SF Bay Area commuters turn to cars, charter buses
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Commuters in the San Francisco Bay Area appear to be getting an earlier start than usual with the region's major commuter train line shut down because of a worker strike.
People were lined up well before 5 a.m. Friday at a Bay Area Rapid Transit train station in Walnut Creek for one of the charter buses BART was running into San Francisco. Traffic at the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge toll plaza into San Francisco also appeared heavier than normal for the early morning.
Workers from two BART unions walked off the job at midnight Thursday after talks during a marathon negotiating session broke down.
About 400,000 riders take BART every weekday on the nation's fifth-largest commuter rail system. The system carries passengers from the farthest reaches of the densely populated eastern suburbs to San Francisco International Airport across the bay.
POLICE OFFICER KILLING
Woman sentenced in death of San Diego officer
(Information in the following story is from: U-T San Diego, http://www.utsandiego.com)
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A woman who surrendered to police after a shootout that killed a San Diego officer has been sentenced to 25 years and four months in prison.
Melissa Ortiz pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter last month.
U-T San Diego reports that although the 24-year-old Ortiz was not accused of firing the fatal shot, prosecutors said she aided and abetted the killing.
Officer Christopher Wilson was shot in the head in October of 2010 while authorities were checking up on a probationer, Alex Charfauros, and a fugitive, Holim Lee.
Charfauros was taken into custody but when officers went back inside the home they were met by gunfire.
After an hours-long standoff, Ortiz and her boyfriend surrendered. Lee and his girlfriend were found dead of self-inflicted wounds in a bedroom. Authorities say Lee fired the shot that killed the officer.
OC man reunited with son, 8, after 4-year ordeal
(Information in the following story is from: The Orange County Register, http://www.ocregister.com)
CYPRESS, Calif. (AP) — An Orange County man has returned home with his young son four years after his ex-wife violated a court order and absconded with the boy to her native Zambia.
The Orange County Register reports John Lorenza Cotton of Cypress spent thousands of dollars fighting legal battles in three countries to get back John Cotton Jr., who is now 8.
On Wednesday Cotton flew to the Netherlands immediately after learning that Dutch authorities recognized his court-sanctioned rights to full custody of the boy.
The father raced to the US Embassy to complete an expedited passport for his son and boarded the first plane out of Amsterdam.
After the boy traveled to the Netherlands with his grandmother, the Orange County District Attorney's Office and several federal agencies persuaded Dutch authorities to put a hold on the boy's Zambian passport.
TWIN BROTHERS STRUCK
Twin brothers, 6, struck by elderly Calif. driver
(Information in the following story is from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, http://www.mercurynews.com)
MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Twin 6-year-old brothers were seriously injured when an SUV driven by a 90-year-old man jumped a curb and pinned them against a wall in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The San Jose Mercury News reports the crash happened Thursday afternoon in a drug store parking lot in Menlo Park.
Police Commander Dave Bertini says the driver mistakenly hit the gas instead of his brake as he was pulling his BMW SUV out of a parking spot.
One of the boys was hospitalized in critical condition with possible life-threatening injuries. The other had non-life threatening injuries.
A nanny who was walking with the boys suffered minor injuries.
Bertini says it does not appear the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The man was not charged.
The investigation continues.
CalPERS renews San Bernardino bankruptcy fight
(Information in the following story is from: The Sacramento Bee, http://www.sacbee.com)
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — California's biggest public pension system has appealed a judge's ruling that allowed the city of San Bernardino to file for bankruptcy.
The Sacramento Bee says the move Thursday renews the bankruptcy battle between the cash-strapped city and the powerful California Public Employees' Retirement System.
CalPERS tried to have San Bernardino's bankruptcy filing tossed out of court earlier this year. The city owes the pension fund $17 million in overdue payments.
Last week the San Bernardino City Council adopted a tentative plan to deal with all its creditors, including CalPERS. But the plan remains secret while the city negotiates with those creditors via mediation.
San Bernardino, located 60 miles east of Los Angeles, filed for bankruptcy protection last year after learning it faced a $46 million deficit.
BEVERLY HILLS PERFORMING ARTS
Galaxy of stars help open performing arts center
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — With all the fanfare that might accompany a film premiere, a new performing-arts center is opening in Beverly Hills.
After 10 years of construction, the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts opened Thursday night with a black-tie gala that drew scores of stars.
Kevin Spacey, Charlize Theron, Jodie Foster, Demi Moore, Gwen Stefani, Amy Adams, John Lithgow and Josh Duhamel were among the famous folks celebrating the new facility that occupies the original 1933 Beverly Hills Post Office.
Keeping with the building's original theme, Spacey, Lithgow and actress Diane Lane read letters from Groucho Marx, Tennessee Williams and others to inaugurate the center's new 500-seat Goldsmith Theater.
Programming begins next month with performances by the Martha Graham Dance Company.