<![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, 30 Jul 2014 14:17:15 -0700 Wed, 30 Jul 2014 14:17:15 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Woman Hit by Car, Killed in Mission Valley]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 14:04:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Fatal-Ped-0730.JPG

A woman was killed Wednesday morning in Mission Valley after an active-duty military service member accidentally struck her with his car, officials confirmed.

The fatal accident happened around 7:30 a.m. outside the Bella Posta apartment complex on San Diego Mission Road, near Interstate 15.

The victim – identified, for now, only as a woman in her late 40s or early 50s – was walking on the sidewalk when the 21-year-old service member driving a Jeep pulled out of a driveway and hit her.

Investigators said the driver was on his way to work and didn’t see the woman. He didn’t realize he had struck someone until he drove for several hundred feet.

The driver told police he had been having car trouble. When he stopped and got out to check on his car, he saw the woman, critically injured in the street.

By the time paramedics arrived, she had passed, officials said.

San Diego Police Department Lt. Eric Hays said the driver stayed on scene and was very shaken up.

“He's pretty upset so we have a crisis intervention counselor here. A 21-year-old active-duty military guy going to work obviously didn't look in the opposite direction – the direction she was walking on the sidewalk,” Hays explained.

Police said the driver was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Investigators said it an unfortunate accident and the driver was not cited or arrested.

Kathleen Ferrier, of the Circulate San Diego organization, said Wednesday’s fatal pedestrian collision is the 14th of its kind so far this year in the City of San Diego.

“We are seeing a record number of pedestrians in San Diego being hit by cars. Worse, they continue to happen in the same neighborhoods time and time again. These collisions are preventable. How many pedestrians have to be injured before the City takes action?” Ferrier told NBC 7.

“We are urging the City to commit to a plan to save lives through infrastructure, enforcement and education to eliminate traffic deaths, especially on our most dangerous streets,” she added.

Circulate San Diego is a regional grassroots organization dedicated to improving streetscape designs in local neighborhoods by adding more accessible walking paths, more bike lanes, better transit
routes and traffic calming measures.

According to the latest available data, between 1998 and 2012 there have been at least 50 pedestrian collisions within a two-square-mile radius of this latest fatal accident on San Diego Mission Road.



Photo Credit: Nicole Gomez]]>
<![CDATA[2 Rescued From Burning Boat Near Point Loma]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 14:05:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/BurningBoat0730.JPG

Navy and Coast Guard crews rescued two people from a burning boat Tuesday west of Point Loma.

The Coast Guard received a report at 11:15 am. that a fire had broken out on a 45-foot recreational boat, the Happy II, about 17 miles west of Point Loma, according to a news release from the Coast Guard.

Guardsmen issued an alert to other boaters in the area and sent a response boat.

The U.S.S. Green Bay happened to be in the area and responded to the fire and sent an inflatable boat with a rescue team, the Coast Guard said.

That team brought one of the passengers onto the inflatable boat, while the other person was rescued by a passerby boat called the Allison Grace.

Both people were taken to back to San Diego via the Coast Guard’s response boat. No one was hurt, the Coast Guard news release said. 

Here is video of the burning boat from the Coast Guard:

 

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<![CDATA[Chula Vista Officer Faces Battery Charges]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:47:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chula-vista-police-badge-05.jpg

A Chula Vista police officer faces four misdemeanor battery charges in connection to an altercation last month involving his girlfriend’s 16-year-old son.

Roman Granados, a 14-year member of the Chula Vista Police Department, had been placed on administrative leave following the incident June 5 in the parking lot of Chula Vista Hills Elementary School.

Police said they responded to a disturbance during a graduation ceremony and discovered that Granados, 46, had been involved in a physical altercation with his girlfriend’s son, according to a news release from the police department. He is accused of punching and strangling the teen.

Reports were forwarded to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office for review. Prosecutors filed misdemeanor charges against Granados on Tuesday.

The boy’s father talked to NBC 7 under the promise of anonymity. He said he was hoping for felony charges.

“This is someone who has major issues and problems and needs to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and rehabilitated by corrections the system of California,” the father said.

Granados remains on administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal complaint and administrative investigation.

“He's on administrative assignment, meaning he does not interact with the public. He's not in any position of trust,” said Chula Vista Police Department Lt. Lon Turner.

But the alleged victim’s father says that’s not enough.

“He has no business being on the police force,” he said.

Granados is set to appear in San Diego Superior Court, South Bay Division, on Aug. 25.

In the meantime, the 16-year-old has obtained a one-year restraining order against the officer. His family says they plan on filing a civil lawsuit at a later time.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[1 Dead in Parachute Jump]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:45:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ambulance-shutterstock_12161325.jpg

One person was killed skydiving in Jamul on Wednesday, according to Cal Fire.

Emergency crews responded to Skydive San Diego on Otay Lakes Road around 10:20 a.m. for a report of a downed parachute.

The victim's identity has not been released, but Skydive San Diego owner Buzz Fink said he had 30 years of skydiving experience. Fink said the man was jumping solo and did not deploy his parachute.

The Medical Examiner has not released the cause of death.

Check back for updates.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[CA Has 1st Openly Gay Governor - For Part of Day]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 11:33:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/toni+atkins+swearing+in.jpg

For eight or nine hours on Wednesday, California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins will be acting as the state's top chief executive— the first openly gay governor in state history.

That's because this week, the three above her on the state org chart are not in town.

Gov. Jerry Brown is on a trade mission in Mexico this week. As the Washington Post noted, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom filled in for a bit, but is on the East Coast for a Special Olympics event. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg then took over for a while, but he had plans to be in Chicago on Wednesday.

"I feel so grateful," Atkins said in an email on Wednesday forwarded by her spokesman. "I wish my parents could see this. Now I know that may sound hokey to many. But honestly, this is what is going through my mind. If Governor Brown wants a few more days away I'm here for him!"

Atkins spokesman Will Shuck confirmed Atkins will "hold the role of acting governor for approximately one business day, ending this evening on the return of governor." 

Atkins, D-San Diego, is the first openly lesbian leader of either California chamber, succeeding the first openly gay Assembly speaker, John Pérez, a Democrat from Los Angeles.

She shared on her Facebook page that filling in is nothing new: during her time on the San Diego city council, the now 51-year-old Atkins served as acting mayor after other city officials stepped down. She was the first lesbian to hold that position, too.

But Atkins was not focusing on making history due to her sexual orientation on Wednesday. She took the opportunity to highlight her roots -- growing up "in poverty in Virginia" -- and her journey to becoming acting governor for a day.

Atkins, who has focused on funding state universities and advocating for victims of violence and abuse during her time at the Capitol, had a full calendar ahead of her.

But the first act, she tweeted out, was to make sure the temporary first dogs of California - Haley and Joey -  got their morning walk. She shares her pooches with wife, Jennifer LeSar, in the South Park/Golden Hill community of San Diego.

 



Photo Credit: CA State Assembly]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Girl to Face Charges in Cocos Fire]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 13:49:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/490958309.jpg

A teenage girl accused of causing the devastating Cocos Fire will undergo a mental evaluation, a Juvenile Court judge ruled Wednesday.

The unidentified juvenile may also soon face multiple charges in the fire destroyed close to 40 homes in San Marcos on May 14.

The teenager with long blonde hair said only “Good morning” when she appeared in San Diego County Juvenile Court.

She looked at the judge almost the entire time, according to pool reporters in the hearing.

At one point, the teen looked back at her parents with what was described as a blank stare.

Attorneys did not release the charges but confirmed there was more than one.

“The charges are very serious charges,” said Deputy District Attorney Shawnalyse Ochoa. “The minor is currently at home with her parents.”

Before she was formally charged, the judge suspended proceedings until the juvenile undergoes an exam for mental competency at the request of her attorney.

He also ruled that the teenager could not leave her home without her parents and must adhere to a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.

The fire that sparked near Village Drive and Twin Oaks Road forced the evacuation of Cal State San Marcos and hundreds of other homes.

More than 20,000 acres were burned costing the City of San Marcos approximately $10.4 million in damage and firefighting costs.

The next hearing in Juvenile Court is scheduled for August 20.

On NBC 7's Facebook page, many are having a heated debate on whether the teenager should be tried in Juvenile Court or be tried as an adult.

