<![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 Sun, 23 Nov 2014 06:46:25 -0800 Sun, 23 Nov 2014 06:46:25 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Rams at Chargers: Who To Watch]]> Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:43:32 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/174*120/Keenan+Allen+Raiders.jpg

The St. Louis Rams defense makes life miserable for opposing quarterbacks. At least, that's what everyone seems to think.

A glance at the numbers reveals the Rams only have 19 QB sacks this season (23rd in the NFL). That's not what one would consider a terrifying front seven. But, when you look inside those numbers you see St. Louis is conducting some paranormal activity.

Of those 19 sacks, 18 have come in the last five games. I'm not sure which is more amazing; that this unit has averaged nearly four sacks a game against the likes of Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick (whom they got eight times), Carson Palmer (whom they knocked out for the season with a torn ACL), Alex Smith and Peyton Manning ... or that this unit only had one sack total against the likes of Matt Cassel, Josh McCown, Tony Romo and Nick Foles.

St. Louis can't figure out what kind of team it is. One week they'll look like a Super Bowl contender, like they did a week ago in beating the Broncos 22-7. The next week they'll look like a team lucky to win four games, like they did in losing to the Chiefs 34-7 at the end of October.

Their last six games have been Loss, Win, Loss, Win, Loss, Win. If that pattern holds true the Chargers got a gift from the schedule makers. But, to make that pattern perpetuate, the Bolts will have to keep the Rams rushers away from Philip Rivers.

Only five St. Louis defensive players have more than one sack this season, led by Robert Quinn's 6.0. Rookie Aaron Donald is next with 4.0, while Eugene Sims, William Hayes and James Laurinaitis all have 2.0.

That's four defensive linemen and one linebacker who have done the bulk of the QB smashing. That's going to be a problem for the Chargers and their underwhelming offensive line. Any time a team can generate pressure from its 4-man rush, something this Rams group excels at, it's going to cause issues.

The Chargers, especially, want to force opposing defenses to bring extra attackers. Through the season's first 10 games, Philip Rivers has the highest QB rating in the NFL while being blitzed. the man sniffs out blitzes like a bloodhound because, when a team blitzes, it's leaving someone momentarily open. Rivers and his encyclopedic knowledge of football knows exactly where that person will be and finds him more often than not.

But, when the defensive front is able to hurry a quarterback without extra help, everyone is accounted for. The offense has to rely on bad coverage or a receiver getting open on his own. That makes things exponentially more difficult, that's why this match up is so potentially tough for the Bolts, and that brings us to our three players to watch on Sunday:

Chris Watt, C

At Notre Dame, Watt started 37 career games, all of them at left guard. So, of course his first NFL start comes at center. Rich Ohrnberger is listed as questionable with ankle and back injuries, but since the Chargers signed Ryan Miller off the practice squad on Saturday it would appear Ohrnberger is not going to be active. That moves Watt to the middle of the line, a spot where the Rams use Laurinaitis and Donald to get a push through the A-Gap (between the center and guard), the spot where quarterbacks thoroughly despise getting pushed. Watt will have to not only help make the line calls and get everyone working in the same direction, he'll have to worry about keeping those big guys from breaking through and getting clean shots on an already dinged up Rivers.

Keenan Allen, WR

One of Allen's greatest assets is his ability to get open quickly. St. Louis plays all kinds of coverages. They'll go man for a while, then zone, sometimes flip-flopping between the two within a single series. Allen is going to have to use his abundant skill set to get open against the ever-changing looks as fast as he possibly can, because odds are Rivers won't have much time to let Keenan work to get open. Rivers said during the week we could see another eight or nine catch game from Allen coming soon. If this is the week it happens, it's probably a good sign that Philip is staying upright and Keenan is winning on the outside, and that could very well be the difference between a win and a loss.

Jerry Attaochu, OLB

If there's a saving grace for the Chargers against what I've now talked myself in to believing is the second coming of the 1985 Bears, it's this: The Rams offense is not very good. While Shaun Hill and Austin Davis have both had nice moments at quarterback, neither has established himself as the starter and head coach Jeff Fisher has tried to play the hot hand. Attaochu returned from his hamstring injury and looked like the Tasmanian Devil against the Raiders. Attaochu had a sack, another QB hit and a tackle for a loss, showing an explosion off the edge that can put offensive tackles on edge. Rams quarterbacks have been sacked 33 times this season (only the Jaguars have allowed more sacks). The Chargers defense needs to match the Rams in getting after the QB, or it's going to be a long day in Mission Valley.

Derek's Prediction

I honestly have no clue what to expect from St. Louis. They could win by 20 or lose by 20, and either way it would in no way be surprising. In this particular case, it's not going to be a blowout. But, it will be another St. Louis loss.

Rivers will find a way to make just enough plays in the passing game, and get a big boost from Ryan Mathews running the ball well. The San Diego defense will force a couple of turnovers and get points on short fields. Just like last week against Oakland, this will not be pretty.

But, it will be 7-4.

Final score: Chargers 16, Rams 13



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SD Woman Alleged Bill Cosby Drugged, Attacked Her]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 17:32:10 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tamara+green+cosby.jpg

A North County lawyer is one of the women who have accused comedian Bill Cosby of sexual assault.

Tamara Green of Fallbrook first shared her story on the “Today” show in 2005.

Green said Cosby tried to sexually assault her in her Los Angeles apartment around 1970, when she was a model and an aspiring actress. She said Cosby gave her two pills that made her almost lose consciousness and attacked her.

Green and other women have renewed their sexual assault allegations against the 77-year-old entertainer in recent weeks, prompting several of his standup comedy shows to be canceled.

Despite the scandal, Cosby received a standing ovation from a sold-out crowd Friday night in Melbourne, Florida. Before the show, Cosby broke his silence regarding the accusations. He told the Florida Today newspaper, in part, "I know people are tired of me not saying anything, but a guy doesn't have to answer to innuendos.”
 



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[3 Arrested in Stabbing Outside Walmart]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 15:06:17 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Handcuffs-generic-custody.jpg

Deputies have arrested three men who they say have been in hiding since a stabbing outside a local Walmart.

On Thursday, 29-year-old Roady Briley, 24-year-old Randy Briley and 24-year-old Kevin Cave were arrested at Lilac Oaks Campground in Valley Center.

The suspects are accused of stabbing a 20-year-old man and stealing his backpack outside the Santee Walmart at 170 Town Center Parkway Nov. 9, according to the sheriff's department.

Officials said the victim suffered five stab wounds to his lower back. He was treated and released from Sharp Memorial Hospital.

All three suspects face charges of attempted murder and robbery. They are being held in the central jail without bail.



Photo Credit: NBCSanDiego]]>
<![CDATA[New Plan to Curb Drunk Driving in North County]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 12:32:14 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/PKG_AVOID_THE_8_ON_78_KNSD59Y4_1200x675_362241603821.jpg A new initiative called “Avoid the 8 on 78” aims to combat drunk driving and save lives. It targets State Route 78 from Interstate 5 to Interstate 15. The motivation behind the program is because from 2010 to 2013, 1,600 drivers were arrested for suspicion of DUI in the area. NBC 7’s Dave Summers reports from a checkpoint Friday night. ]]> <![CDATA[Inside the Internet's Dark Web]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 12:19:06 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/computer-keyboard-generic-0.jpg

The internet is larger than you think.

Using websites like Google and Yahoo is only the tip of a massive internet iceberg that goes far beyond a typical search.

There's what could be considered a "black market web" that you should be concerned about, an entirely different internet used by people across the world. It's not what you do every day when you go to Facebook or look up your favorite Apple Crisp recipe.

This internet requires special software, and it is deeper and darker than what you've experienced.

"Think of it kind of like an illegal bazaar,” said FBI Special Agent Bradlee Godshall.

It started as a way for the US military to communicate abroad without being detected.

“The TOR was originally a project from the United States Navy. It was intended for governmental purposes and as so often happens, it gets utilized for other uses,” Godshall explained.

There are now sites where you can be anonymous as you gain access to any and everything you can think of: “Guns, narcotics, valid credit card numbers, cloned phones, weapons," said Godshall.

Ken Weston is a researcher at Tripwire. Within seconds of searching the dark web, he found hundreds of credit card numbers for sale for as little as two dollars. If you wanted more information, the price jumped up to $5.

"Here, they all included social security number and date of birth, and then that's going to be a bit more expensive," Weston said. 

The dark web has been trouble for law enforcement. Every transaction is done without names and when the FBI finds one site, another pops up.

"The dark web is too massive. Even in the registered domain registers, there are 555 million. Those are just registered and that doesn't even count the dark web,” Godshall said.

Weston found ads for a 3-D printed gun, counterfeit money, drugs and even an ad for a hitman. The FBI says this underground internet is something your children probably know about it and could access.

"The computer and the electronic virtual world has infiltrated into our phones, into our tablets. It's something that is everywhere. It's something parents need to take a very active and strong stance against," Weston said.

Special Agent Godshall says the dark web is kind of like a double-edged sword because in addition to the criminal use of it, it also provides to put highly sensitive political information out to a wider market.

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<![CDATA[East County Teen: I Was Beaten, Humiliated ]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 11:19:22 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/PKGnewSTUDENTHARASSMENT1121_1200x675_362105411517.jpg

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department confirms it is investigating a case involving violence against a West Hills High School student.

