<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Thu, 30 Jul 2015 20:26:24 -0700 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 20:26:24 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[More Than Dogs, Cats Up for Adoption]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 19:50:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/bearded+dragon1.JPG As NBC tries to Clear the Shelters on Aug. 15, future pet owners should know there will be a unique variety of pets up for adoption. NBC 7's Dagmar Midcap has the information.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Poway Eyes System to Track Residents' Water Use]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 19:35:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/roses+sprinklers.JPG

When it comes to saving water, some of the county's most conservation-minded residents may wind up being electronically monitored.

That approach is just in the planning stages in the city of Poway and eventually may not need to be rolled out.

But the city council wants a way to guard against residents back-sliding from water-use reductions -- which reached an amazing 45 percent in May, compared to the same month in 2013.

"We wouldn't want to put any sort of things that are negative on folks that are stepping up and dealing with this drought, conserving water and doing what we all need to be doing throughout the city of Poway,” said Poway Public Works Director Troy Bankston. “So we're really confident that we can keep moving in that direction."

Poway's taking a page out of the pioneering playbook in Santa Monica, where computer software is now digitally tracking the water accounts of residents there.

"So what this is,” explained city management analyst Alex Heide in an interview Thursday, “ is a 'fail-safe' in case the numbers start to trend in the wrong direction, and ultimately we're not meeting that allocation mandated by the state."

Cities that fail to meet conservation mandates face $10,000-a-day state fines -- which would be passed on and parceled out to non-compliant customers.

Poway residents who spoke with NBC 7 seemed to be on-board with the monitoring approach.

"I think people need to be held accountable for the water that they're using,” said Yesenia Diaz. “Sometimes when they don't think anybody's paying attention, they tend to use more. And I think all of us need to be aware of what we're using and what the effect on the environment is."

Added Jerry Mattio: "I do agree with it -- as long as the consequences at first are mild and reasonable.”

Officials emphasize that it’s ultimately up to the city council to green-light the digital tracking.

They’re framing it as "a teaching opportunity" for residents to go online and do their own account monitoring -- before gentle reminders in water bills prod those who fall short of savings marks.

If bad reading persists, fines to be determined by the council could follow for non-compliant customers.

The cost of the computer software is expected to run the low five figures.

<![CDATA[More Options for Organic Shopping]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 18:09:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/organic+pinto+beans+canned+food.jpg

Alicia Sacks walks through the natural and organic section at the Grocery Outlet store in downtown San Diego. She has been watching what she eats for more than 40 years, and the 69-year-old can't believe how many more options there are today for organic foods.

"This is a dream that didn't think would happen in my lifetime," said Sacks.  

Sacks remembers working at a small natural foods store in Hillcrest. In that day, you were limited on where you could shop. But today traditional grocery stores like Vons and Ralphs, big box stores like Wal-Mart and Costco and even discount stores like 99¢ Only Store and Grocery Outlet are selling organic products.

"I think it is fantastic," said Sacks.

The competition is also leading to lower prices. In fact traditional health food market Whole Foods took a tumble in the stock market recently. One reason given for the disappointing results was the wide range of organic and natural goods sold at competing grocery stores.

"It is so much better in the stores," said shopper Lynne Rine. "I don't have to go to a specialty store like Whole Foods. I can go to a regular store and go organic."

Kim Smith and her husband run the Grocery Outlet on Market Street. Two months ago they expanded their natural and organic food section from a corner of the store to an entire aisle. Smith said since then, their sales have risen 40 percent on natural and healthy food products.

"It is becoming such a big thing right now," said Smith. "Everyone wants organic products."  

Dawn Capitan works in the produce department and said they sell organic avocados, broccoli, cauliflower and bananas along with lettuce and mixed salad. She said it's hard to characterize organic shoppers. They are all ages, shapes and sizes.

"Because everybody is so much into being healthy," said Capitan.

As more stores open up their organic sections, many feel it will continue to bring down prices and increase variety.

Whole Foods is said to be countering their current slide by expanding into smaller stores, similar perhaps to a Trader Joe's. That is expected to start some time next year.

Photo Credit: Consumer Bob]]>
<![CDATA[Rain Men: Padres Complete Wet and Wild Comeback]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 17:24:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-482395478.jpg

The Padres were faced with a deficit, a deluge and a delay on Thursday in New York. They overcame them all to take a series from a playoff contender and, perhaps, buy themselves a little more time as the trade deadline nears.

The Friars beat the Mets 8-7 to take two of three games at Citi Field. After six innings San Diego trailed 7-1. Starter Andrew Cashner, who has been the subject of trade talks with his home town Houston Astros, gave up seven runs (five earned) in 5.1 innings. It looked like the Padres were going to turn in another uninspired offensive performance.

Then the 7th inning happened.

The Padres loaded the bases on two hits and a walk, setting up catcher Derek Norris for some drama. Norris, who had not driven in a run since June 28, hammered a Hansel Robles pitch to left field for a grand slam that cut the Mets lead to 7-5. Norris went 5-for-5 on the day.

In the 9th inning Mets closer Jeurys Familia got the first two outs when a the skies unleashed a downpour that forced the officiating crew to stop play. After a 44 minute delay Familia went back out to try and finish what he started.

He was not the same pitcher. Norris and outfielder Matt Kemp both hit two-out singles, setting up outfielder Justin Upton to play the hero. Upton ripped a 3-run home run to right-center field, his team-leading 18th of the season, to put the Padres on top 8-7.

After another rain delay, this one nearly three hours long, Craig Kimbrel worked a perfect 9th inning to earn his 30th save of the season. Having won 10 of their last 14 games, the Padres are suddenly just four games under .500 and moving back in to playoff contention. It may be too late, however, to give General Manager A.J. Preller enough of a reason not to make a few deals before Friday's MLB trade deadline.

<![CDATA[Claim Against FBI for Hannah Anderson Kidnapper's Death]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 18:46:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Hannah-Dimaggio-File-Pic.jpg

The sister of James DiMaggio, the man who kidnapped San Diego teen Hannah Anderson and killed her family, claims FBI agents used excessive and unjustified forcing in killing her brother after his actions spurred a large manhunt across six states.

Attorney C. Keith Greer filed an over $20 million wrongful death claim against the FBI Thursday on behalf of Lora DiMaggio Robinson, alleging that there was no “viable justification” for DiMaggio’s shooting death.

In the document, Greer said deadly force was not warranted given DiMaggio’s “history of nonviolence” and the number of agents there could have restrained him. According to the claim, DiMaggio had fired his gun in the air as a call for help, but he had not threatened Anderson with deadly force or “imminent harm.”

"There were just too many questions out there," Greer told NBC 7 Thursday. "Robinson knows that her brother was a very kind man, certainly not one to shoot at an FBI agent. So from the beginning she just felt like there was something that was being misportrayed about her brother."

As they investigated the case for a year, Greer said the evidence produced more questions than answers. According to the claim, FBI agent's deadly force was "unduly, excessive, prejudicial and unjustified." Read the full claim below. 

The court document also alleges that FBI and Department of Justice employees conspired to keep secret information and evidence that could prove agents were responsible for DiMaggio’s death.

However, in May 2014, federal and state prosecutors said FBI agents acted reasonably when they shot and killed DiMaggio in the Idaho wilderness and the agents who killed him would not face charges.

NBC 7 has reached out to the FBI for comment, but we have not heard back. The Anderson family said they have no comment at this time.

Greer said the first person they want to testify is Anderson to give her account of the harrowing events that began on Aug. 4, 2013.

That day, DiMaggio, a family friend, killed Anderson's mother and younger brother, Christina and Ethan Anderson, and set fire to his own home in Boulevard, Calif., before fleeing to Idaho with Anderson, prosecutors say.

The charred bodies of Christina and Ethan were discovered by sheriff’s deputies and fire officials at DiMaggio’s burned-out property.

According to search warrants, investigators believe DiMaggio “tortured and killed” Christina and Ethan on Aug. 4 before kidnapping her 16-year-old daughter. San Diego County Medical Examiner’s reports say Christina was bludgeoned to death, bound and gagged, while Ethan's remains were so badly charred they were practically beyond recognition.

Once Anderson’s disappearance was discovered, officials issued an Amber Alert that covered six states. The pair ended up in the rugged Idaho backcountry near Cascade and Morehead Lake, where they were spotted by a group of horseback riders on Aug. 7.

The group wasn’t aware of the Amber Alert when they crossed paths with the pair, but they learned about it immediately after their trip. The riders reported their sighting to authorities, leading more than 200 federal, state and local law enforcement officials to the rural community in Idaho in search of Anderson and DiMaggio.

According to Robinson's claim, the pair was ultimately spotted by a U.S. Marshalls plane, and an FBI hostage rescue team was dropped in close to their location on Aug. 10. At that point, Anderson and DiMaggio were trying to find rescue by building a fire for smoke signals, according to her interview on NBC's "Today" show.

