All but one lane of Highway 101 in Burlingame reopened Saturday afternoon, about 18 hours after the freeway was shut down when a piece of construction equipment slammed into an electrical tower and sent live power lines sparking across the freeway.
The one northbound lane of the highway and the Broadway on- and off-ramps also will remain closed for an undetermined time, California Highway Patrol officers said.
The trouble started about 9:30 p.m. Friday, when an excavator operated by a Caltrans contractor doing construction on the Highway 101 Broadway Interchange Project banged into an electric transmission tower that carries power to the Peninsula and San Francisco, PG&E and Caltrans officials said.
Drivers near the live power lines were ordered to stay inside their vehicles as a safety precaution and remained there until around 3 a.m., when PG&E finally was able to shut down the lines.
Three 70-foot wooden poles provided by Caltrans helped PG&E build a “temporary replacement for the most damaged tower,” PG&E officials said.
Traffic was heavy both on surface streets around the accident site and on Highway 101 and other nearby freeways as motorists tried to find other ways to get to San Francisco International Airport, the Giants game and other Saturday activities.
Posted: August 30, 2015, 4:58 am
Chain gains foothold, Hayes Valley cries foul, Bay Area, Aug. 28, D1
A story about the Kit and Ace retail chain misspelled the name of the chain’s CEO. Darrell Kopke is the head of the company.
George Cleve, 79 — dynamic conductor of Mozart works, Bay Area, Aug. 28
An obituary for conductor George Cleve misstated his history as a guest conductor with the San Francisco Symphony. Mr. Cleve made his first guest appearance with the orchestra in 1969 and returned repeatedly through 1984.
Posted: August 30, 2015, 3:42 am
An accident involving two vehicles on Interstate 580 slowed traffic to a crawl Saturday night.
The collision occurred on the Marin side of the Richmond bridge, causing two lanes to be initially blocked. The last lane reopened around 8 p.m., about an hour from when the California Highway Patrol issued a Sig alert.
There did not appear to be any major injuries, the California Highway Patrol said.
Wendy Lee is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: email@example.com Twitter: @thewendylee
Posted: August 30, 2015, 3:16 am
Bartender has $1 million winning Lotto ticket
Bartender Hubert Tang used a $20 bill he saw outside of the San Francisco International Airport to buy two California State Lottery tickets on a whim.
Tang said he didn’t know what he would do with the money, adding, “For now I am just going to put it in savings.”
Posted: August 30, 2015, 2:50 am
Trace of rain hits parched Bay Area as weather cools
Trace amounts of precipitation were reported in the East Bay and San Francisco, while Santa Rosa received three-hundredths of an inch, said Bob Benjamin, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.
Hamed Aleaziz is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.
Posted: August 29, 2015, 10:23 pm
Home cooks line up in S.F. for their chance at TV stardom
On the long folding table where the nervous contestants sign in sits a thick stack of bumper stickers reading, “I am the next ... master chef.”
No. 190 with the pork tenderloin he woke up at 4 a.m. to make.
No. 101 with the cinnamon buns — her mom’s Christmas special.
“MasterChef” is a competitive cooking reality show featuring home cooks and amateur chefs.
At the hotel, groups of contestants gathered in the holding room, toting black metal pots, blue coolers, Trader Joe’s paper bags and wheeled cases.
All were waiting for their 40 minutes in the tasting room, hoping it would propel them to TV stardom.
Once through the doors, they interview with a personal story team and then have three minutes to plate their dish and present it to the producers in the tasting room.
Show producers treat the process with the utmost security — no one but the contestants is allowed inside the tasting room, and no information comes out.
Nothing could go wrong when it came to preparing her rib eye steak and green spinach salad — not even a faulty hotel grill.
“It’s beautiful and colorful when put together,” she said, clutching the registration form in her hand.
Earlier, her aunt, Savannah Milhaeux, snapped photos on her iPhone of a smiling Zeno filling out the registration form and holding her food.
What if her dish — skewers of beef tongue and heart, plus shrimp — doesn’t impress them?
“I feel like I’m boarding an airplane,” she said, clutching the handle of her wheeled cooler a little tighter.
