Dixie Fire: Crews make some progress, 10,000-plus structures imperiled

Fire crews eked out a tiny bit of progress on Saturday against the vast Dixie Fire in the rugged terrain of the Feather River Canyon in California, with containment of the blaze increasing slightly, state fire officials reported. The size of the huge conflagration remained unchanged from several hours earlier, but the containment of the inferno increased slightly to 20% as of 7 p.m. on Saturday, the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reported. As of 9 a.m. on Saturday, the containment level was 19 %, Cal Fire had reported previously. The estimated size of the fire remained at roughly 181,289 acres, the fire agency said. The Dixie Fire is burning in sections of Butte County and Plumas County. “The Dixie Fire continues to burn actively,” Cal Fire stated in a post on Saturday night. “Extreme rates of spread” remain a characteristic of the fire. Relief from the current potential for a dramatic expansion of the fire isn’t expected for a few days, the state agency said. “These conditions will remain through the weekend, and then there will be a slight chance of rain next…

SF Giants miss their first-half ace in loss to Pittsburgh Pirates

SAN FRANCISCO — It started with the Pirates loading the bases in the first inning and ended with Giants outfielder Mike Tauchman tossing sub-70-mph fastballs in his first career pitching appearance. One pitch into the Giants’ game Saturday against the Pirates, Kevin Gausman was already in a hole. By the time reliever John Brebbia was jogging in from the bullpen in the with one out in the fifth, the Pirates had tagged Gausman for four runs and would add two more by inning’s end. With a second subpar outing since the All-Star break, Gausman’s ERA climbed above 2.00 for the first time since the beginning of May. The Giants dropped their second straight contest to the last-place Pirates, 10-2, and will look to avoid a sweep at the start of a nine-game homestand in Sunday’s series finale. “He just didn’t have enough control of his split,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “I don’t think he has his usual control or command right now.” Pirates leadoff hitter Adam Frazier slapped the first pitch he saw into center field, then Gausman issued back-to-back bases on balls, including a…

Why don’t our roads seem to be getting better? Roadshow

Q: What is your insight regarding the state of our roads? Several years ago we passed a higher gas tax with the promise of urgently needed resurfacing and repairs being made, but I don’t see any significant improvements. If things were put on hold due to the pandemic, I understand, but now I would expect a doubling of efforts to actually get something we can notice done. Mark Milioto A: Actually, I’m more encouraged now than ever. The pothole repair cavalry has been out and reinforcements are en route. Most neighborhood streets and sidewalks are not in the best of shape, said John-the-MTC-GUY, “but neither are they in the worst of shape.” Bay Area streets and roads are considered to be in fair condition and the goal is to boost them into the “very good” category over the next several years. The good news is that the higher gas tax money that cities and counties began receiving a couple of years ago has helped prevent sliding backward. The bad news is that progress has been very slow over the past two decades and there is…

Big start for U.S. swimmers in 400 IM at the Tokyo Games

Former Georgia swimmers Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland got the United States off to an impressive start at the Tokyo Games with a 1-2 finish in the 400 individual medley, the four-stroke event once owned by Michael Phelps. With Phelps serving as a color commentator for NBC Sports, Kalisz took control in the third leg, the breaststroke, to build a 2 ½-second lead. He won in 4 minutes 9.42 seconds, well ahead of Litherland, who went from sixth place in the freestyle leg to get the silver medal. Litherland, 25, finished in 4:10.28, just ahead of bronze medalist Brendon Smith of Australia. Kalisz, who won the silver medal in Rio in 2016, is the sixth American to win the event in the past seven Olympics. Related Articles Russia, China, Japan men surge to gymnastics lead at Tokyo Games Photos: U.S. finally strikes gold after a slow start to Summer Olympics Shred time in Tokyo as surfing joins the wave of Olympic sports The power of Simone Biles Tokyo Games: U.S. women’s soccer regroups with 6-1 thrashing of New Zealand “This is the last thing I…

Santa Cruz: Black Lives Matter street mural is vandalized

SANTA CRUZ — A Black Lives Matter mural painted on a street in Santa Cruz has been vandalized by vehicle tread marks across the painting, police said Saturday. Police investigators have identified a possible vehicle and a person of interest linked to the incident. The mural is located at 800 Center St. in Santa Cruz, police said. “Responding officers located the damaged mural, which consisted of vehicle tread marks across the painting,” according to a police statement. It’s believed that the vandalism occurred Friday night, authorities said. Detectives were able to obtain a video of the incident with help from the community. “A vehicle is seen intentionally ‘burning out’ and applying tire tread marks across the length of the mural” in the video, police officers said. The video is deemed as being helpful to the police probe. “With this video evidence, Investigators have identified a possible vehicle and person or persons of interest,” Santa Cruz police said. Police believe that the crime isn’t commonplace. “Investigators are working on this case from the perspective that this is a hate crime,” police said. The city’s mayor and…

