<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego News]]> Copyright 2014 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, 27 Nov 2014 22:54:08 -0800 Thu, 27 Nov 2014 22:54:08 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Thanksgiving in San Diego Means Cooking on the Beach]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:10:10 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Thanksgiving+San+Diego+1127.jpg

To those who have invited me to turkey dinner at their homes over the years, I thank you. But with all due respect, I must say I have never smelled turkey as good as I did today.

Coming to work on Thanksgiving Day – well, you know – but I was grateful to be assigned to cover the story of hot weather in San Diego!

Spencer, one of my favorite photographers, and I headed to Mission Bay to scope things out. We met a group cooking turkey dinner for 200 soccer friends. We’re talking about Dutch oven cooked turkeys, fried turkeys, salad, stuffing, yams and 120 pounds of potatoes.

“Who peeled all those potatoes?” I had to know.

“Well, we had six people here this morning cutting potatoes and Brussels sprouts,” said Ian Madsen, noting the group had arrived at six thirty this morning to save a spot for their gathering.

Did I mention? They are all from Utah!

“It's cold, and snow is coming and it’s gray, said Connor Spere, “This is nice for us, this is really hot, it’s nice to be out here in the sun and play some soccer.”

Yes, and cook for all those people?

“Yeah, but this makes it not hard, particularly when you're sitting out, cooking outside, near the water with your friends and stuff it makes it fun.

And it smelled so good!

<![CDATA[Escondido Police Officer Injured in Hit and Run]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:44:31 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Escondido+police+crash+1127.jpg

An Escondido police officer was injured early Thursday morning in a hit-and-run crash involving a DUI suspect.

The incident began just after 4 a.m. in the 400 block of West Vermont Avenue as officers were responding to a report of a domestic violence.

One of the officers was driving east on Vermont toward Escondido Boulevard when his patrol vehicle was struck in the right rear by a white Honda Civic, according to a news release from the Escondido Police Department.

The Honda continued past the patrol car, striking two parked cars before coming to a stop in the 100 block of Vermont Avenue.

The driver of the Honda then jumped out of the car and ran off. The officer, who suffered lower back pain in the crash, chased the suspect before succumbing to his pain, police said.

Responding officers found the driver, identified as 19-year-old Mario Ontiveros of Escondido, near Juniper Elementary School.

Ontiveros was treated at Palomar Hospital for minor injuries before being booked in jail on suspicion of felony DUI, felony hit and run, two counts of misdemeanor of hit and run and driving with a suspended license.

Police said Ontiveros also has a prior DUI and a hit-and-run arrest from August 2013.

The officer also was treated at Palomar Hospital and later released.

Photo Credit: Escondido Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Proposed Bill Would Give Holiday Workers Double Pay]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:01:50 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/black-friday-employees-thanksgiving+%281%29.jpg

A state assemblywoman from San Diego is proposing legislation that would mandate that people who work on Thanksgiving and Christmas receive double pay.

Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, assemblywoman for the 80th District, announced the "Double Pay on the Holiday" bill on Thursday at a Walmart in Serra Mesa, along with a local union representative and a Walmart worker.

Gonzalez pointed to the increasing demand for workers to keep up with the Black Friday hours that are continually creeping into the Thanksgiving holiday.

She said the demand has “become mandatory, forcing workers to give up their holiday or risk losing their jobs.”

"If it's so important to force employees to work on a traditional family holiday, it's only decent to compensate them fairly," Gonzalez said in a news release.

In a news release about her proposed legislation, Gonzalez pointed out that many employers are least provided some overtime or other days off in exchange for working the holiday.

Still, she said that while Walmart, for instance, provides additional pay for working on Thanksgiving, some employees have their hours cut on other days.

Many big-box stores opened early this year for Black Friday, opening on Thanksgiving evening. They include Walmart, Target, Macy’s and Best Buy.

Photo Credit: AP/FILE Photo]]>
<![CDATA[Body in Julian Identified as Missing Woman, 75]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 18:12:41 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sally+estabrook.jpg

Sheriff’s deputies have identified a body found in San Diego as that of 75-year-old Sally Estabrook, who vanished nearly two months ago.

Deputies in Julian responded just before 3:30 p.m. Wednesday to a report of a woman’s body found in some heavy shrubbery off the roadway in the 200 block of Coulter Ridge Road.

The body was found near Pinezanita Campground on Highway 79 where Estabrook disappeared on Oct. 4.

Estabrook, the mother-in-law of Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine, suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. She was reported missing by her husband, who had finished a shower and realized she was gone.

The clothing worn by the woman closely resembled that which was worn by Estabrook when she disappeared, deputies said.

No foul play was believed to be involved.

The cause and manner of death will be made by the medical examiner’s office.

<![CDATA[San Diego Police Change Tactics on Protesters ]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 22:46:25 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/protest+1126.jpg

San Diego police changed their strategy and demonstrators changed their tactics on Wednesday, the second day of San Diego protests over the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri.

Some 150 people gathered in Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park in City Heights and marched down University Avenue.

Demonstrators seemed determined to stop traffic on the interstates. But while police were patient with Wednesday night's march, that was one bit of civil disobedience they are not going to allow again.

The crowd was considerably smaller Wednesday night, but their voices remain strong.

Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park was the meeting place. The march itself went much further than on Tuesday night, all the way downtown.

Demonstrators chanted and held up signs as they walked. The California Highway Patrol and San Diego police blocked streets and stopped traffic to avoid accidents. Law enforcement was determined to keep protesters off the highways and ramps.

They closed the University Avenue on and off ramps, as well as the Interstate 805 entrance ramp until demonstrators were well passed them.

Wednesday's march included several children, some with their parents and some without.

While many of the demonstrators throughout San Diego and the country felt the grand jury decision was wrong, they were still supportive of law enforcement.

Some of the kids NBC 7 spoke with, though, had choice words about how they see police in their community.

“I see them not helping us, and they just want to do their thing," a 14-year-old demonstrator said.

“I think they are not doing the job. Just because they are part of the law doesn't mean they can avoid the law," said a 16-year-old boy. "They should be the exact same like us."

Besides traffic tie-ups, MTS bus service was at a standstill for a number of hours Tuesday and Wednesday nights along University Avenue.

MTS employees were spotted along their regular routes radioing demonstrators' progress so they could, as soon as possible, get buses rolling again.

The disruption affected has thousands of riders over the two days.

According to Facebook posts, organizers are planning similar rallies in San Diego through the holiday weekend.

Photo Credit: Dave Summers/NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Could Hackers Take Over San Diego Traffic Lights?]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 22:14:43 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/traffic+light+no+power.jpg A cyber security expert told NBC 7 manipulating an individual traffic light in San Diego would be relatively easy for a hacker, and you can imagine how chaotic and dangerous that could be. However, as NBC 7’s Sherene Tagharobi reports, shutting down an entire city's traffic system is highly unlikely.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Crash Causes Large Power Outage in South Bay]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 22:59:24 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sdge+generic.JPG

Thousands of South Bay residents lost power Wednesday night after a car struck a transformer, according to Chula Vista police.

A single car crashed into a transformer in the 2400 block of New Seabury Way in Chula Vista just before 8 p.m. The driver wasn't hurt, police said.

More than 5,000 customers lost power, according to San Diego Gas and Electric. Electricity was fully restored just before 11 p.m. Wednesday.

<![CDATA[To Protect, Serve and Not Suffer: PTSD in the Line of Duty]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 22:04:15 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP631399220978.jpg

It’s a problem among cops that few talk about outside the police community: Post traumatic stress disorder which can cause big problems on the job and off. It can lead even to suicide in an alarming number of cases.

In fact, suicide is now believed to be the leading cause of death among first responders. More than those who are killed by felons. More than officers who perish in auto accidents.

