A wheelchair-bound former Mid-Peninsula Water District employee was sentenced in San Mateo County Superior Court today for embezzling nearly $250,000 in district funds.

Catherine Abou-Remeleh, 54, of Hayward was sentenced this morning to five years of probation and nine months in county jail, although the judge
recommended she serve via electronic monitoring due to her health problems, according to Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti.

A judge also ordered the defendant to pay $238,730 in restitution.

So far she has paid $147,000 in restitution from the sale of her home, Guidotti said.

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car

A 55-year-old woman was saved from her burning car thanks to three police officers in Newark on Thursday evening.

Around 6 p.m., officers responded to a report of a driver trapped in a car that crashed in the area of Cedar Boulevard and Cedar Court, southwest of Interstate Highway 880 and near NewPark Mall.

The gray, four-door Audi A4 had crashed head-on into a tree, according to police.

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golden gate bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District’s Board of Directors today approved a financial plan to reduce its 5- and 10-year deficit projections, including a proposal to charge bicyclists and pedestrians for access to the bridge’s sidewalk.

Board members voted 10-9 to keep the sidewalk fee in the plan and 14-5 to approve the entire plan that contains 45 initiatives to raise money
or reduce expenses, District spokeswoman Priya David Clemens said.

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September was the busiest month in over a year at the Port of Oakland, officials said Thursday.

Imports coming through the Port’s marine terminals spiked 7.1% in September from a year ago, Port of Oakland officials said.

September and October mark the peak of the shipping season when retailers finalize holiday orders, according to Port officials.

The Port handled 207,412 containers at its marine terminals last month, which was the most since August 2013 when 209,138 boxes were received.

Total September cargo volume increased by 2.87% from the same period in 2013, while exports dipped by 7.27%.

Officials say U.S. exports overall have been challenged by the strong dollar, making American goods less attractive overseas.

The Port of Oakland, which oversees the Oakland seaport and the Oakland International Airport, is the fifth busiest container port in the U.S.

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richmond

With less than two weeks until the Nov. 4 election, a group of Richmond residents and activists are mobilizing against what they say are attempts by Chevron to buy their votes.

About three dozen people gathered at Richmond City Hall this afternoon for a news conference and rally holding signs with the message “Our Election is Not for Sale.”

The attendees included unionized city employees, nurses, community activists and other Richmond residents who have formed a Political Action Committee called “Richmond Working Families.”

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healdsburg

Youth under 21 years old will still be able to smoke or chew tobacco in Healdsburg but they won’t be able to buy their cigarettes and chewing tobacco in the city.

The City Council on Nov. 3 is scheduled to approve a final reading of an ordinance prohibiting sales of tobacco products to those under 21. The
ordinance would take effect 30 days later.

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garcia

An East Palo Alto man is facing several charges after being arrested for watching two young girls shower in a hotel room.

Palo Alto police say they arrested Jose Refugio Cesar Garcia, 47, Thursday night near the Oaks Motel on El Camino Real after a call of a peeping incident.

A family staying at the hotel said they had been giving their two young daughters, both under 7 years old, a shower when they saw a man outside watching through the window.

The father confronted the man, who ran away.  He told hotel staff and they called police.

Garcia was found and arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor peeping and a felony probation violation. He was on probation out of San Francisco County for soliciting a lewd act and resisting arrest.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call police at (650) 329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or phone call to (650) 383-8984.

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About 130 Waste Management recycling employees are striking against what they call “disrespectful treatment” by the company.

Members of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 6 held picket lines that started at 4 a.m. at the company’s headquarters at 172 98th Ave. in Oakland and a facility at 2615 Davis St. in San Leandro, union spokesman Craig Merrilees said.

The employees claim the Houston-based company has been “disrespectful and discriminatory” towards recycling employees, a majority of whom are Spanish-speaking immigrants, Merrilees said.

On Thursday afternoon, 98 percent of workers voted in favor of the strike, according to Merrilees.

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State and local law enforcement agencies last Friday arrested two men in the manufacturing of concentrated marijuana in a home in Gilroy and seized two assault weapons and about $80,000 worth of narcotics, police said.

Members of the Gilroy Police Department’s Anti-Crime Team, the state Unified Narcotics Enforcement Team and the Santa Clara County Specialized Enforcement Team served a search warrant at the home in the 7200 block of Alexander Street at 5:45 p.m. Friday, police said.

Inside the residence, agents found about 33 pounds of marijuana, three-quarters of a pound of methamphetamine, a quarter pound of concentrated
cannabis, known as honey oil, and a small amount of cocaine, according to police.