When it proved unsuccessful, Anderson suggested DiMaggio fire a round from his gun, which was about 20 feet away, to draw attention, Greer said. As soon as the gun went off, DiMaggio was shot six times by FBI agents.

"Why don't they say, 'Stop, freeze, put your hands in the air, you're under arrest' at that point in time?" Greer said. "Why do they let him wait to go to... till he picks up the gun and, once he has the gun in his hands, shoot him? It didn't seem like he was treated fairly, regardless of what the allegations are." 

Greer said Anderson holds the key to proving or disproving their claim, since she has a firsthand account. The attorney also hopes the FBI team was wearing body cameras so they could obtain recorded footage of the incident.

"What is definitely wrong is that he didn't have the opportunity to have his day in court," said Greer of DiMaggio.

If Anderson gives her deposition, it would not be the first time she has shared her story.

Days after her rescue, Anderson fielded questions about her kidnapping on social media and made brief appearances at local fundraisers in Lakeside.

In late August, Hannah spoke out about her ordeal in the media for the first time in a tearful interview on NBC's "Today" show. Later that month, Hannah and her family held an emotional memorial service for Christina and Ethan in San Diego's Santee community.

A short time after the service, the teen was reportedly back on social media, answering questions online about her life and the kidnapping.

In October 2013, Hannah appeared on “Today” once more to discuss her harrowing ordeal at the hands of DiMaggio. The teen said DiMaggio “drugged” her and said she passed out in his car during the road trip from San Diego to Idaho.

In March, Hannah’s grandmother told the media that her granddaughter continues to undergo therapy and will likely do so for “quite some time.”

<![CDATA[Hookah Shows Its Popularity on Twitter]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:24:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/hookahgeneric.jpg

Think e-cigarettes are more popular than hookah?

Twitter would beg to differ.

A new study by analysts at Washington University shows that Twitter users send significantly more tweets about hookah (12,000 a day) than e-cigarettes (1,200 a day). Plus, researchers found that among those Twitter users with high influence and a large number of followers – the high majority promoted hookah use.

The study highlights the popularity of smoking hookah among college-age students and points out that usage has nearly doubled among adolescents.

The study found that many people normalized hookah on Twitter and did not perceive it to be harmful. Only 7 percent of the tweets related to hookah discouraged its use.

“Despite research demonstrating hookah use exposes smokers to toxins similar to those in cigarette smoke and increases exposure to carbon monoxide, hookah use is widely perceived as less harmful,” the study states.

Still, hookah popularity on Twitter paled in comparison to marijuana and alcohol use. About 250,000 tweets are sent per day related to marijuana and 400,000 about alcohol, the study found.

The study concluded that social networking about hookah use is likely to increase.

“In this age of social media, peer influences extend beyond those in our proximate communities to those in our virtual social networks,” the study states.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New Flight Service From Carlsbad to Las Vegas Launches]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:18:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/BizAir_Plane_Takeoff_t620.jpg

A new flight service from Carlsbad to Las Vegas officially launched Thursday out of McClellan-Palomar Airport.

Fittingly joined by an Elvis impersonator, San Diego County Chairman Bill Horn and Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall came together to celebrate the inaugural 10:35 a.m. flight to Las Vegas offered by commercial air carrier BizAir Shuttle.

For now, BizAir plans to offer regularly scheduled one-way or round-trip flights from Carlsbad to Sin City on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, with plans to potentially expand if the service is popular.

Customers can book flights online and park at McClellan-Palomar Airport for $5 a day. Curbside drop-off is also available in front of the airline terminal.

BizAir says flight prices to Las Vegas start at $154 per person, plus tax, with no baggage fees and complimentary snacks and drinks on board. A booking search for a flight departing this Friday and returning on Sunday yielded tickets ranging in price from $249 to $299 per way.

BizAir’s 30-seat jet shuttle currently also offers two daily flights from Carlsbad to Los Angeles. BizAir plans to expand its service to Phoenix in September and Oakland, Calif. and San Jose, Calif., in the near future as well.

In 2009, the county completed a $24 million renovation that added an 18,000 square-foot terminal to the McClellan-Palomar Airport, in addition to new parking and a restaurant.

Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of BizAir Shuttle ]]>
<![CDATA[Lightning, Thunder Clap Caught on Camera in Pine Valley]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:17:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/lighnting-thunder-pine-valley.jpg NBC 7's Bridget Naso and photojournalist Mark Sackett witnessed this thunder and lightning near Pine Valley on Thursday. ]]> <![CDATA[Lightning Sparks Brush Fire in Pine Valley]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 17:50:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/USFS+Forest+Service+engine.jpg

A lightning strike sparked a brush fire in a creek bed in Pine Valley Thursday afternoon, the U.S. Forest Service confirmed.

The blaze began just after 2 p.m. at Kitchen Creek Road and Mile Marker 2, about two miles north of Interstate 8, after lightning struck a tree. Officials said the small fire, which scorched about a half-acre of land, was difficult to access due to the terrain and its remote location.

Just before 3 p.m., U.S. Forest Service officials said the fire was burning at a slow rate of spread. Firefighters hiked into the area on foot to knock out the blaze, which was contained at 5:25 p.m. Aircraft assistance was canceled, officials said.

No injuries were reported and no evacuations were ordered.

Pine Valley was experiencing heavy rain, thunder and lightning at the time of the brush fire.

The National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Warning through 6:30 p.m. in parts of San Diego County mountains and deserts where rain was expected Thursday.

The NWS said radar estimated rainfall in excess of one inch west of Pine Valley near Interstate 8 as of 2:30 p.m., with additional heavy rainfall expected.

Areas that could experience flooding include Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and I-8 between Pine Valley and Boulevard.

NBC 7 meteorologist Jodi Kodesh said monsoon moisture would bring a chance for strong thunderstorms that could produce heavy rain, lightning, small hair and strong winds locally. She said there was a 60 percent chance of thunderstorms in the mountains, a 40 percent chance at the desert and a 20 percent chance at the coast and inland.

<![CDATA[MH 370 Victim's Mom Wants Answers]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 14:16:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Pouria-Nourmohammadi.jpg

The mother of one of the passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 wants answers but at the same time doesn't want to believe the debris found Wednesday belongs to her son's plane.

Niloufar Vaezi, of Germany wants to know what happened to her son, Pouria Nourmohammadi. She wept while speaking with NBC 7 by phone Thursday morning.

“It’s been 16 months,” she said. “I was so patient. I was so hopeful.”

Flight 370 had been traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014 when it disappeared.

For weeks, an international search team scoured the southern Indian Ocean off Australia for any sign of debris.

Now, an airplane component found on the French island of Reunion off the coast of Madagascar has been identified by air safety investigators as a "flaperon" from the trailing edge of a Boeing 777 wing, a U.S. official said.

Vaezi is concerned her worst fear will soon be realized as investigators try and identify the source of the debris found 2,300 miles from the search area.

She's hired San Diego attorney Dan Gilleon who has filed a complaint on her behalf.

He said his client wants an authoritative figure to come in and say “’This is the black box…this is what happened.’”

If the part belongs to Flight 370, it could provide valuable clues to investigators trying to figure out what caused the aircraft to vanish in the first place, Jason Middleton, an aviation professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, told the Associated Press.

The nature of the damage to the debris could help indicate whether the plane broke up in the air or when it hit the water, and how violently it did so, he said.

The barnacles attached to the part could also help marine biologists determine roughly how long it has been in the water, he said.

The part was expected to be flown over the weekend to France for investigation, officials told the Associated Press.

Three days after the flight disappeared, officials identified Nourmohammadi as one of two Iranian-born passengers who used stolen passports to board the airline.

Nourmohammadi is believed to have been traveling to Europe as an asylum seeker, Malaysian police said.

<![CDATA[Pedestrian Deaths Up 35% in San Diego: ME Report]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 13:54:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Pedestrian-Crossing-Generic-SD.JPG

There has been 35 percent jump in the number of pedestrian deaths in San Diego over the past year, according to an annual report released Thursday by the San Diego County Medical Examiner.

The Medical Examiner’s “2014 Annual Report” breaks down deaths in San Diego County, particularly death cases investigated by the office. In 2014, a total of 2,972 cases were fully investigated by the ME, the report says.

The report states that motor vehicle-related deaths made up 291 cases in 2014, up 18 percent from the previous year. Of those cases, the ME report says 88 were accidental pedestrian deaths – up from 64 pedestrian deaths the previous year, or a 35 percent increase.

That total, according to the document, doesn’t include two pedestrian deaths considered homicides and three pedestrian suicides.

