Deaths at sea

Sep 3, 2019

Coast Guard: 25 bodies found after California boat fire


From the AP's STEFANIE DAZIO: "A middle-of-the-night fire swept a boat carrying recreational scuba divers anchored near an island off the Southern California coast early Monday, leaving at least 25 dead and nine others missing."


"Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr Matthew Kroll said Monday night that 25 people had died. Five of six crew members on the Conception escaped by jumping into an inflatable boat they steered to a nearby vessel."


"Rescuers initially recovered four bodies about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles just off Santa Cruz Island, and 16 others were pulled from the water later in the day. The Coast Guard says five others have been found but not recovered due to unsafe conditions under the boat, which sank about 20 yards (18 meters) from shore.."


‘I can’t breathe.... there’s no escape hatch': Dramatic mayday call from California boat on fire


From the LAT's HAILEY BRANSON-POTTS: "n a mayday call alerting authorities to the fire aboard a boat in the Channel Islands off Ventura County early Monday, the caller said he could not breathe and that there was no escape hatch for 33 people below the deck..."


"Dive teams were working to recover bodies outside and inside the boat, which was upside down at the bottom of the sea, in about 62 feet of water, authorities said"


"Those on board were thought to be sleeping below deck when the fire broke out in the predawn hours."


READ MORE related to Dive-Boat Disaster: 34 feared dead off SC Island after dive boat catches fire -- The Chronicle's TRISHA THADANI/JK DINEEN/RACHEL SWAN; Final hours on the Conception: Diving, birthday parties, then horrific fire -- LA Times's DAKOTA SMITH


Times change, but politicians still turn out on Labor Day in the East Bay


The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN: "Billionaire presidential candidate Tom Steyer, clad in jeans and an olive green “Fight for $15” T-shirt, spent much of Monday doing what politicians traditionally do on Labor Day: He attended a picnic."


"In every single campaign I’ve had — all the (ballot) propositions that I’ve done everywhere — my best partner is always labor,” said Steyer, who announced his long-shot bid for the White House in July. He joined hundreds at Oakland’s Snow Park, where union members from Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco and San Mateo counties gathered to eat hot dogs, swivel to funk music and roast in the afternoon sun."


"Such events were once considered the kickoff to election season, and at one time no California Democrat could afford to miss the annual festivities in Alameda County. President Bill Clinton even dropped by in 1995 to announce a $3.4 million grant to manufacture electric cars at the Alameda Naval Air Station."


Getting food stamps to poor Californians is surprisingly difficult


Sacramento Bee's JACKIE BOTTS/CRESENCIO RODRIGUEZ-DELGADO: "In May 2017, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors set an ambitious goal: enroll 70,000 new families in food stamps in two years."


"Home to the state’s highest poverty rate and a growing homeless crisis, the county was enrolling just 69% of residents who were eligible for CalFresh, the state’s name for the federal food stamps program. With full participation, the county would have been expected to gain $560 million in federal funding for its poor."


"The social services department got to work, doubling down on outreach, simplifying the application process with new technology, and producing data-driven progress reports each month."


Feinstein harbors a secret talent


The Chronicle's TAL KOPAN: "Every day, hundreds of tourists walk past a nondescript office in a nook of the U.S. Capitol, unaware that inside is one of the most exclusive galleries in D.C."


"It’s the hideaway of California Sen. Dianne Feinstein — a prestigious office space close to the Senate floor that she’s earned with her seniority and stature in the chamber. Inside, the powerful top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee and former Intelligence Committee chairwoman has held countless meetings with colleagues, officials and foreign dignitaries."


"While there, they’ve been treated to walls adorned with a lesser-known part of Feinstein’s work — her drawings. Some have been lucky enough to leave with a print of their own."


Stuck in the polls, Buttigieg plans to beef up campaign staff

Sacramento Bee's DAVID CATANESE
: "Pete Buttigieg, who has dazzled Democratic donors but plateaued in the polls, plans to accelerate his presidential campaign in the coming weeks, with a concerted push to transform his fundraising success into fastened support in the early nominating states."


"The South Bend mayor’s campaign is expected to announce in the coming days a flurry of staffing hires and new office openings in Iowa and New Hampshire, as well as a director of African-American engagement, who will be crucial to outreach in South Carolina and other southern states that follow."


"“Labor Day for us is really going to be a turning point,” said Mike Schmuhl, Buttigieg’s campaign manager. “It’s when we’ll flip the switch."


How California voters may have saved Trump from releasing his taxes


The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "Forty-seven years ago, California’s voters opened the state’s presidential primaries to all nationally recognized candidates. That ballot measure could determine the fate of a new state law requiring President Trump and his competitors to release their tax returns to run in next year’s primaries."


