SF Opera’s new season: ‘Handmaid’s Tale,’ return of ‘Carmen’

San Francisco Opera is ready for fall, with new works, classics, special events, in-person concerts and live-streams on the calendar. Those attractions and more highlight the company’s 2024-25 season, announced recently by company general director Matthew Shilvock and music director Eun Sun Kim. The 2024-25 season — the company’s 102nd — runs Sept. 6 through June 27, 2025, with six mainstage productions, the company’s first-ever performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and a special “Pride Concert,” celebrating San Francisco’s LGBTQIA community, scheduled to close the season with details to be announced. The six featured operas begin with Verdi’s “Un Ballo In Maschera,” opening the mainstage season on Sept. 6 with Kim conducting, and a cast that features soprano Lianna Haroutounian as Amelia, tenor Michael Fabiano as Gustav III, and baritone Amartuvshin Enkhbat as Renato. September also brings the West Coast premiere of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” inspired by Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel and created by esteemed Danish composer Poul Ruders and librettist Paul Bentley; mezzo-soprano Irene Roberts will sing the leading role of Offred, and Karen Kamensek conducts (Sept. 14-Oct. 1). Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” returns, conducted

Texas wildfire grows quickly, threatens Panhandle towns

By Mary Gilbert and Joe Sutton | CNN A massive blaze that’s raging out of control is threatening Texas Panhandle towns and forcing residents to evacuate. The Smokehouse Creek Fire, the largest wildfire burning in the region, has exploded to 200,000 acres since igniting Monday afternoon, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service. The blaze, driven by gusty winds and fueled by dry, unseasonably warm conditions, is moving incredibly rapidly and remains 0% contained. Evacuations were ordered early Tuesday afternoon for parts of Hemphill and Roberts counties as the fire encroached on populated areas. This includes the town of Canadian, Texas, around an hour and half northeast of Amarillo, Texas. Parts of Fritch, Texas, which straddles Moore and Hutchinson counties to the north of Amarillo, are also under an evacuation order for a separate fire, city officials and the Texas A&M Forest Service said. Around 100 people could be affected by the evacuation order, Moore County Emergency Management Coordinator Tommy brooks told CNN. A robust cold front is forecast to slice through the area Tuesday evening and will cause the wind direction to shift, which

Here’s what to know about US couple missing in Caribbean

By Danica Cuto | Associated Press SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Authorities in the eastern Caribbean are scouring waters in the region in hopes of finding a missing U.S. couple who were aboard their catamaran Simplicity more than a week ago when police say it was hijacked by three escaped prisoners from Grenada. Police have said that Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel are presumed dead. The search for them began on Feb. 21 after someone discovered their catamaran abandoned on the shores of St. Vincent and alerted authorities. Police say the three prisoners escaped from a police station on Feb. 18 and hijacked the catamaran a day later. Authorities said the prisoners then illegally entered the southwest coast of St. Vincent on Feb. 19 and docked the boat. Two days later, the three men were arrested along the island’s northwest coast. Here’s what to know about the case: WHY WAS THE COUPLE TARGETED? It’s unclear why the escaped prisoners hijacked the couple’s catamaran, but it was moored at Grand Anse beach, near to the police station where the three men escaped. Police believe the men

Sale closed in Pleasanton: $1.5 million for a single-family residence

6443 Arlington Drive – Google Street View A 2,332-square-foot house built in 1975 has changed hands. The spacious property located in the 6400 block of Arlington Drive in Pleasanton was sold on Dec. 19, 2023. The $1,535,000 purchase price works out to $658 per square foot. Situated on a spacious 8,492-square-foot lot, the property offers ample outdoor space. Additional houses that have recently been purchased close by include: In August 2023, a 2,144-square-foot home on Stanton Court in Pleasanton sold for $1,900,000, a price per square foot of $886. The home has 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. A 3,367-square-foot home on the 300 block of Mullin Court in Pleasanton sold in February 2023, for $2,400,000, a price per square foot of $713. The home has 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. On Pioneer Trail Drive, Pleasanton, in May 2023, a 3,097-square-foot home was sold for $2,570,000, a price per square foot of $830. The home has 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.

