Latest Northern California news, sports, business and entertainment


NTSB hearing on SF crash now slated for Wednesday

WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Transportation Safety Board says is now planning to hold its hearing Wednesday into the crash-landing of an Asiana jet at San Francisco International Airport that left three Chinese teens dead.

The hearing was originally scheduled as a two-day series of panels Tuesday and Wednesday, but it was postponed due to wintry weather.

The safety board wants to examine whether the Korean airline's pilots were overly reliant on the Boeing 777's computer systems when they approached too low and slow before striking a seawall and tumbling across the runway in July.

The board says the hearing will focus on "pilot awareness in a highly automated aircraft." There are also plans to review the emergency response.

The hearing is now slated to take place Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. at NTSB headquarters.


Protests over return of deputy who shot teen

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — Dozens of protesters flooded the City Council chambers of a Northern California town Tuesday to protest the return to duty of a sheriff's deputy who shot and killed a 13-year-old boy in October.

About 75 demonstrators carrying white crosses poured into a Santa Rosa council meeting to decry the fact that Sonoma County Sheriff's Deputy Erick Gelhaus has returned to duty on an administrative assignment after fatally shooting Andy Lopez on Oct. 22. The teen was carrying a BB gun that looked like an assault rifle, and Gelhaus mistook it for the real thing.

Protesters say Gelhaus should be charged in the killing, and Lopez's parents have filed a federal lawsuit. One demonstrator was arrested Tuesday.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports that Gelhaus's lawyer says he acted appropriately.


Judge: Calif death row lacks care for mentally ill

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that California is providing inadequate treatment to mentally ill inmates on death row, though he's leaving it up to the state to decide how to fix the problem.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ordered state officials Tuesday to work with a court-appointed overseer to find solutions. Options include creating a specialized inpatient psychiatric treatment facility at San Quentin State Prison or another prison.

Jeffrey Callison, a spokesman for the state corrections department, said officials are reviewing the order.

Michael Bien, an attorney who represents the welfare of mentally ill inmates, called the judge's ruling "a very significant victory."

The ruling comes as part of an ongoing 23-year lawsuit that has led to sweeping changes in the state prison system, including a sharp reduction in overcrowding.


Gas leak that led to fire in California is capped

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Officials say a gas main leak that led to an underground fire in Oakland and forced the evacuation of several homes has been capped. No injuries were reported.

Fire officials told the Oakland Tribune the line was capped Tuesday, about three hours after the leak was reported.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. spokesman Jason King told KRON4-TV the utility responded to the scene and found a 4-inch plastic gas main had ruptured.

At one point television news footage showed flames coming from below the roadway. The fire was near homes located several blocks from Interstate 580.


13 plead guilty to attacking Paypal servers

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Thirteen people have pleaded guilty to helping briefly disable online payment service provider Paypal as part of a protest that authorities say was organized by the hacking group Anonymous.

Ten of the defendants pleaded guilty Thursday to felony and misdemeanor charges of intentionally damaging a protected computer.

The U.S. Department of Justice plans to drop the felony charges, and the 10 people will be sentenced to probation a year from now if they stay out of legal trouble.

Three other defendants pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in San Jose federal court and face similar sentences.

Authorities say the 13 defendants acknowledged taking part in a protest organized by Anonymous in December 2010 after Paypal cut ties to the anti-secrecy website Wikileaks when it released more than 700,000 leaked government documents.


Calif. lawmakers call for drought declaration

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — With another dry winter looming, California lawmakers are calling on Gov. Jerry Brown and President Barack Obama to declare a drought emergency and federal disaster in the state.

In a letter sent Monday, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Democratic Rep. Jim Costa urged the governor to take immediate action.

The lawmakers cited the California Department of Water Resources' announcement of low water deliveries for Central Valley agriculture due to low rainfall projections.

While a drought has not been declared, a dry 2014 would be the third straight year with subpar rainfall.

Most of the state's water comes from the Sierra snowpack, so in dry years water managers dramatically cut deliveries due to environmental concerns.

The governor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


San Jose gives cops raises to improve retention

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — San Jose has given its police officers an 11 percent raise in the hopes of stopping them from leaving the city for more lucrative jobs.

The City Council voted Tuesday to hand out the pay increases as well as to name its acting police chief, Larry Esquivel, to the police chief post permanently.

San Jose cops and all other city workers took a 10 percent pay cut during the recession to avert more layoffs. The city's force is down to about 910 officers, who patrol a city of nearly a million.

Last year, the San Jose Mercury News reports, the average officer in San Jose made $111,185 in gross pay, which is in the middle of the pack for the Bay Area, and near the bottom for Silicon Valley.


Ore. wandering wolf OR-7 takes day trip to Calif.

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Oregon's wandering wolf, OR-7, took a day-trip into Northern California over the weekend, but came right back to the southern Cascades territory he has favored of late.

Karen Kovacs of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife says OR-7's GPS tracking collar showed he made a trip into northern Siskiyou County on Saturday, but went right back to Oregon.

His border-crossing travels are similar to those he made the last two winters. Kovacs says it appears OR-7 is following migrating deer and elk.

This spring, OR-7 will be 4 years old. He lit out from northeast Oregon in September 2011 on a quest for a mate that has taken him more than 3,000 miles, with no sign of success. He is the first known wolf in Northern California since 1924.