La Mesa Police Officer Tim Purdy is a tough, well-trained and nine-year veteran cop equipped to handle most any situation.

But an officer-involved shooting made Purdy realize that no first responder is emotionally bulletproof from the danger, stress and anxiety that comes with the job.

His life changed one summer night in August 2011 when he and another officer responded to a domestic violence call.

A man, on probation after recently being released from jail, met officers on the street with a shotgun.

The suspect pointed his weapon at Purdy and another officer who shot and killed the gunman.

Killing a man, though the shooting was justified, was traumatic for Purdy but what really rattled him was coming into contact with the gunman’s children moments after the shooting.

“That was difficult for me as far as knowing that I had just killed their father. I had a lot of guilty feelings. I dealt with nightmares, wasn’t speaking with my supportive wife about this. Eventually I just didn’t see the purpose in life and that’s when I needed more help,” Purdy said.

He got the help and learned he was one of an estimated 120,000 first responders nationwide suffering from PTSD according to the Justice Department.

That number included people in his own department like La Mesa Captain and Detective Dan Willis.

For his part, Willis battled through PTSD after being consumed by a murder case he worked on for five years. His efforts to resolve the case taxed his marriage and spirit in the process.

After getting better, he set out on a mission to help other first responders researching and writing a book called "Bulletproof Spirit."

“Think what first responders go through. How do you get used to watching somebody die? Or someone begging for their life and then expire? Or fight for your life? And you can’t help but suffer with many of our victims. The way that we try to get used to it is we shut down,” Willis said.

Experts say officers doing that can lead to bad performance on the job and bad behavior off.

“If they don’t raise their hand and say ‘I need help. Will you help me?’, how do they handle that? If they internalize it over time, it erupts. It has to come out one way or another,” said Scott Silverman who runs a San Diego-based recovery program called Confidential Recovery geared towards first responders whom he says are twice as likely to develop substance addiction as the general population.

And when those suffering don’t get help and hit bottom, the consequences can be fatal.

The Department of the Medical Examiner, San Diego County tells NBC7 that since 1997, at least 57 first responders including police officers, firefighters and medics have taken their own life.

Many were active duty, some were retired.

Nationwide, there are estimated 150 police suicides every year according to advocacy group Badge of Life which compiled data used by the Department of Justice.

“Even though suicide is the number one death, only 3 percent of agencies in the country have suicide awareness and prevention programs,” said Willis.

For its part, San Diego Police Department and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department say they have increased mental health support in recent years.

The SDPD created a Wellness Unit with the mission to be visible accessible and more proactive: A spokesman said just during this past quarter, the unit initiated contact with 149 members of the department who might be at risk.

Thirty-five others came in for help.

Advocates say it’s a good start and that officers in the often tough-guy, suck-it-up police culture are more often now admitting they need help.

While the PTSD survivors with whom we spoke tell us that departments need to do even more, they do say they are hopeful that this trend of better police department preventative action will continue so that fewer first responders will have to protect, serve and suffer.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Man Lit Self on Fire at Gas Station: Investigator]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 20:16:54 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/gas+station+flames+112614.jpg

A man suffered burns to half of his body after lighting himself on fire outside a San Diego gas station, according to fire investigators.

This happened at a Kearny Mesa Shell Gas Station at 7785 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

According to investigators, the man started fueling, took the gas hose into the front seat of his car and lit himself on fire.

Firefighters extinguished the flames, and paramedics rushed the patient to the UCSD Burn Center. He suffered second-degree burns to 50 percent of his body, according to fire officials.

Cell phone video from witnesses showed fire shooting from the vehicle and a bystander trying to throw water onto the flames.

Officials did not release the man's name but said he is from the Los Angeles area.

The incident remains under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 Viewer]]>
<![CDATA[Landscaper's Tree-Trimming Death a Complete Shock: Wife]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:39:43 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Tree+trimmer+pic+1126-PIC_0.jpg

The wife of the man killed in a tragic tree trimming accident said Wednesday her husband was a seasoned landscaper and had been doing it for years.

Laura Garcia said her husband, 37-year-old Jimmy Herrera, was a good father and a hard worker.

Herrera financially supported his wife and two daughters ages 5 and 8. On Tuesday, he picked up a side job trimming palm trees near 13th and Broadway in downtown San Diego, and was working with a friend who watched the accident happened, Garcia told NBC 7.

Herrera was trimming a palm tree when some of the fronds came down and hit him.

He was unresponsive and Garcia believes he died instantly.

Garcia said her husband's death during tree trimming was a complete shock to her considering he's been doing it for a number of years.

She and her two daughters are trying to get through the next few days with funeral arrangements, but Garcia said it's tough. She lost her job one month before the accident that killed her husband, and she's not sure how she will support herself and her daughters.

For information on how you can help, visit www.facebook.com/reportervanessaherrera or email Vanessa.Herrera@nbcuni.com.

<![CDATA[Mother Arrested for Abusing Twins]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 07:52:05 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/11-26-14_Courtney-Lynn-Stewart.jpg

A Southern California mother who allegedly starved and abused her twin 3-year-old sons leaving them severely malnourished, bruised and one with a fractured jaw has been arrested, police said Wednesday.

Courtney Lynn Stewart, 24, of Murietta, California, was arrested and charged on suspicion of willful harm or injury to a child and corporal punishment or injury to a child, according to Murrieta Police Department officials.

The investigation began when officials at the the Rancho Springs Hospital contacted the Murietta Police Department when one of the twins was admitted earlier in November weighing less than 15 pounds and with suspicious bruises on his body.

The child was immediately transported to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, where he remains in critical condition.

Investigators visitied Stewarts home and found the little boy’s twin brother, who was also severely malnourished and had a fractured jaw. He was also hospitilized, and now under the care of Riverside County Child Protective Services. It is unclear if he remains hospitalized.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Jeremy Durant with the Murrieta Police Department at 951-461-6354.

Photo Credit: Murrieta Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Hells Angels Motorcycle Club Member Arrested for Attempted Murder]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:11:52 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/handcuff+generic.JPG

A documented member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club has been arrested in connection with a hit-and-run accident in Oceanside, California.

The accident happened after a male patron was harassing a family of three while they walked past the PCH Sports Bar and Grill at 1835 S. Coast Highway, according to Oceanside Police.

A husband, wife and her father, Michael Dean, 60, walked on as the male patron and two others began saying inappropriate things to the woman and threatening to hit the men.

Police said the family was crossing in the intersection of Cassidy and Coast Highway, when Dean, who was within the crosswalk and using a cane, was hit by a white Lexus traveling at a high rate of speed. The driver fled the scene, but witnesses followed.

The driver was identified by police as Anthony Medvec, a documented member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Gang who is on federal probation and required to wear a GPS tracking device.

The tracking device was used to locate Medvec at his home on the 4900 block of Yuma. After a phone call from officers, Medvec came out of his home and was taken into custody without incident on charges of attempted murder.

Medvec was indicted in 2012 for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in a meth trafficking ring busted by FBI. More than 20 other people were sentenced to time in the bust. Medvec was sentenced to 30 months, the shortest sentence of the 20 co-defendants with the same charges.

Dean was transported to Palomar Hospital with several broken bones and a collapsed lung. Officials have not released his condition.

Photo Credit: San Diego County Sheriff's Dept.]]>
<![CDATA[Juvenile, Adult Arrested for Robbery in Vista]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:12:49 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/money_handcuffs_generic_nbc.jpg

San Diego County Sheriff's deputies arrested two males in connection with the armed robbery of a gas station in Vista. One of the suspects was a 16-year-old.

According to the Sheriff's Department, the two suspects entered the Chevron at the 1500 block of S. Melrose Drive in Vista Tuesday morning and demanded cash while pointing a gun at the store clerk. They removed an undisclosed amount of cash from the register before fleeing the business.

