<![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 Wed, 16 Apr 2014 09:05:38 -0700 Wed, 16 Apr 2014 09:05:38 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[IRS Investigates Miramar Tax Preparers]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 08:36:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Candice-IRS-Raid-0415.jpg

Federal agents raided a tax service business out of Miramar several days ago as part of an investigation launched by the Internal Revenue Service.

Clients stopped by the offices of L & T Works Tuesday and found a sign posted in the window explaining that owners are meeting with attorneys regarding the recent raid.

Collin McInroy works in the shopping center where the tax preparers’ office is located and saw six or seven cars drive up.

“It was just like a movie they screeched up, they ran up and you heard 'Get on the ground. Get on the ground,’” McInroy told NBC 7.

IRS officials confirm they are investigating the business but did not reveal details.

Mona Aquino owns Pauly’s Pizza Joint nearby and said she the company has been open just a few months but appeared to be busy.

“The couple it's a husband and wife. They’re very good people,” Aquino said.

The company did not respond to requests from NBC 7.

The message to clients posted on their door reads, "Please do not be worried if you have submitted your w-2 10-99, etc. correctly. You are fine. IRS checking to make sure we are in compliance. We have all client's names, pin numbers. You will be contacted within the next 48 hours if necessary."

<![CDATA[Solana Beach Man Suffers Burns Over Half His Body ]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 08:03:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Solana-Beach-fire-0416.jpg

An accidental kitchen fire sent a Solana Beach man to the hospital with serious burn injuries covering half of his body, officials said.

A friend and neighbor of the victim said he immediately ran out of his home when he noticed all of the commotion outside the studio apartment on South Cedros Avenue around 2 a.m.

“I feel sick to my stomach,” David Cadigan said when he learned about the victim.

Fire crews had to force their way inside and found the fire was coming from the kitchen area.

They were able to get the fire out fast and that's when they found one man inside, officials said.

Emergency personnel performed CPR on the victim and transported him to the UC San Diego Burn Center.

Nearby apartments were evacuated as a precaution.

As protocol, investigators with the Metro Arson Strike Team (MAST) were called to look into the cause of the fire.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

<![CDATA[Sex Offender Challenges "300 Feet From Parks" Rule]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 08:04:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Lindsay-Sex-Offender-suit_2.jpg

A registered sex offender has filed a lawsuit against National City, claiming a local ordinance banning  him from areas popular with children has "diminished" his ability to enjoy life. 

Frank Lindsay, 61, of Grover Beach, Calif. spoke with KSBY-TV about a lawsuit he filed last week challenging the National City ordinance that he claims affected a recent vacation.

KSBY reports that Lindsay was convicted of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 in 1979.

"It was an error that I had made, and I've lived the past 35 years as an upstanding citizen," Lindsay told the television station.

He now works with a nonprofit called Reform Sex Offender Laws that has helped to file lawsuits in 71 California cities to change local ordinances limiting the movements of convicted sex offenders.

“I feel diminished in my ability to enjoy life,” explained Lindsay. “Everywhere they're casting dispersions like I'm going to attack again and that's not the case."

The latest municipality in Lindsay's crosshairs is National City. He's the plaintiff in a suit filed last week against the city.

The state regulates where sex offenders like Lindsay can live. In 2005 National City passed an ordinance keeping registered sex offenders from parks and places of amusement as an extra layer of protection.

Under the rule, convicted sex offenders must stay 300 feet away from places children frequent like Kimball Park where Angela and Calvin Sanders' kids like to play.

"I think it needs to be enforced,” said Angela Sanders holding her 9 year-old daughter. "I think there is no excuse."

Lindsay said the ordinance limited his ability to travel while visiting family in National City.

"That's not allowing me to enjoy my wholeness. I couldn't do anything but sit in their house," Lindsay said.

Mayor Ron Morrison called the legal action "annoying." In his view, when a person commits a crime, he or she loses some rights.

"The area of being a sexual predator toward children... I'm sorry, you do lose, you cannot sit up and say 'I've got all my rights,'" Morrison said.

Morrison says because of Lindsay's suit and recent court rulings shooting down sex offender laws in other California municipalities, National City police are no longer enforcing their sex offender ordinance.

An appeals court has ruled the local ordinance supersedes the state's laws and so National City officials  are waiting to see how the State Supreme Court will rule.

"The primary rights we were trying to protect were the rights of children to grow up safely," explained Morrison.

"This is just one tool in our toolbox," the mayor said, adding that the city is building new bathrooms in the parks that will be more family-friendly and will be monitored by surveillance cameras.

"Parents can know we are going to be pre-emptive on anything that could happen," he said.

<![CDATA[Intense Fire Melts Blinds, Cracks Windows: Witness]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 08:44:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/College-Area-SDFD-pic.jpg

San Diego State University students were awakened by an intense fire that damaged a satellite house for a fraternity.

The fire began just after 5a.m inside a nearby dumpster and then spread to the home at 5077 College Avenue, officials said.

It appears someone threw cigarette butts or matches into the trash, officials said.

Five residents of the home and people living in nearby apartments had to be evacuated while San Diego Fire Rescue crews battled the flames.

Nearby resident Jake Goldsworthy told NBC 7 by the time he got outside of his apartment, the fire appeared to be out of control.

“The entire side of the backyard on our side was engulfed in flames,” Goldsworthy said.

He said the heat from the fire was so intense that it melted the blinds in his apartment and cracked the windows.

Officials say it took 30 firefighters to knock the fire down in 25 minutes.

Firefighters said the fire didn’t get into the building except for attic so most of damage to home is smoke damage.

There were approximately a dozen people living inside the home who will be displaced due to the damage, officials said.

No one was injured.

Residents will be allowed back into the home to get their belongings but one fire official told NBC 7 “if it were me, I’d be looking for a new place to live.”

Photo Credit: SDFD]]>
<![CDATA[Troubled Plane Circled for an Hour Before Landing]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 08:48:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Lindbergh-Air-Landing-0415.jpg

An airplane en route to San Diego from Philadelphia had difficulty landing at Lindbergh Field Tuesday night, according to the airport manager.

U.S. Airways Flight 669 declared an emergency after experiencing a problem with a flap, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The airport manager said the Airbus A320 flew in circled over North County as it tried to troubleshoot what was described as some "major" flap problems.

Passengers on board said the plane circled for about an hour.

"We all panicked a little bit," one woman told NBC 7. "We were up in the air for almost an hour. They were trying to keep us calm."

"I was just praying to God. Everything just went well but yeah, it was kind of scary."

Anthony Diaz said he's happy to be back home.

"Now we're truly blessed. Back in San Diego. Back to work tomorrow so, we'll be fine," Diaz said.

San Diego Fire-Rescue crews were called to the runway as a precaution.

The plane landed safety just before 10 p.m.


<![CDATA[Grant to Help Military Kids Make the Grade]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 03:57:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/military+kids+serra+high.jpg

On Tuesday at Serra High School in Tierrasanta, students put themselves to the test in Elizabeth Ward’s Advanced Placement English class.

But making the grade can be more challenging for some students.

“This is my seventh school I’ve been to,” Audrey Bell said.

That’s because Audrey’s mom is in the military and constantly on the move.

“You come at different times and work at different paces or just being in a new environment where you are not familiar with the teachers,” Audrey explained.

About a third of the students at Serra High have parents serving in the military.

Grace Crewdson's dad is in the Navy, and he has spent a lot of time at sea.

“My mom works, too, so when my dad is away, I have to really motivate myself to do everything,” Grace said.

For some military kids, these challenges can mean they can't get into tougher AP classes.

But $716,000 grant from the Department of Defense Education Activity and the National Math and Science Initiative means students struggling to keep up while their mom or dad serves the country will get some extra support.

“What it does is it provides a lot more opportunities to take AP courses,” Serra High School Principal Michael Jimenez said.

“Polices like this and grants like this help level the playing field,” said Capt. Curt Jones, commanding officer at Naval Base San Diego.

Not only do grants like this help students meet their goals, it helps the military achieve theirs, too.

“It makes a difference for our military kids, makes a difference for our military families and at the end of the day. that means readiness for our Marine Corps. That means readiness for our Navy,” said Col. John Farnam, commanding officer at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

April is the Month of the Military Child.

<![CDATA[New Lawsuit Implicates Filner's Bodyguards]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 06:31:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Filner19Accuser_0828.jpg

The latest civil lawsuit to hit San Diego over the Bob Filner scandal also points fingers at his security detail.

Marilyn McGaughy is suing Filner and the city after she claims she was sexually battered and violated during an event in May of 2013 at Johnson Elementary School in Emerald Hills.

“He was playing around with breast by playing with her tag. She had a name tag on her shirt, and he was kind of messing with it too long” said her attorney Dan Gilleon. “He did kiss her on the forehead and asked her out and that whole thing, the whole series. We’ve seen that before.”

The lawsuit claims, “Filner’s body guards, employed by the city, were present and witnessed Filner’s wrongful conduct, however failed to stop Filner or protect McGaughy” and “Filner’s body guards would look the other way when he would engage in inappropriate or wrongful conduct, a violation of the city’s zero tolerance policy."

No one from the security detail team is named in the lawsuit and Gilleon says they won’t be in the future, but he does believe this makes the city more culpable.

“They just simply looked away and said ‘our duty of loyalty is solely with Mr. Filner.' There’s no other way to explain what they were doing," Gilleon said.

The San Diego City Attorney’s office tells NBC 7 this is the third pending civil case of its kind and they will defend the city.

Last August, when first presented with details of this case, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said the city wouldn’t just start handing out money to accusers.

“I don’t want to be insensitive to people that had inappropriate conduct directed to them, but not every time there’s inappropriate conduct do you get to recover $250,000,” Goldsmith said in previous interview with NBC 7.

