Man wanted in connection with teen girl’s fentanyl death in Riverside County

Authorities are searching for a man wanted in connection to the fentanyl-related death of a teenage girl in Riverside County. On Aug. 21, 2022, Palm Desert deputies responded to reports of an unresponsive female in the 15000 block of Via Quedo in Desert Hot Springs. Despite lifesaving measures, the 17-year-old girl was pronounced dead at the scene, said the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators discovered the teen had overdosed on fentanyl. The case was taken over by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Overdose Death Investigations and Narcotics Unit. Over the next few months, authorities identified the suspect as Michael Garcia, 22, a Desert Hot Springs resident. Authorities have not been able to locate Garcia and have issued a warrant for his arrest. Charges have also been filed in his case. Body discovered in San Bernardino County “Additional suspects have been identified and further arrests are anticipated,” officials said. Anyone who may have seen Garcia or knows of his whereabouts is asked to call Riverside Sheriff’s Dispatch at 951-776-1099 or Master Investigator Jim Peters at 951-955-1700.

NCS softball playoffs: Castro Valley stifles Amador, defending champion Heritage survives

Division I No. 10 Castro Valley 2, No. 7 Amador Valley 0 Gabriella Tavares shut down one of the hottest teams in the Bay Area on Wednesday afternoon, allowing just two hits and striking out nine Amador Valley batters in a North Coast Section Division I upset. “It is the most confident I’ve ever seen her be on the mound,” Castro Valley coach Nicole Manley told the Bay Area News Group on Wednesday night. “It’s almost as if she’s been in this position before, but oddly enough due to the pandemic affecting her high school career, she hasn’t.” The game was scoreless until the fifth inning, when an Ava Thomas double drove in Jaidyn Torres. Katrina Longoria added an emphatic insurance run in the top of the seventh by hitting a solo home run over the right field wall.  “She has been due for a big hit like that, and the timing of it couldn’t have been any better,” Manley said. Amador Valley pitcher Kaylee Davis was otherwise superb, allowing just two hits and striking out seven in a pitcher’s duel.  Amador Valley ends its

Could Oakland teacher strike cost district millions for lost instruction time?

The Oakland Unified School District has settled a week-long strike with its teachers union — a deal that will boost pay a total of $70 million. But as the administration figures out how to pay for those raises, could it also face stiff fines for the time its 34,000 students went without teachers? District officials had no answers early this week, but the experience of another large Northern California school district’s lengthy strike last year is sobering: The Sacramento City Unified School District expects to be hit with a hefty $47 million in penalties after a two-week strike left it short of the state’s required 180-day instruction time. “It’s significant,” said Brian Heap, Sacramento City Unified’s chief communications officer. “It’s not a small amount of money.” At Oakland Unified, eight days of regular classes were lost, and although campuses were not officially closed, teachers were absent, and the few students who showed up were supervised by administrative staff. The Oakland Education Association, representing nearly 3,000 K-12 teachers, counselors, psychologists, social workers, speech pathologists, nurses, librarians and teacher substitutes, declined to comment. The district did not

Berkeley: Man arrested as suspect in downtown bank robbery attempt

BERKELEY — An unhoused 35-year-old man was in county jail Wednesday after his arrest in connection with an attempted bank robbery, authorities said. Around 9:40 a.m., police dispatchers received a call from Chase Bank, 2150 Shattuck Ave., saying that a person passed a note to a teller demanding money. When the teller walked away from the counter, the person, who did not use or show any weapons, left the bank. No one was injured during the attempt, and no money changed hands, police said. Officers arrived at the bank and canvassed the area, but did not initially find a suspect matching a preliminary partial description of a blue shirt, pink shirt and black heels. But around 12:20 p.m., an officer found a person matching the description, and arrested him shortly after 1 p.m. on suspicion of the robbery attempt after a positive identification, police said. The man was taken to Santa Rita Jail and held on $100,000 bail, and faces arraignment Friday at an Oakland courtroom, according to a county records check Wednesday night. Staff writer Harry Harris contributed to this report. Contact George Kelly

Water whiplash: See how California’s drought disappeared in a few months

California has been on an amazing roller coaster of drought and floods recently. The three years from 2020 to 2022 were the driest three-year period in the state’s recorded history, breaking the old record set during the previous drought from 2013 to 2015, according to the state Department of Water Resources. But after a deluge this winter, reservoirs are full. Wildfire risk has dropped. Groundwater tables in many areas have risen. The Sierra snowpack, the source of 30% of California’s water supply, was at 324% of normal on Thursday, the highest level in 40 years. The extreme swings have been documented each week in color-coded maps issued by the U.S. Drought Monitor, a weekly report by the NOAA, the USDA and the University of Nebraska. Here’s how it unfolded: The drought began with below-average rain and snow in the winter of 2019-2020. It worsened the following winter as high-pressure ridges off the West Coast relentlessly blocked storms. By the summer of 2021, 95% of California was in “severe drought.” Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency in July 2021 and asked Californians to cut urban

Demand has surged for California’s free school meals. But with a drop in extra federal funding, can Bay Area kitchens keep up?

When the flood of students rushing into the cafeteria eased to a trickle, Maria Darnell — the kitchen manager at Alameda’s Lincoln Middle School — texted her boss. “524 lunches today!” Darnell wrote, along with a smiling, but sweating, emoji. It had been nine months since California began providing free meals for its public school students, no matter families’ income level. Even so, Darnell was still shocked by how much the program had changed demand. That day, her staff had served 230% more meals than their average before the pandemic, on top of a 530% jump in the number of daily breakfasts. Alameda Unified School District Food and Nutrition Services kitchen manager, Maria Darnell, left, and cafeteria staff Maria Carter, right, work in the Lincoln Middle School kitchen to prepare lunch service on Monday, May 1 in Alameda. The staff has served 230% more meals than their average before the pandemic, on top of a 530% jump in the number of daily breakfasts. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)  For years, federal and state funding has buoyed schools like Lincoln, helping them manage the growing costs