Chief Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Jonathan Lucas said nearly half of the pedestrian deaths in 2014 who were tested were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Many were killed running across freeways in the dark.

Other vehicle-related deaths in the report included 70 drivers, 57 motorcyclists, 34 vehicle passengers, 10 bicyclists and eight vehicle occupants.

The report says 1,390 cases out of the 2,972 investigated by the ME were determined to be accidental deaths, while natural deaths were declared in 1,022 of the cases.

A total of 420 cases were suicides – down slightly from 441 suicide deaths in 2013.

The report also says 99 cases were homicides, with 42 of those involving a firearm as the method of homicide. The report says 13 homicides were by stabbing and 24 were by blunt force trauma.

Meanwhile, illicit drugs, medications and alcohol were involved in 481 accidental death cases, the report states. Methamphetamine was the number one cause of drug-related deaths, with 169 cases. Alcohol resulted in 133 deaths, while heroin was the cause in 105 local cases.

To read the full report, click here.

Photo Credit: Monica Garske
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<![CDATA[Decision on Expanded SeaWorld Tanks Stalled]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 12:43:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Baby_Shamu.JPG

A decision on whether to allow SeaWorld San Diego to build larger tanks for orca whales has been stalled by an outpouring of negative response to the proposal.

The California Coastal Commission has delayed a vote on whether to allow the San Diego park to build the larger tanks after receiving 75,000 letters and emails, mostly opposing the plan.

A vote on the project was delayed until October, so that the staff has “more time to ensure that all viewpoints and relevant information are addressed,” a commission spokeswoman told The Los Angeles Times.

Opponents feel the larger killer whale environments mask the larger issue: orcas in captivity.

In response, SeaWorld spokesman David Koontz said in a statement that veterinarians and other experts have "acknowledged that Blue World is a continuing evolution of the park’s killer whale habitat that enhances enrichment for the whales and allows for a broad range of behaviors. It will also provide for greater research opportunities, and inspires and educates visitors by increasing their understanding of these incredible animals. "

“The proposed Blue World project will provide not only an expanded habitat for whales, but also new opportunities for researchers to conduct studies that will benefit killer whales and other cetaceans in the wild,” said Dr. Paul J. Ponganis, research physiologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. “In addition, a dynamic animal environment like Blue World may inspire a host of future marine biologists, veterinarians and other scientists.”

The opposition to the project appears to be led by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which has posted a letter on its site that people can sign and send to the commission.

“This project is window-dressing intended to mislead the public into thinking that the orcas are no longer suffering,” PETA’s website statement reads.

SeaWorld announced last year that it plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to build an expanded killer whale environment and programs called the Blue World project.

The tanks will have a planned total water volume of 10 million gallons, nearly twice as much as the existing facility. They will have a maximum depth of 50 feet and span more than 350 feet in length.

The new environment will also provide the world's largest underwater viewing experience for guests, as well as a home for the 11 orcas at the park.

The park has battled negative publicity since the release of “Blackfish,” a documentary critical of orca whales in captivity.

Photo Credit: SeaWorld San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Open Training Camp 2015]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 12:36:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/2015+Chargers+Training+Camp.jpg

The crowd at Chargers Park for the opening of Training Camp 2015 was one of the largest in recent memory. It might be the last first practice this team ever has in San Diego. So while the team’s caustic stadium situation throws a bit of a dark cloud over an otherwise lovely day, the opinion of the people who were in Murphy Canyon was simple … we don’t know what the future holds, so enjoy the heck out of the team while it’s here.

“We come here every year and this is probably the largest crowd (we’ve seen)” said long-time Chargers fan Oscar Davila. “Hopefully it helps make the decision to have the San Diego Chargers stay in San Diego.”

The biggest cheers of the day were for three players on offense. One was quarterback Philip Rivers, who was the subject of immense off-season trade speculation and enters camp with only one year left on his contract. Two was tight end Antonio Gates, who will miss the first four games of the season after testing positive for a banned substance. Three was running back Melvin Gordon, the first round draft pick from Wisconsin who is expected to instantaneously improve what was one of the worst running games in the NFL in 2014.

Safety Eric Weddle was also received warmly by the home crowd. After an off-season where he was vocal about his displeasure with the team and his contract (which also expires at the end of the 2015 season) the All-Pro said he’s not going to let that affect his play, or his attitude this season.

“I’ve moved forward and moved on,” said Weddle. “It’s all about playing my best and leading the team. The emotional side is pretty much done with. When I’m out on the field it’s at ease for me. I’m ready to have the best year of my career.”

Gates discussed his 4-game drug suspension with a mix of honesty and humor. Antonio said he’s been tested, “100,000 times and that’s the only one that’s tested positive.” As he did in his statement when the suspension was announced Gates took responsibility for not being thorough in checking what he put in to his body.

“I was thinking April was over with so I was thinking it was more of an April Fool’s joke,” said Gates. “I’ve actually used it as a mechanism to teach my kids and other players around that nobody’s perfect and you can make mistakes.”

Rivers acknowledged his agent and the Chargers front office have had conversations about a longer-term deal but made his intentions for the immediate future clear once again, re-iterating he is, like the fans who watched him on Thursday, all-in for 2015 with the San Diego Chargers regardless of what the future may hold.

“You know where we’re playing this year, and that’s in our stadium,” said Rivers. “Honestly I’m totally thinking about this football season.”

After a pair of 9-7 seasons head coach Mike McCoy is expecting an improvement. Of course, a team that goes 19-0 with a 55-0 shutout win in the Super Bowl is expecting an improvement. That’s the nature of the beast in professional football. But for now, after one day of guys running around in shorts, things looked promising.

How long will that last? We’ll know soon.

“In a few days here we’ll be in full pads,” said McCoy, “and that’s really when you start evaluating your football team.”

<![CDATA[Lawsuit Tries to Silence Former Dave Roberts’ Employees: Attorney]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 13:26:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/harold-meza-061115.jpg

An attorney hired by San Diego County says the claims made by a current employee of Supervisor Dave Roberts have zero validity.

Joseph Kutyla is the outside counsel hired by the county to defend Roberts' former Chief of Staff Glynnis Vaughan in a lawsuit brought against her by current Roberts’ employee Harold Meza.

Meza, a community representative in Roberts' office, filed a lawsuit against Vaughan and Roberts’ former scheduler Diane Porter for allegedly creating a hostile work environment for him. The women have filed claims against the county, identifying Meza in one suit as a “great source of consternation and turmoil amongst the staff.”

Click here to read the response from Kutyla.

One attorney familiar with the case told NBC 7 Kutyla’s filing is part of the legal battle lines being finalized over the office intrigues and controversies surrounding Roberts and his battling current and former staff members.

To date, three claims have been filed with the county by former employees of the Supervisor. The complaints allege Roberts did a poor job of managing his staff and misused his public office for political purposes. Roberts has denied these accusations.

Click here to see more on the allegations against Roberts.

The 45-day deadline for the county to respond to these claims has wound down. County counsel has taken a public stance to fight any use of taxpayer money for a settlement.

<![CDATA[Donna Jou's Killer Freed]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 12:17:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/John_Burgess_Donna_Jou.jpg

The convicted sex offender imprisoned in the death of a San Diego State University student has been released, officials confirmed Wednesday.

Donna Jou, 19, was last seen in June 2007 leaving a house party on the back of a motorcycle driven by John Burgess.

The SDSU honors student met Burgess through Craigslist in late May or early June of 2007 and began exchanging e-mails.

On June 23, Burgess picked up Jou at an Orange County apartment and took her to a party in West Los Angeles.

A criminal complaint suggested Burgess injected Jou with a mixture of heroin and cocaine known as a speedball, and she died of an accidental overdose.

In 2009, Burgess pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and concealment of an accidental death.

In court, he said he awoke and found Jou dead. He panicked and dumped Jou's body into the ocean from his sailboat.

"I gave her to the sea," Burgess said in court.

Now 43, Burgess has been released in Florida and will have to register as a sex offender due to a previous conviction in Los Angeles.

<![CDATA[Driver Escapes Injury in Park Shuttle Fire]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 11:12:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/shuttle-fire-thumbnail.jpg San Diego Botanic Garden shuttle caught fire on Wednesday.

Photo Credit: San Diego Botanic Garden]]>
<![CDATA[Prison for Man in Mission Bay Sports Ctr Meth Ring]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 10:57:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Jason-Boone-Meth-Bust.jpg

The San Diego man who ran a sophisticated meth ring from his popular water sports rental company was sentenced Wednesday to six years behind bars.

Mission Bay Sports Center owner Jason Boone received the sentence after pleading guilty to four felony counts including selling meth.

The business, known to many San Diegans as a place to rent water equipment or take lessons, was used a drop location for drug suppliers and buyers.

Investigators said drug couriers would drop in money or pick up methamphetamine from lockers on the premises.

