Bay Area

Review: ‘Console Wars’ relives bitter ’90s video game rivalry and cultural upheaval

Video game documentaries were rare a decade ago. One reason for that is the medium and its audience were relatively young. Stories were still unfolding and the outstanding news still hadn’t gotten the patina of history yet. That has changed recently as filmmakers uncovered compelling narratives while peeking behind the industry curtains. The “High Score” Netflix series provided a multifaceted look at the origins of video games and several genres. “King of Kong” introduced viewers to the world of retro video game competitions. “Atari: Game Over” looked at the rise and fall of the pioneering company. As these documentaries show, video game history is fascinating, and some of the best stories to emerge come from the 1990s. Author Blake J. Harris wrote about the defining conflict of many kids’ childhoods — Nintendo vs. Sega — in “Console Wars,” and with the help of Jonah Tulis, he produced a documentary based on his book. The film, out Sept. 23 on CBS All Access, follows the general path of the written work. It’s an underdog story describing how Sega rose from obscurity to challenge the near monopoly…

Berkeley first to pass ‘healthy checkout’ ordinance at grocery stores

BERKELEY — The city of Berkeley may be the first in the nation, if not the world, to pass a policy  that will eliminate junk food and unhealthy items at grocery store check-out lines. Grocery stores bigger than 2,500 square feet will no longer be allowed to sell unhealthy food and beverages at the check-out line, and instead are encouraged to offer more nutritious food and drink. Gone would be the soda, chips, candy bars and other sweetened beverages: only food items with no more than 5 grams of added sugars or 250 milligrams of sodium per serving would be allowed. “It’s not a ban, it’s a nudge,” said council member Kate Harrison, who co-authored the ordinance. City Council passed the ordinance unanimously at its Tuesday night meeting. A total of 25 retailers throughout the city would have to adhere to the ordinance including stores such as Safeway, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and the Berkeley Bowl. Proponents of the ordinance say the check-out line not only targets children and sugary, unhealthy eating habits–but adults as well. Simone Dasilva, a nutritionist with Berkeley Youth Alternatives, weighed…

CZU Lightning Complex Fire fully contained

The CZU Lightning Complex Fire was fully contained Tuesday night, authorities said. The blaze broke out the morning of Aug. 16 and burned 86,509 acres in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention. One person was killed and another was injured in the fire. Cal Fire said the blaze also destroyed 1,490 structures, including 925 single-family homes. Thousands of residents in the Santa Cruz Mountains were forced to flee as crews struggled to fight the fire in rugged terrain. About 1,000 people were still evacuated as of Tuesday. “Repopulation efforts continue to be complicated in portions of the fire area by closed roads, damaged utilities and compromised trees,” Cal Fire said in an incident update. Crews, meanwhile, are keeping a watchful eye on the fire. “Remember, contained is not controlled,” the Cal Fire San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit said in a tweet announcing the news. “We will continue to monitor this fire for smoldering areas.” Related Articles Discovery Channel embeds with California firefighters in new series ‘Cal Fire’ Wildfire-weary Californians, ‘tired of this being normal,’ consider uprooting…

Millbrae: Three arrested in 2018 home-invasion robbery

MILLBRAE – Three suspects have been arrested in connection with a violent home-invasion robbery in Millbrae two years ago, authorities said. Detectives with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office arrested one suspect – identified as 30-year-old Randy Oliver Jr. – at his workplace in Hayward on Tuesday, said Sgt. Joe Cang. Cang said the other suspects – identified as 27-year-olds Sirvonte Ingram and Sheldon Johnson Jr. – are in custody in Miami, Florida, and awaiting extradition to San Mateo County. The robbery occurred at a private residence on Sept. 23, 2018. The suspects, who wore masks and were armed with pistols and firearms, tied up the victims while they ransacked the premises, Cang said. Cang said one of the victims was injured when he was pistol-whipped by a suspect. Detectives identified Oliver, Ingram and Johnson as suspects following an “extensive investigation” and obtained a $450,000 warrant for their arrest, Cang said. Anyone with information about the case can contact Detective Nick Boragno at 650-363-4064. Related Articles Man armed with handgun and rifle shoots at mobile homes in Half Moon Bay Suspect arrested in Labor Day…