With its last hours of life, moon lander sends back photos

By Marcia Dunn | Associated Press CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A moon lander that ended up on its side managed to beam back more pictures, with only hours remaining before it dies. Intuitive Machines posted new photos of the moon’s unexplored south polar region Tuesday. The company’s lander, Odysseus, captured the shots last Thursday shortly before making the first U.S. touchdown on the moon in more than 50 years. Odysseus landed on its side, hampering communication and power generation. Once sunlight can no longer reach the lander’s solar panels, operations will end. Intuitive Machines expects that to happen sometime between Tuesday afternoon and early Wednesday. The mission, part of NASA’s effort to boost the lunar economy, was supposed to last until at least Thursday, when lunar nighttime sets in. NASA has six experiments on board. Intuitive Machines is the first private business to land a spacecraft on the moon without crashing. Another U.S. company launched its own lunar lander last month, but a fuel leak doomed the mission and the craft came crashing back to Earth.

Woman dead in what police say was domestic violence in Pinole is identified

A woman killed in what police said appeared to be a “tragic case of domestic violence” earlier this month in Pinole has been identified. Officers found Brittany Ligdis, 30, of Pinole, dead with at least one gunshot wound inside a home in the 500 block of Summit Drive on Feb. 16. Jeffrey Kendall, 36, remains in custody at the Contra Costa County jail in lieu of $1.2 million bail, charged with murder, willful child cruelty, and possession of an assault weapon by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, according to authorities. The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office identified Ligdis on Tuesday. Pinole Police Cmdr. Matt Avery said that Kendall and Ligdis had been in a relationship. Ligdis lived at the home and that Kendall was “associated with the house.” Authorities arrested Kendall during a traffic stop in the Santa Cruz area following an all-day manhunt.

A Maryland trans woman’s journey to find her voice

“I’m really sick of you doing that.” Jessie Buckley sighed, shifting a curtain of dark red hair from her face. Inside a small, windowless room on the University of Maryland’s campus in College Park, she glanced across the table at Katie Aveni, a speech-language pathology master’s student, who nodded encouragingly. Again, Buckley sighed. “I’m really sick of you doing that,” she said, injecting frustration into every word. For the last six months, Buckley, a 26-year-old trans woman who lives in Annapolis, has been developing a new voice with the university’s Hearing and Speech Clinic. The voice is much higher than the voice she had after going through male puberty. It’s slower and smoother, and is sweet and warm, even when she’s feeling shy. It’s brighter now. She’s still learning how to adjust it when she’s sad or angry — the skill she was working on last fall when she practiced saying she was “sick” of someone doing something. But for the first time in her life, she’s starting to feel like her voice reflects who she is. While not every trans or nonbinary person needs gender-affirming voice

California’s Miracle Hot Springs closed after second person found dead in tub

Miracle Hot Springs, on the Kern River near Lake Isabella, has been closed indefinitely after a person was found dead this month in one of the soaking tubs, Forest Service officials said. The announcement noted that it was the second death at the tubs in 16 months: A body was found there in October 2022. No cause of death was made public for either case, but District Ranger Al Watson said both could be “attributed in part to the hot springs,” and that “the area will remain closed until a sustainable long-term solution is reached.” After the 2022 death, Sequoia National Forest employees dismantled the rock-and-mortar tubs that had been built at the river’s edge — but people continued coming to the area and some attempted to rebuild the tubs. An advocacy group calling itself Kern River Angels sought an agreement that would allow its members to maintain the soaking area. The Forest Service said that such construction without a permit is illegal on national forest land. The agency said the closure order will probit access “to the hot springs, tubs, and general vicinity.” Sandy

East Bay burglary suspect had grenade launcher in vehicle when police arrested him

BRENTWOOD — A 49-year-old Oakland man charged with multiple counts of burglary following a string of commercial burglaries earlier this year in Antioch also had a grenade launcher when he was arrested earlier this month, authorities said. The arrest happened on Feb. 17 when Brentwood police officers spotted a vehicle suspected to be used during the burglaries and pulled it over. Police said that inside, they found more than four ounces of suspected methamphetamine and fentanyl, packaged in a way to be sold. Police said they found other evidence related to the series of burglaries and said they likely will make more arrests in the near future. Authorities said the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office filed charges against the man for multiple counts of burglary from incidents along the Lone Tree corridor in Antioch and in other incidents in August 2023. Authorities said the suspect also is charged with possession of dangerous drugs for the purpose of sale and vandalism. Officers found the grenade launcher in the suspect’s vehicle during a probation search. The suspect remained in custody Tuesday morning in lieu of $422,000