About five pounds of methamphetamine along with heroin, marijuana and prescription pills were found at the sports center.

Officials also found $48,000 in cash a bullet proof vest and a loaded .22 handgun.

The District Attorney's office says Boone also had more than a pound of meth in his car and a loaded handgun in his North County home.

<![CDATA[Cold Case Killing Suspect in Court]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:57:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Damon+Green.jpg

A man accused of killing an off-duty bus driver at a San Diego doughnut shop in 2007 appeared in court Thursday for the first time since his recent arrest in the cold case.

Martin Villapando, 35, is suspected in the killing Damon Green, 38, after an argument at the Donuts Plus shop on El Cajon Boulevard in the Kensington community in March 2007.

The case was cold for more than eight years until a big break Tuesday when the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) announced Villapando’s arrest in connection with the homicide.

Investigators said the SDPD Homicide Cold Case Unit recently received information identifying Villapando as one of the suspects in Green’s murder.

Villapando was taken into custody around 2:20 p.m. Tuesday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in south San Diego as he legally entered the U.S., police said.

He was then turned over to SDPD detectives who charged him with first-degree murder, participation in a criminal street gang and being armed with a firearm.

At his arraignment, Villapando pleaded not guilty to all counts. A judge set his bail at $2 million, the amount requested by the prosecution.

According to investigators, Green was found critically injured behind the doughnut shop around 2:30 a.m. on Mar. 20, 2007, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to his torso. He was taken to a local hospital where he died just before 3:30 a.m.

Detectives believe Green and a friend were eating at a taco shop next door to the doughnut shop when Green got into an argument with Villapando. The suspect, also with a companion, then left the taco shop. About 10 minutes later, as Green and his friend were leaving, Villapando and his companion returned.

Now armed with a gun, the suspect and his companion confronted Green outside the doughnut shop and opened fire. As Green ran into the doughnut shop seeking cover, detectives said shots were fired through a plate glass window, fatally wounding Green.

The suspect and his companion fled the scene before officers arrived. The pair was last seen on northbound 41st Street.

Tom Manning, Deputy District Attorney Supervisor of the Cold Case Homicide Unit, said this case is still under investigation and detectives are searching for an additional suspect.

“We are not alleging that he’s the actual shooter in this case,” Manning explained. “The investigation is continuing as we speak.”

Manning said cold case detectives had been actively working on this case for years and had been in contact previously with Villapando regarding Green’s murder.

“The police have had continuous contact with witnesses, including Mr. Villapando over the years. He knew San Diego Police detectives were continuing on the case and were also looking at him over the last few years,” Manning said.

If convicted, Villapando faces 50 years to life in prison.

“It’s a serious case. An individual was murdered,” Manning added.

For Green’s mother, Sybil Green, news of an arrest in her son’s eight-year cold case earlier this week brought a wave of emotions.

“I’m overwhelmed. I’ve been crying, but they’re tears of joy,” Sybil told NBC 7.

The mother said her “heart died” the day her son was killed, and, despite the years, her family continues to feel the pain of their loss.

“You murder one person, but you slaughter a family because our family has not been the same since,” Sybil said.

Green’s family now lives in Las Vegas. Sybil said she has always refused to believe her son’s killer would get away with murder, and she’s looking forward to getting justice for her son.

“I can’t wait to look [the suspect] in the eye, and I just want to know why they took my gentle giant,” she said.

Sybil said Green is survived by two sons and a daughter.

Villapando's status conference is set for Aug. 12, and his preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 24.

Photo Credit: Green Family
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<![CDATA[Donate Blood, Get a Free Burger]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 09:04:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/047519601-woman-blood-donation-21.jpg

Besides the satisfaction of helping others, San Diego blood donors can score an extra treat next month when they donate blood: a free burger.

The San Diego Blood Bank is bringing back a program dubbed “Burger Tuesdays.” On Tuesdays, from Aug. 4 through Aug. 25, anyone who gives blood at any of the six local donor centers will be given a voucher for one free burger or salad valid at any of the eight Burger Lounge locations in San Diego County.

Anyone over the age of 17 and in good health may be eligible to donate blood. To make an appointment, visit the San Diego Blood Bank website or call (800) 469-7322.

Donor centers include the following locations: San Diego Blood Bank Gateway Donor Center (3636 Gateway Center Ave., Suite 100); East County Donor Center (776 Arnele Ave.); North County Donor Center (358 West El Norte Parkway, Suite J); North Coastal Donor Center (161 Thunder Dr.); Sabre Springs Donor Center (12640 Sabre Spring Parkway, Suite 109); Carmel Valley Donor Center (3880 Valley Center Drive, Suites 209 & 210).

For more donor center information, including hours, click here.

<![CDATA[Pursuit Driver Runs Red Light, Crashes]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 08:11:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Red-Light-Pole-Crash-073015.jpg NBC 7's Elena Gomez reports from the scene of the crash at Hillary Dr and Black Mountain Road.]]> <![CDATA[Semi-Truck Hits Freeway Overpass]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 11:24:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SR163-Overpass-AX-0730.jpeg

Officials shut down traffic in the slow lane of southbound State Route 163 in Kearny Mesa Thursday morning after a big rig crashed into the bottom of a bridge overpass.

California Highway Patrol (CHP) said the accident happened around 7:15 a.m. on SR-163 near the Clairemont Mesa Boulevard exit.

After the semi-truck hit the overpass, drivers reported concrete debris scattered in at least one lane on the freeway.

CHP issued a SigAlert for the area, shutting down traffic in the impacted slow lane until further notice. Officials requested a bridge inspection to check the condition of the overpass.

No injuries were reported. Traffic was slow from the I-15 to the site of the crash.

As of 9 a.m., Caltrans bridge inspectors were on site. Traffic was being allowed on both the bridge and the other lanes of the freeway, with some slowing still affecting the fourth lane on southbound SR-163.

Caltrans said the truck that struck the overpass was a flatbed carrying construction equipment.

Get traffic updates here.

Photo Credit: Enrique Lopez]]>
<![CDATA[Lemonade Plans 2 San Diego Openings]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 07:48:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Lemonade_Westfield_UTC_t620.jpg

Los Angeles-based restaurant operator Lemonade, which serves seasonal California comfort food in a colorful cafeteria setting, plans two August openings in San Diego.

Company officials said an Aug. 3 opening is expected at 3958 Fifth Ave. in Hillcrest, with a mid-August debut planned at the Westfield UTC mall on La Jolla Village Drive in University Towne Center.

The fast-casual chain was launched in 2008 by executive chef and founder Alan Jackson, with chief operating officer Ian Olsen, and currently has 15 locations. A company statement said the restaurants let customers grab a tray and select from a choice of prepared meat and vegetable dishes, with an emphasis on fresh and healthy foods.

The menu includes freshly baked flatbreads, salads, sandwiches, soups, desserts and various flavors of lemonade.

Photo Credit: Rendering courtesy of Lemonade
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<![CDATA[Flash Flood Warning: East County]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 19:16:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/pine-valley-storm-cloud-073015.jpg

A flash flood warning has been issued for southeastern San Diego County until 6:30 p.m.

Radar estimated rainfall in excess of one inch in the last hour west of Pine Valley near Interstate 8.

Areas that may experience flooding include Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, I-8 between Pine Valley and Boulevard, southern Mount Laguna, Lake Morena, Highway S1 between Lake Cuyamaca and Mount Laguna, Pine Valley, Descanso, Campo and Lake Cuyamaca.


Residents in the East County were rattled by thunder and lightning as monsoon moisture moved across the region Thursday.

Dark clouds filled the skies over Pine Valley just before 2 p.m. and an NBC 7 news crew captured a strong thunder clap and lightning strike. 


Coastal zones have a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms and so the National Weather Service has extended a beach hazard statement through 8 p.m. Lightning is also possible.

Higher than average waves of 5 feet, and powerful rip currents are also of concern. Beachgoers are encouraged to swim near a lifeguard.

While our coast and inland areas will begin to feel less humid starting Friday, our mountain and desert areas retain a chance of a thunderstorm through Monday of next week.

Check interactive radar here

Photo Credit: Mark Sackett, NBC 7
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<![CDATA[Body, Secret Rooms Found in Encinitas House Fire]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 20:00:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/encinitas-house-fire-073015.jpg

A body and several secret compartments were found inside an Encinitas home damaged by fire Thursday. 

The home at Rancho Encinitas Drive and Camino Ricardo is well known to San Diego County Sheriff's Department narcotics investigators.

Firefighters were called to the home just before 4 a.m.

A 40-year-old man was found with burns and cuts on the porch of the home and taken to UCSD Medical Center. 

Officials say they found a body in a bedroom on the second floor. Officials would only say it was a woman's. A mastiff identified as Max was also found dead.