Posted: August 29, 2015, 10:10 pm
The California Highway Patrol said Pacific Gas and Electric Co. had to bring in special equipment to de-energize the power lines, and PG&E had crews dealing with the damaged tower. The trouble started at about at about 9:30 p.m., when the back of an excavator operated by a Caltrans contractor doing construction on the Highway 101 Broadway Interchange Project hit an electric transmission tower that carries power to the Peninsula and San Francisco, PG&E and Caltrans officials said. The excavator was drilling into the ground and pouring concrete at the time, then turned and hit the tower, Caltrans officials said. Drivers near the live power lines on the freeway were ordered to stay inside their vehicles as a safety precaution and remained there until around 3 a.m., when PG&E was able to shut down the power lines, utility spokesmen said. Utility workers also need to see if two nearby towers were damaged in the incident, company officials said.
Posted: August 29, 2015, 8:39 pm
Lee must make enemies if he wants to combat homelessness
With his pronouncement that the homeless will “have to leave” their encampments on the city’s streets and sidewalks, Mayor Ed Lee has taken his first step away from being the social-worker-style mayor that he has been for the past four years.
The guy was going down the street, stopping along the sidewalk and doorways, poking the sleepers and telling them to Get up, get up.
No social services.
If Lee is serious about getting the chronic inebriates and such off the streets, he is going to have to cross the line and call for the imposition of prolonged stays at residential programs until the homeless who are so out of it they can’t take care of themselves can get a grip on their lives.
[...] if he can prevail, he will receive the eternal gratitude of 600,000 or 700,000 residents of this city, as well as a million visitors who come to work and to play.
Trump’s secret weapon is humor.
Trump is the product of the Comedy Central generation.
Vice President Joe Biden’s decision to skip the Democratic party pow-wow in Minnesota this weekend was a clear bow to Hillary Rodham Clinton.
[...] has anyone seen Bill Clinton? I’m starting to think he’s gone into the witness protection program.
Aaron Peskin’s bid to return to the Board of Supervisors is getting a tremendous boost from both Jack Davis and Rose Pak.
[...] for someone who is seriously ill, Rose looked spectacular when I saw her at the opening of the new cafe addition to Sam’s the other day.
[...] it’s over.
Judy and George Marcus, with Darius Anderson and Steven Kay, hosted 30 of their friends to raise money for an internship scholarship program at the Willie L. Brown Institute at San Francisco State University.
S.F. State President Leslie Wong made the case for the money and a host of supporters including former Dignity Health CEO Lloyd Dean, California Engineering Contractors President Wahid Tadros, Clint and Janet Reilly, housing developer Oz Erickson, Academy of Art head Elisa Stephens, Lennar Urban excecutive Kofi Bonner, Jimi Harris of PG&E, real estate magnate Alvin Dworman, Victor and Farah Makras, Rusty Areias, Rich Guggenhime and the Giants’ Larry Baer responded with donations totaling $400,000.
The generosity prompted real estate magnate and former UC regent George Marcus and wife Judy to match the commitment dollar for dollar, resulting in $800,000 net for the evening.
Many students will be the direct beneficiary of this typical San Francisco generosity.
The CIA is again put to the task, this time out to eliminate three rogue, stone-cold losers that it had turned into permanent assassins.
Posted: August 29, 2015, 8:35 pm
CHP searching for big rig driver involved in fatal motorcycle crash
California Highway Patrol investigators are searching for the driver of a tractor-trailer who left the scene after fatally striking a motorcyclist outside of Livermore Thursday evening, officials said.
The CHP encouraged anyone who may have witnessed the incident, or who knows the identity of the tractor-trailer or its driver, to contact Officer A. House at (925) 828-0466, ext. 355 or the CHP Communication Center at (707) 551-4100.
Posted: August 29, 2015, 5:04 am
Joel Fort, an outspoken San Francisco psychiatrist whose public efforts to legalize marijuana and accept homosexuality riled his colleagues and brought him endless professional troubles, died last Sunday at his home in El Cerrito.
From the days of the beats and the hippies through the 1980s, Dr. Fort campaigned against orthodoxy — both as a professional treating patients for alcoholism, drug abuse and a score of other mental issues and as the leader of his own unconventional mental health center called Fort Help in downtown San Francisco.