Goldsmith said last August that the city will handle each claim concerning Filner on its own merits, first determining whether or not the city is liable by looking to see if the accuser is a city employee, volunteer or contractor.

“We’re responsible for sexual harassment on employees, should it be proven,” he said.

<![CDATA[North Torrey Pines Bridge Renovation Complete]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 18:53:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/north+torrey+pines+bridge.jpg Four years ago, engineers said the North Torrey Pines Bridge may not survive an earthquake. The bridge, which connects Torrey Pines to Del Mar, was built in 1933. NBC 7’s Lauren Lee reports. ]]> <![CDATA[Former Navy Officer Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 18:23:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Schroth_1129.jpg

A former Naval officer and Navy physician’s assistant was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison Tuesday on 12 separate counts of sexual exploitation of a child and aggravated sexual abuse of a child under 12 years old.

San Diego resident Brandon W. Schroth, 40, will spend the next four decades behind bars for the felonies, U.S. District Judge William Q. Hayes ruled.

He was also ordered to 25 years of supervised release and must now register as a sex offender. Schroth will also pay more than $144,000 in restitution to two of the minor victims so they can pay for past and future counseling.

Judge Hayes said he was not significantly moved by letters of support for the defendant, given his crimes.

“Your friends and family saw one side of you. The victims in this case saw the other side, a side they will have to live with for the rest of their lives,” said the judge. “Your actions have placed the victims in their own private jail, with no release date.”

Schroth entered his guilty pleas in November 2012.

He has been in federal custody since March 2012, when special agents with the FBI arrested him and charged him with the child sex abuse counts.

According to court documents, between December 18, 2010, and December 26, 2010, Schroth boarded a flight from San Diego to Frankfurt, Germany, to engage in sexually explicit conduct with a minor outside the U.S. He planned to film his interaction with the minor.

During that time, investigators said Schroth was staying with a then-active duty Air Force member and mother of two minor girls, ages 9 and 11.

After Schroth returned to the U.S. in late December 2010, court records show he took sexually explicit photographs of a 9-year-old girl at his home in Mission Valley.

He also corresponded with a man in Colorado – Jeffrey Allan Mueller – with whom he planned to share the sexually explicit videos of the children.

FBI investigators later found videos produced in Germany of two minor females and several other sexually explicit images of minors taken by Schroth on Mueller’s computer in Colorado.

In July 2012, Mueller pleaded guilty to five counts of production of child pornography and one count of transportation of child porn. He, too, was sentenced to 40 years in federal custody.

During the investigation into Schroth and Mueller, detectives identified at least five additional producers of child porn and saved approximately 35 additional child victims of ongoing sexual abuse depicted in pornographic images, officials said.

On Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Haden told the court that Schroth deserved the harshest possible sentence.

“The darkest of demons do not commit their crimes wearing ski masks and carrying guns,” Haden said. “The darkest of demons manipulate their way into your home and attack your children - all for their own sexual gratification.”

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Lawsuit: Casino Built on Burial Ground]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:38:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/jamul+casino+site2.jpg

A new lawsuit alleges that construction of Jamul’s new casino desecrated Native American burial ground.

The lawsuit was filed last week on behalf of two tribal members who say their ancestors were interred in unmarked gravesites on the property.

Construction of the $360 million Hollywood Casino Jamul off State Route 94 is still in the early stages, but the project has already spawned four lawsuits at both the state and federal levels. Jamul residents argue the casino would create major traffic problems and does not comply with state regulations.

San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacobs agrees.

"The lawsuit adds to what Jamul residents have been saying for years: A massive gaming complex does not fit with the character of the community and will add thousands of cars to a narrow, windy, two-lane highway," Jacobs said in a statement, adding she hasn't read the lawsuit yet.

Jacobs also said there are well-known burial grounds next to the casino site.

The latest lawsuit claims the ground was excavated and the contents were dumped at the freeway interchange project at State Routes 125 and 905 near the border.

The defendant in the case is CalTrans, which holds the encroach permit under which the casino developer is working. Opponents say the tribe and CalTrans are motivated by money and ignored warnings about the gravesites.

A spokeswoman for CalTrans said she could not comment on pending litigation. Both the casino developer and tribal leadership did not respond to NBC 7’s requests for comment.

A Superior Court Judge is expected to hear the first arguments in the burial site case Wednesday morning.

<![CDATA[New Charter School Proposed for East Village]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:48:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SDUSD_school_generic.jpg

A public hearing will be held later this month to consider a proposal for a new charter school in downtown San Diego’s East Village community.

The city-owned non-profit, Civic San Diego (CivicSD), announced Tuesday that a public hearing will be held on Apr. 30 at the organization’s board room to take up the matter and discuss the possibility of issuing several permits for the Urban Discovery Academy project.

The project would consist of a K-8 charter school located on a 30,000-square-foot site at the corner of 14th and G streets in the East Village. The school would be housed within an existing two-story building at that location, plus a new two-story, 16,000-square-foot building directly to the north.

The proposed project within the plan area would also include a four-story, 47-foot-high building containing six residential units, a small retail ground-floor space along 13th Street, outdoor playgrounds and a small parking lot at the southwest corner of 14th and E streets.

Urban Core Development, LLC, is the company applying for the permits. The project requires permits for new construction and a Neighborhood Use Permit to re-establish previously conforming educational uses on the site, according to CivicSD.

The public hearing will be held at 1 p.m. on Apr. 30 at 401 B Street, Suite 100, in downtown San Diego. Attendees can come forward with questions on the project during this hearing and can obtain copies of the development plan.

The decision of the CivicSD board will be final, unless an appeal is filed within 10 days of the decision.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Detectives Seek Suspect in Man’s Murder]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 16:52:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Alberto-Sanchez-City-Heights.jpg

More than one month after a man was gunned down while sitting in his car in City Heights, detectives continue to search for the suspect responsible for the murder.

On Mar. 12, just after 6 a.m., Alberto Sanchez, 45, was shot to death at the intersection of 41st Street and Orange Avenue. When officers arrived on scene, they found Sanchez slumped in the driver’s seat of his vehicle, suffering from multiple fatal gunshot wounds to his upper torso.

He was taken to a local hospital but died a short time later.

One month later, the killing remains unsolved.

According to investigators, an unknown man in his 20s was riding a bicycle past Sanchez’s vehicle that morning when he pulled out a gun and fired several rounds, striking Sanchez.

The suspect was described by witnesses as a dark-skinned man wearing a dark-colored sweatshirt and jeans. A motive for the shooting has not been determined.

Anyone with information on this case, including the identity and whereabouts of the shooting suspect, should contact the San Diego Police Department Homicide Unit at )619) 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous and may qualify for a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in this murder case.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Trial Wraps for Man Accused of Killing Wife]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 16:56:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Kassim-AlHimidi-Closing.jpg

Closing statements began Tuesday as the trial wrapped for an Iraqi immigrant accused of beating his wife to death inside their El Cajon home two years ago.

Kassim Al-Himidi, 49, is accused of killing his wife, Shaima Alawadi, 32, after she asked for a divorce.

Alawadi’s brutally beaten body was found in a pool of blood by the couple’s then 17-year-old daughter, Fatima Al-Himidi, in the dining room of their family home in El Cajon on Mar. 21, 2012. Alawadi was hit at least six times and died three days later from critical brain injuries sustained in the beating.

At first, the case was investigated as a hate crime because a threatening note was found at the crime scene that read: “This is my country, go back to yours, terrorist.”

Both the defendant and victim are Iraqi immigrants. The case reverberated across the nation until El Cajon police later said the killing was an isolated incident and Alawadi’s death was not a hate crime, but rather one of domestic violence.

Al-Himidi was arrested in connection with his wife’s murder in November 2012. According to the prosecution, Al-Himidi killed his wife because she wanted a divorce and staged the crime scene with the note to make it look like a hate crime.

Over the past few weeks of Al-Himidi’s trial, the couple’s daughter has taken the stand several times. During that testimony, Fatima has shared details of her parents’ tense marriage and recounted the day she found her mother’s lifeless, bloodied body.

Al-Himidi has been visibly emotional throughout the trial, at times crying and wailing loudly as evidence was presented to the jury. He wept uncontrollably when 911 tapes were played in the courtroom at the beginning of the trial.

Cameras were only allowed in the courtroom during opening testimony and again Tuesday for closing arguments.

Once again, Al-Himidi could be seen weeping alongside his attorneys, holding a towel to his face when his emotions got the best of him.

The prosecution presented their closing argument first Tuesday, reminding the jury about how they should come up with their verdict. Deputy District Attorney Kurt Mechals went over the law and definitions of first and second-degree murder, what classifies reasonable doubt and so forth.

He then presented the facts in the murder case once more for the jury and defended Fatima, who has been questioned heavily about her mother’s slaying. The defense believes Fatima was somehow involved in her mother’s murder.

“Fatima had nothing to do with this,” said the prosecutor, adding that Al-Himidi is responsible for the crime. "The answer is sitting right here. It's the defendant. There's no other conclusion that is reasonable."

The defense also presented closing arguments. Al-Himidi’s attorney said his client wanted to keep his family intact and resolve things with his wife, not hurt her.

“Shaima Alawadi wanted a divorce. Yes, we know that. But what evidence did we hear that Shaima wanting a divorce somehow created a motive in Kassim Al-Himidi to kill her?” said the defense. “He wanted to keep his family together. That’s not evidence of motive to kill, that’s motive to reconcile.”

If convicted, Al-Himidi faces 26 years to life in prison.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Brush Fire Burns in Serra Mesa]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 16:15:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/serra+mesa+brush+fire.jpg

Firefighters battled a brush fire in San Diego’s Serra Mesa neighborhood Tuesday afternoon.