The department's bomb/arson unit is investigating the cause of death.

Firefighters say it was difficult to attack the fire because the home had many tough-to-reach places.

Several rooms are not up to code and have been modified to hide things, Sheriff's Lt. Mark Moreno said.

Crews were able to get a handle on it within 40-50 minutes. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Lt. Moreno said deputies have been out to the home seven times this year in connection with three drug-related investigations.

Most recently, law enforcement officers served two warrants on July 14 and took the homeowner and a second person into custody.

The homeowner, described as a woman in her 40s, has been arrested several times, officials said. Her cases are either pending or have been adjudicated, according to Lt. Moreno.

On Dec. 23, 2014, multiple agencies converged on the house to serve a search warrant that led to six arrests, including that of the homeowner. All were for outstanding warrants or drug offenses.

If you know anything about the fire or the home, call the sheriff's department at 858-565-5200.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Flight MH 370 Victim's Mother Wants Answers]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 14:08:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Pouria-Nourmohammadi.jpg NBC 7's Elena Gomez reports the mother doesn't want to believe the debris found yesterday is that of the missing plane. ]]> <![CDATA[Teen on 'Fixie' Bike Hit by Car]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 08:00:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/teen+cyclist+hit+chula+vista.JPG

A teen who was riding his bike without a helmet was struck by a vehicle in Chula Vista Wednesday, leaving him with serious head injuries.

Chula Vista police say the vehicle was traveling south on Third Avenue when the driver struck a 16-year-old cyclist at the Orange Avenue intersection at 6:10 p.m.

The cyclist was taken to the hospital for serious injuries.

The driver was not injured, but a 10-year-old boy in the passenger seat suffered minor wounds and cuts when the windshield shattered. The child was also taken to the hospital, according to police.

An infant in the back seat was not hurt.

Investigators say the teen was riding a "fixie" bike, a fixed-gear bicycle that apparently does not have brakes.

Officers would not say if that played a role in the accident.

Police have closed southbound Third Avenue between Quintard and Orange as they investigate. Traffic may be impacted for the next few hours.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[SD Explained: Preventing the Summer Slide]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 20:31:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/kyle-school-bus-generic.jpg

While kids may look forward to summer break, their parents and teachers likely feel a different kind of anticipation: anxiety that students will backtrack on the progress they've made in the classroom during the school year.

Studies – like this one from the Johns Hopkins School of Education – have shown students can lose about two months of grade-level math skills over the summer. And that impact can be even greater for low-income students: They lose more than two months in reading achievement, while their middle-class peers make slight gains.

Researchers say that could be because higher-income students are more likely to have better access to summer enrichment programs, or even just books to stay stimulated. That's why San Diego Unified's trying to expand a program with proven results at Chollas-Mead Elementary School. For five weeks, kids spend part of the day inside classrooms, and the rest of it outside for hands-on science lessons.

Now the district's trying to find ways to fund a program like that at about 30 of its highest-need elementary schools. NBC 7's Catherine Garcia and the Voice of San Diego's Caty Green have more on that in this week's San Diego Explained.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Stealth Fighter F-35B Flies Into MCAS Miramar]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 20:13:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/F-35B+jet.JPG The F-35B, the military latest stealth fighter jet and most costly weapons system, arrived at MCAS Miramar after battling years of delays. NBC 7's Military Reporter Bridget Naso talks with the aircraft's pilot. ]]> <![CDATA[Shooter's Mom: Silence Was His Loudest Cry for Help]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 20:01:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Madre-James-Holmes.jpg

James Holmes' mother insisted Wednesday she would "have been crawling on all fours" to reach him had she known he was talking about killing people weeks before he ambushed a crowded Colorado movie theater.

Arlene Holmes said her son's campus psychiatrist never told her James Holmes had homicidal thoughts when she called that June of 2012 and revealed he was quitting therapy and dropping out of school.

"We wouldn't be sitting here if she had told me that!" Holmes' mother said, her sobs rising to anger. "I would have been crawling on all fours to get to him. She never said he was thinking of killing people. She didn't tell me. She didn't tell me. She didn't tell me!"

"He was not a violent person. At least not until the event," Holmes' father, Robert Holmes, said earlier Wednesday in the sentencing phase of James Holmes' trial.

"The event" is a phrase Robert Holmes used several times to refer to his son's attack on the audience inside a darkened Colorado movie theater on July 20, 2012, which killed 12 people, injured 70 others and makes James Holmes eligible for the death penalty.

Arlene Holmes was the defense's last witness in its portion of the sentencing phase. Others who testified included family friends, teachers and former neighbors who said the James Holmes they knew was shy, mild-mannered and polite -- not the kind of young man who would gun down innocent strangers.

The family has lived in Rancho Penasquitos, Calif., since James was a child. James attended Westview High School where he competed in soccer. He then decided to study neuroscience at University of Colorado.

Closing arguments were scheduled for Thursday. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty; Holmes' attorneys are arguing for life in prison.

James Holmes on Wednesday declined his last opportunity to speak to the jury.

"I choose not to testify," he told the judge.

In her testimony, Arlene Holmes complained that the University of Colorado psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Fenton, didn't respond to a message seeking more details about their son. They didn't know he was getting therapy and thought perhaps he was depressed or had Asperger's syndrome, Robert Holmes said.

Fenton testified earlier that she called James Holmes' parents, despite her concerns that she was violating her client's privacy, because she was trying to decide whether he posed a danger to himself or others.

A campus security official offered to detain him for an involuntary hospital mental health commitment, but Fenton declined, in part because she said the parents told her he had always been withdrawn.

"Schizophrenia chose him; he didn't choose it, and I still love my son. I still do," Arlene Holmes said, choking up on the stand.

Before she testified, the couple held hands in the courtroom gallery, their fingers intertwined. James Holmes looked up at the screen as his childhood photos were displayed, but he and his mother didn't appear to look at each other.

"People said to me that when your kid turns 18 you're done. And that's not true. We're not done. We are never done, and that's why we're sitting here. We're not done," she said.

James Holmes enrolled in a prestigious neuroscience postgraduate program at the university in 2011. But his parents grew increasingly worried when he came home on his first winter break looking haggard and making odd facial expressions. He shared his fear of failure later that spring, but his parents said they had no idea he was descending into mental illness.

The two were thrilled when he started dating in graduate school, and they knew it wasn't a good sign when that first relationship ended.

"He said he was having trouble in school," Arlene Holmes said, stifling a sob. "I kept telling him, just keep trying, keep trying, but I didn't realize that his loudest cry for help was his silence."

They rarely spoke by phone but communicated even less after he moved to Colorado. James Holmes sent sporadic and terse emails that gave no hints of trouble.

Their concerns eased again when they finally reached him by phone on July 4, 2012, just two weeks before the shooting.

Their son was more talkative than usual, and "he didn't give any indication he was homicidal or depressed -- at least not to us," Robert Holmes said.

They made plans to fly to Colorado for an August visit. Instead, Robert Holmes booked a flight to see his son at his first court appearance. Both parents said they were shocked by his state of mind, and later, by the wide-eyed smirk he made in a booking photo at the jail.

Robert Holmes said he realized he had seen that look before -- the previous winter, when his son came home stressed from graduate school.

District Attorney George Brauchler noted the bug-eyed mug shot wasn't taken immediately after his arrest, because his hair was shorn and no longer comic-book red. Might he have been posing, trying to appear crazy?

Robert Holmes deflected the suggestion, saying he didn't know.

Death sentences must be unanimous. The jury already has decided Holmes was legally sane at the time of the attack. But his defense is hoping at least one juror will agree that his mental illness reduces his moral culpability so much that he deserves the mercy of a life sentence instead.

<![CDATA[SDPD Implements Most Misconduct Probe Points: Chief]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 20:45:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/shelley+zimmerman.JPG

San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said her department has implemented nearly all of the 40 recommendations laid out in a U.S. Department of Justice audit aimed at cracking down on police misconduct.

The chief updated the SDPD's progress at a meeting for the San Diego City Council’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee, saying the department has executed all but six of the audit’s suggestions.

“These recommendations will help us improve the service we provide to our community,” said Zimmerman. “But I also want people to know the men and women of the police department are great people who overwhelmingly do the right thing and serve with honor, courage, pride and commitment in making San Diego a better place for everyone.”

Zimmerman was named head of the SDPD amid a number of scandals that rocked the department in 2014 and led the resignation of former Chief William Lansdowne. But before he left, Lansdowne requested an outside audit by the DOJ to look at preventing and detecting misconduct.

The 83-page audit, completed in March 2015, found 40 ways the SDPD could handle gaps in policies and practices in regards to misconduct investigations and hiring procedures.

While most of the recommendations have been implemented, Mark Robson with the San Diego Organizing Project told the committee and Zimmerman more needs to be done.