Is Patrick Marleau’s time with Sharks close to over? “It ends for everybody”

SAN JOSE – Sharks general manager Doug Wilson was noncommittal Saturday about bringing back any of his pending unrestricted free agents, including franchise icon Patrick Marleau, as several roster changes for the team appear imminent. After a weekend in which the Sharks welcomed nine new players to the organization through the draft, several others are likely to be let go as the team turns the page on a forgettable 2020-2021 season. NHL free agency begins Wednesday and right now little stands in the way of Marleau, Marcus Sorensen, Kurtis Gabriel, Max Letunov and Greg Pateryn — all pending UFAs — going to market. The Sharks also have to decide soon whether to buy out the three remaining years on goalie Martin Jones’ contract or issue a qualifying offer to winger Ryan Donato, who is a pending restricted free agent. Monday is the deadline for NHL teams to issue qualifying offers to pending RFAs, and the first window for teams to buy out contracts ends Tuesday. “You had to be prepared for the expansion draft and then you’re looking at whether you qualify people, whether you…

Imprisoned ‘Dating Game Killer’ Alcala dies awaiting execution

By Donald Thompson | Associated Press SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A prolific serial torture-slayer dubbed “The Dating Game Killer” died Saturday while awaiting execution in California, authorities said. Rodney James Alcala was 77. He died of natural causes at a hospital in the San Joaquin Valley, prison officials said in a statement. Alcala was sentenced to death in 2010 for five slayings in California between 1977 and 1979, including that of a 12-year-old girl, though authorities estimate he may have killed up to 130 people across the country. Alcala received an additional 25 years to life in 2013 after pleading guilty to two homicides in New York. He was charged again in 2016 after DNA evidence connected him to the 1977 death of a 28-year-old woman whose remains were found in a remote area of southwest Wyoming. But a prosecutor said Alcala was too ill to face trial in the death of the woman, who was six months pregnant when she died. California’s death row is in San Quentin State Prison near San Francisco, but for years Alcala had been housed more than 200 miles away…

Russia, China, Japan men surge to gymnastics lead at Tokyo Games

TOKYO — Kohei Uchimura’s gymnastics career is nearly over. The Japanese star can take solace knowing that the sport the two-time Olympic champion led to glory appears to be in good hands in his home country. Daiki Hashimoto topped Olympic qualifying on Saturday, putting on a show inside the largely empty Ariake Gymnastics Centre to help Japan sprint to the top of the leaderboard. Hashimoto’s all-around total of 88.531 pushed Japan past rivals China and ROC, as the Russian team is known, to the top spot in qualifying. The Japanese will bid Monday night for an Olympic title to back up the one they captured in Rio de Janeiro five years ago. “Passing the qualification round (in first), you know, really (puts pressure on other teams),” Hashimoto said. The party, however, will go on without Uchimura. Competing as an individual on high bar — his signature event — the 32-year-old widely considered to be the greatest men’s gymnast of all time fell midway through his routine and will not advance to event finals later in the Games. With fans banned, the small crowd of onlookers…

Nobel prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg dies at 88

By Ken Miller | Associated Press Physicist Steven Weinberg, who won the Nobel prize in 1979 with two other scientists for their separate contributions unlocking mysteries of tiny particles and their electromagnetic interaction, has died at 88, the University of Texas at Austin said Saturday. A professor at the university since the 1980s, Weinberg died Friday in Austin, Texas, according to his wife Louise, said UT spokesperson Christine Sinatra. The physicist had been hospitalized for several weeks, but a cause of death was not released, according to Sinatra. “The passing of Steven Weinberg is a loss for The University of Texas and for society,” UT President Jay Hartzell said in a statement. “Professor Weinberg unlocked the mysteries of the universe for millions of people, enriching humanity’s concept of nature and our relationship to the world,” Hartzell added. In 1979, Weinberg shared the Nobel prize in physics with scientists Abdus Salam and Sheldon Lee Glashow. Their work improved the understanding of how everything in the universe relates, according to a UT statement. The work helped physicists unify two of the four forces of nature, subatomic forces…