The fire was burning at the bottom of a steep canyon near the 8600 block of Hummingbird Lane. The fire started around 1:45 p.m.

Aerial pictures showed thick, black smoke pouring from the heavy brush. Smoke could be seen from the 805 freeway.

There are homes on top of the hill, but no evacuations were issued. No injuries were reported.

The San Diego Fire-Rescue helicopter dropped water on the flames in addition to crews on the ground.

There is no word yet on what caused the fire.

Check back for updates.

<![CDATA[Manure at Escondido Country Club Causes Stink]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:46:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/escondido+country+club+smell.jpg

Residents who live along the old Escondido Country Club golf course are raising a stink about the smell in their backyards.

Two weeks ago, the owner of the golf course started using chicken manure to fertilize the grass.  Some residents say the company is harassing them with the odor on purpose. The homeowners have been vocal opponents of the developer’s plan to build homes on the property.

So far, 50 residents have submitted complaints to the San Diego County Air Pollution Control Center. The Air Pollution Control Center has sent violation notices to both “Stuck in the Rough,” who owns the golf course, and the manure company.

The minimum fine for this type of odor is $10,000 a day, according to officials. However, if an investigation reveals the owner was doing this as retaliation, the golf course could be charged as much at $75,000 a day.

“The idea of a penalty here is to make it large enough to have a deterrent effect for them from doing it in the future,” Air Pollution Control Officer Bob Kard said. “It’s also penalty for doing what they did wrong, but the idea is to prevent them and others from undertaking similar things by setting an example.”

Now on Day 6, the clock is ticking for the golf course to get rid of the stench. Last week, the Air Pollution Control Center classified the smell as a Level 5. On Tuesday, it was a Level 3.

The owner of the golf course says the lawn is maintained by an "industry-standard landscaping program.” However, the owner apologized and promised to use a less-smelly fertilizer in the future.

<![CDATA[Water Main Break Shuts Down Beach Traffic]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:01:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/MB-Water-Main-Break-0415.jpg

A water main break shut down traffic in the heart of Mission Beach Tuesday and created a big, watery mess on some major streets.

At around noon, officials from the county water department were called to Mission Boulevard and West Mission Bay Drive to investigate the main break, which caused a significant amount of water to spill into the streets.

Officers from the San Diego Police Department assisted by providing traffic control in the area, shutting down portions of the road at Mission Boulevard and West Mission Bay Drive, near the Belmont Park roller coaster.

By 1:15 p.m., the water had been shut off, but the busy area remained drenched in water.

According to Arian Collins, Supervising Public Information Officer with the City of San Diego Public Utilities Department, a 12-inch-diameter cast iron water main broke at the intersection of West Mission Bay Drive and Bayside Walk.

Customers in the 800-block of West Mission Bay Drive and the Bahia Hotel were left without water service as crews worked to repair the broken water main.

As of 3:30 p.m., Collins said West Mission Bay Drive remained closed to traffic in both directions between Mission Boulevard and Gleason Road.

At this time, the estimated time of restoration for water service in the area is sometime between midnight and 2 a.m., officials said. No details were immediately released regarding the cause of the main break.

Though the main break was an inconvenience for some residents, visitors and drivers, Mission Beach resident Ezra Cosby made the best of the mess on the streets.

He grabbed his kayaks and went out paddling in about three feet of water that had pooled outside his home.

"It happened kind of quickly. I grabbed my kayak and decided to just come out and play a little bit. Hang out with my neighbor,” Cosby told NBC 7.

Cosby said the water main break caused some partial flooding in his garage, but he was able to move his car before water rushed in.

“It hasn’t risen high enough for it to enter my home. I hope it stays that way,” he added.

His neighbor, Jeff Rowland, also on a kayak, said Mission Beach residents are used to some flooding here and there, especially if there's heavy rain or if a water main breaks.

“Just another day at Mission Beach. Living the dream,” he said.

Tommy and Ellen Balestreri were staying at the Bahia Resort Hotel, on vacation in San Diego from St. Louis. They were left with no water service at the hotel.

Still, they said they wouldn't let the water main break ruin their good time, or spoil the beautiful San Diego weather.

“We’re trying to get out, go ride some bikes on the beach and make the best of it,” said Tommy.

“I guess we’ll think about showers another day,” added Ellen, with a laugh.

According to an NBC 7 Investigates report in February, Mission Beach experienced four other water main breaks in 2012 and 2013. Two of those breaks were very close to the location of Tuesday's incident, also on Bayside Walk.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Superior Court Warns of Email Scam]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 12:52:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/computer2.jpg

If you get an email from the San Diego Superior Court, be warned: it may be a scam.

The San Diego Superior Court is alerting the public about a new scam involving unsolicited emails claiming to be from the court. According to court officials, several citizens have received these emails.

One person, who has an issue before the court, received an attachment with the email. That person opened the attachment and soon discovered it contained a virus.

Several concerned citizens have reported this scam to the court. Officials advise citizens not to open any attachment of link included in unsolicited emails.

“It’s important to reiterate to the public that we do not communicate with those with issues before the court via unsolicited email or telephone. If anyone tries to contact you regarding “missed jury duty” or cases of which you are unaware, you should delete the email or disregard the phone call,” said Michael Roddy, Executive Officer of the San Diego Superior Court.

At least two other courts in California – Los Angeles Superior Court and San Francisco Superior Court – have received complaints of similar frauds.

In San Diego, this is the second court-related scam within the last month.

In March, the San Diego Superior Court received complaints about people trying to defraud citizens via telephone. Posing as court officers or officials, the scammers would call people and demand money. In one case, a scam artist told a victim they had missed jury duty and owed the court nearly $800.

In that scam, the court advised anyone who received such a phone call to hang up immediately and contact police if the caller persisted.

<![CDATA[Woman Beaten by Ex with Brick Dies]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 12:05:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Huffman-Attack-Scene.jpg

A Chula Vista woman beaten with a brick by her longtime ex-husband as she took out the trash at her home two months ago has died, officials confirmed Wednesday

Martha Huffman, 64, passed away Sunday from critical injuries sustained in the attack at the hands of her former spouse on Feb. 26. She had been hospitalized ever since.

Her ex-husband, Los Angeles County resident Rand Huffman, 64, was arrested in connection with the assault and is facing charges of attempted homicide, torture and kidnapping.

On the morning of Feb. 26, neighbors called police when they heard Martha’s screams coming from her home on Twin Oaks Circle near E Street.

When officers arrived on scene, they found Rand with his knee on Martha’s throat, trying to cut off her air supply, investigators said. He was also wearing gloves and was armed with a knife and Taser.

Chula Vista Police Capt. Lon Turner said Martha was not only beaten with a brick as she took out her trash, she was also allegedly dragged by Rand to the back of the house, according to witness statements.

Martha sustained serious head injuries in the attack. She was taken to a local trauma center and rushed into emergency surgery. She remained in critical condition and ultimately, on Sunday, succumbed to her injuries.

According to police, the Huffmans had been divorced for decades.

In fact, officers said Rand hadn’t even spoken to his ex-wife in nearly 30 years. He had recently rekindled a relationship with his son, who lived with Martha in Chula Vista.

Though neighbors didn’t know much about Rand, witnesses told police they saw the suspect sitting in a car parked in the neighborhood the weekend before he attacked Martha.

Investigators believe Rand’s attack on his unsuspecting ex-wife was premeditated.

According to police, Huffman parked several blocks away from Martha’s house on the morning of the attack and waited for his ex-wife to come outside. He picked up a brick at the scene and used it to striker her.

The Huffman’s son was home at the time of the incident. Police questioned him and tried to determine whether he or Martha were Rand’s intended target. Investigators said the son had taken out a restraining order against Rand after a financial dispute over a piece of property.

Police said that dispute may have been the “catalyst” that led to the violence.

Rand was booked into the George Bailey Detention Facility, where he awaits his court date and is not eligible for release on bail. He’s scheduled to appear in court on June 16.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Tax Day Deadline Tips]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:40:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/560436483.jpg Tax Day is here. NBC 7's Elena Gomez shares some tips on what taxpayers need to know before today's filing deadline.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Harrah’s Project Adds 200 to Staff, Additional 80 Jobs Expected]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:20:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Harrah%27s-2nd-Tower-Pic.jpg

Harrah’s Resort Southern California said it added 200 jobs with the completion of its construction project, and is up to 1,600 employees at its hotel and casino.

The business expects to add 80 more jobs, a resort spokeswoman said.

Harrah’s, on the Rincon Indian Reservation near Valley Center, recently completed its second high-rise hotel tower. With a total of 1,065 rooms, the hotel now bills itself as the fourth largest hotel property in San Diego County. The figure includes the property’s 147 suites.

The business made several renovations and added new venues in the $160 million project.

The property’s new features include an event center, a “trifecta of pools” with a 400-foot “Lazy River” feature, and a swim-up bar. 

The Business Journal is the premier business publication in San Diego. Every day online and each Monday in print, the Business Journal reports on how local business operate and why businesses leaders make the decisions they do. Every story is a dose of insight into how to run a better, more efficient, more profitable business.

Photo Credit: Harrah's]]>
<![CDATA[Woman, 22, Found Dead in Home]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:08:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/police-tape-shutterstock_81281832.jpg

A 22-year-old woman was found dead inside a home in the Bay Terraces area Monday afternoon, the San Diego Police Department confirmed.

SDPD homicide detectives are calling the woman’s death suspicious, though further details have not yet been released.

According to police, an anonymous caller reported the death at around 3:45 p.m. at a home in the 6600-block of Doriana Street. On Tuesday police said there was no trauma to the woman’s body. Her name has not been released and an autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Man Killed Trimming Trees Had No Training: Cal/OSHA]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:25:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/TreeTrimming-PIC_11122.jpg

The mother of a Lakeside man killed while trimming trees says no amount of money can make up for the loss of her son.