Fort Help is still an authorized methadone clinic for drug abuse patients operating in San Francisco.
In his day, it was typical of Dr. Fort to accept patients of any age who needed drug abuse treatment, or who, as he put it, were “sick, alienated, strung out, enraged, or dispirited to the point of suicide.”
Dr. Fort also earned national publicity as a prosecution witness in the Patricia Hearst bank robbery trial.
In his public speeches and professional encounters, he frequently argued against criminal sanctions for private consensual sex among adults.
Born in Steubenville, Ohio, Dr. Fort earned his medical degree at Ohio State University and interned at the federal prison hospital for addicts at Lexington, Ky., where he helped found a chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Posted: August 29, 2015, 3:36 am
Endangered male fin whale’s cause of death: ‘vessel collision’
The species is the second-largest animal after the blue whale, living primarily in the northern Pacific Ocean.
The juvenile in the Oakland Estuary was apparently dragged there this week from the open seas by a container ship.
The whale had a fractured and dislocated vertebrae, fractured and dislocated ribs, as well as hemorrhaging, which indicated the whale was alive when it was hit.
“Every whale stranding is an important opportunity to learn more about these creatures, and how we can prevent future deaths,” said Frances Gulland, senior scientist at the center.
Posted: August 29, 2015, 2:22 am
S.F. police searching for missing at-risk woman
San Francisco police are asking for the public’s help in finding an at-risk woman who went missing Thursday afternoon, officials said.
Gatpandan encouraged anyone who has seen Byrd, or has information as to her whereabouts, to call 911 or contact San Francisco police using the anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444.
Posted: August 29, 2015, 1:27 am
A Legionnaires’ disease scare swept San Quentin State Prison on Friday after an inmate tested positive for the potentially deadly illness, prompting officials to shut off water and attempt to track down the source of the bacteria that causes the disease.
Legionnaires’ is a severe type of pneumonia that kills about 4,000 people a year in the United States, according to data from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
By Friday afternoon, after speaking with public health experts, prison officials allowed inmates to use toilets again in the housing units and resume the monitored use of water for cooking, she said.
A Marin County public health official said residents outside the prison are not at risk.
[...] they are able to determine that, prison officials were trucking in both bottled water and tanks filled with water for drinking, Simas said.
Marin County public health officials were assisting the prison with the response.
Don Specter, director of the nonprofit Prison Law Office in Berkeley, which defends the rights of inmates and sued the state over inadequate health care in 2001, said his organization was monitoring the situation.
A federal court-appointed receiver runs the state’s prison health care system as a result of the lawsuit, which also led the U.S. Supreme Court to mandate a reduction in the state’s prison population.
“We are glad that the prison officials, the receiver’s office and Marin County Public Health are taking quick and decisive action,” Specter said.
While outbreaks across the country tend to draw media attention, health experts say most cases crop up individually or in small clusters because the source is usually a specific water supply.
People exposed to the bacterium can also develop an illness called Pontiac fever, which isn’t counted among those infected with Legionnaires’.
City health officials linked the outbreak to the cooling tower of the Opera House Hotel in the Bronx.
In another ongoing outbreak, Illinois state health officials have diagnosed the disease in 23 residents of a veterans’ home in Quincy, but no deaths have been reported.
The Bay Area has also been hit by occasional cases and outbreaks, the worst likely being in 1991 in Richmond when two janitors at the city’s Social Security Administration building died from Legionnaires’ disease and another 15 people got sick.
A popular theory is that it’s contracted by inhaling contaminated mist from water sources, specifically the large water distribution systems of large buildings.
The disease is most life-threatening in older people, smokers and those who have lung disease or compromised immune systems.
Posted: August 29, 2015, 12:20 am
On Feb. 28, 1852, a ship from Le Havre sailed through the Golden Gate, rounded Clark’s Point at what is now Broadway and Battery and unloaded 200 specimens of the finest flotsam and jetsam of France, including criminals, political prisoners, honest workers, the politically connected, dissidents, common thugs and various other types deemed undesirable by the authorities.
Between 1851 and 1853, the French government used the proceeds of a huge national lottery, the irresistibly named Lottery of the Golden Ingots, to ship more than 4,000 people to California, hoping that most or all of them would never return.
