Sacramento

Will 49ers George Kittle return this week? Cardinals coach ‘sure’ of it

SANTA CLARA — Of course the Arizona Cardinals are preparing to face George Kittle. After all, the 49ers tight end took a helmet off his left knee and still remained in their Halloween meeting long enough to spark a 28-25 win. Kittle did not finish that game, however, nor did he play in Monday night’s 27-24 overtime defeat to the Seattle Seahawks, so uncertainty is swirling about the severity of his health and a potential comeback as soon as Sunday’s visit by the Cardinals. San Francisco 49ers George Kittle (85) scores a touchdown as Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Haason Reddick (43) defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Cardinals first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury is preparing for the 49ers’ best-case scenario of a Kittle return. “No doubt. It was amazing he was able to stay in our game and push through it and have such a great night,” Kingsbury said Wednesday on a media conference call. “He’s one of the best, if not the best, tight ends in the league. “Just kind of…

As California burns, scientists search the smoke for threats to firefighter health

Matt Rahn was about 200 feet away when flames started climbing up the side of the garage and creeping toward the car inside. A wildfire researcher with California State University San Marcos, Rahn was at the edge of a fire that would go on to burn 4,240 acres across California’s Amador and El Dorado counties. He was there to study the smoke rising off blackening shrubs and trees. Watching the garage burn, though, he realized that firefighters fending off flames without any real lung protection were inhaling more than airborne remnants of burnt plants. “Think about the average home, all the chemicals and things that are in there, not to mention all the building materials and furniture,” said Rahn, who also is a member of Temecula’s city council. “That’s when we started really thinking about what happens. What’s in the smoke when you have all that complicated fuel being combusted at the same time?” That was in 2014, when wildfires burned 568 buildings across the state. Fire season is not yet over this year and the toll already is higher: three people dead and 732…

California truckers file 1st suit contesting new gig economy law

By DON THOMPSON SACRAMENTO  — The California Trucking Association on Tuesday filed what appears to be the first lawsuit challenging a sweeping new labor law that seeks to give wage and benefit protections to workers in the so-called gig economy, including rideshare drivers at companies such as Uber and Lyft. The legislation violates federal law and would deprive more than 70,000 independent truckers of their ability to work, the association said. Many would have to abandon $150,000 investments in clean trucks and the right to set their own schedules in order for companies to comply with a law it says illegally infringes on interstate commerce. “Independent truckers are typically experienced drivers who have previously worked as employees and have, by choice, struck out on their own. We should not deprive them of that choice,” association CEO Shawn Yadon said in a statement. The law set to take effect Jan. 1 makes it harder for companies to classify workers as independent contractors instead of employees, who are entitled to minimum wage and benefits such as workers compensation. “We expect big corporate interests — especially those who…

Dems, GOP assail each other as Trump impeachment opens

By LISA MASCARO and MARY CLARE JALONICK WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. House launched the first public hearing Wednesday of Donald Trump’s impeachment investigation, the extraordinary process to determine whether the 45th president of the United States should be removed from office. Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, immediately outlined the question at the core of the impeachment inquiry — whether the president used his office to pressure Ukraine officials for personal political gain. “The matter is as simple and as terrible as that,” Schiff said. “Our answer to these questions will affect not only the future of this presidency but the future of the presidency itself, and what kind of conduct or misconduct the American people may come to expect from their commander in chief.” It was a remarkable moment, even for a White House full of them. The hearing is the first chance for America, and the rest of the world, to see and hear for themselves about Trump’s actions toward Ukraine and consider whether they are, in fact, impeachable offenses. The top Republican on the panel, Rep.…

MVP comeback: How Bay Area kid Marcus Semien turned it all around right here at home

The A’s season may be long over, but the baseball field still beckons Marcus Semien. Maybe it’s because he’s still in play in the ongoing MLB awards season. Maybe it’s because this particular field is where it all began. The infield dirt at Central Park in El Cerrito crackles beneath his feet. His father, Damien, and 3-year-old son, Isaiah, are chowing sandwiches on the green benches behind him while he shows a curious reporter where his hunt for an American League MVP award all started. Semien turns toward shallow right field and points. “As a 9-year-old, we weren’t as good, I remember losing a game and throwing my hat out of frustration. Right there,” Semien said, still pointing. “I’ll never forget my mom, she was just was so mad. That changed the way I was after that. I was always calm every time anything frustrating would happen.” He still slips up and lets emotion bubble over occasionally — his first career ejection, for instance, came against the Houston Astros this season. But for the 29-year-old Bay Area native playing ball just 16 miles down the…

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