According to investigators, it happened Friday, Nov. 14 around 3 p.m. along Kaschube Way and Kreiner Way.

NBC 7 spoke exclusively to that student and his mother. She has concerns about how the school is responding to the incident.

“He's been the victim of violence. He's been a victim of a hate crime, and there's been no support for him from the school,” his mother said. She and her son did not want their identities revealed because of concerns about retaliation.

The freshman admitted to playing a role in starting the drama but never thought the consequences would be so severe. He said it started when a female student stole his colorguard saber. He said he hit the back of her head, took back saber and walked away.

He said after school, a group confronted him. He told NBC 7 that group included the girl and about 10 other guys.

“A group of like 10 guys I never met before. They started calling me gay and [expletive] and all that,” he said. “They simultaneously flipped me off and kept calling me gay, and I overheard a few of them saying they were going to jump me.”

When he went to be with his friends, he said the group showed up again.

“They came up behind me and pantsed me. Underwear and all. It was terrible.”

Things got worse. As he was walking home from school, he said the girl and three boys who were part of the initial group that humiliated him started following him.

“One of the guys punched me in the right temple, and then he pulled me off the wall and was punching and kicking me…They were extremely violent. They were trying to stomp on my head. They were trying to kill me,” he said.

The teen’s mother told NBC 7 she feels the school isn’t doing enough to keep her son safe.

“‘Oh yeah we'll take a quick statement here. Take it home, write it out, bring it back the next day’ was basically their level of response,” she said.

West Hills High School did not respond to NBC 7’s request for comment, but Grossmont Union High School District released the following statement:

We are aware of the situation and took immediate action once the incident was reported. Law enforcement is investigating this matter and corrective action has been taken by the school to protect student safety.

The district was unable to comment further due to privacy concerns.

The Sheriff’s Department said the case is under investigation, and it’s working in conjunction with the school district. A spokesperson said detectives are talking to witnesses and if there are others out there who saw what happened, they would like to hear from them. Possible witnesses can call the Santee Sheriff's Station at 619-956-4000. They can also remain anonymous and call the Crime Stoppers Students Speaking Out Hotline at 888-580-8477.

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<![CDATA[Chargers Finalize Injury Report (We Think)]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 23:41:19 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/176*120/491456531.jpg

The Chargers host the Rams on Sunday, and if the Bolts offense is going to continue to struggle like it has been (a distinct possibility against a Rams defense that held the Broncos to seven points last week), San Diego's defense is going to have to be at least as good as it was a week ago against the Raiders.

One of the guys who really made a name for himself in helping the Bolts hold Oakland to six points was defensive tackle Ryan Carrethers. The rookie from Arkansas State made his first career N-F-L start and turned the head of head coach Mike McCoy.

"He really stepped up his game, which was great to see," said McCoy on Monday.

The progress Carrethers has made since training camp was obvious. He made three tackles and disrupted several other plays. But, he was held to just 24 snaps because he sustained an elbow injury. It looked pretty bad coming off the field on Sunday. On Monday, McCoy was asked how Ryan was doing.

"Doing good," said McCoy. "He felt great last night."

So great, in fact, that Carrethers did not practice all week and has already been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Rams. It's good timing that veteran Sean Lissemore is returning from his leg injury. And I suppose, in a week where we had to wonder just what part of quarterback Philip Rivers is hurt, and how severe that injury is, we should just expect to never know how a player is doing.

Speaking of Rivers, the Rams have one of the most imposing pass rushes in football. Their head coach, Jeff Fisher, has told his players to take shots at the stars of other teams in the past. And, don't forget St. Louis defensive coordinator Gregg William is the guy who helped orchestrate the bounty scandal in New Orleans. Rivers knows he's going to take some body shots. But, he knew that when St. Louis appeared on the schedule.

"I don't expect I'll get hit any harder on Sunday than they already try to," said Rivers. "That's part of it. They can only hit us in so many areas now. Those defensive guys don't have a lot of room. The midsection is one of those areas they're allowed to hit, so I'm sure it'll be just like always."

Have we mentioned Philip Rivers is tough lately?

Safety Jahleel Addae and center Rich Ohrnberger are the only other question marks for the Chargers. Everyone else will be available to play.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Christian Mingle Rapist Hacked, Stalked Me: Woman]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 22:12:40 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Liberty6p1121_1200x675_362071107928.jpg

The Del Mar man serving a 37-year prison sentence for raping two women he met online targeted others through hacking and stalking that made one alleged victim feel "endangered," she told NBC 7.

San Diego resident Victoria Kinney said met former Navy Lt. Sean Banks before his arrests, before his rape trial and before his sentencing.

To her, he was "Rylan," a man with similar morals, values and beliefs who she met through the online dating website ChristianMingle.com.

After messaging back and forth, Kinney told NBC 7 she felt something was off about Banks, so she stopped replying.

"And shortly after that, he called me, letting me know that he had found my phone number on the Internet and had my address and my family's address and my email accounts," she said.

He told her he was a hacking forensics specialist for the Navy, so he was able to pull up things a simple search on Google couldn’t find, Kinney said. But Banks claimed he told her this to keep her safe and protect her.

All too soon, she discovered this was the farthest thing from the truth.

As they continued to talk, Banks brought up things Kinney had only told one friend through text messages, making her suspect he was hacking into her phone.

Then, out of the blue, he called her and said he had been accused of rape. According to Kinney, he told her she could not talk to police because it would be obstruction of justice.

But Kinney did just the opposite, going to investigators with her suspicions that Banks hacked her phone.

“I felt like I wasn't safe. I would like wake up in the middle of the night and just have like hot flashes and shaking and just freak out, but not because it was more scary knowing that he knew everything about me, he knew my family,” said Kinney. “I felt like I endangered my family. Not knowing what he was capable of doing was the scariest."

Soon after, she got a text message from someone claiming to be police, asking her to click on a link for the investigation. The district attorney’s office told her the message was not from law enforcement.

They believe Banks asked someone to send it so if Kinney clicked on it, he could wipe evidence that they every communicated from her phone.

"So I wanted the police to know that in order to help the rape victims because I knew if he can erase evidence, if he can delete things, delete emails, texts, that may be why he was able to get away with it for so long,” she told NBC 7.

Kinney is telling her story now in hopes that other people will protect themselves from online vulnerability.

She learned from police not to click on unknown links that could open you to hacking, use protected Google Voice for calls and texts and download a virtual private network (VPN) app, which essentially encrypts your data.

Above all, trust your instincts.

"For women it's just very important to know that even if someone is claiming to be a Christian or on a Christian website — Christian Mingle says, ‘Find God's match for you.’ And nobody would think that God's match for you is a rapist hacker,” she said.

She believes some blame lies with Christian Mingle and other dating sites, for she said one of Bank’s rape victims tried to contact the website administrators after her encounter with him. However, Bank’s profile was not removed, and a month later, he met Kinney.

Kinney said the site should have a hotline for people to call if something bad happens or offer a way to verify users.

NBC 7's calls and emails to Christian Mingle’s legal department requesting comment have not been returned, but the website says experts manually review all profiles and use automated tools to identify questionable ones.

While she never met him in person, Kinney went to Bank’s trial, an experience she calls the worst in her life.

When prosecutors revealed the GPS and hacking equipment Banks allegedly used to stalk women, Kinney said she started shaking and threw up.

But now, she said she’s happy it happened.

"I think that it made me smarter and it made me keep myself safer and keep my family safer so I'm glad that it happened,” said Kinney. “I don't want him to feel like he won or that he hurt me because he didn't. He made us all smarter."


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[South Bay Rivals' Spat Caught on Camera]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 20:22:49 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/mccann+surveillance+video.JPG

Two long-time rivals from the embattled Sweetwater Union High School district got into an disturbance Tuesday night in a Chula Vista mall parking lot.

Former Sweetwater board president John McCann, who is now in a tie in a Chula Vista City Council seat race, called 911 Tuesday night to report a traffic disturbance in the 900-block of Eastlake Parkway. He followed up with calls to the media to report that a community activist had almost run him over with his truck.

Kevin O'Neill, an active community member who just lost a race for a seat on the Sweetwater school board, said he never tried to hit McCann with his truck and was not violent in any way.

NBC7 obtained surviellance video from a business in a Chula Vista mall showing the altercation between these two men. The video does not show what happened before or after the quarrel or what may have provoked it.

What it does show is O'Neill pulling up beside McCann on two occasions.

It all began with dinner at Miguel's restaurant in Eastlake Tuesday night. McCann was dining out with Sweetwater Superintendent Tim Glover, and O'Neill was also at the restaurant.

"I don't dislike John," O'Neill said. "I don't support him. I don't think he's an effective leader." 

McCann said O'Neill is a bully. "If he doesn't get what he wants, he tries to go after you this way," he said.

By this way, McCann means he thinks O'Neill tried to run him over with his truck. McCann was outside the restaurant to take a call from the Registrar of Voters, concerning his city council race. An update Tuesday from the Registrar showed McCann just one vote ahead of former Chula Vista mayor Steve Padilla. That race is now a dead tie. 

The video shows McCann standing near planter in a parking lot and a white truck pulling up beside him, pausing for a moment and then driving away. McCann said he feared for his safety.