"California’s presidential primaries used to be friendly territory for “favorite sons” who weren’t running national campaigns. In 1960, when John F. Kennedy was elected president, the only major candidate on the state’s Democratic primary ballot was Gov. Pat Brown. And Richard Nixon’s 1968 election was preceded by a Republican primary in his home state in which the only listed candidate was Gov. Ronald Reagan."


First Hmong-American woman to run for Sacramento City Council in 2020


Sacramento Bee's THEODORA YU: "Sacramento City Unified school board member Mai Vang announced her candidacy Monday for the Sacramento City Council in 2020."


"The daughter of Hmong refugee parents from Laos, who fled communist Laos to the United States, Vang is the eldest of 16 children, born and raised in south Sacramento."


"She is running to represent District 8, a diverse community comprised of Cabrillo, Meadowview, Florin, Parkway, Valley-Hi and North Laguna Creek neighborhoods."


Toxic algae warnings issued for Sacramento-area waters


Sacramento Bee's DARRELL SMITH: "Toxic algae that sickened and killed dogs across the country in early August is suspected in two pet poisonings at Folsom Lake and at an Auburn waterway where a dog died in recent weeks. Now state water and parks officials are urging pet owners to take caution heading into the long Labor Day weekend."


"State Parks officials on Friday sounded the alarm on the potential cyanobacteria sightings at Moony Ridge in the Folsom State Recreation Area and at Auburn’s Oregon Bar on the North Fork of the American River where a dog died in late July after swimming in its waters."


"California State Parks officials in a Friday news release are “encouraging recreational users of all bodies of fresh water” in both recreation areas to watch for the potential for the cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms."


READ MORE related to Energy, Environment & Climate: What eBikes mean for Yosemite, Point Reyes, Sequoia -- The Chronicle's TOM STIENSTRA


Scientists combing human DNA for 'gay genes' spark debate about quest for genetic link to sexuality


The Chronicle's ERIN ALLDAY: "Neil Risch was vacationing in Hawaii when he started getting calls from journalists and his peers in genetics about a paper about to be published in the prominent journal Science. The paper, he was told, was finally going to put to rest the question of whether sexual orientation was determined by genetics."


"And I just thought, ‘OK, here we go again,’” said Risch, director of the Institute for Human Genetics at UCSF."


"I’ve said this multiple times: Why are we so obsessed with studying homosexuality?” Risch said. “Why not genetics of religiosity? Or genetics of homophobia? Racism? Why this?"


UC Berkeley chancellor confronts diversity, housing challenges as classes resume


The Chronicle's NANETTE ASIMOV: "UC Berkeley, flagship campus of the University of California, is best known for its superlatives: the most Nobel laureates of any public institution. The most Peace Corps volunteers in history. And most famously, unparalleled student activism."


"But as thousands of brainy undergrads, grads and professors stream back to class, they’re facing other, less welcome extremes, including the worst housing crisis of the nine undergraduate UC campuses and the lowest proportion of underrepresented minority students."


Musk's China charm offensive nets Tesla a tax break amid trade war


Bloomberg's LISA DU: "Elon Musk’s charm offensive in China appears to have paid off."


"During a visit last week to the country, the billionaire chief executive officer of Tesla Inc. won a tax exemption for the electric-car maker, got to promote his ground-digging Boring Co. passion project and even drew praise on social media for his frugal food and accommodation choices — he was spotted eating dumplings and staying at the Holiday Inn."


"Musk began making headlines in China on Thursday, when he publicly sparred with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Chairman Jack Ma at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai, talking about various subjects including the existence of aliens, the preservation of human consciousness and other visions of the future."


Sirhan Sirhan, RFK's assassin, back in prison after being stabbed by fellow inmate


AP: "Sirhan Sirhan, imprisoned for more than 50 years for the 1968 assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, is back inside a California prison about a day after being attacked by another inmate and hospitalized."


"State corrections department spokesman Jeffrey Callison said Sunday that a wounded inmate was returned to the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility near San Diego on Saturday."


"A government source with direct knowledge confirmed to The Associated Press that Sirhan was the victim. The source spoke under condition of anonymity, citing prison privacy regulations."


Texas gunman 'was on a long spiral of going down,' FBI says


AP: "FBI special agent Christopher Combs said Ator called the agency’s tip line as well as local police dispatch on Saturday after being fired from Journey Oilfield Services, making “rambling statements about some of the atrocities that he felt that he had gone through."


"He was on a long spiral of going down,” Combs said. “He didn’t wake up Saturday morning and walk into his company and then it happened. He went to that company in trouble."


"Fifteen minutes after the call to the FBI, Combs said, a Texas state trooper unaware of the calls to authorities tried pulling over Ator for failing to signal a lane change. That was when Ator pointed an “AR-style” rifle toward the rear window of his car and fired on the trooper, starting a terrifying police chase as Ator sprayed bullets into passing cars and shopping plazas and killed a U.S. Postal Service employee while hijacking her mail truck."


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