Unvaccinated snow leopard at San Diego Zoo catches COVID-19

Associated Press SAN DIEGO — An unvaccinated snow leopard at the San Diego Zoo has contracted COVID-19. Caretakers noticed that Ramil, a 9-year-old male snow leopard, had a cough and runny nose on Thursday. Later, two separate tests of his stool confirmed the presence of the coronavirus, the zoo said in a statement Friday. Ramil is not showing additional symptoms, the zoo said, but because he shares an enclosure with a female snow leopard and two Amur leopards, the staff assumes they have been exposed. As a result, the animals were quarantined and their exhibit was closed. It’s unclear how Ramil got infected. In January, a troop of eight gorillas at the zoo’s sister facility, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, contracted COVID-19 from a keeper who had the virus but showed no symptoms. The gorilla troop, which has since recovered, became the first known example of the virus infecting apes. The case prompted the zoo to request an experimental COVID-19 vaccine for animals for emergency use. The vaccine from Zoetis, animal health company that was once part of Pfizer, was administered to species most at…

Photos: U.S. quest for Olympic gold off to a slow but solid start

The U.S. quest for gold at the Summer Olympics is off to a slow start as the Americans came close to medaling in a few sports. Nevertheless, the U.S. made advances in team sports and swimming as the Summer Games continue in Tokyo. The highlight of the start has been the U.S. women’s soccer team’s rebound 6-1 win over New Zealand that keeps their medal hopes alive. Americans in softball, women’s water polo, men’s volleyball and women’s 3×3 basketball also did well with important wins. Young U.S. cyclist Brandon McNulty was on the edge of medaling in cycling but ran out of gas on the route that took them up Mount Fuji. Meanwhile, the U.S. had a disappointing result in mixed team archery, falling to Indonesia. China won the first gold medal of the games with Yang Qian winning women’s air rifle. Japan, the host nation, got its first gold medal in judo with Naohisa Takato taking the top spot in men’s 60kg. Here are some of the top images from the start of the Games. United States’ Lindsey Horan, second from right, celebrates after…

‘Desperate’ Berkeley bank robber gets 41 months in federal prison

OAKLAND — An East Bay man who was identified as a bank robber by his distinctive t-shirt was sentenced to three years and four months in state prison last week, court records show. Edwin Herold, 61, of Oakland, was sentenced July 14 by U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, court records show. At an earlier court date, he agreed to plead guilty to robbing a Mechanics Bank in Berkeley last October, court records show. It is the second time in a decade Herold has been convicted of bank robbery; in 2012, he received 46 months in prison for a bank robbery conviction, court records show. In October 2020, Herold handed a clerk a note that said, “Give me $2,500 from the machine and nobody gets hurt,” and left the bank with the desired amount in cash, according to a prosecution sentencing memo, which also links Herold to an November 2020 bank robbery in which $90 was stolen. He was identified through surveillance footage; though he wore a mask in the robbery, he also had on a t-shirt of a bear doing a dance move, which…

Shred time in Tokyo as surfing joins the wave of Olympic sports

Surfing’s Olympic debut coincided with a welcomed swell arriving this weekend like a gift from the weather gods. After all the skepticism, pessimism and uncertainty that accompanied surfing’s tube ride to the big stage, Duke Kahanamoku’s dream will become a reality Saturday (Sunday morning in Japan). As the father of modern surfing, the famed Hawaiian Kahanamoku expressed a desire to see his favorite sport anointed Olympic status. According to historians, he made the plea after winning a gold medal in swimming at the 1912 Stockholm Games. Others have taken up the cause since then, the latest being Fernando Aguerre, president of the International Surfing Association. “I’ve faced so many naysayers and haters, people saying, ‘you’re wasting your time, it’s not gonna happen,’” Aguerre said. It looks like it’s happening at Tsurigasaki Beach in Chiba, about an hour from Tokyo. The competition is scheduled to run through Tuesday night, Pacific time (Wednesday morning in Japan). LEMOORE, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 18: Australian surfer Owen Wright competes during an opening round of the Jeep Surf Ranch Pro tournament, Friday, June 18, 2021, in Lemoore, Calif. He will be…