Christyne Allyce Wallis of Oceanside posted, "She destroyed property, cancelled school, graduation and caused businesses to miss out on thousands of dollars in revenue. Not to mention to actual cost of putting the fires out. She deserves to be tried as an adult and her parents need to be held somewhat responsible."

However, there were other followers who said the teenager belongs in Juvenile Court.

"No child should be tried as an adult. Children are children and how do u decided who was adult enough to make a stupid decision," Ginger Bryce posted.

Get involved in the discussion on NBC 7's Facebook page.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Accused in Cocos Fire to Appear in Court]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 08:59:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/1d865833122146f7a4220152c2182274.jpg NBC 7's Matt Rascon reports from Juvenile Hall where a teenager was expected to appear for a hearing Wednesday. ]]> <![CDATA[Man Touched Sleeping Woman, Stole $5 in Chula Vista]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:45:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Dorothy-Street-Burglary-Chu.jpg

Chula Vista police searched a neighborhood early Wednesday looking for a man who broke into a home and startled a woman while she was sleeping.

It was around 4:30 a.m. when officers were called to the Dorothy Manor Park apartments along Dorothy Street east of E Frontage Road and Interstate 5.

“It’s scary because you never know what they could have done to you,” said the victim’s sister Lindsay Miranda.

Miranda said her sister woke up to find a man who appeared to be in his 20s in her room and with his hand on her hip. The victim’s baby, brother and sister were all sleeping in the same room, Miranda said.

When the man saw the woman looking at him he ran away. The man was wearing a gray sweatshirt and a ball cap and stole $5, Miranda said.

She added that the apartment’s backdoor lock was broken so they think that may be how the man got inside.

Police say they’re trying to find out how the man was able to enter the woman’s home in the gated community and escape without being spotted.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Locals Honored by White House]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 08:46:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Go-Green-Agriculture-Encini.jpg

An environmentally progressive company in Encinitas was recognized nationally as part of President Barack Obama’s Champions of Change program.

Go Green Agriculture uses a process called hydroponics to organically grow lettuce without soil and use 80 percent less water and produce five times the crop of a traditional farm.

The company’s CEO, Pierre Sleiman, is a first-generation farmer who hopes he can inspire kids to get into farming.

“One of the things that I look to do is to inspire kids to … understand that agriculture is a really cool thing that involves science, technology, mathematics,” Sleiman said. “And if I knew that as a kid, I think I would have been way more interested in farming from an earlier age.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is working to encourage younger, more innovative people to get into farming. Today, the average age of farmers in the United States is 58.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Drew Barrymore's Half-Sister Found Dead ]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 13:55:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/490292021.jpg

A woman believed to be the half-sister of Hollywood actress and producer Drew Barrymore was found dead outside San Diego.

Jessica Barrymore, 47, was found in her car parked along Hoover Avenue in National City just after 6 a.m. on Tuesday, July 29.

Resident Andres Alonzo was inside his home when he heard a car pull up outside. He saw that a female driver had parked strangely and said he wanted to step in to help but his grandmother warned him not to touch the car.

“Something was wrong with her when she parked right here,” Alonzo told NBC 7 Wednesday.

Several neighbors also noticed the car and someone called police to report it.

Officials have not released the cause of death.

The county medical examiner's report states that firefighters confirmed her death without medical intervention.

In a statement provided to NBC 7 from E! Entertainment, Drew Barrymore said, “Although I only met her briefly, I wish her and her loved ones as much peace as possible and I'm so incredibly sorry for their loss.”

On the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s report, Jessica Barrymore's birthday is listed as July 31, 1966.

The Barrymore family tree is extensive with Jessica's father, John Drew Barrymore, Jr. having four children from several marriages.

His marriage with Jaid Barrymore lasted 13 years and produced Drew Barrymore.

Jessica’s mother, actress Nina Wayne, had several minor television roles in the 1960s.



Photo Credit: WireImage]]>
<![CDATA[Family: Comic-Con Cosplayer Beaten]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 13:32:22 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Marriott-San-Diego-Cosplaye.jpg

A Southern California family is heartbroken after a young woman was beaten while in San Diego last weekend to attend Comic-Con 2014 events and parties.

The 17-year-old was hospitalized following an attack on Saturday, July 26 her mother told NBC 7.

Sgt. Todd Rakos with Harbor Police said the teen was found beaten blood near the hotel's pool around 1 a.m.

“It's just so sad, that on her birthday she had one of the most horrific things happen to her,” said mother Jill Weyer.

This was the Riverside County teenager's first time at Comic-Con, her mother said. She traveled to San Diego with a trusted friend who was over the age of 21 and her parents had no reason to be concerned until they lost contact.

“My daughter was great about checking in all day with me with her phone and when I lost contact with her I kept trying to contact her and I knew something was wrong,” she said.

Weyer said her daughter was cosplaying – taking part in the Comic-Con tradition of dressing up in character – when she was attending parties after the convention.

She was dressed as a female version of Roger Rabbit with a bright red wig, bunny ears, white shirt and a red leotard.

That’s relevant because police want anyone who remembers seeing the teen between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. in the hotel to contact them.

Harbor Police said they have arrested 29-year-old Justin Kalior at the Marriot Hotel, on Harbor Drive near the San Diego Convention Center but would not confirm the arrest was connected to the beating of a cosplayer.

The arrest was made just after 1 a.m. Sunday, Weyer said.

Weyer said she and her husband want to make sure everyone who may have been involved is caught.

“Somebody knows something and they’re just not saying it. I just want them to come forward. Be brave,” Weyer said.

“I’m just hoping we can find who did this and make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else because no one else should have to go through this.”

The thoughts and prayers from the Comic-Con cosplaying community on social media mean so much to Weyer.

“People I don’t even know have reached out,” she said.

While Weyer was reluctant to give an update on her daughter’s condition, she did say it would be a long recovery process.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[California Pharmacies Urged to Translate Drug Labels]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 08:55:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/4PM_PKG_PRESCRIPTION_DR_KNSD2RPS_1200x675_61258819722.jpg

The push is on to make prescription translations mandatory in California.

According to the United States Pharmacopeial Convention, a lack of universal standards for labeling on dispensed prescription containers is a root cause for patients misunderstanding the drugs they are taking.

"If people can't read the prescription bottle, it's a really dangerous situation," said Dr. David Margolius, who works in internal medicine and has been outspoken when it comes to pushing for mandatory translations for prescriptions. "If a label doesn't make sense to the people who are taking the medication, they are already at a disadvantage."

Statistics show more than 700,000 emergency room visits across the county are caused by not taking drugs properly. In addition, hospitals are spending nearly $6 million a year on treating those patients.

State Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, is pushing for legislation to conduct a survey on the controversial issue.

Jimmy Yuen, who owns Advance Medical Pharmacy in Walnut Creek, provides labels on his medications in both English and Spanish. He said it is not a problem for him because of the limited service he is providing for his Spanish-speaking customers.

But Yuen said making that service mandatory could become a problem.

"I think technology is not there yet to ensure a high level of accuracy," he said.

A public hearing on the issue is scheduled for Thursday in Sacramento.

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<![CDATA[Adult, Underage Criminals Shown Corpses at ME's Office]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 14:13:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cadaverfeet.jpg

A new program in San Diego County hopes a hard dose of reality will help criminals change their ways.

Participants look at real pictures of brains destroyed by drugs and mangled DUI victims. Then, they tour a room full of covered corpses.

The Medical Examiner’s chaplain and “Beyond the Caution Tape” founder Joe Davis started these courses a few months ago. Judges and parents often sign up adult criminals and at-risk youth for the program.

Davis hopes it will be used more as alternative sentencing. The program isn’t meant to torture the participants, but rather educate them.

“We get to educate them about the reality of the potential road they’re going down,” Davis said.

The program is modeled after one at the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office. Ed Winter, the Assistant Chief Coroner there, says in 11 years and nearly 30,000 participants, less than 5 percent re-offended. He could only remember two people who died for reasons that got them into the program.

Patrick Williams and Monica Hartman were among a group of participants in July. Hartman is a wife and a mother of two children – not someone you’d think was recently in jail.