Drew Viramontes, 18, and another 16-year-old male were arrested several blocks away and face charges of robbery and conspiracy to commit a crime. Viramontes was also charged with committing a felony while out on bail and the juvenile suspect was charged for carrying a switchblade knife.

A BB-style gun mocking the look of a real gun was located during a follow-up investigation by Vista authorities and the investigation is ongoing.

<![CDATA[Fire Engulfs Building on University Avenue]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:38:33 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/University-Avenue-Fire.jpg

Black smoke from a building fire filled the air south of San Diego State University Wednesday.

The fire shot from the roof of a building at University Avenue and 58th Street just before 3 p.m. An hour later, firefighters had knocked down the fire.

Firefighters arrived and immediately crawled into what appeared to be an abandoned building through a side window. They performed a sweep of the two-story building, but found no one inside.

An assisted care facility, high school and an apartment complex are located nearby.

San Diego Police arrived and shut down traffic along this section of University Avenue between 54th and 58th streets.

<![CDATA[Thanksgiving Snarls Traffic at Airport, on Highways]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 17:08:42 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Thanksgiving+travel+1126-PIC_0.jpg

More than 60,000 travelers were expected to pass through the San Diego International Airport on Wednesday, making it one of the busiest travel days of the year.

Still, several people who spoke to NBC 7 said traveling through the airport seemed relatively smooth.

“It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be,” said Rachel De La Cruz, who flew to San Diego from San Jose.

It was pretty “stress-free traveling,” echoed Pilar De La Cruz, also flying in from San Jose.

On San Diego County highways and freeways on Wednesday afternoon, traffic was especially slow heading north on Interstate 5 near Del Mar, heading south on the 805 and east on Interstate 8.

The eve of Thanksgiving is considered one of the busiest times for travel, and while San Diego’s airport wasn’t reporting any issues, officials were still recommending travelers give themselves extra time before their flight.

Rebecca Bloomfield, spokeswoman for San Diego’s airport, said travelers were being encouraged to arrive an hour and a half early for domestic flights and two and half hours early for international flights.

Inclement weather on the East Coast was delaying or forcing the cancellation of some flights. Even if San Diego travelers weren’t heading east, they were still being encouraged to check their flight status, since some planes and flight crews were coming from the East Coast.

One positive with Thanksgiving travel: The San Diego airport was offering a $2 discount on parking in the economy lot. Details are here.

<![CDATA[Slain Officer's Name Covered by Protesters' Sign]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:10:30 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/henwood-park-sign2.jpg

Organizers from the local Artful Activists San Diego group covered the sign for the Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park with a banner that made it read “Michael Brown Memorial Park.” Henwood was an SDPD officer who was gunned down in City Heights while on duty in 2011.

The group that hung the banner used Henwood Park as the meeting place for one of two protests in San Diego. The protests came after a grand jury decided not to indict white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of black teen Michael Brown.

A number of San Diegans expressed outrage at the covering of the sign and an online debate ensued over Twitter. One comment called the banner "disgusting". Another asked, "Kind of out of line, no?"

Chris McKay of Artful Activists San Diego said the banner was not meant to disrespect Officer Henwood, but rather it was posted to make a statement.

"We didn't want to have a rally or a protest for a person who was killed by an officer at a park that was named after an officer," McKay told NBC7.

"We made sure to do it where nothing was damaged because this officer did care about the community."

Henwood was shot and killed while sitting in his patrol car by suspect Dejon Marquee, in an unprovoked attack. Marquee was later killed in a shootout with police officers in City Heights.

In his final act of kindness before his death, Henwood bought cookies for local teen Daveon Scott at a McDonald’s restaurant on Fairmount Avenue. Scott was short on change and Henwood, a total stranger, offered to buy him the cookies in a tender moment caught on surveillance tape. The fatal shooting happened just moments later.

A grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson Monday has triggered two nights of protests in Ferguson and in cities across the country. McKay said the group just wanted to remember the slain Ferguson teen.

"We wanted to make sure Michael Brown had a memorial for the day," McKay said. "[Henwood] has it for 365 days of the year...we still respect [Henwood] for what he did."

When asked why the rally wasn't just held in another location, McKay said it could have been, but for the purpose of symbolism, they opted for Henwood Park because the Mid City police station is across the street.

"That would have been nice, but the police station is right there."

The San Diego Police Officers Association responded to the banner in a statement Wednesday evening describing Officer Henwood's commitment to the community and asking protesters to remain peaceful and respectful.

"In the opinion of the SDPOA, change occurs best in environments where there is an atmosphere of mutual respect and committment of all parties to be partners in solutions. This partnership is not served well when our officers are assaulted with rocks and bottles, spat on, or their memories diminished," the statment read.

"As the protests continue and voices strive to be heard, the SDPOA stands ready to protect free speech and to enforce laws to protect lives and property."

Ed. Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the group responsible for covering the sign at Henwood Memorial Park. We regret the error.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 ]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Hat Bank Bandit Sought in Solana Beach Heist]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 10:51:59 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Santa-Hat-Bandit-11261_2.jpg

San Diego FBI agents are asking for the public’s help to find a bank bandit with bad skin who wore a Santa hat and a fanny pack.

The man walked into the Chase Bank on Loma Santa Fe in Solana Beach at approximately 2 p.m.

FBI officials say the man showed a small handgun and demanded large bills.

He left with money and traveled southbound through the parking lot.

He was described as about 40 years old, 6-foot, 3-inches and 180 to 190 pounds with “leathery skin” which may be rosacea, agents said.

Along with the red and white Santa hat, the bandit had dark matted long hair with a fake beard and wore sunglasses, jeans, dark long-sleeved shirt and fanny pack with a water bottle attached to his waist.

Anyone with information can call (858) 320-1800 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

Photo Credit: FBI]]>
<![CDATA[Playoff Picture: Who Should Chargers Fans Root For?]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 10:28:35 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chargers+rams+nfl+pic+6.jpg

First the good news: If they playoffs started today, the Chargers would make the six-team field in the AFC. Because of a series of tie-breakers, their 7-4 mark is better than three other teams with an identical record.

The problem is that the season doesn’t end for another month – another brutal month on the schedule that sees the Bolts playing five playoff contenders with nary a cupcake to be found.

“We feel like we’re in playoff mode right now, because every team we’re playing the rest of the season, feels like they can’t lose a game to keep their playoff hopes alive,” said safety Brandon Flowers. “I guess it’s good in a sense. We don’t have any so-called trap games. We gotta give everybody our best shot and we’re going to get everybody’s best shot.”

He’s not kidding.

It seems the later we go in the season, the closer the standings get. In fact, the conference No. 2 and No. 9 are separated by just one game. That includes both of the Chargers’ AFC West rivals – Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. Needless to say, there’s no margin for error from here on out.

1. Patriots – 9-2 (East leader)
2. Broncos – 8-3 (West leader)
3. Bengals – 7-3-1 (North leader)
4. Colts – 7-4 (South leader)
5. Chiefs – 7-4
6. Chargers – 7-4
7. Ravens – 7-4
8. Steelers – 7-4
9. Browns – 7-4
10. Dolphins – 6-5
11. Bills – 6-5

So, who are Chargers fans rooting for? Well, as the Bolts head to Baltimore to take on the Ravens on Sunday at 10 a.m., you can see how big a win would be. Any time you can separate from any of the teams above, it will be huge come playoff time.

But we already knew we’re rooting for the Bolts. Let’s take a look at the rest of the schedule as it pertains to the Chargers.

In the marquee division game, the Chiefs host the Broncos in the Sunday Night Football game on NBC. It would be in the Chargers’ best interest for Kansas City to win. If they do and the Bolts get a victory, we would have a three-way tie atop the West.