If you have a privacy problem with FasTrak, you’re ignoring a bigger issue: Roadshow

Q: I was reading about the benefits of FasTrak and it made me wonder why people have a problem with getting a transponder. We got FasTrak in 2002 when my son attended college in San Mateo and he needed to drive over the San Mateo Bridge. My mother, now 96, had it before we did, as she was in SoCal and traveled on toll roads to visit friends. We got the switchable version of FasTrak a couple of years ago in order to periodically take advantage of toll lanes (we don’t use them often, but when needed, they come in handy). I have it tied to my credit card, so I get a statement each month with details about the charges. It auto-renews, so the account always has a balance of about $20, no matter how much or how little we have used it that month. It is very convenient. Like Mr. Roadshow’s Facebook page for more questions and answers about Bay Area roads, freeways and commuting. So, why do people have a problem with it? If it’s because it tracks which bridges and toll…

San Jose begins cleaning up massive piles of illegal dumping on Monterey Road

San Jose joined forces with Union Pacific Railroad earlier this week to begin a massive undertaking to clean up a large homeless encampment and illegal dump site along Monterey Road near the southern end of the city. The coordinated clean-up effort came after residents sent hundreds of calls and emails to city leaders and created an online petition, which now has more than 3.600 signatures, to urge city officials to clean up long stretches of Monterey Road along the Union Pacific Railroad tracks where the dumping has grown out of control in recent months. The site has been littered with all kinds of trash and discarded materials — from furniture and appliances to abandoned vehicles and tires to bags of trash and debris. Multiple fires have also broken out at the encampment, destroying tents of unhoused individuals living there and causing officials to close down nearby roadways to get the blazes under control. Hoping to get a handle on an exponential increase in illegal dumping that has occurred since the start of the pandemic, San Jose is finally pumping up its efforts to clean up…

State fines Bay Area nursing homes, hospitals for COVID-19 workplace violations

Nursing homes in the South Bay and East Bay — along with Santa Clara Valley Medical Center — were issued fines on Tuesday for failing to protect workers from COVID-19 exposure, said the state agency which oversees workplace safety. Cal/OSHA issued the largest penalty against the Santa Rosa Police Department, where a 43-year-old detective died of the virus in late March. State inspectors found that Gateway Care & Rehabilitation Center, where 31 employees contracted COVID-19, exposed nurses and housekeeping workers to the virus and did not provide necessary personal protective equipment. The Hayward nursing home was fined $23,430. Nineteen residents there have died, the most of any Alameda County nursing home. In San Jose, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center was fined $7,910 total for violations at two of its facilities. The center on South Bascom Avenue did not provide effective training on COVID-19 for its hospital workers, according to Cal/OSHA. The North Jackson Avenue facility’s administration did not properly warn workers sent to two nursing homes of the risk of exposure to the virus, the state agency said. Hospital workers were exposed to suspected and…

Contra Costa extends ban on rent increases, evictions

Renters in Contra Costa County will be protected for at least a  few more months from certain evictions and rent increases during the coronavirus pandemic. The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday to extend through Jan. 31 a temporary ordinance that prohibits landlords from raising residential rents or evicting tenants with few exceptions and unless they breach the terms of their contract. The ordinance allows evictions only to protect the landlord or other tenants’ health and safety, if the landlord or immediate family members intend to live in the rental property or if the landlord is removing the rental unit from the market under terms of the Ellis Act. The emergency ordinance also bars landlords from kicking out tenants for allowing an “unauthorized” family member such as a child, spouse, domestic partner, grandchild, parent or grandparent from living there because of COVID-19. The ordinance doesn’t apply to single-family homes, individually owned condominiums and townhouses. Meanwhile, the continued protections will not extend to small businesses. Although the county previously suspended evictions of small businesses that could not pay rent because of stay-home orders, it won’t be…