"Kevin O'Neill came over, drove his truck, came in front of me, started yelling at me and tried to intimidate me, flipped me off and left," McCann said.

O'Neill says he never raised his voice, and was only reminding McCann that he had left the superintendent, with whom McCann had been dining, waiting at the table for 15 to 20 minutes.

"To me, it was inconsiderate. That's all I said," O'Neill told NBC7. "I continued driving and John chased the truck and was banging on the truck."

In the video, you can see McCann running. He says he was running to get a photo of the truck's license plate as proof that it was O'Neill. Whatever happens next is out of frame, so the alleged banging on O'Neill's truck is not visible.

The video then shows O'Neill returning, and that's when he says McCann banged on his truck again.

"I came back around and I was like, 'John, do you want to speak to me?' And that's when he took off on how I was undercutting him and I was a blankety-blankety-blank and I didn't stay past that because it didn't make sense," O'Neill said.

McCann said he was in danger.

"I don't remember banging on the truck and, again, if anything, I pushed away," McCann said. "He's the one who is in the truck. I'm on foot. He's the one who tried to run me over." 

McCann also denies throwing anything at O'Neill's truck.

After O'Neill drove by the first time, the video appears to show McCann bend down to the ground, where rocks anchor the base of the planter, stand up and then make an overhand pitch in the direction of O'Neill's truck.

Even after NBC7 described to McCann the motions he appears to be making in the surveillance video, he continued to deny throwing anything at O'Neill's truck.

"I never threw anything at the truck. I was carrying a phone. I was on the phone and I think I may have dropped the phone, so I did not throw anything at his truck," McCann said.

After viewing the video Friday, McCann changed his statement to he didn't remember throwing anything at the truck. He also provided NBC7 with some papers that he says are proof that O'Neill is out to get him politically.

"This is a guy who spent thousands of dollars on false campaign ads against me," McCann said. "He has continuously bullied me and for him to say that he was just innocently coming up to me while I was on foot is a complete lie," McCann said.

O'Neill said he never tried to hit McCann with his truck.

"Which one of us is overreacting? Which one is showing leadership and maybe a little more constraint?" O'Neill said. "But, I shouldn't have to avoid him at all costs because he is mercurial."



Photo Credit: NBC 7 ]]>
<![CDATA[Why Children Should Help Plan Family Vacations]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 19:13:47 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/balboa+park+vacation+planning.jpg

Allison Sotelo walks through Balboa Park with her husband and two daughters.

She said when the family goes on vacation, they have one simple goal: "As long as everyone is having fun."

But that's not always easy, and unhappy children can spoil a good trip.

"We all know if you're on a trip with unhappy kids or sulking teenagers, you're miserable," said travel writer Eileen Ogintz. 

She told NBC 7 the key to family happiness on vacation is getting the family excited in planning the trip.

"You definitely should get the kids involved in planning it," said Ogintz. "A lot of times you would be surprised as to what the kids say they want to do."

Ogintz is the author of the syndicated column "Taking The Kids" and believes when the family is vested in where they are going, the happier everyone is going to be.

Jeffry Eslinger, who works for the travel research company D.K. Shifflet & Associates, said for kids today, the world is literally at their fingertips.

"Before it was the parent who said, 'Guess what, kids? We're going to wherever,'" said Eslinger.

Now children have the advantage of social media and websites to discover great family trips.

According to Eslinger, modern families are the most traveled Americans in the history of the country, with Gen X and Millennial families opting for more active experiences in their vacations.

Instead of "drive-by" vacations, families are choosing trips that involved hiking, biking, eco-trips and more. Families are also visiting foreign countries like Europe, Central America and Asia.

But no matter where families go, these experts are convinced that getting everyone involved in the planning will make for a happier trip.



Photo Credit: Consumer Bob]]>
<![CDATA[Green Laser Hits Plane Coming Into Lindbergh Field]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 19:45:16 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Lindbergh-Field-2014.jpg

Law enforcement is searching for the person who shined a green laser at a plane headed for Lindbergh Field — a potentially dangerous, federal crime.

SkyWest Flight 6639 was about eight miles from the airport when the laser hit it just before 6 p.m.

The flight landed at the Commuter Terminal with no further problems, and no injuries were reported.

Harbor Police is taking a report from the crew and will forward it to the FBI, which launched a campaign over the summer to crack down on such offenses.

The San Diego Police helicopter circled the area where the laser originated but did not find the suspect.

Pointing a laser at an airplane — also called "lasing" -- carries a punishment of up to 20 years in jail.

NBC News reports the biggest problem while flying isn't getting eye damage, but instead being distracted while coming in for a landing, which is the most hectic time of a flight.

Green lasers can appear 35 times brighter than a red laser with similar power.

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<![CDATA[Man Posed as HS Student to Sexually Assault Teen: PD]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 18:53:33 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/john+mark+andres+molina.JPG

A man with San Diego ties pretended to be a high school student to assault a teenager in Bay Area.

Police in Milpitas, California, say John Mark Andres Molina, 28, posed as a student from Independence High School in San Jose as he began to communicate the 15-year-old alleged victim through social media.

Tricking the teen into believing his false identity, Molina assaulted the minor on multiple occasions over an extended period of time, investigators say.

Milpitas police began investigating Molina in Oct. 2014, and they arrested him at his San Jose home.

He is being held in Santa Clara County jail on a $150,000 bail.

Detectives say Molina has San Diego and Hawaii ties, and they are seeking other potential victims.

Molina has used various aliases like Mike Velasco, Johnny Velasco, Johnny Andres Velasco, Johnny Mike Andres Velasco and Christian James Velasco, according to investigators.



Photo Credit: Milpitas Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[SD Family's Renewed Hope After Immigration Action]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 18:30:53 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Omari4P112114_1200x675_362008643885.jpg One San Diego family says they have a renewed sense of hope for U.S. citizenship following President Obama’s plan to shield illegal immigrants from deportation. NBC 7's Omari Fleming has their story on Nov. 21, 2014. ]]> <![CDATA[Immigration Policy Change Is a Matter of Trust]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 20:27:14 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/immigration-obama-generic-1.jpg One day after President Obama announced his executive action on immigration reform, questions remain about the implementation. One of the biggest: Will undocumented immigrants trust the change enough to come out of the shadows? NBC 7's Artie Ojeda reports on Nov. 21, 2014. ]]> <![CDATA[El Cajon Man's Viral Video Lands Him on 'Ellen']]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 18:36:43 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/El+Cajon+kid+pic+1121.jpg

John Glaude is comfortable in his own skin.

After shedding 160 pounds, the 22-year-old El Cajon man made a YouTube video, bravely showing off his body’s loose skin.

The video went viral, amassing more than six million views, and drew the attention of the Ellen DeGeneres show. Glaude appeared on the show on Friday afternoon to reiterate his inspirational story.

“This is who I am and I’m proud of it,” he said.

Ellen was effusive in her praise.

“I love this young man. After losing an incredible 160 pounds, our next guest bravely posted a video of himself revealing his biggest insecurity,” she said.

Glaude explained how he started his weight loss journey two years out of high school. Depressed about his large size, he heard someone explain that shedding pounds really was easy as eating better and exercising.

He lost the weight over two years' time.

He said he didn’t post the video so someone would pay for him to have skin removal surgery – he just wants to be an inspiration to others.

“I am comfortable in my skin. The skin is a battle scar from where I’ve been, where I was,” he said.

Glaude watched his appearance on Ellen at home in El Cajon with family and friends. He said he has one goal in life: to inspire anyone and everyone he can.

"I promise you, when you do lose the weight, or even when you're starting to lose the weight, your self-worth and how you feel about yourself, your eyes will open, you'll be able to, the future will be a lot brighter," he said.

As an award for his weight loss and his bravery, Ellen gave him a brand-new bright red Ford Mustang.

Here's Glaude's appearance on the Ellen Show:

 

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<![CDATA[Oceanside Men Convicted of Defrauding More Than 3,000 ]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:45:47 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/gavel12111.jpg

Two Oceanside men were convicted of defrauding 3,261 homeowners across the nation in a $13 million loan modification scheme through a sham law firm in Oceanside, the United States Attorney’s office said Thursday.

Dean Gregory Chandler, the former president, chief executive and attorney of 1st American Law Center, and Michael Eccles, a former manager in the firm’s telemarketing call center, received their guilty verdicts after a three-week trial and a day of deliberation.

Chandler was convicted of eight felony counts, including three counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud and one count each of conspiracy and money laundering. Eccles was convicted of five counts, including conspiracy and two counts each of mail fraud and wire fraud.

“Mr. Chandler and Mr. Eccles misused and abused their positions of trust to prey upon those who were financially vulnerable and desperate to save their homes,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric S. Birnbaum said in a press release. “Today's convictions reaffirm our commitment to hold accountable the guilty who profit by taking advantage of vulnerable people.

Chandler created the firm in partnership with convicted drug trafficker Gary Bobel, who was separately convicted and sentenced for his role in 2009, according to evidence presented at trial. Bobel oversaw the call center and the team of telemarketers, who pitched loan modification services on behalf of the law center.

The team of attorneys would negotiate on behalf of their clients with the mortgage lenders and draft all documents to be sent to the mortgage lenders, the prosecutors say. The firm promised “attorney retainer fee” averaging $3,495 would be preserved in an attorney-client trust account until the client was satisfied, according to evidence presented at trial. If they were not satisfied, the clients were protected by a money-back guarantee.