The Chargers play both these teams coming up. Needless to say, this thing would be a long way from over.

Even if the Broncos win, it’s not the worst thing. That would put the Bolts a notch ahead of the Chiefs in the wild card race.

Either way, it should be an entertaining game.

Two major anomalies in the league stick out. First, every team in the AFC North has at least seven wins – the only time at this point in the season that’s happened. Also, no team in the NFC South has a better record than 4-7 – also a first.

This becomes important because two big games involve these teams. The New Orleans Saints head to Pittsburgh to play the Steelers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the North-leading Cincinnati Bengals. If one or both of these underachieving NFC teams could pull an upset, that would be huge. Don’t hold your breath.

In other games, Cleveland heads to Buffalo in a game we’d love to see the Bills win and the Jets look to upset Miami in the Monday Night game.

In what should be the best game of the week, Green Bay hosts New England in a battle of the league's two best teams -- and also a possible Super Bowl preview. It probably won't matter much, but Chargers fans would like to see a Packers win just to keep the Pats within striking distance of the rest of the conference.

Strangely enough, no AFC teams play in any of the three Thanksgiving Day games. That means Chargers fans can relax, enjoy some football, family, food … and get ready for a battle on Sunday.

So, to sum up, Chargers fans should root for:

Bills over Browns (10 a.m.)
Redskins over Colts (10 a.m.)
Saints over Steelers (10 a.m.)
Bucs over Bengals (10 a.m.)
Packers over Patriots (1:25 p.m.)
Chiefs over Broncos (5:30 p.m.)
Jets over Dolphins (5:30 p.m. Monday)

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Protest Halts Traffic on NB I-5 in La Jolla]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 17:53:19 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/I5-Protest-112614.jpg

Thousands of San Diego drivers were delayed Wednesday by a line of protesters who stopped traffic on northbound I-5 in La Jolla.

"I am really enraged," said UC San Diego student and Black Student Coalition Chair Jazzalyn Livingston.

The students wanted to shut down the highway to force everyone to pay attention to the recent grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri, Livingston said.

"People of color, students of color, often times we don't have a voice," she said."This is our way to demand that ya'll listen." 

There have been a number of demonstrations in cities across the U.S. after the grand jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

There were approximately two dozen people wearing black blocking four lanes of highway traffic just south of the Nobel Drive exit just before 7 a.m.

They held signs demanding accountability and proclaiming the message "Hands Up Don't Shoot."

As a result, thousands of cars were stuck stopped with the gridlock reaching several miles south to downtown San Diego.

The frustration was apparent as drivers got out of their vehicles and began taking images and video of those holding up traffic. Some took the red cones put up in front of the line of protesters and threw them to the side of the highway. 

One man appeared to be screaming and threatening several protesters including one holding a bullhorn. He then wrangled the bullhorn away.

As a motorcycle drove past the protest, the rider held up a fist in solidarity.

California Highway Patrol officers arrived approximately 15 minutes after the protest began and intervened between the group and the drivers who were delayed.

After several minutes, the line of protesters walked to the side of the highway and were escorted to the highway off ramp.

By 7:22 a.m. traffic was flowing again northbound. The group continued their protest along Nobel Drive and traveled toward UC San Diego.

No one was arrested or cited.

On Tuesday, two separate protests sent hundreds of people onto the streets and onto a freeway and ended in arrests.

A Sig Alert was issued when the demonstrators moved onto Interstate 15 at University Avenue.

In City Heights, the sign for the Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park was obstructed by a banner that read “Michael Brown Memorial Park.”

Henwood was an SDPD officer who was gunned down while on duty in 2011.

The park was dedicated in February in the memory of the police officer whose final act of kindness - buying cookies for a child at a nearby fast food restaurant  - was shared with millions via social media.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Car Nearly Wraps Around Tree in Street Racing Crash]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:20:41 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Chula-Vista-Street-Racing-1.jpg

A street race ended violently Wednesday with one car nearly wrapped around a tree along a main route through Chula Vista, officials said.

Two cars collided while racing at speeds up to 80 mph along East H Street just east of Interstate 805 around 3:20 a.m., witnesses told police.

An adult female was driving the car that crashed into a tree in the center media near the Terra Nova Plaza Shopping Center. Emergency crews had to free the woman from the wreckage. She suffered two broken legs and was air lifted to a nearby hospital in critical condition, polices said.

A second driver behind the wheel of a white sports car, identified by police as 23-year-old Joseph Klaerich, stopped near the crash scene. He taken into custody and may face charges of driving under the influence, officers said. His car sustained minor damage.

Eastbound lanes of East H Street were closed from I-805 to Hidden Vista Drive. Drivers may want to avoid the area until approximately 11 a.m., officials said.

<![CDATA[2 Rescued on Torrey Pines Cliff]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 08:17:18 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cliff-rescue-112614.jpg

An injured man became stuck on a La Jolla cliff early Wednesday and was in need of rescue. San Diego lifeguards said.

The unidentified man was with a woman when he suffered a cut to his leg and couldn’t not climb up off the cliff below the Torrey Pines Glider Port.

San Diego Lifeguards were called to the section of beach just north of La Jolla around 4:40 a.m.

The man, described by officials as in his 20s, was with a woman when the pair became stuck on the cliff.

Lifeguards said they were putting together a rope system to lower the woman to the beach below and then return for the man.

Officials aren’t sure why the couple was on the ledge. There’s a slight path on the cliff but not much to follow.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA["Hoarder" Dies After Cluttered Home Catches Fire]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 09:01:03 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/carlsbad+fatal+house+fire.JPG

A Carlsbad woman whose cluttered home caught fire Tuesday evening has died.

The flames sparked at a condominium complex in the 2300 block of Caringa Way, just before 8 p.m., forcing residents next door to run from their home.

Firefighters say clutter blocked their entrance into the home and, once inside, made it difficult for them to maneuver.

The woman in her late 70s was found unresponsive on the first floor. 

Despite efforts to save her, she was pronounced dead at the home.

Neighbor Arlene Cooperson told NBC 7 she warned the victim to clean her home or bear the consequences.

"She's a hoarder," she said. "Things have to be done; they can't avoid them."

The 2-alarm fire damaged four of the adjoining units. Firefighters say the residents won't be allowed to return until Wednesday.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

<![CDATA[Raw Video: San Diegans Protest Ferguson Decision]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 20:59:19 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SD_Ferguson_protest_raw_video_1200x675_363761731988.jpg Hundreds took over the streets of City Heights Tuesday night to protest a Missouri grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown. ]]> <![CDATA[San Diegans Protest on Streets, Freeway]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 21:39:55 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SD+protest+on+freeway+3+.JPG Two separate protests against the Ferguson grand jury decision sent hundreds of people onto the streets and onto a freeway of San Diego Tuesday night. ]]> <![CDATA[2014 Could Be Busiest for Airline Passengers]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 20:20:33 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/long+airport+waits+lindbergh+field.JPG A new study from the U.S. Travel Association shows airline travel number are increasing -- rapidly. NBC 7's Vanessa Herrera explains what that means for those flying from Lindbergh Field. ]]> <![CDATA[Bronze Stars, Navy Cross Awarded for Bravery in Afghanistan]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 21:48:47 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Justin+Wilson+navy+cross.JPG

An emotional ceremony at Camp Pendleton awarded a Navy corpsman with the Navy Cross and two killed Marines with the Bronze Star for their brave actions in Afghanistan.

In September 2011, the service members were serving overseas in the First Marine Special Operations Battalion when their courage was tested.

They were clearing an Afghan police checkpoint when not one, but two improvised explosive devices went off.

After suffering injuries to his chest and face, Petty Officer 1st Class Justin Wilson reacted without regard for his own personal safety to treat those injured.