Cindy McCain endorses Biden for president in snub to Trump

By Jonathan J. Cooper | Associated Press PHOENIX — Cindy McCain endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for president Tuesday in a rebuke of President Donald Trump by the widow of the GOP’s 2008 nominee. Trump has had a fraught relationship with members of John McCain’s family since he disparaged the Arizona senator during his 2016 campaign. But the McCains have until now stopped short of endorsing Trump’s rivals. Cindy McCain cited the decadeslong friendship between her family and Biden’s and their bond as the parents of children serving in the military. My husband John lived by a code: country first. We are Republicans, yes, but Americans foremost. There’s only one candidate in this race who stands up for our values as a nation, and that is @JoeBiden. — Cindy McCain (@cindymccain) September 22, 2020 “He supports the troops and knows what it means for someone who has served,” McCain said in a phone interview. “Not only to love someone who has served, but understands what it means to send a child into combat. We’ve been great friends for many years, but we have a common thread…

Feds: Major multi-state meth/heroin trafficking ring operated in Sacramento and Solano Counties, leader allegedly ran operations from jail

SACRAMENTO — Four people have been arrested and charged with federal methamphetamine distribution — and several others named as uncharged co-conspirators — in what federal authorities describe as a multi-state meth and heroin trafficking ring that operated mainly in Fairfield, Vacaville and part of Sacramento County. Michael “Smokes” Garcia, his wife Nancy Garcia, his, Gonzago Garcia, and a fourth person, Tylor Combs, have all been charged in federal court with conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. The recently-unsealed criminal complaint alleges that Michael Garcia directed Nancy and Tylor in sales of meth, heroin, and firearms, and that Michael bragged about supplying his dad with 10-15 pounds of meth at a time. For much of the time during the alleged crimes, Michael Garcia was incarcerated in Tulare County Jail, according to the complaint. The case is largely based upon a paid government informant who started working for the FBI last October. The informant allegedly conducted several controlled buys with Nancy Garcia, meeting in malls around Vacaville and Fairfield to buy large amounts of meth or heroin at a time. The informant is described…

Video: Monterey Bay Aquarium marks Sea Otter Awareness Week with cute video

Just in time for Sea Otter Awareness Week, the Monterey Bay Aquarium released a video of rescued sea otter pups interacting with their surrogate moms. The rescued animals spent time with residents Selka and Kit as part of the aquarium’s sea otter surrogacy program. The creatures in captivity teach the wild ones critical life skills such as how to groom themselves and forage. The goal behind the program is to have the youngsters acclimated so that they can be released in Elkhorn Slough. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has released 37 pups through the program. The video shows Selka with her 18-week-old pup, which was found stranded near Pismo Beach at a day old. Kit’s pup is 9 weeks old and was found stranded on Cayucos Beach when it was 2 weeks old. The theme of Sea Otter Awareness Week is Bridging the Gaps, and the celebration is meant to encourage others to plan and partake in events that highlight the animals, many of which are threatened or endangered. The “gaps” mentioned in the theme refer to the blind spots in people’s knowledge in how to…

San Jose begins weeklong cleanup of massive Monterey Road illegal dump site

San Jose joined forces with Union Pacific Railroad earlier this week to begin a massive undertaking to clean up a large homeless encampment and illegal dump site along Monterey Road near the southern end of the city. The coordinated clean-up effort came after residents sent hundreds of calls and emails to city leaders and create an online petition, which now has more than 3.600 signatures, to urge city officials to clean up nearly a milelong stretch of Monterey Road along the Union Pacific Railroad tracks where the dumping has grown out of control in recent months. The site has been littered with all kinds of trash and discarded materials — from furniture and appliances to abandoned vehicles and tires to bags of trash and debris. Multiple fires have also broken out at the encampment, destroying tents of unhoused individuals living there and causing officials to close down nearby roadways to get the blazes under control. Hoping to get a handle on an exponential increase in illegal dumping that has occurred since the start of the pandemic, San Jose is finally pumping up its efforts to…

