some of the atmosphere of the small cities that he and his wife, Carol, would visit in Italy, where the pleasure of wandering structure-lined byways was an attraction in itself. Mr. Field is survived by his wife, Carol, a novelist and cookbook author; his son, Matt, of San Francisco and daughter Alison of Chestnut Hill, Mass.; and three grandchildren.



Science sparks excitement for middle school investigators

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 22:51:59 UT

The range of topics ranged even wider — from the likes and dislikes of twins to the effect of cigarette butts on ocean acidification or whether people of different ages respond differently to shocks and if video games affect depth perception. “I would notice that after playing video games you feel dizzy,” said Catherine Ikeda, a seventh-grader at St. Brendan Parish School, explaining the catalyst for her project “2-D or Not To See,” which won a first-place ribbon. Santa Clara tech behemoth Intel has dropped its sponsorship of two high-profile science fairs, preferring to back hands-on maker fairs. President Trump has repeatedly claimed massive voter fraud in last November’s election despite an utter lack of evidence that any widespread fraud occurred. [...] the emphasis Saturday was a polite rebuttal to all that, with two large rooms in the zoo’s Lurie Education Center filled with tri-fold display boards showing that disciplined research can lead to demonstrable conclusions. “Some folks think science fairs are antiquated and outdated, and I totally disagree,” said Marcus Wojtkowiak of the Randall Museum, which is operated by the Recreation and Park Department and has sponsored the citywide fair for 35 years. By contrast, eighth-grader Lia Sanchez of Aptos Middle School pursued her line of inquiry with a camera, a stroboscope — and a prank pen that sends out electric shocks. To learn whether video games dull your depth perception immediately afterwards — they do — Ikeda needed 33 fellow students to test their depth perception on a home-made register, play “Minecraft” for three-minute stints, then take the test again.



Man killed after wandering onto freeway in Berkeley

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 22:19:55 UT

A man who apparently wandered onto Interstate 80 in Berkeley on Friday evening was struck and killed by a motorist, according to the California Highway Patrol. The collision occurred shortly before 8 p.m. near the eastbound Gilman Street offramp, where the driver of a blue Hyundai struck a pedestrian who was standing or walking in the slow lane. The dead man’s identity has not been released, and it is not known why he was on the busy freeway.




Yolo County man killed in I-80 crash near Dixon

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 22:05:01 UT

The California Highway Patrol responded to a call at 1:49 a.m. and found the driver pinned inside his black BMW at the northbound exit to Highway 113 in Solano County. A witness told officers the vehicle had veered off the roadway “for no apparent reason” and run into a tree at a high speed, according to the CHP report.




SF 1st stop for exhibition of Lawrence Halprin photos

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 15:00:00 UT

An exhibition of contemporary photographs that trace the 60-year career of legendary Bay Area landscape architect Lawrence Halprin will go on a national tour — with San Francisco as the first stop. “The Landscape Architecture of Lawrence Halprin” will open May 24 at the Palace of Fine Arts, with 56 photographs of 30 projects that include private homes along with such enduring destinations as Ghirardelli Square, Levi’s Plaza and Sea Ranch along the Sonoma County coast. “Our goal is to inspire viewers about the artistry of the landscape architect,” said Charles Birnbaum, president of the Cultural Landscape Foundation, which organized the exhibition and commissioned the photographs. The Palace of Fine Arts setting is appropriate — it is downhill from one of the Marin resident’s final major projects, the tumbling spill of lawns and waterways that enfolds George Lucas’ Letterman Digital Arts Center on the east edge of the Presidio. After the exhibition closes on Sept. 4, it will visit several other cities, though those stops have not yet been announced.