The officers also recovered two assault-type rifles and a handgun and located a clandestine honey oil laboratory, where butane gas is used as fuel to heat and produce the oil, police said.

Due to potentially dangerous toxic waste from the laboratory, agents contacted the state Department of Toxic Substances Control to remove the lab equipment and other materials from the property.

One of the two men living at the home, Timothy Morgan, 44, was arrested on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine for sale, having concentrated cannabis for sale, possession of cocaine, possession of illegal firearms and processing or manufacturing concentrated cannabis, police said.

The other resident, Jason Lopes, 34, was arrested on suspicion of possessing illegal firearms and possessing marijuana, according to officers.

The estimated sales value of the drugs seized was about $80,000, police said.

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Two Hollister men were killed and one man badly injured this morning when a car rolled over off of U.S. Highway 101 in northern San Benito County, according to the California Highway Patrol.

At 1:30 a.m., a 25-year-old Anthony Marta Mendoza was driving a 2000 Volkswagen Jetta south on U.S. 101 at a high rate of speed about a mile south of Santa Clara County and approaching state Highway 129 when the car drifted onto the west shoulder, the CHP said.

The Jetta turned over several times and came to a rest in a large grass shoulder west of the highway, according to the CHP.

The two adult male passengers, aged 25 and 23, were pronounced dead at the scene while Mendoza suffered major injuries and was flown to San Jose Regional Medical Center for treatment, the CHP reported.

Mendoza, also of Hollister, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, according to the CHP.

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oakland

Three of the 15 candidates who are running in the Oakland mayoral race came together at a news conference outside city hall today to say that
voters should choose one of them because they’re all outsiders who can change the status quo.

Former healthcare and tech executive and Port of Oakland commissioner Bryan Parker said, “We believe City Hall is broken and isn’t working for the city of Oakland.”

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A former Berkeley City College student was sentenced today to 12 years in state prison for fatally stabbing University of California at Berkeley student Christopher Wootton near campus six years ago.

The sentencing ends a long legal saga for 27-year-old Andrew Hoeft-Edenfield, who was found guilty of second-degree murder on May 13, 2010, in connection with the death of 21-year-old Christopher Wootton in the early morning hours of May 3, 2008.

Hoeft-Edenfield was sentenced to a term of 16 years to life in state prison, but last year the California Supreme Court, which had originally upheld his conviction, issued an order to show cause why he shouldn’t be entitled to relief based on his allegation that his trial lawyer, Yolanda Huang, failed to provide effective legal assistance.

The matter was sent back to Alameda County Superior Court and on April 29 Judge Larry Goodman, after holding a lengthy hearing, dismissed Hoeft-Edenfield’s conviction, ruling that Huang failed to warn him that he could face a life sentence if he didn’t accept a manslaughter plea bargain and went to trial and was convicted of murder.

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A jury has convicted a homeless man of killing another transient man in a homeless encampment in Concord in 2012, according to prosecutors.

James Riley, 40, was found guilty in a Martinez courtroom this morning of first-degree murder and use of a deadly weapon for the December 2012 strangling death of 47-year-old Jerald Nagle, according to Deputy District Attorney Simon O’Connell.

His sentencing is scheduled on Dec. 5.

Prosecutors said Riley and Nagle got into a fight over drugs and money that ended with the defendant beating and strangling Nagle in an encampment near an Interstate Highway 680 on-ramp in Concord.

An autopsy showed Nagle’s official cause of death was asphyxia due to strangulation.

According to local homeless advocates, Nagle grew up in Pacheco and had lived in homeless encampments in the Concord area off and on for nearly a decade leading up to his death.

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The Solano County coroner’s office has identified the woman who was killed early this morning when she was struck by a vehicle while crossing Clay Bank Road in Fairfield as 80-year-old Reola Henderson of Fairfield.

Henderson suffered major injuries and was taken to the NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield where she was pronounced dead at 6:33 a.m., Fairfield police said.

Henderson was walking east on Meadowlark Drive around 5:55 a.m., police said. She was hit while crossing Clay Bank Road by a northbound vehicle, police said. The driver stopped and cooperated with the investigation, police said.

Alcohol and other impairments are not suspected as the cause of the collision, police said.

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robber

Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying a man who burglarized a Friedman’s Home Improvement store in Petaluma last week.

On Oct. 17 at 1:40 p.m., a white man wearing an Oakland A’s hat, black jacket, tan pants and white tennis shoes filled a shopping cart with about $1,800 worth of high-end power tools and exited the store without paying, according to Petaluma police.

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