The U.S. Attorney says the firm proceeded to funnel client’s money into other account to pay co-schemers, sales commissions and company expenses, and they failed to provide refunds to many clients who requested them.

Eccles was later promoted to the manager of the call center in December 2009, where he fabricated more lies to suggest to clients that they could take comfort in the established success of the firm they would hire, according to trial evidence. Evidence at trial determined Chandler’s primary role was to mislead regulatory and enforcement agencies that threatened the law firm’s operations.

The defendants will next appear before United States District Judge Roger T. Benitez on February 23, 2015 for sentencing. A restitution hearing for the victims of 1st American Law Center is set for April 21, 2015.

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<![CDATA[After Hiatus, Chula Vista Starlight Parade is Back]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 18:47:40 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Starlight+Parade.jpg

After a two-year hiatus, the long-standing Chula Vista Starlight Parade is back with appearances by carolers, the Grinch, reindeer and Old Saint Nick himself.

The parade will start at 6 p.m. Dec. 6 in Chula Vista’s historic Third Avenue Village. But before that, the Third Avenue Village Association will host a “Holiday in the Village” on Third Avenue from noon to 5 p.m.

The event is perfect for the kiddos and will boast performers, children’s activities, contests and live reindeer.

Perhaps its signature attraction is “Frosty’s Snow Hill,” a snow-covered hill in Memorial Park that you’ll be able to sled down.

In the evening, stick around for the Starlight Parade, which will go down Third Avenue from H to E streets. Onlookers will be able to catch about 30 festive floats along with another 30 marching school bands and dance performers.

The best part of all this family Yuletide cheer? It’s free. So bundle up in a scarf and hat and get ready to get your Christmas cheer on!



Photo Credit: Steve Wood]]>
<![CDATA[Evacations Ordered After Gas Line Breaks]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 17:04:29 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sdge+generic.JPG

A gas line break in the College Area prompted evacuations and power outages Friday afternoon.

San Diego Gas & Electric officials say a construction crew was digging near 55th Street and Adams Avenue when they hit a gas line at about 3:30 p.m.

Fire crews started evacuations in the area while SDG&E worked to shut off the leak. The damage also caused power outages for buildings nearby.

Utility workers got the gas leak under control about 45 minutes later, at which point evacuees were allowed to return home.

SDG&E authorities believe the construction crew did not know there was a line where they were digging.

The investigation is on-going.

Check back here for more on this developing story.

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<![CDATA[Monkeys Work Together to Raise New Baby at SD Zoo]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:42:17 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/baby+langur+1121.JPG

A troop of Francois’ langurs at the San Diego Zoo bring new meaning to "it takes a village to raise a child."

The langurs, also known as Francois’ leaf monkeys, are spending this week introducing a new, 8-day-old baby to their bamboo and gourd-filled habitat.

Distinctive for its head of bright orange hair, the little langur has been passed around among the older ones. Zoo keepers say the monkeys practice alloparenting, so every family member helps to raise the little guy.

Scientists believe the infants’ colorful head of hair help the troop identify and look after them.

In the first six months, the baby’s fur will fade to black. Soon, it’ll look more like the other langurs, who are reminiscent to a 19th century emperor with bright white mutton chops.

San Diego Zoo officials say they were the first in North America to house Francois’ langurs, and their breeding efforts helped found the monkeys’ population in zoos across the country.

Visitors can see five langurs now live in the Asian Passage of the zoo because the species is native to Asian tropical forests.



Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo
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<![CDATA[MTS on Pace for 'Record Year:' Officials]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:10:10 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/rapid+bus+mts.jpg

San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System is on pace to have a record year of bus rides.

MTS buses and trolleys saw more than one million more trips from July through October compared to the same time period last year.

Ridership is on pace to increase nearly 100 million trips over the course of the year, MTS CEO Paul Jablonski said in a news release.

MTS officials credit more transit options; specifically the new “Rapid” buses, which have limited stops; for the surge as well as the frequency of bus rides.

“Combined with its other services, riders are finding MTS more convenient than ever before,” Jablonski said in the news release.

The most notable increase came in October, when MTS buses logged 5,426,882 trips, which officials said was the highest ridership of any single month in the agency’s history.

That same month, MTS unveiled the new Rapid 237 and Rapid 215 buses – the Rapid 215, which connects San Diego State University to downtown San Diego – averages more than 6,000 daily trips.

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<![CDATA[Next Step for Undocumented Immigrants in Deportation Relief]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:03:08 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ElenaMID112114_1200x675_361882179711.jpg NBC 7's Elena Gomez reports that there are an estimated 150,000 undocumented immigrants here in San Diego who could benefit from the President's new immigration proposal.]]> <![CDATA["The World of Dr. Seuss" Exhibit Opens]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:26:50 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Lorax-Seuss-112114.jpg

A new exhibition opening tomorrow in Balboa Park will let Dr. Seuss fans young and old sink their teeth into his lifetime of work.

"INGENIUOUS! The World of Dr. Seuss" features never-before-seen artwork in addition to classic children’s books from Theodor Seuss Geisel, like Cat in the Hat and Horton Hears a Who, in a colorful and interactive exhibition.

The world-famous author had a significant connection to San Diego.

"When you look at what he was doing here from 1948 to the end of his life in 1991, he made most of his children's books here, at least half of them and he also painted artworks during that entire time," said curator Bill Dryer.

The materials are drawn from public and private collections, including the Dr. Seuss Archives at UC San Diego, the LBJ Presidential Library and the Dr. Seuss Estate.

The exhibition also includes secret art the artist created for himself at night, Dryer said, work that few people have seen because they were rarely if ever exhibited during his lifetime.

"The World of Dr. Seuss" opens Nov. 22 and runs through December 31, 2015 at the San Diego History Center on El Prado in Balboa Park.

Admission for adults is $8 and is free for children under the age of 6.
 

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<![CDATA[La Jolla Doctor Faces New Allegations]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 11:12:00 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Bradley-Schnierow.jpg

The Medical Board of California has filed new allegations against a La Jolla doctor accused of using drugs in his office, writing illegal prescriptions for narcotics, and having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a patient.

Dr. Brad Schnierow’ s medical license was suspended in June. He was arrested in July, following a lengthy investigation by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the Medical Board.

Schnierow and his former girlfriend now face a 21 count criminal case, that includes allegations of prescription fraud and possession of controlled substances.

Schnierow was one of several doctors profiled in a recent NBC 7 Investigates story about drug abuse and negligent prescribing by San Diego County physicians.

A 24-page accusation made public Nov. 20 by the Medical Board provides the following new details of Schnierow’ s alleged misconduct:

  • The DEA opened its investigation in April 2013, when an informant told investigators Schnierow “would often be late for appointments and sometimes would not show up at all.” That source allegedly saw a “meth pipe” and other “drug paraphernalia” in Schnierow’s La Jolla office and told DEA agents that Schnierow “nodded out on the patients, acts like someone in college, like a frat boy.”
  • In May, 2013, another source – this one a former employee of the doctor – told investigators Schnierow had a long-standing drug problem, and recalled one instance in which he was “unkempt, could not complete his sentences, and was swaying while he walked.” That source had to call another doctor for help after Schnierow allegedly passed out in his office
  • A computerized report of Schnierow’s prescription history obtained by the DEA revealed the doctor wrote 48 prescriptions for controlled substances for a former girlfriend over a one-year period. The DEA says most of those prescriptions were for a “powerful combination of (three) controlled substances and dangerous drugs known as “Houston cocktail,” “trio” and/or “holy trinity.”
  • The property manager at the building where Schnierow maintained his medical office sent DEA agents photographs of “what appeared to be glass ‘crack pipes’” found in Schnierow’s office. (The doctor had earlier been evicted from the building for failure to pay rent, and “irrational” behavior.) During a May 28 search of Schnierow’s Del Mar home, DEA agents and Medical Board investigators found “evidence of improper prescribing and diversion of controlled substances and dangerous drugs” including a zip-lock bag of marijuana, a “bong” made of a pill bottle, “15 glass pipes with methamphetamine reside and a myriad of other pills, substances and injectables.”
  • In July, a month after Schnierow agreed to stop practicing medicine, he allegedly went to a local emergency room, dressed in medical scrubs and showing his hospital ID badge. Schnierow told the ER doctor he had scratched his eye and needed a prescription for oxycodone, a powerful narcotic. According to the accusation, the ER doctor was “unaware of (Schnierow’s) sordid history” and prescribed the drug. Schnierow allegedly returned to the ER the next night, again dressed in scrubs and carrying his hospital ID. He once again requested – and received – another oxycodone prescription.

The Medical Board accusation lists 14 causes for discipline against Schnierow, including practicing medicine under the influence of narcotic, use of controlled substances, furnishing drugs to an addict, dishonesty or corruption, sexual relations with a patient, and practicing medicine during suspension.

The Medical Board seeks to revoke Schnierow’s license.

Court records indicate that Schnierow also faces a preliminary hearing in January on the criminal charges filed against him in July and amended in September. He has pleaded not guilty to those allegations.