He moved one of his wounded teammates out of the kill zone and gave him aid until he died.

Wilson also found two other Marines killed in action before he finally allowed other members of the patrol to treat his injuries.

For those brave actions, Wilson received the Navy Cross Tuesday.

“I only saw one thing in their eyes: it's courage. The love of a brother and the desire bring him home,” said Wilson during the ceremony.

Camp Pendleton officials also presented two posthumous Bronze Stars to the families of Staff Sgts. Christopher Diaz and Nicholas Sprovtsoff.

When the IED that injured Wilson exploded, they selflessly put themselves between their team and the explosive to safe their fellow service members.

Diaz’ son Jeremy and his father Salvador Diaz Jr. accepted the medal in his honor at the ceremony.

“Three young men brave men lost their lives. They went to God; they went to fulfill their duties up in heaven to watch over us,” said Salvador.

<![CDATA[Protesters Storm Onto I-15, Arrests Made]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 10:21:20 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SD+protest+on+freeway+8.JPG

Two separate protests sent hundreds of people onto the streets and onto a freeway of San Diego Tuesday night, leading to arrests the evening after a grand jury decided not to indict white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of black teen Michael Brown.

Traffic came to a halt as crowds set out from the City Heights Performance Annex to march around the San Diego Police Department’s Mid City division. They chanted "Hands up, don't shoot," the phrase that has come to represent all rallies held in Brown's honor.

"It's showing community participation within this context of showing outrage against violence against people of color," said protester Chase Fite.

About an hour an a half in, protesters marched onto Interstate 15 at University Avenue, forcing California Highway Patrol to issue a Sig Alert. Police and CHP quickly herded the crowd back onto surface streets, but off- and on-ramps to University Ave. were closed.

Police soon formed a blockade about 35 officers-wide, systematically pushing people back in an effort to regain control of the area.

SDPD says some arrests have been made from the group that went onto the interstate, but they did not release details about what those charges were.

One man in a camouflage shirt was seen being hauled away by officers, who were carrying him by his arms and legs.

At their meeting place, protesters covered the sign for the Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park with a banner that made it read “Michael Brown Memorial Park.” Henwood was an SDPD officer who was gunned down in City Heights while on duty in 2011.

The SDPD told NBC 7 the protest was supposed to be confined to the park, which sits near the Mid City police division, but excitement sparked other plans.

Still, many San Diegans in the crowd advocated for peace across the nation.

"Hold on babies. Don't tear up your place. We're behind you. The world is behind you," one person told NBC 7.

A second protest originated at the Federal Building, where people listened to speeches before weaving their way through downtown streets.

Chanting "Peace through revolution. Touch one, touch all," the demonstrators held signs that read "No justice, no peace" and "Jail the killer cop." 

At San Diego State University Tuesday, students also stood in solidarity with the Ferguson protesters. Some held their arms in a "hands up" position.

The local activists’ movements are similar dozens of demonstrations across the country that have now entered their second day — though San Diego’s protests have been far more peaceful.

In Ferguson itself, Gov. Jay Nixon has called in over 2,200 National Guardsmen after rioting, looting and fires broke out when the grand jury’s decision was initially announced. The Associated Press reports 61 people were arrested in the St. Louis suburb Monday night.

More than 200 protesters gathered in Los Angeles Tuesday afternoon, forcing road closures. The night before, marches had briefly stopped traffic on Interstate 10.

In Oakland, 40 people were arrested for a variety of crimes Monday night, and more protests are expected.

Ed. Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the group responsible for covering the sign at Henwood Memorial Park. We regret the error.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Black Friday 101: Mall Hours and Parking Tips]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 18:53:30 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/6558-000166.jpg

Before you can shop ‘til you drop on Black Friday, you have to find a parking spot.

In San Diego, that’s no small task, so it helps to have a strategy.

Chris Lane, Director of Marketing and Business Development at Fashion Valley, says the best times to find parking are from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Lane recommends using mall entrances other than the main entrance. For Fashion Valley, that includes the JCPenney entrance off Fashion Valley Road and the back entrance from Camino de la Reina. Both avoid traffic backup on Friars Road.

After entering the mall, Lane suggests starting with the A, B, and C parking garages behind Macy’s.

“Check the lower levels of the parking structures, as they may have more spots available and have easier in and out access,” he said, adding that valet parking is also available.

Another way to avoid the hassle is to use public transit. All MTS buses and trolleys will run on their normal schedules Friday, with the exception of the Rapid bus. Some malls have their own designated trolley stops, but all are accessible by public transit. (Click here for a complete list of bus and trolley service to San Diego shopping centers.)

If you do venture out by car, the International Parking Institute offers the following parking lot tips:

1. Exercise caution when backing out. Twenty-five percent of parking lot accidents are caused by backing moves.

2. Obey the law.

3. Keep your headlights on (even in the daytime.)

4. Park further away from the building for less hassle.

5. Follow etiquette basics. When waiting for a spot, do not block other parking space seekers. Also, remember to return shopping carts to designated cart corral areas.

6. Be a mindful pedestrian. Don’t text while walking or jaywalk.

7. Watch for small children.

8. Buckle up and be patient. Even low speed collisions can result in injuries. Resist the temptation to honk the horn

9. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Park in well-lit areas and always make sure you've rolled up your car windows and locked your doors. Have your keys out and ready when returning to your car.

10. Set an alarm if you’re parked in a metered spot.


Friday Mall Hours (Department stores may operate on different hours.)

Westfield Camino Real (Carlsbad): 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Carlsbad Premium Outlets: 12 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Westfield North County (Escondido): 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Westfield UTC (La Jolla): 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Fashion Valley (Mission Valley) : 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Westfield Mission Valley: 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Parkway Plaza (El Cajon): 12 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Grossmont Center (La Mesa): 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Westfield Horton Plaza (downtown): 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Westfield Plaza Bonita (National City): 12 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Chula Vista Center: 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Otay Ranch Town Center (Chula Vista): 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Las Americas Premium Outlets (San Ysidro): 12 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New FDA Rules Require Calorie Counts]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 20:24:36 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/salmon+food+restaurant.jpg

Nick Streeper doesn't spend much time looking at the calorie numbers on the menu.

Does it influence what he orders? "I think my wife would care, I don't. Personally it does not influence my decision at all," said Streeper.

Now the calorie numbers are going to be even more obvious as the FDA announced new government rules requiring chain restaurants, supermarkets and convenience stores to display calorie content of food on their menus.

"Sometimes this really does change behavior and sometimes people ignore it," said Anita Jones-Mueller with HealthyDiningFinder.com.

She said besides calories, those impacted by the rules will also have to offer additional information like sodium, fats, sugar and more upon request.

"I think it is definitely one step in helping people find the healthier choices for them," said Jones-Mueller.

California and some other states have already had calorie posting rules in place, but these federal guidelines go even further. Movie theaters, amusement parks and vending machines will have to post the information "clearly and conspicuously."

However there are exceptions; food and ice cream trucks won't have to offer calorie information, and neither will food on an airplane.

Griselda Arellano said she'll notice the calories but it may not change her mind.

"If it's something that I'm already set on, then it's not going to matter," said Arellano, "but if I'm trying to stay within a certain calorie count, I'll notice and I'll order that."

The new regulations will apply to businesses with 20 or more locations, and they will be given until November 2015 to comply.

Photo Credit: Consumer Bob]]>
<![CDATA[Moves Underway to Bankroll Convention Center Project]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 20:23:16 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/San+Diego+Convention+Center1.JPG

The clock may be ticking on a new funding scheme to expand San Diego's Convention Center.

In August, state appeal court justices ruled against room-tax surcharges passed by city hotel owners in a controversial private election, saying that the levies should have been put on the ballot.