Nearly 200,000 ordered evacuated as Oroville Dam danger spikes

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 00:28:30 UT

OROVILLE, Butte County — Nearly 200,000 people downriver from Lake Oroville were ordered to evacuate Sunday night after an emergency spillway next to the reservoir’s dam appeared in danger of collapse. While the integrity of Oroville Dam is not at risk, officials said a catastrophic amount of water was in danger of bursting through the wall of the auxiliary spillway alongside the 770-foot-tall dam. Pressure from the water cascading over the concrete lip of the spillway had caused rapid erosion below it, threatening to burrow a hole beneath and through the auxiliary structure. [...] officials were unwilling to say when the evacuation orders to some 188,000 people will be reversed, or how the eroded auxiliary spillway can be repaired. “Now that there is no more water going over the emergency spillway, though it brings stability to the situation, there are still a lot of unknowns,” Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said at a 10 p.m. news conference. The first call for mandatory evacuations came shortly after 4:30 p.m. and included all low-lying areas in Butte County from Oroville south to the border of Sutter County. “I couldn’t risk lives of thousands of people, so we took this significant step,” Honea said at a news conference earlier in the evening. Officials relieved pressure on the auxiliary spillway by increasing the amount of water being discharged down the main spillway to nearly 100,000 cubic feet per second, nearly twice the level of earlier in the day. “We have contingency plans drawn up, and crews are heading into the area to be on standby,” said Dan Olson of the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Roads quickly became jammed as thousands of people left a widening circle of communities around Oroville. Gov. Jerry Brown also responded to the danger of large-scale flooding, declaring a state of emergency because “conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist in Butte, Sutter and Yuba Counties.” The discharge raised concerns over how the earth-lined backup channel would hold up, but state water officials had been confident about the integrity of the emergency spillway before the evacuation was ordered. Another wet weather system, in what has been a soaking winter, is on deck to hit Northern California on Wednesday, requiring water managers to make still more room in Lake Oroville for another surge. The series of Pacific storms is expected to bring up to 4 inches of rain to parts of the Central Valley, said Idamis Del Valle, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Sacramento office.



Man killed, officer wounded in Fremont

Mon, 6 Feb 2017 06:02:49 UT

A man was killed and an officer was injured Sunday after police responded to an altercation outside a Fremont home. The incident began at 4 p.m. when officers responded to a call concerning a disturbance near Mowry Avenue and Sutter Drive, in a stretch of single-family homes between central Fremont and Interstate 880. The altercation continued after police arrived, and an officer was injured before the man was shot and killed, said Officer Mike Gilfoy of the Fremont Police Department.



BART stopped in SF for an hour after police action at Montgomery

Mon, 6 Feb 2017 01:59:15 UT

BART stopped in SF for an hour after police action at Montgomery The delay began at around 4:40 p.m. after a person supposedly was seen jumping onto tracks in the station. During the halt in service, Muni loosened its boarding rules to allow passengers with BART tickets to ride the city system without charge.



Bay Area set for another soaking this week

Mon, 6 Feb 2017 01:01:34 UT

Yet more rain is expected to keep the Bay Area damp this week, with the first in a new wave of modest storms arriving during Sunday’s Super Bowl. Steady rain is expected at intervals through Friday, boosting the precipitation figures for a season in which rainfall already is well ahead of average. In the days ahead, chances are slim that the succession of storms will have the destructive power — such as flooding along the Russian River — that January’s weather packed. “It’s going to be rainy, and there will be some nasty commutes, but there probably won’t be enough rain to cause road closures,” said Bob Benjamin, another forecaster with the weather service. The winds, though, will pick up at times, threatening trees, branches and any power lines that may fall victim to crashing limbs. Gusty winds will create white-out conditions at times on mountain passes, with the most severe impacts expected overnight Sunday and again overnight Monday, forecasters said.




FBI seeking submachine gun stolen from agent’s car in East Bay

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 06:49:50 UT

The FBI is missing a submachine gun and a bulletproof vest and is seeking the public’s help to track down the tactical gear. The items were stolen from a special agent’s vehicle on the evening of Jan. 8 or the morning of Jan. 9 in either Concord, Orinda or Lafayette, according to a brief statement released Friday by the FBI’s field office in San Francisco. The FBI is being assisted by the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office to “locate and recover items in the interest of public safety,” according to the statement. In September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill requiring people who leave guns in unattended vehicles, including law enforcement officers, to lock them in a trunk or in a container that is not left in plain sight.