Rebates for energy-efficient appliances are coming, finally

By Todd Woody | Bloomberg Remember the US Inflation Reduction Act’s lucrative rebates for heat pumps, induction stoves and other high-efficiency electric appliances? If you don’t, it might be because the money from that particular slice of the 2022 climate law has yet to begin flowing. But a payday is finally in sight, at least for a handful of US states. California, Hawaii, New Mexico and New York have submitted applications to the Department of Energy (DOE) for state programs to deduct IRA rebates from the purchase price of certain appliances designed to replace fossil fuel furnaces, water heaters and stoves. Several other states are expected to follow suit in coming months. A DOE spokesperson said the agency aims to review and approve applications within 60 to 90 days of receiving them, a necessary green light for any state or US territory to receive its allocated funding. Awards range from $50 million for American Samoa to $690 million for Texas. While the $8.5 billion rebate program is baked into the IRA, the long lag time is a byproduct of the need to distribute those incentives through

Willie Nelson leads unbelievably great concert lineup out on tour

Willie Nelson’s Outlaw Music Festival Tour returns in 2024 with a lineup that is so good that you just might not believe your eyes. The rotating cast of amazing talents who are set to perform on the road show include, of course, headliners Willie Nelson & Family as well as Bob Dylan, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, John Mellencamp with Brittney Spencer, Celisse, Southern Avenue and Billy Strings. Wow. The trek includes two stops in Northern California — Aug. 3 at Shoreline Amphitheatre at Mountain View and Aug. 4 at Toyota Amphitheatre in Wheatland. Both shows feature a lineup of Willie Nelson & Family, Bob Dylan, John Mellencamp and Brittney Spencer. Tickets go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. March 1, OutlawMusicFestival.com. There is also a Citi cardmember presale that runs 10 a.m. Feb. 27 to 10 p.m. Feb. 29, citientertainment.com. “This year’s Outlaw Music Festival Tour promises to be the biggest and best yet with this lineup of legendary artists. I am thrilled to get back on the road again with my family and friends playing the music we love for the

Campbell: Family of man slain in roadside clash decries plea agreement

CAMPBELL — The family of a man shot to death during a chance roadside clash on a Campbell street in 2021 is decrying a plea agreement reached earlier this month that yielded a voluntary manslaughter conviction and what stands to be a short prison sentence for the shooter. Greg Cirimele is shown in an undated family photo. He died Nov. 2, 2021 in a shooting in Campbell. (Courtesy of the Cirimele family)  Greg Cirimele, 42, died Nov. 2, 2021 on West Sunnyoaks Avenue after a brief confrontation with 18-year-old Nickolas James Ammann, who had been driving by and was waved down by a walking Cirimele, apparently for driving too fast. Cirimele approached the driver’s side of Ammann’s car; within seconds, Cirimele was shot three times and lay gravely wounded on the street while Ammann drove away. “If that isn’t cold-blooded murder, I don’t know what is,” Kim Cirimele, Greg’s mother, said in an interview with this news organization. But the ultimate assessment by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office and Ammann’s defense attorney — as well as Judge David Cena — did not treat

Man starts fire in bathroom of Campbell business

Feb. 19 DUI: 10:28 a.m. San Tomas Expressway and West Campbell Avenue. A driver was stopped for a vehicle code violation. They displayed objective symptoms of being under the influence of alcohol and failed to complete field sobriety tests. The driver was placed under arrest. POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE: 1:44 p.m. San Tomas Expressway and Budd Avenue. A passenger in a vehicle stop was in possession of multiple kinds of suspected narcotics and drug paraphernalia. GRAND THEFT: 9:20 a.m. in the 100 block of Cristich Lane. Someone stole approximately $1,000 worth of plumbing fixtures. Feb. 20 ATTEMPTED VEHICLE THEFT: 4:55 a.m. in the 100 block of Hardy Avenue. Three suspects entered a vehicle by breaking the door lock. The suspects damaged the ignition in an attempt to steal the vehicle, then fled the scene. BURGLARY: 6 p.m. in the 1000 block of Walnut Drive. Someone  entered an unlocked residence, forced entry into a locked bedroom and stole approximately $3,000 in cash and $2,000 worth of cologne. DUI: 10:08 p.m. Curtner and South Bascom avenues. A man was stopped for a moving violation and was