Now, with rumblings of imminent NFL plans to put two teams in L.A. -- and the Chargers touting a hybridized stadium-convention facility in East Village — delaying a decision on the expansion project for long could have major downsides

Meantime, NBC 7 has learned that behind the scenes, there's been extensive lobbying and maneuvering to come up with alternatives.

The $520 million project’s upfront cost was set to be underwritten in large part by the room-tax surcharges, with additional funding from the city and Port District.

The Convention Center recently observed its 25th anniversary, and it's beginning to show its age and the effects of $30 million worth of deferred maintenance.

Officials say it's essential to expand the center to keep Comic-Con, its prime tenant, and attract a greater share of the large-meeting market in competition with other cities.

The attorney for plaintiffs who prevailed in the lawsuit said they've told "the city" they want the expansion to take place north of Harbor Drive instead of on the waterfront, that they’re opposed to "corporate welfare" and that they believe that any form of tax funding should go to the ballot.

"After the appellate ruling,” attorney Cory Briggs told NBC 7 in an interview Tuesday, “we shared some ideas for alternatives, five different alternatives that are dependent on going across the street that wouldn't involve the level of corporate subsidies that you're talking about here.

"The city was completely dismissive of those ideas under the prior mayor. I think Mayor Faulconer, he's at least shown to me that he's willing to listen to other ideas and actually spend some time and resources vetting them somewhat."

A spokesman for the mayor's office confirms that discussions have taken place with Briggs and numerous other "stakeholders” — although there’s no memory of five specific alternatives — and that "all options are on the table," including the bay front expansion proposal.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said he buys the ballot approach: "It is case law and it's sound case law. Let's move on from that and not test the boundaries of the law any more. Let's go with the most legally supportable — and I agree that ought to be voter approval. This is, after all, a tax."

Goldsmith apparently hasn't been privy to the talks going on behind-the-scenes.

In an interview Tuesday with NBC 7, he said he thinks whatever Cory Briggs and the mayor's office have been talking about should be made public, in the interest of "transparency and open government."

As for the notion that voters and other financiers could be swayed by the Chargers’ concept of extra convention space within a stadium footprint, a leading local taxpayer advocate is skeptical.

"If the idea of a downtown stadium is the tail that wags the dog in whatever circuitous route they get to it, that's not something voters want,” said Richard Rider, chairman of San Diego Tax Fighters.

“They don't want to go downtown. They like the stadium where it is. We can argue about rebuilding it, renewing it, improving it. But nobody wants a stadium downtown except the downtown establishment."

<![CDATA[SDPD Works to Keep Peace Amid Ferguson Protests]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 17:36:35 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sdpd_generic.jpg Protests in San Diego have been tame compared to those in Ferguson and other cities after a grand jury decided not to charge Officer Darren Wilson in Michael Brown’s death. In a department criticized for racial profiling and lack of diversity, NBC 7’s Omari Fleming explains what SDPD is doing to keep the peace. ]]> <![CDATA[Images: Driver Crushed in East H Street Crash]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 11:11:58 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/CV-Street-Racing-112614_3.jpg The crumpled wreckage was found in a tree along the center median of the busy road east of Interstate 805, Chula Vista police said.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Using Walker Hit by Truck]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 16:49:04 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/pedestrian+vs+car+chula+vista.JPG

A woman in her 50s, using a walker to cross the road, was hit by a truck in Chula Vista Tuesday.

The pedestrian was crossing G Street at 2nd Avenue just before 4 p.m. when a black Dodge truck hit her while turning onto G Street.

Chula Vista police say the woman suffered a serious head injury and was bleeding from the ears before she was taken away by paramedics.

The driver stayed at the scene to answer questions. Investigators do not believe alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash.

Photo Credit: Steven Luke]]>
<![CDATA[Ricochet Surfs Into La Jolla for Book Drive]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 16:41:12 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Santa+Paws+3.jpg

Santa and his friend the elf came to town early this year, at least for La Jolla residents.

On Tuesday, San Diego Surf Dog Ricochet and an 8-year-old autistic boy surfed in to La Jolla Shores to kick off the sixth annual “Surfin’ Santa Paws, Howliday Book Drive.” The fundraiser aims to promote reading and prevent suicide among bullied teenagers and veterans with PTSD through distributing Ricochet’s book.

"We are probably never going to stop bullying, but we can certainly build confidence in kids so they don't believe what the bullies say," said Judy Fridono, Ricochet’s guardian and the founder of Puppy Prodigies.

Ricochet rode the waves with West, an autistic boy who has been bullied in the past and was the inspiration for the book drive. The event promoted the surf pup’s book, “Ricochet: Riding a Wave of Hope With the Dog Who Inspires Millions."

Ricochet will be collecting cash donations to give to children and schools, as well as collecting copies of the book itself until Jan. 2.

A portion of book sales will be donated to Shelter to Soldier, a San Diego based non-profit organization that rescues shelter dogs and trains them to be service dogs for veterans with PTSD.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Leaders Ask for Answers in Teacher's Aide Drug Case]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 16:28:24 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/garrett+anthony+clifton.jpg

Two members of San Diego's congressional delegation sent a letter Tuesday to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, urging the agency to implement new rules after an NBC7 Investigates series about a teacher's aide border arrest.

Garrett Anthony Clifton, a San Diego Unified special education aide, continued working in the classroom nearly a year after he was arrested at the border with more than $500,000 worth of cocaine and methamphetamine in his possession.

NBC 7 Investigates learned there were no federal laws mandating school notifications of federal arrests. In Clifton's case, the federal government never notified the school district of the charges against him.

The former teacher's aide was sentenced to 37 months on Oct. 10, after telling the federal court he thought the drugs in his car were just marijuana. Before that, he attended nearly a dozen court appearances, and he pleaded guilty to importation of meth and cocaine on July 25, all while maintaining employment with the San Diego Unified School District.

Read more about the story here. Clifton could not be reached for comment about this latest update.

U.S. Reps. Scott Peters and Susan Davis, in a letter dated Nov. 25, asked Secretary Johnson whether the Department of Homeland Security, in failing to notify the school district, was following its own internal procedures after the arrest of an educator for drug, sexual or violent crimes.

"We strongy urge the Department of Homeland Security to implement reciprocal rules compelling law enforcement agents to comply with state laws designed to protect children from sexual and narcotic criminals," their letter states. "We also call on the Department of Homeland Security to implement rules and regulations directing DHS law enforcement agents to notify school districts and other childcare facilities when their employees have been arrested and convicted of crimes that may endanger children."

The Department of Homeland Security could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but in response to the original story sent the following statement:

“In criminal cases where a defendant is found to have regular contact with children, a variety of factors impact Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) decision as to whether notification of the subject’s employer or other associated parties is warranted or appropriate. Factors include: is there evidence the defendant has previously harmed children; are there indications the defendant is engaged in ongoing abuse of children; and finally, does the subject appear to pose an imminent threat to the safety of the children with whom he or she interacts. HSI is reviewing the matter to determine if appropriate procedures were followed."

Read the letter from Peters and Davis here.

Davis is still exploring legislative options.

"We understand that a legislative fix is possible," said her press secretary.

<![CDATA[17-Year-Old Diagnosed with Meningococcal Disease]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 16:27:12 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/san+ysidro+high+school.jpg

A San Ysidro High School student has been diagnosed with meningococcal disease, according to the to San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA.)

The 17-year-old boy was admitted to the hospital Saturday and is recovering, health officials said.

The teen may have exposed others to the potentially deadly disease between Nov. 14 and Nov. 21. Family members and others who were in close contact with the boy have been notified, according to HHSA. Those individuals can receive antibiotics to prevent infection.

Meningococcal disease is spread through close contact – like sharing cups or kissing – but not through casual contact, according to County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H.