NHL Draft: San Jose Sharks round-by-round selections

San Jose Sharks round-by-round selections Rd.  Name                    Pos.        Ht./Wt.        2020-2021 stats      Team (League) 1     William Eklund     C/LW       5-10/176     11G, 12A, 23GP      Djurgardens (SHL-Sweden) 3     Ben Gaudreau       G           6-2/175     .919 SV%, 2.20 GAA, 5GP   Canada (WJC U18) 4    Gannon Laroque    D            6-2/200      1G, 7A, 21 GP            Victoria (WHL) 4     Ethan Cardwell     RW    5-11/180   9G, 18A, 18GP   Surahammars IF (HockeyEttan-Sweden) 5    Artem Guryev        D        6-4/225      3G, 3A, 6GP (2019-20)      Peterborough (OHL) 5    Max McCue           C        6-1/180      2G, 4A, 34GP (2019-20)    London (OHL) 6    Liam Gilmartin       LW      6-2/192      13G, 22A, 50 GP          U.S. National U18 Team 6   Theo Jacobsson      C        5-10/167 …

Dixie Fire nears 200,000 acres burned, threatening thousands of buildings

The massive Dixie Fire burning in Butte and Plumas counties gained more ground overnight Friday, nearing 200,000 total acres burned Saturday as firefighters braced to protect shoreline communities in the Lake Almanor area. About 11 days after it broke out near Paradise in Butte County, the fire has rapidly spread northeast and now encompasses 181,289 acres, up nearly 14,000 acres since the night before. Although it has torched largely  remote, unpopulated areas, its spread as of Saturday threatened thousands of businesses and homes largely along Lake Almanor’s west shore, the High Lakes area and Bucks Lake, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The fire has surpassed California’s previous leader, the Beckwourth Complex to the east, to become the biggest wildfire so far this year. On Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom Gov. proclaimed a state of emergency in Alpine, Butte, Lassen and Plumas counties due to the Dixie Fire and two others burning in the region. Crews Saturday prepared to protect populated areas near the popular vacation destination of Lake Almanor to the north, the community of Twain to the east near Highway…

Man fatally shot in East Oakland near Garfield Park

OAKLAND — A 48-year-old man was fatally shot in East Oakland Saturday morning, authorities said. His name has not yet been released. He may have lived in the area. The man was found shot about 9:30 a.m. in the street next to the sidewalk in front of a parked truck in the 1600 block of 23rd Avenue outside Garfield Park. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police have not yet said if the man was shot by someone who approached him on foot or fired at him from a passing vehicle. A motive for the shooting is under investigation. No arrests have been made. Traffic on 23rd Avenue between Foothill Boulevard and north of East 17th Street was blocked while police investigated. The killing is the 74th homicide investigated by Oakland police this year. Last year at this time, police had investigated 45 homicides in the city. 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…

San Jose Sharks select world champion goalie with third round pick

The San Jose Sharks selected Canadian goalie Ben Gaudreau in the third round of the NHL Draft on Saturday. Gaudreau is the first goalie drafted by the Sharks since 2018 when they chose Zachary Emond of Rouyn-Noranda in the QMJHL in the sixth round. Gaudreau was ranked the No. 2 North American goalie available in this year’s draft behind the WHL’s Sebastian Cossa, who was taken 15th overall by the Detroit Red Wings on Friday. Gaudreau was the fourth goalie taken in the draft. Gaudreau said he fell a little further than he and his agent expected but said, “we also decided we wanted to go to a place that wants me, that can kind of use me sooner than other teams. So I think falling here is something that will really help me out in the future.” Gaudreau, 18, did not get a chance to play with the Sarnia Sting of the OHL this past season, and an opportunity to play in Norway this year was nixed because of passport issues. Gaudreau, though, got a chance to play for Team Canada at the Under-18…

San Rafael: Three arrested in shooting that left man injured

Three suspects have been arrested in connection with a shooting that left one man injured in the Canal neighborhood, San Rafael police said Friday, the first of two shootings reported in the city in less than 24 hours. After surrendering to police hours after the shooting, San Rafael residents Edwin Mazariegos Rodriguez, 22, and Yordan Gonzalez Acevedo, 18, were booked into Marin County Jail on Thursday on suspicion of attempted murder. Ivan Pech Pinzon, 35, was booked on suspicion of aiding or concealing a felon and for an outstanding warrant. The shooting on Novato Street was reported just after 11 a.m., San Rafael police Lt. Dan Fink said. Police arrived to find the victim lying in the street with a gunshot wound to his back. He was transported to a local hospital. His condition is unknown. Police said the investigation revealed that two victims were walking on Novato Street when they were confronted by the two suspects, Rodriguez, who is the suspected the gunman, and Acevedo. The victims ran around a building when Rodriguez pulled out a handgun, yelled out the victim’s name and fired…

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