Joshua Pudsey, 42, was trimming trees using a large cherry picker outside his employer's home at Date Avenue & Acacia Avenue on November 12 when a large branch fell on him, crushing his head.

Pudsey's mother, Debbi Anderson, told NBC 7 Monday that her son had just learned he was going to be a father before he was killed.

Anderson says her son's fiancee was only 34 days pregnant when the large portion of a 60-foot eucalyptus tree fell on her son.

"The Medical Examiner was going to wheel him away. I put my hands on his arm and [his fiance] said 'We're going to have a baby," Anderson told NBC 7.
The Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), better known as Cal/OSHA, has determined neither Pudsey nor any of the other construction laborers employed by Three Frogs, Inc. had the experience or training needed to safely cut down a tree of that size.
The agency has issued citations with proposed penalties of $91,865 to Three Frogs, which is a real estate investment company based in La Mesa.

NBC 7 reached out to Three Frogs, Inc., but did not hear back.
Anderson says that amount of money doesn't come close to making up for the loss to her family.

"We got a baby that will never be held by his daddy," she said.

Anderson says every day is a struggle for her, her son's fiancee and the entire family. Her grandson is due on June 6, which is about a week before Father's Day.
His name will be Jackson Joshua Pudsey.
She says he's one of the only reasons she's able to cope with her son's sudden death.

"There's got to be something good out of this because something went really wrong that morning," she said.


Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Iconic San Diego Theater Set to Close]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 11:08:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Ken-Cinema-Kensington.jpg

A longtime movie theater in San Diego’s Kensington neighborhood is set to close – and the cozy, iconic cinema will be missed by many.

For decades, Ken Cinema on Adams Avenue has been the city’s only single-screen theatre, showing mostly foreign and independent films.

According to Landmark Theatres, which owns the Ken, the theater will shutter its doors at the end of this month when it shows its final film on Apr. 27.

The theater’s closure will impact employees, residents and patrons who call the Ken one of the cultural epicenters of San Diego.

For the man who owns the business, Guy Hanford, the movies shown at the Ken helped him plot his life.

Hanford’s passion for films started at the historic Kensington movie house back in 1964, when, as an 8th grader, Hanford got a job cleaning up the theater.

“It was a dollar and a nickel a night – and it was fun,” Hanford recalled.

Hanford rubbed his nickels together and later started the Kensington Video Store, opening up shop right next door to the Ken – his muse for getting into the movie rental business.

“It was very instrumental in me starting to love films and see films outside of the American cinema,” he said.

But now, the historic theater that shaped Hanford’s life – and the lives of other film buffs – is shutting its doors, leaving behind sadness among both employees and patrons after more than half a century of showing unique films.

“I’m terribly heartbroken the Ken is closing down,” said fan Kyle Baudour. “It’s such an institution of Kensington and such a vital part of the community.”

Chris Principio with Landmark Threatres released this statement to NBC 7 Monday night:

“Landmark Theatres was not able to negotiate an acceptable new lease on the Ken with the landlord, even as Landmark is interested to continue to operate the theatre and make improvements by installing digital projection, which is the current industry standard...”

The theater will be missed by many San Diegans who enjoyed its cinematic offerings.

“I’ll miss it because it plays the best movies in town,” said one patron.

The Ken isn't just the last single-screen theater in the city of San Diego. Hanford calls it a supporting actor to Kensington-area businesses.

“So, when they see a movie is playing at the Ken Theater they come and discover this little jewel [Kensington] hidden right in the center of San Diego,” said Hanford.

Currently, seven employees work at the Ken. They were notified of the theater’s impending closure over the weekend.

A spokesman for Landmark said the employees will be offered a job at one of Landmark’s other theaters in San Diego.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Gyorko, Padres Agree To Contract Extension]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 19:38:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/169*120/484635177.jpg

For years, one of the biggest frustrations for Padres fans been watching talented young players start their careers in San Diego, then blossom in to All-Stars (or sometimes legends) in other cities.

Ozzie Smith, Roberto Alomar, Sandy Alomar, John Kruk, etc. So Monday's news that 2nd baseman Jedd Gyorko is locked up for the long term is a nice, and long overdue.

The Padres and Gyorko agreed to a 5-year contract extension worth at least $35 million. It will keep Jedd in San Diego through at least the 2019 season.

Gyorko led the Padres in RBI as a rookie in 2013, and he even missed more than a month of the season with an injury. The West Virginia native also played above-average defense at 2nd, a bonus given the fact it was his first full season playing the position.

"When they approached me, a big part of why I wanted to do it is I wanted to stay in San Diego," said Gyorko on Monday. "My family loves it here. People have treated us like family so it made it an easy decision."

The contract numbers break down like this:

$2 million in 2015.
$4 million in 2016.
$6 million in 2017.
$9 million in 2018.
$13 million in 2019.
Club option for 2020 at $13 million, with a $1 million buyout.

Now, Padres fans, I already know what you're thinking: Sure, the deal looks great, but they will inevitably trade him before it runs its course anyway.

I counter with this: Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler has said since his ownership group took over that the team's payroll would be increasing. So far, he has lived up to his word, another reason Gyorko cited for committing to San Diego.

"I love how the ownership is. Their vision is something I want to be a part of. I think this team is capable of doing big things."

It is squarely within the realm of possibility the Padres are, indeed, on the brink of big things like contending for World Series titles with players the drafted and developed.

I mean, John Elway eventually won a Super Bowl. Phil Mickelson eventually won a major title. Roy Williams eventually won an NCAA Basketball title. Even the Washington Generals eventually beat the Harlem Globetrotters.

In sports, anything can happen.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Mayor Unveils $3B Budget Plan]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 20:14:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Mayor-Kevin-Faulconer-0303.jpg

After years of city budgets that were "hold-the-line" or downright "starvation" in their approach, San Diegans are looking at a 6 percent hike in municipal spending in Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s $3 billion proposal for the budget year that begins July 1.

"We've been through a lot together over the last several years,” Faulconer said during a noon-hour news briefing Monday at City Hall. “And to be in this opportunity now where we continue to work together to restore neighborhoods -- is where we all wanted to be."

Local economic forecasts are getting brighter, projecting somewhat higher tax revenues to flow into the city treasury.

Said Sean Karafin, Interim President of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association: "There's no doubt that the economy is doing better. And this budget rests on the increased tax base that comes from that bettering economy. But the projections look reasonable. Again, this is a first glance."

More than half of the new money will be poured into fixing San Diego’s neighborhoods – potholes, cracking and crumbling streets, sidewalks and other public infrastructure that’s been neglected for too long.

"These problems that we're facing in infrastructure did not happen overnight, and we're not going to solve them overnight,” said Councilman Mark Kersey, who chairs the Council’s Infrastructure Committee. “But with continued investment like what is reflected in this budget, we will be able to rebuild San Diego for future generations."

The Police Department will be in a hiring mode, for both uniformed and civilian staff, to backfill the slots of retiring veterans.

The short-handed Fire-Rescue Department, subject to mandatory overtime, will finally be getting reinforcements.

Hours at libraries and recreation centers will be increased, as will other neighborhood services.

There's even a healthy reserve fund to hedge against further downsides.

"I remember when I was first elected to the Council -- and our reserves were at 3 percent, I think, as we were teetering on going over the edge of the cliff,” Faulconer recalled. “And now, with everybody working together, we're at 14 percent."

The mayor also is allocating nearly a million dollars to underwrite community plan updates -- key blueprints for land use and economic development that in many cases have gone decades without reviews and revisions.

Faulconer's budget plan also directs spending on homeless issues to organizations that get the best results and establishes the position of "Open Data Officer" to help preserve and improve access to city records and information.

But City Hall observers caution that there's no predicting how long this upswing will last.

"The economy is really a huge driver in how these things look,” said Liam Dillon, who covers politics, government and civic issues for Voice of San Diego. “The economy's turning better; that makes things good. Whether we turn the corner or not depends as much on what happens in the broader economy than what happens at City Hall."

There's also uncertainty about how much infrastructure money can be borrowed on Wall Street and how soon.

Pending legal challenges claim voters have to approve the bond measures.

City lawyers argue otherwise.

The Council’s first in a series of budget hearing is set for May 5.

Councilman David Alvarez, who lost to Faulconer in the Feb. 11 special mayoral runoff election, gave notice in a written statement that he'll be pushing for at least one new park to be built in an "underserved" neighborhood.

Alvarez also said he believes there's still "inefficiency and waste" in the budget proposal – and will be looking to “identify areas that we can streamline and use those tax dollars to support increase community and neighborhood priorities.”

<![CDATA[Gas Prices Jump at the Pump]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:35:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/gas+pump+generic1.jpg

Roger Platt puts nearly 200 miles on his pickup truck every day.  He owns a small pest control business and if he doesn't drive, he doesn't work.  But these days, it's costing more and more to get around town.

"I'll go down the street in the morning and it's one price. I'll come back on the street in the evening, and it's another," said Platt, owner of Centurion Pest Control.

Gas prices in San Diego have gone up $.16 in one week to an average of $4.24 on Monday. Platt says he can handle the increase for a while, but higher prices take a bigger bite out of his budget.

"I think everybody hopes that it is going to be up for a certain amount of time and then it is going to drop back," Platt said "But who knows?"

Gas price analyst Charles Langley says prices should settle down and maybe even drop, but he doesn't see prices dropping below $4 any time soon.

"I think gas above $4 a gallon is the new normal," Langley said.