"Therefore, the risk to those who were not in close, direct contact is minimal,” Wooten said in a news release.” She does not recommend preventive antibiotics for people who did not have close contact with the patient and are not showing symptoms.

Symptoms of meningococcal disease include fever, intense headache, lethargy, stiff neck and rash. Symptoms will appear between two and 10 days after exposure.

Eight cases of meningococcal disease have been reported in San Diego County this year, according to health officials. Over the last five years, there has been an average of 10 cases a year in the county.

In October, San Diego State University freshman Sara Stelzer, 18, died after contracting Neisseria meningitidis, the same bacteria detected in the latest case.

Patrick Henry High School student Jewelean Pimentel, 14, also died in February from meningococcal disease.

A vaccine that prevents certain strains of the disease is recommended for children 11 to 18. Health officials advice students who received their first dose before age 15 should get a booster before going to college.

<![CDATA[Landscaper Dies While Trimming Tree]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 17:52:07 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tree+rescue+sdfd.JPG

A landscaper has died while trimming a palm tree in downtown San Diego.

San Diego Fire-Rescue crews got word Tuesday afternoon that an unconscious man was stuck about 50 feet above the ground in the 1000 block of 14th Street.

Firefighters say the man was trapped by the weight of several palm branches he had just cut, which caused him to pass out while still harnessed to the tree.

Because the man was so high up, rescuers had to climb a fire engine ladder to reach him and cut the palms away one by one.

When they lowered his body about 20 minutes later, he was unresponsive and soon died, despite CPR efforts. 

Investigators did not name the company that the man works for but said they were contracted by the building's owner and appear to be operating within state regulations.

Check back here for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: SDFD]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Place Center Ohrnberger on Injured Reserve]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 14:43:57 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chargers+raiders+nfl+qualcomm+4.jpg

Is anybody healthy enough to snap the ball around here?

The Chargers once again placed a center on injured reserve, as Rich Ohrnberger will miss the rest of the season with a back injury that might need surgery. That’s the third time this season they’ve had to put someone from that position on the season-ending list.

For Ohrnberger, it ends an otherwise productive season in which he played in eight games, starting seven.

For the Bolts, the position has been a question mark for most of the season. Veteran offensive co-captain Nick Hardwick was supposed to be the rock to solidify the offensive line. But he left the first game of the season with a neck injury that ended his season – and perhaps the career of the 33-year-old.

Then it was Doug Legursky, who went down with a knee injury after Week 5.

Now it’s up to Chris Watt – for now – to fill the role. He started in Sunday’s win over the St. Louis Rams, earning praise from Chargers coach Mike McCoy.

“The way the offensive line played, it gave (running back) Ryan (Mathews) and the rest of the backs the opportunity to make the plays that they did running the football,” McCoy said. “They did an outstanding job with one of the best pass rushers in the league.”

He was referring to Rams defensive end Robert Quinn, who finished second in the league with 19 sacks last year, but was held in check on Sunday.

Linebacker Cordaro Law was called up from the practice squad, making his second appearance on the active roster. He played with the team for three games starting in Week 4, recording seven tackles and one sack.

Undrafted rookie guard Craig Watts may also get his first crack at the active roster if the Bolts see a need to bolster the offensive line.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ricochet Surfs Into La Jolla for Book Drive]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 16:45:17 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Santa+Paws+3.jpg San Diego Surf Dog Ricochet rode the waves at La Jolla Shores Tuesday as part of a kids reading fundraiser.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Injured While Waiting for Food Bank Dies]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 14:15:44 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Car-Plow-Food-Bank-Line-111.jpg

One of the women hit by a car while waiting in an El Cajon food bank line has died.

Theresa Nasser, 74, was among about 230 people standing outside the Seventh-day Adventist Church on Madison Street on Nov. 18 when Ridhab Abed, 42, began to pull her Volkswagen Jetta out of the parking lot.

After backing out, Abed put her car in drive and somehow lost control, El Cajon police say, colliding with a parked Ford SUV. Her vehicle continued across the parking lot and slammed into three women standing next to a cement wall.

Nasser and a 33-year-old woman were pinned between the car and the wall.

Paramedics took the two women to the hospital for serious injuries to their lower bodies. A third woman, who is 60 years old, was treated at the scene, and Abed and her 62-year-old female passenger were taken to the hospital for minor injuries.

On Saturday, Nasser died from the crash, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office.

The driver has not been cited for the accident, police say, but investigators are still examining evidence and speaking to witnesses.

Food bank volunteers told NBC 7 a person directs traffic coming in and out of their parking lot, but after the crash, they will be re-evaluating their system for next month’s distribution. The church’s food bank is opened the third Tuesday of every month.

<![CDATA[Brush Fire Prompts Sig Alert in North County]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:54:37 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/fire+truck+generic.jpg

A brush fire in the San Onofre area impacted traffic coming into San Diego County Tuesday afternoon.

The fire started burning around 12:30 p.m. along southbound Interstate 5, just past the scales.

Firefighters from Camp Pendleton extinguished the fire by 1:30 p.m., officials told NBC 7. Crews are still on the scene watching for flareups.

Firefighters blocked the far right lane of I-5 South during the brush fire, prompting the California Highway Patrol to issue a Sig Alert in the area.

No injuries were reported. Fire officials have not released the cause of the fire.

A Red Flag Warning remains in effect for San Diego County until 6 p.m. Wednesday, meaning conditions are favorable for wildfires. Overnight, a fire fueled by strong winds burned five acres in Julian. 

<![CDATA[SDSU Students Protest Ferguson Decision]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 21:43:22 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SDSUFergusonphoto-4.jpg

The San Diego State University campus may be thousands of miles from Ferguson, Missouri but students wanted to stand in solidarity with those protesting a grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson.

Approximately 60 students walked in a circle and chanted just after noon. Some held their hands in the “Hands up” position that has become synonymous with the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager.

Others carried signs demanding action.

The scene was far from the violent and destructive response on the ground in Ferguson and not nearly the size or scale of those in New York City or Seattle.

Protesters in the Los Angeles area staged a sit-in Monday night on the world famous Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

In Oakland an estimated 1,000 protesters staged a "die-in" before a large group moved the protest onto a nearby highway.

This was after St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced the grand jury composed of 12 people determined there was no probable cause to charge Wilson after reviewing hours of witness accounts and law enforcement interviews and examining evidence in the case for the past three months.

On Tuesday, attorney Benjamin Crump and the Rev. Al Sharpton appeared with Michael Brown's father as they disputed the grand jury's findings and pointed to a federal investigation that was ongoing.

“This process is broken. The process should be indicted," Crump said referring to the legal proceedings in Missouri.


Photo Credit: Sherene Tagharobi]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Chargers Host Blood Drive]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 12:20:28 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/chargers7.jpg

Chargers fans came out in the spirit of giving Tuesday to donate blood and meet their favorite players.

The San Diego Blood Bank said the holiday season can be especially difficult for them as people tend to donate less blood.

This Chargers-sponsored drive, now in its 36th year, helps the blood bank out during a crucial season.

During that time, more than 73,000 pints of blood have been donated to 219,000 patients in the San Diego area.

People who give blood can meet their favorite Chargers players, take advantage of free bone marrow registry testing and enjoy a wellness zone where people can get their blood pressure and body fat tested. .

The drive runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Town and Country Convention Center in Mission Valley. 

<![CDATA[Salvation Army in El Cajon Looking For Donations ]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 08:39:09 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/199*120/salvation.png

Residents with a little extra food to spare this holiday season could help one of more than 500 families in need in El Cajon.

The Salvation Army in El Cajon is looking for canned and boxed foods and frozen turkeys during their Thanksgiving drive-thru food drive Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m.