His lawyer, Paul Pfingst, has not returned our phone call or replied to an email seeking a response to the Medical Board’s accusation.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Local Company's Invention Named One of Best ]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 10:50:31 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/hemopurifier-ebola_2.jpg

A San Diego company’s blood-filtration system was named one of Time Magazine’s best inventions of 2014 yesterday.

The Hemopurifier, made by Aethlon Medical, Inc. and used to treat a patient with Ebola in Germany in October, made the magazine’s annual list of “best inventions making the world better, smarter and-in some cases-a little more fun.”

The dialysis-like device has an antiviral and an immunotherapeutic affect, according to Aethlon Medical, Inc. CEO Jim Joyce.

The Hemopurifier works to remove an infectious virus before cells and organs can be infected and eliminates the proteins viruses released to suppress the immune system.

“We know the majority of the times, the immune system loses the battle against Ebola. This device is designed to tip the balance in favor of the immune system,” Joyce told NBC 7.

The device can also work with dialysis and CRRT machines already in hospitals around the world.

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<![CDATA[Rain Causes Crashes in Friday's Commute]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 09:12:06 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Rascon6A1121_1200x675_361780803937.jpg NBC 7's Matt Rascon reports on a three-vehicle crash in Rancho Bernardo morning. ]]> <![CDATA[2nd Arrest Made in School Threats]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 20:39:03 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/torrey+pines+lockdown+cop.jpg

Police have made two arrests in alleged online threats that led to two school lockdowns Thursday at Torrey Pines High School and Canyon Crest Academy, according to a post on the school district's website.

San Diego Police Lt. Kevin Mayer announced Friday evening a 16-year-old girl was arrested in connection with the Canyon Crest Academy threat. The minor is not a student at that school.

This arrest comes hours after word that a first juvenile was taken into custody for the Torrey Pines High School incident.

The San Dieguito Union High School District's website posted at 8:15 a.m. Friday morning to announce a suspect was in custody.

In a media briefing at 8:45 a.m., San Diego Police Acting Capt. Stephanie Rose had no information on that report, only to say the department was investigating.

“We take threats like this very seriously,” Rose said.

Nearly two hours later, SDPD issued a press release confirming a 17-year-old boy had been taken into  police custody Thursday in connection with the threat made against TPHS.

According to the release, the unidentified juvenile was not a student at the high school. An investigation is ongoing to determine if there were any other suspects, officials said.

At this point, the TPHS and CCA incidents do not appear to be connected, Lt. Mayer said.

District officials said TPHS administrators were made aware of a threat toward the school posted on a social media site.

The campus north of San Diego was locked down at approximately 10:25 a.m. with students and teachers told to shelter in place and police officers using patrol cars to block entrances.

Officers went room to room in search of any potential threat.

TPHS Principal David Jaffe said he first learned of the threat through one of the school's parents. He showed a screenshot of the alleged threat and showed it to a San Diego police officer before putting the school on lockdown.

“The best way to prevent these types or any kind of tragedies is being connected with your students,” Jaffe said. “And really encouraging students, parents, faculty that if you see it, say it. That’s what happened yesterday.”

Jaffe said the school used emails and phone calls to keep parents informed throughout the day.

Just before 1 p.m., students were first spotted leaving classrooms.

At nearby Canyon Crest Academy sophomores Madison Klaire and Cameron Colleran hid underneath their desks in dark classrooms for 45 minutes waiting for police to give them the all clear.

A school secretary called police just before 3 p.m. reporting a threat received through an online source. 

Klaire says a message was sent through Yik Yak that read "on the way with three guns."

The school was placed on lockdown as well.  CCA began releasing students at 3:37 p.m.

Yik Yak is a smart phone app that promises anonymity to its users wishing to send messages within a small geographic area.

However, the SDPD Internet Crimes Against Children unit is investigating the source of the threat. Capt. Rose said that perceived anonymity on the internet ceases when someone makes a threat.

In part of a statement emailed to NBC7, Yik Yak spokesperson Jack Bunting wrote:

"Currently, we are finding a best course of action is developing a sincere and responsive dialogue between parents, app creators and the younger generations. An open dialogue allows for the educating of younger generations on the responsible use of social media."

Thursday evening, TPHS and CCA canceled evening activities. However, classes will go on as scheduled Friday.



Photo Credit: Matt Rascon/NBC 7
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Notario Fraud Likely in Deportation Relief]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 08:20:56 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/459316502.jpg

As soon as President Barack Obama announced his new proposal to allow millions of undocumented immigrants the chance to stay in the U.S. legally, immigration advocacy groups in San Diego were warning of something known as "notario fraud." 

Undocumented immigrants wanting to apply for government deportation relief but not understanding the process are targeted by individuals and businesses looking to make money. They call themselves notarios, the title given to attorneys in Mexico.

Delia Borrayo found herself victimized by numerous notarios when she came to the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant. She was a young widow and mother to three boys.

“He told me ‘I’ll fix your papers. You start paying down payments. It’s okay, don’t worry about it,’” Borrayo told NBC 7. “I started paying and paying. He sent me the bills, and I sent them the money and never see my papers. Never.”

Borrayo said this happened to her three times. In the end, the process cost her $6,000.

“We don’t have any money, but I’m working so hard to get my papers for my kids,” she said.

“A lot of times these notarios in the U.S. are not attorneys, so that gets [undocumented immigrants] into a lot of trouble sometimes,” explained Daniel Alfaro with Alliance San Diego.

One thing people need to know right now, Alfaro said, is there is no deportation relief application yet. The White House does not anticipate having an application available until spring 2015, he added.

“For now, just wait. Don’t pay anyone. Don’t sign any contracts. Be very careful of going to notarios,” he warned. “Some people have gotten deported. Some people have gone to notarios, gave them thousands of dollars and ended up getting deported.”

Alfaro said it’s important to go through the process properly and to be patient. That’s something Borraya agreed with, and admitted, she learned it the hard way.

“They need to wait. Don’t trust people that say ‘Give me money I’ll help you.’ Don’t give your money to nobody,” she said.

Alliance San Diego will be holding four informational forums on Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. They’ll be held at MiraCosta College in Oceanside, Vista Library, Fallbrook Library and Spring Valley Library.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Heavy Rain Falls in San Diego County]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 06:55:35 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Doppler-630-112114.jpg

Heavy rain fell on San Diego County early Friday bringing precipitation just days after the region was under a red flag warning.

A storm front swept through the county dropping most of the rainfall in the foothills and mountains but there were pockets of moderate rain in the valley overnight.

As of 4:45 a.m. PT, Poway had received a third of an inch of rain, San Marcos received nearly a quarter of an inch with Del Mar getting slightly less. Less than one-tenth of an inch of rain was measured at the Oceanside airport, according to the National Weather Service.

The heaviest ban was pushing out to Imperial County as of 6:30 a.m. There was potetntial for a thunderstorm until approximately 8 a.m.

Clouds will push through Friday with possible showers forecasted through 10 a.m.

The wet roads were slick with several spin-outs and crashes reported on highways around the county including Interstate 15.

The rains triggered mudslides in an area of the Los Angeles-area foothills scorched bare by a wildfire earlier this year.

LA County fire officials say a 4-foot-high flow of debris went through a home in the suburb of Glendora before dawn.

A flash flood warning was posted for that section of Southern California after a storm dumped hail and heavy rain in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains from Pasadena to as far east as Claremont.
 

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<![CDATA[Locals React to Obama's Immigration Plan]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 20:23:21 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/obama+watch+party.JPG President Obama announced immigration reform policy that stands to impact more than 1 million people in California. NBC 7's Artie Ojeda has reaction from both sides on Nov. 20, 2014.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 ]]>
<![CDATA[$490 Red Light Ticket Is "Excessive": Driver]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 22:11:14 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/red+light+ticket+1120.JPG

A Carlsbad woman is seeing red after receiving a traffic fine that she calls excessive.

The red light cameras hardly registered with Andrina Campbell as she failed to stop fully at the intersection of Encinitas Boulevard and El Camino Real.

“I made a right-hand turn, and I didn’t even think about it, and about a week later, I got a ticket that says I did not. I ran a red light,” Campbell told NBC 7.

But it wasn’t the action she disputes. It was the cost: $490

When she went to court to request her fine be reduced, the judge refused. Instead, she was offered a payment plan for an additional $30.

“I’m not upset that I received a ticket. I understand what I did,” said Campbell. “But it's that the fine is too high. The fine should reflect the violation.”

She told NBC 7 she wanted to know what her nearly $500 fine would be going to, so we asked Mike Roddy with the San Diego Superior Court.

He said most of the money goes to fees and penalties.

The base fine for failing to stop at a red light is $100. Added to that is a penalty assessment and surcharge of $310, a court operations fee of $40, a criminal conviction fee of $35, an emergency medical program fee of $4 and a night court fee of $1.

Most of that money will go to state and county programs.

“They fund everything from DNA identification systems, fingerprint tracking systems, courthouse construction funds,” said Roddy.

Court officials do not control the fines, and the fees are voted on by the California legislature.

“If the public’s got a concern about the cost of traffic citations, you need to contact your local legislator,” Roddy said.

Still, Campbell does not believe the crime fits the fine. Paying it will cause her family a degree of financial hardship, she said, but for others who are worse off, the fine could be crippling.
 