“On Monday we had a meeting at the church. One of our ministers shared a story where he was pulled over and made to put his hands on hood with three grandchildren in the back and then told it was a mistake,” Robson said. “So this conversation is very important to us.”

He said his group needs assurances that the DOJ report is being taken seriously.

Among the points that still need to be addressed is a proposal for a computerized, early intervention system which tracks use of force complaints, arrests, written citations and what officers do in the field.

“Our issue is we want to make sure the process is fair for the officers,” said Brian Marvel with the San Diego Police Officers Association. “If erroneous information is put in there, how do we get it out? Are officers actually allowed to look at their file to determine if it’s accurate? That is the issues we are covering.”

Another issue is the $15 million price tag, according to Marvel. Zimmerman said she is looking at how the system works in other large cities and will be meeting with an expert soon.

The chief also mentioned that a survey of community residents will be forthcoming. The policy director of the local ACLU said she hoped the department would be responsive to the results of that survey.

Over the past few years, the SDPD has been under fire for multiple officer misconduct cases. Ex-SDPD officer Anthony Arevalos was convicted of demanding sexual favors from women. Another, Christopher Hays, pleaded guilty to assault, battery and illegally detaining women while on duty, and a husband and wife formerly on the force, Jennifer and Bryce Charpentier, admitted to illegal activity to feed their own drug habits.

<![CDATA[Man Arrested in Connection with String of Bonita Fires]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 07:28:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/bonita+fire+location+liquor+store+web.jpg

San Diego Sheriff’s officials have arrested a man they say is responsible for a string of arson fires in Bonita. 

Edwin Fisk, a 44-year-old transient, was arrested in Bonita by sheriff’s deputies and booked into Central Jail Wednesday evening.

The arrest is connected to a string of small fires that took place from April 29 to May 1 near Willow and Bonita roads. Deputies with the bomb and arson unit were investigating the series. 

The flames left residents wondering who set them and why.

"It's crazy because you just never know when something like that can happen," said Bonita homeowner Sheilah Gonzales. "Even just throwing out a cigarette anywhere where there's leaves, it can spark something so fast."

One of the small fires took place behind a liquor store on the 4200 block of Bonita Road in Bonita. That fire was near a creek bed where other blazes had recently broken out.

One burned dangerously close to an office building owned by Tom Miletich.

"All the homeowners behind, the businesses, I have tenants here. It's a hazard to them," he said.

Investigators gathered evidence to link the crimes to Fisk but did not detail what that evidence was. They also say eyewitness accounts helped crack the case. 

Fisk is being held on $75,000 bail and is set to appear in court on Friday at 1:30 p.m.

<![CDATA[Does Facial Recognition Trump Privacy?]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:36:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/BOb4p0729_1200x675_493808707990.jpg

When it comes to privacy and biometric software, Beth Givens doesn't mince words.

"I consider facial recognition biometrics to be one of the top privacy issues of our time," said Givens.

She is the executive director of Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a San Diego based non-profit that has been monitoring privacy issues for more than 25 years.

Facial recognition has really come into its own over that time. Some are using it to replace password log-ins, others are using it for security, while Facebook uses it to "tag" photographs with the names of people in the picture.

Facebook has said that it enchances the user experience, but it does that without getting permission and that bothers Beth Givens.

"There should be an affirmative yes to your name being attached to a photo," said Givens. Right now you need to opt-out of the recognition program. You must go into the "Timeline Settings" to disable the face recognition feature. But it's important to note that the only people who see the "tag" suggestions are users who are already in that person's friends list.

Still, Tony Elliott and his wife Kari, from Missouri, think they should be asked first.

"I would like to be able to give permission for something like that," said Tony Elliott.

By one estimate, Facebook has 250 billion pictures with 350 million added every day.

Beth Givens says laws in two states along with Europe and Canada require prior permission for facial recognition tagging or shutting off the feature all together.

Givens says she would like Facebook users to get notification every time someone wants to tag them in a picture. As for prior permission?

"To me it's a no brainer," said Givens, "It needs to be opt-in."

<![CDATA[FDA: San Diego Doctor Operating Illegally]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:54:01 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/butt+injection+material.PNG

On a variety of websites, Dr. Hettie Morgan offers hydrogel injections for "buttocks and breast enhancement” -- something that is illegal, according to the FDA.

The injections can be ordered online and shipped to your home.


Hydrogel is “a semi-permanent filler that has a synthetic component that helps to draw water into the tissue to plump it up,” La Jolla Plastic Surgeon Jeffrey Umansky said. “It hasn't been FDA approved in the United States. Injections into other parts of the body will not only be off-label but potentially dangerous.”

In May, the FDA sent Dr. Morgan a warning letter explaining that selling this product was illegal in the United States. Click here to read the letter.

The FDA gave Dr. Morgan 15 business days to respond. A spokesperson for the agency said they never heard back from Dr. Morgan.

“It could be dangerous, and if it's online, there's a good chance it’s fake,” Umanksy said, "which is what makes this a scarier issue. People are injecting something they’re not supposed to inject in the first place.”

On the website, Dr. Morgan lists an address in the Clairemont area of San Diego County. It's the same address where the FDA sent the warning letter.

NBC 7 Investigates went to that location. A woman who answered the door had no idea who Dr. Morgan was. She told NBC 7 Investigates her family has owned the property since the 1960s. In the last two months, she received mail addressed to Dr. Morgan, but doesn't know why he's using her address.

NBC 7 Investigates discovered the Medical Board of California does not have a "Dr. Hettie Morgan" listed as a licensed doctor in California. And no one with that name is licensed through the California Department of Consumer Affairs in any medical field.

A quick online search shows the image Dr. Morgan uses on his website is actually New York doctor John Muney, who has no affiliation with Dr. Morgan or the hydrogel injection website. Dr. Muney told NBC 7 Investigates he was shocked someone stole his image and is worried it might ruin his reputation.

Calls and emails to the numbers and address listed on Dr. Morgan's website and Facebook page were not returned.

If you want to report suspected illegal activity to the FDA, you can contact their office of criminal investigations.

Photo Credit: Dr/ Hettie Morgan's Clinic on Facebook
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<![CDATA[Severe Thunderstorm Warning Passes Over SD]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 21:49:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/clouds+over+fallbrook+0729.jpg

A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for south central San Diego County until 6:15 p.m. 

Areas under the warning include Alpine, parts of the Interstate 8 between Pine Valley and Boulevard, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, Portrero, Descanso, Lake Morena, Pine Valley, Campo, Captain Grande Indian Reservation and Guatay.

The radar indicated thunderstorms capable of producing damaging winds in excess of 60 miles-per-hour were in the area. 

At approximately 5:45 p.m., the storm was eight miles northwest of Portrero or eight miles southeast of Alpine and moving northwest at 15 miles-per-hour. 

The thunderstorms are capable of producing damaging winds, destructive hail, deadly lightning and heavy rain. 

For more information, click here. 

Photo Credit: Aimee
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Replica San Salvador Ship Christened]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:03:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/San+Salvador+launch+web+image+0729.jpg

After a four-year construction project, the replica ship San Salvador hit water on Wednesday afternoon.

The ship, a replica of Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s 1542 flagship, was christened and launched from Bayside Park in Chula Vista to cheers and the crack of a champagne bottle.

The San Salvador will make its public debut Labor Day weekend at the Port of San Diego’s Festival of Sail.

The ship was built in a parking lot and has been easily viewable to wandering tourists for years. It was moved to the South Bay last week.

Built by the San Diego Maritime Museum and an army of volunteers, the San Salvador will be a floating classroom of history. It will host tens of thousands of young students each year, and the educational components of the museum will focus on engaging students in the cultural, political and economic underpinnings of Cabrillo’s era of exploration.

Within the first five to 10 years of her life at sea, the San Salvador will travel to various ports up the California coast such as Oceanside, Monterey, Morro Bay and Sacramento to bring this unique classroom experience to other cities.

Before that happens, the ship will remain docked in the San Diego Harbor for several months before visiting those ports.

The history behind the ship goes like this: Cabrillo was the first European explorer to make contact with the West Coast of North America and to establish a relationship with the indigenous populations. Just like the Mayflower is a symbol for early colonial development on the East Coast, so the San Salvador is for the West.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Accused in Fatal Roommate Shooting Held on $1.5M Bail]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:02:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Oside+arraign+pic-PIC_0.jpg

A man accused of shooting and killing his roommate appeared in court for the first time Wednesday, staring at the ground as friends of the man he allegedly killed filled the courtroom. 

Calvin Glass Jr., 18, was held on $1.5 million bail as his lawyer entered a guilty plea on his behalf. He was formally charged with first degree murder and attempted first degree murder. 