People can donate a frozen turkey or fixings, black olives, bread crumbs, bread cubes, brown sugar, cans of pumpkin, veggie and chicken broth, cornbread mix, cream of mushroom soup, cranberry sauce, green beans and more – including a cash donation if you happen to be passing by without any food in your car.

Terry Masango of The Salvation Army said the families in need are local families struggling to make ends meet. They are looking to help get a Thanksgiving meal on their tables in the holiday spirit of giving.

Readers that want to donate can drop by the El Cajon location at 1011 East Man St. up until 12 p.m. or call The Salvation Army in El Cajon at (619) 440-4683.

<![CDATA[Campers Go Without Fires in Red Flag Conditions]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 07:14:34 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/11PMPKGSTEVENLOOKLIVE1124_1200x675_363265603695.jpg NBC 7's Steven Luke reports from Dos Picos Park near Ramona with how people are camping under the warnings issued by the National Weather Service and Cal Fire. ]]> <![CDATA[San Diego Reacts to Ferguson Grand Jury Decision ]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 04:35:48 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/453983176.jpg

Some San Diego residents are speaking out against the grand jury decision not to indict the Ferguson, Missouri police officer who shot teenager Michael Brown to death.

The 12 grand jury members decided Monday that physical evidence showed Officer Darren Wilson should not be charged in the shooting death of 19-year-old Brown, despite witness accounts to the contrary.

"It's ridiculous to believe that someone shot someone dead — had no reason to, he was unarmed, he wasn't posing any threat — and this person is not in jail awaiting a court date," said Kathy Mendonca, who gathered with a few others in City Heights in solidarity with hundreds taking to the streets of Ferguson.

There, protests quickly devolved into violence, with people throwing rocks at police, setting cars and buildings on fire and stopping traffic on freeways.

At least three local groups told NBC 7 they plan to gather Tuesday in San Diego to show their support for Ferguson protesters. George Lewis, who was hoping to see an indictment, said the failure to indict Wilson shows the lack of law enforcement accountability. 

"Same old status quo. I mean, it's like no matter what they do, they get away with it and you don't really have any rights to stand up for yourself," said Lewis.

Resident Paul Herstein said it's a bad situation whichever way you look at it.

“Law enforcement has a terrible job in that they are trusted with life and death decisions made in a split second. It's difficult in retrospect to second guess,” said Herstein.

Another person who spoke with NBC 7 said he feels for Brown's family, but an indictment would undermine officers' rights to defend themselves.

On Aug. 9, Brown was on his way home from a convenience store with a friend when Officer Wilson shot the teenager multiple times. Brown had no criminal record, but it was later revealed that he was a suspect in a robbery allegedly committed before the shooting.

Wilson, 28, had patrolled the suburbs of St. Louis for six years, according to The Associated Press. Wilson's supporters have rallied, created Facebook pages and raised money for his family on GoFundMe.com.

The Missouri town was the location of unrest and violence following the officer-involved shooting. Police fought back with tear gas and rubber bullets, prompting questions over the intimidating presence of security forces armed with military-grade gear and equipment.

Demonstrators around the country, including in San Diego, have turned the "hands up, don't shoot" gesture into a rallying cry amid the protests.

At the City of Hope Church in Lincoln Park, churchgoers were praying for peace Sunday.

Pastor Terrell Fletcher was born in Ferguson and he views the grand jury decision as the biggest thing to happen in the lives of many young people in that community.

Fletcher said he knows all too well the racial tensions back home.

Though he comes from a law enforcement family, he knows what it's like to be mistreated by the police.

“Wasn't arrested, just embarrassed,” he recalled. “We were pushed around a little bit, we were pushed around a little bit faced down put in handcuffs put in the middle of the front lawn the whole community came out to see is be a spectacle, questioned unmercifully then threatened and sent on our way."

He's been meeting with young protesters, city leaders, law enforcement calling for calm as they brace for a decision.

The conflict has also brought attention to allegations of racial profiling in a community where 92.7 percent of those arrested in 2013 were black, when they make up 63 percent of the city's population, according to a report by the Missouri Attorney General's Office

The Ferguson Police Department has 53 officers, three of whom are black.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA["Mother of the Year" Pleads Guilty to Felony Stalking]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 11:56:11 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/court-shutterstock_8119101411.jpg

A former "Mother of the Year" recipient pleaded guilty to felony stalking in a downtown courtroom Monday.

The crime carries a punishment of up to three years in prison.

Kathy Rowe, 53, was also charged with one count of felony solicitation for rape, one count of felony solicitation for sodomy and misdemeanor charges of identity theft and making annoying or threatening communication after she posted an online advertisement inviting men to a victim's home to rape her, according to the prosecution.

Deputy District Attorney Brendan McHugh said those chargers were dismissed with Rowe's plea.

A felony complaint filed against Rowe earlier this year explained how her anger and jealousy over the sale of a home she wanted to buy in the Carmel Valley area prompted her outrageous behavior.

WARNING - Graphic Content: Read the full complaint against Rowe

In addition to the online ad, Rowe allegedly put a stop on the victim's mail, had unusual magazines and mailers sent to the home and sent Valentine's Day cards to female neighbors in the victim's husband's name.

Rowe - a former county employee - told detectives that she posted the ad as a "prank" and did not intend to harm the victim, defense attorney Brad Patton said.

Prosecutors argued because two men who answered the ad actually showed up to the victim's home, Rowe crossed a line.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 9.

Rowe was named one of "San Diego's 50 Best Moms" in 2006 in a contest sponsored by Time Warner Cable, according to the UT San Diego.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Wrongfully Convicted Inmate Released After 36 Years]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 07:22:47 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/11-24-14-michael-hanline-wrongful-conviction.JPG

Moving slowly assisted by a cane, a white-haired and weary Michael Hanline saw the outside of a Los Angeles-area prison cell for the first time in more than three decades Monday.

Hanline ambled his way to freedom after spending 36 years behind bars for a murder he was wrongly convicted of before his release Monday, reuniting with his wife and family.

"There's no words for it," he said. "I have emotions just charging through me."

Hanline posted $2,500 bail Monday afternoon, following a morning hearing where a judge ordered that his movements will still be monitored electronically.

Prosecutors said they are no longer sure whether Hanline, now 68, killed Ventura resident J.T. McGarry in 1978.

Hanline’s was the longest wrongful incarceration in the state’s history.

He was convicted in 1980, after prosecutors argued that he was jealous of McGarry because the two were romantically involved with the same woman, according to the California Innocence Project website.

"I've always believed in his innocence," said his wife, Sandee. "I'm just happy it's done. I just want to go home."

The California Innocence Project, which dedicates legal services to helping release wrongfully convicted inmates, took up Hanline’s case in 1999 and has been working to prove his innocence ever since, said Alex Simpson, attorney for the case and associate director of the San Diego-based organization.

"The case really rested on two pieces of evidence. There were documents that had never been handed over to the defense which showed other people had knowledge of the crime and were likely responsible for the crime," Simpson said.

Some of the documents proved people knew specific facts they couldn’t have unless they were involved, he added.

Recent testing showed DNA at the crime scene matched an unknown man's, not Hanline's, according to the attorney.

Still, prosecutors will decide whether to retry Hanline at a hearing scheduled for Feb. 27.

But Simpson and his team were not the only ones convinced of Hanline's innocense. His wife Sandee clutched a pair of cowboy boots while she talked with reports Monday, saying sh wanted him to have something to wear later.

"I'm just so happy it's done, over with. I just want to go home," she said.

For now, Simpson said Hanline aims to get his Social Security card, go home with his wife and go fishing — and is excited to spend Thanksgiving with  his family for the first time in over three decades.

"It feels like I'm on the front of a missile, going through space and stuff is just flying by," said Hanline.

Gordon Tokumatsu and The Associated Press contributed to this report.