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<![CDATA[Man Found Guilty of Murdering Mother, Sister in House Fire]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 19:08:13 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ThongsavathSphabmixay.jpg

A San Diego man was found guilty Thursday of lighting the house fire that killed his mother and sister.

The jury convicted Thongsavath Sphabmixay, 46, of murder, attempted murder and arson, including special circumstance additions of multiple murders and murder by arson.

The special circumstances mean Sphabmixay faces life in prison without parole at his Dec. 19 sentencing.

On April 4, 2013, firefighters discovered Bouakham Sphabmixay, 69, and Pamela Sphabmixay, 48, unconscious in two upstairs rooms after a fire broke out at their Mira Mesa house.

The women were taken to the UCSD burn center, where they died the following day from smoke inhalation.

Fire officials said the fire appeared suspicious from the start, for they found gas containers, lighter fluid and lighters inside the home. Prosecutors say Sphabmixay’s DNA was found on one of the containers.

Sphabmixay maintained his innocence through the court proceedings.

A renter was inside at the time of the fire but escaped by jumping from a window. Police say a witness saw Sphabmixay leaving the home right after the fire started. He showed up on scene again shortly after.

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<![CDATA[Canceling Apps Like Uber Not Easy]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 18:32:08 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/453253488.jpg

It's easy to sign up for online apps like Uber but canceling is another story.

"They want to keep your information at all costs," said Kim Gough with Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. "So they're not going to make the process necessarily easy for you to do it."

In Uber's case, finding the cancellation policy requires digging through the fine print on the website. You won't find it in Terms and Conditions, but in a second level down navigation in the Privacy Policy.

"You have to click through several links, you have to read through 10 pages so they could do a better job of disclosing that information right up front," said Evan Velasquez with the Identity Theft Resource Center.

But both Velasquez and Gough say practices like this are not unusual. Many apps, websites, memberships and online contracts inundate readers with blocks of legal language. Yet if someone clicks "I Agree" it's as if you signed paper on a lawyer's desk.

Gough said you need to read the Terms of Use and the Privacy Policy of companies before you sign up. But she acknowledges that few people do that.

Also, websites and retail businesses alike often create databases on their customers that include names, emails and credit card information. But that information is often difficult to find.

"It would be safe to say that every time you give that number out, it's being retained," said Velasquez.

And while many consumers are not aware of policies like this, Gough said the companies are most likely doing nothing illegal.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Holiday Flu Could Be a Grinch This Year]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 17:52:55 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Flu-Generic-Cropped.jpg

‘Tis the season…for a hacking cough?

Influenza season is in full swing and with the rise of holiday airline travel, doctors say the chances of catching the flu bug are high.

“You get a big influx of all the family members coming together. You get a big mixing,” said Dr. Stephen Leibham, managing physician of U.S. HealthWorks’ Miramar clinic. “With everyone traveling, you get everyone spreading viruses throughout the area.”

Here are the most common spots to catch the flu, according to Leibham:

  • No. 1: Commercial airplanes: This germ hot spot basically traps the viruses indoors since the air is recirculating. The lavatory is by far the most germ-infested. “They’re probably the most contaminated of any restrooms,” he said.
  • No. 2: Grocery stores, malls and gas stations: Shopping carts are re-used often and rarely cleaned. The biggest culprit is the child seats in carts, where children cough, touch things and put things in their mouths.
  • No. 3: The office: Believe it or not, keyboards often have more bacteria than toilets. Telephones and office kitchen mugs and utensils are also a hot zone for viruses.
  • No. 4: The home: Surprisingly, the kitchen usually has the most bacteria, even more than bathrooms. Another germ culprit is the TV remote.
  • No. 5: Elevators and escalators: Everyone presses the buttons, but rarely does anyone clean them. Also be aware of handles and seats in taxis, buses and trains.

The good news: There are simple preventative measures you can take, Leibham said. The first and most obvious thing is to get a flu shot. Another common-sense tip is to wash your hands frequently and carry around hand sanitizer.

If you become sick, Leibham encourages you to “be considerate” and stay home.

“The first three days you’re sick you’re shedding the most amount of viruses,” he said.

And, he said, you don't want to ruin anyone else's Thanksgiving or Christmas.

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<![CDATA[Final Results in for Tight South Bay Races]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 18:50:10 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/5PT_PKG_MAIL_BALLOTS_PU_KNSD4HBG_1200x675_313432643791.jpg

More than two weeks after Election Day, final numbers are in for the razor-thin races for Imperial Beach mayor and Chula Vista City Council District 1.

Thursday's last tally from the San Diego County Registrar of Voters has Serge Dedina ahead of two-term incumbent Jim Janney by 43 votes.

And in historical race, John McCann is exactly tied with Steve Padilla in the race for Chula Vista City Council's District 1 seat. Both have 18,450 votes.

The results will not be certified until Dec. 2.

The Chula Vista City Clerk told NBC 7 a tie has never happened in the city's history, and the winner could now be determined by a coin toss.

According to the Chula Vista charter, election ties will be broken by drawing lots, which could be a flip of a coin or some other game of chance. The exact method has not been determined.

But first, the registrar has 12 days to make sure all the votes were counted accurately. Both McCann and Padilla say they'll wait until Dec. 2 to determine whether they will ask for a recount.

In this and the Imperial Beach races, every single vote mattered.

Of the roughly 11,000 voter in Imperial beach, about 4,000 people cast ballots. That is just slightly higher than the countywide voting average of one in three registered voters.

Dedina said as a longtime resident of the city, the win is an exciting one.

"I've lived here since I was seven years old, hung out on this pier since I was a kid," said Dedina. "I'm still here and it's really exciting, really rewarding."

He said he ran a grassroots campaign based on helping kids and families, walking door-to-door for five months. In that time, Dedina said he reached more voters than Janney did.

For his part, Janney blamed his loss partially on the hotel workers union that backed his opponent.

“I’m disappointed in the way the race went. To lose is not a problem; to lose this way doesn’t feel good,” said and small business owner Janney.

Still, he said he is proud of where Imperial Beach is today and that it will be able to move forward.

Before the results were released, Dedina told NBC 7 he is ready to move on.

“Really, I ran to support neighborhoods and kids in IB, and that’s what we will be doing,” he said.

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<![CDATA[Horton Plaza Park Fountain To Be Restored]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 20:28:03 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Horton+Plaza+Fountain-PIC_0.jpg

One of San Diego's oldest civic landmarks is about to get a modern overhaul.

The iconic, domed fountain in Horton Plaza Park has seen better days since it was built in 1910 to honor the founder of downtown Alonzo Horton, a year after Horton died at the age of 96.

Restoration crews say the design by architect Irvin Gill has is first-rate, although the materials and waterworks have eroded over decades of neglect.

It'll get "kid-glove" handling in the process of being dismantled for material upgrades, and retrofitting meant to preserve it for much longer than it's already stood.

"We even retained a conservator for this, because of how important this is to the city of San Diego,” says Troy Parry, project manager for the Pomona-based Spectra Company. “So what we're going is sparing no expense getting after it, and preserving everything we can."

The fountain was built for $10,000 -- a gift from banker Louis Wilde, later to become mayor of San Diego.

The restoration will cost $450,000, part of a $17 million project to create a new urban park on Broadway between Third and Fourth Avenues that'll open late next year.

"It's a fantastic monument,” Parry said in an interview Thursday on the construction site just north of the Westfield Horton Plaza shopping mall. “They spared no expense."

While redevelopment law may be "history" in California, the fountain’s history is secure and its future seems bright.

"The research we've conducted indicates that the fountain is the earliest piece acquired by the city of San Diego for its civic art collection,” said Dana Springs, executive director of the city’s Commission on Arts and Culture. “It provides an iconic image for this area, and that's very valuable not only to our community, but the city of San Diego's art collection."

But it hasn't been an artistic success for a long time, which has tarnished the legacy of Alonzo Horton, memorialized by way of a bronze statue located across Third Avenue, in front of the mall’s main entrance.

Horton came here from San Francisco in 1867, and bought up 900 acres in what was known as "New Town."

He turned it into downtown, a hub of commerce and government.

Across Broadway circle from Horton’s statue is a bronze casting of the late shopping mall developer Ernie Hahn Sr.

Hahn -- with political backing from then-Mayor Pete Wilson, whose statue stands west of Hahn’s and Horton’s on the NBC building’s plaza -- kickstarted downtown redevelopment in the 1980s.

Will Lee Brown, a downtown musician who's strummed guitars for passersby for decades, said the fountain's restoration is long overdue.

It figures to be a gateway photo backdrop for locals and tourists, flocking to the long-envisioned Horton Plaza Park that'll boast a host of events and venues to further promote the area as a destination.

"It's going to be one of the main points of entertainment downtown," Brown told NBC 7 in a lunch-hour interview Thursday. "You're right in the heart of downtown and you're getting, especially, the mall right here, the park right there and it's amazing. So I think they'll get good 'bang for the buck.’”

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<![CDATA[Deputies Investigating Death of El Cajon Woman]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:30:32 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/san+diego+county+Sheriff+generic+logo.jpg

Sheriff’s deputies are investigating the death of a 63-year-old El Cajon woman.

Linda Sue Irwin died Thursday morning at Sharp Memorial Hospital. The night before, deputies were called in to investigate an alleged assault of Irwin, according to a news release from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

During the investigation at the hospital, Irwin died.