In California, two refineries have reported problems.  The Tesoro's Golden Eagle refinery in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Exxon/Mobil refinery in Los Angeles both produce about eight percent of the state's oil supply.  When a combined 16 percent fuel supply is threatened, wholesale prices start rising and gas stations pay more for their next delivery.

What does Roger Platt do to make up for rising gas prices?  When he gets home his truck stays in the driveway, "We do have an electric car which we drive as much as we possibly can."

<![CDATA[Medical Assistant Students Practice on Prisoners]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 06:03:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/mesa+college+dental+assistant+students+prisoners1.jpg

San Diego community college students are getting a unique learning experience: Giving medical care to prisoners. 

Mesa College is the first community college in the county to partner with a prison to provide students with hands-on training.

These students are learning everything from giving vaccinations to doing X-rays for patients at Donovan State Prison.

Mesa College students are taking what they've learned in labs and using it to care for patients from all different medical backgrounds and ages at the prison.

The prison takes 32 students from Mesa's Dental, Medical and Information Technology programs. They go through four weeks of lab training and an orientation at the prison to prepare.

Then they start working with prison patients who have a variety of issues, including mental illness and disabilities.

The health care is free to the prison. However, inmates who can afford it do pay a co-pay. In turn, college students get 300 hours of training they need to become registered medical assistants.

Professors say the program prepares them for working in challenging medical situations that you couldn't get from a regular internship.

Mesa College dental assistant student Stefanie Delletorri agrees.

"It just gives you a realistic experience in a dental setting. It's always great practicing on models, but when you actually get to practice in a real-life it's completely different and you need that,” Delletorri said.

The prison plans to expand the partnership to include San Diego City College's nursing program this fall.

<![CDATA[Former Chargers Linebacker Sues Nike]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:31:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/176605738.jpg

 Former San Diego Chargers player Shawne Merriman has filed a multi-million lawsuit against Nike for using his signature nickname.

The athletic equipment company has branded its new clothing line “Lights Out,” which the former linebacker alleges is a trademark infringement.

“I earned my ‘Lights Out’ nickname in high school when I knocked out four opposing players in one football game,” said Merriman in a release. “I made things official by securing the federal rights to my LIGHTS OUT trademark and have been using it ever since. I am suing Nike as a last resort, not only to protect my brand, but to protect other athletes who are trying to develop a brand.”

The lawsuit was filed by Merriman’s company, Lights Out Holdings, LLC, in California Federal Court.

It demands a preliminary and permanent injunction to stop Nike’s “Lights Out” products.

Also included are “statutory damages of up to $2 million per content mark per type of goods or services sold, offered for sale or distribution,” the complaint said.

According to the lawsuit, Nike started negotiating to use Merriman’s trademarked phrase in 2006, but the negotiations fell through. The complaint alleges that the company decided to use the brand anyway.

The damages may be determined at a trial if the suit moves forward.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giraffe Calf Welcomed Back into Herd ]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 06:03:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/New+Giraffe+Leroy.jpg

After a brush with death and a three-month separation, a young giraffe received a warm welcome back into the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s herd.

In January, Ugandan giraffe “Leroy” came down with a severe bacterial infection when he was just two weeks old. Zookeepers noticed the little guy was not as rambunctious and was not eating well, so he was transferred to the park’s veterinary hospital.

There, veterinarians believed his chances of survival were slim.

The animal care team bottle-fed the not-so-little calf three to five times a day and monitored him around the clock.

That, on top of a month of antibiotics and IV fluids, worked its wonders. Leroy made a full recovery.

After 39 days in the hospital, he was released into a restricted area of the East Africa field exhibit, where zookeepers could continue to bottle-feed him. Slowly, he was reintroduced to his habitat and herd.

Finally, on Monday, Leroy reconnected to his mother and other giraffes with lots of sniffing, nose-rubbing and playful behavior, park officials said.

According to the zoo, the Ugandan giraffe is the only subspecies that is endangered, with less than 700 remaining in the wild of Kenya and Uganda.

Thirteen Ugandan giraffes – five males and eight females – call the safari park home.

Officials said the goal of the zoo is to bring species like this back from the brink of extinction with field programs spanning six continents.

Photo Credit: Ken Bohn]]>
<![CDATA[DA: Employee 'Beat, Tortured, Killed' Prominent Architect ]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 19:48:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/higinio+salgado.JPG

Opening statements in court Monday left a jury with an important decision to consider: should a man’s intoxicated actions that led to a well-known architect's death be considered murderous?

The prosecutor and defense attorney laid out their cases in the murder trial of Higinio Soriano Salgado, 32, accused of killing his boss Graham Downes.

On April 19, 2013, Downes, 56, was found fatally injured outside his Bankers Hill home. He was pronounced dead nearly a week later from blunt force trauma.

Deputy District Attorney Amy Maund began her opening statements by pointing to Salgado and saying, “the defendant – this man seated here in court – beat, tortured and killed a defenseless human being."

In the spring of 2013, Salgado worked as a facilities manager at Downes’ architectural firm.

On April 18, Downes had hosted a happy hour party for his employees that turned into a night of heavy drinking.

Both the prosecutor and defense said the evening started at the office, progressed to a bar and finished at Downes’ home.

Downes – whom defense attorney Jamahl Kersey described as a “work hard, play hard” kind of boss – had invited a few employees, including Salgado, back to his place for a round of drinks.

His coworkers Allison MacDougall and Bailey Bishop came along.

During their conversation, the name Simon Terry-Lloyd came up.

Salgado had worked under Terry-Lloyd at Graham Downes Architecture Inc. and disliked him, even though Terry-Lloyd had since left the firm.

The day before the happy hour party, Downes was seen meeting with Terry-Lloyd in his office, and the prosecutor alleged that Salgado began to fear for his job.

So the night of April 18, the intoxicated Salgado became angry when someone mentioned Terry-Lloyd, saying “F--- him! F--- that guy!” according to both Maund and Kersey.

"He responded that he didn't like that guy and that you better not hire him, 'I hate that guy.' He was kind of getting loud in Graham's face over the bar," said MacDougall as she testified in court Monday. 

Other guests said Downes, who was also drunk, told Salgado that Terry-Lloyd was not coming back, and the topic was eventually dropped.

But at this point, the prosecution’s and defense’s stories start to differ.

Maund said Salgado’s anger over the former employee stewed until he and Downes were left alone outside Downes’ home.

“He was angry at the victim because he felt a sense of betrayal by the victim and he wanted the victim to suffer,” Maund told the jury.

She said the two began arguing again, and the fight turned violent. Salgado gained the upper hand and jumped on top of Downes, beating him in the head and neck, according to the prosecution.

Downes suffered 17 to 21 wounds and died from those injuries, the medical examiner’s office found.

Police arrived at the scene and took Salgado into custody while Downes was rushed to the hospital, where he was later pronounced brain dead.

However, Kersey argued that Salgado did not intentionally kill anyone.

“It is a very unfortunate situation that Mr. Downes lost his life, but this was not murder,” Kersey told the jury.

By the time Salgado was booked into jail and submitted to a blood test around 5:20 a.m. on April 19, he had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 percent. That means his BAC at the time of the fight was around 0.2 percent.

The defense will have experts take the stand to talk about the effects of alcohol on a person’s actions. Kersey said no witness can say what was said before the fight or even who hit whom first.

“We believe that at the end of this trial, the prosecutor will not meet her burden of proof, proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Salgado is guilty of murder,” said Kersey.

The first to take the stand in Salgado’s murder trial was the police officer who initially arrived at the scene of Downes' beating.

In the courtroom Monday, members of Downes’ family were seen crying as graphic pictures of Downes were shown during the opening statements.

The defendant’s family sat across the aisle, staring straight ahead. They declined to comment to NBC 7.

If convicted on the first degree murder charge, Salgado could face 25 years to life in prison.

<![CDATA[Alzheimer's Patient Reported Missing in Carlsbad]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 14:32:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/missing+man+raul+cortez.jpg

Carlsbad police are asking for the public’s help to find an elderly man who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

Raul Cortez, 87, was last seen around 11 a.m. Monday off Alga Road near Melrose Drive, according to officials.

Police say Cortez may be driving a dark gray 2000 Toyota Camry with license plate number 4NJX236. He could be headed to Poway.

Cortez is 5-foot-6, 150 pounds and wearing a green sweater and black pants.

If you see the missing man, you’re asked to call 911 or 760-931-2197.

Photo Credit: Carlsbad Police Dept.]]>
<![CDATA[Baseball Player Had High BAC, Drugs Before Fatal Crash: ME ]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 12:17:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Christian-Franco-125Ax.jpg

 A former minor league baseball player killed in a South Bay crash had drugs in his system and a blood alcohol content of nearly three times the legal limit, according to a newly released medical examiner’s report.

Christian Franco, 37, was killed in an early morning collision on February 14 as he drove his Jaguar along State Route 125.

The California Highway Patrol said north of San Miguel Road, he plowed into a guardrail, which tore the driver’s side of his car open and threw him onto the pavement.

On Monday, the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office released their full autopsy findings, revealing that Franco had a blood alcohol level of 0.21 percent. The legal California driving limit is 0.08 percent.

According to the toxicology report, Franco’s blood also tested positive for cocaine and marijuana.

The medical examiner determined his cause of death to be blunt force injuries.

The CHP said after Franco’s Jaguar struck the guardrail, a Toyota sedan smashed into his car, possibly hitting Franco as well.

That caused a pile-up in which a Hummer H3 hit the Toyota and Franco, and a Honda Civic collided with the Toyota.

No one else was injured in the crash, but the driver of the Hummer was arrested for suspected misdemeanor DUI.

Franco was a baseball outfielder on the 1999 National Championship team at California State University, Chico.

He went on to play in the minor league, according to his family.