Police say Glass confessed to shooting his roommate Jordan Luis and injuring another Sunday afternoon at the Shadow Ridge Apartments on Barnard Drive, a complex that houses former foster children who have aged out of the system, according to residents.

The slain Oceanside man and the roommate accused of killing him had been feuding for months about their apartment’s cleanliness, and the victim was planning on moving out, his former foster mother told NBC 7 in an exclusive interview Monday.

"I told them my baby's life was in danger," said a woman who identified herself as the victim's grandmother. "That's what I told them."

The surviving victim filed a restraining order against Glass. 

Over the past three or four months, Luis and Glass had been fighting over who is messier, according to Luis' foster mother Michelle Zambrana in an exclusive interview. Glass also accused Luis of stealing from him, the victim had told Zambrana.

“I think they were paranoid about each other,” she said. “They got in a few arguments and threatened each other; then they would talk about it, but then they’d be arguing, so I don’t think they’d be able to come to terms of being friends.”

They were both waiting for Luis to move out when the fatal shooting took place.

The victim’s best friend Evan Eckman told NBC 7 that Luis didn’t have to die. Eckman believes their foster program failed to ensure Luis’ safety.

“If someone has been asking to move out because he doesn’t feel comfortable with the roommate he’s with, and you’re supposed to be the ones caring for us, what’s the point of having a program by the state?” Eckman asked.

The foster program, Casa de Amparo, responded in an emailed statement: 

"Our attention, thoughts, and focus have been and will continue to be, on the safety, protection, and well-being of the youth and families in our care. Our hearts are broken by the loss of this young man and our condolences go out to all of those affected."

Read the organization's full statement below.

Choking back tears, Zambrana showed the Native American ritual of water and candles she had established for Luis’ passage into the afterlife.

She also brought out pictures of them together, reminiscing about the teen she thought of as her own.

“He’s just a free spirit, real compassionate as far as kids and animals,” Zambrana said. “And he was the type to be there for a friend, you know, if anyone needed anything.”

The surviving shooting victim, whom Luis called his brother, is wanted for attempted murder in Tracy, California. He will be sent to the Stockton area after he is released from the hospital.

Police say the gun did not belong to anyone involved in the incident.

Casa de Amparo's full email is here: 

"We are deeply saddened by the tragic incident that occurred Sunday afternoon at the Shadow Ridge apartment complex.

"It is critical for the community to be aware that information related to youth in our care is confidential and protected. This legal requirement for our organization to protect the confidentiality of all youths in our programs, remains in place even under extremely distressing circumstances.

"Our attention, thoughts, and focus have been and will continue to be, on the safety, protection, and well-being of the youth and families in our care. Our hearts are broken by the loss of this young man and our condolences go out to all of those affected. Now, more than ever, we appreciate the support of our community and we will continue to cooperate fully with the Oceanside police department regarding the criminal investigation through this difficult time."

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<![CDATA[Zoo Breaks Ground on New Exhibit]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:54:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Africa-Rock-Zoo-1.jpg

The San Diego Zoo broke ground Wednesday on a major, $68 million project: an 8-acre space that will be transformed into the new “Africa Rocks” exhibit with a habitat for African plant and animal species.

The largest expansion in the famous zoo’s 99-year history, the Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks exhibit will take over an area once known as “Cat and Dog Canyon.” The transformation will replace 1930s-era grottos and enclosures with new habitats for African species that range from savanna to shore.

San Diego Zoo officials plan to open the exhibit in 2017.

The attraction will include a gently winding, ADA-accessible pathway that leads guests through different types of African habitats, including a West African forest, acacia woodlands, Ethiopian highlands, kopje gardens and a Madagascar habitat.

Renderings of the exhibit were also released Wednesday, as seen in the photo gallery above.

Zoo officials say the project is being funded with a $11 million donation from Conrad Prebys, plus donations from more than 6,500 other individuals. In 2013, Ernest Rady donated $10 million to the exhibit and issued a challenge that resulted in 3,800 individual donors giving more than $20 million toward the project, officials said.

Dan and Vi McKinney donated $5 million for an African penguin habitat within the exhibit. Other donations have come from corporations, private foundations and estates, the zoo says.

Africa Rock will be home to mammals, reptiles, birds and plant life native to Africa.

This includes hamadryas and gelada baboons, vervet monkeys and lemurs. Other mammals in the exhibit will include southern ratel, fossa and an African leopard. There will also be an aviary. Dwarf crocodiles, Agama lizards and spurred tortoises will fill the reptile habitats.

The zoo will also relocate several old-growth trees into the area, including a ficus and sausage tree, officials said. Other African-native plants in the exhibit will include acacia, aloe, Madagascar ocotillo and palms.

A penguin beach area will house African penguins as the San Diego Zoo partakes in an international species survival plan for these endangered aquatic birds. The zoo is currently home to two African penguins that live in the Children’s Zoo area.

Douglas Myers, president and CEO of San Diego Zoo Global says the exhibit will be designed to tell a story, and “help connect people to wildlife.”

”We want Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks to showcase Africa, where wildlife and habitat are being threatened like never before,” said Myers.

In true animal-friendly zoo fashion, an African-crested porcupine had the honor of taking the first dig at the groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, officials said.

Photo Credit: Miller Hull/San Diego Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[Images: "Africa Rocks" Exhibit Coming to Zoo]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 16:00:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Africa-Rock-Zoo-1.jpg The "Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks" exhibit is slated to open at the San Diego Zoo in 2017. The $68 million, 8-acre project was funded by generous donations, and will feature habitats for African plants and animal species. The zoo officially broke ground on the project on July 29, 2015.

Photo Credit: Miller Hull/San Diego Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Convention Bookings Reach 10-Year High]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:25:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/convention+center1.JPG

More and more conferences, conventions and trade shows are bringing their business to San Diego. 

Convention center bookings and convention-related hotel bookings in 2015 fiscal year reached a 10-year-high, according to new numbers released Wednesday.

The Convention Center, which hosts the popular “Comic-Con” each year, booked 57 events this year that will take place from 2016 to 2033, said San Diego City Councilmember Todd Gloria, which will generate $30 million in hotel tax revenue. The short-term sales team booked 1,047,029 convention center and trade show-related hotel nights.

The tax money generated from those bookings goes toward paying police officers and paving new roads, Gloria said at the press conference.

As a result, $1.9 billion will be pumped into the region’s economy, tourism officials said. 

Officials from the Tourism Authority said the convention center was frequently booked for technology and medical industry events, highlighting the need for the center’s expansion.

One cardiology convention in particular was too large to fit in the center and had to leave.

“So they made a tough decision to go to New Orleans in 2019 rather than come to San Diego,” said Joe Terzi with the San Diego Tourism Authority. “And that economic impact for that one convention was almost $114 million.”

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has asked for a study on how to fund a convention center expansion which could be completed by next summer.

Last year, nearly 800,000 convention attendees brought in more than $1.3 billion in economic impact.

<![CDATA[Images: East Village High-Rise Proposal]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 13:31:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/7th-Market-Ritz-Carlton-6.jpg Cisterra Development is proposing a mixed-use building and Ritz-Carlton hotel in downtown East Village community. The 39-story site at Seventh Avenue and Market Street would include residential units, commercial offices, retail space, a ground-floor restaurant, a gourmet grocer, public open space, public restrooms, a 670-space subterranean parking garage and the 160-room hotel. Civic San Diego has recommended the City of San Diego approve the project and enter into negotiations with the developer.

Photo Credit: Cisterra Development]]>
<![CDATA[39-Story High-Rise Proposed for East Village]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 13:57:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/7th-Market-Ritz-Carlton-6.jpg

The Civic San Diego Board of Directors will meet Wednesday to discuss entering into negotiations with a developer on a proposed 39-story, mixed-use building and hotel in downtown’s East Village area.

The proposal, from Cisterra Development, includes a 751,474-square-foot development at Seventh Avenue and Market Street that would include more than 200 residential and affordable housing units, including 58 for-sale condos, 115 market-rate rental apartments and 32 affordable housing apartments.

The site would also feature commercial offices, retail space, a ground-floor restaurant, public open space, public restrooms, a 670-space subterranean parking garage and a 160-room Ritz-Carlton hotel.
The 300-foot high-rise would include a gourmet grocer located on a mezzanine above the ground floor, too.

“The apartments and office floors rise in two separate towers that connect at the first floor of the hotel with condominiums rising above the hotel and apartments,” the proposal explains, describing a visual of the plan.

In addition, a public plaza and public art space would be located at the southeast corner of the site. Building components are expected to include eco-roofs, building-top wind turbines, sun shading and sustainable materials.

According to the proposal, which can be read in its entirety here, the development of the Seventh
Avenue and Market Street site “would advance the goals and policies of the San Diego Downtown Community Plan” by providing a range of housing opportunities and adding public improvements to the area, including parking facilities.