Just weeks after James Marshall discovered gold in Coloma in January 1848, a revolution toppled the French king, Louis-Philippe, ushering in a period of upheaval that climaxed in four terrible days in June when 10,000 people were killed on the barricades of Paris; 25,000 people were arrested and 5,000 deported, most to the French colony in Algeria.
To help restore order, get rid of revolutionaries and troublemakers and help some of the country’s desperately poor people, the authorities decided to encourage emigration to Algeria, Corsica and the French West Indies.
The California gold fields not only offered ordinary French citizens potential escape from poverty, chaos and violence, but they also handed the French government a literally golden opportunity to solve both a humanitarian and a political problem.
The authorities would help poor people get a fresh start, while at the same time sending undesirable elements so far away they would probably never return.
The French and the California Gold Rush, 1848-1854, initial skepticism about reports from the American press, which the French derided as the “American puff,” gave way to wild credulity.
The California companies fanned the mania with an unprecedented advertising campaign, sometimes buying up all the advertising pages in French newspapers.
A company called La Fortune, offering 15,000 shares at 10 francs each and 3,000 shares at 50 francs, said it had just bought four “almost miraculous” machines, each of which could do the work of 100 men and was “capable of extracting 2 kilograms of gold a day.”
Not to be outdone, another company claimed they too had a machine invented “by a former university professor” and offered a thirtyfold return.
A fashion house announced it had just gotten in a large quantity of clothing suitable for emigrants to California “or any such distant country,” while women who wished to remain home in style could purchase a delectable “chapeau Californien” made by one Aimee Henry for 12 francs.
La Meuse was the first of dozens of ships that would make the long and dangerous voyage, carrying 30,000 French people to San Francisco.
The passengers made up a representative cross-section of the French population, hailing from Paris and the provinces and from all socioeconomic classes.
In August 1850, the French government said it would hold a Lottery of the Golden Ingots — a national lottery whose first prize was a gold bar worth 400,000 francs.
Every Saturday, Gary Kamiya’s Portals of the Past tells one of those lost stories, using a specific location to illuminate San Francisco’s extraordinary history — from the days when giant mammoths wandered through what is now North Beach, to the Gold Rush delirium the dot-com madness and beyond.
Devotees of the “cocktail route” dubbed it that because the prevailing winds raised women’s skirts.
Posted: August 28, 2015, 11:47 pm
Timing is everything and that’s why a fast-growing international clothing company can put a new store into Hayes Valley, an upscale San Francisco shopping district that has long fought to keep out chain stores.
In a 3-1 vote Wednesday night, the city’s Board of Appeals reluctantly refused to bar Canada-based Kit and Ace from moving into a former picture-framing store at 371 Hayes St., saying that the company met the letter, if not the spirit, of the neighborhood’s formula retail ban when it received its building permits last April.
The decision was a blow to members of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association, who argued that the owners of the luxury clothing store gamed the system, claiming they weren’t a chain store despite very public plans for a multimillion-dollar worldwide expansion that would make the company “a global force” in the retail industry.
“The special character of Hayes Valley is being violated by their stealthy, backdoor entry,” Jim Warshell, a longtime area resident, told the board.
The company applied for the Hayes Street building permits last January and February and when they were granted on April 8, Kit and Ace had nine stores either open or with building permits, which is how the city counts stores under the formula retail rules, Sanchez said.
[...] within days of San Francisco’s approval, the chain rapidly moved ahead with permits for new stores across the country and “reached the formula retail threshold in early May,” he added.
Hayes Valley merchants and residents quickly called foul, arguing that even before Kit and Ace received its local permits, the company had publicly talked about its worldwide expansion plan and spent millions on advertising, hiring and leasing for its planned stores.
Chain stores such as Kit and Ace, with plenty of cash and outside backing, have the potential to displace the small, owner-operated businesses that make up most of the shopping district.
“I can’t afford to pay the type of rent those guys can pay ... but I know my landlord will look at comps when my lease comes up,” said Matt Bissinger, who owns Maker and Moss, a home decor store across Hayes Street from the Kit and Ace site, now expected to open in October.
Posted: August 28, 2015, 10:55 pm