A decade in, the Bay Area’s cat cafe movement is here to stay

Ten years ago, Cat Town opened its doors in Oakland as the first nonprofit cat “cafe” in the country, according to executive director.Andrew Dorman. With a large sunlit room decked out with cat towers, toys, play structures and cozy beds aplenty, plus quieter rooms for more reserved cats and a cat-themed cafe for humans just outside, the cafe offers resident felines a welcome break from the chaos of an animal shelter while they wait to be adopted. Today, adoption-first programs like theirs exist throughout the region, which is a good thing, especially given the post-pandemic uptick in the number of cats who need homes. A cat hides inside a cat structure shaped like the Oakland Tribune tower at Cat Town, a cat cafe offering cat adoption and rescue services. (Courtesy Erica Danger/Cat Town)  Oakland’s Cat Town was inspired by Ann Dunn, an Oakland animal shelter volunteer, who launched it as a fostering program based loosely on the concept of Japan’s cat cafes, group cat homes that people can visit. (The cafe part is a bit of a misnomer; Cat Town offers espresso drinks and vegan

Macy’s to close 150 underperforming stores

By Nathaniel Meyersohn | CNN New York — Macy’s is getting a new, smaller, but more luxurious look designed to turn around the troubled retailer and keep the century-and-a-half old brand relevant to rapidly changing demands from shoppers. First, Macy’s will have to downsize. The company is closing 150 underperforming stores — 50 by the end of 2024 and the other 100 over the next few years. By 2026, it will have just 350 Macy’s stores, the company announced. Second, the company will focus on its successful Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury brands — luxury stores that have outperformed the Macy’s brand. It will open more, smaller versions of those stores over the next several years. Macy’s turnaround strategy reflects a shift in retail and US shoppers. As the middle class has shrunk in recent decades, the retail market has split: Lower-end stores focused on cost-savings, such as Walmart, have done particularly well. But so have luxury brands, as shoppers with means have been able to keep up their spending, despite higher prices. So Macy’s is chasing wealthier shoppers with luxury brands such as Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury

Uber, PG&E and union groups have spent more than half a million dollars in Assembly District 26 race

In the weeks leading up to the March 5 primary, outside groups have spent more than half a million dollars supporting three of the candidates running to replace Assemblymember Evan Low. With Low running for Congress, six candidates are vying for the open District 26 seat: Low’s district director and Foothill-De Anza Community College District Board President Patrick Ahrens, Santa Clara County Board of Education Trustee Tara Sreekrishnan — who also serves as state Sen. Dave Cortese’s deputy chief of staff — Sunnyvale City Councilmember Omar Din, Fremont Union High Schools Foundation Board Member Ashish Garg, certified public accountant Sophie Yan Song and retired pilot Bob Goodwyn. The district includes Cupertino, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale and parts of north and west San Jose. Independent expenditure committees, unlike a candidate’s campaign committee, don’t have a limit to how much money they can accept from donors, however, they aren’t allowed to coordinate with the candidates. As of Feb. 26, $673,395, independent expenditures has been spent by unions, corporations and other political action committees to support Ahrens, Sreekrishnan and Din, with $441,559 for Ahrens, $195,959 for Sreekrishnan and $35,877 for