“I had some challenges in my past with drugs and alcohol,” Hartman said. “It was my own doing. I did that. Nobody else did that. This is an opportunity.”

The program started with a room full of strangers for the most part. Davis showed picture after picture, far to gory to even describe. He also showed videos and public service announcements. Just when the group felt like they couldn’t take anymore, he took them on a walk they’ll never forget.

They started by walking down the halls of the Medical Examiner’s office. Davis showed them where bodies are brought in, where organs are stored and where homicide detectives view bodies. Then he brought them to the “refrigerator room.”

Aside from the dozens of covered corpses all around, the smell hit everyone like a brick wall. It was an awful smell that stays with you for hours. Davis said it’s not in your nose, but in your mind.

Davis knew no one wants to be on this tour. He said the feeling is mutual; he doesn’t want to see them again either.

“Chances are if I see you again, you may very well come through this office, and I don't want that happen,” he said.

By the end of the two-hour class, Hartman said she felt like she never wanted to do drugs again. She said, “I'm here for my husband and my two children. I just want to honor them with my sobriety and my life.”

Click here to learn more about the program.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lawsuit: Students Being Cheated Out of P.E. Time]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 21:20:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Oak_Lawn_playground.jpg

Four San Diego County school districts are named in a lawsuit, accused of not giving their students enough exercise.

Students in grades K through 6 must get 200 minutes of exercise for every ten days of class, according to the state education code. That's on top of lunch and recess.

The suit alleges students in 37 school districts in the state are not getting enough exercise. These include the Del Mar Union, Chula Vista Elementary, Oceanside Unified and Solana Beach Elementary.

Doctor Holly McClurg, Superintendent of Del Mar Union School District, says she is “perplexed” her district is among those named. She points to Del Mar Heights Elementary School as one example of how much attention the district pays to physical education. The school was recently recognized by the California Department of Education for its P.E. and nutrition program.

“We're really proud of our complete program, our exceptional physical education program, and our children are healthy. They do very well on physical education tests, and quite honestly, I'm perplexed as to why we are part of the lawsuit,” McClurg said.

Donald Driscoll is the lawyer for the plaintiffs in the case. Marc Babin is a parent from northern California and head of Cal200, a group that advocates for physical education in schools.

“School districts have been too focused on preparing kids for standardized tests and not focused enough on doing things they need to do,” Driscoll said.

The Chula Vista Elementary School District released the following statement:

Our district and 36 other school districts across the state of California were named in this lawsuit. The irony is that we were named San Diego County’s first Live Well, San Diego! School District. This is a distinction which was awarded to CVESD by the county health and human services agency (HHSA) in recognizing our commitment to improve the health and well-being of our students. Since childhood obesity came to the forefront many years ago, we have made great gains in improving student health and wellness in our physical education program.

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<![CDATA[San Diego Farmer Recognized by White House]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 06:23:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/lettuce3.jpg A San Diego lettuce farmer was invited to the White House Tuesday to be recognized as a "Champion of Change." As NBC 7's Greg Bledsoe explains, this farm uses 80 percent less water than conventional lettuce farms. ]]> <![CDATA[Petco Goes to the Dogs]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 19:35:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/dog+day+thumb.jpg The Friars' best friends took over Petco Park before Tuesday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals as part of the annual Dog Days of Summer promotion.

Photo Credit: Matthew Wood/NBC7]]>
<![CDATA[Are Polling Places a Thing of the Past?]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 19:35:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/2014-06-24_Md_voting.jpg

San Diego County's registrar of voters is on a mission to get more of us to cast ballots.

He says voting by mail is really the way to go – saving taxpayer money and boosting participation.

About 55 percent of the county's voters regularly cast mail ballots, up from just under 30 percent in 2000.

Their turnout rate far exceeds that of people who vote at polling places, and more voters are requesting mail ballots in every new election cycle.

"This is an ongoing trend that's happened throughout our county,” Registrar Michael Vu said.  “And we've been highly attuned to the behavior of our voters, how they would like to vote. What they're saying is they’d like to vote conveniently in the comforts of their home."

As a result, they avoid election-day lines and help the county cut 30 to 40 percent off the costs of what precinct polling places have incurred.

Also,  their promptness returning ballots after they're mailed shortens lines at the precinct polls on Election Day and  expedites reporting of outcomes after the polls have closed.
           
The registrar’s charts and graphs, which will be presented Wednesday to the San Diego City Councils’ Economic Development & Intergovernmental Relations Committee, show that mail-ballot voters have cast the dominant number of votes in recent election cycles.
           
And those voters tend to send their ballots back sooner, rather than later in the cycles.

"Once I get the mail-in ballot I'll starting going through it -- look for things online that I can see and compare what they're trying to do," said Poway resident Kevin Martin. “Once I feel comfortable with what I'm reading, I'll send it in."
           
So as those ballots pile up,  campaign strategists can narrow their outreach to voters yet to cast ballots -- and get a quicker jump on what have been end-game strategies.

"Typically the negative stuff comes in the final week to 10 days of the campaigns,” said Jason Roe, a veteran political consultant. “Now I think you're going to see campaign professionals pushing to do that stuff a little bit earlier because they don't want people to cast a vote without knowing what's wrong with their opponent."

Also, Roe pointed out Tuesday: "As people vote, we take those voters out of our targeted universe of people we're mailing and calling and reach out to with door-to-door programs … so I think it really allows us to get more scientific about executing the campaign."

It seems, however, that there will always be a segment of the electorate that has a fondness for old-school voting.

"We're a very convenience-oriented society,” said Escondido resident Rhonda Telfer. “But I also think you miss a chance to interact with the people who are volunteering -- have that 'American experience.'"

Vu favors maintaining a number of "voting centers" for walk-in balloting, while conducting more and more elections primarily by mail ballot.
           
He said fewer than a dozen cases of suspected voter fraud have arisen from several million mail ballots since 2008.
           
Today, Oregon and Washington are the only states with all-mail ballot elections.

His counterparts in those states, according to Vu, “only have glowing remarks about their vote-by-mail program ... they love it, they’ve seen the savings, they’ve seen the participation statistics rise.”

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<![CDATA[Limb-Lengthening Surgery Creates Controversy]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 14:10:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chandler+before+and+after+edited.jpg

Walking in Balboa Park, 20-year-old Chandler Crews, who stands just under 5 feet tall, hardly draws a second glance from passersby. And that has long been her wish.

That is far different than might have been the case just a few years ago, when the college student born with achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism, was only 3 feet, 10 inches tall. It’s a time Crews associates with many challenges, among them physical ones.

“I was having hip problems, knee problems and back problems because of how bowed my legs were. I was going to have surgery down the road anyway so I decided to lengthen my legs and arms," she said.

This was accomplished with a series of three controversial bone-lengthening procedures using technology developed in Southern California. With such procedures, patients' bones in the arms and legs are surgically broken, then increasingly separated over a period of months; the body generates new bone to fill the gap, thus making the bones longer.

Chandler’s mom Cathe said the operation was crucial for Chandler, who was about to start school on a large university campus she wanted to navigate like a student of average height.

“I know she wanted to be treated differently and that she wanted to drive when she went to college. I had no idea how she was going to walk across a college campus with 14-inch legs,” her mother said.

Chandler documented her four-year journey and rigorous healing process as she became 13 inches taller with the procedures, which can cost up to $100,000. Insurance covered costs for Chandler, as is the case for many with dwarfism, because there are medical benefits associated with limb lengthening.

At Baltimore's Sinai Hospital, where Chandler was treated, doctors are quick to point out that while limb lengthening has cosmetic benefits, that is not the primary reason for the surgery.

But it is that cosmetic benefit, even if indirect, that has caused controversy and even anger in the community of little people. Critics say the procedure is often used as a vanity attempt to shed the appearance of dwarfism. A petition was started asking little people advocacy groups to denounce the procedure as painful and largely cosmetic.

Recently, at the Little People of America convention in San Diego, Rebecca Cokley and a friend wore T-shirts that read, “Short by birth, staying that way by choice." For Cokley, who has served as a national policy adviser on disabilities for the White House, it's a matter of pride.

"I would say to you that dwarfism is beautiful. Feel pride in who you are. Disability is part of life’s infinite diversity," she said.