Irwin had visible signs of injury, though investigators couldn’t determine whether those injuries were the cause of her death, deputies said.

The alleged assault happened sometime between Monday and Wednesday somewhere in El Cajon, according to the news release.

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

A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest.

Anyone with information should call the sheriff’s department’s homicide detail at 858-974-231 or after hours at 858-565-5200.



Photo Credit: San Diego County Sheriff's Dept.]]>
<![CDATA[Lawsuit Accuses Free Clinic, Doctor of Sexual Battery]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 11:27:33 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Doctor-Jeffrey-Abrams-11102.jpg

New allegations against a San Diego-area doctor facing sexual assault and battery charges surfaced in a lawsuit filed by five women who were clients of the only free health care clinic in the East County.

According to a lawsuit filed Nov. 13, patients to the clinic Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) in El Cajon had to see Dr. Jeffrey J. Abrams before being referred to other doctors or specialists.

One of the plaintiffs in the case said that she initially went to the clinic to get a referral to a psychologist and a therapy group. Another woman requested a fertility specialist to help her conceive. A third woman said she went to VIM for a rash on her hand.

All say they were instructed by Abrams to remove their clothes so they could receive a vaginal exam. In some cases, the women were given rectal exams.

Abrams, 67, posted $1.5 million bail after pleading not guilty to 15 felony counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious victim, eight counts of sexual battery of an unconscious victim and one count of possession of child pornography.

Through the suit, the plaintiffs — identified as Jane Does 1-5 — allege that the health clinic was negligent in allowing Abrams "unfettered and unsupervised access to all female patients.”

“VIM knew or should have known that Defendant Abrams was sexually harassing, battering and assaulting female patients and it was not safe to be in an exam room alone with him,” the documents allege.

The clinic's CEO Maureen Hartin told NBC 7 she was not present when the alleged incidents took place, but she said the staff has followed professional medical standards of care since they opened in 2006.

Hartin said female patients are given gowns and drapes while undergoing gynecological exams, though the patients listed in the lawsuit were not treated by Abrams in a gynecological capacity.

Also, she said that in the primary care clinics, an RN and LVN are available to the medical provider when doing a physical exam of female patients.

If an RN has already left the room and a physician decides to do a physical exam, he or she would ask the RN to return before proceeding.

Two of the plaintiffs — women we'll refer to as Jane Doe 3 and Jane Doe 4 — sought treatment at the clinic in 2010.

When she went to VIM for medication refills, a rash and a vaginal tear, Jane Doe 4 said Abrams would watch her dress and undress before and after exams over the course of the year. At one point, she said Abrams told her she needed to clean her clitoris and then cleaned it for her.

She recalls no other VIM employee in the room during her exams with Abrams.

Jane Doe 3 was seen by Dr. Abrams for a rash on her hand. She said the doctor told her that given her family history of Lupus, he would need to check her entire body for rashes as well as perform a breast and pelvic exam to check her lymph nodes.

He took approximately 24 photos of her over the course of four years, the documents allege. Jane Doe 3 also claims Abrams called her from his personal cellphone, asking when she would be coming back into the clinic.

In 2011, a woman we'll refer to as Jane Doe 5 went to VIM for a referral to a psychologist. She was scheduled for a physical exam with Dr. Abrams first, the suit alleges.

In court documents, Jane Doe 5 said her boyfriend was in the exam room with her when Abrams showed him how to stimulate her to climax.

In her final visit with Abrams, approximately 2013, Jane Doe 5 claims a medical assistant was in the room as Abrams took images of her naked butt. She also claims Abrams called her home number from his personal phone.

In 2011, Jane Doe 2 went to VIM for help with infertility. Even though she says she requested a female gynecologist, she said her request was denied and she was scheduled to see Dr. Abrams.

According to court documents, Abrams told Jane Doe 2 he needed to take images of her pubic hair to monitor her hormone levels.

On her last visit in May 2012, she claims Abrams stood in front of her with his legs straddling hers while she was on the exam table.

The plaintiff alleges that while Abrams was doing a breast exam, she “felt his hard penis against her leg.”

Approximately 36 images were taken of her while she was seen at VIM, according to court documents.

The most recent incident involved a woman we'll refer to as Jane Doe 1. On Jan. 4, 2014, Jane Doe 1 went VIM for treatment of what was believed to be a hernia. Since she spoke limited English, she brought her minor son to help her translate.

During the exam, Abrams asked her son to leave, court documents allege.

The lawsuit claims Abrams inserted his finger into Jane Doe 1's vagina twice — once while she was laying on her back and again while she laying on her stomach.

When he sat in front of her naked body and began to take pictures, the patient asked “Radiographa doctor” to which Abrams allegedly replied “I need one pintura for me,” the lawsuit claims.

It was in this incident that Jane Doe 1 said her son translated her questions, asking VIM staff why Dr. Abrams took naked images of his mother.

According to the claim, Abrams showed one image to a nurse of Jane Doe 1's stomach and explained it was for before and after comparison. 

Abrams' medical license has been temporarily suspended by the State Medical Board, and he has been ordered to surrender his passport.

If convicted, he could face 40 years in prison. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 5.

VIM's CEO said the need for the free clinic is great in the East County, so they have not seen a decrease in patients since the allegations against Abrams surfaced.  The county estimates that there are over 90,000 uninsured residents in East County and the clinic cares for more than 3,000 per year, Hartin said.

Anytime a female patient asks the medical provider for a chaperon, VIM honors that request, according to Hartin.

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<![CDATA[Riding Crop Limits to Be Imposed in Del Mar Races]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:42:42 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Del+Mar+turf+track.JPG

The California Horse Racing Board has renamed horse whips used by jockeys and unanimously passed new limits on how many times they can be used in races, including those held in Del Mar.

A 45-day discussion at Del Mar's Surfside Race Place took in a wide range of equine issues, and among them was the CHRB Rule 1688, Use of Whips.

The board decided to refer to whips as "riding crops" and limit them to three hits in succession. The new rule is meant to allow more time for horses to respond, according to the members.

The meeting was closed Wednesday night, and the amendment was passed unanimously.

Horses will not be disqualified by the overuse of the crop, but jockeys will be fined.

At the close of the discussion, Chairman Chuck Winner said there had been no prior suggestion of eliminating the crop all together.

"Perhaps in the future things could change, but this is a huge step forward," he said.

The new rules will go into place across the state in the first part of 2015, according to Darrell Haire with the Jockey's Guild.

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<![CDATA[What Is Yik Yak?]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 22:05:37 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/yik+yak+logo.jpg

The social media site Yik Yak is in the local spotlight after an anonymous posting apparently led to a lockdown of Torrey Pines High School on Thursday morning.

So, what exactly is Yik Yak? It works like an anonymous bulletin board, allowing users to post statements that other people in their immediate area can see.

Every post can be voted 'up' or 'down' on the page. The app also has a feature that removes posts deemed offensive by two or more users.

The app and website were intended to be an outlet for college students to anonymously share their thoughts, but some say it has turned into a medium for cyber bullying and threats.

A high school in Manhattan Beach, just south of Los Angeles, was closed for the last two days after online threats.

The Student Government Association at Emory University in Georgia introduced a resolution to disable usage of the app on campus, saying it promotes hate speech and discriminatory sentiments toward individuals.

Other schools districts across the country, including a number in Chicago, have banned the app in schools.

The Atlanta-based company, which was founded last year, wouldn’t do an interview with NBC 7. But a spokesperson in San Diego said the company works closely with law enforcement when it involves serious threats. By using GPS, Yik Yak can track down the device where the threat originated.

"They will be reported to the police, and their real information will be given out," said cyber crime specialist Jim Stickley.

He told NBC  7 Yik Yak was designed for college-age students, not high schoolers.

The company released the following statement:

"Currently, we are finding a best course of action is developing a sincere and responsive dialogue between parents, app creators and the younger generations. An open dialogue allows for the educating of younger generations on the responsible use of social media, while empowering parents to voice their concerns and learn about what safeguards exist, and ultimately enabling app developers to react to parental concerns in a timely and effective manner.

“We recognize that with any social app or network, there is the likelihood for misuse from a small group of users, so we have built specific tools to prevent this from happening. We have geo-fenced all primary and secondary schools and turned the app to 17+ in stores to ensure the user base is age appropriate.”

Parents can prevent their under-17-year-old from downloading apps rated 17+. If they have an iOS device: Go to “Settings,” select “General” and tap “Enable Restrictions.” You can set restrictions for “Installing Apps” and “In-App Purchases” there.

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<![CDATA[Threat on App Forced Canyon Crest Academy Lockdown]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 22:24:34 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/canyon+crest+academy.JPG

A second San Diego school was placed on lock down Thursday, just a few miles down the street from the first.

At about 2:56 p.m., a secretary from Canyon Crest Academy called 911, reporting a message had been sent out via social media that a person was "on the way with three guns."

Students who saw the message told NBC 7 it was posted to Yik Yak, an app that allows users to post anonymously to a message board seen by those within a 1 1/2-mile radius.

School authorities decided to lock down the academy, which is located at 5951 E. Village Center Loop in Carmel Valley. 

"It kinda freaked me out a little bit," said sophomore Madison Klaire. "I just thought, like, 'Oh, I hope everything is OK.'" 