Pence’s plane returns to airport after bird strike

By Paul LeBlanc and Daniella Diaz | CNN Air Force Two — the plane used to fly Vice President Mike Pence — safely landed at a New Hampshire airport on Tuesday after hitting a bird in flight, a spokesman for the vice president confirmed to CNN. The plane was flying Pence back to Washington, DC, after his speech at a Trump campaign rally in Gilford, New Hampshire, when it struck the bird. The pilots decided to return to the airport from which the plane had just taken off out of an abundance of caution, Devin O’Malley, Pence’s spokesman, said. After landing, Pence and his staffers used a cargo plane to return to Washington, according to CNN’s travel pool crew. Air Force 2 has a little different look tonight. Now in a C17 and happy for it! Thanks to the pilots and crew for getting us safely back on the ground. pic.twitter.com/N81N9MK8Ra — ADM Brett P. Giroir (@HHS_ASH) September 23, 2020 Notably, this isn’t the first plane-related incident Pence has faced on the campaign trail. In October 2016, the campaign plane carrying Pence skidded off the…

Giants bring an Opening Day starter back to roster as Chadwick Tromp hits injured list

Opening Day catcher Tyler Heineman is rejoining the San Francisco Giants for the final seven games of the regular season. Heineman takes the place of backup catcher Chadwick Tromp, who was placed on the 10-day injured list Tuesday with a shoulder strain. Tromp injured his shoulder diving back into first base on a pickoff attempt in the Giants’ 14-2 win over the A’s on Sunday. The Giants hoped Tromp would be healthy enough to catch starter Johnny Cueto on Monday against Colorado, but he was scratched from the lineup in favor of rookie Joey Bart and entered a 7-2 loss to the Rockies in the ninth inning as a defensive replacement. A MRI on Tuesday showed Tromp had a shoulder strain, so he’ll miss the remainder of the regular season and Heineman will be back with the Giants for the first time in more than a month. Heineman signed with the Giants as a minor league free agent over the offseason and emerged as the favorite to start on Opening Day against the Dodgers after veteran Buster Posey announced he planned to sit out the…

Mysterious decade-old allegation holds up Bay Area sex trafficking case; defendant allegedly held victim to $500 daily quota, assaulted her

OAKLAND — Federal prosecutors are holding up the resolution of a Bay Area human trafficking case while they and the FBI investigate a decade-old allegation involving sex trafficking of a then-underage girl, they revealed in court records. The case centers on Richmond resident Chase McMillon, 37, who was charged with sex trafficking and other offenses after he was implicated in an assault on a woman who he was allegedly trafficking around the Bay Area. The FBI began investigating McMillon after the alleged victim accused McMillon and a woman of assaulting her in Salinas after she refused to perform sex work due to back pain. The decade-old allegations came up while authorities were investigating McMillon for the Salinas incident, and may result in new charges. But many details remain a mystery; records detailing the allegations have been filed under seal and will remain there at least until the government decides whether to seek a new indictment against McMillon, whose attorney said is ready to accept responsibility for two of his current pending charges. The decade-old case involves sex trafficking of a minor. Evidence includes statements by…

Man fatally shot in Oakland Sunday is identified

OAKLAND — A 26-year-old man fatally shot Sunday morning in East Oakland has been identified by police as Carlos Pablo-Matias. Investigators still have not determined a motive yet for the killing and have not announced any arrests. Pablo-Matias, an Oakland resident,  was found fatally shot at about 1:34 a.m. Sunday in the 1400 block of 85th Avenue just north of International Boulevard, an area of both businesses and residences. Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering up to $10,000 in reward money for information leading to the arrest of the killer.  Anyone with information may call police at 510-238-3821 or 510-238-7950 or Crime Stoppers at 510-777-8572,  

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