Cokley also stresses that the Americans with Disability Act now mandates better access and accommodation for people with disabilities and that radical physical change isn’t necessary.

But Chandler Crews says she is happy with her decision and not out to proselytize. She has publicized her journey to growing more than a foot taller simply to let others with dwarfism know there are options.

"I was just tired of having my height define me," she said.



Photo Credit: facebook.com/ChandlerInBaltimore]]>
<![CDATA[2 Suspects Rob Escondido Jewelry Store: Police]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 18:15:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Escondidorobbers0729.jpg

Police are searching for two suspects who robbed a Royal Maui Jewelers store in Escondido last week.

The suspects, armed with handguns, robbed the store just before 8:30 p.m. on July 22 and fled in separate light-colored cars, according to a news release from the Escondido Police Department.

One suspect is described as black, wearing glasses with round frames, 6 feet tall, in his late 20s and wearing a long-sleeve Pendleton-style jacket and a baseball cap. He had an earring in his left ear and possibly a tattoo of a music note on the left side of his neck.

The second suspect is described as black, 6 feet tall, in his early 30s, having a muscular build, wearing diamond stud earrings and black square-framed glasses. He also was wearing black combat style boots and also was wearing a long-sleeve beige Pendleton shirt and a light green camouflage Marines hat.

The above composite sketches were released of the suspects. A reward up to $1,000 is being offered as well as a $5,000 reward from Royal Maui Jewelers for information leading to the arrest of the suspects.

Anyone with information should call San Diego Crime Stoppers at 888-580-TIPS.

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<![CDATA[BD Wong Stars in "The Orphan of Zhao"]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:18:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/BD-Wong-La-Jolla.jpg

Actor BD Wong, familiar to many for his work on stage and television, is appearing in La Jolla as part of the case in a world premiere play he describes as a "juicy revenge tale."

"The Orphan of Zhao" has been described as the Chinese "Hamlet" and this production has gotten some impressive reviews including this in the LA Times.

"It's full of murder and suicide and royal politics. It's super exciting and very moving," Wong said.

"It's a very satisfying eyeful of theater."

Even though he may be best known for his Tony-award winning performance in "M Butterfly", NBC viewers will recognize him for a recurring role in the "Law & Order" franchise.

"The Orphan of Zhao" runs through August 3rd at the La Jolla Playhouse.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Witness Heard "Multiple Explosions" Before Brown Field Fire]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 21:14:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Brown+Field+Fire1.jpg

An explosion inside a hangar -- filled with dangerous chemicals and million-dollar aircraft -- sent people running for safety at Brown Field.

The three-alarm fire caused extensive damage to several buildings at the airport, but one witness said it could have been much worse.

“There’s a lot of airplanes with a lot of fuel in there. The whole thing could have gone up pretty badly,” said Jeffrey Schuster, who owns a hangar near where the fire started.

Schuster said he was driving through the security gate when he heard explosions.

“Flames were coming off the roof, about 500 feet with black smoke. There were multiple explosions. I counted at least six. Blew out my windows (of my hangar,)” he said.

San Diego and Chula Vista firefighters arrived at Brown Field around noon Tuesday. A HAZMAT team was also requested.

“There’s jet fuel, there’s nav gas, there’s profane, there’s nitrogen, everything in those hangars,” Schuster said.

The fire was extinguished by 1:30 p.m. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

At last check, no injuries had been reported, which Schuster sees are a miracle.

“If the fire trucks hadn’t gotten here in time, everything here would have gone up,” he said. “There’s a lot of airplanes in it, and it could have been a real, real nightmare.”

Brown Field, located about one mile north of the U.S.-Mexico border, accommodates private and cargo planes.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Cal Fire Fights Wildfires Near Barona Casino]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 21:09:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Barona-Wildcat-Canyon-Fires.jpg

Several spot fires broke out along along Wildcat Canyon Road Tuesday, threatening some structures and promoting a quick response from Cal Fire crews.

Firefighters had the Wildcat Fire, the largest of the spot fires, fully contained by 9 p.m. Tuesday. It scorched 25 acres total, according to Cal Fire.

Helicopters and ground crews jumped on the wildfires just after noon along the winding road that leads to Barona Casino in San Diego's East County.

The Wildcat Fire burned in the area just northeast of the main gate to the casino. Inside, a spokesperson said it was business as usual.

Outside, fire crews requested Wildcat Canyon Road be closed from Founders Way to San Vicente Road to keep traffic out of the area while they knocked down the small fires.

No evacuations were issued. No structures were damaged and there were no injuries.

At the command post, officials said the fires started almost simultaneously. No cause has been determined.

Weather in the area at the time the fires sparked was nearing 90 degrees but with calm winds recorded at less than 4 mph.

At the same time, an explosion and fire were reported at Brown Field near the U.S.-Mexico border. The structure fire on Continental Street sent thick, black smoke into the air over the South Bay.

With the statewide drought, fire conditions are more dangerous than in previous years.

Cal Fire crews have fought 600 more wildfires in the state of California than at this time in 2013.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Hiker Rescued in Lakeside ]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:48:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/hiker-rescue-blue-sky-ranch.jpg

A young woman who injured her head while hiking near the El Capitan Preserve was flown to a nearby hospital Tuesday.

The injured hiker was airlifted off of a remote trail at the end of Blue Sky Ranch Road around 9:30 a.m.

The woman described as in her 20s was found about two miles into the preserve from the parking lot, officials said.

A friend said the hiker fell and hit her head but officials would not confirm any details about the injury.

Heartland firefighters and San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the call for help just after 8 a.m.

Cal Fire’s Copter 10 flew the woman to Barona Casino’s landing zone. From there, she was transported to Sharp Memorial by ambulance. 



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Teen's Body Found in Middle of Fallbrook Street]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:48:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Teen-Fallbrook-Death-0729.jpg

What killed a Fallbrook teenager found dead in the middle of the road? That’s the question facing investigators with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Deputies were called to East Fallbrook St. near Potter St. around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday.

A man told deputies that he was traveling westbound along East Fallbrook when he struck a body in the middle of the lane.

The driver called 911 immediately and stayed until deputies finished their investigation.

The victim has been identified only as a 17-year-old.

Investigators said they don’t know why the teenager was in the roadway prior to the collision or how he got there.

Deputies said they’re not sure if another vehicle may have struck the teenager and fled the scene.

The section of road is dark and runs through a residential area with one lane in either direction.

There is a sidewalk along the road, but people who walk along this section of roadway say that in the dark and without a crosswalk it can be dangerous.

“My heart goes out to the child that got hurt or killed,” said Tom Zielinski. I travel with a flashlight and every time I see lights behind me or in front of me, I move to the side.”

Anyone with information about this collision is asked to call the Oceanside CHP office at (760) 757-1675.
 



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Finally Getting Healthy]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 19:27:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/jedd+gyorko+cards+preview.jpg

Slowly but surely, the Padres are starting to get healthy again.

Shortstop Everth Cabrera was activated from the disabled list today after missing all of July with a hamstring injury. Second baseman Jedd Gyorko returned to the lineup on Monday after missing 44 games with plantar fasciitis in his foot. Yonder Alonso was back at his post at first base over the weekend after spending more than a month on the shelf with a sore wrist.

Perhaps most importantly, staff ace Andrew Cashner threw a successful bullpen session and could be back in the next few weeks. He has made just 12 starts this season after two stints on the disabled list.

Of course, with the Padres looking at a 12 ½ game hole in the National League West after dropping three of four to the Atlanta Braves over the weekend, it’s more a case of too-little-too-late. It also makes you think what could have been if everyone had stayed healthy all season.

But speculating about that won’t do any good. Instead, the team has to focus on the St. Louis Cardinals, who come to town for a three-game series this week. It’s the first time back at Petco Park in nine days for the Friars, who will spend all week at home.

Can the new additions to the lineup help put some runs on the board against a streaking Cards team? Let’s find out.

Matchups:
Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.:
Tyson Ross (R, 9-10, 2.65) vs. Lance Lynn (R, 11-7, 3.05)
Ho-hum, another quality start from Ross, who has seven straight outings allowing two runs or less. Lynn just had a three-game win streak snapped, despite going six strong against the Tampa Rays over the weekend.