She and fellow student Cameron Colleran hid underneath their desks in a dark classroom for 45 minutes, waiting for police to give them the all clear.

CCA began releasing students at 3:37 p.m.

Thursday morning, Torrey Pines High School was locked down after another threat through Yik Yak. It's unclear at this point if the two messages were posted by the same person.

Klaire said she used Yik Yak, but now she's having second thoughts.

"Yeah, I liked the app, but now it's weird. I don't want to go on it anymore," she said.

The situations on both campuses prompted nearby Cathedral Catholic High School to close down for the rest of the day.

School officials posted on Facebook that all athletic events and after-school meetings have been canceled, though they say there is no immediate threat to students, faculty or staff there.

Canyon Crest Academy is about three miles from TPHS down Del Mar Heights Road. It has about 1,880 students, grades 9 through 12, that come in from Carmel Valley, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe and La Costa, according to its website.

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<![CDATA[Victim in Campground Explosion Grateful to Be Alive]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 13:25:56 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Carmen-Ruelas-Santee-Lakes.jpg

A woman who suffered serious burns in a campground explosion met some of the men who helped save her and her husband moments after the blast.

Carmen Ruelas and her husband, James, were cooking in their recreational vehicle at Santee Lakes on Oct. 5 when a propane tank exploded inside the RV.

She said James was thrown from the RV by the force of the blast. He suffered third degree burns on nearly 50 percent of his body and is still hospitalized.

Carmen, who suffered second degree burns from the waist down, took part in a ceremony Wednesday to honor two of the men who came to their rescue.

“It brings back a lot of memories but I’m happy to be here to say thank you in person,” Ruelas said at the meeting of the Padre Dam Municipal Water District.

The board recognized James Wagner, a camper at Santee Lakes, who Ruelas said jumped into action seconds after the explosion shook the campground.

U.S. Navy submarine machinist Dylan Perkins was also honored but he was unable to attend the ceremony due to a family emergency.

Both men were lauded for a “selfless act of courage” by the board.

Ruelas says the men saved their lives.

“They didn't hesitate at all,” she said. “They were there."

“They were definitely heroes.”

Two sailors with USS Albuquerque based at Point Loma were also on the scene when the propane tank exploded.

Wesley Wood and Patrick Igoe attended the ceremony and were applauded by those in attendance.

The two sailors were visiting Perkins when they found themselves in the middle of an emergency. They were driven by an adrenaline rush, they said.

“I saw the explosion it was on the other side of the trees from me,” Wood told NBC 7.

Wood said he and Perkins ran inside the RV and put out any remaining fire.

Meanwhile, Igoe said he put the couple in a shower to cool them off as quickly as possible.

“They were struggling, breathing pretty hard so I just calmed him down,” Igoe said.

As for the Ruelas family, there is an online fundraising page collecting donations to help the couple while they recover.

“It’s a slow process,” Ruelas said. “We’re taking it day by day.”

She said James really wants to come back to the RV lifestyle but she has her doubts.

“I’m not sure yet,” she said.
 



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Playoff Watch: Who to Root For]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 12:12:51 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/ryan+mathews+practice.jpg

As we zoom through the final third of the NFL season, the playoff picture is starting to become clear for the Chargers.

At this point, the important thing is to be in the conversation, exactly where the Bolts find themselves. Let’s take a look at what they’ll need to do and who to root for in the upcoming Week 12.

First of all, you hate to get too melodramatic with more than a month left in the season, but the Chargers (6-4) more or less saved their playoff chances by hanging on for an ugly 13-6 victory over the winless Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

A loss there and …  well, we don’t even want to think about that.

Now they face the 4-6 St. Louis Rams at home on Sunday in another one of those win-or-you’re-in-trouble games. Its importance is heightened when you look at the rest of the schedule: Five games against teams with records of 6-4 or better, including both AFC West co-leaders in the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs.

Looking at the Chargers’ place in the AFC standings, it’s a big ol’ mess in the hunt for the two wild card spots. Right now the Bolts are in eighth place, but tied in record with three other teams – Miami, Baltimore and Cleveland. The Dolphins lead the Chargers after beating them earlier this season, while the Chargers have the tiebreaker edge over the Ravens and Browns because of a better conference record.

The Chiefs (7-3) are alone in fifth place, but would take over the No. 2 seed if they pass the Broncos for the division lead. The Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4) are alone in sixth place. Here is a look at the wild card standings:

5. Kansas City – 7-3
6. Pittsburgh – 7-4
7. Miami – 6-4
8. Chargers – 6-4
9. Baltimore – 6-4
10. Cleveland – 6-4

So, who should Bolts fans be rooting for this weekend? Here’s a breakdown of games affecting their postseason hopes.

First, the biggest game of the week is the Broncos hosting the Dolphins on Sunday at 1:25 p.m. Since we can’t root for both teams to lose, the best situation would be for a Miami win. In fact, just plan on rooting against the Broncos and Chiefs the rest of the season. But Bolts fans are used to that.

Speaking of, the Chiefs get the aforementioned winless Raiders on Thursday night. Yes, Oakland is 0-10, but they’ve been competitive in a number of games – including both contests with the Chargers. The game is in Oakland, where it’s never easy to play. Don’t hold your breath on a Kansas City loss, but crazier things have happened.

In other important games, the Browns play on the road at the Atlanta Falcons at 10 a.m. while the Ravens head to New Orleans to play the Saints on Monday night. Bolts fans will be rooting hard for the NFC teams in those games.

The Steelers have their bye this week.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[High Surf Advisory Issued for Several SD County Beaches]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 14:37:56 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/High+Surf+1120-PIC_0.jpg

Beach goers and surfers should be aware of a high surf advisory in effect Thursday at a number of San Diego County beaches.

The warning for Seal Beach, Oceanside Beach, La Jolla Shores and Imperial Beach is in effect until 5 p.m.

The advisory calls for waves and surf estimated at 4 to 7 feet tall with 8-foot local sets, according to the National Weather Service.

Forecasters are encouraging swimmers and surfers to take precautions, as the high surf will include strong rip currents that will create hazardous conditions.

The high surf will gradually dissipate by the afternoon.

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<![CDATA[Torrey Pines HS Put on Lockdown After Online Threat]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 18:49:20 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/torrey+pines+lockdown+cop.jpg

Torrey Pines High School was put on lockdown Thursday morning after an online threat.

San Diego Police confirmed that there was no active shooter on campus, but the school was placed on lockdown as a precautionary measure.

Students were released from classrooms in the early afternoon, but all school activities were either canceled or postponed for the rest of the day.

Police are now turning their attention to who was responsible for the threat. It reportedly came on the website Yik Yak -- a social media site and app that allows users to anonymously make postings to others within a 1 1/2-mile radius.

Police responded around 10:25 a.m., blocking off entrances to the school. Teachers kept students in their classrooms as police went through each room. The first students were seen leaving classrooms just before 1 p.m.

Despite the police presence, dozens of parents lined up outside the school.

"As a parent, I’m obviously concerned about the situation here and we want to know how it resolves as soon as possible," said Robert Margolis, the parent of one student at the school. "I talked with my wife and she asked me to come down here and see how it is, if there’s anything we can do."

School principal David Jaffe sent a letter to parents on Wednesday morning that read:

"We received an anonymous threat to school posted on Yik Yak. We have initiated lockdown procedures and are working directly with law enforcement at this time. This is a precautionary lockdown. As we need law enforcement to have open access to the campus we request you do not drive to campus until you are notified to do so. We will be posting updates on the school website.  Again, this is precautionary."

Just after noon, the school posted a message on its website about the situation:

"On the morning of Thursday, November 20, 2014 Torrey Pines High School administration was made aware of an anonymous threat that was posted online.  In consultation with the San Diego Police Department, the school was placed in lockdown status as a safety precaution. District and school staff are working closely with SDPD to ensure the safety of everyone on campus and to investigate the source and credibility of the threat. TPHS families have been apprised of the situation via email and phone messages and will be updated throughout the day. We ask that parents do not come to or call the campus unless directed to do so as this distracts law enforcement and school staff from ensuring the security of the campus."

The school is located at 3710 Del Mar Heights Rd., just east of Interstate 5.



Photo Credit: Matt Rascon/NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[McStay Suspect Has Health Problems: Atty]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 10:42:30 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Charles-Chase-Merritt-custo.jpg

The Southern California man accused of murder in the deaths of an entire Fallbrook family is suffering from a potentially deadly health condition, his attorney said Thursday.

Joseph and Summer McStay, 43, and their two young children, Gianni and Joseph Mateo ages 4 and 3,  vanished from their home in February 2010, triggering a widespread search from San Diego County to northern Los Angeles County.

More than three years later, four bodies were found buried in the desert near Victorville and a homicide investigation was launched.

Charles "Chase" Merritt appeared in a San Bernardino County courtroom for what was scheduled to be a pretrial hearing.

The judge continued the hearing to give attorneys time to exchange documents including those from the missing persons case conducted by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

Merritt's attorney said Thursday that his client has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

His client had previous health problems according to attorney Robert Ponce who speculated the stress of the case may have exacerbated those health issues.

The next hearing will be held Jan. 30 at 8:30 a.m.

McStay, 40, operated a custom decorative water fountain business and was working on a project with Merritt when he and his family disappeared.

Merritt, who has been described as the last person to see the McStay family alive, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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