The project also aims to “stimulate new commercial, residential, employment and economic growth, and to improve the circulation of people and vehicles,” the paperwork states.

The proposal anticipates that the redevelopment project will generate 655 construction jobs and 603 permanent jobs in the area.

Cisterra will be solely responsible for all of the costs and expenses linked to the design, development and construction of the site.

Civic San Diego, a city-owned non-profit and development partner for urban neighborhoods, has already recommended the City of San Diego approve the plan and enter into negotiations with Cisterra to purchase and develop the land for the project via a Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA).

If this happens, the negotiation period between the developer and the City will last 180 days, with an optional 90-day extension, documents say.

Civic San Diego received several proposals for redevelopment projects at the East Village site after putting out a request for ideas in December 2013. Those submissions were then evaluated, with the Cisterra proposal coming out as the frontrunner in May 2015.

Photo Credit: Cisterra Development]]>
<![CDATA[SDCWA Not Accounting for Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Lawsuit]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 12:53:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SD-Coastkeeper-Suit.jpg

A judge is listening to arguments from a lawsuit that the San Diego Coastkeeper filed against the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA).

The non-profit organization claims SDCWA is breaking a law by not accounting for their greenhouse gas emissions.

If SDCWA's master plan isn't changed to include their environmental impact, San Diego Coastkeeper argues it can be a problem for climate change issues like a rise in the sea level rises and the statewide drought.

The non-profit claims that SDCWA is not putting the greenhouse gas effects of their desalination plants in their updated 2014 Master plan, Climate Action Plan or Supplemental Environmental Impact Report.

SDCWA says since they do not operate the desalination plants they do not need to report the energy consumption of the plants.

However, Coastkeeper believes there needs to be more responsibility.

NBC 7 received the following statement from the San Diego County Water Authority:

"The latest update to our long-term water facilities master plan, our Climate Action Plan, and their environmental analyses were unanimously approved by our Board of Directors and are fully consistent with the law."

They also say that their recent investments will allow them to meet 2020 state targets by reducing greenhouse gas emission by 15 percent.

The plaintiffs’ attorney expects this case to finish up today and that the judge will review it and make a decision later.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Stole $1800 in Beauty Supplies: SDPD]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 11:42:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Ulta-Beauty-Supply-Pic.jpg

A woman caught on surveillance cameras is wanted for stealing hundreds of dollars in cosmetics from a La Jolla beauty supply store, police said.

Using her purse, the woman was able to shoplift enough beauty supplies to total more than $1,800 according to San Diego Police.

Investigators say the woman visited the Ulta Beauty Supply store in La Jolla Village Square three times - once on Monday, June 29 and twice on Monday, July 20.

Each time she took her time shopping and browsing through the aisles. Meanwhile, police say she filled a large shoulder bag with cosmetics.

The business values the total loss at $1,860.00.

Anyone with information on the woman's identity or the theft can contact San Diego Police through the non-emergency phone line at (619) 531-2000 or (858) 484-3154.

Photo Credit: SDPD]]>
<![CDATA[Sig Alert Issued After Rollover Crash in Lakeside]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 12:13:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/i-8+lakeside+sig+alert+rollover+crash.jpg

A Sig alert has been issued for a stretch of Interstate 8 at Lake Jennings Park Road in Lakeside after a rollover crash. 

The accident involving one car happened at approximately 10:55 a.m. Wednesday on the westbound road. 

Firefighters on scene worked to rescue the driver. It is unclear how many people were in the car.

The car rolled over and landed on its side, San Diego Fire-Rescue officials said. 

One lane was blocked as crews worked and another was open to traffic. The second lane was open to traffic.

No further information was available.

<![CDATA[Del Mar Dining Near the Track]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:46:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Prep-Kitchen-FB.jpg

Each summer, Del Mar Racing season brings thousands of spectators to the seaside city and betting on horses can sure work up an appetite. Pre or post-race, there are plenty of Del Mar dining options near the surf and turf where you can snag a seat, celebrate your winnings or bemoan your losses. No matter your luck, finish out your race day strong with these eateries curated by our pals over at Yelp.

Café Secret (1140 Camino Del Mar)
Race away from the throngs of fans and ditch the crowds to dine at this hidden gem. The Peruvian menu is unique for the area and you’ll find delicious selections for brunch, lunch or dinner. The baked empanadas are drool-worthy and don’t even get us started on the ceviche list! Traditional Peruvian entrees are also available, like the tasty Chaufa dish, made with shrimp, pork and Peruvian-Cantonese fried rice.

Del Mar Rendezvous (1555 Camino Del Mar)
This modern Chinese restaurant was created by the minds behind the famous Dumpling Inn on Convoy Street and boasts a busy bunch of diners each night, so it’s best to make that reservation in advance. We like to gobble down a dish from the “Dim Sum and Then Some” menu or opt for the Pungent Crispy Chicken in spicy sauce. If you’re really on the ball, call one day ahead and the chefs will prepare you the signature Peking Duck. The delicious dish requires seven hours of prep time and is worth every minute of anticipation.

Sea & Smoke (2690 Via De La Valle)
Pre or post-race, you’ll find menus for every palate and time of day. Brunch is popular, with options like shrimp and grits, house-made cinnamon rolls and cast iron skillet benedicts. Lunch is delightful on the downstairs outdoor patio (live music on Wednesdays) and the bar features an $8 “Martini Monday” special. If you have a group in the winner’s circle, you can also reserve their private dining area to celebrate.

Kitchen 1540 (1540 Camino Del Mar)
Located in the lovely L’Auberge Del Mar resort, Kitchen 1540 offers both an indoor dining room and an outdoor patio with stunning views. After watching the ponies go ‘round, this is a stellar choice to grab a bite and some drinks just around the corner from the track. The kitchen features a “special of the night” at market price, and dinner selections include options like Memphis Style Pork Ribs and Mary’s Chicken with pork belly, seasonal veggies and thyme mashed potatoes.

Sbicca (215 15th Street)
With a peek of the ocean and a perfect Happy Hour, a post-up here is a solid bet after the races. The menu boasts items like sweet potato fries, jumbo crab cakes and a special of the day from the chef, which often involves fresh seafood. Also, don’t miss the burrata cheese on a toasted baguette with basil pesto and arugula, or the local favorite: P.E.I Mussels and bacon in a sauce of white wine, cider, leeks and cream. The wine and cocktail lists are worth a cheers, too.

Prepkitchen (1201 Camino Del Mar)
Make a reservation at this beloved gem, even for lunch hours, as it’s a popular spot any day of the week. The Bacon-Wrapped Dates with blue cheese and arugula are a delicious way to begin, while the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich is a great choice for midday. For dinner, we suggest the Rigatoni Alla Norma with caramelized eggplant. For dessert, you absolutely must order the Warm Chocolate Bundino. Insider Tip: don’t fight for street parking. The parking lot under the restaurant has spots available after 5 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekend.

Photo Credit: Prepkitchen/Facebook
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<![CDATA[San Diego Ranked No. 8 City for Pizza]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:47:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Basic-Kitchen-Pizza-SD.jpg

Sure, Chicago has authentic deep-dish pizza and New York City has some very memorable pies, but San Diego is also a prime place for pizza, according to a new list delivered by TripAdvisor.

On Wednesday, TripAdvisor released a list of the “Top 10 U.S. Pizza Cities” based on reviews and opinions from millions of TripAdvisor travelers. San Diego got a slice of the action, coming in at No. 8 in the rankings.

According to the list, must-try pizzerias in San Diego include BASIC Urban Kitchen + Bar in East Village, Buona Forchetta in South Park and Pizza Port in Ocean Beach.

The top pizza city on the list was Chicago, followed by New York City and then New Haven, Conn. Other places for perfect pies, in order, include: Orlando (No. 4); San Francisco (No. 5); Washington, D.C. (No. 6); Las Vegas (No. 7); Phoenix (No. 9); and Miami Beach, Fla. (No. 10).

TripAdvisor said the ranking of the top cities for pizza is based on the quality of pizza restaurant reviews, the quantity of pizza restaurants and their reviews, with more weight given to reviews from the past year, and the ratio of pizza restaurants and reviews compared to all restaurants for the city.

Additionally, according to a word search within the TripAdvisor pizza reviews, travelers’ favorite pizza toppings besides cheese are pepperoni, sausage and mushroom.

The tasty round-up also included a ranking of the overall top U.S. pizza restaurants. The No. 1 spot on that list went to Juliana’s Pizza in NYC, an eatery that specializes in thin-crust pies charred to perfection under a coal-fired hearth.

To see the full rankings, click here.

Where's your favorite local place to grab a slice of pizza? Share in the comments section below.

Photo Credit: Basic Urban Kitchen + Bar/ Facebook]]>