Wednesday, 7:10 p.m.: Jesse Hahn (R, 6-2, 2.12) vs. Kelly (R, 2-1, 3.90)
Hahn continues to impress, putting up six quality starts – including three in a row – since his call-up last month. He battles Kelly, a SoCal native who went to UC Riverside. He has pitched six or more innings in just two of his six starts this year.

Thursday, 12:40 p.m.: Odrisamer Despaigne (R, 2-2, 1.66) vs. Miller (R, 7-8, 4.20)
It was the shortest start of the season for Despaigne over the weekend, as he went just 3 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and five walks and took the loss. Miller hasn’t won since June 6.

What’s at stake: As usual, the Cardinals are right in the thick of the playoff race. They trail the Milwaukee Brewers by 2 games in the National League Central and are out of the wild card by just a half-game.

This is the first meeting of the season between the two teams. They meet in St. Louis next month.

Who to watch:
Padres:
Outfielder Seth Smith is hitting an astounding .471 over the past week and leads all Padres in home runs (11), average (.295), doubles (21) and walks (44). Tommy Medica is 8 for his last 20. Yangervis Solarte has hits in four of his first six games with the team since coming over in the Chase Headley trade.

Cardinals: Shortstop Jhonny Peralta leads the team with 14 homers and has a hit in five of his last six games. Outfielder Matt Holliday shook off a first-half slump and leads the team with 53 RBIs. He also has three home runs in his past five games. First baseman Matt Adams has hit over .300 in every month except for July (.289). He had a four-RBI game against the Cubs on Saturday.

Coming up: The Atlanta Braves come to town for a rematch of last weekend’s series where they took three of four from the Friars.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Images: San Diego Zoo's Panda Cub Xiao Liwu ]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:18:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Xiao-Liwu-Panda-Zoo.jpg Images of Xiao Liwu, the youngest giant panda at the San Diego Zoo.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Panda Cub "Mr. Wu" Turns 2]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 10:44:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Xiao-Liwu-Panda-Zoo.jpg

"Mr. Wu" is no longer a cub.

Xiao Liwu, the San Diego Zoo's youngest giant panda, celebrated his second birthday Tuesday.

When he entered the exhibit just before 9 a.m., Mr. Wu (as he's called by zoo staff) found a custom cake of apples, carrots, sweet potatoes and honey.

He also posed for lots of pictures taken by his adoring fans who visited the San Diego Zoo's panda exhibit.

The day marked a special milestone for the cub whose name means "Little Gift."

Senior Mammal Keeper Jennifer Becerra said the newest member of the panda family is now considered an adult.

Historically, cubs born in San Diego are also transferred back to China after they reach the age of two.

Xiao Liwu was born on July 29, 2012, to Bai Yun and Gao Gao.

The zoo touts the largest number of cubs born in the United States. Bai Yun, who has given birth to six cubs, is the oldest actively breeding female in captivity.

Her previous cubs Hua Mei, Mei Sheng, Su Lin, Zhen Zhen and Yun Zi are part of the China Conservation and Research Centre for Giant Pandas.

 



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Images: Wildcat Canyon Road Wildfires]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:39:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/barona-fire-0729_4.jpg Images of multiple wildfires that temporarily threatened structures along Wildcat Canyon Road.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Locals Tap Into New Online Economy]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 08:19:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Computer-generic-home-afric.jpg Would you let a complete stranger sleep on your couch? How about drive your car? Well, with sharing economy, it can all happen with just a simple click of a button. NBC 7's Danya Bacchus explains.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Amazon Fresh Launches in San Diego]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 08:15:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/amazon-fresh-nbc.jpg NBC 7's George Chamberlin reports on local business news on Tuesday, July 29 including home prices and the launch of Amazon Fresh in San Diego. ]]> <![CDATA[Ideas, Complaints Wanted at Interstate 8 Meeting]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 08:01:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/I-8-San-Diego-sign-0319.jpg

If you drive the Interstate 8 corridor through the City of San Diego, traffic analysts are looking for your ideas and feedback.

The San Diego Association of Governments, Caltrans, the city of San Diego and the Metropolitan Transit System will hold a public meeting Tuesday, July 29 to solicit ideas about the I-8 from 70th Street all the way to Sea World Drive/Sunset Cliffs Blvd.

Traffic and gridlock in this area has become more common because of the connections to freeways including Interstate 5, State Route 163, Interstate 805 and Interstate 15.

There’s also been an increase in people using the corridor because of the addition of hotels and retail stores in the area.

Members of the public can come to the meeting to give advice and input on how to improve the traffic, transit services and also make it easier for pedestrians and bikes in the area.

The feedback will go into a study SANDAG is doing along with Caltrans, MTS and the City of SD for the future changes to I-8.

The meeting will be held from 5:30 to 7 :30 p.m. at 6600 Montezuma Road in the College-Rolando Library.
 



Photo Credit: NBCSanDiego]]>
<![CDATA[Family Pleads for Clues to Son's Motorcycle Death]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 07:17:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Aming-Motorcycle-Crash-0728.jpg

A family is pleading for witnesses to come forward with information about a hit-and-run crash that killed their son. 

 Alnabil Aming had served in the Army for more than seven years, including deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq.

The 28-year-old returned home in January, hoping to making a better life for himself.

On July 22, while riding his motorcycle to school, his life was cut short by a hit-and-run driver, who still has not been found. His family is making a plea for that driver to come forward.

“If the driver has a good faith in God and his conscience, he or she must come forward,” said Rosalinda Aming, while clutching a photo of her son.

According to the CHP, Aming was struck around 5:40 p.m. while riding his 2011 Yamaha R-1 Motorcycle northbound on Interstate 15. He was splitting traffic between two lanes at approximately 30-35 mph.

An unidentified, cream-colored sedan was changing lanes and struck Aming. He was ejected and then struck by a box truck. Aming died at the scene.

“We know he’s in a better life and he’s happy watching us right now, and telling us also, 'Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine,'” said his brother Allin.

Alnabil Aming, who has a wife in Germany, was studying to become a diesel mechanic.

He was attending a technical school in Rancho Cucamonga and was making a two-hour drive to school every day. The long drive concerned his brother.

“I even told him if he wants to get a room up there, I can help him find it. He said 'no, I’m okay,'” said Allin Aming.

Right now, the CHP says no one has come forward with any clues and are asking anyone with information to call the Oceanside office at (760) 757-1675 or the CHP Communications Center at (858) 637-3800.



Photo Credit: NBC 7 ]]>
<![CDATA[Undocumented Family Alleges Sex Assault in Santee Shelter]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 10:14:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/santee+shelter+sex+assault+allegation.JPG

After a treacherous journey from Guatemala, one undocumented family says they found themselves in harm's way once again after they were placed in a Santee shelter, where they allege their daughter was sexually assaulted.

Like many other undocumented immigrants she fears deportation. Still, that did not stop this 39-year-old Guatemalan mother and her family from coming to the U.S. illegally.

She does not want us to disclose her identity but told NBC 7 that her family was escaping violence when they crossed the San Ysidro border crossing.

She said gangs threatened to kill her sons if they did not join them, that they nearly beat her husband to death and that they even gang raped her daughter.

“The night that happened we knew we had to leave,” said the mother of four.

For nearly a month, the mother, father, their three sons and daughter traveled by train across Mexico.

Originally hoping to cross into Texas, they had to take a bus to Tijuana after being robbed in Mexico City. She told NBC 7 they turned themselves into customs agents at the San Ysidro border crossing.

They said their biggest risk yet came when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) referred them to a shelter in Santee.

That is where the mother claims her 23-year-old daughter was sexually assaulted while sleeping.

"I don't know what happened or if they gave us something to make us sleep, then not tell us what happened," said the mother. "All I remember is that my daughter felt the man touching her, then the man took off running."

The evangelical pastor who oversees the home told NBC 7 the allegations are false.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department says detectives have been assigned to the case and that the investigation is ongoing.

“This facility was totally inappropriate, “said Enrique Morones, who heads up Border Angels, a San Diego-based immigrant rights group.

The family reached out to Border Angels after the alleged incident, and for nearly two weeks, they have been staying with a host family in Lemon Grove.

"For a lot of these families, it really is a humanitarian crisis. They cannot be sent back [to Guatemala], they'll be killed,” added Morones.