<![CDATA[Padres-Rockies Series Preview]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 15:57:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/everth+cabrera+padres.jpg

Could this be the start of something good? The Padres look to build on their first series win of the season  as the division rival Colorado Rockies come to town for a very winnable four-game set starting tonight.

The Padres’ pitching dominated a robust Tigers lineup over the weekend, shutting them out in the opener and holding them to a single run in the rubber match as they took two of three games against the three-time AL Central champs.

Read more: Watching baseball with dad

The bats even got warmed up in the process, something that bodes well against a Rockies rotation that nobody will mistake for Cy Young candidates.

The Rockies (6-7) actually lead the Friars (5-7) by a half-game in the standings, but have lost three of their last five, including two games in a weekend series against the San Francisco Giants.

When they play: This is the middle series of a 10-game homestand at Petco Park. The teams play night games on Monday through Wednesday, starting at 7:10 p.m. Thursday’s getaway game will be at 3:40 p.m.

What’s at stake: Both teams are jockeying for position in the NL West behind the Dodgers and Giants, who square off in San Fran this week. If one team can take three or four games in this series, they can get right up in the mix early on in the division race.

Who is pitching: The Pads look to build on some strong performances over the weekend, including a dominating one-hitter from Andrew Cashner (1-1, 1.29 ERA) on Friday. He takes the mound Wednesday, meaning the bottom of the rotation must get it done early on in the series. Eric Stults (0-2, 5.59) gets the call in the opener, looking to turn out his first quality start of the season. He’s followed by Robbie Erlin (1-0, 1.35), who  threw a gritty six innings to beat the Cleveland Indians last week. Ian Kennedy (1-2, 4.24) takes the mound Thursday in the finale.

For the Rockies, Jordan Lyles (2-0, 3.86) will try to stay perfect on the season tonight with Juan Nicasio (1-0, 3.75) following on Tuesday. Jorge De La Rosa (0-2, 9.69) has looked like anything but an ace so far this season, giving up 14 earned runs in three starts. He will try to right the ship against Cashner on Wednesday. Thursday’s starter has not been announced.

Who to watch: How about those Padres bats! Everth Cabrera continues to bolster the top of the San Diego order, despite striking out a team-high 16 times. He’s on a six-game hitting streak, pounding out five hits over the weekend.

De-facto cleanup hitter Jedd Gyorko drove in runs in all three weekend games, jacking his first long ball on Sunday. Catcher Yasmani Grandal is making a case for more playing time, with a pair of hits in his only start over the weekend. And how about Xavier Nady – two hits, both for home runs this season.

For Colorado, Charlie Blackmon (who?) is absolutely on fire with 20 hits in his first 41 at-bats (.488). Michael Cuddyer has picked up where he left off last year when he won the league batting title. He’s hitting .354 with three long balls. And you can’t talk about the Rockies lineup without mentioning Carlos Gonzalez. CarGo leads the team with four homers and 13 RBI.

Why go: Tuesday is Jackie Robinson Day throughout the league. All players will wear No. 42 on their jerseys to honor the baseball pioneer. It’s also the season’s first Taco Tuesday. Get tacos for a buck. Tickets are available for all three games.

What’s next: The Giants come to town this weekend in another key division matchup. Will the Padres be in striking distance of first place by the time they get to town? Well, let’s just take it one game at a time.

Matthew Wood covers the Padres for #OnFriar. Reach him at matthew.wood@nbcuni.com and follow him on Twitter @mcarloswood.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Boy Behind Playground Wish Loses Cancer Battle]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 18:00:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Jose-Montano-Brain-Cancer.jpg

A San Diego boy who inspired so many when he used a “Make-a-Wish request” to build a school playground has lost his battle against cancer.

Jose Montano died Sunday just five days before what would have been the third anniversary of his diagnosis, his parents announced on his foundation’s Facebook page.

In April 2011, Jose underwent brain surgery to remove a golf-ball sized tumor from the base of his brain. He woke up from surgery with a loss of strength and coordination on his left side.

Rounds of chemotherapy followed.

When Jose was approached by Make-a-Wish, he could have made any wish he wanted come true. But he wasn't thinking about himself.

Instead, he asked the organization to build a new playground for his classmates at Berry Elementary School.

When the playground opened in March 2012, NBC 7 asked Jose why he didn’t choose something like a trip to DisneyWorld or a day with skateboarder Tony Hawk.

“I felt that they needed my wish more,” the 11-year-old told NBC 7.

The school's former principal Cynthia Smith-Ough commended him on the act of kindness. His parents said they hoped Jose’s choice would inspire more families to help others instead of thinking of themselves.

On Sunday, Jose’s father posted this on the FB page for the Jose Montano Foundation:

“Five days before his third year anniversary of being diagnosed, Jose, my hero, my baby, my teacher was called to heaven yesterday. I know he is now playing in God's playground and being our guardian angel. Thank you Choncho for blessing my family and for teaching us life's most important lessons. We will remember you every single day for the rest of our lives. Te amo mi niño chulo.”

Jose was named as NBC 7's Inspirational Student in December 2011.

He also received the American Red Cross Youth Hero Award and was honored by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors with a Jose Montano Day in December 2013.

His foundation supplies healthy snacks and toys for children battling cancer in local hospitals.

Photo Credit: Jose Montano Foundation]]>
<![CDATA[Watching Padres and Tigers with Pops]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 10:45:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/father+son+padres+tigers+thumb.jpg

This weekend's series between the Padres and the Detroit Tigers at Petco Park marked the 30th anniversary of the two teams playing in the World Series in 1984.

It means so much more for me. Growing up in Michigan, I was a die-hard Tigers fan, a trait I picked up at an early age from my father. He took me to Game 4 of that series, one of my earliest and fondest memories from childhood.

For those who don’t recall, the Tigers won that series, four games to one, to win their first World Series in almost two decades.

So many things about that team stand out to me and will always be ingrained in my brain: Jack Morris throwing a no-hitter in the first weekend of the season (watched with my dad on the couch). Fans doing the wave at the old Tiger Stadium (watched with him when he took me to a game during the regular season). The way they rolled through the playoffs (he took me to the ALCS clincher too).

I remember watching the Padres win the National League Championship Series. I didn’t know much about the team back then. Their manager (Dick Williams) looked old, just like ours (Sparky Anderson). They beat the Cubs, but didn’t everybody? Their jerseys were ugly. Steve Garvey was an awesome player. And their relief pitcher, Goose Gossage, had a crazy mustache. These are the things that rattle around the head of a youngster.

I’ll never forget that Game 4. Alan Trammell hit two home runs. Jack Morris pitched the entire game for the 4-2 win. And all was well in my little kid world.

My dad actually had tickets to the next game of the series – the one where the Tigers clinched their first World Series since 1968 – but he decided to take his new girlfriend at the time. I’m not gonna lie and say I wasn’t mad. But I was able to let it go, especially since they’ve now been married for 25 years.

Especially because we were champs, and I was one happy kid.

After the Tigers won the clinching game, fans ran on the field to celebrate. Some of them threw chunks of sod from the outfield into the stands. My dad caught one of those chunks, brought it home and planted it in our back yard. There it grew for years. When we moved, we took the sod with us. That piece of Tigers history will be with us forever, growing in our back yard.

I was able to relive some of those memories this weekend. Pops flew out from Michigan and we went to all three games together. It was amazing.

It's such a cliche, but still so true: Baseball brings fathers and sons together. It always has, it always will.

In "City Slickers," Billy Crystal and his friends remember being a teenagers and having nothing to talk about with their dads except for the sport.

James Earl Jones waxes poetic in his booming voice in “Field of Dreams,” talking about the power of “BASE-ball” with an emphasis only he can provide.

It’s no different with us. The Tigers have always been a special bond. They will always be our team, just like any number of fathers and sons all over.

So we watched all three games, exploring Petco Park along the way and talking about great players past. We probably ate more hot dogs than is healthy for anybody in one weekend, but that’s the way it is.

For Tigers fans, it was not a series worth remembering. The Padres took two of three games, shutting us out on Friday and holding us to one run on Sunday.

For me, it was something I’ll never forget. It was me and my dad, watching baseball. Thirty years after that amazing season, we’re still making memories at the ballpark.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Matthew Wood covers the Padres for #OnFriar. Reach him at matthew.wood@nbcuni.com and ollow him @mcarloswood.

<![CDATA[Rescued Family Responds to "Armchair Quarterbacks"]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:12:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Kaufman-1161984-24715521-th.jpg

A woman whose sick infant was the subject of a daring ocean rescue dismissed criticism about the family's plan to sail the seas with young children as commentary from “internet armchair quarterbacks who know nothing about us.”

The military rescue operation that plucked 13-month-old Lyra Kaufman and her family from the middle of the Pacific Ocean prompted a national debate over sailing with babies and caused more than its fair share of negative reaction on social media.

Comments on NBC 7’s Facebook page included phrases like “very selfish” and “irresponsible parents” alongside words of support.

Lyra’s mother, Charlotte, wrote a post Sunday addressing the more explicit criticism posted to the couple’s blog.

“We will slowly delete all the comments from the internet armchair quarterbacks who know nothing about us, our life, our skills, or, I might add, sailing,” she wrote.

The Kaufman's have chronicled their life aboard the Rebel Heart through their personal blogs including the days leading up to the rescue launched by the California National Guard.

Four pararescuemen jumped into the ocean on April 3 to help the family who had sent a distress call from their vessel approximately 900 miles off the coast of Mexico.

Eric and Charlotte Kaufman and their two daughters - ages 3 and 13 months - had been sailing for two weeks on a voyage to Tahiti when the baby began to suffer what officials described as diarrhea, vomiting and a rash.