Bridge: Feb. 27, 2024

In the club lounge, Cy the Cynic complimented Rose on a lovely bracelet she was wearing. “It was my mother’s,” Rose said. “So it has sentimental value,” suggested Cy. “Not really,” Rose shrugged. “It says `Do not resuscitate.’” Later, I watched today’s deal in a penny game. Rose played at four spades, and West led the deuce of hearts. The Cynic was East, and he captured dummy’s king and shifted to the jack of diamonds. FIFTH CLUB Rose played low and took dummy’s ace. She cashed the A-K of trumps, took the K-A of clubs, ruffed a club, went to the queen of hearts and ruffed a club. Rose then ruffed her last heart in dummy and discarded a diamond on the good fifth club. Making four. Rose played well, but after Trick One, the defense was on life support. Cy must let dummy’s king of hearts win. If declarer leads another heart, Cy wins and leads a third heart, forcing dummy to ruff and removing a key entry prematurely. And no other line of play will help declarer. DAILY QUESTION You hold: S 10

Word Game: Feb. 27, 2024

TODAY’S WORD — ABRADES (ABRADES: uh-BRADES: Rubs away; erodes.) Average mark 20 words Time limit 30 minutes Can you find 24 or more words in ABRADES? The list will be published tomorrow. YESTERDAY’S WORD — MISTRUST miss mist mitt muss must mutt situs smut stir strum strut suit trim trismus truism truss trust rust To purchase the Word Game book, visit WordGameBooks.com. Order it now for just $5 while supplies last! RULES OF THE GAME: 1. Words must be of four or more letters. 2. Words that acquire four letters by the addition of “s,” such as “bats” or “dies,” are not allowed. 3. Additional words made by adding a “d” or an “s” may not be used. For example, if “bake” is used, “baked” or “bakes” are not allowed, but “bake” and “baking” are admissible. 4. Proper nouns, slang words, or vulgar or sexually explicit words are not allowed. Contact Word Game creator Kathleen Saxe at kzsaxe@gmail.com.

Ask Amy: My husband’s ploy leaves me lying awake at night

Dear Amy: My husband and I have been married for three years. We have been planning to have a child within the next couple of years. My problem is that it seems like every time we have a serious argument, he threatens to leave me. Sometimes he does leave the house for a couple of hours, and when he comes back he is calm and apologizes for leaving. We don’t actually fight that often, but this is how he always seems to end the argument – either by threatening to leave, or by leaving. Sometimes when he is upset he says, “Why don’t we just get divorced?” and I find that very upsetting. Sometimes I lie awake in bed, worrying about our relationship. I really do love him, and when things are good, they’re great. I’m just not sure how to respond to this. Your take? – Worried Dear Worried: My first piece of advice is to not have a child until you and your husband find ways to resolve your differences without threats of divorce. This is the nuclear option, and this threat will

Four-bedroom home sells for $1.5 million in Fremont

1035 Barry Way – Google Street View The property located in the 1000 block of Barry Way in Fremont was sold on Dec. 12, 2023 for $1,530,000, or $887 per square foot. The house, built in 1964, has an interior space of 1,724 square feet. This single-story house boasts a generous living space with four bedrooms and two baths. Additionally, the house includes a garage. Additional houses have recently changed hands nearby: On Pepys Way, Fremont, in August 2023, a 1,808-square-foot home was sold for $1,780,000, a price per square foot of $985. The home has 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. In July 2023, a 1,658-square-foot home on Gary Lee King Terrace in Fremont sold for $1,395,000, a price per square foot of $841. The home has 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. A 1,306-square-foot home on the 38700 block of Litchfield Circle in Fremont sold in August 2022, for $1,498,000, a price per square foot of $1,147. The home has 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.

Three-bedroom home in San Jose sells for $1.6 million

6538 Camden Avenue – Google Street View A 1,468-square-foot house built in 1963 has changed hands. The property located in the 6500 block of Camden Avenue in San Jose was sold on Jan. 31, 2024. The $1,625,000 purchase price works out to $1,107 per square foot. The layout of this single-story house includes three bedrooms and two baths. Inside, there is a fireplace. Additionally, the house features a two-car garage. Additional houses that have recently been purchased close by include: In July 2022, a 1,661-square-foot home on Vegas Drive in San Jose sold for $1,500,000, a price per square foot of $903. The home has 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. A 2,762-square-foot home on the 6400 block of Hidden Creek Court in San Jose sold in July 2023, for $2,511,000, a price per square foot of $909. The home has 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. On Montana Court, San Jose, in March 2023, a 1,661-square-foot home was sold for $1,550,000, a price per square foot of $933. The home has 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.