Although they are grateful to have a place to stay, their only hope now is that they will not have to return to Guatemala.

“Leaving Guatemala has been the most difficult part. But I just hope we can be reunited with my husband and my son soon. We just need to be together so we can move on with our lives,” said the undocumented Central American immigrant.

As of Monday, the father of the family and their oldest son, an 18-year-old, are still being held in detention centers in El Centro and Otay Mesa.

A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement admits the agency does partner with non-governmental organizations.

She also says that they will refer some families to those organizations if they need a place to stay.

NBC 7 is still waiting to hear from ICE about whether the shelter in Santee is through one of their partnerships. The family is seeking legal counsel to fight their case.

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<![CDATA[Parents Desperately Seek Medical Marijuana]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 10:14:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/charlottes+web+child+with+seizures+dose.JPG

California has the oldest and most liberal compassionate care law among the 23 states plus Washington, D.C. that allow the use of medical marijuana. So why are the state's youngest -- and arguably most needy --patients not getting it?

"Charlotte's Web" is a marijuana strain that won't get you high, but parents say it has had a profound effect on the lives of many children who suffer severe seizures.

At 8-months-old, Oceanside infant Connor Dalby began seizing 50 to 75 times a day.

“There was no joy. There was no smile. There was no laugh,” Connor’s father Randy Dalby said.

Near Chula Vista, the Benavides family was struggling with their son Robby. Robby’s multiple "drop attack" type seizures came without warning at a similar daily rate.

“He loses all muscle tone and just falls, falls hard to the ground. He’s had stitches on his eye, even bit off his tongue,” Robby’s mother Allison Benavides said.

Both families say they tried every mainstream medicine drug treatment and every combination available. Nothing worked.

Somehow, Charlotte's Web Oil, made from a marijuana strain of the same name, has changed their lives.

“My son is seizure free. He is four months seizure free today,” Benavides said.

Dalby recorded Connor sitting up on his own for the first time just a few months ago.

“We're watching a miracle. We have almost lost him a couple times,” Dalby said.

The Dalbys and Benavides get Charlotte's Web through the California Chapter of the "Realm of Caring."

Chapter Director Ray Mirzabegian hosted the first fundraiser for the non-profit organization at the Universal Hilton in Los Angeles just last month.

In the crowd were some guests you might not expect at a cannabis event. At one table were members of the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles. At an adjacent table were UCLA's top pediatric neurologists.

Assistant Clinical Professor Dr. Shaun Hussain with frank honesty in a somewhat defeated tone shared his frustration.

“I feel like a carpenter without a hammer. We don't have medications that are good enough,” Hussain said.

However, Charlotte's Web is hardly a universally accepted treatment.

The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes the use of marijuana to treat children. Chief Policymaker Dr. Sharon Levy says she gets a lot of hate mail for it, but that medical marijuana has not been FDA approved or even tested.

“Instead of that rigorous testing and the Federal Drug Administration, we're just approving it by state ballot initiative,” Levy said.

The cannabinoid or CBD holds the therapeutic benefits to these children. Charlotte's Web is a marijuana strain high in CBD and low in THC. THC is the psychoactive part of the plant that makes you high.

“That is the moneymaker in a dispensary, high THC strains, not what Charlotte's Web is,” Dalby said.

Only Realm of Caring is selling Charlotte's Web. The group charges patients what it costs to make it. Still, state law requires Mirzabegian’s organization to operate like a dispensary.

Local laws restrict the number of dispensaries in an area, so Mirzabegian can treat only 27 patients. He says the waiting list is 1,000 families.

“Every month, I have a parent or two calling me and saying, ‘Ray take my child off the waiting list. He didn't make it,” Mirzabegian said.

While California has no such legal limits, medical marijuana advocates say keeping more than six mature plants and a half pound of processed cannabis per patient could invite a police raid.

Marijuana remains on the federal government's controlled substance list. If you are in possession of more than 99 plants, the punishment is a five-year mandatory prison sentence.

“Who cares if you have 1,000 sick children dying? You have to grow 99 plants only is that logic. It doesn't make sense to me,” Mirzabegian said.

While the American Academy of Pediatrics opposes the use of medical marijuana, Dr. Levy says as a mother, she would not discourage parents from trying it if their children are suffering life-limiting illnesses.

]]>
<![CDATA[Minimum Wage Push Triggers Shove by Mayor, Business]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 06:51:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Minimumwagephoto-PIC_0.jpg

A minimum wage higher than the state’s was adopted by San Diego's City Council Monday-- setting the stage for more fighting at City Hall, possibly the ballot box and in the courts.

The council Democrats' 6-to-3 super-majority gave Monday’s "second reading" passage of the wage ordinance a political heat shield against the veto power that Mayor Kevin Faulconer quickly announced he'll invoke.

Business leaders are dead-set against the measure, and small-scale merchants who rely on minimum wage workforces warn that they'll soon wind up paying around $4,600 a year more per employee in payroll costs and taxes.

"I can't increase my costs like some businesses can,” said Ann Kinner, owner of Seabreeze Books and Charts in Point Loma’s Fleetridge district.

“The only thing I can do is cut the number of hours that I am paying someone to work in my store,” Kinner told reporters at a Monday news conference outside the offices of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Nonprofit charitable and community-service organizations also are up in arms.

"The bottom line is that this ordinance would negatively impact thousands of people,” said Mark Klaus, CEO of Home of Guiding Hands. “Thousands of children, adults, adolescents and their families."

Some 200,000 minimum wage earners in San Diego will be eligible for an increase over the state's new benchmark of $9 an hour to $9.75 on January 1st, with further hikes phased in to $11.50 an hour by 2017, followed by automatic inflation escalators.

Critics predict that the cumulative 43 percent rise in wages over two years will lead to higher consumer prices that could result in layoffs and work-shift reductions.

They also say one in six businesses in San Diego would be inclined to move elsewhere.

But supporters say those dire predictions were made in San Jose two years ago, when voters approved a $10 hourly minimum by a 60-to-40 percent majority -- and they didn't come true.

“The reality was that 9,000 new businesses were added one year after implementation, and 4,000 jobs were added in the low-wage sectors," said Robert Nothoff, research analyst at the Center on Policy Initiatives.

Nothoff figures the higher minimum wages will boost recipients’ spending power by a combined $260 million annually, smoothing out whatever economic disruptions businesses may experience.

“The cure to all of that,” he said in an interview Monday, “is making sure people can actually buy products at your shop and at your store."

Faulconer’s not buying that logic.

“This ordinance puts our job growth in jeopardy and will lead to higher prices and layoffs for San Diego families,” the mayor said in a statement issued by his director of media relations. “I will veto this ordinance because we should be looking for ways to create more jobs, not putting up roadblocks to opportunities.”

The fight doesn't figure to end with a council override of Faulconer's veto.

The Chamber of Commerce is already fundraising for a referendum campaign against the minimum wage measure, which includes “earned sick leave” provisions.

Said Chamber President/CEO Jerry Sanders, in a statement: “The City Council’s minimum wage increase is effectively a tax on every San Diego resident because the cost of this increased wage will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices in goods and services.”

There's a tight time window for a petition signature drive to qualify as a ballot-box challenge, but activists say it's "do-able" – and that legal challenges also are a possibility.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Concerns Surround Navy SEALs' Training Changes]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 06:53:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/US+NAVY+SEALS.jpg

The Navy is looking to expand where our top warriors, the Navy SEALs, train in San Diego.

But not everyone is happy.

The changes are proposed for the area between Coronado and Imperial Beach. While the elite Navy SEALs have trained there for decades, it has been in the last 10 to 12 years that their role in the U.S. military has expanded.

And with that growth comes the need for a training complex to grow, too.

Some of the proposed changes to the SEAL training complex, released in a recent environmental impact statement, would include adding more buildings and improving current infrastructure and a possible gate expansion.

The concerns for the cities of Coronado and Imperial Beach are increased traffic, noise and visual impacts, such as a lack of ocean views.

The mayor of Imperial Beach said they are working with the Navy as much as possible, but have some concerns.