The parents radioed for help on April 3 and that began a chain of events that ended with the Kaufman's return to San Diego aboard USS Vandegrift on April 9.

Of the pararescumen who shared their cramped quarters and limited menu, Charlotte Kaufman writes that she was overwhelmed by their bravery.

"They physically held our children during the rough seas to keep them safe," she penned.

"And when the time came to leave Rebel Heart, they carried my daughters on their bodies."

She goes on to thank the crew of San Diego-based USS Vandegrift, noting how the ship was about to return home when they made the unexpected detour to help in the rescue.

"From the moment that we tumbled onto the solid deck of their ship, drenched in seawater, so full of adrenaline that we needed to vomit, and completely unable to walk on our shaking legs, the crew welcomed us," she explained.

She also thanks those who donated to the fund to replace the family's belongings that had to be abandoned on the Rebel Heart. The Navy sank the vessel before leaving it.

Kaufman reminisces about all the life events that occurred for her and Eric aboard the boat saying, “It is a lot to process.”

And finally, Charlotte addresses the interview her brother, James Moriset, gave to NBC 7 and other media outlets in which he criticized the couple's decision to sail with their children at such a young age.

Charlotte describes a family rift between siblings that she claims stems from allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of a family member.

"Their words show more about the content of their character than I could ever personally express to you," she wrote.

You can read Charlotte Kaufman's entire blog post here.

Photo Credit: Courtesy The Rebel Heart]]>
<![CDATA[6 Fires Set Within Minutes: SDFD]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 14:28:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Arson-Fire-Palm-Tree-San-Di.jpg

Six fires were set within 60 minutes in the Grant Hill area of San Diego, officials said Monday.

Investigators with San Diego Fire Rescue crews believe the fires are all connected.

Trees, bushes and dumpsters were set on fire at the following locations: Commercial Street and 29th Street, 39th and Imperial Avenue, G Street near 27th Street, 28th Street near Market and nearby Hoitt Street.

The first fire was reported around 12:45 a.m. at the 29th and Commercial location where a tree had been set on fire in an alley.

Minutes later, crews were called to the 30th and Imperial dumpster fire.

A bush was on fire on Hoitt Street.

Another dumpster fire was started at the G Street location. 

The last fire, reported around 1:20 a.m. involved a tree.

Anyone with information about the fires can call the Metro Arson Strike Team at (619) 236-6815.

San Diego police officers arrested a 37 year-old woman in Logan Heights after she attempted to set a house on fire on Harrison Avenue. Investigators later announced the Harrison Avenue fire was unrelated to the arsons.


<![CDATA[Vigil for San Diego Opera's Final Show]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 07:11:22 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Opera-Vigil-Final-Night.jpg

San Diegans gathered for a candlelight vigil Sunday at the San Diego Opera – not to mourn the death of any characters, but to mourn the death of the opera itself.

Sunday’s matinee sold-out  performance of "Don Quixote" marks the last time the opera will take the Civic Center stage.

Opera supporters wanted to make the final day a memorable one. They asked people to bring candles, flowers and chalk to sign their names on the ground after the performance ended around 4 p.m. One woman dressed as the Grim Reaper.

"It's been a whole rollercoaster of emotions from the moment I woke up," said stage director Keturah Stickann. "It's confusion, it's upset, it's sadness, and then I decided I was going to show up here in the plaza with hope, so that's where I'm at right now."

Others are also holding out hope to turn this show into the last one of the season, not the last one for all time.

They are planning ways to shift the organization to salvage it and create work for years to come. 

"I think these are very smart people and I think they have a lot of good ideas, and I think together, they will find a way to keep opera happening in San Diego," said Stickann. 

There has been controversy surrounding the opera's longtime General and Artistic Director Ian Campbell and his $500,000 salary.

Campbell would not talk to NBC 7 on Sunday, but many believe he wants to close now instead of taking a pay concession or face bankruptcy, which could potentially leave him with nothing.

"Right now, the only contracts left are his, Ann's (Campbell's ex-wife) and some soloists. If we go through bankruptcy, those are all gone. He actually has the most to gain through us closing down because then they can get in line as creditors and collect from the assets, and then he can be paid his full contract through the end of 2017," chorus member Chris Stephens said.

But not everyone agrees.

"We had a recession. Ian kept it going. He can't do miracles by himself. Enough," supporter Mark Meyer said.

On Friday, the San Diego Opera board confirmed that the closure is set to move forward as planned, despite strong opposition to the decision that was first announced on March 19.

They cited a lack of funding as the reason for the final curtain call, and at least $10 million must be raised to take the opera into its 50th season.

If nothing changes in the next couple of weeks, the opera will be shuttered April 29.

The opera board is scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. Thursday, so supporters are holding out hope.

<![CDATA[Below Normal Streamflow Expected for California]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 13:36:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/River-Generic.jpg

Far below normal streamflow is expected for California, southern Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, southern Utah and western Nevada, according to USDA officials.

Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Water and Climate Center (NWCC) April forecast suggest March storms increased snowpack in the Pacific Northwest but did little to help provide relief for California.

April 1 is important because the snow typically reaches its peak and begins to melt.

“Many water managers, reservoir operators, irrigation districts and hydroelectric power companies make significant strategic decisions based on the April forecasts,” NRCS National Water & Climate Center Hydrologist Cara McCarthy said in an agency news release.

View the April Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecast map here.

Photo Credit: horriblegb/Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Win First Series Of Season]]> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 20:35:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*122/484635171.jpg

Padres 2nd baseman Jedd Gyorko has not been a 2nd baseman for very long. He did not move to the position full-time until just before 2013 Spring Training.

It has not taken the former 3rd baseman long to adjust to his new spot.

Gyorko made a pair of fantastic defensive plays on Sunday, helping the Padres to a 5-1 win over the Tigers at Petco Park. The Friars won their first series of the season 2-1.

In the 3rd inning, Gyorko ranged far to his left to field an Ian Kinsler grounder and keep a run from scoring. In the 5th he made a fully extended dive to his right to rob Max Scherzer of a base hit.

If Scherzer ever sees Gyorko again, it'll be too soon. Jedd also crushed a fastball 385 feet to left field in the 2nd inning, a solo shot that gave the Padres a 1-0 lead. It was Gyorko's first home run of the year.

"Yeah, I should do that more often," he deadpanned after the game.

All of Gyorko's work helped Tyson Ross get his first win of the year. Ross struggled in his first two starts against the Dodgers and Indians, issuing nine walks in 10.1 innings. He worked with pitching coach Darren Balsley during the week and was sharp against Detroit.

Ross only walked one and allowed one run in seven innings, striking out seven.

Tyson was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the 7th inning. That guy was Xavier Nady, who promptly hit a solo home run on to the beach in right-center. His last three MLB hits have been home runs.

Two of them have come this year with the Padres. The one before that came back in 2012, when he hit one off Padres closer Huston Street at Petco.

The Padres continue their 10-day homestand on Monday when they start a 4-game series against the Colorado Rockies.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['They Took Half My Family': Victims' Sister Wants Answers]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 07:10:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Belvedere+Flint+fundraiser.jpg

Nearly four months after three San Diegans were murdered, the case remains a mystery.

Salvatore Belvedere and Ilona Flint were shot to death on Christmas Eve 2013 in the parking lot of the Mission Valley mall. Three weeks later, the body of Gianni Belvedere—Sal’s brother and Ilona’s fiancé—was discovered in the trunk of a car in Riverside County.

Now, loved ones who are desperate for answers are taking action to find who’s responsible.

On Sunday, they hosted a fundraiser and silent auction at the Eastbound Neighborhood Grill in Lakeside. Proceeds from the auction items and a portion of food and drink sales went toward the reward fund.

“Hopefully that sparks an interest for somebody that knows something,” said Antoinette Belvedere, Sal and Gianni’s sister. “Call in and we'll get the ball rolling.”

Family, friends and even complete strangers joined the fundraising efforts to help solve the case.

“We just want to help out in any way we can,” said family friend Carlos Carrera, who donated an item for the silent auction. “We feel the pain of what happened, and we just wanted to be here to support everybody.”

For Antoinette, the pain of losing her brothers and future sister-in-law hasn’t gone away.

“They took half of my family, three people out of one family,” she said. “There’s no words. I have no words to explain what it feels like to lose half of my family.”

Crime Stoppers is offering $10,000 for information that leads to an arrest in the case. The family started a website to increase the reward, which has raised $1,600 to date. They hoped to make another $5,000 at Sunday’s fundraiser.

“We want to get this guy or these guys off the street,” Antoinette said. “We don’t want anybody to go through this.”

<![CDATA[Voluntary Water Conservation Urged in San Diego ]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 14:16:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/208*120/022114-drought.jpg

Close to 40 drought-related emergency proclamations have been received by the state from city, county, and tribal governments, as well as special districts.

In San Diego County, several water districts have established voluntary conservation efforts in the face of the state's drought.

Helix Water District, Valley Center Municipal Water District, Vallecitos Water District, Vista Irrigation District, Fallbrook Public Utilities District and Rincon del Diablo Water District have declared "Drought Level 1” advising its customers to stop washing paved surfaces, water landscape before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m., use recirculated water for garden fountains and wash vehicles using a bucket and hose with a shut off nozzle.They also ask restaurants to serve water only on request.

The Sweetwater Water Authority is asking customers in Chula Vista, National City and Bonita are to continue voluntary water conservation, up to ten percent. For more information, call the Water Efficiency Helpline at (619) 409-6779.

The Santa Fe Irrigation District also adopted the drought level 1 suggestions. The district offers several rebates and incentives for outdoor and indoor appliances and offers free residential surveys for its customers. Visit www.sfidwater.org/conservation to find out more.

The San Dieguito Water District touts its increasing number of customers conserving water along with the plan for the Carlsbad Desalination plant as being helpful to protect customers from the drought.