"We’re more concerned about traffic impacts in Imperial Beach (and) maintaining our classic Southern California feel. I believe the IS addresses those issues with traffic.  We know that right now that the only gate is through the city of Imperial Beach and that will not be able to handle the traffic,” said Mayor Jim Janney.

Brooks Mason rides his bike frequently down the silver strand.

“My concern would be the environment, the sensitive coastal environment and also the pollution from the traffic,” he said.

There will be two public meetings: one on Aug. 13 in Imperial Beach at the Marina Vista Community Center and a second on Aug. 14 at 640 Orange Ave. Both meetings are from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The deadline for all public comment is Sept. 22.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Sprinter Train Collides With Truck in Oceanside]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:05:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Sprinter_RAW_WEB_don_t_publish_722x406_30734403822.jpg

 A truck that rolled onto the Sprinter tracks in Oceanside was struck by an oncoming train Monday afternoon, San Diego County Sheriff's officials confirmed.

A driver in a Ford F-150 truck was stopped near the 1100 block of Oceanside Boulevard around 3:20 p.m. as the railroad gates lowered and the warning lights and bells went off.

However, as the light rail train drew closer, the driver's foot slipped off the brake, and the truck rolled forward, under the gate arms and onto the tracks, according to statements from the driver and witnesses.

The train's operator immediately slammed on the emergency brakes, but it was too late to prevent the collision. 

No one was injured in the crash. 

The Sprinter had minor damage, and the truck received moderate damage to its front end. 

The sheriff's railroad enforcement unit will continue the investigation.

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<![CDATA[Crews Fight, Defeat 23 Tons of SDCC-Goers’ Garbage]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:20:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/clean+and+safe+comic+con+trash.JPG

 Cleaning up after San Diego Comic-Con is a challenge fit for a superhero.

But since no person with an incredible trash-clearing ability was on hand, the Downtown San Diego Partnership had to beef up its Clean & Safe Crew with an around-the-clock schedule.

And they had their work cut out for them as they realized the 130,000 people dressed as superheroes, villains or pop culture icons produce a Hulkish amount of trash.

Doing six times their normal workload, the crews cleared 23.05 tons of trash from downtown streets over the four-day Comic-Con -- about six times the amount they usually pick up.

Workers split into three shifts emptied trash cans 3,368 times (which is about three times more than normal), cleaned up 18,622 fliers and posters and removed 4,949 stickers.

The Downtown Partnership says to put that in perspective, the Clean & Safe crew typically takes away seven tons of trash and empties garbage cans 2,000 times over a seven-day period.

“The Clean & Safe employees maneuvered through hundreds of thousands of Comic-Con attendees and spectators to pick up trash, stickers and other debris left behind, ensuring that the annual event did not negatively impact the community and Downtown property owners,” said the crew’s Executive Director Bahija Hamraz in a release.

The Clean & Safe program patrols the neighborhoods of Core/Columbia, Cortez, East Village, Gaslamp Quarter and Marina District.



Photo Credit: Downtown San Diego Partnership]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect Brandishes Semi-Automatic Gun at Bank Tellers: FBI]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 16:49:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/bank+bandit+0728+1.JPG Suspects in area bank robberies - caught in the act on camera. ]]> <![CDATA[Chargers Find An Easy Way To Stay Healthy]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 16:46:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/190*120/Chargers+team+meeting+on+field.jpg

The San Diego Chargers have made it through five training camp practices with your typical maladies.

"Your normal nicks, bruises, cuts," said linebacker Donald Butler. "You're a little sore."

But that's about the extend to it. The Bolts are relatively healthy, especially compared to several other NFL teams who have already lost key players for the entire season. There might be a simple, yet obvious solution for that.

"I think we have to credit our strength staff," said Butler. "We're doing a lot more stretching."

That's right. The thing we all hated in Junior High School physical education classes ... good, old-fashioned stretching is back.

"We're been emphasizing a little more stretching than we did," said head coach Mike McCoy. "It's something we did more of this off-season. You're always looking to improve the team, and looking back at last year we had some pulls during the off-season program and training camp."

Stretching lines have always been a part of NFL practices. But now, instead of simply going through the motions, the Chargers are stretching before, during, and especially after practice.

"We're continuously encouraging the players to do every little extra detail to take care of their bodies," said McCoy.

Although, in reality, it's a little more than a suggestion.

"Coach doesn't give us much of a choice on that one," said Butler.

"We take it very seriously," said defensive end Corey Liuget. "It keeps the lactic acid out of your muscles and gets you going for the next day of practice. It keeps you a little fresh."

Research performed by The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggests post-exercise stretching can reduce muscle soreness and prevent injury, but is often neglected. The 2014 Chargers are paying stretching the attention it deserves, and it seems to be working.

"We're coming back out here in a couple of hours," said quarterback Philip Rivers. "Getting a good stretch before finish, hopefully we can stay away from any Tweaks. We've been pretty good so far."

Who knows? Perhaps extra stretching will help the Chargers extend the length of a playoff stay.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gonorrhea Sees Jump in San Diego]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:52:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tlmd_tlmd_080112_sex.jpg

The number of gonorrhea cases in San Diego County jumped 10 percent last year, mainly infecting men, according to a county STD report released Monday.

Last year, 2,865 gonorrhea cases were reported in the county, compared to 2,597 cases in 2012, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency. More than two-thirds of the cases were men.

Primary and secondary syphilis cases increased slightly, from 347 in 2012 to 333 in 2013, according to the report. The majority of those cases were also men.

Despite the rise in gonorrhea and syphilis, San Diego’s most common STD – chlamydia – appears to be on the decline. Chlamydia cases dropped 4 percent last year, from 16,538 to 16,042 countywide, the report read.

Teenage girls and women in their early 20s are most likely to contract chlamydia. Women age 25 and younger can receive free home kits that test for chlamydia and gonorrhea. The county also runs four clinics that test for and treat most STDs.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control found San Diego has higher STD rates than the rest of the country.
 



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[App Aims to Save Cardiac Arrest Victims]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:50:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/199*120/pulsepoint+app.JPG

 A free CPR smartphone app aims to help San Diegans take a beat and save victims of sudden cardiac arrest, one of the leading causes of death in the country.

City and county officials teamed up Monday to launch the PulsePoint app, which alerts anyone with CPR training when someone in their area needs help.

Despite their best efforts, first responders often cannot get to a victim in time to save their life.

Because cardiac arrest has a small survival rate of 8 percent and time is of the essence, the app is designed to send a volunteer to a victim before paramedics can reach him or her.

The American Medical Response says you can triple a patient’s survival rate by doing CPR before an ambulance arrives.

The regional PulsePoint app informs users when and where paramedics urgently need help, gives basic CPR training and shows where the nearest automated external defibrillator (AED) is.

It also uses GPS to track and alert users of emergencies within a quarter mile.

“You’re gonna get the alert, you’re gonna respond, you’re gonna start those chest compressions, and then once the emergency responders get there, they’ll take over, and that’s going to increase survival,” said Mike Rise with the American Medical Response.

Residents can learn how to use the app and how to do compression-only CPR at the County Administration Center’s waterfront park until 3 p.m. or at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas until 4 p.m. Monday.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously last December to adopt PulsePoint.

Other cities and counties across the country have activated the PulsePoint app, so if you’re on the road and you’ve signed up for the app, you may still get alerts when an emergency is within a quarter mile.

You can download the free app for your iPhone or Android phone. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, sudden cardiac arrest is so deadly because it is a fast, complete loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness. It is different from a heart attack, which happens when a portion of the heart's blood flow is blocked. 

However, heart attacks can sometimes trigger sudden cardiac arrest. 

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<![CDATA[Motorcyclist Killed in Hit-and-Run ID'd]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:08:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/san+marcos+motorcycle+crash+727.JPG

A motorcyclist who died after colliding with an SUV in San Marcos early Sunday morning has been identified by the medical examiner's office.

Officials say 30-year-old Ivan Vicente Angeles was riding on Las Flores Drive when he was broadsided by a Toyota 4Runner that was heading westbound on S. Santa Fe Avenue around 1:20 a.m.

Angeles flew off his bike, continued down the road and hit the south curb of S. Santa Fe Avenue. 

When deputies arrived, they found Angeles dead at the scene.