In Encinitas, the Olivenhain Water District is promoting the Mayor's Challenge. Residents are invited to sign up to help Encinitas beat out other cities in the U.S. to determine the city that is most water wise. Visit MyWaterPledge.com and take the pledge on behalf of Encinitas. Both individual contestants and participating cities can win prizes.

How do you and your family compare when it comes to conserving water? Use this calculator from Water Smart San Diego County to find out.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Gary Sinise, Wounded Vets Honored at Padres Military Day]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 03:57:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Gary+sinise+veterans+padres.JPG

 Petco Park offered a packed line-up of events Sunday during its Military Opening Day, including appearances by actor and military advocate Gary Sinise and a wounded Marine who biked all the way across the country. Oh yeah, and then there was some Padres baseball.

First up to bat, Sinise – a.k.a Lieutenant Dan to you “Forrest Gump” fans – was recognized for his foundation’s work with veterans.

“I've just interacted with the military community for so long and been involved with supporting our wounded since I played a wounded veteran in 'Forrest Gump' that I just can't stop,” said Sinise.

The Gary Sinise Foundation is working to build two Smart Homes in San Diego for severely wounded veterans and their families.

The homes are designed to help the service members lead more independent lives.

One will be going to triple amputee Nick Kimmel, who said he got to pick out the Pine Valley plot of land on which his specially designed house will sit.

“It will make everything so much easier, like doing laundry or getting stuff out of the fridge or the stovetops that lower – just stuff that you couldn’t remodel to get. You’d actually have to design into it, and that’s what Gary does,” said Kimmel.

For Sinise, the foundation’s work is about raising awareness and giving back to those who have given so much to their country.

"There's a lot of need after a dozen years of war, and we're just trying to pitch in and help out," Sinise said.

Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band will be back to perform at Petco Park on July 6 as a fundraiser for wounded veterans.

Sinise, Kimmel and two other home recipients joined service members from all branches on the field Sunday as the Navy Band Southwest performed the National Anthem.

But the ceremonial first pitch went to another guest of honor: Marine Combat Engineer Rob Jones, a double amputee who rode into Petco Park on the same bike that took him across the country.

On Saturday, Jones completed a six-month journey from Maine to California as a fundraiser for wounded veterans like himself. He lost both legs in an IED explosion while on deployment to Afghanistan in 2010.

As if riding so far isn’t impressive enough, the 28-year-old Jones did it without the use of his lower legs.

Unlike able-bodied cyclists who rely on their calves and quadriceps to pedal, he could only use his gluteal muscles.

Jones told NBC 7 the chance to throw the first pitch was a great recognition of his service.

"It makes it feel like it's all worth it. You don't want to go somewhere and sacrifice this really big chunk of your life and then come back and realize it was all for nothing. And so letting people know that they're sacrifice is appreciated and it was for something is a big thing," said Jones.

He raised about $115,000 on his ride, but he will continue to leave his website up for people who want to continue to donate to Ride 2 Recovery, Semper Fi Fund and Coalition to Salute America's Heroes.

Among the packed stands were roughly 1,500 people who received free tickets through local military nonprofits, donated by Northrop Grumman.

Throughout the season, military personnel and first responders can get $6 off any ticket above $13 for all regular season home games, and $10 tickets are available for all Sunday home games for service members and their families.

As for Sunday’s game, the Padres outperformed the Detroit Tigers for the second time this week, winning the game 5-1 and the series 2-1.

<![CDATA[Escondido Rollover Crash Kills Woman]]> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 11:51:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/fatal+rollover+crash.JPG

 A 21-year-old woman has died after her vehicle rolled on State Route 78 in Escondido early Sunday morning.

The California Highway Patrol said the Escondido woman was driving her 1997 Acura westbound on the freeway around 2:20 a.m. when she tried to change lanes to her left.

She lost control and over-corrected to her right, sending her car into a fishtail. When the car hit the right shoulder, it ran into a tree and flipped upside down.

Witnesses driving the other way stopped and called 911, but paramedics could not save her in time.

The woman died at the scene of the crash.

“It was kind of overwhelming at first, and then to see her like that – it’s really sad,” one witness said.

According to CHP, it’s unknown if alcohol or drugs played a factor in the collision.

No passengers were in the car, and no other vehicles were involved. The woman’s identity has not been released.

<![CDATA[Man Shot to Death in Mount Hope]]> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 09:26:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Chris-Hays-SDPD-Scandal-sex.jpg

San Diego Police are searching for the suspect who shot and killed a man in Mount Hope Saturday night.

Around 10:45 p.m., officers received an anonymous call reporting gunshots in the 3500-block of J Street.

When they arrived, police discovered a 24-year-old man who had been shot, lying in the street.

He was rushed to the hospital, where he died a short time later.

According to the preliminary police investigation, an unknown man stepped out of a dark colored 4-door vehicle, walked up to the victim and fired several rounds at him.

No one is in custody, and the victim’s identity has not been released.

Anyone with details about the shooting should call the SDPD homicide unit at 619-531-2293 or call Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.


<![CDATA[Verlander's Variety Beats Padres]]> Sat, 12 Apr 2014 22:34:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/177*120/484483575.jpg

Friday night at Petco Park, the Padres beat the Tigers behind their ace and six runs. Saturday night, it was Detroit's turn to use that approach.

A night after being shut out by Andrew Cashner, the Motor City Kitties rode Justin Verlander to a 6-2 win over the Padres in front of a sellout crowd in the East Village. Verlander punched out eight and gave up just two runs.

Padres starter Ian Kennedy was not bad himself, striking out seven in six innings of work. Kennedy got hurt by a couple of pitches in not quite the right places.

In the 4th inning, with the Tigers leading 2-1, Ian allowed a single to Verlander (who got the first two hits of his Major League career on Saturday) then another single to Ian Kinsler. With two outs, Kennedy threw a first-pitch fastball to Torii Hunter, who slapped it right back up the middle for a 2-run single.

"I tried to go low, down and away, and it just ran back over (the plate)," said Kennedy. "When you have a close ballgame like this one of us is going to have that one pitch you're going to think about. That was the situation where you need to make that little bit better pitch."

Verlander made just enough pitches to get the win, but the Padres did not make it easy on him. After stressing the Tigers star in a 30-pitch first inning that produced one run (on a Jedd Gyorko sacrifice fly to score Chris Denorfia), the Padres got the tying run to the plate in the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings.

Each time Verlander was able to pitch his way out of trouble. His crowning achievement may have been in that 6th inning. Catcher Yasmani Grandal singled with one out, then Verlander struck out Will Venable with three straight mid-90's fastballs up in the strike zone.

Padres manager Bud Black sent in Nick Hundley to pinch-hit for Kennedy and Verlander took everyone by surprise, flipping up a slider and three straight curve balls, the last one Hundley looked at for a called strike three.

"That combination is lethal, the high fastball and the good curve," said Black. "He's battle-tested, for sure, and he beat us."

If there's a silver lining, it's that Verlander gave up 8 hits and needed every weapon in his expansive arsenal to beat the Padres. The Friars can still win the series on Sunday when they throw Tyson Ross against Max Scherzer, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Peregrine Targets Chinese Market]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 09:30:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Peregrine-Chip-Micro.jpg

San Diego-based Peregrine Semiconductor Inc. announced on April 9 that it plans to introduce its UltraCMOS Global 1 microchip to the Chinese telecom market.

The Peregrine (Nasdaq: PSMI) product offers reconfigurable radio-frequency electronics at the front end of the system — which the company says is an industry first — and it supports the 4G wireless communication standard called TDD-LTE. China has recently licensed TDD-LTE networks.

The company said it plans volume production of the UltraCMOS Global 1 chip in late 2015.

Peregrine Semiconductor stock closed down 3 percent to $6.08 on April 11. The stock’s 52-week range has been $4.75 to $12.09.

At the end of the day April 11, Peregrine’s market capitalization stood at $201.0 million.


 The Business Journal is the premier business publication in San Diego. Every day online and each Monday in print, the Business Journal reports on how local business operate and why businesses leaders make the decisions they do. Every story is a dose of insight into how to run a better, more efficient, more profitable business.

Photo Credit: Peregrine]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Killed by Estranged Husband in Carlsbad: Family]]> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 14:46:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/woman+stabbed+carlsbad.png

The family of a woman found slain in Carlsbad Saturday night have revealed her identity, and they accuse her estranged husband in her death.

Ariflor Gonzalez, 37, died in the 5100 block of Van Allen Way around 7:50 p.m., according to her brother, Ismael Gonzalez. 

Her body was discovered by police surrounded by a lot of blood in the parking lot where she worked. She was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Police said a family member called 911 to report a domestic violence incident. 

 After following leads, investigators arrested Pedro Rosalino Zurita, 49, at another location. He was booked into the Vista Jail on a first degree murder charge.

Ismael told NBC 7 that Zurita and the victim were married for 21 years, but three months ago, they separated. 

However, Ismael said Zurita kept showing up to try to rekindle his relationship with Gonzalez, but she told her brother she did not want to be with her husband. 

At the time, she was still living with their four children in the family's home in Oceanside.

Neighbors said there was a large police presence around the family's house Saturday night. 

Gordon Robbins, who lives across the street, said the Zuritas were a quiet family, but he noticed they had started having problems. 

"[Zurita] seemed like he was pretty distraught over their relationship break up," said Robbins. "You know, he would come every so often, but he would try to spend time with the kids."  

Ismael said he believes Zurita killed his wife Saturday night near her work in Carlsbad, where she was a custodian. 

Investigators have not confirmed the suspect's relationship to the victim.

Check back for details on this developing news story.

Photo Credit: Matt Rascon]]>