The driver of the Toyota tried to flee down the road, but deputies later located him at the intersection of Bosstick Boulevard and S. Santa Fe Avenue, according to sheriff's officials. 

The suspect has since been arrested for felony hit-and-run, gross vehicular manslaughter and felony driving under the influence. 

According to the medical examiner, Angeles lived alone in a San Marcos mobile home. 

If you witnessed the crash, San Marcos deputies ask that you call 760-510-5042.

 

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<![CDATA[Teen Hiker's Death Ruled an Accident]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:20:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/181*120/553f2f5127384c4880348e07cc92940a.jpg

The death of a teenage hiker along the Pacific Crest Trail has been ruled an accident, coroner documents show.

Timothy Evan Nodal, 19, of Julian died of heat stroke while hiking with a friend in the Cleveland National Forest in temperatures ranging from 74 to 80 degrees.

The teenager was near Lake Morena on April 24 when he started feeling sick and called his step-father for help. The teenager’s step-father called 911.

When firefighters got to the camping area around 1:30 p.m., they were talking with the teenager and going over his symptoms.

The hiker said he wasn’t feeling good and then suddenly went into arrest, officials said.

CalFire officials said the teen was pronounced dead at 2:23 p.m.

There was no evidence of dehydration, alcohol or substance abuse according to the coroner's report.

Nodal was found seven miles from the nearest campsite with approximately ½ liter of water left in his backpack, officials said.

The Pacific Crest Trail begins in Campo and travels more than 2,600 miles along the West Coast from border to border.

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<![CDATA[Best of 2014 San Diego Comic-Con]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:03:01 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SDCC-0726-45.JPG

Photo Credit: Brad Streicher]]>
<![CDATA[Coronado Sex Suspect Killed in NY Officer Shootout]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:38:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/CoronadoShootoutsuspect.jpg

A Coronado sex assault suspect was killed Monday in a shootout with two U.S. marshals and a New York police officer in Greenwich Village, authorities said.

The suspected shooter, Charles Mozdir, had been wanted by the Coronado Police Department for two years in connection to a child molestation fugitive case. He was fatally shot as officers in New York tried to apprehend him, police said.

The officers were shot shortly after 1 p.m. in Smoking Culture, a smokeshop on West Fourth Street, where officers were acting on tip that the fugitive was working there. The NYPD detective entered the store between Jones and Cornelia streets and confirmed that suspect was alone.  When the detective returned with U.S. Marshals to make an arrest, Mozdir immediately opened fire with a 32-caliber revolver.

The NYPD officer was shot twice in the stomach below his bulletproof vest, according to a senior law enforcement official.  One marshal was shot in the leg and the other struck by a bullet in the elbow, the official said. The officers are now in stable condition.

Mozdir had been wanted by San Diego authorities since 2012 and a bail bondsmen had been assigned to his case, according to court documents.

He was accused of lewd acts against a child in Coronado and was arrested in June 2012 and booked in jail on $250,000 bail. Upon executing a search warrant at his San Diego residence, they found images of pornography and bestiality on his computer, police said.

A family member posted bail for him the following day, authorities said.

The 32-year-old fugitive from San Diego had failed to appear in court and a $1 million warrant was issued for his arrest. He had made threats to take his own life and threats to the victim’s family, according to a Crime Stoppers bulletin.

Police now believe Mozdir immediately fled the area. They found his vehicle abandoned six days later, hidden in some bushes in Georgia.

He had a handgun registered to him and had been seen with a second handgun. The bail bondsmen began searching for Mozdir in July 2012. He contacted Mozdir's sister, who lives in San Diego. She said the last time she saw him was at her son's birthday party in Coronado in August 2012.

In December 2012, the bail bondsmen said he had tracked down information leading him to think Mozdir living in Northern California, Georgia or Mexico, according to court documents.

"I believe if given the extra time to investigate these new and promising leads on this case that we will be successful in apprehending the defendant," the bail bondsmen said in court papers.

The case, however, went cold until CNN aired Mozdir's case last week on "The Hunt" and police received numerous new tips, including a creditable one from someone who saw Mozdir 10 months ago.

That tip led authorities to New York. After Mozdir opened fire and officers returned fire, Mozdir was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

His weapon was recovered at the scene. Mozdir had 20 more rounds in his pockets, police said.

 

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<![CDATA[Homes Evacuated After Gas Leak in Tierrasanta]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:21:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/fire+truck+generic.jpg

Residents of three apartment buildings in Tierrasanta have been ordered to evacuate because of a gas leak, according to officials.

A one-inch gas line ruptured in the 6500 block of Ambrosia Dr. around 10 a.m. Monday.

San Diego firefighters and crews from San Diego Gas and Electric are on the scene. There is no word yet when evacuees can return home.

Check back for updates.
 

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<![CDATA[Del Mar Makes Changes to New Turf Surface]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 08:51:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Del-Mar-Horse-Track-warmup.jpg

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is making changes to its new turf track after an unusually high number of horses were euthanized in the first 10 days of the season.

Since Opening Day, seven horses have been put down because of race-related injuries. Four of those incidents happened on the track’s new racing surface.

An eighth horse died after collapsing in a morning workout before Opening Day.

While they continue to have the "utmost confidence" in the turf course, track officials said they want to err on the side of caution by making adjustments.

“…everything possible is being done to ensure the track’s first priority, which is safety of horses and riders,” a DMTC statement read.

On Sunday, two turf races were moved to the main track.

The track also instructed its crews to start scheduled maintenance early, aerating and watering the new turf surface on Sunday in advance of Wednesday’s races.

Track officials say the inner rail will also be moved to 18 feet out of caution.

The multi-million dollar project to widen the green began in September. Fourteen horses can race on the new surface. The previous course allowed 10.

In Saturday’s fifth race, Little Swiss Echo appeared to break a leg near the finish line. Jockey Drayden Van Dyke, 19, fell off and was stepped on by two other horses.

In the ninth race, J Kat was pulled up on the far turn by jockey Corey Nakatani with severe injuries to his left foreleg.

On Friday, Longview Drive sustained major injuries to his left front leg and was euthanized. Jockey William Antongeorgi had pulled up the horse early in the race.

In the sixth race on the turf, Yes She's Unusual unseated jockey Brice Blanc on the far turn when she stumbled after sustaining a serious injury. The horse was euthanized.

Before horses race at DMTC, they are reviewed by veterinarians at four different times, according to track spokesperson Mac McBride.

The morning of a race, the groomer and trainer must pull the horse out in front of the barn. The horse must gallop cleanly in order for them to go forward.

In the afternoon, lip tattoos are checked at the receiving barn to make sure the correct horse is racing. Vets feel legs, etc. They will pull the horse if they see anything that doesn’t look right, McBride said.

Horses are looked over again at the paddock and during the warmup period out on the racetrack.

“If they see a horse doing anything funny, anything that is not a normal, fluid motion by the horse, the horse is withdrawn from the race,” McBride said.

Racing officials said they’ve consulted the Thoroughbred Owners of California, the California Thoroughbred Trainers, the Jockeys’ Guild and the California Horse Racing Board about the recent deaths.

“I think Del Mar is doing the right thing,” said Jay Privman with the Daily Racing Form. “They did not race on the grass, they realize something is going on and they’re trying to figure out what it is.”
 



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[No Charges in Deadly Hit-and-Run Crash in Dehesa]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:55:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/dehesa-road-generic.jpg

A man walking on the side of the road was hit and killed Monday by a driver in Dehesa, just west of Sycuan Casino.

Investigators with the California Highway Patrol tracked down the driver at a home in Encanto but say the man won’t be arrested because he was not aware that he had hit anyone.

A witness called 911 around 12:30 a.m. Monday to report someone while walking on the side of the two-lane road had been hit.

The caller gave officers the SUV's license plate and also described the vehicle as having duct tape covering the back windows.

Officers were at the scene of the accident in Dehesa for nearly 4 hours.

In the meantime, officers tracked the license plate back to a home in Encanto.

Officers found an SUV with damage to the front passenger side and duct tape covering the back windows.

After interviewing the 74-year-old driver, CHP officials said no charges will be filed. According to the CHP report, the driver told officers he felt an impact but wasn't aware what he had struck.

Officials identified the victim as Michael Seldon, 57, of El Cajon.
 



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>